Značka: monero

Former Monero maintainer Riccardo 'Fluffypony' Spagni to surrender for South Africa extradition

Riccardo Spagni, the former maintainer of the privacy coin Monero also known as Fluffypony, faces extradition to South Africa months after his arrest by U.S. authorities.In a Thursday court filing for the Middle District of Tennessee, Magistrate Judge Alistair Newbern ordered Spagni to surrender to U.S. Marshals on July 5 for extradition to South Africa. He will reportedly face 378 charges related to allegations of fraud and forgery between 2009 and 2011 at a company called Cape Cookies. U.S. authorities arrested Spagni in Nashville in July 2021 at the request of the South African government, holding him in custody until September. The court filings hint at allowing Spagni to be in the United States for the Independence Day holiday weekend before being taken to Africa early on Tuesday. None of the charges in South Africa are related to Spagni’s time working on Monero (XMR), for which he was the lead maintainer until December 2019. Related: Privacy coins are surging — Will regulatory pressure stall their stellar run?Spagni, who posts on Twitter under the handle Fluffypony, has been involved in the crypto space since 2011. Since his arrest in the United States, he tweeted regarding his desire to return to South Africa to “address this matter” related to the fraud charges:I am very pleased that the U.S. court has released me. I am actively working with my attorneys on a way to return to South Africa as soon as possible so I can address this matter and get it behind me once and for all. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do.— fluffy/pony (@fluffypony) September 21, 2021According to data from Cointelegraph Markets, the price of XMR has fallen roughly 8% in the last 24 hours, reaching $110 at the time of publication. As with many cryptocurrencies in the current bear market, the price of the privacy coin has fallen significantly in the last 30 days — roughly 46% from more than $206 on May 31. 

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Regulations and exchange delistings put future of private cryptocurrencies in doubt

The core principles of cryptocurrency were based on financial independence, decentralization and anonymity. With regulations being the key to mass adoption, however, the privacy aspect of the crypto market seems to be in jeopardy.In 2022, even though no particular country has come up with a universal regulatory outline that governs the whole crypto market, most countries have introduced some form of legislation to govern a few aspects of the crypto market such as trading and financial services. While different countries have set different rules and regulations in accordance with their existing financial laws, a common theme has been the strict implementation of Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations. A majority of crypto exchanges operating with a license obtained from the government body or government-affiliated bodies have discouraged any form of anonymous transactions. Even in countries where there is no particular law on privacy coins, there is a ban on private transactions over a certain threshold.The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have also demanded regulatory action against the use of coin mixing tools, a service used to obscure the origin of a transaction by mixing it with multiple other transactions. Coinjoin, a popular crypto mixing tool, recently announced they would block illicit transactions amid-regulatory heat. Related: Crypto mixers’ relevance wanes as regulators take aimThe recent delisting of Litecoin (LTC) by several crypto exchanges in South Korea owing to its recent privacy-focused MimbleWimble upgrade is another example of how the privacy aspect of the cryptocurrency is the first to fall on the road to regulatory acceptance. Apart from South Korean exchanges delisting LTC, many global exchanges including Binance and Gate.IO also refused to support transactions using the MimbleWimble upgrade.Most regulations focus on making cryptocurrencies more transparent so that consumers and businesses feel at ease with them. This may be good news for institutional and corporate investors, but it could be a blow for privacy-focused coins.At a time when regulatory oversight is at its highest, there is a special threat to privacy coins such as Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC), which are already banned on several leading exchanges. However, experts believe that despite the ongoing case against privacy coins, people will continue to use them.Privacy tokens are a red flag for many regulators, who often prefer that blockchain transactions are auditable, verifiable and take place on a public chain. Under regulatory scrutiny around the worldPrivacy coins obscure the key identifiers of transactions such as the address of the sender or receiver, a feature that regulators believe could be misused by miscreants. Even some nations like Japan, which was once seen as the leading country in terms of progressive crypto regulations, decided to do away with privacy coins.Japan banned the use of privacy-focused cryptocurrencies in 2018, after which several registered crypto exchanges in the country delisted privacy coins from their platform. Similarly, South Korea has not just banned privacy coins, but any form of private transactions is prohibited on Korean crypto exchanges.In the United States, privacy coins remain legal. However, the Secret Service recommended that Congress regulate privacy-enhanced cryptocurrencies. In August 2020, Australian regulators forced many exchanges to delist privacy coins. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has similarly listed the use of privacy coins as a potential red flag for money laundering through virtual assets.Some cryptocurrency exchanges have also stopped offering privacy coins as a result of AML guidance. In January 2021, Bittrex, the eighth largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, announced that it would drop Monero and Zcash from its platform. Kraken, the fourth largest exchange, delisted Monero in the United Kingdom in November 2021 following guidance from the United Kingdom’s financial markets regulator.Ankit Verma, chief investment officer at crypto investment platform Mudrex, told Cointelegraph:“While some exchanges periodically prohibit trading privacy coins, most of the largest privacy coins are currently available for trading across major exchanges in different jurisdictions. Yet, the institutional skepticism around the adoption of privacy coins persists. It is difficult to predict the usage of privacy coins on a wider scale primarily because of the strict enforcement of KYC and AML guidelines. Our belief is the absence of institutional affinity for privacy coins combined with the fact they are unregulated further dampens the possibility of widespread adoption of privacy coins.”Regulatory pressure has mounted to such a level where even privacy features of particular cryptocurrencies come under scrutiny, even if the crypto itself is not solely focused on privacy. Thus, experts believe the real winners will be those who combine the best of privacy and regulatory compliance. Fennie Wang, CEO at Humanity Cash — a community-based currency development platform — told Cointelegraph:“The winners will be protocols that balance between user privacy and regulatory compliance using a combination of cryptographic techniques and sound policy translation. Decentralized identity primitives alongside zero-knowledge Proofs, homomorphic encryption and multi-party computation will be central to this equation.”Can privacy coins survive the regulatory onslaught?Privacy coins remain a gray area in several countries where they are not banned but governments have discouraged their use.Chris Kline, chief operating officer at Bitcoin IRA — a crypto retirement plan provider — believes privacy coins can co-exist despite the current regulatory downturn. She explained:“Privacy coins can co-exist in a regulatory environment. This coexistence will take place alongside new rules and challenges as the CFTC takes the lead on standards ahead.”Many other experts believe that, while privacy coins will find it hard to get regulatory approval, regulators will become more sophisticated toward privacy coins and bring them under their regulatory purview.Nikos Kostopoulos, a blockchain adviser at European Union IT infrastructure firm NetCompany, told Cointelegraph:“While it is foreseen that privacy coins might not have a position in regulated cryptocurrency exchanges, the privacy coins will not be evaporated from the market cap, but rather will find audiences and venues where privacy is fundamental while regulators will become more sophisticated towards their approach to privacy coins — for example with imposed KYC/AML once there is a transaction with fiat currencies or cryptocurrencies.”Recent: Consensus 2022: Web3, unpacking regulations, and optimism for crypto’s futurePrivacy is still a key concern for many in the crypto community, and this concern is amplified when it comes to sensitive information such as financial transactions. This is why privacy coins are so important for preserving and securing users’ interests. They ensure that sensitive user data is not accessible to just anybody and that transactions are conducted privately. Some privacy coins such as Zcash and Dash (DASH) let users choose whether or not to encrypt their transactions, giving them complete control over their data. Multiple reports have shown that less than 1% of crypto transactions account for criminal activity and cash still remains the currency of convenience for criminals. Given all these positives of privacy coins, declaring a full ban on them might cause a threat to user privacy and, ultimately, the underlying technology.

