NEM Foundation Stops Tracking Coins Stolen from Coincheck
Tracking Provided “Actionable” Data
The NEM.io Foundation, created to promote the NEM cryptocurrency (XEM), has stopped tracking the coins stolen in the Coincheck hack. The Japanese exchange lost some ¥58 billion worth of NEM (~$550 million USD) in January, when it was attacked by hackers. The Singapore-based foundation developed a special technology to identify the accounts the cryptocurrency was sent to.
On Tuesday, the NEM foundation said its efforts have provided some “actionable information” to law-enforcement authorities, the Japan News reported. However, the organization did not reveal any more details about the reasons behind its decision to stop further tracking.
Recent reports suggest that a lot if the missing XEM cryptos are probably lost forever. A cybersecurity expert told the Japan Times the hackers may have converted up to half of the snatched coins into other cryptocurrency or even fiat money. Masanori Kusunoki, Chief Technology Officer at Japan Digital Design, claims they have been laundered through a website existing on the darknet.
Kusunoki also thinks the site is still being used to process transactions. He believes it’s getting harder to trace these transfers and track the stolen coins. A week after the hack the NEM Foundation said no attempts had been made to trade the cryptos on other exchanges.
In Recovery Mode
For weeks, Coincheck has been trying to recover from one of the biggest hacker attacks. The Japanese exchange has already refunded ¥46.6 billion ($440 million) to compensate about 260,000 of its customers who lost NEM funds. It has also prepared a set of measures to improve its security, informing authorities about its plans in that direction.
The trading platform filed an application with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) in September to register under the revised legislation regulating payment services in the country. Its registration has been postponed by the attack in January, but also by Coincheck’s policies allowing customers to remain anonymous.
Japanese media reported this week that the exchange was expected to discontinue support for three cryptocurrencies providing high levels of anonymity – Monero, Dash and Zcash. According to Japan Times, the exchange has recognized the risks posed by these cryptos that can potentially facilitate money laundering. Identifying the recipients of funds transferred on their blockchains is proving impossible.
Coincheck resumed trading on Monday. Customers cannot purchase XMR, ZEC, and DASH, but the platform may offer them to sell their coins at a fixed rate.
Written by Bitcoin.com
Coinbase to Remove Support for Multisig Vaults Within a Month
No More Coinbase Multisig Vaults
San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced it will be winding down its support for existing multisig vaults (meaning accounts that require multiple signature to access) on the platform. The last day of support will be on April 19, 2018.
The company already disabled the creation of any new multisig vaults, citing customer feedback and low popularity and usage. Coinbase also explained that as bitcoin forks become more frequent, the complexity of multisig vaults makes it infeasible for it to support multisig withdrawals for each additional forked asset.
For these reasons it has decided to invest its resources elsewhere. “By removing this functionality, engineering time spent on supporting multisig vaults can be reallocated to continued investment in the security and reliability of our platform, which is of critical importance to our customers.”
Your Money, Your Responsibility
The company explains that because this product is user-controlled, customers can move funds with the two keys they already control. This change will only result in Coinbase customers not being able to access the third key that the company controls.
Users of this feature should ensure they have access to their two keys before the change. Otherwise, it is recommend Coinbase customers withdraw all funds from a multisig vault prior to April 19, 2018. After this date, access to the multisig address associated with such a vault will require the use of third-party open-source software not controlled by Coinbase, and this multisig tool does not support group vaults as well.
Written by Bitcoin.com
UK Government Launches Crypto ‘Task Force’
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is expected to announce a government “crypto assets task force” and a host of other fintech initiatives on Thursday.
According to a statement from the office of the Treasury, Hammond will reveal the task force, which will include the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority in addition to the Treasury, at the government’s second International Fintech Conference.
The initiative, part of the government’s larger Fintech Sector Strategy, “will help the U.K. to manage the risks around Cryptoassets, as well as harnessing the potential benefits of the underlying technology,” he said in the statement.
Hammond is also set to announce several other measures relating to the fintech sector more broadly, including “the next steps in ‘robo-regulation.'”
The statement said that the latter would consist of “pilot schemes to help new fintech firms, and the financial services industry more widely, comply with regulations by building software which would automatically ensure they follow the rules, saving them time and money.”
Likewise, the statement revealed the government’s intention to create a U.K.-Australia “fintech bridge,” which will aim to connect the countries’ respective markets and to “help U.K. firms expand internationally.”
Other notable features of the Fintech Sector Strategy include the creation of standards to make it easier for fintech firms to partner with banks.
The statement also indicates the government plans to collaborate with fintech companies to “create ‘shared platforms’ which will help remove the barriers that these firms face.”
It did not provide further detail regarding the nature of these platforms.
The U.K. government has largely proved amenable to blockchain technology broadly, but it has shown less enthusiasm for cryptocurrency.
At January’s World Economic Forum, Prime Minister Theresa May said she was concerned about potential criminal usage of crypto. At the same event, Hammond called for the regulation of cryptocurrencies.
Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, made a similar appeal for regulation at the beginning of March during a speech at the Scottish Economics Conference.
Written by CoinDesk.com
U.S. Treasury Plans to Add Cryptocurrency Addresses to the SDN List
Cryptocurrency Addresses to be Added to the U.S. Sanctions List
The U.S. government may soon have the ability to add cryptocurrency addresses to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List. Coincidently the oversight advice happened on the same day President Trump signed an executive order banning the Venezuelan petro (PTR). The petro is mentioned among a variety of digital assets including BTC, ETH, LTC, NEO, XMR, and XRP.
The Treasury calls a cryptocurrency wallet “a software application (or other mechanisms) that provides a means for holding, storing, and transferring digital currency.” The report also describes a virtual currency and an address:
A [Digital Currency Address] is an alphanumeric identifier that represents a potential destination for a digital currency transfer.
OFAC May “Alert the Public” About Suspect Digital Currency Identifiers
Additionally, the agency issued guidance to those who have identified SDN owned wallets and addresses and ask them to report the news to OFAC immediately. Further, the Treasury says that the market itself, businesses, and cryptocurrency exchanges should work together to keep an eye on suspect addresses that might be on the SDN list.
“The digital currency address field on the SDN List provides the unique alphanumeric identifiers (up to 256 characters) for digital currency addresses and identifies the digital currency to which the address corresponds,” explains the OFAC report.
OFAC will use sanctions in the fight against criminal and other malicious actors abusing digital currencies and emerging payment systems as a complement to existing tools, including diplomatic outreach and law enforcement authorities — To strengthen our efforts to combat the illicit use of digital currency transactions under our existing authorities, OFAC may include as identifiers on the SDN List specific digital currency addresses associated with blocked persons.
The Treasury’s OFAC guidance does not go into great detail on how they will block these wallets and addresses or enforce the sanctions. According to the report, OFAC may “alert the public” about suspect digital currency identifiers.