Bitcoin Supporter Gary Gensler, Who Called XRP A ‘Security’ to Be Named SEC Chairman

Bitcoin Supporter Gary Gensler, Who Called XRP A ‘Security’ to Be Named SEC Chairman

Former Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Chair Gary Gensler is expected to be named the Chairman of the US securities and exchange Commission by President-elect Joe Biden, reported Reuters.

Gensler has been leading Biden’s transition planning for financial industry oversight since November.

This is good news for the crypto market as Gensler, who was a blockchain professor at MIT, has shared crypto-friendly views.

“Gary Gensler deeply understands crypto & has strongly supported bitcoin for years. His selection as SEC chair signals a policy shift in favor of a bitcoin ETF,” said Jake Chervinsky, General Counsel at Compound Finance.

While bullish for the Bitcoin BTC 7.35% Bitcoin / USD BTCUSD $ 37,348.49
$2,745.117.35%
Volume 69.69 b Change $2,745.11 Open $37,348.49 Circulating 18.6 m Market Cap 694.67 b
2 h German Police Shut Down Dark Market that Facilitated $170 Million in Cryptocurrency Transactions 4 h Bitcoin Supporter Gary Gensler, Who Called XRP A ‘Security’ to Be Named SEC Chairman 4 h Big Uptick in 1k BTC Addresses Shows Institutions Bought the Dip; Goldman Sachs says Still Just 1% of Institutional Money
and board cryptocurrency market, this might not be that good for XRP XRP 2.50% XRP / USD XRPUSD $ 0.31
$0.012.50%
Volume 4.87 b Change $0.01 Open $0.31 Circulating 45.4 b Market Cap 13.9 b
4 h Bitcoin Supporter Gary Gensler, Who Called XRP A ‘Security’ to Be Named SEC Chairman 7 h Acting SEC Enforcer Leading Ripple Lawsuit to Step Down; XRP Fights to Stay on Exchanges 1 d Ripple Hires Former Amazon Executive As SVP Of Engineering to Strengthen Cross Border Payments
as he has publicly called it a security. Last month, the SEC sued Ripple and its two top executives for selling unregistered XRP security.

Gensler “went on record in 2018 saying there’s “a strong case” that XRP is a security, signaling no shift on that issue,” noted Chervinsky.

Gensler is a former Goldman Sachs banker and is prompting concerns among Wall Street firms of tougher regulation. In contrast, Jay Clayton, who left his SEC Chairman post on Dec. 23rd, a former Wall Street lawyer, was criticized by Democrats for his ties to many companies he was overseeing.

While the crypto market is looking to win some, it may lose some as well as it is speculated that the Acting Comptroller Brian Brooks, the former general counsel at crypto exchange Coinbase, might leave the top US banking regulators office this week.

During Brook’s term, OCC took a crypto-friendly approach, with the most notable one being allowing crypto companies to secure national banking charters. This Tuesday, Brooks also wrote about regulators needing to get ready for self-driving banks, aka decentralized finance (DeFi).

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Author: AnTy

SEC Chairman: Bitcoin Will Be Subject To ‘More Regulation’ As It Matures Into A Payment System

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton reiterated in his recent interview with CNBC that Bitcoin is not a security. However, more regulation could still be on the way from other government agencies, he added.

According to him, the leading digital asset resembles a store of value and a payment method. And it has been the “inefficiencies” in the traditional payment mechanisms that are boosting Bitcoin’s growth.

But if BTC becomes famous as a payment method, it can be subject to more regulation. Clayton told CNBC,

“I think we will see this maturation, and I think there will be more regulation in the payments (for bitcoin) area.”

“This is why Bitcoin should be neither a currency nor a payment network. The principles of humility & harmony dictate that we should allow technology partners to provide for payments & defer to governments on currency matters. BTC is a purely engineered Store of Value,” commented the CEO of MicroStrategy, Michael Saylor, who has emerged as a leading vocal Bitcoin proponent ever since his company replaced cash with BTC as a reserve asset.

Clayton will be stepping down from his position as the SEC Chairman by the end of this year, and the crypto community is excited, expecting the Bitcoin ETF to get the approval finally.

