Ethereum Istanbul Hard Fork Get Support From Major Crypto Exchanges

Following the successful Ethereum Istanbul hard fork update, several popular exchanges have announced their official support for the network upgrade.

Yesterday, on Dec. 7, the Ethereum’s network saw ample collaboration between node operators and miners to update the software to support the Istanbul hard fork.

Some crypto exchanges even sounded their willingness to update a few days prior to the scheduled hard fork.

A widely supported hard fork

Notably, Binance announced support for the upgrade on Dec. 5 and the day afterwards its U.S. subsidiary did the same. Coinbase also tweeted yesterday that Ethereum and ERC20 deposits and withdrawals have been resumed on its trading platforms and the node upgrade has been completed.

The website dedicated to reporting the state of Ethereum support of crypto exchange Kraken also suggests that the firm has undergone scheduled maintenance to update the nodes. While the Poloniex exchange has announced their support on twitter.

Bitfinex, the cryptocurrency trading firm with close ties to stablecoin operator Tether, also announced on Dec. 6 that it planned to support the hard fork.

Overall, the hard fork has seen widespread adoption by the community and not major negative events have been reported. This hard fork also included the previously discussed Muir Glacier hard fork, meant to address the so-called Ethereum Ice Age.

Source Cointelegraph

Ethereum Hard Fork Live, Stolen ETH Moved, ‘Hodlers Are Insane’: Hodler’s Digest, Dec. 2–8

Coming every Sunday, Hodler’s Digest will help you track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Ethereum completes Istanbul hard fork

It’s happened! Ethereum’s much-anticipated shift to Istanbul has been completed, and the system-wide update came into force when the network passed block #9069000 late on Saturday night. Vitalik Buterin claims capacity now has the potential to reach 3,000 transactions per second. Istanbul is designed to deliver interoperability with the privacy token Zcash and make it cheaper to use zero-knowledge technologies that enhances privacy. Although miners and node operators need to update their client, most people who hold ETH or use the network are unaffected — and ETH prices are unexpected to suffer turbulence. Maxwell Foley, software engineer at CertiK, told Cointelegraph Magazine: “Ethereum, in general, is an exciting project because they’re trying the hardest out of anyone in the crypto space to scale without sacrificing decentralization.”

Upbit hack: Stolen ETH worth millions on the move to unknown wallets

There’s been some new developments after 342,000 ETH was stolen from the hot wallet of major South Korean crypto exchange Upbit. According to Whale Alert, a service monitoring large transactions, one of the addresses involved in the theft has been moving ETH worth millions of dollars to an unknown wallet. Dodgy transfers have been taking place throughout the week in chunks of 10,000 ETH and 1,001 ETH — worth about $1.5 million and $150,000 respectively. After news emerged that the funds, worth about $50 million, had been stolen, some analysts suggested that an “inside job” was more likely than an external breach.

France to test its central bank digital currency in Q1 2020, official says

The Bank of France is going to test a central bank digital currency for financial institutions in the first quarter of 2020. Governor François Villeroy de Galhau said the “digital euro” pilot will not involve retail payments made by individuals — and stressed any such project would “be subject to special vigilance.” The central bank has been clear that France needs to assert sovereignty over private initiatives such as Facebook’s Libra, with the country leading efforts to ensure that the stablecoin is stopped from launching on European soil. The governor has also spoken of his enthusiasm for being the first country in the world to issue a CBDC, allowing France to become an example to other jurisdictions.

“Hodlers are insane” — 64% of Bitcoin supply has not moved since 2018

Given we are, er, Hodler’s Digest, let’s give you some holding news. New research has suggested that a whopping 60% of BTC in circulation hasn’t left its wallet in more than a year. This is particularly telling since BTC/USD ballooned from lows of $3,100 last December to $13,800 just six months later. Markets subsequently reversed downward — shaving 52% off their highs. Rhythm, the analyst who uploaded the statistics, didn’t mince his words by saying: “Hodlers of last resort are insane.” With the trend of dormant BTC as a percentage of total supply sharply increasing in recent years — and remaining intact during bull and bear markets alike — it seems many investors want to save it rather than spend it.

