The Weekly Hash – February 24 – 28

This digest is prepared for informative purposes only and does not represent an investment recommendation or investment advice. Please see our full disclaimer at the bottom for more information.

  See below all the important happenings this week in the world of crypto, presented by the experts at Kraken: 

  1. The Block: The Simpsons’ Latest Episode Explains Blockchain and Crypto
  2. CoinTelegraph: JP Morgan—Digital Money Foundation Laid, Blockchain In Banking Years Away
  3. Decrypt: One Tenth of Bitcoin Lightning Network Nodes Hold 80% of Its Bitcoin
  4. The Telegraph: Bank of England Chief Cashier Signals Support for Official Cryptocurrency
  5. Japan Times: Japan’s Financial, Monetary Authorities Taking Hard Look at Minting Digital Currencies
  6. CoinDesk: Blockchain Pioneer Caitlin Long to Build Crypto Bank in Wyoming
  7. 8i Enterprises: 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp. to Hold Special Meeting of Shareholders on March 20 
  8. Bloomberg: Japanese Asset Manager SBI Adds to Stake of Crypto Security Firm
  9. TechCrunch: Crypto-Friendly FinTech Firm Revolut Raises $500M at a $5.5B Valuation
  10. Dapper Labs: Dapper Labs Partners with UFC® to Bring New Digital Collectibles to Fans on Blockchain
  11. The Block: Warren Buffett Says He Will ‘Never’ Own Any Cryptocurrency
  12. U.S. FSC: Chairwoman Waters Announces March Committee Schedule
  13. Blocknative: When One Billion Ethereum Transactions?
  14. Kraken: Tezos Margin Trading Is Now Available on Kraken and Kraken Pro
  15. CoinDesk: Bank of Canada Won’t Issue Its Own Crypto Unless Libra Succeeds—Deputy Governor
  16. CoinDesk: MoneyGram Got Another $11M From Ripple to Use Its Cross-Border Payments Tech
  17. Decrypt: Vitalik Buterin Weighs In On ProgPow
  18. Global Times: Research Into China’s Sovereign Digital Currency is Delayed Amid Epidemic
  19. TechCrunch: Facebook’s Libra Association Adds Crypto Prime Broker Tagomi
  20. Ripple: Sentbe, Hanpass, WireBarley and More Leverage RippleNet to Improve Remittances in Korea
  21. Bloomberg: SEC Quashes Dreams of Bitcoin ETF With Another Rejection
  22. CoinDesk: Over $190M in Bitcoin Liquidated on BitMEX Amid Crypto Market Sell-Off
  23. The Block: An Iranian Commander Calls for Crypto Use to Evade Sanctions
  24. The Block: Victims Have Paid $144M in BTC as Ransom Over Last Six Years, Says FBI Agent
  25. CoinDesk: World’s Top Crypto Miners Race to Roll Out Top-of-Line Machines Ahead of Bitcoin Halving
  26. Bitfinex: Bitfinex Repays $100M of Outstanding Loan Facility to Tether
  27. CoinDesk: Major Crypto Exchanges Bitfinex and OKEx Hit by Service Denial Attacks
  28. Decrypt: Shares Suffer Worst Week Since 2008, Bitcoin Follows Suit
  29. Decrypt: Ex-Employee Is Leaking Personal Info of 8,000 Digitex Users
   
  1. The Block: The Simpsons’ Latest Episode Explains Blockchain and Crypto
    • The latest episode of The Simpsons Frinkcoin” (S31, E13) featured Jim Parsons of Big Bang Theory as a guest star to explain how blockchain and crypto work
    • Parsons said, “The really cool subject of distributed consensus-based cryptocurrency […] For cryptocurrency to work, we need a record of every transaction that occurs. These are recorded in what’s called a distributed ledger. When you use the currency, the transaction is recorded in the ledger. And when one ledger book gets filled up, we add to a chain of previous books. That’s the blockchain. I’m a consensus of shared and synchronized digital data spread across multiple platforms from Shanghai to Grenada. Each day I’m closer to being the cash of the future. Not in your wallet, I’m in your computer […] Also, we know who Satoshi is, but we’re not telling.”
