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Taproot goes live; Hong Kong crypto kidnap

Taproot goes live, meanwhile Hong Kong crypto kidnap

Chinese official expelled over crypto mining.

Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade goes live.

Hong Kong police make arrests after crypto kidnapping.

We’ll have more on those stories — and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world — in this episode of The Daily Forkast November 15.


Bitcoin’s price reaction to the Taproot upgrade is on our minds today.

Welcome to The Daily Forkast November 15 2021. I’m Megha Chaddah of Forkast.News, covering all things blockchain.

Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade has gone live, but what exactly does it offer and how have markets moved as a result?

We’ll take a look at that and a whole lot more coming up. Let’s get you up to speed from Asia to the world.

Let’s kick off with some of the top stories out of Asia today.

In China, the country’s anti-corruption watchdog has removed an official from office and expelled him from the Communist Party of China for serious violations of discipline and law.

Xiao Yi, a former vice chairman of the Jiangxi Provincial Committee of the People’s Political Consultative Conference, was accused of abusing his power to introduce and support virtual currency mining operations. Authorities said Xiao could now face criminal charges.

The expulsion comes after last week’s National Development and Reform Commission meeting, held to instruct local authorities to strengthen monitoring and clear out crypto mining projects.

And wealthy the South Koreans are saying no to crypto.

In a survey by KB Financial Group of 400 people with more than one billion Korean won, or almost US$850,000 worth of financial assets, 70% said they would not invest in cryptocurrencies.

More than half of those respondents said there’s just too much risk of losses in crypto, with distrust in exchanges and lack of knowledge on virtual assets also cited as concerns.

And you can find more on those stories at Forkast.News.

Now, Bitcoin’s much anticipated Taproot upgrade went live on Sunday at block 709632.

Designed to enhance Bitcoin’s smart contract capabilities and boost privacy, it’s the biggest update to the Bitcoin blockchain since 2017. However, it hasn’t exactly set markets alight.

Forkast.News Monika Ghosh has more on what it offers and the market reaction.

The Taproot softfork combines the Schnorr signature scheme with the Merkelized Alternative Script Tree to make complex smart contracts like those including multiple signatures indistinguishable from regular Bitcoin transactions in order to enable greater privacy.

It also lowers the data size of those smart contracts, which will help lower transaction costs.

Bitcoin’s price rose moderately in the 24 hours following the upgrade, with one expert telling Forkast.News that while 2017 SegWit upgrade was rather acrimonious, this time around the open source community were all behind it, so it became just another part of the positive news flow on Bitcoin.

“The interesting thing about these upgrades are that they’re signaled for a long time, so it’s not like they’re the market is unaware of them. They’re very much aware of them.”

Miller says that while Bitcoin’s narrative as a store of value has reigned throughout 2021, being able to leverage that value and deploy it as capital and collateral in a seamless way will be important in future.

“I think Bitcoin’s core purpose will not change in the short run, however, you know the capacity to use Bitcoin for more complex computational transactions or or more DeFi style implementations, I think, will be something that would be very important to watch.”

Miller says one of the most tangible impacts of the upgrade in the short term is likely to be a huge uptake in the Layer-2 Lightning Network.

For Forkast.News, I’m Monica Ghosh.

Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, a crypto investor has been rescued from a six day long kidnapping ordeal.

The victim’s abductors had demanded a ransom of HK$30 million, that’s over US$3.8 million, from his family.

But he finally escaped from what he had thought was going to be a simple Tether transaction without paying up.

Forkast.News Danny Park has more from Hong Kong.

The 39 year old victim was abducted on November 6, after he went to an industrial unit where he was expecting to meet a buyer who had promised online to purchase his Tether tokens.

After assaulting him, his captors initially took the man to a container terminal and then to a village house, demanding that he get in contact with his family to ask for a ransom to be paid. When he refused to do that, the gang beat him with hammers and metal chairs.

He was also forced to reveal the password to both his bank and crypto accounts, containing over US$2.5 million worth of crypto assets.

A few days after the victim’s family reported his disappearance to the police, he managed to escape the building he was being held in via a window, just as a police raided it.

The Hong Kong police have since said that the victim is now unable to log on to those accounts and that he likely suffered a loss. Seven people have already been arrested and investigations are continuing.

With the vast majority of crypto transactions taking place online, it would definitely seem safest to follow the Hong Kong police’s warning against making such deals face-to-face with strangers.

For Forkast.News, I’m Danny Park in Hong Kong.

That’s The Daily Forkast from our vantage point right here in Asia.

Hit like, hit subscribe, appreciate it. Always help us reach our goal to reach more of you. For more, visit Forkast.News. I’m Megha Chaddah. Until next time.

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