Sindri Steffanson and six others sentenced for Iceland’s biggest mining rigs theft

Sindri Steffanson, who was accused and arrested for looting mining equipment worth over $2 million from the mining firm Advania Data Centre, has been slapped with a four and a half years sentence. Sindri and six partners of the major cybercrime in the history of Iceland, have been convicted for a total of nine years and seven months for their involvement in multiple episodes of crimes. After fleeing the jail on December last year, he managed to travel all the way to Germany and was arrested in Amsterdam.
Sindri and his partners stole 100 mining machinery from Algrim Consulting prior to this heist. The crew also attempted to steal rigs from Borealis Data Centre but failed after they accidentally set off an alarm. Advania has been compensated with $200,000. However, the stolen machinery that accounted for nearly 600 mining systems, have not been found yet.
The Bitcoin mining wave in the Nordic island nation escalated following the prices of the digital assets that soared during the mid-2017s. Owing to the cold-climate along with low-cost energy sources, the world’s five largest mining farms are located in this country. With the increase in crypto adoption, there has been an increase in cybercrimes. To tackle the burgeoning security issues in the space, BitGo has collaborated with the trading firm Genesis Global Trading to provide a secure mechanism to execute the trading process.
The clients on its platform can leverage the vast network of trading partners of Genesis and also solve the underlying issue of making liquidity accessible to its consumers, i.e., a platform that renders the crypto consumers to trade the digital assets by keeping it safe on the device and not on an online-mode. The digital currency traded by the users would be kept safe in the cold storage. For this service, the users would not require to create a new account. Besides, there will be no additional fee levied on the users.
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Source: AMB Crypto

Jamie Dimon Says He Takes No Pleasure in Bitcoin Decline

The CEO of JP Morgan Chase has once again spoken about Bitcoin (BTC). Jamie Dimon, who once called the digital currency a “fraud” and later backtracked on his comments has now said that he takes no pleasure in seeing prices take a short-term crash as he stated they would.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland with CNBC’s Squawk Box, the CEO also lamented his preference for blockchain technology over Bitcoin.
Jamie Dimon Finds No Satisfaction in Seeing Bitcoin Prices Slide
Despite having previously vowed to never discuss Bitcoin again, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase has once again commented on the subject. This time it was to state that he was not the kind of self-indulgent sadist to take pleasure in the losses of those who had invested in the technological innovation late in 2017 or throughout 2018.
The CNBC Squawk Box reporter asked Dimon directly if he took satisfaction about being proved right (in the short-term at least) about BTC prices. He answered simply that he “didn’t take any.”
Dimon has commented on his distaste for Bitcoin many times previously. Perhaps his most famous outburst was last September when the CEO slammed Bitcoin as a “fraud” and that those who bought it deserved to “pay the price one day.” He also stated that he would fire any of his employees found to be trading it.
Amusingly enough, JP Morgan was later accused of market manipulation since it emerged that the bank was one of the largest buyers of a BTC tracker fund called Bitcoin XBT. Nothing really became of this allegation and the next time Dimon hit the news in connection with Bitcoin was to state that he regretted saying that it was a fraud since that was all people wanted to talk to him about. From then on, he vowed to not mention the world’s first viable decentralised currency again.
Jamie Dimon has a history of talking Bitcoin, despite seemingly not wanting to.
Of course, it was not long before Jamie was breaking his own promise to tell the world that he really “didn’t give a s**t about Bitcoin” and that he did not want to be a spokesperson against the digital currency. This seems in line with his latest comments on the subject that he wishes no ill will on those who had lost money on Bitcoin or that had made investments that had not paid off yet.
Dimon Continues to Favour Blockchain Over Bitcoin
Dimon’s comments on Bitcoin at Davos were short. Instead, he favoured discussion about another closely related B-word – blockchain.
JP Morgan has been interested in the technology underlying Bitcoin for some time now. In 2017, the bank began exploring ways in which distributed ledger technology could remove trust for various transactions and increase the efficiency of financial services. Since then, the Royal Bank of Canada, as well as the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group have become partners in the project.
Speaking to CNBC, Dimon stated of blockchain technology:
“Blockchain is a real technology — it’s just a database we can all access that’s kept up-to-date.”
When put like that, blockchain technology sounds incredibly dull and unremarkable. These are the very reasons people like Dimon favour blockchain over Bitcoin. Blockchain is safe, manageable, and ultimately uninspiring. Bitcoin is potentially disruptive, world-changing, and a threat to the very existence of the likes of Dimon et. al.
 
