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Coming every Saturday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

The Bitcoin network welcomes Taproot soft fork upgrade

The Bitcoin (BTC) network underwent its first major upgrade since 2017 after the Taproot soft fork went live following a 90% lock-in consensus from miners and mining pools between blocks 709,488 and 709,632. 

Taproot will apparently improve the scripting capabilities and privacy of the Bitcoin network by enabling a concept known as Merkelized Abstract Syntax Tree, which can enhance the efficiency of smart contracts without revealing private data behind the contract when making transactions.  

Prominent Bitcoin developer Hampus Sjöberg spoke to Cointelegraph and emphasized the importance of the upgrade, as he pointed out that Taproot shows Bitcoin can do network upgrades again.


Animoca Brands unveils plans for K-pop NFT metaverse

Top NFT gaming firm Animoca Brands has penned a partnership with Cube Entertainment, a South Korean record label, talent agency and music production company, to build a “K-pop music metaverse.”

The deal was announced on Monday and will see the duo work together to rollout NFTs dedicated to K-pop stars and popular actors under Cube’s representation, such as BtoB, Pentagon, (G)I-DLE and Lightsum. 

Animoca said the partnership will enable “true digital property rights and other blockchain benefits” for the artists on Cube’s roster as well as their fans. Cube CEO Ahn Woo-hyung said that the collaboration will be “an important beginning for leading the global digital culture market and advancing the digital content industry.”


Google searches for NFTs spike to record highs

On Tuesday it was reported that Google searches for NFTs have spiked to record highs during the latter half of 2021. According to Google Trends, NFT searches broke into new highs during October, surging past the former peak of interest during the initial NFT boom at the start of 2021. 

Google’s data also shows that “NFT” has overtaken many of the keywords that have long dominated crypto-related search traffic, including “DeFi,” “Ethereum” and “blockchain.” While Dogecoin (DOGE) previously captured the attention of the market during Q2, the data suggests that, as traffic declined for the memecoin in Q3, the interest shifted to the NFT sector. 

In terms of a geographic breakdown, NFT search traffic is dominated by Asian nations, with China, Uganda, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines topping the keyword’s search rankings.


Mt. Gox rehabilitation plan is now ‘final and binding’

The rehabilitation plan to compensate creditors from the now-defunct Japanese crypto exchange Mt. Gox was finalized this week following confirmation from the Tokyo District Court.

Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy in 2014 due to a hack resulting in the loss of 850,000 BTC worth $460 million at the time. Creditors have been waiting for compensation for nearly a decade, and the rehabilitation plan was first put forward in the Japanese court system in 2018 on their behalf. 

According to a Tuesday announcement from Mt. Gox trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi, the rehabilitation plan originally filed in the Tokyo District Court in February is now “final and binding.” While Kobayashi is yet to sort the specifics of the repayments, he reportedly has around 150,000 BTC hodl’d to repay creditors.


Staples Center in Los Angeles will be renamed Arena (CRO) splurged $700 million on 20-year naming rights for the Staples Center, with the home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers now officially known as Arena. 

The deal was signed off by the arena’s owner, AEG, a multinational sports and entertainment company that owns several facilities, as well as sports franchises such as the MLS’s Los Angeles Galaxy. 

The 20,000-seat stadium will feature the new branding for the first time on Christmas day, as the LA Lakers take on the Brooklyn Nets. has been on a bullish pump of late, with the price gaining more than 160% over the past 30 days to sit at $0.505671 at the time of writing.




Winners and Losers



At the end of the week, Bitcoin (BTC) is at $58,311, Ether (ETH) at $4,275 and XRP at $1.10. The total market cap is at $2.59 trillion, according to CoinMarketCap.

Among the biggest 100 cryptocurrencies, the top three altcoin gainers of the week are WAX (WAXP) at 64.82%, The Sandbox (SAND) at 64.59% and Coin (CRO) at 55.28%. 

The top three altcoin losers of the week are OMG Network (OMG) at -20.43%, Algorand (ALGO) at -18.24% and Zcash (ZEC) at -17.73%.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.



Most Memorable Quotations


“[Cryptocurrencies] are growing very fast, and they’re becoming integrated more into what I might call the traditional financial system. […] So the point at which they pose a risk is getting closer. I think regulators and legislators need to think very hard about that.”

Sir Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor for financial stability at the Bank of England


“There’s a bunch of people right now in Congress who are trying to pass laws on things they don’t necessarily understand. And because of that, you see regulations that don’t really make sense. […] Cryptocurrency should not be a partisan issue. It’s too big for that.”

Matt West, U.S. democratic congressional candidate


“Developing an effective policy framework for cryptocurrencies will only be possible if there is clear communication and collaboration between private and public actors.”

Susan Friedman, head of public policy at Ripple


“We feel that being compliant will allow more users to use us.”

Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance


“It will always be known as the Staples Center, no matter how many hundreds of millions of dollars paid for the naming rights.”

Bryan Kalbrosky, reporter at USA Today


“There are certainly stablecoin issuers who are violating the law. […] There are also regulated stablecoin issuers and there is also the possibility of creating more of a federal home for regulation of stablecoins. We don’t have a legal gap there, I think — we just have an enforcement gap.”

Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research at Coin Center


“As it is written today, however, the BIF would increase uncertainty in the cryptocurrency industry, pick winners and losers, and thwart Internal Revenue Service (IRS) efforts to accurately tax cryptocurrencies, all while eroding our country’s competitive edge against other countries on the digital asset marketplace.”

Letter with signatures from multiple U.S. representatives regarding the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF)


“We maintain an extremely negative stance on cryptocurrencies as private currencies that claim to be money. But as people need alternatives, we should work on this with the help of our projects. We should develop the digital ruble as I have already said.”

Elvira Nabiullina, governor of the Central Bank of Russia


Prediction of the Week 


Bitcoin has stalled, but here’s why pro traders still expect $80K by January

Bitcoin has suffered significant downward price action recently, dropping from around $66,300 down to roughly $55,700 inside the week, based on Cointelegraph’s BTC price index

Cointelegraph’s Marcel Pechman looked at a variety of data to see how market players are acting. Pechman observed that Bitcoin futures data revealed only a moderate level of confidence in the digital currency as of Tuesday. 

In his view, options data for BTC points to a neutral outlook on the digital asset. Additionally, Pechman included a chart indicating Bitcoin’s price traveling inside an ascending channel — a type of upward-slanting range.



FUD of the Week 


President Biden signs infrastructure bill into law, mandating broker reporting requirements

The controversial $1 trillion infrastructure bill was signed off by President Joe Biden on Monday, with the legislation aimed at funding major infrastructure projects across the U.S., among several other spending initiatives.  

Crypto proponents have had the pitchforks ready ever since the bill was announced months ago, as it imposes tighter rules on crypto businesses and reporting requirements for brokers. The bill also mandates that crypto transactions larger than $10,000 are to be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. 

“For too long, we’ve talked about having the best economy in the world. […] Today, we’re finally getting this done,” said the U.S. president, adding that this bill will somehow make the citizens’ lives “change for the better.”


Miramax sues Tarantino over ‘money grab’ Pulp Fiction NFTs

Miramax filed a complaint against iconic film director Quentin Tarantino on Tuesday after the 58-year-old went rogue and announced his own NFT drop depicting content from Pulp Fiction, his blockbuster film from 1994. 

Tarantino said the NFT sale would go live next month, but it appears that Miramax took umbrage at not being offered the chance to skim some extra royalties off the film it produced. Miramax accused Tarantino’s team of going after a “short-term money grab” despite the company having plans to do the same thing itself.   

“This group chose to recklessly, greedily, and intentionally disregard the agreement that Quentin signed instead of following the clear legal and ethical approach of simply communicating with Miramax about his proposed ideas,” Miramax said.


CZ reveals how many users left Binance after mandatory KYC

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao revealed that the firm lost 3% of its user base after it made Know Your Customer processes mandatory “for global users, for every feature” in a bid to attract new traders as a regulatory-compliant business. 

Zhao made the comments during an interview with Bloomberg News on Tuesday, noting that his firm’s shift towards compliance is starting to woo regulators as opposed to forcing them to release the hounds, suggesting that he is not feeling the FUD whatsoever. 

“When people see me in person, they say, ‘Look, CZ is very reasonable, very calm, not a crazy guy.’ So that helps establish their trust much faster,” he said.


Best Cointelegraph Features

Adapt or die: Venture capital vs. crypto, blockchain, DAOs and Web 3.0

Venture capital cannot just stick to its existing structures and processes if it wants to remain relevant in the new Web 3.0 era.

What can Eric Adams do? The limits of turning New York City into a crypto hub

Despite the limitations of his office, the mayor-elect of New York could leverage his agenda-setting power to the benefit of both crypto and city residents.

Meet Dmitry: Co-founder of Ethereum’s creator Vitalik Buterin

“There are a few things that I got really interested in and I learned a lot of things like human psychology and spirituality, AI and psychedelics and blockchain.”

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The Samba Vulnerability: What is CVE-2021-44142 and How to Fix It

An earlier version of an out-of-bounds (OOB) vulnerability in Samba was disclosed via Trend Micro Zero Day Initiative’s (ZDI) Pwn2Own Austin 2021. While we have not seen any active attacks exploiting this vulnerability, CVE-2021-44142 received a CVSS rating of 9.9 out of the three variants reported. If abused, this security gap can be used by remote attackers to execute arbitrary code as root on all affected installations that use the virtual file system (VFS) module vfs fruit.

White House Cybersecurity Official in Europe Warning of Russian Hacks

Russia could use cyberattacks as part of its efforts to destabilize and further invade Ukraine, a White House cyber official visiting her European counterparts said. Anne Neuberger, U.S. deputy national security advisor for cyber and emerging technology, met with European Union and NATO officials in Brussels to discuss the threat of cyber-attacks against Ukraine by Russia.

Conti and LockBit Make Waves with High-Profile Attacks: Ransomware in Q4 2021

Ransomware actors were intent on punctuating 2021 with a wave of high-profile attacks. Trend Micro zeroes in on LockBit and Conti ransomware operators: two groups that worked overtime in the final quarter of 2021, as evidenced by the modern ransomware campaigns that they launched against different organizations in various countries.

Samba ‘Fruit’ Bug Allows RCE, Full Root User Access

Samba is an interoperability suite that allows Windows and Linus/Unix-based hosts to work together and share file and print services with multi-platform devices on a common network, including SMB file-sharing. Gaining the ability to execute remote code as a root user means that an attacker would be able to read, modify or delete any files on the system, enumerate users, install malware (such as cryptominers or ransomware), and pivot to further into a corporate network.

Codex Exposed Helping Hackers in Training

This is the fourth and final installment of Trend Micro’s series analyzing Codex. In this blog, Trend Micro analyzes how useful the Codex code generator is as a potential training tool and what possibilities a coding assistant offers to hackers in training.

Inside Trickbot, Russia’s Notorious Ransomware Gang

Internal messages shed new light on the operators of one of the world’s biggest botnets. The documents include messages between senior members of Trickbot, dated from the summer and autumn of 2020, and expose how the group planned to expand its hacking operations. They lay bare key members’ aliases and show the ruthless attitude of members of the criminal gang.

BlackCat Ransomware Implicated in Attack on German Oil Companies

An internal report from the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) said the BlackCat ransomware group was behind the recent cyberattack on two German oil companies that is affecting hundreds of gas stations across northern Germany.

$320 Million Stolen from Wormhole, Bridge Linking Solana and Ethereum

Wormhole, one of the most popular bridges linking the Ethereum and Solana blockchains, lost about $320 million in an apparent hack Wednesday afternoon. The two blockchains are popular in the world of DeFi, where programmable contracts can replace lawyers and bankers in some transactions, and NFTs, but few users stick with one blockchain exclusively, so bridges like Wormhole are a necessary go-between.

Cyberattack Hits German Service Station Provider

The company this afternoon confirmed to The Register that Oiltanking GmbH’s terminals – which provide Shell service stations, among others – are “operating with limited capacity” and that Mabanaft GmbH had “declared force majeure for the majority of its inland supply activities in Germany.” Shell has additional providers, however, and said it had “diverted operations to other suppliers to minimise disruption.”

What do you think about the threat of Russian cyberattacks against Ukraine? Share in the comments below or follow me on Twitter to continue the conversation: @JonLClay.