Bitgrail Hack Victims File Petition in Court

Bitgrail clients want Italian court to declare exchange bankrupt

Victims of the BitGrail hack in February has filed a petition asking an Italian court to declare the cryptocurrency exchange bankrupt.

BitGrail reportedly fell victim to a hack early this year, resulting in the loss of 14 million Nano coins worth $187 million at the time. The hack was reported on February 8, but BitGrail owner Francesco Firano told CoinTelegraph that the theft happened on January 19.

Last week, Italian law firm BonelliErede filed a bankruptcy petition on behalf of BitGrail creditor Espen Enger, who allegedly was in contact with more than 300 claimants. According to a Medium post, most of the alleged BitGrail victims were concerned that their assets will be depleted further, which was why they “prefer an immediate accounting of BitGrail’s assets in bankruptcy.”

Nano developers previously claimed Firano had asked for the altcoin’s ledger to be modified “so as to cover his losses” and allegedly “misleading” the community regarding the exchange solvency. In his defense, Firano claimed the fault did not lay with the exchange, but originated with Nano’s “totally unreliable” protocol leading to timestamp inconsistencies on the Nanode block explorer.

BitGrail vowed to refund the victims. In mid-March, the cryptocurrency exchange proposed to issue a newly-minted BitGrail Shares (BGS) token, which it said would cover 80% of the losses. The remaining 20% would be covered in XRB, according to BitGrail. However, victims would need to sign an agreement to forgo any legal action against the exchange.

This is the second lawsuit filed against BitGrail. In April, U.S. law firm Silver Miller filed a lawsuit on behalf of Alex Brola, an investor who sunk $50,000 into the Nano currency in 2017. In its lawsuit, Silver sought to have the altcoin conduct a hard fork that could “reset” its amount to where it was before the theft took place.

In response to the lawsuit, the Nano Foundation announced it would sponsor a legal fund to provide all BitGrail victims with legal representation.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Binance leads $30M funding round for privacy-centric MobileCoin

Binance leads $30M funding round for privacy-centric MobileCoin

The biggest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, Binance, has ventured into the virtual messaging service world by leading a funding round for the new cryptocurrency, MobileCoin. The Hong Kong based exchange, which has plans to move to Malta in the near future, has sunk no less than $30 million denominated in Ethereum and BTC into the project via its blockchain incubator Binance Labs. MobileCoin’s development team also includes the creator of Signal, Moxie Marlinspike.

The new cryptocurrency will be using the Stella consensus Protocol to operate. This makes privacy a focus of the operation, while also creating a seamless user experience that lends itself particularly well to integrating with mobile messaging apps such as Signal and Whatsapp. Both of these systems use end-to-end encryption technology that was developed by Marlinspike himself.

Binance Labs described MobileCoin as ‘a mobile-first, user-friendly cryptocurrency which plays a critical role in mainstream cryptocurrency adoption.’ Of course, it remains to be seen whether this altcoin will be taken up although it will probably have a promising start when listed on the Binance exchange.

Binance seems to be attempting to emulate Coinbase by investing in other industry projects. The latter has since launched its first venture fund, although it has also stated that it would not be investing in any crypto assets as this could create a conflict of interest as well as regulatory problems.

There are rumours, however, that Marlinspike is not that much involved in the project although he is described as a technical advisor. On Twitter, Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer noted that Marlinspike is “barely involved with the actual development on this thing.”

Currently, MobileCoin does not appear to have an open-source code repository, though the rumors about Marlinspike’s involvement or lack of it, are currently just rumours. Once MobileCoin releases the project’s open source code, the true level of Marlinspike’s involvement in the project’s development should become clearer.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Arrests made in $13M Chinese crypto pyramid scam

Arrests made in $13M Chinese crypto pyramid scam

Authorities in China have arrested four people in the city of Xi’an in connection with a suspected cryptocurrency pyramid scam, according to local media reports.

The arrests were made over allegations that the scheme had conned some 13,000 individuals, with a total of over 86 million yen ($13 million) reported to have been collected. Police arrested a primary suspect, along with three others suspected of assisting in the scheme.

The suspect, known only at this stage as Zheng, is said to have begun planning the scam back in October 2017. Police suspect the scam revolved around the Da Tang Coin (DTC), an altcoin linked to a company called DTC Holding.

Investigators said the scheme involved offering investors a guaranteed return of approximately $13,000 per day, in return for an investment of $480,000 in DTC—which were offered at $0.50 per coin.

The scam allegedly attracted significant volumes of investment in the space of just two weeks, from March 15-28, with the company reaching out to investors in locations including Xi’an, Ningbo and Phnom Penh.

It is also alleged that the firm secured the services of a ‘foreign-looking’ man in order to create the appearance of an international blockchain startup that is heavily backed by other investors.

Investors were promised a return on their money when DTC was ultimately listed on major cryptocurrency exchanges, and were told of a range of real-life applications for the token, including in retail and education.

While labelled a pyramid scheme by investigating officers, some analysts have highlighted that the plan more closely resembles a Ponzi scam. Either way, officers believe the men to have been involved in the latest cryptocurrency scam to target unsuspecting investors.

In 2017 alone, China reported some 47,000 victims of cryptocurrency scams, like the alleged scam in the present case. Around 40 arrests have been made to date, leading to the Ministry of Public Security promising to ‘purify cyberspace’ to protect victims.

The pledge comes in light of a wider crackdown in China, with authorities keen to prevent scams of this kind from taking hold. The arrests this week will do little to dampen the appetite of regulators in keeping a tight grip on cryptocurrency activities in China.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
Nano developers face class-action lawsuit

Nano developers face class-action lawsuit

At least one law firm has found a niche market stemming from the rise in cryptocurrencies. The Silver Miller law firm is staying busy filing lawsuits against several entities involved in the cryptocurrency business, including Coinbase, BitConnect, Cryptsy and Kraken. It is also pursuing legal action against Initial Coin Offering (ICO) promoters Tezos, Giga Watt and Monkey Capital. Not having enough on its plate, apparently, the law firm is now going after cryptocurrency Nano.

A lawsuit has been filed by the firm on behalf of Alex Brola, an investor who sunk $50,000 into the digital currency in 2017. When the BitGrail exchange was hacked at the beginning of February, around $187 million worth of Nano (17 million coins) went missing, including Brola’s investment. Silver Miller is suing to have the altcoin conduct a hard fork that could “reset” the digital currency’s amount to where it was prior to the theft.

The fallout from the theft has attracted a lot of legal attention. There have been disputes over who was at fault, and it was reported that BitGrail’s owner and operator, Francesco Firano, tried to convince Nano developers to alter ledgers to help him cover his losses. The developers fought back, accusing Firano of misleading the Nano Core Team, as well as the entire community.

Silver Miller’s suit claims that there are hundreds or maybe thousands of investors that suffered because of the hack. To date, however, Brola is the only plaintiff listed on the suit. The firm asserts in the suit that it is a ““strong advocate for aggrieved investors harmed by the misrepresentations and illegal actions of cryptocurrency exchanges and issuers.”

The BitGrail hack came soon after the Coincheck hack of approximately $530 million in January. The Japanese exchange was at one point considered to be behind the theft. The publicity surrounding the hack brought wide-sweeping changes to cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan, and the company agreed to reimburse its clients at a rate of $0.81 per token, or a total of around $420 million. Coincheck never fully recovered from the scandal, and is scheduled to be acquired by online securities brokerage firm Monex Group on April 16.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/nano-developers-face-class-action-lawsuit/

Private coin Verge forks after massive 51% attack

Private coin Verge forks after massive 51% attack

Verge, a cryptocurrency that prides itself on privacy, has proven to not be so private. A massive attack on the Verge blockchain has resulted in the altcoin creating an obligatory hard fork to stop the attack. The hack resulted in the coin losing around 25% of its value, and claims of around 250,000 Verge worth approximately $13,000 being stolen.

A hacker was able to gain control of the network’s hashrate, giving him or her the ability to modify transactions, according to reports. The individual pestered the Verge team further by posting a response to a thread on bitcointalk.org in which he stated, “Hey Verge Team, get some real developers and fix your code. We have found another 2 exploits which can make quick hashes as well.”

The hacker had identified a number of exploits in the Verge code, enabling him to mine multiple blocks at one-second intervals. All of the mining operations used the same scripted algorithm, which should not have been possible. The attack lasted for three hours and confirmed hundreds of blocks, which resulted in developers having to roll back the blockchain to undo the damage.

Adding insult to injury, the attack wasn’t even picked up at first by Verge developers. A user in the bitcointalk forum, “ocminer,” was the one who brought up the topic. At first, his warnings fell on deaf ears—by both developers as well as Verge enthusiasts—before the problem was determined to be real.

Verge wasn’t quick to own up to the issue after it had been confirmed. They called it a “minor incident” and one that “wasn’t as bad as it could have been.” The Verge community wasn’t as forgiving at this point, though, and vented their frustration online. One user said, “Based on what I see from the dev postings here it’s apparent that if ocminer had never brought this to everyone’s attention, the XVG team would have never admitted to or disclosed what happened. Trying to downplay and being flippant about the severity here is just pissing on the XVG faithful.”

Verge developers indicated that around 250,000 coins were stolen, but many think the amount was much higher. A user in the bitcointalk.org thread pointed out the mathematics behind the blocks, and was able to ascertain that around 3.9 million coins were stolen. If that’s true, around $200,000 would have been taken.