Related Reading: ECB Latest Institution to Use “Blockchain Not Bitcoin” Narrative
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Ripple (XRP) Might Be The Only Survivor During A Crypto Market Collapse

Ripple (XRP) is classified as a cryptocurrency but that is not how it initially started off as. In fact, if the cryptocurrency market were to disappear tomorrow, Ripple (XRP) might be the only coin to survive. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has pointed to this many a time during interviews and conferences that XRP will always be there even if Ripple (the company) goes down. This goes on to show that Ripple (XRP) is more than just another cryptocurrency. In fact, it is a valuable commodity like Gold that has its own inherent value that comes from its use case. Just as Gold can be used to make ornaments or tools, Ripple (XRP) can be used by bank and financial institutions for cross border payments.
Merchants who want to replace their existing payment gateways can opt for Ripple (XRP) which will make their transactions faster and cheaper allowing them to receive their payments on time while also ensuring an improved customer experience. The point is, unlike most cryptocurrencies, Ripple (XRP) has a solid use case which will guarantee its existence whether the cryptocurrency market is there or not. Even if the cryptocurrency market were to vanish overnight, Ripple (the company) would still be there and so would XRP. It would still be in the interest of Ripple (the company) to work towards mainstream adoption of XRP. As more financial institutions use XRP, we will see its price increase. At some point when it is valued in trillions of dollars, Ripple (XRP) would be better positioned to become the one world currency.

Chart for XRP/USD (1W)
The point is, Ripple (XRP) stands to gain whether the cryptocurrency market exists or not. It is open to regulation and would be more open to working with entities like the Federal Reserve or the World Bank. It would also be in a better position to ensure that local laws and regulations are followed. The reason Ripple (XRP) has gained such widespread adoption and seen a massive boost in price is because a lot of investors are of the view that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) may ultimately be the future but there is a lot of room for cryptocurrencies like Ripple (XRP) short term.

Although Ripple (XRP) wants to empower the status quo by helping the banks and financial institutions make their services more efficient and retain their control, the truth of the matter is that the general public is still not at a point where they care enough about Bitcoin (BTC) replacing fiat currencies. In fact, they would be glad to just see their banks charge them less and process their transactions faster. Cryptocurrencies might be the future but Ripple (XRP) is going to give financial institutions one last chance to put up a fight to maintain their status quo. Even if the banking industry were to revolutionize and we shift towards a peer to peer economy, Ripple (XRP) is still likely to have a future given its cheap and fast transactions.
Source: Crypto Daily

Europol Arrests Man For Stealing 10 Million EUR Worth of IOTA

Police officers from the UK’s South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) have arrested a 36-year-old British man in Oxford, who was identified by their German counterparts from the Hessen State Police as a suspect in the theft of more than €10 million ($11.4 million) worth of IOTA in January 2018.
In a statement released on the Europol website, it was revealed that the unnamed suspect used a malicious IOTA seed generator available at www.iotaseed.io to obtain backdoor access to user wallets over the  course of six months from August 2017, culminating in the attack on January 19, 2018, when he began logging into user wallets and transferring funds without their knowledge.
IOTA Wallet Seed Theft
In order to gain trust from his marks, the hacker who went by the pseudonym Norbertvdberg posed as a bona fide member of the IOTa community, offering support to IOTA users and linking them to iotaseed.io, which purportedly generated random and unique 81-digit passkeys that IOTA wallets require to function.
He even created a GitHub repository that supposedly contained the source code of iotaseed.io, knowing full well that most users would never actually check the code or know what to look for if they did so. In fact, as it turned out, iotaseed.io was merely generating predictable seeds that the hacker secretly logged for six months as he cast a wide net for potential victims.
After deciding that he had gathered enough seeds to exploit profitably, Norbertvdberg sprang into action on January 19, logging into 85 user wallets and transferring about €10 million worth of IOTA to wallet he controlled. In the course of the theft, he even set up a DDOS diversion for IOTA admins, tying them up with difficulties caused by spiking network traffic so that they would not notice several suspicious transactions being made.
Reports, Investigation, and Arrest
According to the statement, it all began to unravel for the hacker when several users recorded complaints with the Hessen State Police in Germany, resulting in an investigation that also brought in the UK National Crime Agency and Europol. Norbertvdberg apparently made attempts to delete his internet footprint by removing his available profiles on Reddit, Quora and GitHub.
Despite this, the investigation was able to identify him, and in July 2018, the case was then referred to the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) under Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). The coordination across different EU member states on this case marks the first time that a cryptocurrency theft will be assigned this level of priority by EU law enforcement, as regulators increasingly come to understand cryptocurrency theft as a real crime.
Following his arrest, he is expected to be extradited to Germany to face trial on charges of fraud, theft and money laundering.
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Source: CoinGape

