January 20,2024

Ghost Kicks Off The New Year By Launching GSTVPN

Ghost, a pioneering force in blockchain-driven privacy solutions, proudly unveils its latest creation, GSTVPN. This is a revolutionary Virtual Private Network (VPN) service developed in collaboration with Specter Systems. GSTVPN aims to reshape the realm of online security by placing a premium on unmatched user privacy and digital liberty.

Since its establishment on June 20th, 2020, Ghost has emerged as a trailblazer in the realm of privacy-focused blockchains, revolutionizing the decentralized Proof of Stake (PoS) ecosystem. As a leader in blockchain privacy technology, the introduction of GSTVPN further solidifies its mission to provide innovative, user-centric privacy solutions.

Anonymous And Private

In an era where online censorship is on the rise, GSTVPN emerges as a robust VPN service committed to safeguarding individual privacy and ensuring unrestricted access to information. GSTVPN effectively circumvents website restrictions, concealing IP addresses, and facilitating access to blocked content. This dedication to unimpeded access aligns with the principles of free information exchange and digital freedom.

A distinctive strength of GSTVPN lies in its unwavering commitment to privacy. It encrypts data traffic between users and servers, offering protection against surveillance and enabling confident communication and information sharing without third-party monitoring, including by governments. This encryption ensures a completely anonymous browsing experience, setting GSTVPN apart compared to conventional VPN services. Notably, GSTVPN requires no personal information during signup, ensuring absolute privacy for users.

Secure And Accessible 

Recognizing the growing demand of the ever-evolving digital landscape for multi-device connectivity, GSTVPN supports up to 10 simultaneous connections per service. Whether on a phone, tablet, or laptop, Ghost wants users to know that their privacy remains consistently safeguarded.

Additionally, in adherence to the fundamental commitment to absolute privacy, GSTVPN strictly follows a no-logs policy. Users can thus engage in online activities without fear of tracking, storage, or sharing, providing peace of mind and genuine digital freedom.

Finally, GSTVPN boasts top-tier encryption and security measures, shielding user data when it comes to any and all potential threats. The service grants unrestricted access to global content, breaking down barriers to information and communication. Subscribers can seamlessly switch between over 50 global server locations at any time.

Jake Waters, Project Director of Ghost, emphasizes that GSTVPN goes beyond a simple VPN service, as its overarching goal is to significantly enhance the essence of privacy and security in the digital space.

Interested users can now download and subscribe to GSTVPN at gstvpn.com and the Google Play store. For more information and regular updates, please visit ghostprivacy.net.

January 19,2024

Legal Battle Between Coinbase And The SEC Heats Up

The recent legal dispute between the SEC and numerous cryptocurrency exchanges took a different direction in a recent hearing where United States Judge Katherine Polk Failla questioned the regulator. She expressed dissatisfaction with the assertions made by the agency against Coinbase, and cryptocurrency advocate Bill Morgan sees this as an indication that cryptocurrencies will eventually be recognized as non-securities in the U.S.

Clarity Is Needed

During the hearing, Judge Failla asked the SEC to offer clearer definitions for terms such as securities and staking, while criticizing Coinbase. As reported by Fox Business journalist Eleanor Terrett, the SEC contended that Coinbase is establishing a new version of the Howey Test.

The SEC lawyer cautioned Coinbase about reinterpreting the Howey Test, stating that the Congress of 1934 would be surprised that today there would be such an easy workaround to the carefully constructed regulatory structure they created in 1934 with regard to the market.

The Plot Thickens

Coinbase rejected the allegations made by the SEC, asserting that they had not reinterpreted the Howey Test. The SEC legal team, on the other hand, claimed that the agency is stretching the Howey Test to fit the circumstances.

In a previous post, Terrett highlighted the resilience shown by Judge Failla concerning rulings by Judge Jed Rakoff and Judge Analisa Torres on LBRY and XRP, respectively, for crucial insights. Reflecting on the determination made by Judge Torres regarding XRP as a non-security and the current state of the Coinbase lawsuit, Morgan remarked it is now commonly agreed that the tokens themselves are not securities.

