IOTA to Launch A New Wallet; Firefly Was Built from the Ground Up for the Chrysalis

IOTA has announced a new wallet dubbed ‘Firefly’ according to a recent tweet by the IoT-focused blockchain foundation. The tweet sent out yesterday revealed that Firefly would replace IOTA’s infamous wallet, Trinity, which was hacked earlier this year.

Dominik Schiener, the co-founder of IOTA, quoted this tweet announcement noting that the chrysalis upgrade will feature many upgrades as the platform prepares to go fully decentralized in the awaited 2.0 upgrade.

“With Chrysalis, we are fundamentally upgrading the entire IOTA stack.

Over the coming weeks, everyone will participate in this new IOTA future and try our new Firefly wallet and Testnet. This will be an exciting new chapter for IOTA and the entire ecosystem!”

The Chrysalis upgrade marked the commencement towards ‘coordicide’ where IOTA’s coordinator will be removed to usher in complete decentralization. As we reported earlier, the chrysalis is the final testnet before the coordinator is removed.

IOTA’s developer, Charlie Varley, who commented on the ‘Firefly’ announcement, further expounded that the prospective wallet has been a work in progress. He added that the new wallet is redesigned from scratch based on the experiences learned from Trinity, with the first alpha expected in the course of 2020,

“Firefly is our new wallet. We are aiming for a first alpha this year. Taking everything we learned from Trinity, we redesigned it from the ground up.

In 2021 we will add additional features like contacts and chat. Firefly will set a benchmark for user-facing apps in crypto.”

In February, the Trinity wallet had been compromised, an attack that resulted in the loss of $1.6 million user funds, although this was later reimbursed by IOTA’s co-founder David Sonstebo. IOTA is now looking to improve its ecosystem’s security with the 2.0 launch, which is anticipated to take place in Q1, 2021 when the coordinator is replaced by coordicide.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

GoDaddy’s DNS Hack Is at the Center of Several Crypto Domains Being Compromised: Report

  • Several cryptocurrency companies were targeted in the recent hack on GoDaddy.com, the largest global domain manager, including Japan-based crypto exchange Liquid.com and crypto mining service, NiceHash.

Earlier this month, BEG reported that Japan-based cryptocurrency exchange, Liquid.com, experienced a data breach hack, affecting the users’ Know your Customer (KYC) information. The attack follows GoDaddy’s, the world’s largest domain registrar, an incursion that saw hackers trick the firm’s employees into transferring ownership and control over targeted domains.

In an analysis of the recent intrusions, Krebs on Security, a cybersecurity website, reported four more cryptocurrency firms were target to phishing and “vishing” attempts, similar to Liquid exchange.

In a letter shared to crypto traders on its exchange, Liquid.com CEO Mike Kayamori stated that several customers’ data, including email addresses and passwords, were compromised following malicious attacks on their domain registrar, GoDaddy. Mike stated,

“A domain hosting provider ‘GoDaddy’ that manages one of our core domain names incorrectly transferred control of the account and domain to a malicious actor.”

This allowed the attacker to control and change the domain name system (DNS) and control some email accounts at Liquid exchange. This allowed the attacker to compromise some of the exchange data and gain access to the firm’s document storage.

NiceHash, a cryptocurrency mining service, was also compromised from GoDaddy’s malicious attack, the report stated. Five days after Liquid noticed the attack, NiceHash also found out that its domain registration records were being changed without authorization. To secure the customers’ funds, the crypto mining service shut down their website for 24 hours, resuming operations a day later. A blog post from the company reads,

“In the early morning (UTC) hours of November 18, 2020, the NiceHash domain was not reachable. The domain registrar GoDaddy had technical issues, and as a result of unauthorized access to the domain settings, the DNS records for the NiceHash.com domain were changed”.

An analysis of the hackers’ accounts showed that the affected domains were redirected to set email addresses and websites. Further research shows three other crypto firms, including Bitbox, Celsius.network, and Wirex.app, could also have been affected.

