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June 28,2024

Hackers Target Elden Ring Parent Company In Ransomware Attack

Kadokawa Corporation, the parent company of Elden Ring publisher FromSoftware, recently disclosed a ransomware attack it suffered earlier this month. Ransomware attacks typically involve demands for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, or others in exchange for decrypting files or not publishing sensitive information online.

According to a Kadokawa press release reported by IGN, the attack occurred on June 8th and targeted various servers in Japan, specifically focusing on services associated with Niconico, a video-sharing application owned by Kadokawa. The hack occurred just as FromSoftware released their latest DLC for Elden Ring, titled Shadow Of The Erdtree.


Damage Control

The company is currently working on implementing solutions and workarounds across its operations to restore normalcy to its systems and business activities. Kadokawa noted that all NicoNico family services remain suspended, preventing users when it comes to accessing external services using their NicoNico accounts. Services will gradually resume as they become available.

Founded as Kadokawa Shoten in April 1945, Kadokawa established FromSoftware in Tokyo, Japan, in 1986. Besides Elden Ring, which won GOTY (Game Of The Year) in 2022, FromSoftware is renowned for titles such as Bloodborne, Sekiro, and Dark Souls. Presently, it remains uncertain whether FromSoftware was affected by the incident or whether the hackers are associated with crypto.


Black Suit Claim Responsibility

While the report did not identify the attackers responsible for the breach, a group known as Black Suit has reportedly claimed credit as part of their hacktivism efforts. According to a 2023 Techcrunch report, Black Suit, previously known as Royal, had amassed over $275 million in ransom payments by that time.

According to a statement posted on the open-source ransomware tracking website RansomLook, Black Suit allegedly detailed the information it had obtained, including employee data, contracts, and project code.

The attackers described their infiltration of the Kadokawa network about a month before the ransomware was deployed, navigating complexities within multiple interconnected IT networks. Once inside the control center, they purportedly encrypted the entire network, including systems belonging to Dwango, NicoNico, Kadokawa, and other subsidiaries, while exfiltrating approximately 1.5 terabytes of data.


June 27,2024

4K BTC Transferred To Coinbase By United States Government

A crypto wallet under US government control recently transferred approximately 3,940 Bitcoin (BTC), valued at $241 million, to Coinbase, as reported by Arkham Intelligence. The wallet currently holds about $13.3 billion worth of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin in this wallet originates via the seizure of assets related to the Silk Road, an infamous dark web marketplace shut down in 2013 for trading illegal drugs, weapons, and other illicit items.


Large-Scale Transfers

Earlier this April, the government reportedly moved 30,175 BTC, roughly worth $2 billion at the time, via the same wallet to Coinbase. The transaction involved a series of transfers, starting with a small test transfer of 0.001 BTC ($65) to a Coinbase Prime deposit address. The main transfer consisted of 1,999 BTC (around $130 million), while the remaining 28,176 BTC was transferred to another government-controlled wallet, likely for planned sale.

These large-scale transactions could potentially impact Bitcoin and its current bearish trend, which has been developing over the past week. Additionally, the trustee of Mt. Gox, the now-defunct exchange, announced plans to commence a $9 billion repayment next month, with victims receiving payouts in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. This could add selling pressure to the market.


Making Moves

Recently, the German government made some key decisions involving Bitcoin, transferring 400 BTC to Coinbase and Kraken, as well as another 500 BTC to an untagged address. These actions have sparked speculation within the crypto community about the management and sale strategies of the government pertaining to its Bitcoin holdings.

Following the latest transfer, Bitcoin saw a minor decline, dropping to $60,800 before rebounding to around $61,000 according to CoinGecko data. The price of Bitcoin holds significant importance for the broader crypto market as it acts as a benchmark and sentiment gauge. Being the largest and most recognized cryptocurrency, fluctuations in its price often sway investor sentiment and trading decisions across the entire crypto sphere.


June 27,2024

Hackers Use Elon Musk Deepfake To Deceive Australians

The YouTube channel belonging to Seven Network, a major Australian broadcaster, was recently compromised by hackers who replaced its content with videos promoting a fraudulent Elon Musk cryptocurrency scheme. These videos featured a convincing deepfake of Elon Musk, falsely claiming to be giving away cryptocurrency under the guise of Tesla.


Why Elon

At the time of the breach, around 150,000 viewers were tuned into three livestreams showcasing the fake Musk, though it is uncertain how many of these viewers were automated bots artificially inflating viewer numbers. The scam itself is a well-known tactic where victims are promised double their cryptocurrency in return for sending funds to a specified wallet address, a ploy that preys on both greed and the desire for quick financial gains.

