Kaseya Denies Paying $70 Million Bitcoin Ransom

In brief

  • Kaseya and its clients were the victims of a ransomware attack in early July.
  • The company obtained a decryptor key and shared it with clients.
  • It still hasn’t said how it got the tool.

On July 2, IT software provider Kaseya was crippled by an attack attributed to Russia-based hacking group REvil. The ransomware compromised the software and removed the clients’ administrator access. REvil demanded $70 million in Bitcoin to restore normal operations.

Last week, it announced it had received the decryptor key to undo the attack, which affected hundreds of businesses that use Kaseya software worldwide. But it declined to say how—beyond that it had come from a “trusted third party,” leading to speculation that it had paid the $70 million ransom.

Not so, said Kaseya on Monday. “We are confirming in no uncertain terms that Kaseya did not pay a ransom—either directly or indirectly through a third party—to obtain the decryptor,” it said in an update on its website.

Others have paid such ransoms, despite warnings last year from the Treasury Department that paying hackers could be a violation of US sanctions against specific foreign actors.

Meatpacker JBS USA paid an $11 million Bitcoin ransom to REvil in June that threatened one-quarter of the country’s meat supply. A month prior, Colonial Pipeline paid a $4.4 million BTC payment to Russia-linked DarkSide, though it ostensibly did so after consulting with the Justice Department; federal law enforcement was able to recover some of the funds.

“While each company must make its own decision on whether to pay the ransom, Kaseya decided after consultation with experts to not negotiate with the criminals who perpetrated this attack and we have not wavered from that commitment,” Kaseya wrote.

“Kaseya decided after consultation with experts to not negotiate with the criminals who perpetrated this attack…”

That denial gives added weight to competing theories suggesting that Kaseya received the decryption tool via government backchannels. President Joe Biden has threatened Russia President Vladimir Putin with “consequences” should Russia choose not to act on ransomware attacks that take place within its borders. The U.S. has promised to share intelligence with Russia on the matter. REvil subsequently disappeared from the dark web.

Ransomware payments had cost companies this year the equivalent of $81 million, as of mid-May, according to blockchain tracking firm Chainalysis. That doesn’t account for the costs of network outages or working independently to restore service.


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Robinhood Plans to Dive Deeper into Crypto, According to CEO Vlad Tenev

Vlad Tenev – the Chief Executive Officer of Robinhood – revealed that the company is looking to provide its customers with more cryptocurrency services such as a digital wallet. However, he did not specify when the firm would implement the new offerings.

Is Robinhood Expanding Its Crypto Scope?

The American financial services company – Robinhood Markets Inc. – is reportedly planning to offer more cryptocurrency options to its nearly 18 million users. During a recent public roadshow, CEO Vlad Tenev confirmed the news and highlighted digital assets as a basis of the firm’s future. He added that the customers have been showing growing demand in crypto wallets, so Robinhood would work towards that goal:

“We’ve been doing a lot of work behind the scenes to provide our crypto customers with the functionality that they’ve been asking for. We know you want wallets.”

Tenev mentioned that clients could expect the release of the long-anticipated wallets at “some point” and did not provide any specific timeline. Interestingly, a few months ago, the top executive assured Robinhood would launch the service “as fast as possible.”

Moreover, the retail investment app will reportedly introduce more offerings. Currently, users can not transfer virtual assets in and out of their accounts without the assistance of a cryptocurrency exchange, for example. Tenev asserted that Robinhood would fix this, outlining that it would strictly monitor every additional move out of safety reasons:


“We want to introduce new features safely. And there’s a lot of items we have to get right from the start.”

Vlad Tenev, Source Wikipedia

Robinhood Users Love Dogecoin

The investing app, which is expected to go public this Thursday, recently announced that the popular meme coin – Dogecoin – accounted for 34% of its trading revenue. At the beginning of this month, Robinhood reported a 4% increase in revenue coming from cryptocurrencies. Interestingly, 30% of these earnings came from DOGE.

The Shiba-Inu-inspired coin surpassed market leaders such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). Officials of the company warned that Dogecoin trading was so “substantial” that its potential decline in the future could have a highly negative impact on the company:

“If demand for transactions in Dogecoin declines and is not replaced by new demand for other cryptocurrencies available for trading on our platform, our business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected.”

Overall, the total revenue related to cryptocurrencies skyrocketed by more than 300% year-over-year, from $128 million to $522 million.


