Is Crypto Legal in Russia or Russia Bans Cryptocurrency?

Is Crypto Legal in Russia or Russia Bans Cryptocurrency?


In Russia, cryptocurrencies are still steadily developing as the Russian government continues to evaluate and assess its regulations and legislation on the rapidly emerging digital asset. Recently, Russia has taken a few steps with regard to crypto that might see cryptocurrencies approved for use for cross-border transactions.

In September 2022, the Bank of Russia and the country's Ministry of Finance announced that they have come to an agreement that allows for cross-border payments in cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, Russian government officials also made public in a Reuters article that they will ‘sooner or later legalize cryptocurrencies as a means of payment.' Such policies seem to be in motion as the two main financial institutions in Russia have also reportedly agreed to approve the use of crypto payments in international trade.

Is Cryptocurrency Legal in Russia

This comes at a time when Russia is battling with sanctions. Sanctions are restrictions imposed by one nation on another to prevent the latter from violating international law. Western countries have imposed broader sanctions against Russia, targeting banks, individuals, businesses, and key government-controlled and owned industries.

The assets of Russia's central bank have been frozen to prevent the country from accessing its $630 billion in foreign currency reserves. The finance ministry has rejected the central bank's calls for a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies.

Russian citizens turned to crypto as in many cases, it remains one of the few available financial tools. After Visa and Mastercard exited the Russian market and some banks were disconnected from SWIFT, crypto, in particular USDT stablecoin, became one of the popular ways to transfer money abroad. The government doesn't seem to have any objections to this, and the legalization of the asset class seems to have widespread support among the Russian administration.

Will Russia Ban Crypto After a Ban From EU?

Opposing the actions of the Russian government, the European Union has just confirmed a sweeping ban on providing crypto services to Russians as it tightens its sanctions.

Bitcoin Magazine

The bloc introduced an eighth set of economic and political measures against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine in February, tightening a previous rule that limited crypto payments to European wallets to 10,000 EUR ($9,900).

‘The existing prohibitions on crypto assets have been tightened by banning all crypto-asset wallets, accounts, or custody services, irrespective of the amount of the wallet,' the European Commission said in a statement on Thursday, after proposals it made last week were signed off by EU governments. The new crypto ban by the EU forbids services being offered by European crypto providers to Russian residents and entities, unless they live in the bloc.

However, Anatoly Aksakov, the head of the State Duma Committee on Financial Market, claims that this will only encourage Russia to develop its own blockchain technologies. In addition, I have noted that modern technology allows Russians to bypass these restrictions.

‘Similar sanctions have been imposed before. They closed official representative offices of their crypto exchanges in Russia, however, in reality, this changed nothing. People can use a virtual office, and it doesn't matter whether they are in Russia, China or America,' said the chairman of the committee. Aksakov is confident that next year will be the year of digital financial assets in Russia.

EU Crypto Ban: Consequences for the Russian Citizens

The measures that the European Union introduced could effectively shut down access for Russian citizens to use cryptocurrency wallets on major cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Binance or Coinbase.

In March 2022, trading volume in the rouble-USDT pair exceeded 30 million in US dollar equivalent, although before that it was mostly around 5 million and below. Russians actively used the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, Binance, and its peer-to-peer service. In addition, many crypto exchanges come from outside the European Union and a huge number of crypto wallets are still anonymous.

Even under the EU sanctions, decentralized exchanges, which have no centralized intermediary between buyer and seller and trade crypto assets through smart contracts, will remain available to Russian users. Such exchanges have no control over transactions between their users – nor do they store their customers' funds or their cryptocurrency wallet passwords. And because such exchanges do not store customer funds, they are not popular with hackers. These exchanges often do not comply with the financial laws of any country, so decentralized exchanges have not imposed restrictions against customers from Russia.

Even if most well-known exchanges obey the new ban imposed by the EU, traders from Russia could switch to crypto exchanges such as FTX, Huobi, and Bybit. This leaves plenty of room for maneuver for the Russian crypto enthusiasts that hold many popular cryptocurrencies.

How Much Crypto Do Russians Own?

At the beginning of 2022, the Kremlin estimated that Russians own roughly 10 trillion rubles ($124 billion) worth of digital assets. Bloomberg gives other numbers. According to Bloomberg, Russians own 16.5 trillion rubles ($214 billion), around 12% of all worldwide cryptocurrency holdings.

Amongst the 14.6 million Russians who own cryptocurrencies, Ethereum is the most popular digital asset, with 32% of Russian crypto owners holding that currency. Surprisingly, Bitcoins in Russia seem to be less popular: Bitcoin occupies the second place with 30.8%. The blooming altcoin scene in Russia is reflected in their ownership data as almost one in every five crypto owners in Russia most likely own Ripple, Dogecoin, or Solana. Russia is also among the few countries where more women own crypto as opposed to men.

The State of Crypto in Russia

Earlier this year, the Bank of Russia claimed that it is actively working on the development of digital financial instruments. The digital ruble and digital financial assets (DFA) represent tools needed for the development of the digital economy. At the same time, the Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance have agreed on the position on the regulation of cryptocurrency mining. According to the Anatoly Aksakov, mining should be allowed only in energy-scarce regions. At the same time, cryptocurrency mining should be prohibited in regions with a shortage of energy.

Along with these new developments, the Ministry of Finance, Rosfinmonitoring, and the Russian Central Bank are actively working on regulation of issuance, circulation, and transactions in digital currencies for settlements with other countries. The current version of the bill concerns not only the local infrastructure for cryptocurrency trading, but also additional mining regulation. It seems that the Russian government is searching for ways to encourage cross-border transactions.

US to Tighten Crypto Legislation?

As a response to these actions by the Russian government, the US government exercises its own measures. The Russia Cryptocurrency Transparency Act passed the House and moved to the Senate, where it is currently in committee. The bill will require the State Department to submit a report to Congress detailing how ‘cryptocurrencies or other technologies incorporating blockchain' have been used to promote economic development and provide humanitarian aid to Ukraine, according to the current draft. It will also ask the Treasury and the State Department to compile a report on how cryptos impact the effectiveness and enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

Additionally, the Treasury Department warned that unregulated cryptocurrencies could pose a risk to the US financial system. The warning was a part of the first major public report released by the Treasury's Financial Stability Oversight Council on digital assets.

‘The report concludes that crypto-asset activities could pose risks to the stability of the US financial system and emphasizes the importance of appropriate regulation, including enforcement of existing laws,' Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said. ‘It is vital that government stakeholders collectively work to make progress on these recommendations.'

