Force DAO, A DeFi Hedge Fund, Loses Over $375k in xFORCE Token Exploit

Force DAO, A DeFi Hedge Fund, Loses Over $375k in xFORCE Token Exploit

The decentralized finance hedge fund, ForceDAO, confirmed the protocol suffered an attack on Sunday at around 7.06 AM UTC. According to a blog post by the ForceDAO team, the attack was instituted by five black hat attackers, with one of the attackers returning the funds.

On Sunday, DeFi hedge fund, ForceDAO announced an attack on its protocol – specifically the xFORCE contract. In a post mortem report from the ForceDAO team, a total of 183 ETH (~$367,000) was drained and liquidated on the contract exploit.

The attack was noticed first by a white-hat hacker, who started draining funds from the xFORCE contract and later returned the funds to the ForceDAO multisig wallet. Explaining the exploit, Polymath’s Mudit Gupta said the FORCE token transfer functions return false rather than reverting when the sender doesn’t have enough balance in their wallet.

“The xFORCE contract assumes FORCE will revert and does not handle the returned value,” Gupta explains.

This means anyone can deposit the synthetic FORCE tokens, xFORCE, even if they do not have any FORCE tokens. Hence, the attackers could mint fresh xFORCE tokens without the xFORCE contract locking up any FORCE tokens.

Four black hat hackers did not return their funds but rather sold them on the open market totaling $367,000 in losses for the xFORCE contract. Here is a complete list of addresses the hackers used to drain the funds.

According to the post, Force, xForce, and Force/ETH LPs on UniSwap and SushiSwap were all affected. The team has since removed all xFORCE tokens from the contract to prevent further hacks. Alberto Cevallos, the founder of ForceDAO, confirmed they would be refunding any affected parties in the hack and reward the white hat hacker.

“I can confirm that there will be a snapshot and new token,” Cevallos said. “We’ve begun internal re-structuring and will be announcing a plan over the coming days making any affected FORCE holders and LPs whole.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Visa to Settle Payments in USDC on Ethereum; ‘Major Turning Point in Mainstream Crypto Adoption’

Visa to Settle Payments in USDC over Ethereum; A ‘Major Turning Point in Mainstream Crypto Adoption’

The second-largest stablecoin has added 7 billion to its total supply of almost 11 billion in just the three months of 2021.

Digital payments service provider Visa has announced support for stablecoin USDC as a native currency and settlement system on its network.

The USDC will now be used to settle the transaction with Visa over Ethereum ETH 7.83% Ethereum / USD ETHUSD $ 1,821.24
$142.607.83%
Volume 22.76 b Change $142.60 Open $1,821.24 Circulating 115.25 m Market Cap 209.91 b
10 h Decentralized Exchange, Uniswap, Accounts for 80% of The Daily Active DeFi Users 10 h Visa to Settle Payments in USDC over Ethereum; A ‘Major Turning Point in Mainstream Crypto Adoption’ 2 d “We are Believers in Bitcoin,” says Oakland A’s President on Accepting BTC & HODLing it
instead of the legacy banking system.

“We see increasing demand from consumers across the world to be able to access, hold and use digital currencies and we’re seeing demand from our clients to be able to build products that provide that access for consumers.”

Cuy Sheffield Head of Crypto at Visa

This bridge between digital and traditional fiat currencies is made possible with Visa’s pilot program with payment and crypto platform Crypto.com. The exchange reported “record-breaking growth” over the last year.

Visa is also working with Anchorage, the first federally chartered digital asset bank, which is its exclusive digital currency settlement partner.

Throughout last year, Visa was working on establishing a pathway for digital currency settlement within its existing treasury infrastructure, a platform that the company says moves billions of dollars each day across thousands of institutions in more than 200 markets and 160 currencies.

All of this will also allow Visa to support central bank digital currencies (CBDC) directly.

