Nationwide lockdowns have become commonplace in a number of countries across the world as the global community tries to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. For weeks on end, people have had to hunker down in their homes and practice social distancing in order to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19’s spread. Setting aside the dire consequences this has had on the global economy, the situation has forced people to come up with a wide variety of ways to entertain themselves.
While this lockdown may have brought a new meaning to “Netflix and chill,” even watching TV series and movies can become a bit monotonous. In light of this, the cryptocurrency community has come up with some ingenious and unique ways to fight the boredom in lockdown with a number of activities on social media and online.
With so many confined to their homes for varying lengths of time, there has been a notable surge in the amount of online gamers, as reported earlier this month.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing game World of Warcraft went as far as offering a 100% experience boost so that players could quickly level characters during the lockdown. But the mainstream gaming industry wasn’t the only sector to benefit from the hordes of people forced online.
A number of blockchain-based games have also recorded rising numbers of users due to the ongoing worldwide pandemic. Games like War Riders and Cryptovoxels reported marked increases in new users. The influx of gamers has even put strain on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, which coincidentally is the infrastructure that hosts its blockchain and Xbox Live.
Conventional gaming platforms are not the only way in which cryptocurrency enthusiasts have found enjoyment. CryptoLiveLeak began an entertaining concept using polls to vote through 32 different cryptocurrencies in a knockout competition. Major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum went up against a plethora of altcoins.
The contenders in the first round were separated into four regions categorized as the Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP and Tether regions. In order for a cryptocurrency token to progress through to the next knockout round, it had to win more votes than its opposing token every round in a poll taken by the Twitter community.
American entrepreneur and crypto advocate John McAfee initiated a challenge on Twitter by offering $500 worth of DAI for the best photos of vacant areas across the world. Challenging those who were able to move about in lockdown countries, McAfee’s tweet garnered over 1400 likes and received over 800 photos. McAfee then compiled a video of all the best photos that were submitted a week later.
Russia has now enforced a complete lockdown of Moscow and several other areas, and the increased amount of people practicing social distancing and staying at home has caused an increase in cryptocurrency trading interest.
A number of reports have noted a surge in internet traffic going directly to cryptocurrency exchanges in March. Russians have been given an extended paid, non-working period due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It seems as though some are taking the opportunity and some of that capital to trade cryptocurrencies.
Meanwhile, March saw the largest-ever trade volume of Bitcoin spot markets as the preeminent cryptocurrency hit a low of $3,800. On March 13, daily trade volumes topped $75 billion. As data suggests, the huge surge in trading volume may have been driven by traders looking to convert crypto holdings to fiat currencies in response to the escalating coronavirus situation.
While crypto users look to entertain themselves during these unprecedented times, more nefarious forces are looking to prey on unwitting crypto users. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation released a warning to the general public to be wary of scams and fraudsters looking to take advantage of the ongoing pandemic to dupe people out of their money. The FBI has warned the public to beware of blackmail attempts, fake COVID-19 treatments or safety measures, and investment schemes promising unusually high returns.
Meanwhile, Chainalysis released a report this month on the emergence of scams related to the pandemic. These included phishing and threatening emails, links to download malicious applications as well as faked emails from charities calling for donations in crypto.
While the report also indicated a 30% decline in payments made to known scam wallets in March, it highlighted the fact that scam artists are trying to capitalize on the ongoing situation around the world.
Meanwhile, denial-of-service attacks targeting cryptocurrency exchanges have surged in Russia. Attacks have grown by more than 400% from February to March 2020, according to a report from Qrator Labs.
Chainalysis also revealed that some darknet users have been trying to sell blood infected with COVID-19. A particular user had reportedly obtained a blood sample from an infected family member and injected bats with it. It is unclear whether this is a direct scam to dupe potential buyers, who need to pay the seller in Bitcoin. Nevertheless, it is an example of the depravity of some individuals that are looking to capitalize on the ongoing crisis.