Robinhood Raises Cybersecurity Awareness After Insider Says 2,000 Accounts Exposed in the Hack

About 2,000 of trading app Robinhood accounts were compromised in a recent hack that stole customer funds.

The popular online brokerage service also offers trading of limited cryptocurrencies, previously said that cybercriminals targeted only a “limited number” of customer funds. The service in itself wasn’t hacked, but users’ personal email accounts were compromised, which were used to gain access to customers’ Robinhood account, it has been said in a statement.

But a person with knowledge of an internal review told Bloomberg the estimated figure, a sign that attacks have been more widespread than previously believed.

Users complained on social media as the brokerage service with more than 13 million accounts does not have a customer service phone number. The company said in a statement,

“We always respond to customers reporting fraudulent or suspicious activity and work as quickly as possible to complete investigations.”

The company is now sending push notifications to users to enable two-factor authentication on their accounts and is further planning to send customers more security advice.

However, several victims said their brokerage accounts were accessed despite having set up 2FA, while others said they found no sign of their email compromising.

“Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence that online accounts of monetary value are bought, sold and traded by cyber-criminals,” said Mark Arena, CEO of Intel 471, which monitors activities of digital criminals.

“This shows the importance of people practicing common information-security hygiene such as not re-using the same password across multiple accounts and enabling two-factor authentication, which Robinhood supports.”

Menlo Park, California-based Robinhood was founded seven years ago, exploded in popularity this year as millions of Americans, including millennials stuck at home, took to making money from stock prices swinging. They put their stimulus money into the stock market that sent it flying.

But at the same time, the no-fee brokerage app has attracted consumer complaints and faced the SEC probe.

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Author: AnTy

Bitcoin Comes to the Rescue of Nigerian Protesters as Account Gets Suspended

It’s been more than a week now that people across Nigeria have been protesting against police brutality and demand reform and accountability.

The younger generations are using social media to document the event in real life to amplify their cause and counter false narratives.

The youth-led rallies in several parts of the countries target the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Authorities have announced that SARS will be disbanded, but the promise is not enough to quell the anger.

Nigerians continue to protest and fight for accountability, calling for an end to police violence and a complete overhaul of the system.

As part of the protests, various organizations have been asking for support. One such activist, the Feminist Coalition Group, which has managed large funds, reported having its accounts suspended.

“For demanding an end to police brutality, we are now under attack! Our bank account has been deactivated, and so has the Flutterwave donation link. Our members lives are also being threatened!” it was written on twitter earlier this week.

Amidst this attack, Bitcoin came to the rescue as the official twitter account of Nigerian feminists fighting against the injustice of SARS through peaceful protests, fundraising, and social media organization shared the option to donate with BTC.

The platform accepts BTC through BTC Pay Server, a self-hosted cryptocurrency payment processor, which is a “free, secure, and censorship-resistant platform.”

Already, over 180 transactions have been made to their addresses and raised about $10,800 (0.94749255 BTC) at the current BTC price.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, a Bitcoin proponent, also mentioned the protest in several tweets and asked people to donate via BTC to support the protest.

“Donate via Bitcoin to help EndSARS,” tweeted Dorsey.

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Author: AnTy

Russian Central Bank to Curb Total Digital Assets An ‘Unqualified’ Investor Can Acquire

The Bank of Russia seeks to regulate the total amount of digital assets that individual investors can buy. The central bank has published a draft of regulatory proposals highlighting how they will regulate the nation’s digital assets space.

The Russian central bank is now proposing a bill that will limit the number of digital assets held by non-qualified individual investors annually.

As per the proposal, the Bank of Russia states that non-qualified investors will not be permitted to acquire digital assets above 600,000 rubles or about $7,800. However, qualified investors will not have to adhere to this limit.

According to the regulator, the new limit will help in the recently approved crypto law’s operationalization, specifically on the digital financial assets.

To be deemed as a qualified investor, one must meet 1 of the following five criteria:

  • Hold an economics degree.
  • Own securities totaling more than $74,400
  • A net worth of 6 million rubles (~$74,400)
  • Have over two years of experience working for a financial organization
  • Trade significant amounts of securities regularly.

According to the publication, the curbing will apply to both digital financial assets and various digital rights. The statement reads:

“Individuals representing unqualified investors will have a limit on the amount of digital financial assets for annual purchase at a total of 600 thousand rubles.

