Sunday, September 29, 2019

Nigerian crypto wallet Satowallet disappears with users’ funds

 


A Nigerian cryptocurrency wallet is alleged to have pulled off an exit scam, disappearing with over $1 million in users' funds. The users of Satowallet first started reporting withdrawal hitches in April, which led many to question the company's legitimacy. However, the management reassured the users, blaming its technical issues on its web hosting services provider.

Satowallet was founded in 2017 and claims to be based in Dubai, according to a report by Finance Magnates. Its parent firm Blockchain Tech Hub is based in Nigeria's capital, Abuja. The wallet supports over 60 cryptocurrencies.

The report reveals that users begun experiencing issues with their withdrawals in April. The company blamed the issues on technical hitches. However, during the time that the users were unable to access their funds, Satowallet claimed that several Telegram scammers exploited the upgrade period and stole some of the funds that the company held for its users.

In a statement afterwards, Satowallet assured its users that it had fixed the vulnerability. However, almost immediately after, it installed tough KYC measures which would take weeks to be verified. This further delayed the withdrawals for the users.

In August, the wallet became totally inaccessible for its users. The CEO said at the time that all its servers were down. He blamed the outage on OVH.ie, the wallet's data center provider which had hosted the servers for the previous two years. The website and app were restored after a few days. However, the users' coins got lost in the process.

Satowallet accused OVH of fraud and stealing the company's wallet servers. Regardless of where the blame lies, the users' funds are gone.

Despite the major steps the crypto industry has taken to identify and rid itself of exit scams, they are still occurring. A report by cybersecurity firm CipherTrace in August labeled 2019 as the year of exit scams. The report revealed that crypto investors have already lost $3.1 billion to exit scams this year. However, the lion's share of this amount, $2.9 billion was lost when South Korean crypto exchange PlusToken vanished with customers' funds.


Sunday, September 22, 2019

Crypto exchange rejects Brazil court deadline to resolve withdrawals

 


Atlas Quantum, a Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange that has been the subject of much controversy, has defied a court deadline to resolve withdrawal issues. In a blog post, the company stated that it was working to solve withdrawal hitches, but that it didn't have a deadline to do so. This comes after a Brazilian court froze the exchange's accounts and gave it 48 hours to resolve the outstanding accounts.

A federal court in Brazil ruled that Atlas Quantum's activities constituted practices associated with financial pyramid schemes on September 16. This was after one of the users took to court accusing the exchange of denying him access to his crypto stash. The user claimed the exchange barred him from withdrawing his 6 BTC, with Atlas blaming the mishap on Know-Your-Customer issues with its accounts on other exchanges.

In a separate ruling, a Sao Paulo court ruled that Atlas had 48 hours to settle all the outstanding withdrawal requests from its clients or risk severe penalties.

The company promptly responded to the charges stating, "Atlas Quantum reports that when notified, it will manifest itself in the case file. On the issue of withdrawals, the company adds that it is working to resolve it as soon as possible."

Three days after the ruling, the exchange is yet to settle withdrawal requests, but claims to be working on the issue. In its Q&A-structured statement, the exchange revealed, "We are in the process of implementing the solutions required by the exchanges, and we do not have a deadline to reestablish withdrawal processing. We emphasize that our team is 100% focused so that normality is restored as soon as possible."

The exchange also responded to other major concerns, including claims that it was a pyramid scheme. To this, the company stated:

We don't have any referral programs, referrals or anything featuring multi-level marketing, very common in financial fraud schemes. In this sense, we never guarantee fixed returns, since our main product is automated high frequency arbitrage. We have always made it clear that by the nature of our product and the market, income is variable and we may even have days with negative profitability, although we work hard not to.

The statement also included a video that supposedly proved the exchange was in possession of the assets it reported to have. In the video, Atlas showed the purported balances in its Poloniex, Gate.io and HitBTC accounts. Combined, the exchange alleges to have 15,000 BTC and over $45 million in Tether. However, some market experts have disputed the report, claiming the exchange is overstating its position.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Browser Extensions Can Help Scammers Steal Your Bitcoin: Casa CE

 


Browser extensions can help scammers steal your crypto Casa CEO Jeremy Welch warned the audience at the Baltic Honeybadger conference in Riga this weekend.
"Browser extensions impose major risks, and these risks haven't been discussed until this point," Welch said.

