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Beware Scammers Are Out for Crypto Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

Beware! Scammers Are Out for Crypto Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic


Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            APRIL 02, 2020

Analysis

As the world continues to battle with the deadly coronavirus pandemic, immoral cybercriminals are once again on the prowl. This time, they are using the chaos and fear through phishing techniques and sophisticated malware hacks to access people's crypto holdings.

On March 27, residents in the United Kingdom received warnings from their local councils “to be on their guard against a series of scams attempting to take advantage of the coronavirus outbreak.” Scammers have been using other tricks to lure victims, including the use of false Bitcoin (BTC) donation channels, fake maps of the coronavirus's spread that steal private data from computers and that install ransomware programs that can only be unlocked with Bitcoin.

Fortunately, regulators such as the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and various American states, in addition to local councils in the U.K., as well as the European Central Bank, have all issued warnings of investment scams.

False claims for Bitcoin

Some of the common schemes include scammers claiming to possess lists of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in a given area that they will sell to local residents in exchange for Bitcoin. According to research, this is done via phishing emails and texts that falsely claim to be from organizations such as the World Health Organization.

With email subjects such as “HIGH-RISK: NEW confirmed cases in your city,” the scammers trick unsuspecting users into opening the emails. The hackers then use malicious links in the email that, when clicked, steal users' private data.

Scammers claiming to sell protective gear

As shoppers have been stocking up on essentials to prepare for a long quarantine, scammers have been busy for months on e-commerce sites like Amazon, selling counterfeit hand sanitizer and face masks. They charge high prices for items in demand, accept crypto payments and then never deliver the items to the customers.

The scammers have achieved this by luring customers away from trusted sites in order to take payments addressed to phony shipping labels. Finally, the scammers then liquidate the crypto funds using several different exchanges.

Hospitals have not been spared amid these widespread cyberattacks. Reports show that ransomware attacks have been prevalent in hospitals, as they are seen as soft targets. Due to the vital nature of hospital work, victims of cyberattacks who have critical IT systems encrypted by hackers are more willing to pay up whenever such criminals demand Bitcoin to regain access to needed equipment.

Cybersecurity experts have started forming groups such as the COVID-19 CTI League in order to combat ransomware attacks on hospital IT systems during the current coronavirus crisis.

Ransomware

A team of cybersecurity experts called Malware Hunters working together with Kaspersky security analysts have uncovered a new ransomware threat called CoronaVirus. The malware was discovered on a malicious website that claimed to provide downloads of WiseCleaner, a system-optimizing application.

Upon downloading the application, a malicious file activates the CoronaVirus ransomware, thereby encrypting the user's computer. The hackers would then demand payment in Bitcoin to give back the user's access to the computer.

Other scams

Other fraudulent tricks used by scammers include the use of coronavirus maps that infect users' computers with malware. They inject code onto computers that gleans passwords and credit card numbers, as well as other important information stored in web browsers.

Other fraudsters have used articles that prompt users to subscribe to daily newsletters covering the pandemic only to expose their data to cybercriminals. To further take advantage of the global economic downturn, some have created investment and trading schemes that claim to give people an advantage in the market.

Why are scammers using crypto?

While commenting on why hackers and cybercriminals are increasingly facilitating their attacks using crypto, Alex Wilson, a co-founder of The Giving Block — an organization that equips nonprofit organizations to accept crypto donations — told Cointelegraph that Bitcoin is not the only way to extort money, adding:

“The more adoption Bitcoin gets, the more often bad people will also use it as more normal people begin to use it (proportionally). Criminals come to where honest people have their money, not vice versa. In general, illicit activity is much more prevalent in the traditional markets than in the crypto industry by a 10:1 ratio.”

Andrew Adcock, the CEO of crowdfunding platform Crowd for Angels, told Cointelegraph that the reason for the increased use of crypto in cyberattacks is because “the mechanics of Bitcoin ensure that no third party can trigger a 'refund' of a transaction.” This means that if a customer sends crypto to a hacker, they most likely won't get it back.