    • Coverage by CoinTelegraph 
  2. CoinTelegraph: JP Morgan—Digital Money Foundation Laid, Blockchain In Banking Years Away
    • According to JPMorgan, blockchain has seen more use among companies like stock exchanges, but adoption in banking is still 3-5 years away, “While we see widespread implementation of blockchain solutions at least three to five years away, challenges such as the macro-economic environment, legal and regulatory frameworks and technical challenges—such as cross-platform integration—may decelerate further progress.”
    • The bank believes that projects like Facebook’s Libra call for more centralization, “Stablecoins, and Libra in particular, have the potential to grow substantially and ultimately shoulder a significant fraction of global transactional activity. However, as currently designed and proposed, they do not take into account the microstructure of operating such a payment system. A lack of short-term liquidity facilities, particularly those relatively insulated from market forces, introduces the risk that activity grows faster than the underlying base of currency can safely support. The risk of payment system gridlock, particularly during periods of stress, could have serious macroeconomic consequences.”
    • The report notes that banks are increasingly using DLT to build their settlement/clearing and collateral management systems, adding that the crypto space is showing signs of maturity such as increasing institutional participation and the introduction of new contracts on regulated exchanges
    • The researchers noted that crypto continues to show extreme price volatility and that BTC has already cleared “intrinsic value but have yet to demonstrate their value for portfolio diversification […] Developments over the past year have not altered our reservations about the limited role that cryptocurrencies play in global portfolio diversification or as a hedge instrument.”
    • Coverage by The Block
  3. Decrypt: One Tenth of Bitcoin Lightning Network Nodes Hold 80% of Its Bitcoin
    • According to a report by Christian Decker, Jian-Hong Lin, Kevin Primicerio, Tiziano Squartini, and Claudio Tessone, the BTC Lightning Network (BLN) is “evolving towards an increasingly centralised architecture” as 10% of BLN nodes hold 80% of the total BTC, “Despite the huge activity characterising the BLN, the Bitcoin distribution is very unequal.”
    • Using the Gini coefficient, where a score of 1 marks complete inequality and 0 means a completely distributed network, the average Gini coefficient across the entire history of the network was 0.88
    • Half of the nodes hold 99% of the funds, across the entire period they studied the network: Jan. 14, 2018 – July 13, 2019
    • The report added, “Fewer entities would become able to validate the new blocks that are appended to the Blockchain […] centralisation in the validation process would make the system less resilient, i.e. more prone to faults and attacks.”
    • Decker, who also works as a BLN engineer at crypto company Blockstream, tweeted, “The current increase in centralization in the #LightningNetwork is likely temporary,” adding that he and other engineers are working to make it easier for operators to build redundancies into the network 
  4. The Telegraph: Bank of England Chief Cashier Signals Support for Official Cryptocurrency
    • Bank of England Chief Cashier Sarah John argued that it’s “crucial” for central banks to research digital currencies before tech giants in the private sector dominate the space, “We need to think as an institution about how to position ourselves to make sure society still has a broad range of payments that it can use with confidence. It is absolutely right that central banks think about whether a public sector or private sector would be best to provide a digital currency going forward.”
    • John added that it’s important to strike the right balance on public sector involvement and urged the Bank to position itself to ensure monetary and financial stability
  5. Japan Times: Japan’s Financial, Monetary Authorities Taking Hard Look at Minting Digital Currencies
    • Japan’s Ministry of Finance, Financial Services Agency (FSA) and central bank (BOJ) met several times to advance research on digital currencies for possible issue by central banks
    • The meetings discussed how digital currencies might impact the global currency system, which is USD-dominated, as well as other issues
    • BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said, “We are advancing research and study from the technical and legal perspectives so that we will be able to move in an appropriate way when there is a growing need.”