Analyst: Recent Bitcoin Price Action May Confirm BTC is Nearing a Long-Term Bottom

Bitcoin (BTC) and the general cryptocurrency markets have stabilized following the recent bout of volatility they experienced this past weekend. Yesterday, however, Bitcoin’s price quickly dropped to lows of $3,550 on the aggregated markets before sharply surging back towards its current levels.
One analyst believes that this drop and surge, albeit relatively small, is the result of a confluence of factors that could suggest Bitcoin is nearing a long-term bottom.
Recent Bitcoin (BTC) Volatility Further Confirms Current Trading Range
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading down nominally at its current price of just above $3,600. After trading choppily yesterday, Bitcoin rapidly dropped into the low $3,500 region for an incredibly short amount of time before quickly surging to highs of $3,620.
Bitcoin has been bouncing in the low-$3,500 range for the past couple of weeks, solidifying this price level as a strong region of support. It is important to note, however, that the resulting bounce after BTC touches this price region becomes smaller each time it visits it, which could mean it is weakening.
Mati Greenspan, the senior market analyst at eToro, discussed Bitcoin’s latest price action in an email today, saying that the multiple factors likely behind BTC’s recent drop and surge could signal that BTC is nearing its price floor.
“What’s interesting about this graph is the role of the key level of $3,500. As we’ve been discussing, bitcoin has been trading in a tight range between $3,500 and about $4,100…So when the downside broke, it very likely took out a lot of stop losses, causing a chain reaction of stops and liquidations. What’s exciting about yesterday’s move is that the direction was quickly reversed and in the aftermath, we even saw a mini rally. This is a very positive sign and could very well indicate that we’re at or nearing bitcoin’s price floor,” Greenspan explained.
Although this sentiment may appear to be overly bullish considering that the cryptocurrency’s recent price movements are miniscule compared to months and years past, another popular cryptocurrency analyst generally agrees with Greenspan’s assessment.
Cred, a popular analyst on Twitter, discussed the sharp downwards move and resulting bounce, saying:
“$BTC Price finally traded to 3430 support and bounced. Reclaiming/establishing support above the blue level (3560s) is bullish IMO. This has triggered a long setup for me, I’ll jump out if the level rolls over.”

$BTC
Price finally traded to 3430 support and bounced.
Reclaiming/establishing support above the blue level (3560s) is bullish IMO.
This has triggered a long setup for me, I'll jump out if the level rolls over. pic.twitter.com/zt8Gpu04I5
— Cred (@CryptoCred) January 23, 2019

Altcoins Trade Mostly Flat
Bitcoin’s recent bout of volatility has carried over into the altcoin markets, and today the markets are experiencing a mixed trading session.
Altcoins are trading mostly flat today following the market’s recent bout of volatility.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin Cash is the best performing major cryptocurrency, as it is currently trading up over 4% at $134. Yesterday, Bitcoin Cash fell to lows of $120 before rallying towards its current price levels.
Ethereum has dropped slightly over a 24-hour trading period and is trading down nearly 1% at its current price of $118.3.
XRP has also dropped today and is presently down 0.6% at $0.3177.
Featured images from Shutterstock.
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Monero’s Anti-ASIC Policy is Also Harming Botnet-Based Miners

