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Vitalik Hacked 😲🔔
The NFT that wasn't, on Vitalik Buterin's X (Twitter) account. The toll? $691k drianed. Senator Ted Cruz? He's all in for Bitcoin. 2024 elections? It's all about Bitcoin. FTX now? Fund return spree.
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Ethereum's main man, Vitalik Buterin, faced a Twitter storm of his own.
The plot: A crafty hacker. A faux NFT link. A hack worth $691,000.
Act 1: The Breach
On a seemingly normal Saturday, Buterin's Twitter followers were greeted with an announcement. The post detailed a launch of special NFTs by prominent software provider Consensys. For many, the association of Buterin and Consensys appeared legitimate, which made the proposition enticing.
Act 2: The Great Ethereum Escapade
Victims, lured by the promise of minting exclusive NFTs, instead found their digital coffers eerily emptying. The link in the tweet was malicious. Instead of leading followers to mint new NFTs, it siphoned off funds from those who attempted to connect their wallets.
Blockchain security firm PeckShield sounded the alarm bells, but not before over $700,000 worth of assets were snatched away. This included the precious CryptoPunk #3983 NFT valued at around $250,000.
Within the first hour, an alarming $147,000 was reported missing, with the losses accelerating to $691,000 shortly after, as reported by blockchain analyst @ZachXBT.
Etherscan has flagged the hacker's wallet address after detecting some shady activities with another suspicious wallet.
The cryptocurrency community on Twitter was swift to identify and warn others of the suspicious link. Notably, Dmitriy "Dima" Buterin, Vitalik's father, was among the first to hint at the breach.
The misleading post was eventually removed, but not before causing significant financial damage to several users.
Vitalik Buterin, known for his active online presence, remained surprisingly reticent post-incident. Interestingly, it was reported that the hacker, perhaps mockingly, sent one of the stolen NFTs back to Buterin's account.
Binance's top dog, Changpeng Zhao, threw in his cyber hat, dissecting Twitter’s digital armour (or the lack of it). Two-factor authentication, a digital shield, remains elusive for many, tethered behind the paywall of X (Twitter) Blue.
Ethereum's price remained pretty stable - it is trading at $1,606.61 following a minor 1.10% dip. Market cap is around $193.19 Billion, with a 24-hour trading volume hovering close to $3.3 billion.
Bigger Picture: This hack isn't an isolated incident. Recently, the crypto world witnessed a heist where $41 million was swiped from Stake.com, a major online casino. The total damage? Scammers have robbed the crypto community of over $700 million through nearly 70 hacks this year alone.
Ted Cruz, Texas senator.
Texas is “a natural oasis for Bitcoin mining.”
Senator Ted Cruz from Texas has come out in strong support of Bitcoin mining, especially considering the benefits it can bring during times of energy grid stress. His comments came amidst Texas facing significant weather-related challenges.
Cruz's Stance on Bitcoin
While on Fox News Radio, Cruz expressed his strong belief in the advantages Bitcoin mining can bring, specifically to Texas. He emphasised how Bitcoin mining can enhance the resilience of the power grid.
He pointed out that during emergencies or extreme weather conditions, Bitcoin mining machines can be quickly powered down, acting as "emergency reservoirs of power."
Texas' Weather Woes
Texas recently experienced its second-hottest summer ever. As a result, the state's power grid, which supports approximately 90% of the state, had to initiate emergency measures.
Due to these measures, Bitcoin miners had to cut down their energy consumption. This move led to significant revenue for some mining companies based on their power purchase agreements.
Support for Crypto Among Politicians 🇺🇸
Gradually, politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties are showing interest in Bitcoin and other digital assets.
Alongside Cruz, several Republican figures like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, and Senator Tim Scott from South Carolina have expressed support for cryptocurrency.
On the Democratic side, although a bit cautious, figures like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand from New York have shown support, co-sponsoring crypto regulation bills.
Opposition to Crypto
Despite the growing support, some politicians remain wary. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Brad Sherman, both Democrats, have criticised the crypto world. Similarly, Republican Senator Roger Marshall has described cryptocurrency as a "national security threat."
What Brian says?
According to Coinbase's CEO, Brian Armstrong, by 2024, voters won't just be asking politicians about their stance on climate change or healthcare. Nope.
The new dinner table question is: "So, Mr./Ms. Candidate, where do you stand on Bitcoin and friends?"
Brian Armstrong is of the belief that the forthcoming 2024 US elections will see a noticeable shift in voting dynamics. Candidates might find themselves on the spot, with voters keenly examining their stance on cryptocurrency.
“I don’t think everybody in DC actually fully realises how powerful the crypto voting block is. And I think 2024 is an election where the voters of America are really going to hold candidates feet to the fire and say, what is your position on crypto?”
Armstrong remained confident in the co-existence and growth of multiple cryptos, stating, “We’re going to have decentralised cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. We’re going to have things like Ethereum that are building new application platforms on top that are totally decentralised. But if we need to get people– sometimes you have to meet people where they are.”
