LATAM E-Commerce Giant to Allow its Millions of Users to Buy, Store, & Sell Crypto via Digital Wallet

LATAM E-Commerce Giant to Allow its Millions of Users to Buy, Store, & Sell Crypto via Digital Wallet

MercadoLibre is the latest company to join crypto as soon it will offer its customers in Brazil the ability to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrencies using its digital payments app.

MercadoLibre is the largest Latin American company by market cap, and through crypto, it is expanding its financial products.

The crypto feature was already available to a select small group of clients earlier this month and will be rolled out broadly in the coming months, said vice president Tulio Oliveira. Mercado Pago’s digital wallet has 16.8 million unique users as of the third quarter of 2021.

The news was first reported by Bloomberg, which was retweeted by Mercado Libre co-founder and CEO Marcos Galperin, who also said that users of both Mercado Livre, the Brazilian branch, and its fintech arm Mercado Pago would be able to “buy, store and sell crypto” starting this week.

The company has been planning its crypto move for months now as back in August, President Osvaldo Gimenez said Bitcoin and Ethereum “could be a revolution in finance.”

Before that, in May, MercadoLibre had also disclosed its $7.8 million Bitcoin purchase as part of the treasury strategy. Prior to that, its Argentine real estate platform started accepting BTC for the purchase and sale of properties.

In a statement on Monday, MercadoLibre said that it was entering the crypto space in Brazil together with “a world-class custodian” but didn’t mention who it is partnering with. The company is “analyzing all financial and regulatory aspects surrounding this technology,” it added.

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Author: AnTy

Grayscale ETHE Price & Premium Crashes as Millions of Shares Flood the Market

Grayscale ETHE Price & Premium Crashes as Millions of Shares Flood the Market

Grayscale Ethereum Trust share price fell 48% and premium 94% despite the price of Ether surging past $1,000.

The shares of Grayscale’s Ethereum Product, ETHE, that had been trading at a premium of 270% on Dec. 22nd have now come down to just under 15%.

This premium has been coming down over the years; back in June, this premium was at about 950%, and before that in 2018, it was around 3,550% based on the demand for the product, price of the underlying asset, availability of other products, and the lock-up period of these shares.

The premium on ETHE has been on an incline since October, when crypto assets started rallying. But this week, the 6-months lock-up period for these shares ended, which pushed this premium down.

“A significant number of private placement investors have their lock-ups ending today and are receiving shares this week,” noted Joshua Frank, CEO at The TIE.

Grayscale’s ETH holdings are still at 2.94 million ETH, worth $2.94 billion, but with no new additions since Dec. 9.

Interestingly, the ETHE share price has fallen over 48% to Nov. 30 level of $12 while during the same period, the price of Ether rallied more than 75% to above $1,000.

The cause of this fall in ETHE price was a flood of new shares in the Grayscale Ethereum Trust. Besides the 47 million shares already outstanding, another 116 million were available to trade as their lock-up period ended.

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Because regulators haven’t approved an exchange-traded fund (ETF) for cryptocurrencies, Grayscale’s exchange-traded product works similar to a closed-end mutual fund. Here, a fixed number of shares are issued that can at times trade at premiums or discounts with a six-month lock-up period, but without a method to realign the prices.

“By failing to allow a crypto ETF in the U.S., the SEC has left retail investors exposed to significant risks via wide mispricing in less-efficient vehicles, while giving an advantage to accredited investors such as wealthy individuals, hedge funds and private-equity firms,” said James Seyffart, associate analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.

The price of ETH actually went to the Jan. 2018 high of $1,000 on Coinbase on Sunday only to drop to $885 right after.

One trader expects ETHE investors to affect the price and send it crashing in the near future.

“What are boomers gonna do tomorrow when they see that ETH is up 70% and ETHE is down -50%? and then the next boomers and the next and the next? a reflexive cycle. down to the depths of namek.”

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Author: AnTy

In Q3 Ripple Paid Out Over $9M in XRP to Its Strategic Partner, MoneyGram; A 38% Drop Over Q2

  • The blockchain-focused startup, Ripple Inc. continues to funnel millions of dollars’ worth of XRP to global remittance firm, MoneyGram.
  • The San Francisco-based firm channeled $9.3 million in XRP tokens to MoneyGram over the third quarter of 2020, representing a $5 million decrease from the previous quarter.

The latest MoneyGram financial results released on Thursday show Ripple Inc. made a payment of $9.3 million in market development fees to the remittance service provider. The company received a net benefit of $8.9 million after a partial offset of $0.4 million in “transaction and trading expenses”.

The payment is made every quarter since the partnership between Ripple Inc. and MoneyGram in 2019. According to a MoneyGram spokesperson, the firm gets paid the fee for facilitating and processing transactions on Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) product, which uses XRP for settlement.

However, this represents a drop from the $15.1 million paid out in Q2 2020, signaling a drop in transactional volume on Ripple’s ODL platform.

