Srp 23

Bitmain to Increase Hashrate By 50% With 600,000 New Mining Chips

Showing renewed optimism, Bitmain is increasing its investments in the crypto mining industry. Now, Bitmain is reportedly buying 600,000 new crypto mining chips. As a result of this new investment, the company expects to make over $1 billion in profits.


Bitmain to Increase its Capacity By 50% Hash rate

The battle to produce fast cryptocurrency mining gear is heating up. In this context, Chinese Bitcoin mining giant, Bitmain Technologies Ltd, is placing orders for new mining machines with high hash rate capacity.

In this connection, and according to a Chinese news outlet, “Recently, a supply chain person close to TSMC broke the news.” This source reported that Bitmain has recently placed new orders for 600,000 mining chips.

As Bitcoinist reported earlier, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is Bitmain’s chip supplying contractor. TSMC ranks as one of the most profitable chipmakers in the world.

Moreover, according to the same source, some of these chips include the latest 7nm model, with a single power of 50 Tera hashes per second. The recent Bitmain order also comprises 16nm model chips.

Therefore, within a few months, observers believe that Bitmain’s total network computing power could skyrocket by about 50%.

Company Hopes to Reach a Valuation of $12 Billion

Despite losses in the first quarter of 2019, which reached approximately $625 million, Bitmain remains optimistic about the strengthening of the mining industry. In effect, with this new investment, the company expects to hit a valuation of $12 billion.

Last February, Bitmain announced its next-generation 7nm ASIC chip, BM1397, which boasts improvements in performance and energy efficiency. These chips are designed to mine cryptocurrencies using the SHA256 algorithm for proof-of-work purposes, such as Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Moreover, the Antminer models come with enhanced hash rate capacity. Last April, the chipmaker announced the specifications for the latest 7nm Antminer 17 series. For example, the Antminer 17 Pro comes in two variants, a 53 TH/s and a 50 TH/s capacity models.

In addition, according to Bloomberg sources, Bitmain is working with specialists to prepare for a U.S. share sale that could occur as soon as the second half of 2019.

What do you think about Bitmain’s new investments in crypto mining? Let us know in the comments below!
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Srp 23

Bitcoin Panic Unwarranted But Ethereum Still ‘Ugly’ Below $200

The week has ended with reclamation of five figure prices by bitcoin. Some of the altcoins have been marginally dragged up with it, but many including Ethereum are still looking extremely weak.


Bitcoin Back Over $10k

The past five instances bitcoin has dropped into four figures have been brief encounters. There is clearly a mass of buyers waiting in the upper $9,000 price zone to keep the digital asset from falling further. Yesterday, analysts were leaning towards a bearish stance predicting further declines, even into the $8k region.

The lowest price tapped by BTC was $9,750 according to Tradingview.com. During today’s Asian trading session it returned to $10,250 and has started to consolidate around there, currently trading at 00.

bitcoin

BTC prices 1 hour chart – Tradingview.com

The market chop has continued and there is no sign of clear direction at the moment which makes the fear and panic totally superfluous. Yesterday the bitcoin fear and greed index dropped to its lowest level for over a year hitting 5, today it is back up to 33. Crypto warlord John McAfee called for a halt to this unnecessary panic:

Bitcoin jitters? Just stop it! Short term fluctuations are meaningless. Bitcoin is still up almost 300% from 6 month’s ago. Every time there’s a dip I have to calm people in replies, DMs, etc. GET A GRIP! You know in your heart Bitcoin cannot lose. Relax!

Ethereum Not Out Of The Woods

The same cannot be said for Ethereum however, and there appears to be greater reason to be concerned for anyone holding large amounts of it at the moment. ETH has made a 3.5% gain on the day to recover to $193 but it is still looking extremely weak. Some may see this as a greater risk/reward opportunity but popular crypto analyst Josh Rager remains bearish.

$ETH will surely increase in value but has been outperformed by $BTC ever since the ICO boom busted. I wouldn’t compare ’19 ETH to pre-euphoria ATH BTC. If BTC breaks down to $8ks, ETH will follow with a break under $150. ETH chart is ugly. Not the time to accumulate ETH IMO.