January 19,2024

EU Crypto Users May Face Extreme Scrutiny Via New Mandate

In the persistent drive to regulate the cryptocurrency industry and protect investors, the European Union is escalating efforts to adopt a more stringent approach towards digital assets. With the goal of establishing a transparent regulatory framework and combating activities such as money laundering and terror financing, EU lawmakers have introduced a fresh proposal that may alter the dynamics of how individuals across the continent engage with and carry out transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

Stringent Regulations Are Coming

The European Council and Parliament reached a significant provisional agreement on January 17th to revamp the crypto industry in the region, focusing on imposing stricter regulations on firms to target money laundering and terror financing. In a recent statement, the group of policymakers revealed that the proposed regulations would encompass most of the crypto sector, compelling all crypto firms to implement more rigorous due diligence procedures for their customers.

According to the provisional agreement, crypto firms would be required to conduct due diligence when customers plan to execute transactions valued at least $1,100. The initial statement highlighted that the agreement introduces measures to mitigate risks associated with transactions involving self-hosted wallets.

Looking Ahead

While the crypto deal awaits approval by the European Parliament, its potential impact on the industry is substantial. Vincent Van Peteghem, the Belgian Minister of Finance, emphasized that the provisional agreement aligns with the new Anti-Money Laundering (AML) system of the EU, ensuring that fraudsters, organized crime, and terrorists will find no space to legitimize their proceeds through the financial system.

Elsewhere, the EU recently concluded specific AML checks on crypto fund transfers in 2023. MiCA, set to become effective on December 30th, 2024, will establish the first comprehensive crypto regulatory framework for the European Union.

January 18,2024

Frax Finance Will Officially Debut Its Ethereum Layer 2 Next Month

Popular decentralized finance (DeFi) protocol Frax Finance is reportedly preparing to unveil its layer 2 blockchain, Fraxtal, in February, as shared by CEO and founder Sam Kazemian in a recent interview. Kazemian anticipates the launch in the initial week of next month, with Fraxscan by Etherscan providing support on day 1. Following the debut, a multitude of projects is expected to emerge, marking it as a significant rollup release for the year.

Looking Ahead

This addition will expand the existing product suite of the protocol, including FRAX, a fully collateralized algorithmic stablecoin, a lending platform, an automated market maker, an inflation-linked stablecoin (FPI), and the liquid staking token frxETH. As of the latest update, FRAX boasts a market cap of $647 million, ranking as the seventh-largest stablecoin globally.

Curve, a decentralized exchange with a focus on stablecoins, has proposed integrating its exchange functionalities onto Fraxtal. Layer 2, a secondary framework addressing blockchain limitations, gained momentum following Ethereum network congestion issues during the 2021 bull market.

Plenty Of Potential

Fraxtal will also employ rollups technology, conducting transactions off the Ethereum mainnet, consolidating data, compressing it, and then transmitting it back to the mainnet. The liquid staking token frxETH will fuel layer 2 and serve as a gas for the chain, where gas represents the transaction execution fee.

Kazemian envisions the upcoming debut to be impactful, with expectations of attracting several hundred million dollars in crypto assets before long. The CEO anticipates a total value locked of at least nine figures in the first month and aims for over $1 billion in Q1, positioning Fraxtal among the top five chains if well-received.

January 18,2024

Wise Lending Gets Hacked Resulting In Massive Losses

Wise Lending, a Web3 lending application and yield aggregator, encountered a significant security breach on January 12th, resulting in the unauthorized acquisition of 170 ETH. Security experts have verified this occurrence, suspecting that the assailant potentially leveraged an oracle price through a flash loan.

Damage Control

The blockchain noticed the attack after the wrongdoer reportedly utilized an unauthenticated contract with an address concluding with d82c to divert the funds. The malefactor also transferred various tokens, including $9,000 in USD Coin (USDC), $2,000 in Tether (USDT), $5,000 in DAI, 18.51 Wrapped Ether (WETH) valued at $47,694, and assorted tokens linked to Pendle Finance, to this contract.

As part of the exploit, the perpetrator also borrowed 1,110 Lido Staked Ether (stETH) tokens, equivalent to $2.9 million, through the Aave lending protocol. Exploiters commonly use flash loans to manipulate oracle prices, facilitating such attacks.

A blockchain security researcher known as Spreek, using a pseudonym, initially alerted the crypto community to the Wise Lending attack on X, stating that the vulnerability might be associated with a novel Pendle Finance derivative token.