According to analyst Mati Greenspan, Clayton has been “single-handedly” responsible for holding back the progress of a Bitcoin ETF, and “him leaving is really good for Bitcoin & crypto.”

In his interview with CNBC on Thursday, Clayton further elaborated on why the SEC isn’t regulating Bitcoins currently.

“We do not regulate Bitcoin as a security. When people use crypto assets as securities to raise capital for a venture, the SEC regulates that.

And what was happening in the ICO craze was people were using ICOs and essentially making public offerings of securities without registering them with the SEC.”

Very clearly, Clayton has said that the SEC determined “Bitcoin was not a security” but “much more a payment mechanism and store of value,” adding “the government does regulate payments.”

Clayton has been in conversation with Squawk Box host Andrew Ross Sorkin who recently hosted Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan, who still has no love lost for Bitcoin.

Dimon said Bitcoin is “not (his) cup of tea,” and if it continues to get bigger and bigger, it will be “regulated.” “My experience with the government is they can regulate whatever they want whenever they feel like it,” coped Dimon.

This may sound like Ray Dalio, who is also concerned about the government outlawing it. Still, the founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates recently came out and said that he might be missing something about Bitcoin and “would love to be corrected.”

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Author: AnTy

Homeland Security Calls On Freelancers to Design A Digital Wallet Interface; $25k to Finalists

  • The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) division of the US Department of Homeland Security has allocated up to $25,000 in prizes as an incentive for designing a digital wallet user interface.
  • Prospective applicants will be required to create a user interface compatible with DHS projects in the blockchain niche.
  • Notably, the DHS has been quite active in this area and previously supported innovations focusing on the decentralization of identity records.

According to the technical director of S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP), Anil John, participants who get to the final stage are expected to demonstrate ‘ease of use and visual consistency, while supporting interoperability, security, and privacy.’ Digital wallets that stand out might ultimately increase the value proposition of the DHS blockchain projects once integrated.

John highlighted that one DHS client is already leveraging blockchain to build a decentralized credential network for the issuance of digital green cards. Despite its active involvement in funding blockchain projects, this is the first time the DHS is taking a design challenge to the public, according to S&T’s program manager, Kathleen Kenyon.

She was keen to highlight that they are trying to get that ‘freelance designer’ given that their foothold in this space is less significant than corporate contacts; this was the main reason for a low budget digital wallet crowdsource. As for the prizes, three finalists will be allocated $5,000 each while the winner gets an extra $10,000. Applications are still open, with the first stage finalists announced on October 27 via an online SVIP event. Overall winners will be announced later in the year.

This incentive by the DHS is not the first of its kind; just recently, the IRS issued a bounty of up to $625,000 to developers who will crack Monero’s anonymity and the lightning network. In similar efforts to boost compliance and oversight, the U.S Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has floated an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) targeting the amendment of AML policies.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Microsoft Detects A New Cryptocurrency-Related Malware Spreading Across Windows Computers

  • Microsoft’s Security team warns of a possible cryptocurrency malware for Windows users.
  • The malware targets personal info, credit card details, credentials, and cryptocurrency wallets.
  • Users urged not to open any suspicious or fishy emailed attachments.

The Microsoft Security Intelligence team confirmed the presence of a new ‘info-stealing malware’ present in its Windows computers. In a tweet on Aug 27, the MSI team stated the malware was first spotted on cybercriminal black markets in June but has recently started spreading widely across the globe.

The malware, named Anubis, arises from a code forked from Loki info-stealing malware, which was first detected in February 2016. Loki malware first started targeting Android operating systems on mobile phones allowing the hackers to steal credentials, data ex-filtration, disabling notifications, and intercepting communications.

The widespread malware in the fall of 2017 detected ransomware behavior with a forked version sold in the cybercriminal underground marketplaces.

Read more: Microsoft Raises Alarm As 80k Computers Are Attacked By Crypto-Stealing Bug

Similarly, the hackers trick users into downloading the Anubis malware through suspicious emails and false websites and “sends these to command and control servers via an HTTP POST command.” The malware then steals Windows users’ information, mainly targeting crypto wallets, bank credit card information, personal info, and the system operating details.