The recent payment brings the total amount paid to MoneyGram to $52 million adding to the $16.1 million in XRP paid in Q1 2020, and a total of $11.3 million paid out in the last half of 2019. According to an insider in MoneyGram, the company does not hold any XRP but rather sells it as soon as they receive it.

In mid-June 2019, Ripple announced a strategic partnership with MoneyGram that would see the latter benefit from Ripple’s cross border trading services and foreign exchange settlement using the XRP token. Furthermore, Ripple invested $50 million into MoneyGram in exchange for equity to kick start the partnership.

The partnership between the two payment firms is expected to last till 2023.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Hackers Move $5.7M of Stolen BTC; Not Impressed With Bitfinex’s $400 Million Reward

Bitfinex 2016 hackers move millions worth of stolen BTC between wallets for the first time since the $400 million rewards for returning the 120,000 BTC hacked stash was announced. A total of 478 Bitcoins (BTC) currently worth over $5.8 million moved to unknown wallets with a cybersecurity analyst stating the hackers are planning to “chain hop” the BTC.

On Monday, August 17, reports from Whale Alert, a bot that aggregates transactions on blockchains, confirmed hackers from the Bitfinex hack moved nearly $6 million worth of BTC in two transactions – 467.67 BTC (~$5.77 million) and 5.648296 BTC (~$70,000) – both to unknown wallets.

Four years ago, hackers stole over 120,000 BTC, then worth about $73 million, from the Bitfinex exchange causing the most significant daily BTC price drop at the time. Today the Bitcoins are worth over $1.4 billion at current prices, and the hackers seem ready to sell off the whole stash.

Bitfinex launched a return policy for the stolen BTC tokens last week, offering 30% of the total amount of BTC returned or any information to recovering the assets. Despite the reward being over $400 million (for the whole stash returned), the hackers seem comfortable to spend the remaining BTC.

Since the Bitfinex hack, the attackers have cashed out the BTC to new account wallets showing no signs of returning the BTC, with the asset’s price skyrocketing over 80% in 2020. Over the year, hackers have moved massive amounts to new wallets. In May, the hackers moved about 29 BTC (~$255,000) to an unknown wallet and doubled up their actions earlier this month – moving $12 million worth of BTC on the hack’s fourth anniversary.

Currently, several blockchain analysis firms that are tracking the stolen BTC, making it harder for hackers to sell off the assets. According to Rich Sanders, CEO of CipherTrace, a blockchain forensics firm, the hacker’s latest movement of the BTC is to split the assets into many smaller wallets to make it easier to cash out on KYC-less crypto exchanges such as InstaSwap.

Sanders explains the move of splitting the amounts as “chain hopping” whereby having many small accounts become very resource-intensive for authorities to follow through. However, he agrees this can only be done on smaller exchanges that do not have blockchain analysis systems such as CipherTrace and Chainalysis.

With the hackers increasingly cashing out their “profits” and shrugging off the $400 million dollar reward, Bitfinex plans to increase its efforts in tracking down the perpetrators of the theft.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Former Bakkt CEO Dumped Up to $3.1M in Stocks Ahead of Market Crash After Covid-19 Briefing

  • Kelly Loeffler dumped millions in stocks after downplaying coronavirus in the public
  • “Ridiculous & baseless attack. I don’t make investment decisions for my portfolio,” said the former CEO of regulated Bitcoin trading platform Bakkt in response

The newest member of the Senate, Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) sold a million dollars worth of stock shares in the days after a private meeting on coronavirus (Covid-19) that hammered US equities.

Appointed to her office by the Georgia state’s governor, Loeffler then put money into a technology company that sells telecommunicating software.

On January 24, the former CEO of regulated Bitcoin trading platform Bakkt reported the first of 29 of stock transactions jointly owned by her and her husband, Jefferey Sprecher, founder of ICE and chairman of Nasdaq.

This has been the very day, her committee, the Senate Health Committee hosted a private briefing about the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Daily Beast reported, that Loeffler sold up to one hundred thousand dollars in stocks in Resideo Technologies, which has lost 55% of its value since then. She then made purchases in amounts between $100k and $250k in Citrix, a tech company offering telecommunicating software, per recent filings cited by the Senate Ethics Committee.

In total, Loeffler reported selling stock jointly owned with her husband worth between $1,275,000 and $3,100,000.

All the while, Loeffler downplayed the public health and financial threats posed by the virus. “Democrats have dangerously and intentionally misled the American people on Coronavirus readiness,” she tweeted on Feb. 28.

Late Thursday night, Loeffler tweeted,

“I want to set the record straight: This is a ridiculous & baseless attack. I don’t make investment decisions for my portfolio. Investment decisions are made by multiple third-party advisors without my or my husband’s knowledge or involvement.”

She also said that she was informed of the purchases and sales only three weeks later on Feb. 16.

