Will synthetic DNA push out Ledger and Trezor from the market?

A couple of weeks ago, a small informational splash about the sensational way to store private keys spattered the cryptocurrency ecosystem. A startup, Carverrintroduced a unique synthetic DNA system, intended to secure the storage of any digital currencies.

Storing information in DNA has become a trendy topic in the last several years since the amount of data generated by humanity has grown exponentially. For instance, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) and their recent report called Worldwide Quarterly Enterprise Storage Systems Tracker, in the second quarter of 2018 the total data storage capacity sold to enterprises was 111.8 exabytes (+ 70.7% year over year).

As an old (dated by 2003) but highly quoted research from the students of the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Information Management and Systems states: “five exabytes is equivalent to all words ever spoken by humans since the dawn of time.” This means that there’s a growing amount of information that needs to be held.

DNA seems like a perfect medium for it, as it’s been around for the last 3.5 billion years or so (and not forgetting about your floppy disks or USB drives that could store up to a smashing 8 megabytes). Its capacity is impressive: around 10 tons of DNA was needed to store all the world’s data back in 2017, which is something as small as a half of the trailer. Furthermore, it’s capacious, unhackable and won’t become obsolete any time soon.

We won’t be overbore you with details on how the DNA data storing works, but you can check this great video from TED-ed, brilliantly explaining the concept:

It’s clear the potential is enormous. So far, one of the main downsides was the price: storing 12 megabytes of data on DNA may cost up to $100,000 USD. That’s why the developments in the niche were up to giants like Microsoft – who are very bullish on synthetic DNA as a future standard for data storage – but probably solving the riddle of storing private crypto keys is unlikely to be their main priority.

This means that it is quite exciting to observe the efforts of Carverr and company’s CEO, Vishaal Bhuyan. Their value proposition to crypto hodlers is the following: “Send us an encrypted passcode, passphrase or private key. We turn your data into synthetic biology. Once your test tube is ready, it can be shipped back to you, or you can elect to have Carverr store it on your behalf. Currently, your data is best suited for storage in a freezer (4° C). However, a shelf stable version is currently in development.

Vishaal is a fascinating person and has quite a diverse background. He dedicated many years to investment management. From 2007 to 2015 he worked as the Chief Investment Officer of Nariman Point, LLC, a New York-based firm working with demographic-driven instruments, including areas like insurance and longevity/mortality. He is an author of several books on investing. For instance, he wrote Trading Longevity & Mortality Risk with Life Settlements & Linked Securities and The Esoteric Investor. He also helped his wife Sarina to set up and launch her business – selling Lily Puffs, a snack high in vitamins B, magnesium, and all that good stuff made from puffed highly roasted and seasoned water lily seeds. The couple raised $25,000 USD through Kickstarter campaign.

Although there are some bald spots in his DNA synthesis expertise, Bhuyan still has a solution for that:

By being involved in crypto I saw that storage is a major concern and that this technology could be a real solution. Moreover, it could be a long-term solution for data storage in general. I see trends, do analysis and build teams of experts. I do not believe you need to apply anything other than common sense to build a business. I spent the majority of my career in finance managing complex swap portfolios created to hedge customers for risk. I am by no means an expert in synthetic DNA. However, I employ experts, including advisor Ellen Jorgensen, a world expert on synthetic biology.

As previously mentioned, the service is notoriously expensive but CEO of Carverr has so far managed to deliver the product to 28 retails customers for $1,000 USD per head. DNA-related services were already brought to the consumers’ market before. In ordering the product, I personally had experienced some trouble. For instance, once I purchased a 23andMe DNA ancestry testing set and had sent my samples back to the laboratory, I waited six weeks and received an email saying: “Your Analysis was unsuccessful. Our laboratory attempted analysis of your saliva sample but the concentration of DNA was insufficient to produce genotyping results.”

So, I asked Carverr how it works and he responded: “That is different. 23andMe has to analyze a lot more information. Our synthetic strands only contain the password. It’s tested on both sides, and we know how to prevent errors. Synthetic biology is used in many other applications such as medicine and agriculture and percussion is important.”

