Hackers: This past week there have not been any major hacks in the news as the outlook for bitcoin and cryptocurrency as a whole as been quite positive. With that in mind more information has come to light regarding the Ethereum mining hack. Hackers have devised a new way to steal your cryptocurrencies. This time, they are running a massive scanning campaign to pick out Ethereum wallets and miners with a specific vulnerability. Per reports on ZDNet, crypto hackers are targeting Ethereum wallet and mining equipment going through devices with an exposed port 8545, the standard port for the JSON-RPC interface, a programmatic API that sits on the local device and can be used to query for mining-related information. Developers had warned users about the dangers of exposing the JSON-RPC interface when using mining equipment and the best way to prevent this hack if mining Ethereum is to enable a password for the interface or activate a firewall to filter internet traffic coming to the vulnerable port.
Bullish Key Players: Cryptocurrency investors can take a cautious sigh of relief after the crypto market valuation gained nearly $33 billion dollars in just three days, with Bitcoin rising 18% against the US dollar and topping $4,000. According to cryptocurrency trader and economist Alex Krüger, the run-up is a brief break from the plunging price of Bitcoin and not the beginning of a new bull run – yet. In a series of tweets, Krüger maps out why he believes the bounce is not what it appears to be. “Crypto simply stopped falling. Nothing else has changed. No reason to expect a rabid bull run yet. A wide range is the most likely scenario Krüger sees, He expects a wide range from $5,500 – $2,500, and continued volatility in the coming weeks.
The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao says that the cryptocurrency market has a bright outlook despite losing more than 80 percent of its value over the past year. CZ spoke to Bloomberg saying, “2018 has been a tough year in terms of the pricing for cryptocurrency and I think we see a lot of projects not making it this year, so it’s a correction year.” Even though there has been a significant drop in price over this past year for the majority of cryptocurrencies, CZ says that the figureheads in the crypto space are still optimistic regarding the future. As CZ puts it, “the industry is going to grow by the builders. The guys who actually build applications. Long term, industry is sustained by real applications, real use cases of cryptocurrency, which a lot of people are building. So that’s happening regardless of where the price moves.”
Banks & Institutions: Major cryptocurrency exchange and Large US based wallet Coinbase recently made what it claims is the largest transfer of crypto on record, a company blog post reported on December 19th. According to the post, 5 percent of all Bitcoin (BTC), 8 percent of all Ethereum (ETH), and 25 percent of all Litecoin (LTC), along with “many other assets” were moved to new cold storage infrastructure in what the firm says is the largest crypto migration on record. The migration was of cryptocurrency from Generation Three to Generation Four of their cold storage infrastructure.
The United States government could regulate crypto assets and tokens differently than stocks and traditional assets by altering the existing regulatory framework on securities. On December 22nd, CNBC reported that two congressmen — Warren Davidson and Darren Solo — have introduced a bipartisan bill entitled “Token Taxonomy Act,” in an effort to prevent over-regulation in the cryptocurrency space. In a statement, the Blockchain Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents many of the biggest companies in the cryptocurrency industry such as Coinbase, Circle and Digital Currency Group said that the bill provides a definition to crypto assets and digital tokens that exclude them from being recognized as a security. If this bill passes it is a big win for United States cryptocurrency holders as the way they are taxed and looked at could be completely different then its current outlook.
Two major Chilean banks have urged the country’s anti-monopoly court to revoke its decision that prevents the closure of local crypto exchanges’ banking accounts. This development was reported by Chilean newspaper La Tercera. Banco del Estado and Itau Corpbanca took legal action following the recent Supreme Court ruling against Chilean crypto exchange OrionX. The decision stated that banks have the legal right not to provide services to crypto firms. The attorneys representing Banco del Estado and Itau Corpbanca state that cryptocurrencies are not regulated by Chilean law, and that therefore providing them banking services could lead to certain risks, including money laundering. This legal battle started in March, when crypto exchanges CryptoMKT, Buda.com and OrionX claimed that their banking accounts were closed by several Chilean banks. The anti-monopoly court soon granted them protection, and Chile’s Minister of Finance Felipe Larrain promised to come up with relevant crypto regulation.
Adoption: Of all the complex ways blockchain and fintech companies are trying to spark mass adoption, Ohio-based startup Coin Ninja believes it’s very simple. The team of early Bitcoin enthusiasts has just launched a new mobile wallet called DropBit. Dubbed the ‘Venmo for Bitcoin’, the app was designed for simplicity. The company says crypto will reach mass adoption once it’s super easy to use and when Bitcoin is easy to obtain. In order to get there “sending and receiving Bitcoin should be as easy as exchanging money using apps like Square Cash or PayPal.”
Western Union is “ready to adopt any kind of currency,” according to the company’s president. There’s a chance the Western Union Global Money Transfer could be open to adopting cryptocurrencies, according to an interview conducted by Reuters Plus on December 17. In an interview with Reuters Plus, Odilon Almeida, president of Western Union, said the company already operates with 130 currencies, and doesn’t consider crypto to be particularly different to any other digital payment. Almeida said. “I think cryptocurrencies may become one more option of currency or assets around the globe to be exchanged between people and businesses.” A press release was also published with the video interview, which explained that Western Union had partnered with Ripple Labs to test whether or not sending payments by blockchain was faster and less expensive. According to the release, those tests are still being held.