Mark Cuban sees $1 written in DOGE’s tea leaves

“If we sell another 6,556,000,000 DOGE worth of Mavs merch, Dogecoin will definitely hit $1,” said the Dallas Mavericks owner.

After only three days accepting Dogecoin (DOGE) as a form of payment, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is predicting the price of the token will eventually hit $1. 

In a Saturday tweet, Cuban said customers had used more than 20,000 Dogecoin — roughly $1,018 at the time of publication — in transactions for the Dallas Mavericks, claiming the franchise was now “the largest Dogecoin merchant in the world.” The billionaire predicted that if basketball fans were to purchase 6,556,000,000 DOGE worth of Mavericks merchandise, the price of the token would “definitely hit $1.”

The Mavericks were one of the first NBA franchises to recognize crypto as a form of payment for tickets and merchandise, having started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) through wallet company BitPay two years ago. Mavericks fans can also pay for gear and souvenirs with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), USD Coin (USDC), Gemini dollar (GUSD), Paxos Standard (PAX) and Binance USD (BUSD).

Despite being created as a joke, DOGE has surged in the last few months as billionaires including Cuban and Tesla CEO Elon Musk have mentioned the token on social media. Musk’s tweets have likely contributed to the price of the token rising from $0.01 in January to an all-time high of $0.078. At the time of publication, the DOGE price is $0.0509, meaning the token would need to surge 1,864% to reach $1.

The Dallas Mavericks owner previously described DOGE as an “economics teaching tool,” saying the token was the “best entertainment bang for your buck available” on the crypto market. Even with the surge in DOGE payments for the basketball franchise, Cuban said he was still “having fun” and hasn’t changed his opinions about the token.

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Robinhood announces plans to offer crypto deposits and withdrawals

Robinhood’s reputation has taken a battering lately, but it hopes to regain credibility among the crypto community by introducing cryptocurrency transfers.

The controversy-laden trading platform Robinhood announced on Wednesday that it intends to implement cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals. While customers have been able to buy and sell cryptocurrency via the platform for some time, they are unable to access the coins themselves to transfer them to other wallets.

According to a series of tweets published from the company’s Twitter account, work on integration of cryptocurrency transfers has already begun, though no dates or specifics were provided on when it will go live.

Robinhood also clarified that crypto deposits would be custodied by their own wallets and added that the company does not invest in cryptocurrency and will not use customer funds for its own benefit.

Robinhood currently has seven cryptocurrencies listed for trade on their platform, including Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin SV (BSV). It is unclear if they intend to roll out support for transfers of all seven coins.

On Jan. 29, Robinhood suspended instant fiat deposits in response to social-media-fueled speculation, chalking up the decision as a reaction to “extraordinary market conditions.” The company was already under fire from both customers and regulators after restricting purchases of a select handful of securities offered for trade on its platform. By Feb. 4, Robinhood had reinstated instant deposits for crypto purchases.

The decision to expand cryptocurrency-related services comes at a time of increasing distrust of centralized service providers. Not everyone believes the move to offer crypto deposits and withdrawals will help Robinhood regain credibility lost through its recent actions. Others have questions about how the deposit and withdrawal process will work, specifically as it relates to customer access of private keys.

On Feb. 7, a 30-second NFL Super Bowl commercial aired for Robinhood in which a new slogan for the company was unveiled: “We are all investors.”

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88% of all BTC transfers are overpaying transaction fees

Three and a half years after the activation of SegWit, adoption of the space-saving transaction format is still far from ideal.

According to analysis by Mark “Murch” Erhardt of Chaincode Labs, 88% of all Bitcoin transaction inputs pay higher fees than are necessary. Erhardt bases his conclusion on data showing just 12% of transaction inputs use the SegWit format, which is less fee intensive than transacting with legacy inputs.

Erhardt believes that a reliance on legacy transaction fees keeps Bitcoin blocks smaller than they could otherwise be, contributing to a seemingly growing backlog of unconfirmed transactions.

A clogged up Bitcoin mempool containing 107 blocks worth of transactions at one point yesterday serves as a reminder that it is possible to save money on fees by creating less costly transactions. The easiest way to do this, according to Erhardt, is by adopting SegWit for all future transactions.

Erhardt pointed out that switching from legacy to data efficient SegWit transactions is necessary to minimize bloating of the blockchain:

“The longer less efficient output formats are prevalent, the more future blockspace debt we accumulate.”

Erhardt believes that integration of SegWit into major wallet provision services is long overdue, contributing to unnecessary mempool and blockchain bloat. “It’s been almost 3.5 years since SegWit activated,” he noted at the end of a thread about the state of the mempool.

“At what point is it acceptable to consider wallets that cannot send to native SegWit addresses outdated?”

Employed for years as a cryptocurrency wallet developer before being hired at Chaincode Labs in 2020, Erhardt is a specialist in UTXO management for commercial Bitcoin wallets, helping them save money on business-related transaction and maintenance costs in a variety of ways.

SegWit transactions currently account for approximately 51% of all Bitcoin transactions; a statistic that is deemed likely to grow in size as commercial wallet providers face rising demand for SegWit address support.

The estimated minimum fee for inclusion into the next block is currently 149 sat/byte, which equates to a fee of $14.97 at a price of $44,870 per BTC.

How using SegWit saves on transaction fees

While SegWit transactions are technically no smaller in size than legacy transactions, the components of their data are weighted differently when it comes to including them in a block.

Data pertaining to the witness component of a transaction is considered to be non-essential to a functioning blockchain and therefore discounted when totaling a transaction’s size. This makes SegWit transactions appear smaller and therefore require less of a fee to process — they are quicker to confirm than a legacy transaction with the same fee

How to start using SegWit now

After finding a competent and trustworthy wallet that supports SegWit transactions, the most important component to using SegWit is moving funds designated to be spent from legacy addresses (begins with a “1” or “3”) to SegWit addresses (begins with a “bc1”).

One of the most popular and battle-tested Bitcoin wallets with SegWit support is Electrum, which also supports multi-signature transactions and the import/export of private keys. A growing number of major exchanges are adopting SegWit support, including Bitstamp, BitMEX, and most recently, Binance. This means transactions to exchanges can also be made cheaper by sending them from a SegWit address.

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Darknet market link provider claims its Bitcoin donors’ accounts were frozen

The admin of a well-known darknet market link provider claims its donation address was flagged as suspicious after it criticized Chainalysis’ KYT flagging system.

The administrator of dark.fail, a website providing verified links to darknet markets, claims that exchanges are unfairly closing accounts donating Bitcoin to the service after implementing a Chainalysis transaction flagging system.

The admin alleged in a tweet that two donors of Bitcoin to the website had their accounts blocked by exchanges that recently implemented Chainalysis’ new KYT — or Know Your Transaction — blockchain monitoring service.

The admin believes there is a connection between the account closures and its staunch and vocal criticism of Chainalysis, however the accounts may simply have been flagged automatically due to links to the darknet. While the site can be viewed as a gateway to the darknet, dark.fail’s Twitter bio classifies the account as an: “Anonymous journalist researching Tor: the uncensored internet.”

Dark.fail is a long standing critic of Chainalysis KYT flagging accounts as suspicious with no avenue for appeal. In Jan. 2020, the admin accused the blockchain analytics company of enabling the “theft” of customer funds that had been marked as suspicious by hidden KYT processes.

One of dark.fail’s BTC donation addresses, listed on the website home page recently as Dec. 2, 2020, contains nearly 40 transactions. The BTC donation option has since been removed from the website, which now only accepts contributions in the form of privacy coin Monero.

Chainalysis describes KYT as “an automated, real-time cryptocurrency transaction monitoring and compliance solution” which is used to detect patterns indicating “risky activity.” It is currently used by over 150 companies in 40 different countries. Chainalysis has also assisted government-led investigations in the past, helping to break up a notorious ransomware network last month.

While dark.fail’s status as an “anonymous journalist” is debatable, the report comes amid an atmosphere where journalist practices can be labeled as criminal activities. On Monday, a letter signed by the ACLU and other civil right defense groups called for the U.S. Department of Justice to drop charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, likening his indictment to “a grave threat to press freedom.”

In May 2019, one of the oldest websites about darknet related subjects, DeepDotWeb, was seized by law enforcement after its administrators were arrested on money laundering conspiracy charges. The two admins are suspected of taking millions in cryptocurrency kickbacks from darknet markets listed on their website.

According to stats provided by alexa.com, dark.fail is one of the most popular darknet market link providers on the internet, ranked #52,345 globally in terms of website traffic.

Cointelegraph has contacted Chainalysis for comment and will update this story with their response.

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‘Expensive lesson’: 75 Eth2 validators slashed for introducing potential chain split bug

A company providing nodes for Eth2 stakers was penalized for breaking safety protocols in the pursuit of higher performance.

Staking infrastructure provider Staked said it had learned “an expensive lesson” after 75 of its Eth2 validators were slashed on Feb. 4 from the staking pool as punishment for producing competing blocks. 

In a statement, Staked took the blame for the “technical issue” and said its customers would be “fully compensated”. The company will pay the penalty of 18 ETH, which is around $29,000 at current prices.

An unanticipated reaction to configuration changes caused several nodes managed by Staked to restart in error, leading them to incorrectly sign a second version of a previously-signed block. This introduced the potential for a split in the Ethereum blockchain.

According to Eth2 statistics maintained at Beaconcha.in, the snafu at Staked resulted in the largest single validator slashing event to occur since the Beacon Chain project went live on Dec. 1 2020. Validator slashings have otherwise been a rare occurrence so far.

Staked admitted it had made mistakes while pursuing “technical performance over double-signing robustness,” describing the outcome as “not a good trade-off.”

“We attempted to scale up the number of beacon nodes to get better performance […] The performance gains we achieved weren’t worth the additional risk we inadvertently added.”

Staked added that no customer funds were harmed by the bug and they will reimburse affected customers with ETH held in the slashed validators, as well as their accumulated rewards.

The validators were slashed between blocks 456892 and 457585, with the official reason for slashing listed as “Attestation Violation.”

Anticipation for Eth2 is increasing as overbearing gas fees are preventing ordinary users from being able to transact on the Ethereum blockchain. However, the bug momentarily introduced by Staked serves as a reminder that significant testing is still required before Eth2 can advance to the next phase of release.

Despite the recent slashing, the number of validators on Beacon Chain — the initial phase of the Eth2 rollout — is currently at an all-time high of 91,701. This reflects a gain of 25,000 validators over the last two week.

With 32 ETH per validator, the overall value of Ether stored in the Eth2 Deposit Contract is now $4.7 billion.

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