If Bitcoin turns around, select altcoins might outperform it on the way up? Which are those? Let’s find out
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$450 million worth of lost cryptocurrency from the now-defunct cryptocurrency exchange WEX may have been transferred to a fund belonging to Russian intelligence agency the Federal Security Bureau (FSB), according to an investigation by the BBC’s Russian Service published on Nov. 15.
The BBC’s recent investigation into the BTC-e crypto exchange case, in which co-founder Alexander Vinnik stands accused of fraud and laundering as much as $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) over the course of six years, has revealed new details which allegedly connect lost customer funds to the FSB.
Demands to hand over crypto assets to the FSB
The BBC retrieved audio files that allegedly connect a person named Anton — supposedly former FSB officer Anton Nemkin — with Aleksey Bilyuchenko, a co-founder of BTC-e, and Konstantin Malofeyev, who was purportedly behind the sale of WEX, a spin-off of troubled BTC-e.
During a business meeting in 2018, Anton allegedly requested that Bilyuchenko hand the cold wallets containing crypto assets of WEX over to him. Following the purported handover, Bilyuchenko was delivered to an FSB department in Moscow, where several plainclothes officers questioned him about WEX operations.
The following day, Anton allegedly demanded that Bilyuchenko passed on all cryptocurrency stored in WEX’s wallets, stating that the assets will be given to the “fund of FSB of Russia.” At the time, the wallets contained $450 million worth cryptocurrency, part of which belonged to the exchange’s customers.
Bilyuchenko eventually agreed to transfer the aforementioned amount. The data from Blockchain.com and Explorer.Litecoin.net indicated that 30,000 BTC and 700,000 Litecoins (LTC) were transferred from the aforementioned wallets — equivalent to $350 million at the time.
Other allegations against associated parties
In July, Dmitri Vasilyev, former CEO of WEX, was arrested in Italy. In April 2019, Vasilyev became the subject of a criminal investigation by the police department in Kazakh city Almaty, as the alleged suspect was charged with defrauding a local investor in the amount of $20,000 through WEX exchange.
That same month, United States prosecutors filed a complaint against BTC-e and Vinnik. Per the filing, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) determined civil penalties for BTC-e and Vinnik last year, who face fines of over $88 million and $12 million, respectively.
The filing stated outright that BTC-e and Vinnik had not attempted to register with FinCEN, implement Anti-Money Laundering practices, or report suspicious activity generally.
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The donation, announced the same day by Grin on Twitter, was made via crypto exchange Coinbase by a donor who expressly wished to remain anonymous, according to a Nov. 11 forum post by Grin dev Daniel Lehnberg.
“Work freely” without dependency
Lehnberg has revealed that he briefly interacted with the donor. While upholding his/her/their desired anonymity, he nonetheless shared some of the donor(s)’ edited remarks, including reported statements such as:
“Our motives are not economical! It’s about the technology and the protocol. Please put it to good use for the development of GRIN. You keep working as you did in the past […] This is what we are honouring right now with these donations so that you can work freely […] without economic dependencies.”
Apparently finding the unusual nature of the donation to be not quite enough, some cryptocurrency media outlets responded by confecting the theory that Satoshi Nakomoto — Bitcoin’s mysterious inventor(s) — was behind the donation.
The theory was fed by an apparent Telegram group chat message from Litecoin (LTC) founder Charlie Lee revealing that the donated coins were mined in 2010, and transferred from a wallet that had been idle for almost 9 years.
Lee has since confirmed the message was “just a joke.”
As previously reported, Grin is a privacy coin that implements scalability- and privacy-focused Mimblewimble protocol — named after a fictional tongue-tying curse from the popular Harry Potter novels.
Mimblewimble is in part a variant of the cryptographic protocol known as Confidential Transactions, which allows for transactions to be obfuscated yet verifiable so as to achieve both heightened privacy and the prevention of double-spending.
This summer, Grin underwent a hard fork — the network’s first since its launch in mid-January of this year — to introduce tweaks to its consensus algorithm in order to achieve greater resistance to ASIC miners.
This October, the Litecoin Foundation published two new draft improvement proposals designed to work toward establishing privacy features for the network by integrating Mimblewimble.
