Daily Archives: February 20, 2021

The search for life on Mars: Whats in it for Earthlings? – The New Daily

Posted: February 20, 2021 at 11:59 pm

Every day the news is rich with death or, at the least, deadly downers. But this week, we dramatically touched down on Mars, with a rhino-sized buggy, to drive about in search of life.

Does the NASA mission all but pay for itself by cheerfully asking one of the big questions: are we alone?

If were not and theres a yet-to-be discovered microbe clinging on to pitiful existence deep down in the distant red dirt then apart from the geez factor, whats in it for the rest of us back on Earth?

In recent years, most of the heavy lifting in exploring the universe has been done by new generation telescopes gathering beautiful, mystifying images from stars and planets a few hundred lights years away.

The Hubble Telescope alone has made discoveries so unusual as to overturn the expectations and understanding of cosmologists. When NASA talked about the Hubble seeing the ghost light from dead galaxies, astronomy seemed wrapped up in mysticism.

Just last week, new data from the Hubble led to the first measurement of the extent of a collection of black holes in a core-collapsed globular cluster.

And think of all those thousands of exoplanets 4352 confirmed so far orbiting faraway stars. Touted so often as potential homes for when humankind has irreversibly ruined itself, and yet hopefully developed interstellar transportation that can get us to a nurturing elsewhere.

So many of those planets are almost, but never quite right, for sustaining life and, after a while, too many for regular folk to take an interest in.

In short, Earthlings are overdue a meaningful space adventure not too far from home. Something vaguely human that might give us the feels and answers a simple question.

Glen Nagle is public outreach manager at the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, part of NASAs Deep Space Network.

Mr Nagle told The New Daily there were a range of reasons for going in search of alien life. One is that its certainly a fundamental question we ask ourselves as human beings: are we alone?

It began, he said, around our ancestral fires, looking at the skies, conjuring up ideas of gods to keep us company and fill up the mystery of what else is out there.

Plus, for NASA and other space agencies, theres a side benefit to asking that question: Its an easy one for people to understand.

Not just for mums and dads, but for politicians who put up the money.

That might sound cynical but its true in a way, Mr Nagle said. You could talk about all the great science thats being done on the mission: the materials science, the atmospheric studies.

But really, they (the politicians) , are asking the same question youre asking: whats in it for us?

And answering that fundamental question is important because it touches on philosophy, theology, our overall place in the universe.

CAT scans, scratch-resistant glasses, LEDS, landmine removal technology camera phones and the damn internet are just some examples of technology that were developed by NASA and used first in space exploration. Wireless headsets, memory foam, better quality artificial limbs and freeze-dried food also. See more here.

As Glen Nagle puts it: The real benefitis the technology created to find that life.

One of the breakthrough gadgets being carried by the Perseverance rover is PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) an instrument that looks at the very fine scale structure of rocks and soil.

Developed by an Australian scientist, Dr Abigail Allwood, formerly of the University of Queensland Technology (UQT), now at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, PIXL is a tool the size of a tissue box, doing the work of a big laboratory.

Technology like that has uses on earth, said Mr Nagle. When were looking for bio-hazards in soil or looking for diseases in our plants, instead of needing a big lab,you have a small instrument that can do the work on the end of a robot arm.

Go Aussies. See more here about UQTs involvement on the mission.

The history of space exploration has been dogged by one big question: couldnt all that money be spent on much needed social infrastructure or medical research closer to home.

The Apollo moon landings were as contentious as much as they were celebrated. One of the most famous critiques was given by the Black poet Gil Scott Heron in Whitey On The Moon:

I cant pay no doctor bill.(but Whiteys on the moon)Ten years from now Ill be payin still.(while Whiteys on the moon)

How many poorer Americans might feel similarly today about the Perseverance rover project, conceived in 2012 and costing US2.4 billion? Glen Nagle said Americans spend that amount on feeding their pets every 10 days.

The total cost of the project cost each American the price of a cup of coffee.

Sounds about right. But once you start talking about money, questions of meaning and the big picture feel a little tainted.

Perhaps the space mission to remember is Apollo 8, when man first orbited the moon and photographed for the first time an Earthrise: our planet coming over the lunar horizon. The image is credited with starting the environment movement.

This was at the end of 1968, a terrible year: the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, race riots, protests against the Vietnam War which was going nowhere.

Of all the letters of congratulations received by the Apollo 8 astronauts, the one that mattered most was one that read: You saved 1968.

