AVA Labs Announces Final Testing of Ethereum Bridge; Bringing ETH to Avalanche Blockchain

  • Ethereum (ETH) is coming to Avalanche blockchain, the report states.
  • The “ETH killer” is in its final stages of porting ETH tokens onto its blockchain.

AVA Labs, the creator of Avalanche blockchain, is on a mission to topple the Ethereum dominance in the decentralized applications and finance (DeFi) market as the top blockchain for developers to build on. The latest release of the ‘Avalanche-Ethereum bridge’ will allow the seamless transfer of ETH tokens to the Avalanche chain and back to Ethereum.

Avalanche is an open-source platform for launching decentralized finance applications and enterprise blockchain deployments. The blockchain boasts of having a faster, more scalable, and interoperable system than Ethereum. The latest development could set forth an exodus from the largest smart contract platform, which has had its troubles with the rising DeFi market.

Developed by ChainSafe, the Avalanche-Ethereum bridge is in “its final phase of testing before deploying it on the mainnet,” a statement from AVA Labs reads. Once complete, the bridge will allow simple, secure transfer of crypto assets (ERC-20 and ERC-721 transfers) across the two blockchains.

The cross-transfer of ETH tokens to the Avalanche platform is an addition to the already well ETH-connected blockchain. Avalanche already supports the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), meaning developers do not need to start coding from scratch when building their ETH-compatible DeFi applications.

To use the ETH token within decentralized applications on Avalanche, you port ETH tokens (or commonly referred to as wrapped ETH) into the ChainBridge smart contract, and an equivalent amount of AVA-based token will be minted. These tokens are valued at the same price as the ported asset and can be redeemed at any time.

The Avalanche-Ethereum bridge is set to launch on the mainnet after the final testing phase implementations by AVA Labs partners, including Protofire, Hashquark, POA Network, and Avascan.

In September, BEG reported the AVA mainnet network launch to compete with Ethereum in providing the best development platform for DeFi apps. Emin Gün Sirer, the founder of AVA Labs and a computer science professor at Cornell, stated at the time,

“Avalanche is the first major breakthrough in our space since Satoshi’s leap forward, and we intend to follow in their footsteps to have the same, defining impact as we stand on the cusp of a new decade.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

WEF Report Says Blockchain Is A Core Component in Sustainable Digital Finance

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released a new report about the future of digital finance on Wednesday. The WEF report noted that blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), and mobile platforms represent a core element of digital finance’s sustainable future.

The report noted that blockchain combines coming of age technologies with a sustainable environment-conscious business model. In the report, UBS executive Karin Oertli noted that all these nascent technologies could help organizations and governments to meet their sustainability goals. Oertli wrote,

“We believe that sustainable digital finance will play an essential role in efficiently channeling this capital to fuel innovation, growth, and job creation, at the same time supporting the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon economy.”

Currently, many European countries and top silicon tech firms’ save pledged to reduce their carbon footprint to zero in the next decade owing to the growing concern over climate change and global warming. Thus it has become even more important to bring sustainable business models to rescue the planet earth before it’s too late.

New WEF Report In Line With OECD Research

The latest sustainability report from WEF is not the first report of its kind, which has touted Blockchain as the key to sustainable future business models. It reinstates the research conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD report had made similar claims regarding blockchain and said,

“The core properties of blockchain and other DLT can enable deeper technological integration, standardization, and the possibility of new business models.”

Carbon dioxide emissions are growing significantly with each passing year. Some of the western countries have taken it upon themselves to make sure to cut their carbon footprint from now onwards.

The emergence of blockchain as key to a sustainable future comes just in time as crypto space has been battling the criticism over Bitcoin’s network electricity consumption and carbon emission.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Crypto Custodian Anchorage Hits Milestone; Receives a SOC 1 Type 1 Attestation Report

Anchorage, the U.S domiciled crypto custodian, announced that it had obtained a SOC 1 Type 1 report having completed an assessment. This audit was done by Ernest & Young (EY), one of the big four auditors in the world. According to Anchorage’s announcement on Nov 10, the milestone will be a big boost to its value proposition as a digital asset custodian that deals with other institutions, including financial service providers.

