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Breach Leaves 450,000 Users of Cryptocurrency Exchange Coinmama Vulnerable

Breach Leaves 450,000 Users of Cryptocurrency Exchange Coinmama Vulnerable

A large scale hack affecting 30 companies and a breach of 841 million records inclusive of 450,000 records from cryptocurrency brokerage firm Coinmama were posted on a dark web registry, in a security report on its blog last Friday.

The hacker had reportedly published the hacked users’ data from the previous heist on the dark web’s marketplace and had eight of the recently hacked websites put up for sale at 2.6 bitcoins, or about USD 9,350. The perpetrator may be interested in selling the other data for Bitcoins as with other leaked data.

In the official statement released by the exchange, it said: “We believe the intrusion is limited to about 450,000 email addresses and hashed passwords of users who registered until 5 August 2017.” As at press time on Friday, the exchange said there had been no evidence of the data being used by the perpetrator.

Coinmama currently serves about 1.3 million users as a cryptocurrency brokerage firm that allows users to use their Credit or Master Card to purchase a range of 7 cryptocurrencies to include Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, and Qtum.

While reports from cybersecurity firms looking into the matter show basic speculations about the hack, the crypto exchange has said that it has taken measures to understand the scope of the hack and has reached out to users who were affected in the breach to update their account security, whilst protecting their funds and data.

Security breaches continue to be a major concern in the crypto industry as bad actors plaguing the industry constitute bad labels. Despite crypto processes involving complex cryptographic algorithms and supposedly airtight security measures being put in place by service providers, users are still tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the security of their data and possibly offline security measures.

Earlier this year, New Zealand cryptocurrency exchange had been hacked and had significant losses, though, a few days back it was given the green light to resume operation. Recently, a cryptocurrency exchange in Istanbul reportedly lost USD 2.4 million to hackers. Although about USD 256,000 had been recovered, still the blight of such occurrences still has its damning effects on the industry.

One of the major concerns of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with regards to cryptocurrency is custody infrastructure. This has been a core deterrent in approving Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) applications which if approved could steer the industry in the direction of institutional investors.

Cryptocurrency is yet to gain its footing in the mainstream market and while this data heist was done across other non-related ventures, however, for a cryptocurrency-related venture to be caught in the web, further slights the emerging economics of cryptocurrency.

 

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Ethereum Set for January Spike, to Start Year on Positive Note With Constantinople

Ethereum Set for January Spike to Start Year On Positive Note with Constantinople

Ethereum has been earmarked by many cryptocurrency experts as heading for a massive spike in value early in 2019 as its Constantinople hard fork approaches.

Ethereum which recently lost its spot as number 1 altcoin by market cap to Ripple has developers hoping that its hard fork scheduled for January will make the transition from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS) more effective and boost ETH’s market value moving into the new year.

In terms of development, Ethereum is lagging, while other competitors such as Ethereum Classic (ETC), Cardano (ADA), Lisk (LSK) and Quantum (QTUM) are progressing with far more intent. Despite “the sky falling” as some commentators have maintained, Joe Lubin, Ethereum co-founder, asserts that Ethereum protocol development is accelerating. He suggests that this will result in “the continued maturation of the token economy, which will see many exciting consumer utility tokens and tokenized security launched in the new year.”

The common view is that ETH is now well positioned for a price boost prior to the release of Constantinople, not only regaining its position as the leading altcoin platform. Clearly, though the Ethereum team is hoping for a more successful outcome than the last hard fork, Bitcoin Cash, leading to heavy market losses and a hash rate war.

Constantinople is scheduled for the middle of January 2019 and designed to increase the speed and efficiency of the Ethereum network, as well as making it more economically viable than the current status quo. Ethereum Classic (ETC) will still remain in play after the fork.

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Breaking: Coinbase One Step Closer to Listing Ripple

Breaking: Coinbase One Step Closer to Listing Ripple

It’s been a long wait with plenty of speculation but exchange giant Coinbase has finally bitten the bullet and announced on its blog today that it will add support for Ripple on its exchange after it gets final approval.

The news was revealed today along with an announcement that a package of some 30 crypto assets is likely to be added to its current discrete selection of cryptocurrencies, along with Cardano (ADA), NEO, and Tezos (XTZ).  The post is most likely a response to customers continued complaints that no support has existed for the second largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin.

One thing that Coinbase has clarified is that not all of the names on its new hit list of favorable currencies will necessarily be listed, but it’s a positive step further for patient Ripple investors who have had to seek out other exchanges in order to carry out transactions, clearly losing Ripple significant business over time.

The following are among the Coinbase list of possible listings:

Cardano (ADA), Aeternity (AE), Aragon (ANT), Bread Wallet (BRD), Civic (CVC), Dai (DAI), district0x (DNT), EnjinCoin (ENJ), EOS (EOS), Golem Network (GNT), IOST (IOST), Kin (KIN), Kyber Network (KNC), ChainLink (LINK), Loom Network (LOOM), Loopring (LRC), Decentraland (MANA), Mainframe (MFT), Maker (MKR), NEO (NEO), OmiseGo (OMG), Po.et (POE), QuarkChain (QKC), Augur (REP), Request Network (REQ), Status (SNT), Storj (STORJ), Stellar (XLM), XRP (XRP), Tezos (XTZ), and Zilliqa (ZIL).

Coinbase’s post stated today:

“Adding new assets requires significant exploratory work from both a technical and compliance standpoint, and we cannot guarantee that all the assets we are evaluating will ultimately be listed for trading. Furthermore, our listing process may result in some of these assets being listed solely for customers to buy and sell, without the ability to send or receive using a local wallet.”

