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Fear of the unknown: while there’s still interest in cryptocurrencies, just one-in-ten understand how they work

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Fear of the unknown: while there’s still interest in cryptocurrencies, just one-in-ten understand how they work

A New Kaspersky survey has discovered that a lack of understanding and trust is holding consumers back from using cryptocurrencies. Kaspersky’s report, ‘Uncharted territory: why consumers are still wary about adopting cryptocurrency’, reveals that whilst 29% of people have some knowledge of cryptocurrencies and there is a demand among many to use the technology, just one-in-ten (10%) fully comprehend how they work.

 The rate in which cryptocurrencies are being adopted by global consumers is slowing down, despite celebrities like Johnny Depp and YouTube influencers such PewDiePie embracing the technology. Many consumers still lack a proper understanding of how cryptocurrencies work, and this is continuing to halt mainstream adoption. To date, four-in-five people (81%) have never purchased cryptocurrency, highlighting just how far away we are from it being accepted as a common form of payment or investment.

Kaspersky’s survey found that there is a desire amongst many consumers to use cryptocurrency, but a knowledge gap is getting in the way of taking the plunge. In addition, many people who thought they knew with what they are dealing with, later decided against using cryptocurrency. Nearly a fifth (18%) stopped because it became too technically complicated.

This lack of understanding could be leading to mistrust in cryptocurrencies’ ability to keep consumers’ money safe. For instance, nearly a third (31%) of respondents stated that they believe cryptocurrencies are quite volatile and they need to be stabile before they are prepared to use them. There is also a common perception amongst consumers that cryptocurrency will not be around forever. A third (35%) believe cryptocurrencies are a fad that is not worth bothering about.

While widespread interest in cryptocurrencies may have already peaked, there is still a demand to use the technology. A fifth (20%) of those surveyed said that while they are not using cryptocurrency at the moment, they would like to in the future. Yet there is still doubt amongst consumers – often led by a fear that there is a real risk to their finances. Fraudsters can use cryptocurrencies to their advantage, with around one-in-five (19%) of those surveyed saying they have experienced hacking attacks on exchanges. Criminals also create fake e-wallets to attract people to unwisely invest their money, and 15% of consumers have been victims of cryptocurrency fraud.

Following several years of cybersecurity research into crypto start-ups, Kaspersky recommends crypto businesses adopt best security practices for smart contract developers, use proven frameworks for smart contracts (such as https://openzeppelin.org/) and conduct a third-party assessment of the smart contract to ensure any potential vulnerabilities are not missed.

It is clear that mainstream adoption and growth of cryptocurrency is being held back due to the vulnerable nature of the technology. While there is a high appetite to use it, giving your hard-earned cash to something you don’t fully understand, or trust, is a hurdle. With the safety of investments being of paramount importance to consumers, it is vital that they take their own steps to safeguard it. Like with any cyberthreat, there is no substitute for vigilance – if something looks too good to be true, then it probably isIf you want to trade crypto-assets on any exchange, pay attention to the safety of your account’s credentials. If your goal is long-term investment or use crypto-currencies for payments, then store it in safe environments and use multiple wallets, or distribute between both software and hardware. We also encourage crypto businesses to organise themselves effectively to show they are able to protect their customers’ investments,” Vitaly Mzokov, Head of Commercialisation at Kaspersky, comments.

To help improve stability and foster trust in cryptocurrencies, Kaspersky partners such as Merkeleon have developed legitimate marketplace platforms, online auction platforms, cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto payment systems.

Cryptocurrency certainly has its benefits but, as we can see, many consumers are still unaware of what they are due to concerns over security and how the technology works. It is an exciting industry to be involved in but it is one that is built upon trust. It is, therefore, imperative that cryptocurrency businesses do all they can to protect their networks and ensure their customers’ finances are safe and secure,” explains Alexey Sidorowich, Head of Sales and Business Development at Merkeleon.

For further information on how Kaspersky provides transparent and powerful protection for crypto-trading platforms and token offering projects, please click here. To learn more about protection for consumers, please visit our website.

To find out more about how consumers feel towards cryptocurrencies, visit https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/cryptocurrency-report-2019/

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Sterling holds above $1.39, rises vs euro after Sunak’s generous budget

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Sterling holds above $1.39, rises vs euro after Sunak's generous budget 1

By Joice Alves

LONDON (Reuters) – Sterling held above $1.39 against the dollar on Thursday and gained versus the euro after British finance minister Rishi Sunak unveiled an expansive annual budget designed to prop up the economy.

Sterling is the best-performing G10 currency this year, with investors expecting Britain’s speedy vaccination programme will help the economy to recover from its worst annual contraction in 300 years.

As the locked-down country prepares to re-open, Sunak delivered what he hopes will be a last big spending splurge to get the economy through the COVID-19 crisis.

The UK economy will return to its pre-pandemic size in mid-2022, six months earlier than previously forecast, Sunak said.

ING analysts said in a note to clients that the “generous budget” was well received and it was seen “to strike the right balance and support the spring recovery.”

Sterling edged 0.2% lower against the dollar to $1.3921 in early London trading,. Versus the euro, it gained 0.1% to 86.41 pence.

“Sterling is performing well …My sense is the budget measures bode well in the eyes of overseas investors,” said Neil Jones, Head of FX Sales at Mizuho Bank.

He said the measures and progress on vaccinations “add weight to the view the UK will stand at the forefront of the global COVID recovery”.

(Reporting by Joice Alves; editing by John Stonestreet)

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FTSE 100 falls as high yields, inflation worries return to fore

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FTSE 100 falls as high yields, inflation worries return to fore 2

(Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 fell on Thursday, dragged by miners and bank stocks on concerns about rising bond yields and volatility in U.S. markets, while engineering company Meggitt fell after its annual profit halved due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index slid 0.5%, with mining stocks, including Rio Tinto, Anglo American, and BHP, leading the declines.

Resurgent worries about rising U.S. bond yields hit global shares as investors waited to see if Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will address concerns about the risk of a rapid rise in long-term borrowing costs. [MKTS/GLOB]

Meanwhile, Bank of England policymaker Silvana Tenreyro said there was no good evidence that cutting interest rates below zero would, past a certain point, weaken Britain’s economy rather than boost it.

The domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 index fell 0.5%.

Ladbrokes owner Entain fell 2.0% after it held back declaring a dividend despite reporting a jump in 2020 earnings. It also said it was expecting online volumes to ease when shops re-open after surging during lockdowns.

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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World’s biggest wealth fund puts Japan’s Kirin on watch list over Myanmar link

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World's biggest wealth fund puts Japan's Kirin on watch list over Myanmar link 3

By Terje Solsvik

OSLO (Reuters) – The Norwegian central bank said on Wednesday it had put Japan’s Kirin Holdings Ltd Co on a watch list for possible exclusion from its $1.3 trillion sovereign wealth fund over the beverage giant’s business ties to Myanmar’s military.

Kirin on Feb. 5 said it would end its partnership with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHPCL), a company run by Myanmar’s army, after a military coup deposed the democratically elected government.

As part of its decision on whether to maintain its ownership in Kirin, the Norwegian fund will monitor the implementation of the company’s plan to end the ties, Norway’s central bank said in a statement.

Kirin’s decision effectively scraps the Myanmar Brewery joint venture, in which the Japanese firm’s controlling stake was valued at up to $1.7 billion, although Kirin also said it still wanted to keep selling beer in Myanmar.

Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), which manages the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, held a 1.29% stake in Kirin Holdings at the end of 2020 with a value of $277.1 million.

“We remain focused on urgently implementing the termination of our joint-venture partnership with MEHPCL,” Kirin said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

“As part of this, we hope to find a way forward that will allow Kirin to continue to contribute positively to Myanmar. We value opinions and feedback from all of our stakeholders and are open to constructive engagement on this matter,” it added.

The Norwegian sovereign fund, formally called the Government Pension Fund Global and set up in 1996 to save petroleum revenues for future generations, owns about 1.5% of all globally listed shares.

Holding stakes in around 9,100 companies worldwide, it has set the pace on a host of issues in the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) field, and its decisions are often followed by other investors.

The bank separately said it would allow the wealth fund to invest again in Poland’s Atal SA, which had been excluded since 2017 for risk of human rights violations through its use of North Korean workers at Polish construction sites.

“As a result of a resolution in the United Nations Security Council, all North Korean workers have now been sent out of Poland. Therefore, there are no longer grounds for excluding the company,” Norges Bank said.

Atal did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

A third firm, Germany’s Thyssenkrupp AG, will be the subject of an “active ownership” process as the fund’s management seeks to probe the company’s anti-corruption work, Norges bank said.

“Norges Bank has been in dialogue with the company over a long period of time. We therefore have a good foundation for active ownership on the issues to which this matter relates,” the central bank said.

The fund held a 1.3% stake in the German firm at the end of 2020 valued at $147.1 million.

Thyssenkrupp did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

(Editing by Gwladys Fouche, Richard Pullin and Gerry Doyle)

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