Crypto News Headlines (06-Jul-2022)

Ethereum-based credit platform Porter Finance closed its bond issuance platform, citing a lack of lending demand from the decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystem, developers said on Wednesday. The move comes amid declining crypto prices as broader equity markets reflect recession concerns.

The service enabled decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) to issue bonds as a means of raising funds in return for paying yields to users. These bonds provided a flexible, long-term credit option that offered advantages over loans for the protocols.

However, in Wednesday’s note, Porter said it was “not confident” that there would be large inflows of lending demand for fixed-income DeFi products such as those offered on its platform.

This was primarily due to the competitiveness of rates offered in traditional finance and the lack of institutional fixed income DeFi adoption over the past year, the note said.

An anonymous hacker has claimed to have stolen about 23 terabytes of data on a billion Chinese citizens from a Shanghai police database. Experts say that, if true, this would be one of the biggest data breaches in history.

The data is being offered for sale for 10 bitcoins. At the time of writing, this sum amounts to about $197,806.

On a hacker forum, an anonymous user using the handle “Chinadan” offered the data for sale on Thursday. The user claimed that the information was leaked from the Shanghai National Police (SHGA) database. “This database contains many TB of data and information on billions of Chinese citizens,” the post details.

The leaked data includes names, addresses, birthplaces, national ID numbers, mobile numbers, as well as crime and case details.

The user shared a sample of 750,000 records to allow interested buyers to verify that the data for sale is not fake.

Crypto miner Core Scientific sold roughly $165 million worth of Bitcoin last month, as inflation and market turmoil piled on the pressure for public crypto companies.

The NASDAQ-listed firm sold 7,202 Bitcoin during June at an average price of $23,000, leaving it with just 1,959 Bitcoin, bosses told investors yesterday. 

As of June 30, the company had $132 million in cash on its balance sheet.

The proceeds will go towards covering the cost of servers, increasing data capacity, and paying off debts, Core Scientific said.

Chief executive Mike Levitt said the group was “working to strengthen our balance sheet and enhance liquidity” in response to current challenges.

The profitability of bitcoin mining has been dwindling compared to that of Ethereum in recent months. Ethereum miners had consistently surpassed bitcoin for almost a year. That is until now when the returns from bitcoin mining have taken the lead once more.

Data shows that bitcoin miners have been recovering in comparison to their ETH counterparts. This has been obvious in the closing gap of the last several months where Ethereum miners had barely managed to stay ahead. This would continue until the month of June, an uncertain month for all who are involved in cryptocurrencies, and this, by extension, has affected the profitability of ETH mining due to the decline in price.

For last month, the total amount generated by bitcoin miners had come out to $656.47 million, while Ethereum’s numbers had been a total of $549.58 million for the same time period. This shows that Bitcoin miners had surpassed their Ethereum counterparts by more than $100 million for the month of June.

A new strain of crypto-malware is being spread via YouTube, tricking users to download software that’s designed to steal data from 30 crypto wallets and crypto-browser extensions.

Cyber intelligence company Cyble in a June 30 blog post said it had been tracking the malware known as PennyWise — likely named after the monster in Stephen King’s horror novel It — since it was first identified in May.

“Our investigation indicates that the stealer is an emerging threat,” wrote Cyble in a blog post on June 30:

“In its current iteration, this stealer can target over 30 browsers and cryptocurrency applications such as cold crypto wallets, crypto-browser extensions, etc.”

Data stolen from the victim’s system comes in the form of Chromium and Mozilla browser information, including cryptocurrency extension data and login data. It can also take screenshots and steal sessions of chat applications such as Discord and Telegram.

Global crypto exchange Binance resumed deposits in Brazilian reals through the government’s payment system Pix on Tuesday.

Brazilian reals’ withdrawals via Pix are still suspended and should resume “shortly,” Binance told CoinDesk in a statement.

On June 17, the company suspended the deposits and withdrawals through Pix after it terminated a partnership with the local payment gateway Capitual, which had operated Binance’s deposits and withdrawals via Pix since 2020.

Replacing Capitual, Binance is now operating with the Brazilian payments platform Latam Gateway, which uses the bank accounts hosted by BS2, a bank licensed by the Central Bank of Brazil (BC) to access the Pix network.

Singapore-based crypto lending and trading platform Vauld, which announced suspension of withdrawals and other transactions for customers, has been offered a way out of its troubles. On Tuesday, major crypto lender Nexo unveiled it had signed an indicative term sheet with Vauld that grants it a 60-day exploratory period for exclusive talks over the intended acquisition of the rival company.

On Monday, Vauld’s management said it’s halting operations because of “financial challenges” due to “the volatile market conditions.” It also cited financial difficulties at its partners and blamed the current market climate for the withdrawal of almost $198 million by its customers in about three weeks.

On the backdrop of this latest sign of stress in the industry, Nexo noted in a statement that it’s now up to “capable and well-capitalized entities to aid the sector.” In case of a satisfactory outcome of the initiated due diligence process, the lender plans to acquire up to 100% of Vauld, reorganize operations, and seek “deeper presence in Asia.”

The U.S. appears to be stalling on developing a central bank digital currency, with policymakers at the Federal Reserve discussing the technology but not revealing whether they’ve made any progress on the matter. 

At a Tuesday conference on the international role of the dollar, economic advisers and Fed bigwigs discussed digital assets and whether a CBDC could benefit the U.S.

According to a statement from the Fed, the “panelists generally agreed that technology by itself would not lead to drastic changes in the global currency ecosystem.”

A CBDC is a digital version of a state’s fiat currency—like the British pound or the euro—backed by a central bank. Such assets are centralized, unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

South Korean justice minister Han Dong-hoon was in New York recently to discuss various ways in which the two nations can corporate on investigations associated with financial crimes, especially crypto-related crimes.

Hoon met with Securities and Commodities Task Force co-chief Andrea M. Griswold, at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York along with Scott Hartman, chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force of the same office on Tuesday, reported a local daily.

The two sides discussed ways to exchange information and strengthen cooperation to ensure timely action on the increasing number of securities frauds associated with the digital asset market, reported a local daily. The two sides have reportedly agreed to share their latest investigation data around Terra-LUNA, a  crypto project under investigation in both countries.

Graff, that counts Middle East royalty among its client base, sued its insurer for losses over the extortion saying that the payment should be covered under their policy. The Travelers Companies Inc. is refusing to pay the jeweler’s loss caused by the Bitcoin ransom, Graff alleges.

Ransomware group Conti attacked the high-society jeweler in September 2021, leaking data about the Saudi, UAE and Qatar royal families. Conti apologized to the families in an unusual move for a hacking group, but threatened to leak more of Graff’s data.

“Our goal is to publish as much of Graff’s information as possible regarding the financial declarations made by the US-UK-EU neo-liberal plutocracy, which engages in obnoxiously expensive purchases when their nations are crumbling under economic duress,” the group said according to reports at the time.

Conti accepted Graff’s offer of half their initial demand of $15 million to a Bitcoin wallet on Nov. 3, 2021 to stop more of its data being published. Since then, the price of Bitcoin has plummeted, meaning Graff paid the ransom at one of Bitcoin’s highest-ever prices.