Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Online Monero Wallet Passes Security Audit, Adds New Features

The XMRWallet, founded and developed by Nathalie Roy, has passed a security audit conducted by the New Alchemy Blockchain security division. New Alchemy stated that all the of critical issues had been fixed in the report published on July 18. Some new features of the app were introduced after the audit, although the founder of XMRWallet promised to consult with the auditors on any changes “to ensure a high level of security that everyone deserves.”

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Article

Being on the list of the most popular cryptocurrencies, Monero aims to occupy the niche space of being an anonymous and secure coin. Major cryptos use open blockchains, which means transparency but also can be a way to trace a transaction to a real-world person. Monero allows for the obfuscation of sending and receiving addresses — as well as the amount of transactions — thanks to the specific CryptoNight algorithm.

Just like Monero, the XMRWallet is rooted in the community and was first introduced by Monero followers on the altcoin’s subreddit. It is a wallet for Monero transactions that strives to keep the anonymity of its users and facilitate the usage of the coin.

XMRWallet is a community-driven product, so it is funded by the users’ donations and does not charge any fees for the payments — apart from mining. It also relies on enthusiasts to further its development by having an open-source code.

A user can start using the wallet without registration. Instead, he/she may enter a once-generated Seed code — which is a unique combination of 25 words — to sign in. The optional registration process is instant and does not require passing any KYC procedures. The app does not keep any user data, and the Seed code is kept with the user.

The wallet is compatible with MyMonero seeds for wallet imports, as well as original Monero seeds for wallet imports. There is a visible height synchronization with a progress bar, and an automatically updated XMR/USD balance view. In addition, the XMRWallet already supports 10 languages, including English, German, French, Chinese, Spanish, Japanese and Russian.

To keep up with their claimed level of security, the startup’s founder and Monero enthusiast, Nathalie Roy, performed the app’s audit with New Alchemy — a blockchain strategy and technology group specializing in tokenized capital solutions, having an entire market cap of client portfolios exceeding $1.2 billion.

New Alchemy’s blockchain security division carried out XMRWallet’s review in early June. It focused on identifying the susceptibility to security flaws in the application’s behavior that may impact trustworthiness. Specialists inspected the app’s user interface and web traffic, along with part of the source code.

The results, published on July 18, show that XMRWallet’s “private server-side API functionality obfuscated client code and cryptography was out of scope.” However, a set of critical and minor exposures were identified. This included a cross-site scripting vulnerability stemming from the price feed, outdated component dependencies on both the client and the server, missing security-relevant headers as received from the server, inadvisable display of private fields and input auto-completion, and potentially risky usage of JavaScript and HTML/DOM functionality.

However, all of the critical issues were addressed by the XMRWallet’s team, which was confirmed by New Alchemy during a retest.

New Alchemy has reported that the XMRWallet “provides an excellent and intuitive user interface.” The group also stated that, “A key strength of the application is minimal endpoints, minimal external data dependencies and minimal unrelated web traffic.”

Upon the completion of the security audit, the team released new features: the option to set a USD price for sending Monero, a cleaned-up confirmation window when sending and a customized page for printing the Seed code.

“I will continue to consult with the New Alchemy over any changes made to the site to ensure a high level of security that everyone deserves,” Nathalie Roy concluded.


Armstrong, Vitalik and Wu Lead a Crypto Sweep of Fortune’s 40 Under 40

Fortune’s ranking of top individuals and entities globally is always awaited eagerly as the world seeks to know who the top influencers and innovators in the world are. And now for the first time ever, the publication created a list of the top 40 under 40 individuals who are leading the way by making innovations that are bringing out the best in finance and technology. Coinbase founder and CEO Brian Armstrong topped the list, with fellow crypto dons Vitalik Buterin and Jihan Wu taking second and third place respectively. The Winklevoss twins also made the top ten, as did the CEOs of crypto-affiliated Telegram and Robinhood.

It’s a Crypto Sweep

With Coinbase being the largest exchange in the US and one of the most influential in the world, it was no surprise that its founder and CEO topped the list. Armstrong has continued to make strategic moves which will catapult Coinbase to the very top, such as the acquisition of some startups that could see it offering securities if it receives the necessary approvals. His leadership has been instrumental in the success of the exchange, and he hasn’t stopped there. He founded to help the needy in marginalized areas using cryptos. Armstrong made it into the main top 40 under 40 list, placing twentieth.

Taking the second spot was beloved Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin. The 24-year-old Canadian-Russian developer has been among the biggest contributors to the crypto industry, as the main man behind the now $47 billion Ethereum. His contributions haven’t been limited to Ethereum alone, as he has been quite vocal about all matters relating to the crypto industry. He has also been instrumental in the success of other crypto projects such as OmiseGo.

The crypto industry’s dominance continued, with the CEO and founder of Bitmain, Jihan Wu, taking the third spot on the list. Described by Fortune as “the undisputed king of cryptocurrency mining hardware and crypto mining pools”, Wu has created a multibillion-dollar company in just a few years. Bitmain is the largest manufacturer of ASIC mining chips, a business segment that grew tremendously in 2017. Wu plans to venture into the manufacture of AI chips in the near future.

Patrick and John Collison, the Irish brothers who founded Stripe, were also among those honored on the list. Others in the top ten included Vlad Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, the cofounders of trading app Robinhood; Rana Yared, the managing director at Goldman Sachs; Song Chi-hyung, the mind behind South Korea’s largest crypto exchange, UpBit; and Bill Ready, the CEO of PayPal. The Winklevoss twins, who are renowned as some of the earliest investors in Bitcoin and who now run the Gemini crypto exchange, also made the crypto-dominated top ten.

Amber Baldet was also recognized for her exploits as the founder and CEO of Clovyr, a blockchain startup that simplifies the creation, deployment and management of decentralized applications. Baldet left her position as the blockchain lead at JP Morgan where she was instrumental in the development of the bank’s Quorum blockchain platform.’s CTO Dan Larimer and the CEO of the controversial Tezos, Kathleen Breitman, were also recognized, as were the founders of Filecoin and BitMEX, Juan Benet and Arthur Hayes, respectively.

