Ethereum Developer Virgil Griffith Remanded In Custody For Violating Bail Terms By Accessing Coinbase Wallet

Ethereum Developer Virgil Griffith Remanded In Custody For Violating Bail Terms By Accessing Coinbase Wallet

Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith has been remanded in custody. He’s said to have reportedly violated the terms of his bail, per reports from Inner City Press. Griffith was granted bail in December 2019.

Griffith May Be In Jail Until His Trial In September

The remand order was given after a federal judge found out that he had violated the terms of his bail by seeking access to his Ethereum assets held by exchange Coinbase in May 2021.

Griffith, a former researcher with the Ethereum Foundation, will likely spend the next two months in jail as he is scheduled to be tried on September 21. If found guilty, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

The developer is being charged with conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Griffith is said to have allegedly assisted North Korea in laundering money through cryptocurrency in order to avoid US sanctions. The developer was arrested in November 2019.

Although he was denied bail initially, he was finally granted a bond order for $1 million in December 2019. Griffith’s father reportedly offered his house worth $835,000 as security for bond. His sister also secured the bond with her property.

The developer was granted bail on the condition that he would not access his accounts and would remain under house arrest with his parents in Alabama.

However, he is said to have violated these bail terms when he tried to access his cryptocurrency account by contacting Coinbase to request the removal of account security functions.

Although Griffith’s lawyers claimed the attempt to access the account on Coinbase was made by proxy. The lawyers argue that his family only contacted Coinbase to ascertain if the assets in Griffith’s account could cover his legal fees. The lawyers said,

“Given the impending trial date, Mr. Griffith may need to sell certain assets to fund his legal defense…In connection with their strategy to assess and access necessary resources to fund his defense, and after consulting counsel, his mother made an online request to access a US-based and regulated cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase…”

US District Judge P. Kevin Castel said Griffith’s attempt to access the assets suggested a flight risk since the assets Griffith held had surged in value into the $1 million range.

Virgil Griffith’s Failed Attempt To Dismiss Case

Griffith had previously filed a motion to dismiss the conspiracy charges in October 2020. He claimed that his April 2019 conference presentation consisted of public information that was widely available. Therefore he did not provide a service to North Korean officials. This argument was not accepted as the US government labeled the statement as absurd.

Griffith’s case also gained support from the Crypto community, who championed his release. Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin had defended and declared his solidarity with Virgil Griffith last year. He said that Griffith didn’t do any wrong as he only tutored in his presentation.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Billionaire Novogratz Invests in Virtual Real Estate Developer, Which Bought $900k In Virtual Land

Billionaire Novogratz Invests in Virtual Real Estate Developer, Which Bought $900k In Virtual Land

Billionaire Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital’s venture capital division Galaxy Interactive is investing $10 million in virtual estate developer Republic Realm, which also buys cryptos and NFTs.

Republic Realm is part of a private investment platform called Republic, backed by investors, including Binance and investment firm Prosus.

Republic had a Series A funding round in March in which it raised $36 million from investors, including Galaxy Digital and Prosus. The latest $10 million funding is a separate one.

Founded in March 2021, Republic Realm has made over 1,500 investments and earlier this month bought a plot of virtual land in Decetralzand for $900k — the most expensive NFT land to date.

In Decentraland, ownership of virtual land is bought and sold in NFT form. This virtual land was made up of 259 units of land; the plot of virtual real estate represents 66,304 virtual square meters making it the biggest Decentraland land purchase in terms of virtual size.

The digital real estate firm aims to turn it into a virtual shopping district. The virtual shopping district in it is called Metajuku, modeled after Harajuku, a district in Tokyo known, which sells digital wearables.

It has also been adding buildings, including a virtual mall, and has rented out virtual shops to tenants as well. Janine Yorio, managing director at Republic Realm, in an interview, said,

“The same way that every consumer products company has a website today, they will all have virtual stores in 3D immersive environments in the future, and those stores will be in the metaverse.”

In another blockchain-based virtual world, The Sandbox sold a patch of virtual real estate for $650,000 earlier last month.

