Bitcoin plunged after one of the largest exchanges halted trading because hackers stole about $65 million of the digital currency.
Bitcoin slumped 5.3 percent against the dollar as of 10:17 a.m. on Wednesday in Tokyo, bringing its two-day drop to 13 percent. Prices also sank 6.2 percent on Monday, although it was not clear if that initial move was related to the hack.
Hong Kong-based exchange Bitfinex said on Tuesday that it halted trading, withdrawals and deposits after discovering the security breach. The exchange said it was still investigating details and cooperating with law enforcement, but acknowledged that some bitcoin have been stolen from its users.
“Yes – it is a large breach,” Fred Ehrsam, co-founder of Coinbase, a cryptocurrency wallet and trading platform, wrote in an e-mail. “Bitfinex is a large exchange, so it is a significant short term event, although Bitcoin has shown its resiliency to these sorts of events in the past.”
Bitfinex confirmed in a message to Bloomberg News on Wednesday that the hackers took 119,756 bitcoin, or about $65 million at current prices. More than $1.5 billion has been wiped out from bitcoin’s market capitalization this week, according to research from CoinDesk.
“We will look at various options to address customer losses later in the investigation,” Bitfinex wrote in a blog post. “We ask for the community’s patience as we unravel the causes and consequences of this breach.”
The Hong Kong exchange was the largest for U.S. dollar-denominated transactions over the past month, according to bitcoincharts.com. Chinese exchange OKCoin was the largest overall bourse for trading in the digital currency, over 90 percent of which is denominated in the Chinese yuan.
The price drop was reminiscent to the market reaction after Tokyo-based Mt. Gox — then the largest bitcoin exchange in the world — disclosed it was hacked in February 2014 and filed for bankruptcy weeks later. Bitcoin prices plunged 30 percent that month.
Bitfinex halted trading in all digital currencies, including ethereum, but said losses were limited to bitcoin. It did not immediately respond to questions whether deposits in non-digital currencies such as U.S. dollars were safe.
“Bitfinex is in lockdown/investigation mode, so we’re not going to know anything for sure for a few days,” Peter Todd, one of the key developers who work on bitcoin, wrote in an e-mail.
Pantami Moves to Tackle $2.16bn Capital Flight from Telecoms Sector
$2.16bn Leaves Telecommunications Sector Yearly
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has put the total capital flight from the telecommunications sector at $2.16 billion per year.
A large part of the total amount comes from those renewing and purchasing software licenses, domain subscriptions and renewals, and cybersecurity.
The minister said to stem the trend, the ministry has developed a policy to promote local content in the sector.
In his speech at the digital day celebration, Pantami said the Indigenous Content Development and Adoption, under Pillar #8 of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (2020 – 2030), would tackle the issue.
Pantami said, “As part of our efforts to promote indigenous content, we have developed a policy for promoting indigenous content in the telecom sector to complement similar efforts that focus on the information technology sector.
“This is important to stem the tide of capital flight, among other things. A report of the Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria suggests that such capital flight in the telecom sector is as high as $2.16bn annually.
“A healthy digital economy requires a robust indigenous content policy to significantly reduce this.”
Pantami stated that there was an urgent need to promote and support the development of indigenous content in all sectors.
He explained that the Indigenous Content Development and Adoption pillar was addressing this for the digital economy.
“This pillar aligns with Executive Orders 003 of May 2017 and 005 of February 2018, on ‘Support for Local Content Procurements by Ministries, Department and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking on broadband, the minister said the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) was created to speed up the growth of broadband connectivity in Nigeria.
Pantami said, “The plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025.
“This will be at a price not more than N390 per 1GB of data (two per cent of median income or one per cent of minimum wage).”
Nigeria’s Fintech Startups Raised $122 Million in 2019
Financial Technology Startups in Nigeria Raised $122 Million in 2019
Financial Technology (fintech) startups in Nigeria raised a combined $122 million in 2019, according to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Mr. Olumide Bolumole, the Divisional Head of Listings Business, NSE, disclosed this while speaking on the fintech industry and its growth in recent years.
“The Fintech industry in Nigeria continues to gain increasing popularity after taking the lead in Africa and attracting $122 million in funds in 2019.
“At the exchange, we recognise the opportunity to provide a platform where players in the Fintech landscape can have easier access to right-sized capital to fulfil their organisational objectives.
“The NSE is, therefore, committed to developing multiple solutions to address the needs of the Fintech community in Nigeria such as the provision of the NSE Growth Board.
“The exchange will also prioritise collaborations with organisations such as FinTechNGR to ensure solutions from this webinar are implemented for the benefit of the sector,” he said.
However, with just about 200 fintech companies in Nigeria, the sector is still young and just emerging with room for growth, considering the fact that most Nigerians are still unbanked.
Fintech Companies Raised $554 Million in Investment Last Week
Financial Technology Firms Raised $554 Million Investment Capital Last Week
Financial Technology (Fintech) companies raised a combined $554.17 million from investment rounds last week.
A data compiled by Finbold showed the top 25 fintech firms were led by Razorpay and Wealthsimple.
Razorpay, a payment platform, raised $100 million to account for 18.04 percent of the total amount raised during the week. This was followed by Wealthsimple’s $87 million.
Deepwatch came third with $53 million while NYDIG and M1 Finance came fourth and fifth with $50 million and $45 million, respectively.
Other noteable fintechs include Extend $40 million; FOSSA $30.55 million; +Simple $23.75 million; Finexio $23 million; and Sonrai Security $20 million.
On the other hand, Evolve Credit was the last among the 25 companies. It raised $0.025 million while Upside Saving raised the second least fund at $0.42 million. Also, they were the two firms that raised below $1 million in the week under review.
Oliver Scott, a Finbold editor, who spoke on funding in the fintech sector, said “Notably, venture capital is still the primary source of funding for fintech startups. However, new trends indicate a high level of private equity and debt financing. Additionally, more funding activity is concentrated around later funding rounds. The sector is also witnessing a rise in IPOs and acquisitions. Such trends are pointing to a maturing market.”
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