Bitcoin Scam Compromising Google and Target Accounts Came from Third Party App

A recent Bitcoin scam on Twitter that compromised several major companies verified accounts came from a third-party app, tech news outlet the Next Web (TNW) reports Friday, Nov. 16, citing social media officials.

Speaking to TNW, a Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the attack came from an outside software provider and not from Twitter’s own system. However, the official refrained from naming the app.

The spokesperson reportedly explained that the attackers exploited a third-party marketing solution to launch a Bitcoin (BTC) giveaway from several verified accounts, including Google’s G Suite and major U.S. department store retailer Target.

The information was implicitly confirmed by Target. Its representatives told TNW that the hackers used a third-party marketing app, authorized to post content on Target’s behalf.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, on Wednesday, Nov. 14, hackers took over G Suite and Target accounts (800,000 and 1.92 million followers, respectively) and posted malicious cryptocurrency giveaway links. The message in G Suite’s account also falsely claimed that users could make payments in G Suite using cryptocurrencies.

Moreover, in early November several verified Twitter accounts, including those of film production firm Pathe U.K. and U.S. politician Frank Pallone Jr., were breached to pose as Elon Musk. Once hackers gained control of accounts, they changed the profile picture and name in order to pose as Elon Musk and offer scammy Bitcoin giveaways.

Bitcoin scammers have already posed as Elon Musk for several times, prompting the Tesla founder to seek help from Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin (DOGE), who claimed to have invented an anti-scam script.



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Target and Google Official Twitter Accounts Hacked, Used for Crypto Scams

In what is becoming an emerging trend, Twitter accounts of popular brands are being hacked in an attempt to scam unsuspecting users out of their cryptocurrencies.

Target and Google are two high profile targets that have seen their accounts taken over by hackers who, in turn, have used them to scam followers by advertising fraudulent crypto giveaways.

Target’s Twitter account, which is followed by nearly 2 million users, posted a tweet, confirming the hack which occurred on November 13, 2018. The retailer stated:

“Early this morning, our Twitter account was inappropriately accessed. The access lasted for approx. half an hour & one fake tweet was posted during that time about a bitcoin scam. We have regained control of the account, are in close contact with Twitter & are investigating now.”

Seemingly targeted by the hacking syndicate, Google’s G Suite Twitter account was breached hours after Target fell victim. The hack on Google was marked by the same tactics as the one that plagued Target — a scammy tweet ridden with typos promising free bitcoin to G Suite’s 800,000 followers.

A Google spokesperson confirmed the hack to Business Insider in a statement:

“This morning an unauthorized promoted tweet was shared from the G Suite account. We removed the tweet and are investigating with Twitter now.”

These incidents are a more sophisticated version of the Twitter scams that have become a constant nuisance for the cryptocurrency community. Typically, these scams include bad actors merely imitating popular figures in the crypto industry with near-identical profiles, though it’s rare for the real accounts themselves to be taken over to advertise the scams.

While it’s unclear how scammers are gaining access to the brands’ social media account, it’s obvious new measures are needed to combat the scams.

Criticized in the past for its failure to devise a clear defense against these incidents, Twitter is reportedly working on counter security measures to prevent similar breaches like the one witnessed by Target on its platform in the future.

Earlier this year, anti-fraud software company MetaCert released Cryptonite, a browser extension that safeguards users against fraudulent accounts.



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Four Fake Cryptocurrency Wallets Found on Google Play Store

Malware researcher Lukas Stefanko has found four fake cryptocurrency wallets on the Google Play Store that were trying to steal users’ personal data, according to a blog post published Nov. 13.

The apps were posing as cryptocurrency wallets for NEO, Tether and an extension for accessing Ethereum (ETH), MetaMask. They were purportedly designed to phish users’ mobile banking credentials and credit card information.

Stefanko classified the wallets into two groups, wherein the fake MetaMask app was a “phishing wallet” and the other three apps were “fake wallets.” Once the phishing app is installed and launched, it requests the user’s private key and wallet password.

