Nifty News: Weeknd NFT collection, arm space ads, Takashi Murakami joins revolution

Nifty News: Weeknd NFT collection, arm space ads, Takashi Murakami joins revolution

The Weeknd to drop NFTs on the weekend, a tennis player sold space on her arm as an NFT, Takashi Murakami has released 108 NFT flowers.

Musician Adel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, is set to release his first NFT via Nifty Gateway on Saturday. He follows in the footsteps of other musicians such as Kings of Leon, Grimes, Rico Nasty, and Ja Rule who recognize the ability of NFTs to put the power (and the dollars) back in the hands of artists.

The drop will consist of a one-of-a-kind token featuring the audio track to a song which will not be made available on any other platforms, and two limited edition artworks developed in collaboration with Strange Loop Studios. The tokenized song will be auctioned to the highest bidder, while an unlimited number of each artwork will be sold at a fixed price over a set time-period.

The 'Can't Feel My Face' singer told TechCrunch that NFTs are disrupting the music industry and breaking down barriers between creators and their audiences:

“I’ve always been looking for ways to innovate for fans and shift this archaic music biz and seeing NFT’s allowing creators to be seen and heard more than ever before on their terms is profoundly exciting. I intend to contribute to this movement and can see that very soon it will be weaved into the music industry’s mechanics.”

Tennis player sells arm space

Croatian tennis player Oleksandra Oliynykova is the latest sporting star entering the NFT market. But unlike other athletes who made brief forays into the visual arts industry to make their NFTs, the 20-year old has raised the stakes by auctioning off an NFT conferring its owner lifetime rights to a 15x8 cm area of space on her right arm.

Oliynykova, who ranks 30th in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tour, stipulated that the NFT owner can commission a tattoo on the space at their own cost — or just leave it blank and hope to sell it at a higher price after she plays at Wimbledon or Roland Garros.

The NFT sold for $5,400. However, the owner won’t be able to tattoo anything they want on her arm, with the tennis player stating:

“Though I am very liberal regarding a tattoo image or content, some restrictions apply. First, it should be generally normal, with no extremism of all kinds allowed. Second, as I am a professional athlete, it should NOT contain anything related to gambling, betting etc. That's it.”

Takashi Murakami blooms as NFT artis

Acclaimed Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami has entered the NFT space after drawing inspiration from digital artist Beeple and his recent $69 million success in the crypto art world.

The artist announced his dive into NFTs via an Instagram post on March 31, with the release of 108 “Murakami Flowers” which depict 8-bit digital illustrations of flowers, in collaboration with online game authority Yoshihisa Hashimoto.

Murakami noted that his recent focus on digital art and the virtual world came from observing his children play the Nintendo Switch game Animal Crossing with their friends:

“They were watching some fireworks display within the game while talking with their school friends, who they could no longer meet in person, through Zoom, admiring how beautiful it was.“

“I saw the reality of the shifting values when I realized that these children could discern beauty within a virtual world.” he added.

Eulerbeats' not-at-all difficult second album

Not only are visual artists competing with AI robots for NFT sales, but musicians also have to compete with computer-generated algorithms that can produce music which is sold as NFTs.

Ethereum-based Music and Arts project EulerBeats has sold off 25 copies of its second LP “Enigma”, generating $3 million through an auction on OpenSea yesterday.

The project consisted of 25 LPs consisting of 27 tokenized tracks on OpenSea, with the algorithmically generated tracks backed by visuals. This is the project's second release following the launch of their first LP “Genesis”. Both LPs share a common mathematical basis, but provide different art, music, and bonding curve structures.

South Korea to launch blockchain-based vaccine passports

South Korea to launch blockchain-based vaccine passports

The Prime Minister of South Korea has announced a blockchain-based vaccine certificate will launch later this month, but the concept has proven controversial across the world.

South Korea will introduce blockchain-powered vaccine passports via a smartphone app later this month, the country's prime minister said Thursday.

South Korea is joining a number of other nations in introducing vaccine certificates that enable cross-border travel while mitigating the risk of infections.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun suggested there could be substantial benefits for citizens at home too:

“The introduction of a vaccine passport or ‘Green Pass’ will only allow those who have been vaccinated to experience the recovery to their daily lives,” he said during a daily inter-agency pandemic response meeting.

The government developed the app using blockchain technology as a way to provide security against the possibility of identity theft. "[Systems] in other countries also do not store personal information while allowing the verification of vaccination statuses," Chung noted.

While 77,000 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in South Korea so far, the country saw another 551 daily cases on Wednesday. The Government hopes to have vaccinated 12 million people by June.

Brazil is also using a blockchain-based system to track vaccinations, while IBM helped New York develop the Excelsior Pass, which uses blockchain technology for information security. The New York state government said of the pass:

“Businesses and venues can scan and validate your pass to ensure you meet any COVID vaccination or testing requirements for entry.”

China has implemented a system and the European Union plans to do so by June. The International Air Transport Association is developing an app called Travel Pass, which may become the standard for cross border travel.

Vaccine passports remain highly controversial, especially in the US and in parts of the crypto community. The Republican Governor of South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, called the concept “one of the most un-American ideas in our nation’s history” while Ron DeSantis, the Republican Governor of Florida, is trying to ban mandated COVID passes in the state.

Crypto may also play a small role in thwarting efforts to impose non-blockchain based vaccination certificates. The BBC reports that cyber security agency CheckPoint found 1,200 ads for vaccines and vaccine passports on the darknet:

“Check Point investigators found many sellers offering forged documents, including one supposedly from the UK, with a vaccination card for $150 using the hard-to-trace cryptocurrency Bitcoin as the payment method.”

Hot DOGE nips at the heels of r/Bitcoin on Reddit

Hot DOGE nips at the heels of r/Bitcoin on Reddit

R/Dogecoin was the third-most active crypto group on Reddit behind r/CryptoCurrency and r/Bitcoin this week.

Despite Dogecoin under-performing this past week when compared to other leading crypto assets, DOGE’s community has been among the most active on Reddit.

According to data compiled by Skew and tweeted by Messari researcher Mira Christanto, r/dogecoin has been the third-most active crypto group on Reddit this week, with 33,822 new comments posted in seven days.

Dogecoin is the second-most active group coalescing around a single crypto asset, ranking behind r/Bitcoin’s 48,757 comments last week. Unsurprisingly, the wide-ranging r/CryptoCurrency attracted the most engagement of any crypto group on Reddit, with nearly 219,000 comments posted this past week.

After DOGE, Cardano was the next-most active with 15,735 comments, followed by Bitcoin Cash with 9,356. However, between them the subreddits r/EthTrader and r/ethereum represented nearly 10,200 comments combined.

Despite surging social activity surrounding DOGE, Dogecoin network usage is down compared to Bitcoin. It processed nearly 49,000 transactions over the past 24 hours, while Bitcoin processed 344,000 and Ethereum executed 1.37 million.

