Blockchain News 12.10.2018

Plastic surgeon buys top South Korean Bitcoin exchange, Bithumb

A consortium led by a prominent Seoul plastic surgeon has reportedly purchased a controlling stake in South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Bithumb.

Singapore-based BK Global Consortium bought a 50% stake plus one share in Bithumb, the country’s biggest virtual currency exchange, from shareholder BTC Holdings for $353 million. The BK consortium is an investment group led by Kim Byung-gun, a high-profile plastic surgeon who founded BK Plastic Surgery Hospital, a major clinic in Seoul that also has operations in Singapore.

Senate crypto hearing hosts Bitcoin debate

On Thursday, October 11th, the US Senate’s top banking committee held a debate form hearing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, Coin Center’s crypto-visionary Peter Van Valkenburgh served as an expert witnesses. “Why is it revolutionary? Because it works without the need to trust a middleman,” Van Valkenburgh said of Bitcoin near the start of his introduction.

Van Valkenburgh also cited an example of an Afghani entrepreneur paying her female coders with Bitcoin later in his testimony. “…anyone, regardless of their nationality, race, religion, sex, or credit-worthiness can (for absolutely no cost) create a Bitcoin address in order to receive payments digitally… We need light-touch pro-innovation policy to ensure that these innovations flourish in America for the benefit and security of all Americans,” Van Valkenburgh later concluded.

“What should we be thinking about to secure cryptocurrencies,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked of Van Valkenburgh. Van Valkenburgh voiced that the auditability of the Bitcoin network’s ledger has made tracking crimes on its blockchain, e.g. BTC-e’s financial fraud, relatively easy. The hearing was ultimately a brief one, and no ultimate oversight conclusions were reached. However, the session marks yet another step toward increased congressional familiarity with the cryptocurrency arena.

Nearly $1B stolen in crypto hacks in 2018

The losses related to crypto hacks continue to rise sharply, with nearly $1 billion stolen so far this year, new research suggests. In the first nine months of 2018, hackers stole $927 million from the cryptocurrency exchanges and other platforms, according to a recent report from blockchain security firm CipherTrace.

The document, titled “Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering 2018 Q3” estimates the total figure will reach over $1 billion by the end of 2018. The most notable theft of the year 2018 was the hack of Japanese exchange Coincheck, which saw $530 million-worth of cryptos stolen. Also, the report states: “This data indicates a pattern of smaller robberies on a regular basis and sophisticated professional cyber thieves who carry out hacks at both the exchange and platform levels by capitalizing on exposed vulnerabilities, as well as by socially engineering employees who work at these companies.”

1Broker says Bitcoin futures site will start processing withdrawals today

Bitcoin futures firm 1Broker, which has been charged with violating a number of US securities laws, has announced that it would reopen withdrawals today. The trading platform, which was accused of acting as an unregistered security-based swaps dealer, as well as violating money laundering and wire fraud laws, saw its website seized by the FBI late last month. The platform said it was seeking US counsel to fight the charges.

On Wednesday, it added in a tweet that “We will start processing withdrawals tomorrow at 12:00 (UTC). Thanks for your patience in the past days!” The company has said in a statement that it holds sufficient funds to cover any and all withdrawal requests, but that it needed permission from US authorities to enable this function first.

Blockchain News 12.10.2018


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