altcoin news 

After weeks of intense rallying, the altcoin market seems to be slowing down a bit. Cardano and Solana, two of the best performing alternative cryptocurrencies of the past months, look like they’ve lost some momentum. However, some less popular altcoins such as Hedera Hashgraph are still doing great. But the most widely discussed altcoin this week has surprisingly been Litecoin - and not for good reasons.

Shameless Pump and Dump Leaves Investors Disillusioned with LTC

On Monday, a press release announced that the US retail leader Walmart will start accepting Litecoin payments. Although most crypto investors were extremely suspicious of the news, the story of alleged partnership between LTC and Walmart was soon reported by CNBC and Reuters.

Soon after, the news was completely denied by Walmart representatives. A partnership between Walmart and Litecoin was never discussed, and the press release turned out to be completely fake.

The initial announcement caused the LTC price to erupt by over 36% in under an hour, and when the fake news got debunked, the Litecoin valuation fell down by the same amount to the level before from the pump.

Although the founder of Litecoin Charlie Lee has denied any involvement with the pump and dump, the crypto community seems to already made up its mind on the affair: such an obvious pump and dump is humiliating for Litcoin’s reputation, and it might signify the end of LTC a serious cryptocurrency.

Solana Network Crashes, But Quickly Starts to Recover

On Tuesday, SOL investors were unpleasantly surprised by the fact that the entire Solana network has suddenly crashed. The SOL blockchain was down for hours due to vague reasons such as “intermittent instability” and “resource exhaustion in the network”. As the servers were down, the SOL price has fallen down by over 15%.

Solana’s issues point out to the fact that sacrificing decentralization to gain extra efficiency comes at a cost. A highly centralized blockchain like Solana, which stores most of the validator nodes in one location, might be susceptible to numerous problems which cannot affect truly decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Cardano Keeps Struggling After the Underwhelming Launch of the Alonzo Update

According to Cardano developers, Alonzo was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread. The long-awaited update to the ADA blockchain was intended to turn the Cardano network into a complex smart contracts platform that would be able to provide the users with the same functionality as Ethereum, but at a much higher speed and at a much lower cost.

However, it is safe to say that the deployment of Alonzo was a complete failure. Many crypto enthusiasts are joking that they haven’t seen a working Solana smart contract yet, and the launch of Minswap, the first DEX (decentralized exchange) built on the SOL blockchain was especially embarrassing. Soon after its launch, Minswap was shut down because it was completely unusable for most people - and it still remains down till this day.

Cardano investors remain patient. Although the ADA price hasn’t crashed, it has been experiencing a significant downtrend ever since the failure of Alonzo became obvious.

Cardano is still the third largest cryptocurrency on the market, but this situation might change in the near future. If the problems with Alonzo won’t be resolved soon, the investors might move their funds to other projects. However, if the Cardano team manages to finally get smart contracts to work, the ADA price will surely start to quickly recover.

Hedera Hashgraph Outperforms the Competition

Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR) has surprisingly become one of the fastest growing altcoins on the market. The HBAR price has increased by 150% over the past week, fueled not only by adding the NFT functionality to the Hedera Hashgraph network, but also by announcing impressive new partnerships with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Hedera Hashraph is a decentralized network which, like many other projects, promises to be the fastest and most efficient blockchain on the market. However, what distinguishes HBAR from the competition is the fact that it was designed from the start to easily accommodate not only simple smart contracts, but also very advanced DeFi solutions and dApps (decentralized applications).

Will Hedera Hashgraph manage to succeed in the hyper-competitive blockchain ecosystem? Only time will tell for sure, but many crypto experts believe that what we are witnessing is only the beginning of the HBAR price rally.

 

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Bitcoin has had a largely slow day overall as the index failed to make the push ahead to $50k and beyond. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization rose strongly yesterday but further progress has stalled in face of the looming $50k resistance in the near future. Altcoins on the other hand posted slight losses except for a few glaring anomalies. More on that later on.

