- Solana crypto Saga Chapter 2 Launched and sparked a pre-order frenzy with exclusive perks, and a $450 price tag.
- 29-year-old Ukrainian hacker leveraged stolen cloud account credentials to create a million-server Bitcoin mining ring and make $2 million
- Texas froze over within the week and forced miners to turn off their machines, thereby crippling the Bitcoin network by +30%.
- A Chainalysis report revealed that stablecoins dominate 73% of illegal crypto transactions, instead of Bitcoin, as widely believed
- Franklin Templeton praised Solana’s achievements, sparking speculation about a potential ETF launch.
The third week of January has gone by just as quickly as it came, with the usual business of hacks, launches and crashes in terms of price and other metrics.
In this article, we will be going over the week in retrospect, picking out some of the most interesting crypto stories from all over the internet, and helping you stay on top of things.
Here are five of the biggest stories in crypto over the last week.
Solana Is Launching Another Version Of The Saga Phone
Solana Mobile, a branch of Solana Labs, announced the launch of another mobile phone this week.
This comes after the initial success of the Saga phone, which sold out in December 2023 after the price of BONK started to skyrocket.
According to the announcement, the new Solana phone will have a built-in crypto wallet, a Seed Vault for safe backup and recovery, and a dApp store connected to the Solana blockchain.
It will also grant Chapter 2 owners access to exclusive discounts, experiences, and content (meaning that a replay of the BONK frenzy might be incoming).
The new phone will have a bigger 6.8-inch OLED screen, an improved Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2 CPU, up to 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, 5G connectivity, improved water resistance, and quicker charging times.
It will also cost about $450, which is less than half of Saga’s $1,000 launch price. According to Yahoo!, this new phone has already registered about 30,000 preorders in the first 30 hours after the announcement on January 18, 2024.
About The Ukrainian Crypto Hacker Who Made A Million Servers And Mined $2 Million in Bitcoin
This week, a 29-year-old Ukrainian hacker was arrested for a clever, yet very illegal scheme involving Bitcoin mining.
According to a police report from Europol, the hacker was arrested in Mykolaiv, Ukraine, after stealing about 1,500 cloud account credentials from unsuspecting victims and finding a way to make a million mining servers from them.
He then put these servers to work, mining Bitcoin day after day, and netting a total of about $2 million (€1.8 million) in illicit profits.
Moreover, the hacker also used all of that computing power from these servers to start campaigns like DDoS and phishing attacks, causing unexplained fees for the owners of these stolen credentials.
How A Wave Of Cold And Ice In Texas Crippled The Bitcoin Network
The US is one of the Bitcoin mining superpowers worldwide.
It also turns out that Texas is one of the main centres for Bitcoin mining in the United States, because of its cheap and abundant energy sources, particularly from solar and wind energy.
However, these sources turned out to be ineffective after a wave of cold hit the state.
More people turned on heaters to keep warm throughout the power grid, causing a massive drawback in available power.
As a result, many mining farms in the state had to reduce or shut down their electricity consumption.
Such a drag in Texas’ contribution to the Bitcoin mining pool caused the global Bitcoin hashrate to drop from over 629 exahashes per second on Jan. 11, to around 415 EH/s by Jan. 15.
As if that wasn’t enough, CryptoQuant also reported that on January 17, miner reserves of Bitcoin decreased by 10,233 BTC, or almost $450 million according to its price at the time.
This turned out to be the most massive miner sell-off in over a year.
Stablecoins, Not Bitcoin Are The Most Preferred Asset Class For Scammers And Hackers, According To Chainalysis
Leading blockchain analysis firm, Chainalysis recently released a report stating that in 2023, stablecoins represented 73% of all illegal crypto transactions.
This presents itself as a significant increase from 59% in 2022.
Chainalysis calculated that illegal stablecoin transactions in 2022 and 2023 totalled $40 billion, beating other assets like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
In essence, it means that while Bitcoin used to be the most favoured asset among bad actors in the crypto space, Stablecoins are now more preferred due to their liquidity and stability.
Moreover, Chainalysis also proved that sanctions were mostly ineffective in 2023 because services and entities sanctioned by the OFAC still moved about $14 billion worth of transaction volume, or 61.5% of the total stolen funds in 2023.
Why We Might Be Seeing a Solana Etf From Franklin Templeton
This week on 17 January, Franklin Templeton, an asset management giant with assets worth over $1.5 trillion, took to Twitter to shower praise on Solana.
Franklin Templeton’s tweet praised Solana’s “single atomic state machine” concept, and highlighted several achievements of the network in the fourth quarter of 2023, including DePIN, DeFi, memecoins, NFT innovation, and the Firedancer upgrade.
Naturally, things like these fail to escape the crypto community’s notice, and people began to ask:
“Why the sudden interest in Solana?” And more importantly, “Is Franklin Templeton about to launch a Solana ETF?”
Franklin Templeton has demonstrated a strong interest in the crypto market, particularly Bitcoin, despite not announcing its intentions for Solana ETF yet.
However, a new class of ETFs may emerge very soon, with Solana possibly among them.
Disclaimer: Voice of Crypto aims to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, but it will not be responsible for any missing facts or inaccurate information. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile financial assets, so research and make your own financial decisions.