The price of bitcoin has rebounded and stabilized above the $10,000 mark for the first time in over two weeks. After bitcoin dropped as low as the $6,000’s in early February, this rally and subsequent price stabilization come as a relief to many investors, especially those who only recently started to invest in this asset class.
Bitcoin’s decline in January was largely driven by fears of a severe regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies. However, statements coming out of Davos and the U.S. Senate hearing point to a more reasonable cryptocurrency regulatory framework composed of standard AML/KYC requirements on exchanges, which largely exist already, and new taxation laws that will incorporate cryptocurrencies in capital gains and income tax filings.
Since the doom and gloom sentiment has seemingly passed, bitcoin – and with the altcoin market – are back on an upward trajectory as optimism has returned back in the digital asset markets.
Bitcoin (BTC) gained 28 percent week-on-week, while this week’s top ten altcoin outperformer was Litecoin (LTC), which rallied by over 48 percent after a controversial hard fork that created Litecoin Cash took place.
The most recent hack was pulled off by a group individuals based out of Ukraine who have named themselves Coinhoarder. The technique used by the hackers was very basic yet was able to capture the attention and funds of thousands of people. This simple technique included the hacking group taking out ads on Google related to key search terms. These key search terms were all directly related to cryptocurrencies. Terms like “blockchain,” “cryptocurrency wallet,” and “bitcoin wallet,” were all search terms that provided malicious ads.
Once the user is on the malicious website, they proceed as if they landed at the proper site they are accustomed to or going to for the first time. At this point, they enter personal information which allows the hackers to gain access to their accounts (wallets) on the real websites. Once they have accessed the user’s wallets, they transfer the funds to themselves and the hack is complete.
The UK’s imminent exit from the European Union (EU) has left some politicians with some uncertainty about London’s future as the leading financial center.
Kay Swinburne, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for Wales, made her views known as she spoke to the Business Insider on February 13. She believes that UK needs to grasps the blockchain technology after the exit of the EU to enable the City of London to stay relevant.
She believes the City of London can remain relevant by becoming advocates of new technologies like the blockchain and not just mending existing systems to make them work post-Brexit, but actually “leapfrogging.”
In spite of frequent corresponding warnings by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for cryptocurrency investors to pay their taxes on their gains. The IRS is worried that numerous U.S. citizens may not be precisely reporting the profits they have generated from their cryptocurrency transactions. Given the IRS are fully aware of the nature of profit and losses of bitcoin, therefore, has a justifiable reason to be concerned.
Evidence points to this issue of tax evasion. For example, less than 100 individuals out of the 250,000 people who have just filed for federal taxes this year through Credit Karma, a startup providing free credit monitoring, revealed a cryptocurrency transaction to U.S. tax authorities. Of those 100 that had disclosed their taxable sales, only one individual’s gain or loss was significant enough to be reported to the IRS according to Credit Karma. That is far less than the seven percent of Americans who are deemed to possess bitcoin or another digital currency.
There’s a new ransomware on the loose, targeting unsuspecting victims’ computers by way of malicious downloadable PDF files.
The looming threat came into the limelight after LMNTRIX, an Australian cybersecurity firm, published a report earlier in February 2018 claiming that a newly engineered ransomware dubbed “GandCrab” is being promoted on the dark web as a ransomware-as-a-service to cyber thugs. The content of the promotional campaign is in Russian, the security firm added.
According to the LMNTRIX report, the GandCrab is developed in such a way that anybody can buy it online through a shady dark web marketplace. Once they purchase it, the buyer becomes a member of the extended GandCrab network. Any money made by victimizing unsuspecting users is then split between the developers and the members by a ratio of 60:40.
In an interview with the BBC, Dr. Dan Werthimer, chief scientist at Berkeley University’s Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Research Center, has said that he and his team would “like to use the latest GPUs [graphics processing units] [and] we can’t get ’em. That’s limiting our search for extraterrestrials, to try to answer the question: ‘Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?’”
While scientists and gamers are blaming cryptocurrency miners for the dearth of GPUs, Blockchain-based virtual currency miners are also not happy about the increasing costs of purchasing these cards.
The only people on the bullish side of it all are the companies who manufacture these GPUs and mining machines. Nvidia, a tech company, specializing in graphics cards manufacturing, has capitalized on the craze and reaped tremendous benefits.
According to a news post by Business Insider, Royds Withy King, a UK law firm is handling three divorce cases where cryptocurrency dispute is part of the divorce proceedings. The post claims that spouses in each of the three cases are demanding for the full disclosure of cryptocurrency assets. To ensure the equitable sharing of these digital assets as part of the divorce settlement process. The only problem is that there are neither precedents nor laws to guide such a process and it is another startling reminder of how underdeveloped the regulatory environment of cryptocurrency is.
Of the three cases currently handled by Royds Withy King, one of them involves a considerably large bitcoin stash valued at $830,000. According to the report, the husband began investing in bitcoin a while back and had managed to create a sizeable bitcoin investment portfolio. Due to the meteoric rise in the price of bitcoin, the husband’s initial investment of $110,000 has now risen quite substantially to be worth $830,000 which is about 85 bitcoin using the current price. Apparently, the wife wants full disclosure and sharing of the bitcoin fortune as part of the divorce.
Bank Negara, Malaysia’s central bank, is set to release a brief document that will enable the public to decide how best to regulate the digital currency industry. The authority has made it clear that it will neither ban nor recognize cryptocurrencies.
As per the Borneo Bulletin, the governor of Bank Negara, Muhammad Ibrahim, who was present at the 40th-anniversary dinner party of the Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Malaysia, said that a concept paper on cryptocurrency is almost ready and the public will be given a chance to decide the fate of virtual currencies.
He also noted that the central bank would not give digital money the same status with fiat currency but would instead leave its regulation to crypto investors.