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Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, ADA, XLM, XMR, MANA

The bears are trying to extend Bitcoin’s (BTC) record of nine consecutive red weekly candles to ten weeks, but the bulls are trying to avert this negative occurrence. Although sentiment remains negative, Arthur Hayes, former CEO of derivatives giant BitMEX, anticipates Bitcoin to bottom out in the range of $25,000 to $27,000.On-chain data from Glassnode shows that smart money may have started accumulating Bitcoin. The net outflows from major cryptocurrency exchanges reached 23,286 Bitcoin on June 3, the highest since May 14.Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360Another positive sign of accumulation is that investment into Bitcoin exchange-traded products (ETPs) was strong in May and has only risen further in the first two days of June, according to an Arcane Research report. The ETPs hold 205,000 Bitcoin under management, which is a new record.Could Bitcoin turn up and start a recovery? If that happens, could select altcoins follow the leader? Let’s study the charts of the top-5 cryptocurrencies that may lead the relief rally.BTC/USDTBitcoin plunged below the 20-day exponential moving average ($30,459) on June 1. The bulls attempted to push the price back above the 20-day EMA on June 2 and June 3 but the bears did not relent. BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe bears will try to pull the price below the strong support at $28,630. If they manage to do that, the BTC/USDT pair could drop to the vital support at $26,700. The buyers are expected to defend this support zone with all their might because if they fail to do that, the downtrend may resume.On the upside, the bulls will have to push and sustain the price above $32,659 to suggest that a new uptrend could be starting. The bullish momentum could pick up on a break and close above the 50-day simple moving average ($33,778). The pair could then rally to the pattern target of $36,688 and thereafter to $40,000.BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows that the price action is getting squeezed. Although bulls pushed the price above the 20-EMA, they are facing stiff resistance at the 50-SMA. This suggests that bears are active at higher levels.A minor positive in favor of the bulls is that they have not allowed the price to break below the support at $29,282. If the price rises from the current level and breaks above the downtrend line, the bulls will attempt to push the pair to the 200-SMA. Conversely, if the price breaks below $29,282, the next stop could be $28,630.ADA/USDTCardano (ADA) broke above the downtrend line on May 31 but the bulls could not sustain the higher levels as seen from the long wick on the day’s candlestick. ADA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewAlthough the bears have successfully defended the downtrend line, a minor positive is that the bulls have held the ADA/USDT pair above the 20-day EMA ($0.56). This increases the possibility of a break above the downtrend line. If that happens, the pair could rally to the 50-day SMA ($0.67) where the bears may again pose a strong challenge. A break and close above this level will suggest a potential change in trend. The pair could then rally to the breakdown level of $0.74.Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down and plummets below $0.53, the bears will try to pull the pair to $0.50 and later to $0.44.ADA/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows that the price has been squeezed between the 200-SMA and the 50-SMA but this tight range trading is unlikely to continue for long. If bulls propel the price above the 200-SMA, the pair could attempt a rally to $0.64. A break and close above this level could open the doors for a possible rally to $0.69.Conversely, if the price turns down and breaks below $0.53, the selling could pick up momentum. The pair may then decline to $0.50 and later to $0.47.XLM/USDTStellar (XLM) rallied above the 20-day EMA ($0.14) on May 30, which was the first indication that the selling pressure may be reducing. The bears stalled the up-move near the 50-day SMA ($0.15) but they haven’t been able to sink and sustain the price below the 20-day EMA.XLM/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThis suggests that the bulls are buying the dips to the 20-day EMA. If bulls drive the price above the 50-day SMA, it will suggest the start of a sustained recovery. The XLM/USDT pair could then attempt a rally to $0.18 and later to the 200-day SMA ($0.21).This positive view will invalidate in the short term if the price turns down and breaks below $0.13. Such a move will suggest that demand dries up at higher levels. That could pull the pair down to $0.12. If this support also gives way, the bears will try to resume the downtrend by sinking the pair below the psychological level of $0.10.XLM/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows the price is trading inside a symmetrical triangle. If bulls push the price above the resistance line of the triangle, the pair could rally to $0.15 and thereafter attempt a rally to the pattern target of $0.17.Alternatively, if the price turns down from the current level, the bears will try to sink the pair below the support line of the triangle. If they do that, the selling could intensify and the pair may slide to the strong support at $0.13.Related: 3 reasons Ethereum price risks 25% downside in JuneXMR/USDTMonero’s (XMR) failure to rise above the 50-day SMA ($202) may have tempted short-term traders to book profits. That has pulled the price down to the 20-day EMA ($189).XMR/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe bulls are attempting to defend the 20-day EMA but the lack of a strong bounce off it suggests weak demand. If the price sustains below the 20-day EMA, the next stop could be the uptrend line. A break and close below this support could pull the price down to $167.On the contrary, if the price rebounds off the current level, the buyers will attempt to overcome the resistance zone between the 50-day SMA and $210. If they manage to do that, the XMR/USDT pair could extend its rally to $230.XMR/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe pair has been declining inside a descending channel, suggesting a minor advantage to sellers. If bears sink the price below the channel, the negative momentum may pick up and the pair could slide to $167.Alternatively, if the price rebounds off the support line, the buyers will try to propel the pair above the channel. If they manage to do that, the pair could again attempt a break above the overhead resistance at $210.MANA/USDTDecentraland (MANA) has failed to break above the 20-day EMA ($1.06) for the past several days but a minor positive is that the bulls have not given up much ground. This suggests that the bulls are buying on dips as they anticipate a move higher.MANA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf bulls propel the price above the 20-day EMA, it will suggest that the bears are losing their grip. The MANA/USDT pair could then rise to the overhead resistance at $1.36. This is an important level to keep an eye on because a break and close above it could signal that a bottom may be in place. The pair could then rally to $1.68.Conversely, if the price turns down and breaks below $0.90, it will suggest that the bears are in no mood to surrender their advantage. The pair could then retest the crucial support at $0.60. The bears will have to pull the price below this support to indicate the resumption of the downtrend.MANA/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows that the pair has been trading inside a tight range between $0.94 and $1.04. The gradually downsloping 20-EMA and the RSI in the negative territory suggest a slight advantage to sellers. If bears pull the price below $0.94, the pair could drop to $0.90. On the contrary, if bulls push the price above $1.04, it will suggest that demand exceeds supply. That could open the doors for a possible rally to the stiff overhead resistance at $1.15. If the price turns down from this level, the pair may oscillate between $0.90 and $1.15 for some more time. A break and close above $1.15 could suggest that buyers have the upper hand.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Top 3 cryptocurrencies that are faring the best in the 2022 bear market

