Russia Adopts Law to Isolate Runet From the Internet

Runet, the Russian segment of the internet, is about to be isolated from the rest of the web. A new law adopted by the State Duma aims to do so in order to supposedly protect it from external threats and turn it into a “sovereign” space. Russian taxpayers and end users will pay the bill for the extra security that is likely to affect internet businesses including crypto platforms.

Also read: Lithuania to Adopt Crypto Regulations Even Stricter Than the EU’s

Is Moscow Building Russia’s Great Firewall?

This week, the lower house of the Russian parliament adopted on third and final reading a draft known as the “Digital Economy National Program.” The legislation still needs the approval of the Federation Council – the upper house – before it’s signed by President Putin but the decisive support in the Duma, where over two thirds of the deputies voted in favor, is a strong indication of the political will to pass and implement the law.

Some of its key provisions include the introduction of a system that will channel Russian internet traffic through government-controlled routing points as well as granting unlimited powers to Roskomnadzor, which will be able to cut off non-complying internet providers. The country’s telecom watchdog will set up a monitoring center that will detect threats and issue instructions. Roskomnadzor will also create and maintain a national domain name system (DNS).

Russia Adopts Law to Isolate Runet From the Internet

The new legislation is designed to ensure that online data transfers between Russian citizens, businesses and organizations are executed within the country instead of being routed internationally. Russia, which has been threatened by the West with sanctions over alleged cyber attacks, wants to build its own DNS system which will remain operational even if links to the servers based abroad are interrupted.

The Runet law is scheduled to enter into force in November this year, with the rules governing Russian domains and cryptographic protection of information expected to be introduced on January 1, 2021. The bill has already attracted criticism from different corners of Russian society, not least because its implementation has been estimated to cost the state budget more than 30 billion rubles (almost $500 million). There’s also a strong suspicion that Moscow intends to use the system for censorship purposes. Some have already likened it to China’s Great Firewall and protests have been held against it.

All Depends on the Opposition to the Law

Roskomsvoboda is one of the organizations that have voiced serious concerns regarding the adoption of the Runet law. It is fighting internet censorship while promoting freedom of information and self-regulation in the online space. Roskomsvoboda was established in 2012 when Russian authorities created a banned websites register. It is constantly monitoring the government’s legislative activities regarding internet regulation including restrictions imposed on web-based sources. News.Bitcoin.com contacted the project’s leader Artem Kozlyuk for his opinion on the upcoming changes.

“Of course we, like many other public organizations and internet companies, oppose the adoption of this absurd legal act,” he said noting that lawmakers assess “external threats” inadequately without defining them and prescribing counteractions. Kozlyuk believes Russian internet infrastructure will become more centralized under the new regulations, which will actually increase cyber risks. “Any decentralized system is always more robust against external influences, but the initiators of the bill are unwilling to realize that,” he added.

Russia Adopts Law to Isolate Runet From the Internet

The activist emphasized that the legal texts are quite unclear and the sponsors of the draft want to put everything under government control, from domain names and cryptography to traffic filtering and routing. All this will create multiple threats – economic, technical and legal. On top of that, the government’s working group on IT and communications has estimated that the annual costs of maintaining the sovereign Runet will reach 134 billion rubles (over $2 billion).

“If these expenses fall on the shoulders of telecom operators, that will lead to increased internet costs for Russians. Internet connection can also be slower and constantly failing due to the filtering equipment through which all traffic will be passing,” Kozlyuk elaborated. There’s also a risk of monopolizing the internet services market and regional shutdowns and disconnections will likely be much more common.

At the same time, Roskomsvoboda’s founder thinks that it would be very hard to completely disable the rest of the internet in Russia. According to Artem Kozlyuk, the effectiveness of the blockade will depend on the position of internet providers and their readiness to resist censorship. “If they do that, then I am sure that internet resources like Telegram will continue to be accessible to Russians. Many VPN services have already refused to redirect traffic to Roskomnadzor and this is encouraging,” he commented.

Russian Crypto Industry to Be Affected

The Runet law is likely to negatively affect crypto businesses in Russia, some of which have already started looking for better regulatory climates for this and many other reasons. Russian lawmakers have been postponing the adoption of a package of bills meant to regulate digital financial assets and related matters since last year. The Duma is now expected to adopt them on third reading this spring.

