NCFTA onboards crypto exchange Binance to fight against cybercrime

The National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), an American non-profit, onboarded its first crypto firm Binance to aid their ongoing battle against cybercrimes. Founded in 2002, the NCFTA partners with law enforcement and various business and academic entities to source threat intelligence to identify and mitigate cybercrime threats. By partnering with Binance, the world’s biggest crypto exchange in terms of trading volume, the NCFTA aims to tackle international cybersecurity investigations. According to Binance’s VP of Global Intelligence and Investigations, Tigran Gambaryan, the exchange aims to be the leading contributor in the fight against cybercrime, ransomware, and terrorism financing:“Joining the NCFTA is an important step in our joint fight against cybercrime, securing the cryptocurrency ecosystem for the entire community.”Through this partnership, Binance will gain access to NCFTA’s dedicated team of analysts along with trends related to emerging and real-time threats. The crypto exchange has also set up an in-house team to tackle blockchain and cryptocurrency fraud, namely the Binance Investigations Group. According to the press release:“To date, Binance has cooperated with hundreds of criminal investigations, which have led to high-profile arrests, including a cybercriminal group laundering $500M in ransomware proceeds.”Gambaryan also believes that securing the crypto ecosystem against cyber threats requires strong cooperation between law enforcement, government agencies and players within the ecosystem.Related: Pakistan to investigate Binance for multi-million dollar crypto scamOn Jan. 9, Pakistan‘s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) issued a formal notice to Binance to identify links around a multi-million crypto scam in the region.KARACHI: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has detected an online fraud of Rs100 billion using a cryptocurrency and issued notice to the local representative of Binance, @cz_binance @binance @BinanceHelpDesk @BinanceUS pic.twitter.com/3oukwzmDqh— Innocent Pashteen✌ (@FighterDawar) January 7, 2022As Cointelegraph reported, the Pakistani government received numerous complaints against an ongoing scam that involved misleading investors into sending funds from Binance wallets to unknown third-party wallets — sparking a criminal investigation. Speaking to Cointelegraph, a Binance spokesperson confirmed the exchange’s intent to cooperate with the local authorities:“User protection is a top priority for us at Binance. Our law enforcement team also works closely with agencies and governments around the world to help educate teams on tackling financial crimes.”

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Mercedes partners with NFT artists to celebrate G-Class series

Mercedes has teamed up with Art2People to create an exclusive Mercedes-Benz NFT collection based on its G-Class vehicle line, according to a tweet by the luxury automobile manufacturer. Five artists were commissioned to create various G-Class-inspired works in a range of media, resulting in unique designs for each artwork.What happens when five #NFT artists take on the challenge of reinterpreting the iconic #GClass?The NF-G Challenge by @art2people_xyz@antonitudisco @baugasm @klarens_malluta @StudioCTaylor X @StudioZyva @kilimanjaroger @macomoroni @niftygateway➡️ https://t.co/HrD56AIPGi pic.twitter.com/mV0f8ig6KT— Mercedes-Benz (@MercedesBenz) January 17, 2022For this project, five artists from the NFT industry were selected to interpret the G-Class in their own style. The artists involved come from diverse areas, such as music, fashion, graphic design, architecture, creative marketing, luxury design and real estate. The artists include Charlotte Taylor, Anthony Authie, Roger Kilimanjaro, Baugasm and Germany-based Antoni Tudisco. Nifty Gateway and Mercedes will launch the NFTs on Sunday.Related: Korean Bithumb exchange to launch NFT marketplaceMercedes is not the first major brand to be involved with NFTs. In June 2021, McLaren unveiled its intention to utilize NFTs to create virtual versions of its legendary F1 automobiles. In July 2021, Coca-Cola launched a unique NFT initiative to raise money for Special Olympics International.This isn’t the first time Mercedes-Benz has been involved with blockchain technology. The car manufacturer teamed up with blockchain startup Circulor to launch a trial to ensure that cobalt emissions are tracked throughout the supply chain.

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UK Treasury wants to remove blockchain reference from crypto definition

The United Kingdom is actively looking to regulate the crypto market and has proposed many new policies to bring various crypto markets under the rule of law. However, among the various newly proposed suggestions, what turned many heads is the request to remove blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) references from the definition of crypto assets.BRITAIN SETS OUT PLANS FOR REGULATING CRYPTO ASSETS, PROPOSES TO REMOVE REFERENCE TO BLOCKCHAIN FROM THE DEFINITION OF CRYPTO ASSETS— *Walter Bloomberg (@DeItaone) January 18, 2022A new crypto report titled “Cryptoasset promotions: Consultation response” from the Her Majesty’s (HM) Treasury noted that, while most crypto assets use DLT or blockchain as an underlying technology, it might change over time the industry evolves. Thus, crypto assets must be exempt from the reference of DLT to “future-proof the definition for innovations.” The official statement said:“Most crypto assets currently use distributed ledger technology (DLT), it might be that this changes as the technology and industry evolve. Therefore, the government proposes to remove the reference to DLT from the definition of qualifying crypto assets. “Related: UK 3rd for ETH ownership as crypto adoption grows 1% in December: SurveyApart from the controversial crypto-asset definition change, the HM Treasury paper also discussed bringing decentralized finance (DeFi) under the scope of regulation on a case-to-case basis and said the government would closely monitor the fast-growing industry. The official paper read:”Whether certain crypto assets lending activities or decentralized finance platforms are within the scope of the regime ultimately depends on the activities being carried out and promoted. As such, this will need to be considered on a case-by-case basis.”Many crypto proponents believe the removal of blockchain and DLT reference as proposed by the committee could cast a danger on the decentralized nature of the crypto market. For example, Chinese CBDC e-CNY or digital yuan is said to be based on blockchain technology, however, it’s more of a private blockchain and highly centralized, controlled by the government. The British government seems to be following a similar path with a definition change.

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Multichain asks users to revoke approvals amid ‘critical vulnerability’

Cross-chain router protocol Multichain (formerly Anyswap) urges users to revoke approvals for six tokens to avoid loss due to a “critical vulnerability” that is currently being exploited by malicious individuals.Users who approved WETH, PERI, OMT, WBNB, MATIC and AVAX on the Multichain platform are now at risk, experts warn. To avoid loss, the Multichain team advises users to cancel all of the approvals given to the specified tokens so that they can protect their crypto assets.Multichain also published a step-by-step tutorial on how users can easily revoke approvals. In a tweet, The firm also advised users not to transfer any of the affected tokens before revoking the approvals.The vulnerability was first detected by a security firm called Dedaub and was reported to the Multichain team. The problem was then fixed, and Multichain reports that all digital assets their V2 Bridge and V3 Router are secured.However, at the moment, hackers are still exploiting the vulnerability to gain access to users’ funds. At the time of writing, Multichain reports that a total of 445 WETH ($1,412,274.25) is affected.Please revoke your approvals ASAP. Someone is exploiting this. https://t.co/fFGcrjNN0e— Dedaub (@dedaub) January 18, 2022Related: DeFi protocol Grim Finance lost $30M in 5x reentrancy hackMeanwhile, reports show that hacks and scams took over $10.2 billion from users in 2021. However, despite the losses, the community is taking the appropriate measures to adjust. CEO and founder of security Immunefi, Mitchell Amador recently told Cointelegraph that “Despite the appearance of entirely new vulnerabilities in the on-chain economy, the community is adapting rapidly.” According to Amador, the community is circulating the “best practices” for securing their digital assets.Aside from Immunefi, many digital asset security firms are watching out for possible hacks, scams, and rug pulls. Earlier this month, Certik identified Arbix Finance as a rug pull, warning users to stay away from the project to protect their digital assets.

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Blockchain assessment: How to assess different chains?

