Coinbase Wallet Targeted by New Trojan Malware Dubbed ‘Alien’

The Coinbase wallet is among 226 Android applications targeted by a recently discovered Trojan dubbed ‘Alien.’ This malware mostly targets the financial services space and is a by-product of the dreaded Cerberus Trojan. According to ThreatFabric, which discovered the malware, this specific strain had caused a lot of trouble in Google play to an extent where the team in charge had become complacent.

Alien is quite an advanced malware given that the malicious players behind it can steal user credentials, intercept notifications, and alter the state applications on the compromised device. ThreatFabric noted:

“Most importantly, it offers a notifications sniffer, allowing it to get the content of all notifications on the infected device, and a RAT (Remote Access Trojan) feature (by abusing the TeamViewer application), meaning that the threat actors can perform the fraud from the victim’s device.”

The blog highlights that the next probable moves by those running ‘Alien’ would be to improve the Random Access Trojan or build an ATS function for automation of the fraudulent process. Nonetheless, it points out that the number of new banking Trojans will undoubtedly increase and come with more advanced features.

“The last quarter of 2020 will probably come with some additional changes to the threat landscape, especially since the source code of the Cerberus Trojan has been made publicly available. In the coming months, we can definitively expect some new malware families, based on Cerberus, to emerge.”

With crypto space growing aggressively, Trojan attacks have become more common as fraudsters move to capitalize on the shaky security ecosystems. IT security firm Eset had also recently discovered a Trojan malware targeting crypto traders who use Apple’s MACOS. Other instances include a cryptojacking ‘shellbot,’ which targeted Linux users back in 2019.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Blockchain Capital Becomes the 27th Member to Join the Facebook-Backed Libra Association

  • Blockchain Capital, an investment company that was among the first ones to finance crypto-based projects, has joined Libra Association, the governance body spearheading the Facebook-led Libra blockchain project.

In a press statement shared with Bitcoin Exchange Guide, Libra Association stated that one of the giant venture capital firms in the industry has become its latest member. The association further added that Blockchain Capital will advise on various aspects in regards to its payment system.

Blockchain capital is also set to offer its various experts as well as different industry figures for use by the association, Libra’s chief of policy and communication Dante Disparte stated.

The Libra Association now has 30 members who are working together to design a “more equitable payment system” with Libra.

Blockchain Capital’s co-founder and managing partner, Bart Stephens stated that his company believes that modern technology can be used to enhance financial access in the world. He said:

“Leveraging blockchain technology to improve financial access and promote innovation has been at the core of Blockchain Capital’s portfolio strategy.”

Blockchain Capital was started in 2013 and has so far invested in more than 80 companies within the blockchain and crypto industry inclusive of Ripple and Coinbase.

The Libra Association was started in June 2018 following Facebook’s release of a white paper for its intended stablecoin project dubbed Libra. At that time, the association included various global firms as founding members such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, eBay, Stripe, Uber, Andreessen Horowitz as well as Coinbase. However, most of them have departed the association following regulatory pressure and scrutiny from the authorities.

Libra Association has added various firms this year such as Shopify and Checkout.com in efforts to revitalize the association. However, the firm is still miles away from its target of 100 members.

The association which is based in Switzerland has also been active in appointing top executives and on Thursday, the firm announced the appointment of ex HSBC CEO as the chief of its operating firm, Libra Networks LLC. The association had also previously announced the appointment of Stuart Levey, HSBC’s ex legal officer as its CEO.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Six Blockchain Startups Selected On World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2020 Tech Pioneers List

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced the list of technology pioneers, and among them were six blockchain-based startups. The announcement was made earlier today through the official WEF Twitter account.

The six firms consist of:

  • MakerDAO
  • Chainlink
  • Veridum Labs
  • Lightning Labs
  • Ripio
  • Elliptic

The WEF Technology Pioneers of 2020 list brings together 100 startups from across the globe, which are set to introduce or pioneer new technologies as well as innovations in different sectors, including Artificial Technology (AI), Robotics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning.

The listing of technology pioneers by WEF started in 2000, where outstanding tech pioneers are acknowledged and recognized. The startups are incorporated in various WEF initiatives as well as events to shed more light and insights into various critical world discussions.

According to WEF, the six blockchain-based startups will be incorporated into the organization’s initiatives, events, and activities for two years to bring their fresh thinking in various global discussions.

The six blockchain startups will also become members of the WEF’s Global Innovators Community, which is an invite-only group bringing together the globe’s most promising startups.

The six startups will also be part of WEF Strategic Intelligence ecosystem that assists industry leaders as well as policy and decision-makers to navigate different transformations in various industries, economies as well as global issues. In other words, the six startups will be taken as experts to help in making important decisions by global leaders and decision-makers.

