For crypto exchanges like Binance growth in 2020 dependent on select markets

The restricted performance of the crypto market in the second quarter of 2020, did not come as a surprise to its users. The consolidation phase in June was the main reason for this blow followed by the user sentiment. However, prominent exchanges believed that the upcoming quarter and the second half of 2020 could provide rapid growth for the crypto market.

As the price of the largest cryptocurrency, Bitcoin breaks away from the kangaroo market, the consolidation phase might note an end. At press time Bitcoin has a trading value of $11,158 and a 24-hour trading volume of $7.1 billion.

As volatility snuck back in, highlighted a ‘Greedy’ market, at press time, which was better than ‘Extreme Greed’ that was indicated yesterday. As the sentiment in the market stabilizes, it was important to identify prominent exchanges and key sources of users based on countries.

According to the data collected by TokenInsight, webpage popularity represented professional users’ attitudes towards the exchange. Thus, if an exchange had a higher number of independent visitors [UV] it meant that professional users were relatively recognized by the exchange.

As per the chart above, Binance, Coinbase Pro, OKEx, ZB, and Kraken have obtained 77% of independent visitors from key exchanges. This may be indicative of a high user base and a higher proportion of professional users.

As the prominent exchanges were known, they could be linked with the user source analysis, which suggested the value of orders of quarterly visitors to an exchange. TokenInsight’s data suggested that the United States, Ukraine, Russia, the United Kingdom, and China were the key markets for most prominent exchanges.

As per the data highlighted by the above chart, Coinbase Pro and OKEx had a market share of 12.493 million and 8.186 million orders, respectively. Coinbase Pro’s primary user source was in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom. Whereas,  OKEx saw its major traffic from Ukraine, followed by China.

As per the analysis, no other single country or region could acquire 2 million orders of quarterly visitors to the exchange. Apart from the above mentioned five countries, the remaining single geographic market shares were below 5%. Thus, the main driver for the rapid growth in the second half of 2020 could be expected by users from these five countries on the key exchanges.

Even though the market sentiment may bring about small-scale positive changes, other problems like false transactions, capital security, and limited incremental users remain unsolved and would have to be resolved for crypto to usher in real market dynamics.


writen by Namrata Shukla


Guizhou China Launches Blockchain-powered Int’l Trading Platform

Another Chinese province reported that it is about to launch a blockchain-powered cross-border financial service platform.

Per Haiwainet, Guizhou Province, in China’s mountainous southwest, will launch the initiative this month.

The province’s foreign exchange administrator is the platform’s mastermind. The administrator stated that it has been working on the project with the Guizhou branches of state-owned banking giants, including policy bank the Export-Import Bank of China.

The province said the platform will allow “private, small, medium and micro businesses” support when making cross-border transactions by providing faster, more effective, paper-free financing for foreign trade deals.

Smaller companies typically need to rely on banks to help with the financing their international trade deals. They also need to apply for customs clearance. This typically involves a long, drawn-out process – much of which is paper-based and involves face-to-face contact.

The operators of similar initiatives in other Chinese provinces said that in many cases, they have managed to cut down month-long processes to seven days or under.

Guizhou said that the move will also help cut down on fraudulent and error-ridden financing practices, with greater transparency and traceability.

The province’s population is around 35 million, and it has become the focus of a massive investment boost in recent years. In 2017, its provincial governor unveiled plans to construct 10,000km of motorways, 600km of canals, and 4,000km of high-speed railways – as well as 17 airports.

Guizhou also has thriving mining and agricultural sectors, and exports coal, timber, and tobacco.


written by Tim Alper


Bitcoin balance on exchanges may soon see a resurgence

It has been a year of trends for Bitcoin and one of the most well-documented ones is the trend of more Bitcoin leaving exchanges than entering it. Since the start of the year, more specifically since March, over 92,000 BTC has moved out of exchanges.

A recent report had suggested that some amount of Bitcoin were starting to come back into the exchanges but recent data from Glassnode suggested that the Bitcoin balance on platforms was still stable.

According to the Glassnode’s tweet, Bitcoin’s current price explosion did not have a significant effect in terms of large-scale deposits of funds into exchanges. It said,

“So far, the Bitcoin balance on exchanges remains stable – at around 14.5% of the circulating BTC supply.”

