CryptoKitties Donates Over $25,000 to Charity From Rare Digital Kitty CryptoKitties, the world’s largest blockchain game, teamed up with Marine conservation organizations in order to create a rare crypto kitty named “Honu Kitty”. ACTAI Global
Last year, crypto exchanges recorded around $266 million in losses from security breaches and heists. The first half of 2018 recorded triple the amount stolen from crypto exchanges in 2017, triggering investors in the cryptocurrency space to develop concerns regarding the standard of security measures implemented by crypto trading platforms.
Two of the biggest crypto exchange hacks in 2018 were the $500 million Coincheck hack in Japan and the $40 million Coinrail hack in South Korea. Both exchanges stored an unusually large amount of crypto assets in their hot wallets, or wallets connected to the internet, instead of cold wallets stored offline.
As such, as soon as hackers gained access to the system of Coincheck and Coinrail, they were immediately able to steal hundreds of millions of dollars in cryptocurrencies without any hurdle.
Subsequent to its hack, Coincheck admitted that its $500 million security breach was a result of the lack of talented and experienced developers working on the platform’s security systems.
Coincheck CEO Koichiro Wada said in an interview with Bloomberg:
“We were aware we didn’t have enough people working on internal checks, management and system risk. We strived to expand using headhunters and agencies, but ended up in this situation.”
However, the statement was released after a controversial press conference regarding the hacking attack that prompted investors to outrage over the company’s attitude about its infrastructure.
Merely days after the breach, Coincheck held a press conference to outline the company’s future and the method that will be used to deal with the breach.
As CCJ previously reported, Yuji Nakamura, a technology reporter based in Japan, said that Coincheck claimed:
Essentially, investors were outraged by the fact that the exchange did not know how the hacking attack occurred, its failure to utilize multi-signature technology to secure user funds, and its reluctance to admit that its security was weak.
Coinrail, formerly the fifth-largest digital asset exchange in the South Korean market, also admitted after its breach that it did not have enough resources and developers to fix and improve its security system.
Japan and South Korea, two countries that experienced the largest security breaches in 2018, have already started to implement strict regulatory policies to establish industry standards regarding cryptocurrency exchange security.
The government of South Korea has chosen to regulate cryptocurrency exchange as banks, providing local financial agencies the authority to monitor and oversee crypto exchanges.
With stricter regulations and consistent monitoring of the security systems implemented by exchanges, authorities of Japan and South Korea expect the magnitude of security breaches in the cryptocurrency sector to decline over time.
Blockchain and investment company Decentralised Capital has announced the launch of Australia’s first ever cold storage vault for digital assets. The vault was created in partnership with Custodian Vaults, a subsidiary of precious metals firm Pallion Group.
According to Stephen Moss, founder and director of Decentralised Capital, the new crypto vault is expected to take advantage of Australia‘s growing market for digital currency storage solutions, and it is a sign that bitcoin is a bona fide long term asset.
Following a spate of high profile hacks at major exchanges, resulting in losses worth hundreds of millions of dollars, industry players have developed a heightened interest in cold storage, which ensures that private keys are stored offline and away from internet thieves. The new crypto vault by Decentralised aims to take advantage of this interest, marketing itself as Australasia’s first insured cryptocurrency vault.
Speaking in a recent interview with the Australian Financial Review, Moss alluded to the industry’s need for secure and reliable crypto custody services. Giving his thoughts on the crypto industry and explaining the problem his firm is solving, he said:
“This is a solution for the next phase of the industry and it gives real security…You can’t hack your way into the safe…In my opinion bitcoin will not be remembered as the bubble, but the pin. While the short-term future of bitcoin may be debatable, the blockchain and its benefits are not.”
Cold storage is not a new concept, as it is employed by a large number of crypto holders using computer peripheral storage devices such as USB drives to store crypto wallets. Such devices, however, may remain susceptible to hackers once they are connected to the internet, and even when offline, there is a physical theft risk.
According to Moss, the new Decentralised custody service gives its users direct access to their crypto funds using a combination of security measures including CCTV monitoring, physical surveillance, biometric identification, PIN codes, alarm systems and fire control systems.
The service targets high net worth individuals, institutional investors, crypto exchanges, and ICO issuers, offering them all the advantages of cutting edge cold storage along with an in-house private WiFi room to permit safe inward and outward cryptocurrency transfers. In the event of a catastrophic failure of all defenses, all digital asset holdings are also insured.
Bitcoin company Xapo uses a range of formidable cold storage security solutions including satellites, “deep” cold storage, and military grade bunkers spread out across five continents.
Having seen the growth statistics, Custodian’s parent company, Pallion, is now seeking to get in on the growing crypto custody market.
“While traditionally we have offered secure vault services for clients storing precious metals and other assets, we are increasingly receiving interest from clients searching for solutions to store cryptocurrency,” said Director Janie Simpson said.
The Korea Times reported today that South Korean regulators are finalizing drafts of bills intended to develop a set of rules on cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and initial coin offerings (ICO’s).
South Korea lawmakers will introduce the draft as an extraordinary session of national assembly which is going to Take Pl., July 13th through 26. According to Korea times, representative Song Hee-Kyung, of the Liberty Party Korea is calling for regulations on crypto trading platforms in order to prevent money laundering, personal data leaks, and cyber crimes.