Blockchain-based startups have been recognized previously with Bitfury, which offers blockchain solutions, making it to the list last year. In 2015, Ripple made it to the list.

The recognition is essential as it helps the startups to access a wide range of expert insights as well as the market. The startups can exchange notes with other firms from across the globe. The listing will also give the six blockchain startups the much-needed exposure to potential clients.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Uniswap Version 2 Goes Live On Ethereum Mainnet Promising Enhanced Features

  • Uniswap v2 goes live on Ethereum mainnet
  • Flash loans are among the new features of Uniswap v2

Uniswap v2 Goes Live on Ethereum Mainnet

In an announcement on May 19, 2020, decentralized finance platform, Uniswap, announced that its new set of updates are live on Ethereum mainnet. This follows the successful testing of the platform on Ropsten, Rinkeby, Kovan and Görli testnets.

According to Uniswap’s project lead – Hayden Adams – the second iteration aims to solve the piercing challenges faced on the premier version including running all token swaps through ETH.

The Uniswap v2 will also add a new oracle system to complement its already running price oracle in a bid to onboard new users to DeFi projects.

The Uniswap v2 Upgrades

Following the announcement of Uniswap’s latest version back in March, the Uniswap v2 platform is finally live on the Ethereum network.

While the platform greatly differs from its predecessor, three features are highlighted in the post including:

  • Flash loans
  • Manipulation-resilient price oracles
  • The ability for anyone to create any token pair they want, if it’s on Ethereum.

Uniswap v1 supported an Ethereum-only swapping feature which always required two trades to complete ERC 20 token pair exchanges.

The second iteration is expected to have a direct pair of ERC 20 tokens; lowering the cost of the transaction while allowing liquidity providers to reduce their volatility on one side of the pool if paired with stablecoins.

The new v2 platform will include flash loans: a topic that has been met with a collective raising of eyebrows for many across the crypto industry.

To summarize: Flash loans permit a user to borrow any amount up to the total liquidity available, so long as the whole sum gets returned in the same transaction. The Uniswap v2 flash loans are expected to lower the overall number of transactions a user makes, saving them on fees.

Another distinctive feature is the introduction of manipulation-resistant price oracles that will provide backup for the Uniswap price discovery system. Uniswap will not use these price oracles as a main point of reference, however. But as a way of improving its own systems. Adams said:

“There is this huge demand for oracles, and it’s a very valuable thing to have an on-chain price feed, especially a decentralized one.”

Uniswap currently holds over $43 million in locked value on the platform representing a 2.3% drop in the past 24 hours.

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Author: Lujan Odera

DigiByte Skyrockets Up 285% In Last 30 Days, ‘No Surprise DGB Outperforming, It’s Undervalued’

The top performer among the top cryptocurrencies, DigiByte (DGB) is enjoying 13.75% gains today while trading at $0.0247. This level was last seen in September 2018.

This jump in the altcoin’s price has it gaining entry into the top 30 cryptos by a market cap of $317 million.

A modification of Bitcoin protocol, this cryptocurrency is up over 813% since the March sell-off during which DGB saw a decline of 66%. In March 2020, DGB made a fresh low from the 2018 peak and since then has been on an uptrend.

Currently, up 345% YTD, DGB is still down 83% from its all-time high of $0.141.

Comparing this ongoing rally to the 2017 and 2018 bull rally that added $1.6 billion to DGB’s market cap, DigiByte co-founder Jared Tate said, this one is different with a bigger network and ecosystem.

“DigiByte is not being manipulated, no P&D. We’re seeing sustainable organic growth. No large stake by a single entity, but a true distribution of wealth,” said Rudy Bouwman, co-founder and of DGB and Vice Chairman of DigiByte Foundation.

“What is happening now, should not come as a surprise. We all know DGB is undervalued and therefore now outperforming,” he added.

These gains have been achieved despite the cryptocurrency not being listed on top exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, Gemini, and others.

In the past, Tate had accused Binance and Coinbase of foul play and asking for money to list their cryptocurrency, which DGB couldn’t provide because of having zero funds as a decentralized project.

He explained in great detail about his dealing with Binance and not getting listed on the leading spot exchange.

He yet again most recently took to Twitter to share the “blatant deceit in the new & improved ranking of “mineable” coins” on CoinMarketCap, a crypto tracker site acquired by Binance in a $400 million deal for which the exchange has been receiving a lot of flak from the crypto community.

Founded in 2013, the altcoin is still available on over 100 exchanges such as OKEx, Bitfinex, Bittrex, Huobi, Upbit, and others. In the past 24 hours, more than $13 million worth of DGB exchanged hands, as per Messari and ranks 20th on the basis of this “real” volume.

