Bitcoin Turns Red While Ether Continues to Surge as PoS Transition Looks Imminent for the Network

After a strong showing over the past few days, the lasting bullishness in the global crypto market has finally come to an end, and the result is a bearish trend beginning to form come Friday morning. Thursday happened to go down as a strong day of trade for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency after a 2.45 percent surge in value, however, Bitcoin price is currently in the red by 0.18 percent. Bitcoin’s value currently stands at $42,044 (roughly Rs. 32 lakh) on Indian exchange CoinSwitch Kuber.

On global exchanges, the price of Bitcoin has moved up beyond the $40,000 (roughly Rs. 30 lakh) mark at $40,490 (roughly Rs. 31 lakh) slipping by 1.28 percent over the past 24 hours. As per CoinGecko data, Bitcoin has had a fairly good week, up by 2.8 percent week-on-week.

Ether has had an even better week so far. At the time of publishing, Ether is valued at $2,882 (roughly Rs. 2 lakh) on CoinSwitch Kuber while values on global exchanges see the crypto’s value at $2,777 (roughly Rs. 2 lakh), where the coin has seen a fairly positive 24 hour run gaining 0.83 percent over the past 24 hours. Ethereum developers have successfully merged the blockchain’s execution and consensus layers on the Kiln testnet. The achievement has market participants already anticipating the positive effects that the mainnet transition to Proof-of-Stake will have on the price of Ether.

CoinGecko data reveals that the cryptocurrency’s value has moved up by 6.5 percent over the past week although the original altcoin has dropped by roughly 12.5 percent in value over the past month.

Gadgets 360’s cryptocurrency price tracker paints a fairly mixed picture — the global crypto market cap falling by 0.36 percent over the past 24 hours. While Terra, Cardano, Solana, Polkadot, and Polygon all marked losses, while, Avalanche, Stellar, Uniswap, and Binance Coin have all moved up value.

Meme coins Shiba Inu and Dogecoin have wiped gains made through Thursday for another week in the red. Dogecoin is currently valued at $0.12 (roughly Rs. 9) after dipping by 1.78 percent over the last 24 hours, while, Shiba Inu is valued at $0.000023 (roughly Rs. 0.0017), down by 2.31 percent over the past day.

The current reduction in the market value shows the possibility of a further decrease in the value. The recent bullish rally resembled the one back in the starting days of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, which brought speedy gains and later led to an even speedier correction.

Galaxy Digital CEO, Mike Novogratz is bullish on BTC’s long-term growth predicting that Bitcoin will likely hit the $500,000 (roughly Rs. 4 crore) mark in terms of value in five years. Novogratz admits that he will be wrong on the adoption cycle if the flagship coin fails to reach the above-mentioned price milestone. He claims that Bitcoin grew much faster last year compared to the internet in the 1990s.

Meanwhile, the European Union’s securities, banking, and insurance watchdogs believe that consumers risk losing all their money invested in crypto-assets and could fall prey to scams very easily. “Consumers face the very real possibility of losing all their invested money if they buy these assets,” the three EU authorities said in a statement.

It marks a flurry of direct warnings to consumers about crypto assets by EU authorities, spelling out that consumers have no protections or recourse to compensation under existing EU financial services law.

Regulators are increasingly worried that more consumers are buying 17,000 different crypto-assets, including Bitcoin and Ether, which account for 60 percent of the market, without being fully aware of the risks, the regulators said.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.


Facebook-Parent Meta Sued in Australia Over Scam Cryptocurrency Advertisements

Australia announced Friday it is suing Facebook owner Meta over scam adverts for cryptocurrency schemes that falsely claimed to be endorsed by prominent figures.

Australia’s consumer protection commission said it had started Federal Court proceedings against Meta Platforms for “false, misleading or deceptive conduct” in breach of consumer or securities laws. It accused Meta of failing to do enough to stop scam ads for cryptocurrency or money-making schemes, even after being alerted by celebrities who had been misrepresented by similar ads published on Facebook.

Meta vowed to defend itself, saying in a statement that it sought to stop scam ads by using technology to detect and block them. “We don’t want ads seeking to scam people out of money or mislead people on Facebook — they violate our policies and are not good for our community,” a Meta spokesperson said. The social media titan said it had cooperated with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s investigation.

