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Not Like Before: Digital Currencies Debut Amid COVID-19



Famed currency speculator George Soros, who in 1992 broke the Bank of England to emerge a billionaire overnight by forcing the pound out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism, believes:

“We will not go back to where we were when the pandemic started. That is pretty certain. But that is the only thing that is certain. Everything else is up for grabs.”

Giles Coghlan, the chief currency analyst at HYCM, had the following to say: “The volatile market conditions that have come about as a result of COVID-19 has investors looking for safe haven assets to protect their capital. The price of gold has risen, as has the value of the USD [which currently accounts for about 60% of all central bank foreign exchange reserves, while the next closest currency is the euro with 20%] and JPY — some of the leading safe haven currencies. And interestingly, it looks as though market interest towards digital currencies are changing. As part of social distancing measures, there is now a preference for digital payments over traditional cash. One could argue that eventually we will become a cashless society, and COVID-19 has simply accelerated this awareness.”

Elon Musk — who co-founded and leads Tesla, SpaceX and Neuralink — pointed out that “massive currency issuance by govt central banks is making Bitcoin Internet money look solid by comparison,” adding, “I still only own 0.25 Bitcoins btw.”

COVID-19 has led to an increased interest in digital currencies around the world

A growing number of nations, cities and companies are looking to develop digital coins, with regional initiatives taking shape to target the United States dollar’s supremacy on the global stage. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia warned in a paper that with the introduction of central bank digital currencies, central banks may arise as “deposit monopolist[s],” replacing commercial banks and disrupting the existing banking system. JPMorgan Chase has also expressed agreement with the idea that the dollar is under threat due to the continued growth in CBDC traction.

According to a survey by the London-based journal Central Banking — a specialized publication supported by the Bank for International Settlements and the European Central Bank, among others — 65% of central banks in the 46 countries surveyed were researching CBDCs, with 71% of respondents indicating their preference for a constrained form of distributed ledger technology. Yves Mersch, an ECB board member, pointed out that the number of central banks already working on a CBDC may be a bit higher, with about 80% of the 66 central banks surveyed by the BIS indicating that they were doing so.

Venezuela issued the first state-backed digital stablecoin, the Petro, which is now mandatory for gas stations in the country to support. Other nations sanctioned by the U.S., such as North Korea, Iran and Cuba, are devoting significant technical resources to develop CBDCs.

Related: Petro Couldn’t Save the Cartel of the Suns Conspiracy From the Sting of Sanctions

The Bank of Lithuania is slated to issue a batch of digital blockchain-based collector coins from a purpose-built e-shop that can be redeemed for physical coins. While in Senegal, Grammy-nominated singer Akon is expected to launch Akoin, a cryptocurrency that will be the local currency in Akon City, a 2,000-acre development project. Both projects are expected to launch next month.

Related: Journeys in Blockchain: Akon of Akoin and Akon City

On the corporate stablecoin development side, Facebook’s Libra stablecoin is expected to be pegged to the dollar and the euro to function within the existing global financial system. At the same time, 19 companies in China including local chains of U.S.-based companies Starbucks, Subway and McDonald’s are trying out stablecoins through a pilot program launched by the People’s Bank of China based on its mobile payment system instead of the SWIFT system.

By the end of this year, the People’s Bank of China is expected to launch a digital yuan, likely distributed person to person via a mobile payment system utilizing Huawei’s 5G technology. China’s vast Belt and Road initiative and the yuan’s inclusion into the Special Drawing Rights currency basket — which is based on five currencies: the dollar, the euro, the yuan, the Japanese yen and the British pound — signifies the internationalization of the yuan, which has officially become one of the world’s reserve currencies.

Accordingly, China has been collaborating with many countries to develop mobile blockchain-based “cross-border payment networks.” The East Asia digital currency initiative is expected to consist of the yuan, the yen, the Hong Kong dollar and the South Korean won, with the yuan and yen accounting for about 60% and 20% of the digital currency’s value, respectively. China is also collaborating with Singapore’s central bank and financial regulatory authority to develop a CBDC.

Russia is leading another multinational digital currency initiative with BRICS and Eurasian Economic Union countries. Askar Zhumagaliyev — the minister of digital development, innovation and aerospace industry for EEU member state Kazakhstan — recently stated that the country was expecting “another 300 billion tenge (US$738.4 million) in the next three years as digital investments and in general, the further development of digital mining.”

In the eurozone, the Banque de France has become the first to successfully trial a digital euro operational on a blockchain, according to an announcement.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, which is creating a binational digital currency with the United Arab Emirates called Aber to be used for cross-border transactions, announced that it recently injected liquidity into local banks via blockchain technology.

