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Wisly Wednesday Industry News

It’s been quite an eventful week in the world of crypto with some fascinating developments that are sure to dominate talk amongst crypto enthusiasts. PayPal allows UK users to trade cryptocurrencies; Google removes fake crypto apps from Play Store; Iran plans to lift crypto mining ban; and China cuts off hydropower for illegal crypto mining.

PayPal allows UK users to trade cryptocurrencies

Off the back of Bitcoin breaching the $50,000 mark earlier this week, PayPal has now enabled its UK users to trade cryptocurrencies on the global payment service platform. PayPal activated this feature for its US clients at the tail end of 2020 and has now extended this to its clients in Britain. Users will have the option of trading Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash.

This exciting news was announced on Monday and is the first time that PayPal has offered crypto-trading services in a country other than the US. By using the PayPal app, users can get real-time cryptocurrency pricing and will have access to educational content that helps them to better understand the risks of crypto trading. Trading fees and currency conversion will be added with trading starting from just £1. PayPal will not charge users to hold their cryptocurrencies in their accounts.

Jose Fernandez da Ponte, vice president of PayPal Crypto, was ecstatic as he said, “The pandemic has accelerated digital change and innovation across all aspects of our lives – including the digitisation of money and greater consumer adoption of digital financial services. We are committed to continue working closely with regulators in the UK, and around the world, to offer our support and meaningfully contribute to shaping the role digital currencies will play in the future of global finance and commerce.”

Google removes fake crypto apps from Play Store

Google has taken strides to rid its Play Store of fake crypto-mining apps that appear to trick users out of their money. This has been a long-standing problem that Google faces with malicious apps in its Play Store that were previously removed now returning to the platform in a disguised format.

Eight crypto-related mobile apps were delisted by Google as they tricked crypto investors by charging bogus fees for cloud mining services that were deemed illegitimate. This appears to be a popular trend amongst crypto-scammers who have become more creative in disguising their devious methods.

The fraudulent crypto apps in question are BitFunds, Daily Bitcoin Rewards, Bitcoin Miner, Bitcoin 2021, Crypto Hollic, Ethereum Pool Mining Cloud, and MineBit Pro. Users were charged a monthly subscription fee and the app promised subscribers a share of the profits through their cloud mining services. It has since come to light that those users were tricked into watching online ads and paying for cloud mining services that were non-existent.

These scams were identified by Trend Micro as part of its latest research project and the results were forwarded to Google to stop the scammers. Google has now made drastic changes to reduce the number of fake crypto apps on its Play Store and has revised its ad policy on 3 August 2021. Moreover, crypto wallets and exchanges will only be allowed to market their products and services if they register with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Iran plans to lift crypto mining ban

Iran’s blanket ban on cryptocurrency mining in the country will be lifted by the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade on 22 September 2021, according to Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir). The ban on crypto-mining was imposed in May 2021 by the former Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, to ease the burden that crypto mining placed on the national power grid and prevent blackouts.

Iranian officials were unequivocal in blaming crypto-miners for the frequent power shortages that the country faced during the summer months because of their activities. With power consumption expected to decline by the end of summer, crypto-miners have been given the green light to resume their operations according to Tavanir’s spokesperson – Mostafa Rajabi Mashhadi.

Crypto-miners in Iran are required to obtain licenses and pay their electricity bills according to export rates with 30 crypto mining units issued with licenses by the Ministry since 2019. Unlicensed crypto miners, however, have contributed to electricity shortages with reports stating that they use up to 3,000MW each day for their activities. Tavanir has seized over 200,000 pieces of mining equipment in the past year to curb electricity shortages caused by illegal crypto mining activities.

China cuts off hydropower for illegal crypto mining

Officials in Yunnan Province, China have issued a warning that forbids hydropower stations from supplying cryptocurrency mining companies with illegal power supply. Moreover, they were instructed to remove crypto mining equipment from the power plant vicinity before Tuesday, 24 August 2021, and destroy any big data workshops.

This directive comes amidst the continued crackdown of crypto mining activities in China. Government officials in Yunnan Province have warned that if crypto mining equipment was not destroyed by the specified time frame, the authorities will instruct the relevant departments to forcibly destroy it and report that to the State Energy Bureau.

The County Development and Reform Bureau has also increased law enforcement presence in the region to make sure that the illegal supply of power for crypto miners is completely removed. The Yunnan Provincial Energy Bureau has previously warned crypto mining companies that it will investigate and punish illegal crypto mining activities. These activities include illegally relying on power generation companies, unauthorised access to electricity, evasion of national transmission, and the distribution of fees, funds, and additional profit-making.

