In 2021, the cryptocurrency market is very good, but it has fattened many criminals

According to a report by blockchain data firm Chainalysis, by the end of 2021, cybercriminals owned more than $11 billion worth of cryptocurrencies, all linked to illicit activities, compared with just $3 billion in the same period last year. Chainalysis points out that the most lucrative crime is theft—stolen cryptocurrency accounts for 93 percent of criminals’ crypto wallets (about $9.8 billion).

To get the data, Chainalysis looked at how much cryptocurrency wallets were linked to criminals, representing wallets that received funds from darknet markets, ransomware operations, scams or cryptocurrency theft, all monitored by Chainalysis.

Illicit activity is the main way cybercriminals steal cryptocurrencies, but holdings are also more valuable due to the 2021 cryptocurrency bull run. According to Yahoo Finance data, despite the price slump over the past month, the value of popular coins has risen sharply from the end of 2020 to the end of 2021:

Bitcoin: Just over $29,000 at the end of 2020 and around $47,000 at the end of 2021.
Ethereum: Around $737 at the end of 2020 and around $3,700 at the end of 2021.
Monero: Around $156 in late 2020 and $250 in late 2021.
In other words, as long as they keep holding, most crypto criminals will have a surge in value at the beginning of 2021 by the end of the year. Criminals appear to be more aggressive in liquidating their ill-gotten gains in 2021, the report notes – Chainalysis says criminals hold cryptocurrencies an average of 75 percent less than in previous years.

Ransomware sellers are the quickest to sell, holding virtual currency for an average of 65 days in 2021, compared to a historical average of 468 days. Even darknet marketers, which previously averaged 1,252 days, will have an average hold time of more than 250 days in 2021. Online scammers are somewhere in between, holding virtual currencies for an average of more than 100 days in 2021.

As Chainalysis points out, tokens are not necessarily safe in criminals’ wallets, as law enforcement agencies are not sitting idly by, tracking criminals’ virtual wallets and potentially confiscating cryptocurrency. The year 2021 saw law enforcement seize large amounts of cryptocurrency allegedly linked to ransomware groups or Ponzi scheme promoters.

Less than 2 months into 2022, more action has already been seen: UK tax authorities seize some NFTs; US Department of Justice seizes $3.6 billion in bitcoin stolen during Bitfinex hack. No matter whether cryptocurrencies rise or fall next year, it is believed that criminals’ cryptocurrency holdings will be severely hit.

Can’t stand it anymore! Kazakhstan plans to increase tax on mining by 500%, and many miners are considering moving to the United States and Russia

According to the state-run Kazinform news agency, the Kazakh government is proposing stricter regulatory conditions for bitcoin miners, considering raising the “electricity tax” for cryptocurrency miners from 1 to 5 teng per kilowatt of Kazakh fiat. around $0.0023 to $0.012).

Kazakh Deputy Finance Minister Marat Sultangaziev even proposed requiring cryptocurrency miners to pay a monthly “equipment tax” regardless of whether miners receive block rewards or have ASIC equipment activated. He compares this idea to a tax on gaming equipment imposed by casino operators.

Kazakh Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Bagdat Musin posted on Facebook on the 3rd, slamming unregistered “gray” miners for consuming up to 1GW (Gigawatt million watts, 1 watt = 1,000 watts) of electricity in Kazakhstan, pointing directly at gray miners Is wreaking havoc on Kazakhstan’s energy system, urging unregistered miners to speed up their registration with his office.

Currently, Kazakh divides miners into “gray miners” and “white miners”. White miners refer to miners that have been registered with the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry, while gray miners indicate that they have not yet been registered. Since the end of 2021, Kazakh authorities are stepping up to require miners to register.

Miners complain about being cut off by government
At the beginning of this year, due to large-scale protests due to energy shortages and rising fuel prices, Kazakh cut off national network communications, resulting in a sharp drop in the computing power of major mining pools; then a large-scale power outage occurred in the three Central Asian countries in late January. (KEGOC) has announced that it will cut off the electricity supply to miners until the end of January.

Multiple miners told The Block that they are still waiting for power to be restored. Kazakh miner Kanat Amren said the situation was still very serious, noting that “you can’t work without electricity, and the white miners are currently powered off”.

BlockchainKZ mining consultant Makhat Serikuly said:

We have restored power, but power is still limited. We used to have a surplus, but now we have a deficit and they (referring to the Kazakh government) are cutting power to mining companies.

