Crypto News Headlines (02-Aug-2022)

The crypto market wilted on Tuesday as geopolitical tensions zapped investor risk appetite and excitement around Ethereum’s merge began to deflate.

At 07:00 UTC, apex cryptocurrency bitcoin (BTC), traded at $22,870, down 1.8% on a 24-hour basis. While Ethereum’s ether (ETH) nursed a 5% loss at $1,586, names like FIL, EOS and ICP fell at least 10% . The total market capitalization was down 3% at $1.09 trillion, according to CoinDesk data.

Traditional markets were equally risk averse, with the dollar gaining ground against major fiat currencies, except the yen, alongside losses in the equity markets. The futures tied to the S&P 500 fell 0.3%, hinting at a downbeat start on Wall Street.

The source of market unease was Beijing’s warning to the U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi against visiting Taiwan – a self-ruled island claimed by China – during her tour of four Asian countries that began on Monday.

Since John Lindsay and Jonathan Chester launched Bitwage in 2014, the company has offered bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency wage payment services to people in countries all around the world. Following the company’s announcement that the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Strawweight Luana Pinheiro would get paid in BTC via Bitwage’s payroll services, Bitwage announced that it has partnered with the wallet companies Edge Wallet and Casa.

Before partnering with Casa and Edge, Bitwage users needed to provide a wallet address in order to leverage the company’s payroll services. However, Casa and Edge Wallet users can now utilize a QR code or deep link “without any need for manual public key exchange,” Bitwage detailed on Monday. Bitwage believes the feature is an exciting improvement for the company’s customers.

“This partnership is exciting because it creates access for an entire generation of beginner crypto users,” Bitwage’s August 1 announcement details. “While experienced users still have the ability to connect an address from any wallet, new users have the option of having a friendly and secure experience for finding their first wallet and connecting it to Bitwage.”

Ethereum (ETH) dropped 6.78% over the past 24 hours, falling below $1,600.

The second-largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of $192.73 billion is now changing hands at around $1,575 apiece. 

The current trading price is 67% down from its all-time high of $4,891 recorded in November 2021, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Ethereum’s bearish price movement may be attributed to growing concerns regarding the future of Ethereum and its miners following the merge. The event is expected to occur in September.

“There are a lot of potential risks with ETH merge,” tweeted Evgeny Gaevoy, CEO of Wintermute. “The fact that people have been working on it for years doesn’t mean it will work out perfectly.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission had on Monday charged 11 individuals for running a huge global crypto fraud. The accused were involved in creating and promoting a fraudulent crypto pyramid and Ponzi scheme that raised more than $300 million. The money was raised from millions of retail investors worldwide, including in the United States, the SEC said.

SEC Crypto Pyramid Scheme Affected Millions Worldwide

Those charged include the four founders of Forsage, the name of the scheme. According to the SEC complaint, the accused had in January 2020 launched, a website that was the center of the fraud. It allowed millions of retail investors to enter into transactions via smart contracts that operated on the Ethereum, Tron, and Binance blockchains.

“Forsage allegedly has operated as a pyramid scheme for more than two years, in which investors earned profits by recruiting others into the scheme. Forsage also allegedly used assets from new investors to pay earlier investors in a typical Ponzi structure.”

A recent study conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB) on identifying the ultimate cross-border payment medium crowned central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) as the winner against competitors, including banking, Bitcoin (BTC) and stablecoins, among others.

ECB’s interest in identifying the best cross-border payment solution stems from the fact that it serves as the central bank of the 19 European Union countries which have adopted the euro. The study, “Towards The Holy Grail of Cross-border Payments,” referred to Bitcoin as the most prominent unbacked crypto asset.

EBC’s opinion of Bitcoin as a bad cross-border payment system boils down to the settlement mechanism of the highly volatile asset, adding that:

“Since the settlement in the Bitcoin network occurs only around every ten minutes, valuation effects are already materializing at the moment of settlement, making Bitcoin payments actually more complicated.”

Two men from Orange County in California were sentenced to prison on Monday for operating a cryptocurrency scam that swindled more than 2,000 investors out of a collective $1.9 million, according to the Department of Justice.

Jeremy McAlpine, 26, and Zachary Matar, 29, founded Dropil Inc. in 2017 and ran the company until March 2020. Dropil purported to be an investment management service and trading program.

Investors were encouraged to purchase Dropil’s native token, DROP, during the company’s initial coin offering in 2018. Through the purchase of DROP, investors were promised access to an automated trading bot called “Dex” that would generate annual returns of up to 63% in DROP and distribute them every 15 days.

Imran Khan, a former Pakistani prime minister and current chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), one of the largest political parties in the country, reportedly confirmed that his Instagram account was hacked Monday.

He told Dawn publication that his account was soon recovered with the help of Meta, owner of Facebook and Instagram. He explained that he himself monitors the account, which has 7.4 million followers, noting that the hackers posted a cryptocurrency link and a screenshot of a tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk to the account.

The cryptocurrency link posted on the politician’s account leads to a crypto giveaway site featuring Musk and his company Spacex. Scammers claim to be giving away bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH), dogecoin (DOGE), and litecoin (LTC).

In one of the most extensive hacks since Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge Sidechain in March, an exploit on the Nomad token bridge has allowed attackers to rob the bridge of roughly $190 million.

Security firm PeckShield told Decrypt that the funds stolen were denominated in Ethereum, USDC, DAI, FXS, and CQT.

“We are aware of the incident involving the Nomad token bridge. We are currently investigating and will provide updates when we have them,” Nomad tweeted Monday afternoon.

The Nomad bridge is a protocol allowing users to move digital assets between different blockchains, including Avalanche (AVAX), Ethereum (ETH), Evmos (EVMOS), Milkomeda C1, and Moonbeam (GLMR).

Bitcoin (BTC) has been retracing since July 30, but it is trading inside a short-term bullish pattern and has reached short-term support.

The daily chart shows that Bitcoin has broken out from a descending resistance line that had previously been in place since the end of March. Bitcoin broke out on July 18 but has not increased considerably since.

BTC has, however, broken out from the $21,750 horizontal area and validated it as support afterward and the daily RSI has moved above 50.

There is a slight bearish divergence that is now developing in the RSI (green line). This could lead to a short-term retracement towards the $21,750 horizontal area prior to any upwards continuation. The next closest resistance area is found at $29,370. This target is the 0.382 Fib retracement resistance level.

Embattled crypto lending platform Vauld has been granted a short period of reprieve from creditors after being given a three-month moratorium by the Singapore High Court on Monday.

Its initial request by Vauld’s parent company Defi Payment Limited for a six-month moratorium was reportedly denied by Justice Aedit Abdullah on Monday, citing concerns that a lengthier moratorium “won’t get adequate supervision and monitoring,” according to a Bloomberg report.

Under the moratorium, Defi Payments would be protected from wind-up resolutions, the appointment of a receiver or manager and any legal proceedings that could be directed toward the company, including any that could be laid out by its 147,000 creditors.

Vauld claimed in its updated website FAQ on Monday that the moratorium would provide the breathing room necessary to come up with a restructuring plan for the business and provide a better outcome for its creditors.

“The moratorium is an important procedure to provide the company with the breathing room necessary for it to formulate and consider its options carefully.”