The state of cryptocurrency cybersecurity is being shaken up. As the cryptocurrency craze grips the world more than ever, cybercriminals are using the opportunity to scam people and increase their profits through fraud and cyberattacks. Bitcoin’s price climbed by nearly 400% between October 2020 and April 2021, and cyber scams followed closely, growing by 192% for the same period.
How are these attacks being carried out? Criminals have primarily been impersonating cryptocurrency applications and issuing fake security signals to attempt and steal login details from cryptocurrency holders.
But not all users are faced with the same risk. Some users are more exposed just because their fellow countrymen are also buying into the crypto craze.
As Bitcoin’s usage grew around the world, so did its price. More and more businesses announced that they accept Bitcoin as a mainstream payment method. So, as Tesla, Visa, PayPal, and JPMorgan announced that they were adopting Bitcoin, the price of this “digital gold” grew.
Naturally, cyberattacks followed, growing by 192%. India had one of the highest numbers of drive-by download attacks and mining activities, according to Microsoft’s findings for 2020. Criminals in India and broader find cryptocurrency attacks enticing since the decentralized nature of virtual coins makes criminal activities a bit easier.
That led to a booming ransomware economy worth billions, cyber-extortion, and phishing. Not only are private individuals targeted, but essential infrastructure, as well. Such things mean that a country’s defense can even be at stake.
A hacker contacts the potential victim, claiming to have compromising video or details on the person. The gist is – if you don’t pay me the sum I’m asking for, I’m going to make this information public. This type of extortion is as old as time itself. Still, as Bitcoin began growing in popularity and price, cyberattacks became more rampant, and criminals became more sophisticated in their methods.
We have already mentioned that phishing scams are on the rise, as well as compromising business emails. Over the last eight months, they have been on the rise. Hackers are imitating e-wallets and similar cryptocurrency applications. Just as criminals used to mimic banks to get your financial information, they are now stealing login details with the help of fake applications.
Cybercriminals have been eagerly using Bitcoin (BTC) as part of their business email attacks, compromising them and impersonating workers of different businesses. The criminals target and personalize emails to lure victims into buying BTC, donating Bitcoins to non-existing charities, and paying a fake vendor invoice using crypto!
And while awareness of cryptocurrency cybersecurity risks is at record-high levels, we are still facing many challenges in preventing attacks. One can say that we are all just patching up a leaking pipe. There are unlimited chances for making an attack, and many attackers face no repercussions for their attempted fraudulent actions. And in time, some successful attacks are bound to happen.
Making ransomware a criminal activity is not enough, which we know from the example of the Colonial Pipeline that occurred recently. This company was forced to pay a 5 million ransom in US dollars after its IT network got hacked. While the investigative forces could recover a part of the Bitcoin sum used in the payment, the attack still left a mark, signaling that the cryptocurrency cybersecurity sector has a long way to go.
When we talk about Solana, we’re talking about an exceptionally functional project of open source based on blockchain technology. In simple terms, it relies on the technology’s nature of being permissionless to supply solutions to DeFi. Its protocol is meticulously outlined to make the creation process of decentralized applications easier. Its main goal is to upgrade scalability by using the PoH and PoS of the blockchain. Due to its hybrid design, it got the attention of new traders and institutional investors. Also, the central focus of the Foundation of Solana is to make DeFi accessible on a more significant scale.
Even when the idea of it and the first efforts on the project began back in 2017, it was until March 2020 it was launched. The headquarters of the Solana Foundation was established in Switzerland, in the city of Geneva.
The most significant person behind the project is Anatoly Yakovenko, who started his career at Qualcomm. There, in 2015 he moved fast up the ranks and got to the position of Senior Staff Engineer Manager. After that, he got a new job at Dropbox, this time as a Software Engineer. By 2017, Yakovenko was already working on a project that would later be known as Solana. It was with Greg Fitzgerald with whom he chose to team up; together they founded Solana Labs. While working on it, they attracted more former colleagues from Qualcomm and finally released the protocol and the SOL token to the public in 2020.
One of the most significant differences to the game is the PoH consensus that Anatoly Yakovenko developed. The concept enables higher scalability, which at the same time improves usability. The protocol is well known in the crypto space due to its fantastic fast time to process blockchain offers. Being hybrid allows a remarkable decrease in the time of validation for the execution of contracts and transactions.
