Essential Crypto News

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Hackers steal ~$25M worth of cryptocurrency from Lendf.Me, a dForce-based decentralized lending platform, likely using a well-known exploit of an Ethereum token
Binance launches a white paper for Binance Smart Chain, an Ethereum-compatible proof-of-stake blockchain for smart contracts with BNB as a native token
Swiss startup Crypto Finance AG, which provides blockchain-related asset management, brokerage, and storage services, raises €13.3M Series B
Binance adds Bitcoin options trading to its mobile app
Bitmain wins legal case against the 2nd-largest Bitcoin mining pool Poolin, which it previously owned
Report: Travelex paid hackers 285 BTC, worth around $2.3M, to regain access to its systems after a ransomware attack on New Year's Eve
Bitcoin Cash reduces its block rewards by half, causing many miners to see gross margins drop to near zero, after reaching block height of 630,000 on Wednesday
Binance acquires crypto data aggregator CoinMarketCap, source says for around $300M
A hacker hijacked several of Microsoft's YouTube channels to broadcast a crypto Ponzi scam
Blockchain startup Block.one invests $150M in its social media app Voice, to kickstart its independent operations; Voice lets users post for token rewards
US CFTC publishes guidance on the “actual delivery” of a digital asset, which could impact margin loans where no actual cryptocurrencies change hands
Brave partners with Binance to include a widget on the new tab page that lets users buy, trade, and receive cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ether
Mozilla launches Firefox Better Web with Scroll for Firefox tracking protection and Scroll's ad-free browsing experience for $2.50/mo. for the first six months
The Tezos Foundation says it has agreed to settle for $25M a class action suit that alleged it ran an unregistered securities sale through its $232M ICO
Storj Labs launches a blockchain-based decentralized cloud storage service for enterprises at 50% lower pricing than AWS to securely store files and documents
Opera partners with e-payments startup Wyre to enable US users of its browser-based crypto wallet to buy bitcoin and ether using a debit card or Apple Pay
Bitcoin's price crash casts a shadow over mining firms, which have spent $500M+ since Sept. to prep for the “halving” in May, where mining rewards drop by 50%
Coinbase's chief legal officer, Brian Brooks, is leaving the crypto exchange to become the second in command at the US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Bitcoin fell to ~$5,200, its lowest level since May 2019 amid a collapse in worldwide stock market indices
Libra rival The Celo Foundation launches Alliance for Prosperity, a cryptocurrency developer platform, backed by 50+ partners including a16z and Coinbase
IBM's blockchain tech, marketed heavily as solving supply chain issues, has mostly seen limited adoption by big companies, including Walmart and Nestlé
Robinhood says it's investigating the cause of its third major outage in two weeks, which affected equities, crypto, and options trading until late in the day
How North Korean hackers laundered $100M in stolen Bitcoin by using hundreds of automated transactions to “peel” small amounts off the original
New York power plant sets up its own Bitcoin mining operation, with ~7K crypto miners, using “behind-the-meter” electricity to generate ~5.5 Bitcoins per day
Profile of Whitfield Diffie, one of the pioneers of public-key cryptography, which ushered in digital signatures and now underlies the security of ecommerce
Arweave, which uses a blockchain to perpetually host sites and apps, raises $8.3M seed from a16z, USV, and Coinbase Ventures, four months after raising $5M
South Korea passes crypto legal framework legislation, letting the country's regulators oversee and develop rules for cryptocurrencies and crypto exchanges
UK's FCA warns UK citizens against offers from crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX, saying it lacks authorization to market financial products in the country
KPMG report estimates that more than $9.8B worth of cryptocurrencies have been stolen since 2017 because of lax security or poorly written code
US sanctions two Chinese nationals for allegedly laundering cryptocurrency for North Korea's Lazarus Group, which has hacked two crypto exchanges since 2018
Square reports nearly half of its $361M Cash App revenue in Q4 came from bitcoin transactions, totaling $178M, up 240% YoY
Taiwan-based blockchain security startup CoolBitX raises $16.75M Series B led by SBI Holdings to help exchanges improve compliance with AML rules
Review of Decentraland, a virtual world on Ethereum blockchain, which launched this week and allows users to trade unique digital Decentraland assets in crypto
Safari will reportedly no longer accept new HTTPS certificates that are valid for more than 398 days beginning on September 1, down from 825 days
Decentralized Finance (DeFi), the best performing sector in crypto today, feels more like cosplaying a financial system than an actual viable alternative to it
Coinbase becomes a Visa Principal Member, allowing it to issue bitcoin debit cards for other crypto companies and traditional firms
BitGo acquires Harbor, issuer of tokens backed by real world assets, and will now hold broker-dealer, transfer agent, and qualified custodian licenses
An extortion scam is allegedly threatening website operators with junk ad clicks that trigger Google's fraud detection to limit or ban a site's AdSense account
Profile of Chainalysis, a crypto analytics startup helping government agencies like FBI, IRS, DEA, and ICE in tracking illicit cryptocurrency transactions
HK-based Amber, which offers crypto trading services like arbitrage, market making, and lending to institutional investors, raises $28M at a $100M valuation
DOJ has charged the owner of Helix, a dark web Bitcoin mixer service operating from 2014-2017, for allegedly laundering bitcoins worth $300M+ at the time
Crypto lending and borrowing service BlockFi raises $30M Series B led by Valar Ventures, bringing its total raised to over $100M
Sources: CIA secretly owned Crypto AG, the leading supplier of encryption systems globally, and could read allies' and adversaries' communications for decades
Chainalysis: cryptocurrency scams took in $4.3B+ in 2019, more than the $3B from 2017 and 2018 combined, with Ponzi schemes accounting for 90% of stolen funds
Paystand, which is building a blockchain-based platform to make B2B transactions as easy as Venmo payments are for consumers, raises $20M Series B
Blockchain data management startup Fluree says it has signed a contract with US Air Force to securely share data within the military and with US allies
SEC commissioner proposes a three-year grace period from a startup's first token sale to achieving a level of decentralization sufficient to pass SEC evaluation
Clear, which wants to build a high-volume transaction system on the blockchain, raises $13M Series A led by Eight Roads
Profile of Multicoin Capital, a $100M crypto hedge fund which, between Oct. 2017 and Nov. 2019, had returns of 143%, compared to bitcoin's rise of 109%
Lightning Labs, which wants to speed up bitcoin transactions, raises $10M Series A led by Craft Ventures and rolls out its first enterprise product
ConsenSys, a blockchain app developer started by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, buys broker-dealer Heritage Financial Systems to tokenize municipal bonds
TokenAnalyst: five mining entities - AntPool, BTC.com, BTC.top, F2 Pool, and ViaBTC, all based in China, control 49.9% of Bitcoin network's computing power
UK court orders Bitfinex to freeze bitcoin worth $860K after the crypto exchange and Chainalysis traced the funds to a ransomware payment
Chainalysis: in 2019, hackers successfully breached 11 major cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance, and stole more than $283M worth of cryptocurrency
Report: dapps' total transaction volume in 2019 reached $10.9B from 9 leading blockchains, up 58.5% YoY, and number of active dapp users doubled YoY to 3.11M
A look at the role of liquidators in the decentralized finance ecosystem, who make money by liquidating under-collateralized loans on crypto lending platforms
Thai startup Lightnet, which aims to provide remittance services in Southeast Asia through its Stellar-based blockchain network, raises $31.2M Series A
Telegram says it will not integrate TON Blockchain and a Gram cryptocurrency wallet into its messenger app for now
Arduino debuts Portenta H7 module with on-board crypto-authentication and communication modules, to facilitate designing custom IoT solutions, coming in Feb.
Crypto in 2020s: at least one blockchain will reach 1B users, a separate world of fully-decentralized, little-regulated crypto-to-crypto innovation will emerge
Crypto in 2010s: Bitcoin survived and became the best performing asset of the decade, exchanges captured most of the value, crypto became a regulated industry
Profile of Rune Christensen, the leader of MakerDAO, a decentralized finance project providing trustless loans, now backed by ~$312M worth of ethereum
BitMEX Research report: of 12 big initial exchange offerings in 2019, 11 are almost worthless compared to the price their tokens first traded for on exchanges
Hedera Hashgraph, which has raised $100M+ in 2018 ICO, asks investors to wait longer for purchased tokens, to help stabilize their cratering price
Alchemy, which is building middleware that connects Dapps to underlying blockchains like Ethereum, raises $15M from Pantera, Stanford, Coinbase, and others
Australian Securities Exchange is working with Digital Asset to convert part of its settlement process to blockchain, invests in the startup's $35M Series C
DOJ arrests 3 men behind the BitClub Network cryptocurrency mining pool, says it was a Ponzi scheme which defrauded investors of $722M since 2014
Cofounders of US bitcoin derivatives exchange LedgerX, CEO and COO Paul and Juthica Chou, placed on administrative leave by Ledger Holdings' board of directors
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appoints Republican Kelly Loeffler, CEO of Intercontinental Exchange subsidiary Bakkt, to the state's US Senate seat, starting Jan. 2020
Researchers achieve new cryptography milestones, including factoring the largest RSA key size ever, largely thanks to improved algorithms, not better hardware
Inside the shady world of upstart Chinese cryptocurrency exchanges like MXC, whose pump and dump schemes may have prompted China's latest crypto crackdown
US arrests an Ethereum Foundation researcher, claiming he participated in discussions about how N. Korea can avoid sanctions during a crypto conference there
Correction: Coinbase and Tagomi Deny Acquisition
A recent fracas between Binance and The Block shows crypto needs more independent journalists investigating the industry despite the community's media hostility
HSBC to shift $20B of assets by March 2020 to blockchain-based custody platform Digital Vault, one of the biggest uses of blockchain technology by a bank
Korean crypto exchange Upbit confirms it has lost 342K of ether worth ~$49M, suspends deposits/withdrawals, says losses will be covered with its own assets
Microsoft details sophisticated Dexphot crypto mining malware that has infected 80,000+ computers using advanced techniques since October 2018
In an unexpected move last month, China's economic planning agency removed cryptocurrency mining from a list of activities set to be banned
Protests in Hong Kong, Lebanon, Iran show bitcoin's limitations, as governments cut off internet, disrupting access to global exchanges and limiting liquidity
Inside the collapse of Quadriga crypto exchange, as law enforcement, accountants, and Reddit sleuths try to figure out if it was a legit operation or a scam
Binance acquires Mumbai-based bitcoin exchange WazirX, sources say at ~$5M-$10M; Indian crypto exchanges have struggled due to the lack of regulatory clarity
Canaan, the China-based maker of Bitcoin mining machines, prices its US IPO at the bottom of the range at $9 per share, raising $90M
Blockchain startup Bison Trails, a founding member of Libra Association, raises $25.5M Series A led by Blockchain Capital with Coinbase, Consensys participating
How Binance survived China's crypto crackdown, a $40M hack, and the bursting of the crypto bubble to become one of the most successful crypto exchanges
Automated crypto lending platform Compound raises $25M Series A from a16z, says it now has over $150M worth of assets on its platform
Intercontinental Exchange's Bakkt launches its institutional custody business, after getting approval from NY regulators
Analysis shows job searches on Indeed.com for bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain roles fell 53% in 2019, while share of crypto job postings grew by 26%
Andreessen Horowitz is launching a free crypto startup school, with a seven-week program that starts in February 2020
Square says it processed $148M in Q3 bitcoin sales, up 244% YoY, for a profit of $2M, flat QoQ, and debuts new fee structure for Cash App bitcoin transactions
Inside the Big Bitcoin Heist, in which thieves stole 550 Bitcoin mining computers, worth $500K for hardware alone, from a cryptocurrency data center in Iceland
How Arweave, which has raised $5M led by a16z, uses blockchain to host sites and apps perpetually, hedging upfront user payments with declining storage costs
Study: ~50% of bitcoin's price jump from March 2017 to March 2018 was due to influence of a manipulation scheme by one entity's account at Bitfinex using tether
Microsoft unveils Azure Blockchain Tokens, a platform for minting enterprise-ready crypto tokens
CoinList, which helps startups raise money through token sales, raises $10M led by Polychain Capital with participation from Jack Dorsey
Internal email to staff: Beijing-based bitcoin mining giant Bitmain has abruptly ousted co-founder and executive director Micree Ketuan Zhan
Following Xi Jinping's speech on blockchain tech, the Communist Party of China releases a decentralized app for members to attest their loyalty on a blockchain
Sources: after SEC injunction, Telegram Open Network ICO investors extended the deadline for the TON token launch from the end of October to April 30
PeerNova, a blockchain-based platform for financial institutions to synchronize data internally and externally, raises $31M, bringing the total raised to $74M
In prepared remarks for Congress, Mark Zuckerberg argues Libra “will extend America's financial leadership” and that China is pursuing similar projects
MediaLab, a holding company that owns the Whisper app, buys Kik messenger from Kik Interactive, which now focuses on development of Kin cryptocurrency
After buying Poloniex in 2018 for $400M, Circle spins it out into Polo Digital Assets, backed by an unnamed Asian firm, says it won't serve US customers anymore
Privacy focused browser Brave says it now has 8M MAU and 2.8M DAU
DOJ officials say they tracked the owner and users of the dark web child-porn site Welcome to Video by working with Chainalysis to trace bitcoin transactions
Inside Facebook's attempt to launch its cryptocurrency, as major partners and most payments providers withdraw from Libra Association amid regulatory pressure
Layer1 raises $50M from Peter Thiel and others at $200M valuation for a planned wind energy-backed bitcoin mining operation in Texas using custom cooling tech
China Construction Bank says its blockchain-based platform for factoring and forfaiting services has processed $53B+ in transactions since April 2018
UNICEF's Office of Innovation launches crypto fund for bitcoin and ether donations, becoming the first UN agency to hold and make transactions in cryptocurrency
At Devcon 5, Ethereum's premier conference, Ethereum's creators admit that the original blockchain was never meant to scale and discuss how to get to Eth 2
Report on Dapp's across six blockchains, including ETH, EOS, TRON: total transaction volume was $2.03B in Q3, down 40% QoQ, dapp user retention from Q2 was 36%
Profile of Katie Haun, who targeted Bitcoin as a US DOJ prosecutor and is the first female general partner at a16z, now co-heading its $350M cryptocurrency fund
The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance creates a system of trusted reward tokens backed by Microsoft and Intel, to incentivize teamwork in consortiums of companies

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