All posts by Ethan William

Iran plans its Own State Cryptocurrency

Contrary to reports of the Iranian government preparing the ‘infrastructure’ for bitcoin usage in the country, Iran’s central
bank has refuted claims of recognizing bitcoin as a legal currency. In November, Iran’s minister of Information and
Communications Technology (ICT) revealed the ministry was preparing to embrace bitcoin as a solution to bypass economic
sanctions that has previously disconnected Iran’s banking system from global commerce and finance. “The ministry of
communications and information technology has already conducted a number of research studies as part of efforts to prepare
the infrastructure to use Bitcoin inside the country,” ICT minister Amir Hossein Davaee reportedly said at the time. Iran
underwent a banking blackout after global payments rail SWIFT banned the country from its network in 2012, a blockade that
lasted four years until sanctions on Tehran were lifted by former US President Obama’s nuclear deal in 2016. Within weeks,
Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace (HCC) stated its ‘positive’ view on cryptocurrencies, specifically bitcoin, with
regulations. “We welcome Bitcoin, but we must have regulations for Bitcoin and any other digital currency,” stated HCC
secretary Abolhassan Firouzabadi. However, the country’s central bank has now reportedly poured cold water on any embracive
notion toward cryptocurrencies, rejecting previous reports of authorities keen on Bitcoin. According to local news resource
Iran Front Page, the Central Bank of Iran says it has never recognized bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency as an official
currency in the country. The central bank warned investors that they “may lose their financial assets” in crypto-related
investments due to market volatility.

Reference: https://www.ccn.com/iran-backpedals-bitcoin-plans-state-cryptocurrency/

White Hat Hackers Join Search for $530 Million

White hat hackers have been instrumental in investigations regarding last month’s breach of the Coincheck exchange. The
community members have helped track down the $538m of NEM cryptocurrency that was stolen from the Tokyo-based exchange. The
ethical hackers have assisted authorities and encouraged others to join in providing aid. One prominent white hat known by
the Twitter handle JK17 managed to identify the accounts that the stolen money was sent to shortly after the breach. The
information was shared with the NEM foundation, and the accounts have been marked and are currently being monitored. The
funds have now been moved to over 400 accounts including some owned by innocent holders, in what appears to be an attempt to
confuse trackers. However, many more white hats have reportedly joined the hunt, making short work of the task. Shota Hamabe,
a 34-year-old programmer is one such individual. Shortly after the breach, he held an information session at Hackers Bar, a
restaurant and IT hub in Tokyo’s Roppongi district, to coordinate and discuss options. Whilst JK17, Hamabe and others have
been highly effective in locating and flagging the accounts where the stolen NEM has been moved to, efforts to identify the
owners of the accounts, (the hackers responsible), have been unsuccessful. It was reported that one NEM trader had been
questioned by Tokyo police regarding the incident, however, no further information has been provided regarding the
individual’s involvement. Officers are also analyzing access logs in Coincheck’s system in an attempt to identify the
culprits, but this may be a lengthy process. Meanwhile, it appears that nearly 9 billion yen ($83.6m) worth of NEM is
believed to have been exchanged for Bitcoin and other virtual currencies using the dark web and other anonymous services. It
remains to be seen whether the hackers will be brought to account.

Reference: https://www.ccn.com/white-hat-hackers-join-search-stolen-cryptocurrency-worth-530-million/

Telegram ICO Ups the Ante for Record-Setting Token Presale

The first multibillion-dollar token sale may be just around the corner — if reports about the Telegram ICO are to be
believed, that is. Having just concluded a record-setting $850 million ICO presale, Telegram — the encrypted messaging
application created by Russian entrepreneur Pavel Durov — has sent prospective investors an email informing them that the
firm will hold a second private presale, according to a report in tech outlet The Verge. Citing anonymous sources, the
publication said that the second round of the Telegram ICO presale is expected to raise nearly as much as the first one,
netting the firm a total raise of more than $1.6 billion — all before the ICO even opens to the public. But although Telegram
does not appear to have any trouble attracting capital to its token sale, many traditional cryptoasset investors are
remaining on the sidelines. Pantera Capital, which was founded in 2013 and describes itself as the first US Bitcoin
investment firm, declined to participate in the Telegram ICO, citing reservations about the project’s lack of transparency.

Reference: https://www.ccn.com/1-6-billion-telegram-ico-ups-the-ante-for-record-setting-token-presale/

Nano Floats in a Sea of Crypto Red

Nano is the only coin in the top 30 by market cap to have gained significantly on a day when most cryptocurrencies have
fallen by high single-digits. At the time of writing, Nano (XRB) is up almost 20 percent to the US dollar and almost 25
percent against Bitcoin. At the time of writing, Nano is priced at $8.82. According to coinmarketcap, all top thirty coins
have fallen except Nano, Populous, and Tether, the latter two only marginally in the green. The coin is currently the 24th
largest, with a market cap of $1,166,932,553. Nano was rebranded from RaiBlocks on the 31st of January. It boasts transaction
speeds averaging just over one-and-a-half seconds, making it one of the fastest cryptocurrencies to send and receive. The
sender and the receiver conduct Proof-of-Work using a “block lattice” structure. This unique structure means that each
account, as determined by its public key, is itself a blockchain. XRB is fast, free, and minerless. Each user effectively
mines the coins as they use them. Nano boasts unlimited scalability, theoretically, and operates on a lightweight protocol.
The currency has endured a tumultuous start to the year. Given its unique structure, the ability for large-scale exchanges to
support it was limited. While now listed on kucoin and binance, some 30 percent of Nano volume was exchanged on Italian-based
BitGrail. The coin represented roughly 85 percent of BitGrail’s trading volume.

Reference: https://www.ccn.com/20-gains-nano-floats-sea-crypto-red/

Bullish on Stellar Lumens

When it comes to architecture, team and potential, very few cryptocurrencies compare to Stellar Lumens. The open platform for
financial products has quickly emerged as one of the most dominant cryptocurrencies on the market. It is currently ranked
eighth in total market cap with a price-per-coin of around 42 cents. Stellar’s XLM token is on my short-list of top
cryptocurrencies. Those of you who are new to the digital asset market should pay extra attention to XLM for reasons that go
far beyond its current price point or market cap. With the exception of Ripple and Ethereum, very few crypto projects have
announced high-stakes partnerships that match Stellar’s in terms of excitement or potential. Last year, Stellar announced it
was partnering with Dow blue-chip IBM, which will provide the network with eight new validators. The Stellar company has also
confirmed that 30 financial institutions have signed up for the blockchain banking project. By partnering with IBM, Stellar
intends to bring digital currency adoption mainstream by making it easier for consumers and businesses to transact in the new
technology. The initiative will also allow financial institutions to move money across borders.

Reference: https://hacked.com/im-bullish-stellar-lumens/