Despite a decade of rejections and delays, the lack of a Bitcoin ETF does not seem to bother industry advocates👇🏻
TTD FTX 🦹🏻
FTX has disclosed significant financial details through a recent court filing. It reveals substantial payments made to several celebrities and organisations during the tenure of its previous CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried.
Submitted on August 31, this filing elucidates FTX’s marketing and sponsorship strategies.
The listed beneficiaries include sports legends such as Shaquille O’Neal, Naomi Osaka, David Ortiz, and Trevor Lawrence. Noteworthy organisations like MLB, NBA's Miami Heat, and Golden State Warriors also feature.
Interestingly, the list doesn't just stick to sports. Other recipients are Coachella, Gamestop, Kevin O’Leary, and several ambiguous LLCs.
These hefty sums are described as "prepayments tied to advertising, sponsorships, security deposits, and other miscellaneous expenses."
The Celebrity Payments Breakdown 💰
Former NBA star, Shaquille O’Neal, received close to $750,000.
Tennis sensation Naomi Osaka, got approximately $308,000.
NFL's Trevor Lawrence was paid nearly $206,000.
Baseball's David Ortiz pocketed around $271,000.
FTX's Marketing Spree 🚀
Under the leadership of Bankman-Fried, FTX was aggressive in its marketing efforts.
Significant moves included a whopping $135 million to rename Miami Heat's arena and hiring famous comedian Larry David for a Super Bowl commercial. Football star Tom Brady also graced many of FTX's promotional materials.
Recovering the Dues 🔄
The present FTX team is examining means to retrieve the funds given to these high-profile promoters. This is seen as a method to alleviate its significant debts. However, the company admits that the eventual recovery might differ substantially from the values mentioned in their filing.
TTD Where’s The Hype 🚀
Once labelled as a dying platform, decentralised social media outlet Friend.tech defies odds with a sudden spike in its total value locked (TVL), touching the $20 million mark.
Few weeks ago, people were like👇🏻
Friend.tech's TVL has seen an unexpected boost, doubling in just four days to cross the $20M threshold.
It’s a stark contrast to sentiments two weeks prior when dwindling app activity led many to predict its demise.
The renewed interest in Friend.tech isn't just anecdotal. Data from Dune Analytics confirms that the platform clocked in a whopping $12.3 million in daily trading on September 9, their third-highest ever.
Interestingly, on the same day, it managed to outdo even OpenSea, a leading NFT platform, by a significant $3 million.
Despite the buzz surrounding the launch of Worldcoin, trading volume for AI tokens has stagnated, according to data from Kaiko. While the trading volume of AI-related tokens increased steadily from July to August, it has significantly decreased since the beginning of 2023.
Analysts attribute this decline to a change in global risk sentiment and diminishing enthusiasm for AI tokens. Worldcoin, which debuted in July, aims to create a network of genuine individuals by issuing World IDs. The project's co-founder, Sam Altman, has garnered attention from the cryptocurrency community.
TTD CBDC 🪙
Ahmad Wagaafe Hared, a tech-savvy teen, had too much fun in the wild world of crypto. After lifting a hefty sum from Silicon Valley's crypto bigwigs, he treated himself to a sweet ride: a $150,000 BMW i8. However, the feds have put a stop sign on his joyride, wanting both the Bitcoin and the Beamer back.
The DOJ is moving swiftly, targeting the millions in Bitcoin Hared obtained between 2016 and 2018.
His method of operation? SIM-swapping. This technique involves convincing phone carriers to transfer control of a target's cell phone under the pretence of being the rightful owner. Once done, it often provides access to secure accounts, bypassing 2-factor authentication measures.
Working from Tucson, Hared formed an alliance with Matthew Gene Ditman of Nevada. Their collective objective was to gain unauthorised access to accounts belonging to prominent figures in the cryptocurrency domain, particularly those situated in Silicon Valley.
Prior to this operation, Hared was no stranger to clandestine activities. Under the pseudonym ‘winblo’ on the darknet, he had a track record, primarily trading high-end social media accounts.
Post heist, Hared invested in a BMW i8, a luxury car with a price tag of approximately $150,000. Furthermore, there were reports that the duo reached out to some of their victims, potentially to escalate their demands.
The operation was eventually thwarted in 2019 when the FBI successfully identified and apprehended both Hared and Ditman.
Current Status: As investigations progress, the feds have one primary objective: to reclaim the misappropriated $5.2 million in Bitcoin and the sports car. The legal future of Hared and Ditman remains uncertain as they await their day in court.
TTD Surfer 🏄
Mastercard has launched a CBDC program to support central banks in developing their own digital currencies.
NounsDAO, a leading NFT project, is facing a treasury split as a group of NFT holders called for a "rage quit."
A regulation-compliant privacy tool on Ethereum co-authored by Vitalik Buterin, among others, is winning support among key figures in the crypto industry.
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