The settlement layer for the world

USD Coin (USDC) is a fast-growing stablecoin whose supply has increased 7 billion in just the three months of 2021 to a total supply of almost 11 billion, the second-largest stablecoin after Tether (USDT). Last year, USDC supply went from a mere $521 million to nearly $4 billion.

“This is massive news, and marks a major turning point in mainstream adoption of crypto,” said Jeremy Allaire, co-founder & CEO of Circle, which along with Coinbase, created USD Coin.

The Ether community is excited, calling it “another step on Ethereum’s journey to becoming the settlement layer for the world.”

With this connection to existing global networks, it will “accelerate (USDC’s) adoption as both a store of value and medium of exchange,” said Allaire.

Now any customer who has a USDC in a wallet and a card attached to their wallet can spend their USD-backed crypto at any Visa accepting merchant.

“This is “Over-the-Top” (OTT) money, and a major step in our mission to build a new global economic system on a more open, global, safe and inclusive foundation built on crypto and blockchain tech.”

Jeremy Allaire Co-Founder & CEO of Circle

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Author: AnTy

Blockchain.com Raises $300M At A $5.2B Valuation to ‘Aggressively’ Expand its Products

Blockchain.com Raises $300M At A $5.2B Valuation to ‘Aggressively’ Expand its Products

The company has over 31 million verified users, recording a 3x increase in active users and a total of 70.243 million unique wallets.

London-based cryptocurrency firm Blockchain.com has raised $300 million in its latest funding round with a valuation of $5.2 billion.

The Series C round was led by DST Global, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and VY Capital.

Just last month, the company that offers digital wallets for storage of cryptos along with trading and other services for larger investors said it raised about $120 million with investment from Alphabet Inc’s venture capital unit.

Launched in 2011, the total number of unique Blockchain.com wallets created has reached 70.243 million to date.

The company has more than 31 million verified users in over 200 countries, recording a 3x increase in active users over the past 12 months. Peter Smith, CEO & co-founder of Blockchain said,

“With one of the most significant balance sheets in the industry, we plan to aggressively expand the products we offer our customers, grow our global team, and pursue M&A opportunities to bring exciting new products and ideas into the company.”

Bitcoin soaring to a record high of nearly $62,000 this month is leading to ballooning valuations of companies in the crypto space.

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Author: AnTy

Alameda’s Beef with Reef Finance, A Case of “Trust” and “Misunderstanding”

This week, besides the on-chain war over who is responsible for the movement of 18,969 BTC on the Gemini crypto exchange, the market saw another drama unfold when Alameda Research, a trading firm by Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of popular crypto exchange FTX, said they do not affiliate with or endorse REEF.

This resulted in the prices of the REEF falling about 32% to $0.0384 from its ATH on the day at $0.057460, as per CoinGecko. The token is currently trading above $0.040.

According to Adam Cochran of Cinneamhain Ventures, “There isn’t some sneaky backroom plot here.” There was just some “misunderstanding” between both parties. “The irony here is that crypto may be trustless, but investing in crypto and managing OTC trades is all about trust and reputation,” Cochran said.

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REEF is the governance token of Reef Finance, a Polkadot-powered liquidity aggregator and yield engine which is listed on Binance and Huobi.

On Monday, the Reef team shared what exactly went down between them and Alameda, with whom they engaged in September regarding raising funds to bootstrap the platform.

While at the time Alameda passed on the opportunity to invest, this month, their investment arm reached Reef for a strategic investment of $80 million. In response, $20 million worth of tokens were sent to market-maker, wrote the Reef team.

“As previously stated, Alameda secured investment in Reef Finance token for $20M at a 20% discount to create various long-term synergies with Serum and Solana,” led by Alameda’s VC team member Brian Lee, reads the official account of what went down from Reef’s side.

As per Alameda, the $20 million tranche “represented a settlement and not the culmination of a $20m trade.”