Ethereum market share has dropped to just below 8% which is its lowest level for over two years. All of the altcoins have been battered though so ETH is not alone in its suffering. The network is still healthy and new improvements are constantly being made. The upcoming two phase Istanbul hard fork will bring in a number enhancements on the road to ETH 2.0 so it is only a matter of time before the world’s second largest crypto asset starts to recover.

Will Ethereum make a recovery this year? Add your thoughts below.


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @Josh_Rager, @officialmcafee, BTC/USD chart by Tradingview

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Srp 22

‘Foolish’: Crypto Fund CEO Warns Against Bitcoin Maximalism Narrative

Cryptocurrency politics is focusing on Bitcoin at the expense of altcoins, but a flip could occur any time, an industry investor has warned.


Simpson: Don’t Pin All Your Hopes on Bitcoin

That was the conclusion from Arianna Simpson, founder and CEO of crypto and blockchain-focused investment fund Autonomous Partners.

In a discussion on social media August 22, Simpson said sentiment favored Bitcoin over altcoins now, but that status quo has changed multiple times and could do so again.

“The general crypto narrative seems to be drifting back to bitcoin maximalism,” she summarized.

…BTC has clearly outperformed most other cryptoassets by a wide margin YTD. Expecting that this will always be the case (or that holding only BTC is the right move) strikes me as foolish.

The comments come at a timely juncture in cryptocurrency’s history. As Bitcoinist reported, Bitcoin’s returns have vastly outperformed major altcoins in 2019. Unlike the previous bull run in 2017, alts have so far failed to rally, losing more and more value in BTC terms. 

Top five tokens such as Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) continue to trade around 80% below their all-time highs. Against BTC, both are lower than ever.

Well-known traders have thus gone on record in recent weeks to announce the death of the altcoin market, possibly for good. Among them was Peter Brandt, who likened the lifelessness of alt markets to the dot com boom of the early 2000s.

Ethereum ‘Better Performing Investment’

Simpson’s opposing argument is thus even more conspicuous.

“Those who have been in this space for many years should recall that this is by no means the first time the pendulum has swung back and forth — in 2017 bitcoin was old news and it was all the shiny new (Layer 1 technologies) that were going to take over the world,” she continued.

“In reality, ETH was a better performing investment for many (even when considering the major correction of 2018!) than BTC was. So BTC remains king, but discounting everything else is silly.”

Her remarks will be music to the ears of long-suffering investors whose portfolios have failed to react to this year’s Bitcoin bull market. 

Pressure also continues to come from Bitcoin advocates, with developer Udi Wertheimer this week publicly chastising Ethereum participants in particular for the losses following 2017’s ICO craze. 

“It’s time for the ETH gang to wake up, smell the ashes, and take some responsibility,” he tweeted. 

“Their 2017 ‘blockchain everything’ narrative failed miserably and cost retail investors BILLIONS, dumped into scams supported by ETH naiveté.”

What do you think about the Bitcoin vs. altcoins debate? Let us know in the comments below!


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Srp 21

Facebook Faces Fresh EU Scrutiny As WhatsApp Edges Closer To Mobile Payments

The European Union is actively probing Facebook’s Libra digital currency project for competition law violations, mainstream media report.


Facebook’s Libra Has ‘Potential Anti-Competitive Behavior’

According to Bloomberg, which cited official correspondence August 20, the European Commission is quizzing Libra participants via a dedicated questionnaire.

The document originally appeared earlier this month, and forms Libra’s latest scrutiny by international regulators.

The focus of the enquiries is “investigating potential anti-competitive behavior,” Bloomberg quoted officials are stating. In particular, it is Facebook’s spin-off in charge of administering Libra, the Libra Association, which now lies in the spotlight.

According to Bloomberg, the EU is “concerned about how Libra may create ‘possible competition restrictions’ on the information that will be exchanged and the use of consumer data.”

As Bitcoinist reported, Libra became a headache for authorities worldwide almost as soon as its whitepaper went live. With some of the world’s biggest finance names involved, concerns about data privacy and the power to control a user’s economic power continue to surface.

The US held dedicated hearings into Libra and cryptocurrency more generally in July, while China has even prepared its own state-backed digital currency in response. 

