Category: Cryptocurrency

June 7, 2019 Off

Daily Crunch: Facebook’s cryptocurrency is coming

By Jill T Frey

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Facebook plans June 18 cryptocurrency debut. Here’s what we know

Facebook is finally ready to reveal details about its cryptocurrency, codenamed Libra. It has currently scheduled a June 18 release of a white paper explaining its cryptocurrency’s basics, according to a source.

It sounds like Facebook’s cryptocurrency will be a stablecoin, transferable with zero fees via Facebook products including Messenger and WhatsApp.

2. NASA declares International Space Station ‘open for business,’ including private astronaut visits

NASA’s plan also includes allowing private business activities to take place on the ISS, including “in-space manufacturing,” marketing activities, healthcare research “and more,” NASA says.

3. How Amazon’s delivery robots will navigate your sidewalk

In Amazon’s current trial, the robots … Read the rest

May 24, 2019 Off

How to see another company’s growth tactics and try them yourself

By Jill T Frey

Every company’s online acquisition strategy is out in the open. If you know where to look.

This post shows you exactly where to look, and how to reverse engineer their growth tactics.

Why is this important? Competitive analysis de-risks your own growth experiments: You find the best growth ideas to adopt and the worst ones to avoid.

First, a warning: Your goal is not to repurpose another company’s hard work. That makes you a thief. Your goal is to identify other companies who face the same growth challenges as you, then to study their approaches … Read the rest

May 24, 2019 Off

Crypto exchange Binance prepares to add margin trading ‘soon’

By Jill T Frey

Binance, the world’s most prominent crypto exchange, says it is close to adding a much-anticipated margin-trading feature to its service following weeks of speculation.

The company tweeted confirmation of the upcoming feature in a screenshot that subtly teases the imminent arrival of margin-trading options. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (pictured above) first revealed the feature was headed to Binance during a live stream following a hack earlier this month that saw Binance lose around $40 million in Bitcoin.

TechCrunch understands that margin trading has been beta tested among select users. A Binance representative declined to comment on the specifics, but did confirm that margin trading will be available on Binance.com “soon.”

Margin trading, which lets traders use their balance as collateral to super-size their buying power, is seen by many as an important growth vector for … Read the rest

May 22, 2019 Off

These startups are locating in SF and Africa to win in global fintech

By Jill T Frey

To become a global fintech player, locate your company in San Francisco and Africa.

That’s the approach of payments company Flutterwave, digital lending startup Mines, and mobile-money venture Chipper Cash—Africa-founded ventures that maintain headquarters in San Francisco and operations in Africa to tap the best of both worlds in VC, developers, clients, and the frontier of digital finance.

This arrangement wasn’t exactly coordinated across the ventures, but TechCrunch coverage picked up the trend and some common motives among these rising fintech firms.

Founded in 2016 by Nigerians Iyinoluwa Aboyeji and Olugbenga Agboola, Flutterwave has positioned itself as a global B2B payments solutions platform for companies in Africa to pay other companies on the continent and abroad.

Clients can tap its APIs and work with Flutterwave developers to customize payments applications. Existing customers include Uber,  Booking.com and African e-commerce unicorn Jumia.com.

The Y-Combinator backed company is headquartered in … Read the rest

May 17, 2019 Off

‘Crypto exchange’ Goxtrade caught using other people’s photos on its staff page

By Jill T Frey

Alleged cryptocurrency exchange Goxtrade bills itself as a “trusted platform for trading bitcoins,” but its staff page is filled with photos of people pulled seemingly at random from the internet.

The alleged exchange, which claimed to debut in 2017 yet its website is only a little more than a week old, used photos taken from social media profiles and other company websites not associated with the company.

Bizarrely, the alleged exchange didn’t bother to change all of the names of the people whose photos it used.

Amber Baldet, co-founder of Clovyr, a prominent figure in the blockchain community, and listed in Fortune’s 40 Under 40, was one of the people whose name and photos appeared on the site.

“Fraud alert: I am not a developer at Goxtrade and probably their entire business is a lie,” she tweeted Friday.