The complete domination of crypto personalities on the list is yet another testament to the ever-rising influence of cryptos in the mainstream financial industry and a welcome win for the industry.


Ethereum Classic Price: Strong Momentum in USD and BTC Value

NullTX Ethereum Classic Price Rise

With all cryptocurrencies still in the green as of right now, an interesting situation is created. Although there is no sign of weakness, Bitcoin is struggling a bit for momentum. The Ethereum Classic price, on the other hand, is still going relatively strong as of right now.

Ethereum Classic Price Keeps Going

It is not uncommon for altcoins to bounce back a bit once the Bitcoin bull run takes a breather. Over the past few days, Bitcoin has sucked up all of the positive momentum across the various cryptocurrency markets. It caused the value of currencies such as Ethereum Classic to dip a bit. Based on the current Ethereum Classic price, it seems that dip has finally come to an end.

Over the past 24 hours, the Ethereum Classic price has seen a strong bounce in the form of a 4.37% gain. This has pushed the ETC value back to $17.04 for the first time in a few days. It is evident the altcoins need a strong bounce right now, although anything is possible when it comes to gains and losses. The current situation may turn around a lot faster than people anticipate at first.

Even so, the Ethereum Classic price is firmly on the rise. This trend is facilitated due to a solid increase in the ETC/BTC ratio over the past 24 hours. Thanks to a 4.18% shift in favor of the altcoin, the Ethereum Classic price momentum looks rather strong at this point. Maintaining a value of $17 and more may prove to be very challenging, although the weekend is almost upon us.

As one would come to expect, the Ethereum Classic trading volume is also on the rise. Although $178.89m is not necessarily a high point for ETC trading by any means, it is also more than sufficient to keep the cryptocurrency momentum going for some time to come. The overall cryptocurrency volume looks a bit weaker compared to previous days, which may impact the Ethereum Classic price in the coming hours.

OKEx is clearly in charge of the Ethereum Classic trading volume as of right now. The exchange has a USDT, BTC, and ETH pair in the top five, combining for a total of 43% of all ETC trades. These pairs are separated by BCEX’s BTC pair and Huobi’s USDT market. No fiat currency support in the top five is a bit worrisome, although it is not impacting the ETC value in a negative manner just yet.

As is always the case, altcoins will heavily depend on Bitcoin’s price to determine future momentum. Once the Bitcoin price begins to struggle, altcoins will follow suit fairly quickly. So far, things still look good, and the Ethereum Classic price should remain above $16.75 for most of the day. That situation will always be subject to change in the cryptocurrency world.


ABCC Token (AT): Its Uniqueness, Value and Approach

Most crypto experts and watchers keeping track of the ICO phenomenon agree that the trend in the last few months has been for tokens to experience sharp drop in prices: increase in short-term but drop in long term. This has been one of the most significant challenges in the cryptoverse and has been brought to light by the Singapore-based trading platform, ABCC.

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Article

In a world driven by so much hype and the fear of missing out, crypto enthusiasts and even experts are increasingly finding it difficult to identify genuinely viable projects. While I do agree that there are certainly many things to consider deciding whether the tokens of a project would increase in value over time, the most immediate evaluation criteria should be its uniqueness – what makes it stand out of the crowd. Other important features to consider are the Business Plan behind the token, the managerial antecedents and the executive profiles of its Team leaders.

ABCC Exchange’s new Token, AT seems to have all these features and even more checked! ABCC has an entirely different and unique approach that has never been seen on the Blockchain platform. While crypto experts see this concept as one of the most promising opportunities since the creation of Bitcoin, it also sets itself apart from other tokens and virtual currencies in so many ways. Unlike other Cryptocurrencies, ABCC Token (AT) will not inflate in the long term due to its half-life cycle. While other Tokens can only be used in voting with little further rewards, AT can be used in voting for coin listing, rewards, airdrops, private sale, extra mining power and much more. Also, AT will assist blockchain projects in building consensus among their investors and users, obtaining trading services and attracting the desired liquidity of their coins.

AT is the medium through which different parties can share value in a more open and convenient manner and plays a critical role in building consensus and creating and sharing value in the community.

In the wake of many failed blockchain projects, investors and speculators are wary investing in new coins, fearing of entering a scam or a project that won’t deliver on its promises. To address these rightful concerns, AT has been designed to reward holders, not those who want to make a quick cash grab by entering pump-and-dump schemes. AT holders benefit from airdrops, rewards, listing voting, extra mining power and private sales. Moreover, 80 percent of daily transactions fees of the network go to AT holders, which is an incentive toward more active participation in the community.

ABCC is set to deliver a groundbreaking agenda, developed on an advanced platform, policy, and mechanism which guarantees that the ABCC Token (AT) will be the most stable cryptocurrency on the market. By adapting the Platform Token 3.0 model AT is currently the only platform token whose rewards can be predicted and whose value can be estimated based on a P/E ratio – amazing isn’t it?

As the trading volume of ABCC Token skyrocketed immediately after the issuance on July 9th, the company promises a steady growth and that’s what users have been witnessing. This reflects the transparency of the company and has significantly increased the confidence of users in its sustainable model and mechanism.

An analysis of market cap ranks of tokens signifies that ABCC Token (AT) may exhibit the biggest increase in market cap ranking. It moved up Global No. 5.

Let’s take a look at the Team leaders, investor, and advisors.

ABCC was founded by Calvin Cheng who is a media magnate and former member of Singaporean parliament. He has an experienced team of four advisors, this includes Dr. Michael Frendo, former minister of foreign affairs of Malta. Zhang Lei, product manager and serial Entrepreneur (he was also the founder and CEO of Tapas Mobile before it merged with Baidu Mobile Security BG), Weixing Chen, blockchain investor who has invested in several blockchain projects and Forrest Chen, co-founded of Umeng which was acquired by Alibaba.

