Crypto Mining Difficulty Hits ATH, Gemini Investigated, South Korea Tracks Crypto

Summary:
• Bitcoin mining difficulty has hit a new All-Time High (ATH) of 39.35 T.
• The NYDFS is investigating crypto exchange Gemini over its claims related to the safety of customer funds.
• South Korea’s Ministry of Justice plans to implement a Virtual Currency Tracking System to monitor transactions and check the source of funds.

Bitcoin Mining Difficulty Hits New ATH

The difficulty of mining a Bitcoin (BTC) block increased by 4.68% on Sunday, hitting a new all-time high (ATH) of 39.35 T. It had hit its previous ATH of 37.59 T following the previous difficulty adjustment on January 15.

Gemini Investigated by NYDFS

The US, New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) is investigating crypto exchange Gemini over its claims related to the safety of customer funds. Gemini reportedly claimed last year that the assets of its Earn product customers were safe due to it being backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Current and former FDIC officials told Axios that while the FDIC language Gemini used is misleading, it’s unclear whether it actually violates the law.

South Korea Plans Crypto Tracking System

The South Korean Ministry of Justice said it plans to create a crypto tracking system in the first half of 2021, in order to „strengthen the tracking of money laundering using virtual currency and recovery criminal proceeds.“ The “Virtual Currency Tracking System” will be used to monitor transaction history, extract information related to transactions, and check sources funds before and after remittance.

China Should Consider Long-Term Effects Of Crypto Ban

Huang Yiping, a former adviser to China’s central People’s Bank of China (PBOC), said Beijing should consider long-term effects when considering its cryptocurrency ban as reported by South China Morning Post..

FTX Seeks To Remove Turkish Units From Bankruptcy Case

Crypto exchange FTX seeks removal Turkish units from bankruptcy case arguing Turkish authorities are unlikely follow instructions from US courts according court filing stating: “The orders entered this Court do not have legal or practical effect Türkiye Debtors have no reason believe Turkish government will comply with this Court’s orders.“

Crypto Casino Stake.com Sponsors Alfa Romeo Racing Team With $100 Million Deal

• Alfa Romeo racing team has secured a $100 million sponsorship from crypto casino Stake.com.
• This is one of the first and biggest crypto-related sponsorships following the crash of FTX exchange.
• Stake has a growing list of partnerships with sports teams and famous personalities.

The crypto gambling platform, Stake.com, based in Australia, has made a landmark move by entering a partnership agreement worth $100 million with the Alfa Romeo Racing team. This marks one of the biggest, and first, crypto-related sponsorships since the catastrophic collapse of FTX exchange, which was widely known for its high-level and wide-reaching sponsorships.

The new year has brought with it a sense of optimism towards the markets, with Bitcoin rallying up around 40% year-to-date and on-chain data increasingly indicating that the worst may have passed. This resurgence in the crypto market, particularly with the rally of Bitcoin, has seemingly led to an increased interest in crypto-related sponsorships.

As part of the partnership agreement with Stake, the racing team will be adopting a new name, „Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake“, and will be part of a long-term collaboration, as per the official statement. Bijan Tehrani, co-founder of Stake.com, commented on the partnership by saying that it will open up new opportunities for fan engagement through brand integration and activation, and that the company is dedicated to improving race weekends by providing unique experiences for fans and increasing engagement in the digital space.

Stake has a growing list of partnerships with sports teams and famous personalities. The company has previously signed a deal with Everon football club, which was considered to be one of the most valuable sponsorship agreements in the team’s history. Additionally, it also collaborated with the rapper Drake for a Bitcoin giveaway.

The Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake partnership with Stake.com is a further indication of the renewed interest in crypto-related sponsorships, and a sign that the bear market may finally be over. With Bitcoin prices continuing to rise and the crypto market looking to make a comeback, we may be seeing more of these kinds of partnerships in the near future.

Enjin Coin Price Soars 68.9%: War of Ants Update Fixes Bugs, Introduces Ads

Bulletpoints:
• Enjin Coin Price has surged by 68.9% in two weeks
• An update for the War of Ants mobile game has been released
• The update fixed several bugs, removed the menu wallpaper and introduced interstitial ads

Enjin Coin has been experiencing a tremendous surge in price lately, with its value growing by 68.9% in two weeks. The NFT and gaming platform has seen its price skyrocket by 59.7% in a month, with its value currently dodders at $0.42. Bulls were able to successfully conquer resistance at $0.40, flipping it into immediate support.

