Bitcoin Sell-Off Over? Bullishness Continues to Permeate the Market

This week, the price of Bitcoin has been on a rollercoaster ride. We started with a dump right after hitting a new all-time high last Sunday at about $58,350.

Following the drop, we made several attempts to go back up but only to end up lower and yesterday, we went down further down to $44k.

As of writing, BTC is seeing some relief trading around $46,800 but that’s to be seen if the upward momentum will continue or take us only lower. Trader TheCryptoDog said,

“At this point my assumption is we don’t go lower from here. That can change at the drop of a hat (we’ll see what happens to macro on Monday), but looking at this now I would be more surprised to see BTC sink.”

One caveat is March, the month which in the last six out of seven times have been a red one with an average drawdown of over 14%.

Unlike BTC, Q1 is good for Ethereum which five out of six times ended with significant greens, already it is up 102% YTD despite the losses. This week, it went down to $1,350 during this recent sell-off, even lower than the previous ATH of $1,420.

Bitcoin’s lack of direction, right now, is turning out good for altcoins, leading to a 15% to 30% uptrend. The total market cap has also recovered to $1.455 trillion, adding more than $100 billion in the past 24 hours.

All This Bullishness

While the price action in the market isn’t’ looking bullish, the developments in the market certainly suggest so.

For starters, the first Bitcoin ETF debuted on the TSX last week, Purpose Bitcoin ETF (BTCC) continues to see demand and now holds more than 10,000 BTC.

If we look at the premium on the Bitcoin product of the world’s largest digital asset manager, Grayscale which went negative this week, but is expected to be just short-term noise, could actually turn out to be bullish.

Started in late Sept. 2013, “Outside of 2013-2014 this has only occurred 4 times. With fees of 2% and a current discount of 2.5%, BTC can be bought inside the trust cheaper than at market,” noted one analyst.

“Like the last 2 times, does the bull continue?” he added.

Bitcoin miners are also sending bullish signals as they stop their selling and start accumulating BTC. For the first time in two weeks, Miners Position change has turned positive.

The Spent Output Profit Ratio (SOPR) indicator, which is the price sold / price paid, is another one that has gone back to level 1, indicating the bottom on the sell-off.

Not to mention, money-making exchange Coinbase has announced its public listing and got more than $100 billion valuation. This would make the company CEO, Brian Armstrong who previously worked at Airbnb to get rich and join the world’s 500 richest people.

Even more bullish is the news that the House passed its $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package early on Saturday, which will now head to the Senate. Democrats are rushing to approve more aid before unemployment programs expire on March 14.

This time, payments of $1,400 will be made to most individuals, along with the same amount for each dependent. $1,200 stimulus check from last time invested in Bitcoin at the time is currently worth $8,500 and surpassed $10,000 last week.

And just like the last stimulus package, this could propel the market higher.

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Author: AnTy

Privacy Browser Brave Unknowingly Leaked Users’ Dark Web Activities: Researchers

Privacy-oriented web browser Brave has been leaking users’ web data for months unknowingly through a bug in its code. The bug named Support CNAME, which was incorporated into its Tor mode offering had been sending user data to local network providers without the company knowing.

Leaked DNS Requests

Tor mode on Brave Browser allows users to access hidden services better known as .onion dark web domains while using Brave’s private browsing windows. The feature, which was added in 2018, was created to ensure increased privacy for Brave users while surfing the web.

But in recent research revealed on Friday for the Brave stable build, a Reddit user said Brave’s Tor mode was re-routing web queries for .onion domains to public internet domain name system (DNS) resolvers rather than designated Tor nodes.

Although the claims were initially refuted, other security experts confirmed the issue and asked the privacy browser to do something about it.

A DNS leak occurs when a request that should be sent through a private network arrives at a DNS server unprotected. The DNS server is likely your local network provider who will likely collect, evaluate and possibly sell the data. A DNS leak also leaves a trail that can be traced by government officials, hackers, or anyone with top-level security clearance.

To address this sort of issue, the Tor network was created in 2002. This network directs your web traffic through myriads of nodes, hiding the location you are searching from and protecting against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

Brave Browser has subsequently addressed the issue and released a formal fix for the erring bug the same day the data leak was discovered. The company said it first found the CNAME bug in its Brave Nightly build which developers mainly use. The issue was fixed on Feb. 4, and it proceeded to look into the stable build. It delayed the fix because it looked for other likely bugs that may result from the data leak.

