Bitcoin hovers near 13-month high as investors cheer Ripple ruling

FINTECH-CRYPTO:Bitcoin hovers near 13-month high as investors cheer Ripple ruling

| Updated on: Jul 15 2023, 06:34 IST
This malicious Firefox add-on stole thousands of dollars in cryptocurrency
1/6 A particular malicious add-on for Firefox, that goes by the name Safepal Wallet, has managed to scam users by stealing money from them and managed to live on the Mozilla add-ons store for seven months before getting detected and removed. (Pixabay)
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2/6 Safepal is essentially a cryptocurrency wallet application that is capable of holding more than 10,000 types of assets, including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc. However, Safepal is an official smartphone app that is available for Apple and Android both. There are no known “authentic” Safepal browser extensions. (BleepingComputer)
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3/6 According to a post shared by a user who goes by the name Cali on the Mozilla Support forum, within a few hours of installing and logging in to the Safepal Wallet extension with their real Safepal credentials, they saw their wallet balance drop to $0 from $4,000.  (Mozilla Support Forum )
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4/6 While investigating Safepal Wallet, BleepingComputer came across the phishing domain used by the add-on and this webpage was also listed as the "support site" link on the fake add-on's home page: WHOIS records indicate the this phishing site was registered in January this year via Namecheap. And BleepingComputer reported that at the time of them filing this report, the webpage is still live and it instructs people to key in their "12-word Backup Phrase in the correct order to pair your SafePal Wallet". (BleepingComputer )
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5/6 Once the recovery phrase is entered and the form is submitted, the page refreshes without any noticeable response and the recovery phrase is sent to the attacker. A stolen recovery phrase can give attackers control over your wallet along with the ability to access and transfer funds. (Pixabay)
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6/6 Five days after Cali publicly reported the incident, a Mozilla spokesperson responded to say that they were investigating the issue and the page for Safepal Wallet has since been removed by Mozilla. The Mozilla add-ons store now has one-star reviews posted by some users that are warning others to not download “Safepal Wallet”. (BleepingComputer )
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Bitcoin hit its highest price since June 2022 earlier, touching $31,818, before edging down to trade around $30,935 at 1730 GMT on Friday. (REUTERS)

Bitcoin was hovering near its highest so far this year on Friday after crypto investors took encouragement from a legal victory in which the cryptocurrency XRP was ruled not to be a security.

A U.S. judge said on Thursday that Ripple Labs Inc did not violate securities law by selling its XRP token on public exchanges.

The case marks the first win for a cryptocurrency company in a lawsuit brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Although the decision was specific to the individual case, it unleashed a wave of optimism among crypto investors that more cryptocurrencies may also not be deemed securities.

Still, the enthusiasm for some was tempered by a report from the Wall Street Journal that Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, has laid off more than 1,000 people in recent weeks. The lay-offs are ongoing and could result in the exchange losing more than a third of its staff, the report said, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Bitcoin hit its highest price since June 2022 earlier, touching $31,818, before edging down to trade around $30,935 at 1730 GMT on Friday.

Second-biggest token ether had its best session since March on Thursday and XRP, which the U.S. judge ruled could be legally sold on public crypto exchanges, soared 73% on Thursday and held most of these gains on Friday.

"The regulatory environment is changing," said Matthew Dibb, chief investment officer at crypto asset manager Astronaut Capital. "And by what we have seen in the last 24 hours, it could be for the better."

Justin d'Anethan, head of business development in Asia at Keyrock, a digital assets market maker in Hong Kong, said finding that XRP tokens sold on public crypto exchanges were not securities under law "probably serves as a precedent".

"Ripple stakeholders were waiting for some regulatory clarity. Yesterday the court seems to have provided just that," he said.

Following the decision, several major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Coinbase and Bitstamp, resumed trading of XRP on their platforms, after having suspended trading of the token in 2021 due to the SEC's lawsuit. Binance.US said on Friday it had also enabled XRP trading on its exchange.

Coinbase, which was sued by the SEC last month for alleged securities laws violations, saw its shares surge nearly 25% on Thursday as investors hoped that the ruling in the Ripple case would bode well for Coinbase.


Cryptocurrencies have staged a gradual recovery so far this year, after prices fell sharply last year and a series of bankruptcies at major crypto firms, including crypto exchange FTX, left investors with heavy losses.

The collapse of FTX added momentum to global regulatory efforts at reining in the sector, especially to protect small investors lured by fast returns.

China has all but banned crypto. U.S. investigators raking over FTX have accused founder Sam Bankman-Fried of multibillion-dollar fraud, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

Alex Mashinsky, the founder of bankrupt crypto lender Celsius, was charged with fraud for misleading customers and artificially inflating the value of the company's token, according to a U.S. indictment unsealed on Thursday. He pleaded not guilty.

Meanwhile, Coinbase and bigger rival Binance face lawsuits, which they are contesting, from the SEC and in Binance's case from other regulators as well.

A top SEC official said last month the industry has "an ethos built around non-compliance".

At Binance, the lay-offs as reported by the Wall Street Journal are occurring as a string of executives have recently departed the company, including Chief Strategy Officer Patrick Hillmann. Hillmann confirmed on Twitter that he was leaving the exchange, citing personal reasons.

Still, crypto investors have taken encouragement from the world's biggest asset manager, BlackRock, filing to launch a bitcoin exchange traded fund last month. Earlier in July exchange operator Cboe refreshed its filing for a similar fund to be run by asset manager Fidelity.

As a risk asset, cryptocurrencies could also stand to gain from a weaker dollar.

"We'd gone through this long period of just consistently negative news to make the space look pretty grimy," said Chris Weston, head of research at brokerage Pepperstone in Melbourne.

"For the first time in a while, it's been consistently positive news coming though and that means you've got momentum."


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First Published Date: 15 Jul, 06:22 IST
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