Circle recently opened up early access to a new cryptocurrency investing app. Their goal is to provide US customers with free and instant cryptoasset buying and trading.
With the tagline “crypto without the cryptic” the Goldman Sachs backed company “Circle Invest” aims to provide investors with access to Circle Trade, the company’s institutional trading desk. Circle Invest users can invest in cryptocurrencies for as little as $1. The company does not charge commission for their service, which aims to undercut exchanges like Coinbase with an enticing no fee model.
Investors can purchase cryptocurrencies instantly and all user assets are stored in offline cold storage. The platform currently does support deposits or withdrawals. The investing app launched with buying and trading support for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) with plans to bring more currencies to the platform in the near future.
Due to regulation and regional differences in law, the app is currently unavailable to users in Minnesota, Hawaii, New York or Wyoming. Circle is however working on becoming available in New York “very soon” and with recently passed legislation in Wyoming we should see it opening up to users there soon as well.
Circle is the newest heavyweight to add cryptocurrency functionality to its product line. Popular stock investing app Robinhood recently added cryptocurrency trading to its platform, although this feature is currently only available in five states. Square, meanwhile, offers Bitcoin trading to most US Cash App users and unlike the other two apps it allows users to withdraw their coins after performing verification.
Hackers Have Continued To Target Cryptocurrency Exchanges, And Little Can Be Done About It.
This month, the crypto trading platform Bitmart announced that hackers had stolen nearly $200 million after breaking into a company account.
It’s not just about investors getting rich from cryptocurrencies.
Hackers have stolen billions of dollars in virtual assets from cryptocurrency exchanges during the last year by attacking some of the marketplaces that have developed throughout the bitcoin boom.
There have been at least 20 successful robberies of crypto exchanges or projects this year, totaling more than $10 million in digital currencies. In at least six cases, hackers stole more than $100 million, according to data compiled by NBC News. Bank robberies last year resulted in offenders pulling off an average of less than $5,000 per job, according to FBI statistics.
Despite the fact that these robberies have a large price tag, they do not usually have the same degree of drama or attention as traditional bank robberies. But cryptocurrency experts believe they provide a cautionary tale for would-be cryptocurrency investors: exchanges are now attractive targets for hackers.
“If you hack a Fortune 500 company today, you might steal some usernames and passwords,” said Esteban Castaño, the CEO and co-founder of TRM Labs, a company that builds tools for companies to track digital assets. “If you hack a cryptocurrency exchange, you may have millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.”
Modern-Day bank robbers
Cryptocurrencies, which were once an obscure technology requiring a high degree of technical knowledge to purchase, have evolved into a more accessible investment and speculation tool, prompting over 300 businesses to start up in recent years to provide individuals with an easy method to invest in and trade everything from bitcoin to less prominent “altcoins” like dogecoin and shibu.
Exchanges that trade cryptocurrencies work similarly to traditional money exchanges, establishing rates for various currencies and collecting a fee to enable trades. However, while several countries have tough rules in place, it is rather simple for technology entrepreneurs to establish an exchange almost anywhere throughout the globe and run it as they choose.
Cryptocurrencies, as the name implies, are decentralized, secure currencies. However, because cryptocurrency exchanges generally start with a small staff and few if any full-time cybersecurity specialists, they are especially vulnerable to cybercriminals. Their developers may work at breakneck speeds to get the code to run correctly, inadvertently creating vulnerabilities that allow hackers access.
Cryptocurrency exchanges keep many of their cryptocurrencies in so-called cold wallets, which are stored securely offline. Everything else is kept in “hot wallets,” which are liquid and can be sent to clients. That means if a hacker compromises a staff member’s account — a frequent internet security breach – they may pull off a large theft, according to Dave Jevans, the founder of CipherTrace, a company that tracks theft and fraud in cryptocurrencies.
“If you steal the private keys to a hot wallet, it’s not like stealing a database of people’s names and Social Security Numbers,” Jevans said. “You’ve just basically stolen all their money.”
If an exchange has adequate funds and plans ahead to create an emergency fund, it can reimburse customers if its system is assaulted, according to Jevans. If not, they are generally forced out of business.
“Not every exchange is so wealthy or has so much foresight. It just goes, pop, ‘We’re out of business. Sorry, you’re all screwed,’” he said.
