Phineas Fisher Hacker Puts $100,000 Reward to Attack Oil Companies and Banks

One of the most notorious hackers in the world, Phineas Fisher, has offered a bounty of $100,000 USD to any hacker who is able to break into banks or oil firms to leak information that can be considered beneficial to the public’s interest.

In his newest manifesto, called Hacktivist Bug Hunting Program, the hacker offered to pay other professionals who could hack organizations such as Halliburton, a South African oil company, which was cited in the project. Fisher says that hacktivism can be a very powerful tool when it comes to fighting inequality and capitalism. He stated,

 “Hacking to obtain and leak documents with public interest is one of the best ways for hackers to use their abilities to benefit society.”

He also claimed that he was not trying to “make anyone rich”, but that the bounty was just to help hackers to be well-paid for helping society, something that often does not happen.

His “bounty program” was in hopes of inspiring hackers and many institutions have bug bounty programs that are popular everywhere, and often pay hackers to find bugs and threats in systems. He is paying people for finding threats in large private companies.

Attacks to large oil companies are far from rare. In fact, Pemex, an oil firm based in Mexico, was recently hit by ransomware, which halted all activities of the company. The problem was dealt with soon enough and no ransom was ever paid. Most of the attacks have a financial motivation, though, and are not part of hacktivism. Phineas Fisher certainly wants to change that.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile Had Arbitrations Filed by Crypto Legal Firm Silver Miller on SIM Swapping

The legal firm Silver Miller, famous for taking on lawsuits in the crypto world, is also taking the SIM swapping cases that have led to major cryptocurrency losses. The complaints are made against three of the most important phone operators in US, which are Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

Mobile Operators Broke Their Own Security Policies

Silver Miller has recently made a statement in which it says that it’s responding to SIM identity claims accusations and solving many of the claims. Their research has discovered that even if the mobile operators have reassured their clients that their services are secure, these companies still have broken their own security policies and eased the process of SIM swapping.

SIM Swapping Has Been Syphoning Funds in the Crypto World

Since people are mostly using their mobile phones as 2FA tools, it’s very easy for someone to access their personal banking details or to make account exchanges. SIM swapping has been siphoning funds from many crypto holders in the last few years, and especially before the discovery of new tools for authentication. Silver Miller has been conducting research and discovered that mobile companies not only overlooked their own security procedures, they also encouraged criminal circles to hack their clients’ SIM cards.

In order to rectify the cases, the law firm has decided upon private arbitration and not public litigation. More than this, the identity of their clients is going to be protected. Silver Miller is also inviting people whose SIM has been hacked, especially if they have been promised increased security by their mobile operator, to take on legal actions as there’s a high chance for arbitration and to obtain the desired results without having to go through a trial.

Crypto Users the Most Hit by SIM Swapping

Those who are involved in the crypto space have been the most attacked when it comes to SIM swapping. Only recently, there was a case in which crypto assets valued at $550,000 have been stolen and for which two men were charged. Eric Meiggs from Brockton, Massachusetts, together with Declan Harrington from Rockport, Massachusetts, both in their very early twenties, have been charged with wire and computer fraud, identity theft and conspiracy, after they have targeted and attacked 10 identified victims on US territory.

Those with Prominent Social Media Presences the Most Targeted

Crypto users who have a prominent social media presence are at higher risk, also influencers in the crypto world and those who have a whale wallet. SIM swapping can’t directly affect wallets, yet it can empty accounts and wallets held by a third party. Exchanges are also at high risk, since they have about 6.7% of the Bitcoin (BTC) supply, not to mention there are markets holding smaller altcoins.

Kaspersky Labs, the firm specialized in cybersecurity has noted that SIM swapping has increased and ended up being the main type of attack in the crypto world. Silver Miller is trying to make things right for the ones who have already been the victims of such an attack, by bringing more evidence against mobile operators and being by the side of those who have been hacked.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Despite Regulatory Impediments, Facebook’s Libra Proclaims It Is “Growing Strong”

  • Many countries around the world are looking to block the launch of the Libra cryptocurrency.
  • TechCrunch’s critical article on the recent Libra summit inspired a statement to be released by the project.