This instruction follows the trend in other parts of China, such as Anhui Province, Sichuan Province, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region that has cracked down on crypto mining activities in recent times.

2021-08-25T14:58:14+00:00August 25, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Cryptocurrency Insurance: What does the future hold?

Since the first Bitcoin block was mined way back in 2009, more than $1 billion has been stolen from crypto exchanges and wallets across the globe. While this may seem insignificant when compared to a global market cap of $1.9 trillion, it certainly is cause for concern.

While crypto exchanges and wallets continue to strengthen their security measures to protect their investors’ digital assets, cryptocurrency insurance is certainly helping to reduce the risk to investors. It’s easy to understand why hackers target cryptocurrencies as there is no paper trail to the thieves.

Cybercriminals only need to infiltrate the private key details before transferring the cryptocurrency contained in that wallet to their anonymous accounts. Although crypto storage and exchange services have the utmost confidence in their security protocols, insuring crypto can be regarded as an external seal of approval that puts investors’ minds at ease.

Do cryptocurrencies need insurance?

With the crypto market reaching exponential heights in 2021 from a growing number of investors, there is also an increased need for crypto insurance that helps to protect the interests of investors. Investors want peace of mind knowing that their digital assets are safe, and crypto insurance provides comfort from the very real threats that crypto exchanges and wallets are susceptible to.

When taking into consideration the instability of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, it becomes quite apparent how important cryptocurrency insurance is. With more money flooding the crypto-asset market, hackers are having a field day with investor losses on the rise in 2021.  The result of these increased crypto hacks indicates severe vulnerabilities in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Challenges facing cryptocurrency insurance

Some of the factors that insurers consider when it comes to underwriting crypto are the expertise and experience of the management team, measures in place for physical and online security, and how digital assets are segregated within their systems.

Cryptocurrencies pose a unique challenge for insurers as they usually refer to historical data during the underwriting process. This data is largely absent in a crypto market that is inherently volatile. Moreover, it is very difficult to forecast advances in technology and how they will affect the crypto market.

Unpredictable market swings will affect premiums in a manner that insurers cannot commit to. While a premium may be confirmed today based on the current associated risks, advancements in technology will completely change that dynamic. Insurers will need to constantly monitor both the crypto market and technological developments to stay abreast of risks, and this is not a feasible proposition for most insurers.

Cryptocurrency insurance also gets tricky as regulatory uncertainty in different regions coupled with inconsistent oversight protocols at crypto exchanges can make matters complicated. Insurers who are willing to insure cryptocurrencies have the challenge of determining the correct party to insure.

Although crypto is purchased by buyers, the records are maintained by crypto exchanges. There are also third-party companies that provide digital wallets to investors. In the event of a breach, all of these parties will be at risk and insurers must be absolutely sure of which party will be compensated if there are losses incurred.

Another important factor to consider is what currency a claim will be paid out in. Insurers from different countries are usually paid premiums in the native currency of their country. With fluctuations of fiat currencies occurring daily, there will be grey areas when it comes to the claim stage as crypto may have been bought in a foreign currency. Regulators may also have to get involved as they need to ascertain if an insurer does, indeed, have adequate reserves to settle such claims.

Anonymity is a major attraction for investors who use cryptocurrencies. Such anonymity is not popular in the insurance industry and policies cannot be issued to beneficiaries that remain anonymous. With that being said, cryptocurrency insurance will only be available to a select group of investors who hold cryptocurrencies – essentially meaning that crypto-insurance will not be available for a large portion of the crypto community despite their appetite for it.

Companies specialising in crypto-insurance

While there is a huge demand for cryptocurrency insurance, very few insurers are willing to underwrite such risky policies due to the various challenges described above. Considering the crypto scene is an emerging market for the insurance industry, underwriters appear cautious and look for reassurances from crypto storage and exchange platforms that their risks are well managed and stringent security measures are implemented.

While most of the major insurers are yet to dive into the crypto wave, businesses and investors do have insurance options available to protect their interests. There are some insurers who have taken incredible strides towards making crypto-insurance available and these include Coincover, Nexus Mutual, Bridge Mutual, and AIG.

