Also today, MicroStrategy is still determined to snap up as much Bitcoin as possible.
Bitcoin has broken through $22,000 as the crypto markets show signs of momentum. However, analysts are divided as to how long the rally will last — as concerns over inflation, interest rates and the threat of a recession haven't subsided. For the best part of two weeks, BTC had been struggling to break through $20,000 — and the world's biggest cryptocurrency slumped to two-month lows of $18,700 last Wednesday. But there was a reversal of fortunes on Friday, with Bitcoin accelerating beyond $20,000 and $21,000 with little resistance. All of this comes as MicroStrategy unveils plans to sell $500 million of stock — funds that would be devoted to buying even more Bitcoin.
Google has added a countdown clock for The Merge to search results, as Ethereum's much-anticipated switch to a Proof-of-Stake blockchain nears. All of this comes as the number of global searches for "Ethereum Merge" hits an all-time high — with Singapore, Luxembourg, Cyprus, China and Switzerland driving the most traffic. Google's countdown clock shows two bears, wearing Ethereum necklaces, running toward each other for a hug — illustrating plans for the Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake chains to unite. Estimates based on difficulty and hash rate indicate that The Merge will be finalized on Thursday morning, but it's impossible to provide a precise time. ETH's price has risen by 12% in the past week.
A vocal critic of The Merge has claimed the Ethereum community will miss Proof-of-Work when it's gone. Speaking to the CoinMarketRecap podcast, Justin Sun even suggested that Tether and Circle — the two biggest stablecoin issuers — may even reconsider their support for Proof-of-Stake. "People will start to realize that Proof-of-Work is essential to a smart contract platform," he said. Sun went on to warn that more Ethereum smart contracts could get censored in the future — and large staking providers such as Coinbase will be given a dilemma: Stop transactions, or face shutting down their business. But Bankless co-founder David Hoffman has questioned this — and argues Coinbase isn't as centralized as some believe.
A man has lost $1 million worth of crypto after falling victim to a pig butchering scam. Cy's story has been revealed in devastating detail by Forbes, which obtained 271,000 words of WhatsApp messages between him and his attacker. The 52-year-old was contacted out of the blue by a woman called Jessica who claimed they were old colleagues — and as the conversation turned friendly, he felt comfortable enough to talk about his financial difficulties and ill father. It took just two months for Cy to be duped out of a seven-figure sum — and to make matters worse, a quarter of it was borrowed. There's little chance Cy will get his money back. To make matters worse, there's evidence that the scammers themselves are victims of human trafficking.