The cryptocurrency market continued its resurgence after tremendous monthly losses of almost all top coins.
Bitcoin (BTC) remained stable over the past week, growing in price and rising beyond the $6,500 price mark.
However, its dominance kept falling continuously, reaching just above 52 percent of the total market worth.
In an interesting turn of events, the third largest cryptocurrency Ripple (XRP) held the second place by total market capitalization for a brief period of time, beating Ethereum (ETH), which has kept this place since January 2018.
Ethereum fell third as Ripple’s gains suddenly skyrocketed, going up to over 100 percent.
One of the possible reasons following XRP’s spike last week is that the company behind this digital asset, Ripple Labs, announced the launch of their new product xRapid.
XRP is an attractive crypto asset, one which tends to work with banks and governments, instead of going against them.
The new blockchain-backed product xRapid will help banks by speeding their transactions, using the Ripple token.
Nevertheless, the immense growth did not last long, and over the course of the following days, Ripple erased almost half of its earnings.
Despite the rollercoaster ride Ripple was facing, the rest of the crypto market had a much smoother experience.
The total market cap was exceeding the $200 billion price mark for most of the days, with the top 10 cryptocurrencies mostly in the green throughout the week.
Airline Miles Sold for Bitcoin on the Dark Web
News about stolen airline miles being sold by hackers on the dark web are circulating the internet for over a week now. Apparently, it’s the new thing on the dark markets.
A report published by Comparitech shows that many dark web markets host listings that offer buyers illegally obtained airline miles.
One of the largest illicit markets, Dream Market, included various airline reward programs selling at different prices—depending on the cryptocurrency they are purchased with, whether it’s Bitcoin or Monero.
The most common amount of points available for sale is 100,000, and vendors work with many frequent flyer miles programs, including Delta SkyMiles and British Airways as the most commonly listed ones.
As many airfares or hotel bookings cannot be purchased because they require an ID, these stolen air miles are usually used through gift cards.
The theft of airline miles is nothing new, but with the rise of online data breaches, these cases have increased.
Last year, Delta SkyMiles alerted customers to an incident in which hackers managed to steal cash miles from a smaller number of users.
In 2015, tens of thousands of British Airways flier accounts were hacked, leaving club fliers incapable of using their air miles.
U.S. Spending on Blockchain Expertise Nearly Tripled
With the rise of Bitcoin’s popularity, the need for blockchain analytics has drastically grown in 2018. U.S. government agencies spent $5.7 million to date, a number that has almost tripled compared to last year’s $1.9 million.
According to a report in Diar, blockchain analysis is used mostly by law enforcement agencies to identify illicit activities, including darknet drug markets, terrorist financing and money laundering.
Over 80 percent of the total spending was divided by only three U.S. federal agencies—the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Canada Is Researching Darknet Drug Trade Right Before Cannabis Legalization
As Canada is approaching legalization of cannabis for recreational use, the Department of Public Safety has turned towards studying online drug transactions happening on the dark web.
According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the country is one of the leaders when it comes to the illegal online drug trade, with marijuana taking 33 percent of all online drug transactions in darknet markets (also known as “cryptomarkets” within the context of the study).
The commissioned study will give insight into these cryptomarkets by focusing both on the vendors and the buyers of cannabis circulating on the dark web.
The Public Safety department also is hoping to identify whether the legalization happening soon will have an impact on the current state, and to what extent.
In less than a month from now, on October 17, Canadians will be able to legally use marijuana for recreational use.
Ghost Gun Seller on the Dark Web Sentenced to Five Years
Michael Paul Grisham Smith, a 44-year-old from California, was sentenced to five years of prison for illegal firearm manufacturing and selling charges.
Smith was caught after selling eight short-barreled ghost guns to an undercover agent posing as a vendor on the dark web.
Smith, over the course of 10 weeks, manufactured and sold unregistered AR 15-style firearms.
The agent insisted on a face-to-face meeting, instead of a remote location for delivery, which eventually led to the arrest of Smith.
He was taken into custody with five rifles and a loaded Sig Sauer handgun. The unregistered guns were being traded for $8,800 in Bitcoin.
Smith was convicted last Friday to 60 months of prison by a federal court in the Eastern District of California.
Bitcoin is still largely used by darknet market vendors for such illicit purposes, despite the coin’s attempts to improve its gained reputation as the main currency of the underground online illicit markets.
That’s it for our summary of this week’s major crypto news headlines. This is the 13th post in our crypto news series. See previous installments here: