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Hacked Cryptocurrency Exchange Cryptopia Goes Into Liquidation

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Cryptopia, the cryptocurrency exchange hit by a major hack in mid-January, has gone into liquidation and suspended trading operations.

The news was announced Wednesday by Cryptopia’s assigned liquidator, professional services firm Grant Thornton New Zealand. Cryptopia confirmed the news on Twitter, as well as on its website.

Possibly signaling changes afoot, Cryptopia website went under maintenance yesterday without any message to the public on its social media platforms. It was first noticed by a Redditor who asked whether the exchange had been hacked again.

Back in January, Cryptopia went offline for a couple of days before stating mid-month that it had “suffered a security breach which resulted in significant losses.” A blockchain data analytics firm estimated after the attack that as much as $16 million in ether and ERC-20 tokens could have lost. Later, in March, the exchange restarted trading services, but still had banking issues.

Grant Thornton said the hack had a “severe” impact on the company’s trade, and despite the management’s efforts to reduce cost and return the business to profitability, it was decided that liquidation was the best path forward for all stakeholders.

David Ruscoe and Russell Moore from Grant Thornton will help Cryptopia secure its assets “for the benefit of all stakeholders,” according to today’s announcement.

“While this process and investigations take place, trading on the exchange is suspended,” Grant Thornton said, adding that the complex investigation will take “months rather than weeks.”

Commenting on Cryptopia’s Twitter announcement, numerous customers have expressed frustration that they were not allowed to withdraw funds since the hack, with some also calling for creditors to organize and take legal action against the exchange.

Ruscoe said:

“We realise Cryptopia’s customers will want to have this matter resolved as soon as possible. We will conduct a thorough investigation, working with several different stakeholders including management and shareholders, to find the solution that is in the best interests of customers and stakeholders.”

Grant Thornton is expected to file an initial report on the case next week on the New Zealand Companies Office website.

Cryptopia image via Shutterstock 

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Newsflash: Why This Virginia Police Department’s Pension Just Invested in a $40 Million Crypto Fund

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Frequent Bitcoin commentator and t-shirt salesman Anthony Pompliano instructed Bloomberg this morning that two Fairfax County, Virginia pension finances have long past in on Morgan Creek Digital’s new fund for cryptocurrency corporations. The finances constitute $1.2 billion in property for the pensions of police and different public employees within the county.

$25 Million Fund Oversubscribed to $40 Million

The $40 million fund initially handiest sought $25 million. A small portion of its funding might be in liquid blue chip cryptos like Bitcoin and Ethereum. Investment in cryptocurrency corporations would be the majority of the fund’s paintings, alternatively. Coinbase and Bakkt have already been named as goals for funding.

Public pension finances affect almost 20 million Americans. Nearly 4,000 exist. If the experiment in Fairfax County is going neatly, and police have an much more relaxed retirement in consequence, will others apply swimsuit?

Bloomberg reports that “an insurance company, a university endowment and a private foundation” could also be throwing in with the fund. It has already bought equity in Bakkt, the Starbucks/NYSE crypto alternate which can most probably release America’s first Bitcoin ETF (ultimately).

Everything might be tokenized at some point, Morgan Creek satisfied asset managers. Whatever the crypto markets had been doing, blockchain as an trade has been attracting lots of the brightest minds in Silicon Valley for years. Fairfax County’s police fund leader funding officer Katherine Molnar told Forbes:

“Blockchain technology is being applied in unique and compelling ways across multiple industries. We feel it is important to be opportunistic and are excited to participate in this emerging opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Pompliano instructed Bloomberg:

“The smart money is not distracted by price but looks at the long-term trends, and believes they’re betting on innovation as a great way to deliver risk-mitigated returns.”

Coinbase and Bakkt: First Choices for Morgan Creek

To safely arrange the cash, Morgan Creek wishes to concentrate on corporations indirectly hooked up to the price of Bitcoin. Companies centered at the innovation of the blockchain itself, exchanges that benefit whether or not the associated fee is up or down, and corporations having a look to make use of the generation for public hobby tasks. In addition to Bakkt, the fund is creating a play in Coinbase, the king of retail crypto gross sales.