COVID-19 has led to an increase in digital financial crime

According to a report from the Financial Action Task Force, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, financial crimes have been on the rise. These findings are quantified by cybersecurity firm CipherTrace’s recent report stating that $1.4 billion in cryptocurrency has been stolen by malicious actors in the first five months of the year. And according to a research conducted by the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit U.S. think tank, Bitcoin (BTC) is the preferred digital coin for money laundering, trade in illicit goods and services, and terrorism financing.

As a result, U.S. government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Federal Bureau of Investigations have all recently issued alerts addressing a range of illicit activities, targeting the financial industry and playing on the fears of investors, and they have released educational materials that make people aware to help them avoid digital-currency-related scams. They have also continued engaging in multijurisdictional investigations, charging those who engage in complicated money laundering schemes involving cross-border cryptocurrency transactions. 

“Through the use of digital currencies and trans-border organizational strategies, this criminal syndicate believed they were beyond the reach of law enforcement,” said Michael D’Ambrosio, the assistant director of the Secret Service’s Office of Investigations. He added:

“However, as this successful investigation clearly illustrates, with sustained, international cooperation, we can effectively hold cyber criminals accountable for their actions, no matter where they reside.”

“Today’s guilty pleas serve as a reminder that IRS-CI special agents will uncover illegal activity here and abroad, pierce the perceived veil of anonymity provided by cryptocurrencies, and bring those responsible for unlawful acts to justice,” said Jonathan Larsen, the special agent in charge of the IRS-Criminal Investigation New York Field Office. He further stated:

“We will continue to push the agency to the forefront of complex cyber investigations and work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners to ensure the United States financial system is protected.”

COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the U.S. Treasury Department

The U.S. economic response to coronavirus pandemic — with the nation having the highest COVID-19 case and death tallies by a wide margin — has been overwhelming, with around $3 trillion in fiscal stimulus coupled with a massive injection of liquidity into the financial system by the Fed. The CARES Act, which has thus far been the most significant legislation passed in response to the pandemic, was the nation’s largest economic relief package ever and was praised by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who claimed it saved millions of jobs.

Accordingly, the treasury secretary indicated in a recent letter to four European finance ministers that discussions on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s digital tax proposal had reached an “impasse.” He stated in the June 12 letter that “attempting to rush such difficult negotiations is a distraction from far more important matters,” adding:

“This is a time when governments around the world should focus their attention on dealing with the economic issues resulting from COVID-19.”

Following Mnuchin’s letter, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, said:

“I agree with Secretary Mnuchin that this is not the time to be imposing a punitive new tax on mainly U.S. companies — which also erodes America’s tax base, making it more difficult to meet the long-term needs of our country as we recover from COVID-19. Members of Congress will continue working with the Administration to ensure that the OECD is realistic and open to our ideas on how to move forward. It would be a mistake for foreign governments to impose taxes unilaterally that target American companies.”

Quietly on May 12, the Internal Revenue Service issued a statement of work describing its need for “consulting services to support a taxpayer examination involving virtual currency” to ramp up audits of digital currency holders.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Selva Ozelli, Esq, CPA, is an international tax attorney and certified public accountant who frequently writes about tax, legal and accounting issues for Tax Notes, Bloomberg BNA, other publications and the OECD.



NGRAVE Crypto Wallet to Extend Support to NFTs for Higher Security

NGRAVE, the manufacturer of cold crypto wallet has given a hint in its recent tweet that it may start supporting NFTs very soon.



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NGRAVE, the manufacturer of cold wallets has given a hint in its recent tweet that it may start supporting NFTs very soon. The uprise in the trend of Defi has given rise to the non-fungible tokens, NFTs, a hysteria for digital collectibles which came up as a segment of the surge in Defis. 

Crypto Wallet Manufacturer NGRAVE Plans For NFTs Acceptance 

It has been recently revealed that the average number of sales of these tokens has witnessed a significant rise from around 21,815 per day back in the month of January to 82,373 per day in the month of May 2021.

NGRAVE has recently claimed that the feature is about to go live soon and the rise in the demand for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and crypto-assets has added to the number of theft acts and hacks involving the NFTs.

In addition to this, it should be noted that it is more necessary now than ever to add security to the crypto assets in the safest way possible.

This recent move from NGRAVE is going to be appreciably received across the crypto community 

Also, it should be known that the acceptance of NFTs by NGRAVE will come as a blessing for the users that are fond of collecting NFTs and it is not possible for anyone to hack and steal anyone’s collection.

