Privacy Browser Brave Unknowingly Leaked Users’ Dark Web Activities: Researchers

Privacy-oriented web browser Brave has been leaking users’ web data for months unknowingly through a bug in its code. The bug named Support CNAME, which was incorporated into its Tor mode offering had been sending user data to local network providers without the company knowing.

Leaked DNS Requests

Tor mode on Brave Browser allows users to access hidden services better known as .onion dark web domains while using Brave’s private browsing windows. The feature, which was added in 2018, was created to ensure increased privacy for Brave users while surfing the web.

But in recent research revealed on Friday for the Brave stable build, a Reddit user said Brave’s Tor mode was re-routing web queries for .onion domains to public internet domain name system (DNS) resolvers rather than designated Tor nodes.

Although the claims were initially refuted, other security experts confirmed the issue and asked the privacy browser to do something about it.

A DNS leak occurs when a request that should be sent through a private network arrives at a DNS server unprotected. The DNS server is likely your local network provider who will likely collect, evaluate and possibly sell the data. A DNS leak also leaves a trail that can be traced by government officials, hackers, or anyone with top-level security clearance.

To address this sort of issue, the Tor network was created in 2002. This network directs your web traffic through myriads of nodes, hiding the location you are searching from and protecting against network surveillance and traffic analysis.

Brave Browser has subsequently addressed the issue and released a formal fix for the erring bug the same day the data leak was discovered. The company said it first found the CNAME bug in its Brave Nightly build which developers mainly use. The issue was fixed on Feb. 4, and it proceeded to look into the stable build. It delayed the fix because it looked for other likely bugs that may result from the data leak.

The company has advised users genuinely concerned about their privacy to use the Tor network instead.

Brave’s User Community Grows By 130%

But despite what might seem like a bad deal for the ads blocking browser, Brave browser has enjoyed some measure of success in 2021. In a published report, the privacy portal said it has seen its user community increase from 11.6 million to 25.4 million as of Feb. 2 reflecting a 130% increase.

The Brave browser is sometimes compared to the famous Tor network due to its privacy-centric business model. Its Tor mode deployment in 2018 has seen it become a household name in a few short years.

The Chromium-based browser also rewards its users a basic attention token (BAT) for accepting to view ads. These digital tokens can then be exchanged for other crypto-assets or given to content creators through its in-built wallet.

With the idea of privacy becoming a much-discussed topic in the last decade, Brave may continue to find itself in business for a long time to come.

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Author: Jimmy Aki

Blockfolio to Go Through Security Review After Getting Hacked to Display Offensive & Racist Content

Blockfolio to Go Through Security Review After Getting Hacked to Display Offensive & Racist Content

The team has announced a credit of $10 to every current and new users of the app. ACH withdrawals have also been activated on both FTX and Blockfolio.

FTX acquired crypto tracker app Blockfolio, suffered an incident on Tuesday when offensive messages were displayed to its users.

“We are incredibly sorry about the offensive messages posted on Blockfolio today. We will be addressing this ASAP,” noted the team. They have since then removed the offensive messages.

The team also assured that trading or funds weren’t affected, only the displayed information.

Blockfolio-message

Blockfolio took to Twitter to further share that they have revoked access to the compromised Signal submitters in response to the incident. All the users of the app have been credited with $10, as will anyone else who signs up this week at a maximum of 1 million people, said the firm.

Just at the end of last month, Blockfolio enabled trading on its app and saw more downloads than “in any single day of 2017.” FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried, also took to Twitter to share the story behind the messages on Blockfolio. The investigation revealed that the,

“Offensive content was produced and published by a competitor exchange of ours who maliciously gained access to someone else’s Blockfolio News/Signal capabilities.”

Sam condemned the actions of the competitor at fault here whose name wasn’t revealed and announced a donation to organizations to “help move the world forward, not backward.” He added,

“We have always and will always strive to work with others in the industry–whether customers, builders, or competitors. We will rise and fall together, and this industry has no place for this behavior.”

The chief executive also said that over the course of next month, they would conduct a security review of the app to “bring them in line with the standards set by trading, and by FTX more generally.”

In other news, both FTX and Blockfolio now support ACH withdrawals.