The Sandbox is a subsidiary of 2014 founded Animoca Brands, which is an early investor in Dapper Labs, the maker of CryptoKitties and NBA Top Shot.

Hong Kong-based blockchain game and NFT creator Animoca Brands raised $50 million this week as part of its latest funding round, which will be used to fund product development, strategic investments and acquisitions, and licenses for popular intellectual property.

The new tranche puts its most recent funding round to about $139 million, conducted at a pre-money valuation of $1 billion, with participation from Coinbase Ventures, Samsung Venture Investment Corp., Blue Pool Capital, and Liberty City Ventures.

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Author: AnTy

China’s BSN Developer Raises $30 Million Series A Round to Boost Global Market Presence

China’s BSN Developer Raises $30 Million Series A Round to Boost Global Market Presence

Announced on Wednesday, China’s Blockchain Service Network (BSN) developer, Red Date, has raised $30 million in a Series A funding round led by Hong Kong crypto-focused firm, Kenetic. The funding aims to enhance development on the network, increase its team members and boost market adoption across the globe, a statement read.

The closed round funding also saw notable financiers join in, including the Prosperity7, the venture arm of the second largest firm in the world, Saudi Aramco, Swiss financial giant, Pictet Group, and one of the largest banks in Thailand, Bangkok Bank.

The Blockchain Service Network launched mid-last year with an aim to bolster the development of decentralized applications on public and private blockchains. Over the past year, BSN has seen notable blockchains partnerships, including Huobi China, which will provide DLT service solutions, Chainlink decentralized oracles, and Cosmos network.

The project was initiated under the cabinet-level economic policy committee, National Development and Reform Commission, and is being developed under the State Information Center of China.

The project aims at introducing innovative blockchain systems to developing countries in order to close the gap in financial inclusion. Speaking on the recent additional funding, Jehan Chu, managing partner at Kenetic, said Red Date would “use blockchain to help drive financial and technology inclusion for the next 50 years” to these countries. Chu added in a statement to Coindesk,

“There is a rebalancing of global technology infrastructure happening that gives greater access to underdeveloped and underrepresented countries.”

The new funding will also expand the team members working on BSN in order to fasten the launch of its cloud computing resources, which will greatly reduce the costs and barriers of building decentralized applications (DApps). Yifan He, CEO of Red Date, said,

“The Internet’s Golden Age was only made possible when the cost of building websites was reduced to near-zero.”

In a shared statement to BEG, Red Date also added the funding would be used to increase BSN’s presence in the global market and the domestic market as well.

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Author: Lujan Odera

IOHK to Roll Out ‘Smart Contract Free’ Tokenization On Cardano Blockchain

IOHK, the lead developer of Cardano, announces the introduction of “smart contract-free” solutions for native tokens. The move aims to provide a cheaper, more efficient, and less complex platform for decentralized apps (DApps) than Ethereum’s ERC20 and ERC 721 tokens.

In a press release to BEG’s desks, Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) announced a new interoperability feature on Cardano’s blockchain that allows native ‘non-smart contract’ tokens on the platform. This follows the Goguen upgrade’s launch that allows the development and tokenization of assets using Cardano’s ledger.

This solution will allow other tokens to run on Cardano, opening a gateway to “unprecedented levels of interoperability for blockchain projects,” the statement further read.

The new solution is expected to roll out in the first quarter of 2021 on the Cardano mainnet, with the pre-production environment expected to launch in a few days.

In a blog post by Tim Harrison, Marketing and Communications Director at IOHK, the new solution differs from the non-native user tokens offered on Ethereum, i.e., ERC20 non-fungible ERC 721 tokens. Tokens built using the ERC20 or ERC 721 standards differ fundamentally from the Ethereum native token, Ether, the post explains.

The lack of native tokens makes the process of tokenization “inherently inefficient” as the developers need to write up custom code to build on Ethereum. This adds gas costs (needed to pay to execute the code), a layer of complexity in development, and increases the chances of bugs in the system.

With Cardano’s native tokenization solution, the unnecessary step of creating custom code for user-defined tokens will be dropped, allowing “third party tokens to operate on Cardano as if it was custom-designed blockchain for them.”

Notwithstanding, the tokens will behave similarly to Cardano’s native ADA cryptocurrency to enjoy the benefits of speed, security, and the platform’s cheap transactions. However, unlike ADA, native tokens can be destroyed and minted, while ADA is the only token used for fees, rewards, or incentives.

This is expected to enhance the overall interoperability of assets across blockchains. In particular, Cardano has taken a step forward in challenging Ethereum in the decentralized finance (DeFi) space, recently announcing its first-ever DeFi project on it. Furthermore, IOHK releases over $250,000 in its Project Catalyst fund to incentivize DeFi projects building on its blockchain.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Ethereum Holders Not Staking ETH Altogether Is “Not Unreasonable” – ConsenSys DeFi Report

Ethereum 2.0 is likely to launch its genesis block in Q4 2020, says Ethereum developer ConsenSys in its latest DeFi report.

With the launch of the first phase, Phase 0 – Beacon Chain, the long-anticipated staking will come to ETH. The Proof of Stake consensus mechanism will allow the holders to earn rewards through staking Ether. For this, validators have to lock up their ETH. But this may become a problem as the report states,

“Some community members expressed concern that DeFi could be the number one threat to getting a significant amount of staking participation in Eth2.”

The Risk of Locking ETH

DeFi has been the star of Q3 2020 as it saw “the largest bull run since the ICO boom of late 2017 and early 2018.”

This DeFi bull run started with Compound’s governance token (COMP) release, leading to a frenzy of activity and an exuberant amount of yield.

With various DeFi protocols offering higher returns than staking, ETH holders may elect to direct their tokens elsewhere that wouldn’t even require them to lock ETH up for an unspecified amount of time.

“It is not unreasonable to worry that ETH holders would (at best) wait to see how early staking returns compare to DeFi returns, or (at worst) decide altogether not to “risk” locking up ETH until Phase 1.5 (which is likely at least a year away) in case another similar bull run occurs in the meantime.”

But the team sees the emergence of derivative tokens representing the users’ pooled token. As we reported, recently launched project Lido has already announced the same intentions.

However, it remains to be seen how the holders will really react when the time comes with considerations like the amount of liquidity an ETH holder can access, the volatility of Eth1.x vs Eth2, and the evolving user experience of being an ETH holder to play into their decision making to lock funds.

Major Changes Expected

The report also covered how it was the rise of Automated Market Makers (AMM), governance tokens and yield farming, forks, derivatives, and network effects, and weird DeFi where it “began to incorporate memetic internet culture into the lexicon,” were the trends that defined Ethereum DeFi in Q3.

Although the excitement has come down extensively and the price of DeFi tokens are in capitulation mode, in the afterglow still, “smart financial and technical minds are increasingly attracted to the financial capabilities of Ethereum,” states the report.

These rapid innovation periods also saw an increase in ETH locked in DeFi protocols and a spike in the average gas price. But,

“As the Ethereum community prepares for an upgrade to the base protocol, and the Eth2 Deposit Contract goes live in Quarter 4 of 2020, this cycle could see major changes as DeFi continues to drive major activity on Ethereum.”

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Author: AnTy

OpenZeppelin Launches Defender Developer Suite Allowing DApp Building In ‘Minutes’

OpenZeppelin announced the launch of Defender, a developer suite aiming to help developers build smart contracts in “minutes,” on Tuesday. The suite aims to enhance and automate the development and the building of decentralized finance (DeFi) applications on Ethereum. Allowing developers to concentrate on creative inventions instead of spending time rewriting “fundamental code.”

So far, four of the top DeFi platforms – including Aave, dYdX, Compound, and Balancer – are using the product to automate the development operations when building DeFi products.

OpenZeppelin is an Ethereum focused development group providing a secure standard for decentralized applications on the blockchain. Doubling up as one of the top Ethereum smart contract audit firms, OpenZeppelin’s Defender suite will make it faster (development in minutes) to build dApps on a “secure self-secure infrastructure.”