The outspoken Bitcoin bull Pompliano may simply make investments the cash in Bitcoin at those bargain costs if it have been as much as him, alternatively. He spends a substantial amount of time on Twitter telling other folks to prevent ready round.

Pompliano not too long ago made headlines when his podcast “Off the Chain” was once banned by Apple without warning. Morgan Creek Digital’s $1 million bet against the inventory marketplace as of but has no takers, indicating that whilst some other folks discuss strongly towards cryptos, most of the people aren’t certain sufficient to place their cash the place their mouth is.

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Take Two: Ethereum Is Getting Ready for the Constantinople Hard Fork Redo

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If to start with you don’t be triumphant, take a look at take a look at once more.

Such are the phrases of knowledge which were taken to center by way of ethereum core builders ever since a vulnerability within the community’s code was discovered simply 48 hours ahead of the code used to be set to be deployed.

The community improve dubbed Constantinople would have presented a chain of backward-incompatible adjustments – often referred to as a troublesome fork – to the arena’s 2nd biggest cryptocurrency by way of marketplace capitalization. Yet the worm came upon resulted in a extend, adopted by way of a plan to try once again in past due February.

With the code anticipated to turn on someday throughout the remaining week of February – in particular, at block quantity 7,280,000 – ethereum core builders are assured that Constantinople received’t fail this time round.

“I suspect it will go as planned. The block number has been set and [the upgrade] is hard coded in the clients now so it’s going along fine,” Hudson Jameson, who handles developer family members for the Ethereum Foundation, advised CoinDesk.

Adding that “valuable lessons” are discovered from each arduous fork, Jameson stated that one of the vital essential takeaways from remaining January’s arduous fork try used to be “better communication with miners to let them know about the upgrade.”

While the problem within the code wouldn’t have impacted miners without delay, miners and different customers who run whole copies of the ethereum blockchain known as nodes had to be impulsively notified concerning the cancellation of Constantinople to stay it from in fact being deployed and developing imaginable disruptions.

On this entrance, the sensible contract safety audit company ChainSecurity, which came upon the vulnerability, advised CoinDesk the group of ethereum builders used to be already rather spectacular.

“I was just impressed by how quickly everyone reacted and how well organized everyone reacted,” stated CTO Hubert Ritzdorf. “Many people had to update so they had to know what to update to. On many different levels it became clear even though there is no central command, the [ethereum] community collaborates very efficiently.”

Called Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), 4 out of 5 EIPs will in fact be activated at the major community, or mainnet. And for all technical functions, the improve might be deployed in two portions – concurrently.

Say hi to ‘Petersberg’

Developers proposed throughout a gathering late January to desk the EIP briefly and continue with the remainder of Constantinople as deliberate, figuring out {that a} repair to the buggy EIP – EIP 1283 – would extend activation of ethereum’s deliberate arduous fork for too lengthy.

However, for the reason that a number of check networks on ethereum together with Ropsten already activated Constantinople in its complete glory ahead of the protection vulnerability used to be discovered, ethereum core builders additionally agreed {that a} 2nd arduous fork safely eliminating the EIP used to be wanted.

Thus, “Petersberg” used to be born.

Already released on Ropsten, Petersberg is the casual title of the arduous fork in particular designed to take away EIP 1283 from a are living ethereum-like community. Later this month, the unique Constantinople code might be activated on mainnet at the side of Petersberg.

“For all practical means for any developer out there on the mainnet, there will not have been Constantinople really, just Petersberg … Technically in the code, you have two conditions,” ChainSecurity COO Matthias Egli defined. “One says Constantinople gets active at block number [7,280,000] and at the same block number Petersberg gets activated, which takes precedence over Constantinople and immediate supersedes it.”

And relating to what’s left to be executed for Petersberg release on mainnet, Jameson stated that the entire trying out for its unlock has been finished and main tool shoppers together with Geth and Parity are able to deploy at the agreed-upon block quantity.

Now, as emphasised by way of ethereum safety lead Martin Holst Swende, customers of ethereum will have to pay attention to essential adjustments to the ethereum community on account of Constantinople plus Petersberg.

The new ‘corner case’

Tweeting out a questionnaire for customers remaining Thursday, Swende famous that once Constantinople, sensible contracts on ethereum regarded as to be nearly immutable will be capable of exchange code underneath positive prerequisites over the process more than one transactions.

The new characteristic presented thru EIP 1014 – known as “Skinny CREATE2” – is meant to higher facilitate off-chain transactions on ethereum by way of permitting what Ritzdorf describes as “deterministic deployment.”

“When you deploy a new smart contract on ethereum, what happens is that it computes the address to where the contract will be deployed. You know this ahead of time but it depends on a lot of variables,” Ritzdorf advised CoinDesk. “CREATE2 makes it easier to say, ‘We will deploy in the future a contract to this particular address.”

As a results of this, Ritzdorf explains sensible contract builders may just technically deploy contracts for “the second time” to the similar cope with, noting:

“[After Constantinople] you can change code because you can first deploy to that address, destruct the code and then deploy again.”

Egli highlighted that that is “not a security bug” however reasonably “a corner case” that builders on ethereum will have to be cautious of as soon as the adjustments are going are living. He added that persisted schooling from auditors upfront of February’s arduous fork is wanted concerning the different 4 EIPs at the beginning set for inclusion in Constantinople out of doors of EIP 1283.

Users expecting the release of Constantinople can both move to forkmon.ethdevops.io or Ethernodes to observe the discharge in actual time. A lot of other sites also are to be had for are living metrics together with mining hashrate and marketplace costs.

According to 1 arduous fork countdown timer created by way of Afri Schoedon, unlock supervisor for the Parity Ethereum consumer, Constantinople plus Petersberg is estimated as of press time to head live to tell the tale Thursday, February 28.

Cinema clapper image by way of Shutterstock

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Coinbase Now Lets Merchants Accept Payments in the USDC Stablecoin

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Coinbase Commerce, the cryptocurrency exchange’s merchants payments offering, has added support for the dollar-pegged stablecoin USD Coin (USDC).

The development means businesses can now receive payments in USDC from customers “in minutes with zero transaction fees” and no chargebacks, Coinbase announced in a blog post on Monday.

“Unlike accepting credit card payments, merchants can accept USD Coin without geographical limitations or the need for a traditional bank account,” the firm said.

Coinbase Commerce was launched in February 2018 and offers support for bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ether (ETH) and litecoin (LTC) payments alongside the new USDC.

Initially integrated with e-commerce platform Shopify, Coinbase Commerce later rolled out a plugin for WooCommerce too. At the time, Coinbase said that WooCommerce provides the payments infrastructure for more than 28 percent of all web stores.

USDC was launched late last year by crypto finance startup Circle and Coinbase. Earlier this month, Coinbase expanded crypto-to-crypto trading in the stablecoin to 85 countries.

“For new customers in countries like Argentina and Uzbekistan, where consumer prices are expected to inflate by 10–20% in 2020, stablecoins like USDC could provide an opportunity to protect against inflation,” it said at the time.

Checkout image via Shutterstock 

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Twitter CEO Dorsey: Square Crypto Begins ‘Inevitable’ Bitcoin Mass Adoption

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By CCN: Square, the $32.7 billion mobile payment company founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, is one step closer to launching its long-awaited crypto project. The company claimed last night that bitcoin mass adoption is “inevitable” and it is close to making its first hire.

Everything we know about Square Crypto so far

In March 2019, Square CEO Jack Dorsey announced his company would hire three or four developers and a designer to work on the open-source Bitcoin ecosystem.

Many Bitcoin developers are volunteers, but Dorsey wants to fund the growth of Bitcoin directly through Square Crypto.

Square already has a stake in the cryptocurrency world. Its Cash App allows users to buy and sell bitcoin, a feature that pulled in $65 million revenue for the company last year. Square is the first and only publicly traded company to support bitcoin purchases.

Square Crypto will focus on what’s best for the crypto community

Dorsey claims the Square Crypto initiative is not a commercial pursuit, but an attempt to give back to the bitcoin community. 

“Last week I was considering my hack week project, and asked @brockm: “what is the most impactful thing we could do for the bitcoin community?” His answer was simple: “pay people to make the broader crypto ecosystem better.” This resonated with me immediately, so we’re doing it.”