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Cardano (ADA) And Dogecoin (DOGE) Record Highest Gains As Crypto Market Surges

Cardano (ADA) and Dogecoin (DOGE) have gained fast as the crypto market surges. The last 24 hours continue to be an interesting one for the crypto market as prices have surged across the board following a bullish run-up. Top coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum have seen massive price gains so far. The entire crypto market cap has seen over $1 billion added to it in just 24 hours.

As the run-up continues, altcoins like ADA and DOGE continue to show tremendous market movements. The price of both digital currencies has jumped over 10% each and continues to cruise higher as investors come back into the market. Bull traders have now taken over the market as bears record increasing losses.

Related Reading | Cardano Aims To Facilitate Users With Smart Contracts

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Shorts liquidations across the markets have crossed $1 billion, with liquidations in Dogecoin being the fourth-highest so far in the market. Altcoins continue to see recovering trends as most of the market turns towards green in this surprising turn of events this week.

Dogecoin, Cardano Continue Upward Trend

Dogecoin so far continues to lead the charge, posting a 13% price gain in the last 24 hours. DOGE which had continued to see downwards trends as the hype around the coin and ‘Dogefather’ Elon Musk died down has now broken out of the rut it seemed to have been stuck in for the better part of last week.

DOGE price moved from trading at $0.195 to breaking above $0.20, to be sitting at the current price of $0.2244 where it now trades currently.

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Total crypto market cap from TradingView.com

Total crypto market cap from TradingView.com

Crypto market gains over $1 trillion in 24 hours | Source: Crypto Total Market Cap on TradingView.com

Cardano (ADA) has continued in this vein to post gains of over 11% as the current rally rages on. The digital asset which had been trading for $1.20 had a tremendous run-up the saw the price hit $1.32 in a matter of hours.

Both digital currencies continue to show double-digit price gains in the market. Dogecoin market cap now sits at $29 billion as Cardano market caps experience gains to put it at $43 billion.

Bullish News Moving The Crypto Market Cap

The past week has seen more support coming out for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. News like billionaire Elon Musk confirming that Tesla and SpaceX hold bitcoin on its balance sheet has proven to be very bullish. The market had shown positive sentiment as the price of bitcoin had gone up after the announcement. Breaking $32,000 and maintaining a momentum that saw the price going past $34,000.

Related Reading | SpaceX Has Bitcoin On Its Balance Sheet, Elon Musk

In the same conference, Musk had confirmed that he personally held Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. Proving that the billionaire had never sold his holdings in the meme coin. Musk had also confirmed that while he may pump coins, he has never dumped his coins.

Hot on the heels of this came the news that Amazon was working towards integrating bitcoin into its platform. With cryptocurrencies being speculated to be a payment method for the e-commerce giant, sentiments had grown in favor of the crypto market and as such, investors seem to have returned to the crypto space with a renewed vigor.

Related Reading | Cardano (ADA) Launches Crypto Charity Platform With Rwanda-Based NGO

On Sunday, after rumors circulated that an insider from the e-commerce giant confirmed the integration of cryptocurrencies, prices surged as the weekend came to a close.

So far, the crypto market has seen continuing support as cryptocurrencies continue to maintain their gained value, and charts across the market remain in the green. Dogecoin and Cardano continue to top the list of gainers in the market.

Featured image from Nairametrics, chart from TradingView.com


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Shopify Now Supports NFT Sales, Starting With Chicago Bulls

In brief

  • Shopify partners will be able to sell NFT collectibles directly from their storefronts.
  • The functionality debuted with the Chicago Bulls’ NFT drop, which started today.

Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform that lets websites add storefronts and accept payments, has added support for NFTs, allowing store owners to sell the crypto collectibles directly without relying on an external marketplace.

Word of the NFT support comes from Shopify president Harley Finklestein, who tweeted about the news via his personal Twitter account today. He said that the official NFT drop from the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, which was announced late last week, marks one of the first examples of the tech being used by a Shopify partner. He said that the functionality is open to “a select few” Shopify partners “for now,” but to “stay tuned.”

An NFT is a type of cryptocurrency that functions like a deed of ownership to a digital item, enabling scarcity for collectibles such as video clips, artwork, photos, tweets, and interactive video game items. Dapper’s NBA Top Shot has been one of the leading NFT projects to date, amassing more than $700 million in total trading volume since launching in fall 2020. Each Top Shot moment is an NBA video highlight packaged with animated flourishes and released in limited quantities.

The NFT market swelled near the start of the year and saw an estimated $1.5 billion in total trading volume in the first quarter of the year. Momentum seemed to slow into Q2, although DappRadar reports that the NFT market ultimately saw $2.5 billion in trading volume in the first half of the year.