The crypto market has been in decline over the past six months with its valuation dropping from over $3 trillion in November 2021 to $1.23 trillion in May 2022.Fears over persistently higher inflation, the Federal Reserve’s hawkish response to it, and the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia prompted investors to limit their exposure to riskier assets. Also, their increasing appetite for the safe-havens, such as the U.S. dollar, weighed down demand for some of the top cryptocurrencies and U.S. equities.As a result, some digital assets, such as Dogecoin (DOGE) and Cardano (ADA), fell by more than 80% from their record highs established last year. At the same time, a few tokens witnessed similar albeit dwarfed declines compared to other assets in the top-30. These are three among those cryptocurrencies listed in random order.Monero (-65%)Privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero (XMR) has suffered fewer losses than its top rivals in the space since November 2021.XMR’s price dropped nearly 40% to $186 from its November 2021 peak of around $300. The plunge surfaced as a part of a broader correction move that started after Monero reached its record high in May 2021, near $520, bringing its net downside retracement to around 65%.XMR/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingViewXMR’s limited downside prospects since November 2021 came forth amid reports that it’s been used to bypass sanctions. Meanwhile, fears of strict regulations lurking over the crypto market also appeared to have boosted the speculative demand for Monero.From a technical perspective, XMR has been consolidating in a range defined by its 50-week exponential moving average (50-week EMA; the red wave) around $211 and 200-week EMA (the blue wave) near $167, underscoring a bias conflict.UNUS SED LEO (-40%)UNUS SED LEO (LEO), a utility token backed by iFinex — the parent company of BitFinex exchange, has been largely unfazed by broader crypto trends. The token continued its uptrend even as its rivals in the top-30 moved lower after November 2021; it reached an all-time high of around $8.15 in February 2022 but has since corrected by almost 40%, now trading at around $4.90.LEO/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingViewNotably, iFinex introduced LEO in a private token sale to raise $1 billion back in 2018. In doing so, the firm wanted to alleviate the cash shortfall it had incurred after the partial fund seizure of its payment processor, Crypto Capital.IFinex also announced that it would buy back LEO with a minimum of 27% of its consolidated revenues from the previous month, thus removing its supply from the market. In addition, the firm also committed to allocating 95% of the recovered Crypto Capital funds and 80% of the funds from the BitFinex hack in 2016 to buy LEO.LEO’s returns to date now stands around 100%. But the token appears heavily centralized, with a so-called centralized exchange whale still holding around 97% of its net supply, according to data from Santiment.Binance Coin (-53%)Like Monero, Binance Coin (BNB) topped out in early May as its price per token crossed over $700. Then in November 2021, the BNB/USD pair almost retested its record high before correcting lower with the rest of the market. In doing so, it wiped out more than half of its valuation, now trading around $325.BNB/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingViewBNB serves as a utility token inside the Binance ecosystem, including the world’s leading crypto exchange by volume and a native blockchain named BNB Chain. The token holders also get to submit proposals via BNB Chain’s built-in governance module, which are then voted on.Other crypto assetsTop cryptos, Bitcoin (BTC), and Ethereum’s native token, Ether (ETH), have also fared better than most of their top-ranking rivals in the ongoing bear market. BTC’s price has dropped by 57% to around $29,300 from its November 2021 record high of $69,000. Meanwhile, the second-largest crypto, ETH, has plunged 60% to around $1,975 from above $4,850 in the same period.Related: Bitcoin price coma greets Wall Street open amid signs market ‘calling for rally’Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Polkadot (DOT) are down 65% from their record highs of $55 and $0.00008760, respectively.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Monero enters 'overbought' danger zone after XMR price gains 75% in two weeks