To keep up with its growth, Enjin Coin has announced new updates for one of its games, War of Ants. The mobile strategy game, which is fueled by war, is a real-time PvP experience. Players are in charge of their own ant colony, competing with other colonies throughout the world. The updates for the game fixed several bugs, removed the menu wallpaper and introduced interstitial ads. Additionally, some units were nerfed and buffed to provide a better gaming experience.

The Enjin Coin ecosystem is continuing to expand, with the updates for War of Ants being just one example of the team’s dedication to product development. With its growing popularity, many investors are asking whether Enjin Coin will be able to reclaim its all-time high of $1 by next week. Only time will tell, but the outlook is certainly looking bullish so far.

Bithumb Under Tax Investigation: Prosecution Summons Suspected Shareholder

• South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has been the subject of a „special“ tax investigation by the National Tax Service (NTS) and prosecutors have summoned its suspected largest shareholder for questioning.
• The investigation is being carried out by a branch of the Bureau of Investigation of the Seoul Regional Tax Service and will examine cases of possible tax evasion.
• Prosecution officials are also investigating Bithumb’s owners, which are thought to be highly complex, with many shareholders owning stakes.

South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has recently become the subject of a „special“ tax investigation by the National Tax Service (NTS). The investigation is being carried out by a branch of the Bureau of Investigation of the Seoul Regional Tax Service and seeks to examine cases of possible tax evasion. In addition, prosecutors have summoned its suspected largest shareholder for questioning.

The investigation was launched on January 10, when NTS officers were dispatched to the headquarters of both Bithumb Korea and Bithumb Holdings, the two companies operating the Bithumb trading platform. The NTS is seeking to “examine the domestic and international transactions of Bithumb Korea, Bithumb Holdings, and affiliate companies.” This is not the first time that Bithumb has been subject to a tax investigation. Back in 2018, the exchange was hit with a tax bill worth over $64 million.

The ownership of the exchange is thought to be highly complex, with many shareholders owning stakes. These include a number of publicly listed companies that have no other ties to the blockchain or crypto industries. As such, prosecution officials are also looking into the owners of Bithumb. This investigation was prompted by the death of the Vice President of one of the publicly listed companies, which was ruled a “suspected suicide.”

The investigation into Bithumb has caused concern amongst its users, many of whom remain unaware of the potential implications for the exchange. This has been further complicated by the fact that the NTS has yet to issue a statement regarding the investigation.

It is unclear how the investigation will impact the exchange, but it is likely that the process will take some time to resolve. In the meantime, Bithumb users are advised to take extra precautions when using the platform, to ensure that their funds remain safe.

China Launches State-Backed NFT Marketplace: Crypto Assets Sidelined

• The Chinese government has announced plans to launch a state-backed „non-fungible token (NFT)“ marketplace.
• The platform will go live on January 1 and will be an official “secondary market for digital assets that comply with national regulations”.
• Private blockchain networks and NFTs are being used, but crypto assets are being sidelined in favor of fiat yuan.

The Chinese government has recently made moves to enter the NFT space with its own version of a state-backed „non-fungible token (NFT)“ marketplace. The Hangzhou Internet Court ruled that virtual items such as NFTs can be legally recognized as property, and Beijing is now ready to launch the China Digital Asset Trading Platform on January 1. It will become an official “secondary market for digital assets that comply with national regulations”.

The government is determined to sideline all crypto assets and instead cherry-pick technological advances associated with crypto and the blockchain space. Private blockchain networks and NFTs are part of this picture, but firms have been encouraged to label their products as „digital collectibles“, rather than NFTs, and limitations have been placed on secondary market trading in a bid to reduce „speculation“ on NFT prices. Cryptocurrency will be replaced by the fiat yuan currency, and marketplace transactions will be recorded on centralized ledgers, rather than on the blockchain.

The Chinese government is placing a heavy emphasis on its own version of an NFT marketplace, and it’s clear that it sees potential in digital assets. Although it remains to be seen how this platform will be used, it could be a way of allowing Chinese citizens to access the virtual asset market. It is also possible that this platform could be used to provide a gateway to wider international markets, with digital assets being traded with foreign countries.