Recent reports also cited that Bitcoin reached an 18-monthly low in terms of BTC balances on exchanges and recently, Shapeshift exchange released its self-custody app, where the users do not have to share their private keys with any third party domain.

However, the situation is most likely to undergo a trend reversal over the next few months.

Why did Bitcoin exit exchanges in the first place?

Although there wasn’t any clear cut reason, many suggested that a sentiment of distrust attached to exchanges ran like wildfire after the March Crash. Binance and Coinbase incurred less exiting Bitcoins but other exchanges faced major wrath, especially BitMEX.

However, it is important to remember that Bitcoin alongside the larger financial market was facing an economic collapse amidst the pandemic. With global lockdown a reality, many speculated that it was safer to keep Bitcoin under self-custody rather than with exchanges.

With the financial ecosystem improving, it is possible that users saw the benefit of storing Bitcoins in exchanges again.

With BitMEX’s Open-Interest improving over the past week, the largest derivatives platform image was recovering as well, which meant that users were ready to let go of the past.

Therefore, it seems like a matter of time before Bitcoins are swarming back into the exchanges, with the general sentiment becoming strongly positive over the past month.

written by Biraajmaan Tamuly





Will Bitcoin Offer Currency Freedom Even After Mass Adaptation?

Will Bitcoin Offer Currency Freedom Even After Mass Adaptation?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency which enables the transaction of money without involving the middlemen It can be used to do

various transactions like booking flight tickets, shopping for multiple goods, and purchasing stocks. Numerous people understand Bitcoin as the speculative type of investment to transact online. It is a superior form of currency as it cannot be censored, confiscated, or inflated. However, there are numerous apprehensions in the minds of the people whether Bitcoin will be able to be the king of cryptocurrency even after mass adaptation. The price of Bitcoin was $ 3500 during the starting of the year and increased to around $10,000 this summer. It drastically crashed back to $7,000 due to the tension over whether Facebook’s planned cryptocurrency would cause the regulators and central bank to legal action against the cryptocurrency.

Do you think Bitcoin will rule even after the mass adoption?

In the recent tweet, Layah Heilpern asked, “Will Bitcoin dominate the crypto market even after the mass adoption?” Well, there are many who believe that Bitcoin could hit $100,000 per Bitcoin during the next two years, and it may reach $500,000 per Bitcoin by the year 2030. The possible reasons to believe that Bitcoin would remain the king of cryptocurrency due to its simple network and advanced technical innovations. The lightning network of Bitcoin appears to reduce its popularity in the market. But to counter this, they have developed the second-layer protocol, which offers cheaper and faster payments and retains the level of decentralization in the market. The other cryptocurrency wallets have different augmentation on the top of the wallet to make it more attractive. Whereas, in the real market, people prefer to purchase and hold Bitcoin than any other cryptocurrency because there is a digital store of value. And also, to give tough competition to the other cryptocurrency wallets, Bitcoin appears to enhance the liquid sidechain and marginal improvements and enhanced privacy.

Bitcoin vs. traditional assets: Who will win? 

While comparing the value of gold with Bitcoin over an extended period, it has been found that even though Bitcoin’s value will surpass the market cap for gold in the near future. However, gold has always been a superior store of value for different investment portfolios.Furthermore, the price of Bitcoin is not only volatile but also unpredictable. The price of Bitcoin seems to be altered by numerous real-world cases and scenarios like a mass adaptation. Still, the price of gold is affected by a change in the value of dollars in the international market, and for this reason, the gold prices are not volatile.

When Bitcoin is compared to other assets like stocks and bonds, it has been found that Bitcoin can give a higher return. It can significantly save the tax loss a person would suffer when they invest their money in stocks or bonds. However, the price volatility of Bitcoin makes it less popular when compared to the other assets. The price of Bitcoin would drastically fall due to external factors like mass adaptation, supply, and demand. Whereas the prices for the stocks and bonds would not fall drastically due to any changes in the market, its prices usually decrease by 0.5–3 %. However, if you are willing to invest in cryptocurrencies to gain more profit, then, is the one-stop destination for your investment needs. For further information, please visit the website.

Article Produced By

David Cox


Bitcoin: Steps to next bull run not as simple as in 2017

With Bitcoin surging past $10,000 for the first time in two months and marking its first real big-money move since the halving, is the 2020 bull run here? Well, it’s still too early to say, and global markets are dealing with a host of challenges, but for Bitcoin to sustain this breakout and continue on, everyone has a part to play.

The steps to a bull run aren’t quite as simple as they were in 2017. Three years ago, when Bitcoin rose from $1,000 to just short of $20,000, what fueled the run came from both big-pocketed hedge funds and everyday investors. In short, institutional investors saw a green light with Bitcoin Futures approved by the Commodity and Futures Trading Commission [CFTC] and retail investors jumped on the price parade. This time, the market is quite different. 

Bitcoin in 2020 is not just an outlier market, but one comparable, if not in value, in correlation, or lack thereof, to commodities and equities. Institutional interest and a plethora of retail exchanges have allowed all sorts of investors to either jump in on the price rally, like we saw last week, or liquidate in a cash-crunch as we saw in March. Either way, both facets of the market have joined in, and going forward, both facets are crucial if the next ATH is to be seen.  

Speaking to AMBCrypto, Nick from Ecoinmetrics said that a bull run will occur broadly in two steps, adding that each of these steps will have a primary customer group driving the rally, and a secondary one hanging back, providing momentum. Their roles will switch with a succession of steps, thereby allowing both retail and institutional players to be in the driving seat. It should also be noted that these remarks were made on 23 July, on the eve of Bitcoin’s move over $9,500. 

First comes the run from $10,000 to $20,000, with the former target already met courtesy of yesterday’s pump. This phase will be driven by hedge funds and family offices, said the Ecoinmetrics analyst. He calls this the “Paul Tudor Jones thesis” after the hedge fund manager who revealed he is long on Bitcoin in May 2020 when Bitcoin recovered all of its lost value in two months.

Nick went on to say that this thesis will be a mix of past-FOMO, present momentum, and a hunger for future profits,

“While we stay below the all-time-high BTC price it would mostly be a momentum play by professional investors. These people missed previous opportunities and want in on the action. That’s why they are accumulating now.”

Once the 2017-ATH is surpassed, retail investors will get in on the move, witnessing the early-profits eaten up by professional investors. As mainstream media gives Bitcoin the airtime following the move past $20,000, a bout of retail FOMO will hit the market, pushing the price higher and higher. 

While on the face of it this would mimic the 2017-rally, the difference lies in narrative and appeal, said Nick. Bitcoin’s claim to retail investors of being digital gold “is much stronger,” and while the Federal Reserve continues to print more and more money, which is likely given the current economic situation, the case of Bitcoin as a hedge against rising inflation will be looked at favorably, even by the average Joe. He concluded,

“People can point out at the Fed printing record amounts of money. They can point out to how the stock market is just propped up by Central Banks interventions. They can see that the global economy is not doing well and that using Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation has merits.”

This may just be a theory, but its core elements are present. Narrative and environment-wise, Bitcoin is being seen as an investment and economic crisis hedge. Now, all that’s left for a bull run is for investors to play their part.


written by Aakash Athawaysa



How Billion-Dollar Crypto Scams Lure Victims

How Billion-Dollar Crypto Scams Lure Victims

In the past week, reports emerged that some key members of the Onecoin scam were found dead in Mexico.

According to reports, the two Oscar Brito Ibarra and Ignacio Ibarra may have been kidnapped and murdered but the motives behind their murder are unclear.

Onecoin is one of the biggest cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes that creamed off billions from victims even as reports emerged that it was a scam. has extensively covered the story of Onecoin.

While increasing awareness about cryptocurrencies helps to reduce the chances of people falling for scams, it seems this alone may not be enough.

Sophisticated criminals are still able to package scams that will deceive even the smartest investors or individuals that should “know better.”

Besides Onecoin, there a few more crypto scams that took billions from victims. This article looks at some of the biggest crypto Ponzi schemes and how they lured millions without getting caught.


Billion-dollar crypto scams

In 2019 authorities in China apprehended individuals behind Plus Token as they took down one of the biggest crypto Ponzi schemes seen in Asia yet. Reports in the Chinese media suggest Plus Token promoters may have defrauded as much as $3 billion from unsuspecting investors.

A blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis corroborates the media reports although it settles for $2 billion as the total amount stolen. Chainalysis claims it tracked a total of about 180,000 bitcoin, 6,400,000 ethereum, 111,000 tether, and 53 omisego.

