Google entered the cryptocurrency-as-money debate on Tuesday, Oct. 9, arguing over its validity during an introductory video for a new feature from its Google Assistant tool.
While demonstrating how its Call Screen caller ID function works, two Google presenters enter into a brief discussion about cryptocurrency in a spoof argument.
The Call Screen shows the identity of an incoming call as being from the “electric company,” and the call’s purpose — Call Screen’s other feature — as one presenter’s “bill being super high.”
THEIA Cryptocurrency Wallet Announces the 2.0 Version
THEIA cryptocurrency wallet, as the world’s leading cross-chain wallet, announced that its 2.0 version had been officially launched online. The highlight of this round is that THEIA wallet has established a new portal to offer quantitative finance services, and integrated with the strongest quantitative trading teams, which are LANCHAO, Coinsea, Kronos and InvestDigital. Based on the user-oriented belief, THEIA wallet has established strategic cooperation with the above four professional digital quantitative trading teams to provide users with various digital asset management and value-added tools.
THEIA wallet is a cross-chain multi-crypto-currency wallet which is designed to build a new wallet ecosystem around THA coin. THEIA wallet not only has a breakthrough dual-track operational system which contains both password account and de-centralized account to meet the needs of users with different habits at different stages, but also is a one-stop application management platform which supports the transaction and management of multi-crypto-currency.
“Quantitative finance is not a stranger in the financial sector,” the founder of the THEIA wallet, Jin Huayue said. There are numerous quantitative trading teams in the world, and this sector has become a red sea in the traditional financial market. However, the digital currency market is still to be explored, which remains a blue ocean market with great potential for development. Meanwhile, the volatility of the market and the trading characteristics of crypto-currency also enable the quantitative finance to reach higher yields.
As a powerful team, LANCHAO investment fund’s monthly average interest rate of BTC is 9.3%. Inspite of the downturn of the industry, the annualized interest rate of LANCHAO still remains 26.6%. This excellent performance depends on the fact that the team members are all elites in their respective fields, and can exploit and superimpose their respective advantages in the field of crypto currency from various dimensions.
Coinsea quantitative finance was established in April 2018. In June, its product KeYingBao were awarded as the monthly champion of the CSI Wolf of Wall-Street’s Digital Currency Trading Competition. Coinsea believes in “stability is everything.” Every strategy is debugged tens of thousands of times with the professional selection and real-estate verification before the official launch. Therefore, it ranks top on the fund ranking list in terms of stability and profitability all around the year.
KRONOS, founded in June 2018, is a leading digital crypto currency management services team. Most of the team members graduated from top universities in the world, and had decades of experience in high-frequency trading companies as well as multiple experiences in alpha research and digital crypto market in the United States. KRONOS is an open, multi-strategy crypto-currency hedge fund whose aim is to take on targeted risk, which makes KRONOS have the ability to trade more capital and create sustainable advantages for the future.
InvestDigital’s mainly business model is “blockchain plus digital currency management.” It uses the technology of blockchain, such as certificate deposit, upper chain and intelligent contract, to help the digital currency fund complete the process of the “raise, investment, management and withdrawal.” Its professional team managed more than 20,000 ETH, 3,000 BTC and other digital currencies (about 200 million RMB), and the overall product return rate in 2017 was hundreds of times higher than that of traditional asset management.
The launch of the 2.0 version of THEIA wallet means that it will fully deploy digital cryptocurrency to quantify financial management. This strategic deployment is ahead of all block chain wallets in global cryptocurrency area. In the future, THEIA wallet will continue to integrate more professional quantitative ecology, open cooperation and build a world’s leading one-stop management platform for digital assets. From what has been discussed above, THEIA wallet may be able to dominate the blockchain wallets field in the future.