Which suggests that sometimes, what these missions give us Earthlings, is a little boost, a little hope.

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Bill Gates says cryptocurrency is one innovation the world could do without – MarketWatch

Posted: at 11:56 pm

Bill Gates, the Microsoft co-founder and technological whiz turned philanthropist, may not be a fan of bitcoin and digital-assets.

Asked during an interview published on Thursday with The Wall Street Journal what technological advancement the world could do without, Gates had this to say:

The way cryptocurrency works today allows for certain criminal activities. Itd be good to get rid of that, he quickly added: I probably should have said bio weapons. Thats a really bad thing.

The comments from Gates implies that the billionaire technologists is no bitcoin BTCUSD, +0.65% BTC.1, +0.67% enthusiast but his remarks may simply suggest that he feels that cryptocurrencies are prone to abuse by swindlers and in money-laundering schemesa common criticism of the decentralized digital asset that was created in 2009.

During a CNBC interview that aired on Thursday, Gates adopted a more moderate stance, describing his views on bitcoin as neutral.

I dont own bitcoin, Im not short bitcoin, so Ive taken a neutral view, he said in the interview that aired on CNBCs Sqawk Box show.

I do think moving money into a more digital form and getting transaction costs down, thats something the Gates Foundation does in developing countries, he added.

Bitcoin can go up and down just based on the mania or whatever the views are and I dont have a way of predicting how that will progress, he said.

Bitcoin prices have seen parabolic moves of late, despite critics who say that it is a technology looking to solve a problem that doesnt exist, while using outsize amounts of energy to create a single bitcoin.

To be sure, this isnt the first time, Gates has discussed bitcoin and cryptos but has beliefs have wavered over time. Back in 2018, he said in a separate Squawk Box interview that he would bet against bitcoin if he could.

As an asset class, youre not producing anything and so you shouldnt expect it to go up. Its kind of a pure greater fool theory type of investment, Gates said on CNBC two years ago.

Prices of the cryptocurrency were trading above $52,000 on Thursday and have gained nearly 80% so far in 2021. By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.00% was up 2.7%, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.19% was holding on to a 4% year-to-date gain, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.07% is up nearly 8% so far this year. Gold GC00, +0.32%, an asset that bitcoin is often pit against, is down 6.4% since the start of 2021.

Gates, who boasts a net worth of $123 billion,according to Forbes, making him the second wealthiest man in the world behind Amazon.comsAMZNJeff Bezos, has been getting more attention from his comments on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has ravaged the domestic economy and brought most of the worlds business and personal activity to a screeching halt.

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Cryptocurrency Ethereum hits record high, lifted by bitcoin, institutional demand – Reuters

Posted: at 11:55 pm

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ethereum, the second largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization and volume, hit a record high on Thursday, lifted by growing institutional interest in the space, and more than a week after its futures were launched on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

FILE PHOTO: Representation of the Ethereum virtual currency standing on the PC motherboard is seen in this illustration picture, February 3, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

The virtual currency reached an all-time peak of $1,938 and was last up 4.6% at $1,936.94.

The CME last week launched futures on ether, the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Increasing institutional participation in cryptocurrencies also propelled bitcoin, the largest and most popular crypto asset, to an all-time peak of $52,640 on Wednesday.

Ethereum is really undervalued, and I believe it has been ... due to its more complex narrative, said Luis Cuende, co-founder of Aragon, a decentralized application on the ethereum blockchain.

A global computing network for Web3 (internet 3.0) is extremely exciting and new. I would say over the next three months, we could see ethereum hit $2,500.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, is currently in consolidation mode after hitting a record high. It was last down 0.3% at $52,000. Among the mainstream investors and companies that have recently jumped on bitcoins bandwagon were Tesla, Mastercard, and BNY Mellon.

Jeffrey Gundlach, the billionaire chief executive of investment firm DoubleLine Capital, is the latest of the traditional investors who seemed to have a change of heart on bitcoin. He said in a tweet on Thursday that bitcoin may be the stimulus asset, not gold, adding that lots of liquid poured into a funnel creates a torrent.

Last month, Gundlach said he was neutral on bitcoin due to its volatility, which was a downgrade of his outlook from overweight.

Another beneficiary of bitcoins climb as a mainstream asset was the surge in trading volume for Purpose Bitcoin ETF, the worlds first bitcoin exchange traded fund, which was approved by Canadian regulators. Purpose started trading on Thursday.

