Thursday, December 24, 2020

XRP Token Plunges Nearly 40% Following the Announcement of SEC Charges Against Ripple

 


Ripple's XRP has lost almost 40% of its value after the token price dropped from $0.51 on December 21 to $0.31 at the time of writing. The token's plunge appears to be the result of legal proceedings initiated against Ripple by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). At the time of writing, the fourth-ranked crypto token had seen traded volumes of $4.85 billion recorded in 24 hours.

$1.3 Billion Lawsuit
As data on markets.Bitcoin.com suggests, the sell-off of the XRP token appears to have been sparked by Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse's warning that the SEC was about to launch legal proceedings against the company. A day later, the SEC announced the $1.3 billion legal action against Ripple and two of its executives for allegedly conducting an unregistered security offering.

Meanwhile, as the XRP token continues to plummet, an angry Garlinghouse has accused the US regulator of being biased against Ripple while appearing to give a free pass to BTC and ETH. In its determination, the SEC says the XRP is a security and therefore is subject to the dictates of the US Securities Act. Garlinghouse, who has previously threatened to exit the United States due to its regulatory approach, rejects the characterization of XRP as a security.

In his many very public attempts to push back against the SEC, Garlinghouse says the XRP token is a fully functional currency that offers a better alternative. He adds that alongside bitcoin and ether, "the two Chinese controlled virtual currencies" according to the company, XRP ranks as one of the most capitalized cryptos.

Crypto Community Reacts
However, the latter comment appears to have prompted a swift response by some bitcoiners and the ETH creator Vitalik Buterin. In his tweet, Buterin accuses Garlinghouse and his team of "sinking to new levels of strangeness." The ETH creator adds:
They're claiming that their shitcoin should not be called a security for *public policy reasons*, namely because Bitcoin and Ethereum are 'Chinese-controlled.'

Also weighing in on the controversy is Mike Novogratz, the CEO of Galaxy who says he "finds it strange that Clayton waited years to do this."

On the other hand, Ryan Selkis thinks the SEC is going to lose this case because it is "outclassed on legal." He adds that the classification of XRP as a security "further hurts the U.S. businesses while global companies will continue to make these markets."

Meanwhile, at the time of writing reports emerged that the Hong Kong trading platform OSL had suspended XRP services as a result of the SEC lawsuit.

Trezor warns of phishing attack targeting users

 


Trezor has warned users of its hardware wallet about a phishing scam it said was related to an earlier hack on one of its competitors. The company said the attackers claim a user's wallet has been disabled, before redirecting to a clone site to steal their credentials.

In a blog post, Trezor revealed that the attackers have been sending its users emails claiming they need to pass verification due to new KYC regulations. It then provided a website that's a replica of wallet.trezor.io on which the users can supposedly verify their identity. This site requests the users to key in their recovery seed, giving the attackers full control of the wallet.

Trezor reminded its users that they "will not be asked to enter their seed anywhere other than on their Trezor device." It also assured its users that all their funds are safe and that no Trezor customer data has been leaked.

"We continue to operate under a policy where we anonymize all customer data from e-commerce within 90 days, once it is no longer needed to complete the order, and will even remove customer data manually if requested before that," the firm stated.

Trezor believes that the recent wave of phishing attacks was a result of a hack on its hardware wallet competitor Ledger. The French company was hacked in late June, with the attackers accessing one million emails. They also accessed additional details such as postal addresses, first and last names and phone numbers for close 9,500 of the users.

Trezor believes that this is the data the attackers in the latest phishing attack are relying on.

"The timing and scope of this phishing scheme suggests it is a second wave of attacks resulting from a breach of our competitor's e-commerce database. Malicious actors who acquired the data from that attack are blindly targeting Ledger customers whom they presume may also own a Trezor wallet."

Trezor advised its users against ever digitizing their recovery seed or sharing them. They should also ensure they perform every important action using their hardware wallets.

This is not the first phishing campaign that has relied on data from the July Ledger hack. In October, thousands of Ledger users were targeted by a phishing attack that many described as "really legit-looking." The attackers told the targets that Ledger had found several of its servers to be infected with malware.

