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Microsoft Research into Eastern European Hacking Should Cause Alarm for Crypto Exchanges

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Microsoft released a report detailing the extent of Russian hacking since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine. The report details how the attacks were correlated with physical military operations on the ground. This included a cyberattack on a broadcaster at the same time a missile strike was occurring against a television tower in a general attempt to discourage disinformation. One fintech CEO is warning that this dovetailing on strategy could spell trouble for digital asset exchanges.

“It seems clear that cyberattacks out of Russia are being carried out in relation to what’s happening on the ground. Gazprom’s decision to cut off Poland and Bulgaria from Russian energy makes it clear that Russia is willing to use economics as a political weapon. If that’s true, and if Russia continues to see decreased revenues from its energy sector, it is absolutely conceivable to think that digital asset exchanges could see increased activity on the cybercrime front,” said Richard Gardner, CEO of Modulus, a US-based developer of ultra-high-performance trading and surveillance technology that powers global equities, derivatives, and digital asset exchanges.

In particular, Microsoft noted:

“Starting just before the invasion, we have seen at least six separate Russia-aligned nation-state actors launch more than 237 operations against Ukraine – including destructive attacks that are ongoing and threaten civilian welfare. The destructive attacks have also been accompanied by broad espionage and intelligence activities. The attacks have not only degraded the systems of institutions in Ukraine but have also sought to disrupt people’s access to reliable information and critical life services on which civilians depend, and have attempted to shake confidence in the country’s leadership. We have also observed limited espionage attack activity involving NATO member states, and some disinformation activity.”

“As the industry continues to see hacks against its institutions, I truly believe that providers really need to better explore their options. Is the software they’re running hack-proof? Is their code fully vetted? Are their vendors up to providing the kind of security that their customers should demand? These are the tough questions that every exchange operator should be considering,” said Gardner.

Modulus is known throughout the financial technology segment as a leader in the development of ultra-high frequency trading systems and blockchain technologies. Modulus has provided its exchange solution to some of the industry’s most profitable digital asset exchanges, including a well-known multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange. Over the past twenty years, the company has built technology for the world’s most notable institutions, with a client list which includes NASA, NASDAQ, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Barclays, Siemens, Shell, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Cornell University, and the University of Chicago.

“Whether we’re talking about Russian interests, or hackers with ties to North Korea, or even unaffiliated or loosely affiliated entities, it is clear that attacks are ramping up. The industry must be able to respond in a competent manner. Nine figure losses simply aren’t sustainable for an industry. Especially since improving our defenses is so comparatively inexpensive. Invest in security and risk management on the front-end. That’s the best bet for long-term success,” said Gardner.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Cryptocurrency

Coinbase Enters Fortune 500 List as FTX CEO Features in Times

Coinbase was the first cryptocurrency company to be featured in the popular Fortune 500 list

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Coinbase, one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchange platforms, was the first cryptocurrency company to be featured in the popular Fortune 500 list.

The Fortune 500 is an annual list that ranks 500 of the largest corporations in the United State by total revenue for their respective fiscal years as well as other quantitative parameters such as operating profit margin, assets, and employee count. The list includes both publicly and privately held companies.

A check by Investor King shows Walmart led the ranking for the tenth consecutive year by generating $5.1 trillion in revenue in the 2022 fiscal year. Amazon.com came second as its revenue jumped by 22%, eclipsing the $450 billion mark. In the third position was Apple, the most profitable company on the list for the seventh time in eight years, earning $95 billion in profit.

Coinbase’s global ranking of 437th was based on revenue of $839.4million, a 513.7 percent annual gain, and 3,730 employees worldwide.

Coinbase’s financial performance in the first quarter of 2022 was documented in a newly disclosed report, which revealed $430 million in losses. Despite previous quarters of significant earnings.

Brian Armstrong, the company’s CEO, was unfazed by the situation, stating that these cyclical periods of low market volume allow the company to concentrate on product development.

In related developments, Tines Magazine named FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried one of the most influential people in 2022.

Andrew R Chow, Time’s correspondent, nominated him. According to the magazine, Bankman-Fried was recognized as an “effective altrust* for his important role in creating a favorable narrative for the crypto sector and “using every tool.imaginable to convince the public of it’s strength.”

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Ethereum

Ethereum Merge: Core Developer Explains Changes to Expect

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Tim Beiko, an Ethereum core developer, has given a set of recommendations and expectations for Ethereum application and protocol developers ahead of the impending merge.

Beiko advised ordinary app and protocol users to test things out to verify that nothing breaks when additional tests are run. “Run stuff, if something is unclear or broken, leave a comment,” he tweeted on Tuesday. He also urged users and developers to “pay attention and make sure you are ready” for the Merge.

The Merge is the very complex and long-awaited conversion from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus on the Ethereum network. It will be known as the Consensus Layer at that time, and it is slated to happen around August of this year.

On numerous testnets, the focus has been on ensuring that there are no cross-client concerns and that current apps do not fail completely after the Merge. In a separate Twitter thread, Beiko noted that such issues are unlikely to arise because “99% of modifications affect the protocol layer,” while “virtually no changes are done to the application layer.”

He also stated that developers should be aware that there will be two major changes to how smart contracts function with the Merge. To begin, he reminded them that the approach for beacon randomization, which aids in the running of programs, will be altered. This was announced in an Ethereum Foundation (EF) update in November and would be required for the migration to PoS.

The second modification will be a reduction in block timings from 13 to 12 seconds per block. Smart contracts that utilize block production speed as a measure of time will run one second faster after the Merge as a result of this change.

However, Beiko exuded confidence that, despite the Merge’s delays, all potential difficulties had been condensed into a single echelon. “Aside from cross-client testing and these two edge cases, the biggest risk of disruption is in ‘tooling and infra pipelines.’”

He concluded by stating that if any further vulnerabilities occur during the extensive testing and shadow forks, the Merge would be postponed further to guarantee the network’s security: “At any point, if we find issues, we’ll obviously take the time to fix + address them before moving forward. Only then will we think about moving mainnet to proof of stake.”

On Monday, DeceDeFi instructor Korpi revealed on Twitter that Ether (ETH) staked on the Beacon Chain can no longer be unlocked without a network update after the Merge. This includes staking-related prizes assuring ETH investors who are concerned that their coins will be released and dumped to relax

He also indicated that once coins are unlocked, they would be delivered in stages rather than all at once, and that those coins are typically an investor’s “never-sell stack” that will not be sold.

On the Beacon Chain, there are presently 12.6 million ETH staked. The Beacon Chain, which began in December 2020, was one of the initial moves toward turning Ethereum a PoS network.

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Non-Fungible Token

Ebay Launches First NFT for Non-Crypto Mainstream Buyers

eBay has officially launched its first non-fungible token (NFT) with a series of tokenized collectibles

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E-commerce giant, eBay has officially launched its first non-fungible token (NFT) with a series of tokenized collectibles showcasing National Hockey League (NHL) icon Wayne Gretzky.

This collection features animated Wayne Gretzky variants inspired by Sports Illustrated magazine covers. They are available in four levels of rarity: green (299 editions), gold (199), platinum (99), and diamond (15).

Investors King understands that the NFT collection is currently selling on eBay’s marketplace. However, the limited-edition diamond, platinum and gold tiers worth $1,500, $100 and $25 respectively are sold out.

According to eBay, the collection was created in collaboration with OneOf, an ecologically focused NFT platform that enables different “energy-efficient blockchains” to deliver sustainable NFT collections.

eBay first allowed NFT listings in mid-2021 but is yet to incorporate blockchain technology to support sales on its platform. Users will be provided a redemption code through in-platform messaging or email to obtain their NFT outside of the platform for this formal drop.

The NFTs were created using the Ethereum scaling platform Polygon and are also available for sale on OneOf.

However, secondary trade for the NFTs on OneOf has been limited thus far, with only three individuals advertising platinum tier tokens at a floor price of $199, and one user listing a gold tier NFT for $69.

Dawn Block, eBay’s vice president of collectibles, electronics and home stated that NFT tech is “revolutionizing the collectibles space” and emphasized that the company is working to introduce NFTs to popular collectors across the world: “Through our partnership with OneOf, eBay is now making coveted NFTs more accessible to a new generation of collectors everywhere. This builds upon our commitment to deliver high passion, high-value items to the eBay community of buyers and sellers.” Dawn said

Similar comments were also expressed by OneOf CEO Lin Dai, who stated that the company is working to make NFTs more accessible to consumers who aren’t familiar with crypto: “You don’t have to be a crypto expert to buy, sell, and collect NFTs. OneOf and eBay are bringing transformative Web3 technology to the next 100M non-crypto-native mass consumers.”

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