In other news, Ethereum co-founder and key influencer of the sector Vitalik Buterin has made it to the TImes 100 Most Influential list of 2021. The innovator was involved in the initial rollout of the programmable network back in 2015. Since then, it has gone on to increase its worth and is now worth more than $400 billion.

Cardano, the third largest cryptocurrency network, is continuing with its progressive development. Recently, it has introduced the Plutus-powered smart contracts feature through the Alonzo hard fork. However, Cardano is still in very early stages of smart contracts development and no miracles can be expected from it.

Dutch DJ Don Diablo is working on a new futuristic NFT project called Hexhibit that will include a real world chamber that will depict the art in the token itself through an audiovisual file. He believes his manifestation of the artwork in the NFT itself will lend credibility through this physical existence.

An Aussie crypto fund manager has been sentenced to a maximum of 7 years for stealing a whopping $54 million from his investors. Stefan He Qin was the founder of two crypto hedge funds and it was proven in court that he embezzled more than $54 million from his investors to pay for his personal lavish lifestyle including luxury travel, food and rent. He was also proven to be guilty of falsifying records. 

Protestors broke down a Bitcoin ATM and covered it with anti Bitcoin graffiti in El Salvador as part of rising defiance against the Bitcoin legal tender move. More on that later on.

Bitcoin Steady at $48k

Bitcoin remained largely steady around $48k throughout the last 24 hours as further bullish movement stalled. The digital currency recovered strongly in previous days but is now likely contemplating the next move with a little bit of consolidation. 

The last 24 hours started with the index at around $48.1k. The cryptocurrency alternated around $48k for a while before recording a slight dip below to $47.5k. The index then almost immediately recovered back to $48k and has stayed there largely ever since with occasional dips below it. Overall, the volatility was very low, one of the lowest we have seen in the last few weeks with the highest valuation being around $48.4k and the lowest around $47.4k.

Going forward, the equation is the same for both bulls and bears. The bulls need to propel the index above $50k convincingly to restart the long-term bull run and the bears need to stop that from happening. Currently, neither is in full control and both are expected to jump back into action around the $50k level.

The total market capitalization of Bitcoin was around $908 billion and its shares of the proceedings was 41.20%. 

Altcoins Post Losses

Other cryptocurrencies aka altcoins posted slight losses through the last 24 hours. However, some exceptions were there. The most obvious of which was Avalanche (AVAX) that rose 22% to get to #13 on the charts with a market cap in excess of $14 billion. Polygon (MATIC, 5%) and Algorand (ALGO, 6%) were other winners of today. Majority of the altcoin market apart from these coins posted small losses signifying the indecision in the markets at the moment. 

In Other news…..

El Salvador Bitcoin Protests Grow in Momentum

El Salvador became the first country to recognize Bitcoin as legal tender but the move is not going as planned. Some political parties and members of the civil society are protesting strongly about the decision. Buoyed by poor government handling including illegal arrests, the protests are gaining in momentum. Recently, a newly opened Bitcoin ATM was vandalized by the protestors and sprayed with anti BTC graffiti.

While the pro-crypto president Nayib Bukele has promised that everybody who doesn’t want to use Bitcoin will be allowed to do so, protestors aren’t happy because of the botchy rollout and lack of education in the masses. Some sections also believe the move will only benefit the ultra rich with the poor and middle class not able to benefit from it at all. 

The government of El Salvador needs to be very careful about their actions. This is unchartered waters for many and there are real challenges that need to be overcome before Bitcoin can officially become sustainable in El Salvador. The government should engage politically with the public and not behave like anti-democratic setup. 

Prisoner behind bars 

A clerk at Suffolk County offices, Christopher Naples, has been accused of strategically putting Bitcoin mining rigs in his workplace at the New York county's Riverhead Center. An IT operations supervisor, Naples is said to have connected up to 46 devices to mine the leading cryptocurrency.