According to the commission, the ads featured well-known Australians, including former New South Wales premier Mike Baird and businessman Dick Smith. But the high-profile personalities featured in the ads had never approved or endorsed them, it said.

“Apart from resulting in untold losses to consumers, these ads also damage the reputation of the public figures falsely associated with the ads,” said the commission’s chair, Rod Sims.

“Meta failed to take sufficient steps to stop fake ads featuring public figures, even after those public figures reported to Meta that their name and image were being featured in celebrity endorsement cryptocurrency scam ads,” he said.

The commission said it was aware of one consumer who had lost more than AUD 650,000 (roughly Rs. 36,595,312) in one of the scams being falsely advertised as an investment opportunity on Facebook.

“This is disgraceful,” Sims said.

The consumer protection authority said it was seeking orders from the court including injunctions, penalties and the payment of legal costs.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.


Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Project-Linked Token Drops in Value Despite Much Fanfare

ApeCoin, the token linked to the popular Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFT collection, had a rough debut. The token, which was airdropped to the Bored Ape NFT owners, saw its price tumble from a high of $39.40 (roughly Rs. 3,000) to a 24-hour low of $6.21 (roughly Rs. 473). Despite the popularity of the Bored Ape Yacht Club, a collection of 10,000 unique NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain, the ApeCoin price plunged. However, at the time of writing, the price of the BAYC project token recovered to around $16 (roughly Rs. 1,220).

The token, which Bored Ape and Mutant Ape Yacht Club NFT holders can claim for free, initially hit a peak of $39.40 (roughly Rs. 3,000) per token according to data from CoinMarketCap. However, it quickly sank and has been hovering below the $20 (roughly Rs. 1,525) mark since early Friday.

However, not every data source agrees that there was such a sizable top — and a massive drop to match. CoinGecko, for example, shows an all-time high of just $10.36 (roughly Rs. 790) for ApeCoin. In any case, data sources are more closely aligned now, with CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap both showing a current price of around $16 for the token.

Colin Wu, a Chinese journalist, reported that the withdrawal and transactions of ApeCoin triggered a spike in gas fees on the Ethereum network. The median transaction fees on the Ethereum network hit 340 Gwei, the smallest unit of Ether at one point, skyrocketing in response to the activity in ApeCoin.

ApeCoin will initially be used as an in-game token for Yuga Labs titles starting with action-adventure mobile game Benji Bananas. Going forward, ApeCoin sales will be used to fund various digital and physical projects. Each token awards a single vote allowing individual holders to have a say on future ventures.

According to Yuga Labs’ website dedicated to ApeCoin, only 1 billion ApeCoins will be minted in perpetuity, and 9.75 percent will be held by Yuga Labs, 14 percent will go to launch contributors, 8 percent to the Yuga Labs founders, and 6.25 percent will be donated to the Jane Goodall Legacy Foundation aimed at preserving chimpanzee habitats and inspiring the youth to care for wildlife and the planet.

Meanwhile, Chennai-based crypto platform Giottus became the first Indian exchange to list ApeCoin, joining the likes of Binance, FTX, Coinbase, KuCoin, and OKX, among other global exchanges, to list the new governance and utility token for the APE ecosystem.

As per CoinMarketcap data, the fully diluted market capitalisation of ApeCoin has already exceeded $15 billion (roughly Rs. 11,41,200 crore), placing it within the top 35 cryptocurrencies in terms of market cap rankings.

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Crypto Scammers Axed as Much as $120 Million From Kenyans in 2021, Cabinet Secretary Claims

Cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoins, enjoy a massive popularity in Kenya, several research reports have said time and again. In 2021, crypto scammers reportedly looted Kenyans of as much as $120 million (roughly Rs. 915 crore). The statistics were disclosed by Kenyan Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru while he was speaking at a conference focussed on law and order. Media organisations in the east African nation have been urged to report as many such cases as possible, in order to increase awareness against crypto scams.

Mucheru, the current Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, said that there was a lack of information among people on crypto, which eventually led them falling prey to financial frauds with high risk and big value assets such as cryptocurrencies.

The minister has urged people to keep flagging fake or suspicious entities so that others are alerted on time.

