CryptoPunks #5822 Surpasses #7523 as the “Most Expensive CryptoPunks” 

CryptoPunks #5822 is one of the rarest CryptoPunks collectibles since it’s one of only nine aliens among 10,000 NFT collectible. Its previous price was only $1,600 or 8 ETH when it was last sold in 2017. The buyer of the rare CryptoPunks collectible was Deepak Thapliyal, CEO of Chain, a cloud blockchain infrastructure firm. 

According to reports, the latest CryptoPunks sale has broken all records for a single NFT sale. Before the sale, there were only 3 CryptoPunks collectibles that were included in the list of the most expensive NFT ever sold in the market. CryptoPunk #7523, CryptoPunk #3100 and CryptoPunk #7804. But with the latest sale, there are now 4 of them. 

As revealed by Thapliyal in a tweet, he was able to make the purchase by using leverage through DeFi lending protocol Compound Finance.

His tweet received several replies including one from NFT influencer Gary Vee who holds the largest collection of 59 CryptoPunks.

The CryptoPunks NFT collection was first launched in 2017 and from the 10,000 collections, only 10% 0r 1,000 were owned by the creators. The remaining 90% or  9,000 were distributed to users as free through an airdrop. In data by Larva Labs, the floor price for CryptoPunks is now at 69.89 ETH or $204,892 with ETH (ethereum) current price at $2,931.

Bitcoin Price Drops as Russia-Ukraine Tension Intensifies

Ukraine and Russia flag torn

BTC (Bitcoin), the most dominant cryptocurrency and a correlative asset, is now again on a crazy price swing amid the intensified tension between neighboring countries Russia and Ukraine.

The cryptocurrency has just recovered from a recent price crash as a result of the US Fed announcement of hiking interest rates to counter inflation and the possibility of the country’s issuing its own digital currency. On Jan. 24, BTC (Bitcoin) dropped to as low as $32,900 but on Feb. 4, it breached the $40K mark with its price of $41,737 sending the whole market in euphoria with most expecting that this could be the much-awaited “euphoric bull run”.  But the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine has made the price of the digital asset take an opposite direction contrary to expectations.

Fear has engulfed the market resulting in investors’ sell-off of riskier assets both in the crypto and traditional market. News of Russia’s plan to invade Ukraine has circulated in international media and has made investors tremble with fear. In a recent report by CNN, 100,000 Russian troops were deployed and new bases were built near Ukraine’s border. This could be an indication that Russia will be launching a military attack anytime. Even the US government had warned that the attack can happen anytime as stated in a report by BBC. 

Inflation is another factor that has brought the price of Bitcoin to tumble down. In a report by The Guardian, inflation recorded the highest level in 40 years. Major cryptocurrencies like ETH (ethereum), BNB (Binance Coin), XRP (Ripple) tumbled down along with BTC (Bitcoin). Also, “ETH killers” ADA (Cardano), SOL (Solana), LUNA (Terra), DOT (Polkadot), and AVAX (Avalanche) once top gainers were now among the top losers. 

BTC (Bitcoin), a volatile asset has become even more volatile due to certain factors but primarily because it is considered a risky asset by investors. If this is the case, how can it replace precious metals like gold in the future? Will it ever happen as touted by crypto proponents? BTC (Bitcoin) is now at $42,502.59 and is slightly up by 1.03% in a 24-hr chart. 

Vitalik Buterin Appeals to Russia President Putin Over Alleged Ukraine Invasion

Vitalik Buterin appealed to Pres. Putin to stop Ukraine invasion

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin is now one of the most influential personalities not only in the crypto world but also in the real world given his status,  is a Russian by birth. And with this, he appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the country’s alleged Ukraine invasion. 

Buterin sent his message to Putin through a tweet in Russian, his native language.

If translated, here’s Buterin’s message to Pres. Putin:

“An attack on Ukraine can only harm Russia, Ukraine and humanity.

 Whether the situation will return to a peaceful path or there will be a war can now be decided not by Zelensky, not by NATO, but by @KremlinRussia

 I hope they choose wisely.”

It can be recalled that the Ethereum founder had a brief encounter with Putin during the International Economic Forum held in St. Petersburg in 2017. Kremlin has yet to reply to Buterin’s tweet. The tweet has reached 14.3K likes as of writing.

US DOJ Recovers $3.6B in Bitcoin from Bitfinex Hack in 2016

US DOJ recovered $3.6B of Bitcoin from Bitfinex hacking incident in 2016

The US DOJ has recovered $3.6B in Bitcoin from the Bitfinex hack back in 2016. Ilya Lichtenstein, 34, and his wife, Heather Morgan, 31 were the alleged culprits behind the hacking incident. It was further revealed that the couple conspired to launder the amassed 119,754 Bitcoin but failed as stated by  Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco.

“Today’s arrests, and the department’s largest financial seizure ever, show that cryptocurrency is not a safe haven for criminals. In a futile effort to maintain digital anonymity, the defendants laundered stolen funds through a labyrinth of cryptocurrency transactions. Thanks to the meticulous work of law enforcement, the department once again showed how it can and will follow the money, no matter what form it takes.”

Despite efforts by the couple to hide their ill-gotten, the long arms of the law have finally reached them. Chief Jim Lee of IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) commented on the matter:

“In a methodical and calculated scheme, the defendants allegedly laundered and disguised their vast fortune. IRS-CI Cyber Crimes Unit special agents have once again unraveled a sophisticated laundering technique, enabling them to trace, access and seize the stolen funds, which has amounted to the largest cryptocurrency seizure to date, valued at more than $3.6 billion”

FBI Deputy Director Paul M. Abbate also made remarks that cryptocurrency’s anonymity is more than just a myth. 

“Criminals always leave tracks, and today’s case is a reminder that the FBI has the tools to follow the digital trail, wherever it may lead.” 

This also serves as a warning for bad actors who planning to launch a crypto heist in the future. 

Lichtenstein and Morgan were both charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. If proven guilty, the couple will be subjected to 20 years of imprisonment. They were also charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States which carries a maximum of five years imprisonment.

As the blockchain evolves and so are tools used by authorities to track down bad actors lurking in the dark spaces of crypto. Tracking crypto transactions and recovering stolen digital assets were now made possible thanks to technology. It seems like it’s even easier to track cryptocurrencies now than laundered money. Chainalysis, a blockchain data platform has even aided authorities in recovering stolen digital assets in the past. The company has worked closely with the US DOJ for the successful recovery of $1 billion worth of crypto assets from Silk Road