In a video attached to the blog post, Stefanko explained his research into the “fake wallets,” noting the example of the fake NEO app dubbed “Neo Wallet”, which had over 1,000 installs since its launch in October.

The fake crypto wallets reportedly did not create a new wallet through generating a public address and a private key — which are needed to securely send and receive digital currency — but only displayed the attacker’s public address with no user access to the private key. Thinking that the app generated their public address, users would deposit their funds to that wallet, but were unable to withdraw them as the private key belonged to a cybercriminal.

Stefanko noted that the apps were developed using the Drag-n-Drop app builder service, which does not require specific coding knowledge from the user. This means that nearly anyone is able to “develop” a simple malicious app to steal sensitive personal data, “once the Bitcoin (BTC) price rises,” according to Stefanko.

The analyst states in the post that he reported the fake apps to the Google security team, after which the wallets were subsequently removed.

Just yesterday, Cointelegraph reported that the official Twitter account of Google’s G Suite was supposedly compromised to promote a Bitcoin (BTC) giveaway scam. Scammers reportedly spread a message luring users to participate in a fraudulent 10,000 BTC giveaway.



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Apps for Kik’s Crypto Are Beginning to Appear on Apple and Google Stores

The number of mobile apps built around kin – the cryptocurrency created and launched by mobile messaging app Kik – is growing.

As of this writing, ten are already out, and more will become available as the Google Play and iOS stores move to approve them. All told, more than thirty apps are expected to debut in the coming weeks.

A quick summary: kin was created by the Canadian messaging app company Kik. To help bootstrap the project, Kik raised $98 million in one of 2017’s biggest initial coin offerings (ICOs). And this summer, it announced it would support teams that are building apps that are designed to enable users to use – and earn – its token.

“We’re trying to build an ecosystem where you can earn kin in one application and spend it in another,” Ayelet Laub, a product manager working on the Kin Ecosystem told CoinDesk.

Lots of the apps coming out fall in the classic categories with which mobile users will be most familiar. And while this offers the advantage of familiarity, it carries the disadvantage of having to compete in a market crowded by big incumbents.

Fortunately, these apps don’t have to compete solely on cool factor and user experience like most do, as the new kin-enabled apps pay users directly for their participation. Put another way, think of kin as the means by which users are incentivized to fire up the apps and participate.

The following apps are currently live on Google Play: Reveald (dating), Kinguist (language learning), Nearby (networking), GoChallenge.me (social goals), AddMe (business networking), Find (travel networking), Vent (mental health) and Kinny (social tipping). Two apps are available so far on iOS so far: Blastchat (instant messaging) and Pause For (productivity).

All of these apps have straightforward ways to earn and spend kin, as required by the developer program.

Stepping back, more than 200 teams applied to join the program. Forty were ultimately chosen, and in the end, 32 made it far enough in the developer program to submit their apps to either the Google Play or iOS stores. Supporting them were development grants that included kin allocations to be used to attract would-be users.

Ted Livingston, Kik’s founder, has repeatedly said he wants kin to become the most used cryptocurrency on earth where it’s easy for internet users to both earn it and spend it. The theory here is that if very small amounts of money can be traded easily and freely online, many more people will spend much more money overall.

Kin was originally created for ethereum, but it has since ported most of its functionality over to a fork of the Stellar blockchain, because Kik wanted to be able to process loads of transactions for free. That way, kin could run in lots and lots of mobile apps at once.

A key component to come

All of the apps can be said to aim at a common goal: to see if cryptocurrencies can improve traditional mobile uses cases, whether it’s a dating or task-tracking apps.

For example, BlastChat – the only app this reporter has thus far tested on the iOS platform (it’s also available for Android) – is a social network that’s less about accruing followers and more about making user-friendly broadcasts. Users can give one another kin for good posts, as well as earn kin for posting to the main channels that all users can see.

To promote participation, BlastChat hands users a little over 100 kin to start, setting them up to earn more. But at this stage, there aren’t enough people using it yet to quickly give even 100 kin away at 1 kin per tip.

But there’s a big update waiting to be made for all of these apps: it’s currently not possible to deposit or withdraw kin.

“The app needs to reveal the user’s public wallet address. We need to figure out how to do it in the easiest way and most user-friendly way,” Laub said.

Kin’s developers are working on that. Once they have a solution they believe works, they’ll then approach the mobile app teams and recommend its adoption.

What’s more, the apps being built around kin have taken what could be called an atypical path compared to other decentralized apps seen on the market today, wherein most ask users to connect with their own wallets. So far, kin apps seem to be turning that approach on its head, with each app generating a fresh wallet for each user.

Laub said that Kin Ecosystem has tried not to be prescriptive – but it does have opinions on some points. For example, the KDP team encouraged apps to avoid in-app purchases in favor of person-to-person exchanges, but many of the teams participating want them.

This may explain why only five of the apps are leading with iOS launches. Apple has not been supportive of buying crypto.

What’s more, startups need a revenue stream in order to thrive. Kin itself was built to provide that directly with daily payouts from the Kin Rewards Engine (KRE). Each day, the KRE would pay every kin-powered app based on its proportion of the day’s economic activity. 

That way, developers didn’t need to directly earn crypto from users – but the KRE is not live yet. 

So, the recent grants of kin to teams came in lieu of access to the KRE, and it’s still not clear when the Kin Rewards Engine will go live.

“Probably in the next quarter or next months we’ll have a more concrete update as to when exactly it will be launched,” Laub explained.

Multiple mobile devices photo via Shuttertock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.



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Google Expert Developer Joins Ripple to Lead Crypto-Powered Payments Network RippleNet

Ripple has recently hired a former senior developer at Google’s new wireless messaging service as vice president of products, Reuters reports Friday, Oct. 26.

The U.S. tech company that backs the third top cryptocurrency by market cap, Ripple (XRP), has confirmed to Reuters that Amir Sarhangi is leaving his position at Google to lead Ripple’s global payments network, RippleNet. Sarhangi reportedly joined Google in 2015 when the tech giant acquired Jibe Mobile, a startup that he founded to develop technology for wireless carriers to implement rich communication system (RCS).

The RCS technology standard is considered to be a successor to text messages (SMS) as a better method to send media and commercial messages over cell networks. According to Reuters, RCS technology has seen broad adoption by major global tech suppliers such as Apple and Samsung.

The announcement follows the recent report by Ripple that the company has seen its revenues doubled in the third quarter over Q2 in 2018. According to the official data, Ripple has sold $163.33 million worth of XRP in token sales in Q3, which is more than double the $73.53 million that they sold in previous quarter.

In late September, Ripple set up a group of crypto startups in order to lobby lawmakers and financial regulators aiming to assist in taking a softer governmental stance towards crypto-related industries. According to the agreement, Ripple will pay Klein/Johnson Group, a bipartisan lobby group, to convey to state authorities that the industry needs support from regulators.

In early October, crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase announced that a member of the board of directors of the Charles Schwab Corporation had joined the crypto firms’ board of directors.

Also in October, the former COO of major U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq subsidiary Jeanine Hightower-Sellitto joined crypto exchange Gemini as their managing directors of operations to lead its client services team.



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Google Ventures-backed Blockchain is debuting a hardware wallet that …

Google Ventures-backed Blockchain is debuting a hardware wallet that integrates with its software services, a press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine details.

In a partnership with hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger, the cryptocurrency software company has developed what it calls “a custom hardware device.” Dubbed the Blockchain Lockbox, the wallet, like Ledger’s own suite of products, will allow users to store their private keys offline in the device. This practice, referred to as cold storage, is considered a safer alternative to hot storage, wherein private keys are held in software connected to the internet.

