As stated in the court document, an unknown hacker, referred to as “John Doe” in the case, managed to take over Bitmain’s Binance account and used stored Bitcoin to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then steal the profits.

Bitmain says in the court document that the amount of the company’s losses “exceeds” $5.5 million in “Bitcoin and other digital assets,” and specifying that the defendant was able to steal “approximately 617 BTC.” The document cites that the unauthorized action took place on April 22, when Bitcoin was trading at around $8,935.

The document also explains that as a part of the “scam,” the unknown hacker used two of their own accounts on now-second largest crypto exchange Binance, as well as on Bittrex, with around 2.3 million MANA already acquired on Bittrex. “John Doe” reportedly placed purchase orders from Bitmain’s digital wallet offering to buy MANA “and other digital assets” with Bitmain’s bitcoins at a price that was “far above the going market rate.” The defendant also allegedly further artificially inflated MANA’s price by using Bitmain’s BTC to buy Ethereum (ETH), which was then used to buy MANA.

According to the lawsuit, the hacker further carried out a number of orchestrated trades in the reverse direction between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, eventually reportedly completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account “ultimately into a digital wallet on the Bittrex cryptocurrency trading platform.”

In Mid-October, Cointelegraph reported that losses caused by hacks of crypto exchanges in the first nine months of 2018 have exceeded the numbers for the whole year of 2017 by 250 percent, with $927 million stolen.

According to the company’s release, MultiVAC reported achieving 30,784 transactions per second (TPS) using 64 shards. While the total amount of transactions for all shards used exceeded 30K at its peak, a single a shard was claimed to reach 533 TPS.

MultiVAC also claimed in the release that their “all-dimensional sharding expansion solution” could potentially be used for large-scale commercial applications, as well as for crypto mining on low-performance computers.

The term sharding in crypto is most often applied in reference to the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain’s upcoming major upgrades. In May 2018, Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin hinted that sharding – or splitting up the workload for transaction between nodes to speed up processing time – would be implemented on Ethereum.

In late October, Buterin revealed the roadmap for Ethereum 2.0, dubbed Serenity, during his keynote speech at the annual Devcon conference. Apart from a transfer to a proof-of-stake algorithm, the Ethereum think tank also confirmed that Serenity would implement sharding.

Earlier in October, Bitcoin (BTC) developer Mark Friedenbach presented a method for Bitcoin scaling that would rely on sharding and reportedly would not require a hard fork. He  claimed the new solution would be able to increase “settlement transaction volume to 3,584 times current levels” and improve censorship resistance.

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Blockchain will “probably take a little longer” to develop than the internet, because it is “much more complicated,” ConsenSys creator Joseph Lubin told German media outlet t3n in an interview, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported Nov. 9.

Lubin, who is also the co-founder of Ethereum (ETH), told reporters that blockchain technology is developing in a similar way to the web, citing its exponential growth with “hundreds of projects that are already practical for humans” to date.

Based on blockchain’s use case for decentralized cryptocurrencies, the digital entrepreneur also suggested that distributed ledger technology (DLT) will be able to “permeate society more than the Internet” and enable a decentralized internet, or Web3. Lubin, however, forecast that the adoption of blockchain on a mass scale will take longer than that of the internet:

“[Blockchain projects] will enable people to build more things that will come in handy again. That’s how the web was developed. It will probably take a little longer, because it is much more complicated. Also, because we work on topics such as digital money, Blockchain will permeate society more than the Internet. Everything will be networked in a Web3.”

In the interview, Lubin stressed the fact that ConsenSys – an Ethereum-focused startup incubator and infrastructure development firm – was “born” prior to the release of Ethereum, with the goal of building the tools and infrastructure to enable a decentralized “ecosystem” in which Ethereum could function.

 Lubin also emphasized that the firm is interested in bringing that ecosystem forward rather than “controlling” it:

“We [ConsenSys] do many things, but we are not interested in controlling the ecosystem. We are interested in promoting the ecosystem.”

Addressing the question of the Ethereum ecosystem’s decentralization, Lubin retorted “[d]o you expect it to be fully mature, three years after its creation?”