Tips to avoid scams

In order to avoid falling victim to these scams, Wilson suggests users follow due diligence before submitting funds for any donation. He also warns that most professional nonprofit organizations looking for donations will never ask for a donation directly. Therefore, users should look out for wallet addresses posted on social media as a red flag. He also added:

“Only donate to registered charities to make sure your money is really being used the way you think it is. You can use sites like Guidestar.org or CharityNavigator.org to look up ratings of charities.”

Adcock also recommends users take several precautionary steps to avoid scams. Users should ask themselves a couple of questions before proceeding: Is the origin of the message unknown, and has the email come from a generic address and not from a company? If unsure where the link will lead, do not click on it. Hovering over the link should show the destination. Adcock concluded: “Remember that age-old saying: 'If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.' ”

Few scams have worked out

The good news is that despite the rise in the number of coronavirus- and crypto-related scams, a number of governing bodies around the world have moved quickly to issue warnings against them. For businesses, however, Adcock advises that:

“There is a fine balance that needs to be found so that genuine companies are not penalized whilst spammers are combated.”

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Original article posted on the CoinTelegraph.com site, by Jinia Shawdagor.

Article re-posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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US COVID-19 Death Toll Crosses 5000 Record 884 Deaths In 24 Hours

US COVID-19 Death Toll Crosses 5000; Record 884 Deaths In 24 Hours

By RTTNews Staff Writer | Published: 4/2/2020 10:43 AM ET

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the United States crossed 5,000 on Wednesday, with 884 more deaths reporting in 24 hours.

This is the biggest daily surge in coronavirus deaths in U.S. since the first case in the country was reported on January 23.

Also, the number of confirmed infections across the country rose by more than 25,000 in one day.

In all, 215,344 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the United States, which is almost double the number reported in Italy (110,574), the second worst-affected in the world.

However, in terms of death, Italy's case – 13,155 – is far worse than that of the United States – 5,112.

The latest victims include a six-week-old baby.

The alarming pace of spread prompted Vice-President Mike Pence to warn that the country appeared to be on a similar trajectory as Italy.

Of the latest deaths occurred in the U.S., most of them were in New York. It continues to be the worst-hit state with 2219 deaths and 83901 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

New York City's second-most populous borough Queens, where social-distancing guidelines are hard to enforce, reportedly has the highest concentration of coronavirus infection.

New Jersey has fast overtaken many other states to become the second worst-affected state with 355 deaths and 22255 infections.

Michigan (337 deaths, 9,334 infections), Louisiana (273 deaths, 6,424 infections), Washington (254 deaths, 5984 infections), California (215 deaths, 9936 infections) and Georgia 154 death, 4748 infections) are the other worst-affected states.

Wyoming still remains to be the only U.S. state not to have reported a death from the coronavirus, but there are 137 infected cases.

Meanwhile, the states of Florida, Georgia and Mississippi have ordered its people to stay at home, leaving more than 75 percent of the country's population under lockdown.

Amid reports that two prisoners at a Louisiana prison died of coronavirus, all inmates in federal prisons have been confined to their cells and wards to prevent the spread of the disease.

Article written by an RTT News Staff Writer, and posted on the RTT News.com website.

Article reposted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Nigeria Becomes Eighth African Nation to Welcome Bitcoin ATMs

Nigeria Becomes Eighth African Nation to Welcome Bitcoin ATMs


Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            APRIL 01, 2020

Africa's largest country has welcomed its first Bitcoin ATM.

Blockstale BTM, the company that installed the ATM in the Dazey Lounge and Bar in Lagos state, plans to launch more than 30 more terminals across Nigeria.

"Despite all the legal uncertainties about cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, Nigerians happen to be the highest crypto traders in Africa," Blockstale's chief executive and founder, Daniel Adekunle, told local media on April 1. 

Adekunle developed his Bitcoin ATMs in partnership with a tech firm based in Shenzhen, China.

Nigeria welcomes Africa's 15th Bitcoin ATM

Despite being home to the largest trade volume in Africa, Nigeria is the eighth country in the continent to host a Bitcoin ATM — with Blockstale's comprising the 15th in Africa.