In price terms DOGE has under performed each of the 16 non-stablecoin assets ranked above it by market cap over the past seven days, gaining just 6% while most top assets have gained between 10% and 25%.

Social sentiment can be an inconsistent indicator of market action, with crypto data aggregator Santiment reporting that Etherum sentiment on Twitter had dropped to its lowest level for 2021 as Ether reclaimed the $1,800 range on March 31. 

Santiment noted the crypto crowd was “in disbelief” regarding Ether’s gains, asserting the “extreme level of crowd skepticism is historically bullish for crypto.” Ether has since rallied into the mid $1,900 range and is currently trading within 5% of its all-time highs.

Oakland Athletics MLB team has sold a suite season ticket for Bitcoin for the first time

Oakland Athletics MLB team has sold a suite season ticket for Bitcoin for the first time

The A’s become the first team in Major League Baseball to sell tickets for cryptocurrency.

Major League Baseball team Oakland Athletics has sold their first crypto-purchased season ticket less than three weeks after first offering them.

The Oakland A’s, as they’re colloquially called, introduced an offer on March 15 enabling fans to purchase suite tickets with Bitcoin.

On Wednesday, March 31, the San Francisco East Bay ballclub announced that the buyer was New York-based publicly traded crypto asset platform Voyager Digital Ltd. The fintech firm purchased a six-person suite for all of the team’s 2021 home games for the price of one Bitcoin, or approximately $58,500 on the day.

Six-person private suites for individual games are on sale for around $600, and the official price for the suite for the entire season is currently more than that of a single Bitcoin at $64,800 according to the official website.

The purchase has become a milestone for the A’s as they become the first team in Major League Baseball to sell tickets for cryptocurrency. Team President Dave Kaval congratulated the buyer, stating:

“Cryptocurrency is a viable and tangible currency model, and we know other forward-thinking companies and individuals will join Voyager in using this payment for ticket purchases.”

Voyager co-founder and CEO Steve Ehrlich stated that the firm has close ties with outfielder Stephen Piscotty and that the suite will be shared with its customer base in the Bay Area and beyond.

In an earlier interview on Friday, March 26, Kaval stated that the team would be hodling any BTC made through ticket sales, adding:

“We’re believers in [Bitcoin] and hopefully it continues to go up and maybe we can find some big free agents with some of the proceeds.”

Fans can still buy a full-season six-person suite for one BTC until Thursday, April 1 according to the team’s official channels.

Riot Blockchain’s hashing capacity grew 460% in 2020: Report

Riot Blockchain’s hashing capacity grew 460% in 2020: Report

Riot Blockchain has published its 2020 financials and revealed it has increased its hashrate by 460%.

According to its latest annual financial report, leading U.S.-based mining firm Riot Blockchain increased its hashing capacity by 460% and more than doubled the amount of Bitcoin held on its balance sheet in 2020.

Riot saw a 78% growth in total mining revenues from $6.7 million to $12 million, owing to the increase in operational hash rate from 101 pentahashes per second, or PH/s, as of December 2019 to 566 PH/s as of December 31.

While the company said it achieved profitability in the fourth quarter with $3.9 million in net income on a GAAP basis, Riot posted an overall net loss of $12.7 million for 2020.

However, this was an improvement over its 2019 performance, when it posted a net loss of roughly $20 million.

The company increased its cash and cryptocurrency holdings from $11.3 million in 2019 to $235 million last year, and doubled its Bitcoin holdings from 514 BTC to 1078 BTC — with its BTC stash worth roughly $63.6 million at the time of writing.

Riot noted that it is still reliant on equity and debt financing to fund its operations, with its deficit increasing from $221 million as of Q2 2020 to $299 million at the end of the fourth quarter.

The firm celebrated its “strategic decision to solely focus on Bitcoin mining” throughout 2020, positioning Riot as a leading miner globally by hash rate.

“We are pleased to have invested into continuing our deployed hash rate growth, allowing us to capitalize on the extraordinary current opportunities in Bitcoin mining.”

Riot is one of the four largest publicly traded Bitcoin mining firms alongside Marathon Digital Holdings, Hut 8, and Hive Blockchain. Despite all four firms reportedly operating at a loss, their stocks outperformed Bitcoin by 455% over the past 12 months on average.

Blockcap, one of North America’s fastest-growing Bitcoin mining firms, currently mines around seven Bitcoin per day, with the firm set to expand its output to 30,000 per day by the end of 2021, after they closed off two investment rounds with a combined haul of $75 million.

Riot’s shares tagged an all-time high of $77 on Feb. 17 but have since fallen 30%. By contrast, BTC is up roughly 15% since Feb. 17, having posted a record high of $61,700 on March 13.

Bitcoin closes six monthly green candles for the first time since 2013

Bitcoin closes six monthly green candles for the first time since 2013

Bitcoin's last six monthly candles have closed green, tying its previous record streak for bullish monthly candles.

Bitcoin has just closed six consecutive monthly green candles for the first time since April 2013. Should history repeat, Bitcoin may enjoy further parabolic gains this year.

In April 2013, Bitcoin closed at roughly $140 after posting six green monthly candles. While the markets would retrace to less than $100 over the next two months, Bitcoin would then surge 700% over the following six months and tag prices above $1,000 for the first time.

BTC/USD since 2012, 1m candles: Trading View

Bitcoin posted a similar pattern in the lead up to its parabolic bull run in 2017, with the markets posting five consecutive green monthly candles heading into September. While September saw BTC post range-bound consolidation, Bitcoin surged into new all-time highs in October to rallied from $5,000 to almost $20,000 by the end of the year.

According to Bloomberg strategist, Mike McGlone, Bitcoin could be trading for more than $400,000 by 2022, should the markets follow the trends previously witnessed during 2013 and 2017. McGlone recently claimed that Bitcoin is "well on its way to becoming a global digital reserve asset."

Veteran trader and market analyst, Peter Brandt, is also bullish on Bitcoin, predicting BTC could gain a further 250% to break above $200,000. "I think we're in that midpoint pause where in 2017 Bitcoin swirled around for a month or two before we saw the final move up," he said.

However, past trends do not guarantee future performance and the history of green candles is a little murky. Despite Bitcoin posting five green monthly candles in a row during late 2015, the early weeks of 2016 saw BTC crash by 20% before producing several months of tightening consolidation.  

Similarly, the five consecutive months of bullish momentum that kicked of 2019 was followed by a protracted downtrend, with BTC having fallen more than 60% from its 2019 highs amid the "Black Thursday" crash of March 2020. Bitcoin did not reclaim its 2019 price-highs until December 2020.

Bakkt launches payments app as institutions compete for crypto assets

Bakkt launches payments app as institutions compete for crypto assets

Bakkt believes its new crypto payments app will unlock more than $1 trillion worth of digital assets for commerce.