When asked about how the dynamics of the current internet could be transformed in Web3, Lubin shrugged off a comparison between ConsenSys and major internet giants like Facebook and Google, insteading pointing to “IBM and Microsoft, Accenture and Deloitte” as possible centralizing forces in blockchain.

Lubin also stated that the principle business models of the internet today are contradictory to the nature of blockchain, which “enables a self-determined, sovereign identity.”

Earlier this year, Lubin predicted that the global community is moving towards a world based on “decentralized governance,” supporting the idea that major cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) is likely to remain the world’s “digital gold,” while Ethereum would serve as a “fuel” for decentralized ecosystems.

Leading cryptocurrency investor law firm Silver Miller Law has filed suit against cell phone giants AT&T and T-Mobile on behalf of several digital asset investors who were victims of the identity-theft tactic known as “SIM swapping.” The suit alleges that both companies possessed flaws in their security systems and failed to properly train their employees to work against hackers seeking to gain access to users’ smartphones.

SIM swapping occurs when a hacker gathers information on a potential victim, such as their phone password, answers to their security questions and their financial holdings. Once they have the data they need, the hacker will contact the person’s cell phone provider and claim that their SIM card has been lost or damaged and request that a new one be activated, with the end goal of accessing the victim’s finances — in this case, cryptocurrency.

The lawyers at Silver Miller Law claim that many of their clients had their crypto wallets drained via SIM swapping techniques, including one individual — an AT&T holder — who had roughly $621,000 stolen despite the phone company’s assurances that security had been beefed up following an earlier hack attempt on his account. Two other instances involved T-Mobile clients, who were ultimately robbed of $400,000 and $250,000 respectively.

This is not the only SIM jacking case brought against AT&T; the mobile carrier is also the subject of a separate $224 million lawsuit brought on by Michael Terpin, the founder of angel investment group BitAngels. Terpin claims that the company’s weak security protocols led to his loss of roughly $24 million in crypto funds through two separate SIM swap attacks.

In a deposition filed in August, Terpin claims that the hackers obtained access to his phone number with the help of an AT&T customer service representative. The hackers were then able to access his cryptocurrency wallet and steal funds.

Terpin states, “What AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.” He is now seeking roughly $200 million in damages.

Silver Miller Law has developed a reputation in the space for bringing investor-led lawsuits to court. Notable judgments and settlements in the firm’s history include Liu v. the Florida-based cryptocurrency exchange Cryptsy, in which roughly $50 million (approximately 11,300 BTC) was ordered returned to the company’s many traders and investors. It has also filed suits against Coinbase for its alleged mishandling of December 2017’s bitcoin cash listing.

In a short-term win for bitcoin advocate Charlie Shrem, a federal judge has lifted the freeze on Shrem’s financial accounts in an ongoing legal battle against the Winklevoss twins.

Shrem’s financial accounts and assets were temporarily frozen via an attachment order following the suit’s initial filing. The order allowed the U.S. Marshall for the Southern District to freeze Shrem’s assets, instructing cryptocurrency companies like Coinbase and Xapo and legacy financial institutions to freeze Shrem’s assets up to $30 million, the amount the Winklevosses are seeking in damages.

However, following a hearing on Thursday, November 8, 2019, presiding Judge Jed S. Rakoff issued a court order lifting the freeze.

“After careful consideration, the Court denies plaintiff’s motion to confirm the order of attachment and therefore lifts the attachment currently in place effective immediately,” the order reads.

The document concludes by saying that an opinion will be issued “in due course” explaining why a freeze was unnecessary for the initial proceedings to continue.

Earlier this month, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss of the Gemini Exchange in New York filed a suit against Charlie Shrem for 5,000 BTC after Shrem reportedly made several high-value purchases following his release from prison.

Shrem has claimed he went to prison penniless, reportedly working as a dishwasher for several months after his release before returning to the bitcoin space. Shrem’s self-reported poverty has lead the community to question where he dug up the funds for his luxury shopping spree.

The Winklevosses believe that these purchases were made with bitcoin Shrem stole from the twins when they hired him to manage their initial cryptocurrency investments in 2012.

The working relationship was troubled when Shrem allegedly mismanaged roughly $60,000 of bitcoin. At the time, bitcoin was worth approximately $12.50, so the $60,000 would be equal to about 5,000 BTC. The twins say they’ve hired a private investigator who states that, in 2013, the missing bitcoins were traced to several wallet addresses owned by Shrem before being redirected to other accounts.