In January when its last concrete announcement regarding Ripple was made  that the then third top listed cryptocurrency wouldn’t be listed on its exchange, Ripple’s token, XRP, proceeded to lose roughly a third of its value.

It remains to see what impact a final stamp of approval will have on Ripple’s current fortunes.

 

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Rise of the Blockchain Research Lab: The Latest Trend in Crypto

Blockchain labs are becoming increasingly more prevalent in the industry for research as a backbone to a sound strategy of strong blockchain development.

In the current climate, companies are searching for solid foundations on which to build projects. Research and development projects created in the labs are beginning to offer startups this security. Labs can highlight the opportunities available and long-term potential of a given project prior to companies diving into the deep end untested.

The lab trend is growing. Cardano, for example, is one platform which has been established with a research-based approach. Blockchain development firm IOHK, led by Charles Hoskinson, launched Cardano last year using its peer-reviewed academic research driven base to consider the needs of both users and regulators. Funding will be utilized to finance research staff, PhD studentships and a virtualized blockchain environment moving into the future.

As reported last month by Bitcoin News, even the Russian military has announced its own blockchain lab, this time targeting cybercrime in the country’s military infrastructure information systems. The ministry has initiated a program to enhance cybersecurity by setting up a special unit using a unique research laboratory at the Anapa-based ERA technopark, in order to track the origins of cyber assaults. The unit will now use blockchain technology to improve the systems database security.

In June, the National Mathematics and Interdisciplinary Science Centre at the Chinese Academy of Sciences created the Big Data and Blockchain Lab, in a partnership with Beijing Tai Yun Technology Company. This new laboratory aims to explore blockchain technology with mathematics in order to make critical improvements.

Again in China, the Digital Currency Research Lab of the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has announced that it is to expand its blockchain research efforts, by launching a new fintech center in Nanjing, in Jiangsu Province, with other cities yet to be announced, also located outside of the capital Beijing.

The goal of these labs is to develop programs to trial in banks and academic institutions such as PBoC’s Jiangsu branch, the Bank of Jiangsu and the University of Nanjing.

 

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Possible Addition of 6 Cryptos, New Coinbase Blog Post Reveals

Coinbase recently published a new blog post stating the possible addition of several new cryptocurrencies to their platform.

The assets in consideration are Cardano (ADA), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRX).  The announcement was made at the same time within Coinbase and publicly to remain transparent, and perhaps to avoid a similar situation when Bitcoin Cash was added.

These assets were considered based on the criteria Coinbase has laid out in their Digital Asset Framework. The blog post goes into further details, discussing specific reasons why each asset stood out to the Coinbase team.

The platform says adding any or all of the above tokens will require “additional exploratory work” and places no promises on listing any of them for trading. This is unlike the Ethereum Classic support that is currently being worked on, due to its technical similarity to Ethereum.

Other caveats are discussed in the blog post as well, such as the possibility of some of the new assets only being available for purchase and sell, with no send/receive functionality enabled. This would give some coins purely investing characteristics, like what Circle is doing with their Circle Invest app.

The last two restrictions the post discusses is the way users maybe able to interact with certain assets: for example, Coinbase may only support deposits and withdrawals from transparent Zcash addresses. This is a likely scenario, in order to be in compliance with any financial regulations that may apply.

Coinbase may also stagnate the launch of these assets in certain regions, most likely testing them in other markets before they are available to the US customers.

No promises have been made on timeline for adding support to these tokens, as they have only discussed the possibility of them being on the platform. But if selected, Coinbase will be making their first expansion into smaller capitalization cryptocurrencies.

With many of Coinbase users being intuitional traders as well, this offers them an exposure to the segment of the crypto-market that was previously untapped.

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Ethereum Co-Founder Launches Blockchain Coffee Project in Ethiopia

Ethereum co-founder and Cardano chief Charles Hoskinson has launched a new project working with Ethiopia’s ministry of science and technology, according to CCN.

The project, according to the memorandum of understanding, is to study how blockchain technology can be applied to solving the problems attached to the coffee industry, such as land registry and supply chain fraud.

Coffee is important to the economy of Ethiopia; around 60% of foreign income comes from coffee, with an estimated 15 million of the population relying on some aspect of coffee production for their livelihood. In 2006, coffee exports brought in USD 350 million, equivalent to 34% of that year’s total exports. Ethiopia is currently responsible for about 3% of global production.

John O’Connor, director of African Operations, sees education as a major focus for the company as it moves into such projects commenting, “The arrangement tasks Cardano with exploring ways that the African nation can apply the startup’s blockchain technology to its agri-tech sector.”

Hoskinson plans not only to share his ideas but also teach developers how to use Cardano’s blockchain technology on their own. Recently at a speech to the London School of Economics, he spoke of more broader DLT development across Africa. Current problems such as landowners being cleared from their land due to supposed poor record keeping could be addressed by the new technology. Countries such as Kenya, Ghana, and Rwanda are all currently involved in programmes of their own.

Bitcoin Africa.io reports that companies Moyee and Bext360 have partnered with a washing station in the Jimma region of Oromia where farmers gather to sell their crop. Now as the coffee cherries go through the supply chain, farmers are assigned crypto tokens that show the complete value added, from bean to barista. The blockchain-based platform, FairChain, will record everything from payments to roasting to freighting to pricing. Moyee will pay farmers a 20% premium which is meant to be a good start towards giving them a better wage.

According to the Agricultural Growth Program, Ethiopia has announced the launch of a national traceability system known as eATTS, enabled by IBM. The system will start by piloting coffee in the current harvest season and will be expected to increase Ethiopian coffee sales worldwide

 

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