South Korean officials are reportedly planning to present new regulatory bills on the legal status of digital currencies and the legal requirements for cryptocurrency exchanges. Many officials are calling for more security measures for cryptocurrency exchanges with regard to the recent string of crypto hacks.
As of recent, South Korean regulators have been gradually changing their stance towards cryptocurrency. Last month, the government announced that they plan to reverse the ICO ban which they initially enacted back in September of 2017.
The South Korean Ministry of Science And Technology also strengthened their cooperation with the US in order to advance the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” powered by blockchain technology.
Hackers have stolen cryptocurrencies worth $30 million from South Korea’s leading virtual currency exchange Bithumb, reported June 19. As a result all deposits and payments have been temporarily suspended.
— Bithumb (@BithumbOfficial) June 20, 2018
Bitthumb announced that it will compensate all users who were affected by the hack. All assets will now be moved to a cold wallet in order to prevent further hacks.
The exchange has moved a large amount of Ethereum to its cold wallet once they noticed an abnormal amount of access to their exchange.
According to resident officials from the Sentinel Protocol, a project which specializes in hacking, scams, and fraud detections, was the first to report that the company’s wallet was hacked on June 19. Some of the coins stolen included Ripple.
Earlier in the month, hackers had stolen $37 million worth of cryptocurrency from another South Korean cryptocurrency exchange, Coinrail. While Coinrail is only ranked 99th of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world in terms of trade volume, the media claimed that the hack was partially responsible for the cryptocurrency market crash as of late.
Joseph Young, a cryptocurrency industry journalist, stated..
|The WSJ (Wall Street Journal) believes that Bitcoin price fell 11% because they rather small cryptocurrency exchange in South Korea was hacked. Bitcoin fell because people sold and not enough other traders were willing to buy. This was not due to a small hack.|
With recent changes in regulation as well as customer sentiment rapidly shifting, it’s no surprise that cryptocurrency exchanges are embracing changes within this constantly fluctuating industry.
It’s important to note that there are only a few key players that handle the overwhelming bulk of crypto trading volume.
There are 3 types of cryptocurrency exchange groups. Custodial, noncustodial, and decentralized exchanges (also known as DEXs).
Custodial exchanges are those that act as a crypto wallet managers. They maintain user assets through an internal ledger. Customers therefore don’t have direct access to their wallets that the exchange holds for them. Only when the user decides to transfer his currency does he have a resemblance of control.
An example of these exchanges would be Coinbase, Bitfinex, Gemini, Bittrex, Bitfinex, etc. These are, by nature, centralized exchanges. An overwhelming number of trading volume (73%) runs through these custodial exchanges.
One of the most notable advantages of using these exchanges is the ease of use at which they come with. Nonetheless, this still provokes concern over the exchanges centralized nature. With hackers breaching their internal systems and attaining private keys to the exchanges, a user’s funds can be lost overnight.
It’s worth noting that more exchanges these days have been proactively taking measures to store funds in “cold storage” (storage without connection to the Internet) which provides an extra layer of security. However, what happened with the infamous Mt. Gox, Bitfinex, and recent CoinCheck hacks still have users weary when it comes to storing large amounts of cryptocurrency on their chosen exchange.
These types of exchanges also face a major concern over price manipulation as reflected in the recent probe by the US Department of Justice.
– Pros: easy to use interface, instant fiat to cryptocurrency conversion, customer support
– Cons: lack of privacy, high fees, and major target for hackers.
Most of these concerns over the custodial exchanges have prompted many users to push for more decentralized exchanges.
These exchanges, although still centralized, do not manage user wallets. They simply match orders through an internal order book and then take a fee on top for providing their services.
Some of the more popular noncustodial exchanges are Changelly and ShapeShift. The more popular exchange of the 2, Shapeshift, roughly takes in around 15,000 orders a day and averages around $10-$15 million in transaction volume.
The exchange’s internal mechanics are still not transparent, which is why they are still considered centralized. Foul play is still possible within these exchanges. Also worth noting, non-custodial exchanges tend to have low liquidity which scares away more sophisticated investors.
Last but not least, we have the decentralized exchanges, also known as DEXs. Many within the crypto community are rooting for their success. After all, isn’t the whole appeal behind cryptocurrency the idea of having a decentralized currency as well as a platform that no single party controls?
If that’s the case why do centralized platforms control so much of our crypto assets? On paper, decentralized exchanges are the perfect solution for concerns raised over centralized exchanges. They are extremely light in fees (if there are any fees at all), they are transparent in nature, and are highly secure as they allow you to control your own wallet.
There are several DEXs which execute orders under smart contracts. The chart below lists some of the current players in the space including companies that are building protocols around decentralized exchanges.
There are a few downsides to decentralized exchanges in their current state. Many of these downsides mimic the challenges of non-custodial exchanges.
Many within the crypto community agree that decentralized exchanges will take a more prominent role in the future. Megan Hernbroth, Head of Communications for Coinbase, stated that the decentralized exchanges are “very important to the ecosystem of cryptocurrency trading by acting as a middle ground”.