Shrem’s lawyer Brian Klein asserts that the Winklevoss twins’ claims are baseless, and he’s confident in Shrem’s innocence. In a recently filed motion of defense, Klein writes:

“Plaintiff Winklevoss Capital Fund, LLC’s (“WCF’s”) prejudgment attachment and underlying lawsuit are predicated and built on the demonstrably false premise that defendant Charlie Shrem (“Shrem”) misappropriated $61,000 of WCF’s money in 2012, purchased 5,000 bitcoins with those funds, moved those bitcoins around on December 31, 2012 (and subsequently), and then years later after his release from prison went on a spending spree with them, but WCF’s case collapses on itself because those 5,000 bitcoins were not owned by Shrem. The scandalous and fantastical story WCF is advancing is nonsense.”

The document explains that the 5,000 BTC in question were owned by a separate party, who for privacy purposes, Klein refers to as “Mr. X.” It further states that Mr. X is “identified in email communications between him and Shrem (and others)” discussing the 5,000 bitcoins. Copies of the emails were filed with the motion that allegedly suggest Mr. X transferred the coins to a cold storage wallet account in Shrem’s name on December 31, 2012.

The document goes on to say, “This lawsuit and application for prejudgment attachment can only be characterized as an ambush money-grab designed to cripple Shrem financially.” It further explains that the Winklevoss twins have failed to provide any substantial evidence showing that Shrem attempted to defraud them purposely.

While the judge has freed up Shrem’s funds, the case is ongoing, and it will have an official trial by jury on April 8, 2019.

Colorado State Securities Commissioner Gerald Rome has issued a cease and desist order to four Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) for allegedly offering unregistered securities, according to an official notice published Nov. 8.

The orders come as part of a state operation by the “ICO Task Force” within the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), which in May of this year commenced investigations into potentially unlawful activity targeting cryptocurrency investors. With yesterday’s orders, DORA has now issued 12 cease and desist actions against ICOs.

On Nov. 8, Rome signed four orders to Bitcoin Investments, Ltd. — which is also conducting  business as DB Capital — PinkDate, Prisma, and Clear Shop Vision Ltd.

Per the notice, Bitcoin Investments claims to be a blockchain investment firm with over $700 million assets under management across multiple funds. The company allegedly promised its customers over one percent daily returns along with additional returns on internal trading of the “DB Token.”

The company reportedly claimed that “the average registered investment return over a two month period in 2017 was an amazing 95 percent,” while its ICO lists a number of celebrity promoters.

Bitcoin Investments’ website reportedly deploys the same format, visual content, and employee team as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) educational site about related risks for potential crypto investors. Per the statement, DB Token ICO has not been registered as a security with the Division of Securities.

“Anonymously-operated, worldwide escorting service[s]” company Pinkdate allegedly seeks to fundrise more than $5 million via an ICO in tokens referred to as PinkDate Platform (PDP). The statement says that the firm promises investors “50 percent of Net Profits through dividends” in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), or Bitcoin Cash (BCH). The PinkDate ICO allegedly has not been registered with the Division of Securities.

As for Prisma, its website allegedly requires users to buy its native crypto Prismacoin (PRIS) to use a proposed lending and arbitraging investment platform, through which investors could ostensibly profit up to 27 percent on their initial investment. The “arbitrage bot” is claimed to generate returns of up to 1.5 percent daily.

The last company on the list, Clear Shop Vision, Ltd, has promoted three ICOs since June 2018 and offered “ORC Token” with a “serious appreciation potential.” The company’s site allegedly directs investors to send ETH directly to Clear Shop’s ETH wallet, but not through a crypto exchange.

Per the notice, all mentioned companies have to immediately cease and desist all alleged violations of the Colorado Securities Act, including unregistered securities and fraud.

The U.S. Marshals agency has announced plans to auction $4.3 million worth of bitcoin (BTC) in November 2018. The sealed bid auction is for nearly 660 bitcoins which were seized in a series of federal criminal, administrative and civil cases over the years.

