CBUAE Plans to Launch Central Bank Digital Currency

As part of the first phase of its recently initiated financial infrastructure transformation (FIT) initiative, the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) has plans to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC) that will be valid for both international and local transactions.

The Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE) has recently made a statement in which it announced the FIT program and underlined its goal to assist the country’s financial services industry. The UAE’s Central Bank underlined the fact that the scheme will boost digital transactions and help the UAE to become more competitive as a financial and digital payment centre.

The issue of a CBDC is required in order to go on to the next level of the FIT program. The issuing of a CBDC would, in the words of the central bank, “address the difficulties and inefficiencies of cross-border payments and assist spur innovation for domestic payments, respectively.” The Governor of the CBUAE, Khaled Mohamed Balama, said that the FIT program would “help a flourishing UAE financial ecosystem and its future expansion.”

During the first stage of the program, in addition to a CBDC, the government intends to launch a unified card payment platform to “facilitate the growth of e-commerce” as well as an instant payments platform to “support financial inclusion and enable a cashless society.” Both of these platforms are intended to be implemented in order to “facilitate the growth of e-commerce.”

Included in the nine initiatives that make up the FIT program are the ones that will be put into action during the first stage. Following the first stage, other initiatives will be implemented, such as an e-Know Your Customer portal and an innovation centre.

The long-awaited “Full Market Product Regulations” were finally published on February 7 by the Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) of Dubai. These regulations offer detailed instructions on virtual asset operations for projects that are operating inside the emirate. The restrictions include a prohibition on the issuance of “anonymity-enhanced cryptocurrencies,” which are also sometimes referred to as “privacy coins,” as well as actions that are similar.


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MetaMask Warns Investors Against Phishing Attempts by Scammers

MetaMask, a popular supplier of cryptocurrency wallets, issued a warning to investors about continuous phishing efforts. These phishing attempts are being carried out by fraudsters who are trying to contact consumers using Namecheap’s third-party upstream system for emails.

The web hosting business Namecheap discovered that one of its third-party services had been abused in the evening of February 12 for the purpose of sending some unwanted emails, which were directed specifically against users of MetaMask. “email gateway problem” was how Namecheap referred to the situation in question.

In the proactive notice, MetaMask informed its million users that it does not collect Know Your Customer (KYC) information and would never contact users through email to discuss account details. This was done to ensure that users are aware that the company does not conduct KYC checks.

Phishing emails sent out by the hacker include a link that, when clicked, takes the recipient to a bogus MetaMask website that requests a confidential recovery phrase “to keep your wallet safe.”

Investors were cautioned by the provider of the wallet not to disclose their seed words, since doing so would give an unauthorized third party entire control over the user’s cash.

NameCheap has additionally verified that its services were not compromised in any way, nor did any customer information get compromised as a result of this incident. Namecheap acknowledged that their mail delivery was restored within two hours after the original notification, and that all future notifications will now come from the official source.

On the other hand, the primary problem with the sending of unwanted emails is still being looked at at this time. When dealing with correspondence from MetaMask and Namecheap, investors are cautioned to double examine any website URLs, email addresses, and points of contact provided by the companies.

A hacker utilized Google Ad services in January to steal nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrencies from investors. This incident took place in January.

After inadvertently installing malicious malware that was placed in a Google advertising, the NFT influencer known as NFT God suffered “a life-changing amount” of loss.

The event took place when the influencer used the Google search engine in order to download OBS, which is open-source software for video streaming. However, he chose to click on the link that led to a sponsored advertising rather than the legitimate link, which resulted in a loss of financial resources.


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Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin Donates 50 ETH

At this point, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has made at least two significant donations to aid the victims of the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria a week ago.

The earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 occurred on February 6th. The current death toll is at 33,000, making it one of the worst disasters the world has seen in recent decades.

Throughout the last week, the co-founder of Ethereum has been among the numerous people who have actively donated Ether (ETH) to fund rescue efforts in Turkey. According to blockchain security company PeckShield, his most recent contribution was made on February 12 and consisted of 50 ETH, which is equivalent to around $77,000. This was given to Anka Relief.

Anka expressed gratitude to the co-founder of Ethereum for his generosity and said that cryptocurrency contributions have been coming in from the very first day.