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Author: AnTy

Singapore Exempts Binance, Coinbase, Gemini, and Ripple From its Current PSA Crypto Act

Singapore is counted among one of the crypto hubs of the world as it offers ease of business for these crypto service providers when a majority of the countries around the globe have taken a stricter regulatory approach.

Although Singapore recently enforced crypto legislation in the form of the Payment Services Act (PSA), the country has exempted popular crypto exchanges such as Binance and Coinbase along with Ripple from the act, right from the start of the new year.

Under the PSA act, crypto service providers are supposed to obtain an operating license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). However, as per an official notification released on March 24, it has been revealed that several crypto service providers have been allowed to offer specific crypto service without the need of the operating license for a limited period of time.

The exempted firms including Binance, Ripple, and Coinbase have been offered a lease of 6 months from the start of the new year. All these firms can continue offering their service until July 28, 2020. After the said period is over, these crypto firms would be required to file a license under the current PSA act.

Few Crypto Service Providers Offered One-Year Grant

While Binance, Ripple and Coinbase have been offered a lease of 6 months, there are several other crypto entities which have been offered a longer period of exemptions from the PSA. These firms include the Gemini exchange, the OKCoin exchange, PundiX, Cumberland, DRW Holdings and a subsidiary of BitGo, which have been granted a lease period of 12-month.

Both Gemini and BitGo can continue offering specific crypto services such as account issuance services, domestic money transfer services, and inward cross-border money transfer services until January 28, 2021.

The move to exempt certain crypto service providers to operate in the country without the need to get an operating license can be seen as a bullish move by the MAS to encourage crypto adoption and establish Singapore as one of the crypto capitals of the World. After the said exemptions period are over, it would be interesting to see if the Singapore regulatory bodies grant any further exemptions to other crypto service providers looking to launch their service in the country.

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Author: James W

Use Of Bitcoin Among Merchants Increased In 2019, New Data Shows

While the adoption of Bitcoin for day-to-day transactions may be moving at a slow pace, the use of the coin among the merchants soared last year, CoinDesk reports.

BitPay, the cryptocurrency payment processor, processed an equivalent of about $1 billion worth of crypto transactions last year with Bitcoin transactions dominating the transactions, Bill Zielke, the firm’s CMO revealed.similarly, Coinbase Commerce facilitated about $135 million of crypto transaction for numerous merchants last year. This was a 600% rise in the volume of crypto transactions through Coinbase Commerce from 2018.

Stablecoins led by Ether took up just a fraction of the the two mentioned transaction totals. Meanwhile, according to Chainalysis, slightly over $4 billion worth of Bitcoin was transacted via payment processors last year. In this case, CoinBase is aggressively pushing for an increase of its merchant transactions this year.

Despite the rise in the volume of Bitcoin transactions among merchants, it is still very low compared to credit card purchases. Credit card purchases were worth $3.7 trillion in 2018 as per the U.S. Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection report .

The Bitcoin transaction volumes were also contributed by consumer facing firms. Will Reeves, Fold CEO, revealed that the firm facilitated over 2,000 purchases last year during the holiday shopping season. Reeves also stated that more than 80 percent of the total transactions were through Lightning Network. Reeves stated that Starbucks, Amazon as well as Sephora witnessed the highest transactions among the lightning users.

There have been fresh options for merchants, last week Zap introduced Strike, which is an app that allows users to pay using the US dollar through the lightning network.

Payments using cryptos are gaining traction among the merchants with some citing security as the main attraction. According to Jean-Michel Daumas, the proprietor of Lola Luna Boutique, crypto payments are more secure compared to other payment methods like PayPal since clients can lie and say they didn’t receive their orders and get their money back. Lona Lula took in about 90 Bitcoin in payments last year.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Poll Hints Majority Doesn’t See XRP Hitting $1 Ever, Is Ripple at Fault?

  • XRP is the second biggest loser among the top 10 cryptocurrencies of 2019
  • The digital asset to face selling pressure from Ripple and adoption issues within the network
  • XRP never hitting $1 or as soon as next year, some extremely bullish with $589 next month

The third-largest cryptocurrency XRP is down 95% from its all-time high of $3.92. And according to the majority of the voters to the Mati Greenspan, founder of investment firm Quantum Economics’ poll, the digital asset isn’t ever going to $1.

While 39.4% of the respondents out of the total 1,831 voters, till now, sees $1 “never” happening, with 37.5% votes, a close second comes 2020. So, overall it’s more of a tie between $1 never coming or happening next year.

Some crypto enthusiasts (12.6%) also see the digital asset climbing to $1 in 2027 while a few (10.5%) are extremely bullish, seeing $589 next month.

