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Islamic State targets major NFT markets — media

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NFT market at the moment

The U.S. intelligence revealed cases of terrorism financing through the largest NFT markets, praising the militants of the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, banned in the Russian Federation) for attacking the Taliban positions in Afghanistan. This was reported by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing high-ranking former U.S. security officials.

With the help of the cryptocurrency market, the attackers are trying to circumvent Western efforts to impose sanctions on their activities, the Journal wrote. Such NFTs have already been identified on the Rarible marketplace.

Even though the NFT marketplace at the moment blocked tokens, intelligence representatives fear that it is impossible to remove such an asset, as it is protected from censorship through the blockchain, writes WSJ. Opensea also removed the token and closed the author’s account, citing a “zero-tolerance policy for ads inciting hatred and violence. However, as the experts point out, NFTs are still available on IPFS hosting, which extracts data from an array of Internet nodes.

In late August, Elliptic analysts found that fraudsters have stolen about $100 million in schemes around NFTs since July 2021.

The researchers concluded that each successful NFT scheme, on average, generated $300,000 in revenue. The most NFT thefts were recorded in July 2022 (4,600), contrary to the bearish trend, Elliptic noted. In May, a record $24 million in dollar equivalent thefts were recorded. However, the experts point out that the figure is higher, because only public reports of fraud were used for the calculations.

Elliptic also found that since 2017, NFT marketplaces have helped launder more than $8 million from sources associated with illegal activity. Exactly which marketplaces are in question is not specified.

Earlier, we reported that digital avatar startup Genies decided to create an NFT marketplace.


Cryptocurrency

Uniswap (UNI) Skyrockets by 20% Daily, Pepe (PEPE) Charts New All-Time High (Market Watch)

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Bitcoin’s price experienced some enhanced price fluctuations in the past few days, going down to under $66,500 before jumping to just over $69,000 last night.

The altcoins are also slightly in the green on a daily scale. UNI has taken the main stage with a massive 20% surge that has driven it to over $10, while PEPE has charted another fresh peak.

PEPE New ATH, UNI Skyrockets

The most important news in the cryptocurrency industry this week came from the US Securities and Exchange Commission and affected mostly ETH. The regulator approved eight spot Ethereum ETFs on Thursday, which, alongside the hype around the news, propelled a massive rally for the underlying asset. ETH went from $3,100 on Monday to over $3,900 mid-week before it retraced slightly to its current position of $3,750.

Several other altcoins charted substantial gains during the week, and PEPE emerged as one of them. The popular meme coin exploded by another 12% in the past day and charted yet another all-time high of $0.00001538 hours ago.

Uniswap’s native token is the other mindblowing gainer today. UNI has soared by 20% and now trades close to $11. XRP, DOGE, TON, SHIB, DOT, IMX, and NEAR are also well in the green.

The total crypto market cap has recovered over $60 billion since yesterday and now sits close to $2.7 trillion on CG.

Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: QuantifyCrypto
Cryptocurrency Market Overview. Source: QuantifyCrypto

BTC Aims for $69K

The primary cryptocurrency’s price was also affected by the Ethereum ETF news. The asset went from $67,000 to a multi-week peak of $72,000 on Monday and Tuesday before it retraced hard in the following days.

The most substantial price decline came on Thursday, just hours before the US SEC announced its decision, and took BTC south to under $66,500. However, the asset bounced off, felt some more fluctuations in the following hours, and started heading north last night.

This culminated in a price surge to just over $69,200 amid the positive inflows toward the spot ETFs. Yet, the bears picked up the pace at this point and didn’t allow further increases. As of now, bitcoin trades just inches below $69,000.

Its market cap has increased to $1.350 trillion, while its dominance over the alts stands still at 50.2%.

Bitcoin/Price/Chart 25.05.2024. Source: TradingView
Bitcoin/Price/Chart 25.05.2024. Source: TradingView
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Cryptocurrency charts by TradingView.

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Cryptocurrency

Spot Bitcoin ETF Inflows Equal March Record as BTC Price Heads for $69K

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Spot Bitcoin ETFs had some hard times at the end of April and especially on May 1, but the trend has changed now with 10 consecutive days of positive flows.

