ETH Fees Jumps Over 1,600% in 2020, Vitalik Says It Risks Making The Network ‘Less’ Secure

The price of Ether started pumping just this week after weeks of slow action. In 2020, so far, Ethereum has recorded gains of 110%. The digital asset has actually “broken out from its 50-day Bull Flag” to begin “a new uptrend.”

Unlike ETH price, which surged only to crash in March and then to start pumping to climb back to pre-crash levels, network fundamentals have been off the charts throughout 2020.

Average Ethereum transaction fees have skyrocketed to $1.42, up from $0.076 on January 1st, an increase of 1,768%. Median transaction fees started the year at $0.0375, which has jumped to $0.6676, a jump of 1,680%. This is the highest level since August 2018.

The same as fees, daily transactions have been rising in 2020, up from 466,526 on Jan. 1st to nearly 1.15 million a day, as per Etherscan. The last time this much activity was seen on the Ethereum network was during the peak of the bull run in January 2018.

At the current rate, it won’t be long before the network hits an all-time high of 1,349,890 transactions from January 4, 2018.

Transaction activity and fees are increasing to avoid congestion during busy times while pending transactions remain stable around 150k this week.

All of this means, “Transaction fee revenue is now nearing half as high as block reward revenue,” but Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin also notes that “this actually risks making ethereum *less* secure.” As such, he called for market reform (i.e. EIP 1559), which fixes this.

Ethereum Network Usage Keeps on Growing

The Ethereum network is surely increasingly at use, as evident in the peaking daily gas usage. Gas usage has been hitting new high almost every other day, the latest one being 74,677 million, which has been remaining steadily above 70 billion since June 20.

ETH Daily Gas Used
Source: Etherscan

As such, it’s obvious that gas price would be increasing, currently at 81.5 Gwei, up 602% YTD from 11.6 Gwei earlier this year. The last time we were at this level was in July 2018 and before that in January 2018.

Ethereum fundamentals are on another trajectory this year, and it is all thanks to the massive increase in the stablecoin supply and the DeFi frenzy.

While USD-pegged digital assets have surpassed $12 billion in market cap in just four months, DeFi sees a record of $3.49 locked in it. Additionally, 4 million ETH are locked in Defi protocols, as per DeFi Pulse.

And this makes the launch of ETH 2.0 all that much more urgent. Buterin tweeted that “Work on “the eth1 -> eth2 merge” is already happening.”

But Spartan Black of crypto hedge fund The Spartan Group argues that this won’t help to bring the gas fee down but also said it “is not ETH bearish in any sense.”

“Y’all know that Ethereum gas fees are not coming down right, even with L2? No, not in this DeFi driven, liquidity mining-crazed bull market, which is just getting started. We just have to get used to this reality,” he said.

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Author: AnTy

Green Day: Market Enjoys BTC Waking Up from the Slumber as EU Approves $2T Stimulus Package

After a very long time, bitcoin moved today. It is just a 3% spike that saw the world’s leading cryptocurrency going from about $9,150 to $9,442 on Bitstamp. However, we have started to slide down, currently trading around $9,330 with $1.47 billion in ‘real’ trading volume.

By crypto market standard, it is a tiny move, but given that bitcoin has been acting like a stablecoin lately, this upwards move brought back the enthusiasm in the market and community.

“Bitcoin awaken from thee slumber. I’m getting fucking bored,” tweeted BitMEX co-founder and CEO Arthur Hayes.

As we reported, Bitcoin has been trading in a tight range for the past few months, which continues to keep on getting tighter. One month bitcoin price range in July actually has been to its historic low of 6%.

Today, bitcoin’s move came as EU leaders reached a €1.82 trillion (over USD $2 trillion) COVID-19 recovery package earlier this morning.

“It is an ambitious and comprehensive package combining the classical [budget] with an extraordinary recovery effort destined to tackle the effects of an unprecedented crisis in the best interest of the EU,” the EU leaders said in a joint declaration.

“Exceptional situations require exceptional efforts,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said the financial foundations for the next seven years had been laid out.

