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Crypto Exchange Bitzlato Restores User Access to Half of Bitcoin Balances, Report

Bitzlato users can now partially withdraw their bitcoin funds from the dismantled cryptocurrency exchange, according to a media report. The Russia-linked trading platform was targeted by Western law enforcement and had its France-based server infrastructure seized in January.

Bitzlato Customers Allowed to Withdraw Up to 50% of Their Bitcoin at the Exchange

Users of Bitzlato’s web portal and app can now withdraw a portion of the funds they had with the crypto exchange when it was busted by French and U.S. authorities in mid-January. Since Monday, its clients have access to half of their bitcoin (BTC) balances.

Account holders can withdraw up to 50% of their bitcoins, Bitzlato representatives told the Russian-language crypto news outlet Forklog. The minimum withdrawal amount is 0.001 BTC and the commission is 0.0003 BTC, the report detailed.

Withdrawals can be ordered through a Telegram bot and users need to provide the email address of their Bitzlato account, the article explained. Upon verification, a code necessary to complete the transfer is generated and sent to that email inbox.

The Hong Kong-registered exchange was dismantled based on allegations that it processed more than $700 million dollars’ worth of illicit funds, as the U.S. Justice Department announced, or over $1 billion, according to Europol.

The dirty money was allegedly related to various criminal activities and actors, including the former largest darknet market Hydra, which was shut down by Germany in April, and Russia’s biggest crypto pyramid scheme, Finiko.

Bitzlato co-founder and majority owner Anatoly Legkodymov, a Russian national residing in China, was arrested in Miami. Four more members of Bitzlato’s team were detained in Europe while another co-founder, Anton Shkurenko, was questioned and released in Russia.

In an interview on Youtube, Shkurenko had announced plans to relocate the exchange to Russia and relaunch operations from there. He also promised to partially restore withdrawals despite French law enforcement having seized the platform’s hot wallet.

According to a survey conducted among almost 3,300 respondents in Bitzlato’s news channel on Telegram, 30% of users are withdrawing funds without issues, 3% experienced short-term asset freezes, the money of another 4% is still blocked, 12% are yet to decide how to withdraw, and more than half of the polled intend to wait for the platform’s peer-to-peer market to reopen.

What are your thoughts on the Bitzlato case? Share them in the comments section below.

Biden Administration’s Economic Report Deems Crypto Assets ‘Mostly Speculative Investment Vehicles’

On Monday, U.S. president Joe Biden published the administration’s economic report and addressed the subject of cryptocurrencies. The section titled “The Perceived Appeal of Crypto Assets” describes the currencies as “mostly speculative investment vehicles” that are “unbacked” and “traded without fundamental anchors.” The White House insists that crypto assets do not deliver on their promises and do not “perform all the functions of money as effectively as sovereign money, such as the U.S. dollar.”

Crypto Assets and Defi Highlighted in Biden Administration’s Economic Report

The recently published “Economic Report of the President” covers various topics, including the war in Ukraine, Covid-19, infrastructure, and U.S. employment statistics. On page 239, the report delves into bitcoin and other crypto assets, examining claims made by proponents and attempting to refute them. The Biden administration views crypto assets as too volatile when compared to traditional assets. According to the White House, crypto assets are “mostly speculative investment vehicles” and fail to serve as effective units of account.

The report argues that cryptocurrencies do not perform well as a medium of exchange due to their limited acceptance and high volatility, which prevents them from being reliable stores of value. The White House also believes that there is a conflict of interest when crypto assets are seen as both a form of money and an investment vehicle. “In summary, in addition to being speculative assets, cryptocurrencies are currently ineffective alternatives to sovereign money, such as the U.S. dollar,” the report’s authors claim.

The White House points out that crypto assets do not fulfill basic monetary promises and warns that stablecoins can pose a run risk. The report highlights the Terra stablecoin implosion as an example, and the White House emphasizes that stablecoins could potentially “disrupt financial stability.” Therefore, “stablecoins are currently too risky to satisfy this need,” according to the president’s economic report. While the White House acknowledges that distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a significant accomplishment in computer science, it also notes that “there have been limited economic benefits” of DLT.