This comes as BTC’s price went on a rollercoaster propelled by the news surrounding the Ethereum ETFs, but the asset now heads toward $69,000.

The cryptocurrency industry saw a massive milestone in January when the US Securities and Exchange Commission finally greenlighted nearly a dozen spot Bitcoin ETFs after a decade of rejecting or delaying every application.

The effects were immediate as these products started attracting billions of dollars in the first few months. Then came April, though, when the trend changed, and there were numerous days in the red.

May 1 was the most painful in terms of outflows, as the total amount withdrawn on that date was north of $560 million.

The tides turned once again in the following weeks, especially after the favorable data from the US CPI numbers for April. In fact, May 10 was the last date when the largest ETFs saw negative numbers.

The financial products have been on an impressive streak since then, equalling the 10 consecutive day record from March of inflows. May 15 and 21 saw inflows of more than $300 million, while May 24’s numbers exceeded $250 million.

BlackRock’s IBIT leads the pack once again in terms of inflows and has attracted over $16,350 billion. Grayscale is still the leader with $20 billion, according to SoSovalue, but the outflows there suggest that BlackRock will surpass it in the near future.

Overall, the total inflows in all ETFs are close to $13.7 billion. Meanwhile, Ethereum fans also saw some positive developments this week as the US SEC greenlighted eight spot ETH ETFs. However, it’s still uncertain when they will launch.

BTC responded with lots of volatility to the Ethereum news, skyrocketing from $67,000 to $72,000 before dumping to under $66,000 this week. The past 24 hours have been more positive, perhaps driven by the impressive inflows, and BTC now stands close to $69,000.

Bitcoin/Price/Chart 25.05.2024. Source: TradingView
Bitcoin/Price/Chart 25.05.2024. Source: TradingView
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Figure Markets, Pantera Snap Up Final Pieces of FTX’s Solana (SOL) Stash: Report

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The bankrupt crypto exchange FTX has concluded the sale of $2.6 billion worth of discounted Solana tokens.  Figure Markets and Pantera Capital were among the buyers who raked up the final troves of SOL tokens from FTX after weeks of auctions.

The results of the auction were disclosed by two undisclosed sources, according to Bloomberg, who stated that Figure acquired a bundle of 800,000 coins for approximately $80 million.

Deep Discounts in FTX’s Solana Tokens

One of the sources mentioned that Figure paid an estimated $102 per token, representing a significant markdown from Solana’s current market price of approximately $166. The company’s CEO and co-founder, Mike Cagney, had earlier revealed that they would establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that would be accessible to both non-US and US investors, allowing them to participate in the auctions.

Two unnamed sources further revealed that Pantera Capital also participated in the recent auction, but the amount paid by the venture capital fund is not known.

The sale of Solana tokens has stirred controversy within the bankruptcy proceedings of FTX, a collapsed cryptocurrency firm once led by convicted fraudster Sam Bankman-Fried, a.k.a SBF.

Earlier in March this year, Pantera aimed to raise $250 million from investors to acquire Solana tokens from FTX. The following month, Pantera successfully secured a batch of discounted Solana tokens as a winning bidder.

Besides Pantera, major crypto firms such as Neptune Digital Assets Corp and Galaxy Trading have also shown keen interest in acquiring portions of the Solana tokens that FTX has been selling off directly since the bankruptcy proceedings began. FTX initiated these direct sales as a means to liquidate its holdings of the SOL token.

FTX Users Lose Big

Many crypto users lost their life savings in the collapse of FTX. Subsequently, the crypto market made a remarkable recovery from the 2022 crash, with Bitcoin ultimately soaring to new ATH.

The assets they had entrusted to FTX – had they not been locked up in bankruptcy – would have grown to at least $4 million, according to estimates made by two victims who had parked their funds at the fraudulent exchange.

FTX claims it can gather enough funds to repay creditors 100% of what they are owed, plus interest.

However, instead of getting their crypto back, creditors will receive US dollars based on the accounts’ value at FTX’s November 2022 collapse. Since Bitcoin’s price has roughly quadrupled since then, they missed out on the largest crypto bull run since the pandemic.

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