Monero (XMR) price may witness a sharp pullback by June because its 75% rally in the last two weeks has left the gauge almost “overbought.”Monero price RSI meets rising wedgeDownside risks have been mounting due to XMR’s relative strength index (RSI), which almost hit 70 this May 23, indicating that the market is considered overvalued. An oversold RSI could amount to a bout of declining moves, as a rule of technical analysis.Additionally, Monero is also painting a bearish reversal pattern, dubbed the rising wedge. Rising wedges form when the price moves inside a range defined by two ascending, converging trendlines. As they do, the volumes typically decline, underscoring a lack of conviction among traders about the upside price move.Rising wedges typically resolve after the price breaks below their lower trendline, followed by an extended move downside to the level that traders locate after adding the maximum wedge’s height to the breakdown point. XMR/USD four-hour price chart featuring RSI and rising wedge setup. Source: TradingViewAs a result of this technical rule, XMR risks falling toward $138.50 by June—down nearly 30% from May 23’s price—if the breakdown point comes to be around $180 hile a breakdown move that appears near the apex point around $200 would shift the wedge’s downside target to nearly $150.A slightly bullish XMR setupConcurrent with the rising wedge, XMR has also been forming an ascending channel pattern, confirmed by at least two reactive highs and lows across the past two weeks, as shown below.XMR/USD four-hour price chart featuring ascending channel. Source: TradingViewXMR now trades in the middle of its ascending channel range, eyeing a close above $200, a historically significant support level, albeit acting as resistance. Meanwhile, the token holds its 200-4H exponential moving average (200-4H EMA; the blue wave) near $191 as its interim support.Related: Indie Russian news firm raises $250K in crypto after sanctions cripple financesIf the price breaks above $200, it would invalidate the bearish reversal setup posed by the falling wedge pattern discussed above. XMR’s decisive jump would shift its interim upside target near $220, up about 15% from May 23’s price.Conversely, failing to close above $200 would increase XMR’s risks of declining toward the $180–$175 range, marked as the “pullback target” in the chart above. The area coincides with the ascending channel’s lower trendline.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, BNB, XMR, ETC, MANA

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has declined for eight consecutive weeks, the first such losing streak since 1923. On May 20, the S&P 500 briefly fell into bear market territory, indicating that traders continue to sell risky assets in fear of a recession. Due to its tight correlation with US equities markets, Bitcoin (BTC) has remained under pressure for many weeks. The bulls are attempting to push Bitcoin higher during the weekend and avert an even longer losing streak.Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360Bitcoin’s performance in the first five months has been the worst since 2018, indicating that sellers are in control. However, after several weeks of weakness, the crypto markets may be on the cusp of a bear market rally.What are the critical levels that may signal the start of a sustained recovery? Let’s study the charts of the top-5 cryptocurrencies that may outperform in the near term.BTC/USDTBitcoin rebounded off the crucial support at $28,630 on May 20, indicating strong buying near this level. The bulls are attempting to push the price above the downtrend line, which could be the first indication that the selling pressure may be reducing.BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewAbove the downtrend line, the BTC/USDT pair could rise to the 20-day exponential moving average ($31,887). The bears are likely to defend this level with vigor. If the price turns down from the 20-day EMA, the bears will once again try to sink the pair below $28,630.If they manage to do that, the pair could drop to $26,700. This is an important level to keep an eye on because a break and close below it could open the doors for a decline to $25,000 and then to $21,800.Conversely, if buyers thrust the price above the 20-day EMA, the pair could attempt a rally to the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level at $34,823. If this level is scaled, the pair could climb to the 50-day simple moving average ($37,289).BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows that the price is getting squeezed between the downtrend line and $28,630. The 20-EMA and the 50-SMA have flattened out and the relative strength index (RSI) is just above the midpoint suggesting a balance between supply and demand.This balance could tilt in favor of buyers if they push and sustain the price above the downtrend line. If that happens, the pair could start its northward march toward the 200-SMA.On the contrary, if the price turns down from the current level, the bears will attempt to sink the pair below $28,630 and gain the upper hand. BNB/USDTBinance Coin (BNB) recovered sharply from the critical support at $211 and has reached the overhead resistance at the 20-day EMA ($323). This is an important level for the bears to defend because a break and close above it could indicate that a bottom may be in place.BNB/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewAbove the 20-day EMA, the BNB/USDT pair could rally to $350 and thereafter to the 50-day SMA ($376). This level could again act as a stiff hurdle but if bulls thrust the price above it, the pair could rally to the 200-day SMA ($451).Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down sharply from the 20-day EMA, it will suggest that bears have not yet given up and they continue to sell at higher levels. The pair could then drop toward $211. If the price rebounds off this level, the pair may consolidate between $211 and $320 for a few days.BNB/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe bulls are attempting to push the price above the overhead resistance at $320. If they succeed, the pair could rally toward $350. The bears are likely to defend this level aggressively. If the price turns down from $350, the pair could again drop to $320. If the price rebounds off this level, the pair could remain range-bound between $320 and $350 for some time. The bullish momentum could pick up above the 200-SMA and the pair may rally to $380 and later to $400.Conversely, if the price turns down from the current level, the pair could drop to $286 and then to $272. XMR/USDTMonero (XMR) dropped below the strong support at $134 on May 12 but the bears could not sustain the lower levels. This suggests aggressive buying on dips. The price has recovered sharply to the 20-day EMA ($179).XMR/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf bulls push and sustain the price above the 20-day EMA, the XMR/USDT pair could rise to the overhead resistance zone between the 200-day SMA ($202) and the 50-day SMA ($212). The bears are expected to mount a strong defense in this zoneIf the price turns down from this zone but bulls arrest the subsequent decline at the 20-day EMA, it will suggest a potential change in trend. Conversely, if the price turns down from the current level, the bears will try to pull the pair to $150 and thereafter to $134.XMR/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows the formation of higher lows and higher highs. The bears tried to pull the price below the 50-SMA but the bulls defended the level successfully. This suggests a change in sentiment from selling on rallies to buying on dips.The pair could next rally to the 200-SMA where the bears may offer a strong resistance. If bulls overcome this barrier, the pair could rally to $225. Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down and breaks below the 50-SMA, the pair could slide to $150. A break below this level could challenge the strong support at $134 Related: Dollar Cost Averaging or Lump-sum: Which Bitcoin strategy works best regardless of price?ETC/USDTEthereum Classic (ETC) dropped sharply from $52 on March 29 to $16 on May 12. The bulls are attempting to start a recovery which could face resistance at the 20-day EMA ($23).ETC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf the price turns down from the 20-day EMA, the bears will again attempt to resume the downtrend by pulling the ETC/USDT pair below the critical support at $16.On the contrary, if buyers propel the price above the 20-day EMA, it will suggest the start of a stronger relief rally. The positive divergence on the RSI also points to the possibility of a recovery in the near term. The pair could then rise to the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement level at $30 where the bears may mount a strong resistance. ETC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe price has been trading between $19 and $23 for some time. This suggests that the bulls are attempting to form a higher low but the bears continue to pose a strong challenge at higher levels. The flattening 20-EMA and 50-SMA do not give a clear advantage either to bulls or bears.If buyers drive the price above $23, it will suggest the start of a new up-move. The pair could first rally to the 200-SMA and then to $33. Alternatively, if the price turns down and plummets below $19, the bears will gain the upper hand. They will then attempt to sink the pair to $16.MANA/USDTDecentraland (MANA) turned down from the 20-day EMA ($1.24) on May 16 but a positive sign is that the bulls did not allow the price to sustain below the psychological level at $1.MANA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe buyers will once again attempt to push the price above the 20-day EMA. If they succeed, the MANA/USDT pair could rally to the 50-day SMA ($1.72). The bears may again mount a stiff resistance at this level but if bulls clear this hurdle, the pair could start its northward march toward the 200-day SMA ($2.72).Contrary to this assumption, if the price slips below $1, the bears will try to sink the pair to the crucial support at $0.60. A break and close below this level could start the next leg of the downtrend.MANA/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe pair is stuck between $0.97 and $1.36, indicating that bulls are buying the dips below $1 and the bears are selling on rallies. The 20-EMA and the 50-SMA have flattened out, indicating that the consolidation may continue for some more time.If buyers propel the price above the 50-SMA, the pair could rise to the resistance of the range at $1.36. The bullish momentum could pick up if buyers overcome this barrier. Conversely, the bears could gain the upper hand if the price turns down and plummets below the support at $0.97.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Monero avoids crypto market rout, but XMR price still risks 20% drop by June