One user described the attack on Reddit, "Wow this looked really legit, so much so I used Contact Us form to ask Ledger if it was real. I am normally pretty good at sniffing things like this out – this was by far the most convincing attempt I have ever seen."

See also: CoinGeek Live presentation, Custody Changes Everything: How BSV Opens a New World for Digital Asset Custodians

Thursday, November 26, 2020

ARK Announces Partnership with Magic.Link

 



As Ark approachs the launch of MarketSquare, we want to give our community an inside look at some of the partnerships we have formed. These strategic partnerships will not only help make MarketSquare the new homepage for the decentralized web but will also create inroads between ARK and other projects looking to build and collaborate together. Today we would like to introduce you to Magic.Link!

What is Magic?
Magic is a developer SDK that can be integrated into applications to enable passwordless authentication using magic links - similar to systems used by Slack and Medium.

Once a developer integrates Magic into their application a user is able to sign up or log in by doing the following:

A user requests a magic link be sent to their email address.
The user clicks on the magic link
The user is securely logged into the application.
#Saying Goodbye to Passwords
You may have noticed that this process occurs without the need for signing in or registering with a password. The benefits of passwordless authentication in modern applications and services are becoming more apparent. Let's go over a few of them below:

Increased Security: Passwords are becoming obsolete. The resources required to manage user credentials and passwords are increasing. It is estimated that 81% of security breaches are due to poor passwords set by users. The problem is further complicated due to the fact that 59% of users reuse their passwords everywhere. By using Magic, password leaks can be prevented which reduces risk and liability for companies using passwordless authentication.

Less Overhead: Statistics show that nearly 50% of all support tickets are related to lost and forgotten passwords. The estimated cost for handling 10 support tickets a day is $128,000 annually. Magic takes a different approach. Magic leverages blockchain-based, standardized public-private key cryptography to achieve identity management. When a new user signs up for an application or service, a public-private key pair is generated for them. Private keys are used to sign cryptographic proofs of a user's identity.

Boost Conversion: By removing passwords, Magic creates a better user experience. The number of steps necessary to login and signup for a new platform or application is reduced by over 66%. This amounts to better conversion rates and happier users.

Magic & MarketSquare
One of the main goals of MarketSquare is to be an industry leader in providing educational and informative content centered around blockchain. By working closely together with Magic we have an opportunity to explore integrating their robust SDK, create content around decentralized identification management, and more.

Other areas of collaboration include:
Creating MarketSquare content centered around Magic.
Explore integrating Magic's SDK for ARK's products.
Exploring other areas where working together would make sense and be beneficial for both projects.
As we expand the number of developer tools that we are featuring on MarketSquare, we believe that Magic is a great fit and are looking forward to having them as a partner.

South Korea to delay digital currency tax law until January 2022

 


Digital currency holders in South Korea have been granted an extra three months before a new taxation rule is implemented. The rule was to be implemented in October 2021, but will now be delayed until January 2022.

South Korea finalized its digital currency tax proposal in July, with the Deputy Prime Minister Hong Nam-Ki revealing it would take effect in late 2021. The rule requires Koreans to pay a 20% on digital currency profits above KRW2.5 million ($2,259).

Soon after the government revealed the rule, several stakeholders in the digital currency industry were up in arms against it. Some felt that the industry was still too young to face such a huge tax cut. Yonsei University economist Sung Tae-yoon stated at the time:

"It is premature for the government to impose cryptocurrency taxes at a time when the market has not developed enough in a stable manner. Any rash taxation or introduction of regulations can be a stumbling block for sustainable growth of the industry."

The Korea Blockchain Association soon after called on the government to delay the implementation for two years. According to the lobbying organization, the time period given to exchanges was too short. Oh Gap-soo, the association's chairman remarked:

"It is necessary to provide a reasonable minimum period of preparation so that it can contribute to the national economy and to secure tax revenue in the long term."

South Korean lawmakers have offered this reprieve to the digital currency industry, local outlet Dong-A Ilbo reports. The outlet reports that the lawmakers concurred the timeline wasn't sufficient for the exchanges to adhere to the new rules. The tax sub-committee at the national assembly is expected to announce the specific implementation dates in the coming week.