According to the release, existing Ledger users “will be able to pair their Nano S devices” to the Lockbox. Bitcoin Magazine asked Blockchain to clarify which coins the wallet would support, but at the time of publication, the company was not prepared to give a response.

“We’re thrilled to offer the Lockbox to Blockchain users so they can easily manage their funds online and offline seamlessly,” Peter Smith, CEO and co-founder of Blockchain, said in the release.

The wallet will interface directly with Blockchain’s software wallet, and it will be exclusively compatible “only with Blockchain’s software,” a Blockchain representative told Bitcoin Magazine. This will allow users to manage their hardware wallet’s holdings using the software, while also offering what Smith calls “more functionality than previously existed” by giving users the flexibility to transfer funds back and forth from the Lockbox to Blockchain’s software wallet.

Ledger’s president, Pascal Gauthier, called the partnership “a natural fit,” stressing the importance both companies — and the crypto community at large — place on cyber security.

“With stories about crypto hacking continuing to dominate headlines, it’s obvious that security must be top of mind for all stakeholders in the crypto space. With the combined forces of Blockchain and Ledger, users are truly getting the best of both worlds,” he said.

Though seemingly hyperbolic, Gauthier isn’t exaggerating when he says hacks “dominate headlines.” The first month of 2018 saw the biggest hack in the industry’s history since Mt. Gox, and Japan alone has suffered over half a billion dollars worth of losses this year.

The hardware wallet is open for preorders today, October 25, 2018, with delivery slated for mid-November, and the press release indicates that early customers will receive a “special edition blue version” of the wallet.

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TRON to Partner with ‘China’s Google,’ Baidu

The team of cryptocurrency project TRON (TRX) has reportedly partnered with China‘s largest Internet search provider Baidu. Crypto market news service Coinness has claimed this in a tweet Thursday, Oct. 11, citing its private correspondence with TRON’s team.

Neither TRON nor Baidu have been able to confirm the partnership to Cointelegraph as of press time.

Without specifying the details of the partnership, Coinness has claimed that the deal between TRON and China’s Internet giant Baidu will be “officially” revealed by the cloud storage service Baidu Cloud “next week.”

While Coinness claims that TRON has exclusively confirmed the partnership in private correspondence with it, the crypto platform itself has not yet officially announced any details of the partnership or even the identity of its new business partner.

TRON’s CEO Justin Sun has recently hinted on Twitter at a secret partnership with an unnamed “industry giant” that is valued at “tens of billions of dollars.” In his Tweet, posted Friday, Oct. 12, Sun has similarly provided little information:

“Finally, First time to partner with tens of billions USD valuation industry giant. Guess the name.”

As mentioned on TRON’s website, the decentralized Internet company TRON Foundation was established in Singapore in July 2017, while TRON’s open source protocol was launched in December 2017. The company has dual headquarters in Beijing and San Francisco, and a team of over 100 employees working all over the globe, with some of them being formerly employed by China’s Internet giants such as Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu.

In late September, TRON released details about its partnership with a popular torrent client BitTorrent, following the earlier acquisition of the company. A collaboration between the two companies dubbed “Project Atlas” will reportedly enable the users of the BitTorrent client to receive rewards in TRON for seeding torrent files.

Earlier in August, Baidu has joined Tencent and Alibaba in enforcing new anti-crypto policies in line with China’s overall toughened stance on the industry. The firm has shut down at least two popular crypto-related forums, with a notice to their users stating that Baidu’s measures are compliant with the “relevant laws, regulations and policies.”

On Sept. 26, Baidu has released its Baidu Blockchain White Paper V1.0, aiming to create “the independent development of the ‘Super Chain’ network system.”

TRON is currently the eleventh largest cryptocurrency by market cap, according to CoinMarketCap data. On June 25, TRON celebrated its “Independence Day,” when it migrated off the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain to its own independent public blockchain.

At press time, TRON is trading at $0.023, up 2.79% on the day. The coin saw its all-time price high of $0.217 on Jan. 5, 2018, which was followed by a fall in value of almost 90% over the rest of the year – against the backdrop of an overall declining crypto market.