On the most recent episode of Monero Talk, host Douglas Tuman spoke with King’s College London Assistant Professor Guillermo Suarez-Tangil about a research paper (PDF) he co-authored with the University Carlos III of Madrid’s Sergio Pastrana about the degree to which malware is involved in the crypto asset mining ecosystem. Their paper estimates that at least 4.32% of all Monero in circulation has been mined through the use of malware.
During the interview, the discussion turned to the reasoning behind criminal hackers’ decision to mine Monero over other crypto assets. While Monero’s ASIC-resistance and privacy features are noted by Suarez-Tangil as attractive attributes for malware-based miners, he also added that a more recent policy around hard forking the proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm used in Monero has caused some problems for those who mine via botnets.
Why Do Criminal Hackers Mine Monero?
Mining Monero is a useful option for black hat hackers who have access to large numbers of other people’s computers because other crypto asset networks, such as Bitcoin, allow for the creation of specialized hardware that are orders of magnitude more efficient for specific hashing algorithms than what’s available in a normal desktop computer.

“Bitcoin, for example, was a theme several years ago, but . . . some of these big hackers started developing dedicated hardware to mine these things,” explained Suarez-Tangil. “I guess if you control a very large botnet of like medium-sized PCs, you are not able to compete with people mining bitcoin in one of these farms or using GPUs or using more advanced hardware.”

Suarez-Tangil specifically pointed to Monero’s somewhat recently implemented policy of hard forking the PoW hashing algorithm in response to the existence of ASICs focused on mining the crypto asset. These new ASICs, of which bitcoin mining giant Bitmain was a manufacturer, effectively became worthless bricks overnight.
Suarez-Tangil also mentioned that Monero has become a more widely-used form of money in the criminal underground, which means those who mine the crypto asset are able to use it to trade for other goods and services on these online black markets.
The Problematic Hard Fork Policy
Although Monero’s hard fork to change the PoW hashing algorithm last year was aimed at kicking ASIC miners off the network, the upgrade also had a negative effect on botnet-based miners. According to Suarez-Tangil, the criminal hackers who had rented out services from those who provide access to various botnets were forced to make additional payments in order to update the Monero-mining malware on victims’ computers.
“They need to pay the botnet owners to update their machines,” said Suarez-Tangil.
Suarez-Tangil added that the “big fishes” are still able to operate under these conditions as they have the required infrastructure to do so.
According to Suarez-Tangil, it would be possible to implement methods of making Monero more botnet-resistant in the future, but this would require mining pools to more closely monitor the activities of their users.
Source: Crypto Daily

Bitcoin Philanthropy: Indian School Girl Receives Loaded Ledger Wallet

With the explosion of Bitcoin’s price over the last few years, a lot of early believers suddenly found themselves with more money than they knew what to do with. This has often resulted in tremendous acts of charity from the community.
The latest involves a pseudonymous Twitter user who was the winner of a Binance Academy competition. The prize was a custom Ledger Nano hardware wallet, which the receiver has loaded up with various cryptos and gifted to a young girl from India.
Binance CEO Commends Bitcoin Donation and the Education it Brings
The news of the charitable act broke via a Tweet by the winner of the prize. Unfortunately, the Tweet does not disclose how the donation’s recipient was selected. All that can be inferred from the responses is that she is from India and is evidently of primary school age, given the photograph included:

"Catch them when they are young".I gifted her a @binance branded @LedgerHQ filled with a mix of #crypto worth 1 BTC. Will be interesting to see how many survive when she grows up.@cz_binance @justinsuntron $BNB $TRX $ETH $XRP @rallyqt @APompliano @tradingroomapp pic.twitter.com/ZCUVD5ePab
— CryptoPinapple (@nibupraju) January 23, 2019

According to the above Tweet and replies, the total amount of cryptocurrency donated to the girl is 1 Bitcoin, split up into various coins. The distribution of cryptocurrencies is as follows: 20% BTC, 20% ETH, 10% TRX, 10% XLM, 10% BTCABC.
This distribution was questioned by some who felt that a donation purely in Bitcoin would likely reap the largest gains in the future. To this, the competition winner replied:
“I have selected projects which I feel have a long term lifespan. Let’s see how it goes.”
Further down in the comments on the Tweet, the issue of security of such a donation was raised. One poster stated that the girl would probably lose the Ledger, rendering the act of kindness obsolete. To this, CryptoPineapple responded that it would remain in a locked safe until she was 18. Choosing to not disclose too much about the girl was also likely an effort to help protect the donation and its receiver.
The news of the philanthropic act was picked up by Binance’s CEO, CZ. He opined that the value of the educational opportunity presented to the young crypto recipient far outweighed the $3,600 (ish) donation as it is valued at the time of writing.

