Binance Freezes ‘Some of the Funds’ Stolen in Cryptopia Hack

Cryptopia Binance frozen coin

Some of the stolen cryptocurrency from yesterday’s Cryptopia hack has been sent to Binance, which has confirmed already freezing some of the funds. 


Binance Freezing Funds Stolen from Cryptopia

Twitter account @ShaftedTangu has alleged that some funds stolen as a result of Cryptopia’s hack have been siphoned through Binance.

The amounts sent to Binance in question include roughly $7,500 in Metal (MTL) 00, $6,750 in KyberNetwork coin (KNC) 00, $7,181 OmiseGO tokens (OMG) 00, and $8,724 in EnjinCoin (ENJ) 00. All of it totals around $30,000.

Changpeng Zhao, CEO at Binance – the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by means of traded volumes, has confirmed the allegations, reassuring that they’ve already frozen some of the funds.

Zhao commented:

Just checked, we were able to freeze some of the funds. I don’t understand why the hackers keep sending to Binance. Social media will be pretty fast to report it, and we will freeze it. It’s a high-risk maneuver for them.

Bitcoinist reported yesterday that Cryptopia’s security has been breached, resulting in ‘significant losses’. Police in New Zealand also confirmed.

Binance Caught in the Fire

Zhao’s tweet caused a reaction in crypto Twitter’s community as one user (@Crypto_Bitlord) expressed his bewilderment that Zhao referred to “social media” as a means of reporting rather than Binance’s own surveillance systems.

On the matter, Binance’s CEO said:

It’s quite easy to generate a brand new address. We (and no one) recognize every transaction out there. We already have very in-depth and detailed blockchain analysis.

Yet, the question remains – if a regular Twitter user has been able to detect the transaction in question, how, and more importantly – why did Binance miss it?

Perhaps the better question, as posed by @Crypto_Bitlord is:

So you are saying criminals can steal funds and just create a brand new address to send to before binance?

In the meantime, Binance announced today the launch of their Binance Jersey fiat exchange. The platform is aimed at traders from Europe and it offers BTC/GBP, ETH/GBP, BTC/EUR, and ETH/EUR trading pairs.

What do you think of Binance missing the transactions in question? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

XRP Overtakes Ethereum Despite Looming ‘Constantinople’ Upgrade

Ethereum constantinople

XRP has reclaimed the position of the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap from ETH just days before Ethereum’s ‘Constantinople’ hard-fork upgrade. 


Pre-Fork Drop

On January 16th, Ethereum is scheduled to undergo a network-wide system update called ‘Constantinople’. Among other things, the implementation of the upgrade will reduce the block reward from 3 ETH/block to 2 ETH/block.

Days before the event, however, Ethereum’s (ETH) 00 price experienced a notable decline.

In a matter of minutes, ETH price dropped by about 8 percent.

The movement caused ETH to fall behind Ripple (XRP), which reclaimed its spot as the second largest cryptocurrency by means of market capitalization, less than two weeks after Ethereum regained the number two spot from XRP.

In fact, the two have been neck and neck over the past few months in cryptocurrency market cap rankings.

XRP 00 also experienced a decrease around the same time, but the cryptocurrency experienced a relatively smaller loss of 2.5 percent against the USD.

Ethereum’s ‘Constantinople’

Constantinople is a system upgrade scheduled for implementation at block 7,080,000. Given the current average block time, the event should take place on January 16th, 2019.

One of the most discussed changes that the upgrade will cause is the reduction of block reward from the current 3 ETH/block to 2 ETH/block. This is also referred to as the “thirdening.” It’s the second time Ethereum’s block rewards have been reduced.

The first one was called “Byzantium” and it took place on October 16th, 2017. Back then, ETH surged by about 6 percent during the day, followed by the cryptocurrency’s late 2017 rally to an all-time high of about $1,400.

In total, the upgrade will integrate 5 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), which are geared toward tackling cost, speed, functionality, and mining issues.

Support For ‘Constantinople’

Several cryptocurrency exchanges have announced their support for the upcoming network upgrade.

Binance, HitBTC, Huobi, Bittrex, OKEx, CEX.IO, Cryptopia, and Poloniex, have all announced that they will support the Constantinople hard-fork.

Most of them advise users to give sufficient time for their deposits to be processed prior to the upgrade.

At the time of writing this, Gemini, Coinbase, and Bitfinex, haven’t yet declared their support for the upgrade.

What do you think about Constantinople and its impact on Ethereum? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

Our Man At CES 2019 – Part One: Finding Crypto

CES

Where better to check out all the latest crypto-tech than the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Actually, as it turned out, finding crypto at CES wasn’t as easy as first expected.


Technology Unveiled at CES 2019

The Sunday before the show hosts a media event called CES Unveiled, featuring the Best of Innovation awards.

After three hours feigning interested in a whole range of tech startups latest offerings, I was beginning to lose hope. The closest I’d come to anything blockchain related was a point-of-sale device, which the exhibitor said: “could develop to include cryptocurrency payments in the future.”

CES

Just as the event was finishing I stumbled across the Archos booth, where they were showing a new hardware wallet, the Safe-T touch. I arranged to meet them again during the show proper, with the possibility that they might be able to source a review model.

On exiting the hall I was sequestered by a youth holding a sign saying CoinAgenda. Apparently there was a crypto-afterparty a short bus ride away. A quick straw poll of the guests suggested that nobody really knew what the party had to do with crypto. But there was an open bar, so nobody seemed overly concerned.

Conference Tracks

Monday was spent exploring Vegas, but I did chance upon this Bitcoin ATM in a Love Boutique.

Then Tuesday saw a full day of hosted panel-type discussions in the ‘Digital Money’ conference track. Access to these conference tracks required the purchase of an additional pass over and above the registration for the main event. Whilst I hadn’t found much to report from the Unveiled show, there was a rich vein of cryptocurrency and blockchain, playing a prominent part in events.

A diverse range of speakers and panel guests included Brock Pierce, Tim Draper, Michael Terpin of Transform group, and the Prince of the Netherlands. Sessions covered topics such as security, blockchain in the entertainment industry, regulation, and decentralization.

Last on the schedule was ‘The Second Annual Token Slugfest’, in which six companies gave four-minute pitches for their ICOs. This concluded with a clap-o-meter type judging of the pitches, and the crowning of an eventual winner.

Having spent the day bathed in the warm fuzzy glow of all things crypto, my spirits were rejuvenated. I planned to hit the show floor the next day to continue my search. Actually the (many) show floors. I hadn’t realized quite how big this CES thing was.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist

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Source: Blockchain

Shapeshift Admits ‘Imposition of KYC’d Accounts’ Hurt Company Financially

shapeshift fox

The instant digital asset exchange platform ShapeShift has laid off one-third of its team because of the “dramatic and severe” crypto recession as well as being cautious in “a challenging regulatory environment.”


Crypto Winter Cold Bites Shapeshift

In a detailed announcement, the company’s CEO, Erik Voorhees, revealed “with a heavy heart” that the company has let 37 of its employees go or one-third of its team. Voorhees:

Today, we let 37 employees go, reducing the size of our team by a third. It’s a deep and painful reduction, mirrored across many crypto companies in this latest bear market cycle.

According to the CEO, the issues within the company which led to firing people were structural, legal, financial, and customer-related.

Shapeshift is not the first company to feel the negative effects of 2018’s prolonged bear market. Bitcoinist reported that industry giant Bitmain has laid off its entire Bitcoin Cash development team last month.

KYC Stung Financially and Psychologically

One of the reasons for which ShapeShift has reached a point where it had to lay people off according to its CEO is introducing know-your-customer (KYC) accounts.

Vorhees noted:

Business was declining from both aggregate market recession and increased competition. Our imposition of KYC’d accounts, themselves the result of trying to be cautious in a challenging regulatory environment, caused many of our most valuable API partners to leave us for competitors who have not perceived regulatory risks in the same way. We expected it, but still, it stung both financially and psychologically.

The instant online exchange introduced mandatory KYC requirements back in September 2018, resulting in a backlash from some users.

Immediately after that, self-hosted payment processor BTCPay announced that it intends to ditch the platform and use an interim solution as quickly as it’s possible.