With a team with such experience and expertise, ABCC is uniquely positioned to achieve its short and long-term goals. It has not only succeeded in facilitating investments by helping individuals identify valuable blockchain assets, but it has also offered users a secure online platform on which to trade seamlessly.

The exchange also has three institutional investors credited to its name viz. Funcity Capital, Patrik Dai, who is behind Dream Seeker Capital (QTUM), and BlockOrigin Capital of Shi Yi (OCN).

ABCC Token will be utilizing blockchain technology with the ultimate goal of creating a system that provides financial incentive to virtually any and everyone. With all the above indications the ABCC Token has proven to set itself out of other trading systems and tokens. It is truly unique and has proven to be promising just within the past few days with its increase in trade volume. While there are a lot of scams out there, you can trust the ABCC as it promises to be a valuable token in the long run.


IOTA Price: Successful Surge Past $1 Paves the Way for a Good Weekend

NulLTX IOTA Price Decline

Despite some initial bearish pressure, all cryptocurrency markets are still in a very good place. This situation cannot be sustained indefinitely, but it is a positive sign altogether. Most currencies enjoy a temporary gain, with the IOTA price going up by several percents. As such, its value is pushed back above $1.

IOTA Price Makes a Comeback

After a few rough days, it appears the IOTA price is returning to its previous price levels once again. With the value surpassing $1, things are looking relatively good for this popular altcoin. This is a direct result of the ongoing positive Bitcoin price trend, which is finally allowing altcoins to gain some lost ground as well.

For the IOTA price, the past 24 hours have been relatively interesting. A strong 4.14% increase in value over a span of 24 hours is pretty solid, especially when considering how all other altcoins went up by 2% or less. It is unclear if this trend will remain in place for IOTA in the coming hours and days, although anything is possible in the cryptocurrency industry.

This IOTA price increase is also facilitated by a healthy increase in the MIOTA/BTC ratio. A big 3.72% increase shows altcoins are clawing their way back up the ranks despite Bitcoin enjoying most of the positive momentum right now. Once altcoins can regain ground compared to Bitcoin, a lot of interesting things will happen in the near future.

Although the overall cryptocurrency trading volume is slowly on the decline again, the IOTA volume isn’t looking half bad. Although just $35.718m worth of MIOTA trades is not all that spectacular, it is evident things are heading in the right direction for the altcoin. If this trend continues, it is possible the IOTA price will rise to $1.05 later today. Maintaining that price point will always be the bigger challenge, for rather obvious reasons.

As one would come to expect, the OKEx platform is leading the charge in terms of trading volume. Its USDT pair is slightly ahead of Bitfinex’s USD pair and Binance’s USDT market. OKEx also has a BTC pair in the top five, as does Binance. One fiat currency pair is not necessarily sufficient to keep the IOTA price in the green, although the overall market momentum may help out in this regard.

As is always the case when positive cryptocurrency momentum is forming, one has to wonder how long it will last. In the case of the IOTA price, its value should remain above $1 for the remainder of the week. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee long-term success, though, but it would be a positive start for the altcoin regardless.


Top 3 Reasons for Bitcoin Bulls to Be Cheerful

Okay, so Bitcoin Bulls does sound a lot like a basketball team. But hey, investing in Bitcoin has a lot in common with an adrenaline-packed b-ball game. Highs and lows, wins and losses, regrouping in the locker room after a thrashing from regulators and cybercriminals…

2018 has been a tough year for Bitcoin and the crypto community at large. But this month has brought about a ray of sunlight for Bitcoin believers, with some seriously positive developments that could help Bitcoin remain in greener pastures from here on out.

So if you’ve been down in the dumps over the red horizon, buck up. Here are the top three reasons Bitcoin bulls have to be cheerful.

3. Facebook and Google Changed Their Minds

In a 180 from its previous stance on cryptocurrency, social media giant Facebook whitelisted Coinbase from its advertising ban at the end of June. The ban on ICOs and all cryptocurrency-related companies had previously prevented the popular exchange from promoting itself there.

The significance of this lift is not to be underestimated. Not only is the social media company appearing to place its faith back in Bitcoin and the cryptocurrencies that Coinbase lists, but it’s also allowing crypto to enter the mainstream again.

For many people, despite claims of fake news and data leaks, sites like Facebook are their main (or only) source of news. Banning all material related to cryptocurrency was akin to removing it from their radars completely.

Now that Facebook and its 2 billion users will see Coinbase ads again, mass interest will surely rise. And that can only be a good thing for a Bitcoin price that’s finally going up and holding steady over $7,000.

For more good news, it would seem that Google is also going soft on crypto, adding a few of the major coins to its exchange rate converter. Users searching for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin will immediately get the Google conversion tool.

Google Currency Exchange
Google Currency Exchange

2. Regulators Around the World Are Taking Bitcoin Seriously

Malta broke the mold earlier this month with its announcement of three new laws on cryptocurrency, exchanges, ICOs and DLT. Germany began allowing ETOs and letting off-chain companies join in the peer-to-peer fundraising mechanism, and even India is coming around.

And now it seems that the SEC is finally starting to change its stance on crypto in the US. The latest news that the commission is considering Cboe’s application to launch a Bitcoin ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) seems to have given Bitcoin’s price a boost.

This is so significant because it means that for the first time, institutional money could purchase BTC for the general public. Until now, all applications for Bitcoin ETFs have been rejected.

This recognition from regulators worldwide can only help to legitimize cryptocurrency, ICOs, and blockchain technology. And for anyone serious about Bitcoin and its future, that can only be a good thing.

1. Bitcoin’s Price Is Climbing

We’re a long way from December 2017; that’s to be sure. But Bitcoin is leading the growth in the cryptocurrency markets for the first time in a while. In fact, Bitcoin’s value has steadily grown by around 4 percent every day and was hovering around $7,700 at the time of writing.