Major financial institutions are expanding their cryptocurrency services, with Bakkt launching its digital asset payments application for the general public.

Bakkt was launched by Intercontinental Exchange in 2018, with the firm offering Bitcoin futures contracts to accredited investors exclusively. The Bakkt App is the firm’s first retail-facing crypto initiative.

Bakkt’s app was trialed by 500,000 users invited to participate in its Early Access Program in late 2020. The firm is also conducting a $1 million giveaway to encourage people to download the platform.

Launched on March 30, the payments app allows users to manage Bitcoin and other digital assets, including loyalty points and vouchers, to make purchases. More than 75 major brands are offering discounted gift cards to purchasers who use the Bakkt app, including Choice Hotels, GolfNow, and Best Buy.

Users can also manage their Starbucks Card balance through the platform. Karl Hebert Starbucks’ VP of global card, commerce, and payment, said:

“Starbucks is proud to be an innovation partner with Bakkt. Our teams worked closely together as Bakkt sought input in developing a unique and trusted payment experience that enables customers to unlock the value of their digital assets in the form of US dollars.”

“We’re thrilled to bring the Bakkt App to the public as a step along our journey to expand digital asset access to all,” he added.

In the announcement, Bakkt stated the application is intended to enable “consumers and merchants to unlock the value of $1.2 trillion in digital assets” by incentivizing their use in commerce: “The Bakkt App is designed to amplify consumer spending, reduce payment costs, and bolster merchant loyalty programs."

The payments platform appears to have first been conceived as a partnership between Bakkt and Stabucks in 2019, with Bakkt determining it would release the platform as a standalone app the following year.

The app’s launch comes as competition between financial institutions is heating up in the crypto asset sector, with PayPal rolling out crypto payments for 29 million merchants and Visa unveiling plans for USDC to be exchanged across its credit card network earlier this week.

Goldman Sachs is also moving to expand its cryptocurrency services, with a leaked memo revealing the creation of a Digital Assets Group within its private wealth management division. The group will be tasked with advising clients on digital assets and developing crypto investment products.

Kava launches Hard V2 to become first full lending protocol in the Cosmos ecosystem

Kava launches Hard V2 to become first full lending protocol in the Cosmos ecosystem

Shortly after the launch of Stargate, Cosmos ecosystem chains are entering the DeFi arena.

Kava, a DeFi-centric blockchain project built on the Cosmos SDK, has announced the concurrent release of Kava 5.1 and Hard Protocol V2, which marks the full launch of two-sided lending markets on the Kava blockchain.

The Kava 5.1 upgrade is a significant boost to performance over previous major versions, with the team claiming a ten-fold increase in throughput through “consensus enhancements.” The upgrade also carries improvements to the BEP3 relayer that acts as the connection to Binance Smart Chain, and other improvements to APIs and overall reliability.

The Kava 5.1 launch is bundled with Hard Protocol V2, Kava’s in-house lending protocol that works in a similar manner to Compound. The V2 enables borrowing of the assets supplied to the chain, making it a fully functional lending protocol. Coupled with Kava’s main DeFi app, a stablecoin protocol similar to Maker, the project now offers a full lending ecosystem within the Cosmos “internet of blockchains.”

The upgrade comes shortly after the release of Stargate, a comprehensive Cosmos upgrade that enabled the Inter Blockchain Communication protocol, or IBC, a key component of the Cosmos white paper. The Cosmos ecosystem is different from most other protocols due to its heterogeneity. Each project building on Cosmos is an independent blockchain powered by its own set of nodes, which distinguishes it from projects like Polkadot, where the parachains share a common set of validators.

IBC provides the communication overlay that makes it easy to maintain interoperability between all chains built on the Cosmos SDK, and to a lesser extent, with blockchains outside the ecosystem.

The Cosmos SDK is being used by a number of notable platforms, including Binance Chain, Terra and Secret. Binance Smart Chain uses a modified version of Ethereum, though it maintains close interoperability with the Cosmos-based Binance Chain. The separate implementation of the DeFi-centric Binance Smart Chain means that Kava’s release makes it the first full DeFi lending platform within Cosmos.

Kava and Hard focus heavily on cross-chain assets, notably Bitcoin (BTC), XRP and Binance Coin (BNB). The Kava platform is nonetheless different from most other DeFi environments, as it sacrifices decentralization by actively vetting projects who wish to build on its chain. The goal is to make it “an App Store” of curated DeFi DApps, Kava CEO Brian Kerr told Cointelegraph. The team is also making a bet for institutional adoption of its lending platform, positioning it as a lucrative opportunity for institutional investors wishing to grow their BTC holdings. The Hard Protocol currently features double-digits yield on most of its assets, including BTC, though the high levels are partially the result of liquidity mining rewards.

Terra Virtua releases ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ NFTs to coincide with movie release

Terra Virtua releases ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ NFTs to coincide with movie release

Warner Bros. cast a wide net, granting licensing for the movie to three different parties

Nonfungible tokens seem to be popping up everywhere lately — so why not on the big screen?

Digital collectibles and virtual reality platform Terra Virtua is planning to launch today a line of Godzilla vs. Kong nonfungible token (NFT) collectibles created in collaboration with film production giants Warner Brothers — among the first-ever NFT drops to coincide with the release of a major film.

Currently, collectors can buy retro-themed Godzilla and Kong Island posters for 75$, but more elaborate animations will be released later today. The Terra Virtua homepage currently has a themed waitlist active, with users granted a ten-minute window on the site to make purchases.

Utility vs. recognizability

While Godzilla and King Kong are battling it out on the big screen, when it comes to NFT platforms it’s increasingly a race to see who can offer the most functionality, as well as gain access to beloved brands. 

Multiple VR and gaming projects are cooking new ways to add utility to NFTs. Ecomi, a rival VR-slash-NFT project has been flexing a slick “vault” feature on Twitter, where users can enjoy their collection in augmented reality:

Likewise, Terra Virtua is working on a “art gallery” VR feature. 

In addition to the technical push, many of these projects are building on the back of widely-loved intellectual property. Ecomi’s run from the Batman universe is a prime example, and the BBC dipped their toes into the growing market by collaborating with Reality Gaming Group on a Dr. Who card game. Perhaps the most headline-grabbing NFT project has been NBA Topshot, which features highlights from the National Basketball Association.

Warner Bros. opted for a promiscuous licensing strategy for Godzilla vs. Kong NFTs as well, as artist Bosslogic and collectibles giant Topps will also be releasing licensed digital memorabilia.

IP monopoly

When it comes to the breadth and quality of IP, however, Terra Virtua might stand alone. In addition to Godzilla vs. Kong, the company has put out drops with IP from blockbuster titles like Pacific Rim, World War Z, and Lost in Space, in addition to classics like The Godfather and Top Gun

Jen Naiff, Terra’s head of marketing, credits a “total legends” executive team with extensive deal and acquisition experience for the deep catalogue.

“Our CEO, Gary Bracey, is a BAFTA-nominated games industry veteran with 25+ years of experience and is credited with bringing movie IP computer games to the mainstream. Doug Dyer, while at Warner Bros, fly to Scotland to demo and get approval from J.K. Rowling on the Harry Potter videogame he developed,” she said.

As a result, identifying and getting access to exclusive IP is “in our DNA.”

Ultimately, getting access to these brands is key not just to the growth of their platform, but also to the space as a whole.

“As an industry, we need to make sure we’re telling the right story about NFTs to the world outside of crypto land so that ownership of a digital collectible becomes as natural as asking Google, Alexa or Siri to play your favourite tune now is.”

Enjin secures $18.9M funding for Polkadot-based NFT blockchain

Enjin secures $18.9M funding for Polkadot-based NFT blockchain

Amid the expanding nonfungible token metaverse, Enjin is set to debut the first-ever NFT blockchain built on Polkadot.

Crypto exchange platform has reportedly led an $18.9 million private funding round for Enjin’s new NFT blockchain platform.

Enjin announced the news on Wednesday with DFG Group, BlockTower and Arrington XRP Capital among other investors in the private sale.

Dubbed “Efinity,” the platform is an NFT blockchain built on Polkadot that will reportedly offer greater scalability for participants in the expanding NFT space.

Detailing the technical specifications of the new NFT blockchain, the announcement stated that Efinity will have an initial throughput capacity of processing transactions every six seconds. The project team plans to utilize proof-of-stake consensus to achieve scalability to the tune of 1,000 transactions per second.

Apart from scalability, Enjin will also look to engineer cross-chain interoperability in the NFT space as part of efforts to create a true NFT metaverse.

Thus, Enjin is working on a new token standard called “Paratoken” touted to deliver cross-chain functionalities for NFTs. With Paratokens, market participants will be able to bridge digital collectibles from other blockchains to the Efinity ecosystem.

According to Enjin, Paratokens push the envelope of the ERC-1155 token standard created by the company back in 2018. Commenting on the importance of cross-blockchain functionality for NFTs, Enjin co-founder and chief technology officer Witek Radomski stated:

“Digital assets should exist in a metaverse of blockchains. Opening up liquidity across multiple blockchains and use-cases will connect a broad ecosystem of creators, buyers, and sellers.

The Efinity blockchain will also have its own native token called Efinity Token (EFI). Enjin Coin (ENJ) holders can stake ENJ to earn EFI which serves as the fuel to processing transactions on the new NFT network. EFI will also serve as the governance token for the Efinity community.

Enjin Coin has enjoyed massive price returns in 2021 amid the growing interest in NFTs. ENJ token rallied more than eight-fold in March and is up more than 1,700% year-to-date.

Specter Wallet Releases Version 1.3.0

Specter Wallet Releases Version 1.3.0

The latest release from open-source bitcoin wallet Specter includes one-click Bitcoin Core and Tor setup, RBF transaction support and more.

This week, Specter Wallet, an open-source bitcoin wallet that emphasizes privacy and security by allowing users to more easily run their own full nodes, released its latest version (you can download it here).

The biggest feature of this latest release is the new setup process, which makes it possible to go from zero to a ready-to-go Specter setup with Bitcoin Core and Tor in just a few minutes. The process is done via a simple one-click setup wizard which will install, configure and manage both Bitcoin Core and Tor for you.

On startup, Bitcoin Core will begin with initial block downloading (IBD), which could take a few days. However, for users looking for a quick setup, Specter comes with a quick-sync option, which will get your node up to date in just a few minutes. This optional quick-sync will download a trusted snapshot of the Bitcoin blockchain, maintained and signed by the Specter team (at, and start verifying after the snapshot point like any other node (you can read more on the tradeoffs involved in the setup wizard on the Specter app).

Another big feature in the new release is with replace-by-fee (RBF) transactions. Up to now, Specter had limited its functionality strictly to increasing the transaction fee. But with the new version, it allows the user to fully customize the replacement transaction. This makes it possible, for example, to add or change recipients, modify the coin selection, edit the amounts and practically do anything that it’s possible to do when composing a new transaction.

Also around the subject of fees, Specter has now integrated the fee estimation API, so that users can get a highly-accurate fee estimation based on how fast they would like the transaction to get confirmed, with all of the communication going over Tor by default, or even with the user’s own, self-hosted instance.

This update also has some news about hardware wallets support. Specter now upgraded to hardware wallet interface (HWI) version 2.0.1, which means BitBox02 multisig is finally available from Specter. Since not all hardware vendors have good multisig support, having BitBox02 as an option is an important addition for a better multi-vendor multisig setup.

In an attempt to improve the user experience, there has also been a lot of work done to simplify the connection of USB hardware wallets when Specter is running on a remote machine (such as on Umbrel or myNode). This was thanks to the help of the community, which helped redesign the process for setting up and configuring the USB connection.

Other changes worth mentioning are support for more fiat currencies and precious metals in the bitcoin price feed data, an option to abandon old transactions which were purged from the mempool due to low fees, significant improvement in startup and loading time and various bug fixes.

This is a guest post by Ben Kaufman. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin on ‘inevitable path’ to reach gold’s market cap – Mike Novogratz

Bitcoin on ‘inevitable path’ to reach gold’s market cap – Mike Novogratz

Galaxy Digital’s billionaire CEO told CNBC he’s shocked at the speed of cryptocurrency adoption.

Galaxy Digital CEO Mike Novogratz believes Bitcoin (BTC) is on track to meet or exceed gold’s market capitalization amid a rapid wave of retail and institutional adoption of the digital asset. 

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box, Novogratz said cryptocurrency “adoption’s happening much faster than I predicted,” adding that “it’s shocking to me how fast people are moving into the system.”

Novogratz, who has been involved in Bitcoin since 2013 when the digital currency was valued at around $100, explained that his previous BTC price target of $60,000 was too conservative. The initial target was based on Bitcoin achieving roughly 10% of gold’s market capitalization.

“At the beginning of the year, I thought $60,000 was my target because that would have been 10% of gold,” he said. “But I told myself and our investors that once it gets to 10% we’re all going to say it’s going to 20%, and then when it gets to 20% it’s going to go to 50% and then 100%.”

Bitcoin’s emergence as “digital gold” has strengthened Novogratz’s conviction that the cryptocurrency will eventually reach or exceed bullion’s market value:

“I do think bitcoin is on an inevitable path to having the same market cap and then a higher market cap as gold.”

Current estimates place the total market capitalization of gold at roughly $10.7 trillion. Bitcoin, by contrast, has a total market value of $1.1 trillion.