Also note, custodial exchanges play a major role in the future of crypto trading as they offer more convenience for the casual trader. Many enthusiasts believe that the future of crypto will contain more of a hybrid approach in which both centralized and decentralized exchanges are combined. These newly developed hybrids will utilize the benefits of both exchanges.
It’s inevitable that decentralized exchanges will continue to rise in popularity. With that said, it’s highly doubtful that they match the scale and popularity of custodial exchanges anytime soon. If the awareness of security and privacy continues to grow, we may witness the birth of these “hybrid solutions”.
With regulation concerns looming over the industry, presently those within the crypto community should not entirely comfortable with storing or trading their cryptocurrency with one particular exchange.
Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has opened doors to many new innovations and has positively impacted people all over the world. Along with the positive roles it’s played in this world, the crypto sphere has brought a few problems.
Cryptocurrency related crimes have been on the rise over the last several years. The anonymity of these transactions has attracted the attention of many criminal organizations in order to utilize these little nuggets of digital gold as an opportunity for kidnapping, money laundering and other illegal activity.
Law enforcement agencies around the world are trying hard to find a way to track and stop these criminal activities. We’ll share with you a few cases studies where law enforcement handled such issues.
This is one of the most popular crypto crimes in the world of today. Criminals create a fake project to attract willing investors, pretend to launch an ICO, and collect money in the form of BTC/ETH or other digital currency and inevitably take off with the investors’ money.
To pull these off, they create fictitious project names, sometimes even pretending to have a few big name investors or team members etc. to gain credibility. Once they receive the money, they leave the project behind and vanish like a thief in the night.
One scam artist used the photo of Ryan Gosling for his profile picture and called himself “Kevin Belanger”, a graphic designer. The Miroskii ICO is suspected to have raised around $830,000 from unsuspecting investors. No one knows what happened to the funds after the project closed, however their website is still running. There is little that local law enforcement can do in most of these cases as some of them may be in different geographic locations and the anonymity of a bitcoin wallet makes it hard to link it to a real person.
There have been so many ICO scams that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is trying to find a way to tackle this problem, but has not been successful so far. Without a regulatory framework for the cryptocurrency world, it will be hard for the federal agencies to find and prosecute such criminals. Some states like Texas have taken an active role in identifying and banning fraudulent ICOs. More needs to be done for such bans to have a real effect within the ICO community.
The crypto sphere is infamous for their exchange hacks and ICO scams, however criminals have found more ingenious ways to steal money from people. In Dubai, a group of criminals impersonated trade officials issuing licenses and duped 2 brothers out of $1.9 million in cash as well as assaulted them. Fortunately, the group was apprehended quickly and were later prosecuted.
Kidnapping has also become common place in the crypto world.
Louis Meza, a New Jersey local tried to kidnap a business associate by inviting him for a fake ‘Uber’ ride. Meza, along with another criminal partner, forced the victim to hand over his apartment keys and the 24-word passphrase to his Ledger Nano S wallet at gunpoint. Meza took all valuables from the victim’s apartment. It was almost a successful plan except for two small problems.
Meza was seen entering the victim’s apartment, thanks to the surveillance camera in the building. Secondly, Meza used a cryptocurrency exchange to change the ETH in the wallet to BTC. Meza’s mistake was that the exchange account was in his name and that gave the DA enough evidence to prosecute Meza for kidnapping, robbery and other crimes.
Cryptocurrency has made it very easy for drug dealers and money launderers to move money across borders without getting caught by the banking system. Law enforcement agencies have already sniffed out several rather large money laundering cases. They’ve made several arrests as well as convictions on many cases.
One of the most famous cases was of Thomas Mario Costanzo who was convicted for laundering $164,000 on behalf of undercover agents who posed as drug dealers. Costanzo was apprehended by a DHS-ICE led joint task force. Costanzo was also charged for providing an exchange service without a KYC process (know your customer). The service was primarily used by others for buying drugs from dark web marketplaces similar to Silk Road.
Costanzo’s conviction carries a five-year prison sentence and a $250,000 penalty for five other counts. This was an easy case since it occurred within the US jurisdiction.
In other scenarios, help has been sought from international law enforcement agencies. In one case, agencies from Finland, Spain, the United States, and Europol were involved where a total of 137 people were investigated and 11 were arrested in laundering money for a drug cartel. The drug dealers used credit cards to launder money from Spain to Colombia.
After a while, they decided to switch to cryptocurrency since bank accounts can be easily traced, even if it was located in different countries. Europol’s crime unit was able to trace the transaction by keeping an eye on the crypto to peso conversion and successfully tracked the laundered money. Europol will be training more officers in detecting crimes related to cryptocurrency and will continue to monitor such activities across Europe.
There is no doubt that cryptocurrency related crimes are bound to rise as they become more accessible to common people. Although there are several advantages to using these digital coins, (transactions can stay private, no central control, no geographic boundaries , etc), they also bring with them a few unique challenges for law and financial enforcement professionals.
The anonymity as well as a lack of geographic restriction on crypto transactions has made it harder to apply traditional policing techniques to detect, stop and punish offenders. Law enforcement will need a lot more training and tools to stay on top of the new technologies.