Providing Security For Digital Assets

Earlier there have been cases with the users regarding the intrusion in their hot wallets and stealing of their assets. 

Well, it is high time that we acknowledge the fact that the wallets provided by crypto exchanges and hot wallets are prone to cyber-attacks and are not at all secure.

Hence, the best possible way for anyone to take care of his collectibles is to store them in a non-custodial cold wallet as it remains offline and provides ultimate security.

READ  Akoin White Paper Published by The Rapper Akon

#Crypto Wallet #NFTs #Ngrave

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Investors back Panther Protocol – what they say (part 1)




Panther Protocol closed its private sale in June which raised $8 million for an interoperable privacy solution for Defi. The funds were raised from more than 140 investors demonstrating the breadth and interest in the project. The private sale was oversubscribed.

CEO and co-founder Oliver Gales says: “Raising these funds will allow us to deliver on our roadmap and vision to restore the right to privacy and to protect against a surveillance economy.

“The response from the community has been powerful, demonstrating both the demand for this service and at the same time the trust that investors show to our team.”

The mission of Panther Protocol is to provide users with transactional privacy when interacting with all of Defi while preserving competitive advantages and individual freedoms.

What some of the investors say:

Pancho Vanhees, CEO of Skynet Trading says: “Bringing privacy to decentralized finance is critical for mass adoption and Skynet Trading believes that Panther Protocol is well-positioned to become an industry leader in this sector.

“We’re proud and excited to be backing Panther Protocol as a leading liquidity provider in the digital assets space where we see the interest of cryptocurrency users in recapturing financial privacy and freedom.”

Radi Sejad – Managing Partner of Insignis Capital says: “Panther Protocol is tackling an important problem. Until now, there has been no privacy on-chain and malicious actors are capitalizing on the lack of privacy. We are proud to support Panther Protocol in the journey to enable privacy in Defi.

“We are strongly confident in the abilities of the team and will be working closely with them to ensure a successful launch of the Protocol. “

UK-based property investor, Mazhar Dogar, has made a significant investment in Crypto, backing privacy champion Panther Protocol. “I invested in Panther for the reasons of the immense team involved, the expertise, knowledge, and respect they attain from their peers. The professional partnerships enjoyed by the company in this sector is also of interest to me. “

Lunarstation says: “The reason we invested in Panther is that we consider privacy to be a critical component in modern cryptocurrency transactions. Panther Protocol’s pursuit of a regulatory compliant approach to privacy in DeFi excited us greatly.

“The use of zAssets and the autonomous Panther Vaults will pave the way for private Web3 and mass adoption of Defi that can revolutionize the way we think about online transactions.”

Co-founder and GP, Ryan Li of DeepVentures says: “Privacy is a fundamental human right – we invested in Panther because they’re working to protect that right on the blockchain, which will be critical for crypto to fully realize its vision for a decentralized, anonymous, and privacy-protected world.

“Oliver, Anish, and the rest of the Panther Protocol team are relentless in their pursuit of this goal, and we’re proud to be their backers.”

DutchCryptoInvestors says; “The reason we decided to invest in Panther Protocol is that we value privacy as a key component to the Defi space we are trying to help build. We believe that Panther Protocol is a great addition to our portfolio of diverse projects. We are excited to see them succeed in this market and are confident that their product will be of great value to our industry as a whole.”


Kyle Chasse, Founder & CEO of Master Ventures states, “As a supporter of Blockchain & Cryptocurrency since 2012, we’ve evaluated over 1000 projects and invested in 100s of others. Panther Protocol was a natural fit for our portfolio of transformative blockchain companies.”

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Tellor (TRB) and xDai (STAKE) Technical Analysis: What to Expect?

Tellor and xDai prices exhibit signs of strength. STAKE/USDT and TRB/USDT prices might still overcome respective resistances at $45 and $11.



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Tellor and xDai prices exhibit signs of strength against what appear to be insurmountable sell pressure. STAKE/USDT and TRB/USDT prices might still overcome respective resistances at $45 and $11.

xDai (STAKE)

Behind the xDai payment network facilitating transfers is STAKE. Using this token, stakers contribute to securing the base layer and for consensus.

Past Performance of STAKE

STAKE prices are in range, oscillating within a $4 zone, with caps at $11 to the upside and $7 as the immediate support level.

Notably, STAKE buyers have reversed losses of June 22, which had relatively high trading levels, reading from price action in the daily chart.

READ  Compound (COMP) and Basic Attention Token (BAT) Technical Analysis: What to Expect?

