South Korean Exchange Pure Bit Exit Scams with $2.8 Million

In another incident of what appears to be an exit scam, a South Korean exchange that collected over $2.8 Million in an ICO has suddenly shut down.

One More Exit Scam
ICOs have become an easy way for fraudsters to rob gullible investors of their hard-earned money. The latest incident has been reported from South Korea where a cryptocurrency exchange Pure Bit has shut down overnight after raising over 13,000 Ethereum in an ICO.
At the current market value of Ether, the amount swindled works to around $2.8 Million.
The incident was reported by Techcrunch earlier today. According to the article, the project had committed to deliver their native “Pure Coin” to the investors.
According to Pure Bit model, token holders would receive a share of the profit generated, and a discounted fee would apply to them.
It is reported that the exchange was up yesterday and can’t be accessed today. Users trying to access the website are returned a “Hmmm… can’t reach this page” error message.
To further rub salt to the wounds of the investors, the fraudsters posted “Sorry” and “Thanks” messages on their social media channels.
The Facebook page has vanished, and other communication channels have also been removed.

Investors Missed the Red Flags
There were enough red flags about the project that the naïve and innocent investors seem to have missed.
The team behind the project was anonymous, according to a Reddit thread. It appears that the process of building and pumping exchange tokens has become a popular trend in Korea.
“They have gotten rid of every evidence. Website hosted by fake name / out of Korea host / messenger / contacts were all fake too. Now their only hope is to keep on track with that ether and hope for the best,” stated a user.
According to the article, while it can’t be concluded yet that it’s a full exit scam due to lack of enough evidence, the fact that 13,000 ETH coins have moved out of the collection wallet leaves no doubt about the intention.
South Korea has banned ICOs being executed out of the country, but its citizens are free to participate in ICOs from other locations. However, it is expected that the state may soon reverse the ban and come up with ICO regulations.
In the absence of ICO regulations in some countries, how should investors safeguard themselves? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of ShutterStock
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Malicious Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Masks Itself as Windows Installation Files

Cryptocurrency mining does not benefit from the best of reputations. That is primarily due to the growing number of nefarious efforts involving this business model. A recent development shows malware capable of mining cryptocurrency is now targeting Windows users.

The Cryptocurrency Mining Malware Trend Continues
Over the past few months, various alerts pertaining to crypto mining have surfaced. All of these incidents revolve around criminals hijacking computers to mine Monero or other currencies. In a new spin on this attack, Windows users are being targeted on purpose. Cryptojacking, while a very worrisome trend already, is only growing into a bigger industry at this stage.
Trend Micro researchers have stumbled across a new development. Their study of malicious cryptocurrency mining highlights an emerging trend. By actively distributing Windows installation packages, criminals try to mask their nefarious intentions. Unlike other distribution methods, Windows Installer MSI files are perfectly legitimate. As such, they do not necessarily arouse suspicion immediately.
There is a lot more to this new malware distribution campaign. In the software “directory”, numerous files are added as a decoy. Anti-malware tools installed on a computer will be tricked into overlooking these files altogether. This is another example of how crafty criminals have gotten in recent years.

Addressing the Epidemic Remains a Problem
Another peculiar aspect of this new malware deserves to be highlighted. This new tool, dubbed CoinMiner, does not just engage in malicious cryptocurrency mining. It also has a self-destruct feature to mask its activity. If the malware is detected by any software solution, it will simply delete its own installation directory completely.
This particular approach by criminals makes it difficult to thwart cryptojacking. If mining malware can come and go without leaving a trace, there is very little recourse to be taken. While malicious cryptocurrency mining scripts are easy to spot, these Windows Installation files are very different. It is another example of how the cryptojacking trend continues to evolve.
Earlier this year, this cryptocurrency mining trend took different shapes. The scripts became less apparent. Instead, malicious Flash updates and vulnerable routers became the new targets to exploit. By going after Windows users, this cryptojacking threat becomes a lot more troublesome to nip in the bud. Windows is the world’s most popular computer operating system, after all.
How can Windows users protect themselves from this variant of cryptomining malware? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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Overstock and Bitsy to Launch Their Bitcoin Wallet Next Week

The beta version of the Bitsy Bitcoin wallet will be available to download, for free, from the 12th of November. The platform is owned by the bullish U.S. retailer, Overstock.

