Ethereum 2.0 Deposit Contract Almost Ready, Awaiting NCC Group Audit Approval

The Deposit Contract of Ethereum 2.0 is almost ready, according to Danny Ryan, a researcher from the Ethereum Foundation. He revealed this development when speaking on the Blankless podcast last week, noting that the deposit contract will be ready after an audited approval of its BLST crypto library. The audit currently ongoing and being undertaken by the NCC Group crypto audit firm. Ryan was keen to emphasize the criticality of this particular library,

“This library is critical to creating keys, signing messages. Critical, in early phases, [means] that if you use this library, they need to be secure; if you use it to generate your wallets, it needs to have good randomness; and if you are signing your deposits which have a signature associated, it needs to be correct.”

He speculated a release date between early and mid-Nov, slightly later than the anticipated October release. The Deposit Contract will play a fundamental role in the ETH 2.0 ecosystem; touted as the last ‘piece of the puzzle,’ it will facilitate ETH transfer between the current and expected blockchain iteration.

Almost Sunrise for ETH 2.0!

After a very long wait, it appears there is some ‘white smoke’ coming from the ETH 2.0 development team. Last week, BEG reported that the Beacon Chain launch might be a few weeks away, according to an update by Ben Edgington, a developer at ConsenSys. Going by his estimation, this launch is likely to take place in late November or December. Notably, the Beacon chain launch will mark phase 0 of the ETH 2.0 rollout in what will be followed by a series of phases 1 and 2.

The ETH 2.0 upgrade is a much-anticipated event by the whole crypto community as it will mark Ethereum’s shift from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain. This move is expected to improve Ethereum’s scalability and security to create a sustainable ecosystem. So far, a couple of testnets have been held in preparation for the Beacon chain launch, with the latest being Zinken testnet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Ledger Hardware Wallet to Issue Exploit Fix to Prevent Users from Sending BTC on Accident

According to a blog published by Mo Nokhbeh, a crypto software researcher, the Ledger Wallet app is in danger of exploitation due to a vulnerability that has persisted on the platform since 2019. According to Mo, a user can send Bitcoin (BTC) instead of other Bitcoin forks such as the BTC testnets, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash etc. without their knowledge if even if they had selected the ‘forks’.

To use the Ledger hardware wallet, a user must install the corresponding app on to the USB drive allowing users to hold different types of digital currencies. However, only one app is able to be open at a time to ensure security and total isolation of the apps.

An issue arises with BTC and its corresponding forks for example if your Litecoin app is open and live and you’d wish to send LTC, the wallet will prompt a confirmation of a Bitcoin transaction while the interface presents it as an LTC transaction to a Litecoin address. If you accept the confirmation, a fully valid BTC transaction will be sent out of your wallet instead of the cheaper altcoin forks.

Read More >> Data Breach at Popular Hardware Crypto Wallet Ledger Affects Million; Trezor Fires Shots

Interactions with Ledger

Mo has been vocal to the Ledger team on the vulnerability of their platform, but claims his cries fell on deaf years with the issue persisting for the past year and a half. In a response posted on Decrypt, a spokesperson from Ledger said the delays were mainly due to the communications channels the security researcher used. The spokesperson said,

“The researcher contacted us through many means—mainly Twitter DMs. The appropriate medium for bug bounty remains the dedicated email address [email protected] Due to this, our point of view on this timeline differs, and we are genuinely sorry for the miscommunication.”

However, Nokhbeh denies the claims saying the only time he sent a Twitter DM was recently in June 2020 after a number of failed tries through the official channels.

Read More>> Crypto Hardware Wallet Ledger: ‘Funds are Safe’ After ‘BigSpender’ Vulnerability Found

Solution to the Ledger App vulnerability

In a statement focusing on the possible exploits, Ledger said the vulnerability arose as a tradeoff between security and usability especially for the Bitcoin network. While the external security of the wallets remain solid, Ledger allows Bitcoin forks/derivatives that follow the same derivation path as the top crypto to derive public keys or sign Bitcoin transactions. It reads,

“Some BTC forks use the same derivation path as BTC. If we prevent these forks from using the BTC derivation path, this would simply prevent users from using the Ledger Nano S/X with these forks.”

The statement further states the solution to the issue has been released in a new update warning users when their intended and confirmation transactions do not match.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Intelligence Community Is Prepping For Black Swan Events That May Crush The US Dollar

It looks like the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is looking to sponsor a researcher who can conduct a study on what would happen if the dollar would no longer be a global reserve currency.

The agency posted at the end of last year a job listing with the deadline on February 28, listing in which it’s saying that it’s looking for people with a background in economics. It also mentions the research is the first one of its kind for the intelligence’s post-doc program and that it’s meant to help with preparation for a black swan eventuality in which the US dollar would no longer be globally dominant.

The Research to Be Shared with the Intelligence Community

The study would fall under the National Counterproliferation Center’s purview. The National Counterproliferation Center is functioning under the ODNI and tries to combat weapons of mass destruction from being proliferated, mostly by stopping terrorist financing. The results of the research will be shared with the intelligence community.

While not attributed to any event or trend, the job listing does say it’s looking for cryptocurrency enthusiasts because there is the eventuality in which a digital currency undermines the US dollar, for example the digital yuan scheduled to be issued by China. This is exactly what the listing reads:

“If either of these scenarios or others come to pass, the U.S. would lose both its status in the world and its global authorities.”

A Researcher with Black Swan Events Knowledge

The researcher who will be involved in the post-doc program will receive sponsorship from ODNI, access to IT and advanced computing, plus funding. His or her work would be checked by the agency periodically in order to be understood. The researcher would collaborate with ODNI experts and other governmental entities.

The agency wants someone who knows how to work with statistics, artificial intelligence and who has knowledge about black swan events that happened throughout history, all while thinking all sort of scenarios of such events happening in the future.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Virgil Griffith, ETH Dev Indicted by A Grand Jury For Violating IEEPA During North Korea Event

Virgil Griffith, an Ethereum Foundation Researcher is about to be indicted by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Court records indicate that he was indicted by a grand jury on 7th January 2020. According to the charge sheet, Mr. Griffith is facing charges related to a conspiracy to violate the IEEPA (International Emergency Economic Powers Act).

The federal law was introduced by the United States federal government in 1977. It’s a law that provides the president with sweeping powers to regulate global trade in the event of a national emergency, more so, an emergency that is coming from outside the country’s borders. Virgil is being accused of willfully and knowingly attempting to violate the sanctions that have been placed against the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).

Virgil Griffith’s Arrest

His arrest was executed in late 2019 where he was charged with giving a presentation on how North Koreans can use cryptocurrency and other digital assets, including the blockchain infrastructure to bypass the restrictions placed on the country by global powerhouses. Prosecutors believe that Virgil did so together with the help of others.

A second party is expected to be arrested and arraigned in the Southern District of New York. His charge sheet as presented by the prosecutor’s office reads:

“It was a part and an object of the conspiracy that Virgil Griffith, the defendant, and others known and unknown, would and did provide and cause others to provide services to the DPRK, without first obtaining the required approval.”

The same court is also asking the authorities to seize any property that Virgil may have purchased or earned from the activities he engaged in while in the DPRK. If found guilty, he may spend up to twenty years behind bars.

Varied Sentiments in the Crypto Community

The cryptocurrency community has been divided along the middle with different people expressing different opinions. Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum founder stated in December 2019 that Virgil’s actions were a good indication of the benefits that come with geopolitical open-mindedness.

Credit: Document uploaded by CoinDesk

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Author: Daniel W