Either figure still makes Plus Token one of the biggest crypto scam to date. Although the Ponzi outfit exit scammed, some of the stolen funds are still stationed in wallets associated with the scheme, presumably waiting to be cashed out.

In June, reports surfaced that funds associated with Plus Token were moving to exchanges.

Another billion-dollar scam that stole funds from investors is Bitconnect. It is said that in just over a year, the scam had managed to propel itself from an obscure ICO to a crypto project valued at $2.6 billion.

Despite this, Bitconnect still had content with the ignominy of being labeled a scam even at its heyday. Still, promoters undeterred went on to create a media platform to counter negative stories that were circulating.

Finally, after facing relentless media scrutiny as well as growing pressure from regulators, Bitconnect abruptly shut down in January 2018. It blamed the “bad press” for its troubles. Investors lost savings.


Common methods used by scammers

The three billion dollar scams used methods commonly employed by typical large scale Ponzi schemes. Firstly, criminals prey on two inherent human flaws, greed, and lust for “easy” money.

For example, Bitconnect managed to keep new investors coming on board because it promised a rate of return of 0.25% per day.

While this promise might look surreal, it is also true that investors like “passive incomes” that reward with a high return on equity. Many did join and became affiliates of Bitconnect.

Ordinarily, a potential investor must conduct a due diligence exercise and the necessary research before committing to investing.

So while it may seem logical to invest in something that one understands, the reality is scammers count on people not doing any research.

Scammers know that the promise of a “significant return” is enough to attract hordes of new investors. Logic is usually sacrificed.


In-person meetups and crypto education campaigns

Meanwhile, the Plus Token scam, which also used similar tactics to seduce millions of unsuspecting investors, went a step further.

According to a report by Chainalysis, the scam’s ringleaders went the extra mile in their efforts to portray the scam as a legitimate investment business.

For example, Plus Token hosted several in-person meet-ups educating attendees on the company and cryptocurrency as a whole. It also took out ads in supermarkets and other physical spaces.

The Plus Token app itself was another marketing channel.

Perhaps the most brazen act by one member of the Plus Token team has to be the use of photos that feature Prince Charles of England, to bolster the public perception of the scam.

The use of prominent figures is indeed a growing tactic used by other scammers to woo new investors. The recent Twitter donation scam used a tactic known as trust trading to steal funds from unsuspecting individuals.

Supporting the notion that scammers prey on the lure of “high returns and zero risks” is Dmytro Volkov, CTO at

The lure of exceptionally high returns is enough to make investors ignore any negative reports about an investment opportunity they may have heard. In fact, it matters little that the organization in question has been flagged by regulators. As long as it promises big, investors will not be concerned.

Volkov gives an example of Onecoin which appears to be active despite the high profile arrests and court cases that made global headlines.

“Sometimes people even take risks deliberately, despite realizing that there is a danger of dealing with scammers. This is because the potential profit, as they see it, is worth it,” Volkov points out.


Aggressive recruitment of new affiliates

Multilevel marketing (MLM) is another strategy that is common with the three giant Ponzi schemes.

Marketers will shill the business opportunity and aggressively recruit new affiliates. Lies and misrepresentations are employed to entice investors to join. Social media channels are also used to recruit new affiliates.

Incoming affiliates are heavily encouraged to recruit soft targets like friends or family members.

That is how Aniekan Fyneface, crypto, and blockchain blogger from Nigeria, joined an infamous Ponzi scheme. Fyneface says he lost all his investment when the MMM Ponzi scheme collapsed in Nigeria.

Fyneface explains that in times of economic recessions, Ponzi schemes such as MMM and Onecoin were seen as legitimate income sources by many Nigerians. This perhaps explains the high number of people that still join Ponzi scams in that country.

However, Fyneface is also convinced that greed is a factor.


Associating legitimate cryptos with scams

In the meantime, Fyneface reveals another tactic employed by MMM scammers to lure unsuspecting victims.

“It is important to note that as bad as MMM was in Nigeria, it gave me and many Nigerians our first exposure to bitcoin. People were able to provide help with not only the Nigeria Naira but they could this with bitcoin which is denominated in US dollars,” explains Fyneface.

Associating scams with financial innovations helps to mask any telltale signs that might give away the con. MMM’s association with bitcoin helped to keep the scam going much longer.

Unless investors start learning these common tactics there will be no shortage of new scam victims.