The 1 btc is nice, but I believe the invaluable part to her is the early education. Big impact in life! https://t.co/on2okkBUxU
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 23, 2019

CZ is, of course, no stranger to philanthropy himself. The CEO elected to donate 100% of new coin listing fees on his exchange to various concerns in October of last year, as well as setting up a charitable wing of his firm.
Certainly Not the First Crypto Philanthropy
For those readers who follow the digital currency space closely, the name CryptoPineapple might spark a memory of another recent act of kindness from a pseudonymous member of the cryptocurrency community. In December 2017, as a wild bout of speculative mania was just about to reach its devastating climax, The Pineapple fund project was set up.
The fund involved the giving of 5,057 BTC to over 60 different charities. Those in receipt of donations included organisations dedicated to conservation, human rights, and psychedelic drug therapy.
The Pineapple Fund was announced via a Reddit post on December 14, 2017. The user referred to themselves simply as “Pine” and stated:
“My aims, goals, and motivations in life have nothing to do with … being the mega rich. So I’m doing something else: donating the majority of my bitcoins to charitable causes.”
By the time the BTC was donated the value had dropped from $86 million to $55 million, owing to the start of the spectacular and ongoing bear market surrounding digital assets.
As far as we are aware, the name similarity between the Bitcoin Pineapple Fund and CryptoPineapple’s loaded Ledger are purely coincidental.
 
Related Reading: Unicef Australia Creates In-Browser Crypto Mining Website
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CBOE May Have Withdrawn Bitcoin ETF Filing to Avoid Automatic Rejection

The advent of a U.S.-based, fully-regulated Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF) has long been a hope for crypto’s most fervent dreamers. Yet, these dreams, deemed quixotic by most, was quashed on Wednesday, as reports arose that the foremost cryptocurrency ETF application was withdrawn from the care of the (partially-defunct) U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Related Reading: 58% of US Investors Would Invest in Bitcoin via ETF: Major Hedge Fund
CBOE Pulls Out Of VanEck Bitcoin ETF Deal
On Wednesday afternoon, the SEC released one of the most important crypto-related documents to-date. The two-page document, authored by SEC deputy secretary Eduardo A. Aleman, revealed that the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) had withdrawn its proposed rule change that would have facilitated the listing of VanEck and SolidX’s collaborative Bitcoin ETF.
Therefore, the exchange, U.S.’ largest options market, effectively killed the proposal, which garnered mounds of support heading into 2018’s year-end. This document was filed on January 22nd, just earlier today.
Crypto’s analysts, industry commentators, and researchers quickly took to Twitter to touch on this unfortunate occurrence. Jake Chervinsky, a crypto-friendly attorney based in Washington, D.C., explained that the withdrawal “implies” that CBOE and its partners were already expecting an eventual denial.

CBOE has withdrawn the VanEck/SolidX bitcoin ETF proposal (https://t.co/812Ym7U7Hh).
They haven't given a reason yet, but withdrawal implies that they expected denial & didn't want another SEC order setting bad precedent for the future.
There will be no bitcoin ETF in Q1 2019.
— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) January 23, 2019

Chervinsky, who has quickly become a leading Bitcoin ETF commentator, added that the CBOE was likely acting in crypto’s favor, as it “didn’t want another SEC order setting a bad precedent for the future.”
Long story short, the Kobre & Kim lawyer made it clear that there will be no formal approval of a Bitcoin ETF in Q1 of 2019.
U.S. Government Shutdown?
While Chervinsky’s logic is sound, more speculation has raged regarding the application’s denial. More specifically, thoughts surrounding the ongoing U.S. shutdown, which has entered its second month, were rife.
Some claimed that if the ETF was approved by default, due to the SEC’s potential inability to issue a proper denial, the government entity would take swift action to take down the VanEck initiative. On the other hand, the SEC might have had to issue an automatic denial. Both of these scenarios would have likely dealt a larger blow than CBOE’s Wednesday withdrawal.
According to a Twitter user, who cited a purported Wednesday CNBC interview with VanEck chief Jan, the company claimed that the withdrawal of the proposed rule change was related to fears that the application wouldn’t get a green light. The Twitter user added that VanEck claimed that it needs more time to convince the SEC and other regulatory incumbents that Bitcoin’s market conditions can adequately support an ETF vehicle.