The post Grin Receives Anonymous 50 BTC Donation, Sparking Satoshi Rumors appeared first on One Btc News Today.
Bitcoin price (BTC) failed to ignite much interest as October closed. There are approximately 194 days left until the next Bitcoin halving, which probably feels like an eternity away for those involved with the crypto space.
This week there was also a surplus of negative news events like the Bitmex email leak and the Coinbase flash crash that caused mass liquidations on Deribit. So can we really expect Bitcoin price to do anything spectacular in the short term?
Daily crypto market performance. Source: Coin360.com
BTC USD daily chart. Source: TradingView
Bitcoin price has been locked in a tight range around $9,100 – $9,400 for the last 5 days. However, since the massive move 2 weeks ago, the Bollinger Bands (BB) indicator has opened up revealing quite a broad range of support and resistance.
The moving average shows $8,600 being the level of support that Bitcoin needs to hold before falling back in to the $7,000 range. However, it is a positive sign that Bitcoin is currently holding in the upper percentile of the Bollinger Bands as the resistance that Bitcoin needs to break to begin a new upward trend is at $9,900.
But what does the week ahead hold? Well, let’s first take a look at the first major bullish signal for Bitcoin that came on Nov. 1 when a new green monthly candle was printed.
BTC USD monthly chart. Source: TradingView
Let’s not underestimate the significance of this particular signal. The last time that the Heikin Ashi candles transitioned from red to green on the Bitcoin monthly chart was on April 1st, 2019.
Within just 12 weeks of this last occurring, Bitcoin’s price exploded from a low of $3,979 to $13,868 which represented a massive 350% growth in BTC/USD value.
Whilst it’s still early days, as each week progresses Bitcoin is slowly showing more bullish signs, and if history were to repeat itself we could be instore for 29% weekly growth as we head into the new year. But what other signs are there?
Is the weekly MACD turning bullish?
BTC USD weekly MACD. Source: TradingView
The weekly chart for Bitcoin has some golden nuggets starting to appear but they are not quite there yet. Using the Moving Average Divergence Convergence (MACD) we can see that the MACD line is beginning to gear up for a bullish cross, and for the past 2 weeks, the red candles on the histogram have been getting weaker.
This is a telltale sign that Bitcoin is due to enter its next bullish phase in the coming weeks. How long this will take depends on a multitude of factors, but one such place to look is on the Relative Strength Index (RSI) indicator to see if Bitcoin is oversold yet.
The weekly RSI is not showing any signs of life
BTC USD weekly RSI. Source: TradingView
Currently, the RSI on the weekly timeframe is planted in a no-trade zone. Whilst this does not necessarily mean that Bitcoin price will not increase this week, this particular indicator isn’t giving off a strong buy or sell signal.
The RSI is currently reading 54.99 after bouncing up from 45 over the last few weeks. It could be that we have already witnessed a reversal and Bitcoin price could begin to rise, but history tells us that there is probably some more downward movement ahead of us before we start to see sustainable weekly gains.
Bitcoin price targets
BTC USD weekly chart. Source: TradingView
The massive spike that occurred two weeks ago did cause Bitcoin’s price to break the moving average (MA) on the Bollinger Bands (BB) Indicator. One can normally expect the price to then form new support above the MA.
This hasn’t yet happened, and at the time of writing the moving average is around $9,945 whilst Bitcoin price is currently $9,148. Given the visible momentum from the candles on the weekly chart, it is not unreasonable to expect Bitcoin price to close over $10,000 before the end of the coming week if the bulls have their say.
If Bitcoin price can achieve this growth, then this puts $12,000 as the next level of resistance. On the downside, however, the support is still around $7,914 so the coming week could hold lots of surprises for both the bulls and bears amongst us.
Is Litecoin poised for 42% gains?
LTC USD weekly chart. Source: TradingView
There are a few reasons to focus on Litecoin (LTC). Using the same analysis on Bitcoin, the weekly positioning looks like a stronger buy on Litecoin than is does on Bitcoin.
Litecoin price seemed to have found support two weeks ago around $47 and at the time of writing the LTC/USD pair is at $57. Using the moving average on the Bollinger Bands indicator to gauge the next level of resistance shows that Litecoin looks ripe for a move up to $82 before being rejected, which would represent growth of 42%
LTC USD weekly MACD. Source: TradingView
From a glance of Litcoin’s weekly MACD, we can see that whilst the MACD and signal lines look almost identical to that of Bitcoin, the histogram is showing is that a bullish reversal is likely to be more imminent than Bitcoin’s weekly MACD. Litecoin has printed four consecutively weaker candles whereas there are only two on Bitcoin.
As the weekly candle draws to a close on Litecoin, it is likely to show a stronger buy signal to that of Bitcoin, and the RSI provides further confirmation of this.
Litecoin’s RSI looks oversold
LTC USD weekly RSI. Source: TradingView
Compared to Bitcoin, Litecoin’s RSI is at 38.96 after a bounce from 34. Typically traders that use the RSI to identify heavily oversold assets would be looking for a reading below 30, but it’s a far better signal than Bitcoin’s current reading in the high 50’s.
As such, from a purchasing point of view, Litecoin looks to have greater upside potential and stronger technicals than Bitcoin for the week ahead.
As Bitcoin continues to consolidate, the first level of support can be found at $8,600. The bears might be cheering this forthcoming week so I’d expect this would be a short-lived victory.
Should $8,600 fail to hold, the next levels are $7,900 and then $7,200. The doom and gloom scenarios calling for a revisit to $6,000 are now less likely to playout, however never say never, Bitcoin forever surprises investors and traders alike.
Bitcoin is currently about $600 away from both support and resistance, but a break upwards at this stage could see the price begin to form a new level of support around the $9,900 region.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the @officiallykeith and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
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Several cryptocurrencies are forming bottoming formations. Does this mean it’s a good time to buy? Let’s study the charts
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After initially seeking to ban Bitcoin in 2013, Thailand has since developed a permissive regulatory apparatus for digital currencies and cryptocurrency fundraising methods. Thai financial services firm Seamico Securities recently announced that it has received approval from the country’s Securities and Investments Commission (SEC) to operate its subsidiary, SE Digital, as a regulated initial coin offering (ICO) portal.
In doing so, SE Digital obtained permission to launch the first legitimate ICO in Thailand, with the company announcing that it hopes to raise between 2 billion and 3 billion Thai baht (between around $66 million and $99 million) through the token sale.
Jesadavat Priebjrivat, the CEO of SE Digital, described the approval of the country’s first ICO portal as turning a “new page on Thailand’s capital market history,” adding that Thailand “will become one of the first nations in [The Association of Southeast Asian Nations] to offer regulated digital token offerings.”
Elevated Returns seeks to facilitate secondary trading
While SE Digital will facilitate the issuance of ICO tokens, the company will not directly host markets for traders to speculate on the crypto assets. Seamico’s strategic investor, Elevated Returns — a financial group that tokenizes traditional assets — plans to launch an exchange facilitating secondary trading of SE Digital’s digital tokens. The company has already announced that its subsidiary, ERX, has applied for Digital Assets Exchange License with a plan to launch operations before the second half of 2020.
Stephane de Baets, the founder and president of Elevated Returns, took to Twitter to express his hopes for a pan-Asian expansion of Seamico’s ICO services in coming years, citing Taiwan, Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore as jurisdictions that Seamico may target after further establishing its operations in Thailand.
Elevated Returns acquired 21% of Seamico, worth 467.1 million baht (approximately $15.4 million), during the third quarter of 2018 amid expansions designed to facilitate the launch of $1 billion worth of tokenized real estate on Tezos. During March of this year, Elevated Returns revealed that it hoped to launch $100 million worth of true estate tokens in Thailand by 2020.
SE Digital to offer suite of ICO services
SE Digital is seeking to offer a complete range of digital token offering services, including primary issuance, strategic advisory, facilitating secondary market access, and providing Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) services. SE Digital will target Thai retail investors, institutional investors, venture capital firms and private equity funds.
With digital tokens comprising a new market in Thailand, SE Digital is preparing educational programs in cooperation with partners and regulators. As digital tokens are new to most Thai investors and its market, SE Digital plans a series of educational programs through cooperation with its local partners, regulators and leading organizations. Stephen Ng, chief marketing officer of SE Digital, stated, “As asset tokenization fully takes hold, it will help bolster innovation and competitiveness of Thailand’s capital markets.”
Thailand introduces ICO regulations in 2018
Thailand’s ICO sector has matured significantly since the start of 2018. On Jan. 17, 2018, Bangkok Post reported that J Ventures, a subsidiary of mobile accessories firm Jaymart, was readying to become the first Thai company listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
The company was looking to conduct an ICO to distribute 100 million of its “JFin” cryptocurrency — a utility token set to power J Ventures’ lending platform — with a total supply of 300 million tokens. As of this writing, J Ventures has not conducted the final phase of its token offering.
On Jan. 22, 2018, the Thai SEC completed the final round of public hearings relating to its then-proposed regulatory framework for ICOs. On Feb. 14, 2018, J Ventures launched the presale of its ICO, selling 87% of the 100 million tokens on the first day before later selling out. J Ventures raised approximately 660 million baht ($21.8 million), which priced JFin at approximately $0.22 each.
During the presale, JFin could only be purchased via the Thai Digital Asset Exchange (TDAX) for fiat currency and was exclusively available to identity-verified investors. On Feb. 26, TDAX announced that it had halted the registration and trading of new ICOs as it waited for the SEC to establish a regulatory framework governing digital token sales.
Zmine Holdings conducts ICO in Thailand
While many ICOs were still awaiting further guidance from the Thai SEC, Zmine sought to follow in J Ventures’ footsteps and conduct a token offering despite the lack of regulatory clarity. Zmine also conducted both a presale and private sale during the first quarter of 2018, with the company planning to finance an expansion of its mining operations through an ICO.
At the end of May, Zmine Holdings Limited launched a public token sale, seeking to raise 180 million baht ($5.6 million) by issuing 100 million “ZMN” tokens. During its first day, the ZMN ICO sold 2 million tokens and raised 3.5 million baht (roughly $110,000).
Thai cabinet introduces preliminary crypto regulations
March 2018 saw Thailand’s cabinet approve a draft decree to go into effect as of May 14 that provides oversight for companies operating with cryptocurrencies or ICOs. The decree required that crypto businesses obtain relevant licensing and report to AML authorities, and tasked the Thai SEC with regulating the sector.
The regulations also mandated that ICOs be issued exclusively via a licensed “ICO portal” — a platform that screens and assists prospective ICOs in launching fundraising activities for crypto assets in a regulated and compliant fashion. The legislation stated that ICO portals must comprise licensed Thai-based companies with a minimum registered capital of 5 million baht ($155,000).
The decree also outlined the tax obligations of retail traders, mandating a 7% value added tax payment on top of the 15% withholding tax on capital gains and returns from crypto investments. Thailand’s finance minister, Apisak Tantivorawong, stated at the time:
“The new law to comprehensively regulate cryptocurrencies and digital tokens is necessary to prevent money laundering, tax avoidance and crime. […] The new law is not meant to prohibit cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and other digital asset-related translations, but to protect investors.”
JFin tokens begin trading on local exchanges
In May, JFin began trading on the Thai exchange Coin Asset, with prices quickly plummeting by 57% before temporarily retaking half of its losses. Within one month, JFin was trading at just a third of its ICO price. JFin investors’ losses prompted analysts to caution prospective ICO participants.
Thai SEC introduces ICO regulations
At the start of June 2018, the SEC unveiled its regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies and ICOs. The regulations would see seven crypto assets permitted to be used as trading pairs for ICO tokens — Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC), XRP and Lumens (XLM). The SEC stated that the seven cryptocurrencies were chosen due to each of the assets garnering significant trade volume and lacking advanced privacy features.
ICOs would need to pay fees of 5 million baht (roughly $165,000) upfront for token distribution and cryptocurrency operation, while the application fees for brokerage firms and crypto asset dealers were set at 2.5 million baht ($82.500) and 2 million baht ($66,000), respectively.