While initially making a name for themselves as an e-retailer, U.S.-based Overstock has shifted gears to focus more on blockchain technology and virtual currencies. Live Bitcoin News has previously reported that the company is aiming to spread the crypto love by allowing customers to buy virtual currencies through their site. This will open a new adoption avenue to all of the site’s consumers, some of whom might perhaps be unaware of virtual currencies or perhaps have limited knowledge of it.

Overstock Continues on Its Crypto Road
In order to do this, they’ve called on the assistance of Bitsy, an online crypto wallet. According to Crowdfund Insider, Bitsy is a portfolio company of Medici Ventures, which, in turn, is Overstock’s blockchain accelerator arm. The wallet will be available from the 12th of November and, conveniently, will be able to be downloaded from Apple’s App Store and Google Play for free.
Overstock’s CEO, Patrick M. Byrne, explained how Bitsy differs from more conventional wallets and also touched on his site’s plan for introducing crypto buying opportunities, saying:
Few people understand, however, that with conventional Bitcoin wallets, users do not have actual possession or control of the Bitcoins they buy: their wallet-provider owns the Bitcoin and provides a contractual claim to the consumer, who must then trust that corporation. This defeats the whole purpose of crypto. Bitsy wallets, on the other hand, allow users to possess and have complete control of their cryptocurrency without the risk of lost keys. This sets a new standard for digital wallets. We are excited to continue our cryptocurrency journey and integrate Bitsy’s technology with Overstock.com to offer bitcoin for sale directly from the retail site in the first half of 2019.
In addition, the wallet is claimed to have “an innovative and secure account recovery system to assist users in the event they lose their funds.” For now, it seems as if the wallet will only support Bitcoin.

Encouraging Mass Adoption
Monday’s launch is just the beta version of the wallet. The full version will be available sometime next year. However, even when the latter is launched, the platform will still continue to keep an eye on the wallet and make any changes as required. Bitsy’s CEO, Ann-Marie Hopkins, explained:
This beta launch is just the beginning and we plan to continually update the app with security and convenience features. The full app will be ready for launch in Q1 2019.
Earlier this week, we reported on how Byrne reiterated his belief in virtual currencies and how the mass adoption of it will overthrow the traditional financial system.
Are you going to be downloading the Bitsy wallet? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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China’s Central Bank Warns of Blockchain Bubbles

China’s position on cryptocurrencies remains unfazed as the country’s central bank released a paper which warns of bubbles in the industry and calls for the central government to sever its position even more.

Pressure on Cryptocurrencies Continues
After announcing that it intends to introduce regulations for blockchain censorship, China has taken yet another step to warn investors of the risks of cryptocurrencies.
The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has released a paper called “What can a blockchain do and not do?” which reportedly calls on the central government to tighten its grip on the matter because of the contained financial risk. The paper reads:
Speculation, market manipulation, and even violations of laws and regulations are common, especially for token projects involving public offering transactions.
This is far from being the first warning from the PBoC on the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies. Back in September, the bank warned against fake digital currency schemes.

China’s Two-Fold Position
China’s position on blockchain and cryptocurrencies is a particularly interesting one. Not only did the country ban cryptocurrencies, it also reportedly blocked all websites which are linked to cryptocurrency trading and to initial coin offerings (ICOs).
However, the country doesn’t seem to have anything against the technology which underlies most of the digital currencies – the blockchain. In fact, China has so much faith in it that it allowed evidence authentication through it.
The country has created numerous government-backed funds to advance the development of the nascent technology. What is more, even the PBoC, which is amongst the institutions which lead the march against cryptocurrencies, recently helped launch a trial of a local finance blockchain platform in Guangdong Province.
Speaking on the matter was Li Chao, a Beijing-based blockchain analyst, who noted:
China has been cracking down on activities using virtual currencies, but blockchain is a quite advanced technology which has been adopted by many countries. So China will definitely not lag behind. Blockchain technology could also ensure a more efficient and safe information-sharing system, and it is expected to reduce the financing costs for micro- to medium-sized enterprises.
What do you think of China’s position on blockchain and cryptocurrencies? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Swiss Cyber Security Agency Warns About Trojan Attacks Against Crypto Exchanges

Cryptocurrency exchanges play a key role in this growing industry. They offer convenient access for buying or selling different digital assets. These platforms are also a prime target for hackers and criminals. Especially in Switzerland, the exchanges are being targeted in many different ways.

The Worrisome Situation for Exchanges
MELANI is one of Switzerland’s government agencies focusing on online security and research. Its most recent findings paint a rather worrisome outlook. The researchers note criminals show less interest in attack online banking services. While that is positive, the consequences of this decision are anything but. Their focus is now shifting toward cryptocurrency exchanges.
More specifically, the attack against exchanges is very different from what one may expect. Criminals are resorting to using existing Trojan Horses. These types of malware are designed to infiltrate computers, networks, and organizations. Dridex, a renowned e-banking Trojan, is now modified to target cryptocurrency trading platforms.
A similar trend becomes apparent when looking at Gozi. This malware has been around for nearly a full decade. It is still being updated to this very day, which is always problematic. For now, the malware is targeting exchanges dealing with crypto assets. Both Trojans seem intent on spreading themselves as quickly as possible. This is usually achieved through paid advertisements in popular search engines.
Other Problems Become Worse Over Time
Switzerland appears to be home to many different cryptocurrency-related criminal activities. Distribution of Trojan Horses is difficult enough to handle. There is also the rise of cryptojacking in the country. This trend is not unique to Switzerland by any means. A lot of countries around the world fall victim to an increase in illegal Monero mining.
The Monerominer bot is the main threat, according to MELANI. In the first half of 2018, this malware ranked sixth on the prevalent threats list. This malware does not just mine Monero, as the name suggests. It is also capable of downloading and installing a growing range of additional malicious software. Moreover, it also displays ransomware traits.
All of these threats prove problematic for cryptocurrency enthusiasts in Switzerland. Keeping computers safe from harm is challenging in its own right. For exchanges, the threats are also piling up. They need to step up their security game to ensure user funds is kept safe at all times. The crypto industry has seen numerous hacks in the past few years. Ensuring that number does not grow beyond proportion will be the key challenge, for now.
Have you been a victim of crypto malware? What do you think can be done to protect against it? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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Bitcoin Pioneer Jeff Garzik Dishes on Giving Away $100 Million in BTC – and Who He Thinks Satoshi Might Really Be

One of Bitcoin’s leading developers, Jeff Garzik, has given away over $100 million in Bitcoin throughout the duration of his career, and he can’t help but look back on his actions with a smile on his face.

Who Is Jeff Garzik?
Garzik is widely considered to be the third-most influential developer on Bitcoin’s code after creator Satoshi Nakamoto and Gavin Andresen. He’s proud of Bitcoin and its legacy, though he admits it’s not what he envisioned it to be:
As a father, I enjoy watching my kids grow up, even as they make mistakes or grow in ways that I wouldn’t expect.
Why Give Away So Much Bitcoin?
To this day, Garzik has given away roughly $100 million in Bitcoin – based on current prices – for developer bounties to push work on the currency’s software. In all, he estimates he’s given away roughly 15,678 individual coins. He comments:
It was a question of whether this thing would survive at all, and there’s no question of that today.

How It All Started
The 44-year-old coder and entrepreneur worked directly with Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010, corresponding via the Bitcointalk forum and private email. This continued until 2011, when the alleged founder of everybody’s favorite cryptocurrency disappeared. It is estimated that Nakamoto controls roughly one million bitcoins and can alter the coin’s price whenever he or she wants.
During a recent interview, Garzik spoke with journalists and contemplated on who Nakamoto could be:
My personal theory is that it’s Floridian Dave Kleinman. It matches his coding style. This gentleman was self-taught, and the bitcoin coder was someone who was very, very smart, but not a classically trained software engineer.
Kleinman was a former sheriff’s officer in Florida who became a computer forensics expert. He died in 2013. At the time of writing, his estate is suing Australian Craig Wright for reportedly seizing billions of dollars in Bitcoin and intellectual property from the former officer. Wright – who has recently claimed to be the elusive Nakamoto – denies any allegations of theft or seizure.
Bitcoin is Still a Good Thing
At the same time, Garzik admits this is all speculation, and to this day, he has no idea who the real Nakamoto could be. He also described bitcoin as something of a living entity that’s constantly changing and adapting to its environment:
It’s an organism. It’s something that evolves. It hasn’t evolved in the direction of high-volume payments, which is something we thought about in the very early days: getting merchants to accept bitcoins, but on the store-of-value side, it’s unquestionably a success.
Could you be happy knowing you gave away so much money? Post your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Shutterstock, Jeff Garzik
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BAT Token Crashes After Being Listed in Coinbase

The Ethereum-based Basic Attention Token (BAT) has crashed after being listed in the popular Coinbase platform. During the last month, the virtual currency grew more than 175%. Its price moved from $0.13 dollars in October to $0.36 dollars in November. Nevertheless, BAT is currently being traded close to $0.27 dollars.
BAT Token Losses Over 24% of its Value In a Few Hours
Basic Attention Token was not able to sustain for a long period of time the growth it experienced during the month of October. This virtual currency was selected as one of the new Coinbase listings.
Coinbase, the popular and recognized virtual currency platform, took the decision to start trading new virtual currencies. BAT was one of these assets. The community and investors started to be very excited about it and entered the market purchasing large sums of BAT tokens.
The price started to grow and reached the highest price it had since May 2018. Back at the beginning of the year, each BAT token was traded around $0.93 dollars.
BAT is the native digital asset of the Brave digital advertising ecosystem. Basic Attention Token runs on Ethereum as an ERC-20 token and has a market capitalization of $278 million dollars, being the 30th largest crypto in the market.
The price surge experienced by this digital asset seems to be entirely related to the token’s listing on the Coinbase platform. Although it took several steps before being fully integrated into Coinbase, it was finally added to Coinbase.com.
Being listed on Coinbase.com is a very important thing for an asset such as BAT. Coinbase is known for offering a very user-friendly platform for beginners and newcomers. Some crypto users make their first purchase on the platform through Coinbase.com rather than Coinbase Pro or another trading platform.
BAT was not the only virtual currency added by Coinbase in the last few months. Some time ago, Coinbase added support to 0x (ZRX). Other virtual currencies and blockchain networks that could be added to the platform are Cardano (ADA), ZCash (ZEC) and Stellar Lumens (XLM).
Most of these assets have experienced a price surge in the last months. Coinbase announced that it was going to be exploring solutions related to these virtual assets. At the moment, Coinbase is listing Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC) and the new listings ZRX and BAT.
Read More:

Atomic Swap Guide: What are Cross-Chain Atomic Swaps?
Cinnober to Crypto Exchanges: Adapt or Dissapear!
Craig Wright vs Bitcoin ABC and the Bitcoin Cash Community

Image Provided by the Coinbase Blog
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How Does A Scandal Benefit Other Social Apps for Mass Adoption?

The revelation that 50 million people had their Facebook profiles harvested so Cambridge Analytica could target them with political ads raised questions about data protection and disclosure. While the researcher was at fault in this case, this opened a Pandora’s box which can either injure other social apps or open up a new opportunity for those offering innovative approaches to the power of social media. Primarily, our concern is how this scandal will rock the fledgling industries on the blockchain.
For blockchain to fully become mainstream, it is essential for it to gain trust and for it to illustrate an increased real-world use. There have to be real businesses with real communities, usable and live products, and strong, active and transparent business development aimed at growth, user-base, AND revenues. Regardless of the technological and financial benefits, at the heart of achieving mass adoption of blockchain is user trust, the user experience and a community excited to use the platform.
Decentralize Social Media For Users
With increasing disquiet and distrust over the use, sale and loss of personal data, the intrusion of unwanted advertising, diminishing rewards for content creators and a changing landscape, the time is now right for blockchain-based social apps to challenge centralized social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitch.
Content creators generally do not share in the profits from advertising sales, except on YouTube and Twitch, where creators can have a limited share in profits, but only above certain thresholds. Even then, YouTube and Twitch take 25-45% of advertising revenues while YouTube recently changed its rules on profit sharing. Creators must comply or look somewhere else to share their content.
This has led to over 100,000 content creators registering with Patreon in a bid to connect more with their fans and benefit from their patronage and tips. However, many patrons are unhappy with the financial burden being placed upon them.
With newcomer Howdoo about to launch, we might be about to see an exciting challenge to traditional social apps and also to Patreon.
I have been following the development of Howdoo over the last few months. It has not courted huge publicity, but it has been quietly executing its goal of delivering a unique social experience that combines the best of social media and blockchain without compromising on the user experience. For Howdoo or any other blockchain social platform to take advantage of the current climate, it needs to scale fast and provide a unique user experience while appealing to the ever-changing demands of social media users.
Before it can challenge the incumbent centralised platforms comparison, Howdoo first needs to be benchmarked against its main blockchain competitors Mithril and Steemit:
 

Name/Facts
Howdoo
Mithril
Steemit

Market Cap
$6Mn
$102Mn
$226Mn

All time high
N/A
$350Mn
$1.8Bn

Accounts
25,000+
10,000
940,000

Type
Layered platform
Streaming friendly
Photo-sharing
Limited use
Crypto-focused
Standard Setter

Launched
December 2018
July 2018
March 2016

Like Mithril and Steemit, creators and anyone that engages with content on Howdoo will be able to earn udoos (the Howdoo token) for liking and sharing content while there will be a unique gamification layer that rewards users for regular usage and adds additional value to the platform
Furthermore, other unique features missing from both Steemit and Mithril are live streaming, tipping and paywalls. A user can tip or donate with a click of a button, with the content creator receiving 100% against 90% on Patreon. With Howdoo there are no service or processing fees.
Udoo is listed on several exchanges as well as Blockfolio, with the most volume being on Coinbene. With a current market cap of $6m and an improved platform and user experience, it can easily match and surpass Mithril. Since Howdoo offers something even more unique, it is not unrealistic to expect Howdoo to corner a large stake in a market currently being dominated by centralized social platforms.
Community Empowerment
Advertising is a key component of any social media platform with Facebook generating $6.18 to $26.76 per user each quarter. With $50 billion annually spent on digital, in-game goods, it is essential to have thriving, engaging and supportive communities that will attract advertisers.
While some have argued that “social apps on the blockchain cannot compete for contented subscribers and advertisers on incumbent centralized platforms” I have noticed that respected Musicians, Gamers and other high profile content creators across beauty, fitness, and lifestyle are signing up as supporters of Howdoo.
Last month, Howdoo announced that it was accepting username reservations. Over 25,000 users have already signed up for their usernames with more being added every day.
Content creators who act early should be able to register the usernames they desire before the platform’s public launch this December. Quickly following its December release, Howdoo will be launching its paywall, where content creators can start to sell premium content or monthly subscriptions.
The last thing remaining inside of the Pandora’s box was hope. Ever since, humans have been able to hold onto this hope in order to survive the wickedness that Pandora had let out.“Pandora’s box” now means anything that is best left untouched, for fear of what might come out of it. Times have changed and the mindset is to go deeper, search far and wide for new developments which will disrupt the status quo – for the better.
Can Howdoo gain the trust of the public and become the poster child of the Social Media industry and compete with every other platform?  Time will tell.
If it can launch swiftly and smoothly, continue to attract the best influencers and micro-influencers and deliver on its promise to provide an improved user experience, it has a very good chance of being a real contender.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. These are my own observations on the
direction social media is moving in. I also do not own any token from any of the
companies listed above.

About the Author: Karnika E. Yashwant (KEY) is a multi-awarded CEO of a dozen brands.
He has been advising blockchain projects since 2013.
The post How Does A Scandal Benefit Other Social Apps for Mass Adoption? appeared first on Live Bitcoin News.

Crypto-backed Lender Cred to Offer $50 Million in Ripple (XRP) Collateralized Loans

The leading crypto-backed lending platform has announced that it XRP holders can now use their tokens to collateralize USD loans.

Cred Adds XRP to List of Accepted Assets
Holders of Ripple (XRP) in need of fiat money need not sell their assets now. They can now avail a loan against their cryptocurrencies using Cred’s line of credit (C-LOC).
According to an announcement published Thursday on Cred’s official blog, the firm, which has over $300 million in credit facilities, has secured $50 Million for XRP based loans.
Cred is a cryptocurrency start-up that offers its customers a decentralized lending eco-system. In addition to Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), XRP has been added to the list of cryptocurrencies that the firm accepts as collateral.
According to the firm, the loans at “single digit interest rates” are available to customers in multiple countries.
Michael Arrington, Founder of Arrington XRP Capital and an investor in Ripple, said:
As a Cred borrower, I appreciate how responsive Cred is to my needs. They continue to impress me with their ability to act as a trusted bridge between the traditional financial services ecosystem and the crypto community.
Arrington added:
Cred is successfully building the next generation of lending and earning products, and their recognition of XRP as an asset class is important.

Benefits of Using C-LOC
The cryptocurrency market has lost 75% of its value since it hit an all-time high earlier in January. XRP has lost over 86% value. Investors who bought the digital asset at its peak value stand to lose a significant amount of money if they were to liquidate their assets now.
C-LOC enables holders of Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and now Ripple to collateralize their assets and receive fiat-based loans in USD. Customers get their assets back once the loan is paid off.
According to the announcement:
Whether you want to diversify your assets to mitigate risk, defer capital gains tax (consult with a financial advisor or professional), or simply need money fast, a Cred loan makes your crypto work for you.
How to Apply
Interested parties can access C-LOC through the Cred website. Users can register now for early access. The company also noted that it will be releasing its Borrow and Earn products via its strategic partner, Uphold, in the next few months.
Speaking about the addition of XRP, Dan Schatt, Co-founder of Cred, said:
We’re thrilled to offer XRP holders the same low rates and convenient liquidity services as ETH and BTC holders. […] We’re looking forward to continuing to support our many partners who are integrating the Cred platform for the benefit of their users.
Crypto-based lending is an excellent option for investors who want liquid cash urgently but don’t want to lose out on the long-term investment potential of cryptocurrencies.
Have you ever used a crypto-backed lending platform? What do you think of Cred’s decision to add XRP? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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93 Percent of UK Citizens Have Heard of Bitcoin, Survey Says

Despite being in a fairly nascent stage in its development, nine out of ten people in the UK have apparently heard of Bitcoin. More interestingly, though, over 20 percent of them said they actually understand it, according to a new local survey.

9 out of 10 Know of Bitcoin in the UK
A recent survey carried out by pollsters YouGov has found out that 93 percent of UK citizens are aware of Bitcoin and know what it is, Forbes reports.
More interestingly, though, 2 out of 10 people have said that they understand the technology behind it “fairly” well, which is surprising, given its overall complexity and nascent state of development.
However, Bitcoin’s usage for payments on the internet, let alone in conventional brick-and-mortar stores, is undoubtedly low and 43 percent of the interviewed said they expect this to remain unchanged.
It’s worth noting, though, that another survey carried out in the U.S., determined that 1 out of 4 affluent millennials are either holding or using cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin in the Mainstream
Despite the fact that it’s only 10 years old, Bitcoin has definitely managed to receive serious mainstream attention. It goes without saying, though, that much of it was due to its unparalleled rally at the end of 2018 when the cryptocurrency reached $20,000.
Earlier in September, Live Bitcoin News reported that popular UK drama Coronation Street has featured a cryptocurrency storyline. Just a few days ago, flagship watchmaker and high-end brand Hublot announced that it’s to launch a limited edition timepiece for Bitcoin’s 10th anniversary.
However, Bitcoin’s 2018 performance is all but impressive. The leading digital currency has lost roughly around 70 percent of its all-time high value in January. What is more, it’s trading in a rather narrow range, causing its volatility to be at its lowest point since early 2017.
What do you think of Bitcoin’s adoption? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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