Blockchain Bites: 'Immunity Passports,' a Darknet Pharmacist and How Bitcoin Miners Prepare for the Halving

Cryptography can solve privacy concerns stirred up by COVID-19; Bitfinex moves more than one billion dollars worth of bitcoin for less than a dollar.

AccessTimeIconApr 13, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 8:28 a.m. UTC

You're reading Blockchain Bites, the daily roundup of the most pivotal stories in blockchain and crypto news, and why they're significant. You can subscribe to this and all of CoinDesk's newsletters here. 

Top shelf

Privacy
Technologists building blockchain-based self-sovereign identity (SSI) tools are collaborating on an “immunity passport” to help stop the spread of COVID-19 without compromising the privacy of users. The COVID-19 Credentials Initiative (CCI) is working on a digital certificate, using the recently approved World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Verifiable Credentials standard. The certificate lets individuals prove (and request proof from others) that they’ve recovered from the novel coronavirus, have tested positive for antibodies or have received a vaccination, once one is available.

Mobile moves
HTC’s Exodus blockchain phone will allow users to mine monero (XMR), in an attempt to further decentralize the cryptocurrency’s security protocol. Miners can earn users up to $0.0038 worth of XMR (at current prices) per day, while the electricity used to carry out the mining tasks would come to less than half the income from mining.

A Venezuelan crypto exchange has developed a service that supports crypto payments via SMS text messages, allowing users to enter the financial fold without an internet connection. (Decrypt)

Scaling back
After years of being unable to close a Series B, enterprise blockchain company Factom, Inc. slashed its staff from 10 to just two, with six employees retained on a contract basis. The company isn’t going into receivership, however, as its investor, FastForward Innovations, claimed last week, said Factom COO Jay Smith. 

Legal momentum
OneCoin – the cryptocurrency investment scheme accused by the U.S. of being a Ponzi-type scam – may escape from a class-action lawsuit due to procedural mishaps by the lead plaintiffs. The lead plaintiffs, who accuse the firm of misleading investors, have not been filing monthly updates on their efforts to serve court papers to all the listed defendants, and may have their case thrown out with prejudice, if they do not “show cause” by April 16.

Craig Wright has dropped his lawsuit against Blockstream CEO Adam Back, covering $8,400 in legal fees. The suit was filed last year, after the Blockstream CEO said Wright and Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin, were not one and the same person. (Decrypt)

Blockchain's best
Brazilian financial regulators’ new PIER data-sharing blockchain cost about $250,000 to build and it runs on the Quorum blockchain. The system is a way for several state regulators to digitize their databases and move away from paper-based record keeping.

Bitfinex moved $1.1 billion in bitcoin (BTC), the largest transaction to date on the network, for less than a dollar. (Decrypt)

Scams
Chainalysis has found crypto scams have taken a hit from COVID-19-led market turbulence. On a seven-day moving average, revenue earned by scammers plummeted from $800,000 worth of crypto in the middle of January to below $300,000 at the beginning of April – almost entirely due to the dramatic market drop earlier this year.

A darknet “pharmacist” who sold various opiates, benzodiazepines and other narcotics and accepted payments in cryptocurrency has been busted by the FBI. Undercover agents discovered the alleged criminal by tracking his bitcoin wallet held at Coinbase. (Modern Consensus)

Patent trend
Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba sought 20 percent of all blockchain patents filed last year. According to The Block, Tencent and its affiliates filed for 718 blockchain patents, while Alibaba Group filed 470 in 2019. (The Block)

Market intel

Bearish case
Bitcoin is reporting losses on Monday, having ended last week with its longest weekly winning streak in nearly a year. The short-term trend has turned bearish following a drop to $6,600, with a close above the 50-day average at $7,145 needed to neutralize the bearish case.

Miners' anticipation
As the latest bitcoin halving approaches, miners are upgrading equipment, optimizing arrangements, conserving power and more in the race to dominate. On this week’s episode of “Bitcoin Halving 2020: Miner Perspectives,” Kristy-Leigh Minehan and Pavel Moravec give an in-depth explanation of what miners are doing to maximize profits and increase operational efficiency. 

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CoinDesk Research
March 12 changed how investors look at crypto markets and assets, shook out some participants and left others unmoved. The CoinDesk Quarterly Review is a Q1 analysis of how the narrative has changed for crypto blue-chips like Bitcoin and Ethereum, which assets outperformed, and how the participants in crypto markets are shifting in the wake of Q1’s defining event.

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CoinDesk Research Webinar
March 12 changed how investors look at crypto markets and assets, shook out some participants and left others unmoved. The CoinDesk Quarterly Review is a Q1 analysis of how the narrative has changed for crypto blue-chips like Bitcoin and Ethereum. On Wednesday, April 15 at 2pm ET, CoinDesk Research hosts a webinar to review and discuss our analysis. Sign up here.

Podcasts

Reading Telegram
Telegram lost another round in court against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and now can’t launch its $1.7 billion token sale. What does it mean for the crypto industry and other startups that sold tokens? Gabriel Shapiro of BSV Law and Phillip Moustakis of Seward & Kissel unpack the case likely to set precedence for future crypto rulings.

Who Won #CryptoTwitter?

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