- A threat actor has abused a vulnerability in the Wormhole cryptocurrency platform to steal an estimated $322 million worth of Ether currency.
- According to reports, the attacker stole crypto-assets worth $322.8 million at the time of the attack, and which have depreciated to $294 million due to price fluctuations following news of the hack.
- Once Wormhole formally confirms the amount of stolen funds, the incident will likely become the largest hack of a cryptocurrency platform so far this year, and the second-largest hack of a decentralized finance platform of all time, according to data compiled by the DeFiYield project.
- Blockchain technology is central to the development of the metaverse and Web 3, Goldman Sachs said in a research report.
- Goldman analysts feel that cryptocurrency is just the beginning for blockchain.
- For Web 3, blockchain allows for the “partial elimination of centralized control,” the note says. In the future, users will be able to log in without the need for a third party, such as Meta, Google or Apple, the note adds.
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- Business tycoon Mukesh Ambani on Friday asserted his faith in blockchain, a technology he predicted would redefine the financial world.
- Ambani’s telecom venture, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd, has accelerated internet adoption in India since its launch in 2016.
- With the 5G rollout expected next year, Ambani said the country is well on its way to being among countries with the most advanced telecom infrastructure in the world.
- A groundbreaking five-year study into whether crypto token incentives can improve health outcomes for patients with HIV/AIDS will be launched in Kenya by the end of the year.
- The first major project of this collaboration is a groundbreaking study in #HIV/#AIDS to investigate the effectiveness of incentives and paperless tracking systems on HIV treatment adherence and treatment outcomes in low socio-economic settings in Kenya.
- Life’s blockchain technology collects and analyzes patient data to help improve the outcomes of HIV treatments.
- Digital transformation solutions company UST announced that the NelsonHall NEAT report for blockchain services has named it a leader in the banking capability market segment.
- UST has a centre of excellence in blockchain in Madrid and an R&D lab in Thiruvananthapuram.
- UST’s blockchain services were recognised by ISG with a ‘Top Case Study Award for Digital Excellence’, highlighting the company’s engagement with a leading Spanish multinational commercial bank to transform its international payments experience through blockchain-based solutions.
- At a November 11 press conference, blockchain-based document security company Transcrypts announced a partnership with Doctors Without Borders, or DWB, that began on October 14th. Working together, they have already uploaded 6500 immunization records to the blockchain, with a goal of 76000 by 2022.
- Most of the recorded immunizations are COVID 19 vaccines, but the company stated that eventually, the goal is to store all patient medical records on the blockchain, where they will be accessible from a patient’s phone.
- Previously Transcrypt had found that HIPAA and other compliance laws essentially barred blockchain as an acceptable method of storage for medical records within the United States.
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Traditional paintings, images, video clips, tweets selling for millions have paved the way for a revolution that has become a digital autonomous asset creation and redistribution. Yes, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT) are cryptographic tokens that generate value because of their uniqueness. From tangible to intangible items, owning an NFT is like owning an original art or a collectable antique.
The difference between owning a physical collectable like a Pokémon card and a digital asset like NFT is that NFTs contain distinguishable information that distinguishes them from any other NFT and is easily verifiable. As each item could be traced back to its original creator, the duplication and circulation of fake collectables become pointless.
No two NFTs are identical. Unlike tangible real-money or digital cryptocurrencies, NFTs can’t be directly traded with one another, even if they exist on the same platform, game or collection.
The term ‘Fungibility’ means replaceable by another identical item; mutually interchangeable. For example, like how the conventional barter system works, we can exchange goods, services, money or cryptocurrency for the same value. In fact, this transactional value makes cryptocurrencies fit for use as a safe and secure medium in the digital economy.
On the other hand, this evolving digital asset is ‘Non-Fungible’, i.e., it is irreplaceable and, like a game token or a ticket, can only be used by the owner.
Most of the NFT tokens are built using two Ethereum token standards named ERC-721 and ERC-1155, enabling the software developers to easily deploy NFTs and ensure they’re compatible with the broader ecosystem.
Characteristics of NFTs include
Non-interoperable: After being sold as an NFT, a CryptoPunk cannot be used as a character on the CryptoKitties game or any other platforms, for that matter. An NFT art, once registered with blockchain, cannot be reused for any other platform.
Indivisible: NFTs can’t be divided into smaller denominations; they exist exclusively as a whole item.
Indestructible: NFT and its owner’s data is stored on a secure distributed database called ‘blockchain’ where each token is indestructible, irremovable, and irreplicable. Also, the gamers and collectors own their NFTs, not the companies that endorse or design them.
Verifiable: The original creator of NFT can be traced via blockchain’s data; you don’t need any third-party verification to authenticate these pieces.
Why do they have value?