What other methods do scammers use to lure new victims? Tell us your views in the comments section below.


Written by Terence Zimwara


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Cardano ADA parent is making beef steaks more sustainable with blockchain

Cardano (ADA) parent is making beef steaks more sustainable with blockchain

Cardano (ADA) parent IOHK announced a partnership yesterday with Wyoming-based BeefChain. The firms will build a solution for the traceability and security of beef products.

Tracing beef with blockchain

Jerry Fragiskatos, the chief commercial officer at IOHK, announced the partnership at the Cardano virtual conference held Wednesday. He said the effort will power ranchers to tackle food security and safety issues in the billion-dollar industry.

BeefChain program manager and Wyoming State Representative Tyler Lindholm agreed with the comments, stating the blockchain-powered solution will improve food safety and recalls. Supply chain concerns will, in the process, also be benefited.

The project will approach a “farm-to-fork” method. That means the beef products will be tagged and traced right from the farms they come from, to the supply chain, to the logistics in between, and finally, to the user’s table.

Such a method would allow firms to use BeefChain’s solutions to pinpoint a bad batch or even a fraudulent product that could be inferior (or even another meat).

Lindholm pointed out retail giants like Walmart are already running pilot projects using blockchain technology to improve the accountability of its store’s products. The firm has transitioned from its decades-old tracing solution to a blockchain alternative — which brings with it speed and immutability of data.

Meanwhile, BeefChain President Steven Lupien remarked about IOHK in the conference:

“Our partnership with IOHK brings state-of-the-art technology to ranchers […] We are not technologists [and] IOHK is providing the backbone to our system and it is secured, transparent, and scalable. IOHK has provided everything we needed and more.”

According to Lupien, blockchain utilization in the ranching industry offers benefits across certification, traceability, and consumer engagement use cases among others.

With the IOHK partnership, it shall now certify producers with a process verified program (PVP); featuring quality assurance metrics like grass-fed and zero hormone treatment among other factors.

Blockchains for trust in food sources

The world loves its steaks. But beef supply has, in recent years, being met with criticism ranging from unsustainable practices and the lack of accountability. Similar concerns have been made for Norwegian Salmon, as CryptoSlate earlier reported.

For both these issues, the blockchain has been deployed as a solution. Traceability of food sources remains a major issue in the world — with counterfeits and below-par products reportedly thronging thousands of grocery stores.

The cost is no bar. Consumers are ready to pay a premium for the real deal, as per an IBM Blockchain survey. This includes brands following “sustainable” practices, which have been stressed by climate change activists fiercely in recent years.

Meanwhile, bringing beef to a blockchain is not new. In May, an Australian blockchain startup AgLive said it was working with local authorities to authenticate the quality of the country’s famed beef products in exports to China and other markets.

AgLive director Paul Ryan noted at the time:

“We are now living in a world where food fraud and related health risks are becoming a growing problem (…), so we must work together to restore consumer trust.”

We never know; quality steaks could end up being the killer app for blockchain.

Article written by Shaurya Malwa
Analyst @ CryptoSlate



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Steve Wozniak Sues Youtube Google for Promoting Bitcoin Giveaway Scam Youtube Denies Fault

Steve Wozniak Sues Youtube, Google for Promoting Bitcoin Giveaway Scam — Youtube Denies Fault

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and 17 other victims have sued Youtube and Google for allowing, promoting, and profiting from bitcoin giveaway scams. However, Youtube insists that it is not at fault for scammers using its video-sharing platform for cryptocurrency giveaway scams and other fraudulent schemes.

Steve Wozniak and 17 Victims Take Youtube and Google to Court Over Bitcoin Giveaway Scam

Steve Wozniak and 17 other fraud victims have sued Youtube and its parent company, Google, over a bitcoin giveaway scam that has persisted on the popular video-sharing platform for many months. According to Tuesday’s filing with the Superior Court of the State of California in San Mateo County, the plaintiffs have demanded a jury trial.

Wozniak says Youtube and Google have allowed scammers to use his name and likeness to promote a fraudulent bitcoin giveaway for months, adding that the two companies have repeatedly ignored his requests to remove the scam videos. Twitter, on the other hand, took down similar bitcoin giveaway tweets the same day they were posted during the great hack that saw many high-profile accounts asking people to send them bitcoin, promising to double any amount sent.