Cybersecurity Conference CyberCrimeCon 2018
Group-IB, an international company that specializes in preventing cyber attacks, hosted a two-day cybersecurity conference CyberCrimeCon 2018 on Oct. 9 and 10. This year’s event brought together over 1500 experts from all over the world, including the representatives form INTERPOL, cyber police from different countries, cybersecurity companies, banks, government organizations, crypto industry. The event featured more than 30 reports and presentations. Over 100 international journalists attended the conference.
Global paradigm shift in cybersecurity
Ilya Sachkov, Group-IB CEO and founder, claimed that defense is an outdated strategy. Switching the focus from defense to hunting cybercriminals is a major trend of global cybersecurity market. «The main idea is to turn the tables and become a hunter, not a victim. You got to be a few steps ahead of cyber criminals and proactively prevent threats at early stages,» — highlighted Ilya Sachkov. This paradigm is embodied in Group-IB’s new cutting-edge solution aimed at multi-layered protection against targeted attacks.
Raymond Cao, Digital Crime Officer at INTERPOL, speaking at CyberCrimeCon 2018 urged all the countries to develop cross-border cooperation, public-private partnership in order to combat cybercrime «Due to the borderless nature of cybercrime, it provides a perfect environment for cybercriminals to conceal their physical identities,» said Cao. «Therefore, if [Interpol] member countries are not coordinated properly, they will only visualize the part under their jurisdiction.»
Annual Hi-Tech Crime Trends Report 2018
Dmitry Volkov, Group-IB CTO, presented an annual report Hi-Tech Crime Trends 2018, which analyzes global cybercrime trends and provides a forecast on future cyber threats. Group-IB experts estimated that in H2 2017-H1 2018 cyber attacks caused $49.4 million of damage to Russia’s financial sector. Every month, 1-2 banks lose money as a result of cyber attacks, and the damage caused by one successful theft is, on average, $2 million. Dmitry Volkov identified four hacking groups — Cobalt, MoneyTaker, Silence, Lazarus, — that pose a real threat to the financial sector. Banks are also among the main targets of state-sponsored hacker groups, specialized in sabotage. The top three countries of origin of the most active state-sponsored hacker groups are China, North Korea and Iran, while Asia Pacific was the target of most attacks carried out by hackers from multiple countries in the H2 of 2017 and H1 of 2018.
According to Group-IB Brand-Protection, the online market for counterfeit goods in Russia has increased by 23% in a year and totaled more than $1.5 billion in 2017, compared to $1.2 billion in 2016. Fraudsters use their websites to sell household appliances and computer equipment, clothing and footwear, jewellery, accessories, cosmetics, medicinal products, and much more, often at hugely discounted prices — up to 80% off. According to Group-IB’s data, every fifth counterfeit product was bought online. On average, Russians spend $78 per year on counterfeit goods.
Cyber threats for crypto industry
CyberCrimeCon 2018 had a separate crypto industry session. Group-IB experts discussed in details the trends and threats for crypto currency market. In 2017 and 2018 hackers’ interest in crypto currency exchanges ramped up. A total of 14 crypto currency exchanges have been attacked, suffering a total loss of $882 million. At least five attacks have been linked to the North Korean hackers from Lazarus state-sponsored group. ICOs are another hackers’ target: approximately 56% of all money siphoned off from ICO were stolen through phishing attacks. Group-IB experts predict that the biggest miners may become the target not only of cybercriminals, but also of state-sponsored groups.
CyberSchool: Group-IB announced the center for advanced cybersecurity education
Group-IB announced the opening of CyberSchool — the center for advanced cybersecurity education. CyberSchool offers a variety of hands-on education programs tailored for wide range of people with different levels of cybersecurity qualifications and skills — from school and university students to cybersecurity experts. Group-IB experts already work with the leading international and Russian universities, such as King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Saint Petersburg State University, Bauman Moscow State Technical University, National Research University — Higher School of Economics and many others.
Bitmain, Canaan and Ebang IPO Plans Snared by Trump’s Tariffs on Chinese Cryptocurrency Mining Gear
Chinese cryptocurrency mining hardware maker Bitmain is bracing for harder times as the China-US trade war shifts into high gear, with shipments to one of its overseas markets facing new tariffs since August 23.
