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Risks of the Ethereum Merge

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Risks of the Ethereum Merge

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The second week of September 2022, stands to be one of the most transformative in crypto history as Ethereum readies The Merge, its consensus mechanism transformation. A metamorphosis of epic proportions, it will set the stage for future scaling upgrades, including sharding. This article explains The Merge, its benefits and several possible risks you should look out for during transition.

Risks of the Ethereum Merge

As beneficial as The Merge will be, it is not without risk from scammers looking to make a buck from potential victims or from potential technical difficulties. The Ethereum Foundation cautions, “As we approach The Merge of Ethereum Mainnet, you should be on high alert for scams trying to take advantage of users during this transition.” 

What is the Ethereum Merge?

The Merge is the second major step in achieving the Ethereum vision of security, scalability, decentralization and sustainability by shifting from a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol. This transformation will reduce energy consumption by almost 100%. Producing a block on the blockchain will move from miners using energy-hogging graphics processing units (GPUs) to staking validators.

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The Ethereum Foundation explains that “validators receive new blocks from peers on the Ethereum network. The transactions delivered in the block are re-executed, and the block signature is checked to ensure the block is valid. The validator then sends a vote (called an attestation) in favor of that block across the network.” This transformation paves the way for future upgrades that will reduce transaction costs and increase the speed of transactions.

Why is the Ethereum Merge Important? 

Ethereum aims to achieve three goals — scalability, security and decentralization. Unlike the old business adage that “you can have it fast and cheap, fast and right, cheap and right, but you can’t have all three,” Ethereum refuses to compromise. The foundation writes that “a naive way to solve Ethereum’s problems would be to make it more centralized. But decentralization is too important. It’s decentralization that gives Ethereum censorship resistance, openness, data privacy and near-unbreakable security.” Decentralized finance (DeFi) principles form a crucial part of the Ethereum ethos.

To accomplish these three goals, Ethereum (CRYPTO: ETH) plans to increase the size and power of its nodes without sacrificing speed or decentralization. It plans to implement the process of sharding to increase transactions per second while decreasing the power needed to run a node and validate the chain.

Risks of the Ethereum Merge

No change comes without risk, and bad actors seek to capitalize on the confusion and uncertainty that comes with change. During The Merge, you can count on opportunistic thieves trying to make money off crypto users’ inexperience, gullibility, indifference and greed. Here are a few scams to watch out for. 

  • Fake airdrops: The Ethereum Foundation will run no airdrops, so if you see one, ignore it or send it to a burn address.
  • Phishing scams: Most people are aware of the many phishing scams where fraudsters try to get you to share your information. ETH-related phishing scams are likely to escalate this week. 
  • Support scams: Entities and people who purport to be part of a support organization may ask you for details or access to your computer. Don’t give it. 
  • Fraudulent mining pools: These scams offer a swap page that promises high returns for sending funds to its fake mining pool. Coinbase estimated that users have lost more than $50 million this way.
  • Misleading offers for a nonexistent ETH2 token: The Ethereum Foundation tells users that they should “not send your ETH anywhere in an attempt to ‘upgrade to ETH2.’ There is no ‘ETH2’ token, and there is nothing more you need to do for your funds to remain safe.”
  • Risk of outage: Although it is unlikely, The Merge could result in a period of outage similar to what happened with Solana in the past. 
  • The power of slashing: The ability to slash ETH in a PoS system is a benefit to the protocol but is not without risk because if someone attacks the network and slashes coins, it’s irretrievably gone. 
  • Little or no reduction of gas fees: Fees for transactions are not expected to decrease after The Merge, but future upgrades are aimed at reducing fees.
  • Miniscule reduction in time for transactions: Ethereum transactions take 13 to 14 seconds; after The Merge, they should take 12 seconds, keeping Ethereum’s speed behind that of Solana and Avalanche. To put it in perspective, however, mining a block of Bitcoin takes about 10 minutes. The next Ethereum upgrade, which will incorporate sharding, stands to reduce transaction time and fees for users.

When is the Ethereum Merge?

