Crypto News Headlines (02-Jun-2023)

In a turbulent month for the cryptocurrency market, May 2023 witnessed a wave of scams and hacking incidents that resulted in cumulative losses of over $54 million, a new report from security firm De.Fi shows.

The amount is a nearly half of April’s $101.5 million loss, suggesting better security practices among users and developers. However, no funds were recovered in May 2023 – compared to $2.2 million recovered in April.

The BNB Chain ecosystem accounted for the majority of the incidents, with losses above $37 million across ten cases. Ethereum-based projects saw the least exploits at just over $2 million.

Throughout 2023, Cleanspark (Nasdaq: CLSK) has secured a considerable number of application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) bitcoin miners. In February, the company procured 20,000 new Bitmain mining rigs for $43.6 million, and in mid-April, it bought 45,000 Antminer S19 XP units. The firm’s most recent acquisition involved 12,500 Antminer S19 XP bitcoin miners at a cost of $40.5 million.

Cleanspark reveals that the expense stood at approximately $23 per terahash ($/TH), which is less than the current market value. The firm disclosed that 6,000 machines would arrive in June, while the remaining units would be delivered in August. These ASIC bitcoin mining machines will be stationed across Cleanspark’s data centers. The company claims that “low-carbon energy sources” account for 90% of the bitcoin miner’s power supply.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued a new proposal to revise its rules pertaining to risk management, accounting for risks related to “evolving technologies” like cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence.

“In light of the emergence of distributed ledger networks, certain markets have begun to adopt or explore their applications,” Romero said in a statement Thursday. “Cloud data storage and computing have become widely adopted, and the potential of artificial intelligence to revolutionize businesses is increasingly recognized.”

The Commissioner stressed that “alongside these advancements come inherent risks that need to be addressed and managed effectively.”

Bitcoin (BTC) is experiencing selling pressure at the $28,000 price level, and miners may be responsible, crypto-services provider Matrixport said in a report Friday.

Matrixport said it suspects that bitcoin miners are being forced to liquidate any new inventory produced because profit margins have compressed in recent weeks, the report said.

Mining has become very competitive, and often unprofitable, due to the continuous increase in bitcoin miner difficulty, the report added. Mining difficulty – the measure of how easily miners can discover a new block of bitcoin – hit an all-time high earlier this week.

“At the current input cost and potential output revenue expectations, most of the machines produced before 2022 appear to be unprofitable,” wrote Markus Thielen, head of research.

The amount of cryptocurrency lost to “rug pull” or “exit scams” — where founders suddenly up and leave with investors’ money — had outpaced the amount stolen from decentralized finance (DeFi) projects in May, a blockchain security firm has revealed.

A June 1 report from Beosin said May losses from rug pulls and scams reached over $45 million across six incidents.

Meanwhile, there were 10 attacks on decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols that netted $19.7 million. The amount is a nearly 80% decrease from April, and losses from these types of exploits had been on the decline for two months, it added.

The largest of the rug pulls was the $32 million that crypto project Fintoch is alleged to have made off with on May 24. The $7.5 million attack on the DeFi platform Jimbos protocol was the largest attack last month, according to Beosin.

Customers can still buy and sell crypto using credit and debit cards after the halt, which was announced last month.

Binance Australia halted Australian dollar (AUD) deposits and withdrawals by bank transfer as announced last month, the exchange said on Thursday.

On May 18, Binance Australia said it would no longer facilitate AUD bank transfers using PayID “due to a decision made” by the third-party payment service provider. A May 22 update said the services will continue until June 1.

The latest tweet said Binance Australia users can still buy and sell crypto using credit or debit cards, and that it is “working hard to find an alternative provider.”

Miners operating in Russia have minted cryptocurrencies for an estimated 50 – 60 billion rubles ($620 million – $740 million) last year, the Director of the Skolkovo Fintech Hub Pavel Novikov announced, quoted by the Prime business news agency.

Speaking at the “Finance of the Future: Challenges and Opportunities” conference organized by Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, the executive of the state-owned company pointed out that the figure ranks Russia second in the world by that indicator.

Novikov also highlighted that Russian miners have consumed about 1 gigawatt (GW) of electric power during the same period. He also noted that the high efficiency of mining in Russia, as he put it, can be partially attributed to the widespread practice of illegal use of electricity in cryptocurrency production.

The ongoing lawsuit against Elon Musk over his Dogecoin dealings has taken another turn.

The group of DOGE investors has now accused the billionaire of engaging in manipulative practices that influenced the price of the popular meme cryptocurrency.

In an amended filing made on May 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the investors contend that Musk leveraged his substantial social media following on Twitter and his public appearances, such as hosting NBC’s Saturday Night Live in May 2021, to profit from DOGE trades through what they describe as “transparent cryptocurrency market manipulation.”

The filing lists a long string of other examples, which the plaintiffs claim to be instances of market manipulation.

Global search interest for the term “AI” has reached a new all-time high on Google, though it’s yet to hold a candle to Bitcoin (BTC) peak mania in 2017, data has revealed.

Artificial intelligence has dominated headlines over the past few months, with some suggesting that it’s the latest “tech fad” after crypto and the Metaverse.

Most recently, OpenAI executives warned in a May 23 blog post that within the next ten years, AI will exceed expert skill level in “most domains” and be as productive as “one of today’s largest corporations.”

However while global and United States search interest for AI has reached a fever pitch — clocking in at 89 on Google Trends, it is still shy of Bitcoin’s peak search interest of 100 in December 2017 when Bitcoin was nearing its then-high of $20,000.

  1. Qatar slammed for not taking enough action against crypto companies

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has slammed Qatar Central Bank (QCB) for making little effort to enforce its own regulations prohibiting virtual asset service providers.

In a report published on May 31, the global money-laundering and terrorist financing watchdog highlighted that Qatar needs to advance its capabilities to effectively combat evolving forms of criminal activity, including sanctioning virtual asset service providers.

“It needs to improve understanding of more complex forms of money laundering and terrorist financing,” it stated.

In December 2019, the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority (QFCRA) announced that virtual asset services may not be conducted in or from the Qatar Financial Centre.