GoDaddy’s spokesperson, Dan Race, confirmed the attack affected its employees’ details through phishing and voice phishing hacks. His statement further reads,

“As threat actors become increasingly sophisticated and aggressive in their attacks, we are constantly educating employees about new tactics that might be used against them and adopting new security measures to prevent future attacks.”

This attack is similar to the recent Twitter hack in July, whereby hackers compromised over 130+ high-profile accounts in an established cryptocurrency scam. The firm’s employees were tricked using social engineering to take over the company’s administrative tools.

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Author: Lujan Odera

SEC Chairman: Bitcoin Will Be Subject To ‘More Regulation’ As It Matures Into A Payment System

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton reiterated in his recent interview with CNBC that Bitcoin is not a security. However, more regulation could still be on the way from other government agencies, he added.

According to him, the leading digital asset resembles a store of value and a payment method. And it has been the “inefficiencies” in the traditional payment mechanisms that are boosting Bitcoin’s growth.

But if BTC becomes famous as a payment method, it can be subject to more regulation. Clayton told CNBC,

“I think we will see this maturation, and I think there will be more regulation in the payments (for bitcoin) area.”

“This is why Bitcoin should be neither a currency nor a payment network. The principles of humility & harmony dictate that we should allow technology partners to provide for payments & defer to governments on currency matters. BTC is a purely engineered Store of Value,” commented the CEO of MicroStrategy, Michael Saylor, who has emerged as a leading vocal Bitcoin proponent ever since his company replaced cash with BTC as a reserve asset.

Clayton will be stepping down from his position as the SEC Chairman by the end of this year, and the crypto community is excited, expecting the Bitcoin ETF to get the approval finally.

According to analyst Mati Greenspan, Clayton has been “single-handedly” responsible for holding back the progress of a Bitcoin ETF, and “him leaving is really good for Bitcoin & crypto.”

In his interview with CNBC on Thursday, Clayton further elaborated on why the SEC isn’t regulating Bitcoins currently.

“We do not regulate Bitcoin as a security. When people use crypto assets as securities to raise capital for a venture, the SEC regulates that.

And what was happening in the ICO craze was people were using ICOs and essentially making public offerings of securities without registering them with the SEC.”

Very clearly, Clayton has said that the SEC determined “Bitcoin was not a security” but “much more a payment mechanism and store of value,” adding “the government does regulate payments.”

Clayton has been in conversation with Squawk Box host Andrew Ross Sorkin who recently hosted Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, who still has no love lost for Bitcoin.

Dimon said Bitcoin is “not (his) cup of tea,” and if it continues to get bigger and bigger, it will be “regulated.” “My experience with the government is they can regulate whatever they want whenever they feel like it,” coped Dimon.

This may sound like Ray Dalio, who is also concerned about the government outlawing it. Still, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates recently came out and said that he might be missing something about Bitcoin and “would love to be corrected.”

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Author: AnTy

Retail Investment Not Returned in Force Yet; This Doesn’t Feel Like 2017’s Bull Run

Today, BTC is tracing back the recent gains, going to the $17,400 level. A pullback has long been expected as Bitcoin has been surging since early October when the price was around $10,500.

For the last six weeks, the digital asset has been printed green candles, and this week, we might finally end up seeing some correction. However, BTC/USD is currently trading above $17,900 at the time of writing.

“We’re overextended here and due for a pullback,” Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno told Bloomberg.

“Anywhere from between $18,000-$19,000 is potentially a top. We should have many people selling at these levels, especially those that bought at the top in 2017-18. Major rallies in the past always had 30-40% corrections. No reason to believe this time is different.”

Red in the Bitcoin market has the majority of the altcoins recording losses as well, with a few notable exceptions like FOAM (+90%), YFI (10.4%), and WAVES (7.6%).

Reaching for those highs

This week Bitcoin had a wild run as the leading digital asset went from $15,750 to nearly $18,500. With this, on Wednesday, the highest number of bitcoin addresses were created since January 2018.

