DOJ recovers 63.7 Bitcoins paid out in Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack

The agency tracked down the payment through the Bitcoin public ledger.

By I. Bonifacic

The US Justice Department has recovered part of the ransom Colonial Pipeline paid last month to regain access to its computer systems after it was locked out of them by “apolitical” ransomware gang Darkside. The agency says it seized 63.7 Bitcoins, worth nearly $2.3 million when it carried out the action, by tracing the cryptocurrency through the public Bitcoin ledger. The amount represents more than half of the approximately 75 Bitcoins Colonial Pipeline paid out to the group (the value of the cryptocurrency has fallen since May).

The Justice Department says it obtained the private key to the wallet the hackers used to store the currency. To recover the money, the federal government took legal action against an exchange or custodial wallet that has servers in Northern California.    

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New milestone reached as 100 cryptocurrencies reach a $1B market cap

In the past two months, the number of crypto projects with a $1 billion market cap doubled as increased adoption pushes token valuations higher.

In the last two months, the number of cryptocurrencies with a $1 billion market caphas doubled since the last time Cointelegraph reported on the milestone. As things currently stand, there are 100 projects that have reached a $1 billion market capitalization.

Unicorns are typically privately held startup companies valued at more than $1 billion, but traditional finance is increasingly applying the term to high-value cryptocurrencies that institutions are only now gaining exposure to. 

The entrance of institutional investors into the cryptocurrency sector over the course of 2021 has been one of the driving forces of growth for the ecosystem as a whole as multi-billion dollar companies like Tesla, Square and MicroStrategy have converted a portion of their cash reserves into Bitcoin (BTC) and other top altcoins. 

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Visa moves to allow payment settlements using cryptocurrency

KEY POINTS

  • Visa said on Monday it will allow the use of the cryptocurrency USD Coin to settle transactions on its payment network.
  • It was the latest sign of growing acceptance of digital currencies by the mainstream financial industry.

Visa said on Monday it will allow the use of the cryptocurrency USD Coin to settle transactions on its payment network, the latest sign of growing acceptance of digital currencies by the mainstream financial industry.

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Bitcoin is at a tipping point and could become ‘currency of choice’ for global trade, Citi says


Ryan Browne

  • Bitcoin could one day “become the currency of choice for international trade,” Citi said in a research note Monday.
  • The cryptocurrency is “at the tipping point of mainstream acceptance or a speculative implosion,” the bank added.
  • Bitcoin’s wild ascent over the last few months has forced big Wall Street players to reevaluate the cryptocurrency.

Citi thinks bitcoin is at a “tipping point” and could one day “become the currency of choice for international trade” as companies like Tesla and PayPal warm to it and central banks explore issuing their own digital currencies.

“There are a host of risks and obstacles that stand in the way of Bitcoin progress,” the U.S. bank’s global perspectives and solutions team wrote in a note Monday.

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Bitcoin uses more electricity than Argentina, Norway, study finds

Ross Andersen

TORONTO — As the price of bitcoin skyrocketed over the last year, so has the amount of energy used to mine the cryptocurrency, prompting concerns about its environmental impact.

Despite the currency’s value having seen a recent decline, the energy used to harvest it has soared to a point where its annual carbon footprint is equivalent to or more than several countries including Argentina and Norway, according to an analysis published by Cambridge University.

Mining the cryptocurrency requires a deep energy-intensive process that uses extensive electrical infrastructure and complicated math algorithms in order to verify transactions. Upon solving any given calculation the miner is subsequently rewarded with a bitcoin.

“Rising bitcoin prices make mining more attractive, as the potential reward increases in value. As a result, new mining hardware will get added to the network and lead to increasing electricity consumption overall,” according to the report.

Although it’s unclear how much energy bitcoin actually uses, the study says that it consumes about 129.09 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year. The more bitcoin that is mined, the more energy that is consumed.

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Apple Pay now supports Bitcoin payments for the first time

By Yoni Heisler

  • With the new BitPay app, users can now use Apple Pay to make payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
  • BitPay is planning to include support for Google Pay and Samsung Pay in the near future.

Though Apple has historically had something of a love-hate relationship with Bitcoin, the company seems to be slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that the cryptocurrency isn’t something it can realistically avoid or ignore.

As a recent example, users can now use Apple Pay to make payments in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, according to a recent press release from BitPay.

BitPay itself is a digital wallet that can be used in conjunction with Apple Pay and the Apple Wallet app.

“We have thousands of BitPay Wallet app customers using the BitPay Card who are always looking for new places and ways to spend their crypto,” BitPay CEO Stephen Pair said. “Adding Apple Pay and soon Google and Samsung Pay makes it easy and convenient to use the BitPay Card in more places from day-to-day items to luxury purchases.”

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Tesla expects to begin accepting Bitcoin for payment


By ANDREY SHEVCHENKO 

Tesla is now able to hold Bitcoin in reserves, thus accepting Bitcoin as payment for its cars without necessarily converting it.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors is following in the footsteps of MicroStrategy and other companies by allocating part of its balance sheet to Bitcoin (BTC).

In Monday’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company announced it had purchased an aggregate of $1.5 billion in Bitcoin, to be held as an investment and store of value for its excess cash. It is currently unknown what is the average purchase price and number of BTC the company acquired. Tesla’s investment policy has been updated at an unspecified point in January 2021, which suggests that Tesla may be holding between 35,900 and about 45,500 BTC, corresponding to average prices of $42,000 and $33,000, respectively. Given Bitcoin’s price movement in the last few weeks, the 45,500 BTC estimate is likely closer to the true amount.

As part of the policy, Tesla expects to begin offering clients the ability to purchase its products in Bitcoin, the filing states. Unlike many other similar initiatives, the Bitcoin it receives will not necessarily be liquidated as soon as possible, thus possibly adding to its reserves.

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JPM Coin debut marks start of blockchain’s value-driven adoption cycle

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Despite its centralized design, JPM Coin’s real life utilization represents a step toward the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology.

JPM Coin debut marks start of blockchain’s value-driven adoption cycle.

On the heels of PayPal announcing its decision to enter the crypto sector early next year, Bitcoin (BTC) has continued its strong performance and has been hovering around the $13,500 mark for nearly a week now. In this regard, the payment giant’s foray into the crypto market has been hailed as a game changer, especially when it comes to improving the mainstream perception of the digital asset industry as a whole.

Not only that, JPMorgan Chase announced that its native digital currency offering — the JPM Coin — has finally been deployed for mainstream use by one of the firm’s technical associates. The token is designed to facilitate JPMorgan Chase’s various cross-border monetary transactions.

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How Blockchain will End Commercial Banks

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Daniel Masters, CoinShares executive chairman

JP Morgan’s former global head of energy trading, Daniel Masters, was among the first traditional investors to get into bitcoin, helping craft the value proposition that many institutional investors now embrace. COINSHARES

As much as bitcoiners and crypto enthusiasts try to deny it, bringing in converts from traditional finance is the best way to legitimize and publicize the industry in the eyes of many investors.

One of the earliest executives to take the leap was CoinShares executive chairman Daniel Masters. After a long and distinguished career as a commodities trader with JP Morgan and elsewhere, he serendipitously stumbled upon bitcoin after the commodities supercycle ended following the global financial crisis. Masters immediately saw the potential of bitcoin and blockchain, and he realized that his background as a technologist and commodities trader was tailor-made to make him an ambassador for this new industry to a net set of individual and institutional investors.

At the same time, through building his crypto investment management company, he was able to look into the future of this industry and see what developments lie ahead, as well as upcoming clashes between crypto insurgents and entrenched financial incumbents. Forbes sat down with Masters to get his thoughts on the future of this industry.

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No internet, no problem. Venezuela gets bitcoin satellite node

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Venezuela deployed its first Bitcoin satellite node.

It allows for a node on the ground to receive Bitcoin transaction details from a Blockstream satellite without internet.

Venezuela has poor internet connectivity.

Venezuela has its first Bitcoin satellite node capable of processing transactions without an internet connection.

The Venezuelan “space node” was set up in the country by Anibal Garrido and the Anibal Cripto team. It uses technology from Blockstream, which contracts satellites—in this case, EUTELSAT-113 – to broadcast data between points via offline connections. That’s huge in a country where internet infrastructure is lacking.

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Coronavirus is shaping up to be very bad for banks – But not for Bitcoin

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The coronavirus pandemic has turned the established status quo on its head with many businesses and industries still reeling.

 The world’s biggest banks have seen their valuations plummet, with billionaire investor Warren Buffett bailing out of long-held bank stocks this year—and joining many other investors in betting on gold (though the Oracle of Omaha is still not keen on bitcoin).

As banks struggle in the post-Covid world, bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are expected to see a “pandemic-led acceleration of adoption,” according to DBS chief economist Taimur Baig.

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MIT is helping the Boston Fed build a CBDC that can be scaled for consumer use

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MIT is helping the Boston Fed build a CBDC that can be scaled for consumer use

Can MIT help the U.S. catch up to China in the CBDC race?

The MIT Digital Currency Initiative, or DCI, is helping the federal reserve bank of Boston build a digital currency with the goal of scaling for consumer use. The DCI’s director Neha Narula told Cointelegraph:

“We’re trying to build a high throughput, low latency transaction system that could be used by consumers and could handle the security and resilience required for a national currency.”

The multi-year collaboration between the two organizations is still in very early stages and not much information is being released to the public. Yet the focus is not on building a newer version of interbank digital ledger, but rather something that the consumers would be able to use. It is hard to estimate the required transactional throughput of such technology, but considering that the U.S. population is around 330 million and the fact that the dollar is the most widely used currency in the world (some nations have even officially adopted it), this number would have to be rather high.

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