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Is NEM (XEM) Staging a Comeback or is its Surge in Price a Manufactured Pump and Dump Running Low on Time?




In the past 24 hours, NEM (XEM) has rallied more than 80% out of nowhere and hit $0.0772 — a level not seen since May 2022. With these gains came a jump of over 3,000% in trading volume recorded above $321 million.

The $488 million market cap cryptocurrency has been enjoying gains since the beginning of 2023, much like the rest of the crypto market. Up 90% YTD, NEM has been trading at $0.0525 at the time of writing, having given back some of the gains from earlier in the day, according to CoinGecko.

Currently, NEM is among the top 100 cryptocurrencies by market cap but still down 97% from its all-time high of $1.87 hit five years ago during the bull market of 2017.

But why exactly is NEM price pumping? Well, there is no particular reason. Notably, NEM is currently the top trading coin on Upbit, as per CoinGecko. NEM/KRW accounts for 17.5% trading volume share on Upbit at over $357 million.

Upbit is the largest South Korean cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, which is operated by Dunamu, one of the highest-valued startups in the country. It is also the first crypto exchange to register with South Korea's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). In late 2021, it announced tighter restrictions on customers whose identities were not verified to meet the country's anti-money laundering (AML) laws.

Besides Upbit, NEM is also the second-most traded coin on TokyoCrypto, an Indonesian crypto exchange that was established in 2017 but with only $355k in volume.

While NEM is gaining traction, no particular announcement or new fundamental developments have triggered XEM prices to soar. In fact, the official Twitter account of the NEM blockchain project, which is “building the NASDAQ of the new economy powered by XEM,” made a Tweet about the blockchain halt.

“The client team is currently investigating a chain halt that occurred at block height 4129631,” the NEM project noted on Twitter on Monday.

As of 3:30 PM UTC, the team was working on reproducing and triaging as needed after identifying the root cause. And in the meantime, they have “advised all exchanges to halt withdrawals and deposits.” As of 10:50 PM UTC, NEM reported that blocks are back to being produced but at a slower than normal rate, which is every ~4h, compared to every minute.

“We should see normal activity resume without any intervention in less than 24 hours,” stated the team. As of 1:10 AM UTC, the network resumed normal block production at one-minute variables.

However, the project asked, “all exchanges to keep withdrawals and deposits halted until the hotfix has been applied to prevent the behavior from reoccurring.” That was the last update from the NEM team, with no new information posted so far.

The tweet on the blockchain operation from NEM comes two months after wishing the “Merry Christmas,” which itself came after five months of silence from the “Loading: Please Stand By” post. Also, comments were switched off on the July 15th, 2022, post.

Over these past five years, the project has simply faded into obscurity, and there is no real reason behind the latest pump. The token didn't even manage to hit a new peak during the bull run of 2021, climbing to only $0.927, nowhere near the Jan. 2018 ATH.

So, What is NEM (XEM)?

Launched in 2015, Nem (XEM) is a decentralized blockchain platform allowing users to create custom tokens and applications. NEM's unique features include its proof-of-importance (PoI) algorithm, which rewards users based on their activity level and contribution to the network.

The blockchain platform is designed for enterprise use and offers unique features and capabilities. Its value proposition includes scalability and customization offered by many other blockchains in the market.

Using the unique consensus algorithm called Proof of Importance (PoI), NEM can offer high throughput and scalability while also maintaining network security. For security, it provides features like multi-signature transactions, encrypted messaging, and a built-in multisig account management system.

Additionally, NEM is customizable and allows businesses to tailor their blockchain solutions to their specific needs. Its modular architecture and API-driven approach make it easy to integrate with existing systems. Meanwhile, the simplified development process makes it easy for businesses to adopt and implement blockchain technology.

The biggest event involving NEM over all this time has been the massive hack that occurred in Jan. 2018 on the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck. This resulted in a loss of 523 mln NEM coins, worth approximately $534 mln at the time. Surprisingly, no other cryptocurrencies were stolen in the hack.