More than C$80 million of Purpose were traded in the first few hours after its launch. By comparison, volume for the Bitcoin Fund, a closed-end investment fund, was about C$30 million.

CME data, meanwhile, showed nearly 1,900 ETH futures contracts were traded for the first five days after last weeks launch or about 92,800 ether, equivalent to roughly $160 million.

Around 27% of volume came from outside the United States and more than 33% traded during non-U.S. trading hours.

(1 U.S. dollar = C$1.2698)

Reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Additional reporting by Fergal Smith in Toronto; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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Nvidia to release software to block cryptocurrency mining on its GeForce GPUs – Deccan Herald

Posted: at 11:55 pm

American technology major Nvidia is all set to roll-out GeForce RTX 3060, the company's latest and most powerful Graphics Processing Unit later this month.

This is designed primarily for delivering the best user experience for gaming and professional work, but the GPU can also be used for other power-intense tasks including gene sequencing, weather simulations, and cryptocurrency mining.

With Bitcoin,Etherium, and other digital currencygaining a lot of value, there is an increased interest among tech enthusiasts to mine cryptocurrency and this has led to a lot of demand for powerful graphics cards.

Apparently, Nvidia is struggling to meet the demand for its GPUs in the market and expectsthe new GeForce RTX 3060 series may not reach the pro-gamers. Itis worrying that cryptocurrency miners may create a shortage of computer peripherals.

"We designed GeForce GPUs for gamers, and gamers are clamoring for more. Yet NVIDIA GPUs are programmable. And users are constantly discovering new applications for them, from weather simulation and gene sequencing to deep learning and robotics. Mining cryptocurrency is one of them. With the launch of GeForce RTX 3060 on February 25, were taking an important step to help ensure GeForce GPUs end up in the hands of gamers," said Matt Wuebbling, VP of Global GeForce Marketing, Nvidia.

In the coming days, Nvidia is slated to release RTX 3060 software drivers. It is designed to detect specific attributes of the Ethereum cryptocurrency mining algorithm, and limit the hash rate, or cryptocurrency mining efficiency by up to 50% on the PCs.

On the bright side, Nvidia is bringing a new line of processors specially designed for professional Ethereum mining, dubbed as NVIDIA CMP (Cryptocurrency Mining Processor).

The company says that the CMP products won't be able to process any graphics, but offer the best mining performance and efficiency.

Must read |Bitcoin breaches $56k, ether up 12%

What is cryptocurrency mining?In simple terms, cryptocurrency mining is a transactional procedure that involves the use of computers and cryptographic algorithm to solve complex operations and record data in a blockchain (a decentralized distributed ledger). For the work, a developer is rewarded with a bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.

Get the latest news on new launches, gadget reviews, apps, cybersecurity, and more on personal technology only onDH Tech.

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Nvidia plans Cryptocurrency Mining Processor for Ethereum, will artificially limit mining capabilities of upcoming GPUs – DatacenterDynamics

Posted: at 11:55 pm

CMP chips will not do graphics processing, Nvidia said. Unlike gaming-focused GeForce GPUs, they also lack display outputs, enabling improved airflow while mining so they can be more densely packed. CMPs also have a lower peak core voltage and frequency, which improves mining power efficiency, the company said.

"Creating tailored products for customers with specific needs delivers the best value for customers," Matt Wuebbling, head of global GeForce marketing, said.

"With CMP, we can help miners build the most efficient data centers while preserving GeForce RTX GPUs for gamers."

At the same time, Nvidia plans to reduce the hash rate of Ethereum mining by around 50 percent on its upcoming RTX 3060 graphics cards - intentionally using software to make them worse at crypto mining. This will not affect existing GPUs, the company said.

It is not the first time that Nvidia has used artificial restraints to limit the sale of chips to certain industries. In 2018, it updated the EULA on consumer-focused GeForce GPUs to prohibit data center use - instead pushing data center companies towards the significantly more expensive enterprise GPU line. It claimed that the move was simply due to GeForce not being designed for the data center, but continued to use the chip in its own facilities for the GeForce Now cloud gaming service.

Nvidia has claimed that the new CMP chips will not affect the production of GeForce products, which have been out of stock for most of 2020 and 2021. Limited supply, caused by a global semiconductor shortage, has been made worse by booming crypto demand as Bitcoin and Ethereum hit record highs.

