Crypto News Headlines (21-March-2022)

A data breach at Hubspot, a tool used by many companies to manage marketing campaigns and onboard new users, has affected BlockFi and Swan Bitcoin, but both companies say that their operations have not been affected and treasuries are not at risk.

Hubspot is a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool used to store users’ names, phone numbers, and email addresses for marketing purposes, and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

While user information was leaked to hackers, both companies say that passwords and other internal information was not affected. As Hubspot is an external tool, hackers did not gain access to internal systems.

Hubspot said that this was the result of a bad actor getting access to an employee account and using it to target stakeholders in the cryptocurrency industry.

The company said 30 clients were affected, but has not published a list.

Some users have reported receiving an uptick in phishing emails from the companies over the weekend, attempting to lure them into entering their password on a fake site.

Earlier this week, it was announced members of the Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT collection would be getting their very own cryptocurrency, ApeCoin.

The passive voice there is intentional. ApeCoin is explicitly linked to these famously pricey non-fungible tokens, and is very much involved with Yuga Labs, the company stewarding the intellectual property behind the Bored Apes. But a carefully coordinated marketing campaign has taken great pains to dissociate ApeCoin from any one conventional corporation.

Instead, the public relations messaging insists ApeCoin is a product of ApeCoin DAO, a brand new organizational unit governed entirely by token holders. Holding APE makes you a member of the DAO (that’s short for decentralized autonomous organization, a kind of online collective centered around crypto); you don’t even need to own a Bored Ape NFT to join.

ApeCoin’s official website bills the token as “a decentralized protocol layer for community-led initiatives that drive culture forward into the metaverse.”

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) has notified banks of the need to track certain transactions including those involving cryptocurrency. The financial regulator has sent out a letter calling on the institutions to identify “anomalies in the transactional activity” of their clients like changes in consumer and investment spending.

According to the document, quoted by Forklog, bank officials should open their eyes for unusual growth in transaction volume, withdrawals to other jurisdictions and transactions associated with digital currency. The monitoring should also cover operations by persons and entities in circumvention of foreign currency restrictions and withdrawal of assets by organizations registered in “unfriendly” countries.

“In such cases, banks are advised to conduct an in-depth check on the client, consider refusing to complete the transaction and classifying it as suspicious,” the CBR said in the notice which had been coordinated with Rosfinmonitoring, the main financial watchdog in the Russian Federation.

The difficulty of mining a bitcoin block dropped 0.35% on Thursday, the second time this month, after a consistent climb since November.

On March 3, mining difficulty dropped 1.5%, data from information platform Glassnode shows.

The difficulty adjusts automatically relative to the computing power on the network, also known as the hashrate, to keep the time between each mined block relatively stable at 10 minutes.

The bitcoin mining hashrate has dropped from an all-time high in February of 248 exahash/second (EH/s) to 216 EH/s on March 17, according to data from Glassnode.

“This slight drop is likely due to unprofitable miners unplugging ASICs (application-specific integrated circuits). As energy prices increase globally, we will likely see more ASICs fall off the network,” Compass Mining founder and CEO Whitt Gibbs told CoinDesk in a Telegram message on Friday.

Electricity prices are soaring across the world as one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels, Russia, is enthralled in a war with Ukraine, and global energy supply chains are being severed by sanctions.

“My bet is that Kazakh miners going offline due to electricity shortages and a government crackdown on illegal mining caused the drop,” Jaran Mellerud, researcher at Oslo-based Arcane Research, told CoinDesk

LONDON (Reuters) -Global financial regulators are closely scrutinising the use of cryptoassets during the war in Ukraine after concerns they could be used to evade Western sanctions on Russia.

The $1.8 trillion crypto sector is on the defensive amid warnings from U.S. and European lawmakers that digital asset companies are not up to the task of complying with Western financial sanctions imposed on Russia following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Some crypto exchanges have rejected calls to cut off all Russian users, raising concerns that crypto could be used as a way to circumvent sanctions.

Ukraine has also raised more than $100 million in cryptocurrencies after posting appeals on social media for donations for military and humanitarian needs in bitcoin and other digital tokens.

“We at the FSB are monitoring the situation, the conflict situation relative to cryptos,” Patrick Armstrong, a member of the Financial Stability Board’s (FSB) secretariat, told a City & Financial conference in London.

The FSB, which groups financial regulators, central banks and finance ministry officials from the Group of 20 economies, is sharing the information it obtains among its members, Armstrong said.