Bitcoin appears to be outshining gold in the battle of the safe havens, with some prominent analysts claiming that BTC is taking market share away from the yellow metal. In December 2020, JPMorgan Chase strategists said Bitcoin's ascendance would serve as a headwind for bullion in the short term

One Bitcoin is currently worth 34.49 ounces of gold. This time last year, the ratio was around 4.19 ounces.

Australians can now exchange solar energy credits for beer with blockchain

Australians can now exchange solar energy credits for beer with blockchain

Victoria Bitter has partnered with blockchain energy trading platform Power Ledger to allow customers to earn beer with surplus solar energy.

Asahi’s Australian lager beer subsidiary Victoria Bitter has taken a step toward sustainability by allowing customers to earn a pint with solar energy via blockchain.

According to a Wednesday announcement, Victoria Bitter has partnered with major blockchain energy firm Power Ledger to unlock a new program allowing participants to exchange excess solar energy for slabs of beer.

“The only thing better than drinking the Big Cold Beer in the Aussie sun is earning beer while you do it. Plus it’s a real win-win for beer lovers and the environment,” Victoria Bitter’s general manager of marketing Brian Phan said.

The new Solar Exchange program allows customers to track how much beer they have earned based on the number of solar energy credits exchanged with Victoria Bitter. “Every $30 worth of credit can be exchanged for a slab, which is then delivered straight to your door,” the company said in the announcement.

Power Ledger founder Jemma Green explained that their blockchain platform will be responsible for tracking how much power customers feed to the grid. “You can see how many bottles of beer you’ve earned every 30 minutes,” Green said. Using solar credits obtained in the program, Victoria Bitter will re-invest them back into the program or towards the business’ broader sustainability goals.

Power Ledger provides peer-to-peer energy trading services based on blockchain technology. Last year, the firm started rolling out its blockchain-based solar energy platform in Western Australia, allowing users to track energy consumption and sell their surplus solar energy to other residents.

Brink Awards Three Bitcoin Development Grants

Brink Awards Three Bitcoin Development Grants

Brink, a nonprofit focused on financial support and mentorship for Bitcoin developers, has announced three new grant recipients.

Brink, a nonprofit designed to offer financial support and mentorship to Bitcoin developers, has announced the recipients of its first round of open-source developer grants. It will be supporting Jesse Posner’s work on adaptor signatures and the FROST threshold signature scheme, Alekos Filini’s work on the Bitcoin Developer Kit and Hennadii Stepanov’s work on Bitcoin Core development and review.

“After an open grant application process, the Brink board of directors has selected three developers who have demonstrated continued commitment to open-source Bitcoin protocol development,” according to a release shared with Bitcoin Magazine. “Their work spans fundamental cryptographic engineering, application tooling and base layer development and maintenance.”

Adaptor signatures and FROST are meant to bring additional security, privacy and functionality to multisignature and second-layer protocols on Bitcoin. Posner’s grant was made possible by digital asset financial services company Nexo.

The Bitcoin Developer Kit is meant to provide modular and easy-to-leverage tools for Bitcoin wallets and other applications and the funding will support Filini’s role as its maintainer.

Over three years of work, Stepanov has become one of the most active contributors to Bitcoin Core and the funding will allow him to focus on the project full time.

Brink was launched last year by developers John Newbery and Mike Schmidt. Its first fellowship was awarded to Gloria Zhao in December 2020 to support her work on package relay for Bitcoin mempools.


Why Chamath Is Wrong About Inflation

Recent comments from Chamath Palihapitiya indicate that he doesn’t understand how inflation or monetary sovereignty really work.

While billionaire Chamath Palihapitiya has been an early, vocal proponent of Bitcoin for nearly a decade now, his grasp of Bitcoin's ethos seems to be fraying. Setting aside his recent snafu with Bitcoin veteran and advocate Surfer Jim, Chamath doesn't seem to understand principles of inflation, wealth inequality or their historical context.

When Lyndon B. Johnson enacted the Great Society programs of the ’60s to alleviate poverty and elevate the general well being of Americans, the world still operated on a gold standard. The government couldn't print trillions seemingly out of thin air to finance its spending. Today's world is a stark contrast.

Now, the government can create new money to finance expenditure, bail out corporations, and airdrop USD to people's bank accounts. Such spending has doubled the USD money supply in the last decade, leading to warranted concerns about inflation. But listen to what Chamath says about inflation on a recent episode of "All In Podcast":

"Inflation is a phenomenal way to decrease people's richness… it makes rich people poorer… The one consistent way to redistribute wealth is inflation."

Chamath is unequivocally wrong. Inflation is one of the biggest drivers of wealth inequality for two reasons: the Cantillon effect, and the debasement of savings for the 45 percent of Americans who don't own financial assets.


The Cantillon Effect, Inflation And Wealth Inequality

A litany of literature has been written by economists, Bitcoiners and even us on the Cantillon effect and how it pertains to inflation and wealth inequality. In a nutshell: When new money is created, it doesn't affect all parts of the economic spectrum equally. Increasing the money supply doesn't benefit the average person in the same way that it benefits wealthy people.

As Richard Cantillon theorized over three centuries ago, newly-created money first floods into the hands of those closest to the government, and eventually a few small droplets trickle down to the everyday layman. Isn't this what we just saw twice? The Federal Reserve's balance sheet increased by trillions. Airlines, hedge funds and corporations got hundreds of billions of dollars and we got… three checks over the course of a year totaling to $3,200?

And who pays for these bailouts totaling 20 percent of the country's GDP? The factory worker living paycheck to paycheck to put food on the table. The nurse putting away a few hundred bucks a month into her son's college savings account. How? Money printing causes inflation, which debases people's savings.

When inflation hits an economy, it first shows up in increased commodity and asset prices. Dave Portnoy isn't wrong, stonks only go up, but it's because there is an "infinite amount of cash in the Federal Reserve'' that finds its way into financial assets. Weimar Germany's hyperinflation was prefaced with a massive stock market bubble:

Note the log scale on the left to denominate nominal prices in Deutsche marks.

Through all historical periods of inflation, assets inflate first, then consumer prices inflate and then, eventually (if ever), wages inflate. When assets inflate but wages stay stagnant, investing in markets becomes more inaccessible to everyday people, but the rich get richer as stocks rocket to the moon. When consumer prices go up but wages stay stagnant, the least wealthy suffer the most. The dollars they've saved up little by little buy them fewer goods and services.

Inflation isn't a way to take from the rich and give to the poor, it's quite the opposite. Inflation makes rich people richer through asset inflation, and makes poor people poorer through consumer price inflation.

So, What Actually Happened In The 1970s?

Bringing this back to the example Chamath initially brought up: the 1970s, aka, Stagflation.

Consumer price inflation spiked up to 20 percent annually in the ’70s for two reasons. First, geopolitical events related to the oil crisis caused a supply shock. Second, we abandoned the gold standard and established the fiat standard, which gave central banks around the world the ability to create unlimited amounts of money, causing inflation.

