/ Billions were stolen in blockchain hacks last year

We know how some hackers passed away their time during the lockdown: By running Bitcoin-related hacks and potentially netting "nearly $3.78 billion" in 2020, according to a report from Atlas VPN. The losses are huge but not at the level Atlas VPN claims because it used mid-January 2021 values rather than at the time of the breach.

More on ZDNet2021-01-12

/ Get ready for self-driving banks

In 1961, Popular Science magazine envisioned self-driving cars. The reality arrived sooner than anyone anticipated, and before safety regulators could adapt. Most automotive laws — on speed limits, giving signals, drink-driving — had been designed to protect against dangerous drivers, not dangerous cars. Autonomous vehicles brought new risks that legacy rules never considered. As one headline on the Wired website put it: “Who’s Regulating Self-Driving Cars? Often, No One”. Banking is headed down the same road. And it’s being driven by the technology behind decentralised finance, or DeFi. But just as the original rules of the road protected us from other drivers, so our current bank regulations exist mainly to prevent human failings.

More on Financial Times2021-01-12

/ Tor: "Experimental Fix" Might Make Tor Usable Again

A Tor patch is available for testing that might fix the ongoing consensus issues and general network degradation. For a qrd, DarkDotFail covered the outage through their Twitter account: “Ongoing Tor consensus issues caused all v3 .onions to be offline for ~3 of the past 12hrs. I believe it is an intentional attack on Tor. It began on Jan 6th. Dark Market remains offline for no technical reason. White House Market launched two temporary v2 .onions.”

More on Darknetlive2021-01-12

/ Bakkt is going public on the New York Stock Exchange via a SPAC

Crypto firm Bakkt announced Monday that it is going public on the New York Stock Exchange via a SPAC deal, confirming Bloomberg's report from last week. Bakkt is merging with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings at a valuation of about $2.1 billion. VPC held its initial public offering in September 2020.

More on The Block2021-01-11

/ Why we need wide adoption of social recovery wallets

One of the great challenges with making cryptocurrency and blockchain applications usable for average users is security: how do we prevent users' funds from being lost or stolen? Losses and thefts are a serious issue, often costing innocent blockchain users thousands of dollars or even in some cases the majority of their entire net worth.

More on Vitalik Buterin2021-01-10

/ Exchange traded Bitcoin products

In this piece we look at the exchange-traded bitcoin products on offer in the market. Grayscale is the current clear leader, with over 550,000 bitcoin under management in its Bitcoin trust. We examine various issues with the Grayscale product, including the lack of redeemability and the fact that it trades at a large premium to its net asset value. We explore new offerings from VanEck, a product which we believe has some of the key characteristics necessary for success. We conclude by arguing that if Bitcoin continues with its strong positive price momentum, competitive offerings are likely to emerge from the main US ETF providers, which could eventually take Grayscale’s crown.

More on BitMEX Blog2021-01-10

/ Ryuk ransomware Bitcoin wallets point to $150 million operation

Security researchers following the money circuit from Ryuk ransomware victims into the threat actor's pockets estimate that the criminal organization made at least $150 million. They found that Ryuk operators primarily use two legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges to cash out the Bitcoin from paying victims as fiat money. "In addition to Huobi and Binance, which are large and well-established exchanges, there are significant flows of crypto currency to a collection of addresses that are too small to be an established exchange and probably represent a crime service that exchanges the cryptocurrency for local currency or another digital currency," the researchers explain.

More on Bleeping Computer2021-01-10

/ Finnish Customs to Sell Almost 2,000 Seized Bitcoin

Finnish Customs has agreed to sell the Bitcoins seized in connection with drug cases, including 1,666 Bitcoins confiscated from the Finnish ‘darknet drug lord’ known as Douppikauppa. The customs agency, Tulli, has decided to sell 1,981 Bitcoin worth $76 million. Tulli seized the majority of the Bitcoin–1,666 Bitcoins–during the Douppikauppa case in 2016. The value of Bitcoin has increased more than 100 times since the seizure in 2016.

More on Darknetlive2021-01-10

/ New Attack Could Let Hackers Clone Your Google Titan 2FA Security Keys

Hardware security keys—such as those from Google and Yubico—are considered the most secure means to protect accounts from phishing and takeover attacks. But a new research published on Thursday demonstrates how an adversary in possession of such a two-factor authentication (2FA) device can clone it by exploiting an electromagnetic side-channel in the chip embedded in it. The vulnerability (tracked as CVE-2021-3011) allows the bad actor to extract the encryption key or the ECDSA private key linked to a victim's account from a FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) device like Google Titan Key or YubiKey, thus completely undermining the 2FA protections.

More on The Hacker News2021-01-09

/ Cross-platform ElectroRAT malware drains cryptocurrency wallets

Security researchers have discovered a new remote access trojan (RAT) used to empty the cryptocurrency wallets of thousands of Windows, Linux, and macOS users. Named ElectroRAT after being discovered in December, the cross-platform RAT malware is written in Golang and it was used as part of a campaign that has been targeting cryptocurrency users since the start of 2020.

More on Bleeping Computer2021-01-05

/ US regulator: Federally chartered banks can facilitate stablecoin payments, issue their own

National banks and federal savings associations can use public blockchains and stablecoins for settlement, The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said in an interpretive letter published late Monday. The letter indicates that banks and savings associations can now run crypto nodes and utilize associated stablecoins for "permissible payment activities." This means banks can use public blockchains to validate, store, record and settle payment transactions as long as they're compliant with existing laws.

More on The Block2021-01-05

/ Cash And Carry Trades

If you have ever traded futures contracts, you will no doubt have noticed that they tend to trade at a slightly different price than spot markets. Although it is possible for the futures price to trade below the spot price (also known as backwardation), it is far more common for the futures to be trading at a price higher than the spot price (also known as contango). When the market is in contango, it is possible for a trader to capture this premium on the futures contract by executing a cash and carry trade.

More on Deribit Insights2021-01-03