This week, the Avengers, Marvel’s mightiest
heroes, have gathered to fight their last battle against Thanos, the mad titan.
But who are the Avengers of cryptocurrency? To start, Vitalik Buterin is the obvious choice
for Captain America – the good guy that prefers to stay out of the crypto space pettiness,
for the most part, and seems to truly just want to save the world
from the big bad banking system. As for Iron Man, CZ also seems to fit the
bill. He has lots of money, no super powers, but is super smart and can built gadgety stuff.
Does that sound familiar? Nick Fury would be Joseph Lubin. As Fury gathered
the Avengers and set them out into the universe, Lubin gathers blockchain disruptors at ConsenSys
and sets them out into the fintech world. And as for Thanos, who destroyed half of the
universe’s population, we give the title of the crypto bear market, which destroyed
half of everyone’s crypto portfolios. And last of all is me, the Black Widow. This
is the most accurate, as I am a formerly Russian spy that has defected to the U.S. in the pursuit
of good. Everyone, I’m Molly Jane, the Black Widow, and this is your week’s Hodler’s Digest. Let’s take a look at the latest market updates. It is now official: USDT, the stablecoin issued
by Tether, is not fully backed by fiat currency. As revealed by Tether’s general counsel
Stuart Hoegner, the company holds around $2.1 billion in cash and short-term securities,
which is only 74% of the total value of Tether’s circulating supply. The revelation came
amidst the latest scandal involving crypto exchange Bitfinex,
Tether’s affiliated company. The New York Attorney General’s Office obtained
a court order against the exchange, which allegedly lost $850 million in customer funds
after placing them with an unregulated payment processor, Crypto Capital.
Bitfinex reportedly tried to cover up the loss by securing a secret $900 million loan
from Tether that used its customers’ fiat reserves to provide the amount.
What’s wrong with that? Well, secretly using customers’ funds to prop up
a sister company equals fraud. The CEO of iFinex, Bitfinex and Tether’s
parent company, defined the allegations over funds being lost as “categorically false”.
The funds, he said, were seized by authorities and safeguarded in a number of jurisdictions
including the U.K. and U.S., adding that Bitfinex is working to obtain their release.
According to Tether’s lawyers, there is actually no need for each Tether to be backed
by a dollar. In fact, banks are commonly operating on far smaller reserves as their customers’
funds are deployed in the form of investments. This is a fair point, but it goes against
everything that Tether’s ever publically said about having 1:1 fiat reserves.
A few days later, news broke that Bitfinex is planning to launch its own token via an
IEO, with expectations to raise up to $1 billion. According to Zhao Dong, prominent
Chinese trader and Bitfinex shareholder, the raised funds will help
Bitfinex to tackle the crisis. The announcement fueled the wave of controversy
around the scandal with many asking, if Bitfinex is so sure it can retrieve customers’ funds,
then what’s the point of an IEO? 2018 was all about buying a Lambo with crypto.
2019 has a more humble offering, earning crypto for sharing traffic data. So forget the question
‘When Lambo?’ and ask instead ‘Where traffic, when coffee?’. Jaguar Land Rover,
the UK’s largest car manufacturer, is partnering with the IOTA
Foundation as part of a mission to achieve zero accidents, zero congestion and zero emissions.
The plan is to reward drivers with IOTA tokens for sharing data on road conditions and traffic.
Users will be given a smart wallet that initially can be used for coffee, tolls, parking fees,
and if you have an electric car, recharging. Jaguars and Landrovers will be fitted with
IOT sensors that provide data to ‘Tangle’, IOTA’s distributed ledger, which will then
notify the relevant authorities. For example, if you are driving past a road
accident, data can be collected in order to warn other drivers and signal any infrastructure
problems local authorities need to take action on. Currently, the project is in its pilot
phase and is being tested out on the Jaguar F-PACE and Range Rover Velar.
IOTA also partnered with VW last year to work on a similar project to develop a ‘Digital
Car Pass’ that would use Tangle to collect data about the car itself. VWs could potentially
pay for parking without the driver even having to roll down their window.
