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Avalanche (AVAX) price is up, but do fundamentals support the rally?

Avalanche (AVAX) witnessed a meteoric start to 2023, gaining 98% in 30 days, and traders are now curious about whether the rally will extend throughout February. AVAX’s year-to-date gains for 2023 have outpaced those of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).

Recent reasons for AVAX’s rally can be attributed to an Amazon partnership announcement on Jan. 11. The partnership is meant to easily deploy nodes on the Avalanche blockchain with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Ava Labs, which supports the Avalanche ecosystem, hopes the partnership increases blockchain usage for enterprises and governments.

While AVAX price has benefited from the news, some analysts predict that the move could have been a bull trap.

Let’s dig into the fundamentals to see if on-chain network activity supports the recent AVAX rally.

AVAX fees from DeFi are up

After the AWS news, AVAX price was not the only metric seeing a quick rise. On Jan. 14, Avalanche network hit a year-to-date high of $31,218 AVAX fees received. The increase in fees compared to the previous 30 days is 59%, signaling that positive price appreciation helped boost the fees that the network received.

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Long-standing crypto project vs. scam: Ava Labs CEO shares key difference

Emin Gün Sirer, creator of the Avalanche Consensus protocol and Ava Labs CEO, believes that there is one very straightforward method to spot a long-standing cryptocurrency project.

On Feb. 7 ​​Sirer discussed blockchain venture capital and crypto regulation in a fireside chat with MarketAcross chief operations officer Itai Elizur at the Web3 builder-focused event, Building Blocks 23.

During the discussion, the Avalanche founder pointed out the crucial role of “staying power” in the crypto industry, condemning players that run from one project to another or jump into “every single new coin offering” in the hopes that they will go up. According to ​​Sirer, the desire to reap quick profits from crypto will only turn the space into a terrible thing, and VCs are not to blame.

“I will tell you who’s to blame; it’s us,” ​​Sirer declared, urging the community to support solid crypto initiatives and avoid scammy projects with a short life span. He then shared his “very simple test” of how to spot long-standing projects in crypto and stay away from those who make grand promises and then disappear.

Ava Labs founder and CEO Emin Gün Sirer (right) with MarketAcross COO Itai Elizur (left). Source: Cointelegraph 

“So look at the team behind any project, look at their staying power,” Ava Labs CEO said, adding that the regulating jurisdiction of a cryptocurrency firm provides one of the most important hints about its long-term capabilities. He stated:

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North Korea stole more crypto in 2022 than any other year: UN report

A confidential United Nations report has revealed North Korean hackers stole more crypto assets in 2022 than in any other year so far.

The UN report, seen by Reuters, was reportedly submitted to a 15-member North Korea sanctions committee last week.

It found North Korean-linked hackers were responsible for between $630 million and more than $1 billion in stolen crypto assets last year and targeted networks of foreign aerospace and defense companies.

The UN report also noted that cyber attacks were more sophisticated than in previous years, making tracing stolen funds more difficult than ever.

"[North Korea] used increasingly sophisticated cyber techniques both to gain access to digital networks involved in cyber finance, and to steal information of potential value, including to its weapons programmes,” according to independent sanctions monitors in its report to the UN Security Council Committee.


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'Haunts me to this day' — Crypto project hacked for $4M in a hotel lobby

The co-founder of Web3 metaverse game engine “Webaverse” has revealed they were victims of a $4 million crypto h after meeting with scammers posing as investors in a hotel lobby in Rome. 

The bizarre aspect of the story, according to co-founder Ahad Shams, is that the crypto was stolen from a newly set up Trust Wallet and that the hack took place during the meeting at some point.

He claims the thieves could not have possibly seen the private key, nor was he connected to a public WiFi network at the time.

The thieves were somehow able to gain access while taking a photo of the wallet’s balance, believes Shams.

The letter which was shared on Twitter on Feb. 7, contains statements from Webarverse and Shams, explaining that they met with a man named “Mr Safra” on Nov. 26 after several weeks of discussions about potential funding.

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Crypto firms could face 2 years jail for breaching UK advertising laws

Newly proposed advertising rules in the United Kingdom could potentially see executives of crypto firms face up to two years of prison for failing to meet certain requirements around promotion, according to the U.K. financial watchdog. 

In a Feb. 6 statement, the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed that if the proposed "Financial promotions regime" is approved by Parliament, all crypto firms in the country and overseas would have to follow certain requirements when advertising their crypto services to U.K. customers.