Biden Administration Insists Defi Platforms ‘Should Be Operating in Compliance With Existing Regulations and Rules’

The authors of the report also criticize Web3, referring to it as the “so-called new Internet” and dismissing the benefits that its proponents claim. The White House authors conclude that crypto assets do not offer investments with any fundamental value and that they cannot serve as an effective alternative to fiat money. Instead, the innovation behind crypto assets is mostly focused on creating artificial scarcity to support their prices. According to the White House, many crypto assets have no fundamental value. The Biden administration is wary of financial innovation and sees inherent risks. The report, for example, emphasizes decentralized finance (defi) and the broad range of defi protocols.

“The basic promise behind defi is to replace financial intermediaries, instead linking savers directly with borrowers (or buyers with sellers), allowing them to save on the spread that traditional intermediaries charge for creating the match with software,” the authors explain. “However, they also create serious risks to investors and cause at least two risks for the broader financial system: the use of significant leverage, and the performance of regulated functions without compliance with appropriate regulations. Defi platforms acting as unregulated banks, broker-dealers, exchanges and other entities subject to regulation should be operating in compliance with existing regulations and rules.”

Overall, the Biden administration is skeptical of the value and potential of crypto assets and defi due to concerns over their volatility, limited acceptance, and regulatory compliance. White House researchers suggest that regulating crypto assets is the best approach to this new technology, whether it lasts or not. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers criticize the “illicit finance risks,” pointing out that bad actors could leverage digital assets to inflict disruption in financial markets. Since the White House report was published, it has become a topical conversation for crypto proponents on social media and forums.

What do you think about the Biden administration’s economic report and skepticism towards these new technologies? Share your thoughts about this subject in the comments section below.

Japan’s Largest IT Service Provider Fujitsu Files Trademark Covering Crypto Trading Services

Japanese tech giant Fujitsu has filed a trademark application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that covers several cryptocurrency services. The application specifically mentions “financial management of crypto assets,” “financial exchange of crypto assets,” and “financial broker services for cryptocurrency trading.”

Fujitsu’s Crypto Trademark Application

Fujitsu, one of the world’s largest IT service providers, filed a trademark application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last week for several cryptocurrency products and services. Fujitsu is Japan’s largest IT service provider.

Mike Kondoudis, a USPTO-licensed trademark attorney, tweeted Tuesday:

Is Fujitsu moving into banking, finance & crypto? The international tech co has filed a trademark application for exchanging money, securities trading, insurance brokerage, tax planning, [and] cryptocurrency trading.

Fujitsu’s application (serial number 97842910) filed with the USPTO last Thursday describes numerous goods and services, including the “financial management of crypto assets,” “financial exchange of crypto assets,” and “financial broker services for cryptocurrency trading.”

On Feb. 6, the multinational technology company announced the launch of the “Fujitsu Web3 Acceleration Platform,” which offers “a developmental environment as well as various service APIs based on blockchain and high-performance computing technologies,” the company detailed.

Companies are increasingly filing trademark applications that cover a wide range of crypto products and services, as well as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and the metaverse, including Fidelity Investments, HSBC, Visa, Paypal, Western Union, Formula One, Ford, Ebay, and Facebook owner Meta.

What do you think about Fujitsu filing a trademark application covering crypto trading services? Let us know in the comments section below.

Yellen Says US Could Back All Deposits at Smaller Banks if Needed to Prevent Contagion

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the federal government could guarantee all deposits of smaller banks if they “suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion.” The government recently protected all deposits of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank after they failed.

U.S. Government Ready to Guarantee More Deposits if Needed

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a speech to the American Bankers Association Tuesday that the government is ready to provide additional deposit guarantees if the banking crisis worsens.

Following the failures of several major banks, including Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, the government stepped in and guaranteed all deposits of the two failed banks beyond the usual $250,000 Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) coverage limit. The former Federal Reserve chair explained:

The steps we took were not focused on aiding specific banks or classes of banks. Our intervention was necessary to protect the broader U.S. banking system. And similar actions could be warranted if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion.

“The situation is stabilizing. And the U.S. banking system remains sound,” Yellen insisted.

Nonetheless, Treasury Department staff are reportedly exploring ways to temporarily expand FDIC insurance coverage to all deposits, Bloomberg reported Monday.

Last week, the Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America asked federal regulators to extend FDIC insurance to all deposits for the next two years. “It is imperative we restore confidence among depositors before another bank fails, avoiding panic and a further crisis,” the group said. In addition, U.S. Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer has urged the government to temporarily insure every bank deposit in the country to prevent runs on smaller banks.

