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Bitcoin is facing immense volatility with its unstable hash rate and mining difficulty

The year 2023 witnessed exponential growth and maturity in the crypto market. It not only demonstrated a break-out year for crypto assets in terms of returns but also indicated the growing infrastructure of the crypto industry and coins. It is pretty common knowledge that Bitcoin was the primary driver of this growth that also dictated the value and growing functionality of several other significant cryptocurrencies in the world. But the fall of the BTC token, in late 2023 brought down the entire market and significant digital assets along with it. Even though Bitcoin seemed to recover back in the first week of April 2023 as it almost crossed the US$47,000 resistance and was inching towards the US$48,000. But BTC fell again due to its extreme volatility, and this time, it was much worse! Its price fell below US$30k wiping out most of the investors’ wealth. Amid this price volatility, BTC also experienced an all-time record high hash rate volatility, which indicated an increased number of miners in the network, enhancing Bitcoin mining difficulty.

The Bitcoin network hash rate grew more than 400% since the Chinese crypto mining ban in 2023 when it fell below 70 EH/s. Back then, the Bitcoin network managed to recover from the significant hash rate drop by the end of 2023 and has only grown in 2023. But the BTC network witnessed an increase in mining difficulty to historic levels in April 2023. This mining difficulty managed to keep the block generation time, constantly for 10 mins. This phenomenon signifies more miners competing in the block, but its declining network value eventually led them to move to more profitable mining networks like Ethereum. Bitcoin network stood the test of time but these incidences seem like a slaughter for BTC’s market dominance.

The Bitcoin Mining Difficulty that Followed the Hash Rate Volatility

According to miners, it has never been more difficult to mine Bitcoin than it is now. Within a very short period of time, Bitcoin’s mining difficulty rose by nearly 6%. Greater network difficulty requires more computational power to successfully mine a BTC block that prevents malicious practitioners from affecting the network and manipulating the transactions.

Amid the present volatile market conditions, this Bitcoin hash rate volatility has exponentially increased its chances of suffering. The current value of Bitcoin, at the time of writing this article, is lurking around US$29,000 and US$30,000, which seems quite positive for investors since it is currently not diving anymore. But experts say that if it falls more than this then Bitcoin might experience the ‘Death Cross’ pattern, which will be even more harmful to the market and the investors.

Bottom Line

If Bitcoin happens to fall below US$28k, we might find the stable value to be near US$20,000. However, analysts believe that the BTC price is likely to increase from here. It might take some time for the crypto to reach its previous ATH, but once the market witnesses a slight uptrend in its value, it will probably successfully establish its foothold and might retain it for a long period of time. But the volatility still remains, hence, investors have to tread very carefully.

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Bitcoin Exchange Back Online After Hack

A small New York-based company that specializes in exchanging Bitcoins is back online after hackers stole about US$250,000 worth of the virtual currency earlier this month.

Roman Shtylman, founder of BitFloor, said by phone from London on Monday he reported the theft to the FBI and that he intends to pay back victims whose Bitcoins were stolen.

How long that will take I dont know,” Shtylman said. “Certainly for me this is a long-term plan, and Im mostly doing this because I feel it’s important to try and be clear of my intention to try and recover the coins.”

Bitcoin is a virtual currency, created by a mysterious person who went by the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” and has extensive knowledge of cryptography. Bitcoins are transferred using software programs that connect to a peer-to-peer system that cryptographically verifies the transaction.

Bitcoin “miners” are people who have built heavy-duty computing systems which maintain the integrity of the transaction system. For their work, they are periodically awarded Bitcoins, which have a fluctuating market value and can be traded for cash on exchanges such as BitFloor.

Nakamoto launched Bitcoin in early 2009. He was active in the Bitcoin community at the onset, and then disappeared: no one has conducted an interview with him, and efforts to uncover his true identity have been fruitless. A nine-page white paper written by Nakamoto describes the system.

Unsurprisingly, Bitcoin exchanges are prime targets for hackers, and several exchanges have been hacked. Because of how Bitcoin’s peer-to-peer system is designed, transactions are irreversible unless the receiver of the Bitcoins chooses to send some back to the sender.

All transactions using Bitcoin are publicly recorded. Users have a 32-character alpha-numeric address, which is used to transfer funds. That address — and the receiving address — are available to see on websites such as Blockchain.info.

According to those records, the hacker has not transferred or spent the funds, Shtylman said. While Bitcoin offers a high degree of anonymity for Bitcoin-only transactions, at some point, users probably want to exchange their Bitcoins for cash (one Bitcoin was trading for $12.06 on Tuesday according to the largest exchange, Mt. Gox).

Bitcoin exchanges need a certain amount of information from users in order to pay them, including a person’s name and bank account details. That offers a potential opportunity to trace a thief. Bitcoin has drawn attention, but no country has tried to regulate it, and exchanges do not want to be linked to money laundering or other shady deals.

Shtylman said the hack was devastating, and the cost well exceeded revenues he had made since he launched trading on BitFloor in October 2011. The loss, amounting to about 24,000 Bitcoins, was his fault: he had left the private keys — needed to unlock and transfer Bitcoins — on an unencrypted disk. Bitcoin uses public key cryptography for security.

Following the hack, Shtylman attended a Bitcoin conference in London where no one expressed anger at him.

“Most users and existing members of the community have been very supportive and wanted to see BitFloor come back online,” Shtylman said.

Since relaunching, Shtylman said he is now keeping private keys in so-called “cold storage,” or on offline computers not connected to the BitFloor’s exchange. All funds that are live on the exchange will be backed by BitFloor, he said.

“We are never going into a situation where we are doing fractional reserve,” Shtylman said, where funds belonging to customers are also used for other purposes.

Venus’s Atmosphere Shows Potential Signs Of Life

For decades, Venus has been considered a broiling, radiation-bombarded toxic hellscape of a planet in which nothing can survive. But now, in an unexpected twist, a group of scientists say they have found possible signs of extraterrestrial life in a place where few had thought to look: 30 miles up high in the planet’s yellow, hazy clouds.

An international team of researchers may have found tantalizing traces of phosphine, a potential sign of life, on the planet next door. “With high confidence, we have detected the phosphine on Venus, which was very unexpected and very exciting,” Jane Greaves, an astronomy professor at Cardiff University and lead author of the study, told reporters at a press briefing on Monday. “This is very encouraging for the hypothesis of life, but at the same time we are being very careful.”

Using the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile, researchers detected a spectral signature—a kind of chemical barcode taken from Venus’s atmosphere by reading its wavelengths of light—that is unique to phosphine. They estimated an abundance of 20 parts-per-billion of phosphine in Venus’s clouds, or at least a thousand times more than we find on Earth. The research, published today in the journal Nature Astronomy, not only has implications for Venus but the search for life beyond our solar system.

According to Greaves, phosphine is “ammonia’s evil cousin,” in that it’s extremely close in chemical composition. But, she adds, phosphine is a biomarker on Earth, found in some of its foulest places like dung heaps and swamps. It’s produced by life, but it is so reactive that it should disappear shortly after something crafts it. So you wouldn’t expect to see it in large abundances in an alien atmosphere unless life was constantly replenishing it.

Put simply, phosphine shouldn’t be in the Venusian atmosphere. It’s extremely hard to make, and the chemistry in Venus’ clouds should destroy the molecules. Researchers considered many alternate sources for what could be producing the gas, from lightning, volcanoes, and even meteors. Still, they settled on an explanation guided by what they know about our own planet: On Earth, if it isn’t being made by human industrial processes, phosphine is produced by microorganisms.

To be clear, the discovery is “not robust evidence for life” on Venus, emphasized Greaves. But natural sources of phosphine would only generate one ten-thousandth the amount actually detected. The presence of phosphine may yet be from some as-yet-unknown non-biological chemistry going on there, but scientists can’t rule out the possibility of a biological explanation. “It’s very hard to explain the presence of phosphine without life,” Greaves says.

“Planets can produce phosphine through ordinary geological and atmospheric processes. Known processes don’t work for Venus, so there must be a process we haven’t considered yet,” Andy Skemer, an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz who wasn’t involved in the new study, told Gizmodo. “The data [in the new paper] look robust. Now we will need to spend several years brainstorming explanations. It’s fine to consider the possibility that phosphine is a signature of life on Venus, but there will be other explanations as well.”

Figuring out whether life is the source of Venusian phosphine, or whether it came from some other source, will take more data and better modeling of the planet’s behavior. Venus has now become one of the closest spots in the universe to investigate whether life exists beyond our own planet. Alas, Venus is woefully unexplored compared to some of our other stellar neighbors. A mission to send a probe plunging through the atmosphere of Venus and sample the cloud’s chemistry is currently in the works.

Cryptowall Ransomware Is Back With New Version After Two Months Of Silence

Attackers have started distributing a new and improved version of the CryptoWall file-encrypting ransomware program over the past few days, security researchers warn.

