IOTA Trinity Wallet Is Under Attack, Coordinator Node Has Been Turned Off

Through its official Twitter handle, IOTA Foundation revealed that the Trinity wallet is under a possible hacker attack. After various IOTA holders complained about missing coins, the foundation said it was suspending its platform’s node known as the Coordinator as investigations are ongoing, an IOTA status update indicated on Feb. 13.

According to a report by Cointelegraph IOTA emerged as one of the dominant innovations during the 2017 crypto bull run. The IOTA coin is not developed on blockchain technology, making it one of the unique cryptocurrencies in the market. The virtual asset that is contained on the tangle via Directed Acyclic Graph platform which is shortened as DAG.

The Coordinator is run by the IOTA Foundation which is a temporary protection measure within the Tangle platform. While IOTA still depends on the Coordinator but had initiated a discussion to eliminate the node in 2018.

The Trinity wallet was released last summer to store IOTA. on Feb. 12, a team from IOTA Foundation used its Twitter account to urge IOTA holders not to access their private wallets until all the investigations are finished.

After preliminary investigations, the team of investigators from IOTA Foundation revealed that the culprits had acquired the private keys of the affected accounts. The investigators also found that about 10 accounts had been affected and all of them comprised of the use of Trinity wallet. The investigators also stated that about 50% of the affected people had reported cases.

The IOTA Foundation also said that it will provide a full report of the prevailing events after the conclusion of the investigations. The Foundation stated that it was limiting the information released to the public in efforts not to provide the hackers with information they can use to enhance their activities. The Foundation also stated that the current data is not yet fully decisive.

IOTA has faced various troubles since its inception in 2017. In December 2019, the platform shutdown its mainnet for 24 hours.

We will update you as we get more information about the issue.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Bitcoin Payment Processor BTCPay Launches New ‘Vault’ App With Multi-Wallet Interoperability

BTCPay, a Bitcoin (BTC) payments processor integrated its new Vault app to its platform according to an official report by the company. The app will allow users to directly connect their desktop wallets and hardware wallets on the platform without giving up the private key. It enables communication with BTCpay using its node to increase user experience and satisfaction while still keeping users security and privacy as its top priority.

The official BTCpay blog stated that the vault wouldn’t store the users’ private keys but rather directly connect the user to multiple wallets on their desktop to allow transaction without giving up their private keys, which the users will have total control over.

The vaults main objective would be providing a cross platform that enables compatibility with more external wallets while improving the hardware wallet user experience. With all funds being verified against users Bitcoin full nodes, users can transact on the platform without having to give up their private keys.

BTCPay extends Compatibility

The initial internal wallet that was launched by BTCPay was only compatible with external wallet options such as Ledger Nano S and ColdCard. However their newly launched product extends compatibility with other external wallets such as Digital BitBox, KeepKey, Ledger Nano S, Ledger Nano X, Trezor Model T and Trezor One cited the blog.

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Author: Lujan Odera

After SEC Scrutiny, Telegram Speaks Out To Settle TON Blockchain and GRAM Tokens Rumors

Telegram has made an announcement on its official website, saying it’s not going to launch its new blockchain platform called TON and the Grams cryptocurrency until it has the green light from the US regulators.

It has also been mentioned that, even while some websites are already offering Grams presales, the token doesn’t exist, as the company didn’t issue it yet. It seems the TON Blockchain that’s going to use the tokens is still in Beta Test and only after its launch, the Grams will become available for buying.

TON Will be a Decentralized Community of Third-Party Developers

As clearly pinpointed by Telegram, TON is going to be decentralized and maintained by third party contributors. This means others will contribute to its ecosystem by developing apps and smart contracts. More than this, the third parties will have the responsibility to both adopt and implement the apps and smart contracts they’re creating for TON however they see fit. Further on, Telegram has mentioned it may never maintain the platform, nor create any app for it.

Telegram Won’t Be in Control of TON

The TON Blockchain code is going to be open source and visible to anyone. Telegram won’t be in control of it, nor it will have any unique rights or managerial responsibilities when it comes to the platform. However, it will be possible for the company and its employees to hold Grams after TON is launched.

Grams Holders Shouldn’t Expect to Automatically Get Rich

As a third point, Telegram mentions that holding Grams doesn’t necessarily mean getting rich, nor that shares at Telegram will be owned by those who have bought the tokens. It clearly says Grams are not investment products and only meant to be used as exchange tokens in the TON ecosystem. It’s even stated that since the crypto market is quite risky at the moment, Grams can even make their holders poorer.

A Crypto Wallet Won’t Yet Be Integrated with the Messaging App

Telegram won’t yet create a crypto wallet for its instant messaging app, at least not until the US regulators will give their approval for such a service. This has also been posted on Telegram’s official website on January 6. Both announcements arrive just before the company’s CEO will make a deposition on January 7 in Dubai.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Fed: ‘We Recognize The Power Of Technology And Innovation To Transform The Financial System’

An US Federal Reserve official who’s in the board of governors thinks one in four people making Bitcoin (BTC) transactions are doing something illegal.

At a panel speech that honored Benoît Coeuré, one of Europe Central Bank’s (ECB) executives, Lael Brainard talked about how she sees the risks cryptocurrencies are posing.

Brainard Thinks Crypto Exchange Security is Problematic

At the Frankfurt, Germany, Monetary Policy: The Challenges Ahead event, one panel discussion was about the illegal activity involving Bitcoin. Brainard cited one of the academic studies released earlier this year and talked about how many Bitcoin users are criminals. Lael Brainard said,

“Only a third of the most popular exchanges require ID verification and proof of address to make a deposit or withdrawal. This is troubling since a number of studies conclude that cryptocurrencies support a significant amount of illicit activity. One study estimated that more than a quarter of bitcoin users and roughly half of the bitcoin transactions, for example, are associated with illegal activity.”

There Are Misconceptions on How Bitcoin is Being Used in the Real World

Brainard’s speech did nothing but to add to the misconceptions on how the Bitcoin is being used in the real world. Studies on transactions usually arrive at all sort of opposing conclusions, with many voices saying criminals prefer cash over cryptocurrencies. Problems appear when having to determine how many Bitcoin users are out there, since a user has control over how many addresses he or she wants. Brainard decided to talk just before the European Union will impose new crypto regulations. Besides, Coeuré has also expressed criticizing opinions on Bitcoin, describing the coin as the “evil spawn of the financial crisis.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Binance Denies Rumors It’s Acquiring Bankrupt Europe-Based Union Bank AG

Crypto exchange Binance said in an official announcement that the media reports claiming it’s buying bankrupt Liechtenstein-based Union Bank AG aren’t true.

This is what Wei Zhou, Binance CFO, had to say about the news:

“The reports that Binance is investing into Liechtenstein Union Bank or has applied with the Financial Market Authority to become a shareholder of the Bank are inaccurate.”

The rumors appeared earlier today when the Swiss financial news outlet Inside Paradeplatz said Union Bank AG, Binance and Financial Market Authority (FMA) of Liechtenstein representatives have met and that Binance signed a commitment with the bank.

Letter Saying the FMA Is Likely to Accept Binance as Shareholder

The Inside Paradeplatz report also cited a letter from November 19, a letter that was addressed to Union Bank AG’s shareholders and sent by the Zurich-based commercial lawyer Wolfram Kuoni. This is what the letter reads:

“The FMA is likely to accept Binance as shareholder. However, given that (Union Bank) as of now in default of the (FMA) order regarding own funds, FMA has made it clear that Binance must file to application for approval as shareholder and pay in amount of CHF 15 million [$15.17 million] to escrow account for a later capital increase by the end of November.”

Furthermore, it also adds that if the arrangement does not remain valid, FMA will withdraw the bank’s license and force it to liquidate.

Binance is Open for a Partnership with Union Bank AG and its Investors

Zhou said Binance remains open as far as a partnership with Union Bank AG and its new investors goes since it’s committed to adding reliable and safe fiat channels so that crypto is being adopted all over the world. Only earlier this week, Beijing-based blockchain data company DappReview was acquired by Binance for a sum that wasn’t disclosed to the public.

More than this, Binance bought India-based crypto exchange WazirX last month too. In September, it got the Seychelles-based platform for derivatives JEX and turned into Binance JEX for crypto future, perpetual contracts, and options, while in July, it acquired the US-based mobile wallet firm Trust Wallet, making its first acquisition.

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Author: Oana Ularu

IRS Says Like-Kind Tax Exemption Does Not Apply to Crypto Transactions, Nor Did It Before 2018

An IRS official has said that taxpayers can’t defer taxes on cryptocurrency exchanges, not even for pre-2018 transactions.

Things have been clear up until now: taxpayers can’t make like-kind exchanges when it comes to cryptocurrency trades that took place in 2018, as a result of the previous year’s tax overhaul. Like-kind exchanges are allowing taxpayers to be late paying their taxes on a gain made from a sale if they reinvest the proceeds in similar property.

Like-Kind Exchange Never Applicable to Cryptocurrency

Tax practitioners have discussed a lot about if like-kind exchanges should be made available for cryptocurrency transactions that happened before 2018. Suzanne Sinno, who is an attorney for the IRS Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Income Tax and Accounting), said at the Washington’s American Institute of CPAs conference that the agency believes like-kind exchanges to not be applicable in the cryptocurrency space.

The IRS Is After People Who Don’t Report Their Transactions

The cryptocurrency world is experiencing an increase in regulation enforcement from the IRS. Sinno’s declarations raised some voices, having people saying that what’s going on is unfair. The IRS mentioned that its focus is on those who don’t report their transactions, not on people who did and made some mistakes in the process.

IRS Didn’t Yet Decide to Make Airdrops Taxable

The IRS also brought clarifications on its latest guidance that says people need to pay taxes for the income they make after receiving new coins from a transaction, the moment in which the cryptocurrency splits. The distribution of new coins to multiple users is known as an “airdrop” and it also describes the situation in which a firm gives crypto holders coins for free, in order to market a new offer or to increase awareness to new potential customers.

Christopher Wrobel, another attorney for the IRS Office of the Associate Chief Counsel (Income Tax and Accounting), said the taxation rule doesn’t apply when the firms are giving free promotional coins and that the IRS didn’t yet decide if airdrops should be taxable.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Block.One To Use Their EOS Token Supply, 9.5% of Current Circulation, To Vote Block Producer

The team behind Block.one, the creators of the EOS blockchain, has recently issued an official comment on EOS network. According to the team, who hold around 9.5% of all EOS in circulation right now, saying it is time to step forward and participate more actively in the network.

One of the main announcements is that Block.one will finally begin participating in the block producer voting process. A representative from the company confirmed that Block.one now feels ready to take a “proportional role” and to support the healthy growth of the ecosystem.

The announcement comes at the heels of the fiasco which happened last Sunday, in which the EOS network got too congested during the EIDOS token airdrop. During that time, the network was almost completely down.

This decision will possibly be criticized as the EOS network would probably become even more centralized with the team participating in a more active role. A recent report has shown that 69% of all EOS in circulation are being held by only 100 accounts.

To prevent more centralization from happening, Block.one has already promised to reduce the number of tokens that the company holds. With such a high margin of 9.5%, the team is bound to have more power than basically any others in the network.

This is yet another controversy for the EOS network, one of the few delegated proof of stake networks, in which the block producers are elected to validate nodes instead of using miners.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Bitfinex Cries Foul On Laundering Allegations, Claims It Was The Victim Of A Fraud

In an official statement released by Bitfinex on Friday, the company says it was conned.

On October 24th the President of Crypto Capital, Ivan Manuel Monlia Lee, was arrested by the Polish police. He’s been charged with laundering up to $390 million in cryptocurrencies for a Columbian drug cartel.

Bitifinex claims that any suggestion that Crypto Capital, the former payment processor for Bitfinix, laundered drug proceeds or any other illicit funds at the behest of Bitfinex or its customers is categorically false.

Crypto Capital had helped process funds for Bitfinex for several years and was allegedly involved in the loss or possible theft of $880 million of Bitfinex’s cash.

Bitfinex wrote,

“This week’s developments do nothing to affect or otherwise deter Bitfinex’s claims to funds in Poland or anywhere else. We will continue to work to recover all funds for and on behalf of our stakeholders.”

Clarifying its position to all the relevant authorities, Bitfinex mentioned that its relationship with Crypto Capital was based on certain misrepresentations. These were made by Crypto Capital’s representatives, including Monila and Yosef, both accused in the case.

It said,

“Among those misrepresentations, Crypto Capital regularly referred to its integrity, banking expertise, robust compliance programme and financial licences. This was designed to assure us that Crypto Capital was capable of handling Bitfinex’s transactions.”

Previously, on October 18th Bitfinex’s parent company IFinex filed an application for discovery in an attempt to recover $880 million from Crypto Capital – funds Bitfinex has been unable to access since at least December 2018, as the payment processor claims that its bank accounts have been seized or frozen by several government agencies

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Author: Sakshi Jain

WV’s ‘Military Mobile Voting Solution,’ Had An Unsuccessful Hacking Attempt in The 2018 Election

In an official address by the Secretary of State, West Virginia, someone tried to infiltrate the blockchain-based voting system used by the state in the 2018 election cycle.

Unsuccessful Attempt at Breaching Blockchain

According to the official report by the Secretary of State, West Virginia, Mark Warner, the hackers were unsuccessful at gaining access to the voting system. The hackers tried to infiltrate the system during the pilot program of a “military mobile voting solution,” a decentralized application that allows eligible voters from overseas to vote for their preferred candidate remotely.

Developed by Voatz, an Overstock Medici Ventures backed blockchain firm, the voting app is a secure and safe portal for voters to make their ballots, gather information and protect the sanctity of the voters’ identities. The matter is currently under FBI investigation to locate the hackers hence much information cannot be shared.

“Although the details of the investigation cannot be disclosed, we can say that no votes were altered, impacted, viewed or in any way tampered with. […] There’s not a shred of evidence that even a single vote was changed in the 2018 election.”

A Democratized Voting Application

In June this year, Voatz raised $7 million USD in a Series A funding led by Overstock’s Medici Ventures. The funding has been used to develop over 30 voting decentralized applications boosting the security and transparency of elections, mainly in the US.

The voting app developed by Voatz, uses blockchain technology to verify and record voters’ ballot receipts and biometric security identification verification to make sure the right vote is counted. Since its launch, the case with West Virginia amounts to the first case of attempted breach of the system, but it was easily detected and reported to relevant authorities.

Following successful trials in West Virginia and Denver, Colorado the company launched voting for the municipal primary election in Utah in August.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Thai Customs Department Started Partnership With TradeLens

The Customs Department of Thailand, which is the official department that collects imported goods, has just signed a new partnership with the blockchain company TradeLends. TradeLends is a platform that was developed by two giants, IBM and Maersk.

This platform, which uses the blockchain technology to improve shipping and logistics, was created in a partnership between IBM and one of the largest shipping companies in the world, Maersk.

The local customs department has affirmed that the goal of the partnership is to modernize trade. This is also part of a wide government policy called Thailand 4.0, which is set to use highly valuable technology to fix problems by creating new solutions.

According to the managing director of IBM, Patama Chantaruck, TradeLens will be used in Thailand as a way to make the workflow in ports more transparent, secure and efficient. The platform can be used to manage and track goods and it has an immutable ledger, meaning that no one can tamper with its information.

Now, the technology will be integrated with Thailand slowly. The first pilot test will happen in Chon Buri, at the Laem Chabang Port. After that, the port in the country’s capital Bangkok will also use the technology.

According to the main advisor of the customs department, Chuchai Udompote, the partnership will help to cut costs and to let the users of the port access the information about their goods in real-time, which is set to revolutionize the shipping business.

TradeLens was originally launched by IBM and Maersk around a year ago. Initially, the platform had a tough time finding partners, but it seems that the platform may finally be achieving some success.

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Author: Gabriel Machado