It’s been announced by the Solana Foundation that a total of 489 million tokens (SOL) would be put in circulation. A bit more than 206 million of those have been released to the market already. Its distribution goes as follows:
The rest of the coins were already distributed for private, and public sales or are about to be released.
The protocol relies on a mix of PoH and PoS mechanisms of consensus. The first being the one responsible for the number of transactions processed. The second is used to monitor the PoH process and validate the sequences of blocks created by it. The mix of both mechanisms is what makes it so unique in the industry.
Chainlink is a layer of blockchain abstraction that allows smart contracts to be connected universally, it enables blockchains to interact in a secure way. That happens with data feeds from the exterior, different payment methods, and events. That provides essential information needed by complex smart contracts to develop into the predominant configuration of digital agreements. The Network for Chainlink is mainly driven by a community of data providers, operators of nodes, researchers, developers of smart contracts, and so on. The company’s primary focus is to ensure that decentralized participation can be guaranteed for all the operators of nodes and all users who look to make contributions to the network in general.
Chainlink was co-founded in 2017 by Sergey Nazarov, who is also CEO of Chainlink Labs. Nazarov has a degree in business administration from the University of New York. In 2009 he co-founded ExistLocal; in 2014, he was a co-founder of CryptaMail. He also joined forces with Steve Ellis and launched SmartContract, which led Nazarov to start Chainlink. Steve Ellis has a computer science degree from New York University. He was a software engineer at Pivotal Labs, and in 2014 he founded the Secure Asset Exchange.
This is one of the networks that allowed the incorporation of off-chain info into smart contracts for the first time. Chainlink has become a significant player when it comes to data processing. In recent years it has been attracting the attention of different data providers, such as Brave New Coin, Huobi, and Alpha Vantage. Data providers can monetize the data they possess by selling access directly to Chainlink. Since it’s a network that’s not centralized, it enables users to be operators and earn some revenue by running an infrastructure of data that is mandatory for the success of blockchains.
Since the beginning of it, Chainlink announced that there would be a total maximum supply of 1,000,000,000 tokens of Link. The collection at the moment of writing this article is around 419,009,556 of Link tokens, about 42%.
It is secured by the mechanism of proof-of-stake (PoS), which relies on the total of stacked tokens to select validators. The protocols of PoS were created to help with the power consumption issue, plus they’re scalable in an easy way. Now that PoW has proven itself to be a reliable mechanism, a vast variety of ERC-20 tokens have grown fast, marking trends in the space.
Cryptocurrency never seems to get out of the headlines these days. Further adoption of this new payment option is upon us, now, more than ever. The titles range from Bitcoin reaching a new all-time high of $63,000 to Elon Musk and Tesla pouring billions into the crypto space.
Currently, mining, buying, and selling crypto seems to be more of a mainstream rather than a trend; on the other hand, spending virtual coins of value appears to be an issue due to high market volatility.
Nonetheless, a growing number of companies implementing crypto as a viable payment option is proof that crypto spending is here to stay. Embracing cryptocurrency is the new trend on the block. Here are some well-known companies that give crypto as an official payment method for their goods and services.
Maybe the most well-known and largest companies on our list, Microsoft is paving the way for further Bitcoin payment acceptance and boosting overall confidence in utilizing crypto. In Microsoft, customers can use Bitcoin to pay for numerous services, including Skype and Xbox Live.
Microsoft and its newfound love of crypto and crypto technology don’t end there. The company launched a platform named ION. It serves as a two-step authentication platform placed on the Bitcoin network by using blockchain technology. Rather than accepting payments, the platform creates online IDs that authenticate digital identities.
Elon Musk and his on-again, off-again relationship with Bitcoin has been thoroughly documented in the press. Earlier this year, the company made headlines by saying that it will accept Bitcoin payments for vehicle purchases inside the U.S. Also, in February, the company invested as much as $1.5 billion into the coin.
However, there was a slight setback in the new purchase option plan. After rising environmental concerns and new regulation laws, Tesla will put Bitcoin transactions on hold until at least 50 percent of coins are mined using only renewable energy.
Confirmation took place at the end of March that the credit card company is getting ready to pilot a scheme platform via Crypto.com. The idea is to accept crypto for transactions on the payment Visa’s network. Visa will accept USD Coin (USDC), which is a stablecoin backed by the U.S. dollar.