Coincover offers Custody insurance if a user loses access to crypto keys or the company holding digital assets goes bust. Nexus Mutual and Bridge Mutual offer Smart Contract insurance or DeFi insurance that offers cover for the failure of smart contracts. AIG offers Crime insurance that covers commercial entities for the loss of money, securities, and other asset types due to theft, fraud, or dishonesty.

Since the insurance industry is highly regulated and the crypto industry isn’t, there is a lot of additional underwriting requirements that must be considered by those insurers who are willing to provide crypto cover.

Final thoughts

Although there is a willing market of investors that are ready to get cover for their cryptocurrency portfolios, many insurers are cautious about providing policies to investors who have committed to such an unregulated industry. While that may be the case, great crypto-insurance options are available for investors to secure their crypto. Always remember to read the fine print and know exactly what your cover entails to avoid your claims being repudiated later.

Note that trading in cryptocurrencies is a risky and highly speculative proposition. This article does not provide recommendations, advice, or guidance regarding crypto trading and insurance but is rather our opinion on such activities. 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 your crypto investments.

2021-08-25T12:54:32+00:00August 20, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Wisly Wednesday Industry News

It’s been another whirlwind week in the world of crypto with some fascinating developments taking place. Walmart explores a new cryptocurrency project; Spain issues warning to crypto trading platforms; World-famous footballer gets paid in crypto; and Venezuelan real estate market accepts crypto.

Walmart explores new cryptocurrency project

It appears that global retail giant, Walmart, is exploring a new cryptocurrency project. The news surfaced after Bloomberg spotted a job vacancy on Walmart’s website looking for a Digital Currency and Cryptocurrency Product Lead. The role entails driving Walmart’s digital currency strategy and would be based at the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas within its accounting and finance department.

The job listing states,” As one of the largest retailers and e-commerce companies, Walmart enables a broad set of payment options for its customers. You will provide the leadership to identify technology and customer trends and the investments needed to build on those trends.”

Walmart appears to have followed Amazon’s lead as the global e-commerce giant recently posted a job advert looking for a Digital Currency and Blockchain Product Lead in July 2021. In response to that advert, an Amazon spokesperson said, “We’re inspired by the innovation happening in the cryptocurrency space and are exploring what this could look like on Amazon. We believe the future will be built on new technologies that enable modern, fast, and inexpensive payments, and hope to bring that future to Amazon customers as soon as possible.”

This is, indeed, exciting news for the crypto market as more and more global companies look at adopting cryptocurrencies in their operational model. Wisly will keep you updated on the latest developments.

Spain issues warning to crypto trading platforms

Financial regulators in Spain have issued stern warnings to some of the country’s biggest crypto trading platforms as they continue to operate without the required licenses. The National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) in Spain has warned the country’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges, Huobi and Bybit, together with ten other companies of their non-compliance with regulations.

This comes after the 12 companies failed to register with authorities for providing financial and investment services to Spanish citizens. The CNMV said, “These institutions are not registered in the corresponding registry of this Commission, and, therefore, are not authorized to provide investment services or other activities subject to the CNMV’s supervision.”

This warning on crypto trading platforms in Spain comes amidst crackdowns from global regulators and watchdogs on some of the world’s biggest crypto exchanges, such as Binance, who have irked financial authorities across the globe with their non-compliance with local laws.

World-famous footballer gets paid in crypto

Arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Lionel Messi, has recently signed for the French football club – Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) – and has accepted some of his payment with cryptocurrency fan tokens. Messi’s contract included the crypto tokens as part of his welcome package or sign-on fee and was provided by PSG’s club fan token provider, Socios.com.

Fan tokens are a variation of cryptocurrency that is growing in popularity and can be traded on crypto exchanges like traditional cryptocurrencies. English football club, Manchester City, and Italian football club, AC Milan, also launched their fan tokens earlier in 2021 and are regarded as a new source of revenue.

While PSG did not disclose the number of fan tokens included in Messi’s sign-on fee, media reports state that it could range anywhere from €25-30 million — truly staggering! The hype surrounding the superstar’s arrival saw a surge in interest in PSG’s fan token as trading volumes exceeded $1.2 billion in the days leading up to the move.

Venezuelan real estate market accepts crypto payment

An unidentified Venezuelan citizen is one of the first people in the country to purchase property with cryptocurrencies. Tether was the cryptocurrency of choice as an apartment in the coastal state of Anzoategui was snapped up for $12,000 in July 2021. This is one of the first recorded crypto property purchases in Venezuela and indicates that the real estate market is warming to the idea of crypto payments.