“Cryptoasset businesses marketing to UK consumers, including firms based overseas, must get ready for this regime,” said the FCA.

"Acting now will help ensure they can continue to legally promote to U.K. consumers. We encourage firms to take all necessary advice as part of their preparations," it added.

Under the FCA's proposed regime, crypto firms would need to either have authorization from the FCA to advertise their services or have an exemption under the Financial Promotion Order.

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Price analysis 2/6: SPX, DXY, BTC, ETH, BNB, XRP, DOGE, ADA, MATIC, DOT

The United States dollar index (DXY) has started a strong recovery and its rise is putting pressure on Bitcoin (BTC) and the S&P 500 (SPX) index. The market participants will be keenly watching for any insights on future rate hikes when the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks before the Economic Club of Washington on Feb. 7.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin’s 43% rebound in January has improved sentiment among small investors. Crypto analytics firm Santiment said that the number of Bitcoin addresses holding 0.1 Bitcoin or less soared by 620,000 to hit 39.8 million, the highest level since Nov. 19.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

With the sentiment turning positive, traders usually buy the dips as they anticipate the uptrend to continue. However, some analysts believe that the dip buyers will get trapped and Bitcoin may fall to the $19,000 to $21,000 support zone or worse, witness a capitulation in the next few weeks.

Could the S&P 500 and the cryptocurrency markets witness profit booking in the short term? What are the critical support levels to watch out for? Let’s study the charts to find out.

SPX

The S&P 500 index soared above the 4,101 resistance on Feb. 1 but the bears are unlikely to give up without a fight. They will try to pull the price back above 4,101 and trap the aggressive bulls.

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Spanish rehab center adds crypto trading addiction to services list

A luxury rehabilitation center in Spain has recently added services aimed at treating a relatively new kind of addiction — crypto trading.

The center, called “The Balance,” is a Switzerland-founded wellness center, with its main facility located on the Spanish island of Mallorca along with representations in Spain, London and Switzerland.

While it has been known to treat addiction ailments such as alcohol, drugs and behavioral health — it has now recently begun offering services aimed at combatting crypto trading addiction, according to a report from the BBC.

The Feb. 5 report revealed that one of the center’s clients reached out so that he could “wean off crypto” after reportedly pouring in $200,000 worth of crypto trades each week.

The treatment involves a four week stay — which comprises of therapy, massages and yoga. The bill can be upwards of $75,000.

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Fantom's 5-week winning streak is in danger — Will FTM price lose 35%?

The price of Fantom (FTM) risks pulling back in February due to a growing divergence between its price and momentum in recent weeks.

FTM price rallies 230% after Cronje's 2023 roadmap

FTM price has grown by 230% in the past five weeks, currently trading at $0.61 on Feb. 5. The rally came as a part of a broader crypto market recovery but outperformed most top-ranking crypto assets due to the hype created by Andre Cronje.

Cronje is the co-founder and architect of Fantom's layer-1 blockchain. On Dec. 26, 2022, the developer released a letter discussing the goals and priorities for the Fantom ecosystem in 2023, including his intention to allow decentralized app developers to earn 15% of the network's revenue.

FTM pric has seen five weeks of gains in a row since Cronje's "letter to the Fantom Foundation team."

FTM/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingView

The FTM/USD looks ready to close the week ending Feb. 5 with at least a 25% profit, helped by Cronje's latest Twitter thread that gives 13 reasons why Fantom will be one of the best layer-1 blockchains in 2023. 

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Shiba Inu price rebounds 100% after record lows against Dogecoin — More upside ahead?

Shiba Inu (SHIB) price was at the lowest versus its top rival Dogecoin (DOGE) in November 2022. Three months later, the dynamics have flipped. 

SHIB price rises 100% versus DOGE

On Feb. 4, 2023, the SHIB/DOGE pair reached 0.00001638 DOGE, up almost 100% three months after bottoming out at 0.00000993 DOGE, its lowest level on record.

SHIB/DOGE daily price chart. Source: TradingView

The sharp recovery came as investors' focus shifted to the impending launch of Shibarium, a Shiba Inu-backed layer-2 blockchain built on the Ethereum mainnet, announced on Jan. 16.

As Cointelegraph reported, the SHIB price rebound gained momentum amid reports that Shibarium will go live on Feb. 14.