Inflation was high, and wealth inequality was relatively low, but the former didn't cause the latter, and even if it did, it certainly wasn't a good thing. The reason wealth inequality was low was because everybody was having a tough time. The ’70s had one of the highest rates of unemployment in recent history, and prices rose significantly while growth and wages stayed stagnant (stagnation + inflation = stagflation).


To combat this, former chair of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker raised interest rates to 20 percent at the end of the decade, sending the country into a recession. Equity prices went down as treasury yields rose, and most people who owned stocks suffered. And everyday folks, out of jobs with little in savings, suffered far more as their money had less value and purchasing power.

Stagflation was a miserable time for most Americans. To imply that both wealthy and poor people suffering is good because they're somewhat equal is preposterous. Perhaps Chamath knows all of this, and chooses to misinform his 1.4 million followers? Given Chamath’s exposure to both bitcoin and his heavy involvement in U.S. equities, both of which would benefit from inflation, this could make sense. Regardless of his motives, Chamath’s comments on inflation and wealth inequality are wrong. Inflation causes wealth inequality. Well… what now?

Bitcoin: A Fair, Open Monetary Network

Not to beat a dead horse, but Bitcoin fixes this. Bitcoin was purpose-built to solve the problems of central banking and fiat money.

Bitcoin is an open monetary network, and a monetary asset that nobody can control. The rules of the network promote free markets, monetary sovereignty and a financial system that works for everybody. Regardless of if you're a whale with hundreds of bitcoin, or you're just getting started with stacking sats, the same rules apply to you:

  1. 21,000,000 bitcoin fixed supply
  2. All transactions are broadcasted openly to the network
  3. All transactions are immutable and irreversible
  4. Mining difficulty adjusts every 2,016 blocks to ensure an average 10 minute block time
  5. Block reward is halved every 210,000 blocks to maintain supply schedule

Nobody can change these rules to suit their needs. Nobody can create more bitcoin and distribute it how they see fit. It's uncensorable and unconfiscatable.

Because of these properties, millions of people are exiting the fiat monetary system that works for the wealthy, and entering a bitcoin-based monetary system. They store their wealth in bitcoin, because finite supply ensures that value only increases over time. They use it for payments because it's Lightning fast, pseudonymous and permissionless. They use it as a unit of account because they believe it will be the next global reserve currency.

Yes, as Chamath says, bitcoin is a hedge against the current financial system and "schmuck insurance," but it's so much more than that. It's an entirely new form of money, and nobody fully understands how meaningful it is for all of us.

Bitcoin severs the link between governments and the creation of money. Bitcoin can mitigate the impacts of the Cantillon effect.

Bitcoin presents the opportunity to reimagine the way we interact with and store value. Millions of Bitcoiners have started to live their lives on a Bitcoin standard. We're building Ryze to help them optimize their finances for Bitcoin while helping their friends and family learn about and transition into a Bitcoin-native financial system.


This is a guest post by Abhay Aluri. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.

Goldman Sachs readying Bitcoin product for clients — BTC bounces above $58K

Goldman Sachs readying Bitcoin product for clients — BTC bounces above $58K

Cryptoassets will be available to Goldman investors at some point in Q2, comments from an incoming senior executive quoted by CNBC suggest.

Bitcoin (BTC) and some altcoins will soon be available to Goldman Sachs clients, according to a new  mainstream media report.

Released by CNBC on March 31, comments from an interview with Mary Rich, global head of digital assets for the bank's private wealth management division, confirm plans to offer cryptoassets to investors.

Goldman exec: Crypto access coming in "near term"

The move will make Goldman the second major lender to open up the world of cryptocurrency to its clients, and comes weeks after a pioneering move by Morgan Stanley.

″We are working closely with teams across the firm to explore ways to offer thoughtful and appropriate access to the ecosystem for private wealth clients, and that is something we expect to offer in the near-term,” CNBC quoted Rich as saying.

Morgan Stanley's rollout is due to launch in April, with Goldman later in Q2. Both banks have the potential to bring large amounts of new capital into the Bitcoin ecosystem via participation in crypto-focused funds.

Continuing, Rich highlighted demand as a driving force behind Goldman's decision.

“There’s a contingent of clients who are looking to this asset as a hedge against inflation, and the macro backdrop over the past year has certainly played into that,” she added.

“There are also a large contingent of clients who feel like we’re sitting at the dawn of a new Internet in some ways and are looking for ways to participate in this space.”

Like many major banks, Goldman has changed its tune on Bitcoin this year, going from a solid skeptic to embracing the phenomenon — noticeably in contrast to central banks including the United States Federal Reserve.

"Eventually they will have to offer bitcoin services to everyone," Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano commented on the news.

BTC/USD gets instant boost after crash

Bitcoin price action reacted warmly to the news, passing $58,000 once more after Wednesday produced a flash crash of more than $2,000 in minutes.

As Cointelegraph reported, analysts remain little concerned about the lack of momentum, pointing to solid fundamentals and the need to shake out overleveraged positions before grinding towards all-time highs. 

$68,000 and $73,000 are points of interest for a potential breakout.

BTC/USD 1-hour candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: Tradingview

The Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1559: Is the squeeze worth the juice?

The Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1559: Is the squeeze worth the juice?

What the planned EIP-1559 could mean for Ethereum, DeFi and miners.

The Ethereum Improvement Proposal 1559, set to be bundled together with the “London” upgrade in July, has caused as much excitement as fear and panic. On the surface, EIP-1559 is nothing more than a change in Ethereum’s gas fee structure. And to spice it up, it has also been labeled as Ethereum’s scarcity engine, or burn mechanism, as it will destroy Ether (ETH) used in transaction fees, making the cryptocurrency deflationary, and perhaps more valuable down the line. 

Related: Ethereum at a crossroads: Ether community turmoil over miner reward fees

Curbing Ether’s inflation will make the digital asset as deflationary as Bitcoin (BTC), meaning that its buying power will only increase over time. However, the relevance of the EIP-1559 proposal is based on fixing the runaway gas fees. The upgrade has been in the works for some time, but its timing couldn’t have come at a better time. Ethereum’s sky-high transaction fees are a result of the network being the most used blockchain in the world. This is partly due to its smart contract functionality, something that Bitcoin’s blockchain is limited in.

Ethereum’s functionality has seen it being used as the backbone of several booms in the sector. First, it was initial coin offerings, then came decentralized finance and now nonfungible tokens. To have a better understanding of the relevance of EIP-1559, we need to step back and take a look at the current gas fee model and why it needs to be changed for the good of the ecosystem, although it will leave some miners with a sour taste in their mouths.

Transactions on the Ethereum blockchain

Any form of activity done on Ethereum is recorded on the blockchain, and the accompanying change is considered to be a transaction. Each transaction comes with a cost, which serves two purposes. Firstly, the transaction costs are meant to discourage bad actors from spamming the network. And secondly, they are meant to incentivize miners who maintain the network by confirming transactions.