The company has advised users genuinely concerned about their privacy to use the Tor network instead.

Brave’s User Community Grows By 130%

But despite what might seem like a bad deal for the ads blocking browser, Brave browser has enjoyed some measure of success in 2021. In a published report, the privacy portal said it has seen its user community increase from 11.6 million to 25.4 million as of Feb. 2 reflecting a 130% increase.

The Brave browser is sometimes compared to the famous Tor network due to its privacy-centric business model. Its Tor mode deployment in 2018 has seen it become a household name in a few short years.

The Chromium-based browser also rewards its users a basic attention token (BAT) for accepting to view ads. These digital tokens can then be exchanged for other crypto-assets or given to content creators through its in-built wallet.

With the idea of privacy becoming a much-discussed topic in the last decade, Brave may continue to find itself in business for a long time to come.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

FTX CEO Proposes Building SushiSwap on Solana and Serum

FTX CEO Proposes Building SushiSwap on Solana and Serum

A proposal has been made to build the DEX SushiSwap on Solana and Serum, codenamed Bonsai. With Sushi emerging as “having one of the most vibrant and influential communities” and “the sky’s the limit” for it, the proposal states it’s important to keep growing.

“The purpose of this proposal is to lay out an efficient and effective method for SushiSwap to evolve and build out its leading platform on Solana and Serum,” it reads, adding, “To reinforce perceptions of SushiSwap as a DeFi leader and innovator.”

As per the proposal shared by Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX, who is also building the DEX Serum on Solana, on Twitter, the team has been farming, staking, and investing in DeFi for the past eight months and Sushi from its beginning.

Now, they want to bring SushiSwap on Solana to provide the community additional liquidity, fast transactions, and significantly low fees on Serum.

The Layout

In the light of the cost of the Ethereum network making DeFi out of the reach of smaller users, they built Raydium. Having been worked on since last year, the AMM was launched just over this weekend.

The proposal also talks about the Raydium roadmap, which involves completing the development of liquidity pools and staking, launching mainnet along with the website and platform launch in Q1.

This AMM will work as a bridge for SushiSwap, and the protocol is already able to support Sushi’s liquidity pools for the Serum orderbook.

As a first step, Raydium will work alongside the DEX and then deploy on its testament. The next step would be the deployment of Bonsai pools and staking on the mainnet.

As an incentive, the double yield is also proposed for the first Decentralized Franchise Pool. The additional rewards will be in the form of a native RAY token, which means Sushiswap stakers on Raydium would get SUSHI rewards plus free yield from RAY.

The new project, Bonsai, is anticipated to launch on testnet within Q1 of 2021.

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Author: AnTy

Uniswap Generating More Network Fees than Bitcoin; Total Fees on ETH Reaches BTC All Time High

Bitcoin has been the leader in generating more fees than any other network. But that has only been up until June 2020, when decentralized finance (DeFi) mania started kicking in.

Today, this DeFi craze even saw popular DEX Uniswap beating Bitcoin in daily fees of $2.3 million, as per Cryptofees.Info. While BTC only had $1.8 million, Ethereum is unreachable by collecting $8.8 million in fees.

Uniswap, which accounts for 48.5% of DEX volume market share, even without the liquidity incentives, saw $12.7b in traded volume, $36.543 million in fees, and liquidity increased to $3.6 billion over the past 15 days, as per IntoTheBlock.

Another DEX SushiSwap had just under $1 million in daily fees, followed by Synthetix and Balancer, but they only had about $100k to $200k.

In the past week, Ethereum did more than 3x of Bitcoin’s 7-day average fees of just over $3 million, while Uniswap recorded $2.4 million.

“It’s the first DeFi protocol, but not the last. The key feature here is that fees in DeFi benefit not only miners but also LPs and token holders,” noted Santiago R Santos, a partner at ParaFi capital.

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Ethereum entered the space in 2015, and its daily total fees in USD surpassed Bitcoin’s several times since then. But it wasn’t until DeFi exploded that ETH was able to beat the world’s largest network by a wild margin.

During the peak of the 2017 bill market, Bitcoin did nearly $21.4 million in total fees, while at its peak, Ethereum did only $4.55 million.

