Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member Registrations

Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member Registrations

The largest crypto exchange in Japan, Bitflyer, has announced a major organizational overhaul. A new representative director has been appointed to oversee the exchange’s day-to-day operations. Meanwhile, hacked crypto exchange Zaif has stopped accepting new customers as regulators ramp up oversight of exchange operators.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Zaif Halts New Memberships

Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member RegistrationsOsaka-based crypto exchange Zaif, one of the 16 regulated crypto exchanges in Japan, has suspended signing up new members. “We decided to temporarily stop accepting new membership registration at 21 o’clock on September 28,” Zaif’s operator, Tech Bureau, announced Friday. The company clarified, “Customers who are waiting for registration, such as being already in the process of identity verification by applying for membership registration, will register as usual as a member,” adding:

We are responsible for recovering the damage to all existing customers who were victimized by the current virtual currency outflow, but to do so, [we need] to concentrate our internal resources.

Zaif was hacked on Sept. 14 but the breach was not discovered until Sept. 17. The total damage is estimated to be about 7 billion yen (~$62 million). Tech Bureau claims that approximately 5,966 BTC, 42,327 BCH, and 6,236,810 MONA were stolen. The country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has issued the company a third business improvement order.

Bitflyer’s Overhaul

Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member RegistrationsBitflyer announced Monday, Oct. 1, a change in the company’s organizational structure. “Today marks the establishment of the holdings company, Bitflyer Holdings Inc.,” the firm announced. Bitflyer Inc., which operates Japan’s largest crypto exchange, “has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bitflyer Holdings Inc. by means of a stock transfer.” In a joint statement, Bitflyer Inc. and Bitflyer Holdings Inc. clarified, “Everyone will be able to use our services and trade just as they always have,” noting:

The purpose for creating a holdings company is to separate administrative and operational functions, to clarify the duties and responsibilities of each function, to strengthen corporate governance, and to create a more thorough compliance structure.

Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member RegistrationsOn June 22, Bitflyer Inc. halted new account registrations after it was issued a business improvement order by the FSA. “In order to maximize our efforts towards building a suitable service and improving on the issues identified, we have voluntarily and temporarily suspended the onboarding of new customers,” the exchange explains on its website.

With the establishment of the holdings company, Yuzo Kano has stepped down as the representative director of Bitflyer Inc. to become the CEO of Bitflyer Holdings Inc. Nobuyoshi Suzuki from Mitsui Bank Ltd has been appointed the new representative director of Bitflyer Inc.

Self-Regulatory Plans

Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member RegistrationsOn Sunday, Sept. 30, Jiji Press reported that the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (Jvcea) “will set a ceiling on the amount of digital currencies managed online,” citing unnamed sources. Members of the association are the 16 regulated crypto exchanges, including Zaif and Bitflyer. The group has filed for accreditation with the FSA to become an organization that can legally enforce self-regulation on its members. The news outlet added that according to the sources:

The ceiling is likely to be around 10 to 20 percent of customer deposits.

The group was established in response to the hack of Coincheck in January and has been working on implementing self-regulation. With the hack of Zaif, the group “plans to tighten self-regulatory measures it follows on the management of customer assets,” the publication described. The news outlet further detailed that the group “will shortly revise the self-imposed rules, drawn up in July, and implement them once it is certified by the Financial Services Agency.”

FSA’s Priority Report

The FSA published a report entitled Financial Services Policy: Assessments and Strategic Priorities 2018 on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

The agency revealed that based on data of 14 regulated crypto exchanges and three deemed providers obtained from the Jvcea, 81.6 percent of all crypto transactions going through these exchanges are “margin or future trading.” Meanwhile, 18.4 percent are spot trading. Deemed providers are exchanges that have been allowed to operate in Japan while their applications are still being reviewed by the agency. Japan now has a total of three deemed providers: Coincheck, Lastroots, and Everybody’s Bitcoin.

Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member Registrations

In its report, the FSA reveals that it will “Tighten registration screenings and monitoring, taking account of issues found in inspections,” “Review certification applications prepared by self-regulatory organizations and encourage them to achieve the early establishment of the self-regulating function,” and “Lead the discussion for global cooperation to form regulations as the chair of the G20 in 2019.”

What do you think of the developments in Japan? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Japan’s FSA, Zaif, and Bitflyer.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Japan Roundup: Bitflyer Restructures, Zaif Suspends New Member Registrations appeared first on BitcoinLinux.

Ripple Releases Anticipated xRapid Platform, but XRP Price Struggles

Ripple Releases Anticipated xRapid Platform, but XRP Price Struggles

xRapid, Ripple’s blockchain-based XRP-utilizing cross-border transaction platform has launched, and it’s a big deal for blockchain and cryptocurrency. The price of XRP, however, hasn’t risen, surprising many considering the xRapid development. In fact, the price of XRP is actually down nearly 10% at time of writing.

BitcoinLinux reported on Ripple and its native coin XRP’s success in September. The sudden price rise of XRP, adding more than 100% to its price at one point, was attributed to a number of Ripple developments—not least, the news that the xRapid platform launch was imminent.

The xRapid proposition from Ripple is now live. Not only does it enable cross-border transactions, but it does so using the XRP cryptocurrency. xRapid speeds up international payments by making the cross-border journey in XRP, before transferring the balance back to fiat currency when the payment arrives at its destination. It’s an advance in utilization for blockchain, currently piloted by many in cross-border transactions.

Until now, many blockchain pilots and platforms have addressed the exchange of information rather than using a cryptocurrency in the transactions themselves.

The use of XRP in xRapid transactions could increase the volume of XRP traded and utilized, a factor that could potentially boost XRP’s price.

First xRapid Users are Payment Providers

News broke on Monday, October 1, 2018, of the xRapid launch, which Ripple confirms is now commercially available and will be immediately used by three financial institutions. The three are payment providers Mercury FX and Cuallix, and cooperative financial firm Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.

Asheesh Birla, Ripple’s senior vice president of product, told CNBC:

“I’m really excited to bring the product into the market at a time when there is a lot of skepticism about digital assets and their real use case.”

Cuallix, Mercury FX, and money transfer companies Western Union and MoneyGram were involved in xRapid tests. Ripple has said that big banks are unlikely to be the first to use the platform. It may be this lack of big player patronage that is so far holding back a boost to the price of XRP.

Birla explains the current user base, pointing to Ripple’s experience with payment providers:

“Banks worldwide are not first adopters of the xRapid product, but we are seeing a lot of financial institutions in general and payment providers moving forward with that product.”

Birla also predicts that banks in emerging markets, with more forward-looking regulation are more likely to be earlier users of xRapid.

Forbes reporting also highlights XRP’s lack of response to the xRapid news, which was announced by CEO Brad Garlinghouse at the Ripple Swell event. At the start of Swell XRP was sitting at $0.61 but then fell slightly to $0.58.

XRP investors may be waiting for other financial institutions to adopt the xRapid technology; many may have already committed on the news of the planned launch, but others could be looking for results before buying.

There is still time for XRP price to be impacted positively, especially on the back of proven success for xRapid or more adoption.

XRP may also be being held back by the overall cryptocurrency markets, where Bitcoin is still hovering around the $6,500 mark.

Even with the current stall, XRP was September’s best performing coin, gaining roughly 67% over the month.

The post Ripple Releases Anticipated xRapid Platform, but XRP Price Struggles appeared first on BitcoinLinux.

Brave CEO Addresses Senate, Urges Adoption Of GDPR Model For United States

Brave CEO Addresses Senate, Urges Adoption Of GDPR Model For United States

Brendan Eich, CEO of the Basic Attention Token-powered browser, Brave, wrote and sent a letter to the United States Senate on September 28th urging representatives to adopt a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) model for privacy, not unlike the European Union’s guidelines.

Adapting To Modern Times

The EU adopted its GDPR model in 2016, which provides consumers with more control over how their data is handled. With this policy, new startups have more of a chance against big companies, as the established ones can’t take data collected for one purpose and unfairly use it for other parts of their business. The rules essentially even the playing field between the small guys and the big ones.

Eich’s letter specifically addresses the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, stating that he views the GDPR “as a great leveller.” The CEO continues, “the GDPR establishes the conditions that can allow young, innovative companies like Brave to flourish.”

Of course, Brave is built around an “anti-ad” mantra, with the goal of revolutionizing online revenue. Eich’s letter furthers this mission, stating that invasive tactics regarding “behavioral tracking” is entirely unnecessary and even “questionable”:

“The enormous growth of ad-blocking by people across the globe (to 615 million active devices by late 2017) proves the terrible cost of inadequately regulating the tracking-based advertising system. Trust will only return as the GDPR-like laws begin to curtail the online advertising industry’s worst practices.”

According to the letter, GDPR principles are similar to the current OECD Guidelines established by the United States in 1980. These rules already detail a “GDPR-like definition of personal data”, so it should be no issue to adopt the newer model, Eich insinuates.

The Brave brand has had quite a positive year. In only the last few months, the platform has added cryptocurrency tipping for Reddit and Twitter, been named a viable alternative to Google Chrome, and even reached 10 million downloads on the Google Play store.

The post Brave CEO Addresses Senate, Urges Adoption Of GDPR Model For United States appeared first on BitcoinLinux.

Chrome Extensions Will Soon Protect Against Miners and Hackers

Chrome Extensions Will Soon Protect Against Miners and Hackers

Google has announced a number of upcoming changes concerning the development of new extensions for Chrome. Users of the web browser will soon benefit from improved security and better protection against malware including hidden miners and tools used to steal cryptocurrency.

Also read: A Guide to Building Your Own Crypto Mining Rig

Google Introduces Changes to Make Chrome Extensions Safer

Chrome Extensions to Ensure Protection Against Miners and HackersRecognizing how important it is for users to be able to trust that the extensions they install are not only performing well but also safe and preserving their privacy, Google has recently taken steps to improve the detection of malicious add-ons to its popular browser using machine learning techniques. Now the company has announced new changes intended to make all Chrome extensions trustworthy by default which means, among other things, successfully preventing cryptojacking and hidden mining.

According to a blog post, starting from Chrome 70, users will have the option to restrict the access of different extensions to a custom list of sites. In addition, they will be able to configure extensions to ask for confirmation when they attempt to gain access to a certain page. Host permissions allow extensions to automatically read and change data on websites, which has led to malicious misuse in many cases, the company said and added:

Our aim is to improve user transparency and control over when extensions are able to access site data. In subsequent milestones, we’ll continue to optimize the user experience toward this goal while improving usability.

Google further detailed that in the future, extensions requesting powerful permissions will be subject to additional compliance review. The team that’s preparing the changes is also closely examining extensions using remotely hosted code. Addressing the developer community, Google says: “Your extension’s permissions should be as narrowly-scoped as possible, and all your code should be included directly in the extension package, to minimize review time.”

Chrome Extensions to Ensure Protection Against Miners and Hackers

Two-Step Verification for Chrome Web Store Developer Accounts

According to another change in the rules governing the review process for new extensions, one that has been introduced already, Chrome Web Store will no longer allow extensions with obfuscated code. The new policy, that applies to all new extension submissions, pertains to code within the extension package as well as any external code or other resource fetched from the web.

Chrome Extensions to Ensure Protection Against Miners and HackersGoogle notes that existing extensions with obfuscated code can continue to submit updates over the next 90 days. However, they will be removed from the Chrome Web Store in January if they are not fully compliant with the new requirements. The company claims that 70% of the extensions it currently blocks contain obfuscated code. Many of them are either malicious or violating the applicable policies.

Other changes that concern extension developers include the introduction of mandatory enrolment in two-Step verification for their accounts. The measure is expected to improve their security and protect them against hijacking. Google also plans to introduce additional security, privacy, and performance enhancing changes in 2019 as part of the next extensions manifest version. Manifest v3 will include more narrowly-scoped APIs, decreasing the need for overly-broad access. It will also feature simplified control mechanisms for user-granted permissions.

What do you think about the changes to the Chrome Browser? Tell us in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Google.

At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post Chrome Extensions Will Soon Protect Against Miners and Hackers appeared first on BitcoinLinux.

Boston Federal Reserve Exec Talks Blockchain at Forbes Event

The VP of the Boston Federal Reserve bank discussed crypto and blockchain at the launch of Forbes 30 Under 30 event in Boston on Monday. 

Jim Cunha, Senior Vice President of Treasury and Financial Services at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, spoke for roughly 20 minutes on crypto and blockchain on Monday. The speaking engagement was part of the ceremonies kicking off Forbes‘ 30 Under 30 summit in the Massachusetts city.