The IT supervisor concealed the BTC rigs in "underneath floorboards" and electrical wall panels. It's believed that some of the devices have been in operation since February this year.

According to Suffolk County district attorney Timothy Sini, crypto mining operations require "an enormous amount of resources." Sini observed that cryptocurrency mining equipment consumes huge amounts of electrical power, and miners also incur "cooling costs." The attorney noted that Naples found a way to provide the resources but "unfortunately," it was at the expense "of taxpayers."

Reports claim that the IT supervisor's actions caused Suffolk County an additional 6,000 USD in electrical costs. Some of the legal implications of Naples' behavior include being charged with theft of personal property and computer trespass. If convicted, the BTC miner stares at a possible jail time of up 15 years.

Naples Pleads Not Guilty, Released Without Bail

Sini was quoted by a news outlet saying that it's unacceptable for "county employees, who are already on the public payroll" to burden taxpayers by using "government resources for their own personal gain." Interestingly, the IT supervisor was released without bail after pleading not guilty.

As Naples awaits a call from investigators, Ghaleb Alaumary, a US-Canadian citizen, was imprisoned for 11 years for helping North Korean military hackers.

According to a federal court in the United States, he will also part with 30 million US dollars in restitution. Located in Ontario, Alaumary agreed with charges of helping the hackers launder their ill-gotten wealth.

He acted as the hackers' ATM and formulated ways to cash out funds with the help of others. For instance, he helped withdraw funds received from BankIslami, a Pakistani financial institution. With BankIslami, the North Korean hackers were able to override fraud checks and manipulate withdrawal limits and balances. The bank lost over six million US dollars.

Apart from assisting the hackers in moving dirty money, the US-Canadian citizen also pleaded guilty to fraudulently receiving close to ten million US dollars from a Canadian university by masquerading as a representative of a construction company.

North Korean Crypto Hackers Have Stollen $1.7 Billion USD In Crypto

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Alaumary "laundered the funds through wire transfers, cash withdrawals," and cryptocurrency. Reports suggest that Hong Kong-based crypto hackers have managed to siphon a total of 1.7 billion USD worth of crypto from virtual currency exchanges.

While Alaumary starts his 11-year sentence, Michael Ackerman may be sentenced to 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to coning investors over 30 million USD.

According to available information, the Ohio man convinced investors to join Q3 Trading Club and deposit US dollars. In return, he would offer a guaranteed 15 percent return after every 30 days.

Audrey Strauss, a Southern District of New York attorney, disclosed that the accused "admitted [to raising] millions of dollars in investments for his fake cryptocurrency scheme."

To strengthen his 15 percent monthly return claim, the attorney revealed that Ackerman doctored his fund's financial records to portray a balance of over 300 million USD. However, the DOJ unearthed that the fund's balance never exceeded $5,000,000.

Court documents also disclosed that the Ohio man used $9 million investors' funds to buy vehicles, real estate and live a lavish lifestyle.

"Invest and Trade in Bitcoin"

According to Strauss, Ackerman told investors that the funds would "be used to invest and trade in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies."

Strauss added that "under the terms of his plea, Ackerman agreed to make restitution of at least" 30.6 million USD. He also agreed to forfeit the jewelry, real estate, and other items "fraudulently obtained" using the victims' funds.

Recently, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a new investor alert on investment scams focusing on cryptocurrencies. The SEC hinged the rise in crypto scams to increasing cryptocurrency popularity.

In a statement, the securities watchdog noted that investors might be driven by fear of missing out, also known as FOMO. The SEC advised investors to "be cautious if" they encounter red flags such as "' guaranteed' high investments returns […], unlicensed/unregistered sellers […], skyrocketing account values […], sounds too good to be true, [… and] fake testimonials."

Marvel and DC comics heroes 

The Bitcoin price dropped to $44k near press time after spending much of the weekend in the $44k-$46k range. The largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is currently facing intensifying pressure from resurgent bears who grabbed the opportunity to be relevant again. Apart from Bitcoin, Altcoins were also trending downwards with many of them recording massive losses. More on that later on.

In other news, two comic book giants Marvel and DC Comics are looking to stop their current and former artists from getting into the NFT space. Some of these artists were trying to sell NFTs of their artworks on famous comic book superheroes but since Marvel and DC own those characters and their comic book adaptations, they might be barred from doing so. More on that later on.

India’s income tax department may soon target cryptocurrency traders and other stakeholders in the vast ecosystem. The second most populous country in the world has seen encouraging development in the sector in recent years with more and more crypto companies entering it. However, the sector is very loosely regulation at the moment with little or no rules regarding taxation, etc. So, once the tax hawks are done with it, it might get difficult to conduct business in this sector in the country.

Microstrategy has announced that it has bought more Bitcoin worth $230 million. The latest purchase of 5,050 BTC back when it was priced at around $48.9k. Now the index has dropped to $44k but the company has no plans of selling it. Michael Saylor, the company’s CEO is staying steadfast on his decision to hold the cryptocurrency in the long-term. But, some of his top management certainly doesn’t think so and they dumped the company stock recently according to SEC filings. 

Bitcoin Drops to $44k

Bitcoin is currently trading around $44k at press time. The cryptocurrency is slightly low from Saturday’s closing point but significantly so as it is approaching some key support levels. The $43k-$44k levels are important for the bulls to defend, otherwise the short-term bullish sentiment will be in jeopardy.

The last 24 hours started with the index at around $45.8k. The cryptocurrency then dipped below to $45k before making a recovery back above $46k at around 1 AM. Then, it started to dip again. The Bitcoin index went on a downward curve that was steady and took most of the day. It went below $45k initially and then touched $44k. However, at around 3:30 PM, the index experienced a bizarre trading event when the index suddenly shot towards $46.6k and then came crashing back down again in a matter of minutes. By 4:15, the index was back around $44k and even went below it for a short while to $43.6k. After that, the cryptocurrency recovered above $44k and has stayed there ever since.

Going forward, apart from the odd 45 minute earlier today, it is getting tough for the bulls out there. Despite the recent bull run, the index didn’t fully come out of the long-term bearish bias and the price tank below $50k has opened possible floodgates for a bearish revival. The bears are coming back into the picture especially if they continue to bring the index further and further down. The bulls on the other hand need to defend the $44k support really well otherwise even the short-term bullish setup will be in danger. Traders will need to keep eyes on the screen for this support. 

The total market capitalization of Bitcoin was around $835 billion and its share of the proceedings was 41.12%.

Altcoins Post Losses

Other cryptocurrencies aka altcoins posted losses during the weekend and continued on Monday. The major loser was ofcourse Solana (SOL, -7%) that returned to #7 in the charts below Ripple’s XRP after recording a big loss on Sunday. Cardano (ADA, -12%) also lost big as it came below $2.5. Terra (LUNA, -8%), Avalanche (AVAX, -14%) and Chainlink (LINK, -8%) were among other big losers. 

Solana chart

In Other News…..

Marvel and DC Comics Want Full Ownership of NFTs

Top comic book producing companies Marvel and DC Comics are looking to end private sale of NFTs by their former or currently employed artists. Some of these innovators had been selling their drawings and other unique comic book artwork online as NFTs but the two corporations are now looking to crack down hard on them. They simply want to retain the ownerships of the work these artists have done that will ultimately give them a duopoly over all comic book NFTs in the market.

Marvel is already leading the charge in that space with the company releasing some Spiderman NFTs just last month. It has however, given the artists a lollipop by offering them secondary revenue resource opportunities through the VeVe platform. 