In comparison, Dogecoin's fundamentals looked pale, with Elon Musk suspending a DOGE tipping bot for violating Twitter's rules.

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Google invests $300M in AI firm previously funded by Sam Bankman-Fried

Google Cloud has reportedly invested $300 million into artificial intelligence (AI) startup firm Anthropic, which also happened to receive over $500 million in funds from former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried about six months before FTX catastrophically collapsed.

While the $300 million figure was reported by Financial Times on Feb. 4, Anthropic confirmed the investment partnership with Google Cloud on the same day despite not disclosing any figures:

In the same announcement, Anthropic also confirmed that they previously raised capital from Bankman-Fried and former Alameda Research CEO Caroline Ellison, among others, in its Series B fundraising round:

The Series B round was led by Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX. The round also included participation from Caroline Ellison, Jim McClave, Nishad Singh, Jaan Tallinn, and the Center for Emerging Risk Research (CERR)."

The fundraising efforts led by Bankman-Fried took place in April, 2022, according to Crunchbase.

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SBF bail guarantor to go public, UK crypto framework and Celsius news: Hodler’s Digest, Jan. 29 – Feb. 4

Top Stories This Week

SBF’s $250M bail guarantors should be made public, rules judge

The identities of two individuals who helped former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried with his $250 million bail bond could be revealed next month following a recent ruling by United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan. Bankman-Fried’s legal counsel has until Feb. 7 to contest the decision. As bankruptcy proceedings continue, FTX and affected parties have requested subpoenas for information and documents from close relatives of Bankman-Fried, claiming not all members of his inner circle have responded to requests for information. Other recent news includes Alameda Research suing bankrupt crypto lender Voyager Digital in an attempt to claw back $445.8 million in loan repayments made before FTX collapsed.

UK Treasury publishes crypto framework paper: Here’s what’s inside

The United Kingdom’s HM Treasury published a long-anticipated consultation paper for its upcoming crypto regulation. The document covers a broad range of topics, from algorithmic stablecoins to nonfungible tokens to initial coin offerings. The authority aims to level the playing field between crypto and traditional finance by incorporating digital assets into the U.K.’s Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

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Are Cosmos’ ecosystem growth and roadmap enough to sustain ATOM’s current 50% monthly rally?

In September 2022, Interchain Foundation, the team behind Cosmos’ development , introduced the Cosmos ATOM 2.0 whitepaper. The document proposed significant changes to Cosmos’s design, including a tokenomics upgrade to fund the Cosmos ecosystem development and reduce ATOM inflation.

While the whitepaper launch acted as a bullish catalyst for ATOM price, the community vote to pass the proposal eventually failed, primarily because of its enormity. Some community members wanted to take a measured approach to each development feature listed in the whitepaper, starting with Interchain Security in Q1 2023.

Interchain Security will enhance the value accrual position of ATOM as a modular chain. New blockchains will be able to borrow the security from it and pay Cosmos Hub validators. 

Despite the rejection of the Cosmos 2.0 whitepaper, the team continues to work on the upgrades mentioned in it. The other improvements in tokenomics will be introduced as a separate proposal to the Cosmos community.

The first week of February witnessed a technical bullish breakout in ATOM’s price. If buyers continue to accumulate, there’s a solid chance of a short-to-medium trade rally.

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Price analysis 2/3: BTC, ETH, BNB, XRP, ADA, DOGE, MATIC, DOT, LTC, AVAX

Bitcoin’s (BTC) rally in 2023 has been boosted by expectations that the United States Federal Reserve will slow down the pace of its rate hikes as inflation has started cooling down. Some even anticipate a rate cut by the end of the year. That assumption received a jolt on Feb.3 when the U.S. employment data for January beat expectations and unemployment hit its lowest level since May 1969.

If markets do not react negatively to news perceived as bearish, it’s a sign that the sentiment has turned positive. Traders may then shift their focus to the next important economic data release. Trading firm QCP Capital said in its latest market update that the Consumer Price Index print on Feb. 14 could move markets. They believe the risks to the data are to the upside.

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

The current crypto bear market seems to have driven the institutional investors to the sidelines. According to a new survey conducted by JPMorgan, 72% of institutional traders said they do not plan to “trade crypto/digital coins” in 2023. Only 14% of the respondents showed an inclination to trade this year.

Will Bitcoin and altcoins witness profit booking in the near term? Let’s study the charts of the top-10 cryptocurrencies to find out.

