BlackRock CEO: We’re Watching Bitcoin, It Could Be Another Store Of Wealth But Not Proven Yet

BlackRock CEO: We’re Watching Bitcoin, It Could Be Another Store Of Wealth But Not Proven Yet

The Bitcoin market needs to have a broadening so that large sums of money can be invested without moving the value for it to be successful, said Larry Fink, the founder of the world’s largest asset manager with $8.67 trillion AUM.

The price of Bitcoin might still be stuck up around $30,000, but institutions are still watching it and getting involved.

As we reported, the world’s largest asset manager who has $8.67 trillion in assets under management as of January 2021, recently filed with the SEC to add Bitcoin futures as an eligible investment to two of its funds.

Now, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink again talked about all the excitement around the leading cryptocurrency. “We’re watching it, we’re enjoying the conversation,” said the founder and Chairman of the asset manager giant.

While talking about working together on climate change, which he sees as an “investment risk” and sharing optimism around capital coming into China, Fink also addressed the Bitcoin market in an interview with Bloomberg, where he says, Bitcoin “is still very small.’

“It can move in a very large increment with small movements of money. So, it is not the market for the calm,” he said but added that he “understands the enthusiasm around it.”

Fink reiterated his views that this asset category is very small relative to other asset categories. The untested, highly volatile market is getting a lot of attention from the business media, which believes it’s gonna have a huge future, he said.

“People are fascinated about it,” Fink said. “It could be another store of wealth. But right now, it’s still untested. It has huge volatility.”

Fink is playing it neutral now as he says that the leading digital currency “has not proven yet on the long term viability of it.”

“For it to be truly successful, it is gonna have to have a broadening of a market, and you can invest large sums of money without moving the value,” he said. “So we are watching it, we’re enjoying the conversation” and fascinated by how many people have enjoyed the conversation.

The CEO also said that some form of a digitized currency would be playing a bigger role in the future, but it’s to be seen if it would be Bitcoin or some other currency.

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Author: AnTy

OKEx Recent Issues ‘Exposed Weaknesses in Internal Processes’ But Working on Correcting Them

On October 16th, OKEX users were shocked as the exchange unexpectedly halted all cryptocurrency withdrawals on the platform – stretching the halt to over a month. After the “normal withdrawal services” were resumed on November 26th, OKEX CEO Jay Hao joined a live Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the official 27,000+member Telegram channel to explain what went down during the withdrawal hiatus on the exchange.

The withdrawal issues started on October 16th, when one of the ‘private key holders’ on OKEX multi-sig wallets was taken into custody by the Chinese police to help in an investigation. The exchange shut down its withdrawal services while all other operations remained functional during this period. The exchange stated they could not provide authorization on withdrawals on the exchange as they could not access the keyholder at the time.

In a transcript of the AMA session, Jay Hao explained the withdrawal pause caused “a lot of uncertainty” as the exchange was not sure when withdrawal services would return. The event has since caused an enormous impact on the exchange’s business activities, Hao explained.

“We have seen an understandable decrease in trading activity on the exchange.”

Following the five-week withdrawal pause, OKEX experienced one of its largest Bitcoin outflows shortly after the services were resumed. Over 29,300 BTC was moved out of the exchange on November 26th, recording its second-largest outflow yet in 2020, only bettered by the March crash withdrawals.

However, the hiatus did not significantly affect the BTC market recently reached a new all-time high as the market responded wonderfully to the news. Hao further explained,

“The incident highlighted the cryptocurrency market’s maturity — reflected in the price of BTC and other major assets in their resilience to the news.”

The China-domiciled exchange is working on new developments to prevent such withdrawals from happening in the future and win back its customers’ trust and confidence.

First, the exchange will implement a new hot wallet system that will follow a four-stage process – private key generation, its backup, enabling a master private key generation, and its backup key. Moreover, each private key will have a backup key that will ensure “there will never be assets lost due to unforeseen events happening to a private key holder,” Jay further said.

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OKEX new hot wallet system

A “new exchange transparency plan” that allows the public to view and monitor their wallet addresses at any time will be launched in the coming months. The exchange also plans to reward the loyal users who deposited or held tokens in their accounts during the exchange’s arduous period.

Additionally, Jay addressed the rumors surrounding the withdrawal pause and OKEX founder, Star Xu. In a coincidence, OKEX withdrawals resumed shortly after Xu was released from police custody, causing a buzz that he was the mysterious “private key holder.” Furthermore, Jay bashed rumors that the exchange was facing investigations on money laundering charges. Jay said,

“As stated in many previous announcements, the investigation has no relation to OKEx.”

“We have established, implemented, and continue to refine and Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorist Financing, and Trade & Economic Sanctions Program since our inception to ensure a robust and compliant digital asset trading platform.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

$100M In Crypto Loans Liquidated On Compound After ‘Bizarre’ 30% Spike In DAI Price

  • Over $100 million in loans were liquidated on Compound after a possible oracle exploits on Coinbase.
  • A further $8 million in crypto loans were liquidated on dYdX, a DeFi lending platform.

