Blockchain and Cryptocurrency News Roundup

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  • July 5, 2021
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5 July 2021.

Here’s a short summary of some of the biggest headlines in Crypto. Ransomware Group REvil strikes again, demands $70M in Bitcoin from 200 US firms, Ethereum’s daily active addresses surpass Bitcoin for the first time in crypto history, Ethereum Classic devs announce upcoming hard fork and Vietnam’s Central Bank to pilot use of crypto. 

Ransomware Group REvil strikes again, demands $70M in Bitcoin from 200 US firms

Ransomware hacking group REvil brought the networks of at least 200 U.S. companies to their knees on Friday and is now demanding $70 million in bitcoin (BTC, -2.59%).

Australia’s ABC News reported on Saturday REvil had targeted software supplier Kaseya and used its network-management package to spread the ransomware via the cloud.

Over 1 million machines are said to be infected according to various other reports.

The Russian-based ransomware group is now demanding the bitcoin in exchange for a decrypter for the infected machines.

“On Friday we launched an attack on [managed service providers],” a post from the dark web site Happy Blog reads. “More than a million systems were infected.”

In May, REvil attacked Colonial Pipeline and managed to get the company to pay a $5 million ransom after its functionality and services were restricted, sparking a gas crisis in the U.S.

JBS Holdings, the world’s largest meat company by sales, also paid an $11 million ransom in a May 30 attack against it by the same group.


Ethereum’s daily active addresses surpass Bitcoin for the first time in crypto history

As Bitcoin (BTC) continued to consolidate, Ethereum (ETH) gained momentum and breached the psychological price of $2,100. As a result, ETH made history by surpassing Bitcoin’s daily active addresses, as acknowledged by Santiment. The crypto analytic firm explained:

“On a day that saw history be made with Ethereum surpassing Bitcoin in daily active addresses for the first time, altcoins came to play. KSM, COMP, and ZIL were among many projects to make an imprint on the markets, while BTC ranged around $34.5K.”

Ethereum’s daily active addresses shot up to 649,000, whereas those of Bitcoin stood at 580,000. Santiment also noted that other altcoins like Zilliqa (ZIL), Compound (COMP), and Kusama (KSM) performed well.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin’s average trader returns recently sank to a 14-month low as FOMO (fear of missing out), bottom-selling, and top-buying became prevalent. This has been the opposite of profitable traders because they usually buy the low and sell the high.

Is Ethereum staring at a continuation towards a breakout?

According to market analyst Michael van de Poppe:

“Ethereum is showing some strength here in which it’s currently facing a critical resistance zone. Not an area I’d be looking for longs. The aggressive play would be some short-term consolidation with support at $1,985-2,015. If that happens continuation towards a breakout.”

The analyst had previously noted that Ethereum had to break through the $2,100 area to rise to the $2,900-$3,000 range. He stated:

“Ethereum holds a crucial support zone, but should still break through $2,150-2,250. If that happens, then I’m starting to target the other side of the range at $2,900-3,000. Good part; BTC pair is waking up on ETH, (whereas) other altcoins most likely going to follow suit.”

It, therefore, remains to be observed whether this is the start of Ethereum’s much-needed momentum following the recent market crash.

Ethereum Classic devs announce upcoming hard fork

On Monday, developers of the Ethereum Classic blockchain announced a hard fork to implement the project’s latest version, now scheduled for launch in late July.

The upgrade, which the community has dubbed “Magneto,” will include the four Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP) first seen in Ethereum’s Berlin upgrade earlier this year.

These proposals are meant to improve the network’s security while saving on gas costs by storing addresses and keys in one place for users to access with a single transaction.

Beta testing on Ethereum Classic’s Morder and Kotti testnets began on June 2 and June 9, respectively. The Magneto fork is set to officially occur once these tests have concluded.

Stevan Lohja, developer relations manager at Mantis — a full-featured client and wallet for Ethereum Classic — told the Ethereum Classic community:

“To ensure a successful fork, we ask ETC consumers to upgrade their node software to a Magneto compatible version if they have not done so already. If you’re not operating nodes or services, but use ETC through other services, then check with that service to ensure they’re supporting the Magneto hard fork.”
Ethereum Classic (ETC) was originally created under rocky circumstances back in 2016. The protocol forked from the Ethereum mainnet due to the $60-million hack of a project known simply as “the DAO” — an early decentralized autonomous organization. Following the exploit, Ethereum’s developers decided to roll back the malicious transactions in an attempt to circumvent the hacker and return the stolen funds to their proper owners.

Some believed that undoing these transactions would in effect override one of Ethereum’s core tenets — “Code is law.” These users felt that it was better to accept the loss and learn from the engineering mistakes that allowed the hacker to siphon the funds. As a result, the Ethereum Classic project forked away from Ethereum in an effort to preserve what some felt was the most accurate representation of the project’s blockchain.

Back in May 2021, some Ethereum Classic enthusiasts jokingly referred to the project as “the wrong Ethereum” as the price surged in excess of 300% — perhaps due to new crypto traders confusing it for Ether (ETH).


Vietnam’s Central Bank to pilot use of crypto

Vietnam’s prime minister, Phạm Minh Chính, has reportedly asked the country’s central bank for a study and pilot implementation of cryptocurrency.

Vietnam’s State Bank is set to carry out a pilot implementation of cryptocurrency between 2021 and 2023, per Vietnam News.

The pilot is part of prime minister Phạm Minh Chính’s push towards a more digital government. As well as crypto and blockchain tech, the prime minister wants to explore use cases for artificial intelligence (AI), big data, augmented reality, and virtual reality.

Vietnam’s crypto pilot
The pilot study is reportedly designed to help the government gain a better grasp of the crypto industry.

According to the deputy director of the Institute of Innovation at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City, Huỳnh Phước Nghĩa, while cashless payments have been on the rise in Vietnam, the recognition of digital currencies by the central bank would help accelerate a move to a more digital economy.

The move is also partly motivated by Vietnam’s desire to remain competitive on the world stage. According to Le Dat Chi, the university’s finance faculty’s deputy head, the majority of the world’s central banks are either already piloting digital currency schemes, or starting to develop plans for a pilot of their own.


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