Yet Another Balancer Attack for ‘Unclaimed’ COMP; DeFi Liquidity Provider to Reimburse Hack Victims

It hasn’t been 24 hours since the news about a $500,000 hack on Balancer came that a new attack has claimed $2,300 worth of the hot Compound tokens (COMP).

Hao, a hacker and engineer at DeBank, a DeFi wallet took to Twitter to share how this time as well, someone used Andreessen-funded dYdX to flash loan and drained, yes again, unclaimed COMP stored in several pools of Balancer, an automatic market maker.

The hacker explained that the contract flash loaned some tokens from dYdX to mint cToken from these funds. Then they Uniswap v2 to flash loaned some COMP.

The contract joined COMP/cBAT/cUSDT pool to trigger Compound to send unclaimed COMP to this balancer pool. After syncing COMP balance, the contract withdrew from the balancer at an advantage and continued to do the same for other pools.

After getting all the extra COMP, it repaid Uniswap and dydx and made an exit and swapped COMP for ETH in a normal Uniswap V2 trade.

However, @FollowTheChain said the “unclaimed COMP” is just a tiny fraction of COMP that has accumulated since the last movement of each cToken that happened a few minutes before.

According to Balancer Labs, this attack wasn’t like the one from yesterday either.

Amidst this came the good news, that Balancer Labs will be reimbursing all the liquidity providers who lost funds in yesterday’s attack.

It will also pay out the “highest bug bounty available” to Hex capital, who alerted about this vulnerability to balancer Labs in May.

“This is a major issue in crypto today – creating bug bounty programs and then ignoring the results + refusing to pay out. We need to do better,” said Hex Capital.

Market Unaffected

Yesterday’s attack involved two pools of the Balancer that contained deflationary tokens STA and STONK, tokens with transfer fees, worth more than $500,000 getting drained by a hacker.

The attack happened in two separate transactions which were 30 minutes apart. And only the pools with a token with transfer fees were affected by the exploit.

DeFi aggregator 1inch in its official report said the attacker was a “very sophisticated smart contract engineer with extensive knowledge and understanding of the leading DeFi protocols.”

Not only was he organized and prepared in advance but also used Tornado Cash, a privacy-focused Ethereum mixer, to get initial funds that hid his source of Ether.

It reported that the attack on one of the Balancer Pools was caused by a complex transaction that the hacker sent to the Ethereum mainnet. Then, with another transaction, the hacker drained another Balancer Pool.

The address with the stolen funds currently has about 601 ETH worth about $133,823.

In its official report on the incident, Balancer Labs reported that it wasn’t aware that “his specific type of attack was possible” which now came to be untrue.

However, they have been warning about the unintended effects of ERC20s with transfer fees in the protocol. As such, STA wasn’t included in the recently put together mining whitelist of BAL.

Now, transfer fee tokens will be added to the blacklist and will continue to audit, the third planned audit is starting soon, and review the protocol.

However, the market seems unaffected for now, as the total value locked in Balancer is $115 million, down from the all-time high of $117 million just a day before, as per DeFi Pulse.

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Author: AnTy

Will Trump’s Stimulus Package Include BTC Investments As Part Of The Tax-Incentives?

One of the senior officials for President Donald Trump came with the proposal of a new economic package that stimulates people to make tax-free investments, Bitcoin (BTC) included.

It seems that the President’s administration is seriously taking new tax incentives into consideration, incentives meant to give the stock market a boost by allowing Americans to buy shares, stocks and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

Tax-Free Household Income for Employees

According to what a number of sources have told on Friday to CNBC, the new proposal wants to make a part of the household income tax-free so that people invest outside a traditional 401 (k) plan that allows employees to divert a sum from their salary towards long-term investments. Larry Kudlow, President Trump’s senior adviser and the National Economic Council director, said the approach is focused on developing tax-free savings accounts, so the capital gains wouldn’t be taxed.

The Tax-Free Proposal Would Benefit Crypto Investors

Many who have invested in cryptocurrencies have been worried about tax liability, so the investment plan that wants to make a part of the income tax-free would greatly help them. As what sources told CNBC, in a household that gets $200,000 as income per year, $10,000 would be invested in the tax-free scheme. The proposals to cut taxes are to be formally announced in September and regarded as a way for President Trump to stand out from the crowd, especially when compared with his Democratic rivals.

Americans Are Investing in the Stock Market More than Ever

The White House has these policies through which it wants to accelerate the rise of the owning stocks trend. Last year, 55% of all Americans, which is a record percentage and the greatest number since the Great Depression, were playing the stock market. However, since the US House of Representatives is currently in the Democrats’ hands, the Trump administration’s tax legislation is very likely not to pass, at least not in the near future.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Japanese Lawmakers Are Open to Issuing A Digital Yen To Compete With Libra, Digital Yuan

A group of Japanese lawmakers from the ruling party came forward with the proposal of Japan issuing its own digital currency.