“Before Shopify offered this capability, merchants would have to sell through a 3rd party marketplace a.k.a. less control of the sale and customer relationship,” Finklestein said today in a tweet. “Once again we are putting the power back into the hands of merchants and meeting customers how and where they want to buy.”

The Chicago Bulls NFT collection features digital collectibles inspired by the team’s six NBA championship wins from the 1990s, each spread across multiple rarity levels. The first set, inspired by the team’s initial 1991 NBA Finals win, went on sale today and quickly sold out. Each NFT takes the form of a lightly animated video clip.

The Bulls NFTs are minted on Dapper Labs’ Flow blockchain, which is also used for Dapper’s own NBA Top Shot platform. It’s currently unclear whether Shopify’s NFT support is limited to Flow or can also work with other blockchain platforms, such as Ethereum. Decrypt has reached out to Shopify to clarify this detail and will update this article if we hear back.


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Bitcoin price drop to $37K has analysts wary of calling a ‘trend change’

Bull market optimism returned to the cryptocurrency market on July 26 after Bitcoin (BTC) price rallied above the $40,000 level for the first time in over six weeks.

Today’s rally to $40,581 was a continuation of the July 25 breakout which saw BTC price rocket to $48,110 at Binance af a short squeeze resulted in nearly $500 million in shorts being liquidated in just two minutes. 

Data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro and TradingView shows that BTC spiked to an intraday high at $40,581 on Monday before pulling back to $37,500 as bulls look to flip this resistance zone back to support in preparation for a further move higher.

BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

While the move higher has the mark of a trend change and has prompted some analysts to proclaim the bull market is back on track, on-chain data and the perpetual funding rates do not fully concur with this point of view. Especially when one considers that the current breakout may have only been the result of a massive short squeeze.

Factors that could reignite the bull market

According to Élie Le Rest, partner at digital asset management firm ExoAlpha, the recently denied rumor that Amazon would accept cryptocurrency payments have the potential to have a similar effect as the 2020 revelation from PayPal that it would integrate cryptocurrencies. Le Rest said that if the Amazon news turns out to be true, this “could be the catalyst to ignite a bull run in H2 of 2021.”

As Bitcoin price pushed above the $35,000 level on July 25, “more than a billion dollars of shorts got liquidated in the past 24 hours, with the bulk of the liquidation occurring in less than 1 hour” according to Le Rest, who also said, “the current market move could be sustained during the week by volumes coming from players having waited for a more directional trend on Bitcoin since the end of May.”

Le Rest said:

“To validate this directional trend, Bitcoin has to break out of the $30,000-$40,000 range it has been stuck into for 2 months. Maintaining Bitcoin over the $40,000 level would signal that the “bear market” is over and the bull-run may resume.”

If Bitcoin is able to maintain its current momentum, Le Rest said “as many expect, Bitcoin could get back on track with the Stock to Flow model and reach the $100,000 mark by year-end.”

On-chain data is not so bullish

Caution is warranted against being overly bullish and data from Glassnode suggests that several bearish threats remain valid. 

When analyzing the directional bias of the futures markets, Glassnode found that “perpetual funding rates have continued to trade negative,” which “indicates the net bias remains short Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin futures perpetual funding rate for all exchanges. Source: Glassnode

Glassnode said:

“This metric in particular helps us identify that Monday’s price rally is likely associated with an overall short squeeze, with funding rates continuing to trade at even more negative levels despite price rallying +30%.”

Glassnode also pointed to Bitcoin on-chain activity and highlighted that “in direct contrast to the volatility in spot and derivatives markets, the transaction volume and on-chain activity remains extremely quiet.”

Bitcoin entity-adjusted total transfer volume. Source: Glassnode

Overall, how on-chain transfer volume responds to the recent price action in Bitcoin will provide better insight into where the market is headed, but as noted by Glassnode, “it remains to be seen whether on-chain volumes start to pick up in response to recent volatile price-action.”

Related: DeFi tokens book double-digit gains after Bitcoin rallies above $39,000

Altcoins follow Bitcoin’s lead

Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin’s recovery above $40,000 also helped spark strong rallies in most altcoins.

Ether (ETH) gained of 11% to hit a daily high at $2,433, while Dogecoin (DOGE) posted a 7% gain and trades at $0.208.

Other notable gainers include a 64% gain for Strike (STRK), a 55% rally in Venus (XVS) and a 20% breakout in VeChain Thor (VTHO) and Ankr (ANKR).

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $1.46 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 47.4%.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.