The Chinese government’s decision to launch its own NFT platform could be the start of something significant. It will be a test of whether the state-backed model can be successful in a space that has traditionally been dominated by decentralized networks. It will also be interesting to see how the Chinese government will continue to regulate the space, and if other countries, such as the United States, will follow suit.

Shark Tank Star Kevin O’Leary’s Twitter Account Hacked for Crypto Scam

• Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary’s Twitter account was hacked on Thursday and used to promote a crypto scam.
• The now-deleted tweet claimed to give away 5,000 BTC and 15,000 ETH, instructing users to first send their own digital assets to verify their wallet addresses.
• Crypto giveaway scams are one of the most prevalent types of scams in the industry, often impersonating well-known figures such as Elon Musk, Michael Saylor, and CZ.

On Thursday, Kevin O’Leary, the famed investor and star of the ABC reality show Shark Tank, experienced the unfortunate reality of being hacked. O’Leary’s Twitter account, which has over 982,000 followers, was taken over by malicious actors and used to promote a crypto giveaway scam.

The now-deleted tweet, which featured an accompanying image of O’Leary himself, claimed that users had the chance to receive 5,000 Bitcoins (BTC) and 15,000 Ether (ETH). In order to receive the giveaway prizes, the tweet directed users to first send their own digital assets to a specific wallet address to verify their wallet addresses. However, after the required funds were sent, no money was returned to the respondents and the scammers made away with the funds.

Crypto giveaway scams are one of the most prevalent types of scams in the industry. These scams often involve the hack of famous people’s or organizations‘ accounts, impersonating well-known figures such as Elon Musk, Michael Saylor, and CZ in order to promote their fraudulent schemes. In this case, the malicious actors used O’Leary’s account to try and scam unsuspecting users out of their hard-earned funds.

Unfortunately, these types of scams are becoming increasingly common, and users must be vigilant when engaging with online accounts. As such, it is important to always double-check the account’s legitimacy before sending any money or digital assets, and never click on any links or provide any personal information without verifying the source first. Any suspicious activity should be reported to the authorities to ensure that these criminals are brought to justice and that the victims‘ funds are recovered.

Galaxy Digital Invest $100M to Save Argo Bitcoin Miner from Bankruptcy

• Galaxy Digital, a financial services firm led by Michael Novogratz, has invested $100 million to prevent Argo Bitcoin Miner’s bankruptcy.
• As part of the deal, Galaxy will provide Argo with a new asset-backed loan of $35 million and purchase its Helios Bitcoin mining facility.
• Argo will use the proceeds from the sale and loan to repay existing debts of $84 million and $1 million.

Galaxy Digital, a financial services firm led by Michael Novogratz, has announced an investment of $100 million in an effort to prevent the bankruptcy of Argo Bitcoin Miner. The move comes as part of a restructuring effort to help the firm remain financially afloat during the bear market.

As part of the deal, Galaxy will provide Argo with a new asset-backed loan of $35 million, secured by a collateral package that includes mining machines currently operating at Helios, as well as some machines located at Argo’s Canadian data centers. In addition, Galaxy will buy Argo’s Helios Bitcoin (BTC) mining facility.

The cash proceeds from the sale of Helios and a portion of the borrowings under the asset-backed loan will be used to repay existing debts of $84 million owed to NYDIG ABL LLC and $1 million to North Mill Commercial Finance. Some $6 million will also be returned to the company upon this repayment from a collateral account controlled by NYDIG ABL LLC.

Galaxy will host Argo’s 23,619 Bitmain S19J Pro mining machines located at Helios and the firm will have the right to purchase additional machines at a discounted rate. Galaxy will also receive a license to use Argo’s proprietary software and the right to receive a percentage of the gross mining revenue earned by Argo.

In a statement, Peter Wall, Argo’s Chief Executive, said, “This transaction with Galaxy is a transformational one for Argo and benefits the Company in several ways. It reduces our debt by $41 million and provides us with a stronger balance sheet and enhanced liquidity to help ensure continued operations through the ongoing bear market. It also allows us to focus on optimizing our operations with significantly lower capex [capital expenditures] and opex [operating expenses] requirements.”

The deal between Galaxy Digital and Argo is expected to help the latter remain financially stable during this bear market. It will also provide the firm with additional liquidity and help to optimize its operations. This investment is also seen as a vote of confidence in the cryptocurrency industry and could open the door for more investors to enter the space.

Palau Explores National Stablecoin with Ripple Labs; FGHT Offers Alternative Crypto Prospects

• The Republic of Palau is working with blockchain company Ripple Labs to explore the prospect of developing a “national stablecoin”.
• The current XRP/USD pair is trading at $0.3560 with a small bearish bias and is struggling under the $0.3715 level.
• Investors looking for alternative cryptos with better short-term prospects can consider presales of FightOut (FGHT).

The Republic of Palau is actively exploring the possibility of developing a “national stablecoin” with blockchain company Ripple Labs. This news has exerted bearish pressure on XRP, causing its price to fall.

The XRP/USD pair is currently trading at $0.3560 with a small bearish bias. The XRP/USD has been struggling under the $0.3715 level, and candle closings below this level have triggered a bearish movement. XRP is currently trading sharply lower near the 0.3576 level. A break below the 0.3560 level may expose the XRP price to the next support level of 0.3445. Leading technical indicators such as MCD and RSI are trading in a bearish zone, indicating that the market is currently in a strong selling trend. In addition, a bullish breakout of the 0.3715 level could expose a ripple toward the 0.3810 level.

With the current market slowdown, XRP’s price prediction remains bearish as it struggles below the $0.3715 level. Despite occasional setbacks, like the bankruptcies and arrests of some of its previous major players, several governments are eager to join the crypto bandwagon and are considering the formation of national stablecoins.

Investors looking for alternative cryptos with better short-term prospects can consider presales of FightOut (FGHT). FGHT platform functions similarly to a personal trainer, with the exception that the FGHT token is proactively rewarded to users for their physical activities. This reward system, combined with a passion for physical activities, creates an interesting and comprehensive user experience.

In conclusion, the XRP price prediction remains bearish as it struggles below the $0.3715 level. Despite this, the Republic of Palau is actively working with Ripple Labs to explore the prospect of developing a “national stablecoin”. Investors looking for alternative cryptos with better short-term prospects can consider presales of FightOut (FGHT).

Crypto and Blockchain Advancements on the Rise: Fidelity, Defrost, Argo, Striga Lead the Way

Bulletpoints:
• US asset manager Fidelity has filed three trademark applications in the US related to the metaverse, NFTs, virtual real estate, crypto trading, and metaverse investment services.
• Decentralized finance protocol Defrost Finance has said it will soon start the process of refunding assets to the rightful owners prior to the attack.
• Crypto mining company Argo Blockchain has asked for a suspension of trading for its ADSs and unsecured notes traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, and Striga has announced crypto on-ramp and off-ramp application programming interfaces (APIs).

US asset manager Fidelity has recently filed three trademark applications in the US related to the metaverse, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), virtual real estate, crypto trading, and metaverse investment services. The applications are a sign of increasing interest in the metaverse and virtual worlds, as well as in NFTs, which have become increasingly popular in recent months.

In other news, decentralized finance protocol Defrost Finance, which was hacked on December 23, announced that, as all V1 hacked funds have been returned, the team would soon start the process of refunding these assets to the rightful owners prior to the attack. This will be done through a refunding smart contract, and owners will be able to claim their assets back in stablecoins.

Crypto mining company Argo Blockchain also recently announced that it had requested a suspension of trading for its ADSs and unsecured notes traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market as the London Stock Exchange is closed for trading on 27 December. The company expects that trading on Nasdaq will resume on 28 December.

Finally, Striga, a builder of infrastructure for digital assets and financial services, recently announced crypto on-ramp and off-ramp application programming interfaces (APIs). These APIs make it easier to hold or cash out cryptocurrencies to various products including neobanks, marketplace, Web3 apps, and decentralized finance (DeFi) projects. The company’s new fiat-to-crypto or crypto-to-fiat can be embedded into existing apps or used as standalone products.

Overall, the recent developments in the crypto and blockchain space show that there is an increasing interest in virtual worlds and NFTs, as well as in decentralized finance protocols and crypto mining companies. With the increasing number of applications, products, and services related to the crypto and blockchain space, it is likely that we will see even more advancements in the near future.