But earlier in June 2020, compared to Bitcoin’s $383k in total fees, Ethereum recorded a whopping $3.55 million. From here, as DeFi gained more traction, so did Ethereum fees, and this gap between BTC and ETH fees continued to grow.

At the peak of DeFi mania in Sept. 2020, the Ethereum network was used so much that it became unusable as the average fees and gas prices continued to hit new highs. On Sept. 1st, the Ethereum network received more than $17 million in total fees compared to $1.48 million on Bitcoin.

Bitcoin overtook Ethereum for a brief period, a fortnight and a small margin, from late October to early November.

Since then, Ethereum continues to generate millions of dollars in fees every day, setting yet another new record at $21.38 million on Jan. 11, the day the crypto market saw a sell-off.

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Author: AnTy

Binance’s Has Been Blacklisted in Russia Since Sept; New Ruling Removes the Restriction

Binance’s Has Been Blacklisted in Russia Since Sept; New Ruling Removes the Restriction

  • The World’s largest crypto exchange in terms of capitalization, Binance, has been removed from the blacklisted websites in Russia following a court order.
  • Binance’s website was formally blacklisted in September last year by the Russian regulators. However, the exchange’s trading in the country has not been affected.

According to a popular news agency, Kommersant, on Jan. 21, Arkhangelsk Regional Court ordered that the Binance website be expunged from the list of blacklisted websites in the country.

The head of Binance Russia, Gleb Kostarev, confirmed to Bitcoin Exchange Guide that the reports were indeed true explaining that the court session was held on Jan. 20. The court’s decision read,

“Issuance and usage of bitcoins are fully decentralized, and there is no way to regulate it by the government, which contradicts the current Russian law.”

Binance’s website was blacklisted in June after Arkhangelsk Regional Court sided with local prosecutors, arguing that the firm was aiding in distributing information regarding Bitcoin, unlicensed crypto in the country. According to Kostarev, Binance Russia was not issued with a formal notification of the court hearing and only realized the blacklisting by the regulator, Roskomnadzor, three months later. Kostarev stated that the failure to notify the company made it difficult to defend its rights properly in court.

The ruling which was seen by CoinDesk indicates that the prosecutors extracted their complaint after Binance moved to challenge the decision.

Cryptos such as Bitcoin is legal in Russia even after the digital assets law was adopted on Jan.1. The law states that cryptos are legal taxable properties. The country also adopted another order requiring civil servants to declare their crypto holdings for taxation purposes.

Kostarev explained that the blacklisting of the firm’s website had no major effect on its trading volumes.

“Though the September ban had no impact on our volumes in Russia, for us, it was important to protect our reputation and appeal in this case.”

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bancor’s Approach to Handling Impermanent Loss Shows Financial Viability

Bancor has been working on a reliable method to address impermanent loss and it seems to have struck gold with its insurance-based approach

The Bancor Network has been busy trying to solve the issue of impermanent loss on its decentralized exchange. In a recent report, the protocol showed significant success with its approach, leading to the belief that it might be able to handle the protection of temporary loss of funds in the long term.

Impermanent Loss on DEXs

Yesterday, Bancor released a Protocol Health Report for its v2.1 decentralized exchange (DEX) upgrade.

The report covered the exchange’s financial and operational performance for the past quarter, showing significant liquidity and revenue gains.

As the report showed, liquidity across the DEX rose by 100 percent over the past three months, resulting in about 700,000 BNT (worth $1.12 million) in earnings from swap fees. However, the platform’s strategy on impermanent loss appeared to have faltered.

When Bancor launched the DEX late last year, it focused primarily on effective impermanent loss management.

Also known as divergence loss, the impermanent loss is a problem that affects mostly exchanges that run on the automated market maker (AMM) protocol. It occurs when liquidity providers (LPs) lose funds due to the volatility of a trading pair. It basically describes how much revenue an investor would have earned if they had held on rather than provide liquidity to the market.

The effect of this divergence is a loss of value, compared to the benchmark “buy and hold” portfolio.

The loss is termed “impermanent” because it could be reverted if the prices returned to their original state. However, even in the best scenarios, losses due to divergence will reduce liquidity providers’ profits from price swings.

Possible Long-Term Benefits

Bancor had initially tried to solve the problem with oracles, which reads token prices and render arbitrage virtually unnecessary.

However, front-running issues rendered this approach impractical. So, the exchange deployed an insurance mechanism to cover the cost of impermanent loss.

