The FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigations) has gained access to a Bitcoin (BTC) wallet possessed by a Russian with connections to the REvil ransomware group.

According to court documents, the wallet held almost 40 Bitcoins (39.89 BTCs) valued at roughly $1.8 million at the time of writing.

Although the investigative body didn’t disclose how it managed to log in, they noted that the “Exodus wallet” stored ransom payments from the REvil group. According to the FBI, the payments were made to the group’s affiliate, Aleksandr Sikerin.

Bleeping Computer noted that a part of Sikerin’s email address is a common phrase associated with a REvil and GandCrab operative identified as Lalartu.

The two groups operate a unique offering allowing ransomware operators to seek the help of hackers or affiliates. With this arrangement, the affiliates are only tasked with bypassing the security of corporate networks to steal information and implant data encryption software.

On the other hand, the main operators decide on where to leak the data, how the affected corporates will pay for the decryption tools, and develop the decryption/encryption tools.

Contracted Hackers Take 80%, Masterminds Pocket 20%

Affiliates take home roughly 80 percent of what the corporates pay as ransomware, while the main actors pocket the rest. In October, German investigators reportedly unearthed the identities of REvils’s main actors.

According to the investigators, one of the group’s main members disguises himself as a cryptocurrency trader.

Last month, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the seizure of cryptocurrency worth approximately 6 million US dollars. The DOJ revealed that the amount was recovered from a REvil affiliate, Polyanin.

The affiliate was “charged with deploying” the ransomware to target corporate networks and other “entities in the United States.”

According to an analysis by Chainalysis, Polyanin pocketed more than 11 million USD in the leading cryptocurrency. The REvil affiliate also received “over $2 million worth of USDT_ETH.”

As the FBI pounces on ransomware operators, Bitcoin recorded its darkest day in months after shedding more than 150 billion USD.

Data from CoinMarketCap shows that the price crashed by roughly 26 percent. It moved from highs of around $57,400 to lows of $42,800 in the last 24 hours.

“Every Bitcoin Cycle in History Has Ended with a Red Month”

Such a steep dive within 24 hours was last seen six months ago in May when BTC nosedived to $33K. The crypto lost more than $150 billion in market capitalization by moving from 1.08 trillion USD to approximately 850 billion USD in 24 hours.

Additional data indicate that liquidations in the BTC market topped $1.3 billion within an hour, with those holding Bitcoin longs closing positions valued at slightly above 730 million US dollars.

Consequently, the bears have feasted on the gains Bitcoin had made in the last 60 days when BTC recorded a new all-time high of above $67,600. However, some analysts pointed out that such sharp drops are common in Bitcoin’s history.

For example, TechDev tweeted that “every Bitcoin cycle in history has ended with a red month followed by 2 or 3 very green months.”

The crypto market slump that started yesterday, December 3, was also seen in the stock market. Although there’s no clear explanation for the drop, there are concerns about the recent new coronavirus variant known as Omicron.

If the variant leads to lockdowns, it would initially negatively affect the cryptocurrency market.

Hawk-eyed Regulators and Mt. Gox Liquidations Culminate into Extreme Fear

Also, financial regulators in the United States are increasing their watch on the crypto market. Analytics firms such as Decentrader observed that traders are also preparing for what they presume is the end of the bull market.

Apart from anticipating a weakening spirit from the bulls, others think that the approaching Mt. Gox liquidations are likely to be another reason why crypto investors are on high alert.

A Twitter user, Rekt Capital, observed that the recent Bitcoin price drop is similar to the one in September when “BTC retraced -25%. This was when BTC investors got extremely fearful.”

At the time of writing, the crypto Fear and Greed Index indicated a value of 25, which it considers “Extreme Fear.” Yesterday, the index indicated “Fear.” According to the index, extreme fear shows that investors are too worried, and “that could be a buying opportunity.”

 

 

Decentralized finance (DeFi) continues to attract new users, with Ethereum-based DeFi platforms accounting for the most significant chunk. According to Dune Analytics, DeFi users on the second-largest blockchain have reached new highs cruising beyond the 4-million mark. Uniswap, an Ethereum-powered decentralized exchange (DEX), has the highest number of users.

Data shows that the DEX is responsible for three-quarters or 3,000,000 of all users on DeFi protocols powered by Ethereum. At the time of writing, Compound had more than 330,000 users, Sushiswap had over 390,000, Balancer over 218,000, and 1inch had more than 360,000 users.