However, Yellen dismissed last week the idea of the government providing guarantees for all deposits in the event of future bank failures.

Do you think the government should guarantee all deposits of every bank? Let us know in the comments section below.

Magic Eden Launches Bitcoin Ordinal Inscription Market, Partners With Hiro, Xverse to Bolster Support

On Monday, the non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace Magic Eden announced the launch of Bitcoin Ordinal inscription support. Magic Eden said it has partnered with the wallets Hiro and Xverse to “bring a familiar wallet transaction experience to the marketplace.”

Magic Eden’s Decision to Launch on Bitcoin Without Royalty Support and Compete With Emerging Markets

Magic Eden announced in a recent blog post that it has added Bitcoin Ordinal inscription support to the NFT marketplace. Last year, the Solana-based NFT market expanded to Polygon and Ethereum. With the addition of Bitcoin, Magic Eden now supports a total of four blockchains. The team is also “re-planning a more concerted entry into Ethereum,” according to the blog post.

The Bitcoin-centric section of the marketplace currently features several Bitcoin Ordinal inscription collections, including “Bitcoin Boos,” “Bitcoin JPGs,” “BTC Machines,” “Ordinal Tortoises,” “Unordinals,” “Satoshi Punks, and “Megapunks.”

At the time of writing, there were close to 600,000 Ordinal inscriptions on the Bitcoin blockchain, with a total of 567,622 minted. According to statistics from Dune Analytics, the number of Ordinal inscriptions surpassed the 500,000 milestone on March 17, 2023.

Magic Eden says the recent move to support Ordinal inscriptions is in line with Bitcoin culture. “By building on Bitcoin, we contribute to the culture of trust, security, and decentralization that is synonymous with the blockchain,” the NFT marketplace explained.

The blog post goes on to say:

This move aligns with our mission to promote the benefits of collectibles and blockchain technology while remaining true to the principles that underpin the technology.

Magic Eden’s Bitcoin-centric market will compete with other Ordinal inscription markets that have emerged since inscriptions started gaining traction, such as,, and The marketplace, however, has been an active NFT market for some time, as Magic Eden has recorded $2.08 billion in all-time sales. To smooth the Ordinal inscription support process, the NFT marketplace Magic Eden partnered with the wallets Hiro and Xverse.

According to statistics, Magic Eden ranks as the fifth-largest NFT marketplace in terms of all-time sales. As far as Bitcoin-based Ordinal inscription sales are concerned, Magic Eden said it spent a long time thinking about handling royalties and “decided to launch on Bitcoin without royalty support for now.” Magic Eden has also created a new Twitter handle for the Bitcoin-centric version of the NFT marketplace, which is called @meonbtc.

What do you think the future holds for Bitcoin-based NFT marketplaces? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Crystal Blockchain Study Reveals $16.7 Billion in Crypto Assets Stolen Since 2011

Crystal Blockchain, a company that provides blockchain data and analytics, published a study covering security breaches, fraud, and scams related to cryptocurrency and decentralized finance (defi). According to the study, approximately $16.7 billion in crypto assets have been stolen since 2011. Last year, Crystal’s intelligence team documented 199 incidents resulting in the theft of $4.17 billion in crypto assets. So far this year, there have been 19 different incidents resulting in the theft of $136 million.

Top Countries Targeted by Crypto-Related Incidents: United States Leads in Frequency, China Tops in Value

On Tuesday, Crystal Blockchain released a report providing a comprehensive analysis of fraudulent activities and security vulnerability attacks since 2011. The report reveals that during the past 12 years, there were 461 incidents that took place in 45 countries, resulting in $16.7 billion in stolen crypto assets.

According to Crystal’s intelligence report, 231 defi hacks, 135 security attacks, and 95 fraudulent schemes were reported during this period. Defi hacks ranked second in terms of value, with $4.81 billion stolen, while scams resulted in more than $7.5 billion in stolen crypto assets.

According to the study, the United States has the highest number of incidents against crypto companies and bad actors. However, in terms of overall value, China ranks highest due to the Plus Token Ponzi scam in 2019 and the Wotoken Ponzi in 2020.