According to the court filing:

Defendants [Youtube and Google] significantly harmed Wozniak and Youtube users by knowingly allowing the bitcoin giveaway scam to thrive, promoting the scam, profiting from the scam, and failing to warn users.

Some of the bitcoin giveaway scam videos on Youtube claiming that Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is giving away 5000 BTC and will double your bitcoin sent to him. Source: court document

The plaintiffs say that Google and Youtube “knew about the bitcoin giveaway scam because Wozniak, countless other scam victims, Youtube users, and media articles” informed them about “every aspect of the scam.”

While the two companies have the means to stop the scam videos on Youtube and warn users about them, the court document states that they “have not done so; instead, defendants materially contribute to the scam by failing to timely respond, promoting the scam, and selling targeted ads for the scam.” As a result, the plaintiffs have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bitcoin giveaway scam, the court document notes.

The plaintiffs are asking the court to order Youtube and Google to immediately remove the fraudulent videos and warn users about the bitcoin giveaway scam. They are also seeking compensatory and punitive damages.

Youtube Insists It’s Not at Fault

Wozniak and the 17 victims are not the only people who sued Youtube recently over crypto giveaway scams. Ripple Labs Inc. sued the company in April for failing to stop scammers from posting about fraudulent cryptocurrency giveaways that asked viewers to send XRP to a scam address. In addition to swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims, Ripple alleges the scam harmed its brand and the image of its CEO, Bradley Garlinghouse.

However, Youtube has argued that it is not at fault and not liable for scammers using its platform. The company filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday to dismiss Ripple’s lawsuit.

Youtube cited Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which “bars claims lodged against website operators for their editorial functions, such as the posting of comments concerning third-party posts, so long as those comments are not themselves actionable.” The company insists that according to this law, computer services should not be treated as the publisher or speaker of other providers’ content.

Ripple also alleges:

Youtube granted a verification badge to one of the hacked channels and also profited from the scams by ‘knowingly selling’ paid ads on behalf of the fraudsters.

In its motion, Youtube argued that those badges did not change the third-party content into material it created or developed, therefore its “unwitting verification” of the scam account was not itself unlawful. Meanwhile, a Youtube spokesperson maintains: “We take abuse of our platform seriously and take action quickly when we detect violations.”

Many scam videos and ads are regularly found on Youtube. recently reported on a number of bitcoin giveaway scams, such as those claiming that Spacex and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and others are giving away bitcoin. The Elon Musk bitcoin giveaway scam has been particularly successful, having raked in millions of dollars already.

Article written by Kevin Helms


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As Analytics And Privacy Efforts Clash Which Path Will Bitcoin Take?

As Analytics And Privacy Efforts Clash, Which Path Will Bitcoin Take?

Two pieces of Bitcoin news this week seemed to point toward conflicting trends that are central to this era of the technology. As Bitcoin becomes more popular, regulators are seeking ways to monitor its use while, at the same time, more development and user effort is being pointed toward obscuring that use. It’s a battle that is likely to escalate for some time, and Bitcoiners are optimistic that their privacy efforts will ultimately stay one step ahead of the gatekeepers.

Coinbase Is Giving Blockchain Analytics Tools To The U.S. Secret Service 

With some 35 million users and more than $7 billion in custody, Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world. Established in 2012 with a mission to offer bitcoin investment more widely than ever to that point, it also enjoyed a special prominence among new bitcoin investors thanks to its early entry in the space and relative ease of use — at least until the exchange market got a little more crowded.

It would be hard to call the exchange popular among Bitcoiners at this point. Its collection of user KYC data, listing of altcoins, and controversial acquisition of blockchain analytics firm Neutrino in July 2019 have led some prominent voices in the space to speak out against it.

Still, a public record that surfaced this week indicating that Coinbase is providing blockchain analytics software to the U.S. Secret Service signaled a surprisingly non-Bitcoin move from the exchange. The contract shows that the Secret Service granted a $183,750, four-year contract to Coinbase, effective in May 2020 and running until May 2024, to access its Coinbase Analytics software. It’s been rumored that Coinbase has been seeking such a contract ever since it acquired Neutrino and the exchange has said that Coinbase Analytics is separated from its internal data and that it’s fully sourced from what’s already publicly available. Plus, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has been vocal about defending it.

But this public record now makes it official: the very gatekeepers that many Bitcoin users seek freedom from are in business with one of the space’s largest exchanges.