“Ever since the first day of the crisis, we have seen contributions building up in the wallets of a select few of the world’s most prominent NGOs. The group said that it was wonderful that they had garnered and will continue to draw additional cash.

Anka has supplied a list of cryptocurrency wallets that may be used for the purpose of monetary contributions. The Web3 Relief Support Organization is also the driving force behind the Ukraine DAO initiative, which aims to solicit crypto contributions in order to fund relief operations in the country that is now under siege.

The most recent contribution brings Vitalik’s total amount of ETH contributed in aid of those affected by the earthquake to 100. Ahbap is a nongovernmental and nonprofit organization committed to humanitarian activities in Turkey. On February 11, an address associated with vitalik.eth sent about 150,000 ETH worth of ETH to Ahbap.

Additionally, multiple crypto addresses have been supplied for different coins that Ahbap is able to receive as contributions.

It claims that it has received crypto contributions totaling $4.3 million to this far, with stablecoins being the vast majority of the tokens submitted. Etherscan reports that the Ahbap wallet has a total of 409 ETH, which had a value of $622,000 at the time this article was written.

On February 10, the Financial Times in London published an article stating that cryptocurrency contributions had been coming in from all across the world. More than ten million dollars’ worth of cryptocurrency have been donated by various businesses, with Binance alone contributing five million dollars to the relief efforts in Turkey.

Additionally, Binance announced the distribution of $100 worth of BNB (BNB) tokens through airdrops to users in the locations that were struck the worst last week.

It is not the first time that contributions for earthquake assistance have been made using cryptocurrency. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015, many relief groups received contributions in the form of bitcoin.


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$46 million in ill-gotten crypto on the move again

The ill-gotten cryptocurrency from one of the industry’s major hacks is on the move again, with on-chain data suggesting that another $46 million of stolen assets has been migrated from the hacker’s wallet. This heist was one of the largest in the industry’s history.

The Wormhole assault, which occurred in February 2022 and resulted from a vulnerability in Wormhole’s token bridge, was the third-largest crypto breach that took place in 2022. Wrapped Ethereum (wETH) valued at around $321 million was taken.

PeckShield, a company that specializes in blockchain security, reports that the hacker’s connected wallet has been active once again, and it has moved $46 million worth of cryptocurrency assets.

This was comprised of about 24,400 Ethereum staking tokens wrapped by Lido Finance (wstETH), which have a value of approximately $41.4 million, and 3,000 Ethereum staking tokens wrapped by Rocket Pool (rETH), which have a value of around $5 million and were relocated to MakerDAO.

According to PeckShield, the hacker seems to be looking for yield or arbitrage chances on their stolen wealth since the assets were swapped for 16.6 million DAI.

After that, the MakerDAO stablecoin was used to purchase 9,750 ETH at a price of around $1,537 and 1,000 stETH. After then, they were rewrapped into a total of 9,700 wstETH.

On February 10, a detective working on the blockchain saw that the hacker was “buying the dip.”

Nevertheless, throughout the course of the previous several hours, the price of Ether (ETH) has dropped below those levels. According to CoinGecko, ETH was trading at $1,505 at the time of this writing, representing a loss of 2.6% for the day.

When the transactions were taking place, the price of stETH had depegged from that of Ethereum and had reached a high of $1,570. At the time of this writing, they were trading at $1,541, which was 2.4% higher than ETH. In addition, the price of wstETH has depegged and increased to $1,676, which is 11.3% greater than the value of the underlying asset.

The most recent transfer of cash comes only a few short weeks after the hacker transferred an additional $155 million worth of Ethereum to a decentralized exchange.

On January 24, 95,630 ETH was transferred to the OpenOcean DEX, where it was later turned into ETH-pegged assets. These ETH-pegged assets included Lido’s stETH and wstETH.


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Eddy Alexandre Pleads Guilty to Commodities Fraud

In a New York district court, Eddy Alexandre, the CEO of a putative cryptocurrency trading platform known as EminiFX, pled guilty to commodities fraud. As part of his plea deal, he agreed to pay back millions of dollars to investors who had lost money due to his “cryptocurrency investment hoax.”

On February 10, the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States of America made the announcement that Alexandre had pleaded guilty to one count of commodities fraud. Alexandre will pay approximately $248 million in forfeiture in addition to restitution, the amount of which has not yet been determined.