TRON one-year price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

 



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New Google Joke Advertisement Questions the Validity of Cryptocurrency as Money

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.”

“Cryptocurrency mining takes a lot of energy,” the presenter argues, which elicits the response from the other:

“Cryptocurrency? That money’s not real.”

Why Google chose a cryptocurrency focus in the Call Screen introduction in particular remains unclear, yet neatly summarizes Google’s somewhat murky official stance on the industry.

As Cointelegraph reported, the company recently U-turned on their complete ban on advertising by cryptocurrency businesses it had initiated in June.

From this month on, the company confirmed, its policy would change to “allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan.”

While sources did not go on record to explain the impetus behind the change of heart, the Call Screen skit provides a further hint that Google’s stance is far from one-sided.

“I’ve got news for you,” the presenter engaged in crypto mining continued, “money isn’t real,” to which the other replies:

“You gonna live that lie?”



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Walmart Embraces Blockchain, Google Does 180 On Crypto-Ad Ban

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Google Reverses Crypto Ad Ban, Allows Crypto Exchanges In Japan, US To Advertise

The U.S. tech giant Google is set to update its ad policy in October, re-allowing registered cryptocurrency exchanges located in the U.S. and Japan to advertise. According to the official announcement, starting in October, Google will allow registered cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise on its Google Adwords platform, targeting the U.S. and Japanese audiences. The announcement notes that advertisers will need to be certified with Google in the country where the ads will be launched.

Walmart Announces Mandatory Blockchain Use For Leafy Greens Suppliers

U.S. retail giant Walmart and its division Sam’s Club, a membership-only retail warehouse club, will require suppliers of leafy greens to implement a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain tech. Walmart, which is set to introduce a similar traceability system “for other fresh fruit and vegetable providers within the next year,” notes that over 100 companies will be required to implement IBM’s blockchain service.

“Tokyo Whale” Mt. Gox Trustee Publishes Final Crypto Selloff Equal To $230 Mln

Nobuaki Kobayashi, the trustee of defunct cryptocurrency exchange Mt.Gox, released a new statement this week that recorded the liquidation of almost 26 billion yen ($230 million) in Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash in around four months.Kobayashi, who is known as the “Tokyo Whale” due to the multiple rounds of cryptocurrency sell-offs he has undertaken on behalf of Mt.Gox since Q3 2017, stated he had sold 24,658 BTC and 25,331 BCH “during the period from the 10th creditors’ meeting in the Bankruptcy Proceedings (i.e., from March 7, 2018) to the commencement of Civil Rehabilitation Proceedings.”

Bakkt Announces First Offering Set To Be Physical Bitcoin Futures

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has confirmed its Bakkt cryptocurrency platform’s first offering will take the form of physical Bitcoin futures. ICE, which also operates the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has said that Bakkt — a “regulated ecosystem” for institutional investors aiming to get exposure to cryptocurrency — will offer futures against at least three fiat currencies: the U.S. dollar, British pound sterling and euro.

Coinbase Announces New Listing Process For Digital Assets

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced a new process that will allow it to list more digital assets faster. According to Coinbase’s announcement, the new process refers only to digital assets that are compliant with local law, which means that certain assets listed on the platform may only be available to customers in particular jurisdictions. Issuers who want to submit tokens at Coinbase via the newly adopted process will have to use a special form, which will subsequently be evaluated by the exchange team against their digital asset framework.

