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Can Bitcoin Be Hacked?

Bitcoin has enjoyed unrivalled growth in the past two years and continues to attract investors from all corners of the globe. After hitting record highs of more than $60,000 earlier in the year, it then experienced a slide to under $30,000 but has shown fantastic recovery with its value sitting at just over $40,000 at the time of writing.

With all this attention from investors comes a lot of questions, a popular one of which is “Can Bitcoin be Hacked?” It’s understandable that investors, especially new ones, may be nervous about investing money into a digital asset that is inherently volatile. The good news is that Bitcoin is considered hack proof due to its innovative technology.

Bitcoin’s ecosystem

Bitcoin’s network is incredibly difficult to hack due to the blockchain technology that it is built on. Unlike traditional ledgers, Bitcoin’s blockchain is distributed which means that data is not stored on a central server but rather across a massive network of computers that constantly verify and check that all records are accurate.

All Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a digital ledger referred to as a blockchain, and it uses cryptography to secure all transactions on the network, making it almost impossible to breach. If hackers wanted to breach the system, they would have to own or control 51% of the network’s computing power, no mean feat for would-be thieves.

How do hackers steal Bitcoin?

For a hacker to steal Bitcoin, they would need to breach a large number of servers on the network to obtain information. As unlikely as a breach may be, hackers who gain access to 51% or more of  the Bitcoin networks’ computing power (also called hashrate) may be able to mine blocks quicker than the rest of the remaining network combined, allowing them to insert malicious records in the blockchain. Achieving a 51% breach is extremely costly to perform as hackers would need an incredible amount of computing power to succeed with their plans.

While the blockchain network itself may be difficult to breach, hackers typically try their luck on interfaces, such as crypto wallets, where cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are stored. These interfaces appear to be more vulnerable and hackers find creative ways to gain access to investor’s Bitcoin. While massive amounts of time and investment has gone into improving the security of wallets, they hackers work equally as hard to find ways to beat the system.

Phishing scams are very popular and are usually found in emails where investors give hackers access to their wallets unknowingly. These emails usually direct investors to fake websites that mirror the authentic ones, and fool users into entering their details to login.

SMS verification is another way that hackers attempt to access Bitcoin as they try to intercept SMS’s that come as part of the two-factor authentication process. These are usually stolen through wiretapping, SIM cloning or voice phishing where the hackers try to get details to access a crypto wallet.

To transact with a crypto wallet, investors need to have access to a Bitcoin public and private key. The user holds onto the private key which is used to digitally sign and thus authorize transactions. Public keys, which can be shared, are then used to validate the transaction and it’s signature.

Hackers try their level best to get these keys to gain access to crypto wallets through many creative methods. These include browser extensions, applications with spell checkers, and exploiting common vulnerabilities within systems.

Crypto mobile applications are also prone to being hacked due to their poor architecture and security loopholes. Hackers sometimes use aggressive tactics to gain access to the application, although they usually try performing unauthorised actions on your behalf or guessing your PIN as they can operate under the radar at the beginning.

Keeping your Bitcoin safe

Hackers are fond of gaining non-crypto related information about users to appear more genuine in their attempt to gain access to wallets. To keep your Bitcoin safe, you must be attentive to details like domain spellings and SSL certificates before you reveal any sensitive information through phishing emails. For two-factor authentication, you must be wary of foreign numbers and slight changes to the notifications that you receive through SMS.

In terms of access to keys, it is advisable to store your Bitcoin on cold wallets that are not connected to the internet as these are typically hardware devices that are not connected to the computer. Hackers usually have more success with hot wallets that are connected to the internet and operate off a centralised system. When it comes to mobile applications, it is best to confirm what security measures are in place for those applications before you start to use them.

Final thoughts

With such an overwhelming interest in Bitcoin will come more risks and challenges that investors must be cautious of. Cyber criminals are opportunistic and patiently wait for the right moments to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to investors’ Bitcoin.

The good news is that lots of time and money has gone into strengthening security to protect the interests of both the Bitcoin blockchain and investors who use crypto wallets and exchanges. With that being said, any potential hack is dealt with swiftly in order to safeguard the system and its users. It is your responsibility, however, to take the necessary precautions to protect your Bitcoin from cyber criminals. Be alert and stay safe!

It is important to note that investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a risky and highly speculative proposition. This article does not provide recommendations, advice or guidance regarding cryptocurrency investments but is rather our opinion on such investments. Investors must conduct their own research and engage in the services of qualified professionals before making any financial and/or cryptocurrency investment decisions. We do, however, recommend established platforms like Wisly to monitor and analyse crypto investments.

2021-07-30T15:53:07+00:00July 30, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Wisly Wednesday Industry News

It’s been another whirlwind week in the crypto industry with some fascinating developments making for interesting conversations in crypto circles. Bitcoin slides as Amazon denies crypto payment plans; World famous museum to tokenize Da Vinci and Van Gogh paintings; South Korea threatens to shut down foreign exchanges; and Iran concerned over Chinese crypto miners’ illegal entry.

Amazon denies Bitcoin payment plans

Representatives at Amazon have officially denied rumours of its intention to accept Bitcoin as a payment option. The rumour of Amazon accepting crypto payments filtered through earlier this week causing an opportunistic rush in the market.

According to a report from London-based City A.M, an Amazon insider had leaked information that the global e-commerce conglomerate was planning to accept Bitcoin payments before the end of the year and would look at supporting other cryptocurrencies. The insider further added that Amazon had been planning on integrating cryptocurrencies since 2019 and the project was almost ready to roll out.