The Ethereum network currently uses an auction system to determine the gas fee. This basically means that there is no specific transaction fee, and the actual amount paid depends on factors that include network traffic. In theory, users who offer to pay more will have their transactions prioritized and confirmed early. But just like any auction system, the price could go really high. In February, Ethereum’s transaction fee surpassed $39 for the first time.

This spike has benefited miners, who for obvious reasons want the status quo to remain unchanged. It is argued that the EIP-1559 upgrade would reduce transaction costs by as much as 90%, but this can only be confirmed if and when it goes live.

Related: Ethereum network in a fee spin: Can the Berlin upgrade save the day?

For the broader Ethereum community, EIP-1559 is a welcome upgrade, perhaps long-overdue.

More on the EIP-1559 upgrade

The EIP-1559 upgrade proposes to use flexible block sizes instead of fixed block sizes as has been the norm in proof-of-work systems. To do this, EIP-1559 uses a two-tier system consisting of a base fee and tips.

The base fee will be payable in Ether, and its price will constantly change depending on the network congestion. The new proposal aims to keep the network utilization at 50% or below. If the network usage surpasses this threshold, the base fee will increase as well. This predictable pricing model is meant to remove the burden of setting the price from users and pass it on to be set automatically by wallet providers. The base fee would then be burned after collection, meaning that miners won’t be pocketing transaction fees anymore. This will make Ether a deflationary asset, propping up its price over time.

Tips are slightly different from the base in the sense they are not mandatory. And unlike base fees that have to be destroyed, tips are kept by miners. Under EIP-1559, blocks will not be completely full, providing miners the space to allocate transactions to users who would be willing to pay a premium to have their transactions included in the next blocks. However, miners do not have control of the fee structure and feel let down by the proposal.

Miners are not amused by the EIP-1559 proposal

No one in life is ready to let go of their meal — same goes for Ethereum miners. In February alone, miners’ revenue reached a record of $1.3 billion, half of which coming from transaction fees. Miners have been campaigning against the EIP-155 proposal because it is estimated that it will cost them as much as 50% of their revenue. The issue has gone as far as some pools threatening to band together as a show of force. While it may not incentivize them to effect a 51% attack on the network, the possibility that they can do it will likely give developers sleepless nights.

This also shows that blockchain networks are at the mercy of large mining pools. And if it is only ethical and economic reasons preventing them from harnessing their hash rate for their own nefarious benefits, then blockchains may be far from being secure. At some point, they may have enough reasons to take over the network.

On the other side, the miners’ loss is a win for DeFi projects.

The new fee structure will allow DeFi projects to pay less for their transactions on the Ethereum network. And in the long run, this will reduce the number of projects migrating to other blockchains.

But making Ethereum transition into a more scalable network is doing so at the expense of miners who have not hidden their displeasure about the proposed changes. There is still a long way to go before Ethereum gets where it wants to be, and some stakeholders will be burned along the way.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Michael J. Garbade is a co-founder and the CEO of Education Ecosystem. He is a serial tech entrepreneur who formerly worked at Amazon, General Electric, Rebate Networks, Photobucket and UniCredit Group. Garbade has experience working in the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.

UK crypto firms must now submit yearly financial crimes reports

UK crypto firms must now submit yearly financial crimes reports

Financial crimes reporting obligations are irrespective of a crypto firm’s total annual revenue.

The United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority has included cryptoasset businesses under the financial crimes reporting umbrella eight months after initially announcing plans to do so.

The FCA made this known via a policy statement issued on its website on Wednesday. This move comes as the country’s financial regulator has increased the number of firms required to submit annual financial crime report known as “REP-CRIM” from 2,500 to about 7,000.

According to the policy statement, the FCA declared that compliance with REP-CRIM reporting was a necessary tool to enable regulators to combat money laundering activities. In its 2020/2021 business plan, the FCA stated:

“We will strengthen our rules to prevent money laundering, as well as working with domestic and international stakeholders to support a joined-up approach to cryptoassets.”

During the initial announcement of the plan back in August 2020, the U.K. regulator said the move was part of efforts to adopt a data-focused approach to fintech regulation. As reported by Cointelegraph at the time, financial crimes reporting obligations are irrespective of the crypto firm’s total annual revenue.

Following the policy statement announcement, U.K. crypto firms included in the extended REP-CRIM regime will need to submit their financial crime report by the due date.

For the FCA, cryptoasset businesses refer to cryptocurrency exchanges and custodial wallet providers. The introduction of REP-CRIM reporting requirement follows on from the regulator’s increased oversight of the virtual currency space which includes compulsory registration for digital asset firms.

Indeed, the FCA has been supervising Anti-Money Laundering compliance of U.K. crypto businesses since January 2020. A backlog of cryptocurrency business registration applications forced the FCA to create a temporary licensing regime back in December 2020.

The FCA’s ban on retail derivatives trading also went into effect in January 2021.

Digital euro could take four years, says ECB president Christine Lagarde

Digital euro could take four years, says ECB president Christine Lagarde

The ECB will decide whether to proceed with digital euro pilots by mid-2021, Lagarde said.

It could be a while before European Union gets a central bank digital currency, if it gets one at all.

In a Wednesday interview with Bloomberg Television, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde laid out the complex decision-making process with which the bank will determine the future of a digital euro.

The ECB will soon release its analysis of eight thousand responses received from its digital euro consultation process. “That will be communicated to the European Parliament which is one of the key players as well as the Commission and the Council with which we operate,” she stated.

Based on that consultation, alongside the parliamentary work, the ECB’s Governing Council will decide whether the institution will begin experimenting with a CBDC by mid-2021.

Following an initial experimentation phase, the council would then hold a six-month or a one-year assessment on whether to roll out the digital euro, Lagarde stated.

“The whole process — let’s be realistic about it — will in my view take another four years, maybe a little more. But I would hope we can keep it within four years,” she said, adding:

“Because it’s a technical endeavor as well as a fundamental change because we need to make sure that we do it right. We owe it to Europeans, they need to feel safe and secure. They need to know that they are holding a central bank-backed [...] equivalent of a digital banknote. [...] We need to make sure that we’re not going to break any system, but enhance the system.”

Lagarde also mentioned that some financial intermediaries have expressed concerns about the ECB launching a CBDC. She said that these intermediaries will continue to co-exist with the new ecosystem as well as cash, which “will also continue to be available.” 

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the ECB launched a public consultation on a potential digital euro in October 2020. 

China's blockchain project BSN to integrate R3 Corda

China's blockchain project BSN to integrate R3 Corda

Chinese banks will soon have access to a permissioned version of the Corda Enterprise infrastructure via the country's Blockchain Service Network.

Red Date Technology, one of the builders of China’s Blockchain-based Service Network, has obtained licensing rights from R3 to resell both the free and enterprise Corda implementations in China.