Meanwhile, Darknet Transfers And Mixing Are Surging

It seems notable that, as news of Coinbase’s deal with the devil surfaced, so did a report that darknet bitcoin activity grew in the first quarter of 2020.

According to Crystal Blockchain, a blockchain analytics service developed by Bitfury, “the amount of bitcoin sent to mixers by darknet entities rose significantly this year — from 790 total bitcoin in Q1 2019 to 7,946 bitcoin in Q1 2020. The same growth was also observed in USD — an increase from $3m in Q1 2019 to $67m in Q1 2020. This indicates a rapid adoption of crypto mixing services by darknet entities.”

Bitcoin mixers are software or services that allow users to mix their bitcoin with others, thus obscuring where the bitcoin has come from, what it has previously been used for and, potentially, whether it was ever provided as payment for illegal services. Mixing has emerged as one of the premier methods for combating the rise in blockchain analytics development that is meant to track the use of bitcoin and flag any illegal activity. 

Though the report notes that the amount of BTC transferred between darknet entities declined in the first quarter of 2020, the value of that BTC grew by 65 percent — and not just because the price of bitcoin went up.

“If we consider the amounts in USD, we see that darknet entities received and sent an increased amount of money — from $384m in Q1 2019 to $411m in Q1 2020,” per the report. “This is partly explained by the growing capitalization of bitcoin, as well as further mass adoption of bitcoin. As it becomes increasingly easier to use cryptocurrency, the popularity of this payment method is steadily increasing.”

It should be no surprise that the increasing ease of use for bitcoin is leading to more darknet activity that leverages it. But it also seems that, despite the development and spread of blockchain analytics tools, users are going to find ways to leverage bitcoin in obscured ways.

In many ways, Bitcoin has moved far beyond the early narratives that it is simply “dark web drug money.” But as it becomes better recognized by mainstream investors and institutions, this ongoing battle between those who want to track its use and those who want to continue to enjoy its pseudonymous freedoms will rage.


Peter Chawaga is a senior editor at Bitcoin Magazine. He HODLs BTC.


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Ethereum Developer Challenges Hackers to Break ETH2 Testnets Collect 10k Reward

Ethereum Developer Challenges Hackers to Break ETH2 Testnets; Collect $10k Reward

The testnets are already up and running, and Ethereum is expecting to add thousands of node validators to keep the network decentralized.

Danny Ryan, one of the core developers of the Ethereum developer community, has challenged white hat hackers to hack into a pair of ETH2 testnets.

Ethereum's most significant upgrade since its inception where the Ethereum mainnet will transition from Proof-of-Work (PoW) based mining consensus to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and has been dubbed Ethereum 2.0. The transition from Ethereum to Ethereum 2.0 will happen in phases through a series of hard forks.

While there is much debate on when ETH2 will launch, the testnets are already up and running, and Ethereum is expecting to add thousands of node validators to keep the network decentralized. Ethereum 2.0 is also believed to help Ethereum's current struggle with scalability and transaction processing. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has claimed that the network would be able to process thousands of transactions per second. Ryan tweeted the invitation with a link to a Github page with the details and parameters of the challenge. He wrote:

“We welcome white hats to bring down the two beta-0 attacknets for reward and fame 🙂
Check out the new “attacknets” channel on the eth r&d discord for discussion.”


What is The Target For White Hat Hackers?

The target for the “attacknets” are two miniature versions of ETH2 clients, namely Lighthouse and Prysm, which have been designed to access the ETH 2.0 network. However, unlike mainstream clients, which comprise thousands of nodes, these attacknets miniature clients would have only four nodes.

The hackers are required to prevent blocks from confirming transactions and double-spending. These white hat hackers would be required to create a 51% attack scenario, which is what a quality blockchain was designed to prevent.

Many blockchain networks have hundreds of validators, but ETH 2.0 has set a target of 16,000 validators in the beginning and then expand it to hundreds of thousands of validators with time to keep it as decentralized as possible.

Writtten by HANK KLINGER
Hank Klinger has been working online for seven years now. He has written for several national companies. Hank has been a part of our team for over three years, reviewing ICOs, new cryptocurrencies and helping us keep up to date with industry news. His primary knowledge is in marketing, sales, and advertising, and he uses that knowledge to research and pick out reliable sources of information to use as a basis for his writing.


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