The news triggered a flurry of activity as Bitcoin jumped 14.5% to reach close to $40,000. The joy was short-lived, however, as the company sought to clarify their stance on crypto payments. A spokesperson for Amazon said, “Notwithstanding our interest in the space, the speculation that has ensued around our specific plans for cryptocurrencies is not true. We remain focused on exploring what this could look like for customers shopping on Amazon.” The price of Bitcoin has since slipped and is currently sitting around $37,300 at the time of writing.

World famous museum to tokenize Da Vinci and Van Gogh paintings

World famous Russian museum, the Hermitage, based in Saint Petersberg has teamed up with Binance NFT marketplace to issue tokenized collectibles that depict the works of Vincent van Gogh and Leonardo da Vinci, amongst others. The news was revealed on Tuesday by Binance who stated that they were partnering with the world famous museum to create and issue the NFTs by the end of August this year.

The masterpieces will be tokenized for auction through Binance’s NFT marketplace and will be open to all Binance users. It is believed that the auction will kick off with the launch of limited edition NFT copies of Da Vinci’s Madonna Litta, van Gogh’s Lilac Bush, Claude Monet’s Corner of the Garden at Montgeron, and Giorgione’s Judith.

For each of these masterpieces, there will be two NFT copies created. One of the copies will be stored at the museum while the other will be auctioned at Binance’s NFT marketplace. Binance described this offering as a new level of accessibility to the Hermitage’s collection and highlighted the importance of this project towards collecting artworks through digital assets. The tokenised copies will be displayed at the hermitage’s upcoming NFT art exhibition and all proceeds from the sale will go to the Hermitage Museum.

South Korea threatens to shut down foreign exchanges

South Korea has continued to clamp down on cryptocurrency activities in the country and have issued a warning to foreign digital currency exchanges operating within its borders. State officials want all foreign exchanges to register within the next two months or face being shut down. Financial market regulators in South Korea further warned that failure to do so will incur hefty fines together with a five-year jail sentence.

The Financial Services Commission (FSC) in the country wants to regulate all foreign digital currency exchanges in accordance with the Specific Financial Information Act and has given these exchanges up to 24 September 2021 to register. The financial market regulator has also planned to block the websites of those exchanges who have not registered by the deadline.

All South Koreans must ensure that the exchanges that they trade on are fully compliant with the laws of the country. Trading on exchanges that are not registered by 24 September 2021 will be considered illegal. The registration requirements for foreign exchanges are applicable to all exchanges that offer products and services to South Koreans, irrespective if they have offices within its borders or not.

Iran concerned over Chinese crypto miners’ illegal entry

With the recent crackdown of crypto mining activities in China, many crypto miners have been seeking greener pastures to continue with their acquisition of digital assets. While there is no evidence of any illegal crypto miners entering the country from China, Iranian officials have expressed concern that China’s crackdown could force miners to operate in Iran due to its favourable crypto mining conditions.

Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (TAVANIR) has been the most vocal about their concern and have informed the Central Taskforce to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Currency of a possible influx of crypto miners from China. TAVANIR’s CEO, Mohammad Hussein Motevallizadeh, stated, “Lower electricity costs make Iran attractive to Chinese miners. They are likely to start smuggling mining equipment into the country.”

Iran is currently suffering from electricity shortages and rolling blackouts due to crypto mining activities that have severely strained their energy network. Officials recently seized over 200,000 pieces of crypto mining equipment that consumed 750 megawatts from the grid, and the country is now getting tough with crypto miners who officials describe as lawless and avaricious.

2021-07-28T07:11:45+00:00July 28, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Wisly Wednesday Industry News

It’s certainly been a whirlwind week in the crypto world with some encouraging news to soften some crushing blows in the market. Bitcoin plummets to under $30k as COVID cases spike; Major South Korean bank launches crypto custody services; Malaysian authorities destroy over 1,000 Bitcoin mining rigs; and Museum of Bitcoin Mining History opens in Venezuela.

Bitcoin plummets to under $30k as COVID cases spike

Bitcoin’s value has plummeted below $30,000 and is trading below 55% of its record high at the time of writing. This comes on the back of rising COVID cases with the dominant Delta variant causing a major shakeup of crypto markets across the globe. The crypto market has recently suffered a damaging blow after China banned the use of digital currencies within its borders. While the crypto market has since shown a steady recovery, the impact of the resurgence of COVID has struck with devastating effects.

Bitcoin wasn’t the only victim of this uncertainty as the value of Ether, Cardano, XRP and Dogecoin also experienced major losses. This broad sell-off has wiped $98 billion in value off the entire cryptocurrency market. The sudden drop in the market has concerned investors as new outbreaks of the virus could provide unwelcomed disruptions to global growth that appeared to be recovering steadily.

Industry specialists are confident that institutional investors will be lured back into Bitcoin with its current value ripe for investment. Portfolio manager at Galaxy Digital, Paul Capelli, was of the opinion that the substantial selling of digital assets was due to an overwhelming number of mining and trading desks being shut down. He estimated that affected miners and trading desks should be fully operational in a year as they relocate their businesses and restore operations.

Capelli was confident in the market recovering by saying, “As global leadership continues to get more comfortable with bitcoin and regulatory clarity increases, we are confident that the short-term volatility will give way to a stronger asset class.”

Major South Korean bank launches crypto custody services

Woori Financial Group, one of the biggest financial institutions in South Korea, is planning to offer its clients a cryptocurrency custody service through an innovative project dubbed D-Custody. This exciting initiative will be launched in collaboration with Coinplug, a South Korean blockchain provider and one of the pioneering Bitcoin exchanges in the region.

