Bitcoin’s return to $50,000, shady crypto mining apps get outed and the Opensea marketplace surges


Crypto Roundup: What week would be complete without more drama at Binance?

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This week’s roundup starts with yet another batch of Binance news. Following consistent concerns regarding the exchange’s regulatory practices, the company has hired Richard Teng, the former CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority at Abu Dhabi Global Market to lead its Singapore offices.

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According to his LinkedIn profile, Teng also spent seven years chief regulatory officer of the Singapore exchange and 13 years with the Money Authority of Singapore. So its not unreasonable to assume the man knows his regulatory practices.

This hire comes in the same week that Binance suspended their futures contracts in Brazil. The Brazilian National Securities Commission had previously made the order in July of last year, stating that the exchange was operating without authorization.

Lastly, Binance also took a bit of a proactive stance to their regulatory troubles by tightening their customer verification process. CoinDesk reports that new customers must now supply a government-issued ID and pass facial verification to meet “Intermediate” verification for access to services such as crypto deposits, trades and withdrawals. Existing customers with a “basic” verification will be limited to the following services: withdrawal, order cancellation, position close and redemption.

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All in all, a busy week for the exchange as it continues to bolster itself against compliance issues.

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Google Play has removed eight fake crypto mining apps from its platform.
Google Play has removed eight fake crypto mining apps from its platform. Photo by Dado Ruvic/Reuters illustration files

Of course, Binance isn’t the only one in crypto that has to watch out for fraud. Trend Micro, a cybersecurity firm, found over 120 fake crypto mining apps, eight of which were promptly removed from the Google Play Store.

The eight in question were Bitfunds, Bitcoin Miner, Bitcoin — Pool Mining Cloud Wallet, Crypto Holic, Daily Bitcoin Rewards, Bitcoin 2021, Minebit Pro and Ethereum — Pool Mining Cloud.

The firm explained that these apps “trick victims into watching ads, paying for subscription services that have an average monthly fee of US$15 and paying for increased mining capabilities without getting anything in return.”

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What’s more is that their deception is probably paying off, seeing as some of the apps have been downloaded over 100,000 times. Trend Micro also stated that, between July 2020 and July 2021, about 4,500 app users were personally affected. At the time of publication, there’s been no word on the status of the remaining 120 apps and whether they remain in the Google Play Store.

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In contrast, the real Bitcoin had an excellent week after topping US$50,000 for the first time since May. This marks the latest turn in a volatile few months for the world’s most valuable token, with April peaks of nearly US$65,000 and May lows of just below US$30,000.

This led some bullish analysts to declare the potential for new all-time peaks of US$100,000, while others were more cautious, according to Bloomberg.

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The coin’s most recent rise more or less coincided with last week’s news of the entire crypto market hitting $2.2 trillion in value and was likely helped along by Amazon and Walmart’s reported interest in the cryptocurrency realm.

Ether and Cardano also experienced further gains. It appears the bearish were correct in their initial assumptions, at least for now, seeing as Bitcoin has once again fallen below $50k, sitting at US$48,950 on Wednesday afternoon.

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PayPal is one of a few major firms that have shown persistent interest in expanding its cryptocurrency operations.
PayPal is one of a few major firms that have shown persistent interest in expanding its cryptocurrency operations. Photo by Eric Piermont/AFP via Getty Images files

Recent market sentiment was also helped along by PayPal’s decision to expand their crypto services to the U.K. Beginning this week, users will be able to transact in Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash for as little as £1.

Last October, PayPal had introduced buying, selling and holding to U.S. customers. Like its U.S. counterpart, the U.K. edition will rely on Paxos, a New York-regulated digital currency company, to enable crypto buying.

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PayPal is one of a few major firms that have shown persistent interest in expanding its cryptocurrency operations, despite regulatory concerns and volatility.

“We definitely have ambitions to continue to expand the product range in the U.S., the U.K. and other markets,” Jose Fernandez da Ponte, PayPal’s general manager for blockchain, crypto and digital currencies, told CNBC. “We are very deliberate about starting with initial functionality, and then we’ll see where the market is going to take us. Different markets have different appetite for products.”

Currently, users can’t withdraw their crypto earnings in either the U.S. or U.K., but da Ponte had previously said at CoinDesk’s Consensus conference in May that a withdrawal system is in the works.

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Over in the world of NFTs, trading platform Opensea has been hauling it in over the past month. The marketplace broke a global record for capturing US$1.564 billion in volume over 30 days.

Further, the world’s largest NFT marketplace saw its trade volume increased by 542 per cent over the last month and all-time statistics indicate that it has seen US$2.423 billion in trade volume.

Metrics from Dappradar, a site for managing and tracking decentralized apps, show that over that past 30 days 168,316 unique traders had used the Opensea market.

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Its competitors in the top five by volume are Axie Infinity, CryptoPunks, NBA Top Shots and SuperRare.co.

Back in July, the firm became a blockchain unicorn after raising US$100 million in series B funding, with a list of investors that included Kevin Durant, Ashton Kutcher and Tobi Lutke.

At the time of writing, the marketplace’s 30-day volume has gone up even further to US$2.084 billion.

Financial Post

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