Rep. Lee Dong-min of the ruling Democratic Party stated, "It's good to implement it [the new tax rule] quickly, but it's also critical allow the system to settle calmly while securing a considerable degree of consensus."

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Waves sets up $3M grant fund to promote cross-chain interoperability

 


The Waves Association announced on Wednesday a new grant program for cross-chain interoperability development.

The pool consists of 1 million Waves tokens, worth approximately $3 million as of press time. Projects will be eligible for grants of up to 300,000 Waves to develop solutions for interoperability and cross-chain communication.

There will be three separate types of grants: open grants, grants distributed through hackathons and Waves-focused grants. Sten Laureyssens, strategic advisor at the Waves Association, explained to Cointelegraph that open grants will have a wide scope:

"For the open grant category, the grants are open to a wide variety of interoperability projects, that don't necessarily have to be connected to Waves. We're looking for creative solutions to connect existing blockchains and dApps."
The latter two types of grants will have to adhere to certain requirements, which makes it likely that the Waves blockchain will be involved in some form. Nevertheless, Laureyssens said that the association is planning to sponsor blockchain-agnostic solutions as well.

Sasha Ivanov, president of the Waves Association, threw a subtle jab at certain types of interoperability solutions offered today:

"Waves Association aims to support independent developers working on interoperability solutions — especially those thinking outside the box. Solving interoperability by adding a dedicated blockchain and native token as an additional layer would only lead to more complexity, undercutting the potential of the proposed solution."
Grants will be stipulated and decided on by members of the Waves Association, though the disbursement of funds will be automated through a decentralized application.

Waves is a smart contract-enabled blockchain platform competing with the likes of Ethereum and EOS. Its developers have often criticized the mainstream approaches to certain tenets of blockchain technology, notably misleading claims of transactional capacity.

The Waves blockchain was recently used with apparent success in a Russian local election, following a disappointing performance by a similar system developed by BitFury.

Twetch passes 1 million transaction milestone

 



Twetch, the social media app built on Bitcoin, exceeded 1 million transactions on October 27.

This is a remarkable and significant milestone for the company, its users, and the Bitcoin ecosystem. The 1 million transaction milestone makes Twetch one of the few Bitcoin companies to put 1 million transactions on-chain.

From the day Twetch launched to the 1 millionth tx, how long did it take to reach this milestone?

From the day that we started, it took about 18 months to get our 1 millionth transaction.

Is Twetch the first Bitcoin app to put 1 million transactions on-chain?

Twetch is the first and most active application to have 1 million transactions on-chain; Ethereum cannot even dream of such a thing.

Why should someone who has never used Twetch before give it a try and check it out?

Twetch represents the future of the internet. It is ad-free, you can profit off of it, you own your own data, and the user is in total control. In a world where these big internet giants are the ones that are in control, Twetch treats users and their ideas the way nature intended, giving users control of their property.

What would you say users like most about Twetch?
Twetch users like the money the most, they make a lot of money. There are people making thousands of dollars on Twetch. The other thing would be the culture. Bright gang represents a group of people who really are willing to go in the world and try to make a difference to see a brighter future, to really try and make things better in a world that is sort of doom and gloom. Bright gang stands out, we shine bright.  

Can you share any details regarding quarterly or YTD revenue?
I'm not going to go into specifics because the answer is on the blockchain. Twetch is on the blockchain, it's completely auditable on the blockchain, everyone can see the money going in and out on the Bitcoin blockchain.

But something that's really exciting about Twetch is that within the last 30 days, our revenue is more than last year's revenue. The revenue is really growing, people are coming back day to day to use Twetch, not just for our posts to the blockchain features and to profit from their content, but people are using Twetch DMs to do business and connect with new people. It's really about getting the world better connected on Twetch right now, and the culture is just really, really strong.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Waves and Fantom enter collaboration

 


Joint work will be focused on developing a broader DeFi ecosystem using the Gravity cross-chain communication protocol.
We are excited to announce a collaboration between Waves and Fantom. Waves and Fantom are committed to building an open ecosystem between different chains, based on the Gravity protocol, which is essential to the DeFi industry's wider success.

