Blockchain Games: Business Models Will Have to Change

The same way startups try out new tech, games often can be seen testing out new innovations. When it comes to blockchain gaming, the first game that comes to mind is CryptoKitties. The game is essentially a digital cat-breeder game on ethereum. Blockchain games have also allowed early adopters to experiment with the benefits of open protocols. Even at the moment, the top dApps by transaction volume are games.
There is of course a big amount of skepticism when it comes to the blockchain gaming space. One of the biggest and heated discussions recently, came after Tony Sheng explained why Fortnite would not embrace blockchain in the near future.
The post inevitably drove the discussion towards how blockchain tech fundamentally recreates economies in the gaming world. He underlines the fact that true digital scarcity breaks currently-existing business models and that’s probably why the gaming industry won’t rush to use blockchain. In general, most people will agree with his statement that:
“If games manage to bring crypto to the masses, the will have entirely different business models.”
2017’s incredible success made it very difficult to differ signal from noise in the blockchain games sector. The incredible bull run allowed many ether-wealthy early adopters to be able to engage in early dApps. CryptoKitties was the first blockchain-gaming experience for the masses. People actually “owned” the cats that that made the whole concept very exciting for the community. At the peak, some cats managed to sell for thousands of dollars.
Blockchain games under the microscope
This is why we need to take a closer look at CryptoKitties. At the time of creation, there was almost no gaming infrastructure on ethereum. CryptoKitties literally build everything themselves, from the website, to the artwork, cat-breeding function and their market. At release, the business model was simple and when they sold a 0 generation cat, they banked 3.75% of the cut every single time a new kitty was sold or sired.
Many experts argued that the game could have been built on a centralized infrastructure. User experience could have been exactly the same and kitties could have been stored in a SQL database. Mainstream users however, found the games incredibly hard to use and with good reason. Everything was simply too hard and complex, including KittyHats, a set of ERC20 tokens which allowed users to customize their cats.
Cat value was driven higher because it was simply another thing you can do with them. The impact however, was distorted because of how hard it was to use. You had to download a chrome extension and do the accessories on a whole different website. If CryptoKitties embraced KittyHats and showed the accessories on the main website, the business model could have been changed a bit.
Maybe the lesson we could take from CryptoKitties is that at the moment, technology simply cannot provide a reliable way for crypto to be integrated into mainstream gaming. Blockchain games are currently relying mainly on software innovation which tends to evolve a lot quicker than hardware. This is why small tinkerers will most likely keep experimenting and next year, we might finally see some developments that will push the space forward.
You can also check out:

Clear Message from 2018: Onwards Only the Strong Survive
Cash App Things that Bitcoin will be the Internet’s Official Currency
Bitmain Layoffs are Apparently Not Harmless Rumors
Asian Traders Looking ot Earn Big With Bitcoin Cash

The post Blockchain Games: Business Models Will Have to Change appeared first on CoinStaker | Bitcoin News.

Italy Is Looking to Expand Its Blockchain Protocols

The Ministry of Economic Development in Italy has tasked 30 proclaimed experts in the cryptocurrency space with the task of building the nation’s blockchain strategy from the ground up.
Among those tasked with the job are Angiolini Giorgio – head of marketing at the telecon firm Italtel and a member of UN INFO’s blockchain group; Pimpinella Martino Maurizio – president of the Italian Association of Paying Services Providers; Vitale Marco – president of the blockchain firm Quadrans Foundation, and Monaco Marco – head of the blockchain competence center at PWC Italy.
Italy and Blockchain Coming Together
A spokesperson for the organization announced:
“The group’s main goals will be to know, deepen and address the issues of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and blockchain, as well as increase public and private investments in this direction.”
In addition, members will also be required to build regulatory and technical tools to further enhance Italy’s blockchain operations.
Europe has been leading the battle for enhanced distributed ledger prowess. Switzerland – Italy’s neighbor to the north – is currently the home of what’s known as “Crypto Valley,” a series of varying cryptocurrency and blockchain-based startup ventures. Switzerland is known for its lenient and often friendly regulatory policies towards cryptocurrencies and their digital counterparts. Crypto Valley has taken part of its name from the renowned “Silicon Valley” in northern California, which houses several leading technology companies like social media giant Facebook.
To the south of Italy is Malta, a small island-nation looking to build itself up as the continent’s leading cryptocurrency and blockchain hub. Over the past 12 months, the country has established regulations for crypto-associated companies that are so attractive, many digital asset ventures from Asia have packed their bags and moved roughly 3,000 miles to make Malta the site of their headquarters. Among the companies to have done this are Binance, a leading overseas cryptocurrency exchange.
Europe Opening Its Doors to Crypto
Despite a growing list of cryptocurrency platforms, Asia is known for being relatively strict when it comes to digital asset and blockchain businesses. In South Korea, for example, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and similar funding ventures are banned, while countries like India have fully barred its banks and financial establishments from doing any kind of business with crypto enterprises, though this may change in the coming months.
A committee has already been formed to question the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies, while members have met on varying occasions to discuss potential regulatory solutions in lieu of a full-on ban of digital assets trading.
Are we likely to see more crypto-based activity occur in Europe? Post your comments below.
Image courtesy of Pixabay
The post Italy Is Looking to Expand Its Blockchain Protocols appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC/USD Trends of December 31–January 06, 2019