The announcement of Facebook’s upcoming digital asset, Libra, has come with its fair amount of controversy and upset across the globe. Even while some countries are refusing to allow for its use at all, the Libra Association doesn’t appear to be the least bit bothered. In fact, in a post regarding the technical infrastructure, it states that Libra is “5 months and growing strong,” completely ignoring the backlash.

Libra recently launched its blockchain testnet, which has already performed 51,000 mock transactions through the last two months. There have already been 40 wallets, tools, and block explorers that are built on the blockchain testnet, as well as 1,700 GitHub commits. Coinbase, Uber, BisonTrails, Iliad, Xapo, Anchorage, and Facebook’s Calibra are presently running Libra nodes to process transactions. There are still six more nodes that the company aims to establish, and eight more to be set up by members.

Despite the update on the backend of Libra, there still seems to be a lack of plan to reach the goal of 100 members and nodes by next year, considering that there are presently only 21 members with nodes. After all, the launch is next year, and there’s still many regulators in the US and globally that won’t allow this to happen, which isn’t addressed at all.

Facebook is mostly focusing on fintech at the moment, since it isn’t dealing with any of the concerns about Libra. The platform launched Facebook Pay this week, allowing members of their Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram platforms to use a single payment method for paying merchants, friends, and charities. The new payment system could push for users to make more purchases on the platform, giving them a better idea of the transactions occurring on the platform while attracting merchants to spend more on their advertisements. Apart from financial inclusion, these goals are primarily what Facebook was trying to establish with their new cryptocurrency.

Many of the concerns from lawmakers stem from the way that Libra could potentially be a way for criminals to launder money, putting users’ assets at risk. It also puts a lot of power in the hands of Facebook, especially considering the ongoing antitrust investigations.

While the announcements from Libra could’ve been an opportunity to show how the project aims to deal with fraud and security issues, the Libra Association instead chose to talk code. Fixing policy was left off and almost completely ignored. Though TechCrunch submitted questions to the Libra Association for further clarification, a response was not provided before their article was published.

However, a later update of this article showed that a spokesperson from Libra responded to the criticism. The statement from the spokesperson explained that the Libra Core Summit was created as an effort to support members and educate them, regarding how to run a Libra node, build a Libra wallet, and more.

The spokesperson, Michael Engle, added,

“For those organizations without a technical team to implement a node, the Libra Association is working on a strategy to support deployment in 2020, when the Libra Core feature set is complete. The Libra Association intends to deploy 100 nodes on the mainnet, representing a mix of on-premises and cloud-hosted infrastructure.”

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Author: Krystle M

United Nations Affiliate ‘World Sports Alliance’ Pres. Pleads ‘Not Guilty’ To Selling Fake Crypto

Asa Saint Clair, the President of the UN affiliate World Sports Alliance has pleaded “not guilty” in the fraud case of selling cryptocurrency.

The man has been put on household arrest after he bought a one-way plane ticket to Madagascar while being investigated. He was caught at the airport, when he was trying to leave. The prosecutors accuse him of defrauding at least 3 investors by claiming that World Sports Alliance is helping third-world countries to gain access to food and water, also to build sporting facilities.

Saint Clair Sold IGOBIT, a Fake Cryptocurrency

The indictment against Saint Clair claims he had falsely guaranteed investors that they’ll receive returns if they buy IGOBIT, a fake World Sports Alliance’s blockchain digital token. Prosecutors have noted before that there was never an IGOBIT, in spite of Saint Clair saying that he raised the money to launch the digital token.

Investors’ Money Spent on Meals and Plane Tickets

Saint Clair never used investors’ money to launch the IGOBIT. Instead, he spent it all in Manhattan restaurants, on plane tickets and personal expenses for himself and other employees at World Sports Alliance. The US government called the World Sports Alliance a “sham affiliate of the United Nations.”

The Accused Was Talking of Pace and a Better World

US special agent Peter Fitzhugh said that, trying to make investors believe him, Saint Clair told them his sham company promotes the values of sports and is trying to create a better world. Instead, he used their money to live in luxury. Responding to the allegations that he was scamming people since 2017, he denied everything. His attorneys argued that he was World Sports Alliance President for only 6 months and that he travels a lot, this being the reason why he was leaving for Madagascar.