Russia Adopts Law to Isolate Runet From the Internet

“Currently, cryptocurrencies in our country are in the gray zone and crypto portals are often being prosecuted. But we have cases when our lawyers successfully challenged their illegal blocking,” remarked Artem Kozlyuk. Nevertheless, prosecutors continue to refer to Russian courts requesting the prohibition of one platform or another.

“Of course, in such conditions it’s difficult to provide these services and Russian developers have been looking towards other markets, where there are fewer risks of this kind and authorities demonstrate a more positive interest in this space,” said Kozlyuk.

What consequences do you expect from the new law isolating the Russian internet from the global web? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


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Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Bulgaria, which sometimes finds itself at the forefront of advances it cannot easily afford. Quoting Hitchens, he says: ”Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.“ International politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency without privacy is pointless. If your coins aren’t fungible, you lose much of the benefits of using cryptocurrency in the first place. Privacy isn’t just won and lost onchain though. In fact, much of the privacy gains to be made when it comes to sending, spending and trading crypto occur offchain, as you go about your business on the web.

Also read: Wasabi’s Privacy-Focused BTC Wallet Aims to Make Bitcoin Fungible Again

The Never-Ending Quest for Privacy

Privacy is like fitness: a way of life rather than a task that can be ticked off. Just as it takes time, perseverance and focus on different muscle groups to build a better body in the gym, strengthening your privacy calls for undertaking regular exercises to stem the flow of doxable information. Every time you perform an action online, you’re hemorrhaging a trove of data. This can be particularly damaging for cryptocurrency users, whose onchain actions will be recorded indefinitely.

When paired with offchain data points such as IP, email address, and cell number, it’s possible for an adversary to build a complete picture of their target. Given the ever-increasing capabilities of three-letter agencies, it’s safe to assume that in the near future, the state will be able to construct a highly detailed picture of the activities of today’s cryptocurrency users.

tl;dr: privacy matters. Here are five ways to up yours.

Use a VPN

There’s an assumption that using a VPN requires a degree of technical knowledge, and is for privacy zealots only. In fact, the majority of VPNs are foolproof and can be up and silently running in a couple of clicks – no manual port reconfiguration necessary. Opera even offers a VPN now in its desktop and Android browsers. “Enhanced online privacy is a right for everyone,” claim Opera. They’re right. A VPN will provide an added layer of privacy when logging into exchanges as well as masking the IP address associated with Bitcoin transaction relays.

Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

Separate Your Regular Email From Your Crypto Email

Creating a separate email account for every cryptocurrency service you need to log into is impractical. You can, though, segment all of your crypto-related emails into a single account. This will yield twin benefits: if your main account is compromised, the hacker will have no information on or access to your crypto activities. Secondly, if you choose a fully encrypted email account such as Tutanota, prying eyes at border control and other government agencies will have no insight into your penchant for trading obscure shitcoins.

Stop Reusing Addresses

More than half of all bitcoin transactions involve addresses that have previously been used. Creating a new bitcoin address is free, instant, and provides an immediate privacy boost. If the wallet or platform you’re using doesn’t allow you to create a new address at will, stop using it. There’s a wealth of competing services out there, and switching to a more privacy-minded alternative can be done in a matter of minutes. Unless you’re transacting solely in privacy coins like monero, or are using an account-based, rather than UTXO-based, system like ethereum, you should aim for a fresh address every time.

Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

Keep Your Keys and Codes Offline

Where do you store the backup 2FA codes for your trading accounts and the private keys to your crypto wallets? Are they written down, split into parts and stashed offline in a series of very safe places? Or are they hidden in plaintext in a folder on your laptop marked “anime”? You’d be surprised how many people go with the latter. Even if you’ve encrypted the folder containing your keys and codes, it’s dangerous to assume it can’t be cracked by a determined attacker since, statistically speaking, you almost certainly recycle passwords – you and 10 million others.

Keeping your private keys offline will protect you in the event of your computer being physically or digitally compromised. Even if you can’t afford a bank vault or strongbox, separating your key into parts and storing it in multiple locations – with duplicates, to ensure redundancy – will work just as well.