XRP Continues to Lose

The first time, XRP hit $1 was during the 2017 bull run on December 21st. But since hitting its peak in January 2018, XRP has been crashing. It is the second biggest loser among the top 10 cryptocurrencies after Stellar Lumens of 2019.

Currently, we are trading at $0.192 and went as low as $0.186 last week, which was 27-months low.

But why is the third-largest cryptocurrency dragging on so much?

According to Greenspan, “XRP tokenomics is a bit funny that way.”

What’s Behind its Poor Performance?

The former analyst at eToro pointed out two main issues with XRP’s poor performance. The first one is Ripple holds a large portion of XRP tokens and selling them into the rallies.

The company owns 60% of all the XRP ever created. Also, Ripple has sold more than $1.2 billion growth of XRP since Q4 of 2016 and the company books its XRP sales as revenues, notes Messari. Out of the $1.5 billion Ripple raised since it was founded in 2012, $1.2 billion belongs to XRP sales.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

“XRP tokenomics” is to blame.

However, recently, on this, Ripple CTO David Schwartz replied,

“Nobody buys XRP to give Ripple money to do things. We were vc/angel-funded and were going to build regardless. We started selling XRP only after there was a market price and for negligible amounts compared to our other funding.”

The second issue behind the poor price performance of Ripple’s XRP token according to Greenspan is

“Usage of the network does not necessarily require XRP tokens. Banks can use Ripplenet w/o ever touching the token.”

As Ripple announced during its SWELL 2019 event, the company has now more than 300 banks and financial institutions as partners. And currently, only about 17 of them use XRP to move funds.

The market in consolidation, People returning to the King

In the long term, however, prospects he said are “quite bullish.”

But in the short term, XRP faces selling pressure from Ripple itself and adoption issues within the network.

In a separate tweet, Greenspan explained that the market is currently in a “great consolidation” period where the entire is returning to the king, Bitcoin.

“People are realizing that many of the altcoins had exaggerated valuations beyond what the projects were worth” added Greenspan.

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Author: AnTy

IOHK Launches Cardano Daedalus Rewards Wallet For ADA Staking On Shelley Testnet

  • Cardano is now offering its users the Daedalus Rewards wallet for staking ADA.

Cardano is among the largest proof-of-stake (PoS) projects based on blockchain technology. It has recently launched the Daedalus Rewards wallet for staking ADA tokens, as an announcement released from Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK). IOHK is the research company helmed by Charles Hoskinson that’s behind Cardano.

This is what the IOHK tweet from December 17 says:

Cardano Wants to Reach a Level of Decentralization

On December 13, Cardano’s Shelley has started the Incentivized Testnet stage. With the launch of the Daedalus wallet, ADA holders will be able to obtain rewards if they delegate their tokens or act as stake pool operators, which can be very profitable for them. The rewards will become ready for spending after the Testnet is completed. With such an incentive mechanism, it’s more than clear that Cardano is trying to decentralize the network, this being the Shelley era’s main purpose.

Starting with December 15, more than 240 pools are available for staking. Cardano is looking to have its numbers growing to at least 1,000, so that the company reaches the needed decentralization level. It has already surpassed EOS and Tron, which are the main networks for delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS), when it comes to the staking pools’ numbers.

ADA Holders Have Staked $195 Million

Reports say ADA holders have staked more than 5 billion ADA coins, so about $195 million. The Shelley mainnet is expected to go live early in 2020. In case a user stakes 100,000 ADA ($3,600 at the moment), the staking rewards would be somewhere at $260 per year.

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Author: Oana Ularu

California Based Stock and Crypto Exchange, Robinhood, Has Withdrawn its Application for a Banking Charter in the U.S

This tech startup based in California is among those eyeing to tap into the market share currently dominated by oldies in financial services. However, this may be an uphill task given a tech giant like Facebook is yet to get any regulatory approval to launch the Libra crypto project.

California Based Stock and Crypto Exchange, Robinhood, Has Withdrawn its Application for a Banking Charter in the U.S

According to a spokesman from Robinhood, they decided to withdraw the application voluntarily and will continue to focus on financial inclusion. He added that Robinhood is grateful to the parties who walked with them through the charter application procedure.

Robinhood currently enjoys a large capital base advantage having been valued at $7.6 billion back in July; this was after raising $323 million in funds. The digital asset exchange gives some incentives such as zero commissions on crypto and stock trading within its platform. This product has attracted a large clientele to the Robinhood exchange especially young tech savvy investors. In future, the exchange plans to integrate a cash management solution as a replacement for its savings instrument that failed regulatory tests back in 2018.

Despite the claims of voluntary withdrawal, Robinhood’s position is a clear indication of the challenges Tech firms encounter when scaling to financial products. Other firms which have or are currently facing similar challenges include Square and Social Finance.

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Author: Lujan Odera