That could be a problem for Beijing-headquartered Bitmain, which filed for a Hong Kong stock market listing in September, and is seen as the most exposed among Chinese mining hardware makers to US trade barriers, according to analysts.
The tariff, which affects all Chinese cryptocurrency mining equipment makers exporting to the US, has come a time when other players such as Cannaan and Ebang International have filed applications to list on the Hong Kong bourse.
The office of the United States Trade Representative in June categorised Bitmain’s mining hardware, called Antminer S9, as “electrical machinery apparatus” which is subject to a 2.6 per cent tariff. Previously the goods were classified as “data processing machine”.
The reclassification brought the mining hardware under the list of Chinese goods subject to the additional 25 per cent tariffs, which took effect in August. The outcome is that Chinese cryptocurrency mining gear makers now face tariffs on their US shipments of 27.6 per cent, up from zero previously. In September, Bitmain filed for a Hong Kong listing which would reportedly raise US$3 billion.
LINK Now Available to Trade, Exclusively on BITBOX
LINE Corporation announced today that its digital token LINK (LN) is now exclusively available to trade on its digital asset exchange BITBOX. LINK can now be traded on BITBOX with three major digital tokens: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Tether (USDT). The official launch of LINK trading on BITBOX marks a significant milestone in the implementation of LINE’s token economy, expanding LINK’s usefulness and integration into the wider digital token community.
“We’re very pleased that users are now able to trade LINK on BITBOX, which is a major step forward in our plans for creating a token economy that rewards user participation,” said LINE CEO Takeshi Idezawa. “We think it is important to promote co-creation and mutual growth with LINK, while ensuring BITBOX continues to develop as a user-friendly platform that adds value to those who use it and contribute to our services.”
Special limited events, including airdrops of TRON (TRX)
To celebrate the launch of LINK trading, BITBOX will hold several special airdrop events. The first event involves TRON (TRX), with LINK holders receiving TRON based on the amount of their LINK holdings, and TRON depositors and traders receiving airdrops of LINK. Details and updates on this and other special events can be found on the BITBOX website (www.bitbox.me/notice).
BITBOX is also carrying out a LINK reward event throughout October for trades and net deposits depending on the trading pairs. And, in the future, BITBOX plans to add more events, including discounts on LINK used to pay trading fees.
Adding ways for users to contribute to the token ecosystem
As a key part of LINE’s token economy is user contributions and participation, LINE plans to expand both online and offline channels where users can get rewarded and pay with LINK, including LINE’s diverse dApps in areas such as social, gaming and commerce.
Already LINK traded or acquired from BITBOX can be also be used as payments or rewards for LINE’s dApp services Wizball (a knowledge sharing platform) and 4CAST (a future prediction service). And in the coming months, LINE will also launch the dApps TAPAS (food reviews), Pasha (product reviews) and STEP (location reviews), expanding the ways users can get involved and earn LINK.
Realecoin Launches New Digital Security Using Securitize Platform
Realecoin™, the world’s first real estate fund built on the Ethereum blockchain, is launching a new digital security designed to offer 24/7 liquidity to a traditionally illiquid investment vehicle. Realecoin is working on the offering in partnership with Securitize, the compliance platform for digitizing securities on the blockchain.
Realecoin aims to address the challenges of liquidity and accessibility in the real estate industry through this offering. The Realecoin digital security, RC™, will represent a fractional ownership interest in Realecoin, a diversified real estate fund. Realecoin provides holders of cryptocurrencies, and other investors, the opportunity to buy into a fully compliant tokenized real estate fund that invests in multi-family assets and non-performing mortgage loans across the United States.
“We at Realecoin have aimed to build a product that first and foremost benefits our investors,” said Andy Strott, Co-Founder of Realecoin. “We have partnered with leading experts in the field in an effort to ensure a compliant, secure and successful product. With the help of Securitize, a pioneer in this industry, we plan to stay at the forefront of blockchain technology as this industry develops, always striving to implement its most advanced aspects for our investors.”
