Half a billion people just had their Facebook data leaked

Leaked information includes phone number, Facebook ID, full name, location, past locations, birthdate, email address, relationship status, and bio.

According to a security analyst, sensitive personal information for over half a billion Facebook users was leaked on a well-trafficked hacking forum earlier today — a potential risk to millions of cryptocurrency traders and hodlers who now may be vulnerable to sim swapping and other identity-based attacks. 

The trove of information was first discovered by Alon Gal, CTO of security firm Hudson Rock, who posted on Twitter about the leak earlier today:

According to Gal, the leak is related to a security vulnerability first discovered in 2019. In January 2021, it became known that hackers were able to use the information to access user’s phone numbers; the leak has now expanded to include “Phone number, Facebook ID, Full name, Location, Past Location, Birthdate, (Sometimes) Email Address, Account Creation Date, Relationship Status, Bio.”

According to Gal, the information could now enable hackers and scammers to deploy a variety of social manipulation exploits and other nefarioustactics:

“Bad actors will certainly use the information for social engineering, scamming, hacking and marketing.”

Cryptocurrency users are at particular risk of such attacks. Earlier this year, a victim of a sim-swapping attack sued mobile phone company T-Mobile for $450,000, and in 2018 Kaspersky Labs found that hackers were able to steal 21,000 ETH, currently worth over $43 million, in social engineering attacks over a 12-month period. 

The data breach is also orders of magnitude larger than the Ledger breach late last year. Shortly after over 270,000 users’ information was leaked online, users reported extortionist threats, and considered lawsuits against the hardware wallet company. 

Continue reading

$161M Ethereum options expiry tilts toward bulls as ETH flips $2K to support

Ethereum price recently made a strong move above $2,000 and derivatives data suggests bulls are preparing to push ETH price higher.

With no short-term solution in sight for the surging network fees, some investors are afraid that Ether (ETH) price could face a correction. The EIP-1559 proposal is set to be bundled with the impending London upgrade, and this will change the gas fee structure, but traders are left to deal with high fees until then.

The flexible block size proposal aims for a more predictable fee pricing model, but this upgrade is scheduled for July, meaning, in the short term, Ether could be subject to price pressure. Adding to this, miners have been expressing concerns as the new proposal aims to burn part of the fees to create scarcity, reducing their income by up to 50%.

To prepare for downside events, professional traders usually buy protective put options without reducing their positions, especially those farming and staking with high yields. Although these are generally costly for longer-term periods, the trades are also offered weekly or bi-weekly at some exchanges.

The put-to-call ratio favors bears, but there’s more to it

Unlike futures contracts, options are divided into two segments. Call (buy) options allow the buyer to acquire Ether at a fixed price on the expiry date. Generally speaking, these are used on either neutral arbitrage trades or bullish strategies.

Meanwhile, the put (sell) options are commonly used as a protection from negative price swings.

To understand how these competing forces are balanced, one should compare the calls and put options size at each expiry price (strike).

For those unfamiliar with options strategies, Cointelegraph recently explained how to minimize losses despite keeping a bullish position.

Aggregate Ether April 9 expiry open interest. Source: Bybt

The above data shows that Ether’s April 9 expiry holds 77,800 Ether contracts, worth $161 million at the current $2,070 level. Meanwhile, the call-put ratio favors the more bearish put options by 11%, dominating the strikes below $1,850. Meanwhile, bullish call options have crowded the scene above $1,900.

Despite the imbalance, the net impact leans bullish

Options markets are an all-or-nothing game, meaning they either have value or become worthless if trading above the call strike price, or the opposite for put option holders.

Therefore, by excluding the neutral-to-bearish put options 25% below the current $2,070 price and the call options above $2,480, it is easier to estimate the potential impact of next Friday’s expiry. Incentives to pump or dump the price by more than 25% become less likely as the potential gains will seldom surpass the cost.

This selection entices to 33,000 call options from $1,200 to $2,480 strikes, currently worth $68 million. Meanwhile, the more bearish put options down to $1,580, amount to 18,100 Ether contracts worth $37 million. Therefore, buyers have a slight advantage for April 9 expiry.

The balance between call and put options initially showed a call-to-put ratio favoring the more bearish put options. Nevertheless, by excluding the put options 25% below the current price, the net result clearly favors bulls. This reinforces the view that the April 9 expiry should not be deemed bearish.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Continue reading

Our Man in Shanghai: Filecoin the talk of the town, Polkadot and NFTs gain attention

Retail investors are flocking to buy Filecoin on exchanges with predominately Chinese user bases and the head of the PBOC thinks the digital yuan has an uphill battle to take on Alipay and WeChat Pay.