After an extensive trial, Starbucks users received an invitation-only, early access program to test the new digital wallet as a payment method. Up to 500,000 people took up the invitation to the new Bakkt app and will soon be able to pay for drinks and goods with converted Bitcoin.
Amazon is one of the larger companies joining the ranks of tech giants like Facebook that are implementing crypto. It seems that the groundwork has been laid for Amazon’s cryptocurrency, which means that it doesn’t accept crypto directly just yet.
However, Amazon vouchers are available for purchase via a crypto-only company Bitrefill. The company’s main job is to convert Bitcoin into gift cards, refill phones, etc.
Allied Manufacturing and Trade Industries Limited, or Amatil, is the company’s bottler and distributor of the Asia-Pacific area. It has enabled crypto as a payment method through a partnership with Centrapay. The partnership resulted in more than 2,000 vending machines are in circulation all over Australia and New Zealand, which can accept crypto coins to pay for the company’s drinks.
More and more companies are joining the crypto acceptance route, making your purchase options broader and sometimes more efficient. Even though there are a few circumstances where using crypto as payment makes perfect sense, the practical answer is no for most people.
The crypto space and its high market volatility make the main argument for our negative stance on the issue. The price you pay for an item today might not be the item’s worth tomorrow. Also, all of these companies currently experimenting with crypto mainly use Bitcoin, which experts suggest is one of the worst choices.
Nevertheless, a rising interest in crypto is something that will likely change a no into a yes. Eventually. A little bit over 20 percent of U.S. adults says that they would purchase goods and services using this new payment method. When will this mass adoption of crypto coin payments take place? Well, only time will tell. Until then, you might want to experiment with crypto purchases. Just make sure not to go overboard, and keep it small.
We shouldn’t question why Bitcoin has had one of the biggest fallouts this year but look for reasons why the crypto market constantly falls. To deal with crypto is to deal with highly volatile financial assets. Bitcoin went from $64,000 to $37,000 in a month, and this doesn’t mean that the market bubble burst. This is not the first time it happens, nor will it be the last one, since it’s an item of constant speculation. It is the third time we have seen the burst of the crypto market bubble since it began. The fascinating thing is that the main reason why it collapsed every single time has been the same.
On May 12, Bitcoin, which represents over 40% of the cryptocurrency market in the world, collapsed 30%, reaching $30,000 per coin. Its lowest price since the beginning of the year. But since we live in a global economy, and it’s all connected, Bitcoin was not the only crypto to fall. Other currencies suffered a plunge, too; such was the case of Ethereum that dropped over 40%; Dogecoin and Binance about 30%. Bitcoin recovered a little bit by next Friday, reaching $37,000, still far from its highest-ever reached just a month before at $64,000. This exceptional growth is what allured a large number of professionals and inexpert speculators to make a quick profit. Those speculators get alarmed when awful news starts coming out, causing substantial market movements.
On top of that, on May 12, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a statement that caused another Bitcoin drop of 12%. He retracted in public the commitment of his company to accept Bitcoin as a payment method, claiming to have concerns about the “carbon footprint caused by the crypto.
Yet again, the Bitcoin price dropped, although not as dramatically as before, at the beginning of August. It somehow managed to recover by thousands of dollars last week and even went over the $40,000 barrier that it hadn’t been able to surpass since the significant fallout. On August 2nd, the coin was quoted a little over $39,000 because of tremendous withdrawals from investors. That caused yet another drop, caused by the analysts who follow others’ behavior and trends. However, it is a price way higher when compared to the one registered in mid-July, when it was below $30,000 a coin. The fall was caused by prohibitions in various countries, which generated a lack of trust in the market.
Experts around the world have stated that Bitcoin’s golden days are still to come. The crypto has consecutively been rising for more than three consecutive weeks. It looks like it’s on its way to get the second successive month growing. After all, this has been the most significant spike since February when it was about to jump to historic highs. Experts are leaving most concerns aside for now. Instead, they’re setting bullish targets of price. What will the outcome be? It is yet to be seen; for sure, we’ll be hearing about this currency in the future.