BTC/USDT

Bitcoin bounced off the $22,800 support on Feb. 1, indicating that bulls are buying the dips to this level. The bulls pushed the price above $24,000 on Feb. 2 but they could not sustain the higher levels.

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'Crypto summer' likely to start in Q2 2023, Morgan Creek Capital CEO says

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Huawei NFTs, Toyota’s hackathon, North Korea vs. Blockchain: Asia Express 

Our weekly roundup of news from East Asia curates the industry’s most important developments.

Huawei moves to trademark its NFTs

According to a Jan. 28 report by Sina News, Chinese telecom giant Huawei has recently filed for eight trademarks related to its Huawei “YunYunBao” nonfungible tokens (NFT) series. The trademarks include digital collectibles in the scientific instruments, furniture, education, jewelry, advertising and telecom sectors. Last April, Huawei unveiled its YunYunBao NFTs, featuring characters inspired by its namesake cloud service. Huawei NFTs are minted on its proprietary Huawei Petal Chain, which the telecom giant says has over 1,000 nodes and can handle over 50,000 transactions per second. 

A Huawei cloud NFT. Source: Huawei

Toyota sponsors blockchain hackathon

In a Feb. 1 Medium post, Sota Watanabe, the founder of Japanese blockchain Astar Network, announced that Astar had received a sponsorship from Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota for its latest Web3 hackathon. Astar is currently a parachain built on the Polkadot blockchain. 

According to Watanabe, over $100,000 in prizes will be distributed to projects that develop “intra-company DAO [Decentralized Autonomous Organization] support tools for this hackathon which Toyota employees may actually use in the future.” The hackathon will run from Feb. 14 to March 25.

The Toyota hackathon prize structure. Source: Hakuhodo

“Needless to say, Toyota is the largest company in Japan and one of the world’s leading international companies,” Watanabe wrote. “We are very excited to be hosting the Web3 Hackathon on Astar with Toyota. During the event, we aim to develop the first PoC DAO tool for Toyota’s employees. If a good tool is produced, Toyota employees will interact daily with products on Astar Network.”


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Do Dogecoin’s (DOGE) and Shiba Inu’s (SHIB) stalled rallies mean the memecoin trend is dead?

The memecoin phenomenon didn’t prove as effective in the last month's start of year crypto market rally, as the gains of the top cryptocurrencies in this category barely outperformed Bitcoin. The monthly gain of BTC stood at 44.5%, while the top two meme-based coins DOGE and SHIB gained 27% and 40.7%, respectively.

Top meme-coins by total market capitalizations. Source: CoinMarketCap

Doge needs a market moving catalyst

Dogecoin is losing its popularity as its most prominent supporter Elon Musk is reportedly developing an independent Twitter Coin instead of integrating his favorite cryptocurrency with the social media platform owned by the entrepreneur.

For the greater part of 2022, DOGE/USD performed poorly except for when Elon Musk acquired Twitter. The acquisition raised hopes in the Dogecoin community about increased cryptocurrency usage.

However, without any tangible announcements or reports from Twitter hinting at Dogecoin usage, the 100% price surge from October 2022 reversed in the following two months. The Google search volume for the token has also subsided since Q1 2022.

Dogecoin is losing its popularity as its most prominent supporter Elon Musk is reportedly developing an independent Twitter Coin instead of integrating his favorite cryptocurrency with the social media platform owned by the entrepreneur.

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Lack of liquidity mitigated damages to BonqDAO exploit: Report

According to blockchain security firm CertiK, the damage caused to decentralized protocol BonqDAO on Feb. 1 may have been much less than initially thought. 

As told by CertiK, the attacker first borrowed 100 million BEUR, a euro stablecoin, with less than $1,000 in collateral due to a lack of controls on the collateralization ratio. If users set the parameter to zero, then the platform defaults to returning the "maximum value of uint256," allowing an astronomical sum of loans to be issued.

However, CertiK said that despite the attacker borrowing 100 million BEUR (around $120 million at the time of attack), the hacker only managed to withdraw around $1 million due to a lack of liquidity on the platform. Previously, blockchain security firms such as PeckSheild stated that around $120 million was lost during the attack.