The small spike in Bitcoin price has OKEx BTC futures open interest surging 7.5% and trading volume increasing 14.5 times within an hour on the platform.

The market is excited but still waiting for the digital asset to break the recent high of $9,500 to “make the reversal a legit signal long.”

“About time we get some price action around here. Meme trendline broke. A daily close above $9,443 would be a higher close on the trend. Close above $9,700, and I’ll feel bullish. Close above $10k, and I’ll market buy in this corn,” said trader Josh Rager.

Green Markets

Today, everything is green.

Nasdaq rose to yet another all-time high to 10,837 only to slide to 10,731. Dow Jones jumped 0.98% to 26,943.

S&P 500 started by recording gains to 3,276 but is currently at 3,268 — the highest level since February and not far from its all-time high of 3,386. And Bitcoin’s correlation with the S&P 500 is still high at 64.6%, as per Skew.

“S&P500 and Bitcoin have been correlated and co-integrated last 10 years. S&P implied BTC price: $25K .. interesting times ahead!” said PlanB.

Precious metals are shining with both gold and silver hitting multi-year highs on stimulus and concern over the coronavirus.

Gold jumped 1.23% to $1,840 per ounce. But it is Silver, which is leading the charge with Citigroup seeing its prices rising to $25 in the next six-to 12 months.

According to economist and trader Alex Kruger, soon, most of the assets will look like silver even though “people will fight it, and the word “bubble” will be used with increased frequency.”

This is because of negative real rates, continued monetary & fiscal stimuli, coronavirus overrated (market over-reacted), and economic recovery.

And the US Federal Reserve has plenty of room yet, with its balance sheet as a percentage of GDP currently standing at 35% compared to the ECB’s 57% and the BoJ’s 118%.

“We moved to the “Fear is Good” stage, the more fear about coronavirus resurgence, the more fear among policy makers. And what do fearful policy makers do? They provide stimulus,” he said.

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Author: AnTy

Twitter Found the Solution to Bitcoin Scams, No More Cryptocurrency Addresses Allowed

That’s right!

It was this easy, just not let anyone post cryptocurrency addresses on Twitter, no more crypto scams.

When trying to post a tweet containing a cryptocurrency address, Twitter prompts the message “Something went wrong, but don’t fret — let’s give it another shot” in a glaring red strip.

Well, given that hackers are smart and always one step ahead of companies, it won’t be long before they find a solution. They don’t even need addresses; their one-page website seems to do the trick already. Soon, deep-fakes are expected to “revolutionize the scam market” already, as reported by the Crypto Whales in its report.

Moreover, companies are not proactive, it takes several attempts to report a scammer, and it still doesn’t get it down.

Twitter’s latest ban of crypto addresses altogether from the social networking platform could be just a fix before they find the solution, which comes after last night’s major Twitter accounts including the likes of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Kanye West and many more getting hacked and used to promote bitcoin-related scams.

Twitter is currently investigating the hack, which is believed to be a “coordinated social engineering attack” by using the “internal systems and tools.”

All the accounts hacked asked people to send them bitcoin in order to get it double, and the hacker was able to swipe nearly 13 BTC, worth about $120,000.

These kinds of scams aren’t anything new. They have been going on for a long time, given that the scammer was able to get only 13 BTC out of it.

As we reported, in just the first six months of 2020, scammers made off with about $24 million in BTC, which is predicted by Crypto Whale to reach $50 million by this year-end, over twenty-fold since 2017.

Also, BTC giveaways bearing the name of Tesla CEO and the founder and CEO of SpaceX, Musk has already been raking in more than $2 million in a matter of months.

Earlier this year, Musk called out the scams saying, “the crypto scam level on Twitter is reaching new levels,” in response to such a giveaway scam.

He urged people to “report [the scam] as soon as you see it,” and encouraged Twitter to delete the bots and scammer accounts.

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Author: AnTy

Bearish Catalysts for Bitcoin Price

This week, Bitcoin is ranging between $9,050 and $9,500. Currently, we are trading just above $9,200 after yesterday, Bitcoin’s price dropped $150 in seconds on Bitstamp, trading well below the rest of the market.