The project implemented a vesting schedule to incentivize LPs to stake their tokens in the long term.

The protocol’s strategy was to incentivize more altcoin holders to become LPs instead of adopting the buy-and-hold strategy. Another strategy Bancor plans to explore is to encourage projects to use their treasuries to provide liquidity to AMMs. Just like proof-of-stake (PoS) rewards, the method could allow projects with considerable token reserves to increase liquidity on token pairs and also get additional rewards.

The vesting schedule will see Bancor provide one percent coverage on liquidity capital for up to 100 days. However, LPs who make withdrawals before 30 days won’t get any compensation for losses in that period.

Bancor’s approach appears to be yielding benefits. As the company reported, the total impermanent loss associated with withdrawn liquidity amounted to 41,000 BNT ($64,000). On the flip side, the protocol also earned 350,00 BNT ($560,000) in fees.

Bancor added that some LPs withdrew their deposits before getting 100 percent insurance. These LPs got partial protection, which was paid based on their coverage level. The report pointed out,

“As the proportion of insurance policies with 100% protection increases over time, it stands to reason that the associated cost to the protocol will rise. However, various factors suggest the protocol is able to handle this insurance burden.”

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Hackers Have Been Stealing Crypto From Wallets for Over a Year with a New Malware

Hackers Have Been Stealing Crypto From Wallets for Over a Year with a New Malware Dubbed ‘ElectroRAT’

A new malware, dubbed ElectroRAT has been discovered by cybersecurity researchers at Intezer Labs; the remote access Trojan (RAT) targets crypto wallet users and has been operational for the past year according to the report published on Jan 5.

With crypto prices on a bullish trend, the market continues to be exposed to malicious attackers looking to drain funds from users’ wallets. This latest malware is said to have been embedded in three crypto apps built on Electron hence the pseudo ‘ElectroRAT’.

Under the Hood

Per the report, the apps in which the malware was hidden include Jamm, eTrade/Kintum, and DaoPoker. All these are crypto-oriented applications with the first two being trading apps, while DaoPoker was fronted as a gambling platform. Notably, the three applications were deployed for Linux, Mac, and Windows versions.

Intezer Labs researchers highlighted that the malware took longer to be detected since the apps were built from scratch, concealing the actual intention, which was to breach users’ crypto-wallets. The report describes ElectroRAT as extremely intrusive given its embedded functionalities. ElectroRAT has,

“Various capabilities such as keylogging, taking screenshots, uploading files from disk, downloading files, and executing commands on the victim’s console.”

This malware was written on the Golang programming language which made it even more difficult for malicious malware to be detected. Golang has become a favorite amongst malware authors given the complexity of analyzing projects written in this language; they tend to be more sophisticated than malware written in C#, C++, and C.

Level of Exposure

Intezer Labs estimated that thousands of users may have already been affected by the malware, although they might not be aware. According to additional evidence from the report, some of the victims are Metamask wallet users. This comes as no surprise given that the three apps sourced for marketing support and were able to advertise on popular crypto portals such as SteemCoinPan and Bitcointalk.

Cyber sec stakeholders who have commented on this development include Casa crypto custody CTO, Jameson Lopp, who said that such novel malware is to be expected in a bull market. He went on to caution crypto users against using wallets that store private keys on one’s desktop/laptop; instead, the ‘private keys should be stored on dedicated hardware devices’.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

South Korea Finalizes New 20% Tax Regime on Crypto Starting in 2023

South Korea has been working towards a suitable tax system for crypto trades and profits for a while now, with different proposals and deadlines.

However, after much deliberation, the government has now put forth a viable tax plan for crypto gains.

Pay the Tax Man

Asia Today reported this week that the South Korean Ministry of Economy and Finance had issued an amendment to introduce a new tax rate for crypto trading profits. The amendment could be enacted into law in February, following a legislative notice that will last until January 21, according to the reports. However, the new tax rates won’t be levied until 2023.

Per the report, the government’s new proposal will introduce different additional taxes on capital gains. Crypto traders who make annual incomes of over 2.5 million won ($2,300) will be taxed 20 percent from their trading activities. Comparatively, the threshold is much lower for traditional stocks, with only gains higher than 50 million won ($46,000) receiving the same tax rate.