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Jerry Cuomo

“Blockchain is ready for government, let’s get government ready for blockchain,” — Jerry Cuomo, vice president for blockchain technology and CTO at IBM

U.S. Congressmen

“We […] believe that formal guidance may be an appropriate approach to clearing up legal uncertainties which are causing the environment for the development of innovative technologies in the United States to be unnecessarily fraught,” — U.S. Congressmen in a letter to SEC chairman Jay Clayton about crypto regulation

Laws And Taxes

Laws And Taxes

US House Passes Bill To Create Task Force Against Crypto Terrorism Financing

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on September 26 that would establish a crypto task force to combat terrorist use of cryptocurrencies.House Resolution (H.R.) 5036, which represents an amended version of the bill proposed by Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) to the Committee on Financial Services in January, establishes an “Independent Financial Technology Task Force” to fight the illicit use of cryptocurrency. Similar to the original version of the bill that was introduced on January 10, H. R. 5036 establishes the same time-frames for investigating and providing reports on the potential use of crypto in criminal activities.

Wall Street, Crypto Representative Discussed Industry With Congress

More than 45 representatives from major Wall Street firms and crypto companies took part in a “crypto roundtable” hosted by Congressman Warren Davidson to discuss Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and cryptocurrency regulations in Washington D.C. The discussion provided a chance for industry representatives to express their concerns regarding possible regulations of the crypto space. Namely, experts told lawmakers that there is a pronounced lack of regulatory clarity for ICOs and digital currencies.

Member Of French Parliament Propose New Legal Framework For Digital Asset Providers

The French government is reportedly planning to provide a legal framework for all “digital assets” providers. Three members of President Emmanuel Macron’s party, La République En Marche (LREM), have proposed an amendment to French legislation for regulating all service providers in the crypto industry, sources told local news outlet LesEcho.fr. The amendment has the aim of widening the existing legal framework in order to allow all crypto market participants to receive approval from the main stock market regulator in France, Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF).

US Congressman Ask SEC For Clarity On Cryptocurrency Regulation

More than a dozen lawmakers from the U.S. Congress have sent a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton, calling for regulatory clarity regarding cryptocurrencies. The lawmakers requested clarity on the criteria for identifying digital tokens as “investment contracts” and therefore securities, in addition to a description of the tools the SEC will use to provide more concrete guidance to innovators in the field, expressing concerns that the current uncertainty can impede innovation in the U.S. and could eventually drive business to other jurisdictions.

Ripple Forms Coalition To Fund Crypto-Friendly Lobbying In Washington D.C.

Ripple will lead a group of crypto startups to lobby lawmakers and financial regulators in D.C. to support crypto and blockchain innovation. The coalition of San-Francisco-based crypto firms — Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition — is planning to pay Klein/Johnson Group, a bipartisan lobby group, to assist the crypto and blockchain community in conveying to regulators that the industry needs support from the government. The coalition, together with the lobby group, will raise issues with Congress, as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and other agencies that have relations to cryptocurrencies.

Adoption

Adoption

Austrian Government To Use Ethereum Blockchain To Issue $1.35 Billion in Gov’t Bonds

Austria’s government is set to use the Ethereum (ETH) public blockchain to issue €1.15 billion ($1.35 billion) of government bonds in an auction on October 2. Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB) will reportedly operate the live blockchain notarization service, where the bank will issue the bonds on behalf of the Austrian Treasury (OeBFA). OeKB says this will be the the first time a blockchain-based notarization service will be used as part of a Federal Bond Auction in Austria.

Circle Launches New USD-Backed Stablecoin Through Centre Consortium

Circle Internet Financial Ltd. is launching a USD-backed digital token dubbed the “USD Coin.”A consortium called Centre — which includes Bitmain Technologies Ltd. among its members — will act as a platform for deposits and fiat conversions for the stablecoin. The USD Coin will reportedly be available on Circle’s Poloniex exchange, as well as Huobi, OKCoin, KuCoin, and digital wallet and exchange Coinbase. As per Circle’s release, over 20 companies are about to announce support for the USDC, while others might add trading through the open ERC-20 standard.

Mongolia’s Central Bank Approves Telecoms Operator To Issue Digital Currency

Mongolia’s largest mobile telecoms operator, Mobicom, has become the country’s first licensed entity to issue its own digital currency. Mobicom’s financial arm Mobifinance is now clear to issue the e-currency, dubbed “Candy,” to investors, Montsame confirms. The executives have received formal permission at a ceremonial event at the Bank of Mongolia’s headquarters Friday. Candy already exists as an entire ecosystem for Mongolian consumers, who can use the digital currency to pay for various goods and services with a range of businesses.

