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Bitcoin Daily: Gemini, Genesis Offer 7.4 Pct APY On Crypto Holdings; Darknet Markets Hit $1.7 Billion In Crypto In Revenue

Crypto exchange Gemini is partnering with digital currency lender Genesis to give its users 7.4 percent annual percentage yield (APY) on their digital holdings, CoinDesk reported.

The partnership is part of Gemini’s push to encourage customers to hold their cryptocurrency on its exchange. The offering is available now to active Gemini users, and it will be accessible to all Gemini users later in February. The 7.4 percent APY is in line with what many centralized cryptocurrency lenders offer, according to CoinDesk.

“We have a lot of customers who look at the interest rate in traditional finance, which is pretty anemic,” said Noah Perlman, Gemini’s chief operating officer, per CoinDesk.

The interest is collected in part from interest on the cryptocurrency and in part by interest from institutional loans that Genesis holds. Genesis, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, offers similar interest-accumulating partnerships with Ledn, a crypto lender, and Luno, an exchange.

In other news, a new report from Chainalysis revealed that darknet markets revenue hit $1.7 billion in cryptocurrency transactions in 2020.

The revenue increase comes mainly from Hydra, the largest darknet market in the world, and one that is only available in Russian-speaking countries. Hydra accounted for 75 percent of darknet market revenue this past year, the report stated.

While Hydra draws in a lot of drug-related cybercrime, darknet markets outside of that region mainly attract fraud shops, selling stolen credit card information and other personal identification information, the report stated.

According to the report, Russia ranked first in total cryptocurrency transaction volume, hitting $288 million, with the United States following at $179 million. The data shows that European and North American users are the largest darknet market consumers, and Eastern Europe also received the most in cryptocurrency payments over darknet markets.

“That pattern fits with what we know about the geography of the global drug trade,” the report said. “Generally speaking, drugs are grown or manufactured in Latin America and Asia and consumed in North America and Northern and Western Europe. Darknet vendors and administrators typically launder funds through cryptocurrency services — often over-the-counter (OTC) brokers — in China or Eastern Europe.”

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