Newsletter #10

1

Week in review

“Good guy” hacker: Hacks Andre Cronje’s project, returns 50% of loot

Eminence Finance was a work in progress teased by Andre Cronje in a cryptic tweet. This however was already enough for some investors who rushed to buy EMN tokens.

On 29th September 2020 however, the crypto community sounded the alarm of a rug pull after seeing that Cronje’s developer wallet had interacted with a new Ethereum address. The hacker stole a total of USD$15mil worth of invested assets.

Those who had invested attacked Cronje, accusing him of failing to take safety precautions and not making his project private. Some even went as far as sending death threats to Cronje and one person has even alleged they lost USD$100,000 in this hack.

Strangely, the hacker decided to send USD$8mil back to Cronje’s address but retained USD$7mil for himself. Subsequently, Cronje tweeted that he had asked the yearn treasury to refund the USD$8mil returned by the hacker to affected users.

This is certainly a painful lesson for those affected. But it is yet another reminder that people should always do their own full research before putting any funds into a project. This is especially true considering we have been observing a marked rise in scams in the past few weeks.

KuCoin Hack pt 2: Still not out of the woods yet

The KuCoin hack occurred on 25th September 2020 and the tally so far seems to be that over USD$200 million in customer funds have been lost, though according to KuCoin, around 130 million has already been secured or in the process of being recovered.

Not all projects have their services fully restored (i.e. trading, deposits, and withdrawals). As at 2:30pm on 2nd October 2020 (UTC) the following projects HAVE had their services fully restored:

Full services restored for the following projects. Items in red are the latest additions to the list. (Image credit: KuCoin.com)

To mitigate the effects of the hack, projects have generally taken 1 of 4 approaches: (1) freeze their tokens; (2) replace their tokens; (3) if the tokens were recoverable, to return them to KuCoin; or (4) invalidate the tokens.

Meanwhile, Hacken have announced that as a way of supporting the cryptocurrency community, they will be looking into the KuCoin hack and publishing their findings. From their initial investigations, it seems that it was a social engineering attack on a KuCoin employee who had access to private keys worth USD$150mil.

KuCoin of course has also launched their own investigations and apparently identified those involved in the breach with “substantial proof at hand” against them. KuCoin has contacted law enforcement officials and police to take action against them.

A reminder again to put your cryptocurrencies in a hardware wallet if you haven’t done so already! Check out our Ledger Nano X review or buy it here.

BitMEX is in hot water

On 1st October 2020, civil and criminal proceedings have been respectively issued by the DOJ and CFTC against BitMEX, its CEO Arthur Hayes, together with other key personnel and affiliates. Meanwhile, BitMEX’s CTO who was at the time working in the US, was arrested. The DOJ accuses BitMEX of failing to implement proper KYC/AML procedures in breach of the Bank Secrecy Act, whilst the CTFC alleges the Exchange had failed to register as a derivatives exchange yet still offering services to US customers.

However, the speculation is that the current charges are only a precursor to more severe charges that would be issued against the individuals once they have been extradited to the US e.g. breaching international sanctions via BitMEX allowing those from Iran and North Korea to move out of their cryptocurrency positions.

As a result of this news, traders flocked to withdraw their funds from the Exchange fearing it would be shut down. A total of USD$23mil was withdrawn from BitMEX in a single hour and so far over 45,000 BTC has been withdrawn. According to data from Crystal Blockchain, other centralized exchanges benefited from this mass exodus from BitMEX, with around 20,000 BTC going to Gemini, Binance, OKEx and Huobi Exchanges.

It is unknown how the legal proceedings and events will unfold. Most importantly, no one knows whether BitMEX operations and accounts will be frozen. So users of the Exchange may want to consider withdrawing their cryptocurrencies just in case.

Bitcoin resilient against negative news hammer

Prices of Bitcoin were unmoved by the KuCoin hack, but took a dip upon the news of the legal proceedings against BitMEX. Even news that US President Donald Trump testing positive for COVID-19 did not significantly shake prices for long. During this week and despite the generally negative news, Bitcoin prices appear to be on the way to recovery. This has led to some analysts taking the view that professional and retail investors remain bullish on Bitcoin and the ongoing upwards trend to USD$12,000 could return sooner rather than later.

Upcoming events

5th Oct 5:00am: Boxmining livestream
8th Oct 6:00am: Alpha Finance Lab token sale on Binance Launchpad. Farming on their Launchpool already started at 12:00am on 30th Sept.
8th Oct 6:00pm: Radix DLT token sale
10th Oct 2:00pm: RAMP DeFi public sale

*All times are listed in UTC unless otherwise stated.

See here for back issues of our newsletter.

The information provided in this article is intended for general guidance and information purposes only. Contents of this article are under no circumstances intended to be considered as investment, business, legal or tax advice. We do not accept any responsibility for individual decisions made based on this article and we strongly encourage you to do your own research before taking any action. Although best efforts are made to ensure that all information provided herein is accurate and up to date, omissions, errors, or mistakes may occur.

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