CoinSpeaker
Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC/USD Trends of December 31–January 06, 2019
Key Highlights:

Consolidation is ongoing on the Bitcoin market;
the break out is imminent on the market;
bearish breakout may return the Bitcoin price to its previous low.

BTC/USD Long-term Trend: Ranging
Resistance levels: $4,249, $4,715, $5,424
Support levels: $3,679, $3,247, $2,765BTC/USD is ranging on the long-term outlook. The Bulls lost their pressure that took the BTC price up to $4,249 on December 24. The bullish pressure could not break up the dynamic resistance level of 50-day EMA. The shooting star candle pattern formed confirms the bearish reversal movement during an uptrend which dropped the BTC price at the support level of $3,679. It is this kind of zigzag movement within the range of $4,249 resistance level and $3,679 support level Bitcoin price experienced last week.
BTC price is flipping around the 21-day EMA within the range. In other words, the coin is currently trading in-between 21-day EMA and 50-day EMA. It is certain that there would be either bullish or bearish breakout. The bearish candle will have to penetrate and close below the support level of $3,679 before BTC price will experience bearish breakout and this may return it to its previous low of $3,247. Meanwhile, the Stochastic Oscillator period 14 is at 60 levels with signal lines pointing down is an indication of a sell signal.
BTCUSD Medium-term Trend: Ranging

BTC/USD is ranging on the medium-term outlook. Bitcoin price topped above the resistance level of $4,249 on December 24 with the bullish momentum that started on December 17; the bears returned to the market with full force, this was noticed as the evening star candle pattern formed at the same price level on 4-Hour chart. The bearish pressure broke downside the $4,249 price level, extended down by penetrated the two dynamic support levels and bottomed at $3,679 on December 29 after which it started sideways movement
The Bitcoin price is trading around 21-day EMA and 50-day EMA with the two EMAs interlocked which connotes that consolidation is ongoing. However, the Stochastic Oscillator period 14 is below 50-levels with the signal lines pointing down indicate sell signal. In case a bullish candle penetrates and close above the resistance level of $4,249, then, a bullish trend may commence and have its target at $4,715.
Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC/USD Trends of December 31–January 06, 2019

Cardano (ADA) Price Could Resume Uptrend Above $0.045

Key Highlights

ADA price traded higher recently and tested the $0.0500 resistance against the US Dollar.
There is a significant bullish trend line in place with support at $0.0385 on the 4-hours chart (data feed via Kraken).
The price is likely to break the $0.0450 resistance to start a fresh upward move towards $0.0500.

Cardano price is placed nicely in an uptrend against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. ADA may continue to move higher towards $0.0450, $0.0500 and $0.0520.
Cardano Price Analysis
This past week, there was a solid bullish wave above the $0.0400 resistance in cardano price against the US Dollar. The ADA/USD pair broke the $0.0450 resistance and settled above the 55 simple moving average (4-hours). The price traded close to the $0.0500 resistance, where sellers emerged. A high was formed at $0.0494 before the price started a downside correction.
It moved below the $0.0450 support and the 50% Fibonacci retracement level of the last wave from the $0.0270 low to $0.0494 high. However, the declined was protected by the $0.0360 support and the price bounced back. Besides, there was a test of the 61.8% Fibonacci retracement level of the last wave from the $0.0270 low to $0.0494 high. More importantly, there is a significant bullish trend line in place with support at $0.0385 on the 4-hour chart. The price is currently trading nicely above the $0.0380 support and the trend line. On the upside, a break above the $0.0450 resistance may clear the path for more gains. The next main hurdle for buyers is near the $0.0500 level.