In March 2022, chairman Sherrod Brown said: ‘It's imperative we strengthen our financial resilience and national security right now. That includes protecting Americans from the risks of crypto to our economy and ensuring crypto can't be used to skirt the law.'

Crypto Exchanges in Russia

At the moment, it seems that the new bans and regulations haven't had any influence on the most popular Russian crypto exchanges, including a crypto exchange aggregator called BestChange. The website collects the most popular and trustworthy exchanges in Russia that citizens use to buy and withdraw cryptocurrencies. Some of them don't even require an ID or a KYC and the transactions are processed card-to-card, which is convenient for many crypto holders.

BestChange serves as a reliable alternative to separate platforms that can cheat crypto holders out of their money. Most exchanges try to stay in the Top-100 of this website as customers can influence their platform with their reviews, positive or negative, and take the exchange out of business. All in all, the crypto space in Russia seems to be doing relatively well despite the new developments on the global crypto scene.

Conclusion

The new actions taken by the governments of the US and the EU are aimed at stopping the war, and by doing this, they are splitting the global finance arena, which might lead to severe consequences for the decentralized world of crypto. However, blockchain and crypto do at least provide an innovative and even inspiring model for how systems can transcend and resist the forces of deglobalization. In essence, they are technical means to provide services across borders without reliance on fragile political trust. For now, it's fascinating and a bit scary to watch the crypto landscape change and evolve.


Follow us on Medium, TwitterTelegram, YouTube, and Reddit to stay updated about the latest news on StealthEX.io and the rest of the crypto world.

Don't forget to do your own research before buying any crypto. The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

Tags: crypto crypto world cryptocurrency Russia USDT



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What to Expect After the Ethereum Merge | by Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD | Coinmonks | Oct, 2022


Note: blog post outlined and partially written by Jasper AIwhich is a software platform that is an AI-powered copy generator and writing assistant.

Key takeaways:

  1. The Ethereum merge has created a more unified and powerful blockchain
  2. What does this mean for the future of Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies?
  3. How will this change the way businesses operate and interact with each other online?
  4. What challenges must be overcome in order to achieve widespread adoption of blockchain technology?
  5. Is there potential for Ethereum to become the global currency of choice for online transactions?

Background:

Now that the Ethereum network has transitioned from a proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake mechanism, what comes next for the Ethereum network?

Ethereum's move to a proof-of-stake consensus algorithm is a significant change for the network. This change will have far-reaching implications for how Ethereum operates and how it is able to scale in the future.

Key Benefits of Moving to Proof-of-Stake:

One of the key benefits of moving to a proof-of-stake algorithm is that it is much more energy efficient than proof-of-work. This is important because Ethereum is one of the most energy intensive blockchain networks currently in operation.

The move to proof-of-stake will also allow Ethereum to scale more effectively. This is because the process of validating transactions on a proof-of-stake network is much simpler than on a proof-of-work network.

Ethereum As The “Internet Bond”:

In the short term, the move to proof-of-stake will likely have a positive impact on the price of Ethereum. This is because investor confidence in the network will increase as it becomes clear that the Ethereum team is serious about making the necessary changes to scale the network effectively.

The long-term implications of the move to proof-of-stake are difficult to predict.

However, the Ethereum merge has created distinct financial characteristics that make the cryptocurrency extremely attractive from an investment standpoint.

First, for the first time in decades, investors will be looking at alternative asset classes such as cryptocurrencies for more gains as well as hedge against sovereign debt, currency crises, and geopolitical instability.

Examples of digital assets as an alternative asset class include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Much like investors seeking out additional gains in hedge funds, private equity, real estate, fine art, and collectibles, investors will be flocking to digital assets to both seek greater returns as well as hedge their downside risk.

Second, with proof-of-stake, Ethereum is now a yield-bearing asset (4–12%). This will force investors seeking extra yield to use Ethereum as the benchmark against which all other digital assets will be priced based on the yield. A similar mechanism occurs in the bond markets where Treasury bills are considered “risk-free” yield bearing assets against which all other assets are priced in. Thus, Ethereum has been dubbed, “internet bond”.

Additionally, there is a fixed Ethereum staking period during which investors are unable to withdraw their funds in order to generate the yields that investors are seeking. This will lead to a large supply shock.

Third, Ethereum has financial characteristics that make it behave similar to both a growth as well as a dividend stock, properties unlike any other financial asset previously seen.

These three elements in combination will lend large institutional interest in holding Ethereum for their clients. Once institutions come in, the combined supply shock along with the huge institutional demand, will cause the price of the asset to rise significantly.

I anticipate that once there is more regulatory clarity and once the benefits far outweigh the risks, institutions will start investing in Ethereum for their clients.

The Ethereum Merge is Only the Beginning:

It is important to remember that the move to proof-of-stake is just one part of a larger effort to improve the Ethereum network. The team is also working on other solutions to address the scalability problem, such as sharding and plasma.

The first priority after the merge is to scale the network to accommodate more users and transactions. There are many proposed solutions to this problem, including zk-rollups, and sharding. It's likely that a combination of these solutions will be used to achieve the desired level of scalability.

With the merge improving security and reducing energy consumption, the Ethereum network will continue to evolve and grow, providing users with a secure and efficient platform for digital transactions. Opponents claim that the move to proof-of-stake has made the Ethereum network more centralized.

The bottom line is that the move to proof-of-stake is a positive step for Ethereum, but it is just one part of a larger journey to scale the network effectively. Only time will tell how successful this transition will be.

About: Dr. Christopher Loo is a physician who became financially free at the age of 29, and retired early at the age of 38, as a result of making strategic investments after the 2008 financial crisis. A graduate of the MD-PhD program offered jointly through the Baylor College of Medicine and Department of Bioengineering at Rice University, he is the author of “How I Quit My Lucrative Career and Achieved Financial Freedom Using Real Estate”, and is the host of the Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast. He is a regular contributor to KevinMD and has spoken about the importance of financial literacy for Passive Income MD, the White Coat Investor, Board Vitals, SEAK Non-Clinical Careers, SoMe Docs, Doximity, Medpage Today, FinCon, and other high-profile financial brands geared towards high-income professionals. He is passionate about the role that crypto, fintech, and innovation will play in enabling financial freedom, economic inclusion, access and opportunity for the entire world in the upcoming decades.

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The Limits to Blockchain Scalability


2021 May 23
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The Limits to Blockchain Scalability

Special thanks to Felix Lange, Martin Swende, Marius van der Wijden and Mark Tyneway for feedback and review.