The limit for the acquisition of digital rights for unqualified investors who hold both digital financial assets and other digital rights is set at 600 thousand rubles for digital financial assets and 600 thousand rubles for other digital rights.”

The Russian central bank is asking for feedback and opinions about the proposal from the public. Those willing to provide their input have until Oct. 27. The restriction is set to be enforced from Jan.1, 2021.

The Russian central bank also released a distinct proposal touching on how those willing to issue digital assets should register.

Notably, the new restrictions will apply to digital assets, which will be offered when the new digital assets law is enforced. Lawyer Mikhail Uspensky, who spoke to CoinDesk, stated, “Such tokens don’t exist yet, so the document is written for the future. The law will only come into force in January [2021], and cryptocurrencies are not mentioned in it at all.”

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Spanish Govt Embarks on Bill to Requires Crypto Investors to Disclose Holdings and Income

The Spanish government has embarked on a bill that may require its citizens to disclose their crypto income or holdings with the country’s tax agency. Reuters, which first reported on this development, noted that the bill in question aims at tracking down tax fraud/evasion amongst Spain’s crypto investors or users.

According to Spain’s government spokeswoman, Maria Jesus Montero, this piece of legislation is currently in progress and set to play a major role in harmonizing crypto tax reporting. If passed into law, crypto holders in Spain will have to disclose their crypto exposures within the rules of holding the burgeoning digital assets.

While the details of the proposed legislation are still scanty, this is not the first time Spanish authorities are making an effort to narrow down on crypto reporting. In 2018, they had embarked on similar efforts with the focus being identification; Montero highlighted that the Spanish government wanted to gain ‘identification of the holders and the balances contributed by these virtual currencies.’

She also touched on the tax issue at the time, although not much practicality on implementation followed later,

“It is stated as mandatory that people and companies inform the Tax Agency about this operation.”

However, the newly proposed legislation presents an opportunity to straighten out the ambiguity in Spain’s crypto tax reporting. Concurrently, tax cheats will be nabbed and taken into account based on an established regulatory framework.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Lending Protocol, Aave, Raises $25M From Investors; Plans to Bring DeFi Closer to Institutions

Aave, one of the leading DeFi protocols for lending and borrowing, announced today that it had received a $25 million investment from prominent investors, including Blockchain.com Ventures, Standard Crypto, and Blockchain Capital. The newly injected funds boost Aave’s capital base; the firm had already raised $24 million since 2017 in three token sales.

According to Aave’s CEO, Stani Kulechov, they are now looking to expand their footprint in the Asian market and bring DeFi closer to institutions;

“Aave raised funds from strategic investors to bring DeFi closer to institutional use and to expand the team size to serve the growth in Asian markets.”

Kulechov also noted that the strategic investors would be included in Aave’s governance and get an opportunity to stake on this DeFi protocol. This development coincides with the ongoing migration to ‘Aavenomics’ as earlier reported by BEG.

Aave has been upgrading its native token ‘LEND’ to a more effective governance token ‘AAVE’; the initiative rolled out earlier this month but had been in the works since the beginning of 2020. Kulechov said,

“Aave is now moving towards the AaveDAO, which means that after the migration from LEND to AAVE, anyone can build new functionality into the protocol along with the Aave team, effectively decentralizing development and governance.”

Aave’s DeFi protocol has been thriving; its current TVL stands at $1.15 billion according to metrics from DeFi Pulse. This makes it the third-largest DeFi protocol as of press time; the platform touts close to $500 million worth of flash loans since its debut about nine months ago. Its prospectus native token ‘AAVE’ was recently listed on Gemini exchange and featured in custodial services.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

FinTech Revolut to Leverage Fireblocks’ Wallet & Network Tech to Launch New Crypto Services

Revolut, the mobile-only trading app, has announced that it would be utilizing Fireblocks’s technology to offer a new range of crypto services. Fireblocks is popular for helping big institutions to shift cryptocurrencies between exchanges. However, neither of the two firms revealed exactly what these new crypto services would be.

Fireblocks currently support three exchanges, namely Huobi Global, OkCoin, and Bithumb. Big companies use Fireblocks technology to move funds between smart contracts both on and off-chain without logging in and out of each exchange.

Revolut started as a mobile banking service offering cross-border remittance services starting in 2018. In the beginning, the mobile banking app allowed only the purchase and sale of bitcoin; however, now it offers multiple digital assets.