Ethereum has been preparing for and working toward The Merge for years. The exact moment the transformation will take place has not been announced, but the Ethereum Foundation published plans for a soft deadline of Sept. 19. Many speculate that it will happen at 3 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on Sept. 15, 2022, based on when the timing of the terminal total difficulty (TTD) will reach a certain level.

From https://blog.ethereum.org/2022/08/24/mainnet-merge-announcement

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How to Buy Ethereum

You can buy ETH from centralized exchanges (CEXs) like eToro or Robinhood; from decentralized exchanges (DEXs) like Uniswap or 1inch; or from some crypto wallets. 

CEXs are easiest for people new to crypto. You sign up with a CEX much like you’d do at a bank or brokerage, providing your Social Security number and other identifying information. A DEX puts more control in your hands because it uses smart contracts instead of using a third party to safeguard funds in the transaction. Accessing a DEX is harder for U.S. citizens because you have to already have a personal wallet with at least some Ethereum in it to pay fees and another crypto to swap for it. Using a wallet like MetaMask lets you buy crypto with a debit or credit card, bank transfer or Apple Pay.

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What’s Next for Ethereum?

Ethereum has been improving since its inception in 2015. The Merge, among other things, acknowledges the importance of caring for Mother Earth by reducing energy consumption. 

It’s rare to see an organization that persists in holding true to its formative tenets of security, scalability and decentralization. The foundation writes that “a naive way to solve Ethereum’s problems would be to make it more centralized. But decentralization is too important. It’s decentralization that gives Ethereum censorship resistance, openness, data privacy and near-unbreakable security.” 

After The Merge, Ethereum aims to make itself even more scalable and accessible to all by upgrading to a sharding process. Sharding will lower transaction fees by distributing data storage requirements and making nodes easier to operate. The system will experience even less network congestion and faster transactions per second.

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So, Is Ethereum a Good Investment Right Now?

As much as he might confirm its value in the crypto world, even Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin himself couldn’t swear that Ethereum will make you money right now. In the transition from PoW to PoS, The Merge could cause an increase in the price of ETH as more users buy it. The price could remain unchanged because the plans for The Merge were already priced in long ago. The price could drop from technical difficulties that emerge in the process or from broader economic concerns. 

As with all trading, nothing is guaranteed, and anything is possible. Learn more about crypto trading signals from Benzinga’s crypto experts and gain more knowledge about crypto to maximize your profits as you take part in this $3 trillion market sector.

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Billionaire Hedge Fund Founder Ray Dalio Steps Down As Co-CIO Of Bridgewater Associates

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Billionaire Hedge Fund Founder Ray Dalio Steps Down As Co-CIO Of Bridgewater Associates

Billionaire hedge fund founder Ray Dalio has stepped down as chief executive of Bridgewater Associates, according to a transfer of voting rights on September 30. Bridgewater’s co-chief executive explained on Tuesday that “Ray no longer has the final word,” in regard to the hedge fund’s future.

Hedge Fund Giant and Bridgewater Associates Founder Ray Dalio Steps Down, Co-CEOs Mark Bertolini and Nir Bar Dea to Take Over Senior Management

On Tuesday, October 4, after founding Bridgewater Associates more than 40 years ago, Ray Dalio stepped down as co-CIO. Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker first reported on the matter after the hedge fund founder relinquished all of his voting rights to the board of directors on September 30. After founding Bridgewater in 1975, Dalio was considered a mogul hedge fund titan and within the first ten years of business, Bridgewater got a $5 million investment from the World Bank.

Schatzker report cites Bridgewater’s co-chief executive, Nir Bar Dea, who told the reporter “Ray no longer has the final word.” Dalio also spoke about his resignation on Twitter and he told the public that today was a special day for him because he “transitioned my control of Bridgewater to the next generation.” Dalio added:

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I feel great about the people and ‘machine’ now in control. This transition moment is the culmination of a 47-year journey.

Dalio is also well known for being a critic of bitcoin (BTC) and blockchain technology. The hedge fund titan has explained on many occasions that he believes governments would eventually outlaw cryptocurrencies.

“I think at the end of the day if it’s really successful, they will kill it, and they will try to kill it,” Dalio said two months before bitcoin (BTC) reached $69K per unit. “I think they will kill it because they have ways of killing it,” he added.

