Ethereum’s Proof-of-Stake Method Will Reduce Energy Use

Mining on the blockchain is a notorious energy hog and bad for the environment. Ethereum is on the verge of a big change aimed at substantially reducing its carbon footprint. After seven years of using the traditional proof-of-work mining technique, Ethereum is switching to the more efficient proof-of-stake method that is expected to reduce energy consumption by 99.5 percent. That change, known as The Merge, is scheduled to take place September 14. The Merge will see Ethereum’s proof-of-work blockchain fused with the proof-of-stake Beacon Chain, which launched in December 2020 but has yet to process its first transaction. Continue reading Ethereum’s Proof-of-Stake Method Will Reduce Energy Use

EU Advances Crypto Regulation in Face of Small Investor Pain

The decentralization that promised to make cryptocurrencies accessible, transparent, and an everyman’s investment dream has turned into a nightmare for many. While professional investors have largely done well shorting blockchain stock, other individuals haven’t been as successful. Fortune wrote of “crypto carnage” in a market that has so far lost $1 trillion in this year’s market selloffs. Bitcoin has lost about 50 percent of its market value this year, while Ethereum has fallen by 56 percent since January. Last week, the European Union advanced a framework for crypto-assets that includes consumer protection and safeguards against cybercrime. Continue reading EU Advances Crypto Regulation in Face of Small Investor Pain

HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

HTC is launching its Desire 22 Pro smartphone, which emphasizes VR and AR integration centering around HTC’s own Vive ecosystem and the open-source metaverse platform it calls the Viverse. The Desire 22 Pro’s preloaded Viverse app lets users access and manage NFTs and cryptocurrencies and other metaverse content. In February HTC announced the Viverse, where people can attend meetings or concerts, build avatars and play games. Optimized for HTC’s 5G products and Vive VR devices, users can join the Viverse from any phone, tablet, PC or VR headset. Continue reading HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

Senate Cryptocurrency Bill Could Be a Victory for Blockchain

A debate as to whether cryptocurrencies are more like commodities than securities is playing out in Washington, with Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyoming) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) introducing legislation to regulate them like commodities. If passed, the bill would put digital currency under the regulatory purview of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) rather than the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a win for the crypto sector, which prefers the smaller agency. SEC chair Gary Gensler takes the position that digital assets are akin to publicly traded stock and should be regulated by the SEC.
Continue reading Senate Cryptocurrency Bill Could Be a Victory for Blockchain

Billions of Dollars Are Vaporized in Cryptocurrency Meltdown

The bottom fell out of the cryptocurrency market last week, wiping out more than $300 billion in a sell-off that underscored the risks of the unregulated digital currencies. Bitcoin fell below $27,000, its lowest point since 2020, as part of a larger trend that saw cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase lose half its value. The stablecoin TerraUSD “imploded.” The panic has been described as the biggest reset in cryptocurrencies since Bitcoin fell by 80 percent in 2018. But the current crash is more severe, since far more people and institutions are investing in digital currencies today. Continue reading Billions of Dollars Are Vaporized in Cryptocurrency Meltdown

Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

Wall Street is warming up to cryptocurrencies. Large banks and other financial institutions have been staffing departments ready to serve clients’ blockchain needs. Hedge funds and professional investment outfits led the way, with many mutual funds and pension managers now following along, lest they be perceived as out of touch. Some say the involvement of traditional investment sectors could add some stability to the often-volatile crypto markets, whose ongoing viability is hardly assured. Although Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong thinks it is, predicting that at least one billion people will have tried crypto within a decade. Continue reading Wall Street Begins Dabbling in Crypto While Some Hang Back

Cryptocurrency Market Faces Challenges While Stocks Spiral

Although the cryptocurrency known as stablecoin has garnered mainstream attention recently, with the Biden administration’s call for federal guidelines, critics warn that a subset known as “algorithmic stablecoin” is a crisis in the making. Meanwhile, specific crypto brands like Bitcoin and Ethereum have seen prices drop — Bitcoin below the $40,000 per unit mark, while Ethereum shares dipped below $3,000. In fact, the entire cryptocurrency market is reported to have lost about $400 billion in April as part of what’s being described as “selloff mode.” Continue reading Cryptocurrency Market Faces Challenges While Stocks Spiral

Crypto Bridges Creating Vulnerabilities Popular with Hackers

Cryptocurrency bridges, which enable transactions across a wide range of token types, are an increasingly important factor in the world of blockchain. A hack involving approximately $540 million in Ethereum and USDC stablecoin from the Ronin bridge in March was another drop in the $1 billion-plus bucket stolen from bridges. Successful attacks have become more common in recent years and the Ronin heist, among the largest, underscores a bigger problem. Different cryptocurrencies are typically siloed, so a Dogecoin transaction can’t be implemented on the Bitcoin blockchain, but it can by using a bridge. Continue reading Crypto Bridges Creating Vulnerabilities Popular with Hackers