These $20 million worth of tokens were then offloaded to the Binance exchange by Alameda. “We could not understand why Alameda, our long-term strategic investor would offload their tokens immediately after purchase to Binance,” said the team.

But Alameda says, “it is not true that Alameda immediately sold all of the REEF,” although it is not relevant for the terms of the deal. According to Cochran,

“As a market making trade desk, they spread their tokens out to trade and maximize them. It’s impossible to tell if “they were dumping them” just by an onchain transaction.”

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So, the cross-chain DeFi operating system decided not to go forward with the additional $60 million because of their “doubts” around Alameda’s interest. The team said Alameda then “threatened” to delist the Reef token from FTX; the exchange later deleted the tweet regarding the same.

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Reef claims “additional threats and legal ramifications” were also thrown around, which were later deleted.

Reportedly, the deal was based on “trust,” and no legal contract for the transaction was offered by the Alameda team, which the latter says is commonplace in crypto, and they have done so before as well.

Also, “All agreements on terms are “contracts” something doesn’t need to be a written legal contract to be a “contract.”

Denko Mancheski, CEO at Reef Finance, is currently promoting #BoycottFTX.

“This action hurt retail investors and should be a cautionary tale akin to the Wall Street Bets GameStop saga. The actions of one centralized entity such as Alameda and FTX should not and can not influence the future of a community-driven project like Reef,” said the team adding that it will launch its next products on the Reef chain and seek less centralized alternatives to work with.

Meanwhile, Bankman-Fried said because at times one team has “way more reputation to lose than another…that creates an asymmetry in PR fights.”

“Definitely fucked that one up,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Breaks into a New ATH Above $60,000

Funding surged at one point to 0.5% but now coming down some while just over $1 billion in the past 24 hours with Binance’s degen users yet again leading.

Bitcoin entered the weekend with a very strong move as the leading crypto asset made a new all-time high just as the $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans have also started coming in.

The digital asset broke the Feb. 21st ATH of $58,350 and climbed to nearly $60,266 on Bitfinex, $60,200 on Binance, and $60k on Coinbase. A “significant negative” price gap between Coinbase and Binance shows this surge came from stablecoin buying power, per CryptoQuant.

The market is unaffected by the reports of CFTC probing Binance. As Matt Blom, global head of sales trading at EQUOS, said,

“The bears’ last stand is the $57,800 level, and it looks like we might be seeing that battle play out before the week is over,” and we did. On the downside, around $55k, he sees levels “supported by dip-buying bulls and dip-buying bears alike.”

This momentum saw the funding rate on futures platforms also rising fiercely. Bitcoin’s perpetual funding rate reacted to the bulls, and at one point, longs paid 0.5% to shorts on Deribit, as per Viewbase.

Liquidations were relatively small today as in the past four hours only about $360 million got rekt while 195,975 traders were liquidated for just over $1 billion in the past 24 hours.

And of course, much like always, Binance users were leading the liquidations, which is no surprise given that in the first two months of the launch of Binance Futures, an average of more than 60% of platform traders were using 20x or higher leverage and 21% of traders an eye-popping 125x leverage.

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The new ATH came just a day after MicroStrategy purchased an additional 262 BTC for $15 billion that brought its total holdings to 91,326 BTC. Michael Saylor, CEO of MicroStrategy said,

“People still aren’t sure: Are we crazy or are we not crazy?”

“The only way to get economic security is to invest in scarce assets that are not going to be debased by currency expansion. That is the environment that led us to decide we should consider Bitcoin as a treasury reserve asset.”

While Bitcoin bull Saylor continues to move towards 100k BTC holdings, much like the price, the number of addresses with a balance of more than 1k BTC has seen a drop.

According to analyst Lex Moskovski of Moskovski Capital, it could be larger addresses splitting for custody purposes or whale selling.

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Amidst all this, Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, which also has invested in Bitcoin, made another tweet in support of the cryptocurrency.

