Japan’s Financial Services Agency will reportedly introduce new rules regarding cold wallets for storing cryptocurrencies.
Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) will reportedly introduce new rules regarding cold wallets for storing cryptocurrencies at crypto exchanges, Reuters reported on April 17.
Citing a source familiar with the matter, Reuters reports that the country’s financial regulator will reportedly require cryptocurrency exchanges to strengthen internal supervision of cold wallets — devices for storing digital currency which are not connected to the Internet.
By implementing the new regulation, the FSA purportedly addresses the difficulties of ensuring the security of digital currencies and other risks for the country since it intends to boost the fintech industry to stimulate economic growth.
Although cold wallets are not connected to the Internet and, therefore, provide better security to digital assets, the FSA suggests there could be risks of internal theft. According to the source, a number of exchanges do not have a policy where the person responsible for the storage would be regularly rotated out.
Earlier this month, the FSA heard arguments for no longer classifying bitcoin (BTC) as a currency. During a plenary session at the 41st General Assembly of the Financial Council and the 29th Financial Division Meeting, Professor Iwashita Goto of Kyoto University argued that bitcoin had become something beyond a means of transacting due to its borderless qualities, which have led it to appear throughout the world in its ten-year history.
In March, the FSA approved the second cryptocurrency exchange to begin operations under new regulations. The FSA began issuing licenses to new cryptocurrency exchanges looking to serve the Japanese market. The licensing scheme, which has a long waiting list, was in part a reaction to the events of the past two years, notably local exchange Coincheck’s half-billion-dollar hack in January 2018.
According to a tweet by New York Times (NYT) tech reporter Nathaniel Popper, Facebook is reportedly looking to various venture capital firms to develop its digital token that has been previously reported on. Popper, citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, said that Facebook is seeking $1 billion to develop its cryptocurrency project, which itself has not been publicly confirmed by the company. The Times reporter also noted that the project involves a stablecoin that would be pegged to a basket of foreign currencies held in bank accounts.
Local Chinese social media sources said that Bitcoin’s (BTC) price surge last week has led Chinese traders to pay a premium in order to trade the cryptocurrency. According to an analysis of price spreads from cryptocurrency exchanges Huobi and OKEx, cnLedger highlighted how Chinese traders are paying more in order to acquire Bitcoin. Since China formally banned crypto trading in the country in 2017, investors have had to resort to creative methods in order to deal in Bitcoin. In the analysis, cnLedger notes that a principal way to avoid the ban is to buy stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) via over-the-counter (OTC) services and convert them into other cryptocurrencies
PewDiePie, the personality behind the most subscribed channel on YouTube, announced this week that he will start streaming on blockchain video platform DLive as of April 14. Dlive is a blockchain-powered broadcasting app with a rewards system for content creators and will become the exclusive platform for livestreaming the famous Swedish YouTuber, Felix Kjellberg — aka PewDiePie. The platform currently has 3 million monthly users and 35,000 active streamers, while PewDiePie on YouTube has over 93 million subscribers and 21 billion video views, as of April 2019. PewDiePie’s move to Dlive comes as the Swede faced backlash over his alleged ties to white supremacism, as his channel was mentioned by the Christchurch gunman prior to his attack on two New Zealand mosques.
Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Mike McGlone claimed this week that Bitcoin is at its most overbought level since its record highs in December 2017, citing BTC’s GTI Global Strength Indicator. Bloomberg writes that similar buy patterns in the past have resulted in multi-week downturns, citing McGlone as referring to Bitcoin as a bubble. McGlone states that the recent market growth came about due to a long-term price compression and low volatility, causing the price to be “released from the cage.” Bloomberg also cites David Tawil, president of crypto hedge fund ProChain Capital, who reportedly expects the market to continue its downward trend.
Major United States cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has launched Coinbase Card, which will enable its United Kingdom-based customers to pay both in-store and online with cryptocurrency. The card itself is a Visa debit card that is powered by users’ Coinbase account crypto balances, allowing purchases to be made globally by instantly converting customers’ crypto funds into fiat. The Coinbase Card has also been released for iOS and Android, linking Coinbase accounts with the app and allowing users to select which wallet will fund their card, as well as allowing access for receipts, transaction summaries and spending categories. The card is issued by authorized and regulated electronic money institution Paysafe Financial Services Limited.