In May, Alexandre was arrested and prosecuted for his part in EminiFX. He first pled not guilty to the charges, but on February 10 he changed his plea to guilty. He might get a term of up to ten years in jail if convicted.

Between approximately September 2021 and May 2022, Alexandre allegedly ran the crypto and forex trading platform and “solicited more than $248 million in investments from tens of thousands of individual investors,” as stated by Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

According to Williams, Alexandre claimed that EminiFX could provide “monthly returns of at least 5%,” but in fact, the CEO didn’t invest a “significant amount” of the money and “even utilized some funds for personal expenditures.” Williams alleged that Alexandre lied about EminiFX.

He promoted EminiFX as a platform for earning passive income by virtue of its use of a top-secret new technology for automating trading in crypto and foreign currencies, which allegedly “guaranteed” the returns on investment that were advertised.

Alexandre avoided answering the investors’ questions on the nature of the technology but assured them that they would see a return on their investments in just five months. Investors in the scam were given misleading information to the effect that they had obtained the promised 5% returns on their investments.

In point of fact, Alexandre lost tens of millions of dollars on the cash that he did invest; nevertheless, he did not make this information known to the investors.

He also transferred over 14.7 million dollars to his own personal bank account, spent approximately 155,000 dollars on the purchase of a BMW, and more than that amount on the monthly payments for a Mercedes-Benz.

Despite the fact that Alexandre committed fraud, he retained the support of a number of the investors in EminiFX.

According to a story published on the 10th of August by Bloomberg, a few individuals flew from outside the country to attend a plea hearing in August. One of Alexandre’s supporters said that the prosecution against him was racially motivated.

In addition to this, he is being sued in a separate civil case by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which claims that Alexandre engaged in “fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation” in connection with cryptocurrency and foreign exchange trading.


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OneKey Addresses Vulnerability That Allowed Hardware Wallet to be Hacked

OneKey, a company that provides cryptographic hardware wallets, has said that it has already patched a flaw in its firmware that made it possible for one of its hardware wallets to be compromised in under one second.

Unciphered, a firm in the field of cybersecurity, said in a video that was uploaded on YouTube on February 10 that it has discovered a means to “break open” a OneKey Mini by taking advantage of a “Massive major flaw” and exploiting it.

It was possible, according to Eric Michaud, a partner at Unciphered, to return the OneKey Mini to “factory mode” and bypass the security pin by disassembling the device and inserting coding. This would allow a potential attacker to remove the mnemonic phrase that is used to recover a wallet. This was made possible by returning the device to “factory mode.”

“You have the central processing unit as well as the security element. Your cryptographic keys will always be stored in the secure element. Michaud noted that in a typical situation, the connections between the central processing unit (CPU), which is where the processing is done, and the secure element are encrypted.

“Well, as it turns out, in this particular instance, it wasn’t built to do so. “What you could do is put a tool in the middle that monitors the communications and intercepts them and then injects their own commands,” he said, adding: “That being said, with password phrases and basic security practices, even physical attacks disclosed by Unciphered will not affect OneKey users.” 

The company went on to emphasize that despite the fact that the vulnerability was concerning, the attack vector that was discovered by Unciphered cannot be used remotely. Instead, it necessitates “disassembly of the device and physical access through a dedicated FPGA device in the lab” in order to be possible to execute.

According to OneKey, after discussion with Unciphered, it was divulged that other wallets have been found to have similar difficulties. This was disclosed when it was discovered that other wallets had the same issue.

OneKey said that they have compensated Unciphered with bounties as a way of expressing gratitude for their contributions to the company’s security.

OneKey has said in a blog post that it has already taken significant precautions to secure the safety of its customers. These precautions include protecting customers against supply chain assaults, which occur when a hacker replaces a real wallet with one that is under their control.

Tamper-proof packaging for shipments has been one of the steps taken by OneKey, along with the use of Apple’s own supply chain service providers for the purpose of ensuring tight supply chain security management.

They have aspirations to add onboard authentication in the not too distant future and to update more recent hardware wallets with higher-level security components.

According to what was said by OneKey, the primary objective of hardware wallets has always been to safeguard the financial assets of users from cyber-attacks, computer viruses, and other potential threats; nevertheless, sadly, nothing can be completely secure.

