Bitcoin-Seeking Ransomware Ryuk Virus Found and Studied in China

Bitcoin-Seeking Ransomware Ryuk Virus Found and Studied in China

Tencent Yujian Threat Intelligence Center says that a Ryuk ransomware virus has been spotted in China. The intelligence center released information on the outbreak in a report on July 16. According to the report, Ryuk viruses are a family of malware aimed at infecting government and enterprise machines holding valuable data. According to the report, a Ryuk virus derives from the Hermes virus, with code that is directly modified off of the latter. As noted in the report, Ryuk is the name of a death spirit in the popular manga Death Note. As per its title, Ryuk possesses a notebook that can be used to kill a person by writing their name on one of its pages. Researchers at the intelligence center were reportedly able to capture and study the virus in action. According to the report, this virus came attached with a ReadMe note containing two email addresses. Upon replying to the first email address, the researchers received instructions and a ransom demand set at 11 Bitcoin. The intelligence center advised personal users to run Tencent PC Manager and enable file backups, turn off Office macros, and to stay away from unfamiliar emails. The report also referenced a number of Ryuk ransom cases. In the United States, for instance, the public administration of La Porte County, Indiana paid a $130,000 ransom to get rid of the virus. In Lake City, Florida, the local government paid a $460,000 ransom after Ryuk infected the city’s computer systems.  As previously reported by Cointelegraph, research in January suggested that Ryuk originated in Russia. The virus was originally thought to have come out of North Korea, but McAfee Labs and Crowdstrike have suggested that Russia is the more likely source. According to these cybersecurity companies, Ryuk may in fact have come from the Russia-based group GRIM SPIDER.

St. Louis Fed Chief Pessimistic on Crypto as Non-Uniform Currency

St. Louis Fed Chief Pessimistic on Crypto as Non-Uniform Currency

St. Louis Fed Chief James Bullard reportedly views cryptocurrencies as part of a global currency competition that is ultimately unhealthy. Bullard presented his views at the Central Bank Research Association 2019 annual meeting in a talk entitled “Public and Private Currency Competition.”  Presentation slides have subsequently appeared on the official Twitter account for The St. Louis Fed on July 19. In Bullard’s slides, he noted that there is historical precedent for certain key features of cryptocurrency. One of his bullet points reads: “Global currency competition is nothing new, nor is electronic delivery of value.”  He also presented that “public and private currencies can compete and coexist as part of an equilibrium.” However, what Bullard appears to be concerned about is the apparent, current trajectory toward localized non-uniformity. He notes that there is some evidence to suggest that this is unfavorable, citing data on global volatility in exchange rates. Source: stlouisfed Bullard also noted that there is historical precedent within the U.S. indicating that localized non-uniform currency will not fly. Bullard wrote: “Cryptocurrencies are creating drift toward a non-uniform currency in the U.S., a state of affairs that has existed historically but was disliked and eventually replaced.” Bullard cited the book “The Jacksonian Economy” by Peter Temin to say that 90% of American money in the 1830s was issued via private banknotes.  According to Bullard, contemporaries received this system unfavorably. A lack of uniformity reportedly entailed varying pay rates and town-specific discount books. Due to its unpopularity, uniform pay rates will reportedly implemented during the Civil War. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) pressed Calibra wallet CEO David Marcus on whether currencies ought to be sovereign, corporations governing Libra, and Marcus’ comment on potentially taking his paycheck fully in Libra. Although AOC ran out of time before finishing her line of questioning, she asked Marcus: “In the history of this country, there is a term for being paid in a corporate-controlled currency … It’s called ‘scrip.’ The idea that your pay could be controlled by a corporation instead of a sovereign government. Do you think that there is any risk here?” She also made a remark on scrip destabilizing in the U.S. in the past. Company scrip has been illegalized as a payment…