According to a press release by R3, the news marks the first occasion of the BSN developer being able to resell enterprise blockchain technology from an overseas company.

Since the R3 deal is with BSN China, developers will create a permissioned version of Corda to comply with Chinese blockchain regulations. Also, with banks reportedly being one of the likely users of the network, the country’s UnionPay cloud infrastructure will play host to BSN Corda notaries.

The partnership also offers an entry point for R3 into the Chinese market following the company’s significant expansion across Asia.

Commenting on the importance of integrating an enterprise blockchain project like Corda on the BSN, Red Date Technology CEO Yifan He remarked:

“Corda will go live in China via BSN’s Open Permissioned Blockchain Initiative to offer Chinese developers low-cost access to Corda technology. Red Date will also help to drive Corda and CorDapps’ adoption among all Chinese banks—enabling Chinese financial companies to streamline their business processes and receive the profound benefits of enterprise blockchain.”

According to the announcement, Chinese firms will have access to Corda Enterprise via BSN public city nodes from Q3 2021. Red Date Tech reportedly plans to include some Corda-based decentralized applications as part of the integration to bootstrap adoption for businesses that will utilize BSN Corda.

Since launching in 2020, BSN has continued to integrate several public blockchains to both the China-only and BSN international ecosystems. Back in February, Cosmos (ATOM) became the first public blockchain to be added to BSN China.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, TON Labs inked a partnership deal with BSN developers to adapt the Telegram-built TON protocol for China’s blockchain project.

iPhone user blames Apple for $600K Bitcoin theft via fake app

iPhone user blames Apple for $600K Bitcoin theft via fake app

Apple removed the fake Trezor app several times, but it kept appearing on the App Store days later.

A scam cryptocurrency app on Apple’s app distribution service App Store has reportedly stolen $600,000 Bitcoin (BTC) from one iOS user.

Cryptocurrency holder Phillipe Christodoulou fell victim to a scam app on the App Store, losing nearly all his life savings to a fake crypto wallet application, The Washington Post reports Tuesday.

Christodoulou went on the App Store last month to search for a mobile Trezor app to check his Bitcoin balance via phone. Unaware that Trezor does not currently provide an iOS app, Christodoulou downloaded a doppelgänger Trezor application that boasted close to five stars, giving the impression that it was indeed an official app. After entering his seed phrase, Christodoulou said that his savings of 17.1 BTC were stolen.

Christodoulou said that Apple, which collects 15% to 30% commissions on sales, should be held responsible for this situation. “They betrayed the trust that I had in them. Apple doesn’t deserve to get away with this,” he stated. According to the Washington Post, Christodoulou filed a report with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Following notification from Trezor, Apple removed the fake Trezor app several times, but it kept appearing on the App Store days later.

The crypto community issomewhat divided on whether Apple should be blamed for the accident. “This is a f*cking nightmare. Scammed by a fake Trezor app in the ‘curated and safe’ Apple App Store,” crypto investor Scott Melker said on Twitter. Jameson Lopp, co-founder of crypto custody platform Casa said, “Stop entering seed phrases into software. Only enter seeds into dedicated Bitcoin hardware devices.”

Fake cryptocurrency wallet and trading apps have appeared on the App Store before. United Kingdom-based crypto intelligence company Coinfirm said that five people have reported having their crypto stolen by a fake Trezor app on iOS, with total losses estimated at $1.6 million. 

Trezor has alsowarned users about fraudulent doppelgänger apps on the Google Play Store. 

Apple and Trezor did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

Swiss startup launches tokenized grain trading pilot

Swiss startup launches tokenized grain trading pilot

Tokenization of real-world commodities could drastically reduce trading costs, says one Swiss startup as it pilots a new non-fungible token system.

A Swiss agricultural startup has piloted the use of a non-fungible token for cutting down the costs of trading grain. The system implemented by Swiss firm Cerealia SA sees the tokens reportedly backed by 30,000 metric tons of Mexican white corn.

Although the Cerealia platform only facilitates two-way deals at the time being, an upcoming addition will allow for third-parties to trade and speculate on grain deals using the token. A digital system naturally reduces the costs incurred by grain traders in executing deals, such as storage fees, while reducing the onus on paperwork.

The tokens were reportedly used by Mexican firm Mercanta, representing grain it had stored at a local warehouse. Other grain holders and trade houses can issue their own version of the token, which can then trade on Cerealia’s platform while acting as a marker for actual grain held.

Cerealia chief operating officer Filipe Pohlmann Gonzaga said the tokenized system could open up digital grain trading to the likes of banks, hedge funds and other investors, without them having to take physical delivery of the grain.

Cerealia has reportedly attracted buying interest for around 6 million tons of grain since it launched in November 2020, according to BNN Bloomberg. The firm has a presence in close to 30 different countries, including Brazil, Egypt and Ukraine, and is expected to expand into Singapore and sub-Saharan Africa next.

Bitcoin flash crashes by $2K in 5 minutes, liquidating $600M in longs

Bitcoin flash crashes by $2K in 5 minutes, liquidating $600M in longs

A flash crash on short timeframes for BTC/USD induces panic among long traders, but for analysts, it's business as usual.

Bitcoin (BTC) fell over $2,000 in five minutes on March 31 as a wave of volatility disrupted an otherwise calm market.

BTC/USD 1-minute candle chart (Bitstamp). Source: Tradingview

BTC sees sudden volatility

Cointelegraph Markets Pro and Tradingview showed a nightmare for long traders unfold on Wednesday, with BTC/USD suddenly dropping from $59,350 to $57,000.

At the time of writing, the losses were still mounting after the pair hit lows of $56,713 on Bitstamp. 

"Exactly Bitcoin," trader Michaël van de Poppe reacted to what has become a familiar event on short timeframes for Bitcoin.

Previously, upside had been the focus for day traders as news from PayPal spawned a run-up to just below $60,000.

Those betting on a continuation of the bull run lost big on Wednesday, however, as the downturn liquidated long positions worth $600 million amid a 24-hour total wipeout of $1 billion.

For quant analyst PlanB, their demise was nonetheless beneficial, helping to rid the market of unwanted leverage and ensure more organic future rises. As Cointelegraph reported, similar events have occurred with both long and short positions in recent months.

"Beautiful stop loss hunting .. again," he commented on Twitter.

"Now that all leveraged longs are liquidated, we finally have room for breaking $60K in April."

Funding rates creep up

Meanwhile, indicators showed reason to believe that further price increases for Bitcoin would need some work.

Funding rates across derivatives platforms were higher on the day, reaching as high as 0.375% on Huobi, a classic sign that downward pressure is incoming.

Bitcoin funding rates vs. BTC/USD chart. Source: Bybt

The longer-term picture remains more than positive, with analysts pointing to $68,000 and $73,000 as the next hurdles to watch.