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Deutsche Bank research: Crypto to replace fiat currencies by 2030

New research by Deutsche Bank has revealed what the future might look like for crypto in just 10 short years. Its report suggests that digital currencies could eventually replace cash one day, as demand for anonymity and a more decentralized means of payment grows. Hurdles do lie in the way — and the authors say digital assets will need to gain legitimacy in the eyes of governments and regulators for wider acceptance to be achieved. The report also warns that the risk of cyberattacks and digital warfare could also pose huge risks to the stability of financial systems based on digital currencies in the future.

Winners and Losers

At the end of the week, Bitcoin is at $7,602.68, Ether at $150.47 and XRP at $0.23. The total market cap is at $205,799,442,442.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Energi, HedgeTrade and Enjin Coin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are ILCoin, Silverway and Thunder Token.

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For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Free Ross, baby! Get him out. We need entrepreneurs like that guy! Get him out of jail! Why do we put these really extraordinary people in jail? We need their minds, their energy, their life force. Get him free. Who knows what else he could’ve come up with?”

Tim Draper, investor

“In Japan, the amount of cash outstanding is still increasing, and it does not seem that there is a demand for CBDC from the public at present.”

Haruhiko Kuroda, Bank of Japan governor

“Turkey is a vibrant country that has illustrated one of the strongest demands and fast-growing interest in crypto.”

Changpeng Zhao, Binance CEO

“Hodlers of last resort are insane.”

Rhythm, analyst

“Bitcoin halving in May 2020 won’t do anything to the price. It will be a non-event.”

Jason Williams, Morgan Creek Digital co-founder

“Chair Powell and I have discussed this — we both agree that in the near future, in the next five years, we see no need for the Fed to issue a digital currency.”

Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury Secretary

Prediction of the Week

Halving will be “non-event” for BTC price, Morgan Creek Digital exec says

“The halvening” in May 2020 — when the reward paid to miners falls from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC per block — is widely regarded as an event that will catalyze a bull market. But according to Jason Williams, the co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital, these expectations might be overblown. He believes that the having will have no impact whatsoever on BTC prices, describing it as a “non-event.” With analysts bitterly divided over whether there will be a bull run — and if so, how quickly a reaction will take place — expect many more wild predictions to grace this column in the weeks and months to come.

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FUD of the Week

Canada-based crypto mining firm Great North Data files for bankruptcy

Great North Data, a crypto mining company based in Canada, has filed for bankruptcy. The firm operated facilities in Labrador City and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Bankruptcy documents show that it had $13.2 million in liabilities but just $3.5 million in assets. Reports suggest that the company owed six-figure sums to government bodies. It’s been a difficult time for mining companies, with Washington-based Giga Watt closing down in January because it was “insolvent and unable to pay its debts when due.”

Researchers detect new North Korea-linked MacOS malware on crypto trading site

Security researchers have uncovered cryptocurrency-related macOS malware that is believed to be the work of North Korean hackers known as the Lazarus Group. It is believed that the malware can retrieve a payload from a remote location and run it in memory — something that is not common for macOS. This resultantly means it can be difficult to detect the malware and carry out forensic analysis — with only 10 antivirus engines actually flagging it as malicious. “Clear overlaps” have also been found with malware that was detected by another group of security researchers in the middle of October.

CT News of the Week

Cointelegraph announces Chinese HQ, bolstering its international expansion

A little news about us now, if you’ll indulge me. Cointelegraph has launched a Chinese-language version of the publication — with offices in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai. The venture has been co-founded by Vadim Krekotin, Kevin Shao and Simon Li, and the team says they are determined to produce the highest-quality journalism for readers in China — ”holding steadfast to the values of editorial independence and responsibility to our readers.” Cointelegraph China is now our third base in Asia, joining local news sites serving Japan and Korea. 

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Best Cointelegraph Features

Ethereum’s Istanbul hard fork: Important updates, explained

Bamboozled by news of Ethereum’s latest hard fork? This nifty feature from Cointelegraph Magazine explores what forks are for, the structure of Ethereum’s roadmap, and delves into the details of the changes that Istanbul has delivered.