There is also a need for consumer education in order to ensure new investors are educated with such scams and the crypto economy. This will ensure they don’t fall victim to typical scams like fraud, ICO investments, free hardware wallets that steal coins, high exchange rates, etc.
Much like the real world, if something sounds too good to be true, it generally is.
Over the last few years cryptocurrency has not only gained a lot of attention in the media, but also more trust and curiosity from investors, banks, governments, and corporations. Even though it was initially met with cynicism, more and more investors and companies are moving toward the utilization of cryptocurrency.
This digital currency seems to be much more fitting for those of us living in the digital age as opposed to our antiquated fiat currency. When compared to the longevity of fiat, the 9 years that Bitcoin has been active seems like a blip on the radar. Regardless of what your stance is on the cryptocurrency, the blockchain technology behind it is here to stay.
It’s also much more likely that cryptocurrency has solidified its position as an international currency over any other previous currency in history. It should not be taken lightly as an asset and will surely be around a lot longer than most have predicted.
One of the key characteristics of the cryptocurrency market is its volatility in price. Have you ever wondered why the price of cryptocurrency, whether it Bitcoin or Ethereum, tend to fluctuate so much? We’re here to explore those aspects of volatility and what drives market prices one way or another.
This characteristic of volatility is easy to understand. Each time the government passes a law or publishes statements regarding how to regulate cryptocurrency, the price of the asset is bound to mirror an effect in price. For instance, heavy regulation tends to push people into selling their coins, thereby causing a downward pressure on the price.
Even new regulations that aren’t specific to cryptocurrency, but adhere to a general financial action by the government, may also be translated into fluctuations.
An example of this could be a financial crisis suffered on Wall Street which would inherently affect the crypto world as well. Whether it would positively or negatively impact the crypto market depends on many different variables
There is an inherent anonymity behind cryptocurrency. This has been the primary reason why the currency has garnered so much popularity. With recent popularity, more and more governments are pushing to impose rules to end anonymity and increase transparency as well as regulation. If this occurs, cryptocurrency prices are bound to be affected.
User trust is an important factor in determining the price of any financial asset. By trust, we mean whether or not individuals believe that the currency will be able to sustain its purchasing power in the future.
As an example….
Imagine that you invested in Ethereum, but as the months pass you expect the value of your investment to likely decrease in the nearby future. This could be due to media, government regulations, or a host of other factors. These outside forces will more than likely reduce the trust you have with your particular currency.
So what do you do?
If you’re a new trader or investor the chances are high that you’ll likely sell. You might make this choice because you don’t trust that your shares of Ethereum will have the same value it currently holds in the future.
If there are a lot more people like you who sell their investment today due to this news, they will also garner a “lack of trust” in Ethereum or even cryptocurrency as a whole. You will inherently drive the price of the currency down, thereby playing an integral part in the currency’s inability to preserve its future purchasing power.
Trust is extremely valuable within the crypto sphere. Always remain calm and headstrong before you make any decision to sell, as more times than not, the market will change and the price of your sold cryptocurrency will rise well above the market price you purchased at. Many of us call this “seller’s remorse”.
Trust was one of the reasons Bitcoin was able to rise to an all-time high back in December 2017 to 20k. Another major reason why cryptocurrency is valued at such a high price is due to the fact that it cannot be hacked due to the blockchain technology in which it operates on. However, be very aware that this still doesn’t mean that hackers won’t be able to hack an exchange and obtain access to your online wallet. Fortunately, most reputable crypto exchanges are insured against these types of scenarios. Most users are compensated for their losses.
Also note that most of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies are expected to exponentially gain value over time. Many newer cryptocurrencies have exponentially increased their value within a year, so keep that in mind before you start to panic sell.
Cryptocurrency once had a humble beginning. While they are valued at a much higher price today than they were several years ago, this was not always the case. What brought this onset of new found value? The rising demand and mass adoption of blockchain technology has made a profound affect on the value of cryptocurrency. The viral exposure on social media, news, TV shows, movies, as well as word of mouth also inherently relay value to the digital coin.
Cryptocurrency has been gaining momentum since its inception. This coupled with the fact that more technologically advanced countries like China, Japan, and South Korea are starting to utilize it within their everyday commerce.
More and more people every year begin to understand why cryptocurrency is such a beneficial investment. They realize how much of a lucrative opportunity it is and as a result, the popularity of cryptocurrency, especially Bitcoin, has gone through the roof. The law of supply and demand dictates, when demand increases while the supply stays constant, the price will inevitably rise.
Remember, almost all cryptocurrencies are available in a limited amount. When there is an increase in demand, it’s soon followed by mass adoption. While more investors enter the market, the price further increases. This trend is expected to continue as cryptocurrency is still a hot topic in most countries.
Speculators exist in every facet of the financial market, and cryptocurrency is no different. Speculation regarding the future value of any particular coin can be derived from the news or other venues like social media and online forums.
For instance, if the liquidity of a particular cryptocurrency were to increase, speculators would deduce that more people are likely to buy. This would translate to an increase in prices. This speculation could have some investors purchasing a particular coin today in order to sell it tomorrow at a profit. This single action is what would drive the prices upward, thus creating a “buying frenzy”.
