Tag Archives: cryptocurrency

FBI Outline Key Features of Scam ICOs Warns Investors to Be Vigilant

FBI Outline Key Features of Scam ICOs, Warns Investors to Be Vigilant

                

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

has outlined what it believes to be the consistent threads running through fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) schemes. The Bureau’s perspective was shared in an interview with Netherlands-based financial news site the Paypers on Feb. 19. According to the FBI, the key strategies of scam offerings include misrepresentations of their directors’ professional experience, an engineered false impression of how much traction the ICO has garnered in the industry, and unrealistic promises of prospective

returns on tokens:

“Like any investment product, rates of return can never be guaranteed and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

The FBI warned investors to conduct due diligence on any scheme and the individuals behind it, and to be on the lookout for entities that appear to be exclusively internet-based, where a physical address or contact is hard or impossible to come by. The Bureau also suggested investors should be aware of which jurisdiction the offering is registered in — if at all — and to which laws and regulations it therefore falls subject to.   

The public can avail itself of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck system to verify the identities and registration status of entities, the FBI advised. Given that even well-known cryptocurrencies and products may carry heightened risks of volatility due to the nascent stature of the industry, the FBI advised prospective investors to only invest what they can afford to lose.

In regard to legitimate business operators of platforms such as virtual currency exchanges or cryptocurrency ATMs, the FBI noted that both the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and multiple Federal District Courts have deemed such entities as subject to registration requirements. Failure to duly register is thus reportedly deemed to be in violation of federal money transmitting laws.

Looking ahead to the future, the FBI echoed the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s stance that a vast swathe of token offerings should be classified as securities and that, given the increasing proliferation of such assets — with many industry members anticipating a security token offering trend — investors should be wary of the heightened risks of fraud. As previously reported, the FBI accounted for the highest number of law enforcement information requests sent to Erik Voorhees’ Switzerland-based cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift last year.

In June 2018, the Bureau revealed it had 130 ongoing crypto-related cases, with dark web drug sales a particular concern. It nonetheless characterized the sector as accounting for merely “a small sliver” of the FBI’s activities overall. Last year, the SEC attempted to educate investors by creating a mock ICO website that lured visitors with a “too good to be true investment opportunity.” The site employed the red flags the agency claimed to have identified in the majority of fraudulent ICOs, and redirected those who attempted to purchase the ersatz tokens to an educationally-oriented page on the SEC’s site.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/ethereums-vitalik-buterin-discloses-non-eth-crypto-holdings-and-other-revenue-sources

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Regulator Releases Regulation for Crypto Futures Market

Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Regulator Releases Regulation for Crypto Futures Market

              

Indonesia’s commodity futures regulator has established

a legal framework for operating crypto and digital assets futures markets, according to an official press release published on Feb. 18. The Indonesian Commodity Futures Trading Supervisory Agency (Bappebti), which operates under Indonesia’s Ministry of Trade, has officially required multiple entities involved in crypto futures trading to seek regulatory approval and apply for registration before legally operating in Indonesia. The news follows the recent release of legislation that officially recognizes Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets as trading commodities. The Bappebti first greenlighted crypto trading as a commodity on Indonesian stock exchanges back in June 2018.

The new regulatory framework is based on a number of major rules for futures market operations, including regulation on the adoption of crypto as a tradable commodity on futures exchange markets, as well as technical provisions for placing crypto futures contracts on exchanges. The new rules require both futures exchanges and clearing houses that offer crypto futures trading to pay at least 1.5 trillion Indonesian rupiahs (IDR) or $106 million, as well as maintain a closing capital balance of at least 1.2 trillion IDR ($85 million), according to international law-focused media agency Lexology.

The rules also affect crypto futures traders and storage service providers, requiring both to maintain at least 1 trillion IDR ($71 million) and a minimum closing balance of 800 billion IDR ($57 million) before they can become officially approved to trade crypto futures. The regulation demands crypto futures exchanges to ensure compliance with security policies, requiring at least three staff members to be acquire Certified Information System Security Professionals (CISSP) certification. The entities should undergo risk management procedures, including compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combating terrorism financing policies.

The new regulation was established in order to provide legal certainty around the crypto futures trading field, as well as to protect investors, as Head of Bappepti Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana stated, stressing that commodities futures trading intends to provide the ecosystem with support in the development of digital innovative business models. While the latest document confirms crypto as being an officially accepted tradable commodity on the futures market, Bitcoin still remains banned from being used as payment in Indonesia, following a ban imposed in 2017 by Indonesia’s central bank. According to Lexology, the regulation stressed that the new regulatory scheme cannot be applied to initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Recently, Indonesia’s crypto trading volumes have surged significantly, with Bitcoin trading volumes reaching around $730,000 on peer-to-peer (P2P) exchange LocalBitcoins during the week ending Feb. 16, according to data from Coin.Dance. Recently, Cointelegraph reported that crypto traders have negatively assessed the Indonesian regulators’ decision to set a capital requirement of $70 million in order to launch futures trading. Oscar Darmawan, CEO of local crypto exchange Indodax, recently told Reuters that the sums required are even bigger than the cost of opening a rural bank.

Article Produced By
Helen Partz

Helen is passionate about learning languages, cultures and the Internet. She has years of experience working at international online advertising projects. Growing interested in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in late 2017, she joined Cointelegraph as a writer.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/indonesias-commodity-futures-regulator-releases-regulation-for-crypto-futures-market

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Medical RampD Alliance Expands Blockchain Project to Include Data Sharing

Medical R&D Alliance Expands Blockchain Project to Include Data Sharing

              Medical R&D Alliance Expands Blockchain Project to Include Data Sharing

The Pistoia Alliance has expanded its blockchain project

to include data sharing, data identity, and data integrity, according to a press release published on Feb 8. The Pistoia Alliance is a not-for-profit organization established in 2007, with representatives from well-known pharmaceutical industry companies which include Pfizer, Novartiz, and GSK. The Pistoia Alliance was formed to help integrate new technology to assist in the companies’ respective research and development (R&D) fields.

The newest project will focus on the use of blockchain to validate sources in identifying data, to ensure data integrity, and to improve sharing between the organizations. Prior to its foray into blockchain-based data management, Pistoia concentrated on educating the medical industry on the emerging technology. According to Pistoia, a recent survey found that access to skilled personnel and understanding of the technology are the primary barriers to blockchain’s adoption. That same survey reportedly stated that one-fifth of respondents do not think blockchain adds value beyond a standard database.

“Much of the industry is still at the ‘discussion’ stage of blockchain, we want to move beyond this and take action that actively supports members and leads to tangible outcomes that will benefit R&D, accelerate innovation and support the discovery of new treatments,” according to the president of the Pistoia Alliance, Steve Arlington. Distributed ledger technology (DLT) has been implemented across the healthcare industry to make medical data more shareable and more secure. In November 2018, Myongji Hospital, located in the city of Goyang, South Korea, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Korean IT company BICube.

Per the terms of the MoU, the  two parties would use DLT to create a healthcare information exchange system and “build a hybrid cloud [platform] that combines a public cloud and a private cloud.” That same month, the Austrian government offered financial support for a U.K. cancer research company, Lancor Scientific, that uses blockchain technology to detect the disease. Lancor Scientific has purportedly developed a device to detect multiple cancer types and records the screening results with smart contracts on a blockchain.

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https://cointelegraph.com/news/iota-foundation-partners-with-incubator-nova-to-fund-startups-using-blockchain

Thomas ClaimCo.in

IBM Launches Blockchain Platform on Cloud Service in Melbourne

IBM Launches Blockchain Platform on Cloud Service in Melbourne

                

IBM has released its blockchain main net

out of its data center located in Melbourne, Australia. This will purportedly allow their customers to run their applications on the company's cloud, according to an article published on news outlet ZDNet on Feb 11. The IBM platform was built on Hyperledger Fabric. Hyperledger is a project that aims to improve cross-industry blockchain technologies that is hosted by the Linux Foundation.

A Sydney-based IBM data center is reportedly set to open at the end of March, joining the other centers in Tokyo, London, Dallas, São Paulo, and Toronto. The head of blockchain for IBM in Australia and New Zealand, Rupert Colchester, told ZDNet that a second center would make the technology more widely available and provide a redundancy. Additionally, with the establishment of physical infrastructure, customer data will not have to cross borders, and would provide security for regulated applications in government and financial services. Colchester said, “Customers who are deploying blockchain applications have reached a maturity of projects that requires the data to be stored in Australia."