However, even though cutting the costs and providing no-mistakes services are important for consumers market, the retail customers are not what Vishaal is after: “We are going to stop individual encodings. Our target customers are big funds and banks with millions of passcodes to store and pricing, in this case, will be much different. And the pilot program was created for them to test our service. We raised money from a group of angel Investors in the hedge fund world and now preparing to pre-sell our services to customers. We hope to be in a pilot program with 10-20 banks and funds over the next 12-18 months. Each of these customers could be holding tens of millions of passwords and pass keys. Banks and funds in the pilot program get tokens for free. But the tokens will also be available during the private pre-sale shortly, and the best way to track it would be signing up for the announcements in our Telegram group.”

Defining the real challenge for the company now, Vishaal mentions fundraising up to the point where it will be possible to achieve the optimal costs and service quality ratio. He seems to suggest that he has a plan to solve it, saying:

It’s about allocating capital to make the technology more user-friendly and cost-effective. We estimate that $20-30 million USD can be directed to certain bottlenecks in the process to bring our encoding costs down tremendously. Above and beyond that it’s about building our infrastructure. We just made some great hires that I will announce very soon, and they have experience working for names like Civic token, Goldman Sachs, Nokia, and cutting-edge biotechs.”

He continued to explain that they are:

“Continuing to build a team of biologists, cybersecurity professionals, financial professionals, and hardware people is very challenging. In addition to that, conveying the power of new technology to large slow moving organizations is always challenging, but that is why the rewards are so high. Advisors like Alex Chung, founder of GIphy, Deepak Hathiramani, whose cybersecurity firm advised a group of intelligence agencies and made $170 million USD a year in sales, and Ellen Jorgensen, who is an expert in synthetic biology, really help guide us and keep us from making expensive mistakes. Also having investors like Michael Thompson, who ran BHR CAPITAL and now Public Venture Capital, a senior partner at a $15 billion USD hedge fund, and some other hedge fund managers allow us to draw on a robust network to solve some of the issues we are facing.”

The post Will synthetic DNA push out Ledger and Trezor from the market? appeared first on Coin Insider.

JP Morgan and Chase reveal keen interest in blockchain, API and AI technology

The international banking institution JP Morgan and Chase has revealed that one of their three key focus points in the field of innovation this year is the exploration of blockchain technology.

According to an Argentinian news outlet, the chief information officer of JP Morgan Lori Beer explained that the company is using blockchain in order to “simplify the processing of payments and to store customer information related to the[know your customer] policies and anti-money laundering in the exchange of money that comes from another bank”.

Beer said to representatives at a blockchain conference in Buenos Aires that the company takes the digital aspects of their client’s security seriously and that they are exploring blockchain with the intention to make the “ecosystem grow and returning something to the [cryptocurrency] community”.

Two other focuses the company has been exploring are related to application programming interface (API) and artificial intelligence (AI). Beer explained the reason behind the interest in these systems:

“Currently, the pace of adoption of technology is accelerating. At JP Morgan we focus on artificial intelligence technology to improve the processes related to protection against fraud, cybersecurity so that our employees can have more knowledge and make better decisions”.

She continued to detail the ways in which the technology will impact the company and the clients:

“In a few years, blockchain will replace the existing technology, today it only coexists with the current one… We are following multiple paths, we invented a blockchain in open source Ethereum, the existing blockchain technology had not solved the issue of privacy and scalability that we needed, we are connected to Hyperledger and the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance. more important the implications for the business than the technology specifically, we seek not only cost reduction but opportunities for the development of new products”.

JP Morgan has been known for its interest in cryptocurrency and has featured in blockchain news for reasons such as it banning purchases of virtual currencies through credit cards services, the scandalous pursuit of additional fees from its customers, or its CEO swallowing his opinion on cryptocurrency. Owing to this, it is not surprising that it has a high focus on the technology.

The post JP Morgan and Chase reveal keen interest in blockchain, API and AI technology appeared first on Coin Insider.

How difficult is it to use the Lightning Network for every day use?