Dorsey began meeting with potential developers in April after ‘Crypto Twitter’ threw out suggestions. Among the candidates suggested were various Bitcoin Core developers and members of the BTCPayServer. Although the new recruits will report directly to Dorsey, he maintains that their purpose is to improve the bitcoin ecosystem, not make money for Square.

“These folks will focus entirely on what’s best for the crypto community and individual economic empowerment, not on Square’s commercial interests. All resulting work will be open and free.”

Lightning Network integration?

The bitcoin community has speculated that Square Crypto will work on integrating the Lightning Network, a second-layer protocol designed for instantaneous bitcoin payments.

Dorsey invested $2.5 million in Lightning Labs, a startup developing on the Lightning Network. He also took part in the Lightning Network “torch” experiment, passing a micro-amount of bitcoin to Lightning Labs co-founder Elizabeth Stark. 

Better design and user experience for bitcoin?

Exact details of the Square Crypto project have been closely guarded, but one common theme is accelerating design and UX. Dorsey will hire one full-time designer to focus on UX and the official Square Crypto Twitter account said that “mass adoption is impossible without great design.”

Dorsey himself said that design is an underfunded part of the crypto ecosystem, and crucial introducing people to the technology.

Dorsey going all-in on bitcoin?

In the last year, Dorsey has ramped up his engagement with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. He appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast saying that he’s a huge fan of bitcoin.

“The internet deserves a native currency; it will have a native currency. I don’t know if it will be Bitcoin or not. Hope it will be.”

Since then he revealed he was maxing out the Cash App bitcoin buying limit, effectively spending $10,000 a week on cryptocurrency. As for Square Crypto, the project’s Twitter account has reminded everyone to dial down their expectations. Big things are coming, it says, but it will take time.

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‘Fortnite’ Maker Teams Up With Crypto’s Steam Competitor to Boost Game Development

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A gaming platform built on crypto is teaming up with the creator of “Fortnite.”

As revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, game developers using Epic Games’ Unreal Engine will receive better business terms if they deploy their titles on The Abyss. The Abyss, a Steam competitor funded by an initial coin offering (ICO) in 2018, rewards game devs for purchases made on the platform.

Mike Gamble, head of games licensing for Epic Games, said in a statement:

“We’re delighted that The Abyss has chosen to provide additional resources to Unreal Engine developers and publishers on its platform. Unreal Engine 4 scales to hundreds of millions of players, and access to premier support and connections with the global community can be critical to success of large-scale games with live operations.”

The precise details of the arrangement are unclear, with both firms citing non-disclosure agreements.

Nevertheless, The Abyss founder Konstantin Boyko-Romanovsky told CoinDesk in an email that conditions between Epic Games and developers will be “better than standard ones and will not be confined to the premium support.”

Additionally, developers using Unreal will not need to sign a separate agreement with Epic Games. “All transactions are done through The Abyss,” he wrote.

Epic offers fairly generous licensing terms to developers using the Unreal Engine. It only requires developers to make a quarterly payment of 5 percent of returns over $3,000, according to its end-user licensing agreement. Developers can also negotiate an upfront price if that’s preferable.

The Unreal Engine is a game development platform that first launched in 1998. It has been used to build instances of the “Mass Effect,” “Batman” and “Medal of Honor” franchises, according to Wikipedia.

As part of the new partnership, developers on The Abyss will get access to the Unreal Developers Network. They will also get marketing services from The Abyss.

The Abyss ran an ICO in early 2018 using a model devised by Vitalik Buterin in which token holders could vote on whether the development team should get more funds as the project progressed. The Abyss raised slightly over $15 million, according to Boyko-Romanovsky.

The Abyss launched in March 2019, serving players of massively multiplayer online games. Developers using The Abyss earn income from referrals they make to the platform, even if the people who follow those referrals don’t end up purchasing the developer’s game.

“We’re delighted to welcome new Unreal Engine benefits to our platform,” Boyko-Romanovsky said in a statement.

Six games are currently live on The Abyss, compared to 30,000 on Steam.

Fortnite esports tournament image via Shutterstock

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