At the time of writing, there were many more properties listed for sale in Venezuela with payment options including cryptocurrencies. Grau Real Estate facilitated the property sale and according to the manager, Carlos Grau, the client chose to use cryptocurrencies due to the easy nature of the transaction. He elaborated that the transaction was instantly completed and was a remarkable improvement from the traditional time frame for concluding property sales.

Grau said, “An operation of this kind takes between eight and ten days because you have to send a letter announcing that the funds will be received. When using cryptocurrencies, the transaction was immediate, only two phones were necessary to close the deal. There is no risk of fraud or scams.”

While the payment was made in Tether, the property document had to reflect the amount in Venezuela’s national currency as the registries don’t accept documents that reflect cryptocurrencies as payments at the moment.

2021-08-25T14:25:14+00:00August 18, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

The Advantages of Bitcoin Trading

With so much attention on Bitcoin’s unprecedented gains in the early part of this year, more and more investors are jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon hoping to enjoy a profitable run. While Bitcoin is inherently volatile by nature, there are many incredible advantages that investors should know about before committing to an investment.

Transparency

Bitcoin makes use of a vast network of computers that record and validate every single transaction in a public ledger, made possible through blockchain technology. Every Bitcoin transaction can be tracked on a blockchain network. Moreover, every computer on the blockchain network maintains a copy of all transactions that were facilitated. In a nutshell, all information about the money supply of Bitcoin is available for anybody to view on the blockchain at any time.

Anonymity

While all Bitcoin transactions and wallet addresses are visible on the network, the person or entity of that crypto wallet will remain anonymous. There is no way to link the address of a wallet to a specific person and this makes Bitcoin’s blockchain technology the most anonymous type across the globe.

All Bitcoin traders can be assured that their personal and financial details are kept confidential and secure on the blockchain network. Users have total control and freedom over their activity on the blockchain network. No personal information is required to trade as all transactions are peer-to-peer.

Low trading fees

No investor wants to incur high trading fees, and this is one major attraction for those who choose Bitcoin. Bitcoin transactions are remarkably cheaper to facilitate when compared to traditional bank payments. Although Bitcoin is the most valuable of all cryptocurrencies, it offers extremely low trading fees and this enhances the profitability factor for investors. Investors who transact across different countries benefit from this greatly as cross-border transactions through traditional financial institutions can prove to be a costly affair.

Faster transaction times

Bitcoin traders are attracted to the incredibly fast transaction times on the blockchain network when compared to transaction times at traditional financial institutions. Transactions are completed almost instantly and appeal to those who want the convenience of immediate payments and clearance. This is especially important as transferring funds across borders can take a matter of minutes as opposed to days or weeks with traditional financial institutions.

Stringent security

One of the biggest concerns that any investor has is the control and security of their funds. The good news is that all Bitcoin transactions are stored on a blockchain network that is incredibly difficult to hack. Bitcoin makes use of cryptography that regulates the creation and transfer of any cryptocurrency. These elements make it very difficult for any hacker to breach as there is no single point of failure.

Open-source software

Bitcoin makes use of peer-to-peer technology and its software is open source. This means that the software is public and not owned by a specific entity or person. With open-source software, anybody is free to contribute towards the development of Bitcoin. Developers freely share information about their research and the source code is shared amongst the community of developers for them to modify as they wish.

With open-source software, any member of the public can freely access the application’s source code and they are free to distribute it without the need for any authorisation or approval. Using open-source software is considered a very pragmatic approach in the crypto world as it attracts talent from across the globe that contribute to software development with all types of creativity, innovation, and diversity that commercial platforms lack.

Decentralised platform

Bitcoin is not regulated by any centralised authority such as a government or central bank. Moreover, it cannot be created or distributed by such authorities, unlike fiat currencies. Since no third-party authority has control over Bitcoin, there is no outside interference that could freeze, charge or request your money.

Additionally, there is no need to disclose your personal information to trade with Bitcoin and users only require their private and public keys. This decentralised network is free of restrictions and regulations that financial authorities around the globe usually attach to fiat currencies.

Final thoughts

Bitcoin trading can be extremely rewarding for those investors who are willing to stick it out for the long term. While it is possible to make quick profits in the short term, these investments are not recommended considering the volatile nature of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. That being said, it is vital to learn Bitcoin trading skills and acquire an understanding of the market to make proper technical analysis that helps with your decision-making.