Verge has had a rough year, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get better. There have been repeatedly instances of privacy compromise, it had its Twitter account hacked and tried to get the community to cough up $3 million for “the deal of a lifetime.” Add to this the latest 51% attack, and the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be fading, not growing brighter.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/private-coin-verge-forks-massive-51-attack/

GitHub puts ICOs under the microscope

GitHub puts ICOs under the microscope

Anyone will tell you that writing computer code is a tedious, cross-eyed-inducing task. It’s important that the code be succinct and clean by the time the final product is ready, which, when dealing with tens of thousands of lines of code, can be a daunting process. However, code that is created properly results in a quality product that projects user confidence and ensures that the application works as planned. GitHub, a web-based hosting service for version control using git, hasn’t been too concerned with coding quality, but the days of lax coding could soon be a thing of the past.

There are more than 20 million users and over 57 million repositories on GitHub. Anyone can upload their code and it has become a popular destination for initial coin offering (ICO) and altcoin projects.  The portal serves as a central location where coding projects can be reviewed, bugs can be tracked and team members from anywhere around the world can provide their input. The majority of the uploaded projects, including those for cryptocurrencies, are open source, which means that the public also has access to the projects.

The public access is one potential drawback to GitHub. An individual could potentially take another’s code, modify it and then publish it as his or her own. That public access is the tricky part. An unscrupulous individual can take the code, tweak it and try to pass it off as his or her own. Several tools now include coverage of projects on GitHub to weed out the imposters and the projects that show signs of manipulation, news.bitcoin.com first reported.

Cryptomiso is one of these tools. It recently added GitHub to the sites it monitors and allows for GitHub data to by filtered based on several criteria. Onchainfx is similar to Cryptomiso, but goes beyond filtering. It also includes a ranking system that is based on project commits, stars, number of viewers watching the project and the number of lines added or removed. Both tools are valuable methods of analyzing ICO and crypto code, but have one drawback. Neither allows results to be ranked by quality, only frequency.

Probably one of the most useful “tools” is actually a human. Andre Cronje, a popular cryptocurrency blogger, has begun to invest a lot of time and energy researching new projects that are uploaded to GitHub. Once his research is complete, he publishes his findings on his Twitter feed, @AndreCronjeTech. His in-depth analysis paints a brighter picture of which projects are worthy, and which ones don’t deserve a second glance.

With so many new projects coming on line these days, it’s increasingly difficult to discern the good ones from the bad. These tools offer a more solid means to evaluate a cryptocurrency’s proficiency and to gauge its authenticity. As with any investment—from buying a smart TV to buying cryptocurrency—it’s always important to perform the necessary due diligence and background checks to ensure the validity of the superficial information.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/github-puts-icos-microscope/

Coincheck

Coincheck, Bittrex weed out anonymous, low-liquidity altcoins

Spring (cleaning) came early for cryptocurrency exchanges Coincheck and Bittrex.

Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck will reportedly stop handling three anonymity-focused cryptocurrencies—Monero, Dash, and Zcash—as it “now recognizes the high risk” posed by these virtual currencies when used in money laundering activities, sources told the Japan Times.

Coincheck’s application for a cryptocurrency exchange license has been pending with the Financial Services Agency (FSA) in September, partly because most of its customers are anonymous, according to the report.

The news comes on the heels of a cyber-attack in January, which saw hackers getting ahold of $534 million worth of NEXM tokens from Coincheck’s hot wallet. Executives at Coincheck hinted that the theft was caused by a possible malware-related incident, but police investigators discovered “multiple suspicious transmissions” were made from Coincheck’s intracompany network to Europe and U.S.-based servers around Jan. 23, three days before the theft occurred.

Cybersecurity experts believe that half of the missing NEM tokens have already been converted into other types of cryptocurrency for money laundering purpose, making it even harder to track.

All kinds of transactions on the Coincheck platform were immediately halted after the hack, but the company has since resumed activities, albeit of certain currencies—on March 12, following its promise to pay the 260,000 users affected in what was considered as the biggest theft in world history, effectively dethroning the infamous Mt. Gox hack.

Meanwhile, Coincheck is eyeing the possibility of buying Monero, Dash and Zcash from its customers at a fixed price. According to sources, the embattled company has begun accepting transfers from verified accounts.

Bittrex de-lists 82 altcoins

Bittrex, once considered to be a safe haven for many altcoins, is bidding 82 of them goodbye.

Effective March 30, 82 token wallets will be removed from the cryptocurrency exchange’s system, according to an announcement on Bittrex website. These include altcoins who have low liquidity or do not have “a properly functioning blockchain and wallet.”

Of the 82 tokens, 26 currencies suffered from blockchain issues, such as not having a working blockchain, according to the exchange. Bittrex urged its customers to withdraw their coins before March 30, because “once these wallets are removed, we will no longer be able to recover these coins.”

The list of soon-to-be-removed altcoins can be found here.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.