D-Custody is due to go live next week with Coinplug being the major shareholder and Woori Financial Group playing a vital supporting role. Excitement was abound as a Woori Bank representative said, “In overseas markets, the digital asset custody has become a successful, established practice among the new services offered by the banks.”

While regulators in South Korea have been clamping down on crypto trading activities in the country with crypto transaction taxes and strict regulations on illegal transactions, there has been an increasing demand for digital asset custody services from investors in the country. Other South Korean banks have also picked up on this trend with KB Kookmin and Nonghyup Bank exploring crypto custody services as part of their offering.

Malaysian authorities destroy over 1,000 Bitcoin mining rigs

Malaysian authorities have taken a hard stance on Bitcoin miners who they claim are part of an intricate electricity theft syndicate operating in the country. A reported 1,069 Bitcoin mining rigs were crushed by officials who claim that electricity worth more than $2 million was stolen for Bitcoin mining activities. An online video was recently released showing a steamroller in Malaysia crushing the Bitcoin mining rigs while 6 individuals were arrested.

The destroyed Bitcoin mining rigs were estimated to be worth $1.25 million. The rigs were seized by a joint operation with the Malaysian police and Sarawak Energy, an electric utility company in the country. The arrested individuals were fined $2,000 each and served with a jail sentence of eight months according to an official police statement by chief ACP, Hakemal Hawari.

Since the exponential growth of Bitcoin earlier this year, electricity theft is on the rise across the globe as more people shift to Bitcoin mining with the hope of striking it rich. Chief ACP Hawari was cognisant of the harmful effects of electricity theft in the country, and stated, “The electricity theft for mining bitcoin activities has caused frequent power outages, and in 2021 three houses were razed due to illegal electricity supply connections.”

Museum of Bitcoin Mining History opens in Venezuela

Venezuela has recently opened a new museum that is dedicated exclusively to the history of Bitcoin mining. Visitors to the museum can look forward to learning about the origins of cryptocurrencies and their journey to the current state of crypto mining around the world. This initiative was spearheaded by a Venezuelan mining-dedicated institution, Criptoavila, with nine years of industry experience.

The museum, based in Caracas, is free to enter and is open to the public with the intention of educating visitors about Bitcoin mining. With Bitcoin being legalised in Venezuela, there has been an increased interest in mining and trading activities from its citizens. Criptoavila member, Joan Telo, beamed with pride as he said, “We decided to take this step because, until now, there is no, or at least not publicly, a place where people can observe evolution and we felt it necessary. Our idea is to add equipment to the museum as we get them because we want to be a world reference on this issue of the evolutionary process of cryptocurrency mining.”

2021-07-23T06:19:56+00:00July 21, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

What happens when Bitcoins are lost?

While everybody seems to be jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon in recent times, many have begun to wonder what happens when Bitcoins are lost. Bitcoin and other digital assets worth millions of dollars are lost each year. More often than not, these lost cryptocurrencies cannot be recovered and permanently leave the circulating supply.

How do investors lose Bitcoin?

The most common way that coins are lost is through human error and investors must take every precaution to protect their coins from falling into the abyss. It is estimated that 20% of all existing Bitcoin, worth billions of dollars, have been lost within the system, and this is unlikely to be recovered.

The biggest proportion of Bitcoin loss is when investors lose their private key or password that gives them access to the wallet where their coins are kept. In other instances, investors either misplace their hardware or failed to create a backup, and this makes it impossible for them to recover their funds. Some investors also lose their Bitcoin by sending it to an incorrect address and don’t have the ability to reverse that transaction.

How do investors recover lost Bitcoin?

Recovering lost Bitcoin is an incredibly difficult task considering that tokens that are held in digital wallets are protected by cryptography and only accessible with a private key. While these stringent security measures are excellent for keeping Bitcoin safe, they can lead to the coins becoming permanently inaccessible. That is perhaps the disadvantage of investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin where there is no provision for password storage from wallet providers unlike commercial wallets such as PayPal.

There is hope of recovery, however, with the growing cottage industry of wallet hunters who help investors to access their lost funds. Wallet hunters typically charge anywhere from 10% to 40% of the recovered funds for their efforts and use highly specialised techniques in their quest to unlock an investor’s wallet. Wallet hunters attempt to recover passwords and access corrupted cryptocurrency wallets through aggressive decryption methods.

This involves the use of specialised software that generates and tests potential passwords in their millions with the hope of breaking into an investor’s digital wallet. This process could take months and enjoys a success rate of approximately 30%. Sentiment amongst

wallet finders is that it is particularly helpful if the investor remembers a portion of the password as this lowers the time frame.

For those investors who have stored their Bitcoin on hard wallets that have been lost or stolen, there is currently no way to recover their funds unless they are in possession of that device again.

How can investors avoid losing Bitcoin?

It is very important for investors to be diligent with their transfers. It is best to conduct transfers in a quiet place where there are no disturbances or interruptions. Investors must make sure that the wallet address that they are sending the funds to is correct. It is recommended that investors copy and paste the address, or use a QR code for certainty.

Investors must also use a trusted storage method. While there are many cryptocurrency wallets available for storage, the more established platforms offer added levels of security and make provision for password recovery if you have lost your private keys — a massive slice of luck in times of need!

Final thoughts

While the thought of investing in Bitcoin is an exciting prospect filled with a potentially rewarding future, investors must make every effort to safeguard their Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from negligent loss. It is vital to exercise caution when conducting transfers and storing your Bitcoin in soft and/or hard wallets. Ultimately, the onus is on the investor to ensure that their Bitcoin is secure and easily accessible.

It is important to note that investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a risky and highly speculative proposition. This article does not provide recommendations, advice or guidance regarding cryptocurrency investments but is rather our opinion on such investments. Investors must conduct their own research and engage in the services of qualified professionals before making any financial and/or cryptocurrency investment decisions. We do, however, recommend established platforms like Wisly to monitor and analyse crypto investments.

2021-07-20T06:40:04+00:00July 16, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Wisly Wednesday Industry News

The crypto industry has seen another interesting week with some noteworthy developments making for fascinating conversations in crypto circles. UK authorities crack down on misleading crypto adverts; South Korea enforces anti-money laundering laws for crypto investors; New Argentinian bill proposes salary payments in cryptocurrencies; and Robinhood fined $15 million for flouting anti-money laundering regulations.

UK authorities crack down on misleading crypto adverts

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK is cracking down on misleading cryptocurrency adverts within its borders. As part of its overall efforts, it plans to include cryptocurrency campaigns as a “red alert” priority in the financial marketing department. The ASA wants to be more proactive regarding misleading cryptocurrency adverts by contacting companies and issuing warnings in the future.

Taking a tough stance on this practice, the ASA promised that any advert that does not comply with the standards issued by the regulator will be removed permanently. ASA’s Director of Complaints and Investigations, Miles Lockwood, said “We see this as an absolutely crucial and priority area for us. Where we do find problems, we will crack down hard and fast.”

The authority has measures in place to increase oversight of cryptocurrency adverts and has recently observed that most cryptocurrency adverts in the UK do not fulfil the conditions required by the regulator. While the regulator typically relies on consumer complaints before taking action, it has decided to play a more proactive role in the oversight of these marketing initiatives, including social media.

South Korea enforces anti-money laundering laws for crypto investors

In a new development affecting South Koreans, the government has stated that all overseas cryptocurrency exchanges that facilitate South Korean currency must register with anti-money laundering authorities in the country. Chairman of the Financial Services Commission, Eun Sung-soo, recently told South Korean lawmakers, “If a cryptocurrency exchange serves local customers with the won-currency settlement, it must register with the Korea Financial Intelligence Unit.”

The recently revised law was effective from March 2021 with a 6-month grace period and requires banks to issue real-name accounts using more stringent guidelines to prevent money-laundering activities. With this amendment to the law, South Korean banks will now be expected to evaluate a cryptocurrency exchange’s transparency, business risk and vulnerability to criminal activity.

It is estimated that more than 100 minor cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea have used opaque accounts in an effort to attract investors. These types of accounts allow cryptocurrency exchanges to manage the funds of investors with their own bank accounts. These minor cryptocurrency exchanges have been dealt a blow, however, as they will be banned from withdrawing money for cryptocurrency trading in South Korea, effective 25 September 2021, if they do not have a real-name bank account.

New Argentinian bill proposed salary payments in cryptocurrencies

A prominent lawmaker in Argentina has proposed a bill that will enable its citizens to get their salary paid in digital currencies. The proposed bill hopes to allow service exporters and employees to get some or all of their salaries paid in digital currencies in an effort to preserve its purchasing power. This proposal comes as Argentina has experienced its highest inflation levels in recent years, sparking a flurry of interest in digital currencies from investors in the country.

The bill was proposed by José Luis Ramón, a member of the Argentine Chamber of Deputies, who said,” The idea is that they [the workers] can strengthen their autonomy and conserve the purchasing power of their remuneration.” He continued,” This initiative stems from the need to promote greater autonomy and governance of wages, without this implying a loss of rights or exposure to situations of abuse within the framework of the employment relationship.”

Currently in Argentina, all payments received in foreign currencies must be converted to Peso upon receipt and have a 30% tax imposed on that amount. It is rumoured that this new arrangement would exempt digital currencies from the tax imposition. Employees and service exporters could, therefore, make significant savings if they received their salaries in digital currencies.

Robinhood fined $15 million for flouting anti-money laundering regulations

Global online brokerage company, Robinhood, has found itself on the wrong side of the law and was forced to pay a $15 million fine to a New York regulator after an anti-money laundering investigation. The regulator found loopholes in Robinhood’s anti-money laundering and cybersecurity protocols.

Together with the hefty fine, Robinhood will now have a monitor who will carefully observe all anti-money laundering and cybersecurity practices at the brokerage. Incidentally, this is not the first time that Robinhood has found itself in breach of regulations as they recently were forced to pay out $70 million in penalties to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for system-wide outages, misleading communication and ambiguous trading practices.

In a statement released by FINRA, they said, “FINRA considered the widespread and significant harm suffered by customers, including millions of customers who received false or misleading information from the firm, millions of customers affected by the firm’s system outages in March 2020, and thousands of customers the firm approved to trade options even when it was not appropriate for the customers to do so.”

Robinhood recently filed an application to go public and plans to trade under the ticker, Hood. While the recent scandals have dented its reputation, it has continued to experience solid growth.

2021-07-15T08:52:37+00:00July 14, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Are Institutions Starting to Trust Bitcoin?

With an increasing number of institutions showing interest in Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency appears set to accelerate into the mainstream. With a current market cap of over $654 billion and a recent peak of almost $1.2 trillion in its last run, there has been a remarkable shift in perception from institutions who initially dismissed Bitcoin but have since recognised its value.