Monero (XMR) has shown a surprising resilience against the Federal Reserve’s hawkish policies that pushed the prices of most of its crypto rivals — including the top dog Bitcoin (BTC) — lower last week. XMR’s price closed the previous week 2.37% higher at $217, data from Binance shows. In comparison, BTC, which typically influences the broader crypto market, finished the week down 11.55%. The second-largest crypto, Ether (ETH), also plunged 11% in the same period.XMR/USD vs. BTC/USD vs. ETH/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingViewWhile the crypto market wiped off $163.25 billion from its valuation last week, down nearly 9%, Monero’s market cap increased by $87.7 million, suggesting that many traders decided to seek safety in this privacy-focused coin. XMR near critical supportMonero started the new week with a selloff, with XMR plunging by nearly 4% to around $208 on May 9.The decline brought the token near its key support level — the 50-week exponential moving average (50-day EMA; the red wave in the chart below) near $214. The wave also coincides with another price floor — the 0.618 Fib line of the Fibonacci retracement graph drawn from the $38-swing low to the $491-swing low.XMR/USD weekly price chart. Source: TradingViewInterestingly, XMR’s price drop is part of a pullback move that began April 21 from about $290. In turn, the reversal to the downside surfaced amid a falling wedge breakout whose upside target comes to be around $490.  That could result in either of these two outcomes: XMR breaks below its support confluence around $214 to test the wedge’s upper trendline as support (which also coincides with the token’s 200-week EMA near $161.50); OR the token rebounds from the support confluence and continue its move towards the wedge’s technical upside target near $490.The overall crypto market trend looks biased towards bears in a higher interest rate environment. This, coupled with Monero’s erratic but consistent positive correlation with Bitcoin, could eventually weigh XMR lower, resulting in a decline toward the wedge’s top around $160 in Q2, down about 20% from today’s price. XMR’s correlation with Bitcoin. Source: TradingViewStrong XMR fundamentalsXMR’s bearish setup could see a period of price spikes as Monero inches closer to its tentative hard fork, scheduled for July 16.Related: Making crypto conventional by improving crypto crime investigations worldwideA testnet version of the same technical upgrade expects to come out on May 16, according to Monero’s GitHub post. The team behind the project has confirmed that the hard fork would improve Monero’s network security while cutting fees. #Monero has a network upgrade (hardfork) on July 16th 2022 at block 2668888.Privacy and performance will be improved! The update includes: Ring sizes will increase from 11 to 16 View tags to speedup wallet/node syncMultisig fixesBulletproof++more!#xmr $xmr pic.twitter.com/jZ5ouk1uqo— John Foss (@johnfoss69) April 17, 2022Meanwhile, demand for Monero expects to rise higher in 2022 due to its promise of providing anonymity. For instance, XMR emerged as a choice of crypto among ransomware attackers, with a CipherTrade study showing a 500% increase in the token’s usage in 2021. The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, ALGO, XMR, XTZ, THETA

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have declined for five consecutive weeks, indicating that traders continue to reduce exposure to risky assets. Bitcoin’s (BTC) close correlation with United States equity markets has resulted in its price remaining under pressure.Bitcoin has extended its decline during the weekend and is now on track for its sixth successive weekly loss, the first such occurrence since 2014. The weakness in Bitcoin has pulled down the entire crypto markets whose market capitalization has dipped below $1.6 trillion.Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360When the sentiment is bearish, traders sell on every negative news. The de-peg of Terra’s U. S. dollar stablecoin TerraUSD (UST) also appears to be increasing sell pressure across the crypto market.After Bitcoin’s six consecutive weekly closes in the red, is it time for a recovery? Let’s study the charts of the top-5 cryptocurrencies that are showing signs of stabilizing in the near term.BTC/USDTBitcoin turned down from the 20-day exponential moving average ($38,268) on May 5 and plummeted below the support line of the ascending channel. This move also invalidated the positive divergence on the relative strength index (RSI). BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe moving averages have started to turn down and the RSI is nearing the oversold zone, signaling that bears are in control.The BTC/USDT pair has a minor support at $34,322 but if bulls fail to defend this level, the decline could extend to $32,917. This is a crucial level to keep an eye on because if it cracks, the pair could witness panic selling and the next stop may be $28,805. If the price turns up from $34,322, the recovery could face selling near the 20-day EMA. If the price turns down from this level, it will suggest that the sentiment remains negative and traders are selling on rallies. That could enhance the prospects of a resumption of the downtrend.This negative view could invalidate in the short term if the bulls push and sustain the price above the 20-day EMA. If that happens, the pair could rise to the 50-day simple moving average ($41,466).BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe downsloping moving averages indicate that bears are in command but the oversold levels on the RSI suggest that a relief rally or a consolidation is possible in the near term. If the recovery fails to rise above the 20-EMA, the bears may maintain the selling pressure and the pair could drop to $32,917.Conversely, a break and close above the 20-EMA could signal the start of a strong relief rally. The pair could then rise to the 50-SMA. The buyers will have to push and sustain the price above $40,000 to signal that the downtrend may be over.ALGO/USDTAlgorand (ALGO) has been trading inside a descending channel pattern for the past few days. The price bounced off the support line of the channel on May 1 and the bulls have cleared the hurdle at the 20-day EMA ($0.69) indicating that the selling pressure could be reducing.ALGO/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf buyers sustain the price above the 50-day SMA ($0.76), the ALGO/USDT pair could rally to the resistance line of the channel. This is an important level for the bulls to overcome. If they manage to do that, it will suggest the start of a new up-move. The pair could first rise to $1.10 and later to $1.25.On the other hand, if the price turns down from the resistance line, it will suggest that the pair may extend its stay inside the channel for a few more days. The bears will have to sink and sustain the price below the channel to indicate the resumption of the downtrend.ALGO/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 20-EMA has turned up and the RSI is in the positive territory, indicating advantage to buyers. There is a minor resistance at $0.80 and if bulls clear this hurdle, the pair could rise to the resistance line of the channel. On the downside, the 20-EMA is the critical level to keep an eye on. If the price rebounds off this level, it will suggest that the sentiment has turned in favor of buyers. That could increase the likelihood of a break above $0.80. Alternatively, if the price slips below the 20-EMA, the next stop could be the 50-SMA. XMR/USDTMonero (XMR) has been finding support near psychological support at $200 for the past few days. The buyers have not allowed the price to break below the downtrend line suggesting that they are attempting to flip the level into support.XMR/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe bulls will have to push and sustain the price above the 20-day EMA ($223) to suggest that the corrective phase may be over. There is a minor resistance at $240 but if bulls clear this hurdle, the XMR/USDT pair could rally to $289.On the contrary, if the price turns down from the current level or the 20-day EMA, it will suggest that the bears have not yet given up. That could increase the likelihood of a break below $200. If that happens, the selling could intensify and the pair may drop to $150.XMR/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe pair has formed a symmetrical triangle pattern suggesting indecision among the bulls and the bears. If bulls drive the price above the resistance line of the triangle, it will suggest that the downtrend could be over. The pair could then rally to the 200-SMA and later rise toward the pattern target at $252.Conversely, if the uncertainty of the triangle resolves to the downside, it will suggest that the triangle had acted as a continuation pattern. That could signal the resumption of the downward move. The pattern target on the downside is $164.Related: LUNA drops 20% in a day as whale dumps Terra’s UST stablecoin — selloff risks ahead?XTZ/USDTTezos (XTZ) broke below the long-term uptrend line on April 29 and the bears successfully defended the breakdown level on May 5. The bears tried to start the downtrend but are struggling to sustain the lower levels. XTZ/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewIf bulls push and sustain the price above the uptrend line, it will suggest that the markets have rejected the breakdown. The XTZ/USDT pair may then attempt a rally to the overhead zone between the 50-day SMA ($3.18) and $3.40. This positive view could invalidate if the price once again turns down from the uptrend line. If that happens, it will suggest that bears have flipped the uptrend line into resistance. A break and close below $2.39 could start a new downtrend which could reach $2.XTZ/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 20-EMA has flattened out and the RSI has formed a bullish divergence on the 4-hour chart suggesting that the negative momentum is weakening. The pair could now attempt a rally to $2.90 where the bears may offer a strong resistance. A break and close above this level could open the doors for a possible up-move to $3 and later to $3.30.Alternatively, if the price turns down from the current level or the overhead resistance, it will suggest that bears are selling on rallies. That could keep the pair range-bound between $2.90 and $2.39. The downtrend could accelerate if bears sink the price below $2.39.THETA/USDTTheta Network’s THETA token had been trading between $2.27 and $4.40 for the past several weeks. This range resolved to the downside on May 6, indicating that bears had the upper hand.THETA/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewAlthough the 20-day EMA ($2.57) is sloping down, the RSI is attempting to form a bullish divergence, indicating that the selling momentum is weakening. If bulls push the price back above the breakdown level of $2.27, it could trap several aggressive bears who may have initiated short positions on the break below the range.The THETA/USDT pair could then rise to the 20-day EMA. This is an important level to keep an eye on because if bulls overcome this barrier, the pair could rally to the 50-day SMA ($3.10). This positive view could invalidate if the price turns down from the current level or the breakdown level at $2.27 and plummets below $2. THETA/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe bulls are buying the dips close to the psychological level at $2. If buyers drive the price above the downtrend line, it will suggest that the bears may be losing their grip. The pair could then rally to the overhead resistance at $2.64. This level may again act as a strong resistance but if buyers clear this hurdle, the bullish momentum may pick up.Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the 20-EMA or the downtrend line, it will suggest that bears continue to sell on rallies. That could increase the possibility of a break below $2 and the resumption of the downtrend.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Top 5 cryptocurrencies to watch this week: BTC, DOT, XMR, APE, CAKE