On the other hand, news regarding how much more effective another cryptocurrency is, compared to say Bitcoin, can lead to a decrease in Bitcoin’s price before the newer currency even hits the market.
Why? Speculation my friend, speculation.
Speculators will expect the new cryptocurrency to drive the price down. Traders will begin selling their investment before its release in order to get a jumpstart on the market.
Speculators might be responsible for the initial decrease in prices, however “the herd” (trend followers) would cause it to exacerbate. Not everyone understands what they are doing. If everyone else is selling their investment, “the herd” will follow. This mentality is what governs a further decrease in price. This event can also be referred to as “panic selling”.
It’s hard for any financial asset to avoid price volatility caused by speculators. However, since cryptocurrency is largely unregulated and can inevitably deliver its investors high returns, the effects of speculators are felt much more prominently.
As long as the stock market has been active, news and other media outlets have always played a major role in price fluctuations. This is also a common occurrence with cryptocurrency, however it can generally be more pronounced.
News regarding crypto related bankruptcies, hacks on crypto exchanges, government regulations, delays in service, issues with crypto technologies, can cause an immediate disruption with any particular cryptocurrency.
Media influence can sometimes reflect a more negative “opinion” on some less reputable media outlets. These FUD syndications may release false information in order to decrease the value of a particular cryptocurrency. Negative news which is found to be primarily false is commonly referred to as FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt). Be very careful when falling into this inevitable trap. Always do your own research (DYOR) and check other credible use sources for comparison.
If you’re not familiar with the term “whales”, you’re obviously very new to any form of trading or investing. That’s okay, you’re here to learn right?
The term is commonly referred to as an individual (or group e.g. corporation) who buys or sells large amounts of cryptocurrency, thus greatly influencing the trend of that particular market. These are also referred to as “market makers” and can be found within any trading marketplace (forex and stocks).
As you can imagine, these individuals maintain a lot of power within the market. These titans of the industry may sell a large amount of cryptocurrency, only to take advantage of other “panic sellers” who will inevitably liquidate their digital asset. Once the time is right, they’ll buy back that currency at a lower rate. This is standard protocol for these types of traders.
There’s nothing that you can do to stop this from happening other than recognizing when it’s happening and ride the trend which the whales are currently dictating. Having a fundamental understanding of technical analysis can also help you spot these trends and take advantage of them before they happen.
There are many factors that determine the price of cryptocurrency. The ones mentioned above are just a few of the main culprits. Remember, not only does each factor play a significant role in determining the price of a cryptocurrency, but two or more can wreak havoc.
Just be careful that you’re not on the other side of these renegade dips. Stay current with daily crypto news. Make sure to follow your cryptocurrency investment on Twitter in order to help you keep an up to the minute pulse on the latest developments.
Overall, most of the Top 10 cryptocurrencies located here will increase in price over time. This is true even after weekly (or sometimes monthly) volatility in price is experienced. Understanding how these factors work will allow you to be in a much better position to realize when to buy or sell your digital asset. Understanding how this process works, along with personal experience, will give you a fundamental edge over the so called “herd”.
Blockchain has revolutionized the way we look at monetary transactions and banking, however the 9 year existence of cryptocurrency has been peppered with some monumental hacks.
Blockchain technology will always push the envelope when battling against such cyber-attacks while the space is constantly evolving. Unfortunately, the criminal empire will always evolve alongside these changes.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest exchanges over the past 9 years.
Mt. Gox, one of the most notorious incidences since bitcoin’s inception, which has set the bar very high in terms of its effect it had within the cryptocurrency community.
The incident claimed over 850,000 Bitcoin, which made headlines over the last 4 years and has been a major talking point during this time. At the height of its popularity, in 2013, Mt. Gox was the largest exchange in the world, responsible for over 80% of all Bitcoin transactions.
This resulted in $473 million worth of Bitcoin stolen. The details surrounding the hack are still not clear; however a large number of people were arrested for the involvement with these stolen funds.
Take note that it’s hard to refer to Mt. Gox as a pure cyber hack, as the CEO Mark Karpeles was indeed charged with embezzlement of these Bitcoin funds for his involvement in this case, not to mention various associates of his which were also involved.
Fast forward to 2018, where this most recent hack, which was unfortunately titled as the largest cryptocurrency hack in modern history, with regard to value, was stolen by hackers.
It’s not entirely clear how this happened, however the hacker gained access to private keys of Coinchecks online wallet and moved approximately $523 million worth of NEM coins.
The exchange was condemned for its horrible security standards. Those within the cryptocurrency community could not believe that all these funds were stolen from a single wallet address.
Nonetheless, the exchange worked diligently to reduce the damage done by eradicating the transactions, in an attempt to undo the damage as well as manage to create a tagging system that allowed them to track these stolen NEM coins.
Since these stolen coins were flagged, the hackers were not able to sell or convert these coins on different exchanges. In an attempt to make good with their customers, Coincheck vowed to commence repaying users for these lost funds.
Known as one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges by volume, Binance is the most recent exchange to be hit by an attempted cyber-attack.