However, MSI believes the malware is still in its maturity stages, hence limited, and users can keep safe from it.

“The new malware shares a name with an unrelated family of Android banking malware,” MSI tweet reads. “Anubis is deployed in what appears to be limited, initial campaigns that have so far only used a handful of known download URLs and C2 servers.”

MSI warns Windows users not to click on any suspicious emails and websites to avoid downloading the malware. MSI continues to monitor the progress of the fork and will give updates on its growth.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Dutch-based Security Token Exchange, Dusk Network Raises $1M From Bitfinex Parent

Dusk Network, a Dutch-based startup set to launch a regulated security token exchange, has received $1 million in funding from Bitfinex’s parent, iFinex. The exchange, whose operational niche is tokenized assets including exchange-traded funds (ETFs), commodities, and equities are set for debut in 2021, according to sources who informed TheBlock.

The Dusk announcement on September 1 noted that this milestone would see the firm expand its horizon in the crypto space, especially within the burgeoning European market. Consequently, its prospectus security token exchange by Dusk will operate under the region’s Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II). This EU regulatory framework was designed to protect the interest of investors as well as increase transparency.

Notably, the recent $1 million funding towards Dusk’s initiative is not the first significant financing achievement the Amsterdam-domiciled firm has achieved. Back in 2018, Dusk Network raised roughly $8.85 million in private sales. Nonetheless, the company’s business lead, Jelle Pol, has clarified that Dusk Network’s security token exchange will be run as a separate unit.

This development comes as excitement around regulated security tokens builds up for institutional investors. With the Netherlands positioning itself as a ‘crypto valley’, the country’s financial market regulations on tokenized assets are among the most advanced in the world. In fact, the country’s central bank has since offered to lead the European Union in CBDC development and integration.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Crypto Community Bashes First-Ever STO IPO Advisors for Shilling INX

The first-ever Security Token Offering (STO) held its IPO for 130 million INX tokens on Tuesday following approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The Ethereum-based token was for sale at a price of $0.9 per token.

The IPO came about a year after the project issued its preliminary prospectus, which could become the largest IPO to date in the crypto industry if it manages to raise its targeted $117 million (originally targeted $130M).

A startup with 14 employees has Israeli consulting firm A-Labs Finance and Advisory as its underwriting for public offering. A-Labs’ owner Doron Cohen is the founding partner of INX.

They were founded in 2017 by Shy Datika, the controlling shareholder (31%) and president of INX and Cohen, who, along with Triple-V, owns a 10% share of the company.

But the real event hasn’t been about the INX being the first STO, but the advisors of the project and in the middle of it is Casa’s Jameson Lopp, who received backlash from the crypto community for shilling a “shitcoin.”

“It enables non-accredited investors to get exposure to crypto exchange cash flows. It’s kind of like BNB except regulatory compliant,” is how Lopp explained the project.

Lopp is actually eligible to purchase 25,000 tokens at $0.01 per piece, which is 98.8% lower than the price it is currently available for the public.

“Don’t conflate permissionless altcoins that try to compete with bitcoin to this, a regulated security token for a specific company,” said Lopp who finds it “interesting because historically the most profitable businesses in the crypto ecosystem are exchanges,” and “this is a very different beast.”

200 million INX tokens have already been minted, out of which 35 million are reserved for the management, employees, early investors, and advisors. Another 35 million have been put into a reserve fund for acquisitions and other operational expenses.

Token holders are entitled to 40% of the adjusted operating cash flow, which is so far negative $4 million and advisors are set to make $225,000.

Bitcoin core developer and founder of Bloq argued that maximalists had made a U-turn as they advertise their Ethereum token sale after calling everything on Ethereum a scam.

Blockstream CSO, Samson Mow, who is also one of the advisors and eligible to buy up to 100k of INX’s at $0.01 per token said he first invested in 2018 and that “the plan is for the INX security token to be issued on Liquid via Liquid Securities, however that will take time and approval from regulators.”

The exchange is estimated to launch in Q1 2021 with listings and the token trading in Q2 of next year.