  6. CoinDesk: Blockchain Pioneer Caitlin Long to Build Crypto Bank in Wyoming
    • Caitlin Long, a Wall Street vet and crypto advocate who helped lead 13 blockchain legislative efforts, plans to launch a crypto-centric bank in Wyoming, dubbed Avanti
    • Avanti is “preparing [for a] long process of charter application & [aims] to open early 2021.”
    • Long said a $1M seed funding round recently closed
    • Avanti is partnering with BTC startup Blockstream, who will supply Avanti with digital asset custody services
    • The goal of Avanti is to “serve as a compliant bridge to the US dollar payments system and a custodian of digital assets that can meet the strictest level of institutional custody standards […] Avanti must fully comply with all applicable federal know-your-customer, anti-money laundering and related laws, as well as with Wyoming’s SPDI and digital asset laws, among which include requirements that fiat deposits be 100% reserved and that it meet the strictest consumer protections in the digital asset industry.”
    • Long noted that Avanti will be “protocol neutral” and may support digital assets beyond BTC, “23/ First & foremost @AvantiBT will respond to needs of institutional customers. If they want Avanti to service #cryptoassets other than #Bitcoin? Yep, Avanti will service ‘em if institutions want ‘em, if our engineers can securely do it & if we can handle legal & other risks.”
    • Coverage by The Block
  7. 8i Enterprises: 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp. to Hold Special Meeting of Shareholders on March 20
    • The SEC approved blockchain firm Diginex’s bid to merge with publicly-traded 8i Enterprises Acquisition Corp. on Friday, Feb. 21; if accepted, Diginex, a private company based in Hong Kong, will bypass regulatory barriers associated with listing on the Nasdaq (i.e., backdoor listing)
    • The $276M deal will now be put before 8i’s shareholders for approval at a special meeting on Mar. 20, where they will vote the shares of common stock owned by them 
    • According to a previous report, Diginex shareholders would receive 20M ordinary shares in 8i at $10 each
    • Coverage by CoinDesk
  8. Bloomberg: Japanese Asset Manager SBI Adds to Stake of Crypto Security Firm
    • Japanese financial conglomerate SBI Holdings led a Series B $16.75M funding round for CoolBitX, a Taiwanese blockchain security firm offering services to help crypto exchanges comply with more stringent int’l standards for collection of user info; CoolBitX is now valued at $91M
    • Other participants include Japan’s Monex Group Inc., the National Development Fund of Taiwan and Korean crypto exchange BitSonic
    • SBI Holdings was among investors participating in the Series A $13M funding round in 2018
    • SBI’s CEO Yoshitaka Kitao said, “As one of the early investors in CoolBitX, SBI Holdings is happy to see the breakthroughs made by the CoolBitX team to drive cryptocurrency adoption forward.” 
    • CoolBitX CEO Michael Ou said the investment, “shows that investors understand how global regulation and the tools necessary for virtual asset service providers to comply is key for crypto to shed its negative reputation, for institutional money to flow in, and for the industry to grow.”
    • CoolBitX will use the cash injection to help fund its global corporate expansion beyond the Asia-Pacific region, and to open offices in Japan and Korea
  9. TechCrunch: Crypto-Friendly FinTech Firm Revolut Raises $500M at a $5.5B Valuation
    • VC firm TCV led a $500M Series D funding round for fintech startup Revolut at a $5.5B valuation; Revolut has now raised $836M over the past few years
    • While Revolut isn’t sharing names of other existing investors that participated in the round, previous investors include DST Global, Index Ventures, Balderton Capital and many others
    • Revolut plans to use the fresh capital to improve its product and revenue by offering new lending services to retail and business users, as well as full bank accounts in Europe in the future
    • Revolut founder and CEO Nik Storonsky said, “We’re on a mission to build a global financial platform — a single app where our customers can manage all of their daily finances, and this investment demonstrates investor confidence in our business model. Going forward, our focus is on rolling-out banking operations in Europe, increasing the number of people who use Revolut as their daily account, and striving towards profitability.”
