Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Crypto hacking losses jumped 60 percent to $1.9bn 

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Crypto hacking losses jumped 60 percent to $1.9bn 
Crypto hacking losses jumped 60% to $1.9bn in first seven months. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 17 August 2022

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Crypto hacking losses jumped 60 percent to $1.9bn 

Crypto Moves – Bitcoin and Ethereum rise; Crypto hacking losses jumped 60 percent to $1.9bn 

RIYADH: Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency internationally, traded higher on Wednesday, rising by 1.39 percent to $24,340 as of 10:12 a.m. Riyadh time.

Ethereum, the second most traded cryptocurrency, was priced at $1,943.87 rising by 3.41 percent, according to data from Coindesk.

Crypto hacking losses jumped 60% to $1.9bn in first seven months

According to Chainalysis’ blog post released on Tuesday, losses caused by cryptocurrency hacks surged nearly 60 percent in the first seven months of the year to $1.9 billion, Reuters reported.

The stolen funds from hacking totaled $1.2 billion during the same period last year.

Using DeFi applications, which are often based on the Ethereum blockchain, it is possible to provide crypto-denominated lending outside of traditional banking institutions.

Despite the $190 million hack of cross-chain bridge Nomad and the $5 million hack of several Solana wallets in the first week of August, Chainalysis believes the trend will not reverse anytime soon.

Chainalysis said in the blog: “DeFi protocols are uniquely vulnerable to hacking, as their open source code can be studied ad nauseum by cybercriminals looking for exploits and it’s possible that protocols’ incentives to reach the market and grow quickly lead to lapses in security best practices.”

North Korea’s “bad actors,” namely elite hacking units like Lazarus Group, are responsible for much of the money stolen from DeFi protocols, according to a US firm.

Chainalysis estimates that so far this year, North Korea-affiliated groups have stolen approximately $1 billion of cryptocurrency from DeFi protocols.

As a result of the slump in digital assets prices, the blockchain intelligence firm saw a sharp 65 percent decline in crypto scams through July. In the year to July, scam revenue was $1.6 billion, down 65 percent from about $4.46 billion a year ago.

Celsius considers financing proposals amid bankruptcy

An attorney for bankrupt crypto lender Celsius Network said Tuesday that the lender has received multiple offers to help fund its restructuring, according to Bloomberg. 

In a bankruptcy hearing Tuesday, Joshua Sussberg of Kirkland & Ellis said Celsius was considering financing packages of “various shapes and sizes,” Bloomberg said. 

It is expected that several more proposals will be submitted, he said, without providing details about the existing proposals.

If Celsius is to avoid liquidation and restructure or sell its business, it needs to raise additional funds. In court papers, the company expects its liquidity balance to turn negative in October after reaching $66.4 million in August. 

Next week, Celsius will meet with the unsecured creditor's committee and will work expeditiously on the path forward, according to a tweet. The next hearing is slated for September.

Stronghold gives back 26,200 bitcoin mining rigs to reduce debt

With the help of New York Digital Investment Group and WhiteHawk Capital, Stronghold Digital Mining Inc. has eliminated more than half of its debt and added liquidity, according to Bloomberg. Moreover, the company will restructure its convertible note.

It will return about 26,200 Bitcoin mining machines to NYDIG, which will wipe out the outstanding debt of $67.4 million from the original contract, Stronghold said in a statement Tuesday. 

WhiteHawk committed to restructuring and expanding Stronghold’s current equipment financing arrangements, reducing near-term payments, and providing more borrowing capacity of $20 million.

In the wake of the collapse of cryptocurrency prices from record levels reached in November, Bitcoin miners are struggling to raise capital and repay loans backed by the token or their mining rigs. 

The company is the latest Bitcoin miner forced to pay off an outstanding debt with its mining machines.

(With inputs from Reuters) 


Suez Canal revenues hit $2.1bn in Q3, highest quarter in history: Egypt Cabinet

Suez Canal revenues hit $2.1bn in Q3, highest quarter in history: Egypt Cabinet
Updated 16 sec ago

Suez Canal revenues hit $2.1bn in Q3, highest quarter in history: Egypt Cabinet

Suez Canal revenues hit $2.1bn in Q3, highest quarter in history: Egypt Cabinet

RIYADH: Suez Canal revenues increased in the third quarter of this year by 23.5 percent year-on-year to hit $2.1 billion — the highest figure ever recorded, official data has revealed.