Distributed storage network project Filecoin is the talk of the town as FIL was the most highly traded token on Huobi, OKEx and Gate on Thursday. These three exchanges have a predominantly Chinese user base and represent a large part of the Tier One trading volume for major pairs. On Thursday afternoon, Huobi trading volumes of FIL were more than three times that of BTC as the price reached a 7-day increase of 170%.

Filecoin has had strong success in capturing the attention of Chinese investors, including large investment groups such as Fenbushi Capital, SNZ Capital and Neo’s EcoFund. These three were part of a group that backed the $23 million Filecoin Ecosystem Fund, announced on March 25. The Filecoin Ecosystem Fund is intended to support projects and help development on the network. It could also give backers early access to new projects, which is a lucrative model for VCs in an increasingly crowded investment space. It remains to be seen which of these two consequences are a bigger priority for the funds involved.

On March 28, OKEx produced a video explaining the concepts behind Filecoin, which received around 600 shares and 3400 likes on Weibo. This shows a high level of attention from the Chinese retail audience, a demographic that is tough to obtain and hard to preserve over longer time-frames.

NFTs in Beijing, Polkadot in Hangzhou

Beijing-based BlockCreateArt hosted a major NFT art exhibition on March 26 supported by auction house Christie’s, Digital Finance Group and mining rig producer Bitmain. Interest in digital art has increased on some levels in China, but cultural and artistic differences have led to a more pragmatic approach towards leading digital artists such as Beeple. The exhibition will be stopping in Shanghai early in April.

Hangzhou was home to the Open Days blockchain exhibition sponsored by Candaq Fintech Group. The event had one hall dedicated to Polkadot projects, with speakers from Rarelink, Litenty and Phala, among others. The upcoming parachain auctions have become a topic of interest with so many local projects and projects with ties to the region being built on Polkadot.

Central bank head says digital yuan playing catch-up

The head of the Digital Currency Research Institute at the People’s Bank of China has recognized that private payment processors Alipay and WeChat Pay are in a dominant position in the Chinese payment space. During a panel appearance, Wang Changchun noted that the government-backed digital currency would be needed to maintain stability should something happen to the existing solutions. For the moment, WeChat Pay and Alipay don’t seem to be in any imminent danger of losing their market share, but that could change quickly if government-led incentives were put in place for those willing to convert.

In enterprise news, electric vehicles brand IM Motors, working with SAIC Motor and Alibaba, announced a blockchain powered service network that would incentivize customers to share data with the company. In order to achieve some level of traceability and resistance to tampering, on-chain points would be given to customers using the vehicle and related apps.

The blockchain network was announced as exclusive and private, so while it represents a slight normalization of blockchain technology, it will likely have much in common with more centralized storage networks.

This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong attempts to curate the industry’s most important news, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape, and enterprise blockchain integrations.

Continue reading

Ren price rallies 40% after adding LUNA, SOL and FTM to its ecosystem

Ren continues to gain momentum as the addition of new tokens and the protocol’s focus on DeFi and interoperability leads to an uptick in trading volume.

The cryptocurrency sector has emerged as a hot topic on the global stage in 2021 thanks in large part to the growth of decentralized finance and non-fungible tokens which have caught the general public’s attention. 

Throughout the sector there is a need for interoperability between networks as many of the most popular projects are on siloed blockchain networks and high Ethereum fees prevent developers and investors from interacting across chains.

One project focused on solving this project is Ren, which revealed on March 31 that Solana and Fantom had become the latest tokens supported by the interoperability-focused protocol.

These additions mark the third new token supported by the protocol over the past week, which has coincided with a 40% rally in the price of REN as community members from the newly supported tokens discover a newfound interest in the Ren ecosystem.

REN/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

As more NFT and DeFi projects continue to emerge on separate blockchain networks, the need for projects like Ren is likely to increase as the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole looks for ways to increase its interconnectedness. 

REN price soars as its ecosystem expands

2021 got off to a hot start for Ren thanks to the explosion in growth of decentralized finance and the protocol’s ability to bring tokens from other blockchains onto the Ethereum (ETH) network where a majority of the active decentralized applications exist.

Momentum for Ren really started to build on Jan. 26 after it was announced that Dogecoin (DOGE) could be transacted on the Ethereum network through the renDOGE bridge.

