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Criminal Underground Disavowing Bitcoin for Other Cryptocurrencies

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The criminal underworld is disavowing bitcoin in favor of a new breed of cryptocurrencies that can better conceal illicit activity, a phenomenon that can partly explain the rapid rise of altcoins over the past three months.

The Rise of Privacy Coins

So-called ‘privacy coins’ like Monero, which are designed to avoid tracking, have quickly climbed the cryptocurrency market’s ranks. According to Bloomberg, these crypto alternatives have gained prominence at a time when law enforcement is increasing its surveillance of bitcoin users. Analytics firms are also getting better at spotting illicit behavior and alerting crypto exchanges before funds are exchanged into fiat money.

Europol has flagged several privacy coins as being more conducive for the criminal black market. In a recently published report, the European Union’s law enforcement agency said “other cryptocurrencies such as Monero, Ethereum and Zcash are gaining popularity within the digital underground.”

An analyst interviewed by Bloomberg said Monero is one of the most popular coins for ransomware attacks. Monero’s popularity among cyber criminals stems from its advanced encryption techniques, which generate fake addresses to hide the real sender’s identity. This technique also obscures the transaction amount issued. Bitcoin, on the other hand, records all addresses and transactions on an immutable digital ledger.

Experts say Zcash offers even better privacy protection because it obscures the actual address of the sender rather than generate fake addresses. This method makes it impossible for surveillance technology to draw correlations in addresses used in multiple transactions.

Monero and Zcash have both grown to become multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrencies. By market cap alone, Monero is ranked 12th, with an overall value of $6.3 billion. Zcash is down at 29th with an overall market cap of $1.7 billion. Both cryptocurrencies have daily turnover well into the hundreds of millions.

The developers behind Monero said they specifically designed the cryptocurrency to safeguard privacy. Naturally, this would be of benefit to criminals looking to evade detection.

“As a community, we certainly don’t advocate for Monero’s use by criminals,” core developer Riccardo Spagni told Bloomberg. “At the same time if you have a decentralized currency, it’s not like you can prevent someone from using it. I imagine that Monero provides massive advantages for criminals over bitcoin, so they would use Monero.”

Governments Make a U-Turn on Cryptos

Although bitcoin catapulted into the mainstream last year as one of the world’s fastest-growing alternative assets, its history is tainted with criminal activity tied to money laundering and the dark web. This partly explains why so many governments were eager to disavow the cryptocurrency. Many policymakers quickly realized that prohibition is not the answer given the inherent benefits of blockchain technology.

Russia is one of the more notable examples of a government that quickly changed its tune on bitcoin. It was not even two years ago that Russia’s Finance Ministry was proposing seven-year jail sentences for bitcoin users and adopters. Last week, the government said it would take decisive steps to developing a national cryptocurrency backed by fiat money.

Today, the cryptocurrency market enjoys favorable conditions in many parts of the world, including Japan, South Korea and Switzerland. Buying and selling crypto assets is also supported across many Western nations. However, the evolving nature of the market has put authorities on high alert, with South Korea recently announcing it would take decisive steps to rein in speculation.

2018 is expected to be a pivotal year for crypto regulation, as legislators attempt to define the burgeoning market. Cryptocurrency exchanges, initial coin offerings and mining could all be subject to federal oversight in the near future.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 696 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Altcoins

Zcash Price Analysis: ZEC/USD Making a Comeback Despite US Homeland Security Seeking Ability to Trace Transactions

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  • ZEC/USD makes a firm bounce, after being victim of four straight sessions of losses, 25% drop over this period.
  • US Homeland Security has put out a pre-solicitation request on private transactions, attributed to the likes of Zcash and Monero.

ZEC/USD has been victim of consecutive losses over the recent sessions. The price has declined for the past four straight days – losing around 25% in this latest fall, being forced to seek refuge at an area of demand. Prior to this pullback, between the 24-26th November ZEC/USD was finding its feet, trying to bottom out. It managed to do this within the very low $60 region, before finally catching a solid bid tone. The price went on to rally a strong 57%, up to a high on the 29th at $96.93. It was the highest price print since the 20th November, when the market was still falling.

US Department of Homeland Security on Privacy Coins

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently put out a request of pre-solicitation. This is for them to be able to trace private transactions, with the ability to and perform blockchain analytics on cryptocurrencies. This is attributed to privacy coins such as Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR). Their intentions are to tackle illegal and nefarious transactions, which occur on privacy-oriented blockchains. “This proposal seeks applications of blockchain forensic analytics for newer cryptocurrencies, such as Zcash and Monero,” as covered in the pre-solicitation doc. 

Technical Review – ZEC/USD

ZEC/USD daily chart

As briefly touched on above, ZEC/USD was forced to retreat back into a demand area. This can be seen running from $70 down to $60. A failure of this zone providing support could have sent the price into free-fall mode. As a result, bearish momentum would have likely intensified, sending this spiraling down towards $30 territory. ZEC/USD has seen a similar fall from the back-end of November to the final stages of December 2017. This was part of that market wide sell-off that was observed. Zcash had started dropping from heights of $260.

Upside Targets

Looking to the north, eyes will be on a retest of the 29th November high up at $96.93. Within this area, a new acting zone of resistance is seen. Previously, this was a demand territory for buyers; it had firmly been providing support, which was in play since September. This was then firmly broken on 20th November, tracking from $106 down to $95. This is an area the bulls must now try and break down for greater upside opportunities. Furthermore, an upside target would be $140 in the near-term. ZEC/USD was last trading here between 8-13th November, before resuming chunky downside.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 84 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Altcoins

Cardano (ADA) Has Big Security Boost as Trezor Ready to Support ADA

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  • Hardware wallet manufacturer set to support Cardano’s ADA, which is a big security boost.
  • ADA/USDT still demonstrates some near-term vulnerabilities to the downside. 