Recent Cryptocurrency Exchange Hacks
In early December, when the cryptocurrency trading platform Bitmart announced that hackers had stolen almost $200 million from a firm account, one of the most significant robberies that has occurred. The firm shut down client transactions for three days before allowing them to resume trading their money.
The problem is made worse by the fact that many cryptocurrency projects, in order to avoid government controls, operate from nations where law enforcement agencies have little power to go after transnational hackers. Or if they are hacked, they are less likely to ask for government assistance on principle because of their beliefs, according to Beth Bisbee, CEO of Chainalysis a company that tracks cryptocurrency transactions for both private companies and government agencies.
“Some people want to be anti-bank and anti-oversight,” Bisbee said. “They’re not necessarily wanting to work with law enforcement, even though they’d be considered a victim and it’d be beneficial for them to do so.”
Keeping A Low Profile
Exchange hacks, unlike bank robberies of old, don’t have the same characteristics that made them front-page news in the past. Despite their significant dollar amounts, public attention to these breaches may be limited. The majority of exchange hackers are not caught, leaving customers with little closure. There is rarely any physical evidence or real-world aftermath like traumatized bank tellers or perp walks.
Some hacks, however, have pleasant endings. A hacker stole $600 million from the cryptocurrency platform Poly Network in a strange, public occurrence. Instead of blaming the thief, Poly Network instead appealed to his better nature by calling him “Mr. White Hat,” which is a cybersecurity term for a researcher working to make things more secure. Poly Network thanked him for exposing a flaw in its code and asked for the money back. The hacker eventually relented and returned it all.
When big law enforcement organizations tackle a major cryptocurrency breach, they typically attempt to track down every lead, which is a time-consuming procedure that moves much slower than the offenders they’re pursuing.
Europol has been of an increase in data breaches, including those that involve hackers stealing digital assets. However, forming a strong case is a time-consuming and laborious process that doesn’t keep up with the rate of attacks.
“We have a slew of investigations in progress right now,” Georges added. “They take a long time to complete because we also want to dismantle the entire criminal network,” she continued. “These instances frequently crossover with one another.
“They might go on indefinitely,” she added. “These inquiries generally take a long time.”
“Cryptocurrency is a great idea” – Ron Paul
During a recent “Squawk Alley” interview, Former Republican congressman and presidential candidate, Ron Paul- discusses how he is in favor of cryptocurrencies as well as block change technology. Apparently, he enjoys competing currencies and believes they are a good idea.
He also believes that the governments only have the right to step in to prevent fraud from taking place. In the interview, Paul states that, “the government has a role. And if somebody has a case that there is fraud, I think it should be investigated.” Paul then goes on to state that what he wants to do “is legalize the freedom of choice, absent blatant fraud.” Agreeably so, this is exactly the type of perspective that the crypto world needs.
Throughout the interview, Paul compares crypto to gold in many ways. He points out how both assets are competing with traditional fiat money. He discusses how our government has never been “very tolerant of competition, and they’re not even tolerant with using the Constitution to compete with the fiat dollar. Because gold and silver, you can’t use it.”
This isn’t the first time that Ron Paul has discussed his views on crypto. Back in 2014, the Former Republican Congressman displayed his concerns about the foundation of crypto and Bitcoin. However, he acquired a bearish pro-crypto outlook on the future of fiat money. Paul believes that the dollar won’t last long as “they all self-destruct.” According to Paul, the only competition for the dollar is the euro and yen- which “isn’t any good.”
Binance got hacked for $40 Million Dollars in Bitcoin, is your money safe?
The short answer is Yes, your money is safe.
Fortunately, Binance was prepared and your money is safe in due to SAFU. Meaning the ‘Secure Asset Fund for Users’ will cover this completely. This is the very reason Binance is self-insured.
Technically speaking the Binance exchange itself was not hacked, it has officially been stated by Binance that a large number of API Keys, 2FA Codes, and other user info was acquired by said hackers utilizing techniques such as phishing, viruses and other types of digital attacks. This means that it was user accounts that were compromised by the users themselves and not Binance.
In an age where digital security is more important than ever, this is a stark reminder to keep your data safe and secure at all times.
TLDR About the Binance Hack:
• 7000 BTC was stolen
• The BTC was stolen from Binance’s Hot Wallet
• Binance’s Hot Wallet holds only 2% of their total holdings
• All funds are insured and do not affect users