Hacks Still Ongoing

Another security researcher suggested that the vulnerability might have been triggered by a 7% price swing between stETH and ETH within a specific pool, potentially due to an AAVE v2 stETH flash loan. Despite the commencement of 2024, the decentralized finance sector has already incurred losses exceeding $5 million due to diverse exploits.

On January 3rd, Radiant Capital suffered losses surpassing $4.5 million, followed by liquidity manager Gamma Protocol losing over $400,000 to an exploit the following day. In the preceding year, 2023, the crypto industry witnessed losses totaling over $1.8 billion due to hacks, scams, and exploits, as reported by blockchain security platform Certik. These incidents underscore the persistent challenges and security considerations within the crypto space.

January 17,2024

IRS Hits The Breaks On Controversial Cryptocurrency Tax Rule

The controversial $10,000 cryptocurrency tax rule enforced by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is reportedly undergoing a pause. In a joint statement issued by the IRS and the Treasury Department, a shift in their position regarding the tax rule was indeed communicated.

Calm Before The Storm

The aforementioned rule, which mandates Americans to report cryptocurrency transactions exceeding $10K, will not be actively enforced for the time being. Businesses are not obligated to report the receipt of digital assets in the same manner as cash until specific regulations are issued by the Treasury and IRS.

This confirmation aligns with various speculations made by industry experts, indicating a delay in the enforcement of the rule pending a comprehensive review and a public comment period. The language of the rule has also raised questions about its target demographic, as it necessitates reporting for anyone receiving over $10,000 in crypto within a trade or business, mirroring the standard practice for cash transactions.

Navigating The Challenges

The significance of this development lies in the complexity of applying such a rule to cryptocurrency transactions, given their highly decentralized nature. Individuals receiving payments via decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) or through staking may encounter challenges in identifying a single payer.

Notably, back in 2020, the crypto advocacy group Coin Center initiated a lawsuit against the Treasury Department and the IRS, asserting the unconstitutionality of the new law, a case that is still under appeal as of this time.

January 17,2024

Tether Calls Out The United Nations For Being Hypocritical

Tether (USDT) has recently refuted allegations made by the United Nations regarding the involvement of its USDT stablecoin in illicit activities, such as money laundering and scams. Responding on January 16th, Tether emphasized the role of blockchain technology in crime prevention.

Working With The Law

Tether readily collaborates with law enforcement entities like the DOJ, FBI, and USSS, highlighting its dedication to combating financial crime. Emphasizing the potential of blockchain technology to facilitate the tracking of illegal activities, Tether asserts that their transparent blockchain network enables close monitoring of transactions.

This transparency additionally aids in thwarting illegal transactions of various categories, a challenging task with conventional currency. Tether also pointed out that they recently prevented over $300 million in suspicious transactions.

A Hypocritical Stance

Rather than criticizing blockchain, Tether urges the UN to recognize its merits in the fight against crime. They advocate for collaborative efforts to comprehend and leverage blockchain effectively. Tether expresses a commitment to using digital currencies responsibly and transparently, inviting the UN to engage in discussions to explore ways of reducing digital asset crimes.

This approach aligns with a broader trend in the crypto industry, actively combating financial crime and asserting that blockchain can serve as a tool to prevent crime rather than being its source. Some have even gone as far as to claim that the United Nations is being very hypocritical since it is not like corruption does not exist in the UN either. In fact, the organization has been called inefficient, incompetent and unwieldy by many in the past.

January 16,2024

Ubisoft Gets Further Involved With Crypto Via New Blockchain Partnership

Ubisoft, the publisher of immensely popular titles like Far Cry, Prince Of Persia, and Splinter Cell, has recently partnered with the Wemix Blockchain Node Council. This collaboration makes Ubisoft one of the 40 Wemix partners responsible for running validator nodes on the new Wemix 3.0 network, an Ethereum-compatible EVM blockchain. Previously, the Wemix blockchain operated on the Klaytn mainnet, and it has now been rebranded as Wemix Classic.

A Reliable Infrastructure

The updated Wemix blockchain utilizes a PoS (Proof of Stake) authority consensus algorithm, blending a PoS structure with a PoA (Proof of Authority) model. In line with other blockchains, the Wemix network relies on nodes to authenticate transactions. Nodes, essentially computers running the blockchain software, confirm transactions, and operators are rewarded with cryptocurrency for their contributions. Ubisoft is now the 26th partner, termed Wonder, within the Node Council Partners (NCP), contributing to the validation of the blockchain.