  10. Dapper Labs: Dapper Labs Partners with UFC® to Bring New Digital Collectibles to Fans on Blockchain
    • Cryptokitties developer Dapper Labs partnered with the UFC to develop a digital experience for UFC fans with opportunities to purchase, trade, and own UFC-branded digital collectibles on Dapper Labs’ Flow – a platform as a solution to the problem of blockchain scalability for consumer applications like games and digital collectibles
    • Dapper Labs CEO Roham Gharegozlou said, “Flow makes it easy for any developer to build blockchain apps, games, and digital assets to power them. Working with the UFC®, we are showing what’s possible when you give an engaged fanbase a real ownership stake in the game they love and the communities they’re a part of.” 
    • UFC SVP of Global Consumer Products Tracey Bleczinski added, “UFC is thrilled to partner with Dapper Labs to offer a new form of digital collectibles to our global fanbase. UFC prides itself on being innovators in sports technology, and Flow is another way to provide our fans with the best entertainment experience.”
  11. The Block: Warren Buffett Says He Will ‘Never’ Own Any Cryptocurrency
    • Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett reiterated his aversion to crypto in a CNBC interview, “Cryptocurrencies basically have no value and they don’t produce anything […] I don’t have any cryptocurrency and I never will.”
    • Speaking about his recent dinner with TRON founder Justin Sun, Buffet said, “When Justin and four friends came, they behaved perfectly and we had a very friendly 3½-hour dinner and the whole thing was a very friendly exchange of ideas,” adding that his stance on BTC hasn’t changed
    • “[Bitcoin] can’t mail you a check.” —Warren Buffett, 2020
  12. U.S. FSC: Chairwoman Waters Announces March Committee Schedule
    • The U.S. House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on National Security, Int’l Development, and Monetary Policy will host a hearing on “A Review of Domestic and International Approaches to Digital Currencies” on Mar. 24
    • The subcommittee is chaired by Rep. Emanuel
    • No other details of the meeting were provided
  13. Blocknative: When One Billion Ethereum Transactions?
    • According to Blocknative, a startup tracking Ethereum mempool, 3.1B txs from 2009-2019 occurred across 24 crypto networks – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, EOS, Tron, Stellar, Tether, Ethereum Classic, Bitcoin Cash, Monero, Bitcoin SV, Binance Coin, Dogecoin, Zcash, Verge, Tezos, Decred, Dash, Neo, Waves, DigiByte, Bitcoin Gold and GAS
    • These networks were chosen because they have the highest transfer tx counts, citing CoinMetrics
    • There were 259.2M BTC txs in 2019 and 242.8 txs on Ethereum during the same year
    • There were a total of 1.1B txs across all the surveyed networks during 2019
    • The team expects BTC and ETH to surpass 1B txs per year in 2023
    • Blocknative CEO Matt Cutler said they predicted that the group of networks could account for nearly 20B txs over the next five years, “I recommend taking this forecast with a big grain of salt, as our future probably will not follow any linear growth projection […] If we compare it to traditional payment rails, for instance, that there’s a huge amount of upside in terms of things that we could do rightI think it begs the question of where do future transactions come from? So there’s all this work happening to increase throughput, but where is that going to come from?”
    • Cutler proposed “net new transactions,” or txs that couldn’t have happened without blockchains, as one of the major driving forces of the next billion blockchain txs
  14. Kraken: Tezos Margin Trading Is Now Available on Kraken and Kraken Pro
    • Tezos (XTZ) is now available for margin trading (up to 3x leverage) through Kraken and Kraken Pro
    • XTZ is the ninth asset available for margin trading on Kraken, following BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, ETC, REP, XMR, and USDT
    • The margin open fee is 0.02%, and rollover fee is 0.02% / 4 hrs
  15. CoinDesk: Bank of Canada Won’t Issue Its Own Crypto Unless Libra Succeeds—Deputy Governor
    • Deputy Governor of Canada Timothy Lane said the Bank of Canada (BoC) won’t issue its own digital currency unless a competitor to cash, such as Facebook’s Libra project, succeeds
    • The BoC was one of the most active students of the central bank digital currency (CBDC) concept and ran a pilot on R3’s DLT solution Corda, “We have concluded that there is not a compelling case to issue a CBDC at this time. Canadians will continue to be well-served by the existing payment ecosystem, provided it is modernized and remains fit for purpose.”