Always Be Shuffling

Coin mixers aren’t for the ultra-paranoid and the ultra-shady: they’re for everyone. If more people ran their coins through tumblers before withdrawing them to hardware wallets, bitcoin would become significantly more fungible, and blockchain forensics companies would suffer a major blow. Even if you can’t be motivated to mix your coins for the greater good, do it for your own. Services such as Cashshuffle for BCH make it easier than ever to obfuscate the origin of your coins, while Coinjoin, incorporated into pro-privacy wallets like Wasabi, do the same for BTC.

Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

There’s something extremely comfortable about having a stash of cryptocurrency that can’t be linked to your identity safely stored in a hardware wallet that’s been backed up. It’s the digital equivalent of having a backyard bunker filled with canned goods and ammo in readiness for the apocalypse. Treat yourself to a privacy makeover and see how good it feels.

What other privacy tips do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Kai Sedgwick

Kai’s been playing with words for a living since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $19. It’s long gone. He’s previously written white papers for blockchain startups and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

Without a True Two-Way Peg No ‘Real’ Sidechain Exists, Says Drivechain Creator

On April 17, the founder of the Drivechain project, Paul Sztorc, published a new blog post concerning the validity of today’s so-called ‘production sidechains.’ Sztorc has declared on multiple occasions that true sidechain technology hasn’t been invented yet and even Blockstream’s Liquid protocol, dubbed “the first production sidechain,” in a critical sense is not a ‘real’ sidechain.

Also read: Statistics Show Bitcoin Cash Is a Strong Contender After Crypto Winter

Paul Sztorc Questions the Validity of the Supposed ‘First Production Sidechain’

Over the last year, there’s been a lot of discussion concerning sidechain technology and the conversation intensified when Blockstream released its Liquid protocol. The project is considered to be a sidechain that’s interoperable with the BTC network, but since the day it was launched has been criticized for its method of consensus called ‘federated distribution.’ Critics believe the federated distribution model is not really ‘peer to peer’ as it relies on a large group of exchanges and fancy multi-signature technology in order to provide trust.

Without a True Two-Way Peg No 'Real' Sidechain Exists, Says Drivechain Creator There have been many criticisms aimed at Blockstream’s Liquid project.

Because of the injected orthogonal trust Blockstream created, Liquid critics believe there’s nothing new or exciting to a consortium of exchanges acting as the custodians for an entire sidechain system. Paul Sztorc is a critic of Liquid and he’s also the creator of an alternative sidechain project called Drivechain. On Wednesday, Sztorc wrote a blog post that questions the validity of Liquid being a ‘real’ sidechain, adding that a recent quote from Blockstream developer Greg Maxwell solidifies his argument.

“Blockstream markets Liquid as ‘the first production sidechain,’” Sztorc details, sharing multiple links where this statement is highlighted on the web. “But I think that something in that phrase has to be false. Either Liquid isn’t a sidechain; or else (if sidechain is redefined) then Liquid isn’t ‘the first’ of that thing.”

RSK chief scientist Sergio Demian Lerner stated in 2015 that a federated peg with multi-sig is the best they have right now. This is still the case to this day.

The reason Sztorc feels Liquid is not really a sidechain is because a two-way peg is a fundamental feature of sidechain technology and since Liquid never invented a two-way peg technique, Sztorc has “never seen it as a real sidechain.” One key factor that shows Liquid’s lack of this feature is the fact that Liquid does not enable the ability for third parties to develop a permissionless sidechain.

Sztorc’s paper explains that an individual couldn’t create a sidechain token similar to Bitcoin Cash and Rootstock cannot use Liquid to create an Ethereum clone. Moreover, the Drivechain developer says that the technology used in Liquid is old tech that’s been on the go for years. For instance, multi-signature has been used for thousands of years, Sztorc’s blog post highlights, and not only that, but multi-sig has been applied to BTC since 2012. Additionally, the researcher notes that other features found in Liquid have also been used in the past by other projects. Sztorc’s post continues:

I struggle to understand the claim “first production sidechain” — On one hand, it suggests novelty and innovation. But the reality is that Liquid is not particularly novel (even if there is a lot of engineering behind it).

The issue people have with Drivechain is one of trust with miners, who are ironically the very actors who secure the network.