Basically, the SOC 1 Type 1 report entails assessing a company’s support ecosystems to ensure robust financial reporting mechanisms and internal operating systems. In the case of Anchorage, E&Y also looked into the control of private keys; an area where Anchorage’s Head of Compliance Jennifer Lee, expressed confidence on,

“What sets the Anchorage report apart is a heavy emphasis on our ability to prove exclusive control, confidentiality, and availability of private keys.”

The SOC 1 Type 1 report is not a walk in the park; this approval is only granted after the attestation of a qualified third party such as E&Y. With Anchorage receiving this report, the crypto custodian has further increased its mark of excellence as a financial services provider. Per the announcement blog, they were confident of this position but are now better placed with a formal confirmation by E&Y,

“Completing this examination and being granted the SOC 1 Type 1 report more formally signifies something we have long known: the controls and processes Anchorage has developed are world-class and meet a truly rigorous standard.”

In the future, the firm plans to complete SOC 1 Type 2 assessment, which is more rigorous and done over time than a one-time review. Anchorage also indicated that it would retain E&Y to be its third-party auditor in the type 2 evaluation, as it strives to increase standards in compliance reporting and support for internal systems. Cryptocurrency exchanges Gemini and Coinbase have also completed these assessments.

Notably, this crypto custodian has quite a bullish fundamental year, expanding into the burgeoning Decentralized Finance (Defi) niche. The firm’s collateral management services have also grown significantly through a major partnership with Silvergate bank to provide crypto-pegged loans to institutional clients. With a SOC 1 Type 1 report, Anchorage is optimistic about creating a more trustable crypto custodial ecosystem.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Hackers Put 10,000 Robinhood Accounts for Sale On the Dark Web

According to a new report, Hackers on the dark web are offering hacked Robinhood accounts for sale. The report surveyed dark web marketplaces to find that the hackers claimed to have 10,000 login keys linked to the Robinhood investment and trading app’s client trading accounts.

Although Robinhood’s customers have complained in the past that their emails have been hacked, the company assured them that a stolen email is not enough to infiltrate a brokerage account. The latest development may be the last thing the app developers want now, as it could lead to serious legal issues.

Robinhood has once again given assurance to its customers, claiming its security measures are tough and advising clients to use 2-factor authentication to protect their accounts.

The company said it recently increased its customer service team to care for more customer needs and queries. However, clients are still not showing complete confidence in the company’s security measures, with the news of a possible leak of their account details circulating on the dark web.

One customer of the platform expressed his disappointment regarding Robinhood’s lack of security measures, pointing out that it took the platform more than a month to rectify a security issue that locked him out of his account.

Other brokerage accounts were also compromised

The Robinhood accounts’ compromise was not the only alleged compromised brokerage, as contained in the report. Bloomberg discovered that about 1,000 TD Ameritrade Holding Corp accounts were also compromised, with the details offered at a dark web known as SliPP.

However, the number of Robinhood accounts for sale is far higher than the accounts of other brokerages. This indicates that the platform’s accounts are more valuable and more marketable than other brokerage accounts, an analyst pointed out.

More dark web markets springing up

Authorities have shut down many dark web markets to discourage hackers from causing more havoc online. But instead of having a decreased number, it seems the darknets have multiplied.

A recent report by CipherTrace shows that new darknet markets have launched because they are relatively easy to set up and operate. The area is of particular interest because it generates high profits for the owners. The platform encourages the exchange of various items and services such as illicit goods, drugs, login credentials, and malware.

Most parties involved in the exchange pay with Bitcoin and other crypto coins such as Monero to avoid any trace.

Presently, Hydra is seen as the biggest darknet market, which has reportedly generated over $1.2 billion since it was launched. The darknet is also the main trading center of hackers who sell stolen credentials to those who need them for further phishing attacks or other forms of future attacks.

The Robinhood app has registered millions of users this year alone, with many young and new users to stock tracking. This makes the platform an easy target for hackers looking to compromise account information and sell them on the darknet.