Crystal researchers state that until 2021, the most popular attacks were against crypto-exchange security systems, but since then, attackers have shifted to decentralized finance hacks. Currently, Crystal reports that centralized exchange (cex) hacks cause the least amount of financial damage. “In 2022, the ratio of cex versus [decentralized exchange (dex)] hacks was as high as 1:13,” note Crystal’s researchers.

The largest defi hack to date was the Ronin network bridge hack in March 2022, resulting in the loss of over $650 million. The majority of the funds stolen in the Ronin hack were transferred to Tornado Cash, a cryptocurrency mixing service.

Crystal researchers note that “Tornado Cash remains the most popular service for laundering funds on the Ethereum Blockchain.” The report states that last year, stolen crypto assets from the top 10 defi exploits exceeded $2.61 billion. Additionally, non-fungible token (NFT) rug pulls became popular in 2022, with Crystal counting “48 successful scams” during the year.

Crystal Blockchain’s report in its entirety can be read here.

What do you think should be done to improve security measures in the cryptocurrency and decentralized finance (defi) space? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

Crypto Ads in Belgium to Feature ‘Punchy Warning’ of Risks, New Rules Imply

The financial regulatory body of Belgium has been tasked by the government to regulate advertisements for cryptocurrencies. New rules, set to enter into force in May, oblige advertisers to clearly warn investors of the risks associated with the digital assets.

Belgium Poised to Protect Consumers From Misleading Crypto Advertisements

Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) has been granted powers to strictly regulate crypto-themed advertising. The new rules, which will be applied in less than two months, are meant to ensure that the risks linked to virtual currencies are “sufficiently prominent” in such advertisements, the regulator said in an announcement on Monday.

A respective regulation issued by the FSMA, which will supervise compliance, has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette on March 17 and will enter into force on May 17, 2023. It prescribes that crypto-related ads must be accurate and not misleading while pointing out the risks.

It also requires that the FSMA is notified in advance about mass media campaigns, those disseminating advertisements to at least 25,000 consumers. The prior notification would allow the regulatory body to intervene before the start of such campaigns if it deems it necessary to do so.

“Advertisements may not emphasize the potential advantages without also providing an accurate indication of the risks, limitations or conditions. Nor may advertisements contain any statements about the future value or return, and must be written in comprehensible language,” the authority elaborated.

One of the rules supplementing these conditions is that cryptocurrency ads must contain a “short and punchy warning,” stating: “Virtual currencies, real risks. The only guarantee in crypto is risk.” Furthermore, they will have to feature, reference, or link to a broader warning presenting the various risks in detail.

The FSMA also intends to do more in regards to financial education about digital assets. It’s currently producing a series of videos devoted to virtual currencies targeting young people. These are part of an educational package that also includes an information sheet for teachers and a quiz for pupils.

The financial authority’s regulatory move comes after last week Belgium’s former Finance Minister Johan Van Overtveldt called on governments to ban cryptocurrencies amid a banking crisis involving two crypto-friendly banks. It also follows the publication of an article in which the head of the Dutch financial regulator vowed strict treatment of crypto businesses under EU’s Markets in Crypto Assets (MiCA) law.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming crypto advertising rules in Belgium? Tell us in the comments section below.

Former White House Senior Advisor David Plouffe Joins Alchemy Pay Advisory Board

Serving as a committee member of Alchemy Pay’s management and advisory board, and as Global Strategic Adviser to support Alchemy Pay’s expansion and growth in global markets, contributing actively to strategy, compliance and government relations.

Alchemy Pay, Singapore based pioneer of the world’s first payment gateway solution to bridge the gap between fiat and crypto economies, has announced the appointment of legendary campaign manager and former White House Senior Advisor, David Plouffe, as Global Strategic Advisor.

Plouffe is credited with the strategy and grass-roots public engagement savvy that won Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, subsequently becoming Senior Advisor to the President in the Obama Administration. Plouffe has noted Alchemy Pay’s backbone mission in the cryptocurrency industry, and its steady course and leadership in the industry’s evolution.

“Cryptocurrency and decentralized ledgers are the newest permanent features of the global economy,” said Plouffe. “Alchemy Pay has chosen to focus on bridging public sector and private sector agendas as a strategy in its mission to provide fiat-crypto transaction services. Alchemy Pay understands that the key to crypto sustainability and growth is broadening utility cases by focusing on payment channels, proper compliance and user experience.”

After his work for Obama, Plouffe became the Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy for Uber in 2019, and in 2022 Plouffe joined the Binance Global Advisory Board.