The EU probe further involves the wider crypto sphere, the Commission adding it was “monitoring market developments in the area of crypto assets and payment services, including Libra and its development.”

WhatsApp Eyes Indonesia For New Mobile Payments

Facebook has promised to contend with the worries of regulators regarding Libra, while sources have acknowledged it may never launch at all.

Given the company’s user data handling record, one Bloomberg correspondent said commenting the EU move, it could be next to impossible for it to gain a significant foothold in the payments space. 

That said, Facebook-owned WhatsApp is already preparing to debut payments for users in Indonesia. Reportedly in talks with various digital payments operators, Reuters stated Tuesday, the instant messenger wants to offer its users mobile payments. 

Local regulations mean that WhatsApp will not offer P2P payments itself, the publication added, while a full payment offering for the Indian market also awaits permission to launch.

The plans do not make explicit references to Libra, which Facebook previously said would involve its subsidiaries including WhatsApp and Instagram in future. 

As Bitcoinist reported, for its part, India is currently on course to ban cryptocurrency altogether, unless a token falls within parameters under discussion among authorities. 

What do you think about Facebook and WhatsApp’s plans? Let us know in the comments below!


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Srp 20

Bitcoin Network Grows With $2 Billion BTC Moving Daily

There are several measurements of the health of the bitcoin network. Hash rate is probably the first that comes to mind but daily volume is another indicator of how successful the system has been.


Govts and Banks Cannot Stop Bitcoin

Bitcoin was spawned by a movement dedicated to the freedom of financial oppression by central banks and governments. Personal spending power is governed by bankers and politicians, and in a world where state fear is increasing along with terrorism, capital controls will become more commonplace.

People are being restricted on how and where they can move their own money. The bad few have changed everything for the good many, and ever invasive new money laundering and monitoring regulations affect everyone.

Very few countries in the world allow their citizens to move their own money at free will and most will actively monitor bank accounts whether suspicious or not. The state controls the finances, not the individual.

This is the problem and the answer has become clear in recent years. Bitcoin provides a decentralized form of currency that can be moved peer-to-peer without government intervention. At the moment it is early days in the industry and many are still reliant on centralized crypto exchanges that can suppress that freedom if necessary.

The bitcoin network has grown to such an extent that an average $2 billion worth is being transferred every day. Industry observer ‘Rhythm Trader’ has acknowledged the true power of bitcoin.

$2,000,000,000 worth of bitcoin are moved, on average, every single day using the network. No government, bank or third party had to verify these transactions, nor could they have stopped any of them if they wanted to. The true power of bitcoin.

The power that this network is capable of is just one aspect of it. Yes, bitcoin can be truly disruptive and this is what governments fear. The escalating trade war between the US and China is a prime example as both governments want to devalue their own currencies to outdo their opponents.

Bitcoin cannot be devalued unless it is perceived to be worth less by those that trade and hold it. The opposite is likely to happen however as global economic woes deepen. Scarcity is another aspect of bitcoin which was coded into it from the genesis block. Economist Misir Mahmudov took this philosophical view:

Time = currency of life
The key property of time is scarcity
The only thing that shares this quality is Bitcoin

Food for thought.

Will bitcoin continue to grow as world economies crumble? Add your thoughts below


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @misir_mahmudov, @Rhythmtrader

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Srp 19

P2P Bitcoin And Dash Transactions Soar In Venezuela

Venezuela’s inflation rate topped 130,000% in 2018 as peer-to-peer Bitcoin and Dash transactions reached new all-time highs month after month. 


Bitcoin Thrives in Broken Economies

For the past few years, the Venezuelan economy has been rocked by political and economic instability that has led to shortages of food and medicine, nationwide blackouts, riots and unstoppable hyperinflation that rivals that of the Zimbabwe dollar in the 1990s. 

In fact, Venezuela had the highest inflation rate of 2018 and at its peak, it was 130,060%. Surprisingly, in May 2019 Venezuela’s central bank publicly published economic data for the first time since 2015 and the data shows that Venezuela’s inflation rate in 2016 was 274%, 863% in 2017 and 130,060% in 2018. 

Hyperinflation in Venezuela is so bad that most citizens have to spend all their money immediately because if they hold off for a few days the currency will continue to lose value against the rising price of basic daily staples. 