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Author: AnTy

Stablecoin Demand Is Going Through the Roof; Exchange Reserves Hit an ATH

Stablecoin Demand Is Going Through the Roof; Exchange Reserves Hit an ATH

Stablecoins dominated 2020 and now they are ready to take over 2021 as well.

Last year, the market capitalization of fiat-pegged stablecoins went from just under $5 million to $27 billion. As of writing, the stablecoin market cap has surpassed $30 bln, as per CoinGecko.

While Tether (USDT) remains the king of the stablecoins with a $22.75 billion market cap and $20.60 billion trading volume, as per Messari, Coinbase and Circle’s USDC is catching up fast. With a market cap of $4.21 billion, USDC is managing $693 million in volume.

USDC actually printed nearly 1 billion in December compared to USDT’s just 2 billion.

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Back in Dec. 2019, USDC’s market cap was $500 million which surged to $1 billion in July 2020.

“The growth of USDC in 2020 was in large part fueled by the growth of Decentralized Finance (DeFi), where USDC remains the number one fiat-backed stablecoin of choice by both users and developers,” said Pete Kim who helped build USDC 2.0 and Coinbase Wallet. “USDC acts as a medium of exchange between different protocols,” he added.

Recently, Coinbase announced the latest version of USDC, which according to Kim was “long overdue for an upgrade.”

Stablecoins have been boosting liquidity in the cryptocurrency market and enabling trading to be faster and cheaper.

An interesting trend has been seen in the market regarding these fiat-based crypto assets. While the digital assets like BTC and ETH have been moving off the exchanges for HODLing, the stablecoin reserves of these cryptocurrency trading platforms have hit an ATH at 3.137 bln, up from 1.3 bln in August, as per data source Crypto Quant.

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Binance’s stablecoin BUSD’s exchange reserves also hit an ATH as 327 million BUSD flew into exchanges in the past three weeks.

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Author: AnTy

USDC’s ‘Breakthrough’ Use-Case, US Govt. to Distribute Aid to Venezuela via the Stablecoin

With the support and licensing from the US Government, Circle is providing foreign aid through the USDC stablecoin to the people of Venezuela. Circle said,

“While this may be the first time, it will no doubt not be the last as global stablecoins firmly arrive on the world stage as a foundational infrastructure in the future of the international monetary system.”

USDC is the fastest-growing stablecoin of 2020, growing 500% in the past 8 months, with a market cap of over $2.8 billion.

In an announcement on Friday, Circle said it has been “approached” to help the “legitimate elected government of Venezuela” to distribute the financial aid to front-line medical workers in the country who, besides coronavirus, are also battling with hyperinflation, international sanctions, and economic collapse under the Nicolas Maduro regime who had launched his own oil-backed crypto petro.

After imposing sanctions on the Maduro regime, the US government seized Maduro and his government’s assets, which they now seek to get in the hands of the Venezuelans fighting COVID-19, for which they have turned to blockchain and fintech.

In collaboration with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, led by President-elect Juan Guaido and U.S.-based fintech innovator Airtm, aid will be distributed by leveraging dollar-backed USDC.

The Guaidó government will basically use the seized funds to mint USDC, which will be then sent to Airtm, a blockchain-based bank and dollar-denominated payment platform that powers digital payments throughout North, Central, and South America.

The USDC will then be sent to Venezuelan healthcare workers’ accounts as AirUSD — Airtm’s stablecoin-backed dollar token.

“All of this is powerful, inspiring, and underscores the ability of the internet and digital currency to transform… how value and money moves,” said Circle adding that

“it marks a historic moment where in order to execute on US government foreign policy objectives, economic and political leaders have turned to stablecoins.”

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Author: AnTy

The Cayman Islands Releases Phase 1 of Its Regulatory Framework for VASPs

The Cayman Islands, the Caribbean British Overseas territory, has announced through its Ministry of Financial Services that it has commenced developing a regulatory framework for Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) within its jurisdiction. The island, which is notoriously famous for its ‘tax haven’ status, is looking to clear up ambiguities in running crypto operations as part of compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines, which were rolled out last year.