Blockchain Brains in Boston

Forbes crypto contributor Michael del Castillo notes that,

Throughout the course of a 20 minute conversation, Cunha detailed some of the early stage blockchain experiments his team of 200 has undertaken using both ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric. Cunha also explained how the branch of the U.S. central bank interacts with other currency issuers and startups to learn more about how blockchain works.

While Cunha appears to be confident in the integrity of blockchain tech, he remains skeptical of the integrity of “organizations” fostering and curating the blockchain.

Cunha also remained skeptical in regards to the Fed contracting private entities in the crypto realm.

Jim Cunha

In a fresh breath of air Cunha, despite a commonly encountered skepticism, appears to think deeply about the implications of blockchain and crypto. His concerns deal with the way the worlds of central banking and blockchain will inevitably intersect.

del Castillo reports on Cunha’s further sentiments:

He mentioned several other projects including the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Project Ubin and Clearmatics Technology’s Utility Settlement Coin as examples of how central banks are already being influenced by the cryptocurrency world.

Cunha also offered up examples of “[…] what he believes could someday result in a state-controlled fiat currency issued on a blockchain.”

The VP went on to provide a window of “five years,” before these changes become fully apparent.

Wicked Smaht

A series of panels featuring important figures in the crypto community, as well as academic institutions like MIT, helped to bolster Cunha’s brief talk on blockchain and crypto.

Panelist Meltem Demirors, CSO of CoinShares noted the seismic shifts being brought about by the technology:

We now have to work together to define the future of who has the right to print money and who has the right to define for us individually and collectively what has value

It appears that, overall, a strong tone has been set for the event regarding crypto and blockchain tech.

BitcoinLinux has previously reported on Boston’s penchant for crypto within the academic and financial realms. In May, researchers at Boston College studied ICO’s and the effects of their underpricing.

What are your thoughts on Jim Cunha’s keynote talk regarding blockchain? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Bostonfed.org, Shutterstock.

The post Boston Federal Reserve Exec Talks Blockchain at Forbes Event appeared first on BitcoinLinux.com.


BCH Roundup: Merchant Adoption, Wallet Services, and Hackathons

BCH Roundup: Merchant Adoption, Wallet Services, and Hackathons

Another busy week has passed for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) proponents as there continues to be an influx of bitcoin cash adoption, new platforms, and improved infrastructure.

Also read: Popular Discussion Board 4chan Now Accepts Cryptocurrencies for Passes

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Market Action

Every week there’s an awful lot of developments happening within the BCH ecosystem and this week is no different. Bitcoin cash markets have been strong again over the past week, as the decentralized cryptocurrency is up 1.29 percent today and up over 22 percent over the last seven days. At the time of publication one BCH is trading for $533 per coin and the overall BCH market valuation is $9.28 billion today. The top five exchanges swapping the most bitcoin cash include Lbank, Hitbtc, Okex, Binance, and Huobi. As far as trading pairs are concerned the top five currencies traded for BCH includes tether (USDT 35.4%), BTC (31.5%), ETH (20%), USD (7%), and KRW (2.3%).

BCH Roundup: Merchant Adoption, Wallet Services, and Hackathons

More Bitcoin Cash Adoption

Besides market action, there’s been a lot of adoption happening as well throughout the BCH ecosystem. One adoption announcement this week that BCH fans enjoyed was from the event ticketing platform Big Tickets who revealed they have integrated with Bitpay for event payments. Now users can purchase tickets to events using the lightning fast and low fee BCH network, explains the company’s recent press release.   

“We know our product, values, and dedication to innovation are deserving of an equally secure and seamless purchase method for our event attendees — The use of bitcoin cash is a major social trend we’ve been monitoring and we’re excited to be the first event ticketing platform in the United States to accept the burgeoning cryptocurrency,” said Jason Henley, CTO of Bigtickets.com.

BCH Roundup: Merchant Adoption, Wallet Services, and Hackathons

Another well-known firm that now accepts BCH is the popular software bounty hunters Hackerone. The Hackerone team has also partnered with Bitpay’s payment services and individuals and companies can use bitcoin cash to find bugs in their systems. Hackerone has worked for many fortune 500 firms like General Motors, Google, Twitter, GitHub, Nintendo, Lufthansa, Panasonic Avionics, Qualcomm, Starbucks, Dropbox, and Intel.

Bitcoin Cash Wallet Infrastructure

BCH Roundup: Merchant Adoption, Wallet Services, and HackathonsThis week the wallet firm, Cointext, led by the company’s founder Vin Armani has announced that the SMS-capable wallet application can now send bitcoin cash to mobile numbers in six more European countries. “Bitcoin was always meant to be used as borderless cash,” explained Cointext CTO Vin Armani. “Our aim with Cointext is to expand its usefulness in real life.”

The large mining giant Bitmain Technologies has revealed yesterday that it has acquired the bitcoin cash desktop wallet Telescope. The Telescope wallet is a browser-embedded cryptocurrency wallet application for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The platform also supports Bitpay invoices and the Money Button alongside traditional wallet services.

“We are extremely proud of Telescope wallet and the simple but key innovation that the project brings to the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem — Browser-embedded cryptocurrency wallets are a promising technology,” said Nishant Sharma, Head of International PR and Communications at Bitmain. Sharma continues:  

The Telescope development team is doing some very interesting work and we look forward to working together with them on the Telescope project and future Bitcoin Cash projects.

Another wallet announcement stems from the South Africa-based firm Centbee as the company has officially launched its iOS version. News.Bitcoin.com reported on the alpha version of the Centbee Android application this past July. During the iOS release Centbee’s co-CEO, Lorien Gamaroff, explains “Our key focus in designing the app was to make sending Bitcoin cash to friends as simple as possible.” Gamaroff adds:        

In just a few taps, users can send Bitcoin cash to anyone, anywhere at the lowest possible cost Bitcoin cash will be adopted globally as the best way to pay, especially in Africa and other developing markets.

Worldwide BCH Devcons and the Possible Bitcoin Cash November Upgrade

Bitcoin cashers are also looking forward to the upcoming BCH hackathons taking place in San Francisco, Amsterdam and other regions around the world. The San Francisco event is dubbed the BCH Devcon and will take place on October 10-11 and the first place winner will receive a 10 BCH investment from Permissionless Ventures.

BCH Roundup: Merchant Adoption, Wallet Services, and Hackathons

Another BCH Devcon will take place in Amsterdam on October 27-28 and the event will also be hosted in Israel, Japan, South Korea, and India as well. For more information about all the BCH Devcons if you would like to participate or attend check out the official page here.

Overall at the pace development has been going, October will likely be a busy month for bitcoin cash enthusiasts, network participants, and developers leading up to the planned BCH hard fork slated for November 15.

What do you think about this week’s bitcoin cash markets and headlines? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com is an official sponsor of the BCH Devcon events.

Images via Shutterstock, BCH Devcon, Pixabay, and Bitcoin.com 

At news.Bitcoin.com all comments containing links are automatically held up for moderation in the Disqus system. That means an editor has to take a look at the comment to approve it. This is due to the many, repetitive, spam and scam links people post under our articles. We do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

The post BCH Roundup: Merchant Adoption, Wallet Services, and Hackathons appeared first on BitcoinLinux.

CloudFlare’s IPFS Gateway Will Power Extra-Decentralized EOS dApps

CloudFlare’s IPFS Gateway Will Power Extra-Decentralized EOS dApps

LiquidEOS has announced a project that will make dApps more decentralized than ever before. The group is using Cloudflare’s IPFS gateway to host EOS dApps on a decentralized filesystem.

LiquidEOS’s new platform, which is simply called “the dApp Network”, will allow users to access dApps that never go offline. Meanwhile, developers who host their apps on the network will benefit from lower hosting costs.

Backend vs. Frontend Decentralization

In general, dApps are decentralized on the backend: this means that an app’s underlying smart contracts are executed by nodes on a blockchain. Although dApps can be frozen due to security issues, they generally operate as long as the blockchain is functional. This means that social, legal, or political pressure cannot shut down a dApp.

In that regard, dApps are virtually unstoppable. However, dApp frontends are generally not decentralized or hosted on the blockchain. Users typically access dApps via a web page that is hosted on a traditional, centralized web server. Unfortunately, websites can be hacked or suffer downtime.

There are ways to mitigate these problems: multiple sites can mirror a dApp, and developers can offer downloadable apps, but these are not universal practices. A better solution to downtime is needed, and this is the problem that LiquidEOS is solving.