The European Union on March 9 issued guidance to confirm that sanctions on loans and credit to Russia include cryptoassets, in a bid to close potential sanctions loopholes.

Jim Chanos told CNBC Friday he’s shorting cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase (COIN), calling it a “bubble stock.”

Chanos expects fee compression as competition increases across crypto exchanges, and doesn’t think Coinbase can be profitable this year.

“We basically think Coinbase is over earning,” Chanos said in the interview. “If you do the numbers, their revenue base is roughly 3% to 4% of their custodian assets, their customer assets.”

CNBC’s report did not mention the size of Chanos’ short position.

Wall Street has remained positive on the longer-term outlook for Coinbase, despite expectations for some near-term headwinds. Analysts expect Coinbase to diversify its revenue from different segments, including NFTs.

Coinbase shares were down about 1.8% in after-hours trading Friday, and have fallen 26% this year.

Bitcoin (BTC) stayed close to the top of its recent trading range on March 20 as the weekly close looked set to crack a multi-week high.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView showed BTC/USD maneuvering around the upper $41,000 zone Sunday.

Friday‘s late surge had broadly held, and Saturday saw a return of $42,400 on Bitstamp, matching the high from the start of March.

Now, the weekly chart looked set to deliver Bitcoin‘s best weekly close since early February.

 “This could change anytime, but frankly the Bitcoin price chart currently looks better than it has for quite a while now,” analyst Lyn Alden summarized at the end of last week.

Previous takes had cautioned about a real shift occurring in BTC price action, with popular trader Pentoshi warning that a potential uptick would likely not last and ultimately become the precursor to new lows.

Fellow Twitter analyst Credible Crypto meanwhile presented two likely trajectories for BTC/USD based on daily demand holding the market at a specific price.

One option involved a break of $42,500 followed by $45,000, while its bearish counterpart delivered a bottom target of $29,000-$32,000.

Former presidential candidate Ron Paul discussed the future of bitcoin and the economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine war in an interview with Kitco news’ Michelle Makori Thursday.

Paul is an American author, physician, and retired politician. The former representative from Texas launched The Ron Paul Liberty Report in 2015 to bring “provocative opinion and analysis to the breaking issues affecting our lives and finances,” its website details.

The former congressman has repeatedly warned that the government could crack down on bitcoin. “My concern is that governments over centuries have been notoriously very eager to have control of the money. Believe me, they will not give up control of money,” he described.

However, interest in bitcoin has soared recently with more institutional investors supporting the ecosystem. This week, the Ukrainian government created a legal framework for cryptocurrency following the invasion by Russia. It also set up an official crypto donation website. Moreover, BTC is currently legal tender in El Salvador.

Paul was asked if he still believes that bitcoin is at risk of being outright banned or outlawed. He replied:

Yeah, I do, mainly because I’m influenced a whole lot by history, and the gold history, and my interest in studying money and some of the principles that Austrian economics teaches about what the nature of money should be.

Indian authorities have been iffy about legalising cryptocurrencies. But, they surely know there’s much to earn from them through taxes.

The government is studying how it could levy tax on the entire value of the transaction involving digital assets under the goods and services tax (GST), according to the news agency Press Trust of India. As of now, crypto services provided by trading exchanges are categorised as financial services.

GST officers view cryptocurrencies similar to winnings from a lottery, casinos, gambling, or betting, which attract 31.20% GST on the entire value. By contrast, the tax rate on stock investments ranges from 0 to 15%, depending on whether it is filed as business income or short-term capital gain.

Razer’s Efforts to Diversify Into Payments Still Overshadowed by Its Hardware

Razer (RAZFF) used to talk a big game about itself. The Singapore-based manufacturer of gaming PCs and peripherals was once called “the Apple of the gaming world.”

Some lapped it up, but industry analysts snickered as channel data showed the company didn’t really ship many PCs. Its keyboards, mice and other accessories were well received, but the PCs not so much.

Then, after its initial public offering (IPO), Razer became more modest. As part of the IPO it had to list how much it actually sold of its products. The results were underwhelming. While its competitors shipped tens of millions of gaming PCs and notebooks, Razer could barely muster 600,000, according to analysts and others who reviewed its earnings. For some models, the shipments were under 1,000.

Razer’s bark was louder than its bite.

As a listed company it was harder to throw around monikers like “Apple of the Gaming World,” so Razer needed to pivot. In 2020, its CEO, Min-Liang Tan, said that Razer was a “lifestyle brand” and the company put a larger emphasis on alternatives to selling PCs.