New York University Offers Major in Blockchain Technology

New York University now offers a major in blockchain and cryptocurrencies at the Stern School of Business.

New York University (NYU) has reportedly become the “first” university in the U.S. to offer students a major in blockchain technology, CBS New York reported September 18.

The program will reportedly be provided by the NYU Stern School of Business, which was also a pioneer in offering undergraduate courses in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Professor Andrew Hinkes commented on the new program:

“We hope to establish a groundwork so that the students can understand what’s really happening under the hood, so that they can understand both the legal and the business implications, and prepare them to go out and tackle this new market.”

According to associate professor Kathleen Derose, the educational establishment is expecting large companies to partner within the training program, while “the startups in [fintech] will likely invent the new cool stuff.” Following the increasing number of students interested in the new offer, NYU reportedly doubled its course offerings this school year.

Adam White from cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said that students “see the development, the birth of a new industry,” adding that “in many ways, we look at things like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) and blockchain as the internet 3.0.”

Last month, Coinbase released a study, showing that 42 percent of the world’s top 50 universities have at least one class on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Of the 172 classes reviewed in the study, 15 percent were offered by economics, finance, law and business departments, while 4 percent were in social science departments. The study found that blockchain and crypto-related courses are most popular in the U.S. among other countries.

U.S. students’ interest in crypto is reflected not only in educational programs, but in investing in digital currency as well. As a study conducted by Student Loan Report in March shows, 21.2 percent of college students used loan money to fund a crypto investment, hoping that the upward price volatility in crypto would help pay their debts faster.

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Coinbase Hires Former Fannie Mae Exec as New Chief Legal Officer

Former Fannie Mae counsel Brian Brooks has joined Coinbase as its new Chief Legal Officer to lead the exchange’s legal, compliance and government affairs.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has hired on former Fannie Mae General Counsel Brian Brooks as their new Chief Legal Officer, according to an announcement published September 19. At Coinbase, Brooks will be responsible for legal, compliance, and government affairs.

Prior to Coinbase, Brooks served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of the U.S. Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae. The association purchases qualifying mortgages from lenders, which it then bundles in bonds and sells to investors. In 2017, Fannie Mae reportedly provided $570 billion in mortgage financing.

Brooks also participated in managing OneWest Bank, N.A.’s senior regulatory relationships, while acting as a senior advisor to the bank’s CEO. Before joining OneWest, Brooks held managerial positions at O’Melveny & Myers LLP and Financial Services Practice Group.

Mike Lempres, who has previously led Coinbase’s legal function, will now lead the company’s government affairs program, such as the exchange’s participation in the recently founded Blockchain Association, in addition to managing the Coinbase political action committee (PAC).

The Washington-based Blockchain Association was formed by a group of American blockchain and crypto companies earlier this month, with Coinbase as a founding member. The association claims to be the first lobbying group representing the blockchain industry in Washington D.C.

Coinbase founded its own PAC in July 2018. In the U.S., PACs are political organizations that allow individuals with similar policy goals and ideologies to pool campaign contributions and donate them to political campaigns for or against candidates, legislation, or ballot initiatives.

This week is marked with another notable appointment at Coinbase, as former LinkedIn executive Michael Li joined the exchange as the vice-president of data. Speaking about his new position, Li outlined that data is an “essential” aspect of empowering Coinbase’s mission, as well as the “core strategy” to providing “the most trusted and easiest-to-use” crypto services.

In August, Coinbase hired former Amazon Web Services and Microsoft employee Tim Wagner as vice-president of engineering. Wagner will reportedly lead Coinbase’s engineering team, which is “central to [Coinbase’s] mission of creating an open financial system for the world.”

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Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacked, $59 Million in Losses Reported

Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif has discovered that a security breach on September 14 led to the loss of $59 million worth of cryptocurrency.

Hackers have reportedly stolen $59 million worth of cryptocurrencies from Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif, Cointelegraph Japan reports September 19.