Almost $103 million in loan collateral has been liquidated on Compound Finance, a DeFi lending and borrowing platform, over the last 24 hours after a price spike on DAI stablecoin on Coinbase. According to data aggregator, LoanScan, a further $7.81 million was also liquidated on the dYdX exchange, totaling close to $110 million in DeFi loan liquidations.

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Nearly $110 million in crypto loans liquidated over the past 24 hours after a DAI suddenly spikes 30% in price (LoanScan)

The momentary DAI price spike

DAI caused massive liquidations on Compound as the price of DAI momentarily spiked by 30% on Coinbase, the lending platform’s primary price oracle. According to Alex Svanevik, CEO at Nansen, a crypto-analysis firm, the liquidations arose from an under-collateralization of Compound users’ loans. Svanevik said,

“My understanding is that the DAI price on Coinbase was driven up to a premium of around 30%. Compound’s oracle uses Coinbase for pricing data.”

Nearly 45% of the total liquidated amount on Compound arose from one wallet address, the third-largest COMP farmer, facing liquidation in a total of $46 million.

So how exactly does a DAI price spike to $1.30 cause such massive liquidations?

As a lending/borrowing platform, Compound allows users to borrow and lend multiple cryptocurrencies across the platform. Borrowers must place more significant collateral than the loan they are receiving over collateralized loans. If, at any moment, the smart contract notices the loan is under-collateralized, then it will automatically liquidate the loan and repay itself. Svanevik further explains,

“This caused liquidations as the value of the loans exceeded collateralization-ratio thresholds.”

As DAI’s value spiked, the amount of DAI loaned out increased relative to the collateral provided, leading to under-collateralized positions, hence the liquidations.

Of the total $110 million in crypto loans liquidated, $56 million was from DAI borrowers, $38 million from Ethereum (ETH) borrowers, $10 million from USDC stablecoin borrowers, and $4 million from wrapped BTC (wBTC).

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Author: Lujan Odera

Crypto Thanksgiving Sale Goes Live, Black Friday to Offer More Discount?

Well, what were you expecting after an over 85% rally in these past two months?

This may have taken us all a bit by surprise despite expecting to see this coming for some time now, but it’s a Thanksgiving sale, and buying the dips is the only option.

Bitcoin started breaking one level after another, from just above $10,000 to a new 2020 high of $19,500 just yesterday. And much like BTC, altcoins have been having a wild time.

Recently, Ether went up to $620, and XRP was reaching for $1; everything was simply exploding higher and higher, approaching their mid-2018 highs.

Add today; the market has turned a deep red just like that.

Bitcoin started dropping and didn’t stop until it made its way to nearly $16,300, but the pain isn’t over yet as this 17% crash could further extend into the weekend.

At the time of writing, BTC/USD has been trading around $17,000 with a real trading volume of around $6.68 billion.

Just yesterday, crypto exchange Kraken reported an all-time high volume of $1.4 billion, with $480 million in Bitcoin, $400 million in XRP, and $198 million in ETH. After yesterday, today is going to be another big day for exchanges.

XRP recorded the biggest hit of 25%, falling to just under $0.50 level and Ether to $505.

Today’s biggest losers include Super Bitcoin (-56%), Bankera (-41%), Verge (-37%), ZEN (-32%), KIMCHI (-30%), Zilliqa (-28%), and CRV (-25%).

These deep losses resulted in wiping out $70 billion from the total market cap.

However, still, a few cryptos are recording gains: the notable ones are PumaPay (+56%), Ontology Gas (+53%), and CREAM (22%).

Bears, however, aren’t done with Bitcoin and, by extension, altcoins.

During the last bull run in 2017, the market had an average of 30% retracements nine times; such a pullback will take us to under $14,000 this time.

As Charles Edwards, founder of Capriole Investments, noted yesterday, “19.2K was a technical magnet and biggest near-term test for Bitcoin. That was the time to be super bullish. This is the time to be cautious.”

According to him, the largest cryptocurrency could slide to under $15,000.

“Conditions are very massively overbought and bound for a correction,” said Vijay Ayyar, head of business development with crypto exchange Luno in Singapore. He expects Bitcoin to stabilize and achieve an all-time high, but a large drop would follow even that in the prices for the cryptocurrency.

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Author: AnTy

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

South Korea Set to Ban the Trading of ‘Privacy Enabled Coins’ On Virtual Asset Exchanges

  • South Korea bans “privacy coins” trading on crypto exchanges.
  • The updates were made as part of the guidelines to the “Special Payments Act.”

South Korea’s leading financial watchdog, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), announced on Tuesday a ban on the trading of privacy-enabled cryptocurrencies such as Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), and Zcash (ZEC) from any virtual asset service provider platform. The move follows a guideline update on the ‘Special Payments Act’ that governs the country’s cryptocurrencies laws.

According to the statement, the FSC claims privacy-enabled coins enable high money laundering risk due to the difficulty tracing the transactions. In 2018, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office opened a case on drug dealers who received privacy coins in payment for their illegal goods. The new amendments will curb these kinds of payments preventing the spread of illicit and illegal activities.