Gamers can create, monetize, structure and sell individual digital items they procure for real money during gameplay. Artists get great profits when their artworks are sold directly to global buyers without an auction house. Like all assets, demand and supply are the important factors for price.
For example, gamer on the Decentraland virtual land combined 64 lots into a single estate after purchasing it and labelled it as “The Secrets of Satoshis Tea Garden”. It got sold for a whopping amount of $80,000 only because of its road access and location.
How to create, sell and buy NFTs?
You can create and sell your own NFT artwork, be it a GIF or an image, and it doesn’t require extensive knowledge of the crypto industry. As a plan, you will need to decide which blockchain you want to sell your NFTs on. Ethereum provides the blockchain service for NFT issuance.
Coming to sales, NFTs have become one of the hottest crypto trends of 2021, with overall sales already up by 55% since 2020 with $389 million.
When it comes to buying Non-Fungible Tokens, there are four things you need to be sure of:
- The marketplace you intend to buy the NFTs from.
- The wallet you need to download to purchase NFTs.
- The cryptocurrency you need to fund the wallet to complete the sale.
- The seasonal timings of purchase.
Let’s be clear about one thing: certain NFTs are only available on certain platforms. You will have to wait for one of the card pack drops to be announced; such NFTs can get over in seconds, so you need to have everything ready ahead of time.
Where to buy NFTs?
For NFT traders, here is a list of the most popular NFT marketplaces in 2021:
- Nifty Gateway
- Axie Marketplace
- NFT ShowRoom
Some of the most expensive NFTs
- Dragon the CryptoKitty, valued at 600 ETH, is still the most expensive NFTs.
- The “1-1-1” race car from F1 Delta Time was sold for 415.9 ETH in May 2019.
- The latest sale of Alien #2089 went for 605 ETH. It was also a part of the CryptoPunk collection, the first NFTs ever created.
- Basketball player LeBron James’ NBA digital collectable card was sold for $100,000.
- Angel, an Axie from the NFT-based game Axie Infinity, was sold for 300 ETH.
Popular references of Celebrities who bought NFTs
- Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, listed his first tweet — “just setting up my twttr” — at auction, with bidding reaching up to $2.5 million.
- Grimes, Elon Musk’s girlfriend, sold some animations she made on a website called Nifty Gateway for a total of more than $6 million.
- American Football player Rob Gronkowski is launching his digital trading cards as NFTs in March.
- $2,08,000 was paid to purchase a video clip that featured the famous Nyan Cat meme, which was sold for nearly $5,90,000 as an NFT.
- A 10-second video clip featuring a fallen Donald Trump sold for $6.6 million on Nifty Gateway.
Future of NFTs
A lot of brands and celebrities like UFC and Shawn Mendez have already signed deals to release their own non-fungible assets soon. It is anticipated that the NFT market will exceed $1.3 billion by the end of 2021 as more artists, brands, and icons utilize this space to create their own tokens. With more blockchains competing to produce better NFT services and a growing range of platforms to choose from, this is a great time to take part in the game!
From smarter registration and tracking of transferred crypto-asset transactions to using an AI application (that researchers from the University of Valladolid have been focusing on) which generates early warning systems and traces probability of corruption; Spain is tightening its grip on corruption monsters by using technology this time.
A Spanish blockchain company that is leveraging Ethereum for fraud-reduction and a better nose on verifiability and auditability of digital transactions – is one more example of the leaps that this region is taking in embracing both blockchain and its corruption-control potential.
While the EU, via the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum and 80 million euro worth of investments in various related projects is already on this track, Spain is following suit by tapping EU-wide blockchain and AI applications for combating corruption.
The third phase of a significant blockchain pilot is now through in Sweden.
After a live demonstration done last week, the goal of using private blockchains for carrying out property transactions is now more sure and deep.
What the land-registry authority and a group of participating banks, businesses and startups have also nailed here is that signatures can be put under the same scrutiny as everything else, so that every client can be verified all the way up to the root certificate.
Remember the April circular from The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) barring Indian banks from dealing with crypto-currency exchanges?
Not much of a dead-end for players who prefer back-end tunnels like conversion to crypto-to-crypto trading platforms or hopping overseas (like Singapore or Estonia). The loophole that these players are taking is the vague state of law on peer-to-peer trading.
Zebpay and Kionex, for example, have crypto-to-crypto trading platforms.
While Zebpay has one pair of cryptos, Koionex has 23-odd pairs.
Unocoin, on the other hand, has launched UNODAX, a multi-crypto asset exchange.
BuyUcoin, established in 2016 as a crypto-currency exchange and wallet company, has announced the launch of its own token, BuyUcoin Token (BUC).
That should make life and trading easy for players like UNODAX, Binex, Zebpay and Kionex etc. even if/until the challenge to the the RBI circular in the Supreme Court concludes.