According to CoinATMRadar, South Africa is home to seven crypto ATMs, Ghana hosts two, and Botswana, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe each have a single terminal.

With Nigeria comprising Africa's largest economy and population, the country's first Bitcoin ATM may be a signpost for broader adoption across the continent. Coinstale's terminal is only the second Bitcoin ATM in West Africa.

Nigerian LocalBitcoins volume drops after KYC overhaul

Recent weeks have seen roughly 220 Bitcoins, or $1.38 million worth, of peer-to-peer (P2P) trade between BTC and Nigerian Naira on LocalBitcoins.

However, Nigerian LocalBitcoins has dropped by roughly 50% since the P2P platform strengthened its KYC requirements during September 2019.

Nigerian 'Bitcoin' searches top Google Trends

Nigeria also consistently tops Google searches for 'Bitcoin' — driving nearly twice the traffic as the second-ranked country, Austria, according to Google Trends.

Three of the top five ranked nations for 'Bitcoin' searches are African — with South Africa and Ghana ranking third and fifth respectively.

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Original article posted on the CoinTelegraph.com site, by Samuel Haig.

Article re-posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Opera Web Browser Adds Crypto Domain Extension for Its Users

Opera Web Browser Adds Crypto Domain Extension for Its Users

By Muskan Bagrecha   Posted on 30/03/2020   3 Min read

  • Opera has collaborated with cryptocurrency payments platform Unstoppable Domains to allow usage of decentralized websites.

Opera is now allowing users to access decentralized web pages in a partnership with Unstoppable Domains, a tech firm backed by bitcoin advocate Tim draper, in an announcement shared with Cointelegraph. The collaboration between the two involves the integration of Unstoppable Domains' .crypto domain extension to such web pages which will allow users to access decentralized websites. In addition, the users will also be allowed to execute cryptocurrency payments.

The announcement further states that the decentralized websites would be stored in a peer to peer network rather than cloud services, thereby allowing transaction to be executed without the need of a middleman and that the websites cannot be censored. Moreover, due to the strong and robust distributed network, the speed of the internet connection is also enhanced. Unstoppable Domains stated:

"Decentralized websites solve a user's ability to publish — it's on the publishing side rather than on the viewing side. Right now, you can't publish using a traditional domain registrar if you're in a place that is limiting free speech. Whereas, with decentralized website tools, you could. So it's about the publishing and not the viewing.”

There is however one disadvantage in the fact that people who reside in countries with internet censorship and other surveillance issues cannot reap the benefits of a decentralized web sit without using a VPN or any other tool.

BitcoinNews.com is committed to unbiased news and upholding journalistic codes of ethics. For more information please read our Editorial Policy here.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

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The original article written by Muskan Bagrecha and posted on BitcoinNews.com.

Article reposted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Fake Trading Volumes and the Price of Bitcoin: Are They Connected?

Fake Trading Volumes and the Price of Bitcoin: Are They Connected?


Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            MARCH 30, 2020

Last year, Bitwise Asset Management reported to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission that 95% of trading volume in Bitcoin (BTC) was fake. Bitwise found that, according to data published by CoinMarketCap — a widely cited tracker of crypto statistics — Bitcoin's approximate average daily volume in April 2019 was $10 billion. In comparison, just $5.5 billion worth of Apple stock — the most liquid stock in the world — trades daily, and the market cap of Apple stock is nine times the size of Bitcoin's.

The Blockchain Transparency Institute has been investigating fake volume in crypto markets since 2018. Its April 2019 report suggested that 17 of the 25 largest exchanges listed on CoinMarketCap had more than 99% fake volume. The most recent report from September 2019 showed "wash trading rates at high levels from 96.9% up to 99.7%."

As recently as 2019, the exchanges reporting the most volume were in some cases unheard of. According to Bitwise's research, the largest reported exchange from April 2019, FCoin, declared $1.7 billion in daily trading volume, despite at the time having just 4,781 followers on Twitter. It had been mentioned only four times on Bloomberg, all in the context of fake trading volume, and the marketing tool Alexa ranked it as having the 56,539th largest website globally.