Colchester added that blockchain technology is widely applied and is “pretty much active” across all industries in Australia. He said, “I do very few education sessions nowadays, but there is a lot of discussion whereby clients are trying to understand how best they can apply it to the business problems they have." In September of last year, Australian real estate major Vicinity announced it will trial a blockchain solution for its energy network. Through a partnership with Australian energy tech company Power Ledger, the trial became a part of Vicinity’s $75 million solar energy program in Castle Plaza — a mall located in Adelaide, South Australia.

IBM has been actively expanding its use of blockchain technology. On Jan 31, IBM completed a blockchain-based trial in which it shipped 108,000 mandarin oranges from China to Singapore. The technology purportedly reduced paperwork handling and costs for the shipment, On Feb. 8, IBM announced that a project using blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) to combat drought in the United States state of California is underway. IBM Research and sensor tech provider SweetSense partnered with the University of Colorado Boulder and the non-profit Freshwater Trust to use blockchain and IoT to manage the use of groundwater.

Article Produced By
Miranda Karanfili

Miranda is a journalist based out of New York City. She is a dedicated writer, passionate about storyelling and making voices heard through her writing. She has joined Cointelegraph as a News Editor.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-hovers-near-3-630-as-top-cryptos-see-minor-losses

Thomas ClaimCo.in

China: New Guidance to Implement Blockchain in Agriculture Finance Sector

China: New Guidance to Implement Blockchain in Agriculture Finance Sector

              China: New Guidance to Implement Blockchain in Agriculture Finance Sector

The Chinese government has issued

the “Guiding Opinions on Rural Service Revitalization of Financial Services,” according to an official announcement on Feb. 11. The new framework is part of a plan to improve the efficiency of financial services for the country’s rural revitalization program.

The guidance will purportedly help promote the application of new technologies in the rural financial sector, such as blockchain, to “improve the identification, monitoring, early warning, and disposal levels of agricultural credit risks.” The Guiding Opinions were jointly issued by the People's Bank of China, the Banking Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Applying blockchain in agriculture finance will purportedly streamline the collection and sharing of of agricultural data. Blockchain-based customer screening is expected to improve the credit evaluation model of agricultural businesses, increasing the number of loans issued while decreasing risk to creditors. The announcement also predicts that new technologies will encourage financial institutions to “develop exclusive loans products and small payment settlement functions for rural e-commerce and to open up a rural e-commerce capital chain.”

China’s foray to apply blockchain in various industries also extends to copyright protection services in their media outlets. In December 2018, the China Financial Media Copyright Protection Alliance — which consists of more than 30 financial media outlets — announced that it will use blockchain technology to develop copyright cooperation in the industry. Overall, China is a world leader in applying blockchain technology to various industries. In 2017, China filed more patents for blockchain applications with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) than any other country. Well over half of the 406 patents filed with the WIPO that year were from China, with 225. China was followed by the United States, at 91, and Australia, with 13.

Article Produced By
Miranda Karanfili

Miranda is a journalist based out of New York City. She is a dedicated writer, passionate about storyelling and making voices heard through her writing. She has joined Cointelegraph as a News Editor.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/china-new-guidance-to-implement-blockchain-in-agriculture-finance-sector

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Major Crypto Brokerage Coinmama Reports 450000 Users Affected by Data Breach

Major Crypto Brokerage Coinmama Reports 450,000 Users Affected by Data Breach

             

Israel-based crypto brokerage Coinmama

— which allows users to purchase Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) using a credit card — has suffered a major data breach affecting 450,000 of its users. The incident was disclosed in an official company announcement on Feb. 15. The breach is reportedly part of a mammoth, multi-platform hack that affected 24 companies and a total of 747 million records — among them gaming, travel booking and streaming sites. Coinmama says a list of around “450,000 email addresses and hashed passwords” of users who registered on its platform before Aug. 5, 2017 have been posted on

a dark web registry:

“As of February 15, 2019, there has been no evidence of this data being used by perpetrators. Given the dated nature of the published data, we have no reason to suspect that any other Coinmama systems are compromised. Coinmama does not store credit card information.”