Moreover, OpenZeppelin’s chief technology officer, Jonathan Alexander – speaking to Cointelegraph – stated that easing the process of creating DeFi apps could help reduce the risks of hacks and attacks on smart contracts.

Recently, the Harvest Finance smart contract was exploited as liquidity providers lost $25 million in staked funds. This has been a recurring problem across the decentralized finance ecosystem, including Balancer, YAM Finance, Uniswap, etc. – a problem Alexander believes “could have been avoided or reduced by following a careful security process.”

However, most startup teams lack a transparent security audit due to cost and a “comprehensive system that fully informs them on security best practices and how to assess risk,” he continued.

Props, a blockchain firm using OpenZeppelin’s Defender suite, CEO Peter Watts praised the ease-of-use and enhanced security it offers. He stated,

“Working with high-value smart contracts can be stressful. OpenZeppelin Defender relieves that stress by dramatically reducing the room for human error, making smart contract management simple and safe – it’s a no brainer that will improve the security and efficiency of any team.”

The Defender suite is open source, free, and available for any developer to use Ethereum test nets, including Ropsten, Rinkeby, Kovan, and Goerli.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Block.One to Offer Enterprise Blockchain Service Via It’s New ‘EOSIO for Business’ Platform

Block.one, the developer platform behind the EOS network, has launched an Enterprise-grade blockchain solution called EOSIO for Business. The new enterprise platform would allow businesses to leverage their offering on the decentralized tech.

The business platform offers four modes to its clients, which can be utilized to build and maintain blockchain-based infrastructure. The four modes include Blockchain-as-a-Service (BAAS), training businesses on utilizing the platform, technical support, and a certification program.

Ted Cahall, Block.one’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) commented on the launch of the enterprise-grade blockchain solution and said,

“Despite knowing the inherent benefits that blockchain will deliver to their business operations, many in-house product engineering teams are wary of the complexity involved in setting up and administering their blockchain.”

“Our EOSIO for Business customers will be able to work directly with EOSIO experts to ensure that their implementations seamlessly integrate with existing technology, and they will also have exclusive access to the newest EOSIO features and upgrades.”

How EOSIO Promises To Help Enterprises Scale?

The new enterprise-grade blockchain solution from Block.one promises to help businesses grow and scale via its platform without worrying about the technical aspect and maintenance of the services. This part would be taken care of by Block.one itself whose BaaS service would include complete technical support along with maintenance of the EOSIO network

The consulting and certification part of the platform would make it more interactive and help the businesses utilize the decentralized tech as per their business model. The EOS engineers promise to help these enterprises to grow without worrying about maintenance or technical complexities.

Mythical Games is one of the first business rosters for the EOSIO platform. Rudy Koch, co-founder and SVP of Business Development at Mythical Games, said that their association with the EOSIO platform had enabled them to meet their goals. He said,

“At Mythical, we are redefining game economies and creating new revenue opportunities by putting more power and ownership in the hands of players and content creators. EOSIO is an integral part of our efforts.

Leveraging Block.one’s EOSIO BaaS service enables us to continue delivering world-class game technology products to our players and partners.”

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Author: Rebecca Asseh

Another Fork of the Fork? Bitcoin Cash Upgrade Coming in November

Bitcoin ABC and its lead developer Amaury Sechet are forking Bitcoin Cash now, according to BCH proponent Roger Ver.

“Bitcoin ABC and @deadalnix have announced that they are forking away from #BitcoinCash on Nov 15th. We wish them good luck with their new coin and thank them for the free airdrop to all BCH holders,” tweeted Ver.

Ironically, November 15th is also the day when Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was hard forked into Bitcoin SV (BSV) back in 2018.

However, it is just an upgrade, as a month back, Sechet published an update about Bitcoin ABC where he talked about making primary improvements such as a new Coinbase Rule and change to the Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm to the blockchain.

“The addition of this new rule represents a significant step. […] node implementations, have developed a financial reliance on powerful interests such as mining corporations, venture capital funds, and angel investors,” read the blog.

Ver’s reaction came following Bitcoin ABC’s 0.22.1 release, which will activate the new coinbase rule, diverting 8% of all newly minted BCH to a development fund on Nov. 15.

Cointext CTO Vin Armani, who sees a split to be a more desirable outcome than infighting, says the most important thing about the event is that “there will finally be a Bitcoin network, with the roadmap necessary to become peer-to-peer cash at a global scale, that doesn’t include vocal and influential humans who believe you can fund such a project with donations.”

He further shared that the vocal people in the council have cryptographically proven that they are major miners and holders in the network, and their incentives are aligned with increasing the value of the network. If these influential people get “overthrown,” it will be by those with an even greater stake.

In the Bitcoin Cash network, Bitcoin ABC has 533 nodes (42%), while BCHN’s 126 nodes represent just a 10% share in the network’s 1,260 total nodes.

Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) implementation that has the largest share 44%, with 565 nodes, however, is opposed to the coinbase rule. And if BU and BCHN come together, they can reject the November upgrade.

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Author: AnTy

Charles Schwab-backed Ethereum App Alchemy Opens for Public

  • Blockchain startup Alchemy is opening its services to any developer or company that wants to build smart contract-based projects.

Founded in 2017 by Nikil Viswanathan and Joe Lau, Alchemy powers 70% of the top applications on Ethereum and has been operating in private mode until now. The company has investors like Coinbase, Charles Schwab, Jay Z, Will Smith, Duncan Niederauer, John Hennessy, Jerry Yang, and Ruchi Sanghvi.

“We’re all here because we believe blockchain will be as powerful as the internet,” Viswanathan told Bloomberg in an interview.

Alchemy boasts 4 million users worldwide and processes $7.8 billion a year.

The San Francisco-based firm is helping the new business model, Decentralized Finance (DeFi) build. Already, the likes of stablecoin and crypto loan service MakerDAO, collectible service CryptoKitties, prediction market Augur, and non-fungible token platform OpenSea are using Alchemy to run their operations.

“If we can make development easier, then more apps will come online, and crypto will grow,” said Viswanathan.

The company is also considering going public in the future.

Both the founders are big fans of Bitcoin, but Ethereum provided them with a new set of possibilities. “The real moment for us was Ethereum,” Viswanathan said. “We saw that and said, ‘oh my god, that’s the future.’” But said currently the market doesn’t have the tools instead just picks and shovels to build skyscrapers in Ethereum.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Developer Challenges Hackers to Break ETH2 Testnets; Collect $10k Reward

Danny Ryan, one of the core developers of the Ethereum developer community, has challenged white hat hackers to hack into a pair of ETH2 testnets.

Ethereum’s most significant upgrade since its inception where the Ethereum mainnet will transition from Proof-of-Work (PoW) based mining consensus to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) and has been dubbed Ethereum 2.0. The transition from Ethereum to Ethereum 2.0 will happen in phases through a series of hard forks.

While there is much debate on when ETH2 will launch, the testnets are already up and running, and Ethereum is expecting to add thousands of node validators to keep the network decentralized. Ethereum 2.0 is also believed to help Ethereum’s current struggle with scalability and transaction processing. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has claimed that the network would be able to process thousands of transactions per second. Ryan tweeted the invitation with a link to a Github page with the details and parameters of the challenge. He wrote:

“We welcome white hats to bring down the two beta-0 attacknets for reward and fame 🙂

Check out the new “attacknets” channel on the eth r&d discord for discussion.”

What is The Target For White Hat Hackers?

The target for the “attacknets” are two miniature versions of ETH2 clients, namely Lighthouse and Prysm, which have been designed to access the ETH 2.0 network. However, unlike mainstream clients, which comprise thousands of nodes, these attacknets miniature clients would have only four nodes.

The hackers are required to prevent blocks from confirming transactions and double-spending. These white hat hackers would be required to create a 51% attack scenario, which is what a quality blockchain was designed to prevent.

Many blockchain networks have hundreds of validators, but ETH 2.0 has set a target of 16,000 validators in the beginning and then expand it to hundreds of thousands of validators with time to keep it as decentralized as possible.

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Author: Hank Klinger