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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Short Squeeze Imminent as Bearish Pressure Weakens

Price Analysis Video.jpg


  1. Following unconfirmed claims by the NYC Attorney General regarding Bitfinex and Tether’s insolvency, the bitcoin market had a knee jerk reaction that caused us to retest macro support. However, this pullback barely made a scratch on the market structure as we didn’t manage to break our trend of higher lows.
  2. The move was swift, but after a few days of sideways consolidation, the market is now seeing a retest of macro resistance in the $5,300 level. So far, the market has yet to reclaim the broken support, but the move is still fresh
  3. If we manage to close above the $5,300 level, this would mark a very bullish feat for our market structure as we continue to test and reclaim support level after support level. If we can close a daily candle above the $5,300 level, it’s very likely we will see a continuation of the uptrend and test the $5,800s.
  4. At the moment, the short interest is very high and the market seems to be absorbing every bit of ammunition the bears throw at it. As time moves on, we are seeing a high amount of short positions stack up around the $5,300 zone. This sets up the market for a potentially violent short squeeze.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Inc sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Inc and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

“Holders Are Not at Risk”: Bitfinex Lawyer Responds to NY Attorney General

bitfinex nyag

Bitfinex and Tether’s legal counsel has written a response to the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG) ex parte order, which claims that Bitifinex used Tether’s reserves to cover some $850 million in losses.

In short, the affidavit writes off the NYAG’s concerns, calling them baseless and requesting an Order to Show Cause that would require the NYAG to prove its case in court unless it vacates or modifies the ex parte order. Additionally, it requests that the Supreme Court of the State of New York stay the NYAG’s order, meaning Bitfinex would not have to comply with a May 3, 2019, deadline requiring the exchange to produce documents related to a $900 million line of credit Bitfinex established with Tether to stanch the $850 million loss.

Authored by Stuart Hoegner, who has served as Bitfinex and Tether’s legal counsel since 2016, the affidavit is scathing in its rebuke of the Attorney General’s claims. Hoegner writes that the Office of the New York Attorney General’s (OAG) “preliminary injunction serves no useful purpose” and that it “has succeeded only in spreading misinformation to the markets.”

Marked throughout with a tone of defiance, the letter asserts that “Tether holders are not at risk,” despite the NYAG’s framing of the situation in its own letter. Further, it claims that Bitfinex self-reported its troubles with Crypto Capital to the NYAG, the payment processor that allegedly led to Bitfinex’s $850 million loss of customer funds.

Hoegner admits that Tether is operating under a roughly 74 percent reserve — but also argues that this practice is not a problem.

The AG Doth Protest Too Much?

The affidavit begins in defense of Bitfinex’s relationship to Crypto Capital, whose refusal to wire funds to Bitfinex back in 2018 bottlenecked fiat withdrawals for many customers, the NYAG’s letter states.

Bitfinex had to rely on Crypto Capital’s services because it had been ostracized from proper banking relationships, Hoegner claims, citing how its complications with such banks as Wells Fargo is a perpetual thorn in the industry’s side.

According to the letter, Bitfinex, among other exchanges (like QuadrigaCX in Canada) that used Crypto Capital for makeshift banking, began experiencing withdrawal problems in 2018. This was on account of Crypto Capital having a substantial amount of its funds seized, the document states, affirming that “at least one governmental entity has confirmed that it was involved in the seizure of Crypto Capital funds.”

What’s more, the document alleges that “Bitfinex proactively and voluntarily informed the Office of the New York Attorney General (‘OAG’), as well as various U.S. federal law enforcement agencies of its issues and concomitant concerns with Crypto Capital.”

The letter continues, “On information and belief, those federal agencies have since been investigating Crypto Capital on a non-public basis at the time of OAG’s application and press release regarding this matter.”

Hoegner continues to make the case that Bitfinex orchestrated a “good-faith solution” when it debited $625 million from Tether’s reserves, along with establishing a $900 million line of revolving credit with the stablecoin company, to cover the losses incurred from Crypto Capital.

The counsel argues that this was done “for the protection of the virtual currency market,” and he suggests that the NYAG’s recommendation for the New York Supreme Court to enjoin Bitfinex from drawing on this line of credit would harm the market’s participants.

“OAG purports to wonder what ‘benefit[s] would accrue to Tether, or holders of tethers, from this transaction,’ the obvious answer is that Tether, and holders of tether, have a keen interest in ensuring that one of the dominant trading platforms of tethers has sufficient liquidity for normal operations.”

Biftinex’s upper echelon began orchestrating the deal in December of 2018, and according to the document, Bitfinex alerted the NYAG to the deal “one month before it was closed, providing OAG a general overview of [it].” The NYAG makes mention of this in its own letter, but it qualifies that it wasn’t alerted of the deal’s final structure until after it was finalized and that it had changed from its first draft.

“The description of the transaction differed significantly from what OAG was told just weeks earlier in the February 21. 2019 meeting. and included new information about a previous. undisclosed transfer of $625 million from Tether’s reserves to Bitfinex,” the ex parte order reads.

Hoegner makes no reference to the $625 million Tether transferred to Bitfinex’s Bahama-based Deltec bank account; it only touches on $675 million that was transferred from Bitifinex’s Crypto Capital account to Tether’s Crypto Capital account for “the protection of Tether.”

This transaction, which the document claims took place on an “arms-length basis” was signed for both sides by the same representative counsel, Giancarlo Devasini.

Under the Tether

The letter continues to say that the deal has not interfered with Tether’s usual business dealings as the NYAG’s letter might suggest, adding that “the average daily fiat redemption has been $566,066.00, with the largest being $24.2 million.”

This is drawn from a reserve of “cash or cash equivalents (short term equivalents)” of $2.1 billion. With its market cap at $2.8 billion, that means Tether is running at a 74 percent reserve, Hoegner admits, going further to say that Bitfinex can draw on the line of credit until this percentile drops to 68.

With a deposit-to-reserve ratio of 3 to 4, Bitfinex is doing leagues better than banks that are legally obligated to only hold fractions of reserves at or lower than 10 percent, the document points out. That Tether is operating with fractions in its reserves has also been well covered by industry media, Hoegner argues, when Tether made changes to its website’s policies.

“Market participants appear to understand that tether is not at risk,” Hoegner concludes. Turning the tables, the lawyer argues that the NYAG’s “misleading” letter did more damage as the market shed some $10 billion in capitalization in response, and he argues that “market confidence in U.S. Dollar tether remained strong, as tether continued to trade at $0.99” — this is after USDT dipped to $0.97 following the news.

In a memorandum defending Hoegner’s stance, Zoe Phillips, an attorney for Tether, argues that the NYAG has no business meddling in Bitfinex and Tether’s affairs as long as there is responsible disclosure.

“… the Attorney General has no authority to dictate how Bitfinex and Tether do business with one another, or the amount of reserves that Tether must hold. The Martin Act is an antifraud statute enacted to ensure that there is proper disclosure about the risks associated with the sale of securities and commodities … Tether states plainly on its website that tethers are backed by reserves in various forms, specifically including ‘loans’ to ‘affiliated entities.’”

For its own part, one of the NYAG’s qualms with the line-of-credit arrangement is that Tether holders and Bitfinex users were not informed.

Still, Hoegner’s letter draws the same conclusion that the “OAG’s application contains numerous mischaracterizations and omissions that undercut its request for injunctive relief.” It gives no indication that Bitfinex will comply with the NYAG’s demand to comply with a series of requests by May 3, 2019, arguing that it would “impede the normal operations of Bitfinex’s business.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

U.S. Citizens Can Now Accept Their Federal or State Tax Refund in Bitcoin


Federal tax season just passed in the United States, but if you’re one to leave responsibility to the wayside and had to apply for an extension, that might just pay off.

It’ll give you the opportunity to become one of the inaugural users of a new joint-endeavor by crypto payment processor BitPay and tax services company Refundo. The new program called CoinRT gives Refundo users the opportunity to take their federal and state income tax refunds in bitcoin.

"We believe that as more and more people understand the benefits of Bitcoin, they’ll gravitate to it. With the option to set aside all or part of their refund in a seamless manner, it allows those on the sidelines to jump right in," Refundo CEO Roger Chinchilla told Bitcoin Magazine.

Tax filers using Refundo’s system who opt into the program will include a routing and account number linked to BitPay’s Payouts. Once the refund hits this account, BitPay converts the cash to sats and sends it to whatever wallet address the user provided upon sign-up (this sign-up, as one would expect, includes KYC).

A press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine highlights that the move is in line with Refundo’s wider focus on lower income and poorly banked populations. For this purpose, bitcoin offers a low friction refund option for those who don’t have access to reliable banking, Refundo CEO Roger Chinchilla claims.

“We’re always looking at low-cost and convenient methods to disburse our clients' refunds. As bitcoin adoption steadily grows, Refundo believes we can serve as an innovative payout process for our clients. Refundo’s focus has been on serving the underbanked, which is at the core of bitcoin’s rise, so it’s a natural fit. More than that, it gives taxpayers an incentive to save. Instead of splurging when your refund arrives (this is typically the case in low-income communities), CoinRT can act as a saving mechanism and ensure taxpayers are more fiscally responsible," he told Bitcoin Magazine.

Head of Business Solutions at BitPay Rolf Haag told us that the partnership answers “customer demand in multiple verticals for Bitcoin Payouts. It also signals that the “global marketplace” for payouts in bitcoin is growing.

"Recipients want choice, especially for high cost alternatives like bank wire receipts or pre-loaded debit cards. Recipients are tired of paying to receive, and senders want to make their recipients happier without incurring additional costs," he concluded.

At any rate, the partnership adds bulk to a growing trend of bitcoin’s burgeoning role in taxation. Canadian town Innisfil made history early this year as the first North American municipality to permit its citizens to pay local taxes in bitcoin. For Canada’s southern neighbor, Ohio opened up a bitcoin payment option to its corporations at the tail end 2018, and, in May of the same year, Seminole County Florida enabled the option for things like property tax.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Cryptocurrency Thefts, Fraud Hit $1.2 Billion in First Quarter-Report

By Reuters via NYT Business Day

Mainnet KIN is now available on Coinbase Custody

Two Charged With Running ‘Shadow Banking’ Service for Crypto Exchange

The U.S. government has sued two individuals in connection with a scheme to provide "shadow banking" services to unregulated crypto exchanges.

via CoinDesk

Mike Pieciak: NASAA '" A 'To The Moon' Approach to Regulating Crypto

We're joined by Mike Pieciak, President of the NASAA. Not to be confused with the space agency, the North American Securities Administrators Association brings together state, provincial, and federal securities regulators in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. This relatively unknown organization helps align the financial regulation policies of over 50 agencies across North America and coordinates enforcement action in cross-border cases. In 2018, the NASAA launched 'œOperation Cryptosweep' in which over 200 ICOs and cryptocurrency-related investment products were investigated for potential investor fraud.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Mike's background as a lawyer and the Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation
  • What is the NASAA, it's goals, members and jurisdiction
  • The story of 'œOperation Cryptosweep' and what came out of that action
  • Mike's thoughts on the future of blockchain regulation
  • How regulation might apply in the context of transnational projects which are nation state-invariant
  • The United State's restrictive securities laws in the context of Defi and security tokens
  • Vermont's attempt to attract blockchain projects, and the 'œBlockchain-Based LCC'
  • Vermont DFR's pilot project in Captive Insurance
  • What Mike hopes to achieve during his one-year term as president of the NASAA

Links mentioned in this episode:


  • Azure: Deploy enterprise-ready consortium blockchain networks that scale in just a few clicks

Support the show, consider donating:

This episode is hosted by Sebastien Couture & Friederike Ernst. Show notes and listening options:

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

Tether Lawyer Confirms Stablecoin 74 Percent Backed by Cash and Equivalents

Tether's general counsel acknowledges that USDT is only 74% backed by cash and equivalents in a new affidavit.

via CoinDesk

The Blockcrunch - Deep Dive in Crypto Valuation Methods Dan Zuller (Vision Hill Advisors)

Can crypto be valued? How have institutional investors valued cryptoassets? Vision Hill Advisor's Dan Zuller joins me in this deep dive into all things crypto valuation:

  • Does "MV = PQ" make sense for utility tokens?

  • What good is Metcalfe's Law?

  • Do token burns accrue value?

  • Case study on Maker valuation

Sponsored message: Crypto investors - get a loan with your crypto assets with‚SALT

Support the show:

  • Pay with Dai‚here

  • BTC: 3EFSLnPpme6Lo6DynN1bVV9owooueFvEmJ

  • ETH: 0xdec40AA30B9C562aB4b839529BfC290C1B5Da61E

Host: Jason Choi


Intro music by‚Phortissimo.

Disclaimer: Jason Choi is an investor at Spartan Capital, the hedge fund arm of The Spartan Group. All opinions expressed by Jason and podcast guests are solely their own opinions and do not reflect the opinion of The Spartan Group and any of its subsidiaries and personnel. This podcast is for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. The Spartan Group and its clients may hold positions in assets described in the episode. Detailed‚disclaimers available at and‚

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

Microsoft Outlook Hackers Stole Crypto Using Victims’ Emails: Report

Hackers who breached Microsoft Outlook have reportedly used the email service to steal cryptocurrency users' funds.

via CoinDesk

What Bitcoin Did #102 The Tech Coming to Lightning with Christian Decker

Interview location: Skype

Interview date: Wednesday 15th April, 2019

Company: Blockstream

Role: Core Tech Engineer

While the Lightning Network is a way to scale Bitcoin while maintaining the security of the base chain, it is early and is presenting challenges to the key developers working on it. As users get to grips with channels, liquidity and the nuances of use cases, developers are responding by working on innovations to improve the experience.

In this interview, I talk again with Christian Decker from Blockstream. This time we dig into the detail of some of the upcoming technology for the protocol, including:

  • Splicing

  • Neutrino

  • Eltoo

  • Watchtowers

  • Channel factories

  • Submarine Swaps

  • Onion construction

  • Trampoline payments

This episode is also on:

Listen to more What Bitcoin Did episodes

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

What Bitcoin Did #101 - Hodl Hodl Lightning Announcement with Roman Snitko and Max Keidun

Interview location: Skype

Interview date: Wednesday 24th April, 2019

Company: Hodl Hodl

Role: Max - CEO | Roman - CTO

In this episode for Lightning Month, I talk with Max and Roman from Hodl Hodl, where they have an announcement to make regarding Lightning and their exchange. We also discuss their new prediction market and the Honeybadger conference.

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

HTC Plans to Launch Another Blockchain Phone This Year, Exec Says

Electronics giant HTC is planning to launch a second-generation EXODUS blockchain phone by the end of 2019.

via CoinDesk

“Publicly Traded Crypto Exchange” Bitcoin Generation Hit by SEC Sanctions

News bit SEC.jpg

An official announcement published on April 29, 2019, has revealed that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has temporarily suspended the trading of shares in Bitcoin Generation (BTGN), a blockchain-based company out of Oklahoma.

The company also operates a crypto exchange platform that supports popular cryptocurrencies, and it bills itself as the “first publicly traded cryptocurrency exchange.”

Specifically, the regulator pointed out inaccuracies with information relating to a bond purchased by BTGN from a U.K.-based entity, as well as its stock valuation and the status of its financial condition. The SEC also expressed concerns with BTGN’s stock promotional activity and its impact on the market.

The suspension commenced at 09:30 EDT on the day of the announcement. BTGN’s shares last traded at 9 cents, and they’ll remain so until 23:59 on May 10, 2019, when the suspension will be lifted.

In the meantime, the Commission “cautions broker-dealers, shareholders, and prospective purchasers that they should carefully consider the foregoing information along with all other currently available information and any information subsequently issued by the company.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Bitcoin Startup Unveils ‘Thunder Bird’ Lightning Code for IoT Devices

Japanese startup Nayuta is releasing a lightning network implementation with a compelling new focus: bitcoin payments for the internet of things.

via CoinDesk

JPMorgan Exec Joins Blockchain Gold-Trading Firm Tradewind as CEO

Tradewind, a blockchain-powered precious metals market, has hired a JPMorgan veteran to be its first-ever CEO.

via CoinDesk

Bitcoin Price Close to First 3-Month Winning Streak Since Late 2017

Bitcoin is on track to confirm a long-term bullish reversal with a first three-month winning streak since the end of 2017.

via CoinDesk

ErisX Launches Crypto Spot Market on Heels of New $20 Million Raise

Aspiring crypto derivatives provider ErisX took one step closer to its ultimate goal Tuesday with the launch of a spot market.

via CoinDesk

Voters on Ethereum App Veto Proposal to Fund Polkadot Blockchain

Aragon token holders have shot down a proposal to diversify project funds to support blockchain interoperability project Polkadot.

via CoinDesk

Nasdaq Adding Index for XRP Cryptocurrency to Global Data Service

After bitcoin and ether, Nasdaq is now adding an index for the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency, XRP, to its global data service.

via CoinDesk

Bitfinex Is Planning to Issue an Exchange Token, Shareholder Says

Cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex is planning to issue a proprietary exchange token, according to a shareholder claiming knowledge of the plan.

via CoinDesk

Monday, 29 April 2019

The Crypto Show Joel Valenzuela A Merchant Director Hosting 5k + Listings

On today's show Joel Valenzuela joins us to discuss the latest with a merchant and ATM directory specific to Dash. The majority of those listings are in Venezuela where crypto adoption has bloomed out of necessity.We also get into to Trust Protector's, Master-nodes and much more as the title implies.

All Crypto Show listeners will get a 20% discount by using the promo code CRYPTOSHOW at any of their 250+ locations. To find the nearest location to you, please visit"

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

Want to Understand Bitfinex? Understand Mt. Gox

People interested in understanding Bitfinex are well-served to understand what happened with Mt. Gox.

via CoinDesk

Las principales noticias del martes

By Por Marina Franco via NYT Universal

Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Crypto Fund Lost $272.7 Million in 2018

Galaxy Digital, the crypto fund founded by Michael Novogratz, lost $272.7 million in its first full year of operation.

via CoinDesk

The Bitcoin Magazine Podcast feat. Aaron Van Wirdum

"No one has been forced to run the Bitcoin core code. Its just what people choose to do in the same way that they choose to go to the McDonalds or buy Nike shoes. It's not that Nike is in charge of the market. It's just people choose that. And in the markets, ultimately, consumers are the ones that have power. I think the same thing is true for Bitcoin." - Aaron Van Wirdum

Welcome back to The Bitcoin Magazine Podcast, your source for all the news, commentary and thought leadership driving the financial revolution that is Bitcoin.

In today's episode, hosts Dave and Grahm get you caught up on Bitfinex, Satoshi's Treasure, FinCen's first ever civil penalty and more. After that, they're joined by Bitcoin Magazine's Technical Editor Aaron Van Wirdum to discuss a recently published blockchain forking in Bitcoin infographic.‚


Mueller Report: Russia Used Bitcoin to Fund DNC Hack

FinCen Issues First-Ever Civil Penalty Against Bitcoin Exchange

Satoshi's Treasure: The Chase Is On For $1 Million Bitcoin Prize

Adamant Capital: BTC Price Botton Is Likely In, Accumulation Phase Has Begun

Bitfinex Faces Legal Action From NY Attorney General: Here's What This Means


Bitcoin Forks Infographic


Bitcoin Magazine

The LTB Network

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

Debunking Bitcoin Myths: "It’s Only for Criminals"

myths criminals.jpg

A series of op eds by Kyle Torpey addressing some of the oft-repeated arguments against Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s core value proposition is that it is an uncontrolled, apolitical money. To some people, this means Bitcoin is only useful to people who want to get around various regulations imposed on the world’s financial systems and society more generally.