Revolut this year expanded to the US as well, which expanded its user base significantly. It is being believed that its recent association with Fireblocks is only going to help it scale its crypto services further.

As per Revolut’s yearly financial report released in August this year, the customers on the mobile banking app held $121 million in crypto by the end of 2019, seeing an increase of 2.5 folds from 2018. In the financial year of 2018, the total amount of crypto held by the mobile banking service stood at $48 million.

Ed Cooper, Revolut’s head of crypto, commented on their association with Fireblocks but did not reveal any detail of the partnership and how both the firms plan to scale bitcoin services.

“Fireblocks will enable us to add more advanced crypto features rapidly, ” they are also exploring “all the new experiences that we can offer our customers shortly.” He added,

“Wish I could give more info here. They haven’t announced the services yet, but Revolut is planning to announce this themselves in the next few weeks.”

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Author: James W

DeFi Benefiting from Renewed Risk Appetite, YFI Enjoying a 30% Turnaround

There have been rumors floating on the Crypto Twitter that the creator of the DeFi darling YFI, Andre Cronje, has “permanently left the lead of development and possibly the project after reports he fell in depression.”

Some even say, “the YFI Team is trying to mitigate the situation with a cover-up.”

However, CL, who works on the design at Yearn.Finance refuted these rumors with a simple “he did not quit.”

Cronje hasn’t been active on his Twitter either; his last tweet was on Sept. 29, right after the Eminence.Finance debacle which rug pulled $16 million.

This isn’t the first time the market is talking about Cronje’s exit from the project. In early August, in an interview, he talked about quitting but after a clear mind reaffirmed the crypto community that he isn’t going anywhere any time soon, at least, “until there is nothing left to build.”

“This space won’t get rid of me,” he added.

Before that, back at the end of February, the “toxic community” of DeFi had pushed him to make a similar decision, but he said he learned his lesson.

A Turnaround

Unlike the last time when his quitting crashed the YFI price by 22%, the positive momentum in the market has YFI jumping following the correction, of course.

In mid-September, YFI hit its all-time high at above $44,000, surpassing 1 BTC the previous month and hitting BTC’s ATH before bitcoin.

But before Sept. was over, YFI crashed more than 54%, as the DeFi frenzy started to cool off. The pullback after a wild rally has been expected. But the DeFi correction didn’t stop there.

And yesterday, it went down as low as under $12,300, another about 40% drop and took all the DeFi down with it.

“Volume indicates that may have been the YFI bottom, and the DeFi bottom by extension,” said trader and economist Alex Kruger.

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The trader also added for further confidence in this DeFi bottom; we need stocks not to go on full risk-off mode and “Cronje to behave like a grown-up – Bet he’ll come out of his cave within weeks, release a new product, make YFI pop 30-50% in days, and have his sycophants like his boots.”

And today, we have finally started uptrending that YFI surging above $15,000. With a jump in price, other metrics are growing too.

YFI, however, is not the only one propelled by Bitcoin’s positive move yesterday, small-cap, DeFi related assets are the ones benefiting from the renewed risk appetite.

YFII is leading with 65% gains along with with the likes of bxrz (28%), UMA (27%), AKRO (25%), RUNE (23%), SUSHI (21%), UNI (20%), CRV (17%), and LEND (13%).

“Despite the re-pricing of various tokens that dominate DeFi ecosystem, the actual amount locked remained relatively sticky and largely unchanged,” said Denis Vinokourov of Bequant. “Pointing to profit taking, as opposed to capital flight related flow,” he added.

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Author: AnTy

Riot Blockchain Targets 2.3 EH/s Hashrate by June 2021; Adds 2,500 Bitmain S19 Pro Miners

Riot Blockchain announced on Oct 6 that it would be expanding its S19 Pro Antminer fleet following a recent purchase of 2500 units from Bitmain. The firm also highlighted progress in previous S19 Pro miners’ orders [1,000 in April, 1,040 in May, 1,000 in July, and 8,000 in August] and an update on their deployment. Currently, Riot’s deployed hashrate capacity stands at 519 PH/s; they are now looking to quadruple this to 2.3 EH/s by June 2021.

According to the announcement, the newly purchased Bitmain S19 Pro miners were acquired at the cost of $ 6.1 million with delivery and deployment scheduled for December. Notably, this operational expansion comes barely a month since Riot ordered 13,100 S19 Pro miners, delivery for these is slated for the first 6 months of 2021.