Last February, Dalio noted that he had a “tiny percentage” of crypto in his portfolio because he wanted to “diversify.” However, he further stressed: “It’ll be outlawed, probably by different governments.” As far as Bridgewater is concerned, Dalio explained that the hedge fund’s co-CEOs Mark Bertolini and Nir Bar Dea would be in charge of senior management.

“Hopefully until I die, I will continue to be a mentor, an investor, and board member at Bridgewater, because I and they love doing those things together,” Dalio concluded in his remarks on Tuesday.

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ban bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin (BTC), blockchain technology, Bridgewater, bridgewater associates, Cryptocurrencies, Erik Schatzker, hedge fund, hedge fund founder, Mark Bertolini, Nir Bar Dea, outlaw BTC, Ray Dalio

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What do you think about Ray Dalio stepping down as co-CIO of Bridgewater Associates? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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NFT Collection Veefriends Physical Collectibles To Debut At Macy’s And Toys’R’Us

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NFT Collection Veefriends Physical Collectibles To Debut At Macy’s And Toys’R’Us

In recent times, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and their physical counterparts have started to debut at well known retail stores and luxury boutiques. On October 4, the NFT project called Veefriends revealed that the team is launching its limited edition series of collectible characters exclusively at Macy’s and Toys”R”Us. Veefriends holds the 20th position in terms of all-time NFT collection sales, with approximately $240.15 million in sales since the NFT project launched.

Veefriends Are Coming to Macy’s and Toys’R’Us Retail Locations, Existing Veefriends Holders Can Claim Physical Counterparts

The non-fungible token (NFT) project created by the serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk aims to debut in both physical and digital form at the retail stores Macy’s and Toys”R”Us. The collection is starting its pre-sale today and will officially launch on October 17. The collection will feature plush and vinyl characters of the Veefriends, and people can pre-order leveraging the Macy’s mobile app, at all Toys”R”Us locations, and via the website shop.veefriends.com.

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“This partnership means way more to me than you could ever imagine,” Gary Vaynerchuk, the CEO and creator of Veefriends said in a statement on Tuesday. “I fondly remember growing up in Edison, New Jersey, walking down these stores’ aisles as a kid. We chose characters that we think embody exciting features for first-time collectors, much like some of the toys I picked up on the shelves of Toys”R”Us the first time.”

Vaynerchuk added:

I can’t wait to see them in-store and on the shelves – it’s a full circle moment for me and a very big step for the company.

Veefriends Joins the Slew of NFT Projects Entering the Retail Space, NFT Project Teams up With Mattel Creations

NFTs have been entering the retail space for quite some time as a number of projects have been featured in physical locations. For instance, clothing featuring Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) and Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC) can be found at Pacific Sunwear stores. At the end of September, the pop culture collectibles firm Funko (Nasdaq: FNKO) introduced DC digital collectibles and physical counterparts with Walmart.

A handful of the Veefriends physical collectibles that are available to purchase at Macy’s and Toys”R”Us.

NBA Top Shot NFT packs were distributed to last year’s NBA Summer League Games attendees. Luxury jewelry and specialty retailer Tiffany & Co. launched Cryptopunk pendants tethered to NFTs, and at the end of February 2021, Topps introduced Garbage Pail Kids (GPK) NFTs inside packs of physical trading cards sold at Walmart and Target. Moreover, pre-existing Veefriends NFT holders are eligible for a free physical figure. Each physical counterpart will feature a QR code that leads to 3D animated videos and character songs.

“Veefriends wants to bring value to our NFT community – not only will they get first access to claim the collection, they also get priority at the in-store events,” Andy Kraniak, the president of Veefriends remarked during the announcement on Tuesday. “It’s just one more way we want to connect with our NFT holders and show them how we are developing the IP behind the characters,” Kraniak concluded.

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Gary Vaynerchuk holding a Veefriends and Mattel Creations’ UNO foil card featuring the character “Gary Bee.”

Veefriends’ CEO Vaynerchuk also revealed a partnership with Mattel Creations in order to release a reimagined UNO deck featuring the Veefriends characters. The new deck will include a non-playable foil card featuring one of 17 Veefriends and the character “Gary Bee” will be the rarest foil card in the collection. The Veefriends and UNO The collectable packs will sell for $25 per pack and are only available via the website creations.mattel.com.