This increase is supported by the unprecedented jump in revenues during the month of August that hit a historical record at $744.8 million, according to a release from the Egyptian Prime Minister's Information Center on Friday.

As many as 6,252 ships crossed the canal from July to September, with a total net payload of 372.7 million tons.

Revenues during September rose by about 22 percent to $683.2 million. 

Over 2,000 vessels crossed the canal during that period from both directions compared to 1,856 vessels during the same period of last year — an increase of 9.1 percent.

The total net payload reached 120 million tons, compared to 112 million tons during September of last year, reflecting a 7.1 percent increase.

 


Binance-linked blockchain hit by $570m crypto hack, Binance says

Binance-linked blockchain hit by $570m crypto hack, Binance says
Updated 48 min 3 sec ago

Binance-linked blockchain hit by $570m crypto hack, Binance says

Binance-linked blockchain hit by $570m crypto hack, Binance says

LONDON: A blockchain linked to Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has been hit by a $570 million hack, a Binance spokesperson said on Friday, the latest in a series of hacks to hit the crypto sector this year, according to Reuters.

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said in a tweet that tokens were stolen from a blockchain “bridge” used in the BNB Chain, which was known as Binance Smart Chain until February. Blockchain bridges are tools used to transfer cryptocurrencies between different applications.

Zhao said the hackers stole around $100 million worth of crypto. BNB Chain later said in a blog post that a total of 2 million of the cryptocurrency BNB — worth around $570 million — was withdrawn by the hacker.

The Binance spokesperson said in emailed comments that “the majority” of the BNB remained in the hacker’s digital wallet address, while about $100 million worth was “unrecovered.”

Blockchain bridges have increasingly become the target of thefts, which have long plagued the crypto sector.

BNB Chain supports the BNB cryptocurrency, formerly known as Binance Coin, which is the world’s fifth-largest token with a market value of some $46 billion, according to CoinGecko data.

Some $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen in 13 different bridge hacks, mostly this year, crypto analytics firm Chainalysis said in August.

In March, hackers stole around $615 million from Ronin Bridge, used to transfer crypto in and out of the game Axie Infinity, in one of the largest crypto heists on record. The United States linked North Korean hackers to the theft.

BNB Chain suspended its blockchain for several hours before resuming at around 0630 GMT, it said in a tweet.

It said in its blog post that BNB Chain was “able to stop the incident from spreading” by contacting the blockchain’s “validators,” — entities or individuals who verify blockchain transactions. BNB Chain said there are 44 validators across several different time zones, without giving further details.

BNB Chain said it would introduce a new “governance mechanism” to counter future hacks, as well as to expand the number of validators.

On the Binance website, BNB Chain is described as a “community-driven, open-sourced and decentralized ecosystem.” 


Abdul Latif Jameel Energy-owned firm to develop $1bn battery energy storage platform in the UK

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy-owned firm to develop $1bn battery energy storage platform in the UK
Updated 07 October 2022

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy-owned firm to develop $1bn battery energy storage platform in the UK

Abdul Latif Jameel Energy-owned firm to develop $1bn battery energy storage platform in the UK

RIYADH: A division of Abdul Latif Jameel Energy has partnered with UK-based firm Tyler Hill Partners to develop a $1 billion battery energy storage platform in Britain, MEED reported.

Fotowatio has put forward the platform, known as FRV TH Powertek, which will be focused on designing, constructing and operating a portfolio of battery energy storage-system projects in the UK. 

It is expected to reach up to 1GW over the next five years with an estimated aggregate investment of £1 billion.

“A significant growth is expected in installed capacity of battery storage projects to keep the UK on track to meet its net zero targets for 2050,” MEED reported citing Abdul Latif Jameel Energy.

FRV expects to invest more than $1.5 billion to double its total installed capacity from 2GW in 2021 to 4GW in 2024.

BESS platforms are expected to play a crucial role in the global expansion of variable renewable energy capacity using solar and wind sources, according to MEED.


Oil target cuts free up capacity in case of crises, OPEC head says

Oil target cuts free up capacity in case of crises, OPEC head says
Updated 07 October 2022

Oil target cuts free up capacity in case of crises, OPEC head says

Oil target cuts free up capacity in case of crises, OPEC head says

DUBAI: Oil output target cuts agreed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, will leave producers more supply to tap in the event of any crises, OPEC Secretary General Haitham Al-Ghais told Al Arabiya TV on Friday, according to Reuters.