Furthermore, they claimed that it’s common for business people like Saint Clair to buy one-way tickets to countries in Africa because the governments there aren’t “schedule oriented”. Another hearing will be held in March, after the prosecutors finish investigating 6 TB of data confiscated from Saint Clair, at his apartment in New York.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Singapore’s HBSC To Launch Bond Registry Pilot Using DLT; Partnering With Temasek And SGX

One of the largest banks in the world is delving into the decentralized ledger technologies (DLT) space to offer fixed income securities on the blockchain. Singapore’s HSBC announced a partnership with Singapore Exchange (SGX), a leading exchange in debt and fixed income assets, and Temasek, a company with a net portfolio value of $231 billion USD, to launch a bond issuance platform on DLT in Asian markets.

HSBC partners with SGX and Temasek Investments

The Asian bond market is witnessing absurd growth in the past year or so as investors look towards non-volatile investments. According to the Asian bond monitor index, at the end of June, there was $15.3 trillion in local currency bonds outstanding in the region, 3.5% more than at the end of March and 14.2% more than in June 2018. While the space experiences high growth, the service, and infrastructure remain inefficient rendering the process slow and expensive.

In a turn to innovation, HSBC will launch a pilot project applying smart contracts and tokenized securities to streamline the bond industry. Chief Executive Officer at HSBC Singapore, Tony Cripps, is looking forward to the use of blockchain to explore possible digital bond contracts. In the partnership with SGX and Temasek, he said,

“The potential of DLT is an evolving story, and its role in overcoming inefficiencies in the fixed income market is yet to be seen. Only by collaborating with market participants will we fully understand its actual viability.”

Adding to the comments, Lee Beng Hong, Head of Fixed Income, Currencies & Commodities at SGX, said,

“Having HSBC and Temasek on board will enable us to evaluate holistically whether smart contracts and DLT can solve some of the long-standing challenges in the fixed income issuance ecosystem.”

HSBC Deeply Rooted on Blockchain Technologies

In June, the bank sent out a letter to its customers educating them on blockchain and cryptocurrencies, a move that signaled better things to come. Since then the company has integrated blockchain to reduce transaction times by over 40% and became the first bank to complete the first yuan-denominated letter of credit transaction on the blockchain.

In October, the Malaysian subsidiary, HSBC Malaysia, sent its first-ever letter of credit across the border to Singapore cutting transaction times by 90 percent.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Coinbase Leader in the UK: Facebook, Central Banks are Crypto Catalysts, Not Enemies

Zeeshan Feroz, the CEO of Coinbase in the United Kingdom, has recently affirmed that the world needs centralized entities to support the crypto market. According to him, having support from important players such as Facebook and Libra is important if cryptos want to become mainstream.

One of the reasons why he has so much faith in central banks is because of the concept of CBDCs, which are cryptos created by them. To create something like this, in his opinion, would catalyze a lot more attention and adoption than people in Silicon Valley are able to.

He also sees the Libra as a way to reach adoption. According to him, the token would greatly popularize cryptocurrencies and they could all be benefited from it. Coinbase is currently one of the 21 companies that remain a part of the Libra Association, so it makes sense that the company has faith in Facebook’s new project.

Feroz defended the Libra when he was asked whether it could just work as a way to replace the government’s fiat currency system. According to him, you need centralized entities to form a “utopia”. Maintaining a relationship with banks and centralized companies is vital for the development of the network.

Before the utopia, he affirmed, it is vital to get help from wherever it comes. He did affirm, however, that it is important that some businesses continue to be decentralized, not everything needs to be centralized, just a few important actors that will help the crypto world to be more widely accepted.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

New Lightnite (Fortnite-Inspired) by Satoshis Games Uses Bitcoin’s Lightning Network for Payments

You may have heard of Fortnite. It is the most famous video game in the world right now, so it is not surprising that people are starting to apply the blockchain technology to it.

Satoshis Games has recently announced that it is developing a new game called Lightnite, which is said to be similar to Fortnite but using the Bitcoin Lightning Network for microtransactions.

According to the game’s announcement, the main idea of the game is that you earn Bitcoin by shooting someone and lose it by getting shot. This means that each interaction in the game either makes you lose money or gain it all the time.