Unlike some of the other hacks that occurred in the past, Binance was completely perplexed by a far more sophisticated operation. With that said, the exchanges security systems picked up on the suspicious activity and the hackers were not able to make off with any of the stolen cryptocurrency.
On March 7, numerous users complained to Reddit and other social media outlets that the unauthorized transactions were taken out of their accounts.
According to Binance members, those hackers used phishing websites to hijack user logins. Once they acquired enough user login accounts, they created trading API keys within the stolen accounts.
On March 7, the cyber hackers utilized these keys to place buy orders on the VIA/BTC market, which pumped the price to an all-time high. These coins had been moved to 31 different accounts, sold at the highest price, and then moved back into the corresponding BTC accounts.
The Italian based exchange, Bitgrail, lost 17 million dollars worth of Nano tokens, estimated at around $187 million. The founder of Bitgrail, Francesco Firano blames the Nano development team and its blockchain technology, while the Nano team refuted those claims, thus blaming the founder Francesco Firano.
Since the inception of this news, Bitgrail has announced that these funds will be returned to their users, however the users of this exchange have to sign an agreement that rules out any future legal action against the Italian exchange.
This mining service had over 4000 bitcoin stolen, worth around $63 million at that time, by hackers who had allegedly hacked the company’s wallet.
The popular service did very well to recover after the attack, by displacing the current CEO. After several weeks, they resumed their service and pledged to refund all users affected by the cyber-attack, which started back in February 2018
We have certainly come a long way since the Mt. Gox debacle. We’re still in dealing with the effects and aftermath of the infamous incident, however last weeks news was announced that Mt. Gox trustees had been liquidating large amounts of Bitcoin to reimburse creditors.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the sales of these funds were in excess of 400 million dollars and is currently being blamed for the markets lows in early 2018.
The FBI continues to investigate, focusing on a UK-based company that is believed to have laundered 650,000 Bitcoin.
Fortunately those responsible for the Coincheck and Binance hacks have been far more proactive, which is a good sign for newer exchanges which tend to take measures regarding the stoppage of these cyber-attacks as well as the return of funds to their customers.
Binance has promised will award anyone with information that would lead to the arrest of the cyber hackers responsible for the attack, who would be awarded $250,000 worth of Binance Coin bounty for the offer.
These two exchanges have given users a bit more confidence with regard to cyber tax as a whole. They’ve gone to great lengths to ensure that the affected community is reimbursed as quickly as possible.
Bitgrail has come under heavy scrutiny from the cryptocurrency community due to the fact that the CEO of the company had never admitted full responsibility for the theft, unlike Binance and Coincheck which immediately announced future plans to refund all customers that were affected by the attack, most of which have been refunded.
Taking all these previous scenarios into account, it seems that these cryptocurrency exchanges are reacting to future cyber-attacks in a more proactive manner, however this is completely dependent upon the ethics and credibility of the CEOs of said companies and their respective management teams.
So, you’ve gone ahead and bought yourself some of that nice cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Ethereum or even better yet, Dogecoin (insert sarcasm). Next step is to find out where the hell you should hold onto these beautiful, shiny, digital internet coins. With 2017 being a tremendous year for cryptocurrency, the huge influx of users were targeted by hackers and scammers, which is expected to increase in 2018. Now, more than ever, it’s vital that you secure your portfolio and rest your weary head on a “piece of mind pillow”.
Before we begin explaining how to store and secure your crypto, it’s vital you follow these essential tips:
When you first purchase any cryptocurrency, you do so through an exchange which allows you to trade your traditional fiat (USD, GBP, EUR, KRW etc) for your wanted cryptocurrency (BTC, ETH, XRP etc). Exchanges will hold your cryptocurrency assets in their own personal wallets sometimes called hot or cold wallets, meaning you never really have access to your private keys. We do not recommend you keep your coins on any exchange for a long period of time as you will never really have full control over your coins. There is always that risk of an exchange being hacked. If you’re an active trader and need your assets on an exchange at all times, we recommend spreading your risk across multiple exchanges for security.
Store your assets in a wallet in which you have full control over your private keys. For ethereum tokens you might want to use MyEtherWallet (you should download MEW offline for added security). If you want a trade-off between security and practicality, then take a look at the Exodus Wallet, which supports multiple coins and also allows you to trade inside the wallet! Pretty cool right?
We also recommend Jaxx and if you’re a strong Bitcoin holder as it runs on IOS, Android, Windows, and Mac. With desktop wallets, it’s vital that you perform regular virus/trojan checks as there is chance that your wallets could be hacked with keyloggers and the like. Should you get infected, use an up-to-date antivirus software such as Avast. Be extra careful downloading suspicious files online as they carry a risk of infecting your computer/device.
These wallets are completely offline and secure from hackers. This is why we recommend everyone use these wallets if you’re truly serious about hanging on to your precious cryptocurrency.
Hardware wallets like Ledger Nano and Trezor are small hardware devices that you can purchase on Amazon or any other electronics store. These handy USB looking devices store your crypto assets along with your own private key. Plug them into your computer via USB when you need to access or store your funds. Once you’re done, store the storage unit in a secure physical safe.