“BTC (Bitcoin) is an anagram of TBC(The Boring Company) What a coincidence!” tweeted Musk. “Both do mining & use blocks & chains.”

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Author: AnTy

2-Day Old DeFi Protocol Amasses Over $6.4 Billion; Boasts of 3-Digit APY

2-Day Old DeFi Protocol Amasses Over $6.4 Billion; Boasts of 3-Digit APY

Big Data Protocol runs on Solana, and FTX CEO’s Almeda firm has aped in with over $1 billion. All of the BDP’s circulating supply for the first 2 months will be distributed over the course of 6 days.

A new decentralized finance (DeFi) application is taking over the crypto scene as people are in with not millions but billions of dollars.

During the summer of 2020, the DeFi market saw people piling in millions of dollars in day-old unaudited projects. A few months later, the market has increased the stakes, and now the projects are seeing billions of dollars getting invested.

Over the weekend, a new project Big Data Protocol (BDP), had a fair launch. The same day it attracted over $100 million, which skyrocketed to more than $5.7 billion in just a day, and today it stands at more than $6.4 billion.

What’s important here is that FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried’s quantitative trading firm Almeda is pumping about $1.1 billion of these funds. The project is also powered by Solana.

The assets supported are Wrapped Ether (wETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (wBTC), Tether (USDT), USDC, SUSHI, LINK, UNI, YFI, AAVE, SRM, OCEAN, TOMO, and BDP Token.

BDP boasts annual percentage yields of three to four-digit on these assets.

The project, Big Data Protocol, tokenizes commercially valuable data and makes the data token liquid on Uniswap, as per the official website. Users earn data by providing liquidity to data tokens.

BDP currently has access to 14,141 professional data providers to source data. The data sourced here is relevant to oracle projects such as real-time price feeds and geared towards investors, including crypto-investors, traditional hedge funds, and other investment managers.

BDP tokens are used to pay for fees, burned to access the protocol, and unlock features and benefits on the platform.

The huge amount of funds pumped into the project could be because of the fact that all the circulating supply of BDP for the first 2 months will be distributed among 12 seed pools over the course of 6 days.

Another token, bALPHA, which is a data token, is minted to unlock access to the first collection of datasets. It has a hard cap of 18,000, all of which will be distributed among the two liquidity pools over 3 months, as per FAQs. These are earned by providing liquidity on Uniswap to either BDP/ETH or bALPHA/ETH.

As of writing, the BDP token is trading at a loss of 75% at $3.80 from yesterday’s $14.93 ATH, and bALPHA at $5,941 is down 86% from yesterday’s ATH of $42,135, as per CoinGecko.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Price Bounces as the Network Prepares to Attract a New & Wider User base

Ether enjoyed some green moves over the weekend, going as high as $1,755 before making its way to $1,650 on Monday. As of writing, ETH/USD is trading around $1,700.

This upward move followed Bitcoin, making some recovery in tandem with the stock market. Besides aligning with wide market appreciation, Ether’s greens could also be attributed to an upcoming significant change to the network.

Over the weekend, Ethereum blockchain developers approved the EIP-1559 that will burn the network fees paid in Ether, creating a positive feedback loop for its price. The proposal will be part of the London hard fork that can come as early as July.

“This is probably one of the biggest milestones we’ve seen recently,” said Eric Turner, director of research at cryptocurrency analytics firm Messari. Up until the EIP 1559 goes into effect, the supply of Ether has been theoretically infinite. “Now, they’re actually controlling inflation on Ethereum,” and “in some cases, you’re looking at negative inflation, so it’s definitely important,” Turner said.

While scaling Ethereum will lower fees, per user, at the same time, it will “increase the overall userbase by even more, and therefore increase the total fees,” notes Qiao Wang of DeFi Alliance.

This proposal will help attract a new user base by making the platform “easier, faster, and cheaper to use,” explained Wang. Implementing EIP-1559 would mean that only Ether can be used to pay the transaction fees on the network, cementing Ether’s role in the ecosystem.