Italian Soccer Club Juventus To Launch “Fan Token” With Socios.com

Major league Italian soccer club Juventus announced this week that it will launch its own cryptocurrency “fan token,” two weeks after a similar announcement from Paris Saint-Germain. The product of a partnership with “blockchain-based fan engagement platform” Socios.com, the Italian club aims to release its “Juventus Official Fan Token” as soon as Q1 next year. The club currently ranks top in Italy and number two worldwide, with a fanbase reportedly topping 60 million.

Large Thai Bank Tests Visa Blockchain Program For Cross-Border Payments

Thailand’s fourth largest bank, Kasikornbank, has recently joined the blockchain-based Visa B2B Connect program for cross-border payments. According to local news outlet The Nation, Kasikornbank is the “first” bank in the country to use the technology, setting the stage for a more widespread use of blockchain in the country’s banking sector. Suripong Tantiyanon, Visa’s country manager in Thailand, expressed his opinion on the partnership, noting that Visa B2B will support developments in “security, governance, and distributed ledger technology.”

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Browser Opera Partners With Blockchain Advisory Firm Ledger For Tech Development

Opera has partnered with blockchain advisory and financial services firm Ledger Capital to explore possible blockchain applications. Per this week’s announcement, the two companies are looking to investigate applications and use cases of blockchain and how the technology can be deployed within Opera products and its ecosystem. Opera is known for being the first major web browser to include a built-in cryptocurrency wallet.

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Venture Capital Fund Andreessen Horowitz Invest $15 Mln In MakeDAO

American venture capital fund Andreessen Horowitz has invested $15 million into blockchain startup MakerDAO (MKR), the firm which stands behind Ethereum-based stablecoin Dai (DAI) and its accompanying decentralized credit system. Per the announcement, Andreessen Horowitz via its investment fund a16z acquired 6 percent of the total MKR token supply, allowing a16z to manage MKR and the Dai Credit System.

Goldman Sachs Leads $25 Million Funding Round For Blockchain Startup

U.S.-based banking company Goldman Sachs has led a $25 million strategic funding round for blockchain payments startup Veem, with participation from Silicon Valley Bank, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Trend Forward Capital, Extol Capital, Kleiner Perkins, and Pantera Capital, among others investors. Veem, which utilizes digital ledger technology to increase the efficiency of small business payments, noted that they plan to develop new partner integrations, as well as “rely on increased automation, including built-in anti-money-laundering and know-your-customer compliance.”

Winners And Losers

Winners And Losers

Winners And Losers

The crypto markets have had a calm week, with Bitcoin trading at around $6,628 and Ethereum at $235. Ripple has taken second place on CoinMarketCap, trading at around $0.60.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are CareBit, ETERNAL TOKEN, and ACRE. The top three altcoin losers of the week are EagleCoin, Adenz, and BitSerial.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD Of The Week

FUD Of The Week

MetaMask Adds Optional Block For “Active Scam” DApp

Cryptocurrency wallet and Ethereum decentralized app (DApp) extension MetaMask has blocked the most popular DApp for Ethereum, 333ETH. In comments on Twitter, MetaMask said it had opted to create the block, which it added it would make optional, due to the 333ETH DApp being an “active scam.” MetaMask claimed it was acting in users’ best interests.

Indian Crypto Exchange Zebpay Stops Trading Due To Banking Ban

Major Indian cryptocurrency exchange Zebpay announced it had stopped all trading due to the country’s banking ban this week. Citing the “extremely difficult” conditions it encountered attempting to process customer orders in the current environment, the exchange gave just several hours’ notice of the decision, which has already come into effect. The move comes almost three months after the July 6 deadline for banks to comply with the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ban on offering services to cryptocurrency businesses.

