Crypto News Headlines (24-Feb-2022)

U.S. Senator Rand Paul warned of statutes in the U.S. similar to the Emergencies Act invoked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week during an episode of the Based Politics podcast that aired Sunday.

 “I think statutes that allow presidents or heads of state to invoke emergencies are very, very dangerous,” Paul stressed, adding:

We have the same sort of statutes here, and I have long-time been an opponent of these. We actually have in the United States an Emergency Act that allows the president to shut down the internet.

 “I tried, when President Trump was in office, to take this power away,” he noted. However, “I could never get it through,” Paul conceded.

He continued: “[Senator] Mike Lee had some reforms that he put forward on the Emergency Act, and it’s something we should look at because these things go on and on. There are some emergencies in the U.S. that have been going on for many, many decades. And the president can just renew them every year. There’s no real stopping him.”

Slope Finance, the startup behind a digital wallet for the Solana blockchain, has closed an $8 million Series A funding round co-led by Solana Ventures and Jump Crypto.

Slope management told CoinDesk the funds will help expand the team in the U.S., where Slope launched its first office last month, and for user-acquisition efforts.

Other backers included Sequoia China, Genesis Trading, CMS Holdings, Spark Digital, Circle Ventures, Huobi and others.

Slope offers a cross-platform wallet with access to Solana Pay, decentralized finance (DeFi) engagement, visualized non-fungible token (NFT) management and token swaps, or the transfer of tokens from one blockchain to another. There is currently $7 billion of value on the Solana blockchain, according to DefiLlama, making it the sixth-largest chain by that metric.

Slope, which launched in September, said the wallet had been downloaded 1 million times as of last month with 850,000 monthly active users across the Apple App Store, Google Play and its Chrome extension.

 “We are excited to support Slope’s mission to provide a seamless, cross-platform experience for users to engage with Solana’s DeFi, NFT and gaming ecosystems,” said Solana Ventures Partner Matthew Beck in the press release.

Slope said the team will soon announce additional details regarding ongoing projects, partnerships and product developments, including a new mobile product. The company declined to provide more details.

Slope Finance competes with Solana mobile wallets like Phantom and Solitare Solflare. Last month, Phantom raised $109 million at a $1.2 billion valuation. At the time, Phantom said it commanded “at least 90%” of the Solana wallet market.

For cryptocurrency investors, volatility is a fact of life. But there’s an old strategy for these new investments that can take your mind off the ups and downs.

We’re talking about dollar-cost averaging — a classic investing strategy in which you make regular, smaller investments throughout the year instead of all at once. Traditionally, investors have applied the strategy to stocks, but experts say you can also apply it to crypto investments. 

“It’s a great strategy, and it should be applied to something that you believe in,” says Daniel Polotsky, founder of Bitcoin ATM and financial services firm CoinFlip. “Just don’t put all your eggs in one basket. You should still diversify your wealth in case your decisions are not correct.”

In general, experts recommend keeping your cryptocurrency investments to under 5% of your portfolio, and prioritizing more pressing aspects of your financial life, such as saving for an emergency, contributing to a retirement account, and paying off high-interest debt.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has announced he will repeal emergency powers used to freeze $8 million from 210 bank accounts connected to Canadian ‘Freedom Convoy’ protestors, according to CBC news.

On Feb. 24, Trudeau stated in a televised press conference that “we’re ready to confirm that the situation is no longer an emergency” and said that his special powers granted by the Emergencies Act would end. He added: “We are confident that existing laws and bylaws are now sufficient to keep people safe.”

Freedom Convoy protesters had blockaded streets and demonstrated to end Covid mandates and restrictions for weeks in front of Ontario’s Parliament Hill since last month. The action to freeze accounts was taken under the Emergencies Act. On Feb. 23, the Trudeau government began unfreezing bank accounts.

Isabelle Jacques, assistant deputy minister of finance, told a committee of MPs: “The vast majority of accounts are in the process of being unfrozen, subject to any new information that the RCMP may have,” she said, referring to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Companies, legally operating mining facilities in Kazakhstan, have already relocated around 30% of their mining equipment elsewhere. The President of the National Association of Blockchain and Data Center Industry of Kazakhstan Alan Dorjiyev told Forklog about the migration.

The executive noted that miners have been influenced by the persisting issues with energy supply and an expected tax increase. His organization represents major companies involved in the extraction of digital currencies accounting for 70% of Kazakhstan’s crypto mining sector.