Just how far can you push the scalability of a blockchain? Can you really, as Elon Musk wishes, “speed up block time 10X, increase block size 10X & drop fee 100X” without leading to extreme centralization and compromising the fundamental properties that make a blockchain what it is? If not, how far can you go? What if you change the consensus algorithm? Even more importantly, what if you change the technology to introduce features such as ZK-SNARKs or sharding? A sharded blockchain can theoretically just keep adding more shards; is there such a thing as adding too many?

As it turns out, there are important and quite subtle technical factors that limit blockchain scaling, both with sharding and without. In many cases there are solutions, but even with the solutions there are limits. This post will go through what many of these issues are.

Just increase the parameters, and all problems are solved. But at what cost?

It's crucial for blockchain decentralization for regular users to be able to run a node

At 2:35 AM, you receive an emergency call from your partner on the opposite side of the world who helps run your mining pool (or it could be a staking pool). Since about 14 minutes ago, your partner tells you, your pool and a few others split off from the chain which still carries 79% of the network. According to your node, the majority chain's blocks are invalid. There's a balance error: the key block appeared to erroneously assign 4.5 million extra coins to an unknown address.

An hour later, you're in a telegram chat with the other two small pools who were caught blindsided just as you were, as well as some block explorers and exchanges. You finally see someone paste a link to a tweet, containing a published message. “Announcing new on-chain sustainable protocol development fund”, the tweet begins.

By the morning, arguments on Twitter, and on the one community forum that was not censoring the discussion, discussions are everywhere. But by then a significant part of the 4.5 million coins had been converted on-chain to other assets, and billions of dollars of defi transactions had taken place. 79% of the consensus nodes, and all the major block explorers and endpoints for light wallets, were following this new chain. Perhaps the new dev fund will fund some development, or perhaps it will just all be embezzled by the leading pools and exchanges and their cronies. But regardless of how it turns out, the fund is for all intents and purposes a fait accompli, and regular users have no way to fight back.

Movie coming soon. Maybe it can be funded by MolochDAO or something.

Can this happen on your blockchain? The elites of your blockchain community, including pools, block explorers and hosted nodes, are probably quite well-coordinated; quite likely they're all in the same telegram channels and wechat groups. If they really want to organize a sudden change to the protocol rules to further their own interests, then they probably can. The Ethereum blockchain has fully resolved consensus failures in ten hours; if your blockchain has only one client implementation, and you only need to deploy a code change to a few dozen nodes, coordinating a change to client code can be done much faster. The only reliable way to make this kind of coordinated social attack not effective is through passive defense from the one constituency that actually is decentralized: the users.

Imagine how the story would have played out if the users were running nodes that verify the chain (whether directly or through more advanced indirect techniques), and automatically reject blocks that break the protocol rules even if over 90% of the miners or stakers support those blocks. If every user ran a verifying node, then the attack would have quickly failed: a few mining pools and exchanges would have forked off and looked quite foolish in the process. But even if some users ran verifying nodes, the attack would not have led to a clean victory for the attacker; rather, it would have led to chaos, with different users seeing different views of the chain. At the very least, the ensuing market panic and likely persistent chain split would greatly reduce the attackers' profits. The thought of navigating such a protracted conflict would itself deter most attacks.

Listen to Hasu on this one.

If you have a community of 37 node runners and 80000 passive listeners that check signatures and block headers, the attacker wins. If you have a community where everyone runs a node, the attacker loses. We don't know what the exact threshold is at which herd immunity against coordinated attacks kicks in, but there is one thing that's absolutely clear: more nodes good, fewer nodes bad, and we definitely need more than a few dozen or few hundred.

So, what are the limits to how much work we can require full nodes to do?

To maximize the number of users who can run a node, we'll focus on regular consumer hardware. There are some increases to capacity that can be achieved by demanding some specialized hardware purchases that are easy to obtain (eg. from Amazon), but they actually don't increase scalability by that much.

There are three key limitations to a full node's ability to process a large number of transactions:

  • Computing power: what % of the CPU can we safely demand to run a node?
  • Bandwidth: given the realities of current internet connections, how many bytes can a block contain?
  • Storage: how many gigabytes on disk can we require users to store? Also, how quickly must it be readable? (ie. is HDD okay or do we need SSD)

Many erroneous takes on how far a blockchain can scale using “simple” techniques stem from overly optimistic estimates for each of these numbers. We can go through these three factors one by one:

Computing power

  • Bad answer: 100% of CPU power can be spent on block verification
  • Correct answer: ~5-10% of CPU power can be spent on block verification

There are four key reasons why the limit is so low:

  • We need a safety margin to cover the possibility of DoS attacks (transactions crafted by an attacker to take advantage of weaknesses in code to take longer to process than regular transactions)
  • Nodes need to be able to sync the chain after being offline. If I drop off the network for a minute, I should be able to catch up in a few seconds
  • Running a node should not drain your battery very quickly and make all your other apps very slow
  • There are other non-block-production tasks that nodes need to do as well, mostly around verifying and responding to incoming transactions and requests on the p2p network

Note that up until recently, most explanations for “why only 5-10%?” focused on a different problem: that because PoW blocks come at random times, it taking a long time to verify blocks increases the risk that multiple blocks get created at the same time. There are many fixes to this problem (eg. Bitcoin NG, or just using proof of stake). But these fixes do NOT solve the other four problems, and so they don't enable large gains in scalability as many had initially thought.

Parallelism is also not a magic bullet. Often, even clients of seemingly single-threaded blockchains are parallelized already: signatures can be verified by one thread while execution is done by other threads, and there's a separate thread that's handling transaction pool logic in the background. And the closer you get to 100% usage across all threads, the more energy-draining running a node becomes and the lower your safety margin against DoS.

Bandwidth

  • Bad answer: if we have 10 MB blocks every 2-3 seconds, then most users have a >10 MB/sec network, so of course they can handle it
  • Correct answer: maybe we can handle 1-5 MB blocks every 12 seconds. It's hard though.

Nowadays we frequently hear very high advertised statistics for how much bandwidth internet connections can offer: numbers of 100 Mbps and even 1 Gbps are common to hear. However, there is a large difference between advertised bandwidth and the expected actual bandwidth of a connection for several reasons:

  1. “Mbps” refers to “millions of bits per second”; a bit is 1/8 of a byte, so you need to divide advertised bit numbers by 8 to get the advertised byte numbers.
  2. Internet providers, just like all companies, often lie.
  3. There's always multiple applications using the same internet connection, so a node can't hog the entire bandwidth.
  4. p2p networks inevitably introduce their own overhead: nodes often end up downloading and re-uploading the same block multiple times (not to mention transactions being broadcasted through the mempool before being included in a block).