These are, by far the most secure wallets you can own. The only way you’d be able to lose your cryptocurrency is if you get physically robbed. The chances of that happening are significantly low, unless you start gloating to every person you encounter about how much Bitcoin you own.
If you want to go a step further, you can store your assets on a paper wallet. Yes, you heard me right, you can store it on a piece of paper. With these wallets, your private key/QR code is printed on a piece of paper, then it’s up to you to store that piece of paper safely.
This might be less convenient if you send, receive and trade your coins often, however if you’re a hodler, this is one of the least risky methods to store your cryptocurrency. Just be sure to keep that piece of paper safe and locked securely.
I’ve discussed the three most secure and effective ways to store your cryptocurrency. Now you know what the benefits and flaws are of each. Always remember, your crypto assets are never truly secure until you take the responsibility to act on it. The cryptocurrency realm is innovating at a tremendous pace and so are hackers and scammers. With criminals innovating new techniques, just as quickly as we combat them, it’s vital you keep updated with the latest news and information regarding cryptocurrency security.
If you’ve been an advocate for cryptocurrency for some time now, you’ll know that 2017 was nothing short of a fantasy ride for those who are lucky enough to invest. The market, spearheaded by sharp rise of bitcoin, all gained quick momentum in growth, which provided a sturdy base for investments.
Ever since the boon, cryptocurrencies have been in the limelight as well as attracted global interest from thousands of investors. Similar to trading shares within the traditional stock market, investing and trading in cryptocurrencies is facilitated through online cryptocurrency exchanges.
Top Cryptocurrency Trading Exchanges for 2018
The cryptocurrency exchanges provided below are a platform and hence a marketplace for investing in and trading crypto coins, similar to traditional exchanges like NASDAQ, NYSE and the like. They ensure that a fair and orderly opportunity is available to all investors.
Cryptocurrency exchanges are now comprised of websites where anyone can buy, sell or trade just as long as you have money to throw at it. At the time of this review, cryptocurrency exchanges are unregulated by government agencies. We’re currently in the Wild West of cryptocurrency and their corresponding exchanges.
With the crypto space expanding every day there are more and more altcoins being added to these exchanges. The opportunities to capitalize on this massive revolution in financial technology are massive.
Cryptocurrency exchanges earn their share of profit by charging a nominal fee on each transaction made through the exchange. The fee charged, therefore, depends on the volume of the transaction completed and is different for each exchange. Most do not charge more than .0025%, which is a quarter of a percent to buy or sell a coin. This is a very nominal fee when compared to typical stock exchanges.
There has been a tremendous increase in the number of crypto exchanges all across the globe with many rapidly evolving since the time of inception. Given how transactions are continuing to increase rapidly, it is likely that the number of exchanges will increase at an alarming rate.
With a number of options available , choosing which exchange to use as now become very important. You must understand and recognize the characteristics of a good exchanges. A few of them are listed below.
Of the many available options to choose from, here is a list of a few of the most noteworthy exchanges for 2018 on the basis of their rapport with investors, security, fees, accessibility and beginner friendly features provided to the new traders.
Spanning across most of North America and Europe, active in more than 32 countries at the moment, Coinbase is the most widely used and densely connected network for coin exchange. It is used by millions of people through these countries and therefore backed and trusted by many of these investors. However, the exchange is not functional for Asian countries except for Singapore, which makes it tough cookie for Asian investors.
The exchange provides an extremely user-friendly interface, and therefore is the first choice of most novice investors. The platform allows users to securely buy, sell, and store cryptocurrency through their online digital wallet. The platform has extended flexibility for accessing the wallet. Users can download an app for Coinbase, for both Android and iPhones.
Pros: Enjoys a good reputation among users, hassle-free interface, good security, easy accessibility, nominal fees, recovery of your funds through insurance if the site ever gets hacked.
Cons: Narrow geographical coverage, few coins supported (only Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum Classic as of this post), GDAX is available for more technical traders.
The company has announced that it will expand their selection of crypto and add more to their platform in the foreseeable future.
Another very popular choice for most cryptocurrency enthusiasts is Binance which means ‘Binary Finance’. It is both a cryptocurrency (BNB coin) as well as an exchange, which has a very low transaction fee of 0.1%.
At the time of this review, it is the number one most highly traded cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. It has held this position for quite some time. Binance is a centralized exchange. Their headquarters is based out of China. They are a rapidly improving exchange and plan to become a decentralized exchange in the near future. It may therefore be immune to a ban on cryptocurrencies from the Chinese government.
[UPDATE] Binance just opened a new office and bank account in Malta. Click here for the latest Binance news.
Pros: Low transaction fee, a wide range of crypto coins available.
Cons: Runs a bit slow during peak hours, earlier this year, as reported by other users. This has since been improved but you may experience the occasional slow page load while trading from time to time.
A US based cryptocurrency platform, Bittrex provides trading for over 300 cryptocurrencies at the time of this guide. They offer one of the largest selections of digital tokens available to any cryptocurrency exchange to date. They are also the only cryptocurrency exchange (at time of this release) that offers a more expansive selection of fiat to cryptocurrency pairs. They currently support Tether, TrueUSD, and USD to crypto pairs.
