People Are Using Stimulus Checks to Buy Bitcoin

Francisco Memoria

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has published on social media a chart showing a large spike in buys and/or deposits that are of exactly $1,200 on the cryptocurrency exchanges.

The chart implies that U.S. citizens are using their stimulus checks, distributed as part of a $2 trillion CARES Act, to buy cryptocurrency. The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has started distributing $290 billion in direct cash payments within the past week as part of the stimulus bill.

The IRS determines eligibility and check amounts by looking at a household’s adjusted gross income using its 2019 tax return. If it hasn’t yet been filed, it uses the 2018 tax return to determine the size of a household’s stimulus check.

Single filers who have an adjusted gross income below $75,000 receive a $1,200 payment, while married couples with an income below $150,000 will receive a $2,400 check. The U.S. government is also paying $500 per qualifying child under age 17.

The data is backed by accounts on social media, where users claim they’ll be using their stimulus checks to buy the flagship cryptocurrency. On Twitter, responding to a poll, users showed interest in using the stimulus check in the crypto space.

It’s worth noting that Armstrong’s data points to direct buys and deposits of exactly $1,200, meaning those who used their entire stimulus check to buy bitcoin. As such, it doesn’t reflect the amount of cryptocurrency that may have been bought with a portion of the $1,200.

Moreover, BTC could have been bought with the check elsewhere as well. Square’s Cash App, for example, allows users to route their stimulus check to BTC almost directly, as the funds can be received via the Cash app.

The stimulus checks were sent as a measure to support the economy amid the coronavirus-induced slowdown.

Featured image via Unsplash.

'Big Spender' Bitcoin Wallet Exploit Is an 'Issue With BTC Itself', Says BCH Supporter

Michael LaVere
  • Crypto security firm ZenGo has identified a double-spend exploit dubbed "BigSpender" which affected popular bitcoin wallets.
  • Exploit allows an attacker to cancel a bitcoin transaction without the receiving user knowing. 

A crypto security firm has identified a double-spend exploit targeting popular bitcoin wallet providers. 

According to a report by ZenGo, the security firm has discovered a double and multiple spend wallet exploit for bitcoin dubbed “BigSpender.” The report claims the exploit allows an attacker to cancel a bitcoin transaction but still have it appear in a victim’s vulnerable wallet. 

The report reads, 

The core issue at the heart of the BigSpender vulnerability is that vulnerable wallets are not prepared for the option that a transaction might be canceled and implicitly assume it will get confirmed eventually.

As CryptoGlobe reported, ZenGo found that a user’s balance would be increased following an unconfirmed incoming transaction, without a subsequent decrease in the event the transaction being double-spent. The firm outlined how an attacker could use the exploit to cancel transactions of sent bitcoin while still receiving goods and services in return. 

The security firm tested nine popular cryptocurrency wallets and found BRD, Ledger Live and Edge to be vulnerable to the exploit. All three companies were notified by ZenGo of the threat and subsequently updated their products. However, the firm noted that “millions” of crypto users may have been exposed to the attack prior to the update. 

Bitcoin Cash supporter Hayden Otto told Cointelegraph the exploit is particularly concerning for bitcoin-accepting merchants. 

He said, 

The technique is facilitated by RBF (replace by fee), a so-called ‘feature’ added at the protocol level by the Bitcoin Core developers.The issue exists if you use BTC. Wallet software can only make some trade off, which results in a worse BTC user experience, in order to try to protect BTC users.

Otto claimed the exploit was derived from “an issue with BTC itself” and had little to do with wallet software. 

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