“The shapeshift button does not work anymore, and they will probably require KYC soon. Instead, I am thinking about open sourcing (ShapeShift.io) by making it easy for anyone to be liquidity provider like shapeshift,” BTCPay Server tweeted in September 2018.

Were regulations the biggest factor in ShapeShift downsizing? Let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

BIS Reports 70% of Central Banks Are Studying Cryptocurrencies

BIS

A new report published by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) shows that the majority of central banks are studying central bank digital currencies (CBDC). However, most of them are unlikely to issue any type of digital currency in the near future. 


CBDC ‘Unlikely’ in The Short Term

BIS published the results of a new survey on central banks studying the technology behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. A total of 63 banks have responded. They represent jurisdictions, which cover about 80 percent of the population of the world and more than 90 percent of its entire economic output.

The intention of the survey was to find out whether central banks currently are developing their own central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and how likely they are to issue them.

Of the 63 banks, 70 percent said that they are either currently working or will soon be engaged in work on CBDC.

However, this includes conducting conceptual research on the matter, sharing studies and views of developing a “common understanding of this new field of study.” According to the report, half of the respondents have moved to a more “hands-on” proof-of-concept activities in order to test new technologies.

The report reveals that 85 percent of the central banks are unlikely or very unlikely to issue any type of CBDC in the short term (1-3 years).

Back and Forth

In September, Bitcoinist reported that the European Central Bank (ECB) has no intentions of issuing a central bank digital currency.

ECB

It’s also arguable whether a central bank issued digital currency will even fit the mold of decentralized cryptocurrencies. In December, a couple of researches at the St. Louis Fed, outlined that:

Once you add a central bank and remove the “permissionless” network—with nodes that can leave and join as they wish, there isn’t much left to the cryptocurrency you started with.

Nevertheless, some central banks remain open to the idea of CBDC. The BIS report outlines that the Central Bank of Uruguay has completed a pilot programme on a general purpose CBDC.

At the same time, the governor of UK’s central bank Mark Carney has previously said that the Bank of England is open to the idea of a central bank issued digital currency.

What do you think of CBDCs? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

Fred Wilson: 2019 Will Find the Bottom and ‘Slowly’ Enter a Bull-Run

Fred Wilson Union Square Vetures

Fred Wilson, the co-founder of Union Square Ventures, holds that 2019 will see the cryptocurrency market bottom out and ‘slowly’ enter a new bull run. However, he’s also concerned by actions of ‘misguided’ regulators. 


2019: Finding the Bottom

Venture capitalist and co-founder of investment firm Union Square Ventures, has laid down his predictions on the overall state of the cryptocurrency market in 2019.

The investor believes that we are currently in the process of bottoming out. However, he thinks that this would take much of 2019 but it will be followed by “some bullish runs.”

I expect we will see some bullish runs, followed by selling pressures taking us back to retest the lows. I think this bottoming out process will end sometime in 2019 and we will slowly enter a new bullish phase in crypto.

Unlike others who’ve based their positive predictions on catalysts such as further market adoption, institutional money entering the market, infrastructure, and so forth, Wilson sees the premise of a new bullish run in the face of the results of promises made back in 2017.

I think the catalyst for the next bullish phase will come as the result of some of the many promises made in 2017 coming to fruition in 2019 […] I think we will see a number of “next gen” smart contract platforms ship and challenge Ethereum for leadership in this super important area of the crypto sector.

Another area where Wilson thinks 2019 will bring ‘meaningful progress’ and further adoption is stablecoins. He’s not alone on the matter.

Bitcoinist reported earlier in November that CoinJar’s co-founder Asher Tan also believes in the potential of stablecoins to solve the problem of volatility in the cryptocurrency space.

Regulatory Concerns

The venture capitalist also shares that there will be pressure on the cryptocurrency industry, in general. According to him, it will stem from ‘misguided regulators’.

The area I am most concerned about are actions brought by misguided regulators who will take aim at high quality projects and harm them.

Back in October, industry proponent Jeremy Allaire, CEO of investment application Circle, called for globally coordinated cryptocurrency regulations. At the same time, the Chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) J. Christopher Giancarlo urged regulators to apply a “do no harm” approach to cryptocurrency legislation.

