Category Archives: ETC

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Coinbase Suspends Ethereum Classic After Account Compromise

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced that it has decided to stop facilitating Ethereum Classic trading for now due to an account being compromised over the weekend.

On 1/5/2019, Coinbase detected a deep chain reorganization of the Ethereum Classic blockchain that included a double spend. In order to protect customer funds, we immediately paused movements of these funds on the ETC blockchain. Read more here: https://t.co/vCx89dz44m

— Coinbase (@coinbase) January 7, 2019

Reportedly, a user on the site was able to double spend via a 51 percent attack, in which attackers take control of more than half of the processing power that computes and secures the Ethereum Classic blockchain. A double spend is achieved by creating alternative transactions.

The double spend amounted to USD 46,000 according to Coinbase security engineer Mark Nesbitt. At the time, he hadn’t suspected a 51 percent attack, although had detected a double spend so didn’t inform the relevant company personnel.

The Coinbase Ethereum Classic compromise highlights the fact that attempted hacks remain a risk for exchanges, although they also remain a very rare occurrence. The pulling of Ethereum Classic will disappoint many users who would probably have preferred a company as large as Coinbase to have provided a quick solution keeping their ETC tokens online rather than withdraw a trading facility as important as Ethereum Classic.

However, Coinbase has suggested that the currency withdrawal is a suspension, indicating that ETC could well come back online. Clearly, there is work to do for the technicians at Coinbase, with its latest blog update reporting that they have detected “12 additional reorganizations that included double spends, totaling ETC 219,500 (~USD 1.1M)”.

Ethereum Classic developers have neither confirmed nor denied that the 51 percent attacks have happened, but have expressed knowledge of the situation and cautioned extra vigilance for exchanges and pool operators, recommending block confirmation times above 400.

As the situation develops we want to remind exchanges and pool operations to substantially increase block confirmation times (+400)

We will keep you updated as more news (with @SlowMist_Team) come to light; also with discussion regarding potential solutions to improve on PoW. https://t.co/vkImPmBwu5

— Ethereum Classic (@eth_classic) January 8, 2019

 

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Hardware Wallet Sales Booming as Nano S Tops 1.3 Million Units

French crypto hardware manufacturer Ledger has now sold over 1.3 million units of its Nano S wallets, according to a recent blog on their website.

The peak sales come at a time when the demand for such devices is on an all-time high. The changing trend is quite evident by the sales numbers of Ledger Nano S as well as its rival Trezor’s recently launched Model T which has interested buyers in a long waitlist. Also, the Nano S is now available over the counter as a dutyfree item at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport, such is its popularity, particularly amongst travellers.

Such wallets, promoted as being unhackable and therefore the safer way of storing coins and conducting transactions, gained some critics earlier this year when Bitfi, with a new wallet on the market, challenged anyone to hack the device.  15-year-old Saleem Rashid took on the task successfully, which resulted in BitFi withdrawing its guarantee.

CEO Eric Larchevêque claims that Ledger is planning updates to tighten the security of the hot-selling nano with “a chip designed specifically to resist highly skilled attackers and a custom OS designed specifically to protect crypto assets.”

Ledger has a clear run in the market with Trezor the only other major competitor in the sector to date. Trezor had reputed sales of 800,000 units some months ago, but this wasn’t confirmed by the company. There are others on the market, but as yet they have presented no challenge to the top two hard-wallet leaders.

Although advertised as a reliable storage option, these wallets have incurred problems in the past and Ledger has had its own issues, resulting in a temporary shut down of its Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) infrastructures in August. The resulting outcome was that Ledger announced that there had been no hack, but a glitch that occurred due to a “side effect when [it] pushed an update to invite users to use the Ledger Live instead of the Chrome app.” A refund of any funds lost was offered to users.

The market is booming despite the occasional unit glitch, due to investors’ needs for a portable, safe way of storing their crypto with an easy recovery option, should units be lost or damaged; attributes which most of these units on the market provide.

Ledger also announced recently that it will be expanding its business into cryptocurrency custodianship, and is planning another major investment round that has already sparked interest from Google, Siemens, and Samsung, which may bring their valuation up to USD 1 billion.

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