Winners and Losers
The crypto markets are holding slightly down by the end of the week, with Bitcoin around $5,099, Ethereum at $165 and XRP about $0.33. Total market cap is around $172 billion.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are BunnyCoin, WomenCoin and Block-Chain.com. The top three altcoin losers of the week are dietbitcoin, Cryptrust and ContractNet.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
Most Memorable Quotations
“This is a stark contrast to the development you see with things like EOS or with Ethereum with Casper, where they kind of adopt this lone samurai viewpoint.”
Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of Ethereum (ETH) and IOHK, the company behind Cardano (ADA), speaking on the idea of development with open protocols
“I have learned about how blockchain is having a huge impact on supply chain management, and how an app in Britain can help the public report modern slavery at car washes.”
Authorities in Singapore have charged two men for promoting crypto multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme OneCoin in what is touted as the first case of its kind for the city-state. The two unnamed men reportedly engaged in activities that incorporated a subsidiary in order to promote OneCoin, in addition to signing up new members and accepting investments in return for education courses and OneCoin tokens. Singapore’s central bank had previously added OneCoin to its Investor Alert List, and various governments around the world have also issued warnings against the MLM scam, advising consumers not to interact or invest in OneCoin. While one founder was recently arrested in the U.S., the other remains at large following the indictment.
QuadrigaCX, the embattled Canadian crypto exchange, has officially been declared bankrupt. The exchange’s bankruptcy was reportedly approved by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court following the court monitor’s earlier recommendation to do so. At the time, Ernst & Young’s legal team had put forward the argument that the restructuring process should instead be shifted to bankruptcy proceedings, meaning that the monitor will now have enhanced investigative powers. QuadrigaCX had previously filed for creditor protection when it apparently lost access to its cold wallet funds following the unexpected death of its founder in December 2018.
Bitcoin wallet service Electrum faced another Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack on its servers this week. According to media outlets, this most recent attack has resulted in the loss of millions of dollars (the exact sum unconfirmed) with a single user allegedly losing about $140,000. The attack works by referring users to fake versions of Electrum software by employing a malicious botnet of more than 140,000 machines. The company has recommended that its users upgrade their software versions older than 3.3 and not download software from any source besides the official site. Last December, Electrum faced a similar attack that led to a loss of about $937,000 worth of Bitcoin.
After this week’s relatively unexpected publication by a Chinese government agency about a possible ban on crypto mining, Cointelegraph takes a look into how serious the idea is, and who and what will be affected in what is unarguably the largest crypto mining sector in the world.
As more unconfirmed news surrounding Facebook’s secretive crypto project surfaced this week, Cointelegraph analyzes what it would mean for one of the biggest, and possibly most untrusted, institutions in the world to issue their own cryptocurrency.
Coinomi Wallet denied recent claims that its software sends wallet recovery seed phrases to Google’s remote spellchecker servers in unencrypted text.
Coinomi Wallet denied recent claims that its software sends wallet recovery seed phrases to Google’s remote spell checker servers in plain (unencrypted) text. The company refuted the claims in an official statement published on Feb. 27.
In the statement, Coinomi claims that, unlike what was reported, the seed phrase transmission was encrypted via SSL (HTTPS), with Google being the only recipient capable of decrypting the message.
Coinomi notes that the phrase was only transmitted if the user chose to restore his wallet and only on the desktop version. Finally, Coinomi states that the spell-check requests sent to Google were not cached or stored, since they were flagged as bad requests by the servers and were not processed further.
The cause of the problem was reportedly a bad configuration in a plug-in software contained in the desktop version of Coinomi wallets.
The company claims that on Feb. 22 Warith Al Maawali created a support request on their board regarding a vulnerability contained in their wallet which, according to Maawali, has led to a wallet being hacked, as he claims on the dedicated website AvoidCoinomi.
Coinomi purportedly flagged the request as high priority and investigated into the matter. The company COO Angelos Leoussis said on the firm’s official Telegram group that the user kept “threatening, swearing, and blackmailing us for insane amounts.”
While a video posted on AvoidCoinomi aims to demonstrate the alleged vulnerability, it appears to show that the option to decrypt HTTPS is selected in the software.
Leoussis shared an alleged copy of the conversation with Maawali with Cointelegraph, where the user suggests that the wallet contains a backdoor and declares:
“You have few hours to return my assets back or I will go public with all the the [sic] evidence against you.”