Kenyans have been coming together via groups on social networking platforms, in order to stir up discussions around crypto scams in the nation.

The crypto market in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa together saw a growth of 1,200 percent, reaching a market valuation of $105.6 billion (roughly Rs. 775 crores) in one year, a report by Chainalysis claimed in September last year.

Kenya, out of all the other African nations, is ranked first for peer-to-peer cryptocurrency trading volume and fifth worldwide for total cryptocurrency activity, as per research firm Triple-A.

It is estimated that over 8.5 percent of the Kenyan population, making for more than 4.5 million people, own cryptocurrencies. The Bitcoin search interest in Kenya topped at a whopping 94.7 percent, making it one of the hottest markets for BTC.

Since crypto-related activities are regular in the country, scammers fish for unsuspecting victims from Kenya’s large investor pool. On a global level, crypto scammers were observed to escalate their activities in 2021.

In a recent report, research firm Chainalysis said that scams mooched off over $7.7 billion (roughly Rs. 58,697 crore) from investors last year.

Crypto crime in 2020 reportedly amounted to a total of around $10.52 billion (roughly Rs. 79,194 crores). Scams and frauds are said to be a major problem that made for 67.8 percent of the total cryptocurrency crime in 2020.


Russia’s Largest Lender Sberbank Gets License to Issue, Exchange Digital Assets

Russia’s Sbernank has secured all official paperwork that now allows it to issue and exchange digital finance assets (DFAs) in the country. This essentially means that Russian crypto and NFT holders can exchange their assets for fiat currency and vice versa through Sberbank. The development comes at a time Russia is at war with neighbour, Ukraine. Due to its decision to execute the military invasion, Russia is facing several sanctions from Western and European nations making its economy unstable. The country seems to be tuning up ways to generate crypto income.

Sberbank claims to make DFA transactions in accordance with Russian laws, now that it has all the relevant licences from the Bank of Russia.

“DFAs issued on Sber’s digital assets platform will be recorded and circulated via an information system based on distributed ledger technology, which ensures data security and makes data immutable,” said the bank in a statement.

Russian entities will be able to acquire DFAs issued through the Sber information system, that will get them to invest their petty funds to fetch incomes.

“Companies will be able to make their first transaction on our blockchain platform one month from now. We are just starting our work with digital assets, realising that further development requires adaptation of the current regulatory framework. To do that, we are ready to work closely with the regulator and executive bodies,” Sergey Popov, director of the Transaction Business Division, Sberbank said in a statement.

It is noteworthy that just weeks ago, Russia was considering the ban of the crypto sector citing its volatile and untraceable nature as major issues.

Towards its war with Ukraine, however, Russia began testing its digital currency in the making, called the ‘Digital Ruble’. In the backdrop of economic penalties, the Ruble is currently undergoing one of its historically low phases.

The Ruble has fallen by around 25 percent. Currently, RUB 1 is equivalent to $0.0097 (roughly Rs. 0.72).

This is a record low for Ruble, which is one of the world’s oldest currencies. People are reportedly exchanging Rubles for ‘store-of-value’ crypto assets such as Bitcoin


Binance Crypto Exchange Says Users in Ontario Restricted From Using Its Platform

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by trading volume, has confirmed in an undertaking to the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) that it would stop opening new accounts for users in the Canadian province, the regulator said on Thursday.

The dispute between Binance and OSC started in June last year, when the exchange announced its decision to quit Ontario after a regulatory crackdown on crypto exchanges in the province for allegedly failing to meet securities laws.

However, in December, Binance notified investors that it was allowed to continue its operations in Ontario while still being unregistered in the province, the OSC said.

In the undertaking, Binance also made a slew of other commitments, including halting trading in existing Ontario accounts, with certain exceptions that the company said were necessary “to protect investors”.

The crypto exchange also offered to provide fee waivers and reimbursements to certain Ontario users, and said it would hire an independent third party to oversee the implementation of its commitments.

While Binance’s business boomed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with retail and institutional investors alike warming to crypto, the company has come under heavy fire from regulators around the world.

The crypto giant also withheld information and kept weak money-laundering checks even as it said it welcomed government oversight, Reuters reported earlier.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.