When Starkware did an experiment in 2019 where they published 500 kB blocks after the transaction data gas cost decrease made that possible for the first time, a few nodes were actually unable to handle blocks of that size. Ability to handle large blocks has since been improved and will continue to be improved. But no matter what we do, we'll still be very far from being able to naively take the average bandwidth in MB/sec, convince ourselves that we're okay with 1s latency, and be able to have blocks that are that size.

Storage

  • Bad answer: 10 terabytes
  • Correct answer: 512 gigabytes

The main argument here is, as you might guess, the same as elsewhere: the difference between theory and practice. In theory, there are 8 TB solid state drives that you can buy on Amazon (you do need SSDs or NVME; HDDs are too slow for storing the blockchain state). In practice, the laptop that was used to write this blog post has 512 GB, and if you make people go buy their own hardware, many of them will just get lazy (or they can't afford $800 for an 8 TB SSD) and use a centralized provider. And even if you can fit a blockchain onto some storage, a high level of activity can easily quickly burn through the disk and force you to keep getting a new one.

A poll in a group of blockchain protocol researchers of how much disk space everyone has. Small sample size, I know, but still…

Additionally, storage size determines the time needed for a new node to be able to come online and start participating in the network. Any data that existing nodes have to store is data that a new node has to download. This initial sync time (and bandwidth) is also a major barrier to users being able to run nodes. While writing this blog post, syncing a new geth node took me ~15 hours. If Ethereum had 10x more usage, syncing a new geth node would take at least a week, and it would be much more likely to just lead to your internet connection getting throttled. This is all even more important during an attack, when a successful response to the attack will likely involve many users spinning up new nodes when they were not running nodes before.

Interaction effects

Additionally, there are interaction effects between these three types of costs. Because databases use tree structures internally to store and retrieve data, the cost of fetching data from a database increases with the logarithm of the size of the database. In fact, because the top level (or top few levels) can be cached in RAM, the disk access cost is proportional to the size of the database as a multiple of the size of the data cached in RAM.

Don't take this diagram too literally; different databases work in different ways, and often the part in memory is just a single (but big) layer (see LSM trees as used in leveldb). But the basic principles are the same.

For example, if the cache is 4 GB, and we assume that each layer of the database is 4x bigger than the previous, then Ethereum's current ~64 GB state would require ~2 accesses. But if the state size increases by 4x to ~256 GB, then this would increase to ~3 accesses (so 1.5x more accesses per read). Hence, a 4x increase in the gas limit, which would increase both the state size and the number of reads, could actually translate into a ~6x increase in block verification time. The effect may be even stronger: hard disks often take longer to read and write when they are full than when they are near-empty.

So what does this mean for Ethereum?

Today in the Ethereum blockchain, running a node already is challenging for many users, though it is still at least possible on regular hardware (I just synced a node on my laptop while writing this post!). Hence, we are close to hitting bottlenecks. The issue that core developers are most concerned with is storage size. Thus, at present, valiant efforts at solving bottlenecks in computation and data, and even changes to the consensus algorithm, are unlikely to lead to large gas limit increases being accepted. Even solving Ethereum's largest outstanding DoS vulnerability only led to a gas limit increase of 20%.

The only solution to storage size problems is statelessness and state expiry. Statelessness allows for a class of nodes that verify the chain without maintaining permanent storage. State expiry pushes out state that has not been recently accessed, forcing users to manually provide proofs to renew it. Both of these paths have been worked at for a long time, and proof-of-concept implementation on statelessness has already started. These two improvements combined can greatly alleviate these concerns and open up room for a significant gas limit increase. But even after statelessness and state expiry are implemented, gas limits may only increase safely by perhaps ~3x until the other limitations start to dominate.

Another possible medium-term solution is using ZK-SNARKs to verify transactions. ZK-SNARKs would ensure that regular users do not have to personally store the state or verify blocks, though they still would need to download all the data in blocks to protect against data unavailability attacks. Additionally, even if attackers cannot force invalid blocks through, if capacity is increased to the point where running a consensus node is too difficult, there is still the risk of coordinated censorship attacks. Hence, ZK-SNARKs cannot increase capacity infinitely, but they still can increase capacity by a significant margin (perhaps 1-2 orders of magnitude). Some chains are exploring this approach at layer 1; Ethereum is getting the benefits of this approach through layer-2 protocols (called ZK rollups) such as zksync, Loopring and Starknet.

What happens after sharding?

Sharding fundamentally gets around the above limitations, because it decouples the data contained on a blockchain from the data that a single node needs to process and store. Instead of nodes verifying blocks by personally downloading and executing them, they use advanced mathematical and cryptographic techniques to verify blocks indirectly.

As a result, sharded blockchains can safely have very high levels of transaction throughput that non-sharded blockchains cannot. This does require a lot of cryptographic cleverness in creating efficient substitutes for naive full validation that successfully reject invalid blocks, but it can be done: the theory is well-established and proof-of-concepts based on draft specifications are already being worked on.

Ethereum is planning to use quadratic sharding, where total scalability is limited by the fact that a node has to be able to process both a single shard and the beacon chain which has to perform some fixed amount of management work for each shard. If shards are too big, nodes can no longer process individual shards, and if there are too many shards, nodes can no longer process the beacon chain. The product of these two constraints forms the upper bound.

Conceivably, one could go further by doing cubic sharding, or even exponential sharding. Data availability sampling would certainly become much more complex in such a design, but it can be done. But Ethereum is not going further than quadratic. The reason is that the extra scalability gains that you get by going from shards-of-transactions to shards-of-shards-of-transactions actually cannot be realized without other risks becoming unacceptably high.

So what are these risks?

Minimum user count

A non-sharded blockchain can conceivably run as long as there is even one user that cares to participate in it. Sharded blockchains are not like this: no single node can process the whole chain, and so you need enough nodes so that they can at least process the chain together. If each node can process 50 TPS, and the chain can process 10000 TPS, then the chain needs at least 200 nodes to survive. If the chain at any point gets to less than 200 nodes, then either nodes stop being able to keep up with the chain, or nodes stop being able to detect invalid blocks, or a number of other bad things may happen, depending on how the node software is set up.

In practice, the safe minimum count is several times higher than the naive “chain TPS divided by node TPS” heuristic due to the need for redundancy (including for data availability sampling); for our above example, let's call it 1000 nodes.

If a sharded blockchain's capacity increases by 10x, the minimum user count also increases by 10x. Now, you might ask: why don't we start with a little bit of capacity, and increase it only when we see lots of users so we actually need it, and decrease it if the user count goes back down?

