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McDonald’s starts to accept Bitcoin and Tether in Swiss town

The global fast food chain is among the first to participate in a crypto-friendly experiment in the town of Lugano.

Multinational fast food chain McDonald’s started to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method in the 63,000-populated city of Lugano in Italian Switzerland, which is becoming a hotspot for crypto adoption in Western Europe. 

A one-minute video of ordering food on McDonald’s digital kiosk and then paying for it at the regular register with the help of a mobile app was uploaded on Twitter by Bitcoin Magazine on Oct. 3. The Tether (USDT)  logo could be spotted next to the Bitcoin symbol on the credit cash machine, which is not surprising, as in March 2022 the city of Lugano announced it would accept Bitcoin, Tether and the LVGA token as a legal tender.

On March 3, 2022, the city signed a memorandum of understanding with Tether Operations Limited, launching the so-called “Plan B.” According to this plan, Tether has created two funds — the first one is a $106 million, or 100 million Swiss francs, investment pool for crypto startups, and the second is around $3 million, or 3 million Swiss francs, attempt to encourage the adoption of crypto for shops and businesses across the city.

In addition to allowing Lugano residents to pay their taxes using crypto, the project will extend payments to parking tickets, public services and tuition fees for students. More than 200 shops and businesses in the area are also expected to accept crypto payments for goods and services.

Related: Swiss Post’s banking arm developing in-house crypto custody platform

Speaking to Cointelegraph in June, Paolo Ardoino, chief technology officer of Tether and Bitfinex, claimed that Plan B “is going great,” announcing a two-week educational activity on blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the city.

In September 2021 El Salvador became the first country in the world to allow using Bitcoin as a legal tender. Since that time, McDonald’s has been accepting Bitcoin at all its 19 outlets in the country.

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Bitcoin price sees first October spike above $20K as daily gains hit 5%

BTC price action sees a new October peak amid a declining U.S. dollar and a successful prior day’s trading for U.S. equities.

Bitcoin (BTC) saw its first trip above $20,000 on Oct. 4 as traders expected familiar resistance to cap gains.

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

Multi-week dollar lows fuel Bitcoin bulls

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/United States dollar climbing prior to the Wall Street open, up over 5% in 24 hours.

The pair had shaken off macroeconomic concerns at the start of the week, with trouble at Credit Suisse and the escalating Russia-Ukraine conflict failing to slow performance.

Now, the short-term analysis focused on a run potentially topping out closer to $21,000 — as was the case late last month, as sell-side pressure at that level remained significant.

“20500-21000 is a sell zone. If price gets there, which should, don’t be too bullish,” popular trader Il Capo of Crypto told Twitter followers on the day.

Razzoorn, an analyst at international trade group The Birb Nest, noted that the current charge was Bitcoin’s fifth attempt at escaping a major liquidity cloud in several weeks.

Despite the potentially limited upside opportunity, Bitcoin rallied in line with a broader risk asset tide which saw United States equities finish noticeably higher the day prior.

At the same time, the U.S. dollar suffered, the U.S. dollar index (DXY) extending losses to approach 111 points and threaten support in place since mid-September.

U.S. dollar index (DXY) 1-day candle chart. Source: TradingView

“Up the market goes,” a more optimistic Michaël van de Poppe, CEO and founder of trading platform Eight, continued:

“Flipping $19,500 for support. Now, if range-high at $19,600 holds for Bitcoin, I assume we’ll continue towards $22,400.”

Altcoins attempt to change sticky trend

Across major altcoins, it was Ether (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) leading daily performance at the time of writing. 

Related: CoinShares’ Butterfill suggests ’continued hesitancy’ among investors

ETH/USD traded above $1,350, still yet to break out of its sideways trend in place for several weeks since major losses entered during the post-Merge breakdown.

ETH/USD 1-day candle chart (Binance). Source: TradingView

XRP, on the other hand, faced a more stubborn band of resistance after prior gains, bouncing off multi-week support just below $0.45.

