Hackers: North Korea has reportedly amassed $670 million in fiat and cryptocurrencies by conducting hacking attacks, Asia-focused financial newspaper Nikkei Asian Review reported. The publication cites a U.N. Security Council report. The report, prepared by a panel of experts, was presented to the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee ahead of its annual report. According to the documents obtained by Nikkei, the hackers attacked overseas financial institutions from 2015 to 2018 and purportedly used blockchain “to cover their tracks.” As cited by Nikkei, the report states that the attack were allegedly conducted by a specialized corps within the North Korean military, forming part of country’s government policy. The experts believe that the corps is responsible for hacking Interpark, a South Korean e-commerce site, and luring $2.7 million in exchange for stolen data.
Bullish Key Players: According to the reports published by Icobench, the United Arab Emirates has been the #1 country in ranking by amount of funds raised by ICOs. About $210M was raised in the UAE in January and February 2019 alone. While Singapore and the UK continue to lead in the number of ICOs on the market, their leadership was overrun by the UAE when it comes to the amount raised. The UAE raised a staggering $142M, constituting about 41% of the total amount raised by ICOs worldwide, in January 2019. They were well ahead of their runner up Estonia, who raised over $64M, constituting 19% of the total funds raised worldwide. The total amount raised was over $347M, with the top 5 countries responsible for 63% of the funds.
Banks & Institutions: Swissquote is a major online banking group that has a market valuation of about $618 million. On Friday, the platform announced that it has entered a partnership with Crypto Storage to facilitate the provision of Bitcoin custody services. This will allow institutional investors to make cryptocurrency transfers between their Swissquote accounts and external wallets. This isn’t the first move Swissquote is making into the cryptocurrency space. Two years ago, the platform launched a cryptocurrency trading system that allows clients to trade some of the top digital assets; BTC, LTC, ETH, and XRP.
Adoption: Cryptocurrency adoption has come a long way and with cryptocurrency popularity on the rise, many cities have now started using blockchain technology. Denver, a city in the U.S State of Colorado, decided to cash in on the technology, using it to store and track votes during the upcoming municipal elections in May. Denver announced that it would be implementing a program to enable overseas voters, active-duty military personnel, and their eligible dependents to vote using a blockchain-based smartphone app in partnership with Tusk Philanthropies and Voatz. Voatz’s technology was previously used in West Virginia by active-duty military personnel during the state’s primary and general elections in 2018. Deputy Director of Elections at the Denver Office of Clerk and Recorder, Jocelyn Bucaro, said that the Denver Elections Division is known for making voting an easier and more transparent process for individuals through the use of technology.