Jan Van Eck stated on air on CNBC ETF that it was because it wasnt getting passed and they needed more time to convince SEC about overseas bitcoin trading issues.
— JV (@JVWVU1) January 23, 2019

A tweet from Gabor Gurbacs, the head of VanEck’s crypto division, recently corroborated this. Gurbacs claimed that his firm still has ambitions to work with stakeholders and market makers to create a healthy ecosystem for such an investment instrument.
Interestingly, the crypto market has barely reacted to this news. At the time of writing, BTC has held above $3,550, while altcoins have also stood the ground. Yet, considering former crypto ETF developments, a move lower could hit the broader industry in the near future.
This news comes just days after Bitwise Asset Management and Wilshire Phoenix filed Bitcoin-related ETF proposals to the American financial regulator. Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has also made comments on crypto exchange-traded vehicles, claiming that it currently isn’t looking into approving such an offering, contrary to other reports.
This is breaking news, but NewsBTC will be sure to keep you in the loop in the hours and days to keep. Keep on checking in. 
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Litecoin [LTC] Technical Analysis: Bears retain long-term control of the LTC market

Cryptocurrencies around the world have taken a tumble of late, especially since January 10, and the case of Litecoin [LTC] is no different. LTC has been going through a regular downslide since the heights of the previous year and despite some bullish resistance, is struggling to improve on its value against the US dollar which stands at $31.83 presently.
At the time of press, LTC retained its eighth-position in the list of world’s largest cryptocurrencies with a market capitalization of $1.914 billion. It also has a 24-hour trading volume of $602.28 million with ZB.com, contributing a significant 7.98% via the trading pair LTC/USDT.
1-hour
Source: TradingView
The uptrend for LTC in the one-hour time frame is struggling to hold and extends from $31.071 to $32.049. However, there is still some way to go before LTC overhauls the downtrend that extended from $33.375 to $31.179. Both the resistance and support points are holding steady at $32.479 and $30.897 respectively.
The Bollinger Bands are holding steady after it seemed that they were contracting. This suggests that volatility is holding steady for the time being.
The Aroon indicator has the Aroon up line cross and go over the Aroon down line and is thus, closer to 100, indicating that some bullish resistance has overpowered the predominant bearish trend of the market for the time being.
The Relative Strength Index indicator has the trading market neither being oversold or overbought, suggesting that both the buying and selling pressures have evened themselves out.
1-day
Source: TradingView
The long-term chart for LTC gives a more bleak reflection of the fortunes of LTC. The bearish market dominates trends as the coin is yet to reverse the huge downtrend that extended from $89.180 in mid-July last year to $40.155 last week. The uptrend extended from $29.304 to $40.079, but it was brief and has since dissipated.
Both the resistance and support points at $40.203 and $23.422 respectively, have also held firm against bullish and bearish market pressures.
The Parabolic SAR has all the markers above the candlesticks, indicating that the brief bullish resistance has been snuffed out and that the bears have retained overwhelming long-term control of the market.
The MACD line has the signal line hovering under the MACD line, indicating a bearish market. However, the histogram would suggest otherwise which means that gradually, the bearish trend is flattening thanks to bullish influence.
The Chaikin Money Flow indicates that the market is trending below the point of zero, suggesting that money is still trickling out of the market and that it remains a bearish market despite bullish efforts to the contrary.
Conclusion
The one-hour chart suggests a minor bullish trend to LTC’s prices, as is suggested by indicators such as Bollinger Bands, Aroon and RSI. On the other hand, the long-term, one-day chart suggests a bleaker market with the bears still retaining control over much of the Litecoin [LTC] market.
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Source: AMB Crypto