Additionally, this uptrend saw the volume across the board, climbing to new highs. The leading spot exchange Binance recorded a new all-time high in its volume, as shared by its CEO Changpeng Zhao.

Yesterday, the real volume also surged above $6 billion, as per Messari. Even crypto exchanges went off as usual as the digital asset made some big moves.

However, on-exchange trading volumes are still below prior levels, “indicating that retail investment in the space has not yet returned in force.”

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“I don’t see this move as a mania or grossly over-loved just yet,” wrote Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Financial Pty.

Still Far Off

While volume hasn’t made new highs, the aggregated open interest in the BTC futures market has done so at $6.4 billion, in USD terms, that is.

However, in terms of Bitcoin, the open interest is far from the ATH — trailing at around 390k BTC, below the yearly average of 395k BTC.

On CME as well, the open interest surpassed the $1 billion mark.

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Comparing the current market condition with that of the last bull run, analyst PlanB noted,

“Big difference with 2017 is that most BTC sold today will never see the daylight again, they disappear into deep cold storage. Buyers today are professionals with long term vision and staying power.”

As we reported, Chinese state media also shared bitcoin’s bull run with the people noting that the bull run of 2020 is institutionally driven in a more developed ecosystem.

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Author: AnTy

Robinhood in Preparation for a Possible IPO Launch in Q1, 2021; Report

Robinhood might be planning to go public early next year, according to a recent publication by Bloomberg. This trading platform, whose popularity has risen in the past few years, is reportedly seeking advisers in the banking domain to support its Initial Public Offering (IPO) process.

Per the Bloomberg report, Robinhood could go public as soon as Q1 of 2021; sources opted to remain unidentified given this information’s private nature. However, they were also keen to highlight that the firm might change this position and abandon the IPO plan altogether.

While Robinhood’s official sources are yet to comment, this move might be a game-changer for the trading platform, given its value proposition to novice investors. Robinhood has become a darling to millennials and the tech-savvy Gen-Z, giving them exposure to various previously cumbersome assets to trade.

In fact, it is one of the popular trading platforms with access to crypto-assets and enjoys the backing of tech-focused VC’s such as Sequoia Capital. Other prominent investors that have allocated funds to Robinhood include Index Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Ribbit Capital, DST Global, and D1 Capital Partners.

The latest Robinhood valuation is $11.8 billion; this was after the firm raised its series G funding, which totaled $200 million. With the murmurs of an IPO, Robinhood could soon be listed in the U.S stock markets, a move that would expose the firm to more market liquidity.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Millennials Are Not the Only One Driving “Further Demand” for Bitcoin: JPMorgan

Covering the steepening of cumulative flow trajectory in Grayscale Bitcoin Trust in recent weeks, JPMorgan yet again shared a bullish view on Bitcoin.

According to the largest investment bank, Bitcoin’s corporate endorsements, such as PayPal, have “propagated further demand” for the digital asset.

This can be particularly seen in the ascending of GBTC, which as per JPMorgan suggests that the demand for the leading digital currency is “not only driven by the younger cohorts of retail investors,” the millennials but also institutional investors that includes family offices and asset managers.

Institutional investors are actually the biggest investors in Grayscale’s products.

Grayscale Bitcoin Trust’s October flow trajectory was rather impressive because of the modest outflows seen in the flow trajectory of gold ETFs in comparison. JPMorgan wrote in its latest report,

“This contrast lends support to the idea that some investors that previously invested in gold ETFs such as family offices, maybe looking at bitcoin as an alternative to gold.”

In its last report, the bank noted that because of its competition with gold as an alternative currency, Bitcoin’s potential long-term upside is considerable, as much as 10x from the current level to match the total private actor investment in the precious metal.

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Meanwhile, the current rally has BTC near its “overbought levels,” which means a sell-off could be seen soon, noted the analysts.

Grayscale actually added $500 million in new assets under management in a single day that brought its total AUM at over $9 billion. As we reported, Q3 has been yet another record quarter for Grayscale with $1 billion in inflows.