The amendments by the FSC will start being implemented and enforced in March 2021, creating strict laws against trading privacy cryptocurrencies. Notwithstanding, the crypto exchanges in South Korea will have to comply with KYC/AML regulations. Customers will have to verify their accounts using a passport, identification card, or any government-recognized document.

Several exchanges have already delisted privacy coins, including South Korean-based OKEx and Upbit exchange. The Japan-based crypto exchange, Liquid, also announced the delisting of Zcash (ZEC) and the other 28 coins to comply with Singapore’s laws.

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Author: Lujan Odera

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

Taproot and Schorr Merged into Bitcoin Core to Enhance Privacy

Earlier today, Schnorr and Taproot proposals were implemented to Bitcoin Core.

The Bitcoin network rarely undergoes such big changes, but after a decade still, as the network continues to grow and mature, it innovates along the way.

The much-awaited updates to Bitcoin, when finally activated, will increase the leading cryptocurrency’s privacy features and enhance its transactional capabilities.

Last month, Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille made a pull request, meaning other developers were invited to review the code before its release. Taproot proposal alone had more than 150 developers review the code.

After a month of testing, the proposals finally made it to bitcoin, as per commit history on Github.

The activation mechanism for these proposals haven’t been decided yet; once chosen, it may still take time, even a year, before it is activated.

Formally, these two updates are Bitcoin improvement proposals (BIP) 340 and 341, which represent perhaps the biggest changes to the network since Segregated Witness (SegWit) was implemented to increase Bitcoin’s block size limit in 2017.

Schnorr targets the size by combining multiple keys to a single one when facilitating transactions from a wallet while providing the added benefit of privacy.

Taproot allows Schnorr signatures to be used to allow new ways for users to define conditions to spend Bitcoin. This upgrade is designed to add smart contract flexibility to Bitcoin.

The Taproot implementation was also part of the Bitcoin 0.21.0 release, which also included support for Tor’s anonymous communication software.

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Author: AnTy

US Department of Justice Working on Seizing 280 Crypto Accounts

The US government is looking to seize 280 cryptocurrency accounts that were used by North Korean hackers who reportedly stole millions of dollars of digital assets from two crypto exchanges.

A civil forfeiture complaint is filed by the US Department of Justice. Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s criminal division in a statement said,

“Today’s action publicly exposes the ongoing connections between North Korea’s cyber-hacking program and a Chinese cryptocurrency money laundering network.”

The hackers also used Chinese traders to launder their funds who were charged by the US officials for laundering more than $100 million in crypto on behalf of North Korea — Pyongyang’s way of circumventing sanctions.

The United Nations Security Council first imposed sanctions on North Korea in 2006 to curb its funding for nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

In a report last year, the UN said the country had generated an estimated $2 billion through “widespread and increasingly sophisticated” cyberattacks to steal from crypto exchanges and banks. North Korea denied the allegation, calling them a “fabrication” to tarnish its image.

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Author: AnTy

With A Troubled Past, Are Cryptocurrency Cards Worth the Risk to Push Adoption?

Crypto debit cards were looked at as the next big move for broader crypto adoption and involvement of mainstream players like Visa in the issuance of a card that brought confidence to the industry. While the crypto debit card arena paints a rosy picture for a broader crypto use and adoption, the reality has been far from it.

In 2020 itself, the Wirecard scandal rocked the crypto world, given the firm promised real a breakthrough in the crypto debit card arena. However, the bizarre turn of events this June shattered all those hopes. The firm in June applied for insolvency over $2.1 billion missing from their accounts, which they later claimed never existed. Markus Braun, the former CEO of the firm, was accused of market manipulation.

While Wirecard’s fall came in as a shock, it was not the first firm to venture into the crypto debit card arena and fail. Back in 2018, WaveCrest, a worldwide digital payment solutions provider and a VISA member was asked to call back all the VISA prepaid cards that have been issued Visa later revealed that WaveCrest was not following the Visa’s membership regulations.

The Future of Crypto Debit Cards

The key players of the traditional market, i.e., VISA and Mastercard have both shown interest in expanding its reach and technology it offers. Recently Visa wrote a blog post titled Advancing our approach to the digital currency, where the firm expressed its desire to team up with various blockchain players and offer its customer base with a wide variety of technologies. The firm also expressed its desire to create a bridge between Visa’s network of 61 million global merchants and cryptocurrencies.

Mastercard, another prominent player in the debit/credit card industry, has expanded its current crypto program to help different payment solution firms to offer crypto payment cards. The firm recently partnered with Wirex to allow the firm to issue a digital payment card on its network.

Apart from these two mainstream players, even Paypal, which earlier made it clear that they won’t be offering any form of crypto service, has finally decided to join the digital asset bandwagon like many other naysayers. The payment processing giant has partnered with Venmo to offer a Bitcoin purchase option to its 265 million customers across the globe.

Apart from these mainstream traditional players looking to offer crypto payment card services, even major crypto players like Binance has announced its payment card called Binance card.

Looking at the interest of mainstream players along with mainstream crypto players, the crypto industry could see a surge of crypto card providers shortly.

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Author: Hank Klinger