There are a few problems with this:

  1. A blockchain itself cannot reliably detect how many unique users are on it, and so this would require some kind of governance to detect and set the shard count. Governance over capacity limits can easily become a locus of division and conflict.
  2. What if many users suddenly and unexpectedly drop out at the same time?
  3. Increasing the minimum number of users needed for a fork to start makes it harder to defend against hostile takeovers.

A minimum user count of under 1,000 is almost certainly fine. A minimum user count of 1 million, on the other hand, is certainly not. Even a minimum user count of 10,000 is arguably starting to get risky. Hence, it seems difficult to justify a sharded blockchain having more than a few hundred shards.

History retrievability

An important property of a blockchain that users really value is permanence. A digital asset stored on a server will stop existing in 10 years when the company goes bankrupt or loses interest in maintaining that ecosystem. An NFT on Ethereum, on the other hand, is forever.

Yes, people will still be downloading and examining your cryptokitties in the year 2371. Deal with it.

But once a blockchain's capacity gets too high, it becomes harder to store all that data, until at some point there's a large risk that some part of history will just end up being stored by… nobody.

Quantifying this risk is easy. Take the blockchain's data capacity in MB/sec, and multiply by ~30 to get the amount of data stored in terabytes per year. The current sharding plan has a data capacity of ~1.3 MB/sec, so about 40 TB/year. If that is increased by 10x, this becomes 400 TB/year. If we want the data to be not just accessible, but accessible conveniently, we would also need metadata (eg. decompressing rollup transactions), so make that 4 petabytes per year, or 40 petabytes after a decade. The Internet Archive uses 50 petabytes. So that's a reasonable upper bound for how large a sharded blockchain can safely get.

Hence, it looks like on both of these dimensions, the Ethereum sharding design is actually already roughly targeted fairly close to reasonable maximum safe values. The constants can be increased a little bit, but not too much.

Summary

There are two ways to try to scale a blockchain: fundamental technical improvements, and simply increasing the parameters. Increasing the parameters sounds very attractive at first: if you do the math on a napkin, it is easy to convince yourself that a consumer laptop can process thousands of transactions per second, no ZK-SNARKs or rollups or sharding required. Unfortunately, there are many subtle reasons why this approach is fundamentally flawed.

Computers running blockchain nodes cannot spend 100% of CPU power validating the chain; they need a large safety margin to resist unexpected DoS attacks, they need spare capacity for tasks like processing transactions in the mempool, and you don't want running a node on a computer to make that computer unusable for any other applications at the same time. Bandwidth similarly has overhead: a 10 MB/s connection does NOT mean you can have a 10 megabyte block every second! A 1-5 megabyte block every 12 seconds, maybe. And it is the same with storage. Increasing hardware requirements for running a node and limiting node-running to specialized actors is not a solution. For a blockchain to be decentralized, it's crucially important for regular users to be able to run a node, and to have a culture where running nodes is a common activity.

Fundamental technical improvements, on the other hand, can work. Currently, the main bottleneck in Ethereum is storage size, and statelessness and state expiry can fix this and allow an increase of perhaps up to ~3x – but not more, as we want running a node to become easier than it is today. Sharded blockchains can scale much further, because no single node in a sharded blockchain needs to process every transaction. But even there, there are limits to capacity: as capacity goes up, the minimum safe user count goes up, and the cost of archiving the chain (and the risk that data is lost if no one bothers to archive the chain) goes up. But we don't have to worry too much: those limits are high enough that we can probably process over a million transactions per second with the full security of a blockchain. But it's going to take work to do this without sacrificing the decentralization that makes blockchains so valuable.



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BNB Chain’s $566M Hack: Binance Network’s Major Bridge Attack Unpacked


Key Takeaways

  • BNB Chain suffered a $566 million exploit Thursday after a hacker tricked the BSC Token Hub bridge into sending them two million BNB.
  • The hacker took a novel approach to siphon the funds across other networks, making off with about $110 million.
  • The BNB Chain halted the network and is weighing an asset freeze, highlighting major centralization issues.

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The BNB Chain team temporarily halted the network in response to the attack, which speaks volumes about the network's centralization issues.

BNB Chain Targeted

Last night's nine-figure hack on BNB Chain's bridge has caused a major commotion in the cryptocurrency community.

An attacker targeted the Binance-run blockchain network late Thursday, successfully making off with around $110 million worth of crypto. But while $110 million is by all accounts a pretty tidy paycheck for a few hours of work, it's just a fraction of the overall size of the exploit. On-chain data shows that the attacker commenced the elaborate hack by tricking BNB Chain's BSC Token Hub bridge into sending them two million BNB tokens worth about $566 million. According to Paradigm researcher samczsun, the attacker used a complex multi-step process to exploit a bug in the bridge, effectively forging the bridge's code so that they could make two separate one million BNB withdrawals. The bridge sent the funds and continued to run as normal until multiple community members raised suspicions over the size of the withdrawals. The BNB Chain responded by halting the blockchain.

Bridge Flaws Exposed

The incident caught the crypto space's attention partly due to the scale of the exploit. Though the hacker's takings are currently around $110 million, the two million BNB theft places the incident on a pair with other major attacks like the $552 million hack on Axie Infinity's Ronin bridge in March. Once again, the BNB Chain exploit has sounded the alarm on the security risks of cross-chain bridges. As crypto has evolved and various Layer 1 networks have emerged alongside Ethereum (BNB Chain itself is essentially an Ethereum clone), demand for cross-chain interoperability has soared. That's created an opportunity for bridges like BNB Chain's product to cater to the market's needs. Per Defi Llama datesthe total value locked in crypto bridges is over $10 billion today, helped by BNB Chain and other networks soaring in popularity in 2021.

While bridges are useful for connecting blockchains, they're widely considered less secure than base layer networks like Bitcoin and Ethereum because they often use a central storage point to lock deposited assets. That's led to a surge in hacks; an August Chainalysis report found that bridge hacks account for 69% of all crypto theft, with the takings topping $2 billion to date.

While bridge hackers usually have different methods for stealing funds, they're typically able to execute their attacks by exploiting shoddy code. The BNB Chain hack was no different; the attacker found a way to forge a proof so that they could make two fraudulent withdrawals. They quickly funneled the funds to different locations, meaning that a significant portion of the stolen funds was already on the move when the BNB Chain team decided to halt the network.

Tracking the Attacker's Moves

Perhaps the most curious element of the hack has been the attacker's activity following the exploit itself. Given the size of the haul, the hacker faced limitations in their options for laundering the funds—simply because bigger pots like this tend to draw more attention from crypto, on-chain investigators, and authorities alike. On-chain data shows that the hacker transferred their funds to multiple locations, but they took a novel approach that differs from most other similar thefts.