    • Lane noted that the widespread use of private cryptos could change this calculation, describing such cryptos as “a monopoly that would erode competition and privacy and pose an unacceptable challenge to Canadian monetary sovereignty […] It’s tough to predict if Libra will ever live up to its promises or even come into existence. But it is a good example of a transformative technology that affects how the bank needs to respond to the future of money.”
    • The BoC will do more exploratory work and consultations with central banks including the U.K., Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, the EU and the BIS as part of a group effort formed earlier this month, and will also consult with the “governments and key stakeholders in provinces and territories across Canada” to learn if they want a CBDC and how they want it 
    • Lane concluded that if one day Canadians abandon cash or turn to private cryptos, the country will need a digital cash “issued and distributed by an organization that is guided by the interest of the public good, rather than profit” and “backed by a central bank’s balance sheet and its reputation for preserving the value of our money.”
  16. CoinDesk: MoneyGram Got Another $11M From Ripple to Use Its Cross-Border Payments Tech
    • According to new filings with the SEC, Ripple gave remittance firm MoneyGram +$11M in 2H2019 ($2.4M in 3Q and $8.9M in 4Q), which was characterized as a “benefit” from Ripple, “Revenue was $323.7 million, a decline of 6% from the fourth quarter 2018. Revenue excludes $8.9 million of benefit from Ripple, which will be accounted for as a contra expense rather than revenue based on a recent consultation with the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
    • According to an earnings call on Feb. 25 by MoneyGram, the benefit is derived from MoneyGram’s use of RippleNet
    • MoneyGram CEO Alex Holmes said the remittance firm will continue to expand its use of Ripple’s platform in the coming year, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the partnership and the success we’ve had with Ripple. Today our trading volume continues to grow and we’re partnering to expand the service to more corridors. I’m also excited to announce that we are working to integrate RippleNet for account-to-account transfers in 2020. This new integration will further accelerate our progress in accomplishing our vision of real-time global settlement.”
    • Coverage by The Block
  17. Decrypt: Vitalik Buterin Weighs In On ProgPow
    • ETH co-founder Vitalik Buterin criticized ETH developers for the way they handled the ProgPow proposal, a controversial upgrade that would change ETH’s hashing algorithm to make ASIC mining obsolete on the network, “The way progpow was ninja-reapproved definitely did not help make people trust the governance or feel safe […] It went from ‘phew, this thing is gone and has not been talked about for quite a while’ to ‘OMG it’s now SCHEDULED FOR THE NEXT HARDFORK???!’ within the span of 1.5 hours.”
    • Developers suddenly resurfaced ProgPoW on a Feb.  21 call, and tentatively reapproved it for July – three weeks after the blockchain’s next expected hard fork in June
    • While Buterin remained neutral on whether ProgPoW should be implemented, he suggested that a new procedure was needed for contentious proposals
  18. Global Times: Research Into China’s Sovereign Digital Currency is Delayed Amid Epidemic
    • According to sources familiar with the matter, the coronavirus is delaying the launch of China’s digital currency, the DC/EP, “The coronavirus outbreak has led to postponed work resumption in government institutions, including the People’s Bank of China (PBC). Policymakers and research staff involved in the DC/EP project are no exception, which weighs on the development process.”
    • While the launch won’t occur in 1Q as planned, it is still expected to take place this year
  19. TechCrunch: Facebook’s Libra Association Adds Crypto Prime Broker Tagomi
    • Crypto startup Tagomi joined the Libra Association as the 22nd member
    • Tagomi will offer technical and policy support to Libra to make the crypto safer and more compliant with int’l law
    • Current members include Facebook’s Calibra, Tagomi, Shopify, PayU, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Illiad SA, Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Xapo, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking
    • Former members include Vodafone, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, PayPal, Mercado Pago, Bookings Holdings, eBay
  20. Ripple: Sentbe, Hanpass, WireBarley and More Leverage RippleNet to Improve Remittances in Korea
    • South Korea-based money transfer firms Sentbe, Hanpass and WireBarley each partnered with Ripple to facilitate faster and cheaper cross-border payments by utilizing its blockchain-based payments network, RippleNet
    • Sentbe focuses on the South-and Northeast Asia corridor, including the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and China; Hanpass focuses on South Korea; and WireBarley provides services in the Australian corridor, as well as New Zealand, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea
    • Ripple’s senior director of global operations Emi Yoshikawa said, “South Korea is a hotbed of fintech innovation, and we’re committed to grow our customer base and presence. Since the Korean government started licensing payment providers for remittance in 2017, we have witnessed how Korean payment providers dramatically improved payments experience for their customers, and we are pleased to be part of their on-going efforts.”
    • Almost half of RippleNet customers are based in the APAC region
  21. Bloomberg: SEC Quashes Dreams of Bitcoin ETF With Another Rejection
    • The SEC rejected the lastest BTC ETF proposal by Wilshire Phoenix and NYSE Arca, which proposed mixing BTC and short-term Treasuries in an effort to protect against crypto volatility, “The Commission concludes that NYSE Arca has not established that the relevant Bitcoin market possesses a resistance to manipulation that is unique beyond that of traditional security or commodity markets such that it is inherently resistant to manipulation.”
    • Commissioner Hester Peirce said the disapproval leads her “to conclude that this Commission is unwilling to approve the listing of any product that would provide access to the market for Bitcoin and that no filing will meet the ever-shifting standards that this Commission insists on applying to Bitcoin-related products—and only to Bitcoin-related products.”
  22. CoinDesk: Over $190M in Bitcoin Liquidated on BitMEX Amid Crypto Market Sell-Off
    • According to data analytics provider Skew, ~$196M worth of BTC ($6.1M in longs & $190M in shorts) was liquidated on crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX amid a selloff that saw price fall to a low of $8,675
    • Traditional markets are also in turmoil with major indices such as the S&P500 and the Dow down more than 7% on the week, ostensibly due to global coronavirus concerns
  23. The Block: An Iranian Commander Calls for Crypto Use to Evade Sanctions
    • According to the Iranian Labour News Agency (ILNA), Saeed Muhammad, commander of Khatam-al Anbiya Construction, an engineering firm controlled by the Iranian Armed Forces, has called for the use of crypto to evade sanctions
    • Muhammad said, “We are demanding a more sophisticated mechanism to circumvent sanctions, and we are calling for the activation of the use of cryptocurrencies, and we want bilateral or multilateral monetary agreements.”
  24. The Block: Victims Have Paid $144M in BTC as Ransom Over Last Six Years, Says FBI Agent
    • FBI supervisory special agent Joel DeCapua reported that victims have paid $144.35M in BTC as ransom during 2013-2019
    • DeCapua said the “vast majority” of ransomware proceeds are paid in BTC, with ransomware family Ryuk causing the most damage (~$62M); Crysis/Dharma and Bitpaymer followed Ryuk, raising +$24M and $8M, respectively
    • The majority (~64%) of these ransomware proceeds went to crypto exchanges
    • BTC-e.com, which was the only named crypto exchange as it no longer exists, received 1.3M BTC in ransomware proceeds
  25. CoinDesk: World’s Top Crypto Miners Race to Roll Out Top-of-Line Machines Ahead of Bitcoin Halving
    • BTC mining giants Bitmain and MicroBT are racing to launch the best new miners ahead of BTC’s halving in May
    • Bitmain launched the AntMiner S19 and S19 Pro models today, boasting computing power as high as 110 TH/s and an energy cost of 29.5 W/T
    • While the prices and pre-order/delivery dates for Bitmain’s S19 models haven’t been announced, the models would be the most profitable BTC miners if available, closely followed by MicroBT’s WhatsMiner M30S
    • It’s uncertain whether Bitmain can deliver production on a large scale since the latest models adopt 7-nm chips that come in limited supplies from its vendor, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company
    • MicroBT, which launched its flagship M30 models in December, started taking pre-orders last week and will begin delivering sample units next month
    • The M30S (priced at $2,430) touts a computing power of 86 TH/s with an energy cost of 38 W/T; some devices will ship from March-May, but large pre-orders will have to wait until June
    • Bitmain’s AntMiner S9 is still one of the most popular miners according to f2pool’s index, generating a daily gross margin of ~30% at BTC’s current price
    • Data from mining pool BTC.com shows that BTC mining difficulty has stagnated for a month apparently due to the coronavirus epidemic
  26. Bitfinex: Bitfinex Repays $100M of Outstanding Loan Facility to Tether
    • Crypto exchange Bitfinex repaid $100M to Tether after taking out $700M from Tether’s reserves last year, “Interest on all amounts due under the facility agreement has been prepaid up to March 2020.”
