More than $ 1.1 billion worth of digital currency has been stolen in the first six months of 2018, according to a report by cybersecurity firm Carbon Black. The report unearthed a thriving dark web ecosystem related to the theft of cryptos in large quantities. Even more worrisome is how easy it is for malicious parties to acquire the necessary malware for illicit activities, with malware costing as little as $ 1 on some marketplaces. While it had been suspected previously that crypto theft was being carried out by well-funded criminal gangs, the report revealed that with the ease of acquiring the necessary malware, it could be done by just about anyone with a computer and access to the dark web.
Bitcoinist spoke with co-founder of ICO Alert, Mike Finch, who shared his insight into the recent ban on Initial Coin Offering (ICO) advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Google social media platforms, how ICOs have been responding, and how it levels the playing field for quality ICOs to receive market attention.
Bitcoinist: How have ICOs been responding to the ban on popular social media platforms?
Mike Finch: There are two ways to look at this, for both ICOs and ICO marketing/consulting agencies. On one hand, it is bad because it decreases the sheer # of avenues for ICOs to advertise and you could argue it hurts the industry.
You think your losses from hodling been bad this year? Odds are, they pale in comparison to losses accrued from hacks and scams.
A Bull Run for Crypto Scammers
According to data shared with Business Insider, hackers and scammers have made already off with $ 670 million in cryptocurrency this year.
The data comes from cryptocurrency investment advisors Crypto Aware, which has collected information on every major cryptocurrency-related hack and scam since June 2011. During that time, $ 1.7 billion in digital assets has been stolen, which means that a staggering 40 percent has been lost in 2018 alone — the lion’s share of which came out of cryptocurrency exchange BitGrail’s and Japanese exchange Coincheck’s coffers.
LDJ Capital founder and chairman David Drake went on record, saying that “Bitcoin will be worth $ 30,000 at the year end.” After a “cold winter” for cryptocurrencies, the noted investor says that 2018 will shape up as a refining one for the field.
“Cryptocurrency Wall Street Time”
Speaking to Bloomberg, LDJ Capital’s David Drake went on to express his positive outlook for the direction which Bitcoin is moving. He notes that cryptocurrency is hot in Asia right now as well as the US, which he states is the “biggest market right now.” Drake is very optimistic, predicting a serious surge in the price of the world’s leading cryptocurrency. This is due to increasing guidance from regulatory bodies as well as Wall Street getting more involved.
Many have predicted that 2018 will be the year regulators get well and truly involved the emerging cryptocurrency market. Thus far, that certainly seems to be the case.
Regulation Is Here, but Is It a Bad Thing?
As we ushered in the new year, South Korea laid down regulation which prevents anonymous trading, while China went right ahead and banned trading entirely.
Meanwhile, financial authorities in Germany and France have called for an international crackdown on cryptocurrency, while Japan already has regulations in place which require cryptocurrency exchanges to be registered and maintain certain standards of security lest they are shut down.
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Here is my 2017 cryptocurrency year in review presented as a MindMap.
I have picked out just a few highlights from the year based on stories that I covered on The Cryptoverse YouTube channel.
This is by no means comprehensive and the items I cover are not in any particular order.
Video Rating: / 5
On this weeks episode of The Cryptoverse livestream we’ll be doing Q&A, price movements, technical analysis and catching up on all the news.
It’s no secret that Bitcoin mining was a profitable business venture last year — but just how profitable was it?
First to the Gold Rush
2017 was an extremely profitable year for Bitmain Technologies Ltd., a privately owned Bitcoin mining company headquartered in Beijing, China. In addition to operating several of the world’s largest Bitcoin mining pools, Bitmain manufactures ASIC chips and the mining hardware that uses those chips. All total, the company raked in somewhere between $ 3 and $ 4 billion in profits last year, according to estimates made by Bernstein Research.
News of a fresh crackdown on cryptocurrency trading in China has added to stress on Bitcoin and altcoin markets, seeing assets lose 30% in hours.
$ 200 Billion Disappears In New Downturn
Bitcoin dipped around 13.7% to challenge $ 12,000 Tuesday as both South Korea and China present regulatory changes which could limit access even further for regular users.
Despite local Korean news outlets forecasting that a “shutdown” on the cryptocurrency exchange space was “not likely” Monday, the situation remains confused as lawmakers attempt to place restrictions on everyday traders.
Bitcoin was the best-performing currency in the world for a seventh time in 2017, beating major cryptocurrencies and all fiat yet again.*
2017 Was Bitcoin’s 3rd Best Year
Bitcoin’s 1200% annual growth last year took it easily to the top of the league against the global fiat basket, while only a handful of less mainstream altcoins posted bigger returns for investors.
2017’s Bitcoin harvest for hodlers was the best since 2013, which was the cryptocurrency’s best ever year that spawned near 5500% returns.
2011 contributed 1387% gains, while 2010 offered up 480%. By contrast, 2016 delivered “only” 130%.
The year started with good news about Bitcoin’s urgently needed optimizations. Indeed, key entities of the cryptocurrency ecosystem began the year by rushing to become Segregated Witness (SegWit) compatible. Specifically, BTC.com and LocalBitcoins.com are implementing SegWit from the first business day of 2018.
SegWit Will Help Reduce Transaction Fees
Dr. Pieter Wuille proposed SegWit in December 2015. Then it was activated in August 2017. Segwit promises to improve Bitcoin’s scalability and reduce Bitcoin’s transaction fees. It also helps to fix transaction malleability.
Since its activation, developers have been increasingly integrating SegWit into Bitcoin wallets, and many exchanges have been implementing SegWit.