After China imposed a mining ban last year, neighboring Kazakhstan, with cheap electricity, welcomed a large number of bitcoin miners and quickly became the second largest bitcoin mining country, after the United States and Russia. According to the global Bitcoin mining map of chainbulletin.com, the computing power is as high as 34.52EH/s in Kazakhstan, which is equivalent to 18.1% of the computing power of the entire Bitcoin network.

However, the situation in Kazakhstan is becoming more and more uncertain, and the supervision of domestic miners is becoming stricter. Many Kazakh miners told The Block that more and more miners are considering moving to the United States or Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on January 26 that Russia has a competitive advantage in cryptocurrency mining. Didar Bekbau, founder of Kazakh miner Xive.io, recently took to Twitter to praise Putin.

LINE Pay Japan will open the encrypted asset LINK as a payment channel

LINE Pay, a digital wallet and fintech service under LINE, announced today that during the trial operation period from March 16 to December 26, 2022, LINE users can hold LINE’s encrypted asset “LINK” in some online stores to spend in Japan.

During the trial operation, users can choose to pay with LINK when checking out in some online stores of LINE Pay, such as LINE POINTS, with no handling fee. By connecting LINE Pay and LINK, in addition to expanding payment options and improving convenience, it can also increase the daily use of LINK.

LINK is based on LINE Blockchain, a blockchain network owned by LINE, and has continued to expand its application range since its launch. Taking Japan as an example, LINE BITMAX, an encrypted asset exchange operated by LVC, allows users to pay transaction fees with LINK when trading encrypted assets, and can also deduct money from their LINE Pay account or bank account.

LINE Tech Plus, a subsidiary of LINE’s global crypto asset and blockchain business, has recently continued to promote the popularization of LINK and accelerate the realization of the goal of a cashless society, including LINE Pay marketing promotion and original research.

LINE Pay also plans to open Bitcoin, Ethereum and other encrypted assets as payment options in the future, and actively establish a blockchain business partnership. In order to make LINK a “Designed For Everyone” (Designed For Everyone), LINE will continue to strive to expand daily uses and promote the popularization of encrypted assets.

Reddit is also “testing” NFT avatar function, founder: NFT games will dominate the market in 5 years

Hot on the heels of Twitter’s announcement last week of a new NFT avatar feature, Reddit is also rumored to be testing the ability for users to set NFTs as their personal avatars. Officially, however, the feature is still in its early stages and is not yet available or scheduled for launch. Co-founder Alexis Ohanian was recently interviewed and said that the market share of NFT games will reach 90% within 5 years.

Reddit tests allowing users to set any NFT as their profile picture,  similar to Twitter | TechCrunch

Techcrunch reported on the 27th that Reddit, the so-called “largest hub for folks” in the U.S., is testing a new feature that will allow users to set NFT as their avatar, following Twitter’s announcement last week to open up the NFT avatar feature.

Reddit explained that the NFT feature is still in the very early stages and has not yet been pushed out to users, nor has it made a final decision on whether to launch the feature, said Reddit spokesman Tim Rathschmidt.

Reddit Is Getting NFT Profile Pics, Too

We’re always exploring ways to provide value to Reddit users and the community. We’re testing NFT as an avatar and verifying ownership features.

Launching Reddit-branded NFT
This is not Reddit’s first foray into NFT, as it launched the ethereum-based CryptoSnoo NFT in the middle of last year, allowing users to link NFTs to their personal Reddit accounts. In addition, user comments are animated so that everyone knows you are a CryptoSnoo NFT holder.

However, the community’s reaction to CryptoSnoos was mixed. Many users were angry about Reddit’s expansion into NFTs, replying to announcement posts calling them “stupid”, “gimmicky” or worse. Others were more concerned that the high price of NFT would prevent many people from participating in the ecosystem; however, some showed neutral curiosity and even supported Reddit’s efforts.

As reported late last year, the Reddit team said it had launched a waitlist to test a community points token incentive program, an expansion of the site’s functionality. The plan allows subboards to apply to create their own tokens, and like the existing Karma Points, users can earn tokens by posting or uploading valuable content and volunteering to help give back to the community.

Reddit could soon introduce its 500 million user base to NFT-backed karma  tokens - NotebookCheck.net News

NFT games to reach 90% market share in 5 years
Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, was recently interviewed and said he is bullish on the concept of “Play to Earn”, a new form of gaming that will dominate the gaming world in just a few years, and will turn its main focus to blockchain and crypto-related projects.

Five years from now, instead of being leeked by ads or tricked into buying stupid hammers (virtual treasures) you don’t actually own, 90% of players will be playing NFT games that are just as fun and profitable.