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Cryptoverse: Remember when bitcoin was 'anonymous'? – Reuters

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A representations of cryptocurrency Monero is seen in front of a stock graph and U.S. dollar in this illustration taken, January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration
March 22 (Reuters) – Bitcoin just isn't anonymous enough for a growing cohort of crypto users who are seeking greater seclusion.
A volatile class of crypto known as privacy coins, created with the primary aim of masking the identity of users and details of transactions, has quietly been gaining ground this month as maturing bitcoin inches towards mainstream finance.
Monero and Zcash, among the most popular, have respectively gained 7.6% and 46% since March 1, according to CoinMarketCap data, even as bitcoin has lost about 5%.
The pair has gained 4.7% and 16% in the past week. An index tracking privacy coins more broadly, compiled by research firm Macro Hive, has risen 4%.
This could be a blip in the wild ride of privacy coins, which conceal more information about transaction amounts and parties through differences in their underlying blockchains.
In the past five years, Monero's market cap – the total value of all the coin out there – has pinballed from $100 million to $6.8 billion to $3.4 billion now, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Yet the interest in crypto privacy coincides with bitcoin's diminishing function as an anonymous currency. It also comes against the backdrop of war in Europe, a tightening sanctions dragnet and strong noises from policymakers in the United States, EU and Japan about regulating the crypto market.
Aidan Arasasingham and Gerard DiPippo, of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, note that bitcoin is not truly anonymous, but rather pseudonymous, where coins can be held in wallets opened under alternative or false names.
"If a wallet can be linked to an entity or person, the actor can be identified," they wrote in a report in the context of the possibility of crypto being used in Russia and Ukraine to move funds. "Their transactions and wallets can be traced."
Volatility aside, though, there are several obstacles that keep privacy coins from being a top-tier altcoin, or alternative to bitcoin, which has a market cap of around $776 billion.
Some major crypto exchanges do not list privacy coins due to their potential for illicit activity, for example. Daily trading volumes for Monero have mostly been under $250 million this month while altcoin Ripple sees more than $1.5 billion changing hands each day.
"Privacy coins will probably grow. The challenge is that you have to do a lot of things do make them anonymous that make for a horrible user experience and adds big transaction costs," said Dave Siemer, CEO at asset management firm Wave Financial in Los Angeles who owns some Monero coins.
TRACING THE LAST SATOSHI
Privacy coins have evolved in recent years as the ability of authorities to track blockchain activity for bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies has become more advanced.
"Coins can, with some effort, be traced back to the very last "satoshi", bitcoin's smallest unit," Teunis Brosens, head economist of digital finance and regulation at ING, said in a note.
"Recent reports of ransomware money being recaptured, and arrests made for crypto exchange hacks made years ago, attest to this progress."
Large regulators have the crypto market in the sights, with efforts intensified by concerns that Russian oligarchs and other sanctioned people could use bitcoin to clandestinely move money.
U.S. senators have introduced a bill that could give the president power to sanction foreign cryptocurrency firms. The European Union has also voted in favor of comprehensive digital asset legislation. Japan's Financial Services Agency has said it will punish anyone making unauthorized payments to those targeted by the sanctions. read more
SO HOW'S BITCOIN MOVING?
Bitcoin's movements have been contained in part by the Ukraine conflict and the Federal Reserve's hawkishness.
The crypto kingpin has been stuck between $35,000 and $45,000 since mid-January, unable to reach the $50,000 level it held at the end of 2021. A bitcoin long-to-short positions ratio on Binance is at 1.5, the same level it was at on Feb. 24 when Russia invaded.
Meanwhile data from Glassnode shows a jump in the proportion of bitcoin supply being absorbed by entities with a low statistical history of spending it.
Marcus Sotiriou, analyst at UK-based digital asset broker GlobalBlock, sees this as "suggesting a bullish market structure for the medium-long term".
"Bitcoin is consolidating under $41,000, as the percentage of long-term holders in the market continues to increase," Sotiriou said.
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Cryptoverse: Bitcoin miners get stuck in a bear pit – Reuters