Since trading on the platform complies with US regulations, you won’t need to worry about your funds being hacked, as they are insured by the company. If you’re not familiar with stablecoins, click here. There are many advantages to using stablecoins as a base pair to trade cryptocurrency with or as a unit of storage to avoid price volatility.
The platform provided by exchange is very user-friendly. The company recently renovated their user interface to be more mobile friendly and responsive to various smartphones and tablet devices.
To begin trading with Bittrex, you need to register and login using an email ID. To withdrawal funds, a KYC needs to be completed by submitting details of a valid ID and phone number, which is typical for all exchanges.
Users also need to activate a two factor authentication for setting up an account in order to trade higher limits. However, the account verification is pretty quick and the support team will get you up and running more quickly than most other exchanges.
Pros: number of accessible bitcoins/altcoins, user-friendly, clean interface, high performance, reliable, high security. One of the most reliable and best exchanges out there.
Cons: High trading fees if you’re really reaching for a con, however their fees are standard in reference to most cryptocurrency exchanges.
Founded in 2014, Poloniex is another leading cryptocurrency exchange and is the second oldest next to Bittrex. The exchange continues to build a rapport among its potential investors and remains popular among its customers for providing a secure platform with a wide selection of altcoins.
[UPDATE] Poloniex has recently been acquired by the payment processor Circle for around $400 million.
One advantage to this exchange is that they provide the ability to margin trade, though only a limited number of coins are available for this type of trading. This is a welcome feature which is not present within many other exchanges.
The trade fees are moderate and dependent on the status of the investor. Trading on Poloniex involves a volume-tier, maker-taker setup for fee structure. For makers, the fee ranges from 0-0.15% and for takers it ranges from 0-0.25% depending on the quantity of the transaction. Again this is 1/4 of a percent, not to be confused with a 25% fee. Full fee structure can be viewed here.
Another feature of this exchange is the availability of a chat box which provides solutions to all user queries. Anyone on the exchange can post complaints or issues they are facing, as well as trading advice.
Pros: Fast platform, low trading fees dependent upon how you trade, open API, margin trading.
Cons: Horrible customer support, lag during large trading volume, withdrawal issues.
Founded in 2011, Kraken is a cryptocurrency exchange based out of San Francisco. It’s the largest exchange in terms of euro volume and is a partner of one of the first cryptocurrency banks. With moderate altcoin support, Kraken also supports fiat currencies and is the largest internationally accessible crypto exchange which makes it a top choice for many international users. For more experienced users, Kraken also offers margin trading for more experienced traders.
Pros: many reports of smooth experiences for users, very secure, good customer support, low trading fees, a large number of altcoin trading pairs.
Cons: Limited payment methods, many reports on the lack of customer service.
A newly developed exchange, KuCoin is a Hong-Kong based company supporting a wide range of crypto coins. Since the exchange operates on a crypto-to-crypto basis, it does not support fiat currencies. However, the prospect of trading digital assets of KuCoin are very exciting. Users can buy and sell the shares of the parent company called KCS (KuCoin Shares) and operate in a similar fashion as Binance (BNB coin). Using the exchanges proprietary coin is a great way to save on fees!
Currently, KuCoin supports approximately 57 coins, a number that is expected to grow in the near future as their customer base expands. The fee charged for each transaction is very low and is approximately 0.1% (1/10 of a percent) for some coins. Other coins have an incredibly low the like BTC at just 0.0005, LTC at just 0.001, and ETH at just 0.01.Withdrawal fees vary from coin to coin.
Pros: User-friendly interface, low fee, a wide variety of altcoins available.
Cons: Less trust and rapport among customers because the exchange is still fairly new. Only serves
Known for providing a ton of lower market altcoins which are usually not listed with most of the other exchanges. Cryptopia is another popular exchange for those looking at more high risk to high reward trading. Cryptopia stands out compared to other cryptocurrency exchanges due to the fact that they are a peer-to-peer network. This means that trades are done directly with other users.
The exchange also features a marketplace where users can buy, sell, and trade products using cryptocurrency as payment. The marketplace is similar to a classified ads website.
Pros: An exceptionally large repository of altcoins, low fee, decent customer support, and a ton of high risk/high reward coins to trade with (low market altcoins).
Cons: Low volume, confusing and clunky interface.
The exchange provides a wide range of services and features. This London based cryptocurrency exchange supports fiat currencies and allows trading across almost all countries of the world. It facilitates instant buying and selling of cryptocurrency through a simple bundled interface.
For professional trading, the exchange offers highly intuitive dashboards and margin trading for bitcoin and as well as various altcoins.
Pros: User-friendly, low fee structure, secure, global presence and wide acceptance (confidence in the exchange is high), good customer rapport, excellent customer service, offers margin trading.
Cons: Depositing funds can be expensive.
Other than the cryptocurrency exchanges listed here, there is an ongoing list of newer exchanges which are being open every day to provide unparalleled trading experiences to investors.
However, the exchanges listed within this article, are at the very top of the heap and should undoubtedly be a great starting point for your cryptocurrency trading needs. For seasoned traders, I recommend trying out some of the newer exchanges as they offer a lower fee structure as well as newer features that other more older exchanges may not offer.
Good luck and happy trading!
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