You must note that trading in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is a risky and highly speculative proposition. This article does not provide recommendations, advice, or guidance regarding Bitcoin trading 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 your crypto investments.

2021-08-25T14:34:17+00:00August 13, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Wisly Wednesday Industry News

Feathers have been ruffled in the world of crypto this week with many fascinating developments making for some stimulating table-talk in crypto circles. Binance CEO in the US announces shock resignation; Russia plans to monitor crypto criminal activity with new tool; Alchemy Pay plans roll out of crypto linked virtual card; and Ukraine proposes cryptocurrency payment bill.

Binance CEO announces shock resignation

CEO of Binance USA, Brian Brooks, has tendered his resignation just three months into the job. This shocking news comes amidst heavy criticism of Binance from regulators across the globe. Authorities in Britain, Japan, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy and Thailand have been particularly hard on the global cryptocurrency exchange mainly due to investor protection. There has been growing consensus that increased interest in cryptocurrencies across the world has aided money laundering activities and increased systemic risks.

The announcement was made on Twitter as Brooks tweeted, Letting you all know that I have resigned as CEO of @BinanceUS. Despite differences over strategic direction, I wish my former colleagues much success. Exciting new things to come!”

Changpeng Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance Global, reflected on Brooks tenure as he tweeted, “Brian’s work for Binance US has been invaluable and we hope he will continue to be an integral part of the crypto industry’s growth, advocating for regulations that move our industry forward.”

The news couldn’t have come at a worse time as Binance recently announced that it will cease operations in Hong Kong due to non-compliance with the financial regulator in the country.

Russia plans to monitor crypto criminal activity with new tool

Russian authorities have taken steps to create a cryptocurrency tracking tool that hopes to combat illicit activity on the blockchain. Financial watchdog group, Rosfinmonitoring, has announced that an innovative crypto-crime tracking tool is in the pipeline and has enlisted a third-party contractor, RCO, to develop it after a $200,000 contract offer was accepted.

RCO is a leading IT company in Russia and will be tasked with the implementation of work on the creation of a module for monitoring and analysing cryptocurrency transactions using Bitcoin. This new tracking tool will specifically target crypto wallets that are linked to criminal activities or the financing of terrorism.  Additionally, the software will monitor the behaviour of the crypto market to identify those individuals who partake in illegal activities.

The Federal Financial Monitoring Service in Russia said, Monitoring of the behaviour of participants in the cryptocurrency market was provided in order to identify them, compile profiles of participants and assess their role in economic activity, as well as identify the likelihood of their participation in illegal activities.” This announcement underscores Russia’s commitment to root out illegal crypto activities within its borders.

Alchemy Pay plans roll out of crypto linked virtual card

Crypto payment giant, Alchemy Pay, has put plans in place to roll out a crypto-linked virtual card that is accepted by both Mastercard and Visa payment networks. The company announced that the virtual crypto-linked cards is capable of accepting over 40 popular cryptocurrencies in circulation. The virtual cards can be linked to digital wallets such as Google Pay and PayPal, and popular e-commerce platforms such as eBay and Amazon.

Alchemy Pay stated that they have concluded the software development and launched beta testing across various key markets with the roll out anticipated at the end of 2021 or early 2022. This exciting initiative was launched due to the increasing demand for crypto-linked card transactions.

This product will provide tremendous help for crypto businesses that will now be able to offer a complete range of services to its users. Moreover, traditional institutions will find it easier to integrate crypto-related solution as part of their offering. Wisly will keep you posted on the latest developments!

Ukraine proposes cryptocurrency payment bills

One of the world’s most active cryptocurrency nations, Ukraine, has proposed a package of bills that aims to integrate cryptocurrencies into its financial and legal system. One of the proposed bills will enable businesses to make and accept cryptocurrency payments freely. According to Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation, Oleksandr Bornyakov, the draft bill has already been prepared in parliament for a second reading.

Bornyakov believes that it should be legal for citizens to pay with crypto assets within its borders through payment intermediaries that allow for fiat-crypto conversions. He did emphasise that while the bill advocates for crypto payments in the country, it will not be regarded as legal tender.

Once the bill has been ratified, it will legalise cryptocurrency holding, reporting and trading activities in the East European country. Bornyakov brimmed with excitement as he stated, “We expect that there will be a whole market of intermediary services for payment of goods by cryptocurrencies, their storage, and exchange. This will expand the possibilities of their use.”

