Last week was a mixed bag for the crypto market. Among the top performers, we have GALA (up 84.8%) and SAND (up 80.4%), which both shot up to all-time highs after remaining at low prices ever since they were launched in November 2020. It’s the kind of unpredictability we’ve come to expect in the cryptocurrency world. Another winner was ENS (up 76.2%), which was launched in mid-November but performed exceptionally well last week.
Although it didn’t quite make the top three, Decentraland’s MANA has continued to show good performance, rising around 40% over the last seven days. It seems that the buzz around the metaverse and MANA’s role in it could be more than just temporary hype and may be here to stay.
As always, it’s been a mixed bag in terms of performance. At the opposite end of the spectrum, we have IOTX (down 30.4%), TIME (down 17.6%), and ONE (down 16.4%).
BTC also fared poorly, dropping 3.2%, although it fell further around the time of Black Friday due to news about omicron. Meanwhile, ETH saw a very marginal improvement of 0.2%. Only time will tell whether now is a decent time to invest
El Salvador Buys at a Discount?
Not everyone has viewed the bitcoin drop as a bad thing. El Salvador President Bukele took advantage of the drop to buy more of the cryptocurrency, tweeting about how he viewed it as a discount. Given the country has already made bitcoin legal tender and announced plans to build a so-called Bitcoin City, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he wants to get his hands on as much of the crypto as possible. Whether you also think there’s a bargain to be found, make sure you do your research first!
Bitpanda and Lydia, a France-based mobile payments app, have joined together to offer digital asset investments. Lydia and Bitpanda will now be fully integrated, allowing Lydia users to invest in more than 170 digital assets — not just cryptocurrencies but also funds, precious metals, and ETFs. Going forward, Bitpanda hopes to infiltrate the French market further and possibly even set up a local office in the country.
It’s been a bad week for Celsius — the lending platform’s CFO, Yaron Shalem, was arrested after being found guilty of money laundering. Shalem was involved with Moshe Hogeg, the Israeli Chairman of the Blockchain Research Institute who was recently found guilty of various charges, including cryptocurrency fraud. Seven people were arrested due to their connections to him, including Shalem (the identities of the others are yet to emerge). Although Celsius dismissed him immediately, it raises questions about the kinds of practices that are taking place among the top circles in the crypto world.
It’s not the only cryptocurrency lending platform with bad news this week. Market leader BlockFi has announced it will end free withdrawals from the platform and apply rate-based withdrawal fees instead (although users will still get one free withdrawal from stablecoin, litecoin, and bitcoin each month). The move is due to the high transaction costs on the Ethereum network and other protocols that rely on it, which have increased significantly. This may change the investing strategies of many users.
Hackers Target Google
Hacking has always been a problem in the cryptocurrency world, but it’s recently taken a new form: a report has revealed that many hackers are now getting into Google Cloud accounts to use them for mining cryptocurrencies. According to the report, 50 Google Cloud Platforms were hacked, and almost 90% of them were used for crypto mining. This follows a year that’s seen many big hacks in the cryptocurrency world, highlighting the increased need for good security when deciding on a trading system.
But let’s end on a more positive note. Japan is the latest nation to join the group of countries looking into implementing cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Japan has plans to introduce a digital yen that will function similarly to bank deposits — banks will issue it as a liability — and also a marketplace for NFTs. The launch is set to take place in January 2022 if possible, although this partly depends on the success of tests.