The Bitwise study ranked Binance as the largest exchange with real volume, though it ranked 15th overall when those reporting fake volumes were included. During April 2019, Binance reported $218 million in daily trading volume — 1/7th that of FCoin — despite being mentioned 6,830 times by Bloomberg, its CEO being followed by 342,000 people on Twitter, and having a website that ranked 971th in the world, according to Alexa.

The Bitcoin market is steadily maturing, to be sure, and today's Bitcoin market is not like it was in the past. Many first-generation pillars of the Bitcoin ecosystem were started by first-time entrepreneurs who were simply interested in Bitcoin. Mt. Gox, the beleaguered, Japan-based Bitcoin exchange, was once a site for trading Magic: The Gathering cards. CoinMarketCap, the most popular data aggregator in the space, was started in 2013 as a part-time project run out of an apartment.

Today, the best-known crypto exchanges are large enterprises operating in a maturing ecosystem. Regulated Bitcoin futures, the development of institutional short lending, large algorithmic market makers, Bitcoin custody and custodial insurance have added to the efficiency of the market. Despite Bitcoin's faked volume, and a spot market smaller than commonly thought, its price is more accurately determined every day.

Bitcoin spot prices, as well as other larger-cap cryptocurrencies, are considered accurate, thanks to an established global market for Bitcoin trading and the prevalence of exchanges around the world. What's more, traditional data aggregators — think Nasdaq, the Intercontinental Exchange, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters — are entering the industry, which will give us only a clearer picture of the data that affects Bitcoin trading.

Internet attention and the price of Bitcoin

Researchers from the University of Cagliari in Italy used Google Trends, which illustrates how frequently a fixed term is looked up, to study the interplay between Bitcoin and Google's search engine. They specifically researched the relationship between Bitcoin's trading volumes and the volume of Bitcoin-related search queries made using Google.

In a report titled "The Predictor Impact of Web Search Media on Bitcoin Trading Volumes," the researchers found "significant cross correlation values, demonstrating search volumes power to anticipate trading volumes of Bitcoin currency."

The researchers studied the period between June 2014 and July 2015 and compared Bitcoin trading behavior with data on search queries obtained from Google Trends. The report concluded:

"We can affirm that Google Trends is a good predictor, because of its high cross correlation value. Our results confirm those found in previous works, based on a different corpus and referred to a different Bitcoin market trend. As future advancement, we are thinking about the possibility to apply this kind of approach to different contexts in order to better understand the predictive power of web search media. An other likelihood could be to consider not only search media but also social media like Twitter, Facebook and Google+."

As trading both digital assets and more traditional stocks and commodities become progressively digitized, online mentions will likely play a key role in determining and predicting the sentiment of various markets, not just cryptocurrency.

Crypto has "no exposure" to stocks and macroeconomics

In a 2018 report titled "Risks and Returns of Cryptocurrency," researchers Yukun Liu and Aleh Tsyvinski from Yale University found that the risk–return tradeoff of Bitcoin, Ether (ETH) and XRP differs from those seen in stocks, fiat currencies and precious metals. "Cryptocurrencies have no exposure to most common stock market and macroeconomic factors," they wrote. "They also have no exposure to the returns of currencies and commodities."

The authors concluded that cryptocurrency returns can only be predicted by aspects specific to crypto:

"Specifically, we determine that there is a strong time-series momentum effect and that proxies for investor attention strongly forecast cryptocurrency returns."

In short, cryptocurrency returns have little exposure to traditional asset classes, such as stocks, fiat currencies and commodities.

The researchers determined that cryptocurrency returns are predicted by two factors: momentum and investor attention.

"Our findings call into question popular explanations that supply factors such as mining costs, price-to-'dividend' ratio, or realized volatility are useful for predicting the behavior of cryptocurrency returns."

How is Bitcoin trading regulated?

When trading Bitcoin, knowing the rules and regulations is essential. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service declared in 2014 that Bitcoin was property, not currency. Any profits made from Bitcoin investing and trading, therefore, would be taxed at each investor's capital gains rate, not an ordinary income rate. 