Instead, Nvidia argues, the new product line and software restrictions will ensure that future GeForce supplies will only go towards gamers.

There is another benefit to Nvidia that may have led to its decision to create a new product category. Cryptocurrency mining is a boom and bust industry, built on tight margins. During the last bitcoin bubble, GPU supplies were again heavily constrained - but when bitcoin's price fell precipitously, miners were forced to sell their equipment en masse, flooding the market with cheap GPUs. This cut heavily into Nvidia's profits as second-hand GPU prices fell, making purchasing a new one less appealing. Q4 2018 was "an extraordinary, unusually turbulent, and disappointing quarter," CEO Jensen Huang said at the time.

Now, should Ethereum prices collapse, miners will only be able to sell CMPs to other miners.

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Is India about to miss the bus in leveraging cryptocurrency? – Economic Times

Posted: at 11:55 pm

By Sathvik VishwanathDespite the uncertainty over the future of cryptocurrency in India, as the nation awaits the unveiling of the Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, in Parliament, the appetite for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, in particular, among Indians appears to be fascinating.

Even if the broad consensus goes in favour of banning private cryptocurrency India, perhaps it wont prevent users from dealing in it. The reasons for the recognition to cryptos and the massive investor response to this asset class are manifold: failed government policies, disillusionment with the banking system and unfair distribution of IT returns.

So why is crypto gaining popularity in India in recent years? One of the key factors is traditional Indian reverence for gold to save, and with increasing tech-savviness, crypto is emerging as a kind of digital gold. The advanced currency has opened up avenues for international transactions and democratised the currency.

Wanna know what's happening on the crypto front? Join ETMarkets Crypto Conclave on Feb 24Crypto is Probably the Best Solution for Many Things Going Wrong in the NationEven the worlds richest man, Elon Musk, has added #bitcoin to his Twitter bio and tweeted In retrospect, it was inevitable.

There is huge potential that India can gain when bitcoin and blockchain go mainstream, and it is not restricted within the strict regulatory ambit. How can the country gain by championing decentralised cryptocurrencies? It can help safeguard national security, deter financial frauds, strengthen monetary policy, attract international capital, accelerate technological development and drive the nation towards becoming a global power.

Further, India is one of the biggest inward remitters from many foreign nations, and there is expected to be a massive boom in remote work and remittances going forward. A significant amount of such transactions is lost in transfer, and currency conversion fee. Cryptocurrencies, however, save money and substantial time for both the remitter and the receiver, as it is conducted entirely on the Internet, runs on a mechanism that involves very less transaction fees and is almost instantaneous.

Crypto is the Financial Internet: Is it Wise to Distance from this Development?Blockchains are about transferring value, as it enables a financial Internet that is digitizing commodities, currencies, stocks, real estate, bonds and every imaginable type of financial instrument. If we do not move in pace with the innovation, it would prevent all of that advancements and growth from happening in India. It is like banning the Internet or smartphones when they were launched. Can you imagine your life without the Internet and smartphones today?

Crypto can also reignite the entrepreneurial wave in Indias startup ecosystem and create job opportunities across different levels, from blockchain developers to designers, project managers, business analysts, promoters and marketers. Its greater adoption will also attract institutional investors to the promising world of cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, with crypto by her side, the country can bank the massive unbanked population. This is because cryptocurrency runs on a decentralised grid.

Summing Up!According to Coindesk, the total value of all cryptocurrencies is over $1.5 trillion and it is growing at a rapid pace from a total market capitalisation of just above $760 billion in late 2017. While crypto has the potential to strengthen the economy, national security, technology, currency & foreign policy, India has the talent to pull this off. A move by the country in favour of cryptos would attract global attention and support from the worlds financiers and technologists can put the country on the forefront of the rapidly evolving industry. (Sathvik Vishwanath is Co-Founder & CEO of Unocoin. Views are his own)

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Nvidia’s Cryptocurrency Mining Restriction Won’t Be Coming to Other RTX Cards for Now – PCMag

Posted: at 11:55 pm

(Credit: Nvidia)

For now, Nvidia plans to only restrict cryptocurrency mining capabilities on the RTX 3060not any of the other graphics cards in its 3000 series.

We are focused on RTX 3060 currently. And we are not limiting the performance of GPUs already sold, a company spokesperson told PCMag.

Thats bad news for PC gamers still trying to snag an RTX 3060 Ti, 3070, or 3080, which continue to sell out in minuteseven six months after the initial release, thanks in part to cryptocurrency miners in need of powerful GPUs.