The Future Of Gaming

Ubisoft has been an early entrant into the blockchain gaming domain, particularly among major Western publishers, and demonstrates a sustained interest in the crypto industry. In 2021, Ubisoft integrated free in-game NFTs into Ghost Recon Breakpoint, leading to backlash by gamers critical of its adoption of crypto technology.

Despite this, Ubisoft has persisted in its exploration of crypto, serving as a node operator for the Hedera blockchain in 2022 and the Cronos blockchain in 2023. Additionally, Ubisoft hinted at its inaugural blockchain game, Champions Tactics, and initiated the first free NFT mint for the game, resulting in millions of dollars in trading volume within just a few hours.

January 16,2024

Fantom To Enhance Overall Security By Drastically Reducing Staking Requirements

The Fantom Foundation has officially reduced the validator self-staking requirement on its layer-1 blockchain, Fantom, by 90%, following a governance vote over six months ago. As of a recent announcement on X, the staking threshold for Fantom (FTM) has been decreased to 50,000 FTM, equivalent to $19,500 as of this time.

It is worth noting that three months ago, the official hot wallet of Fantom was indeed compromised, resulting in a loss of $550,000, which represented less than 1% of the overall funds.

Safety Is Key

Fantom emphasized that this adjustment aims to enhance overall security and increase accessibility for running a validator. A higher number of validators allegedly makes it more challenging for potential malicious attacks, as validators operate by bundling and sharing transactions. Finality is achieved when at least two-thirds of network validators reach a consensus.

The team also anticipates that an increase in validators will result in faster processing of submitted transactions. They assured users that the growth in the validator count will not negatively impact overall network performance, provided the new validators run on quality hardware.

Competition Is Heating Up

Addressing potential security concerns, Fantom clarified that lower staking requirements do not pose a risk, as transaction confirmation power is proportional to the corresponding staking amount, not the number of validators it operates. Fantom had been proposing a reduction in the minimum FTM required to run a node since at least February 2022.

Right now, Fantom currently boasts 58 validators securing its network. In comparison, Ethereum, the leading layer 1 smart contract platform, has over 1.1 million validators. Other platforms like Cardano, Solana, and Avalanche hosted 2,589, 1,876, and 1,119 validators, respectively, according to a June 2023 report citing Messari data.

 

January 16,2024

Crypto Fundraising January 9 - 15

On behalf of the Web3 community, we would like to extend our warmest congratulations to the companies that announced their success in fundraising between 9th January 2024 and 15th January 2024. We are thrilled to see such tremendous support from all involved. Well done! 

Altitude raised $6.1M and successfully completed on-chain testing and will soon move to a closed beta, available to whitelisted addresses, followed by a full launch.

Umoja Labs raised $3.5m, which helps introduce the first DeFi asset risk management primitive, allowing anyone to hedge their market losses just like a multi-billion dollar hedge fund would.

AI Arena raised $11m and plans to put this funding to use in building out the PvP (Player Vs Player) platform fighter as well as developing similar titles.

Fizen raised $480K and, thanks to the enhanced resources that the platform has acquired, the team will focus on marketing and user growth going forward.

Tune.FM raised $20m. The popular Web3 music platform received $20 million in capital from alternative investment group LDA Capital to advance its goals of helping musicians earning a greater share of royalties from their work.

Eesee raised $ 2.85m. The raise included a $1.1 million seed round and a $1.75 million private round, with participation by SevenX Ventures, Maven Capital, MetaBros, Contango Digital Assets, BasementDAO, and more.

Convergence raised $1.8m. Starting with StakeDAOHQ, Convergence is an agnostic governance aggregator, designed to optimize yields across the Curve Finance ecosystem.

Agrotoken raised $12.5m. The Argentinian startup Agrotoken, a tokenization infrastructure startup for agricultural commodities with main operations in Brazil, announced a new round led by Visa

Noah DeFi raised $ 2.4m. Through this investment, the ENV aims to support NoahArk Tech Group as they create new avenues for collaboration and development that benefit the entire EOS DeFi ecosystem.

