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Use our news to inform cryptocurrency trading decisions, stay up-to-date on happenings in the industry, and more!

Gemini To Become First BitLicensed Exchange To Offer Trading in Zcash
The New York State Department of Financial Services has authorized Gemini Trust Company to offer trading of Zcash, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Tyler Winklevoss, Chief Executive Officer of Gemini Trust Company, LCC said, “We are proud be the first licensed exchange in the world to offer Zcash trading and custody services and look forward to providing customers with a safe, secure, and regulated place to buy, sell, and store Zcash, an incredible new form of digital cash.”

Crypto Mining Company Coinmint Moving To Revamp 1,300 Acre Alcoa Plot
Once used for aluminum smelting, an Alcoa plant in Upstate New York is going to be converted into one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining centers. CNBC reports Coinmint said Tuesday it “would invest up to $700 million in the upstate New York location, which it expects to be the biggest bitcoin mining center in the world. The project will create an estimated 150 jobs over the next 18 months.”

Cryptocurrency Theft Malware Now An Economy Worth Millions
According to a new research report titled “Cryptocurrency Gold Rush on the Dark Web” by Carbon Black, the market for malware and tools designed for the theft of cryptocurrency is growing swiftly. ZDNet states, “The researchers estimate that over the past six months alone, a total of $1.1 billion has been stolen in cryptocurrency-related thefts, and approximately 12,000 marketplaces in the underbelly of the Internet are fueling this trend.”

Image courtesy of Carty Sewill, http://cartyisme.com/.

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Use our news to inform cryptocurrency trading decisions, stay up-to-date on happenings in the industry, and more!

“See No Bank, Hear No Bank, Speak No Bank”: German Bank Allows Users To Transfer Loans Anywhere In The World Using Bitcoin
According to Reuters, German Radoslav Albrecht founded an online bank that allows clients to transfer loans anywhere in the world using Bitcoin. ZeroHedge reports, “Albrecht’s Bitbond uses Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to completely bypass the Swift international transfer system which has a monopoly and ultimate veto power on who is in – and isn’t – in the global petrodollar club, to lend money across the globe rapidly and at low cost.”

Winklevoss-Owned Gemini Exchange Becomes First Licensed Exchange to Offer ZCash
Anthony Severino of BlockExplorer reports that Gemini, the New York-based cryptocurrency exchange owned by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, will become the “world’s first licensed ZCash exchange”.

Australia To Ban Cash For All Purchases Over $10,000
Australia’s Liberal Party government announced it will be illegal to purchase anything over $10,000 with cash starting July of 2019. The Australian government goes on to say it’s “encouraging the transition to a digital society” and cracking down on tax evasion.

LG CNS Launches its own Blockchain Platform, Monachain
Monachain provides digital authentication, community token, and supply chain management. ZDNet reports, “The service is aimed at enterprise clients and can be applied in finance, public, telco and manufacturing industries, the company said. The platform offers digital authentication, community token, and supply chain management.”

Image courtesy of Carty Sewill, http://cartyisme.com/

Gemini, the New York-based cryptocurrency exchange owned by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, will become the “world’s first licensed ZCash exchange,” according to an announcement made via the company’s official blog this morning.

Starting on Saturday, May 19th at 9:30am EDT customers will be able to begin depositing ZCash they already own onto the exchange in preparation for when trading begins on Tuesday, May 22nd at 9:30am EDT. At that time, trading goes live with the following trading pairs on Gemini: ZEC/USD, ZEC/BTC, and ZEC/ETH.

The New York Department of Financial Services, who oversees New York’s controversial Bitlicense, approved Gemini adding Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash, in addition to the privacy-focused ZCash. The addition of ZCash is of particular significance due to Gemini being the world’s first licensed exchange to offer the privacy coin, but also because privacy coins have faced scrutiny over criminals potentially abusing the anonymous nature of the coin. Regulators in other countries, most notably Japan, have been targeting privacy coins, even requiring some exchanges in the region to delist privacy coins such as ZCash and Monero.

Along with Gemini’s “first,” the New York Department of Financial Services also becomes the first regulatory agency across the globe to supervise ZCash.

Maria T. Vullo, superintendent of the NYDFS offered the following statement about issuing the approval:

“This action continues New York’s longstanding commitment to innovation and leadership in the global marketplace. With smart and thorough regulatory oversight, the development and long-term growth of the industry will remain thriving,”

In a separate phone interview, Cameron Winkevoss made reference to the growing discomfort regulators feel toward privacy coins:

“Today demonstrates that through education and collaboration and with the right controls in place, regulators can get comfortable with privacy technology.”