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Author: AnTy

Ethereum Classic Labs Proposes New Security Plan To Prevent Future 51% Attacks

  • After suffering two major 51% attacks, Ethereum Classic (ETC) developers released a robust “Security Plan” to prevent future attacks.
  • The security plan will take three to six months to implement fully, the statement reads.
  • The plan short term changes, including tactics such as defensive mining and increased network monitoring
  • Plan also outlines long term changes, including changing the consensus algorithm and introduction of a treasury system.

In a published document on August 19, the ETC accelerator, Ethereum Classic Labs, released proposed solutions to further secure the network after two successive 51% attacks earlier in the month. The proposed plan, as mentioned before, will roll out in the next three to six months, with some of the security measures coming immediately.

Immediate changes to guard 51% attacks

The first immediate change to guard against these attacks is the implementation of ‘defensive mining.’ This will work through miners and mining pools cooperation to prevent attacks by raising the hash rate and maintain a consistent mining hash rate making it harder to pull off 51% attacks.

An enhanced monitoring service across the network will also harmonize the mining of ETC to prevent spikes in hash rate and keep in check prices across the mining pools. Monitoring the blockchain will further assist in quick identification of anomalies on the network. Notwithstanding, ETC Labs will closely work with exchanges in whitelisting services and work on implementing longer and safer confirmation times.

The ETC Core development team is also advocating for the immediate implementation of the ‘Permapoint’ finality arbitration system aiming “to inhibit chain reorganizations while maintaining consensus among nodes aggressively.”

The long term strategy

The long term security plan will be more community-driven as it will impact the core of the blockchain, the statement reads.

First option circles around increasing the resistance to 51% attacks with the Pirl Community proposing an introduction of ‘penalty blocks’ through ECIP 1092. This states that instead of the standard auto synchronizing of any offline pre-mined chain branch, “the new protocol should require peer proposing the longer and heavier chain to mine the penalty blocks.” This makes a 51% attack through chain reorganization more expensive and time-consuming. This could take up to 3 months to implement.

Secondly, a total change of current proof-of-work (PoW) system to either Keccak-256 or RandomX is proposed. Currently, ETC uses the same mining algorithm as Ethereum – Ethash – and a move to a new algorithm could help the blockchain “step out of the shade of the Ethereum network.” This is estimated to take up to 6 months to implement if the testnet works.

Also Read: OKEx Considers Delisting ETC After $5.6M Loss Due to a 51% Attack

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Author: Lujan Odera

Polkadot Is Now Fully Decentralized After Governance Removes Web3 Foundation Admin Rights

Polkadot (DOT), a blockchain aiming at scalability, security, and connecting other blockchains, is now fully decentralized following a successful vote through community governance. The majority sees the blockchain drop admin rights by Web3 Foundation to introduce a token governance system on the platform.

A tweet sent out at 8.03 AM GMT, Gavin Wood, co-founder of Parity Technologies, lead developer of Polkadot, confirmed the transition to a permissionless network at block #799,302 opening up a new governance future for the community.

The enacted governance proposal introduces an improved “community governance system,” which allows DOT holders to vote and influence decisions on the development of the Polkadot blockchain directly. The governance system also enables the community to vote on changes on the DOT token, such as the recent redenomination proposal of the genesis tokens.

The permissionless blockchain also dropped the admin rights held by Web3 Foundation, making the blockchain fully decentralized. To fully release the blockchain to the community, the vote also struck off the “Chain Candidate 1 (CC1)” tag for its mainnet network.

From Permissioned to Permissionless

After being in the works for the past three years, the Polkadot mainnet finally launched in May, limiting some features to agents and the admin. This permissioned proof of stake (PoS) blockchain allowed Web3 Foundation to take charge of the blockchain in case of a problem or maintenance issue on a newly launched mainnet.

Over the weeks, the community governance has gained more power from the admins through the proof of stake, with nearly 200 validators currently controlling half the DOT supply.

In 2020, the developers and Web3 Foundation have taken massive strides in ensuring the blockchain becomes decentralized. Chainlink selecting to build on Polkadot (only after Ethereum), the development of a Bitcoin Parachain that brings BTC and BTC-backed assets on Polkadot and the launch of staking services – supported by Coinbase and Bison Trails – shows a bright future for the blockchain, Gavin said.

