Crypto ATMs — or BTMs according to local terminology — are back in Japan after a lengthy four-year hiatus.
Local crypto exchange firm Gaia Co., Ltd announced on Tuesday that it will soon roll out BTMs that support Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC).
Despite Bitcoin ATMs having made their debut in Tokyo as early as 2014, the country has not seen any active digital asset ATMs since the crypto winter of 2018, which saw local exchange Coincheck hacked for $530 million, bringing the local sector to its knees and souring interest in crypto ATMs.
Initially, the BTMs will be installed in locations across Tokyo and Osaka, but the firm has outlined plans to set up 50 BTMs across the country within the next 12 months. The company said it hopes to increase the installed base to 130 BTMs within the next three years.
The BTMs will allow users to withdraw a max of $747, or 100,000 Japanese yen, per transaction, with a max withdrawal cap of $2,243, or 300,000 yen, per day. The limited withdrawals are part of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance measures.
According to a Wednesday report from local media outlet Mainichi Shimbun, the move from Gaia will mark the first time a locally-registered crypto company has installed crypto ATMs in Japan.
To withdraw funds from the BTMs, users need to register with the company to obtain a special card that grants them access to do so. Once approved, users can send crypto assets to the BTM via a smartphone and then withdraw the cash amount in yen.
The BTMs will help speed up the current withdrawal process in the country, which often takes a few days to wire funds from an exchange to a local bank account, the Japanese-language outlet noted.
“Unsatisfactory” cybersecurity measures among play-to-earn (P2E) crypto games pose a great risk to GameFi projects and their gamers alike, warns blockchain cybersecurity auditor Hacken.
In a Monday report shared with Cointelegraph, Hacken said that data indicates that GameFi projects, the category which P2E games would fall under, often “put profits above security” by releasing products without taking appropriate precautions against hackers:
“GameFi projects [...] do not follow even the most essential cybersecurity recommendations, leaving malicious actors numerous entry points for attacks.”
P2E games often incorporate nonfungible tokens (NFTs) in their ecosystems in addition to crypto. The largest projects, such as Axie Infinity (AXS) and StepN (GMT), use a wide array of products designed to enhance the gaming experience, such as token bridges, blockchain networks or physical merchandise.
Hacken researchers found that based on data collected by crypto security ranking service CER.live., there were severe deficiencies in GameFi cybersecurity in particular. It found that out of 31 GameFi tokens studied, none received the top security ranking AAA while 16 received the worst D score.
Rankings for each project were determined by weighting various aspects of their cybersecurity, such as token audits, whether they have a bug bounty and insurance and if the team is public.
Hacken’s report explained that GameFi projects typically scored low as it found that no P2E projects had insurance coverage, which could help projects recover funds immediately in the instance of a hack.
The lack of insurance is partially confirmed by crypto insurance firm InsurAce’s chief marketing officer Dan Thomson, who told Cointelegraph on Thursday that it was not covering any P2E projects.
The report also found that only two projects have an active bug bounty program in place. Axie Infinity and Aavegotchi have bug bounties that award monetary compensation to white hat hackers for finding bugs in the project’s code.
Finally, it found that while 14 projects have received a token audit, only five have completed a platform audit which could find potential security holes in the project’s entire ecosystem. These include Aavegotchi, The Sandbox, Radio Caca, Alien Worlds and DeFi Kingdoms.
The report also pointed to token bridges as a vulnerability for P2E games. Axie Infinity’s Ronin token bridge was the site of one of the crypto industry’s largest hacks ever when it lost over $600 million in tokens in March.
As P2E games grow in popularity, there will likely be an increase in the number of security exploits and dollar value stolen from projects, said Hacken. The firm has advised gamers to perform their own security check of projects before sinking a large sum of money into them:
“And, of course, keep in mind that investing in P2Es remains a potentially profitable but quite risky affair.”
The latest crypto market research from Bloomberg Intelligence suggests that Bitcoin (BTC) may start to behave more like United States Treasury bonds and gold, rather than stocks.
In its August “Crypto Outlook” report, penned by senior commodity strategist Mike McGlone and senior market structure analyst Jamie Coutts, the research unit compared Bitcoin markets to those of gold, bonds and oil.
The authors suggested that macroeconomic influences such as the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies have resulted in similarities in Treasury bond markets and Bitcoin:
“Tightening markets and plunging global growth support the Federal Reserve's shift to a ‘meeting by meeting’ bias in July, which may help pivot Bitcoin toward a directional tilt more like US Treasury bonds than stocks.”
They also added that a “dump-following-pump nature of commodities” and receding bond yields suggest an increase in the probability of bonds and gold and Bitcoin being buoyed as inflation decreases.
Treasury bonds, often called T-Bonds, are long-term government debt securities issued by the U.S. Treasury Department. They have a fixed rate of return and maturity periods ranging from 20 to 30 years.
The report noted that crypto markets reached their greatest-ever discount compared to the 100-week moving average in July. It added that it is “abnormal for Bitcoin to hold much below its 200-week moving average.” BTC is currently trading up 1.2% on the day at $23,1502 at the time of writing, having just reclaimed the 200-week moving average, which lies at $22,827.
The analysts said that the fact that BTC was 70% below its peak at the start of August but still five times higher than its March 2020 low “shows its potential.”
They flagged the $20,000 zone as key support and that they expect a base is building, similar to the $5,000 level in 2018-19.
The researchers concluded that Bitcoin had been one of the best-performing assets since its inception about a decade ago, adding:
“We think more of the same is ahead, particularly as it may be transitioning toward global collateral, with results more aligned with Treasury bonds or gold.”
Coinbase research carried out in July indicates that the risk profile of the crypto asset class is similar to that of oil and tech stocks. According to Coinbase chief economist Cesare Fracassi, “the correlation between the stock and crypto-asset prices has risen significantly” since the 2020 pandemic.
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