SEC is not Against Crypto ETF – Bitwise Explains

Over the past couple of years, SEC has been ruthless in delaying and denying the Bitcoin ETF. But still the latest entrant in this race of Bitcoin ETF, Bitwise Asset Management feels SEC is not Anti Crypto but it usually takes time to approve the “first” ETF in every category that has appeared in front of it.
SEC wants to be absolutely sure before it gives investors access to crypto markets
Contributing to Anthony Pompliano’s blog, the team at Bitwise Asset Management have given some fantastic insights on SEC and it’s the regulators thought process on the Bitcoin ETF. Bitwise also gives some views on how the industry is anticipating the Bitcoin ETF and whether there is a need of one.
According to the post, the biggest misconception that the industry today is encountering while discussing the outlook for a crypto ETF is the belief that the SEC is fundamentally anti-crypto. The major reason for such a view for SEC comes from the fact that the regulator has had multiple delays in approving the first Bitcoin ETF. But if one looks at the history the every “first” in the ETF industry had to wait for multiple years before crossing the line. Bitwise list downs the “firsts” and the time each one has taken to cross it. It took

More than six years between the first filing for a leveraged ETF and the first SEC approval;
Nearly six years between the publication of the SEC’s first “conceptual release” on actively managed ETFs and the approval of the first active ETF;
Nine years between the launch of the first ETF and the launch of the first fixed-income ETF, despite significant efforts in the interim.

Even the relative faster approvals that came in for innovation, like self-indexing and commodities, it still took quite some time for the approvals to come in. According to the post
“The fastest major “first” may have been gold bullion, as it took “only” two years from idea to launch of the first U.S.-listed gold bullion ETF (ticker: GLD). That speed, however, had a cost: According to the Wall Street Journal, the World Gold Council spent $14 million developing the fund. Not to mention that gold is an asset that’s been around for thousands of years, or that a gold bullion ETF launched first in Australia.”
Looking at the facts that Bitwise has put forward, it looks like SEC may delay but will surely approve Bitcoin ETF, but only ones its queries are sorted and it has enough confidence that the investor interest is protected in this process.
When do think the first Bitcoin ETF will finally be approved? Do let us know your views on the same.
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Source: CoinGape

Google Security Expert: Crypto is Like Catnip for Cyber Criminals

In response to increasing security concerns around SMS-based two-factor authentication (2FA) and the prominence of SIM-swapping schemes targeting crypto investors, Google last year released the Titan Security Key. The Titan Security Key enables advanced 2FA without the need to send a text message that could be intercepted by cyber criminals.
Google’s Head of Account Security Mark Risher, who helped develop the Titan Security Key, believes that crypto is like “catnip” for cyber criminals, and explains why the emerging asset class has become such a “hot target.”
Crypto Is a “Hot Target” For Cyber Criminals, Says Google Head of Security
2018 smashed all previous records for crypto-related thefts. While the bulk of the stolen cryptocurrencies are attributed to some prominent cryptocurrency exchange hacks, the rest of the stolen crypto resulted from phishing schemes, crypto giveaways scams, and a new issue involving attackers gaining access to a user’s mobile phone through SIM-card swapping.
One high-profile case involving early Bitcoin investor Michael Terpin filing a lawsuit against telecom company AT&T for their gross negligence that led to $224 million in crypto being stolen from Terpin. Cyber criminals impersonated Terpin to gain access to a SIM-card tied to his phone number, which was then used to send a text-message containing sensitive account information that led to the criminals gaining access to Terpin’s crypto wallets.
Related Reading | Pro League of Legends Gamer Robbed of $200K in Crypto in Sim-Hack
Terpin’s example proves that new methods – such as Google’s Authenticator App, Authy, or Google’s new Titan Security Key – are necessary to fight the growing problem.
But why target crypto investors? Google’s Head of Account Security Mark Risher, whose primary focus is around spam, phishing, and account security, says that “the instantaneous nature of it, the very, very low transaction fees, the frictionless nature of money moving around,” and “the pseudonymity” are key reasons that cyber criminals are targeting crypto investors in a big way.
“Cryptocurrency is like catnip for these attackers,” Risher added. He continued, explaining that cryptocurrency’s notorious price volatility could lead to its value doubling overnight, making investors in the new financial technology a “very hot target.”