Aside from immediately notifying users, Coinmama says its response team is requiring all potentially affected users to reset their passwords upon login, as well as monitoring its array of systems for suspicious activity or unauthorized access. The platform says it is working to enhance its safeguards and track any external signals that the compromised data is being used.

Aside from new password requirements for potential victims of the hack, the site requests all users to ensure their passwords are robust and unique, and to avoid opening emails or attachments from unknown senders, or providing any personal data to any third party sites. Although the data breach impacted not only Coinmama, but a gamut of companies outside the crypto sector, the hack represents the second high-profile system compromise in the industry this year.

On Jan. 15, tens of thousands of Ethereum (ETH) wallets hosted by New Zealand crypto exchange Cryptopia were hacked, leading to losses estimated to be worth up to $23 million — with the breach continuing for a couple of weeks after the incident’s detection. A recent report from New York-based blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis estimated that two — likely still active — organized hacker groups have reportedly stolen $1 billion in cryptocurrency, accounting for the majority of funds lost in crypto-related scams.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/major-crypto-brokerage-coinmama-reports-450-000-users-affected-by-data-breach

 

Thomas ClaimCo.in

ErisX to CFTC: Regulated ETH Futures Would Result in More Robust Liquid Market

ErisX to CFTC: Regulated ETH Futures Would Result in More Robust, Liquid Market

               

Chicago-based crypto exchange ErisX

has filed a comment letter with the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in response to the agency’s request for feedback on Ethereum (ETH)’s mechanics and market. The letter, submitted on Feb. 15, sets forth the exchange’s belief that “the introduction of a regulated futures contract on Ether would have a positive impact on the growth and maturation of the market.” As reported, ErisX is a reboot of traditional futures market Eris Exchange, and is expected to begin support for spot trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum and Litecoin (LTC), as well as futures contracts, in the second half of 2019, pending regulatory’ approval.

The letter argues that “listing and trading Ether futures compliantly on CFTC regulated markets is consistent” with the CFTC’s efforts to foster “open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound derivative trading markets [and] to prohibit fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices in connection with derivatives and other products subject to the [Commodity Exchange Act] CEA.” The CFTC has long determined that Bitcoin is a commodity, given that it aspires to replace sovereign currencies — rather than a security, which would bring it under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s charge. After significant debate, Ether too was cleared of a securities classification in June 2018.

In its letter, ErisX outlines the conceptual distinction between Ethereum and its predecessor, noting that “Ethereum built upon some of the architectural principles of Bitcoin to extend [its] functionality of [a] distributed, (crypto-economically) secured, (blockchain-based) record-keeping system to include new computational capabilities for the execution of arbitrary code.”

In its diagnosis of the current state of the Ethereum market, the exchange affirms its view that a lack of regulatory clarity has prevented regulated enterprises from entering the sector, resulting in a preponderance of “unregulated or lightly regulated ‘exchanges’ [and] ‘brokers’ [emerging] to fill the gap, many of them off-shore.” The associated risks — including price volatility and liquidity fluctuations —

are therefore:

“Not unique to Ether, but [may be exacerbated by] the current fragmented global market structure of trading platforms and ‘exchanges’ with significantly varying degrees of regulatory oversight and operational transparency and integrity.”

ErisX thus contends that standardized, CFTC-regulated ETH products would draw broader participation from institutional actors and commercial users, resulting in “more robust, liquid, and resilient markets,” better risk management and more efficient, accurate price discovery. As reported, ErisX has this month appointed three veterans from Barclays, YouYube and the Chicago Board Options Exchange to fill executive roles, having announced the appointment of ConsenSys’ Joseph Lubin to its board of directors in January.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/erisx-to-cftc-regulated-eth-futures-would-result-in-more-robust-liquid-market

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Detected Cryptojacking Prompts Microsoft to Remove Eight Free Apps from Microsoft Store

Detected Cryptojacking Prompts Microsoft to Remove Eight Free Apps from Microsoft Store

            

United States-based software corporation Microsoft

has removed eight Windows 10 applications from its official app store after cybersecurity firm Symantec identified the presence of surreptitious Monero (XMR) coin mining code. The news was reported by Symantec on Feb. 15.