XRP/USD 1-day candle chart (Binance). Source: TradingView

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Bitcoin price plummets while miner hash rate soars to all-time highs

The overall security of the Bitcoin protocol, or hash rate, hit a new high of 158 exahash per second despite the price being down over 50% year to date.

Bitcoin miners can’t stop, won’t stop. The Bitcoin (BTC) hash rate continues to surge to new all-time highs, despite a heavy price drawdown. 

The Bitcoin mining hash rate peaked at 258 exahashes per second (EH/s) on Oct. 4, according to Braiins Insights, a mining data tools and metrics company. Although the Bitcoin price is down 58% year-to-date against the United States dollar, the mining hash rate is up 43%.

The past 3 months Hashrate. Source: Braiins. 

Bitcoin Gandalf from the marketing team at Braiins told Cointelegraph that, “The hash rate hitting another all-time high shows that miners are bullish about the future prospects of Bitcoin.” Nonetheless, the current macroeconomic environment could pose an issue, as “the present isn’t so rosy for Bitcoin miners,” Gandalf said, adding:

“Bitcoin continues to trade in this tight band between $19,000–$20,000 and this recent increase in hash rate will result in a sharp upward adjustment in mining difficulty meaning that miner margins will be further squeezed.”

In a series of tweets, mining engineers and hobbyists shared their thoughts regarding the hash rate hitting all-time highs while the price remains low. Rob W of Bitcoin mining company Upstream Data summed up the sentiment: 

I’m really proud of all of my mining friends, things are going great. pic.twitter.com/dIzh2ITTfq

— Rob W. (@BikesandBitcoin) October 3, 2022

Market analyst Zack Voell explained that the surging hash rate could be as a result of “XPs coming online.” The S19 XP Antminer is the latest model from Bitmain, one of the world’s most popular Bitcoin mining hardware suppliers.

The number of hashes produced in a second is commonly referred to as the hash rate. In Bitcoin speak, hash rate is a critical security metric as well as one that many BTC miners keep their eyes on.

In simple terms, the more hashing — or computing power — that the network churns out, the greater the overall security of Bitcoin. As a result, Bitcoin is more resistant to attack, the most common of which is known as a 51% attack.

Currently, more and more miners are coming online to attempt to solve valid blocks to receive the Bitcoin block reward, which is currently 6.25 BTC, roughly $120,000. Blocks are solved and added to the Bitcoin blockchain on average every 10 minutes.

Related: Nuclear and gas fastest growing energy sources for Bitcoin mining: Data

The difficult adjustment determines the rate at which blocks are solved. It fluctuates roughly every two weeks and is expected to increase on Oct. 10 based on the surging hash rate. The difficulty adjustment has been on a steady march upward in 2022 — meaning blocks are, on average, getting harder to solve — after falling for the first time in March 2022.

In sum, despite the fact that the Bitcoin price continues to wallow under $20,000, more and more miners find value in supporting the network. James Check, an analyst at Glassnode, explained in a tweet, “With hash rate pushing to new all-time-highs once again, despite all the promises to the contrary, it appears that #Bitcoin is still not dead.”

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Mastercard launches new crypto fraud protection tool

Mastercard’s new product allows banks to find and prevent fraud on crypto merchant platforms within its network.

The financial service provider Mastercard launched a new crypto service related to risk management on Oct. 3. Mastercard’s new service, Crypto Secure, is aimed to help banks find and prevent fraud on crypto merchant platforms.

Crypto Secure combines the usage of artificial intelligence, blockchain data and public records of crypto transactions, along with other sources, to determine crime-related risks of crypto exchanges within the Mastercard network.

Mastercard already has a similar service with fiat currency transactions available to banks.

The president of cyber and intelligence business for Mastercard, Ajay Bhalla, said this development helps its partners stay compliant with local regulations when fighting fraud in the crypto space:

“The idea is that the kind of trust we provide for digital commerce transactions, we want to be able to provide the same kind of trust to digital asset transactions for consumers, banks and merchants.”

Banks and other Mastercard card issuers that use Crypto Secure will see color-coded risk ratings of crypto merchants, which represent the risk of suspicious or fraudulent activity connected to said merchant.

Crypto Secure is run by CipherTrace, a California-based startup for blockchain security that was acquired by Mastercard the previous year.

While the tool doesn’t make judgements for banks it provides another level of advisory on crypto transactions. Mastercard currently has around 2,400 crypto exchanges within its network.

Related: Mastercard to allow 2.9B cardholders to make direct NFT purchases

Crypto payments are becoming more mainstream thanks to centralized payment processors like Visa and Mastercard. Last year Visa reported over $1 billion in crypto spending, while Mastercard has recently created new crypto payment options in countries such as Argentina and Indonesia.

However, as crypto continues to enter the public eye so does any fraud and crime related to the industry. According to Chainalysis data, 2021 marked a new all-time high in crypto crime with fraudulent wallet addresses receiving $14 billion.

In Australia, in 2022, investors lost $242 million to investment and crypto-related scams. While some executives have recently related crypto to a Ponzi scheme, others are calling on social media giants to be aware of crypto scams linked to their platforms.

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Law Decoded, Sept. 26–Oct. 3: New episode of Do Kwon saga

Terra’s co-founder continues his adventures, writing code in his living room, posting on Twitter and hiding from Interpol all at once.

Terra co-founder Do Kwon, wanted by South Korean authorities, seems to live in a digital-era James Bond movie. The businessman, whose whereabouts are currently unknown, reacted via Twitter to Interpol issuing a Red Notice on him. Kwon told his followers that he calmly writes code in his living room, “making zero effort to hide.” Active on social media while facing potential arrest and prosecution in South Korea, Kwon showed his location as Singapore on his Twitter account at the time of publication.

Meanwhile, South Korean authorities have requested crypto exchange OKX and Kucoin to freeze 3,313 Bitcoin (BTC) reportedly tied to Do Kwon. Reportedly, he created a new wallet under the name of Luna Foundation Guard (LFG) on Sept. 15, just a day after a Korean court issued an arrest warrant against the fugitive crypto founder. The movement of BTC from the LFG wallet raised many eyebrows, as it contradicts Kwon‘s early claims of having used all the BTC in the LFG’s reserves to defend the peg of TerraUSD — since renamed TerraUSD Classic.

However, Terraform Labs claims that South Korea’s case against its co-founder has become political, alleging that prosecutors expanded the definition of a security in response to public pressure. “We believe, as do most in industry, that Luna Classic is not, and has never been, a security, despite any changes in interpretation that Korean financial officials may have recently adopted,” Terraform’s spokesperson said told the Wall Street Journal last week. The company also believes the case to be “a failure to uphold basic rights guaranteed under Korean law.”

Another blow for the SEC in the Ripple case

Ripple Labs scored another victory in its continuing legal battle with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Sept. 29, as United States District Court Judge Analisa Torres ruled to release the documents written by former SEC Corporation Finance Division Director William Hinman. The documents predominantly relate to a speech Hinman delivered at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in June 2018 and could make evidence of Hinman stating that Ether (ETH) was not a security. Judge Torres’ decision overruled SEC objections to releasing the documents following District Court Judge Sarah Netburn’s order declaring that the emails and drafts of the speech were not protected by deliberative process privilege, as the SEC has claimed.

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Russia aims to use CBDC for international settlements with China

Russia is reportedly planning to use the digital rouble for mutual settlements with China by next year. The digital rouble is currently being tested for bank settlements and is expected to be completed by early next year. Anatoly Aksakov, head of the finance committee in Russia’s lower house of parliament, admitted that the geo-political crisis has limited Russia’s accessibility to the international trade market. This is why they have been actively working for alternate modes of payment and trade settlements, and national digital currency seems to be the primary choice at the moment.

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UAE Ministry of Economy opens up its headquarters in the Metaverse

The United Arab Emirates Ministry of Economy has announced a new headquarters located where anyone in the world can visit — the Metaverse. The headquarters will feature a multiple-story building, each serving a different purpose. Visitors will be able to take a ticket, which will prompt a “customer happiness center employee” to join the Metaverse and interact with the visitor. Visitors to the virtual headquarters will be able to sign legally binding documents, which eliminates the need for signatories to visit one of their physical locations in order to provide their signatures.

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And You Thought Your Neighbors Were Weird

We all have to sometimes deal with bad neighbors. Whether they are rude, inconsiderate, or just plain annoying, it seems pretty much everyone has their horror stories of less than satisfactory neighbors. While many of us might have had such experiences, at least we could probably say that they were at least human. The same cannot be said about one very strange case of a man who had some very bizarre new people move in next door. 

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Pink Sarcophagus of the Money Man for the Greatest Pharaoh is Found in Near Perfect Condition

In ancient Egypt, the pharaoh may have had the title, but he or she was still powerless without money … which made the head of the pharaoh’s treasury the real controller of the power of the pharaoh’s kingdom. Since many Egyptologists consider Ramesses II (also spelled Ramses II) to have been the greatest and most powerful pharaoh of the New Kingdom, the most powerful period of Ancient Egypt, that would have made his head of treasury the most powerful money man in ancient Egypt. We now know just how powerful Ptahemwia, Ramesses II’s treasurer, was — the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced the discovery of his pink granite sarcophagus – and archaeologists are calling it a “dream discovery.” What makes it so dreamy?

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When Imagination Comes to Life: More on the Slenderman and the Black Eyed Children

Just a couple of weeks ago I wrote an article here at Mysterious Universe on how the Slenderman was brought to life by the massive numbers of people who willed him into life. Not a good thing to do. But, certainly, a lot of people have done exactly that. For example, In 2015, publicity was given to a story coming out of the U.K. of sightings in and around Britain’s Cannock Chase woods, of something described as looking like the legendary “Slenderman.” If you don’t know, it’s a fictional character created in June 2009 by Eric Knudsen (using the alias of “Victor Surge,” at the forum section of the Something Awful website), who took his inspiration from the world of horror-fiction. The Slenderman (also spelled as Slender Man) is a creepy creature indeed: tall, thin, with long arms, a blank (faceless, even) expression, and wearing a dark suit, it sounds almost like a nightmarish version of the Men in Black. While there is no doubt that Knudsen was the creator of what quickly became a definitive, viral, meme, people have since claimed to have seen the Slenderman in the real world.

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Binance opens two new offices in Brazil as team doubles since March

Binance revealed it has more than 150 employees to cover its operations in Brazil and appears to be in good standing with the local government and regulatory agencies.

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao-led crypto exchange Binance has opened up two offices in Brazil as the firm looks to tap the country’s emerging crypto market, with reportedly more than 34.5 million crypto users there.

According to an Oct. 3 announcement, Binance has now opened offices in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with more than 150 employees to be spread across the firm’s operations in Brazil.

“The exchange operates in full compliance with the Brazilian regulatory landscape and believes that regulation is the only way for the digital asset industry to grow and reach the general public, allowing more people to enjoy the benefits that cryptocurrencies and blockchain offer,” the announcement reads.

#Binance opens two offices in Brazil in a move to expand in the country and to grow crypto adoption in Latin America.

The offices were announced by @cz_binance, who visited the country in March this year. Since then, we have more than doubled the team dedicated to Brazil.

— Binance (@binance) October 3, 2022

Binance stated that it has been working on a Brazilian expansion since CZ initially visited in March, with the firm doubling the size of its team focused on the country since then.

In September, Binance also hosted a series of crypto and blockchain workshops for law enforcement agencies in Brazil and Argentina to help them identify and fight crypto crime, suggesting it may hold a decent relationship with Latin American regulators.

The company has notably upped its focus on working with regulators after a spate of regulatory reviews and investigations from several government agencies in 2021.

Brazil looks to be a market prime for further growth, with blockchain research firm Chainalysis recently ranking the country seventh on the 2022 Global Crypto Adoption Index report.