Nearly all of the names are accurate but have no … Read the rest

May 16, 2019 Off

Openfinance opens up US trading of third-party digital assets

By Jill T Frey

Openfinance, the secondary market for trading digital alternative assets, announced it will be opening up trading of third-party digital securities to US Investors, making it the first trading platform to do so.

The company already supported the trading of third-party digital securities (securities that have been migrated onto the blockchain that are now traded on Openfinance’s blockchain-based platform) in Europe, but was unable to provide the same capability in the US due to minimum holding periods for new tokenized securities required by US regulators.

Now that the holding periods are up for two of the first security token assets traded on Openfinance — Blockchain Capital’s BCAP security token and SPiCE VC’s SPiCE token — both accredited and non-accredited investors in the US will now be able to access and trade both securities through the Openfinance network.

The BCAP and SPiCE tokens are the first of several digital securities that … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

Binance pledges to ‘significantly’ increase security following $40M Bitcoin hack

By Jill T Frey

Binance has vowed to raise the quality of its security in the aftermath of a hack that saw thieves make off with more than $40 million in Bitcoin from the exchange.

The company — which is widely believed to operate the world’s largest crypto exchange based on trading volumes — said today that it will “significantly revamp” its security measures, procedures and practices in response. In particular, CEO Changpeng Zhao wrote in a blog post that Binance will make “significant changes to the API, 2FA, and withdrawal validation areas, which was an area exploited by hackers during this incident.”

Speaking on a live stream following the disclosure of the hack earlier this week, Zhao said the hackers had been “very patient” and, in addition to targeting high-net-worth Binance users, he suggested the attack used both internal and external vectors. That might well mean phishing, and that’s an area where Zhao … Read the rest

May 4, 2019 Off

Coinbase loses its first CTO after just one year in the job

By Jill T Frey

Coinbase, the $8 billion-valued crypto exchange, has lost its CTO after Balaji Srinivasan announced his departure from the company.

Srinivasan became the U.S. company’s first CTO one year ago after it acquired Earn.com, where he was CEO and co-founder. Given the tenure — one year and one day — it looks like Srinivasan’s departure comes after he served the minimum agreed period with Coinbase.

A high-profile figure in the crypto space who has also spent time with Coinbase and Earn investor A16z, Srinivasan announced his move on Twitter. He declined to go into specifics but told TechCrunch that he plans to take time off to get fit, among other things, before launching into his next product.

Read the rest
May 3, 2019 Off

How German and US authorities took down the owners of darknet drug emporium Wall Street Market

By Jill T Frey

The major darknet marketplace known as the Wall Street Market has been seized and its alleged operators arrested in a joint operation between European and U.S. authorities. Millions in cash, cryptocurrency and other assets were collected, and the market shut down. How investigators tied these anonymity-obsessed individuals to the illegal activities is instructive.

The three men accused of running Wall Street Market (WSM), one of the larger hidden service markets operating via the Tor network, are all German citizens: Tibo Lousee, Jonathan Kalla and Klaus-Martin Frost; several vendors from the market have also been charged, including one who sold meth on it by the kilogram.

The investigation has been ongoing since 2017, but was pushed to a crisis by the apparent attempt in April by WSM’s operators to execute an exit scam. By suddenly removing all the cryptocurrency held in escrow and otherwise stored under their authority, the alleged owners … Read the rest

May 1, 2019 Off

Shellbot malware evolves to spread and shuts down other cryptominers

By Jill T Frey

When hackers want to make a quick buck, mining cryptocurrency seems to be the way to go.

New research out Wednesday by Boston-based security firm Threat Stack shared exclusively with TechCrunch reveals a new variant of the Shellbot malware is taking a leaf out of the other cryptocurrency mining by breaking into computers and using their resources to make money.

Shellbot, first written about by Jask in February, now uses an old but reliable SSH brute force technique to break into internet-connected Linux servers with weak passwords to infect a system and mine cryptocurrency.

But now, Threat Stack says, the malware has new capabilities, allowing it to spread through a network and shut down other cryptominers on infected computers, allowing the malware to free up more processing power for its own cryptomining operation.

“The main goal of this campaign appears to be monetary gain via cryptomining and propagating itself to … Read the rest