Extensions can gather a wealth of data, which can be leaked, stolen, and used by scammers. One example is browser history, which can expose users' online habits, including crypto-related site visits.
"Make sure you don't expose your bitcoin addresses anywhere," Welch warned.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some extensions capture users' KYC information and can leak it to scammers. The only major multisig system that requires KYC at the moment is the one supplied by Unchained Capital, Welch said. He warns against commonly-used consumer software that gathers identity data.

As an example, Welch demonstrated how an extension providing wallpapers with inspiring quotes or other content was actually stealing data as you filled in KYC forms. The malware stole graphical data, like a photo of your driver's license, which is captured as a code and then easily decoded, providing an actual picture of your ID document to hackers.

Quiet data thefts
All this is happening on the background, without the user noticing.
"You got a nice background here and you don't realize that your browser is actually dumping data," Welch said.

The same wallpaper extension can alter a receiving address when you're trying to send your crypto to somebody else (or to yourself), sending it to a scammer's wallet instead. The ubiquity and popularity of browser extensions makes the situation quite dangerous, Welch noted:
"It's terrifying, right? We all are using browser extensions all the time."

Even if a user is very careful and selective in what they're using, the software can be upgraded and get new, unsafe features without a consumer noticing, Welch added.

Welch noted that many well-known applications request enough permissions to gather personal data, including password managers, text editing app Grammarly, Joule extension for in-browser Lighting transactions, Casa's own Sats extension and the Lolli bitcoin-earning extension.

The solution? There is no easy one, Welch says. Developers can only keep building better tools that will make users' experience safer and better.
"We all need to be discussing this issues more, because we're not even in the phase yet when real attacks will be taking place."

Welch added that Casa is planning to publish more security research soon and encouraged bitcoin developers and entrepreneurs to approach the company and share their concerns and ideas on how to address security issues.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Crypto Banking Expands With Positive Interest Rates and New Services

 



Banking, in the traditional sense of the term, has become a financial burden for account holders in regions where the era of subzero interest rates has already set in. European nations like Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Eurozone countries have been in negative territory for some time, and banks there have started passing the burden to corporate and private clients. However, businesses and savers don't have to put up with losing money as the expanding banking services in the crypto space come with much better conditions, including positive interest rates.

Bank Accounts With Bitcoin Wallets in 31 EEA Countries
With the number of cryptocurrency users growing constantly, the need for dedicated digital asset banking naturally increases too. Currently, companies specializing in this niche are actually offering better terms to their customers than traditional financial institutions are able to provide within the fiat system. Of course, it remains to be seen if they will maintain the competitive edge once demand for their services expands significantly.

Germany, the leading EU economy, is now witnessing a backlash against low and negative interest rates. Politicians from different factions have expressed support for an initiative to outlaw punitive interest on deposits of up to €100,000. With negative rates imposed on them by the European Central Bank, ordinary German savers feel like they are once again paying the bill for the rescue of the common currency, the euro. And the ECB is preparing for a new rate cut to an all-time low of -0.50% this month.

Cryptocurrencies are an alternative to fiat money in many respects and they are likely to attract more attention as clouds continue to gather over the world economy a decade after the global financial crisis and the birth of Bitcoin. And while some have warned crypto companies probably shouldn't try to become the banks of a new financial era, there are also reasonable arguments that in many cases they can actually provide better services based on the strengths of decentralized digital currencies.

Berlin-headquartered Bitwala has established itself as a crypto banking and payment provider in Europe. Towards the end of last year, the company announced it's offering customers bank accounts with Ibans through a partnership with Solarisbank, a licensed financial institution operating under the oversight of Bafin, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority of Germany. Deposits up to €100,000 will be protected by the German deposit guarantee scheme.

Bitwala recently launched a bitcoin banking app for iOS and Android. The company explained that residents of the European Economic Area, all EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, can open a German bank account that comes with an integrated BTC wallet and start trading on their smartphones. The onboarding process is now fully integrated into the mobile application and opening a new account takes only a few minutes. The platform uses video identification and EEA residents are required to provide a valid national ID as well as a proof of address. In a statement issued in August, Bitwala Chief Technical Officer Benjamin Jones noted:

Once you have an account, you can seamlessly integrate your daily banking activities – whether in bitcoin or euro – into your everyday life.

Bitwala users can buy and sell cryptocurrency directly from their bank account with a low 1% fee charged per trade. The multi-signature wallet also allows them to transfer bitcoin on a peer-to-peer basis with friends and family. Transactions can be authorized by using biometrics. The company assures customers that in order to protect their coins in the Bitwala wallet, the private keys will remain in their hands.

Zeux is another fintech company that provides banking solutions for both digital and traditional currencies. It recently launched its new Zeux app for Android and iOS devices and introduced bitcoin cash into its ecosystem. The cryptocurrency is now listed on its mobile app which allows crypto users to pay with BCH via Apple Pay and Samsung Pay. The listing will help bring cryptocurrency into everyday life, Zeux explained in an announcement published on Medium.

The banking platform noted that Bitcoin Cash provides peer-to-peer electronic cash transfer at low fees and high security, thereby fulfilling the original promise of Bitcoin.

Earn up to 10% Interest on Your Bitcoin Savings
With the spread of decentralized digital assets and the problems fiat currencies are facing right now, often due to failed central bank policies, demand for traditional-style banking services in the crypto space will continue to grow. There's a void to be filled and platforms such as Cred are doing exactly that.

Similar to a bank, Cred uses the pledged assets to lend to various borrowers including retail investors and money managers. That's on a fully collateralized and guaranteed basis as the platform works with trusted collateral agents and leading custody partners including Bitgo, Bittrex Enterprise and Ledger. The aim is to ensure the safety and security of the digital assets deposited by its customers.

Norwegian Bank Invests in Crypto Exchange
Traditional financial institutions have been tempted to get involved in the crypto space and provide services related to digital assets. Such is the case with Sparebanken Øst, a Norwegian savings bank, which recently announced it had bought a 16.3% stake in the Norwegian Block Exchange (NBX) for 15 million Norwegian krone (approx. $1.67 million). The new trading platform is expected to start operations this month.

Admitting the high risk of the investment, Sparebanken Øst nevertheless noted in a press release its belief that "the ownership position in NBX is sound, based on the bank's solidity and risk profile, and is responsible in relation to the bank's needs and desire to take a leading role in technological developments in the industry." The crypto exchange itself plans to also provide payment services to its customers. NBX will be fully compliant with Norwegian regulations applicable to its financial activities.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Indian Exchanges Innovate as Calls for Positive Crypto Regulation Escalate

 


Indian crypto exchanges are innovating, launching new products and improving services for their users, despite the country's regulatory uncertainty and unresolved banking restrictions. Meanwhile, the Indian crypto community continues its efforts to convince the government that the draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies is flawed, calling for positive regulation instead.

Better Trading Environment
Undeterred by regulatory uncertainty and an onerous banking ban, five crypto exchanges in India revealed their new projects last week. Crypto exchange Coindcx has shared with news.Bitcoin.com that it has partnered with Australia-based crypto trading platform Koinfox. CEO Sumit Gupta explained that the collaboration gives Koinfox's users access to his exchange's liquidity aggregated from major global exchanges. Meanwhile, users of his exchange will have access to Koinfox's advanced trading tools, including algorithmic trading and risk management strategies. The integration will be live by mid-September, he confirmed.

Besides an exchange service and a P2P platform, Coindcx also offers margin trading in over 200 markets as well as crypto lending. The lending program currently supports nine cryptocurrencies: BTC, USDT, BNB, XRP, ETH, TUSD, TRX, BTT, and LTC. Users can earn monthly interest of up to 1.5% depending on the coins lent. Further, they will soon be able to trade in crypto derivatives, Gupta revealed.

Two other cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitbns and Okex, also announced their partnership last week to better serve the Indian market, but have not unveiled any specific details of the collaboration. Meanwhile, cryptocurrency exchanges in India have been suffocating from the banking restrictions imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The central bank issued a circular in April last year, banning regulated financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses. The ban went into effect 90 days later. It has been extensively challenged in the supreme court, which is scheduled to revisit the case on Sept. 25.

Smart Token Fund
Another Indian cryptocurrency exchange is launching a new product. Wazirx unveiled last week its Smart Token Fund (STF) program, which it described as "a simplified community-driven initiative where cryptocurrency enthusiasts can find smart traders, and let them grow their cryptocurrency portfolio." The exchange claims to already have "an existing community of pro traders who can trade with the funds of new entrants and in return, earn a certain percentage of the profits they make," elaborating:

STF's aim is to democratise cryptocurrency trading expertise for everyone. You can choose the right STF trader for yourself based on the tokens they trade, their trading history, performance, and more.

Wazirx CEO Nischal Shetty shared that many users on his exchange do not understand how to trade cryptocurrencies and have asked him for help. He emphasized that the biggest problem in crypto for new entrants is not knowing which tokens to invest in. "There's an exceptionally large number of people out there who don't have time to trade, don't know which token to trade or how to trade. These barriers are holding them back from investing in cryptos, and in turn preventing them from participating in this amazing revolution," he opined.

The STF program enables traders "to trade and manage multiple people's portfolio — all on a single interface," and keep a percentage of the profits they make for investors, the CEO explained. Investors can choose to invest with the traders based on factors such as their performance, the tokens they trade, or their trading history. They can enter and exit any time with no locked-in period. The exchange is currently giving early access to "selective expert traders."

How Wealthy Indians Plan to Invest in Crypto
The Indian government is currently deliberating on a draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies, drawn up by an interministerial committee (IMC) headed by former Secretary of the Department of Economic Affairs Subhash Chandra Garg, who was subsequently reassigned to the Power Ministry. The government has indicated to the supreme court that this bill might be introduced in the next parliament session.

Despite the country's uncertain policies on crypto assets, some wealthy Indians are planning to invest in cryptocurrencies, according to the first "Hurun Indian Luxury Consumer Survey 2019." Released Friday by The Hurun Research Institute, the survey reveals "the changes and preferences of lifestyle, consumption habits and brand cognition of high-net-worth individuals in India," the institute described. Respondents include 831 richest Indians on the Hurun India Rich List.

According to the results, 9.6% of respondents said that their investment in cryptocurrency would increase over the next three years. However, nearly half of the survey participants said they did not know much about cryptocurrency. Among those who did, 29.15% said they preferred bitcoin, 8.74% preferred ethereum, 6.8% preferred ripple, and 5.83% preferred other coins.

Calls for Positive Regulation Escalate
Since the IMC report and draft bill were made public on July 22, the Indian crypto community has been trying to convince the government to reexamine the draft bill. Many believe that the bill is flawed in many areas, from the definition of cryptocurrency to the ban recommendations. The community has gained support from a number of leading industry groups, such as The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) and the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) which also believe that banning is not the solution.

The "India Wants Crypto" campaign, which calls on the government to introduce positive crypto regulation, has entered its 306th day and has recently crossed its milestone of more than 50,000 tweets and retweets.

"The entire 5 million Indian crypto youth want to participate in achieving [the] target of growing Indian economy to $5 trillion," Shetty tweeted to his country's prime minister and finance minister. His persistence is starting to pay off, as at least one parliament member, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, is willing to hear more. The Wazirx executive further explained that many in the crypto sector are rapidly innovating, but they lag behind other countries due to regulatory uncertainty and banking restrictions. He believes that embracing crypto will lead to more jobs and investments, among other benefits, which he recently shared with us.

Bitcoin.com's Premier Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Now Live

 


Bitcoin.com launched their premier trading platform exchange.Bitcoin.com and registered users can access it right now. Since we announced pre-registration last month, over 10,000 accounts have signed up with our exchange and the platform is ready to provide a world-class trading experience for crypto newcomers and veterans alike.