Other platforms with significant number of users include Kyber (124,000), Aave (82,000), MakerDAO (74,000), and dYdX (61,000). The rise in the number of users on DeFi platforms is likely due to the continued growth of the space in the last 14 months. During this time, the DeFi space has seen the entrance of new projects focusing on niche markets.

Since September last year, Ethereum-based DeFi users have increased by approximately 800 percent. Apart from a boost in new users, the space also attracted the scrutiny of financial regulators across the globe.

Total TVL Increases by $65 Billion in Less Than Two Months

Some of their major concerns include investor protection in an environment that’s largely unregulated. Although the DeFi ecosystem is a vast land, regulators are particularly shining the spotlight on loans.

However, Ethereum’s DeFi lead may soon face stiff competition from other blockchains such as Cardano and Solana. As an advantage, most new networks angling for the DeFi share use proof of stake (PoS) mechanism.

PoS is scalable compared to Ethereum’s proof of work (PoW) system, which is also haunted by high energy use. However, Ethereum is in the process of welcoming its PoS-based network called Ethereum 2.0 or Eth2.

Note that more users translate to high amounts traded on these platforms. For example, the total value locked (TVL) on DeFi platforms has risen by 8X since the beginning of the year.

According to Defi Llama, over 265 billion USD is locked in DeFi protocols at the time of writing. The TVL breached the $200 mark in early October. In roughly 45 days, DeFi users have drilled in 65 billion USD.

Platforms with the highest TVL are Curve ($20.62 billion), MakerDAO ($18.92 billion), Convex Finance (15.74 billion), and Aave ($15.07 billion). Others with over $10 billion in TVL are Compound, Instadapp, Uniswap, and Lido.

Ethereum L2 Protocols Record Increased Usage as Ethereum Dev Discuss Lowering Charges on L1

Apart from Curve, Aave, uniswap, and Lido, the others live solely on Ethereum (layer-one) blockchain. Notably, Ethereum layer two platforms such as Boba, Optimism, Arbitrum, and Polygon, have been attracting attention.

For example, Boba recently took center stage after reaching $1 billion in TVL and becoming the second-largest Ethereum layer two protocol after Arbitrum.

As Ethereum DeFi users skyrocket by 800 percent, Ethereum developers are discussing ways to make the second-largest blockchain more habitable for users. One of the ways is slashing transactions costs by roughly 500 percent.

When Ethereum activated the London upgrade in August, it impacted the costs but not as much as expected. Transaction charges rose to reach highs of 62 USD as of November 9. On average, the fee stands at around 34 USD per transaction.

Although the charges can go as low as $5, exchanging one ERC-20 token for another can cost as much as $28. Such high transfer charges have caused Ethereum to lose users to platforms such as Binance Smart Chain and Solana that offer lower transaction charges.

Vitalik Buterin Suggests EIP-4488, Beiko Says It’ll Impact “Block Sizes”

Now, Ethereum developers have started a conversation around lowering gas fees on the platform. Tim Beiko, one of the Ethereum developers, revealed the discussion on Twitter. The push to lower transfer charges on the second-largest blockchain received support from Vitalik Buterin, the network’s co-founder.

Buterin has gone ahead to intimate of an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) dubbed EIP-4488.

In a Github suggestion, the Ethereum co-founder said that the EIP will focus on reducing gas costs and limit “how much total transaction calldata can be in a block.” Applying Buterin’s suggestions could lower transaction charges by approximately 5X.

The EIP makes use of the technology employed by layer two scaling projects like Optimism. According to Beiko, reducing “calldata costs” can reduce “the cost of rollup transactions.” On the flip side, the developer said that the approach will impact the network’s “block sizes.”

  

Bitcoin faced yet another pullback from the bears earlier today. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization fell hard, going to as low as $53.2k in the process before recovering slightly above $54k at press time. Altcoins also posted losses during the intra day trading session. More on that later on.

In other news, Bitcoin has overtaken Paypal in total transaction value during the last few quarters. The cryptocurrency posted a massive $489 billion in transacted value per quarter in 2021 while Paypal only posted $302 billion. However, the cryptocurrency still trails bigger payment services including VISA and MasterCard. More on that later on.

The Bank of England (BoE) has stated that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are too volatile to be declared as legal tenders. The top banking regulator in the country believes that Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) are the right solution for the masses as they are much more stable. El Salvador became the first sovereign nation to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender but since then no other country has taken this route although several more are interested in it. 

