U.S. Seizes Share of Ransom From Hackers in Colonial Pipeline Attack

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/07/us/politics/pipeline-attack.html

Excerpt:

The Justice Department said on Monday that it had seized much of the ransom that a major U.S. pipeline operator had paid last month to a Russian hacking collective, turning the tables on the hackers by reaching into a digital wallet to snatch back millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

Investigators in recent weeks traced 75 Bitcoins worth more than $4 million that Colonial Pipeline had paid to the hackers as the attack shut down its computer systems, prompting fuel shortages, a spike in gasoline prices and chaos at airlines.

Federal investigators tracked the ransom as it moved through a maze of at least 23 different electronic accounts belonging to DarkSide, the hacking group, before landing in one that a federal judge allowed them to break into, according to law enforcement officials and court documents.

The Justice Department said it seized 63.7 Bitcoins, valued at about $2.3 million. (The value of a Bitcoin has dropped over the past month.)

Author(s): Katie Benner, Nicole Perlroth

Publication Date: 7 June 2021

Publication Site: New York Times

The Bitcoin Boomlet Comes to Local Government

Link: https://www.governing.com/finance/the-bitcoin-boomlet-comes-to-local-government.html

Excerpt:

Lastly, Bitcoin is an investment vehicle that, if held in the city’s treasury, could help Miami’s fiscal prospects. After all, a currency whose per-unit value has increased 18,641 percent the last five years is more tempting than a currency that gradually declines in value. 

But just as Bitcoin has proven upwardly volatile, that volatility can spike downward (such as when Bitcoin lost one-third of its value in a two-week period in 2017). This means that any money Miami invests in Bitcoin could plummet in value if Bitcoin crashes. 

There are also technical issues with Bitcoin. The mining process consumes lots of energy, making it expensive and environmentally hazardous to produce. Bitcoin has an average transaction fee of $23, and relatively long processing times of between 10 minutes and several hours. And there are questions about whether, once all 21 million bitcoins are mined, monetary incentive will exist for the network of nodes to continue maintaining the blockchain. 

Author(s): Scott Beyer

Publication Date: 22 March 2021

Publication Site: Governing

The New Zealand Pension Fund announced a $ 17.5 million bitcoin (BTC) investment in October

Link: https://www.1olay.com/2021/03/the-new-zealand-pension-fund-announced.html

Excerpt:

It has emerged that a New Zealand fund manager invested $ 17.5 million worth of Bitcoin in October 2020, when BTC was around $ 10,000. According to James Grigor, the company’s Chief Investment Officer, KiwiSaver Growth Strategy recently invested 5% of its money in Bitcoin.

While several investors from KiwiSaver are unhappy with the decision, Grigor believes Bitcoin has become a commodity similar to gold and has many similar features, such as working as a store of value against Fiat hyperinflation. The official told New Zealand news agency stuff:

Author(s): Tahsin

Publication Date: 28 March 2021

Publication Site: 1olay

RIP Gold. Killed by Bitcoin

Excerpt:

Can the store of value argument hold up for BTC without it being a medium of exchange? It has for gold for thousands of years so quite possibly. Gold is money but it’s not readily usable currency. BTC could be considered in the same light.

The artificiality of BTC’s value is a problem. It can be argued using cultural relativism that gold is no more intrinsically valuable than BTC. But it does have a long history, especially as a reserve currency, that must be worth something. Can we see central banks buying BTC? Certainly not if it develops as a parallel medium of currency that undermines them.

Likewise, gold is the outcome of production. BTC consumes resources to produce nothing. Not that that is necessarily a problem in a virtual world but it again weighs against the perception of BTC as a store of value. So does the fact that BTC is a truly useless item if some kind catastrophe befalls society which does underping the value of gold in some measure.

Author(s): David Llewellyn-Smith, Yves Smith

Publication Date: 4 March 2021

Publication Site: naked capitalism

What happens if bitcoin succeeds?

Link: https://voxeu.org/article/what-happens-if-bitcoin-succeeds

Excerpt:

In a week when bitcoin is setting records with a market value exceeding a trillion dollars, what would it mean if cryptocurrencies succeed? 

The only reason all the bitcoins are worth a trillion dollars is the expectation of success, as they are not very useful today. Cryptocurrencies must provide some valuable service if they are to justify their high valuation, otherwise holding bitcoin is just like collecting stamps or beanie babies – a minority activity that does not justify the current $51,000 price.

But what is the valuable service that makes bitcoin successful? 

Author(s): Jon Danielsson

Publication Date: 26 February 2021

Publication Site: Vox EU

So … Is Bitcoin Going to Replace the Dollar?

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/news/bitcoin-going-replace-dollar/

Excerpt:

Bitcoin has been on a roll lately, rising in price five-fold over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, the US dollar, the world’s reserve currency, has lost 9% of its value.

All this has buoyed talk that someday Bitcoin in particular, or cryptocurrency in general, will replace the buck. Well, forget about that, argues St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard, invoking the lessons of pre-Civil War days to warn about the chaos brought by a world of nonuniform currencies—that would be one where the buck isn’t king. 

Appearing on CNBC Wednesday, he predicted that “it’s going to be a dollar economy as far as the eye can see—a dollar global economy really as far as the eye can see—and whether the gold price goes up or down, or the Bitcoin price goes up or down, doesn’t really affect that.”

Author(s): Larry Light

Publication Date: 18 February 2021

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Growing Number of Pension Funds, Endowments, Foundations Adding Bitcoin to Portfolios

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/in-focus/market-drilldown/growing-number-pension-funds-endowments-foundations-adding-bitcoin-portfolios/

Excerpt:

The number of pension funds, endowments, and foundations adding Bitcoin to their portfolios has steadily risen over the past couple of years as the digital asset has gained more acceptance as an alternative asset.

Two pension funds in Fairfax, Virginia, began investing in late 2018 and 2019 in blockchain technology and Bitcoin through investments in two Morgan Creek Digital funds, which many consider the first investments in the crypto asset from a US pension fund. And a number of hedge funds, family offices, pension funds, endowments, foundations, asset managers, registered investment advisers (RIAs), and banks own Bitcoin outright through Boston-based Fidelity Digital Assets.

The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, recently said it is entering into the cryptocurrency business, according to US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. BlackRock, which manages  $8.7 trillion, said in its SEC filings that it is seeking to add the Bitcoin futures investments to the BlackRock Global Allocation Fund and the BlackRock Strategic Income Opportunities Fund.

Author(s): Ellen Chang

Publication Date: 11 February 2021

Publication Site: ai-CIO

Bitcoin Trades Above $50,000 for First Time

Link: https://www.wsj.com/articles/bitcoin-trades-above-50-000-for-first-time-11613479752?st=5sdazs17y4me06r&reflink=article_gmail_share

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Bitcoin topped $50,000 for the first time Tuesday, doubling in value in less than two months.

The digital currency traded as high as $50,584.85, before closing at $48,642.45, according to CoinDesk, up 0.95% for the day and 68% for the year, with a total market value in circulation close to $909 billion.

The $50,000 level is an “emotional level for people in the space,” said Brian Melville, head of strategy at trading firm Cumberland. But it is also a simple result of supply and demand, he added.

From August through December, about 150,000 new bitcoins were minted, he estimated. The firm calculated that about 359,000 bitcoins were bought in the same period, and that imbalance has continued in 2021. “It’s a really important metric to watch,” he added.

Author(s): Paul Vigna and Caitlin Ostroff

Publication Date: 16 February 2021

Publication Site: Wall Street Journal

Bitcoin hits $50,000 for first time

Link: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/02/16/bitcoin-hits-50000-for-first-time

Graphic:

Excerpt:

IT IS HARD to think of anything that has baffled financial analysts as much as the rise of bitcoin. When the digital currency lost over 80% of its value in 2018, many wondered if the crypto bubble had burst. But in the second half of last year bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies began to climb again. The price of the popular digital token has now passed $50,000, about five times as much as a year ago.

Publication Date: 16 February 2021

Publication Site: The Economist

Growing Number of Pension Funds, Endowments, Foundations Adding Bitcoin to Portfolios

Link: https://www.ai-cio.com/in-focus/market-drilldown/growing-number-pension-funds-endowments-foundations-adding-bitcoin-portfolios/

Excerpt:


The number of pension funds, endowments, and foundations adding Bitcoin to their portfolios has steadily risen over the past couple of years as the digital asset has gained more acceptance as an alternative asset.

Two pension funds in Fairfax, Virginia, began investing in late 2018 and 2019 in blockchain technology and Bitcoin through investments in two Morgan Creek Digital funds, which many consider the first investments in the crypto asset from a US pension fund. And a number of hedge funds, family offices, pension funds, endowments, foundations, asset managers, registered investment advisers (RIAs), and banks own Bitcoin outright through Boston-based Fidelity Digital Assets.

Author(s): Ellen Chang

Publication Date: 11 February 2021

Publication Site: ai-CIO