When we mention the USD Coin or USDC, we’re talking about a stablecoin that’s directly linked to the USD on a 1:1 reference. That means that for every USDC issuance, there is a backup of $1 that’s being held in reserves. That is in a blend of US Treasury bonds and cash. This currency is issued by institutions that are financially regulated. And mainly, it is thought of as a new era in which transactions without cash are more and more common daily. One of its main uses is providing a safe haven for traders that work with cryptocurrency.
The co-founders behind the Circle Consortium are Sean Neville and Jeremy Allaire. The project started in October 2013. The Circle Consortium has a platform for mobile payment that enables the users to send, receive and hold regular currencies. The British government granted Circle, in April 2016, the licensing of the first virtual currency. In December of that same year, it also started operating as a wallet service for Bitcoin to buy and sell the currency.
When it comes to cryptocurrency, transparency is one of the main concerns users have to deal with. So, them being able to take 1 USDC for 1 USD makes a world of difference in trust. To do that, an important accounting company is in charge of ensuring that the cash levels in reserve as backup match the number of coins issued. This, in combination with USD Coin, achieves compliance with regulation and helps with the plans for international expansion.
In theory, the amount of USDC that can be issued is unlimited. The demand is what determines the number of new coins to be created, as long as it has the backup in reserve. Certain factors helped with the popularity of USDC, such as the growing interest in decentralized finance.
The fact that it can be integrated with applications based on Ethereum is probably one of the most significant advantages. And as mentioned before, the currency is backed up by reserves in USD, which is mainly what makes it safe and trustworthy.
Since its release in 2015, Cardano has been a platform based on a specially sketched proof-of-stake blockchain protocol for consensus called Ouroboros. This permits ADA, its token, to be received and sent securely and simply. All the time while making sure the smart contracts on the blockchain of Cardano are safe.
With his background in mathematics and experience with cryptocurrencies since 2011, Charles Hoskinson is the founder of Cardano. His first involvement in the industry, professionally speaking, didn’t happen until 2013. Then he created a very successful lecture about Bitcoin that was attended by thousands of students. He also participated as one of the co-founders of the network for Ethereum.
When comparing other decentralized blockchain platforms with similar aspirations and goals, such as creating new tools and protocols, Hoskinson understood the need for a different type of blockchain. It should be secure, scalable, durable and stable. This significantly improves the chances of foreseeing a potential pitfall because it can dispute daring ideas before being validated. In 2020 it had an upgrade that focused on making its blockchain even more decentralized by 50-100 times more than others. This would allow many other assets to be available on its network.
At the time of writing this article, there was a circulation of a bit more than 31 billion ADA. In total, there’s a maximum supply of 45 billion. When the network was launched, 2.5 billion ADA were assigned to IOHK, and 2.1 billion to Emurgo, the company in charge of the Cardano protocol. Additionally, 648 million ADA were granted to the Cardano Foundation. Its goal is to promote the platform and grow volumes of adoption.
The platform is secured through Ouroboros, which is a proof-of-stake protocol. It claims to be more energy efficient than others like Bitcoin, requiring about four times less energy, due to the fact that Ouroboros main goal is to obtain the kind of growth that is ethical and sustainable in the long run. It’s been described as a distinctive merge between technology and mathematically verifiable processes, a mechanism in which participants are rewarded for getting involved.
Are you planning to start investing in cryptocurrencies in 2021, given the current hype? There are over a thousand cryptocurrencies on the market right now, leaving you with a lot of options. So, how can you make a wise choice? This essay is intended to assist you.
To begin, you’ll need a way to purchase cryptocurrencies. This can be done using cryptocurrency exchanges or other methods like PayPal. To access crypto coins, you’ll also need a cryptocurrency wallet that can hold your blockchain link.
Now that you have all of the necessary facts to make an informed cryptocurrency investment, here are the top ten cryptocurrencies to consider.
Bitcoin, the king of all cryptocurrencies, was the first of its kind to have the most liquid value. This cryptocurrency aspires to be a completely decentralized, global, peer-to-peer digital currency with no restrictions.
Despite the market’s volatility, Bitcoin remains the most stable. Bitcoin’s popularity, demand, and usage are likely to skyrocket in the coming years, despite the fact that the word is synonymous with cryptocurrencies. Companies are already embracing the concept of accepting Bitcoins as payment, paving the way for the future.