According to information shared with Cointelegraph, on Feb. 23 Maawali requested the company to refund the allegedly stolen crypto assets or their equivalent in dollars, stating that otherwise he has “no choice other than reporting this in social media.” Still, he did not share the details of his findings, saying that he will wait until the company shows its willingness to refund the allegedly stolen funds.
Per Leoussis , Coinomi responded that the company did not consider this to be a responsible disclosure and asked for details concerning the alleged vulnerability. Maawali seemingly responded to the request by stating that he will not disclose details without assurance of a refund.
On Feb. 26 Coinomi purportedly declared that the company will report the stolen assets to Chainalysis, which will blacklist the funds so no exchange will accept them.
In December 2018, researchers were reportedly able to demonstrate that they were able to hack the Trezor One, Ledger Nano S and Ledger Blue hardware wallets. At the 35C3 Refreshing Memories conference researchers used several different strategies to attempt to compromise the wallets. The Ledger team also claimed that the alleged vulnerabilities discovered in its hardware wallets were not critical.
Leaks of renders of the S10 circulating on social media this week show shots of the new feature, which Samsung has called ‘KeyStore.’
Assumedly referring to private keys, S10 holders and potentially other smartphone model users will be able to use Samsung software to store coins.
Following the release of the HTC Exodus 1 ‘Blockchain’ Phone, The limited available information means that at present it is unknown which cryptocurrencies the company will support, or what form of security the storage facilities will have.
Images uploaded to Twitter by Verge show Samsung listing multiple “cryptocurrencies,” but only Ethereum (ETH) is openly visible.
The feature will, however, allow users to import existing wallets, as well as create new ones.
Reacting, Twitter users forecast that a mainstream integration of a wallet would force other smartphone manufacturers to copy Samsung to keep their offerings current.
“Every other smartphone manufacturer including Apple will now have to integrate a crypto wallet or fall behind,” Aaron Tay, former reserve manager at Singapore’s central bank the Monetary Authority of Singapore wrote.
Samsung Cements Crypto Stance
The hook-up comes following various experiments by Samsung in the crypto sphere, these including manufacturing of mining hardware chips and multiple blockchain initiatives.
In July, an author at the company claimed that smartphones supporting wallet had the “edge” over a competitors, something critics roundly refuted.
Discussing the problems wallets pose to non-technical users, cryptography professor Matthew Green argued:
Even obvious countermeasures like requiring a password only help a little, since a particularly sophisticated piece of malware can just wait for you to enter the password in order to make a legitimate transaction.
The issue with malware has become a pressing one over the past year, with the number of reported instances rocketing as hackers become more adept at attacking devices.
What do you think about Samsung adding cryptocurrency wallet and storage? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, knowyourmobile.com
Imposter copies of the popular Bitcoin and cryptocurrency wallet Trezor One have purportedly been spotted on the market. The company makes it clear how to spot the fakes from the originals.
Trezor One Clones on the Market
An identical copy of the Trezor One has been spotted on the market — a non-genuine device which mimics the original in its entirety.
According to the company’s official blog post on the matter, this device is different and “more startling” than others:
…Trezor clones have been released over the years of our activity. However, in recent weeks, we have discovered something more startling. A one-to-one copy of Trezor One. In other words, a fake Trezor device, manufactured by a different, unknown vendor.
The company makes it clear that there is a difference between a “clone” and the fake devices. The former is marketed under a different name and manufactured by legitimate companies, while the latter tries to entirely replicate the original in order to appear as indistinguishable. Naturally, Trezor’s manufacturer Satoshi Labs explains that they can’t guarantee the functioning of the fake devices.
How to Spot Them
According to Satoshi Labs, two major differences can be spotted directly on the packaging of the Trezor One wallet. Apparently, the company uses a special holographic seal which is particularly different than the one used with the non-genuine wallets.
Additionally, on the back of the package, the fakes reveal they are made in China on the QR code print-out, while there is no such disclaimer on the original package.
The company urges users not to use the device if they have even the tiniest suspicions that it is a fake one, but rather to immediately contact their customer support.
In addition, Satoshi Labs revealed that they’ve started to pursue a range of legal and “other” steps in order to prevent non-genuine copies to flood the market.
Have you stumbled across a fake Trezor One hardware wallet or any other, for that matter? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock.