FUD of the Week: China and US Treasury Unsuccessful in Attacking Bitcoin

This week as we reported, China Police seized more than $4.2 billion worth of the crypto asset from the PulsToken Ponzi scheme.

However, it was the officials informing the public, as the crypto market has known all along, about how and where these funds have been moving thanks to the transparency of the blockchain technology.

Researcher Ergo has been updating the community about the sale of these tokens over the years, which peaked in mid-2019. Only about 15k of the BTC are left of the original 201k BTC now.

What is really interesting about China’s latest summary is that the authorities might be the ones involved in the sale of crypto assets all this time.

“Chen Bo, the mastermind of PlusToken (arrested in June 2019), was entrusted with selling PlusToken’s BTC, via a third party business, on behalf of the CCP?” commented ErgoBTC adding, “In return, he only gets 8 years in the gulag for architecting a multi-billion $ Ponzi? What kind of communism is this?”

The good news about this all is the market won’t be getting smashed as most of the Bitcoin has already been dumped into the open market through OKEx and Huobi. It was this sale-off at that time in mid-2019 that sent BTC crashing from $14k to $6k in six months.

There isn’t really anything left to send to China’s national treasury as they already sold most of it all. However, the same can’t be said of ETH and other altcoins, including LTC, EOS, DASH, XRP, DOGE, BCH, and USDT.

“Most importantly, this can be seen as the first government attack toward Bitcoin via liquidity games and price manipulation. IT FAILED,” said market analyst David Puell.

The price of cryptocurrencies had already taken a big drop before this news hit the market, sending BTC to nearly $16,300. Today, the crypto market is actually green.

Besides, over-leverage and BTC already rallying 85% in less than two months being the reason for the crash, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong spreading the U.S. Treasury FUD is another one.

While “false, it should be taken seriously,” said Puell.

Regulating self-custodied wallets is already forced upon exchanges in countries like Switzerland, Singapore, and the Netherlands.

While the crypto community continues to oppose these regulations, more rules and laws are expected, which means “privacy and ownership, even more so than price, will be the most contested subjects in Bitcoin in the next few years.”

The implication of this in the US on the price of Bitcoin in the long term, however, isn’t expected to change anything.

“The fundamentals remain the same, so in my view, even if we continue correcting ($14k, 12k, or whatever), the cause would be simply out of major market actors taking profits with the aim to buy cheaper,” Puell said.

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Author: AnTy

Chinese Police Won’t Return the $4.2B Seized PlusToken Funds; ‘Forfeit to the National Treasury’

PlusToken is back to worry the market. However, it is worth noting that many of the funds scammed by this Ponzi scheme have been getting sold over the years.

It has been more than 100 days, over three months, since these funds have been moved.

“This is bullish either way,” commented Su Zhu, the CEO of Three Arrows Capital.

Today, the reports came that as per the new court ruling, crypto assets worth over $4.2 billion have been seized by the Chinese police in a PlusToken Ponzi scam crackdown. The ruling came amidst the latest reports of China cracking down on online criminal activities.

The crypto assets involved in this scam were 194,775 BTC, 833,083 ETH, 487 million XRP, 1.4 million LTC, 27.6 million EOS, 74,167 DASH, 6 billion DOGE, 79,581 BCH, and 213,724 USDT that are seized by the law enforcement from seven convicts, according to the judgment made public on Thursday.

Unfortunately, these assets won’t be returned to the victims.

“The seized digital currencies will be processed pursuant to laws, and the proceeds and gains will be forfeited to the national treasury,” said the court, but nothing is mentioned about the when, what, and how of it.

The market expects these crypto assets to be released in the market in a “gradual manner.”

The PlusToken Ponzi scheme started its operations in May 2018; it duped more than 2.6 million members.

15 people have been convicted in the case so far who are in jail for two to 11 years with fines between $100k to $1 million. One convict also successfully laundered 145 million yuan worth of crypto into the Chinese Yuan.

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Author: AnTy

KuCoin Co-Founder: We Have Recovered 84% Of The Stolen Funds From The September Hack

Crypto exchange, KuCoin, has now recovered approximately 84% of the stolen $281 million worth of crypto assets following a hack in September of this year. This means that the exchange has recovered about $236 million.

KuCoin’s co-founder, who is also the exchange’s CEO, Johnny Lyu, revealed the news through a tweet. Lyu explained that the exchange carried out various activities to recover the stolen funds. He said:

“So far, 84% of the affected assets have been recovered via approaches like on-chain tracking, contract upgrade, and judicial recovery.”

Lyu also explained that the exchange could not reveal further details of the recovery process in accordance with the law enforcement requirements. He also intimated that details might be revealed once the case was closed.

As per the CEO, the exchange has so far reopened trading services for 176 tokens, and it is expected that all the others will be reopened on or before Nov. 22. Currently, KuCoin provides trading services for about 230 tokens.

KuCoin was hacked in September, where most of the lost funds were ERC-20 tokens, which were estimated to be worth $147 million. The exchange also lost Stellar tokens estimated at $87 million, while Bitcoin was estimated to be $30 million. The exchange explained that the heist was orchestrated through a leaked private key to gain access to its wallets.

However, the exchange was able to recover about $160 million days after the heist via protocol projects’ forking, limiting the hacker’s address and redeployment of the contracts.

Lyu’s announcement comes just days after the hacker conducted various transactions from his Ethereum address using ERC-20 tokens to another address, which now holds approximately the ERC-20 tokens estimated to be worth $13.6 million. The exchange has claimed that these tokens’ swapping to different accounts makes them hard to recover but is working with law enforcement to track it.

However, the exchange has assured its clients that it has enough money in its bank accounts to cater to all the losses.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

US Government Seizes 69,270 Bitcoin in Largest Ever Cryptocurrency Bust

Remember the $1 billion worth of Bitcoin belonging to Silk Road that moved this week? Well, it turns out it was the US authorities doing the moving.

The US is suing for the forfeiture of 69,270 BTC, worth more than $1 billion at current prices. The Justice Department seized these Bitcoins on Tuesday, marking the largest crypto bust the government has ever made.

These BTC are linked to the Silk Road darknet marketplace that the authorities shut down seven years ago.

“The successful prosecution of Silk Road’s founder in 2015 left open a billion-dollar question. Where did the money go?” the authorities said in the statement. “Today’s forfeiture complaint answers this open question at least in part.”

The announcement came amidst Bitcoin’s resurgence to a new 2020 high of nearly $16,000 before retracing a bit today around $15,500.

Bitcoin is on its third such bull cycle, which sees positive momentum from the continued uncertainty around the US elections, weak US dollar, increased institutional and mainstream adoption, and the macro fundamentals that are fueling this rally.

It “almost feels like Bitcoin’s perfect storm,” said Guy Hirsch, managing director for the U.S. at eToro.

The Silk Road

The Bitcoins were seized from an alleged hacker identified as Individual X, “whose identity is known to the government,” as per the statement.

The document points out that the law enforcement officers used a third-party bitcoin attribution company this year to analyze Bitcoin transactions executed by Silk Road and detected 54 transactions that were sent from BTC addresses controlled by Silk Road to two Bitcoin addresses that helped the agents trace them to the alleged hacker.

The Silk Road website described as “the most sophisticated and extensive criminal marketplace on the Internet” by the authorities was operated by Ross Ulbricht from 2011 to 2013. During this time, the darknet marketplace was used to generate about $1.2 billion in illicit sales.

In 2015, Ulbricht was convicted by a New York federal jury of seven criminal counts.

According to the crypto researcher, Chainalysis that assisted law enforcement in tracking down the funds, Silk Road accounts for almost 20% of total Bitcoin economic activity at its peak in 2013.

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Author: AnTy

ProudBitcoiner Pays $9,500 Worth of ETH Gas Fees for $120 Transaction on Uniswap

A Reddit user “ProudBitcoiner” accidentally paid a fee of 23.5172 ETH worth about $9,500 in transaction fees for a transaction he did on popular DeFi protocol Uniswap.

The fee, which is 80 times the transaction value, was done while the user was executing a swap of 0.2955 wrapped ether (ETH) for 531 Chi Gastoken (CHI) on decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap.

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Source: Etherscan

The average fee currently is a mere 0.0022 ETH worth just over $1 unlike in September when Ether fees surged to its highest level ever.

Higher than average fees are generally paid to get the transaction processed quickly. In such cases, people go the manual route.

In this case, the user further explained on Reddit how this actually happened.

“Metamask didn’t populate the “Gas Limit” field with the correct amount in my previous transaction and that transaction failed, so I decided to change it manually in the next transaction (this one), but instead of typing 200000 in “Gas Limit” input field, I wrote it on the “Gas Price” input field, so I payed 200000 GWEI for this transaction and destroyed my life.”

The block had been mined about 24 hours ago, however, he did contact Ethermine for help.

This isn’t the first time such a thing has happened and has not been the highest either. Back in June, someone paid about $5.2 million in fees for two transactions of about $82k.

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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

Fidelity Digital Asset Services to Custody Crypto Investments for High Net Worth Individuals In Asia

  • Digital Assets Custodian FDAS Expands Into Asia
  • Targeting High Net Worth Crypto Investors With A New Partnership

Fidelity Digital Assets Service, one of the largest financial corporations dealing in Bitcoin, announced a partnership with Stack Funds, a Singapore-based fintech startup, to provide digital assets custody to its customers across Asia, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The partnership targets to offer a secure and accessible crypto custodial service to the high net worth individuals and families across Asia aiming to fill the high demand for such services in the region.

Speaking on the partnership, Christopher Tyrer, head at Fidelity Digital Assets Service in Europe said,

“There is a critical need for platforms which have a deep understanding of what local and regional investors are looking for” that “has historically been lacking in the digital asset space.”

Stack Fund is a leading provider of cryptocurrency and digital assets index funds in Asia. The firm aims to capture more market share across the region with the latest partnership with Fidelity. Customers’ assets and funds will be audited monthly and also receive unique protection programs such as insurance coverage and offer weekly contributions and redemptions.

Following its launch in 2018, Fidelity Investments crypto wing, FDAS, the firm has grown as one of the largest traditional finance custodians of digital assets. The latest move to Asia aims to offer risk mitigation and attract high net worth individuals and families to digital assets, Michael Collett, Stack’s co-founder said.

Collett aims at turning the tide of Bitcoin adoption, which he explains has not been on the explosive tide despite the skyrocketing prices currently. He further said,

“This year has been tough as far as getting people into Bitcoin because it didn’t cover itself with glory in the market downturn. [But] “since the dark-dark days of March we’ve had inquiries pick up again.”

Over the past months, however, a number of institutions and high net worth individuals have entered the crypto space. MicroStrategy’s CEO, Michael Saylor recently announced he personally held over $253 million in Bitcoin announcing the firm wants to buy more Bitcoin. Notwithstanding, PayPal, a global payments firm announced the addition of crypto purchases – opening a gateway to digital assets to over 300 million customers.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Institutional Asset Manager, Stone Ridge, Buys 10,000 Bitcoin as its Treasury Reserve Asset

The $10 billion institutional asset manager has bought 10k BTC worth $115 million as its “primary treasury reserve asset.”

Publicly-traded MicroStrategy first started the narrative (twice), then last week, Jack Dorsey’s Square bought $50 million Bitcoin, representing 1% of company assets.

Already 15 public companies have bitcoin in their Treasuries, and several small businesses like Tahini and Snappa have converted their US dollars in the balance sheet with the leading digital asset.

Now, Stone Ridge Holdings Group has jumped on the BTC as a reserve asset train. The investment was based on the thesis that “the long term growth of an open-source monetary system—in assets like bitcoin,” co-founder Robert Gutmann told Forbes.

Its crypto subsidiary NYDIG also announced on Tuesday that it had raised $50 million in funding led by VC fund FinTech Collective along with Bessemer Ventures and Ribbit capital.

NYDIG, which offers prime brokerage and custody services to institutional customers, is among the handful of companies that have obtained New York state’s BitLicense.

Gutmann, who has taken over as co-founder and CEO of NYDIG, also shared that they are seeing “pretty dramatic acceleration in the count of institutional investors who want to participate in the market since March of this year.”

The unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus post-COVID-19 pandemic, according to him, will drive more and more people to hedge their investment portfolio with digital assets.

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Author: AnTy

‘Bullish Divergence’ for SNX; Nearly 80% of Synthetix’s Native Token is Locked as Collateral

Synthetix currently has about $600 million worth of crypto deposit locked, which is in decline since hitting the record $1 billion on Sept. 2nd, as per DeFi Pulse.