Death spirals and BTC — What happens when miners capitulate?

Miner capitulation occurs in the Bitcoin market when mining is no longer profitable — and it is believed to have triggered BTC’s major drop in December 2018. Joseph Young explores the phenomenon in depth here, and looks at what might happen in the months to come.

CryptoBridge closes down and Waves relaunches, DEXs face tough times 

With one decentralized crypto exchange abruptly shutting shop — and another undergoing a radical restructure — Stephen O’Neal looks at whether crypto trading platforms have something to worry about.

Source Cointelegraph

T-Minus 1,000 Blocks Until Ethereum’s Istanbul Hard Fork

As of press time, Ethereum has passed block #9068000, putting it within 1000 blocks of the scheduled Istanbul hard fork, which should take place at around 23:30 UTC.

The much-anticipated shift to Istanbul will be the Ethereum network’s first hard fork since February’s Constantinople. Both are stages of a broader phase of ongoing development that began in 2017 called Metropolis. 

What is changing?

Cointelegraph has covered Ethereum’s ongoing developments extensively, as have the developers. Broadly speaking, Istanbul should be streamlining the network in accordance with Metropolis’s overall goals of scaling the network.

Specifically, Istanbul will expand interoperability with privacy token Zcash. The upgrade will also make zk-SNARKs (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Arguments of Knowledge) cheaper. zk-SNARKs allow users to demonstrate knowledge without exposing that knowledge — a technology critical to Ethereum’s recent privacy enhancements.

How to prepare?

Per a Nov. 20 blog post from the Ethereum Foundation, if you hold Ether (ETH) or use the network, you probably don’t need to do anything unless you receive instructions otherwise from your exchange or wallet service.

If you are a miner or node operator, however, you will need to update your client to ensure that you are not suddenly stuck running obsolete once the hard fork takes effect.

Future forks?

Ethereum’s future beyond Istanbul remains unsettled. Fears of an impending Ice Age in which block hashing slows down as the network shifts from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) verification have led to proposals for another Muir Glacier fork to soften the impact of the transition. 

Otherwise, the next planned upgrade to the Ethereum network is called Berlin and is tentatively slated for Q2, though details as to what changes Berlin is going to implement remain limited and largely speculative.

Source Cointelegraph

Microsoft Announces Token Collectibles on Ethereum Blockchain

Microsoft’s blockchain-enabled cloud platform Microsoft Azure announced the “Azure Heroes” blockchain non-fungible tokens (NFT) aimed at rewarding its developer community.

The tokens represent cartoonish badgers (a play on the word “badge”) and aim to compensate positive behavior in Azure’s community. Each badger has a limited supply ranging from just 100 units to 10,000, Microsoft announced on Dec. 4. The firm said:

“Azure Heroes aims to reward individuals for verifiable acts of impact such as coaching, creating demos, building sample code, blogging about Azure or completing certain challenges. Community members that have demonstrated their contributions will be recognised with badges across a number of categories.”

Microsoft’s assets on Ethereum

Microsoft created the non-fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain in collaboration with blockchain gaming startup Enjin. The tokens will be minted each season and the limited quantities will be publicly verifiable and distributed via a QR code that prompts the receiver to install a wallet.

For someone to obtain the token he has to be nominated, which he can do himself. Nominated individuals will be judged and those that had a verifiable impact on the community will be chosen to receive a badger.

Blockchain non-fungible tokens gain traction

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are a blockchain-based token that cannot be replaced for something else and are unique. Such tokens are often used for digital collectible items, with one early example being Crytpokitties. 

Earlier this month, gamebook firm Fabled Lands announced that it is collaborating with Microsoft and major game developer Eidos to develop a blockchain card game based on a 1980s best-selling gamebook called “The Way of the Tiger.” Fabled Lands will use NFTs on the VeChain blockchain to secure in-game assets and collectibles.