Under the collaboration deal, WAVES, the native utility token of the Waves ecosystem, will join Fantom's DeFi ecosystem as collateral for minting synthetic assets, including fUSD, Fantom's stablecoin pegged to the US dollar.
WAVES holders will be able to use fMint to access fUSD and other synthetic assets, which can be used with other Fantom DeFi products. Specifically, fLend allows users to lend and borrow assets, while fTrade allows users to trade them.

For instance, If you want to go long BTC (without losing exposure to your WAVES collateral), mint fUSD against your WAVES in fMint and use the fUSD to buy fBTC (synthetic BTC) in fTrade. Sell the fBTC for fUSD later to repay the minted debt. Once you've repaid any outstanding minted debt, you can unlock your collateral to withdraw.

About Gravity
Gravity is a decentralized cross-chain and oracle network based on a truly blockchain-agnostic protocol for communication between blockchains and with the outside world, working with the native token economies.
Gravity provides multi-purpose cross-chain interaction without introducing a native token. The true blockchain agnostic no-token approach creates a more inclusive, open ecosystem, while addressing future scaling/stability issues.

About Fantom
The Fantom Foundation is committed to building technology that is open-source, decentralized, DAG-based distributed ledgers with aBFT consensus. Fantom aims to create fast, secure and scalable technologies across various industries, allowing organizations, businesses, and individuals to develop decentralized and secure applications, solving real-world problems.

BTC escrow firm CEO faces 60 years in jail over alleged $7M scam

 

The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted the operator of a BTC escrow on charges of defrauding two of his clients out of $7 million. Federal authorities said John Barry Thompson is charged with two counts of wire fraud and commodities fraud which collectively carry a maximum prison sentence of 60 years.

In its press release, the DoJ revealed that a grand jury in the Southern District of New York had returned an indictment charging Thompson with fraud. Thompson was the principal of Volantis Escrow Platform LLC and the related Volantis Market Making LLC.

In a separate action, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) also filed civil charges against Thompson.

The charges are related to allegations that Thompson defrauded $7 million from two clients in 2018. According to the DoJ, the 48-year-old man made false statements to an unnamed company in 2018, convincing the company to send him $3 million to buy BTC. He assured the company that the transaction was guaranteed as "cash is with me, coin is with me." However, he didn't have the coins as promised and he ended up sending part of the money to a third party to purchase the BTC. He then lied for days about the status of the transaction and in the end, he never returned the funds.

A month after the debacle, he enticed yet another unnamed company with promises of a guaranteed BTC purchase. The company sent him $4 million, and just like in the first case, he sent the money to a third party and never refunded the company.

Geoffrey Berman, the Manhattan U.S. Attorney, commented, "As alleged, Jon Barry Thompson repeatedly lied to investors in cryptocurrencies about the safety of their investments made through his companies. As a result of Thompson's lies, investors lost millions of dollars."

The Easton, Pennsylvania, resident is charged with two counts of commodities fraud, each of which carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. He's also charged with two counts of wire fraud, each carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.

The DoJ was the first U.S. regulator to pursue Thompson, with the CFTC following that up with civil charges. However, in November 2019, the U.S. government intervened, requesting the CFTC to stay its charges against the alleged cryptocurrency scammer as they could interfere with a parallel criminal case against him.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Lamden Mainnet is Here!

 



A Technology Delivered
We're happy to announce that we've officially launched Lamden mainnet! Today marks a day of independence and new beginnings. Three years in the making, this milestone represents a culmination of intense efforts to deliver a novel blockchain with a revolutionary leap in performance, scalability and usability. Blockchain of today is one of complexity, high congestion, and outrageous fees. Lamden's mission is to unleash a disruptive solution to these challenges and make blockchain fast, user-friendly, and cost-effective.

What is Lamden Mainnet?
Lamden's engineers aimed to not only deliver on the original promises of blockchain but to revolutionize it. Lamden tackles the fundamental challenges of blockchain head-on, from high barriers to entry to poor performance and scalability.

Easy to Use
Lamden's open-source, Python-native platform empowers developers to focus on quickly building blockchain applications, instead of learning new programming languages and messing around with complex syntax and system architecture. This means easier development and faster revenue generation on Lamden.

Highly Performant and Scalable
Lamden uses an array of advanced algorithms to remain highly performant and scalable as demand increases for on-chain activity and large-scale applications. Lamden is engineered to achieve sub-second transaction finality and to scale linearly with additional CPU cores, as described here. There are no Ethereum-style "gas-wars" on Lamden because the system uses a first-in-first-out queuing algorithm which prevents people from paying more to get ahead of the line and further congest the network.

A Developer Incentives System
Lamden has a built-in rewards distribution system with voteable and configurable parameters. Developers who create applications on Lamden will be awarded a percentage of transaction fees processed through their smart contracts, thereby earning revenue automatically from their applications without relying on third-party payment services. Incentives are made with Lamden's native coin TAU and sent straight to the developer's wallet. Because revenue is tied to transaction volume, developers will earn more revenue as their DApps become more popular.
For an introductory period, developers will automatically earn 90% of all TAU used to transact against their smart contracts.

A Self-Regulating System
Lamden has a self-regulating governance system where the community nodes have direct voting rights on key decisions including rewards distribution, transaction rates, and platform functionality upgrades. The system naturally strives for an equilibrium where each network participant will act in their best interest to maximize their reward. No single party controls the Lamden network and no single party can monopolize it.

Mainnet Token Swap
Now that mainnet is live, a token swap from Ethereum ERC20 TAU to Lamden Mainnet TAU will commence. The swap period will be open for approximately 6 months and is mandatory. If you do not swap your ERC20 TAU tokens during the 6 month swap window, you will be unable to do so afterwards.

IMPORTANT: Do not send ERC20 tokens to the Lamden wallet or they will be lost forever! ERC20 tokens are not compatible with the Lamden network. The only way to get your ERC20 TAU onto the Lamden network is by following the wallet token swap process.

The swap process is built directly into the Lamden wallet, which you can download on the Lamden website..

How US States Are, and Aren’t, Easing Crypto Firms’ Compliance Burde

 


The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS), an organization of state financial regulators, will make it easier for financial technology payment firms and cryptocurrency exchanges to prove they're in compliance with U.S. state laws.

The CSBS announced a "One Company, One Exam" plan Tuesday whereby states will coordinate their supervisory exams for the nation's largest payment firms in an effort to reduce the costs on both state regulators and the companies they oversee. Essentially, the exam is how these regulators will make sure regulated entities are still in compliance.

What this means for cryptocurrency companies – such as Coinbase – is their compliance costs will drop. Rather than work with more than 50 different state and territory regulators, the exchanges only need to check in with the one group. The group of regulators includes every state but Montana, which doesn't have a money transmission license.

Crypto exchanges need money transmission licenses to legally operate within most states, with the state banking or financial services regulator overseeing this form of regulated activity.

"For the industry that means there's going to be a reduction in regulatory burden," said Matt Lambert, nonbank counsel for CSBS.

However, new exchanges will still have to apply for, and secure, a license for each state in which they hope to operate. While the CSBS is working on a potential standard for applications, there's still a long way to go.

At present the move also only applies to the 78 largest money transmitters in the U.S. – those operating in at least 40 states. While Lambert declined to identify which crypto businesses fit into this category, a search of the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System & Registry database indicates this could include Coinbase, Circle Internet Financial and Square.

The list of firms that will benefit from CSBS' announcement could still grow. While there aren't any plans right now to add to the list of companies, Lambert said more could be added later on.

'Strictest standards'
The CSBS announced its effort to consolidate supervision at least partly as a result of soliciting feedback from the crypto industry, and finding that regulated entities believed "there is too much supervision that is accomplishing the same thing," Lambert said.

"Overall I think this process will lead to high standards, the strictest standards," he said. "This is not going to be a means of defaulting to the lowest standards, this is going to be a method of raising the bar for everyone."

Each exam will be conducted by a group of state regulators, and the makeup of the group will change on an exam-by-exam basis. This lets the regulators coordinate among themselves to find the best fit for each company's evaluation. 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Lamden Mainnet is Coming. Lamden Mainnet will be launching on…16 september 2020

 


The Moment of Truth
The wait is almost over; Lamden's mainnet launch is fast approaching. September 16th, 2020 will be an inflection point, marking the transition from a technology promised to a technology delivered.