ZCash’s price skyrocketed over 25% to a peak of $349 in the wake of the news.

bitmain asic

Chinese mining rig manufacturer Bitmain has unveiled the first Equihash ASIC miners, making it likely that it will soon be unprofitable to mine Zcash using GPU-powered devices.

Bitmain began accepting preorders for the Antminer Z9 mini on Friday, and the miners will begin shipping in June.

The Z9 mini is the first application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miner built to mine the Equihash Proof-of-Work (PoW) mining algorithm, which is currently used by Zcash, Bitcoin Gold, and a variety of lesser-known cryptocurrencies.

The deployment of these devices will alter the nature of Zcash mining, which until now has been done primarily with GPU chips, which are available at most electronics retailers.

ASICs — which are only available from specialized manufacturers like Bitmain — are significantly more efficient than GPU miners, meaning that Zcash GPU mining will likely now be restricted to hobby miners who do it for fun — not profit.

Zcash originally adopted Equihash because it was ASIC-resistant, making it difficult for a single company — namely Bitmain — to dominate the production of Zcash miners.

However, now that Equihash ASIC miners are set to hit the market the Zcash community must grapple with whether to make its peace with this development or adopt a hard fork to render the Z9 mini incompatible with the cryptocurrency’s network.

However, maintaining ASIC resistance will likely require regular changes to the coin’s mining algorithm, and even then few believe that it will be able to stave off ASICs forever.

Zcash founder Zooko Wilcox acknowledged this in a forum post discussing his evolving views on ASICs and the mining landscape in general.

“I’m really chagrined that I let it sound like we were committing to a social contract of ongoing ASIC-resistance. That is absolutely never what I had intended to commit to,” he wrote of the original decision to adopt Equihash.

However, he added that — at least right now — he still believes that ensuring the network has a wide distribution of coins is more important than “locking miners into a large sunk-cost investment in the cryptocurrency.”

“Oh, bottom-line, by the way, is that I’m basically still in the same place now that I was four years ago when we first decided to go for widespread-distribution-of-coins at the expense of sunk-cost-incentive-alignment,” he concluded. “I still think that widespread-distribution-of-coins is more important (but I still think that it can’t last forever, and that the other side of the trade-off may also prove to be important).”

Featured Image from Pixabay

Messaging app Telegram has become the latest victim of cryptocurrency mining malware, as researchers at Kaspersky Lab have revealed a now-patched vulnerability that allowed hackers to exploit a flaw in the platform’s file transfer service.

Kaspersky said that the vulnerability, which was first exploited in March 2017 and discovered by researchers in October, was a “classic right-to-left override attack.”

Simply put, this attack exploited the portion of Telegram’s software that enabled the messenger to recognize Arabic and Hebrew, languages which are read right to left. The hackers were able to use this feature to reverse the order of characters in filenames, which allowed them to disguise suspicious file extensions as images or other seemingly non-threatening file types.

After users downloaded the files, embedded scripts would silently unleash a malware payload on the target operating system. One of the most prominent payloads was malware that harnessed the target computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrencies for the attackers.

cryptocurrency mining malware
Source: Kaspersky

These miners were primarily developed for the Equihash and Cryptonight mining algorithms, which are employed by privacy-centric cryptocurrencies Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR), respectively.

Although the vulnerability affected all Telegram users, Kaspersky said that it appears only Russian hackers exploited it, which is why the vast majority of victims were Russian residents.

These types of attacks have become quite common in recent months, particularly since the development of CoinHive, a mining script that can be implemented into the background of websites and used to harness the computing power of visitors.

As BlockExplorer reported, more than 4,200 websites hosted by government agencies in the US and UK have recently been compromised through the use of a tool called BrowseAloud and injected with CoinHive-based mining malware scripts.

Telegram denied that exploit was the result of a “real vulnerability,” arguing that users bore responsibility for choosing to download the files.

“This is not a real vulnerability on Telegram Desktop, no one can remotely take control of your computer or Telegram unless you open a (malicious) file,” Reuters cited the company as saying in a statement.

Nevertheless, the timing of the vulnerability’s disclosure is awkward for Telegram, as the company is reportedly preparing to launch a record-shattering initial coin offering (ICO) that could raise up to $2 billion.

Featured Image from MaxPixel