The majority of Venezuelans do not trust the bolivar, and in the past those who were unable to spend their income on the spot sought to purchase gold or the US dollar as a hedge against inflation.

Both options come with risks as organized crime and price gouges are always prepared to take advantage of those holding physical currency. 

Crypto Finds a Real World Use Case in Latin America

Fortunately, cryptocurrencies are easier to ‘hold’ and have become a safer option embraced by a growing number of Venezuelans. Both Dash and Bitcoin have become popular mediums of exchange and store of value currencies. 

A recent study from the Ledger Journal investigated the role Bitcoin played in countries experiencing economic uncertainty and contributing analyst Jackie Johnson found that: 

In countries where residents are under pressure from economic mismanagement, Bitcoin trading becomes critical. Two factors drive Bitcoin trading: one, there is pressure to purchase Bitcoin using local currency before it loses even more value; and two, there is a need to redeem for the local currency either past purchases or purchases made outside the country by friends/family, enabling residents to cope with rising prices. This results in an increase in Bitcoin trading in the local currency.

Johnson’s findings are supported by data from LocalBitcoins which shows explosive growth in the number of peer-to-peer Bitcoin transactions and all throughout 2018 and 2019 Venezuela and Argentina have continuously notched new all-time highs for peer-to-peer Bitcoin transactions. 

Despite the growth in Bitcoin transactions Venezuelan economist Danial Arraez says that mass adoption is still a distant target. Arraez said: 

In the country there is still not enough adoption of bitcoin, because with few exceptions, cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and altcoins, are, in most cases, a proxy currency (substitute) to facilitate fiat exchange, with the USD-VES pair being the most traded, but without being able to set aside the VES-CLP (bolivars in Chilean pesos), VES-COP (in Colombian pesos), VES-ARS (in Argentine pesos), VES-BRL (in Brazilian real) and VES-PEN (in Peruvian sol) pairs.

Interestingly, a Rhythm, a popular crypto analyst recently tweeted that if a person held $1 million worth of Venezuelan bolivars since 2013, this amount would now be worth less than $0.37. 

Bitcoin might not have reached the level of mass adoption in Latin America, but if the situation doesn’t change it appears that will only be a matter of time before it does. 

Do you think Bitcoin mass adoption will first occur in Latin America or a different region? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images from Bitcoinist Image Library, Twitter: @RhythmTrader, Shutterstock

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Srp 17

3 Reasons Why Bitcoin Price Hasn’t Returned to $13,000

Despite the promises of crypto analysts and institutions like Goldman Sachs, Bitcoin price continues to hover around low 5 figures. What’s going on?


After struggling to hold above the $11,000 point earlier this week, Bitcoin price, at last, succumbed to selling pressure and dropped below $10,000 for the second time in three weeks. Prior to the drop, numerous analysts predicted that $10k would serve as a reliable bounce point as the price represents important psychological support.

Clearly, this was not the case and even after making a strong upside move from $9,500 to $10,450, Bitcoin still struggles to stay above $10,100. 

Let’s take a look at what is keeping the king of cryptocurrencies down. 

Dovey Wan says Ponzi Scheme is Crashing the Crypto Market

On July 14 Primitive Crypto founding partner Dovey Wan attributed the sharp sector-wide correction to bulk Bitcoin sells from PlusToken, a Chinese Ponzi scheme. The scheme managed to accrue 200,000 Bitcoin and more than 800,000 Ethereum from naive investors in China.

According to Wan, not every member of the PlusToken team has been arrested yet and data from cybersecurity auditing firm Peckshield shows that recently more than 1,000 Bitcoin was transferred to Huobi and Bittrex from PlusToken accounts. 

Wan is convinced that the scammers are covertly shifting their funds “into small batches into exchanges, like 50 to 100 Bitcoin per batch.”  Wan also claimed that she recently stumbled across a chat where Chinese traders were saying that someone had been dumping 100 BTC non-stop on Binance.

If true, it is entirely possible that large back to back sales of Bitcoin could affect spot rate across exchanges but this sole event is probably not fully responsible for Bitcoin’s malaise

Mind the CME Gap 

The CME Bitcoin Futures gap is another popular topic amongst Bitcoin traders and many cite the existence of the gap as a reason why Bitcoin continues to drop below $10,000. A glance at a Bitcoin daily chart shows an $870 gap between $7,177 and $8,050.