Token Startup Founder Took Steps to Sue Lubin, ConsenSys for $13 Million

Token Startup Founder Took Steps to Sue Lubin, ConsenSys for $13 Million

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin could soon be sued by a former employee, according to court documents filed in New York. Harrison Hines, former head of Token Foundry at Lubin’s Brooklyn-based venture studio ConsenSys, began the process of filing a legal complaint in June against his former employer. The complaint seeks more than $13 million for alleged fraud, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and unpaid profits. According to the summons from Hines’ lawyer: “The relief sought is monetary damages in the amount of $12,827,000 on the contract, quasi-contract and fraud claims plus $404,783 in unpaid profits.” Lubin’s legal representation responded to the summons by clarifying which counsel might represent the defendants in this case. The details of the case, along with the upcoming dates, are still unclear. The plaintiff, Hines, has yet to follow up with a formal lawsuit and the deadline for such paperwork has since passed. This may mean that legal representatives for both parties are pursuing a prospective agreement outside of court. Hines could not immediately be reached for comment; requests sent to ConsenSys were not returned as of press time. Launched in April 2018, Token Foundry was the division, or “spoke” of the ConsenSys “hub,” responsible for promoting token sales and pitching token-design services to clients. The fees for consulting services often included a portion of the newly minted tokens in addition to a percentage of proceeds from the sales which Token Foundry helped launch, according to a person familiar with the matter who requested anonymity. As CoinDesk previously reported, the spoke projected more than $50 million in revenue for 2018 and is widely believed to have fallen short of that goal. Top clients included the $13.4 million sale for Dether, which allowed physical shops to sell cryptocurrencies, Virtue Poker’s $18.5 million token sale and the token sale for geolocation startup FOAM, which raised $16.5 million in August, just weeks before Hines was let go. The source described Hines as a former member of Lubin’s “inner circle.” As recently reported by CoinDesk, conversations around equity have been a point of contention for many ConsenSys staffers. Among those are Token Foundry employees who were laid off in late 2018, sources said. In early 2019, ConsenSys restructured its token-centric division as ConsenSys Digital Securities,…

Global Accounting Firm KPMG Partners with Microsoft, R3 on Telecoms Blockchain

Global Accounting Firm KPMG Partners with Microsoft, R3 on Telecoms Blockchain

KPMG, a multinational accounting firm, is partnering with software firms TOMIA, Microsoft, and R3 to develop a blockchain for telecom settlements. One of the “big four” accounting firms, KPMG has pursued industry-specific blockchain pilots in the past, always with an eye to settling cross-border, or network, complexities. The latest partnership, with two distributed ledger (DLT) industry leaders, Microsoft and R3, continues in the vein of resolving the issues that arise from multi-party connections. Specifically, KPMG is looking to address the hard data issues that will arise from 5G connectivity. The company states that “international mobile data roaming revenues are expected to reach $31 billion in 2022, with an average annual growth rate of eight percent.” It’s that accelerating use of international data that Arun Ghosh, Blockchain Leader at KPMG, addressed in a blog post: “While we will be able to consume more data more quickly and across more locations than ever before in this next wave of telecom advancement, it is becoming increasingly complex for telecom companies to track and settle interchange fees.” The blockchain being piloted aims to reduce the future costs, number of disputes, and time involved in telecom settlements caused by “billions of mobile interactions flow[ing] through hundreds of connected networks managed by dozens of customers and suppliers.” It’s not just future costs the business partnership is looking to salve, but the current inefficiencies in the market. Settlements and reconciliations are currently handled manually, and can take up to a month to complete, Ghosh said. Currently, he said, a huge amount of data is generated is around mobile devices including the metadata of where a call originates and terminates, the conditions of a user’s contract, and billing information, that must be authenticated by at least two parties if cross-service operations occur. “The three pillars of settlements – the subscribers, their contracts, and amount of data generated – can all be integrated on a private, permissioned ledger to be seen and verified by the telecom operators,” he said. In fact, KPGM now reconciles much of that information automatically with smart contracts they designed. In the business arrangement, Ghosh said KPMG has taken the design and execution lead for the project. While Microsoft acts as the principal architect, R3’s Corda acts as the backbone…

R3 Taps Software Sales Vet to ‘Evangelize’ Paid Version of Corda

R3 Taps Software Sales Vet to ‘Evangelize’ Paid Version of Corda

Blockchain technology company R3 has hired software sales veteran Cathy Minter as chief revenue officer, a role newly created to recruit users for the firm’s paid commercial product, Corda Enterprise. Minter, who lived through the revolution in cloud computing from its early days, sounded unfazed by reports this week stating the “blockchain not bitcoin” segment of the industry – which R3 once personified – can expect to see as much as a 60 percent decrease in investment flows this year.  She told CoinDesk: “I’m seeing huge demand for that at R3 so I’m not concerned; maybe some of our competitors should be concerned.” There are many projects graduating from the proof-of-concept to pilot stage that demonstrate the cost-saving potential of blockchain, Minter said, adding that R3 will be working to build specific return-on-investment analysis for customers. “I remember cloud computing in its early nascent days; having conversations with customers around bringing data to the cloud. They would kind of look at you and say they would never move data out of a data center to the cloud,” she said. “Now I’m at R3, I find similar feelings around blockchain. It’s about education and evangelizing.”   Minter has spent close to 30 years in enterprise software in forms like SAP, Oracle and Docker. Since joining R3, she sees the firm’s vibrant open-source community as a natural place to convert users to the commercial version.  “Open-source [users] are fabulous targets for us to talk to about taking them to the next level. Naturally, the enterprise version comes into play as you talk about solving business problems,” she said.  Revenue growth The Corda open-source community has burgeoned in the last year or so with many enterprises experimenting with the code and an ecosystem of “CorDapps” enjoying a life of its own. Opting for the Corda Enterprise version brings the added perks of 24-hour support five days a week, predictable release schedules, high availability, and support for industry-standard enterprise databases, said R3 managing director Charley Cooper. “It includes the world’s only Blockchain Application Firewall, which enables the platform to be deployed inside corporate data centers and is optimized for use within these highly demanding IT environments,” claimed Cooper. Last year, R3 CEO David Rutter said the company set revenue targets for…

European Central Bank Policymaker Says Stablecoins Not Cause for Alarm

European Central Bank Policymaker Says Stablecoins Not Cause for Alarm

A European Central Bank (ECB) official has stated that users should be aware of the risks associated with the stablecoins use, but not to be alarmed. As Reuters reported on July 18, member of the ECB’s governing council and president of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Jens Weidmann said that stablecoins — digital currency designed to minimize price volatility by being pegged to another asset — offer users opportunities for prosperity, however users should be vigilant in regards of the associated risks. Weidmann delivered his comments at a news conference at a meeting of the G7 finance ministers and central bankers. “There is no reason to be alarmed but there is reason to be vigilant,” Weidmann stated. Weidmann also spoke in favor of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project. He specifically argued that global regulators should not suppress the project in its infancy, adding that digital currencies such as Libra can be attractive to consumers in the event that they deliver on their promise. However, a range of other policymakers do not share Weidmann’s view on Libra, with French finance minister Bruno Le Maire saying that the G7 “cannot accept private companies issuing their own currencies without democratic control.” Brad Sherman, a United States Democratic congressman, recently claimed that “Mark Zuckerberg is sending a friend request to oligarchs, drug dealers, human traffickers and terrorists” by launching Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency. Notably, at the G7 conference, the Financial Action Task Force — a G7-initiated intergovernmental organization that promotes legal, regulatory and operational measures that aim to fight money laundering on a global scale — approved a new, global cryptocurrency payments network that would be similar to Japan’s proposed SWIFT.

Price Analysis 19/07: BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, BCH, BNB, EOS, BSV, TRX, XLM

Price Analysis 19/07: BTC, ETH, XRP, LTC, BCH, BNB, EOS, BSV, TRX, XLM

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. Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The bashing of Libra continues, with G7 finance ministers warning that if the project is not regulated tightly, it can upset the global financial system. The ministers are against a private company issuing its own currency without any control. Nonetheless, the project got support from unexpected quarters. The head of Germany’s central bank Jens Weidmann, who previously was not very supportive of cryptocurrencies, said during a G7 event that the regulators should not try to kill the project without allowing it to prove itself. If Libra can deliver on its promises, it can be attractive to consumers. Even before its launch, Libra is challenging the way money is being transferred across borders. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, though not supportive of Libra, said that the high transaction fees of five to ten percent for cross-border transactions will have to be dealt with using technology.  United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin continued his tirade against cryptocurrencies, repeating the same old story of how cryptocurrencies can be used for illicit purposes such as money laundering.  We believe that these attempts to suppress the rise of cryptocurrencies will only cause a temporary hurdle in the short term. The long-term story remains optimistic and cryptocurrencies will only emerge stronger than before. BTC/USD Bitcoin (BTC) continues to be the strongest cryptocurrency. The dip below the 50-day SMA was bought aggressively and the price has reached the 20-day EMA. This shows strong demand at lower levels. However, the bears are trying to defend the 20-day EMA. If the BTC/USD pair turns down from current levels and plummets below $9,080, it will indicate a change in trend. The next support on the downside is at $7,451.63. The 20-day EMA is marginally down and the RSI is just below 50, which suggests that bears only have a slight advantage. Conversely, if the next dip to $9,080 holds or if bulls scale above the 20-day EMA, it will indicate strength.  We view this fall as a buying opportunity, but…

Oil Markets Could Save 30% With Blockchain, Data Gumbo CEO Says

Oil Markets Could Save 30% With Blockchain, Data Gumbo CEO Says

Global oil operators can save at least 30% by using blockchain in their infrastructure, according to data by blockchain startup Data Gumbo. Andrew Bruce, CEO of American blockchain startup Data Gumbo, discussed blockchain-powered automated contract execution in the oil industry on Bloomberg Commodities Edge on July 19. When asked how much oil industry players can save by implementing blockchain applications such as blockchain-based contract execution instead of traditional paper contracts, Bruce argued that such solutions could save at least 30%, referring to internal studies by the company. According to Data Gumbo’s data, oil and gas market accounted for $2.6 trillion by 2017. In May 2019, Data Gumbo raised $6 million from major global energy companies, including Equinor’s venture subsidiary Equinor Technology Venture and Saudi Aramco’s venture arm Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures. With a total funding of up to $9.3 million, investors expect the company to improve oil and gas supply chains by eliminating disputes and delivering automated transactions, as well as reducing reconciliation times in the supply chain. On July 18, co-founder of American tech giant Apple Steve Wozniak was reported to invest in Efforce, a new blockchain-enabled energy saving firm in Malta. Previously, Cointelegraph reported that Philip Morris estimated its potential blockchain-powered savings to account for $20 million. Philip Morris’ global head of tech innovation said that manual work and the associated counterfeit risks end up costing the industry and governments $100 million a year.

Major Crypto Markets Report Mixed Signals, Gold Slightly Fell

Major Crypto Markets Report Mixed Signals, Gold Slightly Fell

Friday, July 19 — Cryptocurrency markets are reporting mixed signals, with most of the top-20 coins by market capitalization are down over the last 24 hours. Market visualization. Source: Coin360 Bitcoin (BTC) has stayed above the $10,000 threshold during the day and is trading at around $10,412 at press time. The leading cryptocurrency has lost 2.14% on the day, while its weekly losses amount to nearly 10%.  As reported earlier today, U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry, who represents North Carolina’s 10th District, told fellow lawmakers directly that attempts to stop Bitcoin are futile. “The world that Satoshi Nakamoto, author of the Bitcoin whitepaper envisioned, and others are building, is an unstoppable force,” he said. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 Ether (ETH) started the day around $224.91, subsequently reaching its intraday high of $229.75. At press time, ETH is trading at around $218.29, down 2.71% over the last 24 hours. Ethereum 24-hour price chart. Source: Coin360 Ripple (XRP) is slightly down as well, currently trading at around $0.317, down by 1.61% over the 24 hour period. The altcoin has not registered significant price fluctuations today, generally staying in the corridor between $0.31 and $0.32. XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 On the top-20 list of cryptocurrencies, only Binance Coin (BNB), Bitcoin SV (BSV), TRON (TRX), Stellar (XLM), Dash (DASH), and IOTA (MIOTA) are reporting gains between 0.49% and 3.12%. Today, privacy-focused digital currency Zcash (ZEC) forked into a new blockchain network dubbed Ycash, whose total supply amounts to 21 million coins. Currently, ZEC is the 24th major coin and is trading at around $73.9. Zcash 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360 The combined market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is now at around $282 billion, and the daily trading volume is around $67 billion at press time. In traditional markets, gold slumped about 1% today, according to CNBC, as the dollar firmed and investors took profits after prices briefly surpassed $1,450 to hit a six-year peak on dovish signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

‘Samsung Coin’ Trademark Filing Unaffiliated With Samsung

‘Samsung Coin’ Trademark Filing Unaffiliated With Samsung

On July 10, Kim Nam-jin applied for a Trademark 5 (TM5) on the name “Samsung Coin” with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). As per the filing, it appears that Nam-jin is seeking to trademark the name in both its Korean spelling in Hangul as well as in English. However, per a July 19 report, a Samsung representative told CoinDesk that Kim Nam-jin is not affiliated with the Korean tech giant Samsung. “We don’t work this way,” the representative apparently said. Additionally, the report says that the trademark was listed under categories including downloadable electronic money computer program, electronic money card, electronic encryption device, and IC card with electronic money function, although blockchain and cryptocurrency are not mentioned anywhere. The report also notes that this is not the first time Kim Nam-jin has attempted to trademark a seemingly crypto-related term associated with a Korean tech giant.  According to the report, Nam-jin also entered an application with KIPO for the name ThinQ Wallet on the same day the individual filed for Samsung Coin. However, in this case, LG Electronics had already filed to trademark ThinQ Wallet as of July 2, which is the name for a proposed, multi-functional crypto wallet. As reported by Cointelegraph on July 10, Samsung announced that it has released its blockchain and decentralized application (DApp) Software Development Kit (SDK). The SDK is designed for account management, payments, and cold wallet support among other things. The latest Samsung Blockchain SDK is apparently a superset of all previous SDKs, and contains the Samsung Blockchain Keystore SDK.