Stealth crypto mining — also know as cryptojacking – works by installing malware that uses a computer’s processing power to mine for cryptocurrencies without the owner’s consent or knowledge. According to Symantec, the firm first detected malicious XMR mining code within eight apps — issued by three developers — on Jan. 17. After Symantec alerted Microsoft, the corporation is reported to have removed all eight products — although an exact date for their delisting is not provided.

The applications — which were marketed as part of the top free app listings on the Microsoft Store — reportedly included “a computer and battery optimization tutorial, internet search, web browsers, and video viewing and download,” and were issued by developers “DigiDream, 1clean and Findoo.” Upon closer investigation, Symantec has proposed that all eight apps have in fact likely been developed by the same person or group, rather than by three distinct entities.  

All the detected samples reportedly run on Windows 10, including Windows 10 S Mode, and were variously published between April and December 2018. They reportedly work by triggering Google Tag Manager in their domain servers to fetch a coin-mining JavaScript library. Once the mining script is activated, the target’s computer CPU cycle is hijacked to mine XMR for the app developers.

Symantec representatives told technology news website ZDNet that this is the first time cryptojacking cases have been found on the Microsoft store. The apps’ stealth success reportedly stems from the fact they run independently from the browser in a standalone (WWAHost.exe process) window. Moreover, they have “no throttling which means [they can use] up 100% of user's CPU time.”

As Synmantec notes, while the suspect apps all provided privacy policies, they unanimously omitted any mention of cryptocurrency mining. The firm’s analysis identified the strain of mining malware enclosed in the apps as being the web browser-based Coinhive XMR mining code. Symantec says it has not been able to determine precise download or installation statistics, but observes that the apps received almost 1,900 ratings — whether or not these accurately reflect real users, or fraudulent bots, is difficult to ascertain.

Aside from Microsoft’s action to delist the apps, the mining JavaScript has also reportedly been removed from Google Tag Manager, following Symantec’s alert. As reported, recent research from cyber security research firm Kaspersky Lab has revealed that cryptojacking overtook ransomware as the biggest cybersecurity threat —  particularly in the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/detected-cryptojacking-prompts-microsoft-to-remove-eight-free-apps-from-microsoft-store

Thomas ClaimCo.in

Hyundai Commercial Partners With IBM to Accelerate Blockchain Development

Hyundai Commercial Partners With IBM to Accelerate Blockchain Development

            

Hyundai Commercial — a financial services subsidiary

of leading South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai — has announced a partnership with American tech giant IBM to modernize its business model using blockchain. The news was announced on Feb. 13 at IBM’s annual tech and business conference “IBM Think 2019” in San Francisco, California. Hyundai Commercial is reportedly “a corporate finance company that provides leasing and financial services for commercial vehicles and construction equipment.” The partnership with IBM will focus on using open source Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology to create a new supply chain financing ecosystem for the Hyundai Commercial network.

Network participants — which include automobile dealers, distributors and manufacturers —  will have access to a real-time, shared view of all transactions on the blockchain, allowing for this data to be securely managed and efficiently distributed. The technology will also offer efficiency gains by automating hitherto manual processes. The announcement also reveals that a separate Hyundai financial services subsidiary, Hyundai Card, will be partnering with IBM to implement its machine learning technology to create an artificial intelligence-based chatbot for customer services.

As previously reported, IBM is fast developing its blockchain-based offerings — across financial services, supply chain, government, retail, digital rights management, healthcare and insurance. Recent projects include the use of blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) to combat drought in the state of California, as well as a $700 million deal with one of Europe’s largest banks, Banco Santander, to accelerate the Spanish bank’s use of blockchain technology.

As reported, Chung Dae-sun — the nephew of the CEOs of Hyundai Group and Hyundai Motors — founded HDAC, a Korean blockchain-based IoT platform and issuer of the Hyundai-DAC token (DAC), alongside a fintech and blockchain subsidiary HyundaiPay. Earlier this week, HyundaiPay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote the growth of fintech startups in Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/hyundai-commercial-partners-with-ibm-to-accelerate-blockchain-development

 

Thomas ClaimCo.in

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