The gap is simply the outcome of Bitcoin price moving over the weekend while the CME Futures are closed and the space denotes the difference between the previous close and the new opening price once the market reopens.

The gap is a cause for concern as traders set the price as a target that must be filled at some point, typically when an asset corrects and retraces to supports in the vicinity of the gap.

Many traders believe that Bitcoin must revisit this $7,100 to $8,500 range to truly correct before resuming its strong bullish trend to a new all-time 2019 high. 

Bitcoin Accumulation Before Surge on Recession Fears 

An assortment of crypto analysts have posted charts suggesting that Bitcoin has entered a lengthy consolidation phase and will continue to be pinned between $9,000 to $14,000 until more excitement and momentum build up over the 2020 halving event. 

Earlier this week as the stock market took a horrific tumble over weakening macroeconomic fundamentals, fears of a recession sprang up as an economist focused on an inverted yield curve on treasury bonds.

This week the slope on US Treasury bonds became inverted and for economists and market analysts, this is typically an indicator that a recession could be on the way.

At the same time, Gold has continued to rise in price and many investors believe that Bitcoin is a similar store of value and hedge against volatility.

If the US and other countries truly are on the verge of a recession, one would increase inflow into Bitcoin and a significant increase in its market cap and value.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is steadily dropping back towards $10,000 and $9,800 is the most immediate support level. 

Do you think Bitcoin price will dip below $10,000 over the weekend? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images from Bitcoinist Image Library, Twitter: @DoveyWan, BTC/USD charts by TradingView

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Srp 17

Mid-Week Bitcoin Dump Not Caused By Chinese Ponzi: Researcher

Wednesday’s Bitcoin flash crash was not due to a sell-off from Chinese ponzi scam, PlusToken, a researcher has claimed. Sid Shekhar, the co-founder of London-based, TokenAnalyst, said the disputed coins were moved earlier on the blockchain.


We Can All Relax, It’s A False Alarm

As Bitcoinist reported on Thursday, cryptocurrency influencer, Dovey Wan, brought the $3 billion scam to the attention of the international crypto-community on Twitter. Analysis from Peckshield suggested that about 1000BTC from PlusToken had flowed into Huobi and Bittrex since July.

The reporting of this just after the crash which saw bitcoin price dip back into four figures led many to correlate the two.

However, the TokenAnalyst review shows that very few PlusToken-associated addresses held any significant number of bitcoin and moved them recently. According to Shekhar:

It doesn’t look like any of these addresses are exchange owned. So that was enlightening. We’ll keep an eye on this to see if they do move the 100s of millions into exchanges at some point.

But Can We Really?

The reason that very few Bitcoin addresses associated with the scam contained much in the way of coins, was because they had already moved. TokenAnalyst did find thousands of bitcoin on the ledger belonging to the PlusToken team. But much of this money filtered into Bitcoin mixing services about a month ago.

This correlates with Peckshield’s data that the coins started moving nearly-July. Its findings were only that about 1000BTC flowed into exchanges. The rest, according to the new research by TokenAnalyst, flowed into mixers.

Something caused the market to crash on Wednesday. Wan tweeted of unconfirmed reports by Chinese traders that someone was continually dumping 100BTC batches onto Binance. It is not inconceivable that the freshly mixed coins from the PlusToken scam were being pushed onto exchanges for conversion into fiat.

But of course, we always want a nice simple explanation for any market movement. Something that we can point to, and sagely say… “ah, yes. this was the reason.” because there isn’t a lot of comfort in “just because…”

What’s your theory for the recent bitcoin price dump? Let us know below! 


Image via Bitcoinist Image Library

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Srp 16

Coinbase Custody Acquires Xapo’s Institutional Business

Coinbase Custody today announced that it has acquired Xapo’s institutional business, making it the largest crypto-custodian in the world. The acquisition brings Assets Under Custody (AUC) to over $7 billion, servicing over 120 clients in 14 countries.