Tim Beiko, a senior product manager at ConsenSys, also said, going forward, “we’ll gauge demand for the network, and we put that average price as part of the network itself.”

EIP-1559 “fixes a bug in the economics of Ethereum we’ve known about from the start,” Beiko added.

A small bounce in Ether’s price relative to Bitcoin can also in part be attributed to NFTs (non-fungible token) going mainstream.

Traditional media is all over the NFTs, which are being sold for a hefty price. Recently, a publicly available 10-second video clip was sold for $6.6 million.

“At this point, NFTs have made a greater impact than DeFi. Both in terms of cultural impact and news users brought into the wide crypto ecosystem,” said Wang. According to him, it is largely because NFTs are easier than DeFi, from a users’ perspective. “Playing games, collecting items are easier than complex financial games,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Following the Stock Market “Tick for Tick,” $1.9T Stimulus Bill Passed & Yields Go Up Again

The cryptocurrency market is continuing the upwards momentum on Monday that started over the weekend.

Bitcoin has made its way above $50,000 while Ether trades over $1,700. The greens in the broad cryptocurrency market have a total market cap surpassing $1.55 trillion.

While the price of Bitcoin has slowed down some in the near term after hitting a new all-time high above $58,300 in February followed by a pullback of 26%, the coins continue to be moved off the cryptocurrency exchanges in the expectation of higher future prices.

While the on-chain movement shows bullish momentum, institutional investors on CME closed their positions, but both longs and shorts.

For the week ending March 6, total open interest for CME Bitcoin plummeted to its lowest levels this year as it shed more than 2500 contracts, as per Market Science’s latest report.

Last week, leveraged funds experienced the most dramatic change as these traders closed both long and short positions; their positioning is now as net-short as it has ever been. Interestingly, asset managers are also net short, which wasn’t seen through most of the recent bull run.

Non-Reportable traders remain less bullish than their average historically while Other Reportable traders have virtually no short exposure, remaining close to record net-long levels as they own over 25% of all long contracts outstanding. “These conditions have exhibited a bullish statistical edge historically,” noted Market Science.

The Macro

In the macro-environment, the bullish news came in the form of the $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill which passed the Senate 50-49 on Saturday. Democrats aim to have the bill signed into law early this week.

“As tough as this moment is, there are brighter days ahead — there really are,” President Joe Biden said at the White House after the bill was passed. “It’s never been a good bet to bet against America.”

The bill will send $1,400 payments to millions of Americans, individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150k based on either 2019 or 2020 tax returns. It would also deliver $300 a week in extra unemployment assistance through Sept. 6.

This has the stock market recovering with S&P 500 up 2.9% and Nasdaq 4% after incurring losses ever since hitting new highs in the second week of February.

Bitcoin has actually been following the stock market ever since February, “almost tick for tick,” notes trader and economist Alex Kruger. Hence, the gains and if the traditional market sees red today, it is likely crypto assets will slide too.

Gold, however, is not having a good Monday as the spot prices fell under $1,690 per ounce while the US dollar Index strengthened above 92.2 thanks to yet another bout of a surge in Treasury yields. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield hit 1.6% on Monday morning, while on the 30-year Treasury bond, it rose to 2.311%. Yields move inversely to prices.

This, however, isn’t good for BTC prices as we have seen for the past couple of weeks.

“Rates impact not only BTC but virtually every asset in the world. As one of the (if not the) most liquid asset class, higher rates mean bonds become more attractive than other assets – money flow from everywhere else into bonds,” said Qiao Wange of DeFi Alliance. “At extreme levels this will crush all risk assets.”

Bitcoin has managed to rally because of its adoption narrative in addition to being the best performing asset.