At the time of writing, STAKE is stable, adding eight percent, albeit with shrinking trading volumes.

Day-Ahead and what to Expect

Provided STAKE/USDT prices are above $7, buyers have the upper hand.

However, this is not to dismiss bears who are still in charge as long as prices are below $11—the immediate resistance and last week’s highs.

At spot rates, STAKE gains of H1 2021 have been reversed following losses of May and June 2021.

STAKE/USDT Technical Analysis

STAKE Price Daily Chart for June 24

There is a double-bar bullish reversal pattern with clear support at $7.

Reading from STAKE/USDT candlestick arrangement, every low may provide a buying opportunity with targets at $11.

Sustained gains above $11, preferably with rising trading volumes, may trigger demand, lifting STAKE to $15—or better.

Tellor (TRB)

Developers of this oracle solution are in the U.S. and are behind another protocol, Daxia. TRB is the primary token.

READ  Hegic and Synthetix (SNX) Technical Analysis: What to Expect?

Past Performance of TRB

The path of the least resistance remains southwards from a Top-down perspective.

In the short term, buyers may rewind losses now that TRB/USDT is trading within a bear breakout pattern, as price action in the daily chart shows.

Following gains of June 23, the TRB token is up nine percent against the USD.

Day-Ahead and what to Expect

After stellar gains, TRB is down over 80 percent from peaks, as the Fibonacci retracement tool of the last six months shows.

At present, TRB is trading within a bear breakout pattern with identifiable resistance at $45.

Besides, the middle BB is a noteworthy reaction point since bulls have, thus far, failed to close above this line.

TRB/USDT Technical Analysis

TRB Price Daily Chart for June 24

Trading volumes are decent.

From the daily chart, $45 is the immediate resistance level. Even though bulls can load the dips, TRB/USDT prices are within June 21 bear bar—which is a net negative for optimistic bulls.

READ  BITCOIN $11,800 TARGET?! | Bulls BREAKING THROUGH $6,400? | Altcoins Are Bleeding

Nonetheless, immediate targets are at $45.

Losses below $30 nullify the uptrend.


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Andreessen Horowitz triples down on blockchain startups with massive $2.2 billion Crypto Fund III



While the cryptocurrency market’s most recent hype wave seems to be dying down after a spectacular rise, Andreessen Horowitz’s crypto arm is reaffirming its commitment to startups building blockchain projects with a hulking new $2.2 billion crypto fund.

It’s the firm’s largest vertical-specific fund ever — by quite a bit.

Andreessen Horowitz’s 2018 crypto fund ushered in $300 million of LP commitments and its second fund, which it closed in April of last year, clocked in at $515 million. The new multi-billion dollar fund not only showcases how institutional backers are growing more comfortable with cryptocurrencies, but also how Andreessen Horowitz’s assets under management have been quickly swelling to compete with other deep-pocketed firms including the ever-prolific Tiger Global.

With this announcement, Andreessen now has some $18.8 billion assets under management.

LPs are likely far less wary to take a chance on crypto after Andreessen Horowitz’s stake in Coinbase equated to some $11.2 billion at the time of the direct listing’s first trades, though the stock has slid back some 30% in recent months as the crypto market has shrunk.

Some of the firm’s other major crypto bets include NBA Top Shot maker Dapper Labs which hit a $7.5 billion valuation this spring. Blockchain infrastructure startup Dfinity raised at a $9.5 billion valuation this past September. Last year, the firm led the Series A of Uniswap, which is poised to be a major player in the Ethereum ecosystem. In addition to equity investments, a16z has also made major bets on the currencies themselves.

An earlier report from Newcomer last month reported a16z was targeting a $2 billion crypto fund and that they had already unloaded some of their crypto holdings before most cryptocurrencies took a major dive in recent weeks.

Crypto Fund III will continue to be managed by GPs Chris Dixon and Katie Haun, but the firm has also begun spinning out a more robust management team around the crypto vertical.

Anthony Albanese, who joined the firm last year from the NYSE, has been appointed COO of the division. Tomicah Tillemann, who previously served as a senior advisor to now-President Joe Biden and as chairman of the Global Blockchain Business Council, will be a16z Crypto’s Global Head of Policy. Rachael Horwitz is also coming aboard as an Operating Partner leading marketing and communications for a16z crypto; leaving Google after a stint as Coinbase’s first VP of Communications as well.

A couple other folks are also coming on in advisory capacity, including entrepreneur Alex Price and a couple others who will likely be a tad helpful in regulatory maneuverings including Bill Hinman, formerly of the SEC, and Brent McIntosh, who recently served as Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.

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