According to a local report, as a result of a security breach on September 14, hackers managed to steal 4.5 billion yen from users hot wallets, as well as 2.2 billion yen from the assets of the company, with total losses amounting to 6.7 billion yen or around $59.7 million.

Tech Bureau Inc, which operated Zaif, stated in press release that the exchange detected a server error on September 17, after which Zaif suspended deposits and withdrawals. On September 18, the exchange realized that the error was a hack, and reported the incident to the Japanese financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA). Hackers stole 5,966 bitcoins (BTC) in addition to some Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA).

According to Tech Bureau Inc, the firm Fisco Digital Asset Group will help Zaif cover lost customer assets by providing 5 billion yen ($44.5 million). Tech Bureau made an agreement with Fisco to dismiss more than half of its directors and corporate auditors in addition to Fisco becoming a majority shareholder in the company.

Zaif exchange is the 101st largest cryptocurrency exchange in terms of trade volume, according to CoinMarketCap.

Earlier this year, Zaif admitted to a “system glitch” that allowed users to temporarily acquire trillions of dollars worth of Bitcoin (BTC) for free in February. 16 customers were accidentally able to “trade” yen for cryptocurrency at a rate of 0 yen per coin.

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Europol: Bitcoin Remains Cybercriminals’ First Choice, But Privacy-Focused Alts Will Rise

A new cybercrime report from Europol predicts cybercriminals will increasingly turn to anonymity-focused altcoins such as Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR).

Europol’s new cybercrime report has found that Bitcoin (BTC) remains the most popular form of crypto for illicit uses, but predicts a rise in the popularity of anonymity-focused altcoins such as Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR). The report, the fifth edition of Europol’s Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA) to date, was published yesterday, September 18.

According to Europol, even as Bitcoin’s market share dropped as low as “35 percent in early 2017,” it remained the most “commonly encountered” crypto in cybercrime investigations across the European Union.

Europol anticipates that while Bitcoin for now dominates the landscape, anonymity-focused altcoins that offer the protection of “stealth addresses” are likely to gain traction and potentially make “current [crypto] mixing services and tumblers obsolete.”

For example, among jihadist networks, Europol found that mass donations in the form of Zcash were popular among those who donated to campaigns in Islamic State (IS)-affiliated websites, although it noted that the use of crypto by terrorist groups has so far been limited to “low-level transactions,” and does not account for a significant share of their funding stream:

“Despite the clear potential, none of the attacks carried out on European soil appear to have been funded via cryptocurrencies.”

IOCTA outlines a range of crypto-related phenomena on the cybercrime landscape, including cryptojacking, crypto-targeted phishing, and an increasing number of attacks on crypto exchanges or other crypto depositories, which Europol argues are viewed by criminals as a “soft target” in comparison with corporate banks or other traditional institutions.

Europol notes that not only exchanges, but “mining services and other wallet holders are facing hacking attempts as well as extortion of personal data and theft.”

The report notes that crypto has for several years offered the advantages of a decentralized infrastructure and pseudonymous transactions for laundering criminal proceedings, but suggests that as the large crypto industry players fall under the purview of regulators, decentralized exchanges may soon become a more advantageous channel for launderers.

Just today, Cointelegraph reported that a leaked code targeting Microsoft Systems — which hackers allegedly stole from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) — has sparked a fivefold increase in cryptojacking infections.

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Huobi Joins Russian Financial Services Platform to Share Notes on Crypto Regulation

Crypto exchange Huobi will help a Russian development bank with crypto-related regulation and creating a legal basis for digital assets.

Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has joined Russia’s VEB Innovation Fund to share notes on crypto regulation, according to a fund’s press release published Wednesday, September 19.

According to Crunchbase, the VEB Innovation Fund was created in 2011 to invest in Russian high-tech startups and to promote local innovations in the global market. The Center of Digital Transformation, where Huobi is now a resident, was created by VEB to promote blockchain and other crypto-related technologies, as its website states.

One of the main goals of the partnership with world’s fourth largest crypto exchange, as reported in the statement, is to draw on the crypto regulation experience gained by Huobi and to apply it in Russia, especially for adjusting the legal framework on digital assets.