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Author: Lujan Odera

ESET Discovers Trojan Attack Targeting Cryptocurrency Traders Using Apple’s MacOS

The Internet security firm, ESET, has discovered a new trojan attack targeting crypto traders who use applications from Apple’s macOS.

According to the findings, the malware targets crypto wallets and is integrated with pseudo digital asset trading apps, which can easily be confused for the legit platforms.

Dubbed ‘GMERA,’ and not the first time the malware was used. Researchers from Trend Micro, another cyber sec firm, had come across it back in September 2019 when it had posed as Stockfolio, a Mac-built stock investment app.

Upon digging deeper, ESET researchers found that GMERA operators had integrated the malware with macOS’ Kattana crypto trading application. They then created a replica of the firm’s website to promote four new copycat apps, namely; Trezarus, Licatrade, Cupatrade, and Cointrazer. Notably, these malicious apps direct users to a ZIP archive containing the trojan zed versions, which in turn target crypto wallets once downloaded.

The researchers went on to highlight that anyone who is not very familiar with Kattana’s website can, therefore, easily be compromised:

“For a person who doesn’t know Kattana, the websites do look legitimate.”

The GMERA Malware

To fully understand how it works, ESET researchers analyzed samples from Licatrade whose functionality is pretty similar to the other malware. As per the findings, GMERA installs a shell script on the target’s computer, giving the hackers access to a user’s system through the app.

They then leverage HTTP to create C&C or C2 servers to initiate communication between them and the compromised machine. In doing so, they can steal information such as location, crypto wallets, and screen captures stored in the user’s database. Following these findings, ESET raised the issue with Apple leading to the revokement of Licatrade’s certification.

Also Read: Twitter Hacker Managed to Scam Only 12 Bitcoin After Duping Major Accounts Using ‘Internal Tools’

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Human Rights Foundation and Crypto Custody, Casa, Partner to Help Activists Use & Secure BTC

The Human Rights Foundation has partnered with Bitcoin security firm Casa to help activists protect their bitcoin holdings and donations used in the fight against human rights abuses around the world. Casa would offer its multi-signature self custody solution to help the foundation save donations in Bitcoin.

Alex Gladstein, Chief Strategy Officer at Human Rights Foundation, in a release stated that Bitcoin could help the activists raise the necessary funds to help people around the world, especially in these troubled political climates. He said:

“Bitcoin has enormous potential to help activists raise funds to fight human rights abuses in difficult political environments, but storing it in a safe yet accessible way has always been a challenge.”

He added:

“With software like Casa, organizations can keep their Bitcoin secure while maintaining full control, without the risk of losing funds due to a mistake. Activists must control the private keys to their Bitcoin, so they can always get their funds to where it’s needed when it’s needed.”

Casa Would Offer Educational Resources For Activists to Understand Bitcoin Better

The partnership between Casa and Human Rights Foundation would see the bitcoin security company offering educational resources to activists and non-profit organizations to help them understand different aspects and potential of Bitcoin, and how they can use it in their fight against human rights abuses.

The partnership would also conduct various workshops where Casa will be offering its insight and expertise in the field of cybersecurity and bitcoin security to help activists protect their funds and use it efficiently.

Casa combines proven technologies with hardware wallets and risk diversification to ensure the safety of one’s bitcoin. The partnership between the two firms can also pave the way for future use of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for social welfare work. If this partnership turns into a success story, other organizations would even fancy their chances of incorporating bitcoin into their operations.

Nick Neuman, CEO at Casa, commented on how Bitcoin could prove to be a great aid over fiat in the current system and explained:

“Sadly, human rights organizations face unique challenges when it comes to managing their funds, including having their bank accounts frozen, as we saw in 2019 when HSBC froze the account of Hong Kong pro-democracy group Spark Alliance due to political pressure.”

He concluded:

“But Bitcoin changes the game. As long as it is protected within a highly secure self-custody solution, Bitcoin enables activists to receive and spend funds in a way that governments and corporations can’t control. Bitcoin also provides significantly more freedom for moving funds around the world and, since it’s not subject to the fees and friction of international transfers, more money is available more quickly to fund projects that make a real difference.”

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Author: James W