The chart indicates that ADA price is following a nice bullish path above $0.0360 and $0.0380. As long as there is no break below $0.0360, there are high chances of a break above $0.0450. If not, the price may decline back towards the $0.0280 support.
4-hours MACD – The MACD for ADA/USD is slightly in the bearish zone.
4-hours RSI – The RSI for ADA/USD is just above the 50 level.
Key Support Level – $0.0380
Key Resistance Level – $0.0450
The post Cardano (ADA) Price Could Resume Uptrend Above $0.045 appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

Huobi Will Launch EOS-Based Crypto Exchange

Huobi’s mining division – Huobi Pool – has announced plans to build the first crypto exchange devoted to EOS, currently the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap after entities like bitcoin, Ripple’s XRP and Ethereum.
The exchange is scheduled to launch during the first quarter of 2019. EOS allows users to share in all its decision-making processes through its distributed proof-of-stake (DPos) consensus method, and customers will be able to trade and sell EOS for several other types of cryptocurrency.
A Crypto Exchange Centered on One Coin
Cao Fei – chief executive officer of Huobi Pool – explains:
“As an EOS super node, Huobi Pool has placed its ecological development high on its list of priorities. Launching this EOS exchange is simply the next logical step in our support.”
Huobi Pool has been working with EOS since it launched early in the year. The organization has also paired up with other block producers to build an EOS test chain known as the Crypto Kylin Testnet – a platform where up and coming EOS projects can be tested prior to launching. In addition, Huobi Pool also created a voting platform for EOS holders and built an EOS community from the ground up to ensure holders always remain aware of node elections.
Lastly, Huobi Pool has developed a series of animated videos – entitled “EOS 20 Questions” – they believe will assist EOS holders in better understanding the currency’s benefits.
Huobi opened for business in 2013. Consisting of approximately ten downstream and upstream enterprises, Huobi has established itself as a leading blockchain company and cryptocurrency exchange over the last five years. The company’s present accumulative turnover exceeds $1 trillion in USD annually, and the exchange serves over 130 different countries.
So far, the winter is proving to be a serious and busy time for Huobi. The company recently announced it would be supporting TRON through its exchange services, and the company also launched the Huobi Derivative Market (DM) exchange at the Cryptofrontiers conference in New York.
The platform allows customers to purchase or sell bitcoin at pre-determined prices. Cryptocurrencies are often very vulnerable to volatility and wild price swings, and this new strategy is alleged to offer higher protection to customers.
Getting More People in the Game
Joshua Goodbody, general counsel of Huobi’s global institutional team, explained in an interview:
“Cryptocurrency is a rapidly expanding and maturing market. As part of that maturation, we see more and more sophisticated investors and traders from more established financial markets looking to gain exposure, including institutional players.”
Are we likely to see more exchanges in the future centered around a single coin? Post your comments below.
Image courtesy of Shuttershock
The post Huobi Will Launch EOS-Based Crypto Exchange appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

Crypto Year in Review: How Bitcoin (BTC) Performed in 2018 and What Hides in 2019?

