This week kicked off with the crypto market bleeding. BTC, the leading coin in terms of market cap opened Monday trading at $8,573 after plunging below $8,705 on Friday. This trend continued through the day and the coin traded as low as $8,273 before closing the day at $8,309. On Tuesday, BTC continued plummeting going as low as $8,099 before gaining slightly to close the day at $8,206. At the time of writing, BTC is still bleeding and is trading at $8,222.
With BTC setting the pace, the rest of the crypto market followed suit with major altcoins registering losses. By Tuesday afternoon, all coins in the top-10 list were red with losses ranging from 0.55 percent to 10 percent. Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest crypto coin dropped from $185 to $178 on Monday at the time of writing. Ripple (XRP) also plunged from $0.26 to $0.25 according to data from coinmarketcap.
At the time of writing, the biggest losers in the top-10 list are bitcoin SV (BSV), EOS, and stellar (XLM) with 2.23 percent, 1.92 percent, and 1.48 percent drops respectively.
FSB, a Russian Intelligence Agency Connected to $450 Million in Missing Crypto
Stepping away from the depressing state of the crypto market, a Russian intelligence agency has been linked to the loss of $450 million in crypto. A report unveiled this news on November 15, noting that the funds vanished from the accounts of the controversial World Exchange Services (WEX) crypto exchange. Per the publication, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) was involved in the disappearance of these funds.
According to the report, WEX, previously known as BTC-e collapsed in 2017 following claims of money laundering. As a result, authorities arrested Alexander Vinnik, the exchange’s operator. They charged him with laundering more than $4 billion in crypto since the exchange’s launch in 2011. Trying to obtain more information, the authorities questioned Alexey Bilyuchenko, WEX’s co-founder. He revealed that the FSB forced him to provide information on customers’ digital wallets to its agents.
In the report, Bilyuchenko unveiled that the FSB threatened to shut down the exchange if he failed to comply. Acting in the best interests of the firm, he handed in flash drives containing the demanded information. However, things took a different turn after the FSB used the details to misappropriate $450 million worth of crypto. According to Bilyuchenko, the agency had not told him that it would transfer the funds in user accounts to the FSB Russia Fund. As a result of the entity seizing the funds, WEX froze customer funds and shut down completely in the past year.
Visa Creates a Blockchain System for Processing Personal Data
In other news, Visa is developing a blockchain platform that seeks to change how banks transfer customer transaction data. The payment network’s research and development unveiled this news through an official paper. Per the researchers, the system is dubbed LucidiTEE.
The paper describes LucidiTEE as a system for sharing sensitive personal data on a blockchain network. The system would transmit this data via a trusted execution environment (TEE). It would also use history-based policies to ensure that each party receives an output of the computation. According to the publication, the first use case of LucidiTEE would be sharing data between users and financial apps such as Mint and Credit Karma.
Apart from this, banks could also use the system to train machine learning algorithms. In so doing, they would be better placed when it comes to fighting fraud. Also, it could help banks preventing financial data apps from selling user data to tech firms like Google.
Hahn Air issues first blockchain-based ticket with Winding Tree
Proceeding to more bullish news from the blockchain sector, German airline Hahn Air announced that it successfully issued the first blockchain-powered airline tickets. The airline shared then news of this achievement on November 18, noting that it had partnered with Winding Tree, an open-source travel distribution network.
According to a report, the maiden flight with blockchain-enabled tickets was from Dusseldorf to Luxembourg. The first passengers were Maksim Izmaylov, Winding Tree’s founder, Dave Montali, Winding Tree’s CIO, and Fredrick Nowotny, Hahn Air’s head of sales engineering.
Through the Winding Tree platform, Hahn Air will be able to list inventory and manage reservation requests. Also, the airline will be in a position to accept payments once the booking process is complete. This development will help travelers book Hahn Air tickets using cash, credit cards or select crypto coins.
IRS Refunds Tax to Crypto Holders That Reported Correctly
Moving on to government affairs, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued refunds to crypto holders that filed and paid their crypto taxes accurately. A report unveiled this news on November 18, noting that this could be a sign of the IRS showing that it will not punish those that pay their taxes.
While it is still unclear how much the agency refunded, one crypto holder said that he owed $3,900 in taxes. After clearing the taxes, he claimed that the IRS awarded him the full amount. This news comes after the tax agency sent different letters to approximately 10,000 individuals suspected of holding crypto this year.
According to CPA Laura Walter, these letters were a “warning to everyone to get compliant as quick as you can while the IRS is still feeling somewhat forgiving”.
Walter added that,
If you believe you didn’t accurately report your virtual currency transactions, you should file amended returns.
Venezuelan Government to Grant Christmas Bonus in Petro
Still on government matters, Venezuela’s president, Nicholas Maduro announced that the country’s retirees and pensioners will receive their Christmas bonuses in Petro.
This is reportedly the first time that the Venezuelan government will deposit Petro in the wallets of Pensioners.
This news comes after a report unveiled that Francisco Torrealba, the deputy of the National Constituent Assembly of Venezuela believes that crypto will replace all fiats. Per Torrealba Maduro has contributed greatly to helping the country shift to crypto by creating Petro.