Trezor Set to Support Cardano’s ADA

IOHK were very much pleased to announce, that Trezor are currently undergoing preparation to support Cardano (ADA). Trezor are a globally known hardware wallet, which facilitates cryptocurrencies to be stored. They are renowned for the security and being able to store the key to the wallet safely. The company is a large manufacturer of hardware wallets. A huge boost in security for the foundation’s native token, something token holders should be pleased about.

The update came from the Cardano founder, Charles Hotkinson, via his Twitter account, indicating this could be the case before the month of November. Separately, Trezor themselves tweeted, “have you ever wondered what we are working on? Have a look at our newly created roadmap, where you can see all the new stuff that is coming up! https://wiki.trezor.io/Roadmap It lists other tokens which will be receiving support in addition to Cardano’s ADA that day. This includes the likes of Monero (XMR), Stellar (XLM), Ripple (XRP), Zencash (ZEN) and Zcash (ZEC).

What Next for Cardano?

The Cardano Founder, Charles Hoskinson, was recently speaking about how the team is going to be providing more insightful updates. He noted that they will soon start the creation and posting of videos with their future projects.

There is much anticipation from token holders regarding the imminent 1.4 update. Given Cardano’s growing number of users, this is said to be a large factor to the development of a new update from the foundation. This 1.4 update is expected to help Cardano gain further traction in bringing in more users to its platform and the use of its native token.

Technical Review ADA/USDT – 4-hour Chart

ADA/USDT 4-hour chart

Downside pressure continues to keep ADA/USDT at bay. The lack of announcement from Cardano with regards to its ecosystem update, as mentioned above, perhaps could be also taking its toll on the price. It is currently running within its 8th consecutive trading session in the red. No sign of bounce yet.

ADA/USDT price action remains stuck and dictated within this triangular pattern formation. The market bears, with the current losing streak, are set to test the key near-term support to the downside. This is seen at the lower part of the above-mentioned pattern, tracking at $0.0728 area, also within a touted demand zone. A breach potentially seen here, could see a very fast move back down to 18th September low area, around $0.0620. As a result, it is hard to ignore that the current technical set up, suggest of vulnerabilities.

In terms of resistance, this can be seen at the upper part of the pattern, tracking at $0.0800 mark. Enough upside momentum could see a breakout higher, back towards $0.0950 territory, price last within this proximity on 23rd September. Further north, any breach of the mentioned areas, $0.10000, will quickly be back in the picture.

ADA/USDT daily chart

To conclude as mentioned above, the near-term support $0.0728, is vital for ADA/USDT to hold. A failure of comfort here, could open the doors to a fresh wave of selling pressure.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 84 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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EOS Price Forecast: EOS/USD Heading for Another 300% Move?

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  • EOS/USD price action via the 4-hour chart view has formed a bullish flag pattern.
  • The price is moving around levels seen back end of March to early April, before a bull run of over 300%.

The past six sessions for EOS/USD have been erratic to say the least. It has been subject to a high amount of volatility, swinging aggressively in both directions. There has been a lack of commitment from either the bear or bull camps of late. As the market continues to trade with such behavior, it appears to be trying to find its feet, ahead of a potential chunky firm trend.

EOS DApp Hacked Again

An EOS based gambling DApp, EOSBet has been hacked, with $338,000 being reported as stolen. This isn’t the first time; just back in September, hackers managed to get away with a reported 40,000 worth of EOS, which at the time had a value of $200,000. It has been said that they were able to exploit their smart contracts, having found security vulnerabilities.

Technical Review – 4-hour Chart View

EOS/USD 4-hour chart

EOS/USD price action has formed a bullish flag pattern, which began taking shape on 15th October, after the aggressive price behavior stabilized. The bulls at the time ran the price well up into $6 territory. Consequently, it then met the breached ascending trend line, failing to move back above this area. This followed the sharp breakthrough to the downside, which occurred on 11th October. As a result, a drop of over 15% was seen, forcing EOS/USD to retreat in a demand area, within the $5.0000 level proximity.

Looking to the upside, small near-term resistance is seen at around $5.6100, which is the upper trend line of the mentioned bull flag pattern. A breakout will likely open the doors to a retest of the broken ascending trend line, tracking around $6.1100. Support can be eyed at $5.4600, which marks the lower trend line of the flag. Furthermore, should this fail to hold, EOS/USD could likely fall back down to the serving demand area, within the lower $5.0000 territory.

April 2018 Bull Run

EOS/USD April bull run

In April of this year EOS/USD entered a chunky bull run, gaining over 300%. From the back end of March until 11th April, the price had been stuck within consolidation mode. Resulting in the price trading within a tight range, at levels of where the price is currently seen today.

Something quite astonishing started to unfold. Between the period of 11th April to the 29th April, a bull run of around 290% was seen. Over this time frame EOS/USD went from $5.9500 up to a high of around $23.0811. The price is currently demonstrating a similar behavior to that of what was seen during the mentioned period. It is interesting to note that the price did have historical levels to break through, as it had already run higher during the period of December 2017 and came back down. Finally, this is not to say EOS/USD will observe the same bull run. However, it is an interesting observation to be aware of.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 84 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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