CoinSpeaker
Crypto Year in Review: How Bitcoin (BTC) Performed in 2018 and What Hides in 2019?
Released in 2009 as open-source software by a person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin had the idea to create a peer-to-peer electronic currency that didn’t rely on any central authority or intermediary for validating the exchange of money.
Its price is famously volatile, often swinging thousands of dollars in either direction in a single day. That, however, didn’t prepare investors for what happened after the peak. Bitcoin’s price retreated for the rest of 2017 and ended the year at $12,993.
Then came 2018. The currency lost 51 percent of its value between Jan. 1 and Feb. 6, wiping out billions of dollars in market value.
It has been called a “scam,” “a ponzi scheme,” “terrorists’ money,” and “a speculative bubble.”
According to a website that keeps track, Bitcoin has been declared dead 336 times till now. Yet, through it all, Bitcoin has survived.
From $17,527 to Only $3,919 in Just a Year
The year 2017 saw BTC make historic gains, as it led the “crypto boom” from the front. BTC opened 2017 at $963, and closed the year at $12,897, marking more than a 1,200 percent gain in market price. The year 2018 was a pretty much opposite that trend.
In the first week of January BTC gained 36 percent landing at $17,527 what, until the time of writing, stayed the highest market price it would see for the rest of the year. In February, it dropped down to $7,051 losing 60 percent of its market value over the month.
However, it seemed like it is recovering its price reaching $11,372, but by March end it was trading at less than $7,000. The cryptocurrency rallied again in the second quarter of the year to trade above $9,000, but the market was corrected again by May.
In the second half of November, BTC fell from $6,351 on November 14 to $4,465 by November 21 what was a 30 percent drop.
As of December last week, BTC is trading at $3,898, marking a 70 percent drop in value since the start of the year.
Bitcoin is Still Recognized as a Legitimate Transferable Value
In March, a Bitcoin hard fork called Bitcoin Private was launched but failed to gain significant market traction. The same month, the US Marshals Service auctioned 2,170 BTC (worth about $25 million at the time) that were seized in connection with federal, criminal and civil cases.
In August, mobile payments firm Square said that its Cash App, originally announced in January, could now be used to purchase Bitcoin in all 50 US states.
In October, a Chinese court ruled that in spite of the illegal status of cryptocurrency trading in the country, Bitcoin is still protected as a private property with economic values under the country’s laws. Earlier, a Dutch court had also ruled Bitcoin to be a legitimate transferrable value under local laws.
In November, Ohio became the first US state to allow taxes to be paid in Bitcoin, after many other states including Arizona, Georgia, and Illinois previously scrapped such plans after initial considerations.
At a time when 600,000 mining operations shut down due to lack of profits, Intel successfully filed a patent for an energy-efficient cryptocurrency mining processor.
Many in the cryptocurrency community have their hopes pinned on the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approving Bitcoin ETF proposals, but the federal agency has so far responded by summarily rejecting all such proposals sent its way.
In December, two US lawmakers proposed to exempt cryptocurrencies from federal securities laws. According to a Bloomberg report, New York exchange operator Nasdaq is also planning to list Bitcoin futures in the first quarter of 2019 subject to regulatory approval.
Bitcoin in 2019: Institutions Will Dive Into Crypto
Bitcoin currently has a market cap of $73.8 million that makes 51% of the entire cryptocurrency market. Analysts think that it will probably continue to be the captain of the cryptocurrency ship throughout 2019 as well — severely affecting the market price of all other coins.
Mike Novogratz, an ex-Goldman Sachs partner and founder of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, was quite accurate in his 2018 predictions. In mid-December, after a significant market decline dubbed the “crypto winter,” he said that BTC’s price would not sink more, staying somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000, and he turned out to be right.
He stated that he believes that BTC won’t reach $9K this year, and its likely to break beyond $10,000 in the around the first quarter of 2019. This might take BTC to sky-reaching heights as it might soar way ahead of the all-time-high $20K mark.
Bloomberg’s most recent report states that Wall Street’s dreams of crypto are now in a state of limbo, as the value of cryptocurrencies has fallen. The insiders told Bloomberg that financial giants actually gave up their plans until a time when demand is higher.
However, Bloomberg’s analysts are prone to making mistakes when it comes to predictions. Just a few weeks ago, shortly after the first signs of the steep market drop, the media stated that BTC was heading toward the $1,500 mark, which would mean a 70 percent drop in the coin’s price.
John McAfee, the founder of the popular McAfee software and an ardent Bitcoin follower predicted that Bitcoin will hit $1 million by 2020 following last year’s prediction of $7000 which was well surpassed.
Fundstrat’s Sam Doctor and ex-Chief Equity Strategist in JP Morgan, Tom Lee, believe that the break-even cost of mining 1 BTC directly correlates with the price of the cryptocurrency. Lee said that BTC would grow as he is counting on more institutional investors taking on Bitcoin and a steady increase in Bitcoin user base. He justified the current fall in the price of bitcoin by referring to the recent plunge in the price of tech stocks, like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook.
Zhao Dong, one of the biggest Bitcoin OTC traders in China and an influencer recently predicted that Bitcoin might reach $50,000 by 2021. He reiterated that now is the best time to invest in BTC and said that you might get a yield of 100 to 200% over 3 years if you invest now.
VC billionaire Tim Draper believes the value of Bitcoin will keep going higher in the upcoming years. He said he believes virtual currencies will eventually overtake fiat currency, making up two-thirds of the world’s currency value.
On the other hand, the billionaire investor and venture capitalist Jim Breyer believes that the promise offered by the technology is too great for it to be permanently buried by short-term market movements. Breyer kept saying that the technology is too big to be dismissed just because of a temporary bear market. He warned that “we’re close to a nuclear winter right now with cryptocurrency.”
What is sure is that 2019 will be bullish for Bitcoin, as by then the adaptability will be higher as more people will start believing in the technology behind it. Analysts from CoinSwitch.co, think that Bitcoin will reach up to $20,000 by the mid of 2019. The more the trading, the more the price.
Crypto Year in Review: How Bitcoin (BTC) Performed in 2018 and What Hides in 2019?