The tax rate goes even higher, reaching 25 percent for assets over 300 million won. Investors with annual profits of over 50 million won will also need to pay transfer taxes, regardless of whether they are major shareholders or not.

As for cryptocurrencies owned before the tax schedule’s 2023 implementation, authorities are still considering imposing taxes on the market price immediately before 2023 or the acquisition price.

What Date is Appropriate?

The new tax rate isn’t especially a novel development. The Ministry of Economy finalized the regime last July, following a Tax Development Review Committee meeting. The meeting concluded the government’s mission to ensure effective taxation of individuals’ and corporations’ virtual asset holdings – which, up to that point, had been non-taxable.

However, the new regime also ran into a bit of a hiccup, with industry insiders asking that the government delays its implementation. In October, the Korea Blockchain Association (KBA), one of the country’s most powerful blockchain advocacy groups, asked that the government delay implementation until January 2023

Per a report from News1 Korea, the KBA had explained that companies require a “reasonable period” to prepare for the new tax regime. The advocacy group explained that there was a short window between regulations applying to the old tax scheme and the expected start of the new one as crypto exchanges would still be allowed to report on trades falling under the previous tax code until September 2021.

Since the Income Tax Act is expected to be enforced from October 2021, companies would find it challenging to comply with the new regulations in less than 24 hours.

Last month, the South Korean national assembly ruled to extend the tax regime’s implementation to January 2022. With the new ruling setting an implementation date for 2023, crypto companies now have enough time to get in line.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Why Does Bitcoin (BTC) Continue to Tear Up Without Ever Stopping?

It’s the magic of demand and supply.

2021 started above $28,500 and Bitcoin has already been up over 20%. Meanwhile, the traditional markets have yet to open.

On the day of its 12th birthday, January 3rd, Bitcoin first broke above $33k, went down to $30,500 only to smash through $34k, and missed $35k by a few hundred dollars.

On Bitcoin’s Birthday, these gains helped the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto become the 40th richest person in the world, with $34 billion.

Bitcoin is now marching towards $50k.

But…

Demand > Supply

But why exactly does the Bitcoin price keep on going up and up and up?

The most simple answer is there are more buyers than sellers in the market currently.

As we have been seeing throughout 2020, the cryptocurrency exchange reserves have been declining. Bitcoin holders have been increasingly moving their BTC off the exchanges to keep them safe in hardware wallets as they don’t have any interest in selling them because they believe the price will go higher.

“BTC is leaving exchange wallets which imply less supply for buyers with insatiable demand. The price goes up,” states Joe McCann, a crypto enthusiast working at Microsoft.

These uptrends came despite the flagship cryptocurrency being in overbought territory, as per technical indicators. The underlying buying on spot exchanges and the long term buying for investment are strong with USDC flows to support this buying off the charts.

FOMO Buying

This buying can particularly be seen on institution-focused Coinbase Pro, whose outflows indicate institutions’ FOMO buying. Over 35k BTC worth more than $1 billion were moved out of the exchange early Saturday, just a day after 12,063 coins also left, as per data source CryptoQuant.

Retail isn’t much far behind.

According to economist and trader Alex Kruger, “Bitcoin is being driven by spot demand,” as can be seen in the flat funding and Bitmex perpetual – Coinbase spot basis being negative.

Any Pullbacks?

The digital asset is now also approaching the midpoint of its logarithmic adoption curve channel, and “if ever there were a moment to blast straight through magic resistance, it’s right now,” said analyst Cole Garner. Given BTC’s current momentum, it can blast through it as well.

“People started getting a little ridiculous today, as can happen with large price action. I’m very bullish but we’re not going to magically teleport to $100k in one day,” tweeted trader Resolute right before the call for $100k next week.

While many believe $20k isn’t coming back now, another trader Jonny Moe notes how the BTC weekly RSI has hit 93.2, higher than 90.2 seen at Dec. 2017 top. BTC weekly RSI higher than the current one was in November 2013 at 96.3.

With the current market looking like 2013 rather than 2017, the market sees potential for a big drop before continuing higher. In the meantime, today BTC price casually dropped 18% to $28,540 and is already near $31k.

The market has been calling for tops ever since Bitcoin broke the $20k, last year ATH. Although the market did see some small drops here and there, they were sharply reversed.

In the current market, it is anyone’s guess if a big correction will even be coming the market’s way.

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Author: AnTy