Innovation In Cryptocurrency Custody

Xapo is a long-respected name in the world of cryptocurrency custody solutions. It has led the industry in developing security techniques to meet the rigours of institutional clients.

In 2017 it hit the headlines for storing customers’ bitcoin in a fortified ex-military bunker in the Swiss Alps. By May 2018 it was holding around $10 billion in bitcoin for customers across five continents.

CEO, Wences Casares, has long been a champion of Bitcoin, and Xapo’s mission is to make Bitcoin secure and accessible. Casares believes that any investor who doesn’t have at least a one percent position in Bitcoin is being irresponsible.

Coinbase’s Move Into Crypto-Custody

Coinbase Custody started trading a year ago, with a remit to provide secure cryptocurrency storage for institutional investors. According to marketing it combined the ‘battle tested’ cold-storage solutions employed by the Coinbase exchange, with an institutional-grade broker/dealer.

It quickly added a raft of additional crypto-assets to its original four of BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC. However, there were questions as to whether institutions would immediately trust the offering. Certainly, while the bear market was in full swing, growth in AUC was slow.

It wasn’t until the bulls really started taking control again in May this year, that AUC crossed the $1 billion mark. But since then, growth has been steadier, and with this latest acquisition of Xapo’s institutional business, Coinbase Custody are claiming over $7 billion in held assets.

The Final Hurdle To Institutional Adoption?

There are many who think that crypto-custody is the final hurdle to institutional adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. This area is certainly where a lot of resources are currently being deployed.

Bakkt is still waiting on approval from the New York authorities for its custody solution, before it can start offering its physically backed bitcoin futures products. Fidelity’s move into crypto-custodianship was supposed to remove one of the final barriers to institutional adoption back in March.

Even the South Koreans are getting in on the act, although technically, the legality of cryptocurrency in the country is still in question.

We are still waiting for the expected flood of institutional investors, but steps are certainly being made. Whether their eventual arrival will be a positive thing is another question entirely.

What do you make of this latest Coinbase acquisition? Add your thoughts below!


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Srp 15

Chinese Ponzi Scam Floods Exchanges And Hits Bitcoin Price

According to Primitive founder, Dovey Wan, the latest Bitcoin sell-off is down to a major Chinese ponzi scheme. Little known outside of China, PlusToken scammed over 200k BTC and 800k ETH, which are now hitting exchanges in batches.


Not Another Bitcoin Ponzi Scam

Started mid-2018, PlusToken was a classic Ponzi scheme offering high-yield investment return. There were four layers of membership structure, offering increasing dividends. By early 2019, it had a claimed 10 million members.

The core team were apprehended by police two months ago and will be in jail for decades, according to Wan. However, the reported $3 billion of cryptocurrency they scammed out of members has not been recovered.

Many of the Bitcoin wallet addresses used are believed to be multi-sig, leading to speculation that some key holders remain at large.

The Bitcoin Sell-Off Began In Early July

Security audit firm, Peckshield, has been monitoring money-flow from the PlusToken wallets, and found that since early-july about 1000 BTC has gone into Huobi and Bittrex exchanges. Funds have been moving in small batches of 50-100 bitcoins per batch.

Unconfirmed reports from Chinese traders suggest that someone has also been consistently dumping 100BTC batches onto Binance. This is also believed to be related to PlusToken.

Not News Until Now

One of the big questions around all this is ‘Why are we only hearing about it now?’.

Again, according to Wan, there are three main reasons that exchanges have not paid attention. The main one being that the scam has not been known outside of China, with the possible exception of South Korea.

Added to this, Chinese exchanges didn’t act because the case has officially been ‘closed’ by Chinese police. Finally, police didn’t work with the exchanges, because cryptocurrency exchanges are officially banned in China.

So What Should We Do?

Both Peckshield and Chainalysis are monitoring the coins involved in the scam, but exchanges must also get involved. There is potentially little that can be done about tokens which have already been cashed out. However, exchanges are able to freeze incoming tokens relating to known scams.

The important thing is to ensure that the relevant parties are aware of the situation. Because, 200,000 BTC flooding the market is bad news for everyone. Unless you missed out on buying sub-$10k Bitcoin last time?

Do you think this scam is the cause of the latest crypto market flash crash? Add your thoughts below.


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