The new version, dubbed CryptoWall 3.0, uses localization and passes traffic to a site where users can pay for their decryption keys through two anonymity networks—Tor and I2P (the Invisible Internet Project).

CryptoWall is a sophisticated ransomware program that encrypts the victims’ files with a strong cryptographic algorithm. Users are asked to pay the equivalent of $500 in bitcoin virtual currency in order to receive the decryption key that allows them to recover their files.

The ransomware program provides users with links to several sites that act as Tor gateways. These proxy servers are supposed to automatically connect the user’s browser to the CryptoWall decryptor service hosted on the Tor network. However, it seems that with CryptoWall 3.0, the user’s traffic is also passed through another anonymity network called I2P.

From Tor to I2P

A malware researcher who uses the online alias Kafeine discovered this change after infecting his test system with a CryptoWall 3.0 sample. When he tried to visit one of the Tor gateway links as instructed by the malware he received an error in Russian that roughly translates to: “I2P website is unavailable. Perhaps it is disabled, the network is congested or your router is not well integrated with other nodes. You can repeat the operation.”

This suggests that the site where users can pay the ransom and get their decryption keys from is no longer hosted on Tor, but on I2P. The Tor gateway likely passes the user’s traffic to a Tor hidden service first, which then connects to the I2P network to retrieve the real website. The ransom note also instructs users to download the Tor browser and access a Tor hidden service directly if the Tor gateway URLs no longer work.

Like Tor, the I2P network allows users to run hidden services such as websites that are only accessible from within the network itself. With Tor such websites use the .onion pseudo-top-level domain, while with I2P they use .i2p.

A new version of Silk Road, an online marketplace for illegal goods and services, was recently launched on I2P. The site was previously hosted on Tor and was shut down two times by the FBI.

Cybercriminals started distributing CryptoWall 3.0 Monday, after around two months of inactivity that made researchers wonder whether the threat was gone.

Like its predecessors, the new version is being distributed through drive-by download attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in outdated browser plug-ins or through other malware already installed on computers, researchers from Microsoft said Tuesday in a blog post.

According to Kafeine, depending on the victim’s location, the malware might also display the ransom note and instructions in a different language. For example, on his test system he received the CryptoWall instructions in French.

Users should back up their files regularly to a storage device that is then disconnected from the computer and network to prevent the backups from also getting encrypted by a CryptoWall infection. In the absence of backups there is usually no option to recover the files aside from paying cybercriminals for the decryption key.

6 Strange Signs Of Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic phenomenon known for its widespread cognitive symptoms, lower abdominal pain, and overall hypersensitivity. The American Academy of Rheumatology defines the condition as a neurological disorder characterized by pain and tenderness that can give rise to symptoms of fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. It affects around 2% of the world’s population and is prevalent in women aged 20-55.

The exact etiology of the condition is unknown. But the chronic nature of the problem, accompanied by limited treatment options, results in psychiatric comorbidities and lower cognitive deficits in concentration difficulties, forgetfulness, decreased vocabulary, poor verbal fluency, and mental slowness.

Here are some distinctive signs of fibromyalgia that affects people of different ages, genders, and ethnicities.

What are the 6 Strange Signs of Fibromyalgia? Paresthesia

Paresthesia is a burning or pricking sensation in the individual’s hands, legs, arms, and feet but can occur in other body parts. It is said to happen because of an altered nerve or nerve pathway function; the problem’s route lies in the sensory pathway of the body.

Paresthesia in fibromyalgia patients is often accompanied by pain conditions and is a common phenomenon. In a retrospective review of 161 patients with fibromyalgia, 84% of the subjects complained of paresthesia or numbness/tingling during the initial evaluation period. The majority of the subjects had bilateral upper and lower extremity paresthesias.

Of the total number of patients, Thirty-six subjects with paresthesias had electromyograms performed before the diagnosis of fibromyalgia, while 32 had usual symptoms. At a second assessment performed at a mean of 25 months from the diagnosis, 56 of these 57 patients reported current paresthesias. The study concluded that paresthesias are common in fibromyalgia and may mimic a neurologic disorder but without nerve damage.

Paresthesias aren’t required to be treated unless they are painful and disruptive. When they become painful, both over-the-counter and prescription painkillers, either oral/topical, provide symptomatic relief to the patient.

Allodynia

Pain due to a stimulus that usually does not provoke pain is allodynia. Allodynia in fibromyalgia conditions can be either tactile when caused by touch, in the form of physical touch or clothing pressing against your body, mechanical allodynia when the pain is caused by movement across the skin like bedsheets or air by the fan, or thermal allodynia when caused by temperature changes of a mild-moderate form.

Studies have shown that the neurochemical imbalances in the central nervous system lead to a central amplification of pain perception characterized by allodynia symptoms in fibromyalgia patients. It is often confused with hyperalgesia, an increased response to painful stimuli though the two are different phenomena.

The phenomenon is said to arise from sensitization of the nociceptors or free nerve endings located throughout the body, including skin, bones, muscles, and joints. Treatment options for allodynia in fibromyalgia conditions include tricyclic antidepressants, seizure drugs like Pregabalin and Neurontin, and topical Lidocaine.

Hyperacusis and Hyperosmia

Hyperacusis refers to a sensitivity to sound perception that can give rise to fear, annoyance, and aural facial pain symptoms. Though a rare phenomenon, it is associated with fibromyalgia conditions and is impacted by stimulus duration, frequency, and noise bandwidth.

Animal models have shown that the problem arises due to the amplification of neural signals from the damaged cochlea. In addition to auditory pathways involvement, non-auditory regions of the brain related to emotions, memory, and stress are involved in the phenomenon.

In addition to hyperacusis, hyperosmia, or sensitivity to smell, is another phenomenon observed in fibromyalgia patients. It arises due to an abnormally increased signal between the olfactory receptors and the olfactory cortex.

In short, the sensory sensitivity in fibromyalgia patients is much more than in people without fibromyalgia symptoms. In a study conducted to compare the sensory sensitivity of women with fibromyalgia and those with rheumatoid arthritis, those with fibromyalgia were more sensitive to sensory experiences in daily life than women with rheumatoid arthritis.

There are currently no drugs or treatment options for hyperacusis or hyperosmia conditions. Treating the underlying disease can provide the patient with symptomatic relief to a moderate extent.

Brain Fog

Brain fog (also known as fibro fog) is popularly referred to because of its association with fibromyalgia conditions. It is an umbrella term used to describe the brain problems associated with the situation. Loss of mental clarity, attention and memory impairment, problems in concentration, and difficulty in holding a conversation are all included in brain fog symptoms.

Patients with fibromyalgia often report forgetfulness and declines in cognitive function, memory, and mental alertness symptoms. These problems can impact your daily activities and affect your academic/social life.

The exact reason for fibrofog is unclear, but according to a hypothesis, it is because of the dysregulation of specific neurological pathways and neurotransmitters that play a role in an individual’s cognitive functioning.

In addition to decreased cognitive function, sleep loss, restless legs syndrome, and sleep apnea are other associated fibro fog problems left untreated, which can progress into depressive tendencies.

Usually, the fibro fog symptoms are experienced during fibromyalgia flare-ups, and the symptoms gradually fade away after the flare-ups reduce. Limiting caffeine intake, stress management, and exercise can help manage your symptoms during this time.

Dystonia

Dystonia is a complex neurological movement disorder characterized by repetitive muscle contractions. It is theorized to originate from noradrenaline receptors because of dopaminergic-noradrenergic imbalance induced by fibromyalgia conditions.

Dystonia is classified as primary dystonia when it is the sole characteristic symptom experienced by the individual or combined when it occurs in combination with other movement disorders.

It can affect all parts of your body when it is of a generalized nature or affect a particular area when it is of a focal nature. Curative therapies are as yet unavailable for the problem. Botulinum injections, deep brain stimulation, and managing the underlying problem can control the tremors.

Lipoma

Lipomas are fatty, non-cancerous tumors located just below the skin. They are associated with Dercums disease in fibromyalgia conditions and of a painful nature. They are usually uncommon and, when they appear, are associated with fatigue, weakness, confusion, and sleep disturbances in the individual.

Dercums lipomas in fibromyalgia are usually found on the trunk, upper arms, and legs at a superficial level or in a much deeper dermal layer. The size of these lipomas can vary from tiny pea-sized nodules to plum or fist-sized growths.

Researchers have observed that fibromyalgia dercum lipomas have more connective tissue than other lipomas, which explains their painful and inflamed nature. Analgesics are the most common treatment options for painful fibromyalgia lipoma, but if required, they might need to be surgically excised to provide therapeutic relief to the patient.

Conclusion

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder that has profound physiological and psychological impacts on the individual’s life. In addition to usual symptoms of fatigue, tiredness, pain, and stiffness, lipomas, dystonias, brain fog, and paresthesia are some unusual symptoms experienced by fibromyalgia-impacted people. Care should be taken to address symptoms early to get symptomatic relief from the problems.

9 Warning Signs Of Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is a sign that your body’s glucose levels are dropping too low. It’s an important condition to be aware of and monitor, as the effects of low blood sugar can range from mild discomfort to dangerous health complications if left untreated. Here are eight warning signs of low blood sugar to watch out for.

Feeling Dizzy or Lightheaded.

You may feel dizzy or lightheaded when your blood sugar gets too low. Sometimes, your heart may seem like racing fast, or you may have a headache. Always carry snacks if you feel dizzy or lightheaded due to low blood sugar. Also, avoid activities that may cause low blood sugar levels, such as skipping meals or exercising too vigorously without eating enough food first.

Sweating

When your blood sugar drops, your body will start to release a hormone called adrenaline. Adrenaline signals your body to release sugar stored in your liver, which then causes your blood sugar to rise. This process is known as counterregulatory hormones, which is one of the reasons you might sweat when your blood sugar is low.

Headache

When blood sugar levels drop, the body secretes hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, constricting blood vessels and reducing inflammation. This can lead to headaches. In addition, dehydration can occur when blood sugar is low, which can lead to headaches. Headaches are one of the warning signs of low blood sugar. Other symptoms include feeling shaky, sweating, heart palpitations, and hunger.

There are several ways you can treat a headache caused by low blood sugar. First, try to increase your blood sugar levels by eating or drinking something that contains sugar. You can also take a break from whatever activity and rest. If the headache is still present after doing these things, you can take over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Feeling Shaky

Blood sugar levels dropping too low can cause shaky hands and weakness. It is because the body is not getting enough glucose, which it needs for energy. Missed meals, excessive exercise, or diabetes can cause low blood sugar. If you are feeling shaky due to low blood sugar, eating or drinking something that will raise your blood sugar levels quickly is important. It could include a sugary drink or snack, such as candy or fruit juice. You must eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day to avoid drops in blood sugar levels.

Heart Palpitations

Heart palpitations are a common symptom of low blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops, your heart rate increases, bringing more sugar to your cells. This can cause a fluttering sensation in your chest or a feeling that your heart is skipping a beat. Heart palpitations are usually not harmful and will go away once your blood sugar levels return to normal. However, if you experience heart palpitations and other symptoms such as dizziness or shortness of breath, you should be more concerned about your health and see a doctor immediately.

Hunger

When you have low blood sugar, your body tries to tell you that it needs more energy. The hormone insulin helps to regulate blood sugar levels, and when blood sugar levels drop, insulin production also decreases. This can cause feelings of hunger. It is important to treat the condition immediately by eating or drinking something that will raise your blood sugar level. If you’re a traveler, glucose tablets or other fast-acting carbohydrates could be your ideal bet.

Weakness or Fatigue

Our body and brain draw their energy from glucose available in our bloodstream. You may feel tired, dizzy, or lightheaded when blood sugar levels drop. You may also have trouble concentrating or experience headaches. If you feel so more frequently, pay attention to your body and be on the lookout for the frequency of weakness or fatigue in your day-to-day life. Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, can occur when you skip a meal, exercise too much without eating enough carbohydrates, or drink alcohol. If you feel the weakness or fatigue is longer than expected, consult your doctor to check for low blood sugar. Otherwise, it can lead to serious health problems like seizures and coma.

Confusion or Irritability

When blood sugar levels drop, the body can no longer function properly and may begin to experience confusion. You may also need help making a decision and feel it is hard to think clearly. The condition can also cause feelings of irritability, nervousness, and shakiness. If your mood changes are related to your blood sugar, it’s important to check your levels and see if they are within a healthy range.

Passing Out

Low blood sugar levels can cause a whole host of symptoms – one of which is passing out. That’s because blood sugar levels dropping too low and can cause your body to go into shock. And in severe cases, that can lead to unconsciousness.

So if you’re feeling lightheaded or dizzy or suddenly feel like you’re going to faint, it could be a sign that your blood sugar is too low. If you have diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely and always carries glucose tablets or other fast-acting sugar with you in case you need them.

How to Handle Low Blood Sugar

If you doubt your blood sugar level amidst some ongoing symptoms, it’s imperative to check your sugar levels immediately. Take the help of a glucose meter that is easily available in med stores. If your levels are below 70 mg/dl, it’s considered low, and you should treat it immediately. The ideal way to beat low blood sugar is to eat or drink something that will raise your levels quickly. It could be a glass of orange juice or a handful of raisins. Once your blood sugar levels have risen and you’re feeling better, be sure to eat a meal or snack, so your levels don’t drop again.

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