“Realecoin offers a unique investment opportunity through the tokenization of real estate assets, usually considered to be a very illiquid asset,” said Co-Founder and CEO of Securitize, Carlos Domingo. “The management team’s lengthy track record, alongside their commitment to regulatory compliance makes this an exciting venture for Securitize.”
Blockchain.com – LinkedIn Top Startups 2018 UK
Entrepreneurs start with an idea and a belief that their vision can have a massive impact. It doesn’t always work out that way. But when it does, the effect can be world-changing: A breakthrough startup can scramble industries, alter how we work or live, and shift talent flows around the world. It’s no wonder that we tend to follow so carefully the fortunes of these founders and those who choose to follow them.
With the LinkedIn Top Startups list, we wanted to provide professionals with a look at the young companies reaching that escape velocity. As always, we started with the data — the billions of actions generated by LinkedIn’s 575 million members — and focused in on four pillars: employee growth; jobseeker interest; the level of professional engagement with the company and its employees; and how well the startup pulled talent from our flagship LinkedIn Top Companies list. In other words, which startups are commanding the attention and working hours of top talent?
To be eligible for Top Startups, companies must be seven years old or younger, have at least 50 employees, be privately held and headquartered in the UK. (Check out which startups made the lists in the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, Brazil and India, and stay tuned — we’ll be unveiling the France list in the coming weeks. You can learn more about our methodology at the bottom of this article.)
Will these companies continue with their explosive growth and world-changing work? That’s in the hands of the talent flocking to these startups. Maybe you’ll want to put your own hat into the ring. Check out who made the cut and join the conversation using #LinkedInTopStartups.
Here are this year’s top 25 startups in the UK
Challenger banking: One of the best-known players shaking up Britain’s banking industry, Monzo — which tops the LinkedIn Top Startups list for the second year running — has seen a whopping 447% surge in hiring over the last two years. The company just this week announced it reached one million customers, who have spent more than £4bn via app-based accounts so far. | Global headcount: 344 | Headquarters: London | Fair pay: Monzo revealed in June that founder Tom Blomfield took home £80,000 in 2017-2018. Its highest paid employee, an unnamed non-executive director, was paid £305,000.
Witness the fitness: Sportswear manufacturer Gymshark boasted extraordinary growth in 2017 and expects turnover of more than £100m in 2018. Founded by students Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan in 2012, Gymshark provides staff in Solihull, near Birmingham, with a gym (obviously), as well as nap pods, VR gaming stations and an in-house barber. | Global headcount: 180* | Headquarters: Solihull | Fun fact: Visitors to Gymshark’s latest pop-up store in Dublin were given the opportunity to work out with UFC fighter Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till.
Digital revolution: Fintech startup Revolut revealed in July that it is signing up to 9,000 customers to its digital banking platform per day and now has 2.5 million users worldwide. The bank broke even for the first time last December. Over the past two years, hiring at Revolut has increased by a staggering 550%. | Global headcount: 450 | Headquarters: London | Bucking the trend: Founder Nikolay Storonsky, who says he works 8am to 10pm most days, has little time for work-life balance. “I can’t see how [it] will help you to build a start-up,” he told the FT.
Clear off: Before founding Clear Bank in 2014, Nick Ogden had built and sold half a dozen successful fintech startups including WorldPay, acquired by Royal Bank of Scotland in 2002. With Clear Bank, Ogden has founded the first clearing bank — an institution that provides banking services to other banks — in the UK in some 250 years. | Global headcount: 180* | Headquarters: London | Hiring surge: Hiring at Clear Bank has increased 277% in the last two years, according to LinkedIn Premium Insights.