The coins were stolen via several unauthorized transactions from a hot wallet after the hackers managed to steal the private key for the hot wallet where NEM coins were stored, enabling them to drain the funds.

This breach of a cryptocurrency exchange was the largest on record, surpassing even the infamous Mt. Gox hack, which resulted in the loss of $340 million in bitcoin over a span of time. Following the incident, Coincheck was acquired by online brokerage Monex Group and underwent system improvements, ultimately receiving operating approval in 2019.

In Japan, approximately 30 individuals have been charged over the past two years for trading nearly $100 million worth of XEM known to have been stolen. Japanese authorities allege that these individuals were engaging in the illegal exchange of XEM cryptocurrency for other digital assets through a darknet marketplace.

As per a report by Mainichi, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is nearing completion of its investigation into those involved in the exchange of the stolen tokens, as the statute of limitations is drawing near. However, the perpetrators responsible for the Coincheck hack have yet to be identified.

Let's Take a Look into XYM

NEM (XEM) may not have made any development all these years, but NEM Foundation did launch Symbol (XYM) in March 2021. NEM Foundation is a non-profit organization that focuses on the development of NEM blockchain technology as well as the promotion of the NEM ecosystem.

The Symbol project, which has a “unique” hybrid public and private architecture, has been in the development phase for years. Created for enterprise use, the platform aims to provide businesses with a secure and flexible infrastructure for building blockchain-based solutions, spanning regulated markets, supply chains, fintech, healthcare, government, and more.

XYM is the native currency of Symbol which was airdropped to NEM holders equivalent to their XEM holdings. It is currently trading at $0.04, up 2.4% in the last 24 hours and down 94.6% from its all-time high of $0.726 in March 2021, when the project finally came on mainnet following about four years of development.

Symbol, the proof-of-stake enterprise-grade blockchain, can create specialized crypto assets with configurable properties that can serve as security tokens. It is considered an advancement of the original NEM blockchain, with Symbol Mainnet signifying the commencement of a new phase in NEM's story. As per NEM Group CEO David Shaw, Symbol will coexist with NEM NIS1, thereby officially establishing a two-chain ecosystem.

With Symbol, assets ranging from real estate to intellectual property, commodities, and stocks can be tokenized as regulated security tokens featuring configurable properties and a unique identifier. Additionally, it can implement logic-based account or asset-based restrictions at the protocol level.

As a native token, XYM can be used to pay for transactions on the network to incentivize the public nodes that process and record transactions. It can also be used to pay for goods and services and stored on any device supporting Bitcoin wallets.

While XYM aims to make financial transactions faster, secure, and reliable, it faces challenges in the form of usability and adoption which will influence the long-term value and success of XYM as a cryptocurrency.

Much like with NEM, the official Twitter account of Symbol, which is “building financial fabric for everyone, powered by XYM,” hadn't shared any update since late October 2022 when the network went under an upgrade to address a potential attack vector in the network. Before that, in August 2022, the project announced that XYM payments were coming to HEXA, a Polygon-based NFT marketplace.

Back in May 2022, a Twitter user named Hatchet, whose bio says a NEM & Symbol Contributor assured the community that they continue to build and have funding for the next 3 to 4 years with a sizeable portion of this war chest in XEM and XYM cryptocurrencies.

Given the lack of development happening at both the projects and crypto currently experiencing a bear market, it is unlikely that the positive price momentum will continue for XEM and XYM.

It is important to note that, as with any investment, you must conduct your own research and consider your own risk tolerance before investing in NEM, Symbol, or any other cryptocurrency, for that matter, especially with crypto being inherently volatile.

Gaurav started trading cryptocurrencies in 2017 and has fallen in love with the crypto space ever since. His interest in everything crypto turned him into a writer specializing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Soon he found himself working with crypto companies and media outlets. He is also a big-time Batman fan.