Dubai Approves Law on Virtual Assets, Establishes Regulatory Authority for Oversight

The crypto sector in Dubai will now fall under a set of new regulatory framework. UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has signed a new law for virtual assets while also establishing an independent body to oversee the governance of the crypto space. Called VARA, Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority will classify the types of virtual assets and set controls to monitor the digital assets sector. VARA will also play a role in punishing the violators of the new laws with its authority of imposing fines and suspending businesses.

The law now requires Dubai citizens to register with VARA first before engaging in crypto-related activities.

Businesses dealing with virtual assets like crypto exchanges and transfers will also have to identify themselves before VARA.

Approving laws around the crypto sector in Dubai is intended to create a “much-warranted international standards” to shape up the up-and-coming industry, an official statement said.

The rules will also ensure the safety and transparency of business for crypto investors.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao praised Dubai’s initiative on Twiiter.

In recent times, UAE’S Abu Dhabi and Dubai have emerged as developing crypto hubs.

In December last year, a specialised zone for virtual assets was set-up in the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to attract new business as regional economic competition began to heat up.

Strict punishments for crypto scammers targeting investors in the country have also been announced by the authorities in the UAE.

Violators will be liable to pay a penalty of up to AED 1 million (roughly Rs. 2 crore) along with spending some jail time.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s crypto rules came into enforcement the same day US President Joe Biden signed executive orders on the government oversight of the cryptocurrency industry.

The order directs the US Federal Reserve to explore whether the central bank should jump in and create its own digital currency.

The US Treasury Department and other federal agencies have also been instructed to study the impact of cryptocurrency on financial stability and national security.

With regulatory laws around crypto cropping up in several parts of the world, the decentralised industry is roping in international validations.

Earlier this year, India also announced plans of bringing in an RBI-regulated ‘Digital Rupee’ while also levying a 30 percent tax on income generated from the transfer of virtual digital assets.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article. 


US Treasury Launches Campaign to Educate Public About Crypto Risks

The US Treasury Department is launching an initiative to raise awareness about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies as the digital asset moves from the fringes of the financial system to the mainstream, a top official said.

The Treasury’s Financial Literacy Education Commission will create educational materials and organise outreach to inform the public about how crypto assets work and how they differ from other forms of payment.

Populations that have limited access to mainstream financial services is a key group the Treasury will look to reach, Nellie Liang, Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, said in an interview.

“We’re hearing more and more about investors and households who are purchasing crypto assets, and we recognize the complexity of how some of these assets operate,” Liang said.

“It felt like this is an area also where more education (and) more awareness could be helpful.”

The initiative underscores growing concerns among regulators that crypto assets could pose risks to the financial system as they grow in popularity.

The value of cryptocurrencies surged past $3 trillion (roughly Rs. 2,29,39,400 crore) last year, with approximately 14 percent of Americans invested in digital assets as of 2021, according to University of Chicago research.

Companies like and FTX are helping to drive mainstream adoption with flashy marketing campaigns featuring celebrities and athletes, including at this year’s Super Bowl.

The Treasury’s education unit comprises 20 different agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Its chair, Gary Gensler, last year called the crypto industry the “wild west” of finance “rife with fraud, scams and abuse.” While the Biden administration and many lawmakers believe a regulatory framework is needed for digital assets, they have yet to agree on one.

While crypto does present risks, the Treasury is also conscious it could offer benefits, such as improving cross-border payments or bolstering financial inclusion, said Liang.

“We’re just trying to raise awareness without trying to stamp out new technology and new innovation,” she said.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article. 


US ‘Digital Dollar’: Will It Reshape How Money Is Used Around the World?

US President Joe Biden has ordered the federal government to look into creating a digital dollar, a move with the potential to reshape how money is moved and used around the world.

Before his order results in a virtual greenback, there will be numerous major impacts — and risks — to consider first.

Here are some key questions:

What form would a digital dollar take?

It would still be a dollar issued by the US Federal Reserve central bank, like all US bills and coins used now, but in a digital form that is accessible to everyone, not just financial institutions.

Unlike money deposited in a bank account or spent via apps like Venmo and Apple Pay, it would be registered in the accounts of the Federal Reserve, not a bank.

At the same time, the digital dollar would be worth the same as its paper counterpart, a divergence from cryptocurrencies which currently have highly volatile valuations.