Fashionistas: Skinnydip London’s quirky phone cases and snazzy bags — fans include Kylie Jenner and Miley Cyrus — have proved a rare positive story for British retail. Brothers James and Richard Gold and their schoolfriend Lewis Blitz launched the brand in 2011 and now have 15 Skinnydip stores and are in over 250 concessions worldwide. | Global headcount: 253 | Headquarters: London | Bucking the trend: Given the company’s mostly female customer base, its founders keep a low profile. “It’s such a girly, feminine, empowering brand,” James Gold said. “It would be weird if we were kind of front and centre.”
Above its weight: A sports streaming service that wants to become “the Netflix of sport”, DAZN announced a £736m deal with boxing promoter Eddie Hearn to show top-tier fights in the US for a fraction of the cost charged by HBO and Showtime. Billing users just $9.99 (€9.99 in Europe) for a monthly subscription, DAZN shows everything from big fights to Japanese lower league football. | Global headcount: 505* | Headquarters: London | Away game: Although UK-based, DAZN says competition between Sky and BT has made itdifficult to operate in Britain.
Virtual worlds: A shared love of multiplayer gaming led founders Rob Whitehead, Herman Narula and Peter Lipka to start Improbable in 2012. Their SpatialOS platform has proved a hit with game developers, who use it to build massive and complex virtual worlds. As it has with investors, who pumped $502m into Improbable in Series B funding in 2017. | Global headcount: 315 | Headquarters: London | Hiring binge: Improbable has hired 181 people in the last 12 months and has 200 open positions.
Looking good: As Britain’s high street reels from layoffs and closures, Charlotte Tilbury and her makeup and skincare lines have gone from strength to strength. Her beauty products are now found everywhere from her flagship store in London’s Covent Garden to Dubai. In 2017, the 6-year-old company announced its first round of top-tier Silicon Valley funding from investment firm Sequoia Capital. | Global headcount: 890 | Headquarters: London | Fun fact: Before launching her own brand, Tilbury worked as a makeup artist for celebs including Kate Moss and Kim Kardashian.
Charlotte Tilbury is one of only two female founders on this year’s list. Read our feature on gender diversity in the startup scene here.
Cash in hand: Bitcoin wallet startup Blockchain has raised £70m from investors, including Google and Richard Branson in 2017 as bitcoin prices skyrocketed and new cryptocurrencies were taking off. The firm hosts 26m wallets, where users can keep an ever-increasing number of cryptocurrencies and use them to trade or pay for goods. | Global headcount: 110 | Headquarters: London | Fun fact: As well as benefits such as free food and flexible working, employees at Blockchain are paid a bonus in cryptocurrency.
Bums in seats: It was their own frustration as in-house recruiters that motivated Chris Abbass and Philip Blaydes to start Talentful in 2015. Three years on, the boutique recruitment startup is eyeing year-on-year revenue growth of 110% and counts Audible, Shazam and Bloomberg as clients. Talentful is now on a recruitment drive of its own — looking to double its headcount in the next six months. | Global headcount: 70 | Headquarters: London | Northern soul: After opening an office in Manchester, Talentful’s next target is Stockholm, where they plan to launch later this year.
Viral heads: Every media company in the world dreams of their content going viral; Jungle Creations is among a handful that have actually cracked how to do so with its flagship channel Viral Thread, since rebranded as VT. Started with £10,000 by founder Jamie Bolding, the firm has already launched offices in New York and Los Angeles. | Global headcount: 140 | Headquarters: London | Food for thought: With more than 80 million followers on social media, Jungle Creations videos receive an average of 5.5bn views a month, says the company.
OK, computer: Digital healthcare startup Babylon Health began life connecting patients to doctors via a smartphone app. The 5-year-old company has since expanded to using artificial intelligence to help diagnose and even issue prescriptions for its 800,000 global users. After seeing monumental growth, Babylon Health is now looking to hire more than 400 people. | Global headcount: 500+ | Headquarters: London | Fun fact: In June, the firm’s A.I. doctor scored 81% in the exam given to prospective GPs. The average pass mark for humans is 72%.