The report quotes legislative documents indicating that Kazakhstan’s parliament prepares to impose on miners a tax of 10 tenge (approx. $0.02) per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated from domestic energy resources and 5 tenge per kWh for imported electrical energy.

The levy for electricity produced from natural gas and renewable sources, excluding hydropower, will be 3 tenge per kWh, if lawmakers adopt the proposed changes. In 2021, authorities in Nur-Sultan introduced a surcharge of 1 tenge ($0.0023 at the time) per kWh of electricity used to mint cryptocurrencies.

A key investment case for bitcoin is deteriorating as geopolitical uncertainty and rising inflation hammer cryptocurrency prices.

The price of bitcoin fell to a two-week low Tuesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Donetsk and Luhansk, two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, shortly after declaring them as independent.

Bitcoin is often referred to as “digital gold” by its backers. The term refers to the idea that bitcoin can provide a store of value similar to gold — one that’s uncorrelated with other financial markets, like stocks.

Bitcoin bulls also see the cryptocurrency as a “safe haven” asset that can serve as a hedge against global economic uncertainty and increasing prices, which reduce the purchasing power of sovereign currencies like the U.S. dollar.

With inflation at historic highs, you’d expect this would be bitcoin’s time to shine — U.S. consumer prices last month rose the most since February 1982, according to Labor Department figures.

Instead, the cryptocurrency has lost almost half of its value since reaching an all-time high of nearly $69,000 in November. That’s led analysts to question whether its status as a form of “digital gold” still rings true.

The market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies slid to as low as $1.5 trillion, losing almost 9% in 24 hours, as Russia launched a “special military operation” against Ukraine. The prospect of damage to the global economy also weighted on broader financial markets, with the Stoxx 600 Europe index falling more than 3%, micro Nasdaq 100 futures down 2.3% and Russia’s MOEX equity index dropping a record 28%.

In the past 24 hours, bitcoin fell 8%, touching $34,725 in early Asian hours. The fear and greed index – a tool used to calculate public sentiment of the crypto market – fell 2 points to a “fear” level reading of 23.

 “The aggravation of tension around Ukraine exerted pressure on risky assets,” said Alex Kuptsikevich, a financial analyst at FxPro, in an email to CoinDesk. “There are growing risks of escalation associated with the introduction of Russian troops into Donbass. In such a situation, risky assets may continue to decline further.”

Donbass refers to two breakaway regions of Ukraine under the control of separatist groups.

There’s certainly a growing opinion that the crypto market may have outsized potential for years to come. Indeed, after what was an incredible 2021, this view certainly makes sense.

However, picking the top cryptocurrencies to buy right now may seem like a daunting task. After all, there are thousands of such projects out there, many with similar offerings to each other.

In this article, I’m going to highlight why I think Algorand (CRYPTO:ALGO) is a project worth considering right now.

Built for the decentralized future

Investors looking for crypto investments that have strong forward-looking prospects may like how Algorand is positioned. This smart contract-enabled, pure proof-of-stake (PoS) network is one which many investors believe could continue to take market share away from leaders such as Ethereum.

One of the key reasons for this thesis is how the Algorand network allows for staking. Essentially, staking allows investors to earn rewards for helping to validate blocks on a given blockchain network. However, many networks require a large number of tokens, requiring significant investment to earn such rewards. That’s not the case with Algorand.

The price of bitcoin continued to fall as global markets reacted with alarm to the expanding scale of war in Ukraine as missiles continue to reign down on its capital city in Kyiv and its airport was captured by airborne troops.

BTC was down 9% to $34,555 as of the time of this writing, according to CoinGecko data.

Russian President Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Ukrainian forces to surrender, and warned the U.S, and NATO from getting involved.

“Anyone who tries to interfere with us, or even more so, to create threats for our country and our people, must know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to such consequences as you have never before experienced in your history,” Putin said. “We are ready for any turn of events.”

Short term social media data suggests that traders aren’t calling for buying the Bitcoin (BTC) dip right now… but the long term picture is much brighter, with separate research showing that 77% of family offices in the U.S. are either looking at, or have invested in crypto.

The BTFD data was compiled from posts mentioning “buy the dip” on social media platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, Discord and Telegram by K J Lanaul and published on the Insights Santiment blog earlier this week. It tells a positive story too, in a roundabout way.

The research indicated that many traders over the past year have called for buying the dip too early on a downward trend, with the price often falling significantly further afterward and failing to recover for months at a time.

“Often the crowd unanimously call the dip/bottom earlier than the actual dip and the real bottoms forms when the crowd least expects which is represented by low to no mentions in Buy The Dip. As of now the mentions are very low.”