According to the press release on Oct 31, Cayman Islands classifies a virtual asset as a ‘digital representation of value that can be electronically traded and used for investment purposes.’ It has already enacted a set of rules to guide developing a VASP regulatory framework; these came into effect on Oct 28. Going forward, the island plans to roll out this process into two phases, with the initial one having commenced on Oct 31.

The first phase focuses on the compliance, supervision, and enforcement of Anti-money laundering (AML) and terror financing rules in line with the FATF and Cayman Island’s local guidelines. Prospective VASPs and those already operating in this tax haven will be required to register with the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA). The second phase is slated for June 2021, and will focus on licensing requirements and prudential supervision.

Notably, the prospectus VASP regulatory framework will feature the FATF guidelines, some of which include the popular ‘Travel Rule.’ Currently, the island’s compliance with FATF is under assessment by the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF), which will later report its FATF ratings. The Cayman Islands is optimistic that developing a regulatory framework will attract more firms to launch within its jurisdiction. The press release highlights,

“The Cayman Islands’ ability to regulate and attract persons and entities that deal with virtual assets as a business is now strengthened, with the commencement of legislation for virtual asset service providers (VASPs).”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Interlay to Bring Tokenized Bitcoin to Polkadot Via PolkaBTC in 2021

A tokenized BTC coming to Polkadot as it is integrated with blockchain through a cross-chain bridge to Bitcoin that will go live in the Q1 of 2021. It would enable users to transact BTC as PolkaBTC on various platforms falling under the umbrella of decentralized finance (DeFi).

Interlay is behind the development of PolkaBTC, backed by Parity Technologies, and funded by the Web3 Foundation. Integration aims to accelerate Polkadot’s young DeFi ecosystem.

In the case of transferring a tokenized BTC (as like BitGo’s WBTC) out of its native blockchain, a copy of the underlying token is declared, where real BTC gets locked. And these copies of BTC are burned whenever a user shifts back to the Bitcoin blockchain.

On the contrary, PolkaBTC would get labeled in a 1:1 ratio and supported in many decentralized exchanges, lending protocols, and stablecoins.

Moreover, Interlay revealed that the permissionless and trustless nature of the ecosystem makes users have more control over their money as its working infrastructure doesn’t include any central or monitoring sector.

BTC-Parachain, since its initiation, is run by multiple nodes around the world, including community members and various companies, as a decentralized platform.

To use PolkaBTC at decentralized apps, you need to have some DOTs (Polkadot’s native token) used as collateral to mint the PolkaBTC. Three things you must have to mint are BTC wallet, Polkadot’s Wallet, and some DOTs. Interlay stated:

“In the case that a vault misbehaves, you will be reimbursed from the Vault’s collateral and will make a very profitable trade between BTC and DOT. At launch, collateral will be put down in DOT. In the mid/long run, this may be extended to stablecoins or token-sets to improve stability.”

If one wants to redeem the PolkaBTCs equivalent to a whole bitcoin, he needs to burn the tokens on the BTC-Parachain first. Interlay added,

“PolkaBTC can remain on Polkadot indefinitely (no expiry date) and can be redeemed for BTC at any point in time.”

The first Alpha testnet will be held next month for PolkaBTC, and Beta tesnet is expected in January 2021, and the mainnet launch is scheduled in the first quarter of 2021.

Also, the projects based on Polkadot would be integrated with PolkaBTC. Some of them include Moonbeam, Equilibrium, and Polkaswap.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Is FTX CEO Accelerating the Deep DeFi Rout?

After going through a deep pullback in the past month, most of the DeFi tokens struggle to let go of the losses.

Although the news of Square buying $50,000,000 worth of BTC has sent the market into a tisy, not all coins are moving out of the red. Coins like UNI (+22%), LRC (+13.5%), and KNC (+5%) are recording some gains. DeFi darling YFI has manged to dig itself out of the deep red into the green (+5%).

Much like the price, the total value locked (TVL) in the DeFi Sector has declined by almost 10% to $10.12 billion, as per DeFi Pulse.

Popular DEX Uniswap, however, is an exception to this, whose TVL has jumped 30% in a fortnight.

Keep on Dumping!

As we reported, numerous popular DeFi tokens have lost 80% to 90% of their value since hitting all-time highs during the period of mid-August and the beginning of September.