By using IPFS, a new web protocol developed by Protocol Labs, the group is allowing a network of peers to take on the task of hosting dApp frontends. As LiquidEOS explains:

“IPFS is a peer-to-peer distributed file system…In some ways, IPFS is similar to the World Wide Web, but IPFS could be seen as a single BitTorrent swarm…. IPFS has no single point of failure, and nodes do not need to trust each other not to tamper with data in transit.”

Apart from that, everything else will remain the same: dApps will continue to run on the EOS blockchain behind the scenes, and users will continue to seamlessly access dApps through their browser.

Suggested Reading : Learn how EOS differs from Ethereum.

Already In Action

LiquidEOS’ dApp Network is already live. The testnet version of the platform is currently hosting a selection of dApps, including a Bancor-powered crypto converter and a block explorer.

Although the app selection is fairly limited, it is a good start. LiquidEOS is also inviting other developers to host their dApps on the network:

“It would be awesome to see utilities such as eostoolkit, apps and games hosted and published in the network for easy browsing and discovery.”

EOS is not the only blockchain project to take advantage of the IPFS protocol. Other crypto-related projects, such as the Ethereum-powered CryptoKitties, also intend to use IPFS to store their assets. Additonally, Sia and Decentraland are reportedly using the network.

The post CloudFlare’s IPFS Gateway Will Power Extra-Decentralized EOS dApps appeared first on BitcoinLinux.

Shapeshift CEO Responds to Wall Street Journal Laundering Claims

Shapeshift CEO Responds to Wall Street Journal Laundering Claims

Reporters at the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) tied innovative ecosystem cryptocurrency exchange Shapeshift to money laundering. “How Dirty Money Disappears Into the Black Hole of Cryptocurrency,” was its published product from months of investigative journalism. The company’s CEO, Erik Voorhees, claims cooperation with the WSJ was obtained “under false pretenses.” He also charges the WSJ “omitted relevant information” among other gaffs. 

Also read: Ross Ulbricht Marks Fifth Anniversary in Prison

Shapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees Calls Wall Street Journal Article an “Attack”

Shapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees earned as much street credibility in the crypto space as anyone. His company has been around for nearly half of the nascent industry’s entire history. If there were a relative outsider/insider of cryptocurrency, an ambassador of sorts for the decentralized digital money revolution, it’s safe to write Mr. Voorhees would make many top ten lists, and Shapeshift is his most notable contribution alongside Bitinstant, Coinapult, and Satoshidice.  

Shapeshift CEO Responds to Wall Street Journal Laundering Claims

“Shining Light on WSJ’s Attack on Shapeshift and Crypto” is Mr. Voorhees attempt to set the record, as he sees it, straight. If legacy finance news organizations of record were to “attack,” they couldn’t really do better than he and Shapeshift. That aside, he and the exchange believe the WSJ produced a pure hit piece, gaining trust over “5 months” only to “omit relevant information,” overlooked the “chance to prevent potential illicit activity,” ultimately proving the reporters “do not have a sufficient understanding of blockchains and our platform in particular,” Mr. Voorhees insists.

It hasn’t exactly been a wonderful public relations month for the veteran firm. As these pages noted at the beginning of September, “Non-custodial crypto trading platform Shapeshift has introduced a membership program which will soon be mandatory [… the] exchange will have to begin collecting basic personal information of its users, and there will be five membership levels.” The move was met with widespread criticism especially among the experienced within the space. To then get even more flack from the institutional side of finance at roughly the same time probably isn’t what the company needed.

Shapeshift CEO Responds to Wall Street Journal Laundering Claims
Graph provided by Shapeshift.

False Pretenses, Omissions, Insufficient Understanding

“The WSJ reporters reached out to us months ago,” Mr. Voorhees details, “asking for friendly assistance on a piece about the crypto industry in general. Over a period of five months, we were open and accommodating of their questions while in contrast they misrepresented their intentions until very recently,” further complaining “they included not a single statement from those lengthy discussions, preferring instead to include out-of-context remarks I’d made elsewhere.” In Mr. Voorhees’ reckoning, the WSJ had another agenda altogether.

For any solid investigative piece to have legs, it requires statistical information for context, breadth. The company CEO takes on the journalists’ usage of basic facts, and worries they either misrepresented their significance or omitted relevant context completely. One claim had to do with $9 million being laundered through Shapeshift.

Shapeshift CEO Responds to Wall Street Journal Laundering Claims
Graph provided by Shapeshift.

“$9m (even if it was true) is 0.15% of Shapeshift’s exchange volume during the described time period; We have a strong record of complying with law-enforcement requests […]; We work with other exchanges on an almost-daily basis to identify and block thieves and criminals, through a self-policing group Shapeshift created to protect the users and industry; We block entire countries on the sanctions lists; We have an internal anti-money laundering program that uses blockchain forensics that are far more advanced (and we would argue, effective) than asking someone for their ‘name and address;’ We blacklist suspicious addresses upon learning of them,” he outlines. “There is no mention of any of this in the WSJ article.”

Good Journalism Continues Dialog After Publication

Perhaps the most frustrating issue for anyone immersed in crypto is having to explain to mainstream media the basics. If journalists miss those, their accounts and conclusions can be devastating.

“And the WSJ reporters appear to have gotten confused about how our platform functions,” Mr. Voorhees stresses. “Based on our own analysis of the transactions cited in the article, the WSJ erroneously attributed vast sums of allegedly illicit transactions to Shapeshift in a way that exhibits a profound failure to grasp how blockchains, in general, and our system in particular, really work.”

Shapeshift CEO Responds to Wall Street Journal Laundering Claims

He goes on to list three fairly routine examples of how the WSJ allegedly got it wrong, using a $600 illustration: “In other words, $600 of suspicious funds were sent to an exchange that wasn’t Shapeshift. Because Shapeshift happens to be a customer of this same exchange – 10 months later in a completely unrelated transaction – the exchange sent funds to Shapeshift. The authors didn’t understand how to properly read the blockchain transactions, so they assumed there was $70k in ‘dirty money’ sent to Shapeshift. Allegation: $70,000 laundered by Shapeshift; Reality: $0 laundered by Shapeshift.”

In fairness, good journalism rattles cages, gets to the root, and unnerves those under its microscope. But good journalism also must be held accountable, and authors of investigative pieces have a duty to continue dialog even after publication in order to better allow readers closer proximity to supposed revealed truths. “We’ve found numerous other examples,” Mr. Voorhees complains. “We asked the WSJ to send us the specific transaction ID’s […] As of this writing, the WSJ has been unwilling or unable to send the requested transaction data necessary […].”

What do you think of the WSJ’s claims and Shapeshift’s response? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Images via Pixabay, Shapeshift. 

Be sure to check out the podcast Blockchain 2025, latest episode here. Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

The post Shapeshift CEO Responds to Wall Street Journal Laundering Claims appeared first on BitcoinLinux.

New Report Shows German-Based ICO Losses are as High as 90 Percent

New Report Shows German-Based ICO Losses are as High as 90 Percent

Amidst the turmoil of the ICO bubble boom and bust, new research by German business magazine WirschaftsWoche has found that German ICOs have lost up to 90 percent of investor capital. The report shows that German startup coin losses have increased drastically, even when compared to struggling leading coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum which are down 50 percent and 70 percent respectively since the end of 2017.

According to WirschaftsWoche, only eight startups based out of Germany have successfully completed an ICO. Of the successful German ICOs, most were operated by legally independent companies based outside of the country. One of these surviving digital coins is Naga, which despite being listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is controlled by Naga Development Association Ltd. based out of the off-shore tax haven country of Belize.

Of the handful of current coins with German-organized ICOs, only two actual German coins are still actively being traded on exchanges: Neufund and Wysker. Based out of Berlin, the former is developing a financing platform, the latter a shopping app. Other German projects like Savedroid and Iconiq Lab have lost between 40 to 92 percent of their value. Another German ICO, RedBux, which is described as a platform for the adult entertainment industry, is still afloat but isn’t listed on any credible exchanges.

Suggested Reading Need help choosing a cryptocurrency wallet? Take a look at our beginner’s guide.

The Current Landscape of Global ICO Markets

Germany, like many other European countries, has become an increasingly unappealing market for ICOs due strict or unclear regulations put in place by federal and international authorities. Countries such as China, South Korea and Russia have gone further to institute outright bans on ICOs.

The first world’s resistance towards supporting growth and innovation through sensible ICO regulations has led many developers to base their operations out of obscure locations like Saint Kitts, Nevis, Belize, Panama, Cayman Islands, Marshall Islands, Vanuatu, Seychelles, Mauritius, the Bahamas, etc. These countries typically don’t charge any taxes on ICOs, nor do they request any details on the finances or internal structures of the company.

In the western world, Switzerland and France have expressed heavy interest in supporting cryptocurrency development and have yet take any market-ending legislative actions against ICOs. In fact, last month Switzerland announced that it would begin to ease crypto regulations even further to prevent market withdrawals, and earlier this week Swiss startup SEBA raised over $100 million to launch the world’s first cryptocurrency bank.

Leaders in France meanwhile have voiced publicly that the country aims to become the European hub for cryptocurrency innovation. In September the French parliament accepted an Initial Coin Offering framework proposed by the country’s financial market regulators l’Autorité des marchés, which is built upon a voluntary ‘ICO visa’ system to protect startups and investors.

The post New Report Shows German-Based ICO Losses are as High as 90 Percent appeared first on BitcoinLinux.

54% of Cryptocurrency Exchanges Have Security Holes

54% of Cryptocurrency Exchanges Have Security Holes

Traders hope and expect the exchange they’re trading on takes security seriously. But while all crypto platforms pay lip service to good cybersecurity practices, many fail at even the most basic measures such as enforcing strong passwords. New research has found 54% of all cryptocurrency exchanges have poor security in at least one area, leaving them and their users vulnerable to attack.

Also read: Japanese Regulators Urgently Respond to Zaif’s Hack

Despite Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Hacks, Many Exchanges Still Have Shoddy Security

The cryptocurrency landscape has changed significantly since Bitcoin’s earliest days, but one thing that’s remained constant is exchange breaches. From the Mt Gox days to last month’s Zaif hack, exchanges have been regularly surrendering their funds, despite the increasing value of crypto assets incentivizing them to up their opsec. A detailed new report from ICOrating.com has revealed the extent of the lax security practices that pervade many exchanges, including several supposedly top-tier platforms.

The ICO listing and analysis site profiled 100 exchanges whose daily volume exceeds $1 million and found most of them wanting in one or more areas. For example:

  • 41% of exchanges allow passwords with fewer than 8 symbols
  • 37% of exchanges allow passwords with either digits or letters alone
  • 5% of exchanges allow the creation of accounts without email verification
  • 3% of exchanges lack 2FA
  • Only 46% of exchanges meet all four parameters
  • Just 4% of Exchanges Were Found to Have Best Practice for Domain Security

ICO Rating also considered registrar and domain security. Specifically, it looked for things such as a registry lock, preventing unauthorized changes to the domain registry, and DNSSEC, to prevent DNS cache poisoning, which has been an attack vector previously used to target platforms like Myetherwallet. Its findings were as follows:

  • Only 2% of exchanges use registry lock
  • Only 10% of exchanges use DNSSEC
  • Only 4 % of exchanges use best practice in 4 out of 5 of these areas

Coinbase and Kraken Score the Highest – Okcoin the Lowest

ICO Rating concludes by publishing a table rating all 100 exchanges profiled according to their aggregated security score. No exchange manages to score 90% or higher but Coinbase comes the closest, at 89/100, followed by Kraken at 80 and then Bitmex and Gopax in joint third (78). Other notable entries on the list are Cobinhood (8th), Ethfinex (12th), Bittrex (13th) and Binance (17th).

54% of Cryptocurrency Exchanges Have Security Holes
The top 10 exchanges for security according to ICO Rating

Bottom of the list is Okcoin.cn, which scores just 15/100. Other noteworthy exchanges that score poorly are Mercatox (25/100), the hacked Zaif (29/100), and Bithumb (34/100). While previous attempts have been made at rating the security practices of cryptocurrency exchanges, ICO Rating’s report is the most detailed yet. It is not comprehensive, for it does not detail such matters as dynamic IP verification, withdrawal checks, and other security measures. Nevertheless, it provides a snapshot of the health of crypto exchanges and shows there’s room for improvement across the board.

Which cryptocurrency exchanges do you think suffer from lax security? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and ICO Rating.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post 54% of Cryptocurrency Exchanges Have Security Holes appeared first on BitcoinLinux.