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Remember Bitcoin? Some Investors Might Want to Forget

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Last year around this time, a toy called a cryptokitty sold for $170,000. A real estate agent remade himself as CoinDaddy, producing cryptocurrency-themed music videos. The man behind a company called Ripple became for a moment richer than Mark Zuckerberg. Kids barely out of high school were buying Lamborghinis because of a crypto meme. Experts went on CNBC to say Bitcoin was going to reach $100,000 per coin.For a few sweet months of 2018, all of Silicon Valley was wrapped up in frenzied easy money and a fantasy of remaking the world order with cryptocurrencies and a related technology called the blockchain. A…

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Iranians Accused in Cyberattacks, Including One That Hobbled Atlanta

Two Iranians were behind the ransomware attack that crippled Atlanta’s government for days this year, the Justice Department said in an indictment unsealed on Wednesday, detailing a sophisticated scheme of attacks on hospitals, government agencies and other organizations.The men, Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, chose targets with complex yet vulnerable systems — organizations that could afford to pay ransoms and needed to urgently restore their systems back online, prosecutors said.In the case of Atlanta, one of the most sustained and consequential cyberattacks ever launched against a major American city, the pair broke into the city’s computer systems and held their data hostage for about…

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5 Reasons Cryptocurrency Prices Are Plunging Again

SAN FRANCISCO — The news on Wall Street this week has been bleak: sharp declines, fears of a bear market and high-flying technology stocks that suddenly took a tumble.Traditional stock investors may be taking a beating, but they should be glad they didn’t put their money in cryptocurrencies. As of Wednesday, the price of a Bitcoin had fallen about 25 percent in a week and was down more than 75 percent from its peak in December.Other digital tokens have fallen even more sharply in value.The latest declines are occurring almost a year after cryptocurrency markets, fueled by a rush of new, wealthy investors, went into overdrive. There…

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Bitcoin’s ‘First Felon’ Faces More Legal Trouble

SAN FRANCISCO — Over the last year, Charlie Shrem, a 28-year-old Bitcoin investor, has bought two Maseratis, two powerboats — one of them 32 feet long — and a $2 million house in Florida, along with smaller pieces of real estate.In the world of cryptocurrencies, where millions can be made and lost in a day, that might not make Mr. Shrem stand out. But unlike most Bitcoin entrepreneurs, in 2016 Mr. Shrem got out of prison, where he spent a year after pleading guilty to illegally helping people turn dollars into Bitcoin to buy drugs online.Mr. Shrem, who had been the chief executive of Bitinstant, one of…

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A Cryptocurrency Millionaire Wants to Build a Utopia in Nevada

STOREY COUNTY, Nev. — An enormous plot of land in the Nevada desert — bigger than nearby Reno — has been the subject of local intrigue since a company with no history, Blockchains L.L.C., bought it for $170 million in cash this year.The man who owns the company, a lawyer and cryptocurrency millionaire named Jeffrey Berns, put on a helmet and climbed into a Polaris off-road vehicle last week to give a tour of the sprawling property and dispel a bit of the mystery.He imagines a sort of experimental community spread over about a hundred square miles, where houses, schools, commercial districts and production studios will be…

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Tech We’re Using: When Cryptocurrencies Fluctuate, He Uses These Tech Tools to Keep Track

How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Nathaniel Popper, who covers cryptocurrencies and financial technology for The Times from San Francisco, discussed the tech he’s using.There are many cryptocurrencies and they often fluctuate in value. What tech products do you use to keep your finger on the pulse?Most conversations about cryptocurrencies tend to start with the price, and there are now countless services that track the ups and downs of the thousands of digital tokens out there.The most popular site, Coinmarketcap.com, was briefly getting more visits than The Wall Street Journal’s home page last winter. My personal favorite…

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After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors

SAN FRANCISCO — Pete Roberts of Nottingham, England, was one of the many risk-takers who threw their savings into cryptocurrencies when prices were going through the roof last winter.Now, eight months later, the $23,000 he invested in several digital tokens is worth about $4,000, and he is clearheaded about what happened.“I got too caught up in the fear of missing out and trying to make a quick buck,” he said last week. “The losses have pretty much left me financially ruined.”Mr. Roberts, 28, has a lot of company. After the latest round of big price drops, many cryptocurrencies have given back all of the enormous gains they…

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How Russian Spies Hid Behind Bitcoin in Hacking Campaign

SAN FRANCISCO — In early 2016, Russian intelligence officers obtained a new pool of the virtual currency Bitcoin. They quickly put the digital money to work.The Russian spies used some of the Bitcoins to pay for the registration of a website, dcleaks.com, where they would later post emails that had been stolen from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. When the operatives needed a computer server to host the dcleaks site, they paid for that with Bitcoins as well.The transactions were detailed in an indictment on Friday from the Justice Department, in which prosecutors accused 12 Russian operatives of interfering in the 2016 presidential campaign through a sophisticated hacking…

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With Cryptocurrencies in Free Fall, One Big Firm Doubles Down

SAN FRANCISCO — Even with the cryptocurrency markets in an extended slump, the most prominent venture capital firm in the sector is doubling down.Andreessen Horowitz, the well-known firm that made early bets on Instagram and Reddit, said on Monday that it was creating a $300 million fund focused exclusively on projects inspired by the original virtual currency, Bitcoin. One of the leaders of the new fund will be the firm’s first female general partner, Kathryn Haun, a former federal prosecutor.Last year, when Bitcoin and most other virtual currencies were gaining in value, most of the large venture capital firms began beefing up on cryptocurrency expertise and making…

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