Liquid Does Not Use a ‘True’ Two-Way Peg so in a Critical Sense It’s Not a ‘Real’ Sidechain

In addition to Sztorc’s critique, his argument is bolstered by Greg Maxwell’s own words. Sztorc underlines a specific quote made by Maxwell during a presentation on the subject of sidechains. “We describe this mechanism called a federated peg, that is a sort of step-in alternative to the true two-way peg mechanism, that works without any changes at all in the hosting network,” Maxwell stated during the presentation. In Sztorc’s opinion, Maxwell’s words make it “crystal clear” that the federated peg is “undesirable.” It seems the federated model was the easiest way for Blockstream to produce the interoperable chain design but Liquid is still forced to add a second layer of trust that’s provided by a group of ‘trusted’ exchanges. The “not your keys, not your bitcoin” adage underscores the idea that Liquid’s model and others like it look no different than custodial solutions with some clever multi-signature technology.

“The only reason [a federated peg] is used, is because of a lack of “native support” for “true two-way peg” technology,” Sztorc’s paper concludes. “Since the Fed Peg is an alternative to a “true” two-way peg, then what is it? A non-true two-way peg — a false two-way peg — So, Liquid does not use a “true” two-way peg and in that critical sense is not a “real” sidechain.”

Drivechain Development

The Drivechain (DC) developer and a group of other blockchain engineers have been steadily developing the DC project and recently released Drive Net 22. A key difference between DC and a federated method is the project uses the trust model that already resides within the bitcoin network — mining consensus. Sztorc and other DC proponents believe that blind merge miners acting as custodians would be the least problematic solution. One way to look at it is with every block mined, merge miners vote on the sound state of the secondary chain.

This contrasts sharply with a federated two-way peg model that some believe is no different than EOS or XRP. DC supporters think that Drivechain would alleviate threats to the main chain by lessening the need for hard forks and altcoins. Hashrate would essentially remain consistent and there would be less fear of miners leaving the main chain. Moreover, the main chain could essentially scale to handle the entire globe and be able to experiment with new features without affecting the main chain.

Critics think that Liquid, on the other hand, cannot offer these features of experimental sidechains and the business model seems to be more focused on speedy transfers between exchanges, wrapped assets, and purported confidential transactions. Even so, the company seems hellbent on providing this type of interoperable chain, even though engineers have told them the security model may encounter issues in the future. The fact is, federated pegged funds can most definitely be breached if any members of the federation are compromised. If, for instance, ‘X=7’ keys are attacked then funds can be stolen which makes a group of ‘trusted functionaries’ no different than the current banking system used today.

What do you think about Sztorc’s criticism of Liquid? Do you think Liquid is a real sidechain? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments section below.


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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

Cryptocurrency Bear Market Waning, Going Through Accumulation Phase, Says Report

The cryptocurrency bear market is winding down and is in its final stage, the accumulation phase, according to a report from digital assets fund Adamant Capital published on April 18.

Per the report, the accumulation phase is expected to bring bitcoin (BTC) to trade in the corridor between $3,000 and $6,500 until the new bull market gains ground. The researchers suggest that bitcoin whales are currently accumulating the leading cryptocurrency which echoes the bear market from 2014 to 2015.

The analysis reportedly showed that most retail traders have left the current market, while agnostic traders and long-term investors have become dominant. That reportedly fits BTC volatility lows analysis, wherein recent bitcoin 60 day volatility slumped below 5% —  a level not seen since late 2016. The report further explains:

“During the accumulation phase, the market will trade in a range: the weak hands, who are trying to get out of the market, take profit during rallies and thus create the resistance, and the strong hands, looking to accumulate, buy at the bottom of the range which eventually creates a floor in the piece.”

Millenials are also one of the key drivers of the cryptocurrency market growth, the report says, as 92% of this generation does not trust banks and the majority of bitcoin buyers are also millennials. The researchers forecast that bitcoin will see mass adoption in the coming five years, as well as become widely recognized as a portfolio hedging instrument and reserve asset.

As previously reported, research by blockchain-focused company Clovr revealed that cryptocurrency investing is most popular among millennials earning from $75,000 to $99,999 annually. Millenials are reportedly almost twice as likely as any other generation to invest in digital currencies, with 43 percent of men and 23 percent of women investing in crypto.

Another poll by crypto finance company Circle showed that 25 percent of millennials said they are interested in purchasing digital currencies over the next 12 months, which sets them apart from other generations by more than 10 percent.

Bitcoin SV Experiences Blockchain Reorganizations, Possibly Due to Unwieldy Block Size

The Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) blockchain is struggling with its large block size following a series of block re-organizations, cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX tweeted on April 19.