Institutions have steadily come to understand Bitcoin’s credibility as a store of value with many describing Bitcoin as a safe haven alongside gold. This could not be more evident than during this pandemic where Bitcoin incredibly outperformed every other asset class in some way. With the extraordinary circumstances that 2020 brought along, Bitcoin boosted its credibility as a capital-preservation asset that can serve as a hedge against financial uncertainty.

Institutions that embrace Bitcoin

Sentiment amongst investors and financial institutions is that holding Bitcoin is less risky overall than not having any exposure to the cryptocurrency. A recent crypto study undertaken by research firm, Messari, highlighted that over 81,000 BTC belongs to the treasuries of publicly traded companies. Institutional investors appear to be most attracted to the unique value offered by Bitcoin and blockchain technologies as they are secure, borderless transactions and provide access to fresh opportunities that traditional financial markets do not offer.

Evidence of this can be seen in the willingness of governments around the world to adopt Bitcoin into their financial systems. El Salvador recently passed into law Bitcoin as an official means of tender while Vietnam’s Prime Minister has recently sent an official order for a pilot implementation of cryptocurrencies within its borders. You can read more about those developments here.

Biggest institutional investors in Bitcoin

In terms of institutions that are buying Bitcoin, there are some notably large organisations that have made investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars. These include investment funds holding Bitcoin on behalf of investors as well as companies that have purchased Bitcoin as a reserve asset.

Publicly traded companies such as MicroStrategy and Tesla have adopted Bitcoin as a reserve asset and have direct control of their BTC funds. MicroStrategy is a well-established business analytics platform with an estimated 71,000 BTC in reserve valued at around $2.3 billion. Tesla is another institutional giant with the electric car maker investing over $1.5 billion in cryptocurrencies, with a large portion of that investment on Bitcoin.  Other notable institutions that have massive Bitcoin investments include Galaxy Digital Holdings, Grayscale Bitcoin Trust, and Ruffer Investment Company.

Benefits of Bitcoin investments for institutions
Security

Institutions are attracted to blockchain technology’s ability to enforce systemic transparency that helps to eliminate fraud. Since these operate on an open and decentralised platform, all transactions are monitored from start to finish across the network. With these protocols, there is little doubt about the source of funds and there is no need to use an intermediary to transact. Moreover, there is almost no chance of chargebacks since all transactions are final and immutable.

Speed and transaction costs

In terms of speed, traditional financial institutions usually take many hours up to a few days for transactions to be processed and are usually labour-intensive and costly. Block technology, on the other hand, can facilitate transactions in a matter of seconds in a cost-effective manner which amounts to fractions of a cent. Through blockchain technology, both transaction costs and speed can be drastically lowered without the need to compromise stringent security measures.

Access to emerging markets

Since cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are hosted on decentralised ledgers, users are not required to have a traditional bank account in order to transact. This is especially important in developing nations where an estimated 1.7 billion people are classified as unbanked. With this open and accessible platform, institutions will have access to an untapped market and offer much needed services to those who have previously been out of reach.

Bitcoin outlook for institutional investors

With growing interest in institutional investment of Bitcoin, the effects of major investments from global companies certainly boost Bitcoin’s profile and elevate its status to greater heights. Tesla’s massive investment is proof of how impactful institutional investment is towards the stability of Bitcoin.

Looking into the long-term, Bitcoin currently has a circulation supply of 18.75 million BTC and a maximum supply limit of 21 million BTC. This means that only 2.25 million BTC is left to mine and is bound to lead to a massive supply crunch with growing interest from institutional investors. This may cause the price of Bitcoin to shoot up, recovering from a downward trajectory in recent times.

Final thoughts

We are on the cusp of a new financial age where Bitcoin has certainly forged its presence amongst institutional investors. Many businesses have begun to embrace this new technology, engage with new markets, and ultimately boost their profit margins. Since its introduction, Bitcoin has proven to be robust enough to build an entire ecosystem around. It is therefore important for institutions to consider Bitcoin as an investment in order to optimise its value.

While our team at Wisly are highly knowledgeable on cryptocurrencies, please note that we are not financial advisors and are not licensed to provide guidance and/or advice on crypto markets. The information that we provide is merely our opinion. It is important for institutions to conduct their own research before committing to any cryptocurrency investment. You can, however, use established platforms like Wisly to track and analyse your institutional investments. Good Luck!

2021-07-11T17:18:21+00:00July 9, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Wisly Wednesday Industry News

It’s been another interesting week in the crypto world with many fascinating developments taking place. The Philippines Stock Exchange plans to introduce cryptocurrency trading; Kazakhstan imposes cryptocurrency mining tax law; Barclays toughens its stance on Binance fund transfers; and Vietnam’s Prime Minister orders pilot implementation of cryptocurrencies.

Philippines Stock Exchange plans to introduce cryptocurrency trading

The Philippines Stock Exchange (PSE) has plans in place to introduce cryptocurrency trading on its platform, pending approval from regulators in the country. This comes after the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sought public comment from investors and banks in 2019 in order to understand the country’s need for a domestic crypto exchange.  It later announced its intentions to issue guidelines for crypto exchanges in the Philippines after a draft set of rules were put in place.

While the government of the Philippines has been rather welcoming in its attitude towards cryptocurrencies, the Philippines Central Bank has been quite clear on its crypto rules that aim to curb money laundering activities in the country. CEO of the PSE, Ramon Monzon, was in a positive mood and explained that the exchange would provide a suitable platform for crypto trading in the Philippines due to its unique trading infrastructure and investor protection safeguards.