How Can Crypto Users Protect Themselves From SIM-Swapping?
It has become increasingly clear that SMS-based 2FA solutions that protect most accounts are ineffective against preventing all attacks. And while as long as there is potential for human error, and no solutions will ever be 100% effective, cryptocurrency investors can take some key steps to protect themselves.
For one, never use SMS-based 2FA for securing cryptocurrency wallets or exchange accounts, or anything that has access to private keys or assets. Instead, use Google’s Authenticator app or Authy, which refreshes 2FA codes that can only be viewed in-app at regular intervals. Be sure to make backups of all of the QR codes to the accounts you have synced with Google Authenticator or there is risk of being permanently locked out of your own accounts.
Related Reading | Silicon Valley Execs Targeted in ‘SIM Swap’ Hacking, $1 Million in Crypto Stolen
Another commonly overlooked but highly recommended tip is to never publicly, or even privately, disclose your crypto holdings or that you are holding cryptocurrencies at all. Doing so could make you a target.
Finally, one could consider Google’s Titan Security Key. Risher says that having a Titan Key “physically present makes SMS a non-threat.”
“There’s no code that sends over the airwaves, nothing is sent to the telcos,” he added. “If your phone number has changed, we won’t even know as part of this flow, and if someone else has grabbed your phone number, they won’t have any higher credibility than a complete stranger.”
The post Google Security Expert: Crypto is Like Catnip for Cyber Criminals appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New feedNewsBTC.com

Nasdaq CEO Is Bullish About Bitcoin

Just before the World Economic Forum started at Davos this week, the President and CEO of Nasdaq, Adena Friedman called the invention of crypto “a tremendous demonstration of genius and creativity.”
The company [Nasdaq.inc] was founded in 1971 and owns the Nasdaq stock exchange, which is the second biggest stock exchange in the world by market capitalisation as well as the Nasdaq Nordic, Nasdaq Baltic and “several US stock and options exchanges.”
The CEO of Nasdaq discussed cryptocurrencies in a recent article she posted on LinkedIn with the title “New chapters in innovation and disruption will be written in 2019″.
To start off the article, Friedman said that she could “see several trends that will continue to shape our markets and the broader economic landscape in the year ahead.” With this in mind, we’re going to take a look at the CEOs article and some of the key references she makes to cryptocurrencies.

“With several thousand competing cryptocurrencies vying for investor attention, the world of ‘crypto’ has gone through the first phase of the classic invention lifecycle, marked by early pioneers, followed by hype, followed by proliferation of newcomers and then a dose of reality.”

She continues to say that there will be two outcomes next:

Either “the innovation finds practical utility followed by years of steady and sustainable commercial progress and integration into the economic fabric (e.g., the Internet).

or

The ” invention fails to achieve broad adoption and its commercial applications as medium of exchange are limited (e.g., the Segway).”

Friedman admits it is difficult to ignore the mass of investors and global investors that have flooded in over the past few years. Continuing, she says “the invention itself is a tremendous demonstration of genius and creativity, and it deserves an opportunity to find a sustainable future in our economy.”
One could argue that there are two main parts to bringing in practical utility and more stable value of governance and clarity “both of which are antithetical to the original intent as a decentralized, ungovernable global currency.”

Freidman goes onto say that there is a level of fairness and transparency with exchanges “and without some level of oversight and regulation, it is not possible to demonstrate a level of transparency and fairness that will build trust.”
Adding on to this, Freidman says:

“At Nasdaq, we are working to help cryptocurrencies gain investors’ trust by offering our technology for trade matching, clearing, and trade integrity to start-up exchanges. We have also invested in ErisX, an institutional marketplace for cryptocurrency spot and futures.”

Even though there is a lot of hype surrounding 2019 to bring something positive to the persistence bear market in the cryptocurrency space, at Nasdaq, they believe Bitcoin and altcoins “will have a role in the future.” But it’s role will all rest “on the evolution of regulation and broader institutional adoption.”
You can read the full article here.
What are your thoughts? Let us know what you think down below in the comments!
Source: Crypto Daily