Last week has been another explosive week for the company, as shared by its Managing Director, Michael Sonnenshein.

The world is choosing Bitcoin as a safe haven over other asset classes at a fast pace, which only puts further pressure on the supply side.

With Grayscale having record inflows, Square selling about double the number of Bitcoins that are being mined, and PayPal, which is 3x of Square and has “eager” customers, also joining in, things are going to get even more interesting.

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Author: AnTy

DeFi Shifts to A Risk-off Environment, But A 2017-like Crypto Rally is Still Far Off

During the recent Bitcoin rally, altcoins suffered losses, and DeFi tokens had an even worse time.

Today, as BTC went to the $13,000 level, driven by European lockdowns, the crypto market reported deeper red. This consolidation in BTC could give altcoins a chance to recover, but it’s undecided and remains to be seen.

In the past month, except for a handful of DeFi tokens like Aave and Maker, the majority of them extended their losses from last month.

The total value locked (TVL) in the decentralized finance (DeFI) sector has been unperturbed by the crash in price as it hit an all-time high at $12.46 billion on Oct. 25. But since then, it has dropped nearly 10% to about $11.2 billion, as per DeFi Pulse.

But such declines aren’t new for the TVL, and it tends to recover just as fast.

“Just want to say that we are still extremely early in DeFi. As an analogy to Bitcoin, we probably just experienced the spring 2013 hype cycle. We haven’t even seen the winter 2013 cycle yet. Let alone the 2017 cycle,” said entrepreneur and quant trader Qiao Wang.

According to him, in the DeFi hype cycle, we are currently at a point where half of the legit projects have capitulated while the other half are in the process of capitulating.

Ethereum, on which the whole ecosystem is built, price-wise, is trading around $385. The sector meanwhile has a record 9 million ETH locked in it.

DeFi tokens on Ethereum are still minuscule, though, as they currently account for 1.39% of the $365 billion total crypto market cap. In terms of a number of holders, they capture an even smaller share of the market.

DeFi governance tokens in Ethereum have declined by a third in just last month while stablecoins and tokenized versions of Bitcoin on Ethereum have managed to continue in terms of market cap.

The shift has been because of a shift to a risk-off environment into less volatile yield-generating assets. As such, yield farming is transitioning from attracting users with unsustainably high rewards “to a more methodical approach rewarding those that actually create value to DeFi protocols.”

“It appears that the catalyst for DeFi’s initial boost may also be behind its crash,” noted IntoTheBlock.

Besides the high inflation rates, the bigger the rise in the price of DeFi tokens, the larger the retrace.

“While DeFi may currently be negligible in comparison to the $1.5 trillion financial services industry, there is a high room for growth as these systems become scalable and adopted.”

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Author: AnTy

Robinhood Raises Cybersecurity Awareness After Insider Says 2,000 Accounts Exposed in the Hack

About 2,000 of trading app Robinhood accounts were compromised in a recent hack that stole customer funds.

The popular online brokerage service also offers trading of limited cryptocurrencies, previously said that cybercriminals targeted only a “limited number” of customer funds. The service in itself wasn’t hacked, but users’ personal email accounts were compromised, which were used to gain access to customers’ Robinhood account, it has been said in a statement.

But a person with knowledge of an internal review told Bloomberg the estimated figure, a sign that attacks have been more widespread than previously believed.

Users complained on social media as the brokerage service with more than 13 million accounts does not have a customer service phone number. The company said in a statement,

“We always respond to customers reporting fraudulent or suspicious activity and work as quickly as possible to complete investigations.”

The company is now sending push notifications to users to enable two-factor authentication on their accounts and is further planning to send customers more security advice.

However, several victims said their brokerage accounts were accessed despite having set up 2FA, while others said they found no sign of their email compromising.

“Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence that online accounts of monetary value are bought, sold and traded by cyber-criminals,” said Mark Arena, CEO of Intel 471, which monitors activities of digital criminals.

“This shows the importance of people practicing common information-security hygiene such as not re-using the same password across multiple accounts and enabling two-factor authentication, which Robinhood supports.”

Menlo Park, California-based Robinhood was founded seven years ago, exploded in popularity this year as millions of Americans, including millennials stuck at home, took to making money from stock prices swinging. They put their stimulus money into the stock market that sent it flying.

But at the same time, the no-fee brokerage app has attracted consumer complaints and faced the SEC probe.

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Author: AnTy

Riot Blockchain Targets 2.3 EH/s Hashrate by June 2021; Adds 2,500 Bitmain S19 Pro Miners

Riot Blockchain announced on Oct 6 that it would be expanding its S19 Pro Antminer fleet following a recent purchase of 2500 units from Bitmain. The firm also highlighted progress in previous S19 Pro miners’ orders [1,000 in April, 1,040 in May, 1,000 in July, and 8,000 in August] and an update on their deployment. Currently, Riot’s deployed hashrate capacity stands at 519 PH/s; they are now looking to quadruple this to 2.3 EH/s by June 2021.

According to the announcement, the newly purchased Bitmain S19 Pro miners were acquired at the cost of $ 6.1 million with delivery and deployment scheduled for December. Notably, this operational expansion comes barely a month since Riot ordered 13,100 S19 Pro miners, delivery for these is slated for the first 6 months of 2021.

With this aggressive scaling, Riot, a Nasdaq listed firm, is looking to take the lead in the Bitcoin mining space. As far as stats go, this will be the first listed Bitcoin mining firm to achieve a hashrate above 2 EH/s. The blog announcement reads,

“As far as the Company is aware, no other publicly traded bitcoin mining company has disclosed a hashing capacity exceeding 2 EH/s.”

Riot anticipates that it will have deployed up to 22,640 miners by the end of June 2021. However, this year’s target is 9,540 miners, which will boost the firm’s hashpower by 14% to 842 PH/s. Going by these developments, the race for Bitcoin mining domination seems to have taken the next level as industry titans play catch up with the latest BTC mining difficulty.

Other than scaling its mining fleet, Riot recently moved its Antminers to the Coinmint data center domiciled in Massena, New York. The facility provides cheaper electricity for Riot’s mining operations, given that its geographical location has abundant wind power and hydroelectricity.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Bitcoin Mining Legalized in Venezuela But Being Centralized with National Digital Mining Pool

  • Venezuela has fully legalized bitcoin mining.

According to a recent decree from the National Superintendency of Crypto Assets and Related Activities (SUNACRIP), the use, commercialization, import, and creation of mining equipment in the country is regulated under the new law, as per the local media reports.

As per the decree that came into effect this week, those residents interested in mining bitcoin and other cryptos must apply for a license with the Comprehensive Registry of Miners (RIM), which will facilitate the processing of licenses.

A special license will be granted to those users who wish to manufacture using ASIC equipment or built mining farms. Such users are required to provide information about the type of mining activities they are carrying out.

Besides supervising the creation and import of mining equipment, the authorities will also inspect the mining farms, without any exceptions. Additionally, those involved in mining in Venezuela must keep their documentation and records for ten years.

The cost of managing these licenses is not known yet but will be published later by RIM.

The document further confirms creating a National Digital Mining Pool to bring together all the miners in the territory, and those operating outside the pool will be subject to sanctions and infractions.

By making mining centralized, the government would be the one to control the income earned in the form of rewards from mining BTC and further distributing it among the contributors. This means, the government can impose taxes on the payments and even freeze them altogether.

Venezuela is currently going through an economic and political crisis on top of the hyperinflation and sanctions led by the US. Previously, President Nicolas Maduro launched an oil-pegged crypto called petro, which the US Department of Justice alleged is used to circumvent the sanctions and conceal illicit drug-related transactions.

Also Read: Venezuela Blocks Access to Coinbase & Currency Exchange Platform MercaDolar

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Author: AnTy