Bitcoin Coinmarketcap

Bitcoin HODLers of the world unite! The markets are green; the world is coming around. Could this be the start of the next bull run everyone’s been waiting for?

Well, let’s not rain on the parade for now; we’re long used to fluctuations, corrections, and downward plummets. So let’s just enjoy starting another week in the green.


What Makes Stellar Unique?

Despite the industry’s multi-hundred billion dollar market cap, an astonishingly high percentage of all cryptocurrency projects do very little to differentiate themselves and add little to no value to existing projects. The exceptions, the projects that do bring something new to the table, often receive significant attention and tremendous price appreciation. One example of this is the Stellar network.

Over the past two weeks, Stellar has seen its price grow by over 35% as it eclipsed a US$5 billion market cap and surpassed Litecoin to become the sixth largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Crypto fundamentalists hail Stellar as being “like Ripple, but without the evil”. A more technical summarization is that Stellar is a network focused on servicing the unbanked – empowering those that don’t have proper access to banking with a financial ecosystem that enables “mobile money” and near-free micropayments.

While the core ideals are certainly admirable, the “revolutionary financial ecosystem” trope is perhaps the most common among all cryptocurrency projects. When treading through hundreds of low market cap garbage, more projects will include similar key phrases and goals to Stellar than any other.

So why, then, is Stellar the chosen one, that which has risen above all others? Why has IBM taken such an interest and begun to build its own initiatives on top of the platform? To answer this, one must look at the core of the network itself, as the qualities that set Stellar apart lie in its intrinsic mechanisms.

Stellar Is Not a Blockchain

At least in the traditional sense, the Stellar network is not akin to either the Bitcoin or Ethereum blockchains. Its exact relationship to traditional blockchain networks is not explicitly defined, but most people consider the platform to be an evolution beyond blockchain. Stellar, like other blockchain networks, utilizes Decentralized Ledger Technology (DLT) which consists of peer-to-peer participation and individual nodes. However, the implementation of the network and the organization of its participants are different from traditional protocols, as it is designed to address issues of accessibility and security associated with most of today’s blockchains.

The Stellar network employs the Stellar Consensus Protocol (SCP), which ditches proof of work (PoW) and proof of stake (PoS) mechanisms in favor of a system of propagation and consensus known as a federated Byzantine agreement system (FBAS). While this terminology sounds quite complex, the rundown is quite straightforward. Unlike PoW, which requires computing power to participate, and PoS, which requires assets, the SCP involves participation in groups called quorums.

In traditional terms, a federacy refers to a system that is one part central and one part decentralized – a cooperation between individual actors and a single authority. With Stellar, individual participants act as members of quorums alongside global nodes. The quorums reach consensus on sets of transactions, known as quorum slices, which are then confirmed and cross-checked across the global nodes. There could be any number of these global nodes, which represent major financial institutions and other trusted sources, while quorum participants remain open and accessible to all.

This consensus approach provides several key advantages over traditional blockchain networks. Beyond decentralized control, which public blockchains also maintain, Stellar encompasses the following qualities. Firstly, the network maintains low latency, as transactions are sent and processed in seconds at near-zero cost. There is flexible trust, as users have freedom to trust certain parties and ignore potentially malicious ones. Lastly, there is asymptotic security, which proactively prevents malicious actors from disrupting the network, even if they utilize vast computing power (far more than even Bitcoin can defend itself against).

Recent Developments

As such, numerous projects have been built atop the Stellar network. As mentioned previously, IBM has been working significantly with Stellar, and recently announced a Stellar-based stablecoin. Another exciting initiative running on Stellar is the Tides Network.

Tides is a decentralized network for peer-to-peer health insurance. The TIDE token, which runs on Stellar, will be used by participants to organize themselves in autonomous insurance pools, where they will be able to make payments, file claims, and vote on pool matters while receiving a healthcare experience completely free of middlemen. A significant portion of healthcare payments go toward things like advertising, legal affairs, and lobbying, all of which take away from the service received. 20% of insurance payments alone are designated towards “administrative fees”. With Tides, that number is reduced to 1-2%. Tides ensures that users will receive exactly the care they require and see that every dollar spent goes toward their medical needs. Not only is this an initiative that is a natural solution to an industry that plagues consumers with negative externalities, but the project also synergizes well with the core ideals of Stellar.


Cryptocurrency Acceptance Gains a Bit of Ground Thanks to Samsung

Samsung is breaking into the cryptocurrency payments business, and that’s a good thing if you’re one of those people who would eventually like to see the full acceptance of crypto as a payment method throughout the world.

Samsung is using CopPay to make these transactions happen in a few limited markets. However, this is an important step towards the eventuality of cryptocurrency becoming a currency accepted everywhere around the world, and it could trigger more cooperation from the retail industry in accepting cryptocurrency payments.

CopPay has two modes for handling cryptocurrency payments. It has an exchange mode and a cryptocurrency mode, with the latter working something like this:

  1. A customer with a cryptocurrency wallet chooses to pay using the assets in that wallet at checkout
  2. An order using a QR code generates in the CopPay gate and is paid by the customer making the purchase
  3. The crypto payment is instantly transferred to a CopPay “cold wallet” whose private key is controlled by the seller (it’s assigned during the CopPay signup process)

CopPay’s exchange mode works as follows:

  1. A customer with a cryptocurrency wallet chooses to pay using the assets in that wallet at checkout
  2. An order using a QR code is generated in the CopPay gate and is paid for by the customer making the purchase
  3. CopPay instantly exchanges the cryptocurrency for fiat currency, thus eliminating volatility risks
  4. A customer receives 100% of the amount needed to pay for the order in his or her bank account

These services are currently only available in six cities in Lithuania, Portugal, Latvia, and Estonia, but it is a start that could quickly expand once the viability and reliability of this transaction process is assessed by those who are using it.

