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Current State of The Crypto Market (May 1st, 2019)

Hackers:   Hackers who breached Microsoft Outlook have reportedly used the email service to steal cryptocurrency users’ funds. Multiple reports surfaced Tuesday that hackers had managed to gain access to Microsoft customer support employee’s accounts in recent weeks, after which they were able to access non-corporate email accounts, including Hotmail and MSN. Microsoft confirmed the breach later in the day.  Since the attack, “multiple victims” have reported having cryptocurrencies stolen.  According to Microsoft, the initial breach took place between January 1st and March 28th of this year, though according to others it may have extended for six months. Hackers initially reached consumer emails via a Microsoft support agent account.    Microsoft’s initial email statement to affected users assured them that hackers may have accessed email metadata like contacts, “but not the content of any e-mails or attachments.”   Two days later, however, reports surfaced that hackers had indeed been able to read email content.

Bullish Key Players:   At the start of April, Bitcoin rallied over $1,000 in the matter of an hour, giving crypto investors their first taste of bullish momentum since the start of 2019. The rally was enough to cause traders and analysts alike to call the bottom as “in” and claim that a new uptrend was confirmed.  However, breaking news last week that the New York Attorney General’s office is accusing Bitfinex of using Tether reserves to hid a loss of $850 million has caused much panic across the crypto space. The same traders that were once calling for Bitcoin to test resistance at $6,000, are now also calling for a retest of resistance turned support at $4,200, back where the early April rally began. And according to a new poll, crypto investors are now equally split as to where Bitcoin might head next: $6,000 or $4,200.

Banks & Institutions:  The Southern District of New York Attorney has charged an Arizona man and Israeli woman for allegedly shadow banking cryptocurrency companies, according to an official announcement published on April 30.  Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced the arrest of Reginald Fowler for allegedly operating an unlicensed money transferring business and bank fraud. His purported co-conspirator Ravid Yosef has also been charged with bank fraud and is still at large, according to the announcement.  In 2018, the accused allegedly worked for several associated companies that provided fiat currency banking services to cryptocurrency exchanges, where Fowler made numerous misleading statements to banks in a bid to open bank accounts further used to receive deposits from individuals purchasing digital currency. Fowler and Yosef purportedly falsified electronic wire payment instructions to cover up the true nature of their business.

Adoption: U.S. taxpayers can receive all or part of their federal and state tax refunds in bitcoin. This is being made possible through a collaboration between blockchain payments processor BitPay and Refundo, a provider of tax-related financial products.  In a statement, Refundo says its CoinRT product is especially useful for low-income communities that don’t have checking accounts and often resort to paying high check-cashing fees.  That said, Refundo’s CoinRT service is not free. CoinRT costs $34.95 per refund transfer, and that doesn’t include BitPay’s 1% service fee.  While this service does have a significant amount of fees it is a step in the right direction for crypto adoption.

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