Trade Your Favorite Cryptos Today With Bitcoin.com's New Exchange
Exchange.Bitcoin.com is live and we're thrilled to launch a trading engine that provides fast and secure exchange in this competitive crypto environment. On the two-year anniversary of the Bitcoin Cash fork, we announced a pre-registration period so people could get a head start and participate in our rewards contest. Since then, we've registered over 10,000 new accounts and our exchange is ready to provide deep liquidity for the most popular digital assets today. Moreover, new accounts will get paid to trade by benefiting from negative 0.3% trading fees for the next three months. Upon logging in, you will quickly notice that exchange.Bitcoin.com was designed by traders for traders, with a user interface and design that brings you the very best in optimized crypto trading.

"When you want to trade cryptocurrency, you look for an exchange which is trustworthy and which also offers you a wide range of digital assets", Bitcoin.com's CEO Stefan Rust commented on the new exchange. "Bitcoin.com has been in the crypto space since the beginning and our new exchange, which supports many different coins and soon SLP tokens, will complement our existing trusted products in making money work for everyone."

Bitcoin.com's exchange will host a slew of trading pairs including popular cryptocurrencies like litecoin (LTC), ripple (XRP), tron (TRX), zcash (ZEC), stellar (XLM), Dash (DASH) and Eos (EOS). Exchange.Bitcoin.com will have markets denominated in base currencies like bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), bitcoin core (BTC), and tether (USDT).

The exchange will furnish professional charts with technical indicators, optional timeframes, and order books in real-time so traders can visualize the market's depth. Furthermore, in the near future, Bitcoin.com developers will integrate Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) token support. This means you will be able to swap some of the most popular and valuable SLP tokens out there today.

Trading Fee Rewards and a Professional-Grade Trading Engine
To mark the launch of our new exchange, you can earn rewards through negative 0.3% trading fees. With exchange.Bitcoin.com, registered users will score more bonuses the more they trade. Negative 0.3% trading fees work in the following manner:

You'll earn negative fees up to $1,000,000 of cumulative trades for the first three months.
So, if your total cumulative trades are $1,000,000, the typical trading fees would be $2,000 and you'd earn $5,000 in rewards.
You'll receive these rewards at the end of the three months. To find out more, please read the full promotional details in the terms and conditions.
Bitcoin.com's Premier Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Now Live

If you haven't signed up for our trading platform, the process is quick and easy. Simply register with exchange.Bitcoin.com and you'll be able to instantly trade, deposit, and withdraw your favorite digital assets. Bitcoin.com's user interface is designed for ease of use combined with a professional-grade trading platform designed to offer seamless swaps in a secure environment. Exchange.Bitcoin.com's matching engine is faster than lightning and traders can execute trades smoothly with cryptocurrencies that have deep liquidity. Besides pleasing veteran traders, our new exchange will be one of the easiest ways for newcomers to obtain cryptocurrencies. As a trading platform that provides a superior user experience, exchange.Bitcoin.com will always be reliable and backed by our trusted brand.

"At Bitcoin.com we have a mission to bring financial freedom to the world and we're excited to offer industry-leading rewards on an exchange you can trust to help propel the crypto space forward," Danish Chaudhry, Managing Director of Bitcoin.com Exchange stated during the announcement.

A Better Trading Experience
Our web portal has been offering dependable crypto resources, tools, and services for years and exchange.Bitcoin.com's principled approach to security will help you trade with confidence. Accounts will be guarded with IP whitelisting, two-factor authentication (2FA), and institutional-grade encryption. You will always be notified if there are any login attempts using your account. These safeguards make exchange.Bitcoin.com ideal for both small and large traders. At Bitcoin.com, we understand the need for high-speed order execution in the fast-paced crypto marker, and our exchange has been configured accordingly.

We're excited to offer a world-class cryptocurrency exchange that provides an array of tools across all of exchange.Bitcoin.com's trading pairs. Right now the trading platform is live, and if you haven't signed up already, you can do so today and start trading cryptos immediately. With our rewards program, deep volume, and crisp user interface, we believe exchange.Bitcoin.com delivers a better trading experience and we think you'll agree.