Obviously, the best way to deal with so many microtransactions is to use the Lightning Network. The network allows transactions as low as $0.00008 USD without clogging the network, so it is ideal for this kind of game.

It was also announced that some items in the game will have a value in BTC that you can pay for with coins you pick up from a dead player. You can use BTC to buy items from the store. The balances of the players will be updated all the time.

Fortunately, the game will have two modes. One of them is as described and the other one is set to be Bitcoin-less mode, in which non-Bitcoin users can also play without losing or gaining any money whatsoever.

According to the company, the game will be released on all major platforms such as Steam and, but also on Elixir, a new game distribution platform by Satoshis Games.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Nervous Depositing USD To Binance US Exchange? Now They Will Have FDIC Backed Insurance

The U. S. branch of the largest crypto exchange in the world, Binance US, has recently announced that now its customers will be partially insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

According to a recent blog from the company, all dollar deposits made by clients will be insured by the FDIC, which is an agency that was created to protect the consumers of the country. However, it should be noted that not all of the funds are insured. The insured value goes up to $250,000 USD in the event of loss of the funds.

The FDIC was created back in 1933, soon after the Great Depression. It was an important agency to provide more stability to the market after people lost almost all of their money during the depression and the years that followed it.

Binance is not the only company that is insuring the assets of its customers. SFOX, an institutional crypto company has also done this recently.

In related news, the company has also increased the maximum leverage that its clients can use on the platform. Starting this week, Binance’s clients of its futures platform can take up to 125x leverage, a considerable upgrade from the amount that the company let its clients take than before.

It is important to remember, though, that leverage is really tricky and that not everybody should be using it if they don’t have a way to pay if the investment goes the wrong way.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

Nasdaq Adds CIX100 Index For Top 100 Cryptos; Using AI To Eliminate Fake Volumes Coins

Nasdaq, the second-largest stock exchange in the world, has unveiled a new index related to the crypto world. The AI-powered crypto index is called CIX100 and was created by Cryptoindex.

According to the official press release, this is a new crypto market benchmark that uses algorithms to analyze the data from the top cryptos. With its neutral network algorithms, the program is able to take into account over 200 factors.

One of the highlights of the tool is to completely “human-free” and to detect fake volumes, which helps to avoid using them. All the data is taken from the largest crypto exchanges in the market and only tokens that are able to remain in the top 200 for at least three months consecutively are counted.

The CIX100 index is also set to be listed at other sites such as Reuters, TradingView and Bloomberg and its AI-based predictions have an accuracy of 82%, which can be considered a good number.

Indexes are certainly gaining space in the market. Nasdaq recently teamed up with CryptoCompare, for instance, to release a new aggregate index dataset that would help institutional customers. CryptoCompare also partnered with other platforms such as BitMEX to provide information about the crypto derivatives market.

Another similar project comes from Sina Finance, a major financial site owned by Sina Corp, a technology company in China. This crypto index has been included in the mobile app of the company a few months ago.

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Author: Gabriel Machado

World Will Need Gold In Case of an Economic Meltdown, Dutch Central Bank Affirms

In case the financial world faces a total collapse, gold will become more important than fiat currencies, at least that is what the Dutch Central Bank affirmed recently. The bank has also affirmed that gold is the trust anchor of the financial system and that it can be used as collateral for starting over.

Several central banks have started to acquire gold after the 2008 financial crisis, so it is not surprising that the representants of the Dutch bank believe in this. The Bitcoin community, however, sees the cryptocurrency as the way out for any upcoming recession.

Bitcoin has several qualities that are similar to gold. For instance, there is a limited supply of it, so it cannot be artificially manipulated as fiat currencies can be.

Gabor Gurbacs, the manager of VanEck, affirmed that non-sovereign currencies have a place in the world and that private money should be allowed to compete in a free market, just as gold does right now.

Mike Novogratz, a serial investor, agrees with this idea. He affirmed that we live a very bullish moment for both gold and Bitcoin because there is a lot of uncertainty in the market and this creates a very bullish moment.

Not everyone agrees that private money is a good idea, however. Obviously, the people who disagree come from outside of the crypto market. The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, affirmed that only governments should control money and that Facebook’s Libra project, for instance, would encounter difficulties because it was a private enterprise trying to control money.

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Author: Daniel Jimenez