And in a way, these Bitcoin critics have a point. Bitcoin can be quite useful for criminals, much like physical cash. However, the permissionless nature of Bitcoin also enables other valuable use cases of this new technology.

Bitcoin is simply a tool. And that tool can be used by both good and bad people.

Non-Criminals in the Developed World

In the developed world, bitcoin has mostly been used for price speculation. People simply want to bet on the future potential of this new digital asset. That’s not a crime.

In addition to outright speculation on bitcoin and altcoins, there are those who already view bitcoin as a credible store of value due to its difficult-to-corrupt monetary policy.

Having said that, there are also some nonspeculative use cases for bitcoin that have gained traction in places like the United States and Western Europe.

If someone wants to protect their financial privacy online, bitcoin is often seen as the best available option. Although privacy-conscious altcoins, such as Monero and Zcash, have increased in popularity, bitcoin is still generally preferred in this niche due to its own privacy improvements (Samourai Wallet and Wasabi Wallet come to mind) and various network effects.

Seeking privacy does not necessarily mean someone is doing anything wrong. Some people are simply becoming more conscious about the amount of personal data they hand over to third parties, especially in light of Facebook’s ongoing privacy controversies.

There are also a variety of other, admittedly niche, Bitcoin-related activities that can be found in the developed world — such as saving money on Amazon purchases via and timestamping.

Additionally, it should be noted that “criminal activity” is a rather subjective term. While some bitcoin users may technically be criminals, much of this activity may be seen as morally acceptable by the vast majority of society. Does anyone really care if someone buys a small amount of marijuana on a darknet market?

Furthermore, what’s illegal in one country may be legal in another.

Non-Criminals in the Developing World

Bitcoin has long been touted as having the ability to “bank the unbanked” around the world. While some of this narrative is likely overblown, at least for now, it’s true that Bitcoin can be a solution in the developing world for holding digital value (especially in countries dealing with high levels of inflation) and gaining access to the internet economy.

Issues around identity and reputation make it difficult or uneconomical for banks to provide services in some markets, so Bitcoin can be helpful in filling in the cracks found in the global financial system.

This access to the global economy is also much more difficult for local tyrants to control when it’s enabled by Bitcoin. For example, families leaving Venezuela are able to more easily hold onto their savings by placing it into a Bitcoin private key rather than something physical like cash or gold.

Those who don’t believe the developing world will want to hold an asset as volatile as bitcoin should look at an app like Abra, which allows users to peg the value of their bitcoin to basically any real-world asset.

The developing world also accounts for the other side of the aforementioned Much of the Amazon credit liquidity that powers the site purportedly comes from Amazon Mechanical Turk workers in the developing world.

The key attribute that these use cases in the developed and developing worlds share is that they rely on the existence of a digital bear ecash like bitcoin. Much like the development of the internet itself, the permissionless nature of Bitcoin has the potential to unlock large amounts of value for the world.

This is a guest post by Kyle Torpey. Opinions expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Report: Australians Lost Over $4 Million to Crypto Scams in 2018

Aussie scam report.jpg

The latest edition of “Targeting scams,” an annual report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) revealed that the country saw a 190 percent increase in cryptocurrency scams, with a total of $6.1 million AUD ($4.3 million USD) lost to crypto criminals.

This marks a substantial rise from the $2.1 million AUD ($1.48 million) that was reportedly lost to scams in Australia back in 2017. The increase came even amid last year’s crypto winter, which saw virtually every digital asset in circulation lose a significant chunk of its value.

Investment Scams Reign Supreme in Australia

The report reveals that most of the victims of scams in Australia were targeted by fraudulent investment schemes. These schemes often compel investors to purchase one form of crypto or another, and, in some cases, the victims are convinced to make crypto-based payments for investment opportunities in forex, commodity trading and other trading schemes.

The report notes:

“To avoid the fraud and scam detection systems employed by banks, scammers are now increasingly asking for payment via unusual payment methods such as gift cards and cryptocurrencies.”

Millennial Men: The Most Susceptible Victims

The report also claims that out of all the 674 crypto scam cases that were reported in 2018, over half of the victims were men between the ages of 25 and 34. This number could actually be even higher, as the report suggests that some victims were likely too embarrassed to report the scams.

This isn’t particularly surprising. Last year, a survey conducted by U.S.–based financial services firm Bankrate revealed that a more significant percentage of millennials (people between ages 18 and 37) believe that bitcoin (BTC) is the best way to store money that they won’t need for the next decade.

Over 80 percent of the victims were also reported to have been contacted by scam perpetrators via some form of internet-based media (the most popular were online forums, social media and email) frequently used by millennials.

Fiat Scams Are Even More Devastating

However, while there has been a reported spike in the rate of crypto scams in Australia in 2018, the ACCC also reported that the amount lost in fiat currencies was much worse.

A similar report published by the commission on April 29, 2019, stated that financial losses amounted to $489.7 million. With crypto scams amounting to just $4.3 million, fiat-based scams seem to remain the most popular modus operandi for scammers in the country.

Delia Rickard, the deputy chair of the ACCC, said, “The total combined losses reported to Scamwatch and other government agencies exceeded $489 million — $149 million more than 2017. And these record losses are likely just the tip of the iceberg. We know that not everyone who suffers a loss to a scammer reports it to a government agency.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Huobi Cloud Aims for 80 More Exchange Partners in Bid for Revenue Growth

The Huobi Cloud network of crypto exchanges wants to facilitate $55 million in daily volume by 2020.

via CoinDesk

SEC Temporarily Suspends Trading in Little-Known Bitcoin Miner’s Shares

The SEC has temporarily suspended trading in shares Bitcoin Generation, a little-known crypto exchange and miner.

via CoinDesk

Bakkt Acquires Crypto Custodian, Partners With BNY Mellon on Key Storage

Bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt has acquired the Digital Asset Custody Company and is working with global bank BNY Mellon on crypto key storage.

via CoinDesk

4 Minute Crypto - E-Trade is Getting Ready For Bitcoin Trading

According to Bloomberg, an anonymous source claimed that E-Trade is preparing to support Bitcoin and Ethereum trading to its 5 million customers.

You can find all episodes of the show by visiting




YouTube Channel



Gary is available to keynote or emcee your Bitcoin/Crypto event. Please email for additional info.

DISCLAIMER: This article should not be taken as is, and is not intended to provide, investment advice.

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

UK Baroness’ Luxury Bitcoin Property Project Reportedly Suffering Delay

A British baroness' luxury residential project targeting the crypto rich has been put on hold, says The Times.

via CoinDesk

Report: E-Trade is Finalizing its Crypto Trading Platform


New York-based online brokerage firm E-Trade Financial Corp. has plans to launch trading services for digital assets, Bloomberg reports. Bitcoin and ether will be the first assets to be supported by E-Trade’s crypto trading service, but the firm has plans to list other assets in the future. This announcement comes on the heels of a report that TD Ameritrade is testing crypto trading on its platform.

A tweet by New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper suggests that E-Trade is bowing to the pressure of its competitors, as a deluge of traditional financial service providers seem to be rushing into the crypto trading industry.

Last year, the brokerage opened up access to bitcoin futures trading from CME Group to its customers.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

The Crypto Show Hawaii Edition With Mike Dervishian CoinJoin.Shop

On today's show Mike Dervishian joins Chuck in studio to talk about his crypto mentorship program called CoinJoin.Shop. We also discuss some of the BSV Binance drama among other things.

All Crypto Show listeners will get a 20% discount by using the promo code CRYPTOSHOW at any of their 250+ locations. To find the nearest location to you, please visit"

via The Let's Talk Bitcoin Network

We.Trade Co-Founder Mancone Is Leaving the Enterprise Blockchain Firm

Roberto Mancone is leaving, the live trade finance blockchain platform which he helped grow into a legal entity comprising 14 banks.

via CoinDesk

Creditor Takes Crypto Startup London Block Exchange to Court

A law firm has taken the London Block Exchange to court saying it's owed money, but the startup's CEO has denied it is going out of business.

via CoinDesk

Bitcoin on the Defensive But May See Bounce at Key Price Support

Bitcoin's short-term prospects are looking bleak, but its close proximity to historically strong price support is calling for caution from sellers.

via CoinDesk

Before Raid,' Seasteaders' Planned Floating Resort Off Thailand

By REUTERS via NYT World

Australian Crypto Scam Reports Rose Almost 200% in 2018

Australia saw a surge in reports of scams involving cryptocurrencies last year, according to the country's consumer watchdog.

via CoinDesk

Jaguar Land Rover Plans to Give Drivers Crypto in Return for Their Data

Jaguar Land Rover is piloting tech that may soon let drivers earn rewards in the IOTA cryptocurrency for sharing data on road conditions.

via CoinDesk

US Stock Broker E*Trade to Launch Bitcoin and Ether Trading: Report

Online stock brokerage E*Trade is preparing to launch cryptocurrency trading services, according to Bloomberg sources.

via CoinDesk

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Bond Rating Agency Moody’s Warns on Risks of Private Blockchains

Rating agency Moody's has warned of several risks of private, centralized blockchains in a report examining the tech's pros and cons.

via CoinDesk

A Glimpse of Banking’s Future, Live on the Ethereum Blockchain

Last week, Frenching bank Societe Generale revealed that it has issued a security token-like bond on ethereum. But rather than using a private iteration, SocGen used the public blockchain.

via CoinDesk

I Tried to Get People to Give Away Bitcoin – And They Did

Some of bitcoin's earliest adopters have made a fortune holding onto the coins, and Connie Gallippi wanted to give them a way to help other people. Turns out bitcoiners are quite the philanthropists too.

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Jaguar Land Rover Planning to Allow Helpful Car Drivers to Earn Cryptocurrency

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Thanks for listening to this episode of Let's Talk Bitcoin, content for today's show was provided by Stephanie Murphy, Jonathan Mohan, Adam B. Levine, and Andreas Antonopoulos.

This episode was edited by Dave, Krystal, and Adam. This episode featured music by Jared Rubens and General Fuzz.

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Murder, Censorship and Syria: Crypto and the Future of Uprisings

One technologist's imprisonment and execution in Syria exemplifies the parallel use of technology for both liberation and repression – and why bitcoin and other censorship resistant tech is needed in such areas. Meet Bassel Khartabil.

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Saturday, 27 April 2019

The Bitfinex-Tether Allegations Explained

A quick visual overview of New York's allegations against crypto companies Bitfinex and Tether.

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Friday, 26 April 2019

Paxos to Issue Up to $100 Million of Stablecoins on Ontology Blockchain

Paxos will issue up to 100 million of its PAX stablecoins on the Ontology blockchain next month.

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Bitfinex Faces Legal Action From NY Attorney General: Here’s What This Means

Bitfinex Ny Attorney General

The New York Office of the Attorney General (AG) wants to take a closer look into the business operations of Bitfinex and related stablecoin issuer Tether (USDT). According to a legal petition filed with the Supreme Court of New York, the NY Attorney General Office of Letitia James is applying for a court order to investigate Bitfinex’s suite of interrelated companies (including its umbrella firm iFinex and Tether Holdings Limited) for “ongoing fraud” to the tune of $850 million.

What does the news mean for Bitfinex, Tether and Bitcoin?

What Is the Legal Action About Exactly?

Prompted by its findings in a 2018 investigative subpoena, the New York Office of the Attorney General alleges that Bitfinex used funds from Tether (a separate company run by the same management) to mask some $850 million in losses in customer funds resulting from potential theft or mismanagement by payment processor Crypto Capital.

Bitfinex ended up relying on the fiduciary services of the Panama-based payment processor following a roulette of troubled banking relationships throughout the years. By mid-2018, Crypto Capital held roughly $1 billion worth of combined business and customer funds on behalf of Bitfinex. The document alleges that Bitfinex entrusted Crypto Capital with these funds without signing a contract or business agreement.

Text-based correspondence cited in the document from mid-2018, which was obtained during the AG’s 2018 investigation, reveal a Bitfinex employee’s persistent yet unsuccessful attempts to retrieve funds from Crypto Capital. The payment processor claimed that the funds were seized by Portuguese, Polish and American authorities, though both the Attorney General and Bitfinex question whether this is true.

In the meantime, complaints of delayed withdrawals from Bitfinex users were rampant. The court document states that despite its issues with Crypto Capital, Bitfinex falsely claimed that cash withdrawals were unobstructed during this period.

In order to be able to continue processing withdrawals, Bitfinex ultimately transferred $625 million from Tether’s reserves. Additionally, Bitfinex established a $900 million “revolving line of credit” with Tether, and both this promise of credit and the prior transfer were conducted without Bitfinex or Tether alerting its users.