Bitcoin Consolidates Around $3850 as we Bid Adieu to 2018

CoinSpeaker
Bitcoin Consolidates Around $3850 as we Bid Adieu to 2018
After a heavy crushing in November 2018 with the overall crypto market valuations going close to $100 billion, the December month saw a relief recovery. Now, as we are bidding adieu to 2018, the crypto market seems to be in a consolidation phase around $130 billion overall market cap.
In the last 24-hours, Bitcoin is showing price movements around $3850 levels. At the press time, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at $3824.54 with a market cap of $66.7 billion. Falling close to $3200 levels in the November market massacre, Bitcoin posted a relief recovery in mid-December surging above $4000 levels, before coming to the current levels.
Along with Bitcoin, other altcoins have also shown major price swings. In December itself, from sub $0.30 levels, XRP surged to make a high of $0.44. Currently, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency is trading at $0.36 levels with a market cap of $14.7 billion. However, XRP is just marginally ahead from Ethereum in terms of the market cap.
The mid-December rally proved to be the most fruitful for Ethereum (ETH). After falling to sub $90 levels in November, Ethereum (ETH) showed a major recovery surging past to $150 price levels. At the press time, Ethereum is trading at $136 with a market cap of $14.2 billion, falling just short of XRP. Enthusiasts are eagerly eyeing towards the release of its Constantinople hardfork scheduled around mid-January 2019.
Despite the relief recovery in the crypto market, it still lacks the confident support from investors. The market is still ridden with the issues of hacks and never-ending uncertainties. Last week’s Electrum wallet hack added yet another black spot to 2018-performance of the crypto market.
Electrum Wallet Hack Steals 250 BTC Tokens
Last week, hackers reportedly stole around 250 BTC tokens from the Electrum wallet netting close to $1 million through phishing attacks. Electrum developer with codename SomberNight was the first to report regarding this attack on GitHub. The hackers managed to trick wallet users into downloading an update that came from malicious users.
Surprisingly, the hackers could manage to feed the main network of Electrum wallet with other malicious servers. As users would initiate a BTC transaction reaching any of these malicious servers, an error message popped up. The error message tricked the users in downloading a fake Electrum wallet app.
Users who ended up downloading this update had to face a two-factor authentication (2FA) message. This was a bit suspicious considering 2FA is required only during BTC transfers and not during login. As the users proceeded to give their 2FA code, the hackers managed to steal all the Bitcoins from their wallets. Post this incident, the Electrum developers are urging users not to update their wallets from any third-party sources.
Since then, the developers are actively working to remove the malicious code and protect the wallet users.
This year, the crypto market has lost millions of dollars to hackers right from the first month of 2018. As we come to the end of 2018, it sad that the number of hacks has just grown further. However, regulatory bodies have already chipped-in to protect investors and weed-out bad players from the market.
Hopefully, 2019 turns out to be a year of all optimism retaining back the lost glory of the crypto market.
Bitcoin Consolidates Around $3850 as we Bid Adieu to 2018

BEF Davos 2019: World Economists to Settle the Foundations for the Future Decentralized Financial System

LATOKEN —the #1 exchange in liquidity for new tokens— is kicking off 2019 with the 4th edition of the Blockchain Economic Forum: The Decentralized Financial System.
More than 100 high-profile economists, regulators, officials, and business leaders from all around the world will join us for three days to set the ground rules for the design, governance and monetary policy of a more inclusive and transparent financial system.
Davos: A Town Of Opportunities
Previous Blockchain Economic Forums took place in some of the world’s greatest cities, including New York, Singapore, and San Francisco.
This time is different. The Blockchain Economic Forum will leave the asphalt jungles behind and move the discussion of technological and structural changes in the financial system, capital markets and states to Davos, Switzerland.
Every year, this small Alpine town hosts over 3,000 leaders of the global society to chart the course for regional and global development. This coming January, they will also have the opportunity to shape the future of global finance at the Blockchain Economic Forum, to be held at the Arabella Hotel Waldhuus Davos from January 24-26, 2019.
BEF Speakers Are Hard To Ignore
The Blockchain Economic Forum in Davos will feature world-renowned specialists from the private and public sectors, including:
● Nouriel Roubini — Special Keynote Speaker. Topic: ‘Central Bank Digital Currencies: monetary policy, banks and financial systems’.
● Gottfried Leibbrandt, CEO SWIFT
● Ashish Dev, Board Of Governors US Federal Reserve
● Sergei Guriev, Chief Economist EBRD
● Binh Truong Gia, Chairman FPT Corporation
● Rana Foroohar, Financial Times
● Anthony Scaramucci, SkyBridge Capital
● Jeff Schumacher, BCG Digital Ventures
● Alex Cukierman, Bank of Israel’s Monetary Committee
● Gauti Eggertsson, Former IMF and Fed New York
● David Andolfatto, Vice President, Fed St. Louis
● Miles Kimball, National Bureau of Economics Research
● Joshua Aizenman, National Bureau of Economic Research
● Elen Agler, The End Fund
An Agenda For The Future
Day 1: Capital Markets Night
The first day of the Blockchain Economic Forum will bring attention to two of the hottest topics in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world: tokenization and regulation. Panels:
● Capital Markets 2025: Tokenization and Retail Exchanges?
● Payment Systems 2020
Day 2: Board of Governors for The New Financial System
The second day of the Blockchain Economic Forum will take a more practical approach.
Panelists will work on the fundamentals for a global central bank, its currency and the structure necessary to make it viable. Panels:
● The New Financial System: Decentralized?
● Toward Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
● The Board and Monetary Policy for A Decentralized Currency
● State on Blockchain as a Service
Day 3: LATOKEN Networking Reception
Networking is a cornerstone of the Blockchain Economic Forum. Startups that presented their projects at BEF’s previous editions have raised over $400 million in investment.
The Blockchain Economic Forum in Davos will be no exception. Multi-billion dollar fund managers, high-ranking government officials, Nobel Prize winners and top entrepreneurs will shake hands at the LATOKEN Networking Reception on January 26 at 21:00.
For more information about BEF Davos, please visit http://bef.latoken.com/davos
LATOKEN Corporate Communications: Matias Lapuschin | matias@latoken.com
LATOKEN Global Events Director: elena.larionova@latoken.com
Website BEF Davos: https://www.bef.latoken.com/davos
Website LATOKEN: https://www.latoken.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/latokens
Telegram: https://t.me/la_token
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LiquidAssetToken
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/latoken
The post BEF Davos 2019: World Economists to Settle the Foundations for the Future Decentralized Financial System appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