Bitcoin (BTC) and several altcoins are trading in a tight range during the weekend, suggesting that investors are undecided about the next directional move. Traders may be waiting for Wall Street to open before placing large directional bets because Bitcoin has been tightly correlated with the S&P 500 in the past few days.The sharp fall in the U.S. equity markets on April 22 suggests that investors are increasingly nervous about the hawkish stance of central banks. The market expects a 250 basis points rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve in 2022. In addition, the European Central Bank is expected to raise rates for the first time since 2011, according to a Reuters source.Crypto market data daily view. Source: Coin360Coinglass data showed that funding rates across crypto derivatives exchanges remained negative during the weekend, signaling a bearish bias. The failure to sustain a recovery has pulled the Crypto Fear and Greed Index back into the “extreme fear” territory. Could Bitcoin attract strong buying at lower levels? If that happens, select altcoins could outperform to the upside. Let’s study the charts of the top-5 cryptocurrencies that show a positive chart structure.BTC/USDTBitcoin broke below the psychological support at $40,000 on April 22 but the bears have not been able to build upon this advantage. The successive inside-day candlestick patterns on April 23 and April 24 suggest indecision among the bulls and the bears. BTC/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe 20-day exponential moving average ($41,150) is sloping down and the relative strength index (RSI) is in the negative zone, indicating that sellers have a slight edge. If bears sink and sustain the price below $39,000, the BTC/USDT pair could drop to the support line of the ascending channel. The bulls are expected to defend this level with vigor.If the price rebounds off the support line with force, it will indicate strong demand at lower levels. The bulls will have to push and sustain the price above the 50-day simple moving average ($41,993) to indicate that the correction may be over. The pair may then attempt a rally to the 200-day SMA ($47,828).Alternatively, if the price breaks below the channel, the selling could intensify further and the pair may drop to $34,322 and later to $32,917.BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows that the price is stuck inside a tight range between $39,177 and $39,980. This indicates that the bears are trying to flip the $40,000 level into resistance. The downsloping 20-EMA and the RSI in the negative territory suggest the path of least resistance is to the downside.If the price breaks below $39,177, the pair could slide to $38,536. A break and close below this level could open the doors for a drop to $37,000.Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns up from the current level and breaks above the 50-SMA, the bullish momentum could pick up and the pair may rise to the 200-SMA.DOT/USDTPolkadot (DOT) has been trading near the overhead resistance at $19 for the past few days. This suggests that the bears have successfully defended the level but a minor positive is that the bulls have not ceded much ground to the sellers.DOT/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe marginally downsloping 20-day EMA ($19) and the RSI in the negative zone suggest that bears have a slight edge. If the price turns down and breaks below $18, the possibility of a drop to the strong support at $16 increases.Conversely, if bulls thrust the price above the 50-day SMA ($19), the bullish momentum could pick up and the DOT/USDT pair may rally to the overhead resistance at $23. The bears are expected to mount a strong defense at this level.DOT/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows the formation of a descending triangle pattern which will complete on a break and close below $18. If that happens, the pair could decline to $17 and later to $16.Conversely, if the price turns up from the current level and rises above the downtrend line, it may invalidate the bearish setup. That could attract buying and the pair may rally to the 200-SMA.A break and close above this level could signal advantage to buyers. The pair may then attempt a rally to $23.XMR/USDTMonero (XMR) is correcting in an up-move. The price turned down from $290 on April 22, indicating that bears are posing a strong challenge near the psychological level at $300.XMR/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe XMR/USDT pair could first drop to the 20-day EMA ($245) which is likely to act as a strong support. If the price rebounds off this level with strength, it will indicate that bulls are buying on dips. The pair could then again attempt a break above the overhead resistance at $300. If that happens, the pair may rally to $340.Alternatively, if the price breaks below the 20-day EMA, the selling could intensify and the pair may slide to the 50-day SMA ($215).XMR/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe pair has dropped below the 50-SMA, indicating profit-booking by short-term traders. If the price continues lower and breaks below $250, the selling could accelerate and the pair may drop to $240 and later to the 200-SMA.Any rebound is likely to face selling at the 20-EMA. The bulls will have to push and sustain the price above the 20-EMA to indicate that the correction may be over. The pair could then rise to $280 and later to $290.Related: Monero ‘falling wedge’ breakout positions XMR price for 75% rallyAPE/USDTApeCoin (APE) broke out of the symmetrical triangle pattern on April 19, indicating that the indecision among the bulls and the bears resolved in favor of the buyers.APE/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe 20-day EMA ($13.67) has turned up and the RSI is in the positive zone, indicating that bulls are in command. There is a minor resistance at $18.44 from where the APE/USDT pair turned down on April 23.If the price turns up from the current level, the bulls will attempt to push the pair above $18.44. If they succeed, the pair could climb toward $20 and later to $24. This positive view could invalidate in the short term if the price turns down and breaks below the 20-day EMA. APE/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe 4-hour chart shows that the pair turned down from $18 but rebounded sharply off the 20-EMA. This suggests that the sentiment remains positive and traders are buying on dips. If the price sustains above $17, the bulls will attempt to resume the up-move.Although the rising 20-EMA indicates advantage to buyers, the RSI has formed a negative divergence suggesting that the positive momentum may be weakening. If the price turns down from the current level and slips below the 20-EMA, the selling could intensify and the pair may slide toward the 50-SMA. CAKE/USDTPancakeSwap (CAKE) recently bounced off the downtrend line, indicating that the bulls had flipped the level into support. The price broke above the 20-day EMA and is attempting to reach the 200-day SMA ($11.52).CAKE/USDT daily chart. Source: TradingViewThe 20-day EMA ($8.69) and the 50-day SMA ($7.71) are turning up gradually and the relative strength index is in the positive territory, suggesting that bulls have the upper hand. If buyers drive and sustain the price above the 200-day SMA, the CAKE/USDT pair could rise to $13.50 and later to $15.Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the 200-day SMA, it will suggest that the bears have not yet given up and they continue to sell on rallies. The pair may then drop to the 20-day EMA. If the price rebounds off this support, it will increase the possibility of a break above the 200-day SMA. This positive view could invalidate if the price breaks below the 50-day SMA.CAKE/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingViewThe moving averages on the 4-hour chart have turned up and the RSI is in the positive territory, indicating that bulls have the upper hand. If the price turns up from the current level or the 20-EMA, the buyers will try to push the pair above the psychological level at $10. If they succeed, the pair could pick up momentum.Contrary to this assumption, if the price turns down from the current level, the bears will attempt to pull the pair below the 20-EMA. If they do that, the pair may slide to the 50-SMA and later to the 200-SMA. A break and close below this support could suggest that the bears are back in the game.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Monero 'falling wedge' breakout positions XMR price for 75% rally

