North Korean hackers may have netted the regime over $200 million worth of cryptocurrency transactions last year. The money could have been used to dilute the impact of international sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear and missiles program.
The regime’s potentially huge cryptocurrency revenue was revealed by Priscilla Moriuchi, a former NSA officer, during an interview with Radio Free Asia. Per the former US government employee, North Korea could have made an estimated 11,000 bitcoins through a cyber army.
“I would bet that these coins are being turned into something – currency or physical goods – that are supporting North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme.”
FinCEN Letter To Congress
The letter was sent to the Honourable Ron Wyden – FinCEN’s assistant secretary for legislative affairs – and it suggested that developers and exchanges that interact with ICOs should register as a money transmitter. This would involve complying with a lengthy list of AML (anti-money laundering) and KYC (know your customer) regulations.
Binance Hack Goes Wrong
Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, recently saw users complain their altcoin balances were being liquidated for bitcoin, and then used to buy a little-known cryptocurrency named Viacoin. According to the exchange, it was all part of a sophisticated theft attempt, that Binance managed to thwart.
Per the exchange’s investigation, a group of “well organized” hackers attempted to manipulate the market and steal user’s funds. Their plot saw them initially launch a ‘phishing’ scheme in early January, in which they purchased domain names resembling Binance.com. They created copies of the exchange’s interface, to trick users into entering their credentials.
However, the unusual trading activity triggered Binance’s “automatic risk management system.” The system, as Binance’s summary reads, halted withdrawals:
“However, as withdrawals were already automatically disabled by our risk management system, none of the withdrawals successfully went out. Additionally, the VIA coins deposited by the hackers were also frozen. Not only did the hacker not steal any coins out, their own coins have also been withheld.”
Coinbase Hit By Three Lawsuits
Within the space of two weeks, three separate lawsuits have been filed against the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S. – Coinbase – for several transgressions that includes insider trading at the time of Bitcoin Cash launch on its trading platform, the second being unlawfully holding bitcoins, and the third being security negligence.
The first, class action lawsuit Berk vs Coinbase, filed on March 1, 2018, in Northern District of California, argues that the Coinbase informed its staff about its plan to add support for Bitcoin Cash trading on its platform.
Following the first case, a separate class-action lawsuit – Faasse v. Coinbase, was filed on March 2, 2018, as plaintiffs claim Coinbase held “unclaimed digital assets.” The case will be overlooked by a federal magistrate in Oakland, California.
The third case filed – Sultan vs Coinbase, on 13th February 2018, by Ezra Sultan, who blamed Coinbase for not effectuating the two-factor authentication system, resulting in Sultan losing 545 Litecoins worth about $100,000.
Japanese Exchanges ‘Punished’ By FSA
The Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) stated on Thursday 8th that it has suspended two cryptocurrency exchanges. Each suspension is a month long and starts from today. The suspension has been ordered as the result of poor security and compliance standards.
Bit Station and FSHO were the exchanges that had trading halted for a month. However, 5 other exchanges came under fire from the FSA and must produce and submit a ‘Security Improvement Plan’ by March 22nd.
The FSA found these five exchanges to have insufficient security measures. Those five exchanges are Tech Bureau, GMO Coin, Mister Exchange, Bicrements as well as Coincheck.
Ripple Partners With Banks To Create ‘MoneyTap’
Ripple is collaborating with 61 Japanese banks to launch a mobile application under the name “MoneyTap” The company joined partnered with the 61 Japanese banks in July last year and together they represent 80% of Japans banking services.
According to a report from CNBC, Ripple created with a consortium of 61 Japanese banks. Dubbed MoneyTap, the mobile app will facilitate instant domestic transactions 24/7. Additionally, the app will launch in Autumn 2018 and will launch only for three banks in the conglomerate: SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank, and Resona Bank.
“Bitcoin Misery Index” Signals Its Time to Buy
Bitcoin bull Tom Lee, the only Wall Street strategist covering Bitcoin and the co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, recently created a “Bitcoin Misery Index.” The index works like most sentiment indicators, and is meant to be a contrarian one. This means that when it’s low, it’s time to buy the cryptocurrency. The index ranges from 0 to 100, and is now at 18.8.
According to Tom Lee, when the misery index hits “misery” (falls below 27), bitcoin sees “the best 12-month performance.” In the past, bitcoin has experienced several bull runs after falling below the 27 mark. Its current value of 18.8 is the lowest it’s been since September 6, 2011.
Bitmain May Be Developing Operations In The US
Bitmain, a Chinese bitcoin mining giant that currently dominates the ASIC chip production industry, may be setting up new operations in the US. According to available data that links the company’s co-founder to a new company, which is said to be negotiating a land-use agreement in America.
According to the Union Bulletin, a company called Ant Creek is trying to build mining facilities in the state of Washington as it is currently negotiating a land-use agreement with Port of Walla Walla, a city in the state. Under the terms of the agreement, Ant Creek would lease the land from early 2019, and would have the option to buy up to 40 acres.