In the post, BitMEX reveals that on April 18 its BSV node “experienced 2 block re-organizations. First a 3 block re-organisation, followed by a 6 block re-organisation.” BitMEX provided a diagram in the post:

Bitcoin SV block reorganization

Bitcoin SV block reorganization. Source: BitMEX

Blockchain re-organization is a situation when two miners discover a block simultaneously in a blockchain which causes a temporary forking in the network, with the situation resolved when a miner finds the next block as their chain has the more work out of two forks. The block which caused the fork becomes “orphaned,” and is changed with the block from the fork with more blocks. Block re-organization occurs when the network is too slow to reproduce blocks efficiently.

In the comments to the tweet, BitMEX explains that it detected two valid competing chains, with a split occurred at block 578,639. BitMEX’s node reportedly followed the chain on the left until block 578,642, which further leapt to the right. In about an hour the chain reportedly jumped back to the left side. BitMEX notes that no double spending took place.

When asked what it could possibly mean, BitMEX outlined several variants, saying that the Bitcoin Cash SV network is not reliable for payments, the block size limit is too large and network latency is too high.

Most recently, BSV has had difficulties on cryptocurrency exchanges, with some announcing they would delist the coin. Major crypto exchange Binance stated that as of April 22, it will delist and cease trading on all trading pairs for BSV. Binance explained that it only delists a coin after another in-depth review, noting “[w]e believe this best protects all of our users.”

A few days later, United States-based crypto exchange Kraken also decided to delist BSV. In an official press release, Kraken said that BSV had “engaged in behavior completely antithetical to everything we at Kraken and the wider crypto community stands for.”

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, EOS, Binance Coin, Stellar, Cardano, TRON: Price Analysis April 19

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author 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.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

The recovery in crypto prices has led to an increase in over-the-counter (OTC) demand for Bitcoin and altcoins. This surge in volume was cited by Binance’s CFO as one of the reasons for its strong Q1 performance.

Another platform being watched closely is the yet-to-be-launched Bakkt. Anonymous sources told Bloomberg that the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is reluctant to approve the Bitcoin futures because Bakkt intends to hold user assets. However, as the CFTC recognizes state bank and trust licenses, Bakkt might seek a New York BitLicense to launch its bitcoin futures. This is likely to increase the possibility of a green signal by the CFTC for the project.

The crypto and blockchain space is attracting investment from both venture capitalists and the government. Compared to the $2.5 billion in investments by venture capital firms in 2018, the space has already seen investors pump in $850 million in 2019. At this pace, this year’s total investment is likely to top that of last year. Similarly, the U.S. federal government’s blockchain spending is expected to increase from $10.7 million in 2017 to $123.5 million by 2022.

We also like the way the community has been quick to respond to the Notre Dame tragedy.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin (BTC) has continued to move up at a snail’s pace. This shows that the bulls are nervous to buy aggressively at higher levels. But if the digital currency rises above $5404.82, it might attract some buying and short covering. The target levels to watch on the upside are $5,674.84 and above it to $5,900.

BTC/USD

The uptrending moving averages and the RSI close to the overbought zone suggests that the bulls are at an advantage. Our bullish view will be invalidated if the BTC/USD pair turns down from the current levels and plunges below $4,914.11. Such a move will signal profit booking and short initiation by the aggressive bears. The traders can trail the stop loss on the remaining long positions to $4,800.

ETH/USD

Ethereum (ETH) has once again broken out of the overhead resistance of $167.32. It is now likely to attempt to scale $187.98. If successful, it will indicate strength and the bulls can propel the digital currency to $220. Though the target objective of a breakout of the ascending triangle is $251.64, it has a slew of resistance between $220 and $251.64.

ETH/USD

Both the moving averages are gradually trending up and the RSI is in the positive zone. This suggests that the bulls have the upper hand.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears sink the ETH/USD pair back below $167.32. A breakdown of $156.42 will turn the trend in favor of the bears. Traders can continue to hold the stop loss on the remaining long positions at $150. We shall trail the stops higher in a couple of days.

XRP/USD

Ripple (XRP) broke out of $0.33108 on April 17 but could not sustain it. The price is again back below $0.33108. This shows a lack of buyers at higher levels. Both the moving averages are flat and the RSI is close to 50. This points to range-bound action for the next few days.    