Monzon said, “If there should be any exchange for cryptos, it should be done at the PSE. Why? Number one, it’s because we have the trading infrastructure. But more importantly, we’ll be able to have investor protection safeguards especially with a product like crypto.” He added that cryptos are an asset class that the Philippines simply cannot afford to ignore due to growing global interest.

Kazakhstan imposes cryptocurrency mining tax law

The government of Kazakhstan has recently signed into law a tax on cryptocurrency mining that will come into effect from 1 January 2022. This comes as the country has seen an influx of cryptocurrency miners due to Kazakhstan’s cheap electricity and available resources. The news broke through an official government notice that indicated that the head of state had signed the law into effect towards the end of June 2021.

The taxation of cryptocurrency mining is expected to rake in billions in Kazakhstan’s national currency and joins the likes of Iraq who have started to tax cryptocurrency mining activities. Businesses in the country, with the right resources and equipment, have identified lucrative opportunities in crypto mining. In light of this announcement, the majority of business owners have opposed these new taxation rules with many saying that this could spell the death of crypto mining in the country.

Electricity is available cheaply and in abundance within Kazakhstan’s borders, making it an attractive location for crypto miners to base their operations. This hasn’t gone unnoticed, however, as the government has also introduced electricity surges in anticipation of the increased demand from crypto mining activities. Global crypto businesses that have decided to base their operations in Kazakhstan are said to have accepted these new taxation rules begrudgingly.

Barclays takes a tough stance on Binance fund transfers

Leading UK Bank, Barclays, has toughened its stance on cryptocurrencies by putting a stop on card payments for fund transfers to crypto exchange, Binance. This news means that customers of Barclays cannot deposit any funds into Binance with their debit or credit cards, effective immediately. Account holders of Barclays were informed of this decision via a recent text message from the bank.

This announcement comes hot off the heels of increased scrutiny for cryptocurrency trading from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK. The FCA recently announced that Binance Markets do not have any authority to carry out regulated activity within the country’s borders. It bolstered its argument by stating that the Binance Group freely offered products and services to British clients without holding any form of license or registration.

In the text message, Barclays reiterated its commitment to help keep customer’s money safe and directed customers to the FCA website for clarification on its stance regarding Binance. The notice only specified debit and credit cards, and did not mention any other types of transfers. Although Barclays customers can no longer make deposits into Binance with their debit and credit cards, they still have the ability to withdraw funds from the exchange.

Vietnam’s Prime Minister orders pilot implementation of cryptocurrencies

The State Bank of Vietnam was recently directed to study and carry out a pilot implementation of cryptocurrency based blockchain technology. This directive came by way of an order that was issued by Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Phạm Minh Chính, who earmarked the period 2021 to 2023 for this crypto initiative.

The Prime Minister indicated that Vietnam was looking at creating an eGovernment development strategy that would position the country as a digital government. Its enthusiasm to develop and master cryptocurrencies and blockchain is viewed as part of a bigger strategy towards harnessing the power of core technologies that aim to boost Vietnam’s economy.

While no specific cryptocurrency regulations are in place for digital assets or cryptocurrencies in Vietnam, the State Bank of Vietnam has previously issued reminders that digital assets and cryptocurrencies were not recognised legally in the country. The Ministry of Finance has, however, created a working group that is tasked with researching digital assets and cryptocurrencies as per the Prime Minister’s order.

The objective of the research is to formulate and propose regulatory policies and management mechanisms for digital assets and cryptocurrencies, and how these could impact Vietnam’s overall digital transformation strategy across different sectors. This pilot project would also help the Vietnamese government to identify positive and negative aspects of cryptocurrencies in order to create an appropriate management mechanism.

Any data, text or other content on this page is provided as general market information and not as investment advice. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results.

2021-07-07T16:11:45+00:00July 7, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Bitcoin vs Ethereum: What’s the difference?

Bitcoin and Ethereum are the two largest cryptocurrencies in circulation and are, by far, the most popular amongst investors. At the time of writing, Bitcoin has a market cap of well over $628 billion and a circulating supply of over 18 million BTC. Ethereum, on the other hand, has a market cap of over $248 billion and a circulating supply of over 116 million ETH.

Both Bitcoin and Ethereum share many similarities as they are each digital currencies that are traded through online crypto exchanges and stored in various types of cryptocurrency wallets. Both Bitcoin and Ethereum tokens are decentralized in nature which means that they are not issued or regulated by any government authority or central bank. Moreover, both these cryptocurrencies employ distributed ledger technology commonly referred to as blockchain.

Differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum

While the similarities between Bitcoin and Ethereum are striking, there are key differences between these two giants in the crypto market that we must highlight. The differences between the two is mainly centred on the purpose and overall goals of each project.

Operational model

With Bitcoin, it envisages itself as a store of wealth that has ambitions to become a globally adopted currency that will ultimately improve or replace traditional money. With Ethereum, on the other hand, it is developed as an open-source and decentralized platform from which smart contracts and decentralized apps can run.

Crypto Supply

In terms of supply, Bitcoin has a cap of 21 million BTC. This means that the maximum number of Bitcoin that can ever be mined and circulated is 21 million. It currently has over 18 million BTC in circulation. With Ethereum, conversely, it is not capped to any specific quantity. It currently has a circulating supply of over 116 million ETH and plans to continue in that trajectory as long as there is a demand from investors.

Mining

Bitcoin and Ethereum are produced from a practice called mining which requires a lot of energy capacity. The disproportionate electricity consumption required for crypto mining has attracted plenty of negative attention from authorities around the world. Ethereum is in the process of shifting its production methods to a proof-of-stake model that aims to produce Ethereum in a more environmentally-friendly manner as opposed to traditional crypto mining that is viewed as harmful to the environment.