2021-08-11T13:44:02+00:00August 11, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

Wisly Wednesday Industry News

It’s been another dramatic week in the world of crypto with some fascinating developments for crypto enthusiasts to consider. South Korea shuts down non-compliant crypto exchanges; PayPal looks to expand cryptocurrency services; Bank of America sceptical of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption, and Saudi Aramco denies involvement in Bitcoin mining activities.

South Korea shuts down non-compliant crypto exchanges

South Korean officials have ramped up their efforts to crack down on crypto exchanges in the country by shutting down those businesses that remain non-compliant. It is reported that 11 mid-sized crypto exchanges in South Korea have ceased operations as they were operating illegally without the necessary licenses.

This decision was made by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) in the country as they determined that those businesses were being run without the necessary authorisation. The FSC has also notified all local authorities about these illegal business activities. Experts in the region predicted earlier this year that non-compliant crypto exchanges could possibly be closed due to amendments in South Korean law regarding crypto activity.

While the FSC did not name the 11 crypto exchanges that were shut down, one of South Korea’s popular crypto exchanges, CPDAX, recently announced that its platform will cease operations from 1 September 2021. A recently released statement by CPDAX announced, “It is not a temporary but a permanent measure to close business. Those who possess cryptocurrencies in the account must withdraw them before 3.00 pm on 31 August 2021.”

PayPal looks to expand cryptocurrency services

Online payment giant, PayPal, has revealed its ambitious plans to expand cryptocurrency services to its clients. This would include features such as a new type of wallet called a Super App, an open banking integration, U.K expansion plans, and third-party wallet transfers. Speaking at PayPal’s second-quarter virtual meeting, CEO Dan Schulman spoke about the company’s crypto plans and the progress that was being made.

Schulman said, “I’m pleased to report the initial version of our new consumer wallet Super App is code-complete and we are now beginning to slowly ramp up. New features will include high yield savings, new and improved bill pay functionality, messaging capabilities outside of P2P to enable family and friends communications, as well as additional crypto capabilities and customised deals and offers.”

He added, “We continue to be really pleased with the momentum we’re seeing on crypto and we’re obviously adding incremental functionality into that. We’re really looking at how do we integrate both the trading and the buy with crypto on our platform.” PayPal has recently increased the weekly crypto purchase limit to $100,000 and made the decision to remove the annual crypto limit for its clients.

Bank of America sceptical of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption

The Bank of America (BofA) has expressed scepticism of El Salvador’s recent adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender in the country. While it acknowledged that Bitcoin could boost El Salvador’s economy with lower international payment costs, it remained sceptical of the overall picture of Bitcoin adoption due to the volatility of the cryptocurrency.

Like many financial institutions around the globe, BofA stated that there were more risks than benefits for the widespread adoption of Bitcoin in the country. Analysts did note the number of benefits for El Salvador’s citizens that include making it easier for migrants to send money back home, lower work remittances, promoting a more digitised bank, and increased business opportunities with the U.S. would help the country’s economy.

It is said that up to 70% of El Salvador’s adults don’t have access to a bank account, and Bitcoin’s widespread adoption would go a long way in addressing this and help the country to progress. Despite these benefits, BofA remained sceptical of El Salvador’s Bitcoin adoption as legal tender largely due to its high volatility in short periods of time. A spokesperson for BofA said, “Allowing people to pay taxes in highly volatile Bitcoin is particularly worrying, and could lead to sharp falls in revenues if the price tumbles.”

Saudi Aramco denies involvement in Bitcoin mining activities

Saudi Arabia’s largest oil exporter, Saudi Aramco, has categorically dismissed claims of its involvement in Bitcoin mining activities. While Saudi Aramco has made substantial investments in the crypto market recently, it has distanced itself from Bitcoin mining activities. A massive $5 million investment was made last year by Saudi Aramco in blockchain-based oil-trading firm, Vakt, with the aim to streamline and digitise post-trade processing.

Since then, there have been rumours that the oil conglomerate has undertaken Bitcoin mining activities. An official statement from Saudi Aramco said, “With reference to recent reports claiming that the company will embark on Bitcoin mining activities, Aramco confirms that these claims are completely false and inaccurate.”

While Saudi Aramco has a long history of investing in blockchain companies, the latest statement has put to bed unsubstantiated rumours of the oil giant’s involvement in Bitcoin mining activities.

2021-08-09T06:55:34+00:00August 4, 2021|Cryptocurrency Tracker|0 Comments

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
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