XRP/USD

In our previous analysis, we had recommended buying if the XRP/USD pair sustained $0.33108 for the next two days. But with the price falling below $0.33108 again today, our buy condition has not triggered. Considering the repeated failed breakouts, we have withdrawn our buy proposal. We swill suggest a trade when the pair decisively sustains above $0.33108.

Currently, if the bears sink the digital currency below the 50-day SMA, it will signal weakness and a drop to $0.27795 is possible.

BCH/USD

After failing to sustain above the overhead resistance of $332.58, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is facing some profit booking. It can now dip to the 20-day EMA, which is likely to offer support. Both the moving averages are sloping up, which shows that the bulls have the upper hand. If the rebound from the 20-day EMA fails to breakout of the overhead resistance zone of $332.58–$363.30, it will remain range bound for a few days.

BCH/USD

A break below the 20-day EMA can sink the BCH/USD pair to $239, which is a critical support. If this support gives way, it will indicate that the bears are back in action.

On the other hand, if the bulls succeed in breaking out of $363.30, the pair can rally to $451.32. The digital currency has a history of vertical rallies, hence, a breakout of $451.32 can surprise on the upside. We will wait for the uptrend to resume before proposing a trade.

LTC/USD

Litecoin (LTC) has held the 20-day EMA for the past few days. This shows that the bulls are keen to defend this support. The 20-day EMA is sloping up gradually and the RSI is just above the midpoint. This suggests a marginal advantage to the bulls. If the price scales above $84.3439, we expect a quick move to the overhead resistance zone of $91–$100.

LTC/USD

A breakout of the resistance zone will complete a rounding bottom pattern that has a target objective of $159 and above it $180. Traders can buy a small portion — about 30% — of their usual position size on a breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $84.3439. The rest of the position can be purchased above $100 with initial stop loss at $74.

Contrary to our expectation, if the LTC/USD pair turns around from any of the overhead resistances and plunges below $74, it can correct to the 50-day SMA and below it to $62.450.

EOS/USD

EOS has been consolidating above the 20-day EMA for the past few days. The bulls have not allowed the price to dip below the 20-day EMA and the bears have not allowed a strong rebound from the support. This equilibrium phase is unlikely to continue for long.

EOS/USD

The upsloping moving averages and the RSI in positive territory suggests that the bulls have the upper hand. A breakout of $5.6602 will indicate strength and can carry the price to $6.0726 and above it to $6.8299.

On the contrary, if the EOS/USD pair turns down and dives below $5, it can decline to the $4.4930–$3.8723 support zone. We do not spot any reliable buy setups at current levels; hence, we remain neutral on the pair.

BNB/USD

Binance Coin (BNB) surged on April 18 and has followed up with another strong move today. This shows that the bulls are keen to buy at higher levels. It is now likely to retest the lifetime high at $26.4732350. With both the moving averages sloping up and the RSI in overbought territory, the path of least resistance is to the upside.

BNB/USD

If the BNB/USD pair rises to a new lifetime high, it will be a major positive. It will indicate that the price reached during January 2018 is not a misnomer. This will encourage the traders to keep buying the other digital currencies that are fundamentally sound.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the pair reverses direction from the current level and plummets below the moving averages. Until then, it remains on target to make a new lifetime high. We do not spot an entry with a good risk to reward ratio, hence, we have not suggested a trade in it.

XLM/USD

Stellar (XLM) has largely been trading between $0.110 and $0.120 for the past seven days. The 20-day EMA is flat and the RSI is close to 50. This also supports the current consolidation.

XLM/USD

If the XLM/USD pair breaks out and sustains above $0.120, it can move up to the downtrend line. We shall turn positive on the pair after it sustains above $0.14861760.

Conversely, if the digital currency plummets below $0.110, it can drop to the uptrend line, below which it will turn negative.

ADA/USD

After failing to breakout of the downtrend line, Cardano (ADA) has broken down of the 20-day EMA. This is a negative sign. If the bears can sink the price below $0.075920, it can decline to the 50-day SMA.

ADA/USD

On the other hand, if the ADA/USD pair breaks out of the downtrend line, it will again try to break out of the overhead resistance of $0.094256. A close above this level will be a positive development.

However, the 20-day EMA is flattening out and the RSI is close to the midpoint. This points to a range formation in the short term. The pair is showing signs of a cup and handle formation. This pattern will complete on a close (UTC time frame) above $0.094256. We will wait for a bullish setup to form before recommending any long positions in it.

TRX/USD

Tron (TRX) has not been able to break out of $0.02815521 for the past few days. This shows a lack of buying pressure. Failure to break out of the overhead resistance will invite selling. The bears are attempting to sink it below the 20-day EMA. If successful, a drop to the 50-day SMA is probable.  

TRX/USD

Both the moving averages are flat and the RSI is at the midpoint. This points to a balance between the buyers and sellers. The balance will tilt in favor of the bulls if the TRX/USD pair breaks out and sustains above $0.02815521. This is likely to start a new uptrend that can reach $0.03278079 and above it to $0.03575668.

However, if the pair fails to hold the 50-day SMA, a fall to $0.01830 is possible with a minor support at $0.02094452. Traders can keep the stop loss on the long positions at $0.0240.

Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. Charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.

3% of American Retirees Own Some Bitcoin, While 33% Have No Idea What Bitcoin Is: Survey

About 3% of American retirees claimed to own some bitcoin (BTC) in a new survey released by precious metals-focused magazine Gold IRA Guide on April 17.

In April, Gold IRA Guide conducted a survey asking 1,000 American retirees over 50 years old about their thoughts on investing in major cryptocurrency bitcoin.

According to the survey results, 56.7% of respondents were aware of bitcoin, but were not interested to invest, while 2.7 percent claimed that they already owned some bitcoin.

Around 3.5 percent said that they would like to invest in bitcoin, but did not know how to start, while 4.5 of retirees expressed interest in investing in bitcoin, but decided to keep an eye on it instead of going forward on the matter.

With that, a large fraction of American retirees appeared to not even know what bitcoin is, with 32.9% of respondents having answered that they “have no idea what bitcoin is.”

American retirees about investing in bitcoin

American retirees about investing in bitcoin. Source: Gold IRA Guide

Earlier in April, Cointelegraph reported that 2% of citizens of Russia have invested in bitcoin, based on a survey by the oldest polling institution in post-Soviet Russia.

Recently, trade publications Global Custodian and The Trade Crypto released a joint study that found that 94% of endowments have been allocating to crypto-related investments throughout 2018.

Bitcoin Accounts for 98% of Crypto-Denominated Ransomware Payments, Study

Bitcoin (BTC) continues to account for the lion’s share of crypto-denominated ransomware payments, according to Coveware’s Q1 2019 Global Ransomware Marketplace report, published on April 15.

The report — reportedly based upon aggregated ransomware data from cases tackled by Coveware’s Incident Response Team — indicates that in Q1 2019 the ransomware landscape saw a sharp increase in the average ransom demanded by threat actors.

The average sum — demanded in exchange for the ostensible delivery of a decryptor tool that can help victims recover data after a ransomware attack — rose 89% from a median $6,733 in Q4 2018 to $12,762 in Q1 2019, the report states.

Of these ransoms that were paid in cryptocurrency, 98% were payable in bitcoin. The report outlines that in Q1 2019:

“[H]andling cryptocurrency continued to be a major source of friction for victims, and thus the threat actors as well. It is unlikely that ransomware rotates towards a different cryptocurrency anytime soon as they are even more nuanced to procure and handle.”

Coveware notes that threat actors have scant need to migrate away from bitcoin to other coins as they reportedly face little difficulty using mixing services to exchange bitcoin for privacy-focused cryptos such as dash (DASH) or monero (XMR).

Privacy coins are thus used for only 2% of ransomware payments, according to Coveware’s data, and are largely used later in the process, once the payment has been received and threat actors subsequently attempt to obfuscate the transfer of their ill-gotten funds.

GandCrab — a strain of ransomware that accounts for 20% of the market, according to Coveware’s data — was the only prevalent strain where threat actors accept payment in either dash or bitcoin.

Moreover, the report notes, GandCrab victims who pay with bitcoin face a 10% additional fee due to the costs incurred by the threat actors’ use of mixing services to anonymize the cryptocurrency after payment.

As reported earlier this week, digital payments giant PayPal recently won a cybersecurity patent to protect users from crypto ransomware.

In March, Big Four auditor PwC linked Iranian nationals behind the bitcoin ransomware scheme SamSam — which reportedly damaged multiple American companies, government agencies, universities, and hospitals —  to the crypto exchange WEX.