Last but not least, Wilson thinks that scams, hacks, and overall failures are going to remain a “drag on the sector.” However, he also holds that this is normal and ‘always the case’ with emerging tech.

What do you think of Fred Wilson’s prediction of the cryptocurrency industry’s condition in 2019? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

Facebook Wants to Mint Its Own Stablecoin for WhatsApp

facebook whatsapp

Facebook, the world’s largest social media website has been reportedly working on a stablecoin to allow WhatsApp users to transfer money. The company’s initial focus is supposedly the remittance market in India. 


Facebook’s Stablecoin

The social media mogul is developing a stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, Bloomberg reports, citing sources who have asked not to be named.

Purportedly, the company intends to use the cryptocurrency to allow WhatsApp users to transfer money. According to the report, Facebook’s initial target will be the remittance market in India.

WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook back in 2014. The popular messaging platform is purportedly popular in India, boasting over 200 million users. Bloomberg also reports that the country leads the world in terms of remittances as people have sent home $69 billion in 2017 alone.

A Challenging Road Ahead

Facebook’s foray into the field of blockchain was attested back in May when the head of their Messenger platform David Marcus announced the formation of a “small” group to “explore how to best leverage Blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”

A Facebook spokesman said a few days ago:

Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. […] This new small team is exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share.

However, the launch of the purported stablecoin may still be far off. According to the sources, the company is still working on the strategy, including a plan for custody assets or regular currencies, which would be held to protect the value of the stablecoin.

Commenting on the matter was Arran Stewart, co-founder, and CVO of a blockchain-powered recruitment company, who also identified potential hurdles in Facebook’s plan:

There are many hurdles with creating effective use of blockchain technology, especially on such a big of scale as Facebook. I would imagine that their approach may be a private hyper ledger fabric system for recording user profile data, potentially for the purposes of security but there are also many other things that Facebook maybe considering – such as becoming a merchant and offering the ability for one user to send money to another or even the purchase of goods or services through the Facebook platforms.

Others, such as software programmer Udi Wetheimer, questioned Facebook’s motives in having their own stablecoin. Thought adoption of virtual currency by a social media giant like Facebook could be a good way to onramp new Bitcoin users, he noted.

In July, Bitcoinist reported that Viber, one of WhatsApp’s biggest competitors, is also working on launching its own cryptocurrency for in-app money transfers.

What do you think of Facebook’s plans to issue a stablecoin? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain

President Trump Appoints Bitcoin Proponent as White House Chief of Staff

mulvaney trump

President Donald J. Trump has announced that he will be naming Mick Mulvaney as the new acting White House Chief of Staff. Mulvaney is a well-known Bitcoin proponent and has previously expressed his support of blockchain technology. 


Mulvaney: New Acting Chief of Staff

Mick Mulvaney, who’s currently the director of the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), has been named Acting White House Chief of Staff and will reportedly assume the position at the end of the year.  He will be succeeding the post from John F. Kelly.

“I am pleased to announce that Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management & Budget, will be named Acting White House Chief of Staff, replacing General John Kelly, who has served our Country with distinction. Mick has done an outstanding job while in the Administration,” President Trump tweeted.

According to CNN, Mulvaney will not be resigning as director of the OMB while he is acting White House Chief of Staff. Citing sources familiar with the situation, CNN reports that it is President Trump who wants Mulvaney to keep his current role as OMB director as well. The latter has been occupying the position since February 2017.

 Good News for Bitcoin

Mulvaney is a well-known Bitcoin and blockchain proponent, spearheading the Blockchain Caucus – a soundboard for policy creation handling blockchain technology as well as the growing impact of virtual currencies.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to revolutionize the financial services industry, the U.S. economy and the delivery of government services, and I am proud to be involved with this initiative,” Mulvaney previously stated.

Mulvaney is yet another appointment of President Trump who seems to be favoring the development of the cryptocurrency industry. In September Bitcoinist reported that the President has appointed Elad Roisman as an SEC commissioner.

Roisman has previously demanded regulations, which treat the industry “in a fair and transparent manner, provide clarity and certainty to the markets and investors.”

What do you think of Mick Mulvaney becoming White House Chief of Staff? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain