The cryptocurrency business is thriving, but a lot of things are happening, including the FBI investigating 3Commas for the data breach, Bitcoin miners powering off as a winter storm battered North America, Apple Pay, and Google Pay are now available on Binance, and much more!
In this issue:
- FBI is investigating 3Commas for the data breach.
- Turkey’s Central bank completes first CBDC test with more to come in 2023.
- Apple Pay and Google Pay are now available on Binance.
- Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (Adib) launches the region’s first tokenized, contactless payment method-enabled wearables.
- Bitcoin miners powered off as a winter storm battered North America.
- Crypto investment firm Midas shuts down platform.
- 450K Bitcoin was transferred to cold storage in 2022.
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FBI is investigating 3Commas for the data breach.
The FBI is investigating the 3Commas data breach. The investigation comes after weeks of criticism from users of the Estonia-based crypto trading service, who say its CEO repeatedly brushed off warning signs that the platform had leaked user data.
This week, 100,000 Binance and KuCoin API keys linked to 3Commas were leaked by an anonymous person. On Thursday, two 3Commas users told that they were contacted by agents from the FBI’s Cincinnati Field Office in connection to the leak.
Over the last several months, dozens of 3Commas users found that the service had, without their consent, traded away funds on crypto exchanges they’d linked to it. Initially, 3Commas said that these users were most likely phished and insisted that the platform was safe.
The API database leaker insinuated that someone from within the company had sold the 3Commas keys, but 3Commas CEO Yuriy Sorokin said in a statement that “3Commas stresses that it has found no evidence during the internal investigation that any employee of 3Commas was somehow involved in attacks against the API data.” “Since becoming aware of the suspicious activities taking place, we immediately launched an internal investigation. We will continue with the investigation in the light of the new information and notify law enforcement authorities accordingly,” Sorokin said in the statement.
Turkey’s Central bank completes first CBDC test with more to come in 2023.
The Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey (CBRT) has completed the first trial of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), the Digital Turkish Lira, and has signalled plans to continue testing throughout 2023.
According to a statement released by the CBRT on Dec. 29, the central bank authority said it successfully executed its “first payment transactions” using the digital Lira.
It said it will continue to run limited, closed-circuit pilot tests with technology stakeholders in the first quarter of 2023, before expanding it to include selected banks and financial technology companies in the rest of the year. It said the results of these tests will be shared with the public through a “comprehensive evaluation report,” before unveiling more of the next phases of the study which will further widen participation.
The Turkish central bank first announced it was looking into the benefits of introducing a digital Turkish Lira in Sept. 2021 in a research project called “Central Bank Digital Turkish Lira Research and Development.”
At the time, the government did not commit to the ultimate digitalization of the country’s currency, noting it had “made no final decision regarding the issuance of the digital Turkish lira.”
In its most recent statement, the CBRT said it will continue testing the use of distributed ledger technologies in payment systems and their “integration” with instant payment systems.
It will also prioritize studying the legal aspects of the digital Turkish Lira, such as the “economic” and “legal framework” around digital identification, along with its technological requirements.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Kazakhstan, have recently begun piloting central bank digital currencies.
Apple Pay and Google Pay are now available on Binance.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by client count, has integrated Apple Pay and Google Pay as payment methods, per a tweet on Dec. 29.
Apple Pay and Google Pay are popular and have gained widespread adoption in recent years. By adding support for these payment options, the exchange makes it easier for users to hold and trade cryptocurrencies, driving up adoption.
According to Binance, this service is only available to residents of the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area (EEA). The disclosure indicates that customers can use these well-known payment options to buy coins and tokens listed on Binance. However, users should be aware that processing services are not provided by Binance directly. Instead, all purchases will be through “third-party partners” that the ramp collaborates with from time to time. Users who wish to acquire crypto assets through Apple Pay or Google Pay must complete Binance’s account verification procedure.
Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (Adib) launches the region’s first tokenized, contactless payment method-enabled wearables.
With innovation at its peak, more companies and even countries are beginning to catch up with the rapid evolution of technology. On today’s news, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (Adib), a leading financial institution, launched the country’s first tokenized, contactless payment methods via the options of clasp and ring ‘Adib Pay’.
This payment method is launched in partnership with Tappy Technologies, a token enablement service provider and global digital payments leader, Visa.
“Adib continues to roll out innovative digital payment services as we further develop our digital capabilities,’’ said Samih Awadhalla, Acting Global Head of Retail Banking at Adib. Adding, “We are proud to launch the region’s first tokenized, contactless payment clasp with our partners Tappy Technologies and Visa. This is a significant milestone for the bank, and we won’t stop there.”
Tokenization is the data security process of replacing the use of physical or actual, sensitive card information with non-sensitive data elements that cannot be exploited.
Adib pay is provided to Adib Visa cardholders as Visa is the payment solution the product currently supports and also to selected customers. Cardholders of the Adib Visa are said to now be able to make contactless payments using their favoured watch, or wearables such as a ring, or bracelet, without having to carry along an actual physical plastic card.
Salima Gutieva, Vice President & Country Manager for UAE at Visa, noted, “Wearable tech is a fast-growing segment, especially as the young and digitally savvy generations increasingly demand a seamless cashless payment experience.”
Bitcoin miners powered off as a winter storm battered North America.
Crypto miners across the U.S. powered down over the weekend as a powerful storm swept across North America.
The bitcoin mining hash rate, a measure of computing power on the blockchain, dropped about 100 exahash per second (EH/s), or 40%, to 156 EH/s, between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24. It returned to about 250 EH/s as of Sunday.
The practice, known as curtailment, is touted as a way for miners to help electricity grids. The miners’ steady demand ensures power producers are bringing in revenue to offset costs, but they can power off when demand from other sources is high, such as during winter storms.
The U.S. and Canada have been hit by an Arctic storm that sent temperatures as low as -50°F (-45°C) in the western U.S. state of Montana, and covered western New York state with as much as 43 inches of snow. At least 37 people died as a result of the storm, CNN reported.
Foundry USA, the biggest mining pool in the U.S., lost more than half of its hash rate on Dec. 23 the biggest loss of any major pool according to statistics from the information platform mining pool stats. Foundry is owned by CoinDesk’s parent company, Digital Currency Group.
Some of the U.S.’ biggest miners also curtailed operations. These included Riot Blockchain (RIOT) and Core Scientific (CORZ), which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last Wednesday. In Texas, 99% of the industrial-scale bitcoin mining load was turned off on Saturday, Lee Bratcher, founder, and president of the industry group Texas Blockchain Council said in a LinkedIn post.
Crypto investment firm Midas shuts down platform.
According to a blog post on December 27 by CEO and founder Iakov “Trevor” Levin, Midas Investments, an investment business focusing on DeFi yields, is closing down its platform following huge losses in 2022.
Levin stated that the Midas DeFi portfolio lost $50 million, or 20% of its $250 million in assets under management (AUM) and that after the collapse of Celsius and FTX, its platform had over 60% of AUM removed.
In particular, Levin shared the situation that over the past eight months, the Midas team has been focused on identifying and capitalizing on opportunities to balance their assets and liabilities including launching CeDeFi strategies. However, the extensive withdrawals due to the insolvency of Celcius and FTX, coupled with reduced yield opportunities on the market, made it impossible for the firm to cover daily payouts to users due to the assets deficit.
According to Levin, the business will now focus on a new project that aligns with its goal for centralized decentralized finance (CeDeFi), in which the project will be fully transparent, on-chain, and built to offer a new and improved investment experience.
Beginning on Tuesday, Midas disabled deposits, swaps, and withdrawals for some time as it made precautions and balance adjustments. It aims to remove 55% of user balances in bitcoin, ether, and stablecoins, with the difference paid for in MIDAS tokens, which may be exchanged for tokens in its new project.
450K Bitcoin was transferred to cold storage in 2022.
450,000 Bitcoin (BTC) held on an exchange or in a hot wallet before 2022 have been transferred to cold storage over the year, according to Glassnode data examined by CryptoSlate.
According to Cryptoslate, Black swan events have occurred on the market frequently over the past 12 months, and as a result, exchange reserves for about 550,000 BTC have been depleted. These reserves lost significant amounts of their size on several occasions. For instance, in December, Binance lost 90,000 BTC in seven days, FTX lost 70,000 BTC in two weeks, and in November, Coinbase lost 200,000 BTC in four days.
Cryptoslate further noted that the exchanges had just under $2.8 million in BTC at the beginning of the year and ended up with about $2.25 million, a decline of about 20%. Less than 12% of the total Bitcoin supply is represented by the exchanges’ current BTC reserves.
It can be said that the remaining 450,000 BTC were transferred from exchanges or hot wallets to cold storage in 2021 and the years before, as only 550,000 BTC left the exchanges throughout 2022.
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