Biden Orders Roadmap for Responsible Crypto Development

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies enjoyed an 8 percent jump in value Wednesday following President Joe Biden’s signing of a six-part executive order designed to protect U.S. consumers, investors and businesses, foster global financial stability and mitigate the national security risks presented by the illicit use of digital assets. The Executive Order also seeks to reinforce U.S. leadership in the global financial system, promote a more equitable financial system and encourage technological development and responsible use of digital assets. Perhaps most surprisingly, the order also prioritizes exploring a U.S. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Continue reading Biden Orders Roadmap for Responsible Crypto Development

Feds Mine Crypto Trail and Find $3.6 Billion in Stolen Bitcoin

Led by the IRS Criminal Investigation branch, federal agents seized more than $3.6 billion in stolen Bitcoin last week, resulting in its largest seizure ever. Tracking the 119,754 Bitcoin stolen in 2016 from Hong Kong’s Bitfinex currency exchange across several continents, thorough the dark web and many transfer schemes was an amazing feat that says as much about the skill of U.S. law enforcement as it does the breadcrumb trails left by cryptocurrency. Engineered to be traceable (some say transparent), blockchain does offer a degree of anonymity that makes it attractive to crime. Continue reading Feds Mine Crypto Trail and Find $3.6 Billion in Stolen Bitcoin

Big Tech Concerned About Crypto Startups Poaching Talent

There are reports of a migratory wave of executives and engineers moving from Big Tech firms such as Google, Amazon, Apple and others to chase what is being described as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity” with startups whose business models rely on blockchain and involve everything from cryptocurrencies to non-fungible tokens. Google is said to be so worried about employee retention they’ve increased stock grants in categories vulnerable to poaching following the exit of Surojit Chatterjee to join Coinbase where he saw his stake in the company grow to more than $600 million in 14 months. Continue reading Big Tech Concerned About Crypto Startups Poaching Talent

Kickstarter Gets Backlash Over News of Moving to Blockchain

Kickstarter is launching a new company that will mirror its crowdfunding system, but using cryptocurrencies and built on blockchain. The as yet unnamed entity generated backlash among the company’s existing community due to the environmental hazards presented by energy-guzzling crypto, despite Kickstarter’s choice of what it calls a “carbon negative” partner in Celo, a mobile-first platform that is open-source. “We’re supporting the development of an open-source protocol that will essentially create a decentralized version of Kickstarter’s core functionality” that will live on a public blockchain for use by global entrepreneurs, Kickstarter said in an announcement. Continue reading Kickstarter Gets Backlash Over News of Moving to Blockchain

Lawmakers Grapple with Crypto Regulation at Finance Hearing

Congress continues to grapple with ways to provide government oversight for the cryptocurrency industry, which has exploded from $500 billion in 2020 to nearly $3 trillion today, according to CoinMarketCap. House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-California) called out crypto’s lack of accountability, saying its markets have no “centralized regulatory framework, leaving investments in the digital-asset space vulnerable to fraud, manipulation and abuse.” Those testifying on behalf of virtual currency argued it speeds financial transactions, can save money, and makes a new asset class accessible to people around the world. Continue reading Lawmakers Grapple with Crypto Regulation at Finance Hearing

Ubisoft Quartz Jump-Starts In-Game NFTs with ‘Ghost Recon’

Ubisoft becomes the first major game company to dive into NFTs with Ubisoft Quartz, a platform that lets players acquire non-fungible tokens on the Tezos blockchain. Quartz goes live this week in beta with “Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint” for PC. Players will be able to purchase or earn in-game “Digits” — Quartz’s term for NFTs — which will be collectible in-game vehicles, weapons, and pieces of equipment. Ubisoft is touting Tezos as the technology behind “the first energy-efficient NFTs playable in a AAA game,” comparing it to processor-hogs like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Continue reading Ubisoft Quartz Jump-Starts In-Game NFTs with ‘Ghost Recon’

U.S. Advances Cybersecurity Steps as Ransomware Doubles

Payments flagged by U.S. banks as suspected ransomware in 2021 are on pace to nearly double those of 2020, according to reports filed with the Treasury Department. Almost $600 million in potential ransomware payments have been filed with the federal government from January through June, which is more than 40 percent more than the tally for full-year 2020. Reflecting the fact that governments worldwide describe cybercrime as a critical national security threat, the first International Cybersecurity Challenge is scheduled for Greece in June 2022, where 25 Americans aged 18 to 26 are set to compete. Continue reading U.S. Advances Cybersecurity Steps as Ransomware Doubles