About Alchemy Pay

Founded in Singapore in 2018, Alchemy Pay is a payment gateway that seamlessly connects crypto and global fiat currencies for businesses, developers, and users. The Alchemy Pay Ramp Solution is integrated, via plugin or API, with platforms and dApps, providing an easy onramp from fiat currency to crypto. Alchemy Pay supports payments from 173 countries, through Visa, Mastercard, Google Pay, Apple Pay, popular regional mobile wallets, and domestic transfers with a focus on emerging markets. Its offramping capability remits to users in 50+ local fiat currencies. ACH is the Alchemy Pay network token on Ethereum and BNB Chain.




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Bitcoin Network Preps for Another Difficulty Spike as Hashrate Remains Strong and Miners Profit Amid Price Surge

Following the last two difficulty increases on the Bitcoin network, another rise in difficulty is expected to take place on March 24, 2023. Statistics show that Bitcoin’s hashrate has remained high despite the last two adjustments, and block times have been faster than the ten-minute average.

Bitcoin Difficulty Expected to Rise Following the Past Two Consecutive Increases

At the time of writing, Bitcoin’s difficulty is at an all-time high of 43.55 trillion, and the network’s hashrate remains above the 300 exahash per second (EH/s) range at 319.86 EH/s. Bitcoin has risen 26.2% over the last two weeks against the U.S. dollar, which has greatly helped bitcoin miners, and BTC’s spot value is now above the cost to mine it.

Bitcoin miners dealt with two consecutive difficulty increases over the last month, with the first jumping 9.95% higher on Feb. 24, 2023, and the second increasing by 1.16% on March 10. The rise hasn’t seemed to affect bitcoin miners, as block interval times (times between each block mined) are still less than the ten-minute average. Currently, block times range between nine minutes and 28 seconds and nine minutes and 31 seconds.

At present, the estimated difficulty change for Friday, March 24, is expected to be between 2.51% and 5.7% higher than the current 43.55 trillion. If miners maintain or even accelerate their pace, the difficulty after the next adjustment could potentially rise above the 50 trillion hashes mark. Current estimates suggest the target range will be between 44.64 trillion and 49.25 trillion.

Mining distribution statistics show that Foundry USA is currently the top bitcoin mining pool, with 97.22 EH/s or 30.31% of the global hashrate. Foundry is followed by Antpool with 61.03 EH/s, and F2pool with 46.13 EH/s. The top five bitcoin mining pools, including Foundry, Antpool, F2pool, Binance Pool, and Viabtc, command 84.52% of the global hashrate as of March 21, 2023, according to three-day metrics.

What do you think about the expected difficulty increase set to happen in two days? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Biggest Movers: XRP Hits 2-Month High, Despite Crypto Consolidation

Xrp rose to a two-month high on March 21, despite crypto markets mostly consolidating in today’s session. The token surged by as much as 12% on Tuesday, whilst the global market cap is trading 0.51% higher as of writing. Cardano was also in the green today.


XRP, formerly ripple, was one of Tuesday’s biggest movers, as prices rose by as much as 12%.

XRP/USD hit an intraday peak of $0.4283 earlier in today’s session, a day after trading at a low of $0.374.

As a result of Tuesday’s move, xrp has now moved to its strongest point since January 23, breaking out of a key resistance level in the process.

The aforementioned ceiling was at the $0.402 mark, and came as the relative strength index (RSI) also moved beyond its own ceiling.

At the time of writing, the index is tracking at 65.76, which is above a point of resistance at the 57.00 mark

Overall, it appears that bulls are attempting to take XRP to a ceiling of 69.00, which could see prices hit their strongest point since November.

Cardano (ADA)

In addition to XRP, cardano (ADA) also moved higher in Tuesday’s session, with prices trading by as much as 3% higher.

Following a low of $0.3318 to start the week, ADA/USD raced to a high of $0.354 earlier today.

The surge pushed the token close to its long-term ceiling at $0.357, which has mostly been in place since the start of March.

Looking at the chart, it appears that the climb coincided with the RSI moving to a resistance zone of its own.

As of writing, the index is tracking at 52.31, which is marginally below the aforementioned ceiling at 53.00

Should a breakout occur, it is likely that ADA will move closer to the $0.370 mark.

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Do you believe that cardano will hit $0.370 this week? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.