Elon Musk has been linked to cryptocurrency for some time now, whether it be through his public statements and actions. He has endorsed cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin on social media, influencing their prices. Tesla also invested in Bitcoin and briefly accepted it as payment for cars, though later discontinued this option citing environmental concerns. Musk has a habit of stirring controversy via his tweets and comments which often spark significant volatility in crypto markets, making him a prominent figure in the crypto space.


The Rise Of Deepfakes

The incident underscores the serious risks associated with both hacking and cryptocurrency. Hacking compromises the integrity and trustworthiness of digital platforms, while cryptocurrency scams exploit the decentralized and often anonymous nature of blockchain transactions. Such scams can lead to significant financial losses for unsuspecting individuals who fall victim to these schemes.

Furthermore, the use of deepfake technology to impersonate well-known figures like Elon Musk not only deceives viewers but also raises concerns about the potential misuse of AI in spreading misinformation and fraudulent activities. As digital platforms continue to evolve, ensuring robust security measures and heightened vigilance against such threats becomes increasingly crucial to safeguarding both users and the integrity of online content.

June 26,2024

Metallica Twitter Account Hacked To Promote Solana Meme Coin

The Twitter account belonging to heavy metal band Metallica was reportedly compromised late Tuesday, used to promote a Solana (SOL) meme coin. This incident follows a trend where celebrities are targeted for pump-and-dump schemes, falsely presented as legitimate ventures.


The Context

The tweets, which included a Twitter Spaces audio call and replies to users, were swiftly deleted within 90 minutes. Despite this, the promoted METAL token experienced over $10 million in trading volume before plummeting in value.

The perpetrators falsely claimed collaboration with Ticketmaster and MoonPay, suggesting token holders could receive discounts on tickets and merchandise. This comes shortly after similar scams involving rapper 50 Cent and wrestler Hulk Hogan earlier this month.


Another Scam

Following widespread skepticism on Crypto Twitter, MoonPay President Keith Grossman clarified that METAL was not supported on their platform, cautioning against the scam. MoonPay later tweeted a warning using a reference to Metallica and their music, stating those promoting the METAL token are the Master of Scams, an obvious reference to the song Master of Puppets.

The compromised Metallica account subsequently blocked MoonPay. During its brief surge, the METAL token saw significant trading activity with over 30,000 transactions, peaking at $0.003, but has since crashed to under $0.00007, with a market cap of just $65,000.


June 26,2024

Marblex Will Migrate To Immutable With $20M Fund

Immutable, a prominent Ethereum-based gaming platform, revealed a strategic alliance on Tuesday with Marblex, the blockchain gaming arm of Netmarble, a major player in the South Korean gaming industry.


An Important Transition

The collaboration aims to transition the Marblex ecosystem and flagship games to the Immutable zkEVM on Ethereum (ETH). This migration involves renowned titles such as Ni no Kuni: Cross Worlds, A3: Still Alive, and Meta World: My City, and the move will also reportedly leverage scaling technology provided by Polygon (MATIC).

Immutable Co-Founder and President, Robbie Ferguson, emphasized the significance of this partnership, particularly noting a truly vibrant ecosystem for Web3 gaming in South Korea alongside the pioneering role of Marblex and Netmarble in the region.


Enhancing The Partnership

To further support the growth of the partnership, an Ecosystem Boost Program has been established. This initiative will allocate up to $20 million to assist developers in bringing new titles to the Marblex platform integrated with Immutable. The program aims to foster innovation and attract a diverse range of gaming experiences to the ecosystem.

Overall, this collaboration not only marks a significant technological advancement in blockchain gaming but also underscores the strategic importance of leveraging Ethereum and its scalability solutions to enhance the reach and performance of Marblex and its various gaming offerings.


June 25,2024

Mark Cuban Sells 14 NFTs In 2 Days In Sudden Sell Off

Mark Cuban, previously the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a notable investor on Shark Tank, has garnered attention by suddenly selling numerous NFTs via his extensive collection. Recent data indicates that over the last two days, transactions via the markcuban.eth address have involved 14 NFTs. While many of these sales featured less renowned collections, Mark has nevertheless sparked interest and speculation within the NFT community.


A Significant Transaction

Cuban sold his Pudgy Penguins NFT 6329 for 9.065 Ethereum (ETH), valued at nearly $30,000 at the time. Additionally, he attempted to sell a Dallas Mavericks-themed NFT in the Proof of Culture series for 15 ETH (approximately $50,194) through one of his OpenSea wallets.

According to OpenSea records, this wallet, associated with Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks, holds approximately 1,600 items. Despite these recent sales, his portfolio still encompasses a substantial array of NFTs valued at over 1,900 ETH, or about $6.2 million. The recent NFT sales also coincide with a notable decrease in the floor price of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) NFTs, which fell below 10 ETH last week. This backdrop has led to speculation about the timing and motivations behind his sales.


A Mixed Bag

Cuban, a prominent supporter of NFTs since the 2021 surge, has heavily invested in NFT projects and platforms such as CryptoSlam and Mintable. In late 2023, he expressed optimism about NFTs, advising collectors to buy based on passion rather than speculation. Drawing parallels with early struggles faced by now-successful tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, he highlighted the potential of the NFT market.

Still, the broader NFT market has experienced a downturn, with CryptoSlam reporting a 48.52% decrease in NFT sales volume over the past 30 days, amounting to $485 million. There are some who believe that Cuban may simply be responding to these market conditions as an investor or as part of a strategic adjustment within his larger portfolio.


June 25,2024

Crypto Remains A Critical Point Of Discussion For UK Youth

Ahead of the upcoming General Election, findings indicate that over one-third of young adults in the United Kingdom view crypto as a significant electoral concern. The survey, conducted by Zumo in collaboration with Focaldata, shows that 34% of individuals aged 18-24 and 25-34 believe UK politicians should prioritize the growth of the crypto industry.

The research, encompassing more than 3,000 UK adults, reveals widespread support for positioning the UK as a hub for digital assets, particularly among younger demographics (18-34 years old). Furthermore, 38% of 18-24 year-olds have invested in crypto directly, with 39% considering it a viable source of long-term financial benefit. Many young adults (40% of 18-24 year-olds and 37% of 25-34 year-olds) also have close contacts involved in cryptocurrency investments.


Lingering Concerns

Despite the aforementioned enthusiasm, concerns persist among some young adults (32% in both age groups) about the future regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies in the UK. Nick Jones, CEO of Zumo, emphasized that as crypto gains mainstream acceptance, young adults across the nation want it to become a higher priority on the political agenda.

Looking ahead, Jones urged governmental collaboration with industry stakeholders to establish a regulatory framework conducive to the growth of the digital assets sector and its potential as an economic driver for the UK.

The caution expressed by some young adults aligns with recent moves by UK financial regulators, including the establishment of a sandbox for digital securities trading. This initiative aims to support technological advancements while providing a controlled environment for experimentation with real customers.


A Global Issue

The approval of the first crypto exchange-traded products (ETPs) by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for trading on the London Stock Exchange reflects a growing sentiment by the UK to enhance its standing in the global digital asset market.

Interestingly, similar dynamics are unfolding in the United States ahead of the 2024 elections. Recent surveys indicate growing investor interest in Bitcoin amid geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainties, with significant implications for US electoral dynamics. Former President Donald Trump has adopted a favorable stance on crypto which is in stark contrast to the Biden administration and their stringent regulatory approach.


June 24,2024

ZK Compression Finally Gets Added To Solana

Solana (SOL) has launched ZK compression, an innovative feature designed to significantly reduce costs and enhance scalability for developers. Developed in collaboration with Light Protocol and Helius Lab, this tool allows developers to compress on-chain state data, thereby minimizing expenses associated with token and account creation on the Solana network.


Massive Scale Improvements

On June 21st, Light Protocol partnered with Helius Labs to introduce ZK compression on Solana, aiming to make application development more scalable by compressing on-chain data. This approach stores state roots on-chain while keeping other data on the Solana ledger, leveraging zero-knowledge proofs to ensure data integrity and retrieval through supported RPC providers.

Helius CEO Mert Mumtaz highlighted the scalability improvements, stating that the team achieves 10,000x scale improvements by compressing on-chain state. Austin Federa, the Head of Strategy for Solana, emphasized the cost-saving benefits for on-chain account storage, enabling broader creation of on-chain products.


Mixed Reactions

Despite the advantages, some in the crypto community, like Adam Cochran and Ryan Berckmans, argue that ZK compression resembles a layer-2 (L2) network in functionality. Solana co-founder Anatoly Yakovenko acknowledged similarities to L2 solutions but noted differences in governance and security models.

Despite debates about its categorization, the introduction of ZK compression represents a significant advancement for Solana, promising improved scalability and reduced operational costs. This innovation underscores the overall commitment by Solana toward advancing blockchain technology and addressing industry challenges, potentially fostering broader adoption and innovation within its ecosystem.

June 24,2024

Nigerian Authorities Accelerate Cryptocurrency Provider Registration

The Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a 30-day program aimed at expediting the registration process for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs). This initiative is designed to bolster compliance and stability within the rapidly expanding Nigerian crypto market.

Earlier this year, the Nigerian SEC revised its Rules on Digital Assets, which included a significant increase in VASP registration fees to 150 million Naira ($100,806). While this fee hike raised concerns about reduced business participation, it was intended to promote financial stability among VASPs.


A Turbulent History

On June 21st, the SEC introduced the Accelerated Regulatory Incubation Program (ARIP), providing a streamlined pathway for Nigerian VASPs to swiftly fulfill all regulatory obligations and ensure full compliance. VASPs are required to complete registration through the SEC ePortal within this 30-day period to avoid potential prosecution.

This initiative coincides with the appointment of Emomotimi Agama as the new director-general of the SEC in April. Agama, known for his supportive stance on cryptocurrencies, has encountered resistance by stakeholders in the Nigerian crypto industry. In May, he initiated efforts against the use of the Nigerian Naira on crypto exchanges, attributing its devaluation partly to this practice, resulting in the Naira being delisted in major exchanges like KuCoin and Binance.


Striking A Balance

In December 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria lifted a two-year ban on banks maintaining accounts for VASPs, opting for a regulatory approach instead of an outright prohibition. However, microfinance banks are still restricted when it comes to facilitating crypto transactions. The increased registration fees and the ARIP underscore a strict local regulatory approach toward crypto trading and usage.

Nigeria has emerged as a burgeoning crypto hub, with approximately 22 million individuals (10.3% of the population) actively engaged in crypto ownership. The recent measures by the SEC aim to foster a more stable and secure environment for crypto activities. These regulatory adjustments are part of a broader effort by the Nigerian authorities to strike a balance between innovation and security in the crypto sector. By tightening regulations and raising fees, the SEC aims to eliminate unqualified participants and fortify market integrity, crucial for building consumer trust and fostering industry growth.


June 24,2024

Web3 Fundraising Deals - 18th To 24th June, 2024

Infrared Finance secured an undisclosed amount of funding via Binance Labs on June 24th. Infrared stands as the leading application in the realm of the Proof of Liquidity (PoL) consensus mechanisms.


SoSo Value raised $4.15M in seed funding led by HongShan (ex-Sequoia China) on June 23rd. SoSo Value is a one-stop financial research platform tailored for all kinds of cryptocurrency investors.


Verida successfully secured $5.00M in seed funding, supported by Gatelabs, as announced on June 22nd. Verida is the self-sovereign private data DePIN designed for Web3 and serves as a fully mobile ZK wallet for identity, data, and crypto related needs. received $3.00M in undisclosed funding by LD Capital on June 21st. is a set of Web3 social protocols for identity, DAO governance, and social networking.


Gudchain secured $5.00M in undisclosed funding by Mechanism Capital on June 20th. Gudchain is a platform specifically designed to promote blockchain technology in gaming. Currently, Gudchain serves as a comprehensive solution for game developers, allowing them to launch frictionless Web3 games to a broad audience.


Farworld Labs raised $1.75M on June 20th, with support by Variant. Built on Farcaster, Farcade is a platform and suite of tools designed for developers to create crypto-native games that integrate with on-chain social interactions. It enables users to play games directly within their existing social environments.


Bring acquired $1.10M in undisclosed funding on June 20th, with support by StarkWare. Bring offers cashback rewards on purchases across a variety of categories, including fashion, electronics, health and beauty, and travel services, via a network of 450 retailers.


Zeek Network secured $3.00M in seed funding via Everest Ventures Group (EVG) on June 20th. Zeek is a decentralized collaboration economy that incentivizes reputation through innovative social bounty mechanics. Individual behaviors and engagements build a reputation layer known which can be monetized and used to measure credibility, reliability, and influence.


Saltwater Games received an undisclosed amount in seed funding by Animoca Brands on June 20th. Saltwater Games is a dynamic online platform that offers an extensive collection of engaging games and interactive experiences.


Particle Network closed a Series A round of $15.00M led by The Spartan Group on June 20th. Particle Network is a Web3 infrastructure project, with a keen focus on developing an Intent-Centric Modular Access Layer for Web3. The platform aims to revolutionize the industry by shifting to consumer friendly markets.

June 23,2024

Bitcoin Dumps To Five Week Low As Investors Exercise Caution

The price woes for both Bitcoin (BTC) and the broader crypto market persisted Friday evening as the flagship crypto dropped to its lowest level in over five weeks, dipping well below $64,000. Altcoins are similarly sluggish, with Avalanche leading the decline with a significant price drop.


BTC Hits Multi Week Low

Following an unsuccessful attempt last week to breach $70,000, Bitcoin headed southward, hitting $64,000 on Friday, marking a monthly low. The weekend brought relative stability, with the cryptocurrency hovering just above $65,000.

Monday saw a brief rally to over $66,500, but subsequent bearish pressure pushed BTC down for several days, culminating in a drop to $63,400 yesterday, its lowest since May 15th. Despite this, Bitcoin has since recovered slightly and now sits above $64,000. Its market cap has also dipped below $1.270 trillion, with its dominance over altcoins holding steady at 51.5% on CoinGecko.

Elsewhere, most major altcoins have shown lackluster daily performances. DOGE, TON, XRP, and DOT are slightly down, while ETH, BNB, SOL, SHIB, and TRX have posted modest gains. However, Chainlink and Cardano have seen more significant declines, dropping over 4% and 3%, respectively, in a day. AVAX recorded the most substantial daily drop, plummeting over 9% and struggling to stay above $25. The total crypto market cap fell by approximately $20 billion overnight to $2.460 trillion on CoinMarketCap.


Other Markets

Global investors are exercising caution in nearly all categories, reflecting a shift in sentiment as credit markets experience their first stumble of the year. Meanwhile, upcoming economic indicators by the Federal Reserve may signal a path towards future rate cuts. On the commodities front, Brazil has emerged as an unpredictable factor in the oil market following a significant plunge in production.

In China, persistent earnings challenges are tempering optimism surrounding its stock market recovery. Ardent Health, backed by an equity group, is making a second attempt at an initial public offering, highlighting ongoing market volatility. The dollar continues its winning streak against the yen, impacting global currency dynamics. Elsewhere, a sharp rise in cilantro prices is forcing Mexican taquerias to adopt innovative strategies.

Amid these developments, the Tokyo Stock Exchange begins its trading year, with Wall Street witnessing heightened trading volumes at market close. Despite recent gains, smart-trade strategies are facing headwinds in the midst of a buoyant stock market. Lastly, AMC Entertainment is gearing up for upcoming earnings announcements and is in talks with lenders to restructure debts and extend maturities, reflecting broader challenges and adaptations in the current economic landscape.


June 22,2024

MicroStrategy Keeps Buying Bitcoin As Total Holdings Reach $15 Billion

MicroStrategy recently disclosed acquiring nearly 12,000 additional Bitcoin (BTC) between April and late June 2024, bringing its total holdings to about 226,331 BTC valued at nearly $15 billion. According to a filing with the SEC, MicroStrategy purchased 11,900 BTC between late April to June 19th at an average price of $65,883 per BTC, totaling approximately $780 million.


Making Waves

Currently holding around 1% of all BTC, MicroStrategy stands as the largest publicly listed corporate holder of the cryptocurrency. The company has invested approximately $8.33 billion in accumulating its Bitcoin reserves, averaging an acquisition cost of $36,798 per BTC. The latest purchases were financed through a senior notes convertible offering, originally targeting $500 million but increased to $800 million due to strong demand.

CEO Michael Saylor has been a vocal advocate of Bitcoin, considering it a hedge against inflation and a store of value. This conviction has driven MicroStrategy to continually invest in the flagship cryptocurrency. Despite recent fluctuations, MicroStrategy remains tied to the volatile cryptocurrency market and its heavy reliance on Bitcoin for better or worse.


Domino Effect

The aforementioned Bitcoin-centric strategy has inspired other companies, both in the US and abroad, to adopt similar treasury strategies involving BTC. This includes firms like DeFi Technologies and Semler Scientific in the US, as well as Metaplanet in Japan, which have increased their Bitcoin holdings recently. This ongoing commitment to Bitcoin by MicroStrategy via strategic acquisitions and funding methods reflects its confidence in the potential of crypto for future appreciation and practical usage.

As of June 20th, MicroStrategy and its subsidiaries hold a total of 226,331 BTC, showcasing its strong belief in Bitcoin. With an average purchase price of $36,798 per Bitcoin, MicroStrategy has managed its acquisitions strategically to maximize its holdings. As the largest publicly listed corporate holder of Bitcoin, its significant holdings, funded through convertible notes, set a precedent influencing other companies going forward.