License Needed for Crypto Trading, Circulation, and Settlement in Cambodia
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), the Commission of Cambodia, and the General-Commissariat of National Police jointly made a statement regarding the legality of crypto activities in the country. It was signed on May 11 but published on Tuesday, June 19.
“Competent authorities have recently observed that cryptocurrencies such as Kh Coin, Suncoin, K Coin, Onecoin, Forex coin and other similar cryptocurrencies have been propagated, circulated, bought, sold, traded and settled actively in Cambodia,” the trio wrote, adding:
Competent authorities clarify that the propagation, circulation, buying, selling, trading and settlement of cryptocurrencies without obtaining license from competent authorities are illegal activities.
The authorities emphasized that “Any person or legal entity” engaged in any of the above activities without a proper license “shall be penalized in accordance with applicable laws.” However, the statement does not mention bitcoin or any crypto with a large market cap.
Regulators Outline Crypto-Related Risks
The statement continues to explain that the aforementioned crypto-related activities are not regulated by the authorities and “will cause potential risks to the public and society.”
The trio named four specific risks. Firstly, “The issuance of cryptocurrencies is not backed by collateral,” they wrote. Secondly, “Investment in cryptocurrencies may incur losses due to the volatility of its face value.” Then they claim there is a risk of “cybercrime and loss of funds due to the system being hacked.” Lastly, not only is there “no customer protection mechanism” with cryptocurrencies, but the regulators also noted the risks of money laundering and financing of terrorism since “the user of cryptocurrencies is an anonymous person who has no identity or historical records.”
The Cambodian Securities and Exchange Commission previously warned citizens of the risks of trading or investing in cryptocurrencies. In December, the NBC “reconfirmed its stand not to recognize digital currency bitcoin being introduced by some businesses in Cambodia,” the national press agency, AKP, wrote.
The central bank released a resolution in December to all banks and microfinance institutions in the country to ban the trading of cryptocurrencies including bitcoin, the Phnom Penh Post described, adding that, as a result:
Many of these financial institutions prevent customers from using their accounts to buy or sell digital coins or tokens.
Written by Bitcoin.com
21e800: Bitcoin, Satoshi and the Mystery Twitter Is Obsessing Over
This is a hashtag, but not just any hashtag. In all likelihood, it’s the longest and most confusing one you’ll ever come across trending in the crypto community.
Posted on June 19 by Mark Wilcox, the hashtag actually represents a cryptographic code known as a hash that’s produced each time new transactions are validated and written onto the bitcoin blockchain. There are several of these written each day, so at first glance, it seems strange that this particular one produced on Tuesday at 19:32:37 (UTC) would be of any groundbreaking importance.
That’s where you’d be wrong.
Well, actually, that’s where you might be wrong.
Some background: There is a theory in physics that attempts to explain the interactions and dynamics of all forces, including gravity, in the universe with one simple mathematical structure known as the E8. Presented in a paper titled, “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything” by Garrett Lisi in 2007, it still remains unproven.
Couple the unsolved status of the E8 theory with the equally unsolved mystery of the exact identity of the person(s) who brought bitcoin – with its supply cap of 21 million coins – into existence, and you get the hypothesis that “21e800” isn’t just some random string of numbers and value. In fact, the theory seems to suggest, it is a “vanity hash” purposefully placed by the creator of bitcoin himself/herself/themselves, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Starting to get goosebumps yet?
If this hash is indeed a “vanity hash” or, in other words, one deliberately created as some kind of sign, the computing power to create it is not only magnitudes greater than is currently capable by the average computer, but the time needed to create it is somewhat jaw-dropping, as shown in a chart posted by developer Andrew DeSantis.
So for all these reasons and a few more (which we’ll get to shortly), several people on Twitter are raving about the sheer impossibility of the existence of this hash, if indeed it was created and purposefully marked by an unknown person(s).
Hold your horses
But before we go jumping to any more wild conclusions, it is important to note the possibility that perhaps this string of characters is just random and simply the output of an ordinary hash function – not engineered by a hidden mastermind.
As Cornell University professor and blockchain researcher Emin Gün Sirer explains, the string of characters “21e8” isn’t all that “magical” and actually occurs about once a year.
To this point, many others have also refuted the idea of a “vanity hash” entirely. Instead, they see the more likely idea being that “21e8” isn’t anything special and might even be a complete hoax.
What’s keeping the magic alive?
What’s clear from the day’s social chatter is that the mystery behind this hash value is closely linked to the mystique – and fascination – with Satoshi Nakamoto and the creation story of bitcoin itself.
Indeed, a post on the Bitcoin Talk forum highlights how today’s viral mystery is actually a rather old one.
Begun back in 2013, a post dubbed “A mistery[sic] hidden in the Genesis Block” on bitcointalk.org questions the creation of the first verified transaction using bitcoin.
As you may have heard, mining, the activity that verifies or “unlocks” blocks on the blockchain to write in new transactions is getting progressively harder. However, back in bitcoin’s early days, the computing power required to process a block was comparatively lower – and at the same time, the computing processors in use weren’t as powerful as today’s power-hungry ASICs.
To put things in perspective, from unlocking Block 0, the genesis block, to Block 1, the approximate time to transpire was 6 days.
But according to calculations that have to do with the size of nonces – which are basically the additional data values added by miners to the hash function in order to get the appropriate hash value validating the next block – the approximate time to unlock Block 0 was only 4.2 minutes.
How is that possible?
Alas, that mystery persists. Perhaps, as in the words of @nondualrandy, these are all a series of “easter eggs” strategically planted to keep the magic behind bitcoin alive.
Galaxy image via Shutterstock
Ripple CEO Defends XRP’s Utility at Fintech Conference
“Let’s be clear: Ripple is different than XRP,” Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of distributed ledger startup Ripple, argued during CB Insights’ Future of Fintech conference on Thursday.
Garlinghouse opened his talk by pushing back against arguments that the XRP cryptocurrency may be considered a security, given its close link to the San Francisco-based company. He also spoke about the work the company has done to date in partnership with a range of banks and financial firms.
Perhaps his strongest comments came in response to a question about whether XRP is a security for Ripple, a claim he – and other Ripple employees – have strongly rejected. A senior official for the Securities and Exchange Commission recently stated that bitcoin and ether aren’t securities and the lack of any similar comment about XRP renewed that critique.
As he explained during the CB Insights event:
“XRP is not a security for three reasons: if Ripple, the company, shuts down tomorrow, the XRP ledger will continue to operate; it’s an open-source, decentralized technology …. if you buy XRP, [you are] not buying shares of Ripple – buying XRP doesn’t give you ownership of Ripple.”
Garlinghouse also repeated concerns he has about bitcoin, saying “I own … [and] am bullish on bitcoin but we need to acknowledge … when we talked about something being centralized and decentralized, control is the key element.”
He even went so far as to cast doubt on the SEC’s classification that bitcoin is not a security, asking “How decentralized is it?”
“Three miners in China control more than 50 percent of the hash rate of bitcoin,” he asserted, contending that the Chinese government may interfere with these miners and, as a result, have the ability to exert some form of control.
Brad Garlinghouse image via CB Insights
Written by Bitcoin.com
Korean Government Launches Investigation into Crypto Hacks
The South Korean government announced on Wednesday, June 20, that it has formally launched an investigation into the cause of the alleged security breaches at two crypto exchanges, Bithumb and Coinrail. At the time of this writing, Bithumb is the country’s second-largest crypto exchange by volume, behind only the Kakao Corp-backed Upbit, according to Coinmarketcap. Coinrail is the country’s seventh largest crypto exchange.
The government’s notice states:
The Ministry of Science and Information and Communication Technology (hereinafter referred to as ‘Science and Technology Ministry’) and the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) said that they are investigating the cause of the accident caused by the virtual currency leak that occurred in Coinrail and Bithumb.
So far, the authorities have not confirmed that the two exchanges were hacked. Coinrail announced on June 10 that it was hacked with an estimated loss of approximately $40 million. Just 10 days later, on June 19, Bithumb revealed that approximately $31 million worth of its cryptocurrencies was stolen.
Investigating Security Breaches
In its announcement, the Korean government explained:
As soon as a company reports a hacking incident, a KISA accident investigation worker is quickly on the scene and is investigating. In cooperation with the police, the agency will analyze and respond to the cause of the accident.
The Science and Technology Ministry inspected the level of information security of 21 cryptocurrency exchanges from January to March this year. After discovering that “most companies have security weaknesses,” the ministry suggested some additional measures aimed at boosting the exchanges’ security systems.
According to the ministry, 17 companies had a “system access control deficiency” while 16 had “insufficient network isolation.” 17 were found to have “abnormality” in their “monitoring system” and 18 had poor security management of crypto wallets and cryptographic keys. Furthermore, 10 companies needed “crypto security management” and 12 companies had inadequate firewall and security systems.
While the authority confirmed that Coinrail has not implemented additional measures, Bithumb said during the investigation process that it “plans to check the implementation of the recommendations for complementary measures,” the government described.
The ministry says it will encourage the 21 crypto exchanges that were inspected to implement additional measures by the end of the month and will review their security measures again afterwards, reiterating:
We plan to check whether the improvement measures for security vulnerabilities have been completed.
Furthermore, all newly identified crypto exchanges will also be inspected, the ministry informed, clarifying that upon confirmation of a new crypto dealer, security checks will be conducted.