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Author: AnTy

MoneyGram Hit With Class Action Lawsuit over Ripple Partnership

MoneyGram Hit With Class Action Lawsuit over Ripple Partnership

Popular payments firm MoneyGram has been sued with a class action over allegations of misrepresentation in its partnership deal with Ripple Labs as well as the legal standing of XRP token.

The class-action suit comes following the statement that MoneyGram International provided following a partnership deal with fintech startup Ripple Labs which also involved XRP token.

Rosen Law Firm filed the class action suit representing MoneyGram’s shareholders that bought their stock from June 17, 2019, to February 22, 2021. The law firm located in New York states that MoneyGram provided false information to investors regarding their agreement with Ripple Labs, specifically the legal standing of XRP token.

According to the court documents, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said that XRP is an unregistered security over the last couple of years. Therefore, if the securities regulator decides to take action against Ripple, MoneyGram International will lose a highly lucrative revenue stream in terms of market development fees. This, the lawyers present is vital to the payments firm’s financial results and position.

The court filings also present that Ripple offered $38 million to MoneyGram in 2020 as market development fees which translated to 15% of its earnings. The law firm also claims that its clients suffered damages after the agreement’s real details became public.

MoneyGram International inked a strategic deal with Ripple Labs in June 2019. The deal involved Ripple committing to remit about $50 million to the payments company. After the deal’s signing, MoneyGram became a member of Ripple’s international payment network dubbed xRapid that was later renamed as On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) which utilizes XRP token for international payments.

At the end of last year, and after the SEC accused Ripple of raising $1,3 billion by offering an unregistered security, Ripple held approximately 17% of MoneyGram’s available shares.

MoneyGram released statements stating that the case filed against Ripple was unlikely to affect the partnership deal negatively. However, last month, MoneyGram suspended its partnership deal with Ripple Labs.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

JPMorgan Chooses ‘Fintech Over Bitcoin’ As the Real Financial Game Changer during Global Pandemic

JPMorgan Chooses ‘Fintech Over Bitcoin’ As the Real Financial Game Changer during Global Pandemic

Fintech is the long-term story for COVID-19 related financial developments, not Bitcoin, JP Morgan analysts.

In a story first covered by CNBC, analysts from the top U.S. bank dismissed the recent superficial growth in Bitcoin’s price as an “economic sideshow” during the current global COVID-19 pandemic. According to the report, fintech development and digital payment systems will be the major story arising from the financial field in current pandemic times.

The price of Bitcoin has soared past $58,000 to set new all-time highs in 2021 as institutional investment soars from firms such as MicroStrategy, Tesla and MasterCard entered the Bitcoin market, a note from JP Morgan reads. However, it is the fintech innovations that will get the credit in the long term, it further states.

“Fintech innovation and increased demand for digital services are the real Covid-19 story with the rise of online start-ups and expansion of digital platforms into credit and payments.”

Over the past year, there have been increased efforts by non-financial firms such as Google and Apple to get into the fintech space. As financial firms invest heavily in technology, these Big Tech companies are moving rapidly to capture the digital payments market. With an advantage in digital spaces by owning a huge amount of consumer data, big tech firms rapidly narrow the gap to financial institutions and banks.

Bitcoin, on its part, saw a boost in demand, reaching the $1 trillion market cap, as investors looked for “diversification assets” during the pandemic. Comparisons with gold as a store of value is also increased over the year. JP Morgan previously stated the digital coin could rally as high as $146,000 as it competes with gold as a hedge against inflation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the optimistic price targets (which could take years to achieve), JP Morgan analysts warn cryptocurrencies are still the “poorest hedge” against stock prices and still hold a questionable amount of risk.

As previously reported, JP Morgan Chase Co-President, Daniel Pinto stated the bank could invest in Bitcoin if there’s a demand for the crypto. However, strategists at the bank revealed a report stating BTC’s price is “unsustainable” at $52,000 claiming volatility will kill the current hype cycle in the market.

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Author: Lujan Odera