As the Treasury Department noted when it banned Tornado Cash in August, hackers frequently turn to crypto mixers to siphon stolen funds. While the hacker could have pulled a similar move to cover their traces, they instead opted to deposit just under half of the takings into Venus Protocol, a lending product on BNB Chain. That may be because they would have struggled to exchange all of their BNB tokens without impacting the price; Tornado Cash takes deposits in ETH, DAI, cDAI, USDC, and USDTmeaning they would have had to trade their assets and move over to Ethereum to use it.

By providing BNB as collateral on Venus, the hacker was able to borrow around $150 million in stablecoins. This is an interesting play because they borrowed USDT, USDC, and BUSD—centralized stablecoins that can be frozen by their issuers. Tether blacklisted at least $6.5 million of the haul, blocking the hacker from cashing out the USDT they borrowed. The hacker used several strategies to deploy their funds on other networks, converting much of the haul into ETH.

Blockchain security firm SlowMist estimates that the hacker moved around $110 million from BNB Chain to six other Ethereum-compatible networks: Ethereum, Polygon, Fantom, Avalanche, Arbitrum, and Optimism. However, the bulk of the transferred funds have not yet been laundered, and the hacker has left most of the takings on BNB Chain. For such a sophisticated attack, they've left a huge sum of money on the table given that the stolen BNB could be frozen.

BNB took a hit following the incident and is down about 3.5% today. Besides BNB, the hacker's largest position is ETH—they currently have over $32.5 million sitting in this wallet.

BNB Chain Responds

The BNB Chain team responded to the incident as talk of the attack circulated on Crypto Twitter. The blockchain's official Twitter account confirmed at 22:19 UTC that it had paused the network, noting that it had identified a “potential exploit.” Some applauded the team for the response, with Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao saying that he was “impressed by the quick actions the [team] took.” However, the decision to halt the chain also prompted many to call out the blockchain's centralized design. “You're supposed to be immutable fren,” tweeted the Bitcoin DeFi project Stacks. Others posted memes of CZ to imply that he had full oversight of the network's validators.

Immutability is considered a key feature of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, but controlled network halts expose centralization issues that throw that idea to sea. When a blockchain can be paused, it's not immutable. The largest blockchain, Bitcoin, has never been halted since it launched in 2009. Bitcoin has over 10,000 full validator nodes worldwide, while Ethereum has just over 8,000. Like BNB Chain, Ethereum operates a Proof-of-Stake mechanism with over 400,000 validators securing the network. BNB Chain, meanwhile, relies on just 44 (of those 44, 26 are currently active). In to statementthe BNB Chain team said that “decentralized chains are not designed to be stopped,” adding that contacting the network's 26 active validators prevented further damage.

BNB Chain successfully restarted the network after syncing validators early Friday, and the network is now running as normal with the hacker's wallet blacklisted. Questions remain about what will happen to the BNB and centralized stablecoins on BNB Chain, currently valued at over $426 million (the hacker still has $254 million worth of BNB collateralized against $147 million worth of stablecoins on Venus). Due to the scale of the attack, it's likely that authorities will soon be involved, too.

BNB Chain's statement said that it would be down to the community to decide whether to freeze the hacked funds “for the common good of BNB,” and it's also offering a bounty reward of 10% of the recovered funds for uncovering the hacker. The BNB Chain took responsibility for the incident in its note. “We want to apologize to the community for the exploit that occurred. We own this,” the note read.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH, USDT, MATIC, and several other cryptocurrencies.

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Don’t Call It A Hack: Crypto Reacts To The Binance Smart Chain Exploit And Halt

Don’t Call It A Hack: Crypto Reacts To The Binance Smart Chain Exploit And Halt


Was the Binance Smart Chain hacked? In the following article, you'll find Changpeng Zhao's exact words about the incident. Everybody else's opinions, though, are about the halting of the chain. Most people are unaware of what Bitcoinist told you a year ago: the Binance Smart Chain is centralized and advertised as such. It's not a secret. It's that blockchain's main characteristic.

In any case, this story is fresh. There are still a lot of questions about this afternoon's event. However, Changpeng Zhao has been open about the whole situation and informed the public through Twitter. Let's start there and then get to the praise and criticism. Once again, we have to divide this into altcoiners and bitcoiners. It's the most effective way of presenting the frequently-contrasting opinions.

CZ Explains The Binance Smart Chain Exploit

  • While Binance's internal communications downplayed the incident calling it “irregular activities” or claiming the chain is “under maintenance,” Changpeng Zhao was open about the Binance Smart Chain exploit. Or, more specifically, “an exploit on a cross-chain bridge, BSC Token Hub, resulted in extra BNB. We have asked all validators to temporarily suspend BSC. The issue is contained now. Your funds are safe.”
  • Later on, CZ humble-bragged and gave the Binance Smart Chain team all the credit. “By the time I was woken up at 3AM, the community of validators had already paused. I just did the tweeting. The community & team did all the work.”
  • And even later, the Binance CEO downplayed the incident himself. LOL. “The current impact estimate is around $100m USD equivalent, about a quarter of the last BNB burn,” CZ wrote.

So, there was an exploit but the situation was dealt with. The company recently tweeted “Binance Smart Chain is back online. We have now summarized Binance Smart Chain deposits and withdrawals on Binance.” The hit the company wasn't as bad as some people thought at the beginning. Was it because they quickly halted the whole Binance Smart Chain? Maybe, but that's what the criticism that the company received is about. About their power to just stop the chain.

Well get to that, let's start with… actually, it's mostly criticism.

BNB price chart on FTX | Source: BNB/USD on TradingView.com

Altcoiners React To The Binance Smart Chain Exploit

  • Cake DeFi's Julian Hosp was CZ's only knight in shining armor. The man went to bat for the Binance Smart Chain and took the opportunity to criticize bitcoin in the process. “Critics will focus on how BSC is centralized around CZ. Want full decentralization?! Buybitcoin. Hodl it. Nothing else you can do with it. Want to actually use dapps?! Use other blockchains.”
  • Into The Cryptoverse's Benjamin Cowen went with a one-liner and criticized Solana in the process. “Call me crazy but I prefer chains that don't get paused,” he wrote.
  • Using the same idea, a pseudonymous Twitter user created a meme using the classic The Ballad of Buster Scruggs-inspired template.
  • Up Only's Cobie reminded us of a classic and very well-produced video.

