Cellebrite Launches Crypto Tracer Solution Powered by CipherTrace for Tracking Illicit Activities

Cellebrite, a digital intelligence firm has released a cryptocurrency transaction tracing tool called “Cellebrite Crypto Tracer,” which would help law enforcement agencies, businesses, and analysts to trace crypto transactions being used for any illicit activity such as money laundering, terrorism, drugs, human trafficking, weapon sales, and ransomware schemes.

The firm has promised to offer its crypto transaction tracing toolkit to investigators, along with analysts and even those who want to lawfully use the toolkit to obtain evidence of any kind of criminal activity being carried out using cryptocurrencies.

As per a study conducted by Oxford University, over $76 billion in Bitcoin is being used to facilitate illegal activities. The use of digital assets, especially Bitcoin and privacy-centric coins, has been a significant hurdle for law enforcement agencies and remains one of the prominent reasons governments have a passive stance towards regulating cryptocurrencies.

How Does Cellebrite’s Crypto Tracer Solution Work?

The Cellebrite crypto tracer solution creates an array of data sets with attributable points. The toolkit collects data from open-source and private references, deception data, and human intelligence, which results in a data set of 522 million attributable points.

Leeor Ben-Peretz, chief strategy officer of Cellebrite, sheds some light on how the tracing solution aggregates and intelligently uses data to help users trace illicit activity. The firm claims that its solution, with millions of data sets, can pinpoint the origin of funds as well as where the fund is headed to and can determine if the destination is an exchange or a wallet. Peretz explained:

“Some of the major features of the solution include the ability to conduct risk scoring and profile hundreds of global exchanges, ATMs, mixers, money laundering systems, gambling services, and known criminal addresses and assign risk levels to transactions.”

The launch of the crypto tracing tool could not have been timed better. Just last week, Twitter experienced one of the worst cyberattacks in recent history, where the accounts of hundreds of prominent personalities like Elon Musk, Kanye West, Jay-Z, and many more were taken over by hackers.

All the accounts tweeted a fake bitcoin scam promising people to double the amount they send to the mentioned bitcoin address. While the scams look apparent to many, and Twitter managed to gain control within a few minutes, hackers still managed to get over $100,000.

With other blockchain tracing providers such as Chainalysis also tracking the transactions of the wallets that received these funds. Now, with CypherTrace powered, Cellebrite’s tracing solution can help in locating the accused behind these hacks. However, cybercriminals have adapted to the evolving landscape of technology, and have become more sophisticated in their hacks and scams.

John Jefferies, a chief financial analyst of CypherTrace, believes as the cryptocurrency gains more mainstream adoption, the crimes associated with it will also see a rise. He said:

“As the market capitalization of crypto grows, larger financial crimes and nation-state scale. Regulatory reform, driven by the updated FATF guidelines, will force jurisdiction arbitrage as new laws are enacted, globally on unsynchronized timelines.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Switzerland’s Six Stock Exchange Lists FiCAS Actively Managed Bitcoin ETP (BTCA)

Switzerland’s leading stock exchange, SIX, is listing an active crypto exchange-traded product (ETP) in a move that will increase digital asset exposure in the Zurich headquartered market. This new product will go by index ‘BTCA’ which derives from its full name, Bitcoin Capital Active ETP. Notably, the BTCA ETP will be issued by Bitcoin Capital AG while FiCAS, the Swiss-domiciled crypto investment firm, acts as the manager.

Ideally, this crypto ETP is meant to create more portfolio balancing positions in a world where digital assets account for over $300 billion in market cap as of press time. Built to be regulatory compliant, the BTCA ETP will expose investors to the top 15 digital assets, giving them an opportunity to actively rebalance their pool and exit positions through fiat.

Consequently, product managers will be able to execute these moves by exchanging BTC for other digital currencies including TRX, XTZ, LTC, EOS, BCH, XRP, and ETH. The main exit fiat currencies will be the U.S dollar, Euro, and Swiss Franc.