OPEC+, which includes the 13 members of OPEC and 10 allies led by Russia, agreed on Wednesday to lower their output target by 2 million barrels per day.

OPEC’s de facto leader Saudi Arabia said the move was necessary to respond to rising interest rates in the West and a weaker global economy.

The decision was criticized by the US where the White House said it was a sign the group was aligning itself with Russia.

US President Joe Biden also faces mid-term elections next month in which high energy prices are a hot topic.

“This was not a decision from one country against another, and I want to be clear in saying this, and it’s not a decision from two or three countries against a group of other countries,” said Ghais.

“There are strong indicators that there is a high possibility that recession will happen, we decided in this meeting to be pre-emptive.”

Western nations worry higher energy prices will hurt the fragile global economy and hinder efforts to deprive Moscow of oil revenue following its invasion of Ukraine.

EU sanctions on Russian crude and oil products are also set to take effect, in December and February, respectively.

Asked about the sanctions and a EU proposal to cap the price of Russian oil, OPEC’s Ghais said he could not comment.

“The truth is, the shape of these proposed sanctions is not quite clear, and how they will be implemented is also unclear, so we cannot comment.”

Ghais also said OPEC+ does not target prices: “We are not targeting a price, we are targeting a balance in supply and demand.”

 

 


OPEC+ output cut decision to sustain markets, not raise prices: Saudi Energy Minister

OPEC+ output cut decision to sustain markets, not raise prices: Saudi Energy Minister
Updated 07 October 2022

OPEC+ output cut decision to sustain markets, not raise prices: Saudi Energy Minister

OPEC+ output cut decision to sustain markets, not raise prices: Saudi Energy Minister

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy has insisted an agreement to cut oil production by two million barrels per day was made to sustain markets, not to raise prices.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman made the comments after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, faced criticism for agreeing to reduce its output from November, with US President Joe Biden calling it “a disappointment”. 

The minister said in a press conference after the OPEC+ meeting on Wednesday that “our current priority is stability in the market in terms of demand and investment.”

In an interview with Bloomberg, he went further, responding to suggestions of prioritizing profit directly.

“That mantra maybe could be acceptable if it is meant to be that we are deliberately doing this to jack up prices and that is not on our radar, our radar is to make sure we sustain markets,” he told Bloomberg.

Oil prices have not surged compared to coal and gas thanks to the OPEC+ and the effectiveness of its decisions, Prince Abdulaziz added.

The group's goal is to create a disciplined market that serves its real objective, as liquidity in the markets was affected by sharp fluctuations that caused prices to surge, according to the minister.

Prince Abdulaziz also indicated that there is currently no need for an additional cut in oil production by Saudi Arabia, as the agreement is considered good and appropriate for the current time.

“I said it in the press conference that in order for us to be attentive we have to be certainly assertive, preemptive and we have to be proactive,” he said.

The minister moved to quell suggestions that Saudi Arabia was the driving force behind the production cuts, insisting that the decisions taken in the group are unanimous and taken with the participation of all members.

Prince Abdulaziz said that the risks to the market come from strength of the dollar and higher interest rates.

He also indicated that it is not possible currently to judge the impact of the decision to set a price cap on Russian oil, until the passing of the next two months, given the state of uncertainty and lack of details and until the situation becomes clearer. 

He added that it will then be possible to clarify the reaction of players and producers and accordingly make better decisions.

Lack of clarity on price cap adds uncertainty, he said, adding that uncertainty could go either way.

“Our hope that people can bring more certainty in many aspects, certainty in terms of interest rates, in terms of growth, in terms of foreign exchange, in terms of what this issue from Bargo caps and the rest of it including the zero covid policies,” he said. 

The situation is now incomparable to any other throughout his 35-year career in the sector, according to the minister.

Prince Abdulaziz noted that even during the pandemic period, the market faced one variable which is COVID while currently, the market is facing a number of issues whose impact on the market may be positive or negative or a combination of both.

“It is a variety of convoluting uncertainties and they could go astray altogether, and to the positive side, or the negative side, or it could be a combination,” he said.