From a warning about Bitcoin’s 2019 rally to new support for Stellar Lumens, here’s a look at some of the stories breaking in the world of crypto.
A prominent crypto analyst warns the 2019 Bitcoin rally is an “exchange driven pump” that’s due for a significant pullback. According to Willy Woo, Bitcoin’s Network Value to Transactions (NVT) ratio is now way out of whack.
“Presently the market price of BTC has outstripped organic investor flow unseen since the bull market mania phases of 2013 and 2017. Never before have we seen such a divergence so early in the bull market.”
The NVT ratio measures the utility value of Bitcoin according to the number of transactions on the network relative to the price. Because on-chain investor volumes are in the normal range, Woo says the only explanation is “a quant fund driven short squeeze devoid of any true investor volume.”
Whales can short squeeze a majority-short market by buying it up until the shorts are liquidated, forcing a torrent of buys that inflate the price, Woo explains.
“If you have sufficient capital. You can keep buying to liquidate the bears. It’s extremely profitable. You only stop when it’s no longer profitable. At the $8k-9k mark the market switched from short to majority long. This put a cap on the profitability of short squeezing.
“I’m awaiting this exchange driven pump to blow off, a proper retrace, and only then do I think real investor flows will come in and drive the true organic bull market.”
Ernst & Young’s global blockchain leader, Paul Brody, says blockchain is poised to trigger a fundamental transformation of how enterprises do business.
The accounting and consulting giant EY is building on Ethereum, and Brody says use cases for audits and supply chain management are some early examples of prime use cases for the technology.
“What I hope you’ll take away from this today is that blockchain is maturing. We have real products, real customers, real use cases, real value creation, stuff that’s in operations, and we also have a road map for where things can and should go in the future and how this can have an ever-bigger impact…
Blockchains we think are going to be the future way in which companies model and manage their business processes and, in particular, we can basically model any process between two enterprises or two agencies or two governments as a combination of tokens to represent assets and items of value and contract.”
Ripple and XRP
A presentation from Ripple’s chief technology officer David Schwartz is now online. At the We Are Developers in Berlin, Schwartz talks about the future of blockchain beyond the hype.
The Litecoin Foundation’s unique methods for raising funds to support the LTC ecosystem continue.
The Foundation has started to ship custom Litecoin cufflinks and tie bars, with a signed certificate of authenticity from LTC creator Charlie Lee.
Crypto.com has added Stellar Lumens (XLM) to its Wallet & Card app.
Users of the app can now purchase XLM at true cost with no fees, with both credit cards and bank transfers supported. People can also use XLM with Crypto.com’s MCO Visa Card, making it easier to convert Stellar’s token into fiat for purchases from everyday merchants.
Tron’s latest report on the network’s decentralized app ecosystem is out.
According to the report, four new gaming DApps launched on the network this week, along with a decentralized exchange called SunDex.
Helsinki-based peer-to-peer exchange LocalBitcoins has reportedly removed the option allowing users to buy or sell cryptocurrencies in person for cash.
In a Reddit post Sunday, a LocalBitcoins user pointed out the option was no longer available on the platform, though commenters some suggested the restriction might be limited to the U.S..
The removal of the option – which basically acts as a matchmaker for users to make trades in person – effectively bars LocalBitcoin users from selling and buying bitcoin for cash. LocalBitcoins has also cancelled pending fiat trades, other comments suggest.
The platform has not yet made an official announcement about the change on its blog or Twitter.
In response to the move, LocalEthereum announced has temporarily removed the trading fee on cash-in-person exchanges – effective June 1 to July 1.
LocalBitcoins’ move comes after the company announced in February that it would comply with the European Union’s (EU) new anti-money laundering directive.
Several other P2P cryptocurrency trading platforms still offer an in-person cash option.
An Icelandic man has received a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for stealing Bitcoin mining equipment, local English-language news outlet Iceland Monitor reported Jan. 17. Sindri Þór Stefánsson, who in April 2018 boarded a flight to Stockholm from Reykjavik reportedly with a stolen passport, was subsequently arrested in Amsterdam and returned home. Stefánsson claimed he legally fled custody to Sweden. In court, Stefánsson, along with six accomplices, received a lengthy jail term.
Nicholas Truglia, a 21-year-old man from Manhattan, has hacked into phones belonging to Silicon Valley executives in an attempt to steal their cryptocurrency. He was successful in one attempt.
Truglia was successful in stealing $1 million from Robert Ross in a SIM swapping scheme. The money was stolen from two wallets, Coinbase and Gemini, with around $500,000 stolen from each. Once the cash was converted, Truglia moved it into his own personal account. Truglia had targeted other victims and was successful in hijacking their phone, but not in stealing any more cryptocurrency. It is thought that Truglia was working with a crew, but no further details about this have been released.
SIM swapping scams occur when the attacker successfully convinces a phone provider to port the victim’s number to their phone, thereby giving them access to the device.
Truglia will be extradited from Manhattan to Santa Clara, CA, to face 21 charges.
Truglia likely gained access to the wallets by finding the user’s private key stored on their device. This case once again highlights the importance of keeping private keys safe and secure. We use our phones almost as a second brain, a place to store important information we don’t want to lose or forget. But it needs to be remembered that phones are not always secure and not above being hacked. The message here is don’t lose your private keys, and don’t keep them somewhere where they can be stolen.
Often cryptocurrency is successfully stolen from wallets of people who are not tech savvy. This is not the case here since these executives work in Silicon Valley, arguably the main tech hub of the planet. However, it’s possible that they were so comfortable with the technology that they were maybe a little too relaxed with its security. This is a lesson learned the hard way, but not one these guys will be likely to repeat.
With more people taking to cryptocurrency, we are also seeing an increase in crypto fraud. It’s possible that the Californian court will dish out a harsh sentence to Truglia in order to set an example and deter other criminals. If Truglia is working with a crew, hopefully, the message has been sent that they are not as anonymous as they think, and they should take a step down. We are expecting more news to follow once Truglia is extradited to California.