Saturday, September 18

Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency

US will reportedly impose crypto sanctions amid ransomware attacks
Cryptocurrency

US will reportedly impose crypto sanctions amid ransomware attacks

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration plans to implement new measures to make it more difficult for hackers to profit from ransomware attacks using cryptocurrencies. As early as next week, the Treasury Department will reportedly impose sanctions and guidance designed to discourage organizations from using digital currencies to pay for ransoms. Per The Journal, among the measures the agency is considering are fines and other penalties aimed at businesses that cooperate with hackers. Later in the year, the Treasury Department is also expected to implement new anti-money laundering and terror-financing regulation to limit further the use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method for ransoms and other illegal activity. The incoming sanctions will reportedly single out sp...
AMC theaters will accept cryptocurrencies beyond Bitcoin
Cryptocurrency

AMC theaters will accept cryptocurrencies beyond Bitcoin

You won't have to stick to Bitcoin if you're determined to pay for your movie ticket with cryptocurrency. AMC chief Adam Aron has revealed his theater chain will also accept Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash when crypto payments are available. He didn't have a narrower timeframe for digital currency payments beyond "year-end 2021." Aron made the decision to accept cryptocurrency after the combination of the meme stock frenzy from earlier in 2021 as well as a turn on the board of a blockchain contractor. As you might guess, the CEO is betting tech fans will translate their enthusiasm for AMC stock to business at theaters. The prospect of using cryptocurrency is improving when companies like PayPal make it relatively easy to hold and use virtual money. The expanded options won't change som...
SIM swapper charged in cryptocurrency theft scheme
Cryptocurrency

SIM swapper charged in cryptocurrency theft scheme

A University of California San Diego student named Richard Yuan Li was indicted on August 26th for a SIM swapping scheme that involved stealing phone numbers and accounts and extorting at least 40 people for cryptocurrency and other payments, according to a new release the US Department of Justice shared on Monday. According to the indictment (PDF), Li convinced Apple customer service in 2018 to send him a replacement iPhone 8 for one he claimed was lost in the mail. Li and others then convinced carriers to port victims’ phone numbers to the iPhone 8 to take control of their accounts — and in some cases, drained their crypto wallets directly. A phone number could give you access to many different accounts “Li and his co-conspirators contacted victims and demanded that they pay ransoms ...
Litecoin price jumps 20 percent after hoax links the cryptocurrency and Walmart
Cryptocurrency

Litecoin price jumps 20 percent after hoax links the cryptocurrency and Walmart

The Litecoin cryptocurrency saw its price spike by as much as 20 percent on Monday after a fake press release claimed Walmart would begin accepting Litecoin as payment. The press release posted to GlobeNewswire linked to a non-functioning website, and there was no evidence of any Securities and Exchange Commission filing, which would have been expected since Walmart is publicly traded. Walmart’s official newsroom never included the release, and the company typically uses Business Wire to distribute releases. Several news outlets published reports based on the hoax press release, and a short time later Litecoin’s price jumped, along with those of other cryptocurrencies, before quickly falling back to the previous levels. It’s not yet clear who may have been behind the hoax press release...
The US may crack down on stable cryptocurrencies
Cryptocurrency

The US may crack down on stable cryptocurrencies

Stablecoins are ostensibly safer than regular cryptocurrency thanks to their ties to less volatile assets, but US regulators apparently aren't convinced. Bloomberg sources hear the Treasury Department and other federal agencies are close to a possible crackdown on stablecoins through a review from the Financial Stability Oversight Council. Officials are reportedly concerned the digital money is largely unregulated and could ultimately destabilize the financial system, not protect it. A presidential Working Group on Financial Markets is believed to be most concerned about Tether. The cryptocurrency's operators said they stabilize their funds by holding large amounts of corporate debt. That could be vulnerable to "chaotic investor runs" if cryptocurrency values tank, according to Bloomberg. ...
Twitter wants you to tweet to interest-based communities, not just followers
Cryptocurrency

Twitter wants you to tweet to interest-based communities, not just followers

Twitter is a useful place for following breaking news and keeping up with what the people you’re already interested in are doing, but its relative dearth of discovery features and a lack of organized community spaces make it pretty hard to connect with anyone you aren’t actively seeking out. The company is thinking about changing that. Twitter is on a tear with new features lately and its latest experiment, called Communities, is designed to make it easier to connect around shared interests. Users will be able to join these new social hubs and tweet directly to other people with shared interests rather than their regular group of followers. Those tweets will still be public, but replies will be limited to other community members. Communities will be user generated, though Twitter says...
SEC wants to regulate Coinbase’s crypto yield product, Coinbase disagrees
Cryptocurrency

SEC wants to regulate Coinbase’s crypto yield product, Coinbase disagrees

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has reacted strongly to the company’s current relationship with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. According to him, the SEC is threatening to sue the cryptocurrency exchange if it launches its yield-generating product called Coinbase Lend. With this new product, Coinbase wants to compete with popular decentralized finance (DeFi) products, such as Compound and Aave. The company wants to operate a lending pool focused on USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin that is pegged to USD. If the company manages to launch Coinbase Lend, users will be able to contribute to the lending pool by sending crypto assets to Coinbase Lend. Eventually, the company plans to lend out those crypto assets. What Coinbase users get in exchange to contributing to the lending pool ...
El Salvador becomes first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency
Cryptocurrency

El Salvador becomes first country to adopt Bitcoin as an official currency

As of today, Bitcoin is an official currency of El Salvador alongside the US dollar, after the Central American country became the first to adopt the cryptocurrency as legal tender. At three minutes to midnight local time, the country’s populist president Nayid Bukele tweeted that the country was about to “make history” with the move, after previously confirming that it had purchased 400 Bitcoins, the equivalent of around $20.9 million at today’s prices. Supporters argue the move will make it cheaper and easier for migrants to send money home to El Salvador, which is important given such remittances account for over 24 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to figures from the World Bank reported by CNBC. There are also hopes the move could improve citizens’ access ...
Arianna Simpson of a16z on Yield Guild Games, the firm’s newest bet on crypto + gaming
Cryptocurrency

Arianna Simpson of a16z on Yield Guild Games, the firm’s newest bet on crypto + gaming

As one of four general partners at Andreessen Horowitz who are now investing the venture firm’s third crypto fund, a $2.2 billion vehicle, Arianna Simpson is highly focused on how to return that capital and much more to the firm’s limited partners. Toward that end, she has been following more startups that combine crypto with gaming. Last month, for example, her team co-led an investment in Virtually Human Studio, the startup behind a digital horse racing service Zed Run, wherein users buy, sell and breed virtual horses whose value rises depending on their performance against other virtual horses. (Each is essentially a non-fungible token, or NFT, meaning it is unique.) Simpson is relatedly intrigued with NFT-based “play-to-earn” models, wherein gamers can earn cryptocurrency that the...
Find trends, advice and value at these special breakout sessions during TC Disrupt 2021
Cryptocurrency

Find trends, advice and value at these special breakout sessions during TC Disrupt 2021

TechCrunch Disrupt 2021 takes place September 21-23, and we’re here to call out just some of the awesome content we have scheduled over three very busy days. The Disrupt agenda so far features more than 80 interviews, panel discussions, events and breakout sessions that span the startup tech spectrum… with more to come! You gotta pay to play: Buy your pass to Disrupt 2021 here and open a door to opportunity. Let’s talk about the special breakout sessions, which are hosted by our partners. These smaller sessions deliver real value and, according to attendee feedback, that holds true across all TechCrunch events. I enjoyed the big marquee speakers from companies like Uber, but it was the individual breakout presentations where you really started to get into the meat of the conversation ...