Loeffler is not only one who was guilty of selling a significant number of stocks several weeks ahead of the crashing of the markets. Richard Burr Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, dumped between six hundred thousand and just over a million in shares on Feb. 13, shortly after the markets crashed and before he was privately warned of havoc coronavirus was poised to wreck.

Burr was one of the three senators who voted against the legislation in 2012 that banned congressional insider trading.

Leofller has been facing scrutiny over potential conflicts of interest from the beginning of her tenure. Her finances are also directly tied to her electoral fate as she pledged to spend $20 million on her bid to hold onto her seat in November when faced for the first time.

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Author: AnTy

Reports of Avast Antivirus Software Selling Data Signals Users To Move To Privacy Browser Brave

Avast, an antivirus software utilized by millions of individuals across the world has been selling very sensitive and personal web browsing data to various global firms, a fresh investigation conducted by PCMag and Motherboard indicate, Decrypt reports.

The investigators relied on documents from Jumpshot, a subsidiary of Avast. The antivirus software used in different personal computers and other gadgets, collects data which is passed on to Jumpshot for repackaging into different products which can be sold to various clients. Google, Microsoft, Home Depot, McKinsey, Yelp, Pepsi and Conde Nast are some of the largest clients of Avast.

The client companies parted with millions of dollars for different types of products that comprise of ‘all clicks feed’ that basically spies on the user behavior, their clicks as well as movement from one website to the other.

Avast says it has over 400 million users who are active every month while Jumpshot has data from over 100 million devices per month. Although Avast says it collects data from willing users, which is then passed on to Jumpshot, majority of the users indicated that they were not privy to Avast selling their browsing data or history to other firms.

Brave as the Solution

Following the revelation, Avast users expressed their fury with different twitter users calling the antivirus a malware while others calling on the immediate removal of the program. Online privacy intrusion is not a new phenomenon as just a few years ago the Cambridge Analytica scandal dominated the headlines. However, there is a solution.

Brave, a crypto-friendly browser helps in protecting the user’s data and does not collect any browsing data. The program also blocks data harvesters or ad trackers meaning that you will not receive unnecessary ads while browsing. The program also allows users to remain anonymous online using Tor by hiding your location.

Recently, Brave was awarded the ‘Privacy-Focused Product of the Year’ during the Golden Kitty Awards for its effort to ensure that a user’s browsing data remains private and anonymous.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Mt. Gox Founder Jed McCaleb Stands Accused of Misrepresentation in New Lawsuit

Mt. Gox Founder Jed McCaleb Stands Accused of Misrepresentation in New Lawsuit
  • Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after a hack worth millions of dollars.
  • Two former traders are going after the former CEO for misrepresenting the issues faced by the exchange.

Mt. Gox is one of the most notable failures in the cryptocurrency industry, and the troubles were thought to be over a long time ago. However, for the founder, the troubles are still present. Jed McCaleb is now being faced with a lawsuit, based on his mishandling of the exchange.

Reports from CoinDesk confirm that that the legal action was filed on May 19th by Joseph Jones and Peter Steinmetz, adding that the former CEO knew about the “serious security risks” imposed on the exchange at the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

The lawsuit was filed by two former traders of Mt. Gox, who say that McCaleb was not truthful about the financial situation of Mt. Gox after the hack occurred. The court filing said that the defendants were made aware of the risks that Mt. Gox took that let hackers get into the exchange in the first place. The filing adds:

“Rather than secure the exchange, McCaleb sold a large portion of his interest in the then sole proprietorship and provided avenues to the purchasers to cover-up the security concerns at the time without ever informing or disclosing these issues to the public.”

Towards the end of 2011, Mt. Gox was the largest Bitcoin exchange for their trading volume when it was hacked. The attack took 850,000 Bitcoin with it, which was valued at $400 million at the time.

However, this theft was preceded by a missing 80,000 Bitcoin on the exchange, which was not as highly publicized. As a result, the exchange ended up shutting down all trading operations by 2014 when it filed bankruptcy. At the time, Steinmetz said that he personally owned 43,000.

The complaint claims that McCaleb decided to sell most of his interest in Mt. Gox to Mark Karpeles, rather than have the publicity around the lack of refund to users. Court documents indicate that Karpeles was placed in charge of the exchange in 2011 and happened to hold 88% of the shares for the exchange.

In comparison, McCaleb only held 12%. He was charged with data manipulation in the exchange, prosecuted in the courts in Japan, and found guilty.

Despite being eight years since the hack, there are still creditors of the exchange that are working to get back the funds that they lost. However, the trustee of the exchange was ultimately accused of taking the wrong steps when they liquidated the assets, even extending the deadline in April to continue their efforts.

McCaleb appears to be doing rather well for himself at the moment. After all, he ended up founding Ripple, and he co-founded Stellar, which are both flourishing. Unfortunately, no matter the progress that he has made since the travesty of Mt. Gox, these problems seem to keep following him.

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Author: Krystle M