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Ethereum and other crypto volatility shakes up markets

Cryptocurrency giant Ethereum made the news over the last two weeks by losing a huge chunk of its value and destroying over 71,000 of ether currency. 

The charismatic co-founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, tweeted that he is no longer a billionaire after the recent crash in the value of the ether token from an all-time high of $4,892 in November 2021, to just $1,808 in late April. 

It wasn’t just Ethereum that lost value. May was a difficult month for all cryptocurrencies, as crypto investors lost a total value of $400 billion. Beginning May 4, the price of Bitcoin crashed from just under $40,000 to below $30,000, wiping a total of 60% off the total market value since the highs of November 2022, according to Yahoo Finance. On May 9, the previously-successful stablecoin Terra (UST) ceased being pegged to the US dollar, and the value of Terra subsequently plunged from $40 billion to $500,000 million. In the single biggest slide cryptocurrency has ever seen sister currency Terra Luna lost 99% in value, sparking sell-offs in the market.

To shore up tokens, on May 1, Ethereum destroyed 71,718 ether, recording a record daily burn rate, valued at $138.78 million. It’s a standard practice for cryptocurrencies to permanently ‘burn’ coins to increase the value of the remaining tokens for the greater good of the market. Since the second stage of the transition to Ethereum 2.0 last August (the London upgrade), the crypto coin has burned a total of 2.35 million ether at a value of $8.10 billion. 

According to Bloomberg, John Roque, a technical analyst from 22V Research, says Ethereum could drop a further 80% — to a price of just $420 — in the near future if it doesn’t avoid being oversold and is able to rally. But others are more optimistic. As reported in Time, Bloomberg analyst Mike McGlone believes it will end the year at over $4,000, while Coinpedia predicts the cryptocurrency could go as high as $12,963, provided the transition to Ethereum 2.0 is successful. 

In the grand scheme of things, Ethereum has a better chance than many other cryptocurrencies. It’s grown phenomenally since its inception in 2014, and monthly setbacks are unlikely to impact long-term investors. Historically, cryptocurrency investors are most likely to buy in when the market prices are low, which makes current conditions ideal. Ethereum also has the advantage of being not just a currency, but also a software network where developers can build and power apps, tools, and NFTs. In 2021, of 65% of new Web 3 developers, 20% joined the Ethereum network, so its popularity is stronger than ever. 

So what’s next for Ethereum? With big changes coming, all eyes are on the second-biggest blockchain, which has a chance to bounce back. It’s certainly one to watch.

In other news

  • Bitcoin Pizza Day. The Bitcoinist reminds us to celebrate and commemorate an early cryptocurrency enthusiast who purchased two pizzas using Bitcoins on May 22, 2010 — an event that became widely and fondly known as the world’s first physical Bitcoin transaction. Lazlo Hanyecz, a bitcoin miner from Florida,  paid 10,000 BTC for his renowned pizza purchase — worth around $41 at the time. Currently, 10,000 BTC are valued at close to $300 million. In last week’s Tech News we reported on another Bitcoin first, a Portuguese house purchased solely with cryptocurrency at a cost of three Bitcoin!
  • Sea-floor Internet cables could detect earthquakes and tsunamis. We all know that you can do just about anything on the Internet, but what about its physical infrastructure? New research from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory and its partners suggests that Internet cables could be far more useful than we previously thought. The BBC reports a potential for using the 800,000 miles of subsea optical-fiber cables worldwide to observe and detect natural phenomena, such as earthquakes, submarine volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. They could even help monitor how climate change alters ocean currents. Scientists say this development could vastly improve our understanding of Earth’s internal structure. Until now, seismic stations that monitor these kinds of phenomena have been limited to land. 
  • Tech advocacy groups blast Texas social media law. More than 20 groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Family Online Safety Institute, have come together to file a Supreme Court brief denouncing the Texas law, HB20, as unconstitutional. According to Ars Technica, the law, which was reinstated last week after a brief injunction by a US District Court judge, applies to social media platforms with more than 50 million active US users in a calendar month. The law says that such social media platforms may not “censor” (which it defines as actions like blocking, banning, removing, de-platforming, demonetizing, or restricting) a user based on their “viewpoint.” The Texas attorney general may sue any platform that violates this law. The Supreme Court brief argues that this law violates the First Amendment, renders platforms unable to regulate effectively, and potentially exposes vulnerable groups to criminal scams or inappropriate content. 
  • Malware-spreading PDF fools victims with sneaky filename: PDF malware has been around for a while, but one particular campaign tricks users with an oddly specific filename and embedded Word file. ZDNet reports that attackers send victims a document called “REMMITANCE INVOICE.pdf” along with an embedded Word document named ‘has been verified. However PDF, Jpeg, xlsx, .docs’.

    If opened, Adobe Reader asks whether the user wishes to open the file by sending the prompt: “The file ‘has been verified. However PDF, Jpeg, xlsx, .docs’ may contain programs, macros, or viruses that could potentially harm your computer.”

    At first glance, the file name intends to trick the user into believing it’s safe by appearing to display the message, ‘The file has been verified.’ and then providing additional information. But the odd file name is easy to overlook because it was designed to look like a message in Adobe Reader. And indeed, the PDF is far from safe; once downloaded, it infects PCs with a keylogger and credential stealer called Snake. 

Tip of the week

With all the headlines about Bitcoin mining and Ethereum valuation, it’s easy to forget that cryptocurrency is, well, currency, and can be used for shopping. 

There are several advantages to accepting Bitcoin payments on your e-commerce store. The cryptocurrency was designed for safe, secure transactions and to avoid cumbersome bank procedures like chargebacks and transaction fees. If you are crypto-curious, now is the perfect time to start accepting it on your website.

One of the most well-respected blockchain payment processors is BitPay, which has developed integrations for all the top content management systems. When your online store is built using WordPress, accepting crypto payments is as easy as setting up WooCommerce, then installing the BitPay Plugin

As more people become comfortable with the world of crypto, more customers will seek out e-commerce stores that accept it. By integrating Bitcoin payments now, you’ll be a step ahead of many other business owners.

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Robert O'Sullivan avatar

Robert O'Sullivan

Robert has lived and worked in distant locations around the globe and is currently based in the Balkans. In addition to travel, he has a passion for language, writing, technology, and making sophisticated concepts more appealing and understandable for readers, which are talents he puts to good use at Namecheap. More articles written by Robert.

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