One of the top DeFi protocols, Synthetix, is a synthetic asset issuance and trading protocol that tracks real-world assets like crypto, fiat, and stocks and uses Chainlink’s oracle for price feed.

Launched on mainnet earlier last year, the protocol has a native token called SNX, which can be locked as collateral along with ETH to mint Synths, which are tradeable ERC20 tokens. Token holders also get the transaction fees generated from Synths being exchanged on Synthetix’s non-custodial DEX.

Ranked 40th as per market cap of $408 million, SNX currently trades at $4.10 in green. While up 500% YTD, the token has lost about 35% of its value in the past month.

But unlike the price, the address activity is holding up nicely with DAA sitting “well above its expected historical levels.”

“When price levels move down, but address activity stays high, this is something we tout as a bullish divergence,” states data provider Santiment.

So Little to Accumulate

With nearly 80% of SNX locked as collateral for minting synths like sUSD, only a small percentage of SNX supply is left for accumulation.

A meager, 3.8% of all SNX is available on crypto exchanges viz. Binance, Uniswap, Poloniex, and Kucoin.

For large players, the over-the-counter (OTC) market, which tends to be opaque, is the place to get their bid filled without incurring much slippage. Here, market participants make use of Airswap and Deversifi’s smart contracts to execute OTC deals.

Over the last six months, 4,520,232 SNX, 3.78% of the circulating SNX supply, worth over $21 million have been swapped through Airswap. During this period, July was the busiest month with 11 trades conducted.

It was also in that month that the leading spot exchange Binance listed SNX, which @Neuros12 says “likely to weigh negatively on future OTC activity for SNX.” With more than 5 million SNX in its wallet, Binance is the largest SNX holder among the centralized and decentralized exchanges.

Keep on Building

The protocol is currently preparing for a technical release called The Fomalhaut that includes Ether collateral enable ETH holders to mint sUSD when sUSD is trading above $1 to help reduce the premium and opening the possibility of sUSD borrowing against BTC tokens such as renBTC and tBTC in future.

Exchange rates aggregator V3 and migrating iETH rewards to the protocol, decrease to 0 SNX per week are also part of it. The Synthetix team continues to build and become an integral part of the DeFi ecosystem.

Amidst the sky-high Ether gas fees, there are also plans to implement layer2 solutions to scale the Ethereum network, which has gotten congested due to DeFi’s speculative frenzy.

“Everyone priced out of staking SNX due to high gas prices is about to be unpriced out,” tweeted Synthetix founder Kain Warwick.

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Author: AnTy

US Household Net Worth Rises to a Record $119 Trillion Level in Q2

The net worth of American households and non-profit organizations surged in the second quarter to the highest level ever, thanks to the rebound in stocks and fiscal stimulus following a record drop in the previous quarter.

Household net worth increased by 6.8%, or $7.6 trillion, to a record $118.96 trillion, according to a Federal Reserve report. This was the largest quarterly gain since 1952. This is also about $380 billion more than the net worth at the end of 2019.

This increase came despite a record drop of $7 trillion in the previous three months, quarter first, caused by an economic shock from the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the same period, the level of federal government borrowing also soared as lawmakers responded with massive fiscal relief. Additionally, the value of equities increased $5.7 trillion from the prior quarter, while real estate advanced about $458 billion.

In the first quarter, the pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns sent the economy into a recession, which was the deepest since the 1940s. This resulted in a record decline in the household net worth in the first quarter of 2020.

Since then, the economy has been seeing a gradual recovery. Not to mention, the S&P 500’s quick recovery to pre-pandemic levels in mid-August and fresh highs this month. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained about 1.5% away from its February peak, Nasdaq jumped 23% higher than the previous ATH.

However, not every American benefited from this growth, as about 45% of the US population doesn’t own equities, according to a June 2020 survey from Gallup.

In the second quarter, in comparison, Bitcoin recorded over 42% returns.

The housing sector also experienced a V-shaped recovery as pent-up demand and record-low mortgage rates boosted sales, but again, one-third of households don’t own a home.

Consumer credit excluding mortgage debt decreased $69 billion during the pandemic, for the first time in four years.

Low-interest rates that the Fed has announced to keep near-zero through 2023, meanwhile bolstered corporate borrowing during this period. While firms’ debt increased at an annualized rate of 14%, federal debt outstanding swelled at a rate of 58.9%.

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Author: AnTy