Transaction fees

In terms of transaction fees, that is completely optional when using Bitcoin. A user can choose to pay the miner more money in order for that miner to give that user’s transaction more attention. That specific transaction will still go through, eventually, even if a user opts not to pay any fee. With Ethereum, on the other hand, a specific amount of ETH must be paid in order for the Ethereum transaction to be successful. Typically, Ethereum users will offer Ether that gets converted to a unit referred to as gas. This gas then facilitates the computation which enables that transaction to be added to the blockchain.

Speed

When it comes to Bitcoin, it takes approximately 10 minutes to add a block to the blockchain. This is remarkably slower than Ethereum which takes under 15 seconds to add a block to the blockchain – Incredible!

Security

In terms of security, both these cryptocurrencies use hashing algorithms to maintain privacy and strengthen security. With Bitcoin, it uses a hashing algorithm called SHA-256 while Ethereum uses a cryptographic algorithm referred to as Ethash.

Final thoughts

For those looking to invest in the crypto market, you should certainly consider large-cap cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum that are well established and more resilient in times of volatility. You must bear in mind that the crypto market is filled with uncertainty, so you should only invest money that you are willing to part with.

While our team at Wisly are highly skilled, we are not financial advisors and do not make cryptocurrency investment recommendations, advice and/or guidance. Make sure to do enough research to ascertain the best investments to make on the crypto market. We hope that our guide on the differences between Bitcoin and Ethereum will help you with your decision. We recommend using established platforms like Wisly to effectively track and analyse your crypto investments. Good Luck!

Any data, text or other content on this page is provided as general market information and not as investment advice. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results.

2021-07-05T12:51:29+00:00July 2, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Wisly Wednesday Industry News

It’s been another whirlwind week in the world of crypto with some key developments making for interesting conversations. The Mexican central bank cautions lenders on crypto service offerings; Elon Musk throws his weight behind Dogecoin’s fee change proposal; Second-hand hydropower plants flood the Chinese market amidst exodus of crypto miners; and German authorities approve crypto custody license for Coinbase.

Mexican central bank cautions lenders on crypto service offerings

Mexico’s central bank, Banxico, has reiterated its stance that all Mexican financial institutions are prohibited from offering cryptocurrency-based services. This was confirmed in a joint statement from Banxico, the Finance Ministry, and Mexico’s banking regulator.

The statement comes hot off the heels of the news that Banco Azteca, owned by Mexican billionaire – Ricardo Salinas Pliego, is looking at accepting Bitcoin and other virtual tokens. With a net worth of over $15 billion, Pliego’s string of Banco Azteca banks in Mexico and other Central American countries wants to integrate cryptocurrencies in their service offering.

Mexico’s joint statement stated, “Virtual assets do not constitute legal tender in Mexico nor are they currencies under the current legal framework.” It further elaborated that any Mexican financial institution that violated these regulations and offered crypto-related services would be subject to sanctions. While the Mexican central bank has not banned cryptocurrencies entirely, it wants to maintain a healthy distance between digital assets and Mexico’s financial system.

Elon Musk throws his weight behind Dogecoin’s fee change proposal

CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has backed Dogecoin’s proposed fee policy change that was submitted over the weekend. This comes after Dogecoin developer, Ross Nicoll, tweeted that the Dogecoin fee change proposal is up. In response to the news, Musk replied to the tweet with, “Important to support.”

This fee change proposal was actually submitted by another Dogecoin developer, Patrick Lodder, who confirmed, “This document proposes a new fee structure and policy for Dogecoin Core to be gradually deployed to the network over multiple software releases.” He further explained his stance on Reddit by stating, “This proposal to all Dogecoin stakeholders suggests to reduce average fees 100x for standard transactions on the Dogecoin chain, split full control over all aspects of fees between miners and node operators, rely less on core development, and bring back a functional (small) free transaction space that incentivises keeping the network healthy.”

Musk has been instrumental in his efforts to improve Dogecoin and recently announced that he was working with Doge developers to improve the system transaction efficiency. He has encouraged those interested parties who want to contribute to Dogecoin’s development to submit their ideas on GitHub and the Dogecoin Reddit forum.

Second-hand hydropower plants flood the Chinese market amidst exodus of crypto miners

The online second-hand market in China has seen a surge in small hydropower plants for sale in the past few weeks as Chinese crypto miners head across the border to continue with their activities. This comes in light of the recent crackdown by the Chinese government on crypto-related mining and trading activities.

While the initial stages of the crackdown saw the second-hand marketplace flooded with crypto mining rigs, the latest restrictions on crypto activity in China have seen clean energy sources like hydropower plants being put up for sale. Many of the country’s crypto miners have headed to Kazakhstan and some North American regions where energy supply is subsidised and cheaply available.

The majority of the hydropower plants for sale are located in Sichuan province, a Chinese crypto mining hub for clean Bitcoin mining. Owners of these hydropower plants have decided to sell their stations after the demand for Bitcoin mining energy supply dwindled post crackdown. The most recent regulations imposed on crypto miners in China have significantly reduced Bitcoin’s network hashrate by almost 70%.

German authorities approve crypto custody license for Coinbase

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) has boosted Coinbase in Germany by issuing a crypto custody business license to them. In an announcement earlier this week, BaFin stated that Coinbase in Germany was issued with the very first license of its kind for a crypto exchange related to the custody of digital assets within its borders. Moreover, it confirmed that plans were in place to create an interdisciplinary, cross-divisional and cross-departmental team that would oversee any issues regarding crypto custody.