Making connections: Direct debit processing business GoCardless has raised a total of $47.3m in funding over the past four years, $22.5m in the last year alone. As of 2018, GoCardless had processed £5bn worth of transactions for 30,000 customers, from fellow startups to Thomas Cook and TripAdvisor. | Global headcount: 240 | Headquarters: London | Small world: CEO Hiroki Takeuchi founded GoCardless in 2011 with Matt Robinson of Nested and Tom Blomfield of Monzo, both of which are on the LinkedIn Top Startups list this year as well.
In the clouds: Digital engineering consultancy Contino began in London in 2014 and has since expanded to New York City, Atlanta, Sydney and Melbourne. After raising $30m in funding, Contino has seen 80% revenue growth and hired 149 people in the last year alone. In the next year it plans to hire over 100 more. | Global headcount: 200 | Headquarters: London | Retaining staff: Amidst a shortage of qualified engineers, Contino offers employees a £5,000 yearly training budget to encourage those it does have to stick around.
Eco warriors: Launched in 2015 with funding from friends and family, energy startup Bulb is now on its third round of venture capital fundraising, and although it is tight-lipped about the figures, its customer base has increased six-fold over the past 12 months. Now the UK’s largest renewable energy supplier, hiring at Bulb has surged more than 800% in two years. | Global headcount: 190 | Headquarters: London | Wage gap: Bulb recently admitted that it had been incorrect to claim that it had a 0% gender pay gap — in fact women at the company are paid 1.8% more than men.
Across the pond: Based in Shoreditch, full service marketing firm Pulse has won more than 20 new clients in the past year. Started with VC funding of just £90,000, Pulse has an office in Germany and is eyeing other international markets. | Global headcount: 80 | Headquarters: London | Party time: As well as 5% profit bonuses, Pulse has a “jolly pot” to fund nights out, away days and weekend events.
Health kick: After joining Theresa May on her February trip to China, healthcare startup Medopad signed £100m in deals with Chinese firms. Among the new business? A partnership with tech giant Tencent, which plans to use Medopad’s machine learning to diagnose life-threatening illnesses by analysing patient data. | Global headcount: 85 |Headquarters: London | Recruitment drive: Since February, Medopad has more than tripled its headcount but more is to come — the firm plans to reach 320 employees before July 2019.
Challenge accepted: Starling Bank founder Anne Boden spent 30 years at UBS and the Royal Bank of Scotland before leaving to start her own smartphone-based bank in 2014. Almost five years and $70m in VC funding later, Starling has seen its customer base grow and hired 97 staff members in the past 12 months. | Global headcount: 240 | Headquarters: London | ‘Passport to Starling’: The bank encourages its customer service agents to spend time with its marketing and compliance teams and learn new skills. In several cases its agents have ‘passported’ into new permanent roles.
Block on: Financial services consultancy 11FS has worked with some of Britain’s most successful challenger banks, including Starling, Monzo and Tandem, as well as traditional banks such as RBS, Nationwide and Barclays. 11FS coaches bank staff on new technology, works to improve company culture and offers insights into digital banking trends. | Global headcount: 80* | Headquarters: London | Hiring: The firm produce a number of popular fintech podcasts, including Fintech and Blockchain Insider.
Job fair: After raising £35m in VC funding, recruitment startup Beamery has had a great year, bringing on top-tier clients such as Continental, Facebook, Zalando and Balfour Beatty. Since July 2017, Beamery has quadrupled its headcount and plans to nearly double that again, with 75 job openings forecast for next year. | Global headcount: 100 | Headquarters: London | Global expansion: Beamery has seen revenue growth of 500% over the last year and is eyeing expansion into Asia Pacific. The 4-year-old startup also has a pet-friendly office.
Cloud nine: Fintech cloud payment platform CurrencyCloud counts a number of LinkedIn Top Startups as clients, including Monzo, Revolut and Blockchain, and will have doubled its global headcount by the end of 2018. The firm’s software enables banks to make international payments, and companies to easily pay suppliers and employees overseas. | Global headcount: 165 | Headquarters: London | Board changes: A compliance push recently saw the firm appoint Tanya Ziv as the new Chief Compliance Officer and Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO).