With so many blockchain networks appearing all the time, new or even experienced crypto enthusiasts may feel overwhelmed when it comes to deciding which are the best to invest in.In this guide, we’ll outline the most important aspects of any blockchain project, and why one should pay close attention to such details when assessing the different chains on the crypto market.Use caseArguably the most important part of any blockchain project is its use case. What is the project’s reason for existing? Is the project here to enhance payment processing? To improve on a business supply chain or to entertain users?There’s technically no such thing as an invalid use case, but some are certainly more applicable than others. For example, a project meant to assist millions in acquiring food is likely to earn more support than a meme coin. If one decides that a project is valuable to them and that this value can translate over to a wide audience, then that’s a point in the project’s favor.When examining use cases, it’s best to look at the project’s white paper. For example, we can take a look at Polygon’s whitepaper, which details potential use cases associated with the platform.CommunityA project is nothing without its community. Blockchain technology is an open-source and user-driven solution, after all. When assessing a blockchain, it’s often best to check into the community and see how much power they have. Reliable projects are generally as decentralized as possible, providing users from all over with the ability to hold tokens and have their say in governance. These users are usually outspoken, with public conversations happening on platforms like Reddit, Twitter and Discord. It’s usually best to join a project’s Discord server to gauge both the size and contributions of its community.Transaction speeds and scalabilityOne’s blockchain project of choice might have the best intentions, but if the technology can’t scale or reliably process transactions, it’s at a severe disadvantage. What good is a platform that can’t serve the hundreds of thousands of customers it hopes to gain?When assessing a blockchain, it’s best to examine the network’s typical transaction speeds alongside how it intends to scale en masse. Is it possible to implement upgrades down the line? Will it, or does the network already utilize a layer-two solution? Does the solution sound realistic in the long term?The Ethereum website contains extensive documentation on its current and future scalability methods. One can pair this factor alongside the community one, as dedicated community members would have public discussions surrounding their favorite project’s use cases and potential upgrades, as well as how it’s currently running.Consensus and governanceThe two most common blockchain consensus methods are proof-of-work and proof-of-stake. Proof-of-work (PoW) networks require miners that are users who dedicate their computing power to solve complex equations and validate transactions. Miners are paid for their efforts with each block mined, though the computer power required is harmful to the environment.Proof-of-stake (PoS), on the other hand, provides power to users who hold and stake, or lock in, their digital assets. Generally, the more assets a user stakes, the more power they have within the network. By staking, users typically become validators who then validate transactions, removing the need for miners. This process is more environmentally friendly than mining and rewards users in interest for their efforts. While both PoS and PoW have their pros and cons, many believe PoS is the future of blockchain and that PoW networks are on their way out. After all, PoS is the more scalable option and Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, is making the upgrade to PoS over the coming months. Consensus directly affects network governance and is something to consider when assessing different blockchain networks.TeamThe team behind the project is just as important as the technical aspects of any blockchain. Projects should be very open regarding who’s developing a project, as well as the history and skillset of the team. Failing to disclose the details about the development team can be a significant warning sign while assessing blockchains, as a lack of information could mean they’re looking to scam users. While this isn’t always the case, it’s recommended to stick with projects that are open about their development process.The Polkadot project has some of its key members available on its website, including their real names and history. That said, it could be improved by including relevant social links to the team’s profiles so that users can conduct their own research to verify the project and the team behind it. RoadmapNot only should a blockchain have a solid reliable use case, but it should have a roadmap planned out regarding future developments and product feature additions. A thorough roadmap generally means that the team has thought long-term about their project and how it can benefit the world. It also provides users with more knowledge about what they’re investing in, and whether or not the network aligns with their values.The Cardano roadmap features detailed sections for each part of its roadmap, ensuring that all users can understand what to expect in the network’s future.Market capitalization/total value locked (TVL)When it comes to decentralized finance (DeFi) projects specifically, one vital factor to consider is its total value locked (TVL) and its market cap.The TVL represents the total amount of all funds locked into a DeFi platform’s smart contracts. The higher a TVL, the healthier a platform’s ecosystem, as more users are taking advantage of its offerings. Alternatively, a project’s market capitalization constitutes the value of existing assets within its ecosystem, serving as an indicator of the project’s growth potential. This number constitutes not just those utilizing the platform’s tokens, but also those holding assets in a passive way.One can consider market capitalization to be the indicator of the popularity of a project, while TVL can mark how much money is actually being moved around within its various protocols. Both statistics are important, but it’s important to understand what each means relevant to a project’s competition. DeFi Pulse details the TVL of all sorts of DeFi projects, while CoinMarketCap lists the market capitalization of nearly any chain on the market.LongevityFinally, take a look at how long the project has been on the market. If it has been available for years, what has the project accomplished? Has it stuck to its roadmap and been reliable, or suffered from consistent delays and failing to deliver? A project’s reliability can be a great indicator of its longevity. Alternatively, if a project is new to the market, consider observing it for a few months and seeing how things play out. If development appears smooth and the group is making a fair amount of progress and announcements, it might mark a more reliable long-term investment.

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