The Lightning Network is the most exciting and paramount development underway for the Bitcoin ecosystem in recent years. The Lightning Network is widely regarded as the ultimate solution for the scaling problem plaguing blockchain technology. If things pan out as hoped it could be the killer app that could break the barriers hindering mainstream adoption. Let’s take a quick overview about the current state of Lightning Network and potentially how easy or difficult it could be to incorporate the Lightning Network into everyday use.

What is Lightning?

The Lightning Network is a second layer solution on top of Bitcoin which allows users to perform transactions off-chain instantaneously in a secure fashion.

Given that each transaction doesn’t require to be recorded on the public ledger, this implementation enables for over a million transactions per second. Essentially users can open payment channels with each other where both of them commit to a certain amount of Bitcoin to the channel.

From here, users can send each other multiple payments and once they’re done they can close the channel which settles the final amount on the blockchain. Lightning network is cryptographically designed in such a way that if either of the party decides to act maliciously they are penalized and will end up losing the Bitcoin they committed to the channel.

While the implementation might not apply to general transactions, the payment channel mechanism allows parties that transact frequently to exchange seamlessly. The basic idea is that smooth payment channels, such as one with yourself and the coffee shop you frequent, will solve the scaling problems and lead to mainstream adoption.

The state of Lightning in 2018

There are currently three implementations of the Lightning network being worked on by Lightning Labs, Blockstream and ACINQ. All three clients are currently in beta and in their nascent stages.

The easiest way to use Lightning network is to use the web wallet HTLC.me where users can simply create a wallet and start exchanging Bitcoin over the Lightning network. While the website currently uses test Bitcoin for transactions the basic idea still holds true for the main network.

If you intend to use a native client instead, Lightning App by Lightning Labs is an efficient way to transact. The application has a very intuitive and easy user interface which makes it easier for a beginner.

Zap is another desktop client with a wonderful GUI which uses the same technology as Lightning App on its backend.

There are also mobile applications such as Eclair Wallet for Android and Zap for iOS (currently work-in-progress).

These applications are not necessarily ready for mainstream usage just yet and it is definitely still risky to transact large amounts. However, it is evident that these application lay solid groundwork and prove that Lightning Network isn’t necessarily too complex to use.

The main difficulty in the realm of Lightning Network is definitely going to be adoption. Convincing people to lock up a certain amount of Bitcoin for the payment channel is going to be the tricky part.

There is a certainly a “catch 22” element because while lightning is definitely going to ramp up adoption, it’s adoption is certainly depended on the popularity and usage of Bitcoin in general. However, with more rapid onset of groundbreaking technologies in the ecosystem it isn’t a stretch to say that the Lightning Network might just be the solution that brings Bitcoin to the masses.

The post How difficult is it to use the Lightning Network for every day use? appeared first on Coin Insider.

Google temporarily removes popular Metamask from the Chrome Extension Store

In a shock move, Google abruptly made the decision to delist MetaMask from the Chrome Extension Store yesterday for a period of five hours.

MetaMask itself, a popular interface extension that connects many web browsers to networks such as Ethereum, enjoys a presence on not only Google Chrome but further other popular web browsers such as Firefox and Opera.

MetaMask enjoys pride of place for the fact that the extension enables users to access decentralized networks and other decentralized applications from the comfort of most conventional web browsers.

In a public service announcement, Metamask clarified that it had not been provided with any reasons why the service had been delisted and was seeking clarity from Google.

The extension was spontaneously listed again some five hours later, though word from Google has been forthcoming as to why the change took place.

During the interleading hours while MetaMask was unavailable, several fraudulent copies of the software debuted in its place on the Chrome Extension Store – with Ethereum users warning that the malicious copies were merely phishing services.

While MetaMask users employing Chrome were unaffected by the move had they already installed the extension, it remains unclear as to why Google proceeded to delist the popular service.

Earlier this year, Google made the decision to ban cryptocurrency mining extensions from the Chrome Extension Store – previously, the company had allowed mining extensions so long as their use was expressly limited to mining and that users were informed of their purpose.

The Mountain View company may have accidentally removed MetaMask in line with this policy – though until the Google itself issues formal comment, that remains supposition.