In July 2019, the IRS sent letters to 10,000 digital-currency holders who failed to pay taxes or properly report taxes on digital assets. IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig stated:

"Taxpayers should take these letters very seriously by reviewing their tax filings and when appropriate, amend past returns and pay back taxes, interest and penalties."

Altcoins and having a plan

There are other things to keep in mind when trading. Before trading a specific digital asset, especially those considered altcoins, investigate its trading volume. If you're considering trading a more obscure altcoin, then you should learn how many such tokens are being bought and sold daily.

The higher the trading volume, the easier it will be to buy and sell the digital asset. Low trading volume, on the other hand, suggests a lower level of liquidity; that is, a trader could struggle to buy or sell the digital asset on the open market. Crypto exchanges have even delisted tokens with dubious or declining trade volumes.

Having a plan for every trade can help ensure you don't make a knee-jerk reaction in a fit of emotion-based trading. Disciplined investors and traders draft a game plan for the prices at which they intend to buy and sell an asset and don't deviate from this plan. In order to manage this, traders can use stop-loss orders, which ensure an asset is sold at a predetermined price.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Justin O'Connell is the founder of ChangeOutput.com, a communications shop for blockchain. He first wrote about Bitcoin in early 2012 and has worked in the industry ever since. He has software engineering experience, and his written work has appeared throughout the industry over the years.

Original article posted on the CoinTelegraph.com site, by Justin O'Connell.

Article re-posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Report Shows San Francisco Home to Highest Crypto Owners in US

Report Shows San Francisco Home to Highest Crypto Owners in US

By MUSKAN BAGRECHA   Posted on 28/03/2020   2 Min read

  • A report by CoinTracker revealed that San Francisco has the highest number of crypto owners and it is home to investors with highest average crypto wealth.

A report published by CoinTracker revealed the statistics of cryptocurrency ownership in the United States. The findings have been derived from a cumulative data collection since 2013. As per the report, San Francisco has transcended all the other major cities in the US in terms of crypto ownership with an average portfolio value of USD 55,000. San Francisco is followed by Palo Alto, Oakland and San Mateo with average portfolio size of USD 39,000, USD 35,000 and USD 30,000 respectively. New York ranked sixth with average crypto holdings of USD 23,000.

In terms of concentration of crypto investors, San Francisco topped the list with a user index of 100, followed by New York with 92, Los Angeles with 57.2 and Chicago with 48.8. Ashburn recorded the highest crypto investors on per capita basis.

The report also showed that in the US, as much as 50.3% of the crypto wealth of the investors comprised of Bitcoin (BTC), followed by Ether (ETH) at 28.7% and Tether (USDT) at 4.1%. However, certain cities like San Diego, Nashville, Seattle and Boston, among others, showed that people had a greater capital held in ether as compared to bitcoin.

BitcoinNews.com is committed to unbiased news and upholding journalistic codes of ethics. For more information please read our Editorial Policy here.

Image Courtesy: Pixabay

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The original article written by MUSKAN BAGRECHA and posted on BitcoinNews.com.

Article reposted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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World Health Organization Launches Blockchain Platform to Fight COVID-19

World Health Organization Launches Blockchain Platform to Fight COVID-19


Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            MARCH 28, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has partnered on March 28 with major blockchain and tech companies to launch a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based platform for sharing data concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

The platform, MiPasa, is built on top of Hyperledger Fabric and seeks to enable "early detection of COVID-19 carriers and infection hotspots."

MiPasa has been launched in partnership with technology company IBM, computer firm Oracle, enterprise blockchain platform Hacera and IT corporation Microsoft.

WHO launches blockchain-based platform to fight COVID-19

The platform purports to facilitate "fully private information sharing between individuals, state authorities and health institutions."

The project cross-references siloed location and health data is "siloed" on the platform to glean global insights while ensuring patient privacy, with MiPasa describing the platform as a "verifiable information highway." MiPasa is slated to soon host an array of publicly accessible analytics tools too.

According to the project's website:

"MiPasa can help monitor and foresee local and global epidemiological trends and detect likely asymptomatic carriers by feeding big data on infection routes and occurrences to powerful AI processors around the world."