Bitcoiners Take It Way To Seriously

  • Security expert Jameson Lopp made fun of the Binance Smart Chain's variety of validators. They're all Changpeng Zhao, get it?
  • Nunchuk's Hugo Nguyen denounced the Binance Smart Chain's centralization. “Absolute decentralization theater. Decentralization and networkwide on-demand shutdown literally cannot be more polar opposites of each other,” he wrote. And Hugo is 100% right. However, the Binance Smart Chain is not decentralized at there. It's known.
  • Luxor's NickH pointed out a possible side-effect that would affect another beloved blockchain. “The coins already swapped to $ETH Now we'll find out how decentralized Ethereum really is after the merge,” he initially pointed out. However, later on, he got the official numbers and retired his bet. “The attackers only got 10-15% out before things started getting frozen so in my opinion low chance of a rollback.”

And that's what the Twitterati wrote about the Binance Smart Chain halt.

Featured Image by Omar Medina from Pixabay | Charts by TradingView

CBDCs, a bank vault



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7 Platforms Offering’ Free Crypto Money’ in October 2022 – crypto.news

7 Platforms Offering’ Free Crypto Money’ in October 2022 – crypto.news

Crypto offers have increased recently. Here are some of them.

An In-depth Look Into Crypto Offers

Crypto cash backs are given after processes involving money spending. Platforms refund a certain amount of money spent on their infrastructure or the platform itself. On the other hand, giveaways can be defined as reward systems that various platforms set up for their customers. 

This year’s crypto market has been mayhem, with the market cap dropping from $3 trillion to even below $1 trillion. There have also been a series of crypto projects that have gone bankrupt and, as a result, led to financial losses for investors. Crypto bonuses, cash backs, and giveaways are handy for crypto platforms and their customers. Crypto platforms can attract more users and keep them in the long term. As for the customers, it is a good way to accumulate more crypto over time. 

These giveaways and cash backs can be very rewarding for different types of crypto enthusiasts. For instance, those who are just starting in the cryptocurrency world but are not ready to jump into the market or those who strongly believe in its potential for growth and profitability.

Even though they are issued in small amounts, they could grow exponentially with the right investment strategies. In addition, they help maintain wholesome portfolios by hedging against market fluctuations. 

Summary of the ‘Free Funds’ Offered by the Platforms

Platform Offer How it Works
Binance Binance Gift Card Referral Program up to 12th December

Sign up for Bonus referral code 2022P2P

Zero Maker Fees valid till November

Welcome Rewards up to $100Binance customized gift cards

Binance is the largest crypto exchange by trading volume as it offers a wide variety of features and trading options for its customers. Through this, it is able to collect high revenue, which makes it possible for it to organize frequent and high-value giveaways, rewards, and cash backs. Binance is offering welcome rewards for new customers of up to $100 and also a signup bonus referral code when a friend signs up through your link. The platform also offers weekly competitions and other seasonal rewards. Binance gift cards also come loaded with benefits, from referral programs to customization features, whereby the reward amount varies based on the length of time the owner has the account.
Fold App SpinDaily wheel1 extra daily spin

Spin wheel to earn rewards on qualifying purchaseSpin squad referral- earn 1 to 50 sats

Spin+Daily wheel5% back on Amazon gift cards

Earn up to a full bitcoin every time

Spin squad referral- earn 1 to 50 sats3 extra daily spins

Spin wheel to earn rewards on qualifying purchase1% Flat Rate Back option

Fold is one of the best platforms to earn bitcoin back on everything you do. With the Fold Visa debit card, users can make purchases and earn bitcoin on regular transactions. They can also buy gift cards through the Fold Store. The application has two versions, one is free (Spin) and the other one requires an annual subscription of $100 or a monthly subscription of $10 (spin +). The two different versions provide their members with different advantages. The platform is quite easy to use and all users need to do is register and adhere to the instructions dictated to receive the rewards.
Paypal Cash back to crypto with a Venmo credit card under zero fees

Up to $100 on Referrals

PayPal Mastercard cashback- 3% cash back on PayPal purchases and 2% on other purchases

After you have connected your PayPal account and your Venmo card, you can easily purchase cryptocurrencies of your choice using the accumulated amount on a monthly basis with no fees. Paypal also has a referral program whereby you can earn up to $100 by referring friends. Once, you refer a friend and they use or spend $5, then both of you receive $10. Notably, you can refer up to 10 friends, hence earning $100.  The platform also offers 3% cash back for all trades done using Mastercard through PayPal. It also offers 2% off for purchases done elsewhere.
Crypto.com 5% cash back on spending with Crypto.com Visa Card

$25 giveaway in the referral program

Up to 8% cash back in CRO for everyday use

Crypto.com is a prominent cryptocurrency exchange that supports a wide range of digital assets. Its customers can sell, trade, and buy these assets and enjoy relatively low trading fees. The platform offers several cash-back offers such as the 5% cash back on spending with the platform’s Visa Card, depending on the card tier. It also offers a referral bonus of $25 when you refer your friends.
Venmo Earn up to 3% cash back on purchases in your eligible top-spend category,

Up to 2% on purchases in your second eligible top spend category, and 1% on other eligible purchases

Up to $100 in referral bonuses$10 sign up offer through referral

Venmo is also a platform that offers crypto giveaways and cash back. It offers up to 3% cash back on purchases in your eligible top spend category, up to 2% on purchases in your second eligible top spend category, and 1% on other eligible purchases.It also offers up to $100 in referral bonuses while referrers can earn up to 10 referral bonuses each at $10. In addition, new users who join the platform receive $10 when they sign up through a referral link. 
BlockFi Earn 1.5% back in crypto on every purchase with the BlockFi Rewards Visa Signature Card

Get up to 10% back at thousands of brands and restaurants2% back after $30K of annual spend

0.25% on eligible crypto purchases and trades

Blockfi1000 New User Promo – earn up to BTC $1,000$10 referral bonus and an extra $30 if you have the BlockFi Rewards Credit Card

Zero foreign transaction fees for Visa Cardholders

$250 Bitcoin Bonus for new accounts annual fee for Visa credit cardholders

BlockFi sets itself apart from other providers by pairing its institutional-quality benefits with competitive rates. It also offers a wide variety of cash backs and giveaways. BlockFi allows users to earn 1.5% back on crypto through its BlockFi Rewards Visa Signature Card on every purchase. It also has a $10 referral bonus and an extra $30 for cardholders. The platform also has a new user promo, blockfi1000, where new users can earn up to $1000 in BTC. In addition, there is a $25 Bitcoin bonus on new accounts with rewards given in tiers.
Gemini  3% back on credit card purchases

3% back on dining (up to $6,000 in annual spend, then 1%), 2% on groceries,

1% on other purchases.