The newly elected German government has cited pro-crypto regulation in its political agreement with their coalition partners. According to the government-elect, the innovative business models of finance need to be given breathing space alongside conventional assets. The new incoming German government is seeing a big change as centre-left and left parties are coming to power after decades of center-right Merkel’s CDU rule. 

Creators of whacky comedy cartoon series Family Guy believe that cryptocurrencies are the future of the world. A new episode was aired that showed the protagonist kids in the future and they paid with Bitcoin in a cheap hotel. The clerk at the hotel then gives a nuanced reason behind accepting Bitcoin too. This depiction of Bitcoin in popular media has improved its recognition around the world. 

The Thai government is being urged to start crypto acceptance in the tourism industry to attract digital nomads from around the world. The term digital/crypto nomad refers to a group of techies who travel around the world like nomads, all the while coding and making money remotely. Many of these digital nomads are quite wealthy and spend a lot of time just traveling and backpacking around a country. Tourist associations believe this will boost their tourism sector. 

A new report says that Solana transactions are very energy-efficient. The said report estimates that the entire network only uses the equivalent of 986 households. However, this is not the full story as Solana’s system is much less decentralized than Bitcoin with only a 1,000 or more nodes handling tens of millions of transactions. Bitcoin on the other hand has over 5 million nodes around the world. 

Bitcoin Drops Below $54k

Bitcoin registered another steep dive earlier today. The digital currency was looking to carry on from yesterday’s highs of around $59.4k but scaled back once again. 

The last 24 hours started with the digital currency at around $59.2k. It traded sideways for a while but at 2:40 AM in the night, the index began to slowly come down. First, it went below $58k and then trended downwards further. At 8:30 AM, it began to move below $57k and continued falling further and further. At one point at 1:20 PM, the index had reached as low as $53.2k, registering a new 6-week low for the digital currency. However, the index recovered a little from this value to $54k and has largely stayed there. 

Going forward, the latest price drop has dampened bullish spirits again and now they have to start from scratch to build momentum. The $60k level has become a major resistance and the bulls aren’t just able to conquer it at the moment. The bears now have increased downwards momentum and they are looking at $50k now. However, the end of months are generally bearish and one can expect a good comeback at the start of the next month. 

The total market capitalization retested the $1 trillion market capitalization earlier in the day. Now it is around $1.06 trillion at press time and the share of the proceedings is 42.27%. 

Bitcoin price chart

Altcoins Post Losses

Other cryptocurrencies aka altcoins also posted price pullbacks earlier on. Ethereum (ETH, -9%), Ripple (XRP, -9%), Polkadot (DOT, -12%), Avalanche (AVAX, -8.5%), Shiba Inu (SHIBA, -9.5%), Crypto.com Coin (CRO, -9.5%), Litecoin (LTC, -11.5%), Polygon (MATIC, -9%), Uniswap (UNI, -8.5%) and Chainlink (LINK, -9%) all posted losses bigger than Bitcoin itself.

Polkadot price chart

In Other News…..

Bitcoin Surpassed Paypal in Quartely Transaction Value, Eyes MasterCard

Bitcoin recorded massive numbers during the average of last 3 quarters in transacted value, around $489 billion, leapfrogging popular payment platform Paypal itself that had only $303 billion. Now it has set its sights on the next challenger; MasterCard.

While this is all great for the crypto world, it has to be noted that Paypal, MasterCard and other payment companies aren’t Bitcoin’s natural competitors. Bitcoin’s transactions are slower and much, much more energy intensive and secure while Paypal, MasterCard and VISA operate on an entirely different model. Speed and energy conservation are their forte. So, even though Bitcoin’s goal is not a high transaction amount in USD value, it still beat Paypal. However, bigger services await with MasterCard at $1.3 trillion and VISA at $3.2 trillion. However, off-chain solutions and lightning network may make this quicker for the cryptocurrency. 

Morgan Stanley, a leading financial firm in the United States, has bought more Grayscale Bitcoin Trust’s (GBTC) shares. According to a filing with the country’s securities regulator, the SEC, the increase happened in Q3 of this year.

Notably, the GBTC shares are spread between Morgan Stanley’s three funds. One of the funds, Institutional Fund’s Growth Portfolio, has the highest allocation with over 3.5 million shares as of September 30. In Q2, the fund had slightly above 2 million shares. Between the two quarters, the Morgan Stanley fund has boosted its GBTC shares by 71 percent.

