Bitcoin May Not Make a Comeback This Year, Chinese Analysts Claim

Francisco Memoria

Various analysts in China reportedly believe that bitcoin, the number one cryptocurrency, may not make a ‘big comeback’ this year. After enduring a year-long bearish trend that saw its price dip from a near $20,000 all-time high to a $3,200 low, it may not yet be ready to recover.

Per local news outlet Beijing News, analysts in China are cautious when it comes to the cryptocurrency’s future in the short-term, as they argue the market won’t likely see large returns this year.

Sun Hang, a senior analyst at Token Club, claimed that in the short run we may see the market move upward due to an “imbalance” between supply and demand. Even if the price does rise, Hang added, it’ll likely only happen in the second half of this year.

As for whether investors should put their money in bitcoin this year, Hang revealed it depends on the investors. If they’re looking to hold for “3 to 5 years”, he said, it “makes sense to buy [the] dip in 2019.”

 If they’re looking to invest for a shorter amount of time, he added, they should be careful as “bitcoin is unlikely to outperform other investment targets due to the limitations of blockchain technology over the next 12 months.” As to whether bitcoin was close to bottoming out, he noted it wasn’t clear.

Per 8BTC, another analyst named Huang Liang took a different approach. He was quoted as saying:

At both macroeconomic (tight liquidity within the crypto market) and microeconomic level (slower-than-anticipated blockchain adoption), 2019 will not be a year for bitcoin’s strong corrective rally.

The analyst added that BTC’s price may still drop further this year. Another analyst, Xiao Lei, revealed he sees this year as one in which cryptocurrencies look for a “survival value,” and not one in which cryptoasset prices repeat 2017’s rally, although it’ll be better than last year’s bear market.

Per his words, in 2019 we can expect volatility in the market, with heavy correction included. Lei was quoted as saying:

The best investment strategy is to keep calm, pour a relatively small amount of money into the market and accept the volatility.

At press time, bitcoin is trading at $3,900 after rising 1.7% in the last 24-hour period. The MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 100 Index, a market cap-weighted index that tracks the price of the top 100 cryptos, shows BTC is outperforming most top altcoins, as the index is up 1.1% in said period.

Other top altcoins, however, are performing much better. Ether, the second-largest crypto by market cap, is up 5.7% to $159.2, while Tron’s TRX has surged 10% over BitTorrent’s BTT token, while litecoin is up 13% as it’s trading at $36.

Bitcoin ‘Sextortion’ Scheme Netted Cybercriminals Over $330,000

Blackmailers have reportedly managed to rake in over $330,000 worth of bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, through an email-based ‘sextortion’ campaign that has been ongoing since at least 2017, and saw its activity surge last year.

According to a report published by UK firm Digital Shadows, the cybercriminals received said amount from over 3,100 unique BTC addresses. The funds ended up in 92 different bitcoin addresses believe to belong to the same organization, that could reportedly be making an average of $540 per victim.

The firm’s report, first spotted by The Next Web, tracked a sample of 792,000 emails sent to victims. The ‘sextortionists’ reportedly sent them an email that would include a known password as “proof” they hacked them, and claimed to have video evidence of them seeing adult content online.

The threat was that the video would be published online, if a ransom in BTC wasn’t paid. Last year, Cornell University computer science professor Emin Gün Sirer warned potential victims to “never pay, never negotiate” with cybercriminals trying to extort them.

Per Sirer, the emails were being sent to every email account on the popular website haveibeenpwned, which shows whether emails addresses had their data leaked on well-known online security incidents.

A Sophisticated Operation

The UK firm’s report seems to show the ‘sextortion’ operation was a sophisticated one, as scammers were seemingly trying to hire more people to help them target high-net-work individuals.

These hires could be getting high salaries, up to $768,000 a year, if they had experience in network management, penetration testing, and programming. The cybercriminals have notably also been using social media to target their victims.

The scammers’ capabilities are said to have varied in skill, as while some struggled to distribute a large amount of emails that could get past email server or spam filters, others managed to show high levels of sophistication, with emails sent from accounts specifically created for the campaigns.

Moreover, these campaigns were launched on a global scale, as the servers the emails came from were in five different continents. The highest amount of emails came from Vietnam, Brazil, and India. These servers could, however, have been compromised by the scammers as well.