If information on consignments, entered on a blockchain, can be traced efficiently with a QR code and stays on the ledger forever; if the immutability of blockchain-entries means no one can make false declarations for lower tariffs; and if product inspections at borders can be made a tad easy and fast – that can mean a lot – for UK in a post-Brexit scenario.
Yes, bureaucratic burdens and delays can find some solutions with use of this advanced technology. At least, some people are pinning down their hopes on that. Like a business chamber in south-west England that has used blockchain for certification of an export consignment.
This is significant as certificates of origin, which are usually provided by chambers of commerce, need custom-relevant proofs of where goods were made. Post Brexit, the UK will have to address many such complex ‘rules of origin’ work and documentation.
Transparency and speed – that’s what blockchain can bring in such entry-heavy scenarios.
Two different law-makers in the same continent have just given spins to their sticks and carrots concerning the crypto-currency affairs.
In Thailand, a framework from the Security and Exchange Commission is ushering in laws covering ICOs (reversing a recent ban), approving crypto-currency trading pairs and licensing fees for market operators.
In South Korea, crypto-currency exchanges (did you read about the new hot-hack) could be regulated like banks, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies may come into play, KYC (Know Your Customer) norms would not be limited to banks and terrorist financing prevention regulations would not slip through holes from now on.
Korea Financial Intelligence Unit (KFIU) and other local financial agencies are towing the line that regulators in the US and Japan have already started treading. As stated by a KFIU spokesperson: “Under current regulations, there are clear limitations in preventing money laundering on crypto exchanges because the only way authorities can spot suspicious transactions is through banks…”
Recently enough, in an unexpected move, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) barred a crypto exchange from receiving an operating license over inadequate verification in case of suspect transactions. The country, while famous for its open posture to new-gen fintech, has gotten stringent on AML and KYC compliance, with a trading-ban on anonymity-oriented altcoins.
When a cop smells a fish and catches the miscreant, it’s great news. But what follows isn’t – the stink of fishes lying unused.
From Ross Ulbricht to Aaron Shamo to Ahn, these fishes often prove more unwieldy than a whale.
We have heard about Ahn, the operator of a porn site who was recently convicted and whose 191.32333418 BTC was confiscated by the South Korean government. But now word is out how there are challenges in disposing off this money and giving the proceeds to an apt treasury.
Price-volatility and the completely-new-dynamics of this currency, coupled with iffy regulatory-stances and forfeiture-delays, make conventional routes of auction or storage both unviable and burdensome.
Authorities in the US have faced similar situations when they had to work out how to sell the 513.1490393 bitcoins (BTC) seized during an opioid drug case last year.
They did so by spreading the amount across more than one exchanges, slicing it in different increments and then putting the sales proceeds in a Treasury Forfeiture account.
Legal delays, personal wallet battles, conversion/liquidation barriers and several auctions were struggles that kept the US folks occupied through 2015 in the Silk Road case (recall the US Marshals Service (USMS) auction that was done in blocks and tranches). Similarly, auctioning 216 bitcoins confiscated during a 2016 criminal investigation was a hassle that South Korean fin-cops went through as well.
Conrail has been hacked.
The South Korean crypto-currency has reminded the world, yet again, of the loose ends in the so-called hack-proof technology that shapes blockchain and bitcoins. The cyber-intrusion has, reportedly, affected 30 percent of the coins traded on the exchange.
Whether it is Mt. Gox or Conrail or BitGrail or DAO or Japan’s Coincheck, or the likes of Coinbase, Bitstamp and Kraken which are under US-investigation; such dents not only send currencies in a volatile market tailspin but also disorient regulators who are already struggling to make sense of this new financial species.
The shall-we-rein-it-or-not battle gets only more confusing after such security mishaps.
Notably, crypto-attacks can be as serious and as frequent as $2.3 billion and 40 incidents (on an average one every month this year).
AI and super-computing could be old news for compute-intensive and data-heavy genome-sequencing projects, but blockchain isn’t – more so; as when it comes to citizen’s genetic data, one could always make room for a new technology that is safe, immutable and secure. Same goes for keeping track of counterfeit drugs in the system.
In India, all that has begun – Using a blockchain database for collecting and storing data of some 50 million citizens and a blockchain Proof-Of-Concept (POC) for drug inventory.
The first one is what the government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) is pursuing so that collated data is stored in an encrypted form in a secret vault while anonymous genomic data is parked in a cloud and accessible for research uses. In fact, Chief Minister Mr. Chandrababu Naidu has been very excited and hopeful about use of blockchain-based technology in the field of predictive medicine in India.
The second one is what the Niti Aayog group is trying to push forth its aims for placing the entire drug inventory in India on a blockchain system.
These moves could make India’s healthcare space quite radical and transparent by plugging in some major gaps ailing the industry for long.