This exciting development has been in the pipeline since 2019 when legislation was passed that required companies who wanted to operate crypto custody businesses to gain approval from BaFin first. Although the law was effective from 1 January 2020, a period of transition for crypto companies in Germany had to be followed.

Regarding this promising news, BaFin stated that businesses who offer the exchange of virtual currencies for legal tender and vice versa, or for other cryptocurrencies, are considered financial institutions that are subject to local laws and regulations. They have, however, warned investors that there is little to no protection against losses in the crypto market.

Any data, text or other content on this page is provided as general market information and not as investment advice. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results.

2021-07-05T13:00:46+00:00June 30, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is the world’s second biggest cryptocurrency by volume with a circulating supply of over 116 million ETH and a market cap of over $225 billion. It is also an open-source software platform that is the most popular blockchain in the world. Ethereum was developed in 2015 by a Canadian programmer, Vitalik Buterin, who wanted to create a blockchain network together with a cryptocurrency that offered more potential than Bitcoin, which was quite limited in use.

With Ethereum, users can buy and trade ETH as an investment while developers can use its software platform to create new applications that make using, buying or selling cryptocurrencies much easier and more efficient. Ethereum apps are meant for crypto users and usually surface as payment platforms and lending apps.

Decentralised nature

Ethereum is decentralised by nature and allows crypto to be sent and received without the intervention of any third party. Decentralised finance, also known as DeFi, is an umbrella term that encompasses a wide range of applications and projects that are inspired by blockchain technology using smart contracts. By using DeFi apps and protocols, users can transact without the need for access rights in order to lend, borrow, or trade with financial tools.

Ethereum apps are powered by smart contracts that are essentially programs that work automatically on the Ethereum blockchain and perform the functions that a third-party normally would. Smart contracts help to speed up transactions with lower transaction fees, without the need for intermediaries and can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection.

Decentralised apps (Dapps) have some common features that include:

  • Independently Managed – Dapps are not managed by any authority but rather have the rules written in smart contract that is configured to the blockchain and operated independently without the need for human intervention.
  • Open-source Code – Anybody is capable of accessing the blockchain or evaluating the blockchain’s functionality and capabilities, as the code is open source. Open-source codes appear to offer more stability and security when compared to private codes as there is community interaction.
  • Transparency – Dapps enable all transactions to be available publicly and all accounts are pseudo-anonymous, therefore it is not directly linked to a user’s real-life identity but uses a numerical address as a form of identification.
  • Global Reach – Ethereum services and networks are available to anyone, irrespective of where in the world they are, provided they have an internet connection and smartphone.
  • Permission Free Access – Users do not require permission to create, participate or improve on apps in the Ethereum network. There are no authorities that serve as gatekeepers and users can freely interact with smart contracts from their crypto wallets.
  • Interoperable Functionality – Dapps can be developed by combining other Dapps using stablecoins and decentralised exchanges for the benefit of all users. Developers have the ability to use existing Dapps as a template in order to improve the functionality and operability.

The primary goal of Ethereum is to become a global platform for decentralised applications that removes third-party censorship, fraud, and downtime. Ether (ETH) is the digital currency of Ethereum and can be used as a store-of-value or as an investment. The Ethereum blockchain network makes it possible to create and operate applications, smart contracts and other types of transactions on the blockchain and comes with many benefits.

Benefits of Ethereum

Ethereum has many benefits that set it apart from other leading cryptocurrencies and make it an attractive option for investors and software developers alike.

Large network

Ethereum has a large network that has undergone stringent testing over the years together with a committed global community that contributes to the largest ecosystem in blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Great versatility

Ethereum is quite versatile and has a multitude of functions. Besides being used as a digital currency, Ethereum is useful in processing all types of financial transactions, executing smart contracts, and storing data for third-party applications.

Constant Innovation

Ethereum developers are proactive and are constantly looking at creative ways to improve the Ethereum network and create new applications on a decentralised platform.

No intermediaries

Due to Ethereum’s decentralised nature, there is no need for third-parties or intermediaries when transacting. Since no banks, financial institutions, third-party web hosting services, or lawyers are required, transacting becomes more seamless and cost effective.

Ethereum’s way forward

In terms of the way forward, Ethereum’s developers have been working hard to improve its platform to provide a better user experience. Currently, when the network experiences heavy usage, traffic fees can become quite expensive and this may discourage users from using the platform. Developers have been working hard to counteract the prohibitive nature of Ethereum’s network and hope to fix this issue with the upcoming update of ETH2.0 in the near future. To add to this exciting development, ETH is also planning to move away from its original proof-of-work model as they look to adopt a proof-of-stake model with the ETH2.0 update.

Why invest in Ethereum?

As one of the most established large-cap cryptocurrencies in circulation, Ethereum has an extremely solid track record. Although cryptocurrencies are volatile in nature, large-cap cryptocurrencies, like Ethereum, are more attractive due to their range of functionality and a large community of investors.

While our team at Wisly are highly skilled, we are not financial advisors and do not make cryptocurrency investment recommendations, or provide advice and/or guidance. You must bear in mind that our thoughts on Ethereum are merely our opinion and we strongly recommend conducting your own research before committing to any cryptocurrency investment. We do, however, recommend using established platforms like Wisly (link to https://wisly.io/) to effectively track and analyse your crypto investments. Good Luck!

Any data, text or other content on this page is provided as general market information and not as investment advice. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results.

2021-07-05T13:01:55+00:00June 25, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments
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