Crypto Report You HAVE To See!
There’s no shortage of crypto-related analysis out there at the moment, but not all of it is worth reading. Some that most definitely is worthy of your attention however is that produced by the folks at Cointelegraph Research in their latest report.
The report looks at what’s been happening in the crypto industry in recent months and breaks it down sector by sector. The authors examine a range of sectors including Bitcoin, DeFi, the state of venture capital investing, NFTs, GameFi and much more besides. The result is a thorough and fascinating overview of where the industry is at this moment in time and what sort of state each sector is in.
We’ve dug through this report for today’s video and highlighted its key findings and takeaways. This is not to be missed if you want to get an idea of where the industry and the market could be headed next.
You can watch that video here.
📈 Crypto Market Forecast 📈
Five things to have on your radar this week: DeFi, liquidity, regulations, the Fed, and the debt ceiling. Starting with DeFi, it seems that Lido Finance is following in Uniswap’s footsteps. If you read last week’s mailer, you’ll know that the Uniswap community was considering a proposal which could eventually lead to UNI capturing some of the fees generated by the DEX. I predicted that other DeFi protocols would follow suit, and it looks like Lido Finance is next in line. Its community is discussing a major tokenomic change that could radically increase LDO’s value. This is a trend you need to be watching.
As for liquidity, it looks like Celsius and Voyager Digital could soon start selling lots of crypto. For context, Celsius and Voyager both went bankrupt after Terra’s collapse last May. Celsius recently moved almost 800 million dollars’ worth of Lido staked ETH to the protocol, presumably to withdraw and sell. This could be bad news for ETH’s price, but bear in mind that it takes time for these withdrawals to go through both from Lido’s end and on the actual Beacon Chain. The actual effect could be minimal.
On the regulatory front, there seem to be some rumblings around Coinbase. Some reports suggest that a lawsuit against the exchange is imminent. This comes shortly after the SEC effectively refused to provide the regulatory clarity that Coinbase had tried to compel it to provide (through litigation, of course). For reference, the SEC recently issued Coinbase with a Wells Notice, which signals the regulator’s intent to sue. It’s been more than 30 days now, so a lawsuit is possible. But of course, it’s not guaranteed.
On that note, you may have heard that Ripple had a small but significant victory against the SEC in their ongoing court battle. The SEC will be forced to disclose documents related to the (in)famous speech by former director Bill Hinman about ETH not being a security because it was ‘sufficiently decentralised’. The information in these documents could help Ripple in its case, but could potentially hurt ETH in the process. This assumes that there was some favouritism on the part of the SEC. This is likely just a conspiracy, but is still within the realms of possibility. We will know when the documents are made public.
When it comes to the Fed, you may have noticed that investors are gradually pricing in a higher and higher likelihood of another rate hike in June. This is because Fed officials have been coming out and announcing their desire to see just that. The same phenomenon happened with the last meeting – investors initially expected a pause, but the Fed’s forward guidance primed them to expect another hike. Expect to see more forward guidance this week, and some minor volatility along the way.
Finally, we have the debt ceiling, which has had an interesting effect on the market over the last week. There’s lots of talk about a debt ceiling resolution causing a massive rally, even though it will result in a massive withdrawal of liquidity when the Treasury Department refills its piggy bank. This would be a drag on the markets. Obviously, not raising the debt ceiling by the 1st June deadline would do even more damage. What’s scary is that some analysts believe that both political parties are purposely trying to crash the markets so they can put pressure on the other side to agree to their debt ceiling conditions.
This week US politicians are on recess – truly like a bunch of children. What could possibly go wrong?
🤦♂️ Ledger’s Own Goal 🤦♂️
This week, Crypto Twitter went after one of the industry’s most trusted service providers - Ledger.
Yes, the hardware wallet company whose products secure almost 15% of crypto assets globally.
Well, Ledger announced the launch of ‘Ledger Recover’- a new subscription feature that allows Ledger users to back up their secret recovery phrase (SRP).
Sounds like a handy feature right? Well, that’s until you dig a little deeper.
Almost everyone (us included) believed that Ledger devices were fundamentally incapable of enacting the feature the company is attempting to roll out.
Specifically, we believed this because Ledger has (for many years) stated that private keys never leave the device’s Secure Element (SE) chip.
Technically, this statement still holds true, since the new feature only sends encrypted shards of the user’s SRP to different custodians. However, on a more fundamental level, the announcement made users realise that such an export of their private keys was always just a firmware update away.
Understandably, this meant that Ledger devices (arguably hardware wallets as a whole) aren’t as ‘trustless’ as users had assumed.
However, unlike most of us, a lot of the smarter heads in this space believe this isn’t as big a deal as it seems.
What information do these cyber wizards have that we mortals don’t?
After a bit of digging, we found they knew three things - how Ledger hardware wallets actually work, why they work that way, and how we’re protected.
Allow me to elaborate.
Most of us believed Ledger had two components - an SE chip, which only handled the signing of message requests, and an operating system external to the SE, which handled all other software interactions.
As far as we were aware, this meant that no matter what firmware upgrades Ledger pushed, they could never affect the way the SE functioned. (That is, nothing could pull private key info out of the SE.)
Here’s an infographic that accurately represents this understanding.
In reality, the SE chip is more like a small computer that also holds Ledger’s operating system (OS) within it. This means that Ledger’s firmware upgrades can affect the way things function inside the SE.
So why does Ledger operate this way? Is it part of a secret plot to pull the wool over its users’ eyes?
The short answer: no. That design is, practically, the only way to make Ledger’s wallets work.
Blockchains and security measures constantly evolve. This means that the signing algorithm within the SE also needs to be able to adapt (aka upgrade) to support evolving blockchains.
Moreover, Ledger is constantly adding support for new chains on its devices. To generate an address on the new chain using the same SRP, Ledger’s applications will need to access the SRP within the SE.
This means that the OS which contains the applications will need to exist within the SE to ensure security. Additionally, if Ledgers weren’t upgradeable, then all of us would need to buy a newer model every time a blockchain that we use evolves.
Clearly, not practical. So, what does this mean? Do we need to accept the fact that Ledger can always mess us up through an upgrade?
But this is how it has always been and users aren’t at any greater risk from Ledger’s new feature than they were before.
This is because the new code which allows for the export of encrypted SRP shards is subject to the same security measures that the SE uses. Specifically, Ledger’s SE uses an attestation and integrity system that prevents interaction with code that is not signed by Ledger.
This means that malicious actors won’t be able to trick users or the device into sending them shards of their SRPs. Even Ledger can’t access such info without the user manually approving it on their device.
In summary, the new feature doesn’t expose current users to any new attack vectors. However, it has made us realise that we actually place more trust in Ledger the company than we’d like to. Maybe multi-sigs using different hardware wallets are actually the way to go.
📊 Personal Portfolio 📊
BTC 35.53% | ETH 31.47% | USDC 17.69% | USDT 7.08% | USD 3.58% | ATOM 3.34% | DOT 1.30%
🔥 Deal of The Week 🔥
Events this week have led many to weigh up other hardware wallet alternatives. One device the Coin Bureau Team has been testing out for some time is Ngrave Zero!
We’ve done a dedicated written review about our findings and we have to say we are impressed about its security features!
👉 Get an exclusive 10% OFF your Ngrave device
🔮 Video Pipeline 🔮
- Gold vs. Bitcoin: The Ultimate Showdown!
- What Happened With Ledger? Complete Breakdown
- S&P Global Crypto Report: What you need to know!
- Credit Crunch Incoming: Is disaster looming?
- Bitcoin: Complete Beginner’s Guide
📖 Quote of the Week 📖
If you have been in crypto for longer than a year, you will have seen crazes come and go. From NFTs to memecoins and everything in between. However, chasing quick gains is like chasing butterflies - it can often be futile. In the end, investors who have a solid thesis and are willing to wait are the ones who will win out in the end. Consider:
“The Stock Market is designed to transfer money from the Active to the Patient” - Warren Buffet
Team Coin Bureau
Disclosure: Authors may own cryptoassets named in this newsletter. These are unqualified opinions, and a Coin Bureau newsletter, is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to serve as investment advice. Please consult with your investment, tax, or legal advisor.
Guy is one of the founding members and face of the Coin Bureau. Like many of us, he is just an average joe who became “crypto curious” back in 2013. After recognising the potential of blockchain technology, Guy set off on a mission to create crypto educational content, working with others to start the Coin Bureau website and released our first video on YouTube in 2019. You can learn more about him in his Who is Guy? blogpost.