The BTCA ETP has been touted to be particularly different since it is not pegged on a single asset’s movement or basket of crypto indexes. Instead, this crypto-based ETP comprises of the digital assets highlighted above and can, therefore, be actively managed based on market fundamentals and technical price action. Some of the fundamental factors that FiCAS noted it would pay attention to are investor sentiment and issues such as a token’s liquidity or the value an underlying blockchain.

As for the technical price action, Ali Mizani Oskui, the founder of FiCAS, is confident of a trusted strategy that he has beaten the market since 2013,

“Personally, I have built my expertise in crypto trading since 2013, with a strong track record in outperforming the market. I look forward to bringing my trading experience to global and institutional markets with this pioneering product.”

This latest crypto-based listing on Six stock exchange adds to the likes of the Wisdom Tree Bitcoin ETP which launched back in December. Switzerland has generally been very progressive in the crypto space, making it an attractive destination for Security Token Offerings (STO’) and now crypto ETP’s are gradually following pace.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Decentralized Derivatives Exchange Injective Raises $2.6M In Fresh Funding for Upcoming Mainnet

Injective Protocol, a front-running resistant layer-2 decentralized exchange protocol has raised $2.6 million in seed funding round led by Pantera Capital and many other prominent firms such as QCP’s investment arm QCP Soteria, Axia8 Ventures, and OK’s strategic investment partner K42.

The Injective Protocol was also a part of the Binance incubation program of 2018. The protocol itself aims to solve the scalability and liquidity issues faced by exchanges. Solving these issues would not only offer working capital but also liquidity solutions for decentralized exchanges.

Commenting on their new partners, and what led to lead the funding round, was Paul Veradittakit, Partner at Pantera Capital stating:

“Injective Protocol scalably brings advanced derivatives capabilities to Defi while being uncompromisingly decentralized.

We see Injective as a strong contender to expand Defi beyond just Ethereum power users and to serve as an integral layer ushering the new dawn of decentralized derivatives.”

Injective protocol promises to boost the decentralized exchange market by improving liquidity and also promise to help in building different products to cater to the needs of the consumers.

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Author: Hank Klinger

This Stock Puts Crypto Pump to Shame; From All-Time Low to All-Time High

Crypto pumps have nothing on this stock, which makes sense, given that President Donald Trump himself is the one behind the pump.

This stock is none other than Kodak; that’s right; the same company that once jumped the blockchain train has now found another driver to pump its shares.

KODK shares are witnessing an enormous rally that seems to have no end in sight. Its shares started rising after the Trump administration announced the company would be transformed into a pharmaceutical producer under the Defense Production Act.

Trump announced on Tuesday that the company would receive a $765 million loan to launch Kodak Pharmaceuticals, which will generate key generic medicines to fight the coronavirus and reduce America’s dependence on foreign drug makers.

In response, the company’s share skyrocketed, up more than 2,440% this week, that sent its market valuation to nearly $2 billion. During this uptrend, it triggered at least six halts for volatility.

Once a giant producer of film and cameras, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012 only to emerge as a restructured business the very next year and has now pivoted itself to a materials and chemicals company.

Kodak CEO Jim Continenza said they already manufacture key materials for some pharmaceuticals and would take three to three and a half years to build out the new production capacity. For this, the company would hire 359 workers, most in New York state, and create about 1,200 indirect jobs.

“KODAK just went from All-time Lows to All-time Highs in just a few days,” said trader Mr. Anderson, adding, the chart of KODAK shares is of the kind that “every RIPPLE fanboy will pin their hopes and dreams on.”

Crypto market has been enjoying a rally for months now. However, this altcoin season has slowed down since Bitcoin hit the psychological importance level of $10,000.

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Author: AnTy

USMC Bans Crypto Mining Apps From Govt Issued Phones Due to Privacy & Security Issues

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) released a memo on Tuesday in guidance to all holders of government-furnished equipment (GFE) mobile phones. The memo further prohibits the installation and use of these mobile phones from a select group of apps, including mining cryptocurrencies apps.

The set prohibition laws come up as a security and privacy concern for the Marine Corps, the memo states. Some of the major categories of apps forbidden from the installation on the GFEs include gaming, dating, gambling, security/monitoring bypass tools, rooting or jailbreak tools, and bitcoin/cryptocurrency mining applications. The statement reads,

“Users will not see or be able to install prohibited applications to their GFE device from Google Play or the Apple Store. If the user has an app installed that later becomes prohibited, it will be automatically removed/blocked by the management server.”

No direct reason is offered for prohibiting crypto-mining tools or any other apps rather than they raise security and privacy concerns to the USMC.

“The collection, use, and disposition of information for account creation or made available through mobile applications (e.g., physical locations, significant life events, images, videos, etc.) is a privacy and security concern.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitcoin Is Reversing its Downtrend From A 2017 Peak in An Action HODLers Like to See

Bitcoin is enjoying the green ever since it broke through $10,000 over the weekend. The leading digital currency had already started moving last week, but this week, it gained momentum and is currently trading above $11,000.

Up over 16% in the past five days, it is Bitcoin’s turn to shine.

Ari Wald, head of technical analysis at Oppenheimer, an investment banking service provider, recently in an interview with CNBC while talking about gold. According to him, Gold is looking good after its run-up said, “it’s worthwhile to highlight bitcoin instead, which isn’t as extended.”

Wald notes that bitcoin’s recent breakout is setting up more gains ahead. He said:

“Bitcoin is reversing its downtrend dating back to its 2017 peak. If you are a long-term holder, this is the type of action you’d like to see.”

The flagship cryptocurrency is up 190% from March low but still about 80% away from its all-time high of $20,000 hit in December 2017.

Michael Binger, president of Gradient Investments, however, still prefers yellow metal over digital gold.

“Between the two, I would really lean on the gold side here. When you think about it, it is really a Goldilocks environment for gold investors right now. I mean, you have a weak U.S. dollar, you have negative real interest rates. All of this is based on the prospect of rising inflation.”

Although Binger agrees that bitcoin is a momentum play, he says it is not a “valid currency yet.”

Goldman Goes From no to Keep Buying it

In comparison to gold’s 28% run-up in 2020 so far to hit new peaks, bitcoin has surged over 50% YTD.

Bullion is certainly on investors’ radar, especially after it made new highs. Even Goldman Sachs is recommending investors to keep buying gold, raising its 12-month forecast for gold to $2,300 an ounce.

On Wednesday, Goldman Sachs issued a bold warning that the dollar is in danger of losing its status of the world’s reserve currency amidst the fear of currency “debasement,” inflation, and real interest rates at all-time lows.

This call to buy gold came two months after the investment bank “pissed on bitcoin and gold” back in May, stating, “we do not recommend gold or bitcoin on a strategic or tactical basis for clients’ investment portfolios.”

So, it won’t’ be far-fetched if Goldman comes running back to bitcoin as well in the not so distant future.

“We’ve been recommending gold as a way to play the expansion of the [Federal Reserve’s] balance sheet. It’s actually the high momentum commodity, it ranks highest above all commodities out there in terms of momentum,” Wald said on CNBC’s “Trading Nation,” adding they recommend “sticking” with the precious metal.

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Author: AnTy

Japan’s Central Bank to Prioritize the Development and Potential Issuance of the Digital Yen

  • The Bank of Japan has unveiled plans to zero in on the possible development and issuance of their own Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
  • This has most likely been triggered by China’s efforts to developing its digital Yuan.

News has surfaced that the Japanese Central Bank will now focus their efforts on the development of the digital Yen. This is a there is growing concern that China might beat them by issuing the CBDC first.

Takeshi Kimura, departmental Director General at the BOJ, has reiterated that the Central Bank is still in talks about increasing their scope to past the preliminary phase. This was during his Q&A with a local Japanese news outlet. He indicated the probability of collaborating with the private sector, which may be knowledgeable about such projects. He was, however, not keen to put a timeline on the test runs.

According to Kimura, the digital Yen must constitute of two major attributes: Universal access and be resilient. The digital Yen must be accessible to everyone as it is with the local fiat currency. It must also be resilient and be available at all times, even in the face of calamities that may lead to power outages. He remarked that the reduction in the circulation of the digital yen would mark the consolidation of the digital currency era, further necessitating the urgency for a CBDC.

Notably, China’s push for the CBDC may have rattled other jurisdictions leading to a sudden need for their own CBDC’s. Various Central Banks such as Bank of Thailand have announced test-runs for their CBDC, the digital Baht. This June, an LDP policy committee put forward a dossier labeling China’s head start in the CBDC race as a threat to National security.

China’s own need for the digital Yuan may have been sparked off by the announcement of the ambitious Libra project. Although there is no launch date for the digital Yuan, they have made inroads into the project. Recently the former PBOC Vice-Chair, Wang Zhongmin, declared that they had already completed the backend infrastructure for the digital Yuan, which is an impressive feat in any CBDC initiative.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Coin Metrics’ Trusted Volume Framework Reveals Only 14 Exchanges Are Reporting Real Trading Data

Coin Metrics, a crypto analyst firm, has released a new framework called ‘Trusted Volume Framework’ to evaluate how trustworthy is the trading volume clams made by various exchanges every year.

The analysts at Coin Metrics found that only a handful of exchanges, among hundreds, managed to cut when it comes to offering trading volume data. The study also found that a majority of the exchanges have been showing 10x the actual volume. Exchanges dwell into wash trading, and many other unethical means to show an inflated number to attract more customers.

Key Takeaways of the study revealed:

  • Fake trading volumes have been a black mark on the industry – it is difficult to find a single metric to easily sift through the reported numbers.
  • We’ve taken a data-driven approach to the problem and are excited to introduce a “trusted volume” metric to help identify the legitimate trading volume.
  • Our framework for measuring the reporting quality of exchange is broken down into three broad categories: volume correlation, web traffic analytics, and qualitative features.

As of June 2020, the passing exchanges for ‘trusted’ spot volume include Binance (and Binance US), Bitbank, Bitfinex, bitFlyer, Bitstamp, Bittrex, CEX.IO, Coinbase, Gate.io, Gemini, itBit, Kraken, and Poloniex.

Jon Geenty, a data scientist at Coin Metrics, commented on the growing trend of showing inflated numbers and said:

“Exchanges are especially notorious for boosting volume numbers to game ranking sites or other nefarious reasons. The industry is full of technical information that can be difficult to understand and, at times, misleading. We are working to create a more transparent environment for those within it and a safer, more trustworthy source for those hoping to learn more.”

How did Coin Metrics Evaluate Fake Volume?

Coin Metrics’ Trusted Volume Framework
Source: Coin Metrics

Analysts at Coin metrics did not collect data from top exchanges; instead, they collected trading volume data from trusted spot exchanges which included:

The Coin Metrics subjected these exchanges to three litmus tests, which included comparing the price feed for the exchange against the trusted exchanges. Any exchange with a 60% correlation with the trusted exchange ‘passed’ the test.

The second test assesses the exchange’s volume against the web traffic of the platform, so if an exchange is inflating its volume, then the ratio will be higher as well.

And for the third test, Coin Metrics checks qualitative measures taken by the exchange, like whether the exchange is un/regulated, whether the platform boasts KYC features and others.

Among the most popular exchanges which could not pass the test had only one contender in OKEx, which failed on all the tests.

It was revealed that, in the last 24 hours, the overall volume of the crypto market was $13.25 billion, while the exchanges combined showed a total trading volume of $113 billion.

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Author: James W

Tel Aviv Stock Exchange to Roll Out Centralized Securities Lending Platform On Blockchain

Israel’s Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) announced on Tuesday plans to launch the first-ever of a centralized securities lending platform based on blockchain technology in the country. Back in 2018, BEG reported the stock exchange entered into a partnership with Accenture, Hyperledger, and Intel to launch the securities lending platform in a bid to improve the security of the transactions using smart contracts.

According to the latest press release, the Blockchain Securities Lending Platform will improve the financial systems in Israel by transforming the securities lending market onto distributed ledger technologies (DLTs), enabling direct lending between parties.

Currently, in Israel, institutions and securities traders lack a centralized securities lending market with all of these services only offered by intermediary banks and other third party financial institutions.

With the DLT-based securities lending, traders will have a ‘one-stop-shop’ to deposit and borrow all the major financial instruments available. This allows trading in greater volumes in shorter timeframes, improves the lending process, and lowers the cost of securities lending. Orly Grinfeld, EVP and Head of Clearing at TASE said,

“The Blockchain technology will present a new level of safety for securities lending and will support growth for transactions based on this new platform.”

TASE efforts in blockchain

The partnership with Accenture, Intel, and Hyperledger, among other partners, opens up a gateway for TASE to offer its customers a direct channel to transact digital securities. Accenture will help in the development of the blockchain smart contracts enabling the TASE to track and categorize transactions, including holdings, receipts, and settlements

TASE also joined the Blockchain Technology Partners (BTP), a group of blockchain developers helping the exchange build its flagship blockchain management product, Sextant.

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Author: Lujan Odera

These Top Coins Including XRP Have Finally Started Moving

Bitcoin is enjoying a ride with the price now above $11,000. For the first time, the largest digital asset has broken its long-standing trendline resistance that dates back to mid-December 2017.

Even Bitcoin dominance has started to recover, which isn’t good for altcoins that have been enjoying a rally for the past few weeks, although a handful of small-cap cryptos are still enjoying gains.

But bitcoin uptrending is not the only reason why altcoins are moving in the opposite direction to the largest digital asset. CMS PRIME shares,

“The biggest and most important is people were overweight alts and under weight btc.”

Moreover, there was a “sudden need” for margin as positions get stretched and under collateralized positions get shocked. Bitcoin is also the reserve currency, so people have to sell and get collateral in.

“In short altszn bred complacency in btc and then a mad dash to catch up,” and the same is true in reverse.

Breaking Out

Although some of the best performing altcoins like Chainlink (LINK), Tezos (XTZ), VeChain (VET), Ampleforth (AMPL), Aave (LEND), Kyber Network (KNC), Balancer (BAL), and many others recording losses in the past week, some of the top cryptocurrencies started making gains this week.

Bitcoin’s run-up even managed to push Litecoin into the green, resulting in the digital asset breaking out of its multi-month accumulation range. The 8th largest cryptocurrency would soon revisit its long-standing downtrend trendline resistance dating back to mid-Dec. 2017 on breaking of which, “LTC could enjoy a new bull trend.” Analyst Rekt Capital said,

“LTC will soon approach its own trendline resistance, dating back to mid-December 2017. It’s difficult to think that LTC won’t follow BTC & fail to break it.”

Other bad performers recording gains this week include Bitcoin Cash, which is up 27% this past week, BSV 23%, and EOS 20%.

The third-largest cryptocurrency XRP also finally made some moves. This digital asset is still down 94% from its all-time high but jumped nearly 22% this past week, and is currently trading at $0.24.

These gains came amidst the news that Ripple partner Japan’s SBI Holdings is using R2’s enterprise blockchain Corda to issue its new S coin. In other news, Ripple announced the launch of Payburner, a P2P payment platform based on XRP.

Ripple CTO David Schwartz also shared in a recent interview why they decided not to build smart contracts into the XRP Ledger. He said,

“We were right that adding smart contracts makes a platform worse for payments. And we were right that it would introduce fee instability, performance issues, and have lots of attack surface.”

“Ethereum was wildly successful and for good reasons.”

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Author: AnTy