Key questions remain unanswered, like whether a digital dollar would be based on blockchain technology like bitcoin or if it would be linked with some sort of payment card.

Biden is asking agencies, including the Treasury Department, to examine various issues on the topic.

If the government decides to go ahead, it could take “a number of years” before we can use a digital dollar — authorities will have to explore for instance which technology to use, said Darrell Duffie, a digital currencies expert at Stanford University in California.

Why launch a digital dollar?

It would reduce or even eliminate transaction fees since exchanges would no longer go through banks, bank cards or apps that take commissions on every payment.

Proponents say it would help people without bank accounts, about five percent of households in the US, and could make it easier for the government to pay benefits.

There are risks like a system failure or a cyberattack, and there are also questions about privacy, as the government could theoretically have access to all transactions.

The banking system could also be undermined as banks currently use customers’ deposits to lend to others, and with a digital dollar they could have less money at their disposal.

How will global finance be affected?

International transfers, often slow and expensive to make, could be greatly eased.

An operation that currently takes two days to be validated could be done in one hour, said Marc Chandler, a foreign exchange expert for the broker Bannockburn.

For Chandler, the geopolitical role of the US dollar would not be upset by the digital version’s introduction.

A digital dollar would represent “a natural evolution rather than a revolution”, he noted, recalling that more than $6.5 trillion (roughly Rs. 4,96,32,500 crore) are already exchanged in electronic form every day on the foreign exchange market.

Even if China launches a large-scale digital yuan, as is being discussed, he said he doesn’t think that changes China’s role in the world economy as “there will always be questions of trust, transparency, depth of markets.”

For Stanford’s Duffie, however, if the US wants to continue to benefit from the dollar’s status as the dominant currency in central bank reserves and international payments, it is essential that the government tread cautiously.

“The US are going to need to ensure that they stay in a leading position in international forums that discuss standards for making cross-border payments standards for digital currencies,” he said.

Can the US catch up?

Other countries are already working on digital versions of their own currencies, from the eurozone to India, but “there is no evidence to suggest being first to market provides any significant or material advantages,” said Jamiel Sheikh, founder of CBDC Think Tank.

On the contrary, failure due to unintended consequences, low usage or other issues can undermine faith in the issuing institution, he noted.

“The overwhelming dominance of the dollar gives the US the luxury of learning from… other countries,” agreed Cornell University professor Eswar Prasad.

Would the crypto world be turned upside down?

If properly designed, a digital dollar could be more preferable for domestic use than a cryptocurrency, said Duffie.

For international transfers, however, he said he was “skeptical that large central banks like the Fed or the ECB, China or Japan, will give accounts at the central bank to people all over the world.”

If the US did so, he noted, it could wreck the monetary system of small countries whose people might prefer to use the digital dollar rather than the local currency.


Crypto Exchange Binance Gets Virtual Asset Licence to Operate in Dubai

Binance has been granted a licence to conduct some operations in Dubai, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange said on Wednesday, from where it plans to carry out regional business. The awarding of the Virtual Asset Licence from Dubai’s recently formed Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) comes after Gulf neighbour Bahrain on Tuesday awarded Binance a crypto-asset service provider licence, its first such licence from a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country.

“Binance will be permitted to extend limited exchange products and services to pre-qualified investors and professional financial service providers. All licensed VARA service providers will be monitored progressively to open access to the retail market,” Binance said in a statement.

The crypto company will also anchor a blockchain technology hub in the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), it said.

Financial regulators across the world have targeted Binance, with some banning the platform from certain activities and others warning consumers that it was not licensed to operate in their jurisdictions.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Gulf region’s financial capital, has been pushing to develop the virtual asset sector and regulation to attract new forms of business as regional economic competition heats up.

Dubai, one of the UAE’s seven emirates, last week adopted its first law governing virtual assets and established VARA as a regulator to oversee the sector.

Binance said in December it was working with DWTC to help set up an international virtual asset ecosystem in Dubai and assist with the development of virtual asset regulations.

“Binance will be able to operate its regional business from Dubai in the newly announced regulatory ecosystem that is subject to comprehensive legislation and internationally applicable policy frameworks,” DWTC Authority Director General Helal Saeed Almarri said.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.