On the weekend, the bitcoin market has gone quiet, with just about $700 million in ‘real’ trading volume.

This ranging is not good for bitcoin but is bullish for altcoins that are already feeling the greens.

According to trader Crypto Michael, until BTC breaks out of the range, “anything between $8,500 and $10,500 is playground time for altcoins, and that could last a few months longer.”

Currently, the digital asset is holding support above the $9,000 barrier, and a breakthrough of $9,300 could push it towards $9,600.

However, Bitcoin futures aren’t looking good, and their position on CME is identical to the time when BTC crashed in March.

However, analyst FilbFilb doesn’t think “there will be a dump anything like last time.”

In March, bitcoin crashed in line with the rest of the global markets during the spreading coronavirus pandemic. Currently, the markets are flying with tech stocks in the lead.

Tail Risks

Some people are still tracking the S&P 500’s movement during the 1929 crash with the ongoing one, which is still in sync.

Although markets are surging, the risk of inflation and spike in coronavirus cases remains a tail risk.

There have been many days that some states in the US continue to see a record number of new infections. This further puts a smooth reopening at risk.

With the Fed using extraordinary measures to stimulate the economy, inflation is also on the radar of experts. Although a sudden spike is not called, UBS strategist Bhanu Bajwa feels it could be a potentially damaging long-shot scenario.

“We think the economy is currently far from unleashing these inflationary forces, but with COVID-19 cases globally and in the US still rising, we cannot yet completely rule out this tail risk,” he said. “Further, the inflation surge could happen quickly and with little warning.”

The additional round of stimulus checks, tax reductions, PPP loans, and enhanced unemployment insurance benefits may aid the inflation outlook. And an inflation spike is not good for stocks. Rather could be disastrous. In the 1970s, inflation doubled to about 11% that resulted in a 40% decline for the equities market.

However, it would be interesting to see how such a scenario, if it happens, would affect bitcoin, which has been called an inflation hedge by the likes of billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones but remains in high correlation with SPX.

Tether Debacle

Another bearish catalyst for bitcoin is Tether, whose sister company Bitfinex must face NY suit in an $800 million stolen funds, as ordered by an appeals court this week.

Tether co-founder Brock Pierce, who recently announced that he is running for US President, said he is unsure whether the stablecoin will be able to weather the latest assault from regulators and government officials.

“Tether is, I think, one of the most important innovations in currency, but it also seemed like one of the higher risk businesses,” Pierce told Bloomberg. He hasn’t been involved with Tether since 2015.

Just this week, international regulators also recommended that stablecoins have to take greater steps to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

“We will work with and listen to the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) in order to continually improve our compliance function as these markets develop,” said Stu Hoegner, general counsel for the Bitfinex crypto exchange.

He also said the existing compliance practices are already the best in the industry. About the lawsuit, he just said Bitfinex “respects” the court’s order.

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Author: AnTy

Kraken Exchange Onboards Swiss Bank InCore to Help Euro Clients Buy Crypto With Fiat

Swiss Bank InCore has just become the first banking institution in the nation to provide banking services to Kraken crypto exchange.

The deal, which was made public on Friday, will allow Kraken clients to finance their trading accounts using four different currencies – British pound, Swiss franc, Canadian Dollar, as well as the euro.

InCore Bank CEO, Mark Dambacher, explained that the services would be available to both institutional and individual clients. He stated:

“Private and institutional clients who want to diversify their portfolio in an intelligent and innovative way with Kraken can transfer fiat assets via InCore Bank to the crypto exchange.”

Dambacher expressed the bank’s gratitude in partnering with Kraken. He said that since cryptos are virtual assets, they will be an essential addition to the bank’s modern asset management portfolio as they can be used for both payments as well as investment for future use.

The partnership comes as no surprise to many banking analysts as the bank seems to be strategically positioning itself towards blockchain apps, tokenization as well as cryptos.