We at Lamden have been working nonstop to deliver on the unfulfilled promises of blockchain. Instead of modifying an existing technology, we decided to design and build a novel blockchain architecture from scratch. As a result, our Python-native modular blockchain delivers a revolutionary leap in performance, efficiency, and usability.

The moment of truth and the reveal is drawing near. Blockchain of today is one of complexity, high congestion, and outrageous fees. Lamden's mission is to unleash a disruptive solution upon these challenges and make blockchain fast, user-friendly, and cost-effective. One day, we will look back and remember September 16th, 2020 as a pivotal moment for blockchain and its revival.

The Road Traveled
We at Lamden took the road less traveled and it made all the difference. The imminent release of Lamden blockchain is the culmination of two and a half years of nonstop development and testing, and pushing the limits of what blockchain can do. We have worked hard to make life easier for developers by creating a Python-native platform that simplifies development and testing, and accelerates product deployment and monetization.

We have set our goals sky-high and refused to take a shortcut or compromise, and achieved results beyond our wildest expectations. We are deeply grateful to our amazing community for their unfailingly generous and enthusiastic support over the years. The mainnet would not have been possible without our team of developers and their unwavering commitment to deliver something extraordinary.

The Road Ahead
In the coming weeks, we will share more details on mainnet and exciting new plans with our community members. Our roadmap includes a developer on-boarding campaign, exciting new DeFi products, and a specification for Lamden version 2.0.

Lamden mainnet is just around the corner, but community members can start developing their ideas now using Lamden's Python-based smart contracting system. For an introductory period, developers will earn 90% of all TAU used to transact against their smart contract.

To our existing community members and those new to Lamden, we extend our warmest welcome to the Lamden Legion.

For more information, please visit:
https://lamden.io/  

Friday, August 28, 2020

TECH 26 AUGUST 2020 Patrick Thompson Mitiga, an incident readiness and response company, has discovered that a product available on Amazon Web Services Marketplace contained Monero mining malware. Mitiga published their findings, noting that they discovered the malware when conducting a security audit for a financial services company. “Mitiga’s security research team has identified an AWS Community AMI containing malicious code running an unidentified Monero crypto miner,” according to the Mitiga’s blog post. “We have concerns this may be a phenomenon, rather than an isolated occurrence.” Malware on AWS Marketplace Unfortunately, the AWS marketplace allows anyone to sell virtual services on its marketplace. Although the marketplace is full of verified vendors, it also contains offerings from unverified community members. Mitiga discovered that one community member was selling a Windows 2008 virtual server that secretly used the computing power of anyone who downloa

 


Mitiga, an incident readiness and response company, has discovered that a product available on Amazon Web Services Marketplace contained Monero mining malware. Mitiga published their findings, noting that they discovered the malware when conducting a security audit for a financial services company.

"Mitiga's security research team has identified an AWS Community AMI containing malicious code running an unidentified Monero crypto miner," according to the Mitiga's blog post. "We have concerns this may be a phenomenon, rather than an isolated occurrence."

Malware on AWS Marketplace
Unfortunately, the AWS marketplace allows anyone to sell virtual services on its marketplace. Although the marketplace is full of verified vendors, it also contains offerings from unverified community members.

Mitiga discovered that one community member was selling a Windows 2008 virtual server that secretly used the computing power of anyone who downloaded it to mine Monero in the background. Although it may come as a surprise that Monero mining malware was present on Amazon's AWS Marketplace, Amazon's policy clearly states that:

"Amazon can't vouch for the integrity or security of AMIs shared by other Amazon EC2 users. Therefore, you should treat shared AMIs as you would any foreign code that you might consider deploying in your own data center and perform the appropriate due diligence. We recommend that you get an AMI from a trusted source."

Reducing the attack vector
To avoid falling victim to malware that might live within community offerings on the AWS marketplace, Mitiga recommends "verifying or terminating these instances [unverified offerings], and seeking AMIs from trusted sources"

"As AWS customer usage is obfuscated, we can't know how far and wide this phenomenon stretches without AWS's own investigation," said Mitiga. "We do however believe that the potential risk is high enough to issue a security advisory to all AWS customers using Community AMIs."