Exchanges are also required to pay fees equal to 0.002% of annual trade volume up to 20 million baht ($625,000), whereas crypto brokers must pay annual fees of 0.001% of trade volume up to 5 million baht ($155,000).
While no limits are placed on institutional and high-net-worth investors’ participation in registered ICOs, retail investors can invest a maximum of 300,000 baht ($9,905) per ICO — with ICOs permitted to raise no more than 70% of their capital from retail investors.
Issuers of unlicensed crypto assets can face fines of up to twice the value of the token sale, with minimum penalties starting at 500 million baht ($15,600), in addition to risking a jail term of up to two years.
Thai SEC clarifies ICO portal regulations
In July 2018, the Thai SEC clarified the regulatory processes relating to ICO portals. In addition to comprising Thai-based companies with a minimum registered capital of 5 million baht ($165,000), prospective ICO portals are required to demonstrate readiness to adhere to compliance and security protocols recommended by the SEC. ICO portals were also told to pay an annual fee of 100,000 baht ($3,300).
An additional prerequisite is that the executives, directors and shareholders of an ICO portal cannot have previously been declared bankrupt, and any subsidiaries must be related to the portal. ICO portals were also tasked with providing preliminary product screening for prospective token offerings.
Within one month, the Thai SEC reported that 50 ICO issuers had expressed an interest in applying for licenses, while three of the five prospective ICO portals had submitted applications. Twenty firms had also applied for digital asset exchange licenses. After initially examining the applications, the SEC then forwards the documentation onto Thailand’s Finance Ministry, which makes the final ruling.
ICO scams target Thailand
Despite the Thai government’s efforts to legitimize and regulate the country’s cryptocurrency and ICO sector, the SEC reported an increase in crypto-related scams during the second half of 2018.
In October, the SEC warned the public of four unauthorized token offerings targeting Thai investors — the G2S Expert ICO, the Singhcom Enterprise ICO, the Adventure hostel Bangkok ICO and the Kidstocurrency ICO. The SEC also warned of five scams operating under the guise of cryptocurrency investment opportunities — Every Coin, Orientum Coin, Tripxchain Coin, TUC Coin, and OneCoin and OFC Coin.
The warning came just weeks after Thai citizen Prinya Jaravijit was arrested in a Bangkok airport for defrauding a Finnish investor of $25 million worth of BTC. Alongside six other associates, Jaravijit had allegedly persuaded the businessman to invest in a fraudulent scheme purportedly involving three companies and Dragon Coin (DRG).
Thai regulators teased licensed ICO portal 12 months ago
At the start of November 2018, the Thai SEC claimed that it would clear “at least one” ICO portal to operate legitimately before the end of the month. While the approval of an ICO portal would not be announced until March of the following year, late 2018 saw the Thai regulator move to make permissive adjustments to the country’s regulatory apparatus covering cryptocurrencies and ICOs.
During December, the Thai SEC announced that it would seek to reduce the legislative “barrier” faced by ICOs. The new rules would relax the regulations surrounding ICO presales and private sales, removing the need for token offerings that exclusively offer private sales and presales to accredited investors to submit registration statements and a draft prospectus with the SEC.
Tipsuda Thavaramara, the SEC’s deputy secretary-general, stated, “The proposed guideline is an attempt to find greater equilibrium in the regulatory process and reduce regulatory impediments, while taking risk management and investor protection into account.”
Thailand pushes permissive crypto regulations during 2019
January 2019 saw the Thai SEC grant cryptocurrency licenses to four cryptocurrency firms. The authorized companies comprised crypto exchanges Bitcoin Exchange Co., Bitkub Online Co. and Satang Corporation, as well as digital currency broker-dealer Coins TH.
The following month, Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly passed an amendment to the country’s Securities and Exchange Act, legitimizing the issuance of securities via distributed ledger technology — paving the way for STOs in the country.
March saw further refining of Thai crypto regulations, with the SEC removing BCH, ETC and LTC from the list of crypto assets authorized to comprise pairings for token offerings. Two weeks later, the Stock Exchange of Thailand announced that it is planning on building a digital asset platform to “digitize” its “capital market infrastructure.”