With this aggressive scaling, Riot, a Nasdaq listed firm, is looking to take the lead in the Bitcoin mining space. As far as stats go, this will be the first listed Bitcoin mining firm to achieve a hashrate above 2 EH/s. The blog announcement reads,

“As far as the Company is aware, no other publicly traded bitcoin mining company has disclosed a hashing capacity exceeding 2 EH/s.”

Riot anticipates that it will have deployed up to 22,640 miners by the end of June 2021. However, this year’s target is 9,540 miners, which will boost the firm’s hashpower by 14% to 842 PH/s. Going by these developments, the race for Bitcoin mining domination seems to have taken the next level as industry titans play catch up with the latest BTC mining difficulty.

Other than scaling its mining fleet, Riot recently moved its Antminers to the Coinmint data center domiciled in Massena, New York. The facility provides cheaper electricity for Riot’s mining operations, given that its geographical location has abundant wind power and hydroelectricity.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

South Korea’s Central Bank to Test Digital Won Distribution In 2021; CBDC’s Gain Momentum

The Central Bank of South Korea has announced that it will commence the distribution phase of its CBDC next year, marking the final stretch of the 22-month scheduled initiative. First reported by the Korea Herald, the Bank of Korea (BOK) intends to run the distribution of its blockchain-based CBDC up to December 2021. This will allow the BOK to assess its CBDC performance in a virtual environment.

As earlier reported by BEG, the ‘digital won’ recently entered its second phase, which involves consultation with industry stakeholders to build a sustainable CBDC infrastructure. Now that the BOK has confirmed the distribution phase slated for next year, Korea’s digital won could soon be a practical CBDC just like China’s DC/EP. An official from BOK has, however, said that the monetary body will not involve 3rd parties yet,

“The CBDC will be issued and circulated in the virtual world, and we are going to test a number of transaction scenarios under a variety of circumstances.”

Korea, which embarked on intensive CBDC research earlier in the year, appears to be on track with its milestone timelines. BOK completed the first phase, ‘designing & reviewing’ in July, and has since accelerated efforts into the ongoing phase two. Given this pace, the country might as well muscle out with already piloted CBDCs not limited to the ‘digital yuan.’ However, the BOK has previously signaled that it is not looking to launch a CBDC, but hedge should these digital assets become popular soon.

While South Korea’s progress is laudable, China still dominates the CBDC race, having piloted the PBoC backed digital RMB back in April. It was initially rolled out in four test cities but has since been scaled to prominent Chinese cities, including Beijing and Hong Kong. Many jurisdictions, including the European Union, are now looking to follow China’s lead in the CBDC space; the EU recently applied to trademark ‘digital euro’.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN) Crosses $100B in Transfer Volume; An Increase of 252% PoP

Silvergate, the California based crypto-friendly bank, announced that the cumulative transactional volume within its payment solution, Silvergate Exchange Network (SEN), has hit $100 billion. This year has been bullish for SEN, a trend that the firm attributes to the growing interest in crypto markets. In Q2 alone, SEN scaled its transfer volumes by 30%; the year-on-year (YoY) is also positive 250%, with transactions totaling to $76 billion this year.

SEN, which is barely 3 years old, began as a dollar on-ramping solution, targeting institutional investors who sent money around the clock. Its most recent financial product enables the processing of payments and funding loans. The project has also been integrating digital asset tailored services given the growing demand and shifts towards virtual ecosystems. On this front, Silvergate appears to have made a killing; in fact, the firm’s CEO Alan Lane was quite bullish during the Q2 earnings call.

Lane remains bullish according to this latest SEN milestone update,

“When we created the SEN, we couldn’t have anticipated its rapid, broad adoption across the digital currency industry … This milestone and broad adoption of the SEN further validates the platform’s competitive advantage and its growing network effects.”

It is quite noteworthy that Stablecoins like PAX and USDC has played a big role in SEN’s growth, especially with the DeFi mania, which picked up in May. Silvergate is one of the few banks in America that offers API transaction services through its payments network ‘SEN.’ The bank carries out the due diligence process and boards white-labeled investors into ecosystems such as Ethereum, making it seamless to interact with DeFi markets. Lane said,

“They’re coding our APIs right into their technology stack … It is secure, and 24/7 and you don’t need human intervention when they have coded in the API.”

However, he was also keen to highlight that Silvergate’s role is only to approve prospects on SEN; they can then initiate underlying functions such as loan processing and digital asset services.

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Author: Edwin Munyui