Cryptocurrency news 

The past week was not great for dedicated Bitcoin maximalists, as the largest cryptocurrency on the market noted a sudden and significant drop in price. However, this time the altcoin market didn’t follow in Bitcoin’s tracks, and many alternative cryptocurrencies managed to achieve impressive gains even though the BTC price was falling down. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting developments that happened on the altcoin market over the past week:

SOL Price Skyrockets as Solana Flips XRP

Solana (SOL) is quickly becoming one of the most serious competitors to Ethereum. The SOL price has appreciated by 75% in a week and reached a new all-time high of almost $215.

According to the experts, the main reason for the rapid pace at which the Solana price has been rising over the past few weeks is the constant popularity of Non-Fungible Tokens. Numerous new NFT projects launching on the Solana network are generating tremendous interest of crypto enthusiasts and a massive inflow of funds to the SOL blockchain.

Achieving the market capitalization of $59 Billion means that Solana was able to surpass XRP as the 6th largest cryptocurrency in the ecosystem. In order to enter the list of top 5 coins by market capitalization, the market cap of Solana would need to grow by another $10 Billion.

Solana price chart

Cardano Disappoints as the ADA Price Falls

Becoming the third largest cryptocurrency on the market was certainly a milestone in the development of Cardano (ADA), and there’s no doubt that ADA can be considered one of the most profitable crypto assets of 2021. However, it seems like the Cardano bull rally might finally be coming to an end, as the ADA price has sharply declined by 17.5% over the past week.

The problems of Cardano are linked to the underwhelming launch of the Alonzo update to the ADA blockchain, which was hyped as a groundbreaking upgrade supposed to turn Cardano into a next-generation smart contracts platform that would become a true Ethereum-killer. In reality, the Alonzo update seems to be troubled with significant issues, and the users of the first ADA-based decentralized exchange called Minswap are reporting numerous problems.

Although Cardano is still the third largest cryptocurrency on the market, the situation might soon change. If the technical issues with the smart contracts functionality of ADA are not fixed soon, coins like BNB and SOL might soon replace ADA in market capitalization.

Stablecoins Prove They Are Truly Stable as the BTC Price Falls

When the Bitcoin price sharply declined by over $5,000 in a short time, numerous investors rallied their funds to the exchanges - some to sell their BTC to cut losses, and some to buy the dip by acquiring more bitcoins. Naturally, this sudden turmoil on the market has caused a massive spike in the volume of stablecoins, which are now the most common medium with which the investors buy and sell Bitcoin.

According to on-chain data analysis, the average daily stablecoin volumes increased by 75%-100% shortly after the Bitcoin price drop. But the most important information is that stablecoins proved their usefulness by remaining stable, and not deviating from the dollar peg even during rampant price action and sudden growth in volume.

The data shows that the three most stable stablecoins on the market are USDC, PAX and BUSD, with the average deviation from the US Dollar of around $0.001-$0.002. Decentralized stablecoins were shown to be over twice less stable than their centralized counterparts: UST, FRAX and FEI were the least stable stablecoins, and had an average deviation of around $0.004-$0.005.

Fetch.ai Grows by 42% In a Week

Fetch.ai (FET) is still a relatively less known token, but the current FET price action shows that it might soon become a very popular crypto asset. Despite the fact that the prices of Bitcoin and other major assets were falling down, Fetch.ai was able to appreciate by over 42% in just 7 days.

Fetch.ai is a project that claims to combine blockchain-based solutions such as smart contracts with artificial intelligence and machine learning. But while many crypto projects in the past used AI as a marketing buzzword, Fetch.ai might be the first one to actually have used a combination of artificial intelligence and blockchain in a useful way.

On September 7th, a Fetch.ai algorithm on board of a Tesla vehicle was used to autonomously identify the car while entering gated communities and parking. If the technology developed by Fetch.ai becomes mainstream in self-driving cars, the recent price rise of FET might be just the beginning of a massive rally.