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Author: Ali Raza

Canada-Based Voyager Digital Announces Nearly 2000% Growth In Customers’ Assets Growth In 2020

Quick Read:

– Voyager released its latest financial report for the year with impressive figures

– Recording Increases in customer asset growth, brokerage accounts, and revenue


In a press release, Canadian publicly listed cryptocurrency broker, Voyager announced an impressive 1,159 % surge in revenue, registering approx. $1.1 million over the fiscal year ending June 2020. The total brokerage accounts also grew massively across the past year from 10,000 accounts to 89,000, representing 750% growth. Finally, brokerage accounts’ growth is well reflected in the customer assets growth – a 1,959% growth to $35 million in 2020 from about $1.7 million in June 2019.

Voyager Digital also made several partnerships and strategic acquisitions across the fiscal year, including partnerships with leading traditional trading platforms, including Market Rebellion, Sterling Trading Tech, and RoundlyX. Voyager Digital also acquired the crypto wallet services firm Ethos Universal Wallet and Circle Invest, intending to accelerate its growth.

The company also launched the Voyager Interest Program offering 17 digital assets with interest-bearing qualities. To market and sensitize users on the program, the Canadian crypto broker announced an advisory relationship with NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady, who will help educate customers on the platform.

Stephen Ehrlich, CEO at Voyager Digital, is looking forward to a bigger 2021 for the company – as they “bolster the platform’s capabilities and meet the demands of the customer base.” In the first quarter of the 2021 fiscal year, Voyager expects $2 million in revenue, representing a growth of over 200% from Q1 2019. Ehrlich also expects users to witness new products that will enhance their experience and drive them to the digital asset platform.

Some of the upcoming milestones for the firm include integrating Circle’s Stablecoin (USDC) platform services on Voyager, expand globally to other regions and continents (currently available in Canada), list more tokens on its platform and obtain a BitLicense from the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) allowing them to carry out digital currency activities in the U.S. Speaking on the expansion, Ehrlich said,

“At the same time, we are focused on accelerating our international expansion by moving into new regions in North America as well as into Europe and Latin America.

Over time, we expect to make the Voyager App available to customers worldwide”.

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Author: Lujan Odera

DOJ’s First-of-its Kind Crypto Framework Targets Decentralized, P2P Platforms & Privacy

A 71-page long “Cryptocurrency Enforcement Framework” report has been published by the Attorney General’s Cyber Digital Task Force. It details the emergence of cryptocurrencies and the presenting opportunities for terrorists, rogue nations, and other criminals.

The report is described as “a cohesive, first-of-its-kind framework for those seeking to understand federal enforcement priorities in this growing space,” said Attorney General William Barr.

According to him, the US has been “enormously successful “ in blocking the criminals from using traditional currencies, and now wants to

“adapt our strategy and tools to 21st century financing, including to combat the use of cryptocurrencies to evade enforcement and harm our national security.”

The Attorney General recognizes the “tremendous promise” of cryptos and blockchain technology for the future, supporting the advancement of legitimate crypto uses and tech, but says it is “critical” that they follow the law as well.

Aiming for Privacy

The Framework divides the illicit use of crypto into three categories — financial transactions related to commissions of crimes, money laundering and covering legitimate activity from tax, and crimes like theft that directly implicates the crypto marketplace itself.

For this, DOJ, SEC, and CFTC are working together to explore legal and regulatory tools to address the threats and enforce federal law in the crypto space.

The report also points out the challenges the government is facing has been in respect to business models like kiosks, certain crypto exchanges, and casinos; and activities like “mixing” and “tumbling,” and “chain hopping,” which they say may facilitate criminal activity.

“Decentralized platforms, peer-to-peer exchangers, and anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrencies that use non-public or private blockchains all can further obscure financial transactions from legitimate scrutiny.”

According to the regulators, Web 3.0 in itself has a vision of — “humans will reclaim the internet, their data, and their anonymity from large outside forces” — can pose dangerous threats to public safety.

The agency is also fully aware of decentralized finance, which sees “exponential growth,” following the ICO boom.

The report came just days after deferral prosecutors went after crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX and its founders for preventing money laundering and arrested John McAfee over tax evasion charges and allegedly earning millions via crypto promotion.

The Department of Justice said in the report that it would “continue its aggressive investigation and prosecution of a wide range of malicious actors.” It further encouraged international cooperation in the investigations and making arrests.

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Author: AnTy

Binance’s Plan to Return to Japan Falls Through The Cracks As Deal With TaoTao Collapses

In a report first made public by Coindesk Japan, Binance exchange’s deal with Japan-based crypto trading exchange, TaoTao, has fallen through. According to the statement, the two companies have called off the strategic alliance that could see Binance services return to the island nation.

The largest global cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, announced in 2019 they will be restricting their services to Japan residents with increased scrutiny from the Financial Service Authority (FSA). In January this year, BEG reported Binance was in a strategic alliance agreement with TaoTao, the crypto exchange wing of Z Corporation. The two latter firms are under Z Holdings, the firm in charge of the Yahoo Japan enterprise.

After nine months of discussions, the deal has been abandoned, however, the statement from TaoTao, released Monday, did not give a clear explanation as to why the deal was abandoned.

Binance announced its restrictions to Japan residents shortly before the discussions with TaoTao began. Trading services to Japan-based clients will continue as normal in the future.

Binance is also facing a possible lawsuit in Japan after the locally-based crypto exchange, Fisco (formerly Zaif), which was hacked in 2018, that claimed over $9 million in crypto stolen was transferred and withdrawn from their platform. Binance has yet to comment on the alleged money laundering claims from Fisco.

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Author: Lujan Odera

CBDCs Are A Threat to The US Dollar’s Reign As The World’s Reserve Currency: Deutsche Bank

A new report by Deutsche Bank has acknowledged the potential of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) to disrupt the US dollar’s dominance as the most held reserve currency. This is not the first research that highlights such a possibility; previous reports by Bloomberg and German think tank, DGEN, have speculated similar situations as more Central Banks evaluate the feasibility of a CBDC.

The report, which is dubbed ‘Central Bank Digital Currencies; Money reinvented,’ was released in September and particularly highlighted that CBDCs could ‘erode the dollar’s primacy in the global financial market.’ Currently, the U.S dollar is involved in over 90% of global transactions and has been the world’s reserve currency since abolishing the gold standard.

This dominance is, however, at a threat given a sudden spike in CBDC interest and their value proposition to individual jurisdictions when it comes to oversight and bilateral trade. China, which appears to have taken the lead, is already piloting its digital yuan (e-RMB) in several cities, including Hong Kong and Beijing; the initiative began back in 2014 but was accelerated previously following Facebook’s intentions to launch Libra.

Though still at its early stages, the ongoing global tech wars seem to be in line with the digital yuans’ purpose as China looks to challenge the U.S economic supremacy. Deutsche Bank’s Chief Investment strategist, Gerit Heinz, told Coindesk that,

“The e-RMB and the Belt and Road Initiative would give China a chance to increase the importance of that currency overall … That could also imply some changes in the global reserve system.”

The report goes on to mention that around 80% of the world’s central banks have already begun active research into potential CBDCs. However, progress has been different for some countries already in the development and implementation phases. That said, Europe is also considering a digital Euro, although its progress is far behind compared to China. Heinz was keen to point out that societal underpinnings such as a democratic approach should have placed the continent ahead,

“In Europe, I would expect a lot of discussions about this. The euro, introduced as a currency decades ago, has triggered a lot of discussions.

So CBDC in a euro system of different countries would, of course, imply much more discussion than in a bigger, more centralized country like China.”

Being a relatively new concept, this report by Deutsche bank also highlighted that the current verifiable evidence is not sufficient enough to make conclusive speculations. Nonetheless, the bank noted it would follow CBDC developments more actively to provide informed updates on the impact of this upcoming class of legal tenders.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

China State-Owned Media Covers Crypto as 2020’s Best Performing Assets Driven by DeFi & Weak Dollar

In an unusual coordinated report on Friday, several Chinese state-owned media covered cryptocurrencies, calling them the best-performing assets of 2020.

The country’s top broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), ran a three-minute-long news clip, highlighting crypto assets rallying 70% this year.

“Cryptocurrency has undoubtedly become the top-performing investment” among several other global assets, said the report.

The clip also mentions DeFi and the weak dollar as the two reasons for the crypto bull market this year.

“China is just getting started on DeFi…” said a researcher at crypto fund The Spartan Group who noted the retail investors are likely to go for early DeFi projects in China like DODO and MCDex and the blue chips UNI, YFI, COMP, and MKR that also has a Chinese community.

CCTV also covered ETH being the top performer and fear of inflation driving the growth along with the central banks experimenting with CBDCs as a bull case for cryptocurrencies but government regulations being a major uncertainty.

“There is another following coverage today on CCTV2 abt PBOC encouraging accelerating DCEP adoption and enlarging beta test cases. So previously, coverage on ‘cryptoasset’s top performance’ seems to be related to this DCEP bull narrative in general,” noted Dovey Wan of Primitive Crypto.

A Bullish Affair

All of this got the Chinese crypto community’s attention, who shared the clip on WeChat as a bullish signal.

CCTV’s crypto reporting came after state-owned news agency Xinhua which also published an article titled, “Cryptocurrency is this year’s ‘No. 1 asset’” a day before. Prior to its digital version on Xinhua, the same article appeared on one of the longest-running state media, Cankaoxiaoxi, in print form.

Such a rare coordinated effort is at odds with China’s stance on crypto speculation, but trader Qiao Wage said it is a “misconception” that the Chinese government has always been “hostile” towards Bitcoin and crypto.

“If there was a parallel financial system that could rival the dollar-based system, they would love to be part of it. What they are hostile towards is fraud and speculative craze,” he said, adding, “I do agree with the view that they are against capital flight using crypto, which is pretty obvious.”

Yesterday, the South China Morning Post also reported of at least 1 trillion yuan ($145.5 billion) worth of funds moving out of China into gambling activities every year, aggravating the country’s economic and financial security risk, as per Liao Jinrong, the director-general of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Public Security.

“The volume and speed of cross-border capital flows are unprecedented,” Zhu Min, head of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University, was quoted by the People’s Daily mouthpiece this week.

“This will not only result in sustained fluctuations in major world currencies, but will also lead to higher volatility in global financial markets. Therefore, we must be prepared for potential risks,” he said.

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Author: AnTy

FATF Releases Red Flag indicators To Identify Money Laundering Using Crypto

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) releases report on how to identify possible red flags in crypto money laundering rings across virtual asset service providers, or VASPs in short.
  • The regulator highlights a number of ways that crypto exchanges can stop and curb illegal and illicit activity.

The report titled, Virtual Assets – Red Flag Indicators of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, outlines several red flags including those arising from irregular transaction patterns, anonymous transactions, arising from senders and receivers and sources of wealth profiles of the crypto users.

One of the red flags arises from the size and frequency of transactions whereby a money launderer could make multiple high frequency transactions over a period of 24 hours or staggered and regular transactions which stop shortly after they are made. Moreover, transferring virtual assets to exchanges with low or non-existent AML/CFT rules is also considered a red flag.

User profiling is also an excellent way of noticing possible money laundering and terrorist financing. Here, exchanges are tasked with checking on the transactions made and comparing it with the user’s profile.

This arises when a user deposits an unusual amount to their wallet which does not match the traders profile or recent transactions. This could signal the deposit is subject to checks of money laundering, scamming or a money mule. The report reads on transaction patterns as a red flags stating,

“Conducting a large initial deposit to open a new relationship with a VASP and funding the entire deposit the first day it is opened, and that the customer starts to trade the total amount or a large portion of the amount on that same day or the day after, or if the customer withdraws the whole amount the day after.”

Also quick deposits and withdrawals of full balance of virtual assets in a short period of time raises eyebrows.

Virtual asset accounts with no logical business explanation making frequent deposits and transfers off the exchange to less KYC friendly exchanges poses a red flag. Accumulation of funds from several unrelated exchanges or wallets sending small amounts to one virtual asset account before fully withdrawing the funds may be a money laundering scheme.

Regulators should also follow users who use anonymity enabled public cryptocurrencies and privacy coins such as Monero, Zcash and Dash closely, the report states. Also the exchange of public and transparent crypto coins such as Bitcoin for the anonymity enhanced cryptocurrencies also raises questions on the actions of the trader.

FAFT has pushed through KYC/ AML regulations and compliance rules for VASPs across the globe in a bid to curb money laundering and terrorist financing using crypto. The “Travel Rule” recommends that the 200 countries that follow it, say to mandate VASPs such as custodians and crypto exchanges to retain and share any information on possible illicit and illegal trades happening on their platforms.

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Author: Lujan Odera