US SEC Charges Bitcoin-funded Securities Dealer With Securities Law Violation

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has filed charges against international securities dealer 1pool Ltd., which was offering Bitcoin-funded security-based swaps. Per the SEC complaint, the case involves the Marshall Islands-based corporation 1pool Ltd., which provides cryptocurrency-related services and stands behind 1broker.com, and its Austria-based CEO Patrick Brunner. The complaint alleges that the parties violated federal securities laws in connection with security-based swaps funded with Bitcoin (BTC).

Monero’s “Burning Bug” Patched By Developers

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 The bug could purportedly affect merchants and organizations in the XMR ecosystem, enabling an attacker to trigger significant damage. 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.”

French Stock Market Regulator Adds New Crypto-Related Sites To Blacklist

French stock market regulator, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), announced it is blacklisting 21 new investment websites, including multiple crypto-related sites this week. The AMF characterizes the new additions as “unauthorized websites” that offer “atypical investments,” and directs users to its existing blacklist, which it notes is “not comprehensive.” In March, the AMF had added 15 websites — including those related to crypto and crypto-assets — to its blacklist, warning consumers against the promises of high return investments.

Prediction Of The Week

Prediction Of The Week

Ethereum To Reach $1,900 By End Of 2019, Says Tom Lee

Tom Lee, Fundstrat’s head of research, said in a note to clients this week that altcoin Ethereum is about to see a “trend reversal and rally strongly” up to $1,900 per token by the end of 2019. According to Lee, the “overly negative” sentiment on the Ethereum market will be a basis for its strong rebound in the near future.

Best Features

Best Features

New York’s Big Cryptocurrency Mistake

This articles delves into New York’s attitude towards cryptocurrency companies, after the conflict reached a new peak last week with the Attorney General’s report accusing crypto exchanges of acting outside of the law. The author raises the question, is New York’s attitude towards crypto “less about protecting consumers than about turf-guarding and political preening”?

Crypto and Cannabis Are the Perfect Post-Crisis Bubbles

Bloomberg explains why the cryptocurrency and cannabis “bubbles” are “unmistakable siblings,” not only by the numbers, but also due to the people that are trading them (read: millenials) and their similar “paths to respectability.”



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Google Cryptocurrency Ad Ban Lifted

Big news has just been announced regarding the Google cryptocurrency ad ban. CNBC reported this morning that Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is lifting its ban on some cryptocurrency-related advertising and plans to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to buy Google ad space in the US and Japan.

This new policy will start October 1st, 2018.

Google Cryptocurrency Ad Ban

Google announced its plans to restrict cryptocurrency-related ads back in March of this year, but it did not go into effect until June. The company wanted to protect consumers from fraud. Even now, with the ad ban largely lifted, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), crypto wallets, and trading and investment advice are still not allowed on its ad space.

“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm that it’s an area that we want to approach with extreme caution,” Google’s Scott Spencer told CNBC at the time of its original ban.

At the time the crypto ad ban was announced, the cryptocurrency space had already lost $500 billion in value from its high in January. Many new and uneducated investors were fleeing the space and taking their money, as they had never seen the market in the red before.

>> Ripple Revamped Its Website for RippleNet and XRP Takes Off

At the time, there were many scammers infiltrating the space with bogus ICOs and hackers continued to hack into crypto exchanges. Google imposed its crypto ad ban to play it safe and now is slowly retracting from its original halt. Google’s move follows Facebook (NYSE:FB), which allowed preapproved cryptocurrency-related advertisers back in June.

Google parent company Alphabet earns roughly 85 percent of its total revenue from advertisements. In the first half of 2018, Alphabet booked nearly $55 billion in ad revenue.

Interested parties wanting to pay for Google ad space will need to apply for a certification to serve ads in each country individually. Today many of the top cryptocurrencies are seeing gains on the market, and the Google cryptocurrency ad ban lift may just be the reason.

Featured Image: Depositphotos/© rozelt

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