In the event Google proceeds to delist the service once more, MetaMask outlined steps to install the extension on Chrome manually.

The post Google temporarily removes popular Metamask from the Chrome Extension Store appeared first on Coin Insider.

South Korean owned KT launches first commercial blockchain platform

South Korea’s leading mobile telephone company KT revealed its newly launched self-developed blockchain-based network in a bid develop a trusted network for individual users and businesses.

According to local news source The Herald, the lead of the KT Blockchain Center at the company’s Institute of Convergence Technology, Seo Young-il, has been working on developing this network for over three years, and his efforts are finally coming to fruition.

According to the KT team, the innovative project aims to make the existing network as secure and transparent as possible through the use of overlaying blockchain computing nodes to the high-speed layer on the commercial and national network. The platform will see innumerable blocks containing the virtual data of individuals or businesses. The blocks will be linked as a chain and will subsequently be safely stored and honestly and openly transacted on the network.

Seo has said that the “whole point of applying blockchain to networks is to address security and transaction issues by making the current networks more secure and trusted”.

The head of platform business planning at KT, Kim Hyung Wook, echoed the sentiments that blockchain is critical saying that “the internet has become today’s mainstream network technology, blockchain will be a new fundamental technology network,” and continued to mention the concern of the company, that it “will contribute to enlarging the country’s blockchain market by taking the lead in building blockchain infrastructure”.

Apparently, KT is also planning the launch of a data roaming service platform which will run on blockchain technology and will connect with international mobile carriers, such as NTT Docomo from Japan. Owing to the high-speed transactions of the data blocks, this means that any blockchain-run roaming service bills will be calculated real-time, and thus users will not have to battle with slow or temperamental mobile internet connections.

The post South Korean owned KT launches first commercial blockchain platform appeared first on Coin Insider.

Banking on blockchain: The innovations that have emerged from financial firms

Banking and digital currencies rarely see eye-to-eye owing to the fundamental concept of money on the blockchain which sets out to debank finance. Despite this, several major banks across the globe have taken the innovation of blockchain into their ranks and have either patented or produced new methods and means of using the technology to offer their customers novel features.

In this, we will be exploring innovations using blockchain technology that have emerged from five major banking institutions.

JPMorgan & Chase

This massive American banking institution has expressed interest in using blockchain on multiple occasions and has applied for patents for innovations more than once. In this, we look at the two patent applications and the ideas revolving around them.

In May of this year, the US Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) released the application that the bank had submitted in October. In this patent, JPMorgan was hoping to patent a system which would be using blockchain technology to record transactions and store data in a unique way. 

The company gave a summary of the patent, as outlined in the application:

In one embodiment, a method for processing network payments using a distributed ledger may include: (1) a payment originator initiating a payment instruction to a payment beneficiary; (2) a payment originator bank posting and committing the payment instruction to a distributed ledger on a peer-to-peer network; (3) the payment beneficiary bank posting and committing the payment instruction to the distributed ledger on a peer-to-peer network; and (4) the payment originator bank validating and processing the payment through a payment originator bank internal system and debiting an originator account.

JPMorgan expressed at the time that using distributed ledger would be beneficial because it “provides a practically immutable, verifiably true audit trail”. They also said that this system could possibly cover a number of features including “a payment originator banka payment beneficiary bank; a peer-to-peer payment network, wherein the payment originator bank and the payment beneficiary bank are participant members of the peer-to-peer payments network; and a distributed ledger.”

A few months later in July, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) released another patent application from JPMorgan. The form showed that the company is exploring a system using blockchain which would be able to tokenize and trade assets on digital store receipts – thus introducing a security token.

As in the patent application:

“Virtual Receipts,” are asset or obligation-backed electronic tokens that may provide investors, brokers, custodians, and clearing firms with a means to link an underlying asset or obligation with its digital representation on a distributed system for the purposes of ownership tracking and transfer; transaction clearing and settlement; asset origination, distribution and securitization; and other such marketplace processes that may be facilitated on a distributed system. As used herein, a distributed system includes a distributed ledger, such as a Blockchain or Ethereum-based ledger.”

Since virtual depository receipts, in this case, would be categorized as security tokens they would, therefore, be strictly regulated by the SEC.

National Bank of Dubai

In March, one of the largest banking groups in the United Arab Emirates looked to blockchain technology as a means to fight fraud.

In order to achieve this, the National Bank developed a system which uses a unique QR code which is put on a check and each check then recorded on a blockchain.

At the time Abdulla Qassem, the bank’s CEO, said that “Emirates NBD is committed to exploring commercial uses for this innovative technology. After a successful pilot phase, [they] are pleased to roll out Cheque Chain to our customers nationwide, becoming the first bank in the region to offer this service.”

Bank of America

The major US bank filed a patent document which was released in April. The application shows that the company hopes to patent a licensed blockchain which would combine multiple data storage services and merge them into one network. The system would be used as a means to record and log the identity of any user attempting to access stored data.

The system would be available to businesses and service providers and would allow them to access data within when necessary. In essence, the system could be offered on a personal or a corporate basis since users create new contracts or require sensitive information when using the platform.

The patent outlined the system; how it would connect with a number of service providers and stated that “the individual or entity may securely store on the blockchain all records relevant to service providers, then provide the service providers with secured access to said records such that the providers may access only the specific records for which they are authorized”. 

Goldman Sachs

In May, the major banking corporation announced that it would start using internal funds in order to trade bitcoin futures on behalf of the company’s clients.

As stated, the bank would “create its own, more flexible version of a future, known as a non-deliverable forward, which it will offer to clients”.

Goldman Sachs executive Rana Yared explained that the project “resonates with [them] when a client says, ‘I want to hold bitcoin or bitcoin futures because I think it is an alternate store of value‘”. This came as a major step in banking, as trading futures for clients is unprecedented in the current cryptoworld.

At the same time, Goldman Sachs hired its first cryptocurrency trader in order to handle day-to-day runnings. This also came as a major move as it shows exactly how much the banking company holds the future cryptocurrency as tender.

Circle Invest:

A few months before the Goldman brand invested in working in cryptocurrency, a company backed by the company released a new application for crypto payments. The startup, Circle, released the application -dubbed Circle Invest – earlier this year in April.

The application was promoted as an “app that’s actually built around investing, not trends”, and was further advocated by the company as a “cheap and simple to invest in crypto and digital assets”.

The platform offers users access to Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin, grants commission-free trading to investors.

American Express

The patent submitted by payment service giant American Express was released in March this year.

The system, as outlined in the patent, would be used to pave the way for payments between two entities, using transaction requests as a proxy. In detail, this would allow for a payment request sent to a blockchain-based database to either be rejected or approved and would consider the verification inclusive of a risk analysis.

If the payment is approved, it would lead to the processing of the settlement and the accounts of the payer and the recipient would be adjusted accordingly with the funds.

The platform outlined would use digital wallets on the blockchain for the parties making the transactions to conduct payments directly, as opposed to a third-party method.

The patent notes that “a payment network based on peer-to-peer payments may be used to facilitate most functions of traditional card payment networks and to enable additional services and functionality.”

The post Banking on blockchain: The innovations that have emerged from financial firms appeared first on Coin Insider.

Binance and Neufund collaborate to build a decentralized stock exchange

Decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges themselves might have some way to go in garnering both sufficient liquidity and popularity, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Binance and Neufund from collaborating with the view of producing a decentralized stock exchange.

In what’s tipped to be the first “regulated and decentralized, global stock exchange for listing and trading tokenized securities alongside crypto-assets”, Binance, Neufund, and MSX (a subsidiary of the Malta Stock Exchange) will work to launch a pilot decentralized exchange by the close of the year.

According to early reports, Binance will endeavor to build the platform’s underlying architecture.

In a statement on Neufund’s blog, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao offered that “We are glad to partner with Neufund over the pioneering idea to create a complete ecosystem for issuing and trading securities on Blockchain. Today’s announcement marks a new chapter for Binance’s development, with the goal to tokenize traditional financial assets.”

A Neufund spokesperson similarly quipped that “We are thrilled to announce the partnerships with Malta Stock Exchange and Binance, that will ensure high liquidity to equity tokens issued on Neufund. It is the first time in history, that security tokens can be offered and traded in a legally binding way.”

Neufund has set the self-goal of becoming the ‘first end-to-end primary issuance platform for security tokens’, and aims to offer secondary trading of equity tokens. The view may one day enable firms around the world to raise funds through blockchain technology.

According to the release, seven companies have thus far decided to conduct an Equity Token Offering with Neufund, including Founders Bank, Brille24, Uniti, MySwooop, Next Big Thing, Blockstate and Emflux Motors.

Speaking more broadly, the move is not the only decentralized exchange Binance plans to flirt with. Earlier this year, Binance announced a new pivot that will see the launch of a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange dubbed Binance Chain.

Explaining the move as part of a wider bid to transition its services from ‘a company to a community’, the firm has now announced that Binance Chain would be used to transfer different blockchain assets and would re-appropriate the company’s Binance Coin token to its own native blockchain, rather than leverage Ethereum’s ERC20 standard.

The post Binance and Neufund collaborate to build a decentralized stock exchange appeared first on Coin Insider.

JPMorgan looks to patent a system to distribute virtual depository receipts

JPMorgan Chase, a massive American banking institution which has been known to dabble in patenting ideas which rely on blockchain technology, has had its sights set on patenting another concept.

Regarding the first patent, the project was lead by excitement by the team, and the blockchain program leader Christine Moy said that “[one] of the mandates of the J.P. Morgan blockchain program is to identify how blockchain technology can create value, efficiency, and a better experience for our clients across the financial markets value chain” and continued to express the excitement of moving into blockchain, saying that they “look forward to exploring blockchain-enabled capital markets applications, how these types of transformative opportunities can benefit our clients and counterparts.”

This time the mega-bank is looking into using blockchain technology for practical cases such as tokenizing assets and trading them on digital store receipts. Outlined in the submitted patent application which has been published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) is the potential method for these cases.

As in the patent application:

“Virtual Receipts,” are asset or obligation-backed electronic tokens that may provide investors, brokers, custodians, and clearing firms with a means to link an underlying asset or obligation with its digital representation on a distributed system for the purposes of ownership tracking and transfer; transaction clearing and settlement; asset origination, distribution and securitization; and other such marketplace processes that may be facilitated on a distributed system. As used herein, a distributed system includes a distributed ledger, such as a Blockchain or Ethereum-based ledger.”

In order to achieve this, JPMorgan would be creating a security token as it which would require an asset owner to limit the holdings by charging them to a custodian who would issue a digital receipt. Owing to this process, the virtual depository receipts would be categorized as security tokens – and would, therefore, be strictly regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The post JPMorgan looks to patent a system to distribute virtual depository receipts appeared first on Coin Insider.

IBM snatches opportunity to partner with new Stronghold stablecoin

International Business Machines Corp (IBM) has announced a partnership with new coin cryptocurrency Stronghold USD in a bid to explore the use-cases of virtual currencies in the company.

According to Reuters, the new token launched recently on the Stellar blockchain network and acts as a stable coin which has a price tethered to that of the US dollar. Those interested in buying the token can do so through the Nevada-based Prime Trust – Stronghold USD’s banking partner – by depositing dollars and gaining an equal value in tokens.

Stronghold USD tokens will initially be accessible to businesses, international companies corporations, and financial establishments and the project is hoping to branch out to retail cases to follow in months to come.

Owing to the volatility of cryptocurrency prices often business and investors are dettered, but stablecoins – with a fixed rate – offer a virtual alternative with less wild fluctuations. Other stablecoins, such as Tether, USDX, and DAI employ the same dollar rate strategy and have made their name in the world of cryptocurrency for various reasons.

IBM has not been shy to explore cryptocurrency, having patented solutions for app-testing, and setting challenges to developers using blockchain technology, so it comes as no surprise that the company is making a deal with a new crypto-project.

Regarding the partnership and how soon it will operate, Jesse Lund – IBM’s vice president – has said that the “engineering work has been done on this token and we have seen a little bit of the early release of it.

Founder and CEO of Stronghold Tammy Camp seems excited at both the prospect of the newly launched project and brand-new partnership, saying that the coin “allows folks to do payments, foreign exchange between companies in a very seamless and frictionless and more secure way,” and added that Stronghold USD “enables people to be able to trade that token with other assets and other tokens as well”.

The post IBM snatches opportunity to partner with new Stronghold stablecoin appeared first on Coin Insider.

MasterCard wins new patent for linked cryptocurrency and fiat accounts

While MasterCard has previously explored blockchain technology to collect data from individuals and store them securely, the worldwide payments processor has today been granted a patent for a method that manages ‘fractional reserves of blockchain currency.’

The filing details a means of storing both accounts liked to fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies, and elaborates MasterCard’s view that leveraging systems already in place for handling fiat payments could promote the adoption of digital currencies.

It remains unclear, however, if the system would leverage its own blockchain in order to securely manage and record the flow of funds. In an interview with CNBC, MasterCard’s Senior Vice President for Communications – Seth Eisen – quipped that “we’re consistently looking at ways to bring new thinking and new innovations to market to create value for us and our customers and cardholders. Patent applications are part of that process, taking steps to protect the company’s intellectual property, whether or not the idea ever comes to market.”

In a previous patent, MasterCard elaborated on its interest in blockchain technology and the “disclosure relates to the storage and verification and identity and credential data” with special use of distributed storage “for protection of identity and credential data and the verification thereof.”

The news is slightly jarring for the fact that the company has previously gone on record to state that while it is open to the use of digital currencies, it would not support anything less than a state cryptocurrency and would not support a decentralized digital currency.

MasterCard’s Blockchain API – introduced in October last year – has been designed to support business-to-business transactions.

At the time, Chaiti Sen, MasterCard’s Director of Product Communications, confirmed that the company’s Blockchain API will complement the firm’s existing technologies such as virtual cards, MasterCard Send, and Vocalink with the view of supporting cross-border business-to-business transactions.

The post MasterCard wins new patent for linked cryptocurrency and fiat accounts appeared first on Coin Insider.

Cybercrime Report: Cryptojacking is on the rise at the decline of ransomware

The global security company Kaspersky Lab has recently released a report which looks at how – and why – ransomware attacks have become less common in cybercriminal hacks.

According to the cybersecurity company, “cryptojacking” –  a form of cryptocurrency hacking which sees the attack of mining malware – has become more frequent and is a more attractive means for hackers to illicitly gain cryptocurrency funds.

The report states that the “ total number of users who encountered ransomware fell by almost 30%, from 2,581,026 in 2016-2017 to 1,811,937 in 2017-2018,” and added that the ransomware attacks on mobile devices has also seen a major decline of about 22.5%. Furthermore, the number of individuals and entities who have fallen victim to the malicious miners has swelled by nearly 45% in the last year.

The report has suggested that the increase of cryptojacking is owing to several factors, such as the basic model of mining – which offers a great deal of profit to successful miners – as well as the discrete and pseudonymous nature of mining software. Components related to the mining model, such as how easy it is to develop mining devices have also given cryptojackers a major reason to perform attacks which make lining their pockets an easier endeavour as opposed to ransomware attacks:

“The number of targeted attacks on businesses, for the purpose of installing miners, raises questions about whether mining might eventually follow in the footsteps of ransomware actors. Big money loves silence, and if miner actors attract as much attention to themselves as ransomware did, life will get complicated for them.”

It was found that Venezuela, Myanmar, and Nepal are countries who have seen the most impact by mobile-based cryptojacking attacks, despite the fact that countries such as India and China can be attributed to an entire one-third of the volume the market’s smartphone devices.

Kaspersky Lab’s report has been supported by a similar research by American-based cybersecurity corporation McAfee, who also suggested that “the rise in the value of cryptocurrencies, market forces are driving criminals to crypto jacking and the theft of cryptocurrency.”

The post Cybercrime Report: Cryptojacking is on the rise at the decline of ransomware appeared first on Coin Insider.