Bitcoin.com Opens Crypto Exchange to Compete with Coinbase and Binance

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By Liam Frost

Bitcoin.com, a website previously focused on covering Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and general cryptocurrencies news, announced the launch of its own digital assets exchange.

Per the announcement published on Sept. 2, the platform “will host a slew of trading pairs including popular cryptocurrencies like litecoin (LTC), ripple (XRP), tron (TRX), zcash (ZEC), stellar (XLM), and EOS.” It is also noted: 

“Exchange.Bitcoin.com will have markets denominated in base currencies like bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), bitcoin core (BTC), and tether (USDT).”

Always aim high

Managing director of Bitcoin.com exchange Danish Chaudhry told industry news outlet Decrypt that the platform “is hoping to compete against the bigger, more established exchanges, such as Coinbase and Binance by catering to its base.” He also claimed:

“Bitcoin.com is one of the most trusted brands in the industry.”

To attract new users to its exchange platform, Bitcoin.com also offers a few promotional benefits. For example, it is promised that “new accounts will get paid to trade by benefiting from negative 0.3% trading fees for the next three months.”

Month of permutations

As Cointelegraph reported on Aug. 2, Bitcoin.com has appointed Stefan Rust as the company’s new chief executive officer as Roger Ver left the post.

Ver, however, will not be completely gone, but will serve as Bitcoin.com’s executive chairman. The announcement did not clarify what duties this role will entail.

On Aug. 20, Bitcoin Twitter handle with one million followers renounced Bitcoin Cash. At the time, Bitcoin’s best-known names played a guessing game after one of the industry’s most controversial Twitter accounts changed its views overnight.

via Cointelegraph.com

Barclays May Be ending Work With Coinbase, Transactions in GBP to Slow

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By Kollen Post

British banking giant Barclays has reportedly cut ties with United States crypto exchange Coinbase.

As Coindesk reported on Aug. 13, unnamed industry sources have said that Barclays will no longer be banking for Coinbase, severing a relationship that began when Coinbase opened a Barclays account in March 2018.

The news is expected to hit the crypto community hard, as, in addition to linking a major crypto exchange with a heavy hitter among the traditional banking establishment, the break may end Coinbase users’ access to the United Kingdom’s Faster Payments Scheme and slow the exchange of cryptocurrencies for British pounds sterling dramatically.

The precise reason for the split is unknown, but one anonymous source speculated to Coindesk that: 

“It is my understanding that Barclays’ risk appetite has contracted a little — I’m not sure exactly why or what’s been driving that, maybe there has been some activity they are not happy with. But it’s about Barclays’ comfort level with crypto as a whole.”

Reportedly, Coinbase will continue its access to UK banking through Clearbank, a younger and less established operation.

This is not the first time that Barclays has taken a step back from increasing involvement in the crypto sphere. In August of 2018, the bank began official denials that it was opening a crypto trading desk in light of two employees removing information about work on digital assets from their respective LinkedIn profiles. 

Coinbase, for its part, does not seem to have suffered greatly in recent months. This July, it came out that the exchange had registered eight million new users in the preceding year.

Also in July, Cointelegraph reported that Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong was looking to take the exchange beyond trading, expressing plans to expand Coinbase into wider promotion of crypto adoption.

Cointelegraph reached out to Coinbase for comments but did not receive a response by press time. 

Via Cointelegraph.com

Coinbase Says It Prevented a Crafty Phishing Attack to Exfiltrate Keys

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Marie Huillet reports:

The security team at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has revealed how it countered a sophisticated phishing attack aiming to exfiltrate private keys and passwords. 

In a blog post published on Aug. 8, the exchange outlined its discovery and reporting of the incident, which involved the exploitation of two 0-day vulnerabilities on Mozilla’s web browser Firefox.

A “highly-targeted and thought-out” attack

The first steps of the phishing scam, Coinbase reveals, date back to late May of this year, when over a dozen exchange employees received an email from an innocuous-seeming University of Cambridge “Research Grants Administrator.” Coming from a legitimate Cambridge academic domain, the email — and similar subsequent emails — passed security filters undetected.

The emails’ tactics changed, however, by mid-June: this time, the correspondence contained a URL that, when opened in Firefox, could install malware on the recipient’s machine.

Coinbase notes that within hours of receiving this email, it successfully detected and cooperated with other organizations to counter the attack. At the time of the incident, the exchange had emphasized that it had found no evidence of the campaign targeting Coinbase customers.

Over 200 individuals in total, across several — unnamed — organizations other than Coinbase, were eventually found to have been targeted. 

Key takeaways

Coinbase notes the attackers bode their time, sending multiple legitimate-seeming emails from compromised academic accounts, all of which referenced real academic events and were closely tailored to the specific profiles of phishing targets. After these rounds of correspondence, they attempted to infect just 2.5% of targets with the URL hosting the 0-day.

The exchange reveals that as soon as both an employee and automated alerts flagged up the suspicious mid-June email, its response team found a swift way to counter the threat, capturing the 0-day from the phishing site while it was still live and in this way aiming to conceal the response from the attackers’ attention. The blog post adds:

“We also revoked all credentials that were on the machine, and locked all the accounts belonging to the affected employee. Once we were comfortable that we had achieved containment in our environment, we reached out to the Mozilla security team and shared the exploit code used in this attack.”

Mozilla, for its part, patched one of the two vulnerabilities by the next day, and the second within that same week.

Last month, Cointelegraph reported on the arrest of an Israeli citizen who allegedly stole $1.7 billion worth of cryptocurrency via a phishing campaign targeted at European users.

Via Cointelegraph.com