Its Global Opportunity Portfolio increased its BTC exposure by 59 percent by moving from slightly above 91K shares in Q2 to more than 1.4 million by September 30. The third Morgan Stanley fund, Insight Fund, moved from 928,051 shares in the second quarter of this year to more than 1.5 million shares by the end of Q3.

This represented a 63 percent increase. With the rise, Morgan Stanley now holds 6,626,381 shares across its three funds. At the time of writing, GBTC’s share price stood at 46.42 USD. At this price, Morgan Stanley holds shares worth close to 308 million USD ($307,795,397).

The Grayscale Bitcoin Trust Has Been Offering a 12% Discount Since February

Note that GBTC allows institutions to invest in the leading cryptocurrency without actually holding Bitcoin in their portfolios. Instead, the trust holds a vast amount of BTC. As of April, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust held 654,885 BTCs.

Interestingly, Grayscale has been offering a discount for those investing in the Bitcoin trusts since early this year. A slashed share price means that the shares are currently changing hands at a lower price compared to the worth of the BTC they are tied to.

Available data suggests that since February, GBTC investors have been getting a 12 percent discount. However, according to Morningstar, despite BTC increasing by over 90 percent in the spot market since January, one of the top BTC funds only recorded a 42 percent rise.

In October, GBTC’s owner, Digital Currency Group, revealed that it may buy back some of the trust’s shares. Grayscale has also expressed plans to turn its Bitcoin fund into a BTC exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The conversion plans are awaiting a node from the US securities watchdog. However, the approval may take time considering Grayscale is seeking to have its ETF backed by actual Bitcoins, and the SEC is yet to okay the operation of such an offering.

It Wasn’t Just a Miss, You “Really Blew This One”

As Morgan Stanley increases its Bitcoin exposure through Grayscale, Plan B has admitted that he was wrong about his $98K Bitcoin price before the end of this month.

This comes days after the famous BTC analyst and the creator of the Stock-to-Flow (S2F) price prediction model, expressed confidence in a $98K Bitcoin price by November.

In August and September, the analyst correctly forecasted the leading crypto’s prices at $47K and $43K, respectively. His last month’s prediction of $63K missed by three percent.

With only four days left to the end of November, and BTC currently changing hands at $54,389, Plan B has said that his November target of $98,000 per BTC “will probably be a first miss.”

In a short explanation, he blamed the miss on a phenomenon that hasn’t “occurred in the data [in the] last 10 years.” However, he quickly pointed out that his December Bitcoin price prediction of 100,000 USD is “not affected and indeed on track.”

Despite it being the first miss, some in the cryptocurrency community weren’t ready to ignore it. For example, a Twitter user observed that Plan B “really blew this one,” and it wasn’t just a miss.

Fears of a New Coronavirus Virus Variant Caused BTC’s Price Drop, Analysts

Others lamented that they took the crypto analyst’s $98K price prediction seriously and went “all in at $68K” with funds from a student loan, among other sources.

Luckily, not everyone was angry with Plan B’s admission. “no worries, we love u,” @AlbertoXplorer replied to Plan B’s tweet. The analysts also noted that investors should be responsible for their “decisions and actions.”

Some analysts have attributed the recent slump in Bitcoin prices to approaching Mt. Gox refunds, while others blame it on fears of a new coronavirus variant reported in Hong Kong and some Southern Africa countries.

Avalanche analysis 

Avalanche (AVAX) was launched in 2020. Smart contracts were the main focus while ceating Avalanche. And the top priority of Avalanche remained the development of decentralised applications (dapps) and subnets. Avalanche (AVAX) has performed well in the past few weeks. By the end of last week, it was up 33%, with all times high of $146.96 and no.9 as of 25 November 2021. It had a total gain of 3000% since its offering price.

This recent rally came up as a result of an announcement by AVA labs regarding their joint venture with consulting firm Deloitte of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). They aim for the improvement of the security, speed, and accuracy of their platform. In addition, this firm, Deloitte, will be using the Avalanche blockchain platform. The reason behind using Avalanche is to build a more effective disaster-relief platforms.

Avalanche gave a link[1] to the current live burning, which shows AVAX being burnt. The team elected to burn all fees as a policy. Therefore this amount will continue to climb as the token is utilised. The act of burning tokens depletes the available supply, creating scarcity. In principle, assuming demand remains constant, this process should raise the token price. While Ethereum has many rivals, Avalanche indicates that better scalability and an emphasis on DeFi are still essential business factors.