A number of national health institutions are also contributing to the project — including the U.S., European, and Chinese Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hong Kong Department of Health, the Government of Canada and China's National Health Commission.

The fight against coronavirus highlights applications for DLT

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted many of the applications for blockchain technology.

On March 25, it was reported that the United Arab Emirates (UAE)s Ministry of Community Development (MOCD) is adopting DLT-based solutions for identity verification and the distribution of official documents — allowing customers to securely engage with the MOCD from home.

Blockchain technology has also been suggested as the most efficient means through which the United States' stimulus package could be distributed — with some proponents even proposing that the U.S. launch a DLT-based "digital dollar."

China has deployed blockchain in numerous applications to assist its efforts to fight COVID-19, using DLT to track the virus' spread, medical records, and the distribution of medical supplies and charity donations.

A Chinese journalist has also used Ethereum (ETH) to bypass censorship and publish an interview with a Wuhan-based doctor on the pandemic.

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Original article posted on the CoinTelegraph.com site, by Samuel Haig.

Article re-posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Microsoft Files Patent For Crypto Mining System Using Body Activity Data

Microsoft Files Patent For Crypto Mining System Using Body Activity Data


Image courtesy of CoinTelegraph

            MARCH 27, 2020

Tech giant, Microsoft, is looking to develop a cryptocurrency system which enables individuals to mine cryptocurrency using their body activity data, eliminating the need for specialized mining machines.

Microsoft published a patent dubbed "Cryptocurrency system using body activity data" on March 26. Their paperwork details a method of crypto mining which exploits data associated with a user's body activity to exercise a new form of proof-of-work. The document further details:

"For example, a brain wave or body heat emitted from the user when the user performs the task provided by an information or service provider, such as viewing advertisement or using certain internet services, can be used in the mining process."

Diagram of the invention. Source: Patentscope
Diagram of the invention. Source: Patentscope

To implement the process, a server provides a task to a user's device, which is communicatively coupled to the server. A special sensor then indicates body activity of the individual, while a cryptocurrency system verifies whether or not the body activity data satisfies the conditions set by the cryptocurrency system. Ultimately, the system awards cryptocurrency to the user whose body activity data is verified.

Blockchain patents gain traction

Technology companies continue to experiment with cryptocurrency and blockchain in an attempt to remain a step ahead of their rivals. In the United States alone, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted 227 blockchain-related patents from January 2014 to October 2019.

Recently, another tech behemoth, IBM, was awarded a patent for the development of a so-called "self-aware token." The idea of the development is that the adoption of new forms of currency will create questions regarding the ability to validate, authenticate, and coordinate transactions across diverse forms of payment and trade that traditionally had little or no interaction.

Brian Amstrong, the CEO of Coinbase, patented a method that enables users to make Bitcoin (BTC) payments using email addresses tied to wallet addresses, without incurring transaction fees.

Original article posted on the CoinTelegraph.com site, by Ana Alexandre.

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Millions Out of Work: Weekly Jobless Claims Soar Amid Pandemic

Millions Out of Work: Weekly Jobless Claims Soar Amid Pandemic

More than 3 million Americans file for unemployment as the coronavirus pandemic brings the economy to an unprecedented standstill.

M. COREY GOLDMAN   •   UPDATED:MAR 26, 2020 9:49 AM EDT   •   ORIGINAL:MAR 26, 2020


Image © courtesy of abc12.com

More than 3.3 million Americans are out of work and have filed for jobless claims, an unheard of number never before recorded in the United States, as the onslaught of the deadly coronavirus brings the U.S. economy to an unprecedented standstill.

The U.S. Labor Department reported on Thursday that jobless claims for the week ended March 21 tallied 3.283 million, an astronomical number considering the working population of the United States.

Economists surveyed by Econoday had expected 1 million jobless claims for a week that saw wide shutdowns in recreation, food services and manufacturing because of the coronavirus outbreak. The last record weekly number was 695,000 set in 1982.

"Depression economy needed Depression response," David Rosenberg, chief economist of Rosenberg Research, wrote on Twitter, noting in awe that the number was even higher than Goldman Sachs's dire 2-million-plus prediction.