The haul comes from cases against convicts like Thomas Mario Costanzo and Theresa Tetley, both sentenced to jail in 2018 on money-laundering charges. At the time, the agency seized 80 BTC from Costanzo and 40 BTC from Tetley. The U.S. Marshals, however, didn’t reveal how much of the forfeited assets from the two would be sold next month.

Founded in 1789, the U.S. Marshals Service is a federal law-enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Justice and the enforcement arm of federal courts.

Starting next month, bidders will be able to participate in the auction, which consists of two series: Series A and Series B, according to the agency. Series A consists of six blocks of 100 bitcoins each, while Series B has just one block with 60 bitcoins. Participating bidders will not be able to view other bids or modify their bid, once submitted, the agency warned.

To be part of the auction, a potential bidder needs to register with the agency on or before October 31, 2018.

The registration process includes a signed copy of the Bidder Registration Form, copy of government-issued photo ID of the bidder, a $200,000 deposit (about 30 BTC) sent by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) from a bank within the U.S. and a copy of the EFT receipt.

This is the third major Bitcoin auction by the U.S. Marshals this year, and it might not be the last. In January 2018, the agency sold 3,600 BTC, and it followed it up with the sale of 2,170 BTC in March. Its biggest bitcoin sale to date was in 2013, when Silk Road was shut down and Ross Ulbricht was sentenced to life imprisonment. The agency seized 144,341 BTC from Ulbricht and 29,656 BTC from Silk Road’s servers, which it sold for around $48 million in the following years.

Venture capital investor Tim Draper reaffirmed his prediction that the Bitcoin (BTC) price will reach $250,000 by 2022, during a panel discussion at the Web Summit summit conference Nov. 6

Draper initially predicted that the BTC price will surge up to $250,000 in April of this year. “Believe it, it’s going to happen – they’re going to think you’re crazy but believe it, it’s happening, it’s going to be awesome!,” Draper said then.

When asked at the recent Web Summit conference whether he still thinks the BTC price will experience a 40 times return in a span of four years and reach $250,000, Draper said:

“Yes. We are talking […] about five percent market share to get to $250,000. That seems like a drop in a bucket and all we need to really do is make it so that Bitcoin can be used to buy Starbucks coffee, and all of a sudden the world just opens up and then they say ‘I’ve got this choice.’ […] Do I want a currency that I can take from country to country […] or do I want one that sticks me in one country or one geographic area and I can’t use it anywhere else?”

Draper also questioned the need for fiat currencies or “political currencies,” stating “why do we even trust currencies that are determined by some weird political party or another?” In Draper’s view, banks issue money “whenever they feel like it for whatever reason they want it,” and the emergence of a “totally apolitical,” global, and open currency would cede control of money from banks to common people, he explained.

Speaking at the GovTech Pioneers conference in May, Draper presented his vision of a future in which blockchain utilizing smart contracts in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI) will massively change the role and responsibilities of states. “If we combine Bitcoin, blockchain with smart contracts and artificial intelligence, we could create the perfect bureaucracy,” he said.

In September, Draper made another prediction, saying that the total cryptocurrency market capitalization will hit $80 trillion in the next 15 years. Draper argued that the significant slide in the cryptocurrency market in previous months is attributed to people who had not adopted digital currencies as a new asset class. Draper said then:

“Cryptocurrency will go after trillion dollar markets — these are finance, healthcare and insurance, banking and investment banking, and governments.”

Over the last 48 hours, since November 7, the global crypto market has lost $6 billion of its valuation as it dropped from $220 billion to $214 billion, while Bitcoin remained stable.

On November 6, major cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Stellar (XLM), and Cardano (ADA) recorded large gains in the range of 5 to 30 percent, as BCH surged by around 40 percent within a two-day span.

Subsequent to demonstrating a significant increase in value, most major cryptocurrencies retraced, which was expected amongst the majority of cryptocurrency traders in the community.

On a Monthly Basis, Crypto Still Performing Well

Fueled by the drop of Bitcoin Cash and many small market cap tokens, the cryptocurrency market recorded a drop of 2.7 percent in its valuation. But, on a monthly basis, the market is up more than $16 billion since mid-October, from $198 billion to $214 billion.

Since October 15, the crypto market added $22 billion to its valuation, rising by more than 11 percent. A minor correction was expected following a major 11 percent increase within a 30-day span.