Automation station: In the past year, marketing technology agency Byte has added clients like Waze, Facebook, Hush and Johnson & Johnson. Byte, which has launched a chatbot for Adidas and augmented reality experiences for Just Eat and Spotify, boasts 76% revenue growth year-on-year to June. | Global headcount: 100 | Headquarters: London | War on boredom: Employees are encouraged to report their most boring day-to-day tasks to Byte’s tech team, which is then challenged to automate them.
Doubling up: On the fintech scene since 2013, Tandem Money hit the headlines in 2018 when it bought Harrods Bank, picking up a banking license, £350m in deposits and 11,000 accounts in the process. The app-based bank — which previously had £10m in deposits and 100,000 users — also launched a credit card and fixed saver accounts. | Global headcount:110* | Headquarters: London | Acquisition: In 2018, Tandem also bought fintech startup Pariti, a money management app with 95,000 users.
Fintech future: Antony Jenkins spent 10 years at Barclays – three of those as CEO – before founding 10x, a startup designed to use cloud computing, machine learning and fintech to drag old-fashioned traditional banks into the 21st century. It is a crowded space, but 10x has already raised £34m in funding from investors including Ping An, China’s largest insurer by market value. | Global headcount: 180+ | Headquarters: London | On the tin: The firm’s mission statement is to make banking 10 times better than it currently is, hence the name 10x.
Home-makers: Only politicians, footballers and journalists are trusted less than estate agents by the British public, so it is little surprise that investors are funneling cash into a London startup that is taking them on. Like agents, Nested will value and put your home up for sale but unlike agents, it will advance you the money before it is sold. | Global headcount: 80 | Headquarters: London | Expansion plans: With instructions — meaning clients that instruct Nested to sell their home — growing threefold annually, Nested was recently ranked by Rightmove as Best Estate Agent 2018.
Ethereum Lead Joins Effort to Oust Blockchain’s Big Miners
A notable voice is joining the ranks of ethereum developers who are seeking to block powerful ASIC miners from earning an outsized share of the platform’s valuable ether cryptocurrency.
In an developer meeting Friday, Martin Holst Swende, security lead at the Ethereum Foundation, said he supports swift action to remove ASIC mining hardware from the ethereum platform. Joining the non-profit in 2016, Swende now works to ensure code changes do not disrupt or harm operations on the world’s second-largest blockchain.
With the remarks, Swende is aligning with other leading technologists who work on the platform’s core code and who think steps should be taken to block the chips. First introduced on ethereum back in April, dissenting developers argue the chips may reduce the number of participants able to profitably maintain the network’s ledger.
In the meeting, Swende remarked that a software change, dubbed ProgPoW, should be implemented “in parallel” with a larger, upcoming upgrade, “if the technical underpinnings are there.”
Braiins OS Publishes Open Source Firmware for Mining Rigs
This week the software developers behind the mining operation Slush Pool have announced a new organization alongside releasing an open source operating system (OS) for cryptocurrency devices. The new offshoot company called Braiins has produced a Linux based system for bitcoin mining rigs and they plan to extend the OS to other digital currency software embedded devices.
The cryptocurrency mining ecosystem relentlessly transforms every single day as the race to capture these digital assets becomes ever more competitive. This week the programmers who have been developing and operating Slush Pool since its inception have introduced a new company called Braiins. The Braiins team has released its first project called the Braiins OS which is an open source Linux (Openwrt) operating system for cryptocurrency software embedded devices such as an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC).
“Braiins OS is the very first fully open-source, Linux based system for cryptocurrency embedded devices — This initial release is targeted on mining devices, however since we used OpenWrt as a base, its features can be extended in many directions,” explains the team.