Monero (XMR) price dropped by nearly 10% three days after establishing a week-to-date high around $290 on April 24. Nonetheless, several technical indicators suggest that the XMR/USD pair is poised to resume its uptrend over the next few months.Falling wedge breakout underwayNotably, XMR’s price broke out of its “falling wedge” structure in late March. It continued its move upside in the later daily sessions, with rising volumes indicating bullish sentiment among Monero traders.Traditional analysts consider falling wedges as bullish reversal patterns, i.e., the price first consolidates within a contracting, descending channel, followed by a strong bounce to the upside. As a rule, the falling wedge’s breakout target comes to be near the level at length equal to the maximum distance between the pattern’s lower and upper trendline.XMR/USD weekly price chart featuring ‘falling wedge’ breakout setup. Source: TradingViewThe XMR’s falling wedge is up to nearly $250-long. Meanwhile, the structure’s breakout point sits around $210. As a result of this, the Monero token’s upside target comes to be near $470, up more than 75% from today’s price.Nevertheless, XMR still needs to close above $300, a psychological resistance level, to confirm its move toward the falling wedge target.Monero hard fork aheadXMR’s bullish outlook also appears in the months leading up to Monero’s hard fork.Notably, Monero will undergo a tentative protocol upgrade in July, preceding a testnet deployment in May. The update aims to increase the ring size from 11 to 16 to ensure that XMR transactions have a larger anonymity set to make it harder to find the transaction source.#Monero has a network upgrade (hardfork) on July 16th 2022 at block 2668888.Privacy and performance will be improved! The update includes: Ring sizes will increase from 11 to 16 View tags to speedup wallet/node syncMultisig fixesBulletproof++more!#xmr $xmr pic.twitter.com/jZ5ouk1uqo— John Foss (@johnfoss69) April 17, 2022The hard fork announcement has appeared against the backdrop of rising demand for privacy coins amid geopolitical and economic turmoil.Top 10 privacy coin performers in the last seven days. Source: MessariShort-term correction risksXMR’s strong fundamentals underpin its bullish wedge setup. Nonetheless, Monero is also at risk of retracement in the short-term.XMR/USD daily price chart. Source: TradingViewXMR has corrected lower after testing $278 repeatedly as resistance in the last three days, raising the possibility that it could continue lower. This would present the next downside target appears near $227, coinciding with the 0.236 Fib line of the Fibonacci retracement graph, drawn from $493-swing high to $145-swing low.Related: Monero’s crypto of choice as ransomware ‘double extortion’ attacks increase 500%Conversely, a decisive move above $278 could have XMR test $320 — the 0.5 Fib line — as its interim upside target.The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Monero crypto of choice as ransomware ‘double extortion’ attacks increase 500%

A new report by blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace highlights the growing role that privacy-focused cryptocurrencies such as Monero are playing in the rising tide of ransomware.“Current Trends in Ransomware” delves into trends observed during 2021 but was only released this week. The firm revealed there was almost a 500% increase in “double extortion” ransomware attacks from 2020 to 2021. These are cyber attacks in which malicious actors steal a victim’s sensitive data in addition to encrypting it.The report echoes similar findings from analytics firm Chainalysis which reported that overall ransomware crypto payments topped $600 million for the period.The new research found that last year saw increasing demands for ransom payment in Monero (XMR), with attackers adding premiums for payments made in Bitcoin (BTC) ranging from 10 to 20%. At least 22 ransomware strains (from an incomplete list of more than 50) only accept XMR payments, and at least seven of them accept both BTC and XMR, it added.“Higher prices for BTC are most likely seen by the ransomware actors as a premium for dealing with the increased risk in using an easily traceable cryptocurrency like BTC.”The report cited a Russian-speaking ransomware gang called Everest Group which claimed to have hacked the U.S. Government in October last year. According to CipherTrace, Everest Ransomware is “currently trying to sell the data for $500,000 in XMR.”Another example was the Russian DarkSide group responsible for the U.S. Colonial Pipeline attack in May 2021. The ransom could be paid in either XMR or BTC, but the cost was higher for the latter.The REvil ransomware group also switched from demanding BTC to demanding payments in XMR only in early 2020.Related: Don’t blame crypto for ransomwareMonero is a privacy-based cryptocurrency that uses a combination of technologies such as mixers, ring signatures, and stealth addresses that obfuscate sending and receiving wallets. This is why it has become the primary asset of choice for those demanding ransoms.For that reason, Monero and other highly privacy-focused cryptocurrencies such as Dash and Zcash have been delisted by some exchanges in countries such as the U.K. and Japan.The Monero blockchain will be hard forked in July to further enhance its anonymity and privacy properties.

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Monero community reaches consensus for July hard fork

As told by Monero (XMR) developers over the weekend, on July 16, the Monero network passed a community consensus to initiate a mainnet hard fork at block height 2,668,888. The popular privacy coin’s hard fork will include increasing the chain’s ring size from 11 to 16, adding view tags to outputs to reduce wallet scanning time, introducing bulletproofs and implementing fee changes.Raising the number of ring signatures is meant to ensure that transactions have a larger anonymity set, making it harder to reverse engineer the sources of a transaction. One developer pointed out that view tags could reduce network scanning times by up to 40% in deriving the output public key for its anonymous transactions. Changes were approved for Monero’s maximum block size to grow at 14x per year instead of 32x (which affects its fee value). Finally, Bulletproofs, a zero-knowledge proving system, will be used for range proofs in Monero. The feature will result in faster encryption and verification on the blockchain.Cointelegraph previously reported that privacy coins have been surging lately as it appears that family funds and individuals investors are increasingly holding XMR as a hedge amid recent market turmoil. The topic of privacy coins has been controversial among the crypto community. Some point to their ability to ensure greater anonymity during transactions, while others raise concerns about using XMR to shield illicit transactions and its alleged embracement by extremist groups. Last year, Kraken delisted XMR for its U.K. customers, citing regulatory pressure. 

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