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North Korea exploiting apertures in crypto-space to steal cryptocurrencies, claims FBI Deputy Assistant Director

Yash Rajan



Crypto Attacks: Uncle Sam probing North Korea's influence in strikes
Source: Pixabay

United States jurisdiction body recently said that North Korean hackers were deeply involved in carrying out well-planned cyber attacks associated with cryptocurrencies. These attacks were carried out on the world’s strongest economy at large-scale to slow down the economic growth.

The recent attacks on Binance by anonymous hackers ruffled the crypto-space. Hacking attempts have been consistently rising, leading many to question the security of crypto-exchanges and wallets. The mishandling of a lot of private keys had reportedly led to several theft attempts by North Korean hackers.

North Korea today is struggling in the face of international sanctions imposed against it, led by the United States. The US and North Korea have always been at odds over the years, most recently over North Korea’s secret nuclear program. The imposition of sanctions was an attempt at stifling North Korea’s attempt at stalling this program.

However, sanctions have had other social and economic effects as well, which is why North Korea-led crypto-crimes has been on the rise lately.

According to Tonya Ugoretz, the Deputy Assistant Director of the Cyber Intelligence Unit at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, apertures in the crypto-space are allowing North Korean hackers to steal cryptocurrencies worth several million dollars.

Ugoretz further added,

“Sanctions are having an economic impact, so cyber operations are a means to make money, whether it’s through cryptocurrency mining or bank theft.”

Erin Joe of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center [CTIIC] revealed that North Korean hackers committed cyber attacks to ransack cryptocurrencies. These attacks include acts such as crypto-jacking as well as the illicit sharing of crypto-malware.

Joe stated,

“There is a huge effort in the FBI, and also several other entities across government, looking at ways to stop malicious activity associated with cryptocurrency. It comes with a variety of issues that authorities need to learn more about, so that they can look for ways to prevent malicious entities from exploiting loopholes in computer systems throughout the world.”

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ErisX goes all hands on deck to launch a Bitcoin Futures market




ErisX goes all-hands on deck to launch a Bitcoin Futures market
Source: Unsplash

ErisX’s CSO, Matt Trudeau, detailed the company’s four important plans for the future, which includes launching a spot market, to secure a Bit License, DCO, and to launch a futures market.

ErisX currently has a DCM contract, which is a Derivative Contract Market that allows ErisX to run a CFTC-regulated futures exchange. However, ErisX aims to get a DCO [Derivatives Organization], which will effectively allow it to run a CFTC-regulated clearinghouse. A clearinghouse would mean that ErisX can take control of the custody of the assets and clear and settled trades.

The CSO explained the benefit of this, stating,

“There is some efficiency for firms like producers [like mining companies]; if they need to hedge their inventory or need liquidity on a spot market, they could do that conveniently on a single platform. “

Trudeau added that from the “post-trade standpoint” and “the collateral management standpoint,” ErisX would have cash, crypto, and the futures, all stored in their clearinghouse. This would boost efficiency since it would be available for all customers under a single platform. The CSO added,

“… so there is some efficiency in terms of managing collateral, if you don’t have assets on  multiple platforms, it can all be in our clearinghouse.”

Apart from the aforementioned plans, Trudeau added that the crypto-industry needs to mature more and that ErisX plans to make a significant contribution to that. He added,

“The market is professionalizing and we think that in terms of what institutions are expecting from a trading/custody experience, we will bring some of the solutions to the market and that’s really the foundational pieces that they are looking in order to build their businesses on top of us.”

Apart from ErisX, LedgerX has also received a go-sign from the CFTC to settle Bitcoin Futures in Bitcoins. Other exchanges include Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt and Seed CX.

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