Goldman Sachs economist David Choi a week ago said he saw initial claims for the week ended March 21 jumping to a seasonally adjusted 2.25 million.

Jobless claims the week prior numbered 281,000. Forecasts in a Reuters poll ranged from 250,000 claims up to 4 million for the week.

Jobless claims across the U.S. soared as the coronavirus pandemic prompted widespread shutdowns of commerce and industry, and layoffs with it, but it's going to get significantly worse, economists say.

Until March, U.S. employers had added jobs for a record 113 straight months, causing payrolls to grow by 22 million, pushing the jobless rate to 3.5% in February, a near-record level not seen since the 1960s.

The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending March 14 were in California (+14,221), Washington (+7,624), Nevada (+4,047), Pennsylvania (+3,212), and Massachusetts (+2,737), while the largest decreases were in Arkansas (-461), Alabama (-341), Puerto Rico (-171), West Virginia (-168), and Maine (-81), the Labor Department said.

The surreal numbers follow the Trump administration's ask that states hold back from releasing their own unemployment-claims figures prior to the publication of the national numbers each Thursday – a move meant to keep the headline-grabbing numbers contained for now.

They also come ahead of the U.S. government's record $2.2 trillion stimulus plan to give American families and businesses a financial shield against the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The real question at hand now is if the current stimulus package is enough to give Americans the support they need," said Mike Loewengart, Managing Director, Investment Strategy with E*TRADE Financial.

"This environment is no doubt taking a toll on the consumer, a critical driver of economic health, and crunching profitability of small and big businesses alike."

The original article written by M. Corey Goldman and posted on thestreet.com.

Article reposted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Report: Binance Futures Surpasses Bitmex in 24hr Bitcoin BTC Trade Volume

Report: Binance Futures Surpasses Bitmex in 24hr Bitcoin (BTC) Trade Volume

The Binance Futures platform is less than a year old but has managed to eclipse BitMex in 24 hour trade volume.

In Brief:

  • According to a new report, the Binance futures platform has eclipsed BitMex in 24-hour trade volume.
  • At its peak, Binance Futures managed an all-time-high of $9 Billion in Bitcoin (BTC) futures contracts in a day.
  • Binance has continually kept building and being a few steps ahead of the competition.

In a tweet a few days ago, the Vice President of the Binance Futures platform, Aaron Gong, announced that the platform was now leading in terms of the volume of Bitcoin (BTC) contracts traded in a 24 hour period. Mr. Gong went on to thank users of the platform who have made this feat possible.

$2.3 Billion in 24hr Trade Volume, Eclipsing Bitmex

The exchange went on to release a full report explaining that the platform's BTC perpetual contract was averaging $2.343 Billion in 24-hour trade volume compared to Bitmex's $2.121 Billion in a similar time frame. At one point, Binance successfully handled $9 Billion worth of Bitcoin contracts in a day.

Rapid Growth of the Binance Futures Platform

Launched in September 2019, the Binance futures platform currently has 24 USDT contracts covering major digital assets such as BTC, Ethereum, XRP, Litecoin, Dash, Link and more. Such a variety has allowed the exchange to host half of all the top 10 most liquid altcoin contracts. (Also to note, is that in September 2019, the exchange acquired JEX: a crypto derivatives trading platform.) Mr. Gong is quoted as explaining that the trustworthiness of Binance is the reason for its accelerated growth.

Since our inception, it has been an exciting time for traders as crypto markets displayed stronger demand and volatility. Therefore, choosing a reliable and trustworthy exchange for risk-hedging has never been more critical than before. Hopefully, Binance Futures emerge as the market-standard choice for traders as we continue to expand our ecosystem throughout 2020.

Additionally, Binance has one of the lowest trading fee structure available in the crypto-verse as well as a considerably stable and quick matching engine.

(Feature image courtesy of Sheri Hooley on Unsplash.)

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any additional opinion herein is purely the author's and does not represent the opinion of Ethereum World News or any of its other writers. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available. Thank you.

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Original article posted on the EthereumWorldNews.com site, by John P. Njui.

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