But still, they continue to go down more and more, which could be seen as an opportunity for the project enthusiasts to buy these tokens at low prices which might have missed them the first time around.

In the past 7 days, more losses have been incurred by the DeFi sector, with YFII leading with almost -46% drop. Other notable losers include SUSHI (-41%), CRV (-37%), YFI (-29%), SWRV (-33%), bzrx (-37%), UNI (-24%), UMA (-25%), LEND (-20%), and SNX (-17%).

As another round of losses hit DeFi tokens, Twitterati points to derivatives exchange FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried shorting YFI, CRV, and UNI.

Some market participants speculate that Bankman-Fried might be behind the latest dose of losses, especially for YFI, CRV, and UNI, which he has been dumping on leading spot exchange Binance.

It is worth noting that Bankman-Fried is also the CEO of the quantitative cryptocurrency trading firm Alameda Research.

The Catalyst…

While some aren’t liking it, others said Bankman-Fried is simply shorting a few cryptos, which means he believes the coin will decline in value.

Jason Choi of crypto fund The Spartan Group found it all absurd, stating, “Always find it amusing that the idea of shorting is deemed evil on crypto twitter.”

And if you think Bankman-Fried will short his FTT or SRM, that’s a big fat no, because he ain’t short on his creation, of course, rather he is “long as fuck.”

Trader Moon Overlord also pointed out the obvious nature of the situation, which is “a person apart of a trading firm does a trade.” Back in late August, when FTX acquired the crypto portfolio tracker Blockfolio, the trader said, “FTX didn’t pay for a portfolio tracker they could build in 5 minutes they paid $150M for your data and bag info.”

The market also likened Sam’s behavior with billionaire investor George Soros acting as a catalyst in collapsing the British pound in 1992 by shorting it.

In the process, Soros made an estimated $1 billion profit. While that incident was viewed as “a permanent black mark on the UK as a center of financial prestige,” following the event, “Britain entered a period of growth and prosperity,” noted Sahil Bloom, VP at Altamont Capital Partners.

If not Soros, someone else would have used the opportunity to their advantage, and he “merely accelerated” the process. The same could be seen in the DeFi market, which may finally find its bottom and embark on a new bull run.

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Author: AnTy

Leading Japanese Messaging App, LINE, Launches Crypto Lending Services on BITMAX Exchange

LINE, the Japanese messaging app giant, is launching crypto lending services for its clients through its subsidiary crypto exchange, BITMAX. The news, which was first reported by CoinDesk Japan, highlighted that BITMAX users will be now be permitted the option of lending their crypto holdings to the exchange service, with BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, or LTC as the underlying collaterals.

This service is set to function similarly to bank loans; only instead of interest, the lenders will receive a ‘rental fee.’ LINE filed a statement with the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Oct 9, noting the firm will be running a campaign up to Oct 30, where users could earn as much as a 10% rental fee for lending their digital assets. This should start accruing from the day the rental is deposited.

With LINE’s 80 million local outreach, the new lending services become bullish to the Japanese crypto market. The country which has had historically low-interest rates will probably benefit from the exposure in crypto volatility, although at the cost of accommodating the high risk.

LINE made it’s crypto debut onto the Japanese market last year after being granted an operational license by the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA). They recently launched a blockchain development platform and digital wallet as part of scaling LINE’s crypto services footprint.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

YFI Ready to Take Off As The ‘Ultra High Beta’ or About to Get Smoked?

The DeFi market is going through winter right now, as prices of these tokens take a pullback after making all-time highs during August and September.

Since hitting those peaks, some Defi tokens have taken a harsh beating, like CRV, SUSHI, and bZx, which are down over 90%, some like Aave, Maker, and Loopring only went down about 40%. Amidst this, Yearn.Finance’s governance token YFI is somewhere around the middle.

In August, 1 YFI became equal to 1 BTC and then went past Bitcoin’s ATH $20,000 soon after. It was in the mid of September that YFI hit its peak at $43,678, as per CoinGecko.

Making new highs means the digital assets have to get ready for a correction, and that’s exactly what happened as the DeFi sector as a whole went through a winter.