Source Cointelegraph

AirSwap Offers Up to $20,000 For Its Bug Bounty

Ethereum (ETH) decentralized exchange protocol AirSwap announced that it is running a  bug bounty program with rewards up to 20,000 DAI (worth $20,000). It begins now and continues indefinitely.

On Dec. 4, the AirSwap team said that the value of the bug bounty rewards will depend on the severity of the bug found, according to the OWASP risk rating methodology and as judged by the AirSwap team.

The AirSwap bug bounty rewards go up to 250 DAI for a low-level fix, and up to 2,000 DAI for a high-level fix. If the AirSwap team decides that the risk severity has reached a critical level, the reward will go up to 20,000 DAI.

In September, the AirSwap team announced that they had discovered a critical vulnerability in the system’s new smart contract, which was reportedly immediately reverted to an older version after the issue was detected. 

AirSwap noted at the time that neither AirSwap’s Instant nor Trader products were affected by the vulnerability, and that only nine address owners were required to take action to prevent the loss of funds.

Bug bounties in crypto

As hacks in the crypto world can result in the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars of tokens, cryptocurrency companies often turn to bug bounties in an effort to combat those who pose a real threat to their security systems: hackers.

Often companies will offer bounties on a staggered scale, with the reward price corresponding to the severity of the bug. Bounties can start as low as $50 or $100 for low-level fixes, to $10,000 and more for critical bugs. 

$50,000 bounty

In October, MakerDAO had to fix a critical bug that could have resulted in a complete loss of funds for all platform users. The HackerOne user lucash-dev had disclosed a report that revealed a critical bug in MakerDAO’s planned upgrade, and was rewarded a $50,000 bounty. This bug represented the first critical finding in the MakerDAO’sbounty program.

Source Cointelegraph

Price Analysis 04/12: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, EOS, BNB, BSV, XLM, TRX

Price Analysis 04/12: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, EOS, BNB, BSV, XLM, TRX

Source Cointelegraph

Ethereum’s Proposed Hard Fork ‘Muir Glacier’ Would Delay Impending Ice Age

Ethereum developers have proposed a hard fork, named Muir Glacier, that should address the impending Ice Age, which could cause a significant slowdown on the Ethereum mainnet.

In an Ethereum improvement proposal at the end of November, Ethereum developer James Hancock wrote that the proposed Ethereum Muir Glacier hard fork would push back the mechanism, known as Ice Age.

Ice Age is unnecessarily complex and confusing

Ethereum’s Ice Age, also known as Difficulty Bomb, refers to the increasing hashing difficulty in the mining algorithm used to reward miners with Ether (ETH) on its blockchain. This piece of coding artificially slows down the production of blocks on Ethereum’s blockchain and therefore functions as a deterrent for miners who might choose to continue with proof of work (PoW) even after Ethereum has transitioned to proof of stake (PoS). 

However, according to Hancock the existing implementation of Ice Age is unnecessarily complex and confusing to communicate to the community. He adds that any updates to the design should be able to model the effect on the network in a straightforward way that is easy to predict when it occurs. Currently, Hancock does not believe this is the case.

Hancock further points out that Ethereum’s upcoming hard fork would push back the mechanism “as far as is reasonable,” to give developers the time to decide whether to update Ice Age so that its behavior becomes predictable or to remove it entirely. He added:

“This fork would give us time to address the community to understand their priorities better as far as the intentions of the Ice Age, and give time for proposals for better mechanisms to achieve those goals.”

ETH block propagation at least twice as fast

In November, blockchain advisory and product development firm Akomba Labs conducted a test on the Ethereum network that showed it could make block propagation at least twice as fast. Test findings showed that the average block propagation performance dropped from 360 milliseconds without running BloXroute’s Blockchain Distribution Network to 172 milliseconds with it.

Source Cointelegraph

Market Mostly Trades Sideways as Bitcoin Price Hovers Around $7,300

Tuesday Dec. 3 — Most cryptocurrencies continue trading sideways, including Bitcoin (BTC) which has not been able to find higher trading levels in the past few days.

Cryptocurrency market daily overview. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin started the day at $7,344, at which point the world’s largest crypto coin found an intra-day low of $7,230 before moving up again to the exact same trading price near $7,340. After a sluggish 24 hours, BTC is showing a gain of 0.5% for the day.

Bitcoin daily price chart. Source: Coin360

Bears target BTC at $5,000

Cointelegraph contributor Benjamin Pirus wrote that after BTC’s corrective bounce up to $7,875 last week, Bitcoin was unable to shake its larger downtrend. Instead, it headed back down to the $7,300 trading region. Pirus added that BTC could ultimately drop to a trading price near the $5,000 price mark, as its charts look mostly bearish at present.

Meanwhile, Ether (ETH) continues to trade in sync with Bitcoin. The top altcoin bounced off its daily low of $146 before moving up to its current trading price of around $149 per coin. Ether is showing a neglectable loss of around 0.5% at press time.

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP, the third-largest coin by market capitalization, is also following today’s trend and currently sits at $0.220 to show a small loss of around 0.3% for the day. 

Cointelegraph contributor Michaël van de Poppe recently explained that XRP’s downtrend is quite clear, as the controversial altcoin has continued to fall since its peak in January 2018. XRP has not been able to shake its downward behavior ever since. However, on the bullish side, van de Poppe did add that XRP could be on the verge of a rally. 

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Top 20 coins mostly trade flat

According to data from Coin360, most of the top 20 coins are trading within a 1% gain or loss, with Tezos (XTZ) being an exception, showing a decent gain of 3.5% on the day. Conversely, Bitcoin SV (BSV) is seeing a loss on the day of almost 4% at press time. 

The overall cryptocurrency market cap currently sits around $199.1 billion, with Bitcoin making up 66.6% of the total.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

Source Cointelegraph

Stolen ETH Worth Millions on the Move to Unknown Wallets

One of the addresses involved in last week’s theft from South Korean crypto exchange Upbit is moving millions of dollars worth of stolen Ether (ETH) to an unknown wallet.

As Whale Alert — a service dedicated to tracking major cryptocurrency transactions — has flagged today, Dec. 3, a 10,000 ETH (~$1.5 million) transaction occurred at 7:52 a.m. (UTC).

The transaction was preceded by a smaller transfer — of 1,001 ETH, worth roughly $150,000 — five minutes earlier, from the same address. 

As of the time of writing, the transactions continue — with another 10,000 ETH transfer just confirmed. A total of six transactions have been completed by press time. 

Transactions flagged on Etherscan

Upbit, which is run by a subsidiary of Korean tech giant Kakao, revealed last week that 342,000 Ether had been stolen from its hot wallet on Nov. 27.

The theft occurred at a time when the exchange was allegedly moving assets between hot and cold storage facilities, leading some to speculate that the incident may have been an inside job rather than an external breach.

Industry members — including Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao — had immediately pledged to ensure that the stolen funds would not be transacted via their platforms.

Today’s transfers have been flagged as associated with the “Upbit Hack,” but — as direct wallet-to-wallet transfers — were successfully confirmed on the network.

Transactions screenshot, Dec. 3

Transactions screenshot, Dec. 3. Source: EtherScan

Upbit has pledged to reimburse affected users

Since the theft, Upbit’s operator has promised to compensate all stolen funds from their corporate funds.

The exchange is one of the four largest platforms in South Korea  — alongside Korbit, Bithumb and Coinone — and was the only major domestic platform to post a profit in 2018. 

It is a member of the Korean Blockchain Association, a domestic alliance comprised of 14 crypto trading platforms. Members are committed to meeting five key requirements, including managing clients’ coins separately from their own, holding minimum equity of 2 billion won ($1.8 million), and publishing regular audit and financial reports.

In January 2018, South Korea’s top four exchanges created a hotline for major exchanges to ensure suspicious transactions could be detected and frozen immediately after being disclosed.


Source Cointelegraph

Price Analysis 02/12: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, EOS, BNB, BSV, XLM, TRX

Price Analysis 02/12: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, EOS, BNB, BSV, XLM, TRX

Source Cointelegraph