This is all a part of a broader technological vision that would see vehicles of all types
from trucks to convertables communicating with each other as they become increasingly
driverless. Are we heading towards an utopia or a dystopia? So far, most predictions have
been off, after all, we were promised flying cars, but it looks like
we got talking ones instead. Crypto market cap website CoinMarketCap will
remove exchanges from its circulation if they don’t provide mandatory
information before June of this year. In occasion of its sixth birthday, CoinMarketCap
announced the launch of the Data Accountability & Transparency Alliance, which will provide
“greater transparency, accountability, and disclosure from projects in the crypto space.”
The initiative came amid growing demand of transparent price data after researchers demonstrated
that a big fraction of Bitcoin trading volume on CoinMarketCap was indeed faked.
The information expected from the exchanges include live trading data and order book data.
In case exchanges will fail to provide the information within 45 days, they will not be included
in the price and adjusted volume calculations. A number of major exchanges,
among which are Binance, Bittrex, OKEx and Huobi,
have already joined this alliance. It has been over 10 years since the
publication of Bitcoin’s whitepaper, and we still don’t know
who Satoshi Nakamoto is. Craig Wright claimed the title, but the internet
basically said nah, #fakesatoshi. One man who is strange enough, smart enough old enough and is kind of a nerdy Bruce Wayne
type, is Elon Musk. The Tesla CEO was one of the more, shall we say, long shot guesses
on the identity of Bitcoin’s inventor. He’s also had a fairly high profile and weird relationship
with crypto, he has hinted he was Satoshi, promoted Dogecoin, and there were even a hydra
of fake Elons scamming people out of crypto. This week, ever the man of mystery, Musk tweeted
a single word: “Ethereum” followed by “jk”. This prompted Buterin to take the
bait and invite him to DevCon. This then lead to an exchange between the two. In response
to Musk’s question about what should be developed on Ethereum, Buterin listed five
of his top picks for the network’s development. DevCon is in October, and so far Musk has
not accepted the invite, but nor has he declined it. So what do you think?
Would you like to see Elon Musk at DevCon? Microsoft has been lately under fire after
hackers infiltrated Outlook email accounts to steal cryptocurrencies.
Apparently, the hackers managed to steal login credentials from Microsoft customers support
workers, and then used them to access email accounts of regular users.
In April, it had already been revealed that the content of Outlook’s accounts was compromised
by hackers whose intentions were still unclear. Back then, Microsoft claimed that hackers
could not have access to actual email content, but only to email metadata and subject lines.
A statement that now proves to be inaccurate, as it became clear the hackers did access
email content to reset crypto users exchange passwords and withdraw crypto funds. One of the victims, Dutch engineer Jevon Ritmeester, had his Kraken account compromised as a result
of the hack and lost one Bitcoin. Following his claims, other users came out on Reddit
claiming to have suffered similar losses, with one saying to
have lost an equivalent of $25,000. Since the hack, Microsoft has been largely
blamed by the hack’s victims for underplaying the issue. The Dutch engineer
now plans to file a police report and hold Microsoft accountable for
its loss and the leak of personal data. We reached out to him, and asked him to give
us his perspective on the hack. So how did you find out about the hack? So I tried to log in on my Kraken account
and I got the message that my password wasn’t working which was really strange, because
I used this password manager to keep all my passwords up to date. So I went to my mailbox, my Outlook Hotmail
account, to see if I could find some kind of email from Kraken.com And then these mails
in my trash folder came up. There were like four kinds
of emails from Kraken.com Then upon closer inspection of the emails
I realized there were some password resets emails included. Then I found in my mailbox some other emails
about a withdrawal address being added to mine, corrected account. Okay, weird, but let’s see. Then there was another
email confirming a withdrawal. So then that’s the moment when my heart started
pumping a little faster, because I didn’t request of redraw any crypto so there could
be someone else doing it. You said you want to hold Microsoft accountable,
but how do you plan to do it? I wasn’t fished, there wasn’t a keylogger on
my PC. I didn’t lose any passwords, so this really was a fault for Microsoft. Something
was stolen. So if something gets stolen, you file a police report. So I hope by seeking
publicity right now that triggers them to at least contact me and maybe see what the
consequences are instead of just waiting and hoping everything will blow over. Do you agree with our crypto Avengers,
and if not, what are your suggestions? Comment below! And as always, remember to
like, subscribe and hodl.