The first iteration of the Braiins OS is currently focused on two mining devices: images for Bitmain’s Antminer S9 and Halong Mining’s Dragonmint T1. Some miners have been asking the company on Twitter if the OS is compatible with other machines and series variations. Braiins says they created the OS for two reasons: the group believes in open source software and throughout the years of working with Slush Pool they have gained experience in the competitive mining sector. The team says the Braiins OS monitors the Antminers and Dragonmint machines while also efficiently handling errors and providing data.
Crypto Mining Malware Grows by 86% in Q2
The number of crypto mining malware attacks used by hackers has continued rising, with total samples growing by 86% in the second quarter of 2018, according to the latest threat report by cybersecurity firm McAfee Labs released September 25.
In the report, cybersecurity experts stated more that than 2.5 million new malware coin miner samples were found in Q2. In comparison, the number of crypto malware attacks in Q1 amounted to around 2.9 million, which is a 629 percent rise from around the 400,000 samples found in Q4 2017.
The #blockchain revolution is in full swing. Cybercriminals have found new angles, including illegal coin mining and theft to increase profits. We explore these tactics in the latest Threats Report. https://t.co/nyVpc7yLtF pic.twitter.com/nC86wFPvLr
— McAfee Labs (@McAfee_Labs) September 25, 2018
Specifically, the report stresses the fact that cybercriminals have found “new angles” of illegal coin mining to raise profits, which is coming on the heels of a surge in popularity of crypto and blockchain technology. McAfee Labs also cited the recent threat report named “Don’t Join Blockchain Revolution Without Ensuring Security” to warn users of the emerging technologies about the associated risks.
Christiaan Beek, Lead Scientist and Senior Principal Engineer with McAfee Advanced Threat Research, commented to Business Wire that apart from PCs, low-CPU devices have become a new source of “profitable revenue stream” for cybercriminals.
Due to their “propensity for weak passwords,” as well as the ability to take over “tremendous volume” of devices such as Wi-Fi routers, video cameras, and other Internet-of-Things (IoT) appliances, they represent a “very attractive platform” for illicit crypto mining activities.
Monero Developers Have Patched the ‘Burning Bug’
The developers of open-source cryptocurrency Monero (XMR) have patched a bug that could allow an attacker to “burn” the funds of an organization’s wallet while only losing network transaction fees, according to an announcement published September 25.
The bug was reportedly discovered after a community member described a hypothetical attack on the XMR subreddit. The bug could purportedly affect merchants and organizations in the XMR ecosystem, enabling an attacker to trigger significant damage. The blog post further describes how the bug would be exploited:
“An attacker first generates a random private transaction key. Thereafter, they modify the code to merely use this particular private transaction key, which ensures multiple transactions to the same public address (e.g. an exchange’s hot wallet) are sent to the same stealth address. Subsequently, they send, say, a thousand transactions of 1 XMR to an exchange. Because the exchange’s wallet does not warn for this particular abnormality (i.e. funds being received on the same stealth address), the exchange will, as usual, credit the attacker with 1000 XMR.”
While Monero notes that the attacker would not be able to directly accrue monetary gains with such an attack, “there are probably means to indirectly benefit.”
Following the attack, the hacker sells the XMR for Bitcoin (BTC) and then withdraws the BTC. As a result of the attack, the exchange is left with 999 unspendable or “burnt” outputs of 1 XMR.
Notably, the bug has not affected the protocol or the coin supply. XMR developers subsequently created and included a patch in the code, which was announced via XMR’s official Twitter account:
A Post Mortem of The Burning Bug: https://t.co/Iqii03G3DJ
— Monero || #xmr (@monero) September 25, 2018
XMR, which claims to be a private and “untraceable” cryptocurrency, was the target of fraudulent activities in the crypto space previously. Earlier this month, the MEGA Chrome extension was compromised, which allowed cybercriminals to steal users’ XMR in addition to other sensitive information.
In June, a report published by security company Palo Alto Networks found that around 5 percent of all XMR in circulation at the time was mined maliciously. XMR reportedly has an “incredible monopoly” on the cryptocurrencies targeted by malware, with a total of $175 million mined maliciously.
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