It seems China’s determination to create the digital yuan and Facebook’s Libra has alarmed Tokyo more than a little bit. The digital yen would be created by the government working in partnership with private companies, which would help Japan be in tune with the global changes that are happening in financial technology at the moment, thinks Norihiro Nakayama, the foreign affairs parliamentary vice president, who also said on Thursday:

“The first step would be to look into the idea of issuing a digital yen. China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we’d like to propose measures to counter such attempts.”

The Proposal to be Submitted Next Month to the Government

The proposal is scheduled to be submitted next month to the government. While it’s unlikely for Japan to issue a digital currency as a result of both technical and legal impediments, the proposal comes while the Bank of Japan (BOJ) has made the decisions to conduct expertise on the matter, joining 6 other central banks that did the same.

Japan’s Government and BOJ Studying Digital Currencies

While political circles in Japan are paying more and more attention to digital currencies, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took the word in parliament on Friday and said the government and the BOJ will work together to study digital currencies and to enhance the convenience of the yen as a means of settlement.

Facebook’s Libra and China’s Digital Yuan Had Central Banks on Fire

Facebook pushing forward to launch the Libra cryptocurrency had central banks looking more into issuing their own digital currencies. At the same time, China is working to have its own digitized money too, which has caused lawmakers in Japan to express their concerns.

The Finance Minister Taro Aso said at the beginning of this month that if the popularity of the digital yuan increases when it comes to it being a means for international settlement, Japan would have a “very serious problem” because it settles transactions in dollars mostly.

Takahide Kiuchi, a former board member at BOJ, thinks the two countries, Japan and China, would have to issue digital currencies for completely different reasons.

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Author: Oana Ularu

How Bitcoin Can Aim at Reducing Global Inequality Across the Globe in 2020

As the global financial depression that crippled the world in 2008 came to an end, a peculiar financial system came to life and is today known as Bitcoin (BTC). During bitcoins launch on 3rd  January 2009, the cryptocurrency’s anonymous founder, Satoshi, said the system is set in place to help bridge the inequality gap that has kept growing through the years. A recent post on Business Insider, explains how the pioneer cryptocurrency can be used to bridge this gap across the globe.

Bitcoin as a Safe Haven Asset

According to the Human Development Report by the UN 2019, over 20% of human development progress was lost due to systemic inequalities in 2018. Notwithstanding, according to the latest reports from the US Census, the middle class is growing thinner as the country faces the worst case of wealth inequality since the records began.

According to economists and financial analysts, the growing demand and popularity in Bitcoin is set to stop the widening gap between the poor and the rich. Mark Yusko, the CEO and CIO of the investment advisory company Morgan Creek Capital Management, said blockchain systems, with Bitcoin leading the charge, will set forth a growing middle class as more investors are exposed to the coin. He said,

“The government and the elites want to have all the wealth, so they manufacture inflation and the wealth flows to the top. And that’s why we have the greatest wealth inequality in the history of mankind. Bitcoin helps solve that because now we can opt out as an owner of assets from that fiat system.”

The transparent, immutable, secure and decentralized nature of Bitcoin allows users to send peer to peer payments without the ridiculous fees paid to banks while increasing transparency in the process.

A Fight Against Inequality in Developing Nations

While Bitcoin reduces the inequality across developed nations through ownership of a safe haven asset, developing nations across Latin America, Africa, Asia and South America benefit in a different way. According to a World Bank report, close to quarter of the worlds population do not own a bank account due to various reasons such as lack of documentation and the inability to access the services.

With Bitcoin, unbanked and underbanked users can easily transact across the network using only their smartphone and a stable internet connection. A number of Bitcoin applications are gaining widespread attention from users in developing nations such as Venezuela, Argentina and Zimbabwe economies that are facing hyperinflation.

Notwithstanding, efforts to educate users in developing countries on the benefits of Bitcoin, is also on a gradual rise. Education initiatives such as DLBRT (Distributed Ledger Technologies Blockchain and Research Technologies) in Kenya have taken a step to educate universities and corporations, opening up over 3,000 Bitcoin wallets to this date in their country.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Monero Workgroup: It’s Up to Exchanges Not Assets To Comply With Travel Rule; XMR Not Subjected

In a blog, the Monero Compliance Workgroup came to the conclusion that XMR is exempted from FinCEN Funds Travel Rule as it is not applicable to assets and cryptos like the XMR.

According to the blog, the rules set by the U.S. Financial Crimes and Enforcement Network (FinCEN) towards the Funds Travel Rule, are not applicable to XMR.

According to the Funds Travel Rule, financial firms when either sending or receiving money must keep and submit different types of information regarding the said transfer if the money in question is $3000 or more. However, FinCEN gave extra requirements in their May guidelines. The agency explained that when a transmission protocol fails to store such information, the person in question can provide the required details. Therefore, the interpretation is that there is no requirement to provide such information within the network.