On March 13, the SEC announced that it had approved the country’s first ICO portal, however, the application was still awaiting approval from other regulatory entities, such as the Commerce Ministry.
The post Thailand Pushes Permissive Regulations as First Legal ICO Is Launched appeared first on One Btc News Today.
The Litecoin Foundation has published two new draft Litecoin Improvement Proposals that work toward establishing privacy features for the network.
Protecting Litecoin’s functional fungibility from government
As the Foundation outlines, both proposals are targeted at mitigating the privacy risks associated with a transparent ledger, where transaction history can be publicly traced.
The proposal’s authors — Andrew Yang, David Burkett and Charlie Lee — argue that this transparency hinders Litecoin’s “functional fungibility in a government-regulated merchant world,” observing that:
“Personal identifiable information collected from IP address, exchanges, or merchants can be leaked then tied to your addresses. Also services, such as chain analysis, provide risk-scores based on whether or not any addresses that they have blacklisted appear in its transactional history. This results in some businesses treating these coins as ‘tainted’ and then sending them back to the owner, or worse yet, shutting down their account.”
To solve this, the Foundation is working on the integration of the scalability- and privacy-focused Mimblewimble protocol — named after a fictional tongue-tying curse from the popular Harry Potter novels.
Mimblewimble is in part a variant of the cryptographic protocol known as Confidential Transactions, which allows for transactions to be obfuscated yet verifiable so as to achieve both heightened privacy and the prevention of double-spending.
Privacy-supporting protocol development
For these specific proposals, the authors envision implementing MimbleWimble as an opt-in new transaction format through “extension blocks” (EBs). These EBs run alongside main chain canonical blocks, at the same interval of 2.5 minutes on average.
The documents outline the functioning of this opt-in integration and the effects it has for transaction privacy, and exactly how the proposals tackle the interaction between coins in the EBs and the canonical blockchain.
As previously reported, the privacy-centric cryptocurrency Grin (GRIN) underwent its first network hard-fork this summer to introduce tweaks to its consensus algorithm in order to achieve greater resistance to ASIC miners.
Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported on comments from the CEO of crypto transaction tracking firm CipherTrace, who argued that the Financial Action Task Force’s crypto regulations will trigger a shift of criminal activity away from Bitcoin (BTC) and toward privacy coins.
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Lee’s original post was the exuberant announcement that:
“Litecoin network has been up and running continuously for the past 8 years with zero downtime. And in that span of time, over $500,000,000,000 worth of LTC have been transacted. Looking forward to the next 8 years and more! ”
“We have enough money to last 2 years”
“It’s [the Litecoin Foundation] not near bankruptcy. Don’t listen to stupid fud and lies. We have enough money to last 2 years.”
The allegations were sparked by a TrustNodes report last week that claimed the Foundation was down from $1 million in income in 2018 down to negative $70,000 by 2019.
At the time, Lee had responded to the report with a statement that the Foundation had an estimated 1 to 2 years’ runway — with around $200,000 in its coffers.
He added that the company’s financial prospects would also be guided by the outcome of the forthcoming Litecoin Summit, to be held at the end of October in Las Vegas.
Speakers will include high-profile industry figures such as Morgan Creek Digital Assets founder and podcast host Anthony Pompliano, Wyoming Blockchain Task Force president Caitlin Long, and the co-founder and former CEO of BTCC exchange Bobby Lee, among others.
Bitter accusations amid the birthday cheer
With Litecoin trading at roughly $57 as of press time, the altcoin is down almost 60% from its 2019 highs this June — reflecting the wider cooling of the crypto markets.
Lee himself had famously sold and donated all his LTC holdings back in Dec. 2017 — at the peak of the crypto markets’ historic bull run: a decision he explained as motivated by a desire to avoid any conflict of interest and a step toward the thorough decentralization of the network.
While some crypto Twitterers’ appeared bitter about Lee’s move to sell at peak prices, others defended Lee, pointing to the founder’s role in warning others against overheated trading as he anticipated a “multi-year bear market” would set in following Dec. 2017.
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Crypto “sextortionists” are switching to Litecoin and other alts to avoid email filters
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