So, why is this so important? Well, there are currently less than 100 companies worldwide that will accept cryptocurrency as a payment method, and most of them have an internet business where crypto payments are a little easier to handle compared with someone on the ground at a register. CopPay allows customers to use cryptocurrency to pay instantly for their purchases using one of the two modes offered by the company.

Right now, if you want to convert your cryptocurrency into cash, the fastest way is to use a wallet that will connect to your bank account and transfer your assets from an exchange to your bank, which takes about 3 to 5 days. Also, the initial interest in cryptocurrency payments among US merchants has died down pretty drastically, and so far there hasn’t been a significant push to integrate on-the-ground crypto payment options as part of the financial landscape.

But now, with this new technology and the support it has received from one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, cryptocurrency has been given new leverage in its battle for acceptance, and soon it could be as common to pay for goods and services with cryptocurrency as it is to use an ATM card today.


Nanjing City in China Launches $1.5B Fund to Support Blockchain Projects

After taking a hard stance on cryptocurrencies and ICOs, China is slowly warming up to them and allowing blockchain and crypto innovation to flourish in the country. The latest effort is a $1.5 billion fund launched by the city of Nanjing which will support crypto and blockchain initiatives in the country. The fund is in partnership with a Beijing-based blockchain alliance and will focus on efforts to utilize blockchain tech in healthcare, cross-border transfers, environmental conservation, and energy. The city will also facilitate the setting up of new companies as well as the relocation of existing ones to the city as it aims to become one of the leading blockchain hubs in the country.

The Turnaround

Nanjing City, which is the capital of the coastal province of Jiangsu, partnered with the Zhongguancun Blockchain Industry Alliance (ZBIA) to launch the fund. ZBIA is an industry alliance formed by government research institutes and blockchain companies with its headquarters in Beijing. The fund was announced during the inaugural Industrial Public Chain Summit.

As reported by ZDNet, one of the first beneficiaries of the fund will be the UDAP Foundation, a blockchain startup that develops middleware for digital assets management and trading. By providing its users with an easy-to-use interface, UDAP lets even non-technical users develop decentralized applications easily and deploy them on the blockchain of their choice.

In an effort to become a blockchain hub, Nanjing also plans to help blockchain startups set up their operations in the city. This would follow in the footsteps of Zug in Switzerland, otherwise known as Crypto Valley, which has become synonymous with crypto and blockchain startups.

The launch of the fund was attended by several leaders including Luo Qun, the deputy secretary of the Communist Party of China in Nanjing. The ruling Communist Party has progressively softened its stance on cryptos and blockchain technology, with the president recently stating that he believes that emerging technology including blockchain will accelerate the development of breakthrough applications.

Speaking during the launch, an executive from Tsinghua University praised the move, pointing out that for the digital assets industry to move forward, autonomy, consensus and global cooperation must be improved. His sentiments were echoed by the chairman of the South Korean Global Finance Society, Oh Kap-soo, who said that the two countries needed to work together to develop blockchain technology, which he believes will transform finance, education and science.

China’s relationship with the virtual currencies and blockchain world has seen its fair share of ups and downs. Having been one of the earliest Bitcoin adopters when it was still new, it later changed its stance and outlawed all crypto exchanges and ICOs. This saw the Chinese yuan’s share of global bitcoin transactions decline from over 90 percent to just one percent. However, in recent months the country has exhibited a more open attitude towards the crypto industry, with legislation to regulate the industry being suggested. Despite the ban on crypto exchanges, China remains a key country for Bitcoin, as a lot of miners reside there.


Google Partners with Digital Asset in Race for Cloud Services Domination

Google has inked a partnership with Digital Asset to explore the use of the startup’s blockchain tools on the Google Cloud Platform. The partnership will give Google’s developers access to tools with which they will develop and test blockchain-based applications without the need for additional infrastructure. Google’s cloud services division has been lagging behind Amazon’s and Microsoft’s, and with this partnership, it aims to give itself an edge as blockchain technology becomes utilized more in the sector. Google will compete with Amazon, which already offers blockchain templates that enable developers to create blockchain-based applications with ease.

The Cloud Services Race

With the partnership, Google will join a select group of software vendors, technology partners and financial institutions that are members of Digital Asset’s developer program. Members of the program get access to the software development kit for the Digital Asset Modeling Language (DAML). This is a smart contract language developed by the startup which developers use to create blockchain-based applications. DAML has checks that protect institutions from smart contracts whose results are unpredictable, and they uphold privacy by withholding ledger details from the developers.

Digital Assets CEO Blythe Masters said the new partnership would let developers explore the full potential of distributed ledger technologies.

We’re partnering with Google Cloud to provide developers with a full stack solution so they can unleash the potential for web-paced innovation in blockchain. This will reduce the technical barriers to DLT application development by delivering our advanced distributed ledger platform and modeling language to Google Cloud.

The partnership will also introduce the DAML platform-as-a-service on the Google Cloud Platform, which will give developers an even bigger array of tools with which to create blockchain-based applications. The DAML PaaS allows developers to deploy blockchain applications easily and on demand. While most of the projects developed using these tools have targeted the financial services industry, they are not limited in scope and can be developed for any other industry.

Headed by the former JP Morgan executive Blythe Masters, Digital Assets has grown rapidly in a very short time to become one of the leading enterprise-focused blockchain solutions providers out there. The startup, which has offices in New York, Sydney, Zurich and Budapest, partnered with the Australian Stock Exchange to replace its longstanding clearing system with a blockchain-based system in a move that was the first of its kind in the industry.

The partnership is even more critical for Google, with the cloud infrastructure market becoming more pertinent to the big tech companies. While Google has the lead in many sectors in the industry, it hasn’t made inroads in the cloud business. Amazon is the undisputed leader with over a third of the market. Microsoft is second, with Google coming in a distant third with only six percent of the market.

Google has continued to weigh its options in regard to the blockchain and crypto industries. Despite years of rumors that it was working on its own crypto, nothing has materialized. Its ban on crypto ads has further shown that it’s not a big fan of digital currencies. However, with Microsoft exploring blockchain technology with its Azure Blockchain Workbench and Amazon following suit with its AWS blockchain templates, Google has to keep up or risk losing out on a lucrative new revenue stream.


BitFunder Owner Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud, Faces 20 Years’ Imprisonment

The owner and operator of two defunct crypto platforms has pleaded guilty to charges of securities fraud and obstruction of justice. Jon E. Montroll was arrested in February after it emerged that he had used his platforms to steal from investors, operated an unregistered securities exchange, and lied about having knowledge of a hack on one of his platforms. Last week, it was reported that Montroll was close to being offered a plea bargain, but it wasn’t to be and he now faces up to 20 years in prison.

How It All Went Wrong

Montroll operated BitFunder and WeExchange, two crypto platforms that had gained considerable success as cryptos started getting mainstream appeal. BitFunder was an investment platform which allowed its users to invest in virtual shares of companies that were listed in exchange for Bitcoin, whereas WeExchange was a crypto trading platform. According to a press release by the SEC in February, BitFunder was operating as an unregistered online securities exchange, with the regulator further accusing Montroll of defrauding users by selling their bitcoins and using the money for personal use.

Furthermore, BitFunder was attacked by hackers who made away with about 6,000 bitcoins. Montroll failed to disclose this information to users, instead lying to them by stating that the platform was doing well and had even raised an additional 900 bitcoins. When the SEC started probing the issue, Montroll provided a screenshot of the balances on the exchange to the regulator that was later deemed to have been falsified. He also perjured himself when he was called on to give testimony regarding the hack which amounted to obstruction of justice.

The 37-year-old Montroll pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge James Cott, with the announcement being made by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York on July 23. He faces up to 20 years in prison for the two charges in what will be a strong statement by the SEC regarding the crypto industry.

The SEC has been hot on the heels of any crypto project it considers fraudulent, with several having been shut down over the last year. One of them was Centra Tech Inc, a startup whose main selling point was the endorsement of boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and popular artist DJ Khaled. The startup was shut down after it was discovered to have lied about its association with some big companies such as Google, PayPal, Visa and Mastercard. Centra had raised $32 million in its ICO before the crackdown which led to the arrest of the three main conspirators.

Of the fraudulent crypto projects that the SEC has managed to stop, perhaps the most renowned was AriseBank, a startup that had raised over $600 million of its $1 billion target. The Dallas, Texas-based startup also relied on celebrity endorsements and social media campaigns, with its promise of delivering “the first-ever decentralized banking platform” bringing in droves of investors. AriseBank was the first ICO-related fraud case that necessitated the appointment of a third-party receiver of the startup’s seized assets.


Blockchain Can Avert the Next Financial Crisis: Former JP Morgan VP

Pang Huadong was at the heart of the crumbling financial services industry during the 2008 financial crisis, and from his experience during that troubled time, he believes that blockchain technology is the answer to averting such a crisis. Blockchain technology significantly reduces the cost of trust, which in the long run will lower the costs associated with the financial services industry, Pang recently noted. With Bitcoin having been developed at the heart of the financial crisis, cryptos and the underlying blockchain technology have been touted by many financial experts as the answer to a global financial crisis, as they remove ultimate power from one entity and distribute it among many users.

Give the Blockchain Time to Mature

Pang landed a job with JP Morgan Chase a year before the 2008 financial crisis occurred. At the time, the bank had entrusted over $40 billion worth of assets to 13 people to manage. When the financial crisis hit, the bank started losing an average of $300 million a day, he revealed in an interview with the China Economic Times. This was when it began to gradually dawn on him that blockchain technology was the key to averting such a disaster in the future.

The former VP of the North American investment banking department of JPMorgan Chase echoed what many other industry gurus have said in the past: give blockchain technology time to mature. The technology has only just begun to be explored for mainstream use, and while some of the applications haven’t been so successful, we shouldn’t draw conclusions hastily, he said. Blockchain has limitless potential, and as development continues, it will only get better.

Blockchain will also reduce the cost of trust, added Pang, who is now an honorary academic advisor at the Asian Blockchain Institute. Blockchain technology enables the development of open and transparent systems with no intermediaries, which lowers financial risk and “builds trust mechanisms at the lowest costs.”

The biggest bank in the US, JP Morgan has made strides in developing blockchain-based solutions as it seeks to stay ahead of its competition. Just recently, the New York-based bank was awarded a patent that will allow it to issue blockchain-based virtual depository receipts. While the bank’s CEO, Jamie Dimon, has criticized cryptos strongly, the new patent closely resembles one that will be used to issue cryptos. The bank has also been developing its Quorum blockchain protocol since 2016. Quorum is an “enterprise-focused version of Ethereum” which was designed to address some of the challenges that have hindered mainstream adoption of blockchain technology in the financial industry. Those challenges include permission, privacy, governance and scalability. While it’s a standalone project, Quorum is designed to evolve in tandem with Ethereum and to incorporate all the updates that are made on the Ethereum blockchain.

Pang was not the first person to hail blockchain technology and cryptos as the best way to prevent another financial crisis. The association probably stems from the creation of Bitcoin by Nakamoto at the height of the 2008 financial crisis, a time during which many lost faith in the mainstream financial industry and the government. While the world has since moved on and the financial industry has fully recovered, there are many who are still distrustful of centralized institutions and continue to encourage the use of cryptos to bypass central entities.


Binance Prepares to Enter the South Korean Crypto Market

Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange which continues to make headlines on a regular basis. In its latest move, the company is trying to make inroads into South Korea, which is the world’s leading cryptocurrency market as of right now. For Binance, entering South Korea will be another crucial step toward establishing a global presence.