Key Takeaways

  • On Monday, Avalanche revealed that it had burnt over 400,000 AVAX tokens since its inception in 2020, amounting to around $55 million in terms of fiat currency.
  • Avalanche secures a spot among the Top 10 cryptocurrencies after pushing Litecoin below, as the price surges 100%.
  • "There is nothing specific about the Deloitte agreement that is transformative to Avalanche," Hougan adds, "but it is a signal that Avalanche may have the right ingredients to compete with Ethereum and other all-purpose blockchains long term."
  • President Ava Labs, John Wu said, "Close As You Go features a user-friendly interface backed by the cutting edge of blockchains, helping state and local governments focus on their recovery, rather than extensive claims processes," in a statement last week.
  • According to Zhu, an AVAX investor, Ethereum platform users have complained about excessive gas prices, which refer to transaction costs. As a result, they may seek alternative platforms such as Avalanche or Solana if Ethereum does not change soon enough. Avalanche claims that its gas prices are lower than Ethereum's because it can execute transactions at a quicker rate. According to Avalanche claims, they can process 4,500 transactions per second. In contrast, Ethereum's 15 transactions per second seem too low.

What is Avalanche (AVAX)

Because both have smart contract features, Avalanche is frequently compared to Ethereum. Avalanche, on the other hand, seeks to execute quicker transactions with cheaper costs than Ethereum. In addition, Avalanche uses a proof of stake (PoS) paradigm, in which validators validate transactions based on the number of coins they have. Proof of stake (PoS) is said to consume much less energy compared to the other methods, making it more cost-effective. Avalanche intends to have several chains, with some providing essential activities and others being more application-specific. Meanwhile, all non-core blockchains (called subnets) must rely on validators that stake AVAX on any of Avalanche's three basic platforms, named P-Chain, X-Chain, and C-Chain.

Regardless of the excitement surrounding Avalanche, it is critical to investigate and understand the dangers associated with any cryptocurrency before investing. Cryptocurrencies are viewed by financial analysts as volatile, speculative investments. It is possible that after a strong rally, you see a market tanking against the investors' bias. In that case, the investors only need to secure their positions before such a thing happens.

As of 25 November 2021, Avalanche stays on no.9 with a market price of $121.49, with a 15.51 gain compared to the previous week, with a market cap of $ $26,930,174,887, a current circulating supply of 223,847,721 AVAX, and making 31.09% circulation of coins of its total supply. The total supply is limited to $ 720,000,000 AVAX tokens.

Technicals of Avalanche (AVAX)

Here are the technicals of Avalanche:

Source: InteractiveCrypto

 

Avalanche (AVAX) Price Analysis 2021

Let's look at the chart of AVAX Vs. USD and see what useful information we can find from it.

Avalanche price chart

Overall, Avalanche has a positive gain throughout 2021. Let's break down its chart analysis to see if we have an opportunity.

Weekly Chart Breakdown of Avalanche (AVAX)

Avalanche price chart

Source: Trading View

When looking at the weekly chart, we can see the recent high above $145 and rejection from that point onwards. The nearest and most recent weekly support is at $78.65. Therefore, long-term investors might find a buying opportunity around $78 support. The weekly sentiment of Avalanche AVAX is as follows:

Source: InteractiveCrypto

Weekly sentiment remains bearish as the sellers see a move towards $78.

Daily Chart Breakdown of Avalanche (AVAX)

Keeping in mind the weekly chart, we can see a strong bullish impulsive move towards all times high around $145 and a strong rejection from there. Overall, market sentiment and technical suggest further decline towards $78. So if you are looking to buy Avalanche AVAX, please look for an entry around $78.

4h Chart Breakdown of Avalanche (AVAX)

Looking at the 4h chart, we see a strong leg down after a double top on an all-time high. EMA20 works as the resistance at this point for the market, and we could see a strong move down towards $97 and even further towards $78 if the market sentiment remains unchanged. So if you are looking to buy on a 4h timeframe, look for opportunities around $97 or $78.

Conclusion

The current drop looks to be a more technical, market-driven move. As a result, buyers looking for Avalanche exposure have what seems to be a nice drop to go long here. Finally, only time will tell if this price drop was worthwhile. However, it appears to be appealing to people who believe they may have lost out on Avalanche this week.

Do you want to buy Avalanche (AVAX)? Take a look at Binance, one of the worlds premier crypto-exchanges.

 

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