Bitcoin’s price today in USD: $58,120.22
Because of its market capital and liquidity value, Litecoin is ranked second on our ranking. Unlike Bitcoin, which has a restricted quantity of 21 million coins, Litecoin has an 84 million coin limit and a block reward of 12.5 LTC, which is more than other cryptos.
Litecoin’s price today in USD: $388.92
Ethereum was the first cryptocurrency to feature smart contracts, which allow developers to create decentralized applications using blockchain technology on desktop and mobile devices. Since then, Ethereum has remained among the top cryptocurrencies of all time, and it has a devoted following of investors who back it up. After Bitcoins, this indicates Ethereum has a higher chance of keeping stable.
Ethereum’s price today in USD: $4,066
This is a low-cost cryptocurrency that is quickly becoming a cult favorite. With its Ouroboros blockchain, which consists of two blockchains instead of one, it has become a strong competitor in the industry since its establishment in 2015.
One blockchain will handle regular transactions, and the other will handle smart contracts. Cardano’s capacity to remain scalable and speedy is based on the fact that two types of transactions will not slow it down.
Another noteworthy piece of information about Cardano is that the majority of the cryptocurrency’s investors are from Japan. As a result, Cardano is dubbed the “Japanese Ethereum” since it employs the Proof of Stake method, which Ethereum has been considering for some time. Cardano’s market worth nearly reached $30.7 billion in February 2021.
Cardano’s price today in USD: $1.75
Because its vision differs from the rest of the coins on this list, Ripple is included in this list. Ripple is a venture-backed firm that provides financial settlement services to banks in order to facilitate transactions across national borders directly and quickly.It has worked with significant banks around the world, including Bank of America, over the years. As a result, it’s better suited to institutional rather than consumer investment.
As we all know, there are no absolute winners in the game of trading. You win some, and you lose some. And it seems like company giant Tesla finds itself on the losing side for a change. According to reports, Tesla will probably have to list its Bitcoin (BTC) holdings at a loss. And we have the scoop on this Tesla loss.
And just back in February, Tesla announced its $1,5 billion investment in this so-called “digital gold” coin. Bitcoin was worth around 38,000 dollars at the time. It’s also worth mentioning that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) states that BTC (and other intangible assets) has to be listed as an impairment charge if BTC falls under the value it was bought at.
Seeing how Bitcoin price keeps falling and is around $31,000 at the moment, hitting levels last seen in January, this Tesla loss may mean the company will be facing an impairment charge. In other words, it has to report the drawdown in a disclosure to the SEC.
Some analysts say that anonymous yet reliable sources claim that the impairment charge can lead to a loss between $25 million and $100 million for Tesla on paper. Also, Tesla can’t mark up the Bitcoin price it holds until the position occurs as a sale.
The question on everyone’s minds in the crypto world is: did the electric car company sell any BTC in the quarter to cover some of the losses? We know that Tesla sold 10% of its BTC holdings in Q1 2021, but Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk claimed they did that to prove that BTC is liquid enough to replace holding cash on balance sheets.
Musk has been dividing crypto lovers for a while now. Is he an ally or just another opportunistic capitalist billionaire? Tesla’s interest in Bitcoin investing helped push the coin into record-high levels in never-seen-before rallies.
But then the company did somewhat of a 180 and suspended Bitcoin payments, claiming it was concerned about the environmental impact the famed crypto has due to its tasking mining operations. Moreover, Musk continued to lobby for the Twitter-based Dogecoin, earning the scorn of many crypto enthusiasts.
Adding fuel to the fire, on July 7th, a Reddit user u/StablecoinsFraud started a thread claiming they got a now-deleted screenshot from Musk’s Twitter account. They claim that the eccentric billionaire posted a picture and quickly deleted it. The problem? The picture may have been posted to pump up Bitcoin prices. Coincidence or conspiracy?
As we have mentioned, Bitcoin had quite the roller coaster in recent months. The second quarter of 2021 proved to be the toughest one yet for the cryptocurrency. It fell from record-high levels of more than $63,000 to record-lows of $30,000.
In Q1, Bitcoin saw fantastic returns of 102%, but Q2 brought that number to a meager -40%. Many larger companies began adopting Bitcoin as a payment method amid its surge, so they won’t be pleased with the news. Besides Tesla, other big names that have jumped on the bandwagon were PayPal, Visa, and many more.
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