    • The exchange previously repaid $100M under the loan facility in July 2019, meaning the outstanding loan is $500M
    • Coverage by The Block
  27. CoinDesk: Major Crypto Exchanges Bitfinex and OKEx Hit by Service Denial Attacks
    • It has been reported that crypto exchanges Bitfinex & OKEx both experienced DDoS attacks in the past 24hrs
    • OKEx CEO Jay Hao said the exchange suffered an attack on Thursday with a severity of 200 GB and on Friday with a 400 GB severity, adding that competitor(s) were behind the “large-scale” attack
    • Bitfinex CTO Paulo Ardoino said the exchange suffered an attack Friday morning (UTC) and went into maintenance for under an hour to avert an escalation in damage, “[This was] not due to the inability of the platform to resist, rather it was a decision taken in order to quickly bring in the countermeasures and patch for all similar attacks.”
    • Ardoino added that the “attacker tried to concurrently exploit several platform features to increase load in the infrastructure. We use a variety of different prevention mechanisms to guard against such a Distributed-Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attack. Still, the huge number of different IP addresses used and the sophisticated crafting of the requests towards our API v1 exploited an internal inefficiency in one of our non-core process queues.”
    • It’s not clear why the exchanges were targeted in this way at roughly the same time or what the attacker(s) hoped to gain
  28. Decrypt: Shares Suffer Worst Week Since 2008, Bitcoin Follows Suit
    • This past week marks the worst performance for U.S. equities since 2008, due in part to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak; BTC, which has historically shown instances to be inversely correlated with stocks, has followed suit and is hovering around $8,650 after hitting a YTD high of +$10,400 less than two weeks ago
    • According to BBC News, European markets sharply fell as London’s FTSE 100 index saw a -3% decrease in the last 24hrs; Asian markets fell even deeper, while the U.S. Dow Jones recorded its biggest daily points drop on Feb. 27
    • Standard Chartered Bank strategist Mayank Mishra said, “Previously the market had taken some comfort in the falling infection rates in China as a result of containment measures put in place earlier. But the spread of the coronavirus infection outside China, with clusters emerging in South Korea, Italy and Japan, has increased concerns significantly.”
  29. Decrypt: Ex-Employee Is Leaking Personal Info of 8,000 Digitex Users
    • An alleged former employee of crypto futures exchange Digitex started posting KYC data of the exchange’s users in a Telegram channel today
    • The “Digileaker” said, “I have the entire kyc documentation of every single user who has used the Digitex Treasury from it’s (sic) inception date until today […] The data came from a login that Digitex setup when they registered with Sum and Substance [a KYC provider]. This login with a username, password and 2FA gives unrestricted access to all the KYC information of 8000+ customers including documents, address, phone numbers and other information like IP address.”
    • Three documents were revealed so far, including the date that they started using the exchange and their emails (some of the details were obscured)
    • Digitex said, “Digitex Futures is aware of momentum gaining on Telegram about a further leak of confidential data. We are not able to comment on the incident at this time and are currently seeking legal counsel. We would like to apologize for any distress or inconvenience caused and assure you that we are doing everything in our power to rectify the situation.”

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