So Much More Affecting YFI

YFI’s losses were exacerbated because of Eminence.Finance, a project by YFI founder Andre Cronje that rug pulled $16 million. Trader and economist Alex Kruger said,

“YFI has been getting Creamed. Recent underperformance relative to other cryptos has been notable. One could argue it is the chart. But it is not. One can find plenty equally poor charts across crypto. This IMO is the marketplace punishing YFI by removing the Cronje premium.”

According to him, although yields matter which has fallen, the blatant negligence around the EMN launch from Yearn and “how poorly the aftermath was handled… many exited/reduced YFI positions because of it.”

At the time of writing, YFI/USD has been trading at just above $18,000.

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Another reason for this poor performance could be the overall drop in activity in the DeFi sector. Jason Choi of crypto fund The Spartan Group said,

“August has been a phenomenal month for DeFi bulls. Now we’re in the hangover phase of the DeFi party.”

Amidst this rout, we are seeing “flight to quality in yield farming,” with Uniswap accounting for 70% of all TVL in yield farms despite its modest returns of 20%-30%. Choi said,

“The shift in sentiment was rapid. Even “degen” farms offering north of 1500% APY are only attracting ~1/10th of the TVL they did just a month ago.”

“drop is risk appetite and collapse in APY is a direct result of -ve price performance of new crop tokens.”

Moreover, with CRV “buckling under continual inflation sell pressure,” it is affecting YFI as well as yCRV APYs on Yearn.Finance accounts for 60% of its activity.

Macro in Focus

While some call for YFI to go down to four digits due to a head and shoulders pattern, trader Josh Rager sees it making new highs as it has found support at a major 0.618 fib level.

Kruger is also still bullish on this DeFi token despite the price of the token crashing 45% in six days as he said,

“The YFI bigger picture bull case remains unchanged. Odds are high this whole ordeal is short term noise.”

The EMN event, however, should remind speculators of YFI’s high ‘founder risk’ as seen in early August when an interview about Cronje “close to quitting DeFi” tanked the price of YFI.

Overall, the trader expects crypto to take off again after the elections and for DeFi to push even further “as the ultra high beta.” Kruger said,

“Macro matters now. So it makes sense to play from the long side. But if crypto crashes, YFI would get smoked, and no fundamental analysis would stop that.”

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Author: AnTy

Kucoin’s Hackers Identified With ‘Substantial Proof’ in $280M Theft, Law Enforcement Involved

Kucoin announced through its CEO Johnny Lyu that they have found the hackers who compromised close to $280 million of the exchange’s funds in last week’s hack.

Lyu tweeted this update over the weekend as crypto markets struggled in the red zone following the Kucoin hack, BitMEX indictments, and the news of President Trump contracting COVID 19.

The hack update noted that authorities and law enforcement, in particular, are now involved in the matter,

This update comes as a reprieve to Kucoin stakeholders, although the Singapore based exchange had assured the crypto community that funds were SAFU. While its funds in cold storage remained untouched, the hackers had managed to siphon around $280 million from hot wallets and are in the process of dumping the hack proceeds for value realization.

However, this seems not to be going so well for the group, which has only sold $13 million worth of the stolen funds. These were sold through decentralized exchanges, including Uniswap, Kyber Network, Tokenlon, and DEX.AG. As for the rest, Lyu now says that an additional $64 million has been frozen in collaboration with other CeFi providers, bringing the total to $204 million.

Besides the updates, Lyu also signaled that Kucoin is gradually returning to full functionality and supported deposits and withdrawals of 31 tokens as of October 3. In an earlier follow-up Livestream on September 30, the Kucoin CEO had acknowledged the hack as part of growing bigger,

“As a crypto team just turned three years old, although we never slack off on security-related issues, we couldn’t dodge the cruelest coming-of-age ceremony that every predecessor used to embrace.”

While this hack may have hit hard, one thing that emerged is the collaborative effort by crypto projects to curtail the movement of ‘compromised’ funds. Some projects like Velo Labs have gone to re-deploying their smart contracts to freeze the funds. Nonetheless, this has also sparked controversy on the whole aspect of decentralized ecosystems.

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Author: Edwin Munyui