The announcement of a partnership with Alameda research on Feb. 2 followed by the protocol’s integration with the Binance Smart Chain on Feb. 18 helped push Ren to an all-time high of $1.84 on Feb. 19 before the overall market correction that began on Feb. 20 dropped the price back below $1.

Following the downturn, Ren has continued to expand its ecosystem through integrations with DeFi protocols like 1inch (1INCH), PancakeSwap (CAKE) and BadgerDAO (BADGER), as well as through the addition of new cross-chain assets including Digibyte (DGB), Terra (LUNA), Solana (SOL) and Fantom (FTM).

A collaboration that was formed with Polkadot (DOT) back in June 2020 has also been paying off for Ren of late as DeFi projects like the Acala network prepare to launch on the Polkadot network once the upcoming parachain auctions are complete.

According to the most recent ecosystem update, the RenVM surpassed $3 billion in total volume at the end of February and has paid out over $5,500,000 to node holders since its inception. The team has also released an update for Ren Bridge 2, which is now fully open-source and can be accessed on GitHub.

Signs of rising fundamentals 

Alongside the recent integration with multiple DeFi platforms and the addition of Solana, Fantom and Luna to the Ren ecosystem, the VORTECS™ Score, an algorithm comprised of current and historical market sentiment, trading volume, recent price action and Twitter activity, has risen as high as 78 over the past week as fundamentals for the project improve.

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. REN price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ Score flipped green on March 26 and has remained in this zone for a majority of the time since then. Previous backtesting of the Markets Pro system has shown that higher VORTECS™ scores hint that the current market conditions are similar to conditions in the past when the asset rallied over the next several days.

With the momentum of nonfungible tokens starting to wane, traders could soon be looking to rotate into the next hot sector and there are signs that activity on DeFi platforms is again on the uptick.

As blockchain technology increases its presence in the mainstream financial markets, Ren is one altcoin investors are clearly watching due to the fact that interoperability will remain a major focus in helping to unify what is currently a disjointed cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

Continue reading

LBRY fires back at SEC over ‘aggressive and disastrous’ securities complaint

LBRY is in the SEC’s firing line for selling unregistered securities. It claims the case could set a precedent that would affect much of the industry.

Blockchain company LBRY, Inc. has hit back at the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying a complaint filed against it threatens much of the crypto industry because it would define most tokens as securities. 

The SEC has been looking into the blockchain-based publishing platform LBRY, Inc. as part of a three-year investigation that started in May 2018.

According to the complaint filed by the SEC, the platform is alleged to have sold unregistered securities across multiple avenues including to institutional investors and platform users between 2016 and 2020.

The regulator is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the company from selling more tokens, disgorgement of all funds received with interest, and to pay an undisclosed amount in civil penalties.

LBRY developed a decentralized video sharing platform called Odysee that allows viewers to “earn cryptocurrency for watching videos” and for creators to earn LBRY Credits for their work. Since 2016, 13 million LBC tokens were sold for $5 million in Bitcoin. A press release from the SEC states the total amount raised was $11 million, including USD and services from purchasers who participated in its offering.

According to LBRY, while it did not conduct an initial coin offering (ICO) and the SEC is not alleging fraud, its attempts to settle have been rejected by the Commission:

“The SEC declined to offer any terms that would have made it viable for U.S. citizens to exchange tokens or to allow LBRY Inc to continue to operate. We were willing to give them a pound of flesh, but they were only interested in our head.”

Despite already spending “more than $1 million on legal fees” and the momentous effort of “several thousand hours of team members’ time” during the investigation, the company is not backing down, stating: “The SEC is advancing an aggressive and disastrous new standard that would make almost all blockchain tokens securities.”

“Classifying all actively-developed blockchain tokens as securities will be a bureaucratic nightmare for United States residents and businesses operating in the US.”

A petition on its website “helplbrysavecrypto.com” with more than 6,700 signatures to date calls on “the SEC to drop this case and establish clear standards for the cryptocurrency industry in the United States.”

LBRY claims that when it asked the SEC how it could operate legally, it was told that the regulatory body could not advise on that and could only say that they were breaking the law.

However the firm stated that should the SEC succeed in shutting down LBRY, Inc., the LBRY platform and ecosystem will remain unaffected as it is fully decentralized with “hundreds of people across six continents,” most of which are not LBRY employees, contributing to the network in 2020.

Continue reading