This line of credit, which Bitfinex can draw from on a need-by-need basis, is collateralized with over 60 million shares of iFinex Inc., one of the Bitfinex brand’s shell companies. These shares are owned by DigFinex, the majority owner of both Tether and iFinex.

“That transaction closed on or about March 19. 20I9. The total accessed under the loan facility as of today’s date is equal to $700 million,” the document states.

This fund shuffling and the capital mismanagement that prompted it are the crux of the legal proceedings, with the letter stating that Bitfinex has “produced only limited relevant information” regarding Tether’s $625 million transfer and $900 million line of credit.

In conclusion, the letter reads, “OAG’s ongoing investigation seeks to determine, among other things, the extent to which New York investors are exposed to ongoing fraud being carried out by Bitfinex and Tether.” To make this determination, the application seeks a court order to secure relevant business and financial information, including tax documentation, an official audit, and banking/loan documents and correspondence.

Why Is This Legal Pressure Coming Out of New York?

Bitfinex nor Tether are based in New York. Neither company possesses a BitLicense needed to operate a cryptocurrency exchange in the state, so Bitfinex officially barred its service to individuals from New York in August 2017 and to businesses in August 2018.

However, the New York Attorney General believes that the exchange was still serving (some) New York citizens regardless, and the order explicitly states that it seeks to protect “legitimate traders using the Bitfinex platform ... primarily those residing in New York.”

The New York Attorney General can also invoke what is known as the Martin Act. As securities regulatory attorney Scott Andersen said on Twitter, the Act “broadly empowers the NY Attorney General to conduct civil and criminal investigations for securities law violations.” With this regulatory power, the AG can obtain a preliminary court order to elicit testimony and evidence from Bitfinex.

What Does Bitfinex Say?

In a response published on the company’s blog, Bitfinex positions itself as a company that is a good corporate citizen and strong supporter of law enforcement, and it condemns the legal action by the New York Attorney General’s Office as “gross overreach.”

The statement reads:

“The New York Attorney General’s court filings were written in bad faith and are riddled with false assertions, including as to a purported $850 million ‘loss’ at Crypto Capital. On the contrary, we have been informed that these Crypto Capital amounts are not lost but have been, in fact, seized and safeguarded. We are and have been actively working to exercise our rights and remedies and get those funds released. Sadly, the New York Attorney General’s office seems to be intent on undermining those efforts to the detriment of our customers.”

Bitfinex further suggests that the New York Attorney General’s time would be better spent trying to aid and support the company’s recovery efforts to procure the funds held by Crypto Capital.

Is Tether Insolvent? Is Bitfinex?

Nobody can know for sure — for either company. The request for a court order, in part, hinges on this question, however, and the New York Attorney General seems to believe that Bitfinex siphoned funds from Tether’s reserves to cover up a potential insolvency.

The document stakes no claim on whether or not Crypto Capital has the funds. It’s possible that the payment processor might have the money but is refusing to give it up, just as it’s possible that they no longer hold these funds in their own accounts or that they were seized or frozen by authorities.

It should be noted that even if $850 million is inaccessible, this represents only a fraction of Bitfinex and Tether’s total holdings. Twitter reports suggest that Bitfinex withdrawals are still being processed.

Were Bitfinex/Tether Critics Right?

It depends on which critics and the timing of their criticisms. Over the years, a wide range of accusations have been leveraged against Bitfinex and Tether.

One of the best-known and severe of these accusations was that Tether was creating unbacked USDT “out of thin air,” which it used to artificially inflate the bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets. Some of these accusations go back as far as early 2017. Based on the information that is now available, these accusations appear to be false or at least unproven, and the New York Attorney General’s Office doesn’t lend them credence in its letter.

More mild accusations focused on the untransparent business practices of Bitfinex and suspicions that the exchange, with the help of USDT, was running a fractional reserve in some way or another. Seemingly corroborating these suspicions for skeptics, Tether updated its website in March to clarify that USDT is “100% backed by [its] reserves,” which could include “cash equivalents” but also “other assets and receivables from loans.” The old version assured users that each USDT was backed 1-1 with cash. Tether made this change shortly before the $900 million line of credit was established.

It appears that from the moment when Bitfinex started running into trouble with Crypto Capital, sometime in 2018, these accusations of fractional reserve practices carried validity.

What Does This Mean for Bitcoin?

While only time will tell, of course, there is little reason to believe these latest developments will have great impact on Bitcoin one way or the other.

Many bitcoin exchanges have historically had trouble finding reliable banking partners, and some of them have even had to shut down because of this. As we’ve seen with the QuadrigaCX debacle, when an exchange can’t secure proper banking partnerships, it might turn to unscrupulous payment processors--to the detriment of both its operations and its customer’s funds.

Similarly, a number of bitcoin exchanges have lost funds due to hacks or otherwise, and in some cases had to entirely close shop because of this as well. While such events have affected the bitcoin price and general sentiment in the short term, it’s not clear if this will result in long-term effects; in this case, it’s far from certain that Bitfinex will have to cease operations or accept losses at all. The company itself certainly doesn’t think so.

So far the bitcoin price has seen a somewhat modest price drop of about 5 percent. Interestingly, even USDT is trading at $0.97 on Kraken, suggesting that the market still has relative faith in the stablecoin and the company behind it (for now).

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

Bitfinex Needs ‘A Few Weeks’ to Unfreeze Funds, CFO Tells Shareholder

A Bitfinex shareholder says its CFO told him the exchange needs 'a few weeks' to recover the funds at issue in the New York Attorney General probe.

via CoinDesk

‘Darkest Days Yet’: ‘Purple Pill’ Tell-All Details Years-Long Rift at Heart of MakerDAO Stablecoin Project

Penned by the stablecoin project's former CTO, "Zandy's Story" paints a clear picture of MakerDAO's current turmoil.

via CoinDesk

New Cryptojacking Campaign Infects Asia Using More Profitable Tactics

cryptojack asia report.jpg

Cryptojacking — the process of infecting computers with malware to mine cryptocurrency — has declined alongside prices during cryptowinter. But like any dextrous organism facing extinction, the virus and its propagators are adapting.

According to a report by cybersecurity analytics firm Symantec, cryptojacking incidents have plummeted 52 percent since January 2018, but the method of delivery, the execution and the targeting schemes have grown more sophisticated.

Specifically, Symantec’s latest report focused on Beapy, a cryptojacking campaign sweeping through Asia by taking specific aim at business and enterprise. Using a software exploit called EternalBlue, which was developed by the United States’ own NSA, the virus is spread via email. Symantec first tuned into the growing threat in January of this year.

With infection rates spiking in March and continuing an exponential upward trajectory since, the firm has concluded that, based on the virus’s infection route, “it was probably always intended to spread throughout enterprise networks.” Described as a “worm” by the report, the virus effectively infiltrated vulnerable devices and, using a matrix of cyber tunnels, bored its way into devices connected to the same server or network.

“This campaign demonstrates that while cryptojacking has declined in popularity with cyber criminals since its peak at the start of 2018, it is still a focus for some of them, with enterprises now their primary target,” the introduction to the report asserts.


Graph courtesy of Symantec

Some 98 percent of infected parties are enterprise related, the report continues, mirroring 2018 trends in ransomware attacks wherein a drop in overall threats corresponded with an increase in enterprise-focused infections. These attacks, Symantec Threat Intelligence Analyst Allan Neville told Bitcoin Magazine, can “[render] some devices unusable due to high CPU usage.”

China has become the main target of this particular attack, dwarfing all other affected countries with a staggering 83 percent share of all infections. Other afflicted countries include Japan, Vietnam, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Philippines and — the only two outside of the Eastern Hemisphere — Jamaica and Japan.

Virus Infection Strategy

The virus was initially spread through Windows devices via an infected Excel spreadsheet. Once opened, the spreadsheet would create a backdoor into the computer’s OS, making use of the DoublePulse exploit that was leaked in the same batch of cyber tools that gave the attackers the EternalBlue vector for their operations.

Exploiting a weak point in Windows’ Server Message Block protocol, the files containing the virus could then be spread “laterally across networks.”

The mining malware also commandeered credentials, such as passwords and usernames, from infected devices to spread to other computers in a network. Moreover, the firm found versions of Beapy on a public-facing web server, using a list of IP addresses connected to this server to create a hit list of potential victims.

More Upside Than Before

One of the study’s most interesting findings is that Beapy is unlike the run-of-the-mill cryptojacking malware most often employed when infections were at their zenith in early 2018.

Most of these campaigns employed browser-based miners. These viruses largely leveraged the Coinhive protocol, a non-malicious software implementation that was employed by such sites as UNICEF, allowing its website visitors to voluntarily mine Monero for charity through their browsers upon visiting the site. Coinhive shuttered operations in March of 2019, and this, coupled with Monero’s steep depreciation in the bear market, likely led to a steady decline in cryptojacking, the report surmises.

Beapy, however, doesn’t rely on browser mining, opting instead for a much more lucrative and complex file mining approach. Unlike browser mining, file mining is more resource efficient and makes for a greater haul: the average 30-day return for this technique, for instance, could net the virus’s blackhats $750,000, making the browser mining alternative’s return seem paltry at $30,000.


Image courtesy of Symantec

Despite it being on the rise, “file-based coinmining isn’t new,” Neville told Bitcoin Magazine; it’s just “taken a back seat to browser-based coinmining the past couple of years” due to the fact that browser-based mining cryptojacking takes less technical skill.

“The launch of Coinhive — with its ready made scripts — lowered this barrier even further,” he added.

Furthermore, even if a computer is patched against the virus, they will still execute browser mining if they visit a site “that has coin-mining code injected into it.”

Neville clarified that it’s “too early to tell if we’ll see a resurgence in file-based mining compared to browser-based mining.” Still, as detection and protection against Coinminers improves, cyber criminals will look toward “alternative revenue sources.”

“As cyber criminals hone their tactics, we’ve also seen that their approach becomes more targeted.”

Defending Against the Threat

The report ends by listing the side effects of such cryptojacking infections, including device overheating and excessive battery consumption, which can lead to device degradation and spikes in electricity costs.

It also details the precautions that companies can take to insulate against such attacks. On the hardware and software side, companies can employ security solutions “to guard against single-point failures in any specific technology or protection method,” including firewalls and vulnerability assessments; robust passwords and multi-factor authentication are also a bonus.

On the employee side, education is key. In addition to basic cyber hygiene, the report prescribes lessons on what cryptojacking is and how to spot it, like watching for spikes in CPU usage and a battery drain. Neville reiterated many of these points at the end of our correspondence.

“Beyond ensuring that employees receive regular training to recognize and report phishing emails used to deliver malware, businesses should implement overlapping and mutually supportive defensive systems to guard against single-point failures in any specific technology or protection method. This includes deployment of endpoint, email and web gateway protection technologies, as well as firewalls and vulnerability assessment solutions. It’s also crucial to keep these security solutions up to date with the latest protections and ensure systems are protected against exploits such as EternalBlue.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

The Tatiana Show Ep. 194 Peter Todd

Read Transcript Here

Peter Todd is a man known throughout the crypto community, and yet, barely has a bio listed about himself. He has been interviewed hundreds of times, so I wanted to take a different approach. I have always known Peter socially, but while I recognize his technical contributions, I have to say our conversation around abortion, immigration, and other such controversial topics kept me pretty entertained during our in depth interview at Tone Vays' Unconfiscatable event! I can't say his views are conventional, you may not agree, he may be trolling, but this is one of the most boisterous interviews I have done yet on the Tatiana Show. Don't listen if you are easily offended, and if you are, oh well. This is a bit uncensored!

About the Guests:

Peter Todd is a Bitcoin enthusiast and expert, consultant and leading developer related to cryptocurrency and blockchain software at Bitcoin Core, which is considered to be the official client application for operations with Bitcoin. Peter Todd is famous for his profound knowledge of the security properties of the Bitcoin network and other decentralized technologies. He holds a degree in integrated media. His career started as a software developer, but now he is the chief scientist at Dark Wallet and Mastercoin. The main direction of Peter Todd's work is in the design of Bitcoin's application framework and in providing security for the whole network.
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Iran’s First Ever Bitcoin ATM Unveiled in Tehran

Iran ATM.jpg

On April 24, 2019, the first bitcoin ATM in the Islamic Republic of Iran was revealed at the 12th International Exhibition of Exchange, Bank and Insurance in Tehran.

Footage of the event was captured by a film crew working for German news agency Ruptly, a part of Russia Today’s greater media network. Intrigued crowds were seen lining up to see the functionality of this machine, which was emblazoned with the message that the BTM was itself made in Iran, not wheeled into the conference from some overseas source.

Ruptly also interviewed both the demonstration’s presenters and random users on the experience. “I was happy, as a person who has Bitcoin, when I used it,” said Iranian citizen Elnaz Rahim. “I needed cash in Rial and it took me less than three minutes and I was very satisfied. I hope that we will be able to circumvent sanctions by it.”

Indeed, Iranian citizens have already seen the possible use cases of bitcoin to circumvent international sanctions. In December 2018, Iranian citizens studying abroad in the United Kingdom found themselves relying on bitcoin to pay their tuition, after recently imposed sanctions made it otherwise impossible.

The possibility of using bitcoin in this way is especially salient for Iranians, as punitive sanctions have been pushing Iran’s energy sector to the limit. With summertime heat waves pushing temperatures above a whopping 127 degrees Fahrenheit, ways of circumventing these measures are becoming an especially important consideration as energy costs continue to increase.

When Bitcoin Magazine helped to pass the Lightning Torch (via Welsh bitcoiner Bitgeiniog) to an Iranian user in March, sanctions were a recurring point of concern, with Torch recipient Ziya Sadr calling bitcoin “a safe haven.”

April 2019 has seen Iran become a major area of interest for bitcoin miners from China. Although mining firms have found it difficult to get the necessary equipment into the country, they have nevertheless reported that the government is willing to offer lucrative deals on electricity costs in exchange for long-term investment in the nation’s power plants.

With over 220 companies participating, the Tehran Times called the exhibition “the most significant event in domestic capital market, banking and insurance sectors,” especially considering how nearly 70 percent of the nation’s 81 million inhabitants are now internet users.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine

It Looks as if Another Darknet Market Era Is Coming to an End

It Looks as if Another Darknet Market Era Is Coming to an End

Major darknet markets come and go in eras, so it seems, and the current one may be ending.

Two of the biggest digital black markets seem to be disappearing, both at the same time. While it is notoriously hard to find reliable information about the status of these highly illegal endeavors, messages on darknet-specific forums like Dread and reports by darknet-focused news sites like Deep Dot Web indicate that digital black markets Dream Market and Wall Street Market have both become unusable. The former has halted trading altogether, while the latter appears to be confiscating user funds.

Dream Market

Darknet markets, the online market places for illicit goods and services that operate on hidden services and use bitcoin (and sometimes altcoins) for payments, have been around in their current form since 2011, when Ross Ulbricht founded Silk Road. Over the years, many markets have come and gone, and it appears that the days of the current market leaders are now coming to an end as well.

Dream Market, the oldest operating and possibly biggest market on the dark web in recent years, was the first to show signs of trouble. According to Deep Dot Web, the marketplace was initially hard to reach, most likely due to ongoing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on the website. The attacks appeared to exploit a weakness in the anonymizing Tor browser which made the cost of such an attack relatively low.

While it is not certain who is behind the attacks, the reports, based on comments by pseudonymous Dread forum operator “HugBunter,” suggest that it was part of an extortion effort. The attacker seems to have demanded that the pseudonymous operator of Dream Market, “Speedstepper,” pay to make the attacks stop.

“In one comment about a separate attack against Dread, HugBunter wrote that the entity behind the Dream Market attack had launched the attack in an attempt to extort the Dream Market administrator for 400,000 USD,” Deep Dot Web reports, noting that Speedstepper refused to pay.

Others have suggested that law enforcement officials or a competing darknet market may have been responsible for the attacks, but this is just speculation at this point.

For the past month, after about seven weeks of ongoing denial of service attacks, trading on Dream Market has been halted altogether. According to Deep Dot Web, quoting a Dream Market staff member, the DDoS attacks had become too big of a problem for the operators of the website.

Users who logged into the marketplace were instead greeted with a message claiming that the darknet market is closing:

“This market is shutting down on 04/30/2019 and is transferring its services to a partner company, onion address: weroidjkazxqds2l.onion (currently offline, opening soon).”

Besides the somewhat mysterious message, not much is clear about Dream Market’s future. It’s unknown which partner company the message refers to or to what extent the current version of Dream Market will still be in use. Reports by Deep Dot Web (once again based on comments by Dread forum operator HugBunter) suggest the market may just be rebranding but details are unclear. Speedstepper has not publicly commented on the issue.

Even with trading halted, Dream Market users — while unable to trade on the website or make deposits — do appear to have been able to withdraw funds from their accounts.

Wall Street Market and the End of an Era?

With Dream Market shutting down all trade, many users of the platform presumably went looking for replacement darknet markets. Many of them probably ended up at Wall Street Market, one of the biggest darknet markets next to Dream Market.

But now, after several weeks, reports on Dread and Deep Dot Web claim that Wall Street Market is “exit scamming”: disappearing with users’ funds. With the inflow of new users from Dream Market, the amount of money stolen is reported to add up to $30 million. Wall Street Market itself claims “technical issues” — at the time of writing, a message on the website shows that it is down for maintenance, but many users are expressing doubts that this is true. One of the website’s administrators is even alleged to have blackmailed users, threatening to leak their identifying information to law enforcement.

It’s not the first time that a group of darknet markets has disappeared at the same time. After the pioneering darknet market Silk Road was shut down by law enforcement in 2013, successors Silk Road 2.0, Cloud 9 and Hydra all suffered the same fate in November 2014, as part of an international law enforcement operation called “Operation Onymous.” The void was filled by Agora (which voluntarily shut down in 2015) and later AlphaBay, which in turn grew to be the dominant digital black market throughout 2015 and 2016. By 2017, however, AlphaBay was shut down by law enforcement as well.

At that time, many users migrated to Hansa. Hansa, however, turned out to have already been taken over by Dutch police. In what was called “Operation Bayonet,” new users from AlphaBay were trapped into entering passwords and more potentially identifying information in the compromised version of the Hansa website. After several weeks, Hansa was finally closed down as well, meaning the two biggest darknet markets were taken down within a span of several weeks.

Thus far, there is no indication that law enforcement has anything to do with the situation at Dream Market and Wall Street Market. No arrests have been made public, and both websites are technically still online — though dysfunctional.

Darknet Growth Over the Years

Although several of the biggest darknet markets have been shut down by law enforcement over the years, it has done little to stop trade on digital black markets overall. According to research by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis, published in January 2019, darknet market activity almost doubled throughout 2018. After a slump in late 2017 due to the closure of AlphaBay and Hansa, trading volume had almost recovered to all-time high levels, at the time of publication of the report, surpassing $600 million worth of bitcoin for the year.

While bitcoin is still the main currency of choice on most darknet markets, the Chainalysis report does suggest that this type of activity has come to constitute a much smaller share of total bitcoin usage over time. Whereas up to 7 percent of transacted bitcoin value in 2012 and 2013 — the peak of the Silk Road — was related to darknet markets, this is now well below 1 percent, Chainalysis estimates.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

via Bitcoin Magazine