The most affordable entry in the series, the RTX 3060, goes on sale next Thursday. So to try and free up the supplies, Nvidia is handicapping the cards ability to mine the cryptocurrency Ethereum through the GPUs software driver. The move should not impact gaming performance.

The company isn't explaining why it wont bring cryptocurrency mining caps to the rest of the RTX 3000 series. However, Nvidia is pushing back against doubts that the RTX 3060s anti-cryptocurrency mining restrictions can be easily reversed.

No details were given, but the company says it has essentially locked access to the "hash rate limiter" that deliberately halves the RTX 3060s mining efficiency by 50%. There is a secure handshake between the driver, the RTX 3060 silicon, and the BIOS (firmware) that prevents removal of the hash rate limiter, Nvidias spokesperson said.

Still, you can bet many in the cryptocurrency community will try to hack the cards. In the meantime, Nvidia is working on another way to dissuade miners from buying up the RTX 3000 stock. It's preparing to introduce graphics cards specifically designed for cryptocurrency mining.

Those Nvidia CMP cards are slated to start arriving this quarter, but they wont take away any existing manufacturing capacity for the RTX 3000 GPUs, the company said.

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What will Indian investors lose if govt really bans cryptocurrency – Economic Times

Posted: at 11:55 pm

By Rahul PagidipatiIf the rumours are true, Indians will soon be banned from doing what investors in China as well as those in fellow democracies like the US and UK are safely doing: investing in crypto assets or building and backing companies that are using blockchain technology to innovate.

Could we allow blockchain companies, but ban crypto assets? No. All but a few blockchains require a cryptographic token to validate information or power the process. Its like banning a car company from using petrol or a bakery from using flour.

Banning cryptocurrencies, better termed crypto assets, would also stop investment in companies that use crypto tokens to power their technology. Cryptocurrency is a misnomer for crypto assets. If a ban is intended to protect the rupee, it is not necessary. The term cryptocurrency is just a word. Bitcoin is not meant to be a legal tender.

The better term is crypto assets. Bitcoin is like digital gold, and can be regulated like gold. If the aim is to protect Indian crypto investors (the current 7 million plus investors who are interested) from any harm, we should be clear about what investors and the country will lose to gain such a protection.

Wanna know what's happening on the crypto front? Join ETMarkets Crypto Conclave on Feb 24

First, the assets themselves. Bitcoin introduced decentralised, triple-entry accounting and a value transfer system that reduces rent-seeking, fights corruption and resists inflation. Ethereum is a global, decentralised development platform for applications that improve supply chains, energy management, insurance, healthcare, and caters to other areas of life.

If they did not have crypto in their name, most investors would call them breakthrough technologies worth investing in. Many already do.

What about price volatility and bubbles? New sectors and asset classes are often volatile, but you can reduce risk with a simple, SIP-like cost-averaging strategy: the same long-term value investing that early adopters did in Google, PayPal and Tesla when they were the volatile, bubbly new kids.

A ban could also ban investing in Indian blockchain startups. VCs like Draper, Ayon and Sequoia, known for backing such billion-dollar unicorns, are now investing in Indian blockchain startups. A ban would force them to shut down or move overseas. It could also block Indian investors from opportunities available to their foreign counterparts.

Indian blockchain startups employ thousands and are already making breakthroughs. My company, ZebPay, recently launched ZebLab, with R&D projects in solar energy and other areas. Were part of a thriving ecosystem eager to tackle social and economic problems.

The need for democratic dialogueBlockchain is the new Internet, but what flows through blockchain networks is not bytes of information, but tokens of trust and value, using cryptography to prove they are valid. Thats where the word crypto comes from. Its an anti-fraud technology. New terminology can make innovations hard to understand and trust, but with dialogue, we can learn and decide together.

To promote this dialogue, Indias blockchain companies have launched a website, IndiaWantsBitcoin.org, to let citizens send messages to their Members of Parliament and call for positive regulation to protect consumers and promote innovation.

It is every investors right to dismiss blockchain or crypto as risky or mystical nonsense, but in a democracy like India, should not investors and not the government have the right to make that choice for themselves?

(Rahul Pagidipati is the CEO of ZebPay. Views are his own)

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A ‘crypto’ scam is brewing on Twitter, and social media at large – Economic Times

Posted: at 11:55 pm

Two weeks ago, a Mumbai-based fan of the Korean pop (K-pop) band BTS realised that she and her connections had been inadvertently following a cryptocurrency account on Twitter. Over the next few days, cryptocurrency-related posts began to show up on the timelines of ARMYAdorable Representative MC for Youth, the term associated with millions of BTS fans.

The BTS fans also noted that quite a few cryptocurrency accounts were being tagged in ARMY giveaways or rewards provided to users selected at random, including albums or merchandise worth $25 to $250 on averagea common practice among K-pop fan clubs. They figured that certain ARMY giveaway hosts were asking them to also follow cryptocurrency handles, without providing any guidance on its potential risks.

Crypto could really use the credibility of a huge following comprising young and active users, especially in an environment where digital currency is in a legal grey area across the world.

Twitter quickly moved to block crypto accounts on the grounds that they had been using inauthentic means to inflate their followers and amplify content.

Smells Like A Scam

Twitterati among the ARMY stumbled upon the scam when some younger members said they had been receiving calls from various countries after clicking on certain giveaway links.

On digging deeper, we found some of the highly followed ARMY accounts had sold their accounts to what seemed like shady cryptocurrency accounts, the Mumbai-based ARMY fan who was following one such suspended account said.

The ARMY accounts username, handle, display picture all had changed to match the crypto vibes.

All ARMY-related posts had been replaced. What remained were posts on crypto, for crypto, and by crypto folks.

Buried under 6,000-plus crypto tweets of the last two months was one BTS-related retweet from 2019, the only thing that could prove it had once been an ARMY account.

The few ARMY accounts hosting crypto-sponsored giveaways were all hyping each other up and urging their followers to engage with the same set of crypto accounts. If they asked fellow ARMY to also follow their new backup accounts, it meant their main account would turn into a crypto account soon.

When ARMY members started questioning these crypto accounts, most either blocked their critics or temporarily deactivated the accounts. Some ARMY accounts, meanwhile, admitted to taking commissions for crypto giveaways and apologised.

If people see suspicious activity, the most important thing they can do is report it to us, the spokesperson added.

Speaking of suspicious activities, a lot of the crypto accounts that the compromised ARMY promoted also had an egg emoji in their Twitter bio and username. Its a mystery we could not solve and decided to file under the dark internet subculture.

Between 2015 and 2018, the internet was rife with giveaway marketing stunts.

Called airdrops, these distributed free crypto coins and tokens as part of an ICO (Initial Coin Offering), an IPO-equivalent for crypto to promote virtual currency.

Many were eventually revealed to be scams.

A lot of these airdrops were just Ponzi and pyramid schemes set up to create a crypto bubble, experts told ET.

Giveaway projects are typically used as growth hacks where every retweet can fetch a 0.01% extra return, say 400 retweets in return for 100 extra coins. They take different formats such as simple meme competitions or follow-back initiatives on Twitter, said Ramani Ramachandran, CEO of Singapore-based blockchain firm ZPX.

Be that as it may, the community is split on the matter, he added, and five out of 10 traders would tell you that a giveaway project is a growth hack and not a scam.

Nonetheless, in 2018, Twitter announced guidelines prohibiting any form of crypto ICO advertisements on its platform.

This time around, however, crypto evangelists reckon that the giveaway scam may not be about cryptocurrency at all. That has made it an even bigger worry.

Scamsters may be looking at youngsters in highly-engaged communities such as gaming, football or K-Pop because they are easier targets, said one crypto evangelist on condition of anonymity.

Why Easier Targets?

A typical scam would involve a link that takes the victim to a third-party website, where it may use a three-pronged approach depending on the type of scam.

One, it may seek a young users credit card or crypto wallet details for potential phishing attacks. Two, their personal details for potential hacking attempts. Three, they may wrongfully charge a subscription fee to dupe young users.

The malicious result is when they hack into a users system, gain access to remote devices and use that for blackmail.

In fact, in the words of one frustrated ARMY member: Ever since we have called out these suspicious giveaway accounts, they have created new accounts and are harassing and calling for blocking of legitimate ARMY accounts. This is happening to other K-pop fan communities as well. We are being targeted for refusing to let them (crypto accounts) use us! We dont want to be dragged into this. We just want our space back.

One-Trick Pony

The shadowy crypto accounts had missed a trick, though.

Little did they know that BTS fans adhere to an unwritten commandment: Thou shalt not make money off BTS.

Ive noticed this common wariness among hardcore ARMY that people are always out to take advantage of ARMY clout and make a quick buck. Its amazing how strict they are about discouraging this, said an ARMY fan from Hyderabad who is in her 40s.

In June last year, when BTS donated $1 million to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, its loyal fan club matched that within a day and donated to the cause.

Our BLM donation made news everywhere. Maybe these crypto guys got greedy and thought it would be easy to make a quick buck out of us, said another Indian-Canadian ARMY fan in her late 30s.

In fact, last week, 34 of the most prominent ARMY fan bases from around the world got together on Twitter to warn gullible ARMY members against these sponsored crypto giveaways, even urging caution with self-funded and ARMY-funded giveaways as well. They also requested members to unfollow and block suspicious accounts.

We have never nor will we ever partner with/participate in/promote/or host sponsored giveaways, they said in a statement.

However, those at the receiving end of these scams look at this as a cop-out on the platforms behalf and question why they should carry the burden of moderating bad elements.

The Indian cryptocurrency community, too, must call out the bad actors and actively discourage low-quality crypto assets, said Nitin Sharma, partner at Antler Global and previously the founder of Incrypt Blockchain.

Recently, the Supreme Court overturned a banking ban on trading crypto assets, triggering a massive influx of new sign-ups and trading activities. But the government is mulling a ban on both the trading and holding of all forms of cryptocurrency.

We firmly believe that the government will sooner than later move towards regulation of cryptocurrency in India rather than banning it altogether, said Nischal Shetty, founder of leading Indian cryptocurrency exchange Wazir X and part of popular cryptocurrency campaign #IndiaWantsCrypto. We want to ensure that when the regulators come, its a cleaner ecosystem than a dirty one to govern and supervise.

(Illustration and graphics by Rahul Awasthi)

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Bitcoin market value tops $1 trillion for first time ever as crypto price soars – MarketWatch

Posted: at 11:55 pm

The worlds No. 1 cryptocurrency hit a record high on Friday, propelling it to a market value above $1 trillion for the first time ever.

A single bitcoin BTCUSD, +0.65% jumped to a record at $$53,910.44, based on prices tracked by CoinDesk, briefly bringing its total market capitalization to a peak at $1,002,547,798,785, according to data from research company CoinMarketCap.com.

Bitcoin was last up 4% on Friday at around $53,734, and has surged over 85% since the beginning of 2021. By comparison, gold prices GC00, +0.32%, which bitcoin often competes against for investment dollars, are down nearly 6% so far this year.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.19% is looking at a year-to-date gain of 4.5%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.00% is up 3.3% and the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, +0.07% is looking at a gain thus far in the year of over 8%.

Bitcoinprice reaching the 1 trillion dollar is the most exciting news of this year, wrote Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, in an emailed note. This was long coming and the fact is that we are only 10X away from flipping the gold market cap on its head, he said.

The ascent of the digital asset created just 12 years ago by a person or persons known as Satoshi Nakamoto has been attributed to growing institutional interest in bitcoin and other alternative cryptographically backed assets.

The fervor for bitcoins was given a fresh spark earlier this month when Elon Musks Tesla Inc. TSLA, -0.77% said that it has acquired $1.5 billion in bitcoins in January and that it could accept the worlds No. 1 digital asset for payment in the future.

Late Thursday, Musk via a tweet, further explained his rationale for getting exposure to bitcoins, describing the decision as simply a less dumb form of liquidity than cash, is adventurous enough for an S&P500 company.

Other institutions including PayPal Holdings Inc.PYPL, which back in November opened up its cryptocurrency platform to all U.S. customers after conducting a more narrow rollout, has helped drive bitcoin prices sharply higher in recent weeks and months.

And several high-profile Wall Street investors, including Stanley Druckenmiller and Paul Tudor Jones, have embraced bitcoin. Famed investor Bill Miller, founder of Miller Value Partners, ina letter to clientsearlier this monthpublished on the firms website, reaffirmed his bullish outlook on bitcoin.

One point worth noting is that despite the parabolic move in bitcoins in the recent period its dominance, its share of market value compared against other alternative digital assets, is just around 60%, down from a recent peak around 70% at the start of the year.

That may suggests that other cryptos, like Ether ETHUSD, -6.70% on the ethereum blockchain, are also drawing strong interest among buyers along with bitcoin.

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Bitcoin market value tops $1 trillion for first time ever as crypto price soars - MarketWatch

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