VEB Innovations CEO Vladimir Demin explains that Huobi expertise will help create “a legal basis that could compete with current promising jurisdictions.”

Andrey Grachev, a Huobi spokesperson in Russia, further explained that Huobi has intended to enter the Russian market since April:

“We’re glad it has finally happened. Russian investors had no communication with global trading platforms so far, and Huobi is the first to open its unit in Russia”.

As cited by VEB Innovations, Senior Director of Huobi Global Edward Chen said the crypto exchange would provide Huobi Cloud services in Russia and would also allow Russian investors to use Huobi OTC.

Huobi is not the first crypto-related company to interact with the VEB-affiliated organization. According to its website, VEB has already partnered with Ethereum and Russian blockchain platform Waves.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier in May, the State Duma — a lower house of Russian Parliament — has already accepted a bill on crypto regulation in the first of three readings. In its first edition, the“On Digital Financial Assets” bill defined cryptocurrencies, as well as blockchain-related technologies such as smart contracts, mining, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

However, according to an article published by Russian newspaper “Izvestia” Wednesday, September 19, shortly before the second reading the definition of “cryptocurrencies” completely disappeared from the document, as the bill now focuses on tokens and investments.

In September, Cointelegraph wrote that a Russian lobby group of high-ranked managers, including two of of the top ten Russian billionaires according to Forbes, started to prepare an alternative bill on crypto regulation, as one of the group’s experts called the initial bill “unfinished and fragmented.”

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Crypto Markets Hold Supporting Levels With Small Fluctuations, BTC Trades Around $6,300

Crypto markets hold supporting levels with some small fluctuations, and Bitcoin is trading around $6,300.

Wednesday, September 19: crypto markets are holding recent gains and fluctuating around previous support levels. While 16 out of the top 20 altcoins by market cap are seeing some red today, total market cap still hovers around recent levels, according to CoinMarketCap.

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is slightly down 0.12 percent over the past 24 hours, still holding the supporting level of $6,300 after dropping below that price point last week. Bitcoin is trading at around $6,334 at press time, and up about 0.48 percent over the past 7 days.

Bitcoin weekly price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is seeing more minor losses today, down about .2 percent over a 24 hour period. After having dropped to as low as $127 over the past 7 days, Ethereum is trading at about $208 at press time, which constitutes around 12 percent gains over the week.

Ethereum weekly price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Total market cap has been fluctuating around the $199 billion point over the day, currently at about $198 billion. The number of cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap is now 1,977.

Weekly total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The general losses among the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap amount to between 2-3 percent, while the 20th top coin Dogecoin (DOGE) has seen a deep decline of 7.8 percent. The altcoin is trading at $0.0056 at press time, which is also about a 13 percent drop over the past 7 days.

Earlier this week, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk asked Dogecoin developer Jackson Palmer to help him to get rid of “annoying” cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is down almost 3 percent over the past 24 hours, still holding about 0.2 percent over the past 7 days, and trading at about $425.

Ripple (XRP), the third cryptocurrency ranked by market cap, which had seen the largest gains yesterday, is keeping upward trend today. XRP is up around 2.5 percent over the past 24 hours, and trading at $0.32, which amounts to almost 24 percent gains over the week.

On September 18, the New York Attorney General’s office issued a report warning that cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to manipulation, conflicts of interest, and other consumer risks, according to an investigation based on information requests to 13 crypto exchanges earlier this year.

Recently, Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz expressed scepticism about the chance that cryptocurrencies can replace traditional fiat money, claiming he “would doubt today, whether is has a perspective as a currency model.”

Also on September 18, the U.K. Treasury Committee called for cryptocurrency regulations in order to protect investors in relation to major issues around the industry, such as price volatility, poor consumer protection, the risk of hacker attacks, and money laundering.

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Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Detections Up Almost 500 Percent in 2018: Report

The tool that exploits Microsoft vulnerabilities to enable widespread crypto extortion has let malware proliferate this year, says a new report.

Leaked code targeting Microsoft Systems which hackers allegedly stole from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) sparked a fivefold increase in cryptocurrency mining malware infections, Bloomberg reports Wednesday, September 19, citing a new cryptojacking report.

Eternal Blue, the tool which can exploit vulnerabilities in Microsoft software, is behind the now-infamous global cyberattacks WannaCry and NotPetya, which continue to cause disruption since they first surfaced in 2017. Bloomberg notes that Eternal Blue was allegedly stolen from the NSA in 2017 by a hacking group called the Shadow Brokers.

Hackers have since been using the tool in order to gain access to computers in order to covertly mine for cryptocurrency, with detections up 459 percent this year, according to the report from the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA).

“Combined threat intelligence from CTA members show that this rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down, even with recent decreases in cryptocurrency value,” the company writes in a preface to its most recent report, stating:

“Because this threat is relatively new, many people do not understand it, its potential significance, or what to do about it.”

Cointelegraph has often reported on the emergence of crypto mining malware infecting user devices such as PCs and smartphones. Rather than Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH), it is privacy-focused altcoins such as Monero which are hackers’ preferred target, the report notes.

The uptick, CTA says, comes as such operations are becoming more “sophisticated.”

“Analysts have observed successful and widespread attackers ‘living off the land,’ or employing legitimate functionality to download and execute miners that would be more difficult for an observer or antivirus to detect,” the preface continues, highlighting the Monero mining campaign Smominru as an example.

The NSA did not respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment on the findings upon publication.

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Abu Dhabi Regulator Calls for International Cryptocurrency Regulation Effort

A senior finance official has said Abu Dhabi would like to see comprehensive international regulation of the cryptocurrency arena.

The head of the financial regulator of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital Abu Dhabi wants “proper” international regulation of cryptocurrency, local news outlet The National reports Wednesday, September 19.

Speaking during an interview at this week’s Fintech Abu Dhabi event, Richard Teng, head of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), claimed that loss and theft of cryptocurrency negatively impacts its image as an asset.

“This space needs to be properly regulated, otherwise there is the risk of financial crime,” he said, noting:

“Every time a coin gets stolen or lost, it affects the confidence in this asset class.”

The comments mark the latest in a series of official opinions on cryptocurrencies to have emerged from the UAE in recent weeks.

As Cointelegraph reported, this month should see formal regulations emerge at a nationwide level in the UAE regarding both fintech and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

This week, a Dubai police chief went on record to say digital currency would “soon replace” traditional cash, while other senior law enforcement officials called for the central bank to issue a national cryptocurrency.

ADGM, meanwhile, has long engaged with the crypto market, publishing guidelines last year, with Teng noting the organization had since shared its expertise with a number of international governments. Teng added:

“We are confident that our comprehensive regime — which we have shared with global regulators […] can address these risks and bring greater confidence into this asset class.”

Recipients included the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

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Former Twitch Senior Vice President of Marketing Joins Crypto Startup Kin as CMO

The Kin Ecosystem Foundation has appointed a former executive of Amazon-owned streaming platform Twitch as its chief marketing officer.

Former Twitch exec Matthew DiPietro has joined crypto startup Kin Ecosystem Foundation as chief marketing officer (CMO), PR Newswire reports September 18.

After serving eight years as senior vice president at the popular live streaming platform Twitch, DiPietro will now be responsible for developing marketing and brand strategies for Kin, the cryptocurrency launched by Kik Interactive, as specified on the expert’s LinkedIn profile.

According to PR Newswire, DiPietro drove brand development for Twitch, as well as led all marketing projects, including the launch of community convention TwitchCon that is devoted to Twitch and the culture of video game streaming.

Having started his career at Twitch as the only marketing specialist in 2010, DiPietro developed a department of more than 40 employees working on brand marketing, content marketing, creative initiatives, events, product marketing, and communications.