According to the Monero Workgroup on compliance, it is the duty of crypto exchanges to provide such information and not cryptocurrencies. As a regulated exchange and one that adheres to both the AML and KYC requirements, it is required to store such transactional details and should pass that information to the relevant agencies. The blog concludes that Monero or any other crypto are not affected in any way by the Funds Travel Rule.

The statement continues to say that it is misplaced for any crypto to state that it is adherent to the Funds Travel Rule as it is meant for regulated entities and not the assets which these entities deal with.

However, as Cointelegraph reports, the statement may have been released a little bit late as various exchanges have gone ahead and removed Monero from its tradable assets. This has also affected other privacy coins as the exchanges are trying to evade any frictions with the regulators.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

South Africa’s Richest Woman Thinks She Wasted Her Money On Bitcoin Investment

Most people who came to Bitcoin early have made profits as it is one of the biggest growing assets in the past decade. However, Magda Wierzycka, the richest woman of South Africa doesn’t seem to be on board on the crypto train.

In a recent interview with Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show, Wierzycka was asked if she ever wasted money. She replied: “Bitcoin! Bitcoin! Bitcoin! Bitcoin!”.

She goes as far as calling cryptos the biggest skeleton in her investment closet.

She adds:

“I bought my first Bitcoin at $4,000 and my last Bitcoin at $18,000 and watched it plummet – literally – the week after. I was completely caught up in Tulip Mania, I completely bought into the story that this is the digital gold – the digital store of value. I don’t care. I’ve lost so much money. I trust nothing any longer.”

However, Wierzycka has said the company believed strongly in the future of blockchain technology. Her firm Sygnia’s announced that it plans to open a cryptocurrency exchange by November will make it easier for South Africans to invest in this controversial currency.

Their clients will be able to buy cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, on the planned exchange. In so doing, the exchange will hope to benefit from a growing interest in digital currencies.

Wierzycka arrived in South Africa as a 13-year-old refugee from Communist Poland and rose to the very top of the male-dominated world of finance. She co-founded Sygnia Group and became its CEO in 2006. Sygnia is a leader among asset managers in South Africa when it comes to the provision of low-cost, passively-managed investments.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Bitcoin Privacy At Risk As Battle Between Wallets Intensifies with Samourai and Wasabi

Bitcoin-Privacy-At-Risk-As-Battle-Between-Wallets-Intensifies

Samourai, a Bitcoin privacy wallet, came out last Thursday and announced that Wasabi Wallet, it’s the biggest competitor, is the target of an ongoing network attack. The announcement by Samourai becomes the latest in a string of allegations the wallet provider has put out against their competitor.

According to Samourai Wallet, the attach resembles a Sybil attack. A Sybil attack is when a few users create new false identities to create the illusion that there are large numbers on the network. This would mean that the anonymity set in which Bitcoin transactions can be hidden is not as large as the wallet provider suggests. If one person in a particular set has their identity uncovered, the privacy of all the others is put at risk because most of the accounts in that pool belong to one person.

Samourai says that the attacks on Wasabi’s network go back as far as January 2019. Wasabi has hit back refuting the claims made by Samourai with their allegations against the rival wallet. This back and forth between the two Bitcoin wallets has led to users questioning the ability of either to maintain the privacy of their users.

Two Sides of The Same Coin

The two wallets were the same application before, and their similar core design shows the relationship between the two wallets. The lead designers for Samourai (TDevD) and Wasabi (nopara73) worked together on the building of Zerolink, a long-standing Bitcoin privacy tech.

One of the differences between the two wallets lies in the implementation of Zerolink. Samourai calls it Whirlpool, and it has a different pricing mechanism than Wasabi. According to the co-founder of Samourai Wallet, Whirlpool raises the expense for malicious actors who might want to break the anonymity of users through a Sybil attack.

Wasabi claims that using Whirlpool to protect anonymity is not the best method as it can always be broken because Samourai uses a centralized, backend server to process users’ extended public keys. Adam Ficsor of Wasabi says that the creator of Coinjoin, George Maxwell, approached the Samourai team and raised concerns about the use of a backend server but he was harassed and accused of making false claims.

There’s No Separating the Two

While the two privacy wallet providers are having a go at each other, experts say that nothing is separating the two. Hillebrand says that the issues presented by both are based on different assumptions.

Hillebrand also says that while the basics of Zerolink’s implementation in the two wallets are the same, users are required to take matters of privacy into their own hands by making sure that they stick to the best practices of the respective wallet’s protocol.

Kevin Loaec, Managing Director of blockchain consultancy firm Chairsmiths, said that any implementation of CoinJoin’s Zerolink would be vulnerable to the same kind of attacks. Any mistake from any of the mixing participants remains recorded on the immutable blockchain, and it amplifies the risks of future exposure. Loaec adds that by using wallets like Wasabi and Samourai your spending habits, consolidations you use and all your activity can be used to profile you and reduce your anonymity.

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Author: Ali Raza