Bonq is a fork of Liquity Protocol, which, similar to that blockchain, uses Troves to represent isolated debt positions. However, Bonq reportedly implemented a Community Liquidation Feature where 45 Troves with BEUR exposure were liquidated due to the incident. According to CertiK, the attack also impacted Troves containing approximately 110 million Alliance Block tokens (ALBT). That said, none of the Alliance Block smart contracts were breached during the incident, and the project has said it will airdrop new tokens to compensate affected holders.

Although a lack of liquidity appears to have mitigated damages to BonqDAO during the incidents, others were not so lucky. On Oct. 12, DeFi protocol Mango Markets initially lost $116 million after hacker Avraham Eisenberg manipulated the price of the MNGO token price, driving it up 30 times via enormous perpetual future contracts within a short period. This was possible as a relatively small initial capital was required to manipulate MNGO due to low liquidity. 

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Ethereum (ETH) price is aiming for $1,800 in February — Here is why

Ether (ETH) has been struggling with the $1,680 resistance since Jan. 20. Still, the ascending triangle pattern and improvements in investor sentiment in ETH derivatives provides hope that Ether price could reach $1,800 or higher by the end of February. This, of course, depends on how the Ether price behaves as it reaches the pattern deadline by mid-February. 

Ether/USD price index, 12-hour. Source: TradingView

From one side, traders are relieved that Ether is trading up 33% year-to-date, but the repeated failures to break the $1,680 resistance coupled with negative newsflow might give bears the power to cancel the bullish triangle pattern.

According to a Jan. 30 report from Axios, New York State's Department of Financial Services is reportedly investigating cryptocurrency exchange Gemini over claims that the firm made regarding assets in its Earn lending program. The suspicions followed reports that multiple Gemini Earn users believed their assets had been protected by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

On Jan. 12, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged the Gemini exchange with offering unregistered securities through Earn. In addition, Gemini co-founder Cameron Winklevoss has claimed that Genesis and DCG owe $900 million to Gemini's clients.

Several United States senators have reportedly penned a letter requesting answers from Silvergate Bank, according to a Jan. 31 Bloomberg report. The policymakers were not fully satisfied with the bank's previous answers about its alleged role in handling FTX user funds. Silvergate reportedly cited restrictions on disclosing "confidential supervisory information."

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Avalanche 'bull trap' risks pushing AVAX price down by 30% in February

Avalanche (AVAX) bulls should brace themselves for impact led by a growing divergence between severalkey indicators on the daily-timeframe chart.

AVAX price chart paints bearish divergence

The daily AVAX chart shows a classic bearish divergence between its price and relative strength index (RSI), a momentum oscillator forming since Jan. 11.

In other words, the price of AVAX has been making higher highs since the said date. But, on the other hand, the coin's daily RSI has been forming lower highs. This divergence suggest a slowdown in the  momentum of the AVAX/USD pair, which may lead to a price reversal.

AVAX/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingView

In addition, the declining volumes during the course of AVAX's ongoing uptrend also hints at the same bearish cues.

The price-RSI and price-volume divergences appear as AVAX price continues its 2023 uptrend . Notably, Avalanche has rallied by more than 100% year-to-date to $22.50 as of Feb. 2, helped by improving risk-on sentiments and  news of its partnership with Amazon.

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Is the Metaverse really turning out like ‘Snow Crash’?

‘Snow Crash’ by Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson’s science fiction novel Snow Crash predicted the Metaverse in 1992. This cult book has the amusingly-named Hiro Protagonist running around in an artificial cyber world, trying to stop a virus that wipes minds, aided by his hacker friend Y.T. Reality is a place to escape from, a neoliberal future wrecked by hyperinflation and inequality and run by corporations and gangsters and insane bureaucracy.

In many ways, the book is horribly prescient. (It’s also horribly written in places, more like an info dump than a novel.) The Metaverse was a place where people had digital avatars, where they hung out with friends, went shopping and attended concerts. It was full of ads, the infrastructure was owned by a billionaire, and a virus was wreaking havoc on society. It all sounds familiar.

It wasn’t COVID-19 of course. The Snow Crash virus caused the infected to lose the ability to think for themselves, and they start speaking in tongues.

“Obviously, at the time, we didn’t have social media,” Stephenson told The Washington Post, but added, “I was writing about just a long-standing human trait, which is this tendency for the mind to get hijacked by ideas.”

The metaverse can’t enslave you, yet, but the addictive nature of social media suggests it’s possible you might get hooked on a better virtual world, where your hotter-looking avatar interacts with people from all over the planet and has adventures that are not possible in reality.

Snow Crash
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