Despite the 2.7 percent drop in the valuation of the market, the volume of major cryptocurrencies remains relatively high. In early October, the daily trading volume of BTC was hovering at around $3.2 billion.

As of November 9, the daily trading volume of BTC remains above the $4.5 billion mark, up 40 percent within the past three weeks. The noticeable surge in the trading activity of BTC and other major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum is attributable to the general increase in positivity and optimism towards the mid-term growth trend of the market.

Many traders consider the Bitcoin futures market of Bakkt to act as a major catalyst for the next rally of BTC, as unlike other futures trading platforms, Bakkt physically delivers BTC to future contract holders. Hence, institutional investors could actually impact the price of BTC in a positive manner, as CCN reported on November 8.

While the general sentiment towards BTC and major cryptocurrencies is positive, the recent crackdown on decentralized crypto exchange EtherDelta has led investors to be more cautious in investments in tokens.

Tokens in Trouble

On November 7, CCN reported that tokens could suffer a correction throughout the months to come if the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decides that most tokens are securities under existing regulations.

“While many tokens have recorded gains in the range of 5 to 20 percent over the last week, regulatory uncertainty around tokens and their regulatory nature could lead to a decline in the value of tokens in the weeks to come, as the SEC releases its new guideline.”

Over the last 24 hours, decentralized cryptocurrency exchange EtherDelta was targeted by the SEC for the distribution of unregistered securities, and the categorization of tokens as securities could lead to a further decline in the price of most tokens.

Already, tokens have started to drop substantially in volume, as seen by the sell-off of Polymath, 0x, and Basic Attention token.

According to Fortune, a report from Forrester Research has noted that amid concerns around overhype, businesses are ditching the word ‘blockchain.’

In response to an overwhelming number of new products touting the label ‘blockchain,’ its quickly becoming a shibboleth for technology companies- who use it like an incantation promising that their new technology will be revolutionary. Accordingly, many companies are moving from ‘blockchain’ to ‘DLT,’ or distributed-ledger-technology. This follows an older shift in terminology from ‘crypto,’ to ‘blockchain,’ all of which follows an overabundance of players in a field which has yet to produce meaningfully lasting products

For anyone paying attention to developments in the tech sector of late, its hard not to notice an absolute proliferation of blockchain applications. With all the hype around blockchain, its evident that a lot of tech companies are trying to get on board a growing technology without necessarily having a good application, or even totally understanding what blockchain is.


Blockchain fatigue becomes a problem
in some ways, blockchain is suffering the same type of overhype that virtual reality is. It’s been portrayed as a true game changer. The problem is that so many people still aren’t seeing real world benefits.

In a critique on the exploding blockchain scene, Kai Stinchcombe notes that for most companies trying to deploy blockchain, the blockchain enthusiasm came first, and then the use case was discovered.

While there are laughable cryptocurrencies, which are knowngly frivilous like Banancoin, which tokenizes fruit, there also exist many companies who are trying to find a problem to solve with blockchain, rather than a technology which solves an already extant problem.

Tom Eastman@tveastman
Replying to @tveastman and 3 others

Here’s where I think we’re agreeing although you might find my cynicism distasteful:

I could build a system out of git repositories and enforced commit signing that could solve a bunch of fascinating problems. If I call it a ‘blockchain’ then I get venture $$$ on top.

Tom Eastman@tveastman

We’re drifting between topics though:

– I’m partly interested in serious discussion, and partly trolling.
– I’m partly talking about the hyperbolic overhype of “blockchain”, and partly the outright destructiveness of bitcoin.

I think we should stop. Or chat in person over beer.

Jamie Burke, speaking to the Guardian notes that this is a normal part of the way new technology gets adopted in the 21st century, saying ‘it’s never the first generation of a technology that delivers the blockbuster hit. It’s always the second, or the third. This is the reality of how technologies are adopted,’ bringing to mind the dot-com bubble to which blockchain is frequently compared. The fact of the matter is that the early internet offered a lot of promise, but it was not an automatic path towards a profitable product. In the same way, it seems plausible that blockchain overhype will lead to a lot of dead ends, but overall will indeed empower a new generation of technologies.