To start with, clients within Europe will only be able to deposit euros to their accounts via the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) platform, a payment platform developed by the EU to ease euro bank transfers. However, the two firms plan to include the Swiss franc (CHF), Canadian dollar (CAD), and British pound (GBP) during the third quarter of the year.

Although its headquarters are in the US, Kraken is currently Europe’s biggest crypto exchange based on its Europe’s volumes. The firm has been at the forefront to expand its services, and, last month, it expanded to Australia after the addition of the Australian Dollar in its platform.

Kraken’s head of banking and payments, Maximilian Marenbach, explained that the partnership with InCore would not only help in enhancing its service delivery but also build a secure link between the conventional financial system with the crypto sector. He praised InCore for their grasp of the potential of the digital assets. He added that this would make the bank a formidable funding partner for Kraken customers.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitcoin Recording Third Best Quarterly Close; Strong Q2, But Q3 Paints A ‘Challenging’ Picture

Bitcoin is currently trading above $9,100 in green with just $1.1 billion in ‘real’ trading volume. The leading digital currency has recovered 140% since the March crash but is up only 27% YTD.

Despite the minimal yearly gains and ending the first quarter of 2020 on a red note of 10.58%, the second quarter has turned out to be surprisingly good despite the coronavirus pandemic triggering a sell-off in the global markets.

Today, on the last day of June and the second quarter, we are close to ending this month and quarter at about $9,150.

This makes the third-best quarterly close for bitcoin in its young history. The best quarter close was Q4 of 2017 at 13,660, followed by 2019’s quarter 2nd when bitcoin ended it at $10,590.

After Q2 of 2020, comes Q4 of 2019 when bitcoin was at $7,180.

Around the current price level, bitcoin would mark a gain of more than 42%, which also makes it the fourth-best second quarter since 2014.

After 157.5% gains in 2019, 125.3% in 2017, and 61.8% in 2016, 2020’s 42.2% gains is the best second quarter.

Interestingly, the second user has been a green quarter for bitcoin for the majority of the past seven years except for the 2018 bear market. And bitcoin continued this historical trend this year.

However, this positive development means bad news might be ahead. In contrast with Q2, Q3 heavily tilts towards losses, much like Q1. And we did end up in red in Q1 of 2020. Now, it needs to be seen if Bitcoin will continue ranging, or we will encounter a drop in price.

“Excluding the exceptional 2017 vintage, Q3 has been historically more challenging,” noted Skew Markets.

As we reported, analyst Rekt Capital has said it is nothing out of the ordinary because, after the reward halving of 2016, bitcoin recorded losses before going on a bull rally.

What about USDT?

Stablecoins have been seeing strong growth throughout the coronavirus pandemic only to slow down in the past few weeks. Amidst bitcoin’s lackluster performance, popular stablecoin (USDT) has surpassed $10 billion market cap, as per Messari. This has many expecting a run-up in BTC.

But this demand for USDT is not reflected in Bitcoin price.

This is because “Tether has historically printed USDT in large batches in anticipation of future demand and distributions,” said Coin Metrics in its latest report.

According to the report, on-chain supply doesn’t mean new supply in public markets, and USDT held by the Tether Treasury, which is currently at $9.79 billion, is a more accurate indicator of the supply in public markets.

The correlation between free float USDT and Bitcoin’s price was clearer in early 2019 when BTC rose from $4,000 to $12,000.

A bullish picture meanwhile was painted by Bitcoin hodlers as those holding BTC for a year or more made a new all-time high of 62%.

Pointing to this, Alistair Milne noted, “Similar levels of HODL last seen during a 3-month consolidation at around $400 before starting a two-year bull run,” and guesses the cycle peak to be around 70%.

Also, from the mining perspective, Matt D’Souza, CEO of Blockware Mining, says just like the bitcoin mining market bottomed in late Q4, 2018/early 2019, “we are in a similar environment today.”

They also believe the “Bitcoin spot market is starting a bull market,” which “will pull the mining market out of this winter.”

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Author: AnTy

OKEx Closes Partnership with Paxful to Enable Fiat On-Ramps

Famous crypto exchange OKEx and peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace Paxful have just closed a new partnership to offer its customers new fiat on-ramps.

In a statement from Monday, Paxful said the new move will also bring benefits to its own users, as it provides ease of access and better liquidity. As per the same statement says, Paxful will also provide for OKEx a fiat-to-crypto ramp, meaning its customers will be able to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with more than 160 currencies, the Euro, the Indian Rupee, the Pound Sterling and the Thai Baht included. Here’s what Paxful’s co-founder and CEO, Ray Youssef, had to say about the new move:

“With this partnership, we hope to make crypto more accessible as a real-world payment method.”

Paxful Users to Operate on the OKEx Options Trading and DEX Platforms

Paxful further said the partnership will as well enable its users to use the OKEx trading options and DEX platforms. Jay Hao, the CEO of OKEx, had this to say about the new agreement with the P2P marketplace:

“Through this partnership, we can reach more users in developing regions using Paxful’s existing infrastructure and payment options.”

Paxful to Push into the Southeastern Asian Market

When it comes to Paxful’s plans for the future, these are about pushing into new markets. Artur Schaback, the co-founder of Paxful, said his company is looking into several Southeastern Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. As per data from Useful Tulips, a well-known analytics firm, the trading volume at Paxful in Southeast Asia has been considerably growing over this past year.

Schaback further admitted that regulations are and will always raise concerns, seeing Paxful announced Wednesday on Twitter that it no longer conducts transactions through or with the Bank of Venezuela, which is state-owned, as a result of US sanctions.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Secret Service Warns Unemployment Checks Will be Targeted by Scammers; Would DLT Help?

The coronavirus pandemic has not just caused a global health scare, but it has also impacted the livelihoods of billions around the globe due to mandatory shutdowns to contain the spread of the virus.

Many governments have decided to help the citizens in these troubled times by offering stimulus checks and cash relief including countries in and of Europe, Canada and the United States.

The United States has been the worst hit given the number of cases have reached over 1.5 million and thousands have perished to the disease. The outbreak of pandemic also saw one of the worst unemployment crisis in U.S. history as millions registered as unemployed in hopes of getting a stimulus check, and the unemployment rate peaked at 14.7%.

While the federal government has decided to help the unemployed in the ongoing pandemic, the unemployment checks meant to help the needy are now being targeted by scammers.

The U.S. Secret Service has alleged that they have evidence of sophisticated scamming machinery targeting these welfare checks which can steal hundreds of millions of dollars.

A New York Times report suggested that these scammers were filing false benefit claims disguised as people who were not unemployed and they might be using personal information gathered from earlier cyber attacks. The memo read,

“It is assumed the fraud ring behind this possesses a substantial P.I.I. Database to submit the volume of applications observed thus far.”

Nigerian Scammers Could be Behind the Sophisticated Attacks

A secret service memo suggested that the way these attacks are being carried out and the sophistication of these scams are quite similar to the organized scams carried out by Nigerian scammer groups.

These scammers held detailed information about U.S. citizens, including their social security numbers. Agencies since tasked with aiding unemployment checks realized the grave problem quickly.

Washington state has emerged as the primary target, while there have been reported cases of such scams in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming as well.

Back in April, the cybersecurity officials have warned about the increase in cybercrimes amid lockdown and how these cybercriminals have changed the tactics and sophistication level to pray on the insecurities of people looking for jobs.

Amid growing cyber crimes and misuse of data, many have suggested the use of blockchain to tackle the authenticity of the data since the technology is immutable and not controlled through a centralized system.

With the correct implementation of blockchain, government agencies can track the relief funds and ensure that these funds reach the right people.

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Author: James W

Bakkt Warehouse Reveals Over 70 Institutional Investors Onboarded For Custody Service

Bakkt has just announced that they have added over 70 new custody clients and given them the option to be covered by an insurance policy that provides coverage of more than $600 million.

The Bitcoin warehouse made the announcement on Monday, through a blog post. It further added that it closed a partnership with the insurance broker, Marsh, in order to provide approximately $500 million in coverage.

Bakkt clients would need to buy this insurance on their own, making an addition to the custodian’s already existing coverage of $125 million. Marsh has been active in the crypto industry ever since 2018. It provides and facilitates insurance for Ledger and Crypto.com.

Bakkt Completed the SOC 1 Type I Examination

Bakkt said it has, at the moment, over 70 custody service customers. To build trust and to gain these new clients, the company completed the SOC 1 Type I examination conducted by KPMG. SOC 1 Type I is a type of evaluation on how firms report controls at a specific moment in time.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also conducted the SOC 2 Type II examination on Bakkt’s enterprises and the infrastructures Intercontinental Exchange, its parent firm, hosts. This type of analysis is for a 6-month period of customer data protection measures the firm that’s being evaluated is taking.

Bakkt Is Working on a Retail-Focused App

Bakkt seems to be very busy lately, as it now focuses on developing an app focused on retail, in attempt to attract over 30 million new users after closing partnerships with two financial institutions that haven’t been yet named in the blog post.

This app will be related to the acquisition of loyalty rewards Bridge2 Solutions, an acquisition that Bakkt recently made. Here’s what the company’s Monday blog post reads further:

“Our enterprise loyalty products provide critical infrastructure to companies around the world, and we’re proud to power thousands of programs that unlock digital assets for consumers.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Hedge Fund Manager Paul Tudor Jones Has Almost 2% Of His Assets In Bitcoin

Just last week, macro investor Paul Tudor Jones revealed that he is buying bitcoin through CME bitcoin futures contracts and sees it as a hedge against inflation.

Now, in today’s interview with CNBC, the long time hedge fund manager shared that he has almost two percent of his assets in Bitcoin.

Economist and trader Alex Kruger deduced this almost 2% allocation to about $430 million based on Tudor BVI fund’s asset under management at $21.6 billion as of March 30.

If he allocated his personal assets, it would amount to under $100 million.

This “seems like the right number right now,” said Jones adding “it’s not for me, it’s not the greatest, it’s not the great cure for all the materials, it’s great speculation that’s what I would say Bitcoin is.”

Cash is a “wasting asset in your hands”

During his interview, he talked about why despite being a skeptic of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies for a long time, he changed his mind about digital assets.

What changed was COVID and the great monetary inflation. This made him think about “how you want to be positioned in your portfolio going forward. So, that’s really what trips my interest in Bitcoin,” said Jones.

Comparing Bitcoin to cash, he explained when it comes to stores of value, it’s about four things — purchasing power, trustworthiness, liquidity, and portability. He said,

“When it comes to trustworthiness, bitcoin is 11 years old and there’s very little trust in it. But We’re watching the birth of a store of value.

Whether that succeeds or not only time will tell. What I do know is that every day that goes by and bitcoin survives, the trust in it will go up.”

However, when it comes to cash, from a purchasing power standpoint,

“if you own cash in the world today you know your central bank has an avowed goal of depreciating its value, 2% per year. So, you have in essence a wasting asset in your hands.”

Bitcoin has yet to stand the test of time like gold

The world is going virtual right now, especially after the lockdown put in place all over the globe because of coronavirus. And this digitization of the world benefits bitcoin, he said.

The increasingly digitized world means Bitcoin will be that much more accessible by the universe of people that could own it as a store of value.

He explained how every single bull market has one common thread — an ever-expanding universe of people who own it.

In bitcoin’s case, there’s probably between 55 and 70 million people in Bitcoin. If you’re buying Bitcoin your bet is that number is going to go to 120 million or to 200 million.

It’s kind of hard in a world that’s becoming increasingly digitized not to think that’s happening although evidence at this point doesn’t agree to it. Jones said,

“But when I think of Bitcoin I look at it is one tiny part of a portfolio. It may end up being the best performing of all of them.”

But he’s conservative in allocation because “it has not stood the test of time, for instance, the way the gold has, which has been a store value for twenty-five hundred years.”

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Author: AnTy