The firm ranked Brazil just two places behind the United States and five places ahead of its Latin-American counterpart Argentina.

Binance expansion

In what has been a productive week for the company, Binance also announced on Monday that it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Financial Monitoring Agency of Kazakhstan as a part of its global law enforcement training program.

Under the MoU, Binance will work with the local government to help identify and block digital assets obtained illegally and used to launder criminal proceeds and finance terrorism.

Related: Binance Global Law Enforcement Training Program is official after year of activities

On Sept. 29, Binance also announced that it had registered with New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and opened local offices in the country.

“New Zealand is an exciting market with a strong history of fintech innovation,” CZ said.

Last 48 hrs or so:

CZ (me) in some mountain in Africa, preaching crypto#Binance opens 2 offices in Brazil #Binance signs MOU with Kazakhstan #Binance burns $1.8m worth of LUNC from Binance’s income.

— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) October 3, 2022

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CoinShares’ Butterfill suggests ‘continued hesitancy’ among investors

Matrixport’s head of strategy said he believes the market is currently in a “wait-and-see environment” but could shift after the U.S. mid-term elections in November.

Minor inflows for digital asset investment products over the last few weeks suggest a “continued hesitancy” towards crypto amongst institutional investors amid a slowdown of the U.S. economy. 

In the latest edition of CoinShares’ weekly “Digital Asset Fund Flows” report, Coinshares head of research James Butterfill highlighted stand-offish institutional sentiment towards crypto investment products, which saw “minor inflows” for the third week in a row.

“The flows remain low implying continued hesitancy amongst investors, this is highlighted in investment product trading volumes which were US$886m for the week, the lowest since October 2020.”

Between Sept. 26 and Sept. 30, investment products offering exposure to Bitcoin (BTC) saw the most inflows at just $7.7 million, with Ether (ETH) investment products close behind with $5.6 million worth of inflows. Short BTC products represented the only other notable inflows of $2.1 million.

These inflows were offset by more than $3.5 million worth of outflows for investment products offering exposure to altcoins such as Polygon (MATIC), Avalanche and Cardano (ADA), while multi-asset and Solana funds also shed $700,000 and $400,000 during that week.

Commenting on the current state of the crypto market, and the institutional outlook of late, Markus Thielen, head of research and strategy at Singapore-based crypto financial services platform Matrixport noted that:

“The market is currently in a wait-and-see environment whereas a potential positive shift after the US Mid-Term elections could have significant regulatory changes.”

“Last night’s US economic data, notably the ISM index, showed that growth has materially slowed down in the US economy and there is now the possibility that the Fed will become less hawkish. The USD rally appears to have lost one of its key drivers and this could signal a pause in rate hikes. This could be very bullish for digital assets into year-end,” he added.

Looking at the month-to-date (MTD) flows as of Sept. 30, ETH products have been the most offloaded by institutional investors despite the Merge going through on Sept. 15, with $65.1 million worth of outflows.

“Looking back, the Merge was not good for sentiment with outflows totaling US$65m in September. Increased regulatory scrutiny and a strong US Dollar being the likely culprits as the shift to Proof of Stake was executed successfully,” said Butterfill. 

In contrast, Short BTC funds and BTC investment products saw minor inflows of $15.2 million and $3.2 million MTD.

Crypto ETF outflows slowing

While there has been limited action of late for crypto investment products tracked by CoinShares, Bloomberg Intelligence has observed a notable trend in crypto exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Related: A crumbling stock market could create profitable opportunities for Bitcoin traders

According to Bloomberg Intelligence data, institutional investors offloaded $17.6 million from crypto ETFs during Q3 2022, providing a stark contrast to the “record $683.4 million withdrawn from such funds” in Q2 2022.

“The outflows mainly took place in the past two months. In July, investors poured upwards of $200 million into crypto ETFs,” Bloomberg noted in a Sept. 30 article, adding that the decreased outflows was likely due to “narrow fluctuations” in crypto prices during Q3.

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