Nearly $1 Million in Blockchain Bug Bounties Offered in 2018

Blockchain technology is often touted for its strength, stamina, and overall safety. The possibilities for blockchain to finally expand beyond crypto are finally beginning to show themselves, but the fact remains that blockchain is still a developing platform, and many kinks still need to be worked out.
This year, hackers made an estimated $878,000 from bug bounties. This is money not garnered from individuals’ wallets or coins kept in storage, but from the exchanges themselves.
Blockchain Needs Time to Build Itself
Following events such as Mt. Gox and Coincheck – two of the worst cryptocurrency-based thefts in history – many exchanges and wallet platforms are looking to improve their safety standards and keep their customers’ money secure. Occasionally, these exchanges are likely to find software bugs in their systems that could potentially be manipulated later by malicious individuals looking to get their fingers around money that’s not theirs.
What do these exchanges do? They pay hackers to enter their systems and fix the problems before they’re uncovered by the wrong people. They then pay these hackers for their services with what’s known as “bug bounties.” By August of this year, roughly $600,000 in bug bounties had been collected, though by December’s end, that number had skyrocketed to nearly $900,000.
The biggest “payer” of bug bounties was Block.one, which awarded over $500,000 to hackers that sealed off gaps in its code. In second place came U.S.-based exchange Coinbase, which paid over $200,000 in 2018, while Tron came in third, having paid over $76,000 in bug bounties.
A spokesperson for Hacker One explains:
“Nearly four percent of all bounties awarded on Hacker One in 2018 were from blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. The average bounty for all blockchain companies in 2018 was $1,490. That’s higher than the quarter four platform average of around $900. One of the top-paid crypto hackers earned seven times the median software engineer salary in their country respectively.”
Bitcoin and bitcoin cash were some of the biggest subjects of hackers’ affection this year, as Hacker One reports that both currencies suffered from “crippling vulnerabilities” in 2018. In addition, roughly 34,000 smart contracts on the Ethereum network were also vulnerable to malicious activity.
The Cycle Continues
Unless the blockchain is EOS, most transactions occurring via distributed ledgers are not reversible, which means once the money is stolen or gone, it is gone forever.
At press time, some of the companies still offering bug bounties to hackers willing to examine their systems include Augur, which is granting $200,000 in reward money to anyone that can uncover “critical issues” in its network.
Do you think bug bounties are a good idea, or could they somehow give hackers the wrong idea? Post your comments below.
Image courtesy of Shuttershock
The post Nearly $1 Million in Blockchain Bug Bounties Offered in 2018 appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

Crypto Wallets Still Aren’t as Safe as They Should Be

We’re about to enter 2019, and hardware wallets still aren’t enforcing the protections they should be. Investors and their crypto stashes are still very much at risk, according to a new study.
A team of security researchers – Dmitry Nedospasov, Thomas Roth and Josh Datko – began examining varying cryptocurrency wallets in June to see if these wallets could be compromised or hacked. Six months later, they’re showing their findings in a new presentation at the Chaos Communication Congress.
Are Crypto Wallets Up to the Test?
Among the wallets tested were the Trezor One, the Ledger Nano S, and the Ledger Blue. The developers tested these and other wallets against both supply chain and side channel attacks, finding both chip and firmware-level vulnerabilities in the process.
One of the biggest problems came in the form of the security stickers that vendors typically use as “seals” for the wallets’ boxes and casings. If the sticker is intact, it is often assumed that the device hasn’t been tampered with or is safe to use.
However, Datko demonstrated that a malicious individual can easily remove the sticker by blasting it with a hairdryer on low heat. This pushes the sticker back without leaving any residue on the case. Datko was then able to remove the stickers from the Trezor One boxes and USB ports, leaving no glue or attaching substance behind.
Following this demonstration, Datko opened the wallets’ enclosures, gaining access to the hardware underneath. From there, he was able to replace the microcontroller, commenting:
“Once you’ve done that on the Trezor wallet devices, you can put your compromised bootloader in there.”
This later allowed Datko to connect to the chip and gain consistent access with a hardware debugger, which would allow an individual to install malicious code onto the wallet(s). He then took things further and installed what he referred to as a “cheap hardware implant” onto the Ledger wallet that allowed him to approve transactions without a user’s permission or knowledge. This is particularly dangerous in the sense that a hacker could easily garner and move illegally possessed funds and the wallet owner would never know.
What Could Happen if These Issues Aren’t Solved?
Lastly, the researchers were able to reverse-engineer firmware upgrades and find technical issues that would allow hackers to write custom firmware on the devices.
Granted these and other wallet vulnerabilities remain, 2019 could potentially start in the same way 2018 did – with another Coincheck. What a great beginning to the new year, right?
Do you believe wallet companies aren’t doing enough to protect their clients? Why or why not? Post your comments below.
Image courtesy of Shuttershock
The post Crypto Wallets Still Aren’t as Safe as They Should Be appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.