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Andy Kraniak, Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), DC digital collectibles, Funko, Garbage Pail Kids, Gary Vaynerchuk, GPK, Macys, Mutant Ape Yacht Club (MAYC), NBA Top Shot, nft, NFTs, Non-fungible tokens, Pacific Sunwear, physical counterparts, Target, Tiffany & Co., Topps, Toys”R”Us, Veefriends, Walmart

What do you think about Veefriends coming to Macy’s and Toys”R”Us? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.

Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is the News Lead at Bitcoin.com News and a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open-source code, and decentralized applications. Since September 2015, Redman has written more than 6,000 articles for Bitcoin.com News about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Pro-Russian Groups Raised $400,000 In Crypto Since Ukraine Invasion, Report Reveals

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Pro-Russian Groups Raised $400,000 In Crypto Since Ukraine Invasion, Report Reveals

Groups supporting Russia’s war effort in Ukraine have been actively collecting cryptocurrency to fund paramilitary operations and evade sanctions, researchers say. According to a new report, these organizations use Telegram to raise money then used to pay for equipment and training.

Paramilitary Groups Employ Cryptocurrency to Fund Russian Operations in Ukraine

Pro-Russian groups have reportedly raised a serious amount of cryptocurrency for Russia’s military activities in Ukraine, circumventing U.S.-led sanctions. According to a study carried out by the digital asset compliance and risk management firm TRM Labs, the total had reached $400,000 as of Sept. 22, CNBC reported on Monday.

The study unveiled that these organizations were using the popular encrypted messaging app Telegram to offer supporters options to send funds, which were later spent to purchase supplies for Russian-affiliated militia groups and pay for their combat training at locations near the Ukrainian border.

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One of these, Task Force Rusich, has been labeled by the U.S. Treasury as a “neo-Nazi paramilitary group that has participated in combat alongside Russia’s military in Ukraine.” The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has placed it under sanctions. It was trying to raise money for items such as thermal imaging equipment and radios on a Telegram channel.

Another group identified by TRM Labs, the Novorossiya Aid Coordinating Center, raised about $21,000 in cryptocurrency, mainly bitcoin (BTC), with the aim of buying drones, the report added. The organization was established in 2014 to support Russian operations in Ukraine.

The findings come amid mounting sanctions against Russia over its decision to attack Ukraine in late February, which have severely limited its access to the global financial system. The Russian government is now working to legalize crypto payments for international settlements in order to circumvent the restrictions.

Crypto Said to Lack Liquidity for Large-Scale Russian Transactions

While the crypto space may not have the sufficient liquidity Russia would need to move large sums of money, as experts have pointed out, it has enough to allow paramilitary groups to make transfers for the items they need to acquire. Ari Redbord, head of legal and government affairs at TRM Labs, elaborated:

They’re probably using non-compliant exchanges to off-ramp those funds… Of course, there’ll be more. But will it be billions of dollars? Highly unlikely.

To pinpoint the groups, TRM Labs used publicly available wallet addresses and cross-checked other websites and online activity. Redbord remarked, however, that it’s not possible to establish with certainty whether they were working with the Russian government.

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“I think an interesting part of this story is that crypto is just a form of payment in these cases. It’s a way to move funds. And there’s an example of it being used for good and example of it being used for bad in this context,” the executive added. Ukrainian volunteer groups and government have been also relying on crypto donations to fund their defense and humanitarian efforts.

The latest research on the topic comes after, earlier this year, a report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis identified 54 pro-Russian groups that had collectively received over $2.2 million in various cryptocurrencies. Although most of the crypto funds were sent to several of these organizations, the rest had received considerable amounts as well, the company said.

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conflict, Crypto, Crypto Donations, Cryptocurrencies, Cryptocurrency, fund raising, Funds, Groups, invasion, operations, organizations, paramilitary, Russia, russian, transactions, Ukraine, ukrainian, War

Do you think groups on both sides in the conflict in Ukraine will continue to raise funds in cryptocurrency? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a direct offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation or endorsement of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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