Following the new appointment, DiPietro commented on his new position at the crypto startup in a Reddit post, stating that assisting the “adoption of a transformative technology,” which is able to “fundamentally change the relationship between consumers and developers” is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Launched in 2011, the Twitch live streaming video service is now a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon, which acquired Twitch Interactive for around $970 million in August 2014. Also in 2014, Twitch first started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) payments, resuming the option through the Coinbase payment processing gateway in August 2016, following previous issues with Bitcoin payments via Xsolla.

Recently, Twitch streaming application Streamlabs announced it started accepting tips in cryptocurrency via Coinbase’s crypto exchange and wallet. The first coins available as tips are the ones supported by Coinbase, including Bitcoin, Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). New coins will reportedly be added in the future along with new listings on Coinbase, as the crypto exchange and wallet announced it was examining the addition of five new coins in July.

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Startup Launches Blockchain Powered Electric Vehicles That Mine Cryptocurrency

A Singapore startup is tackling transport carbon emissions with blockchain-enabled electric vehicles that mine cryptocurrency for the user as a reward.

A Singapore blockchain startup is launching a fleet of blockchain-enabled electric vehicles that mine crypto as users travel. The company intends to reduce carbon emissions and to reward people for doing so.

Cars and climate change

Road vehicles such as cars, trucks and motorcycles are the largest contributors of CO2 emissions in the transport sector, overshadowing that of trains, planes and boats. In the United Kingdom, the transport sector is the U.K.’s biggest contributor to CO2 emissions, and at present, there is a scramble not only in the U.K. but worldwide to put more electric vehicles on the roads.

CyClean aims to combat the issue by combining blockchain and cryptocurrency software with electric-powered vehicles as well as other products, such as solar panels and bicycles. The company will allow its users to rent these energy-efficient products and be rewarded with cryptocurrency.

Electric vehicles and products supplied to CyClean by leading producers are upgraded with a chip that connects to the CyClean server, it then tracks the traveled meters or watts of the user and rewards them accordingly.

There is a fixed amount of daily rewards for users and that total is divided by the number of users who have exceeded more than a kilometer of travel that day or produced more than one watt. With that said, the amount of CyClean coins awarded to users will be proportionate to the distance travelled or watts produced.

According to the CyClean white paper, their business model covers the electric bicycles and motorbikes, and they will be moving toward electric cars in the near future. They also have intentions to expand their motorbike sales to Southeast Asia, where usage of these vehicles is very high.

Up and running

CyClean says it is an operating business that has recently completed a successful Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and is preparing to launch domestic solar panels and an e-bike, adding to their range of products that mine the platform’s native cryptocurrency, the CyClean Coin (CCL). A CCL/USDT trading pair is now listed on HitBTC, a global cryptocurrency exchange, the CyClean team announced in August. At the time of writing, CCL is the highest trading ICO token on HitBTC, following only the established cryptocurrencies and altcoins, according to CoinMarketCap.

The company is taking itself rather seriously and is firmly combating the negative stereotypes of ICOs and blockchain technologies. At a recent blockchain conference in Seoul, CyClean’s strategic planner Joseph Nam spoke with others regarding the past, present and future of technology, discussing regulations, ICO laws and how important blockchain will be “in the coming Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

The conference was attended by former ministers of education in Korea, the president of the Korea Blockchain Association and other prominent government and industry figures. CyClean is attempting to establish solid connections with governments, groups and other organizations to see its presence expand beyond South Korea to other parts of the world.

Energy efficient

The trend of electric or hybrid vehicles is on the rise, and recent research has estimated that 13 million new electric vehicles are going to be produced every year until 2021; International Energy reported that in 2017, the number of electric cars in circulation had surpassed 3 million globally and is expected to reach 125 million by 2030.  

Blockchain technology solutions paired with electric vehicles have begun to take off. Recently, a partnership was struck between a United States-based company and China’s largest electric bus operator to provide financial services.

In 2017, another blockchain company began testing a peer-to-peer electric vehicle charger marketplace that enabled users to charge their cars by using another person’s power outlet.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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