Binance Eyes South Korea

There is a good reason as to why Binance wants to expand into South Korea. It is one of the few Asian countries which has shown leniency toward Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Additionally, it is one of the few countries which regularly generates significant trading volume for most top cryptocurrencies every single day.

Even so, it is not easy for international companies to enter the cryptocurrency industry in South Korea these days. Domestic companies have no real issues setting up shop, as long as they adhere to certain guidelines. For international firms, the process may be a bit more complicated, although Binance is showing that it is not impossible.

For Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, South Korea will be a “critical” market. He is also confident that Binance can “enrich” the cryptocurrency community in South Korea. How that will be achieved exactly remains to be determined. Bringing more competition to the local cryptocurrency exchange ecosystem is never a bad thing, as there is a growing demand for Bitcoin and altcoins, even at current prices.

This decision was only a matter of time, by the look of things. Binance enabled support for Koreans a few weeks ago, which seemed to hint at an impending expansion to the South Korean market. It will be quite interesting to see how this decision plays out for the company, as it may set a precedent for other companies to follow in the coming weeks and months.

Despite the fact that South Korea is one of the biggest cryptocurrency hubs, it will be difficult for Binance to attract clients. It seems domestic traders tend to be loyal to the companies they have used in the past. When it comes to foreign cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance spans the world as of right now. As such, gaining traction may prove to be a challenge.

Compared to some other exchanges doing business in South Korea, Binance is one of the few trading platforms which have not suffered from a major hack, theft, or other incident. That in itself will make it stand out among South Korean crypto firms, as they do not enjoy the best of reputations at this stage. Bithumb is the latest exchange to suffer a major setback in this regard.


Bitcoin Price Watch: Currency at $8,095

At press time, the father of cryptocurrency has fallen by about $150 and is down to about $8,095. This isn’t something enthusiasts need to concern themselves with too much, considering it’s still very early in the game and bitcoin has been on a speedy roll as of late. The currency rose by over $2,000 in just the last two weeks, jumping from $5,800 to over $8,000, showing that the currency’s resilience is gathering steam and that the coin is working hard to overpower present resistance.

While the price has slowed in its approach of $8,400, one source still places the next big financial goal for bitcoin at $8,663. In addition, the bull run is slated to continue for the time being despite the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) decision to delay any approvals for upcoming bitcoin ETFs.


There are several reasons for bitcoin’s sudden jump. Among them include the easing of regulations by both Facebook and Google. The social media and search engine giants are amongst the two largest companies to place bans on both initial coin offering (ICO) and cryptocurrency-related advertisements.

However, in recent days, both platforms have eased up on present regulations and provided crypto with a small, yet sturdy way of building its presence. Facebook, for example, now allows Coinbase – one of the largest digital exchanges in the world – to advertise on its social media channel(s), while Google includes major coins in its exchange converter.

In addition, we are also seeing a surge of new institutional investors entering the fray, including several major Wall Street players, and the fact that the SEC is willing to consider bitcoin ETFs is a major step towards easier regulatory patterns. Yes, the SEC has delayed its decision-making process, though originally the organization had listed the bitcoin ETF application of VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust for public comment to see what everyday traders would have to say about it. This is a huge sign that the SEC is potentially changing the way it looks at crypto.

Lastly, we are seeing a general easing up on crypto legislation from both the SEC and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) primarily due to pressure from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has long called for both agencies to clear up regulatory uncertainty. The Chamber says that raising capital to begin crypto and blockchain-based companies has been relatively difficult, and an environment that’s more accommodating to such ventures should allow for further innovation.

We are seeing growth in the cryptocurrency market, but while it’s easy to accept bitcoin as having “made it” and surpassing all present obstacles, one must remember that volatility remains a prominent threat. Thus, investors are advised to remain cautious, and only trade what they can afford to lose.

Bitcoin Charts by TradingView


RatingToken Discovers 12,000 Identical Smart Contracts Deployed by One Ethereum Address

The Ethereum ecosystem has attracted many developers and companies over the years. Its native smart contracts have proven to be of great value in unlocking new and interesting use cases. For some reason, there has been a rather steep surge in Ethereum smart contract production over the past few days. Some of this activity seems somewhat suspicious, although no real damage has been done.

Ethereum’s Smart Contract Craze

Hundreds if not thousands of projects make use of Ethereum smart contracts these days. This technology allows developers to automate most of their processes and create a trustless ecosystem for everyone to enjoy. As such, it is only natural that new smart contracts are created on top of the Ethereum blockchain on a regular basis.

On paper, the recent surge in new Ethereum smart contracts is not all that spectacular. Such incidents take place quite regularly, although there is always a chance that something is going on of which people have no idea. Security firm RatingToken has noticed that one particular Ethereum address has been exhibiting some odd behavior.

More specifically, this address has created 12,000 new smart contracts. While that in itself is spectacular already, all of these contracts are virtually identical to one another. This raises the question as to why anyone would create that many duplicate smart contracts. This process began a week ago and is still ongoing.

As one would expect, this influx of new smart contracts has had a negative impact on the Ethereum network. Because these contracts were deployed in quick succession, over 20 ETH in gas fees has been associated with their creation. This has impacted network transaction fees for other users, which is not a positive outcome.

RatingToken claims the contracts in question are all highly organized. They span deployment bots, money collectors, and money pools. Nearly 600 Ether has been transferred to an undisclosed third-party account. Where this money came from and what it will be used for exactly remain unclear. It is possible that this is another scam, but that has not been officially confirmed at this stage.

Although not much is known about the nature and origin of these smart contracts, their existence raises a lot of questions. There is no valid reason for anyone to deploy thousands of identical smart contracts other than to spam the network. It is good to see companies such as RatingToken pay attention to these developments, as it is important to keep tabs on this type of activity.


What Is Wasabi Wallet?

Bitcoin wallets come in many shapes and sizes. Most of these creations offer something different, even though they all seem to lack privacy features. Wasabi Wallet may solve that problem once and for all when the project launches on August 1st.

The Wasabi Wallet Concept

When it comes to Bitcoin wallets, it is difficult to provide features and services which are not native to the Bitcoin protocol itself. Despite some mainstream media claims, Bitcoin clearly lacks both privacy and anonymity. Wasabi Wallet claims it can address these concerns and more by launching a new Bitcoin wallet service for users to enjoy.

Under the Hood

Wasabi Wallet is designed for desktop users first and foremost. It has built-in Tor connectivity, which will help users maintain their privacy at all times. Although Tor is not completely private or secure, it is a step up from how people use more traditional Bitcoin wallets.

Another interesting aspect of Wasabi Wallet is that it utilizes CoinJoin transactions. This is not new technology by any means, although it has rarely been employed by light wallets for Bitcoin. Obscuring the source of Bitcoin transactions is one way to provide privacy and a degree of anonymity, although better solutions exist on the market.

One issue most Bitcoin wallets share is that they store a vast collection of wallet addresses. This makes it easy for blockchain analysis firms to link users’ addresses. In contrast, Wasabi Wallet uses a filtering system which avoids connecting addresses while still letting users spend all of their funds at any time.

The Road Ahead

A lot more details will be revealed when Wasabi Wallet comes to market next week. A privacy-focused Bitcoin wallet will be appealing to some, even though privacy is not a mandatory trait for Bitcoin whatsoever. The world’s leading cryptocurrency was never designed to be used privately or anonymously. Whether or not Wasabi Wallet will be a popular alternative to some of the other desktop wallets on the market remains to be seen.


Bank of England Prepares to Integrate Blockchain-Based Products and Services

Banks and other financial institutions have never been particularly crypto-friendly. When it comes to blockchain technology, however, the story is very different. The Bank of England is looking to introduce a new payments system which will accommodate future blockchain integration. It’s a positive development for the industry as a whole.

Bank of England Has Blockchain Plans

Virtually every major bank in the world today is keeping close tabs on the blockchain industry. They are all excited about the potential impact that distributed ledgers can have. Despite a glaring lack of real-world use cases, it is evident there are high expectations for blockchain in the financial sector. Making a meaningful impact will not be easy, though, as there is a lot of work to be done.

For the Bank of England, doubling down on blockchain-oriented efforts is more than worth it. More specifically, the British central bank is preparing to accommodate blockchain-based products and services as part of its revamped payments system. This further hints at how blockchain technology will make a big impact on the UK’s financial industry in the years to come.

In a recent announcement, the bank made it clear that its upgraded system will go live at some point in 2020 and will focus heavily on fighting off cyber attacks. For the banking sector, cyber threats have become an increasing problem, and it seems most financial institutions have no plans in place to address it. How the Bank of England will thwart such attacks remains to be determined.

One option the bank is currently exploring is to let businesses use the system directly rather than rely on third-party service providers. Cutting out the middlemen is rather uncommon in the traditional financial sector. Even so, it is evident something needs to change, and the Bank of England is more than willing to acknowledge this. Its renewed Real-Time Gross Settlement system is entirely cloud-based and will seemingly be capable of interacting with distributed ledgers of all kinds.

By removing any unnecessary hurdles from the equation altogether, the Bank of England aims to streamline access to central bank money. Combined with a stronger focus on blockchain technology, interesting new use cases can be uncovered in the months and years to come. No further specifics regarding the blockchain-based ventures have been announced at this stage, and thus a lot of the details remain subject to speculation.

The bigger question is whether or not other banks will pay more attention to blockchain technology in the future. There are plenty of potential use cases to explore in this regard, although implementing them will require a lot of work. Up to this point, banks’ legacy systems have not cooperated well with DLT-based applications and services. The Bank of England is showing that things can be done differently.


Operators of Fraudulent Bitcoin Firm Fined $1.9M by CFTC

Various firms related to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have no honest intentions. This problem has plagued the industry for quite some time now. The CFTC recently scored a big victory in this regard, as The Entrepreneurs Headquarters Limited was forced to pay $1.9 million for its fraudulent Bitcoin and binary options offerings.

CFTC Continues to Crack Down

Despite the appeal that cryptocurrencies may have at this time, users need to be more cautious than ever. There is a growing number of companies which aim to defraud potential investors first and foremost. Distinguishing the legitimate companies from their fake counterparts is very difficult unless one knows what to look for exactly.

In the case of The Entrepreneurs Headquarters, a UK-based firm, its Bitcoin and binary options scheme attracted a lot of attention. The company never registered with the CFTC to offer its investment products. Additionally, nearly half a million dollars worth of Bitcoin was collected from investors. This money was supposed to be converted to fiat currency and invested in binary options on the customers’ behalf.

Although such a business model sounds more than plausible on paper, the UK firm never saw any returns. The company’s owners do not possess the necessary trading expertise, nor would they ever have achieved the promised high returns. None of the incoming Bitcoin deposits were ever converted to fiat currency for investing purposes, as all funds were misappropriated. This fraudulent behavior needed to be punished.

By actively soliciting investment through social media and YouTube, the people pulling the strings clearly showed malicious intent. They did everything possible to make the company appear legitimate, yet none of the investors ever got their money back. Not one single trade was ever conducted on behalf of investors either, and all reported trading profits were completely fake.

Because of this illicit behavior, the defendants will need to pay $432,184.79 back to customers to cover the stolen money. They have also been forced to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty for operating a fraudulent Bitcoin and binary options scheme without registering with the CFTC. Moreover, both defendants are banned from trading or registering with the CFTC. A lifelong ban is nothing to sneeze at.

This is another example of how illicit activity involving Bitcoin is never the answer. Even though the allure of Bitcoin’s perceived anonymity will come into play on a regular basis, there is no reason for anyone to use cryptocurrency for illegal purposes. Doing so will ultimately lead to one’s being apprehended, as Bitcoin is simply not a tool to facilitate crime or launder money.  


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