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Sept 27 (Reuters) – Spare a thought for the beleaguered bitcoin miner.
In late 2021, miners were the toast of the town with a surefire path to profit: hook powerful computers up to cheap power, crack fiendishly complex maths puzzles and then sell newly minted coins on the booming market.
A year's a long time in crypto.
Global revenue from bitcoin mining has dropped to $17.2 million a day amid a crypto winter and global energy crisis, down about 72% from last November when miners were racking up $62 million a day, according to data from Blockchain.com.
"Bitcoin miners have continued to watch margins compress – the price of bitcoin has fallen, mining difficulty has risen and energy prices have soared," said Joe Burnett, head analyst at Blockware Solutions.
That's put serious pressure on some players who bought expensive mining machines, or rigs, banking on rising bitcoin prices to recoup their investment.
Bitcoin is trading at around $19,000 and has failed to break above $25,000 since August, let alone regain November's all-time high of $69,000.
At the same time, the process of solving puzzles to mine tokens has become more difficult as more miners have come online. This means they must devour more computing power, further upping operating costs, especially for those without long-term power pricing agreements.
Bitcoin miners' profit for one terahash per second of computing power has fluctuated between $0.119 and $0.070 a day since July, down from $0.45 in November last year and around its lowest levels for two years.
The grim state of affairs could be here to stay, too: Luxor's Hashrate Index, which measures mining revenue potential, has fallen almost 70% so far this year.
2140: THE LAST BITCOIN
It's been painful for miners.
Shares of Marathon Digital (MARA.O), Riot Blockchain (RIOT.O) and Valkyrie Bitcoin Miners ETF (WGMI.O) have sunk more than 60% this year, for example, while crypto-mining data center operator Compute North filed for bankruptcy last week.
Yet mining is ultimately a long-term proposition – the last bitcoin is expected be mined in 2140, more than a century away – and some spy opportunity in the gloom.
"The best time to get in is when market's low, the same mining rigs that went for $10,000 earlier this year you can get that for 50% to 75% off right now," said William Szamosszegi, CEO of Sazmining Inc which is planning to open a renewable-energy powered bitcoin mining operation.
Indeed, many miners are cutting back on buying rigs, forcing makers to cut prices.
For instance, the popular S19J Pro rig sold for $10,100 in January on average, but now sells for $3,200, analysts at Luxor said, also noting prices for bulk orders of some mining machines had fallen by 10% in just the past week.
Chris Kline, co-founder of crypto investment platform Bitcoin IRA, said miners would have to be "hyper-focused" on energy efficiency, both to bring costs down and to avoid any repercussions from climate change-related regulations.
"From managing their balance sheet, processing units and energy costs, miners will look to stay afloat regardless of current market conditions," he added.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Crypto companies were undeterred by initial failure to obtain licences to operate in Britain and were submitting new applications, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Thursday.
Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the world’s largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. Reuters provides business, financial, national and international news to professionals via desktop terminals, the world's media organizations, industry events and directly to consumers.
Build the strongest argument relying on authoritative content, attorney-editor expertise, and industry defining technology.
The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs.
The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals.
Access unmatched financial data, news and content in a highly-customised workflow experience on desktop, web and mobile.
Browse an unrivalled portfolio of real-time and historical market data and insights from worldwide sources and experts.
Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks.
All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. See here for a complete list of exchanges and delays.
© 2022 Reuters. All rights reserved

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Crypto market volatile; Terra Classic Lunc leads the laggards, Bitcoin above $19k | Mint – Mint

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  • The American currency scaled past the 111 level against a basket of currencies — making cryptocurrencies against the greenback vulnerable as well. Currently, there is a steep plunge in trading volumes of cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies are trading volatile tracking feeble global equities after recession fears in major economies like the US and Europe sparked. The US Fed’s aggressive approach to tame inflation at the cost of economic growth further dampened the mood. Fed has hiked the rate by another 75 basis points. Wall Street and European stocks slipped sharply last week, while energy prices settled lower and bond yields climbed to multiyear highs. The American currency scaled past the 111 level against a basket of currencies — making cryptocurrencies against the greenback vulnerable as well. Currently, there is a steep plunge in trading volumes of cryptocurrencies.
On CoinMarketCap, at the time of writing, the global crypto market is at $939.57 billion up by 0.28% over the last day. However, total crypto market volume dropped nearly 37% over the last 24 hours and is at $49.82 billion.
Meanwhile, the total volume in DeFi is currently at $3.11 billion — 6.25% of the total crypto market 24-hour volume. The volume of all stablecoins is now $45.65 billion which is 91.63% of the total crypto market 24-hour volume.
Ethereum is the top trending cryptocurrency today followed by PancakeSwap and XRP.
The crypto leader Bitcoin is trading at a little over 19,000 mark at $19,090 up by 0.5%. Its market cap is nearly $366 billion. The digital coin’s dominance is currently up by 0.12% over the day at 38.95%.
Meanwhile, the second largest cryptocurrency Ethereum is performing near $1,331 and is up by 0.75%. Its market cap is around $163.3 billion.
Recently, Ethereum launched the most-awaited Merge which led to a transition of proof-of-stake consensus, officially deprecating proof-of-work and reducing energy consumption by ~99.95%.
Data from Coinglass showed that Ethereum has liquidated more than $759 million since September 15.
However, both Bitcoin and Ethereum have dipped by nearly 5% and 9% respectively in the last seven trading sessions.
Among top-performing cryptocurrencies in the last 24 hours are — Reserve Rights climbing by 9.5% followed by Chainlink up 5.5%. Algorand, Chiliz, and eCash surged by 4-5.5%.
On the other hand, Terra Classic Lunc took lead in the laggards list by plunging more than 7%, followed by XDC Network shedding nearly 5%, Stellar and DogeCoin tumbling more than 3% each. Axie Infinity, Helium, Nexo, Celsius, and Synthetix dived between 2-3%.
Terra tokens are under pressure as currently, Terraform Labs CEO Do Kwon is facing multiple jurisdictions. An arrest warrant has been issued by the Seoul Southern District Prosecutors Office against Kwon who is the forefather of TerraUSD algorithmic stablecoin and sister token Luna that wiped out reportedly $60 billion in the cryptocurrency market. Kwon’s whereabouts are unknown, although, the co-founder of Terra tokens denied rumours of being on the ‘run’ from government agencies.
Last week, US Fed in its latest policy statement said, “the Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks.”
FOMC further said, in support of these goals, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3 to 3-1/4 percent and anticipates that ongoing increases in the target range will be appropriate. In addition, the Committee will continue reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and agency debt, and agency mortgage-backed securities, as described in the Plans for Reducing the Size of the Federal Reserve’s Balance Sheet that was issued in May.
FOMC is committed to returning inflation to its 2% objective.
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Bitcoin news – live: Price crash continues as crypto ‘stable’ coin UST uncouples from dollar – Yahoo News

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