Spend $1,500 following card activation in your first month and unlock a limited edition animated NFT$5 in BTC after onboarding.$10 referral bonus

Gemini is another crypto platform that is offering cash back and crypto giveaways. The platform is offering a 3% back on credit card purchases – 3% back on dining (up to $6,000 in annual spend, then 1%), 2% on groceries, and 1% on other purchases. In addition, users who spend $1,500 following card activation in their first month unlock a limited edition animated NFT. Gemini also offers $5 in BTC after onboarding new users on the platform. 

Seven Platforms With Crypto Giveaways and Cash backs

Here is a breakdown of the platforms that offer crypto giveaways and cashback at the moment;

Binance

Binance is the largest crypto exchange based on trading volume. Traders enjoy high liquidity and low trading fees at 0.1%, making it one of the best crypto exchanges. Its Binance Academy has also been a great learning platform for all levels of traders to gain more knowledge of the crypto world, whether beginner or pro.

The exchange also hosts several crypto giveaways and rewards that are updated often. When new users register on Binance, they are eligible for welcome rewards of up to $100, as long as they are verified. In addition, users can earn referral bonuses on the sign-up and the Binance gift card. From October to November, Binance runs a gift card referral program whereby users can receive up to 7 MC and 3 DEGO Gift Cards for referring their friends.

Binance also offers an 8% BNB cash back every time users make an eligible purchase through the Binance Card, which is automatically deposited in your Funding Wallet. The platform also runs a P2P Offer of Zero Maker Fees in the HKD market. Each successful trade on these pairs will incur zero maker fees for makers who post new advertisements in fiat currency HKD. Notably, Binance also offers weekly and seasonal giveaways that you can check out for additional rewards.

Fold app

Fold app is a mobile app with two card types, the spin card, and the spin + card. The two differ in their payment plans, where the spin card is free while the spin + card has a monthly subscription of $10 and $100 for a yearly subscription. Users can access benefits on the two cards, including shopping in outlets such as Amazon. Notably, the cards are processed anywhere that accepts Visa Debit cards.

With the cards, there are several offers available, such as shown in the table above, including referral rewards, daily spins, and Bitcoin-back gift card rewards. Currently, the Fold app is only available to United States citizens. However, they plan to expand this outreach to include people from more countries. Here is the link to their main website.

Paypal

Paypal is one of the most well-known payment processors for small businesses and personal use. It offers a payment processing solution that features fixed fees and an easy setup for merchants. Paypal also works with digital assets, whereby its digital wallet supports cryptocurrencies.

On the platform, customers receive cash backs on different bank cards for shopping. The funds accrued from these cash backs can then be used by customers as fiat or for making crypto purchases under zero transaction fees.

Paypal also has a referral program that allows users to earn up to $100 by referring their friends. However, the referred person has to make purchases or trade with at least $5 for both parties to receive the reward. Depending on the season, Paypal also offers additional rewards to its customers, so it’s worth regularly checking out its website.

Crypto.com

Crypto.com is a prominent crypto exchange with a wide user base of over 50 million users who buy and sell over 250 cryptos at true cost. It offers a variety of giveaways and cash back. The platform offers five prepaid Visa Cards. The cards are accepted everywhere that accepts Visa, but you must load them before using them.  

Crypto.com offers cashback between 1% to 5% on spending, depending on the Visa Card. Crypto.com also offers a $25 giveaway in the referral program after referring a friend. They also offer up to 8% cash back in CRO for everyday use. Notably, the platform offers all its cash back in CRO, which you can invest.

Venmo

Venmo is quite popular in the peer-to-peer payment services industry. Besides offering low-cost services and fast transfers, the app is easily installed and widely compatible. Venmo offers up to 3% cash back on purchases in your eligible top spend category, up to 2% on purchases in your second eligible top spend category, and 1% on other eligible purchases.

It also offers up to $100 in referral bonuses, while referrers can earn up to 10 referral bonuses each at $10. Notably, they must spend $5 funded by a bank account or card and must be made to another user within 14 days of the referral link creation. In addition, new users who join the platform receive $10 when they sign up through a referral link. 

BlockFi

BlockFi aims to provide financial products and solutions to markets with limited access to traditional financial services through its credit services. The platform offers crypto cash backs ranging from 0.25% to 10%, as indicated in the table above. 

Notably, the 10% cash back is applicable for the brands and restaurants in partnership with the platform. There is also a 1.5% cashback on any transaction on the platform 0.25% on eligible crypto purchases and trades up to a maximum of $500 in crypto each month. A 2% cash back is also rewarded to users who spend over $30K annually. 

Every person who signs up for BlockFi using their referral code will receive $10 in Bitcoin when they deposit $100 or more into their account. Before your friend can receive the bonus payment, they must first hold the funds for 30 days. 

If you have a BlockFi Rewards Credit Card, you will each receive an additional $30 in bitcoin. Notably, after five referrals, you’ll start earning an extra $10 BTC bonus for all additional referrals. In addition, there is a $25 Bitcoin bonus on new accounts with rewards in tiers.

Additionally, the platform offers seasonal prizes and giveaways, so keep researching and following it closely.

Gemini

With a wide variety of features and a good user experience, Gemini is a great choice for both experienced traders and beginners. Visa and Mastercard are working with various crypto space service providers. One of these is Gemini, which has partnered with Mastercard to launch the Gemini Card. This card provides users with 3% cash back on their trades. There is a 3% back on dining (up to $6,000 in annual spending, then 1%), 2% on groceries, and 1% on other purchases.

You can also spend $1,500 following card activation in your first month and unlock a limited edition animated NFT. Gemini also offers $5 in BTC for new users on the platform. There is also a $10 referral bonus when you refer a friend to sign in on the platform once your friend buys or sells $100 or more within 30 days of creating their account. 

Final Thoughts

The crypto space has numerous bonuses that are spread across different platforms. These can be very useful for investors as they allow them to buy more coins without spending much money. Some platforms even offer zero fees on investments. These provide ways investors can earn money to meet their trading needs during these difficult economic times. 

One of the most common tasks that investors must complete to earn rewards is signing up on a certain platform for the first time. This type of bonus can be found on various platforms, such as Binance, BlockFi, and Crypto.com. After the login bonuses have been issued, these platforms reward users for completing various tasks, such as first deposits, withdrawals, and trades. They also have various reward programs, such as competitions in trading.

Meanwhile, there are various advantages and disadvantages to investing in crypto, and it is important to consider the risks involved. One of the most important factors that investors should consider is the ability to minimize the risks and crypto giveaways and cash backs are one way to achieve this as an investor. 

Notably, the platforms mentioned offer different rewards from time to time, hence you should strive to stay updated through their social media platforms and websites.



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