“When we look at the entire manufacturing process of hardware wallets, from silicon crystals to chip code, from firmware to software, it’s safe to say that any hardware barrier can be breached with enough money, time, and resources; even if it’s a nuclear weapon control system.” “When we look at the entire manufacturing process of hardware wallets, from silicon crystals to chip code, from firmware to software,”


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Nexo to terminate yield-bearing product after paying $45 million

After agreeing to pay $45 million in fines to U.S. regulators, cryptocurrency lending company Nexo Capital has decided to end its yield-bearing Earn Interest product for its customers in the United States. This decision will take place approximately one month after the company reached the settlement.

Nexo made the announcement through a blog post on February 10 and said that all production of the product will cease on April 1. By lending particular cryptocurrencies to Nexo, users were able to participate in the scheme and receive daily compounding returns on those coins.

Nexo said that the settlements that it reached on January 19 with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the North American Securities Administrators Association were the reason why it had to discontinue the offering of Earn.

Due to Nexo’s failure to register the offer and sale of its Earn product, the SEC, NASAA, and at least 17 state securities authorities conducted an investigation against the company.

In addition to paying a penalty of $22.5 million and reaching an agreement with the SEC to stop marketing its Earn product to investors in the United States, Nexo also agreed to pay an additional $22.5 million in penalties to address accusations brought by state authorities.

Nexo did not confirm or refute the conclusions of the SEC, but the company did consent to a cease-and-desist order that prevents it from breaching any aspects of securities law.

In accordance with the statement made by Nexo, Earn users will continue to be compensated with interest until April 1st. Nexo encourages consumers to “begin preparing the withdrawal of your monies” before the fixed-term product’s termination date so that they may access the product once it has been unlocked.

According to the company, other Nexo services and products would not be adversely impacted in any way.


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Coinbase Executives Stand Up for Crypto Staking Services

Trade in cryptocurrencies Executives at Coinbase are defending the company’s cryptocurrency staking services, arguing that they cannot be categorized as a security and threatening to take the subject to court in the United States.

The Chief Executive Officer of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, said on Twitter that the business is prepared to “fight this in court if necessary.” The decision to take this action comes after the cryptocurrency exchange Kraken came to a deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 10 to cease providing staking services or programs to customers in the United States.

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Kraken did not “register the offer and sale of its crypto asset staking-as-a-service program,” which the SEC has determined to be a security. Kraken has agreed to pay $30 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties, in addition to ceasing its services, as part of the settlement.

In a recent blog post, Coinbase’s chief legal officer, Paul Grewal, expressed his opinion on the matter. He said that “staking is neither a security under the US Securities Act, nor under the Howey test.” Grewal continued by saying, “Trying to superimpose securities law onto a process like staking does not help consumers in any way, and instead imposes unnecessarily aggressive mandates that will prevent US consumers from accessing basic cryptocurrency services and push users to offshore, unregulated platforms.”

Grewal contends that staking does not satisfy the requirements of the Howey test, which need a commitment of money, participation in a common venture, a reasonable expectation of rewards, and the assistance of other people. According to what he stated, “The Howey test originates from a 1946 Supreme Court decision — and there is a different conversation to be conducted about whether or not that test makes sense for current commodities like crypto.”


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Silvergate Capital Corp. is the second-most-shorted stock

According to the most recent Short Interest Reporting dated February 9, the cryptocurrency bank Silvergate Capital Corp. is the second-most shorted company in the United States, with nearly 72.5% of its shares being shorted. This information was gathered from the market on February 9.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) is responsible for the collection and publication of short interest positions for all equity securities twice per month. When investors and traders take a short position, it indicates that they anticipate a price decline for a particular asset, such as a share of stock. A short seller is someone who bets that the price of a securities will go down.

At the time of this writing, Silvergate stock (SI) had dropped by more than 87% during the course of the previous year. The latest financial report for Silvergate, as well as the legal fights the business is now engaged in about its ties with the defunct companies FTX and Alameda Research, have contributed to the pessimistic outlook on the stock.

The bank made the announcement on January 17 that the common shareholders would be responsible for a net loss of one billion dollars in the fourth quarter of 2022. According to a report published by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Silvergate experienced significant withdrawals of deposits during the period. As a result, the company was compelled to seek funding from wholesale sources and sell debt securities in order to keep its liquidity.

It has been claimed that Silvergate obtained a loan of $3.6 billion from the Federal Home Loan Banks System in the United States in order to minimize the consequences of a spike in withdrawals that occurred after the closure of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX in November.

The bank is being investigated and sued in the United States for allegedly providing assistance to FTX in its fraudulent operations, which include lending to users and commingling their cash. The corporation is being accused of “furthering FTX’s investment scam,” and stockholders are asserting that Silvergate violated the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. An examination of the bank’s involvement in FTX enterprises is now being carried out by the Justice Department.

According to Silvergate, Alameda signed up for a banking relationship with the institution in 2018, which was before to the release of FTX. According to the company’s statements, proper due diligence was performed at the time and continued monitoring of the issue was also performed.

Recently, in response to the issue at the bank, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the ratings of Silvergate Capital and its bank to “junk,” with a negative outlook for both entities.


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Publicly Listed Bitcoin Mining Companies Show Steady Increase in Hash Rate

According to a new analysis from Hashrate Index, the first production update of 2023 from publicly listed Bitcoin (BTC) mining companies reveals a consistent increase in hash rate and a surge in BTC production compared to the previous month. These findings are based on a comparison with the previous month.

In January, the vast majority of public miners raised their output of bitcoin, with CleanSpark increasing their production by a whopping 50 percent to achieve a record monthly production of 697 Bitcoins. Core Scientific, the most prolific Bitcoin miner, attained a total of 1,527 coins mined during the month of January. Riot, the second-most prolific Bitcoin miner, mined a total of 740 Bitcoins over the same time period.

Both Marathon and Cipher have experienced considerable gains in Bitcoin output, with Marathon hitting 687 Bitcoins created and Cipher reaching 343 Bitcoins generated. This compares to 475 and 225 Bitcoins generated respectively in December.

In January, improved weather conditions and more steady costs for energy helped miners increase their productivity, according to the analysis of a Bitcoin mining expert named Jaran Mellerud. “During the month of December, a winter storm swept throughout the continent of North America, which resulted in soaring power bills and intermittently caused many of these businesses to scale down their operations. Miners were able to reach a greater up-time since power costs were able to stabilize throughout the month of January thanks to the improvement in the weather.

The majority of public miners saw their hash rates grow in January, but at a more gradual pace than was anticipated. Cipher, a company located in Texas, is the one notable exception; it increased its hash rate by more than 50 percent, reaching 4.3 EH/s. “During this bad market, Cipher has been working very hard to develop, and I anticipate that the firm will meet its hashrate objective of 6 EH/s of self-mining capacity by the end of the first quarter of 2023,” Mellerud stated.

After completing a number of mergers and acquisitions in the latter half of 2022, CleanSpark was able to increase its hash rate to 6.6 EH/s, up from 6.2 EH/s in December. Additionally, in January, Hive saw growth, as seen by an increase in its hash rate of approximately 30 percent, which went from 2.1 to 2.7 EH/s. According to Mellerud, the CEO of Hive, the firm is continually modernizing its GPU fleet with ASICs, the majority of which are in-house developed Buzzminers.

Additionally, Core Scientific has continued to increase its hash rate, which jumped from 15.7 EH/s in December to 17 EH/s in January. The bankruptcy proceedings of the company are expected to have an effect on the figures; these proceedings include a deal with the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) to pay off an outstanding debt of $38.6 million by handing over more than 27,000 mining machines used as collateral; these machines represent 18% of Core Scientific rigs. The figures are expected to be impacted by the bankruptcy proceedings of the company.

After many months of struggling financially as a result of rising power bills and falling Bitcoin prices, Core Scientific filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 21 in an effort to restructure its obligations and get a fresh start.

Mellerud also brought out the fact that “these corporations have, on more than one occasion, extended the deadline of their ambitious hashrate growth promises.” The majority of them have intentions to significantly boost their hashrate that they are now running by the end of the second quarter of this year. At this pace, it is probable that the majority of them will be forced to postpone their growth plans until even farther into the future.


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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 27,009.24 1.83%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 1,673.50 2.90%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 65.81 2.86%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 233.54 0.35%