Bitfinity Network raised $7m. Bitfinity, an EVM-compatible Bitcoin Layer 2 network based on the Internet Computer protocol, raised $7 million in total funding.

Orbiter Finance raised an undisclosed amount. The Layer-2 cross-rollup bridge announced that it has closed its first round of funding for an undisclosed amount with participation from participants like Tiger Global and A&T Capital.

BeWater raised $1m. BeWater offers standardized event services, including hackathons, with the highlight being the ability to launch a hackathon in just 10 minutes without the need for permission.

January 15,2024

Bitcoin Could Experience Outrageous Surge Soon According To Samson Mow

JAN3 CEO and Bitcoin enthusiast Samson Mow predicts an imminent substantial supply shock in Bitcoin, anticipating a potential surge to $1 million very soon. This projection relies on an anticipated supply shock resulting via the demand generated by recently sanctioned Bitcoin ETFs and ongoing market adjustments.

A Critical Few Months Ahead

Should institutions like BlackRock and MicroStrategy persist in acquiring BTC at a brisk pace, the supply could exhaust in approximately four months, rendering Bitcoin scarcer than ever before. Further complicating market dynamics is the impending Bitcoin Halving, an event historically influencing prices by reducing the rate of new BTC creation. The mining reward for new blocks is expected to be cut in half and be 3.125 BTC as compared to the current 6.25 BTC in roughly 90 to 120 days. This, combined with escalating demand and diminishing supply, might lead to an unparalleled price surge.

Mow subscribes to the Max Pain theory, an idea initially conceptualized by traditional financial markets, suggesting that price movements pertaining to BTC could result in maximum financial losses for a substantial number of market participants. In the crypto realm, this could manifest as abrupt and extreme price fluctuations, catching many traders and investors off guard.

Serious Consequences

Mow emphasizes the potential for a short squeeze in the near future, where an unexpected surge in the price of BTC compels short sellers to buy back at higher prices, further boosting the price. The concept aligns with the historical defiance of conventional market expectations shown by Bitcoin alongside its volatile nature.

According to Mow, a rapid ascent to $1 million would disrupt plans for nations and companies investing in Bitcoin, impact the usability of the Lightning Network due to high fees, and challenge the Stock-to-Flow (S2F) model used to predict the value of the flagship crypto.

He also outlines various consequences if Bitcoin were to quickly reach $1 million, including El Salvador missing the opportunity to issue Bitcoin bonds, major economists losing their jobs, Michael Saylor and MicroStrategy falling short of their supply acquisition goal, and a profound impact on the unprepared legacy financial system.

January 15,2024

HKVAC Decides To Ditch XRP In Favor Of SOL

The crypto sphere remains consistently unpredictable, as evidenced by the recent adjustments to the crypto indexes of the Hong Kong Virtual Asset Consortium (HKVAC). XRP, once a leading contender in the global crypto arena, has been removed when it comes to the top five positions in the HKVAC Worldwide Crypto Index, making way for the ascendant Solana (SOL).

The Emergence Of Fresh Contenders

This reshuffling is not merely a numerical shift, it signifies a noteworthy transformation in the crypto landscape. In December 2023, Solana, distinguished by its innovative blockchain structure, surpassed XRP in market capitalization, prompting the HKVAC to favor Solana over XRP in its esteemed index.

The alterations do not end there. Avalanche (AVAX), another influential crypto player, has secured a place in the top 10 index, displacing TRX. While such volatility and swift changes are routine in the crypto world, they underscore the evolving interests of investors and the dynamics of the market.

Wider Significance And Outlook

Despite the raised eyebrows over the decision to exclude XRP, it is crucial to consider the broader picture. The aforementioned indexes serve as indicators for the crypto market, and recent modifications hint at a broader inclination toward diversification and acknowledgment of emerging technologies in the blockchain sector.

Notably, the Hong Kong crypto community remains vibrant, with the local financial regulator preparing for the introduction of spot crypto exchange-traded funds. This development, alongside the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission recently approving multiple spot Bitcoin ETF applications, indicates increasing institutional interest in cryptocurrencies.

However, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission has emphasized that crypto transactions by these ETFs must occur through SFC-licensed platforms or authorized financial institutions. This requirement underscores the significance of regulatory adherence and the necessity for a balanced approach to innovation and investor safeguarding in the crypto domain.








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