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Crypto Enthusiasts Lament Coinbase’s Largest Bug Bounty Ever

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News of the largest bug bounty ever paid out by crypto exchange Coinbase has been circulating. The bounty which was paid to a white hat hacker who found a bug in the exchange’s advance trading feature was paid $250,000. This can be a sizable amount for a bug bounty but users in the space have lamented the reward paid to the hacker who could have quite literally broken the platform.

How The Hacker Found The Bug

The pseudonymous white-hat hacker only identified on Twitter as Tree of Alpha explained how they found the hack on the Coinbase crypto exchange. According to them, they had found a way that would allow any user to sell BTC or any other coin without actually owning them on the exchange. By simply changing the product_id, Tree of Alpha had been able to place successful purchases on trading pairs they were not allowed to trade.

They had then tried to replicate this by placing a trade order of 50 BTC for only 50 SHIB and surprising the order had gone through Basically, the hacker had been able to buy almost $2 million worth of bitcoin using less than two cents worth of SHIB.

“For my last test before reporting this to make sure, I: -send 9M SHIB to my Coinbase account -change source account id to my SHIB account on Coinbase -put a 50 BTC limit sell order using 50 SHIB -ask people around me if they are, too, seeing it,” Tree of Alpha posted on Twitter.

After verifying the bug, the white hat hacker had reached out on Twitter asking the crypto community to put them in contact with the CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong. The process was very fast and not long after, Coinbase was able to avert what could have been a disastrous situation by stopping all advanced trading.

Users Not Happy With Coinbase

Following the exposure of the bug and Coinbase had addressed the situation, Tree of Alpha had been awarded a bug bounty of $250,000 for drawing attention to the situation. News of this bug bounty quickly circulated and users in the space have shared their opinions on the amount awarded to the hacker.

A lot of users accused Coinbase of being cheap and only awarding $250,000 for someone who drew attention to something that could have effectively crippled the exchange. Others referred to the mount as an insult. Another user criticized the exchange for the amount but also lauded the hacker for their efforts, saying, “Coinbase could have paid more but also, the nerves on this dude to not nuke the market, Coinbase (due to arbitrage traders), and just all of us. Thanks dude!”

Other users expressed that the hacker should’ve gotten more for what they did. One user, in particular, expressed that they hoped the hacker had kept some of the bitcoins purchased on the exchange for themselves. “I hope he did actually take a LITTLE just as extra compensation because 250k is fuck all to a company like Coinbase!”

The $250,000 bug bounty paid to Tree of Alpha is the largest bug bounty ever paid out by Coinbase, a fact that has come as a shock to many given the size of the exchange and the amount its smaller counterparts (DEXes) have been paying as bug bounties. Most notably is the hacker that got awarded $2 million for finding a critical bug in the Ethereum layer 2 rollup solution, Optimism.

Crypto Total market cap chart from TradingView.com

Crypto total market cap recovers above $1.7 trillion | Source: Crypto Total Market Cap on TradingView.com
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Crypto Corner: The Sports Slice

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The NFL is approaching crypto sports deals with caution, but the abundance of potential revenue is keeping the league engaged. Meanwhile, one storied football club across the pond is looking to build the first-ever ‘metaverse stadium.’ And a popular NBA player is shutting down shop on his NFT project, leaving many with a bad taste in their mouth.

It’s all in a week’s worth of action when it comes to sports and crypto. Let’s review the past seven days of activity.

The Sports Slice

De’Aaron Fox Abandons NFT Project

De’Aaron Fox is arguably the most talented player on the admittedly lowly Sacramento Kings, and has been a long-time fan favorite for the Bay Area-adjacent club. Fox was one of the first NBA players to release their own NFT projects, titled SwipaTheFox, and despite roughly $1.5M in NFT sales, it’s all coming to a screeching halt this past week.

It’s another NFT project to join a long list of celebrity-started or sponsored mints that provided a detailed roadmap, but failed to deliver. Below is a screenshot from the project’s Discord that shows Fox’s announcement of discontinuing the project:

FTX Launching Gaming Unit, Expanding Marketing Push Beyond Sports

A new report from Front Office Sports has unveiled that crypto exchange FTX is launching a dedicated gaming unit focused on blockchain network and NFT integration. The full scope of the unit is yet to be disclosed, however the move is certainly on par with FTX’s positioning. The exchange has partnered with powerhouse esports org TSM in a first-ever naming rights deal, and has spent substantial funds around GameFi and related areas.

Meanwhile, the exchange also brought on a new head of global luxury partnerships as FTX looks to build outside of it’s current sports-sponsorship heavy strategy. Lauren Remington Platt will fill the role and has a resume tailored in fashion and business development that will be tough to top. Platt previously built her own beauty service and established premiere partners such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Vogue.

Nielsen Report: Blockchain Sports Sponsorship To Hit $5B By 2026

A new global sports sponsorship report from Nielsen that was released this week reveals that the analytics and data firm is projecting massive spend from crypto competitors to continue to flood in to the sports sponsorship space. Nielsen is forecasting sports sponsorship deals from blockchain players to amass to $5B by 2026, a nearly 8-fold increase over last year’s spend. The report cites ‘legitimacy’ and ‘fan engagement’ as the two key factors to contribute to future deal’s success in sport.

We’ll have a deep dive on the Nielsen report in the days to come.

MLS: DC United Finds New Blockchain Partner

MLS club DC United has found a new blockchain technology partner this week in XDC Network, who have signed a three-year deal and will find brand assets on United’s home and away jerseys and training tops.

The XDC Foundation’s Executive Director Billy Sebell said in a release:

“This partnership is about bringing the value of blockchain to the D.C. United fanbase to elevate their experience, drive deeper engagement, and connect the growing crypto ecosystem to the club.”

Related Reading | NFTs In A Nutshell: A Weekly Review

XDC Network is the latest blockchain technology firm to find a partner in the MLS. | Source: XDC-USD on TradingView.com

The NFL’s Latest Perspective On Crypto Sponsorship Deals 

Last week’s Sports Slice highlighted the NFL’s latest lobbying efforts with the SEC and other U.S. federal agencies. This week, a new report from the Sports Business Journal states that the NFL is still proceeding with care; despite massive success in the Super Bowl commercial execution from crypto companies like Coinbase, the league isn’t ready to go all-in quite yet.

League representatives told SBJ that they are “hopeful” that a league-wide crypto policy can come into place in the next 30 days, admitting that it realistically “may or may not happen.” The league’s current hesitance lies within the lack of current regulatory framework, and SBJ reports that the league is “is more confident in products based on the blockchain that don’t require cryptocurrencies to function,” citing the deal with Ticketmaster to produce NFTs. In present day, the league is certainly more prone to revenue-driving opportunities that don’t require the league to take on the level of risk that current hands-on crypto engagement is exposing.

The First-Ever Metaverse Stadium?

Manchester City has been one of the more aggressive Premier Club teams, and now the club is working with Sony’s VR team to build a “virtual duplicate of the Etihad Stadium” that will serve as the team’s virtual HQ. The club already has a fan token established with Chiliz, and despite rocky relationships at times with potential blockchain partners, it’s bullish to see Man City still pursuing new avenues to engage with fans.

Featured image from Pexels, Charts from TradingView.com
The writer of this content is not associated or affiliated with any of the parties mentioned in this article. This is not financial advice.
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Ponzi Scam: BitConnect’s Indian Founder Charged In $2.4 Billion Bogus Scheme

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A federal grand jury in San Diego charged the founder of a cryptocurrency startup Friday in a broad indictment that claims he cheated investors of more than $2.4 billion in a Ponzi scam.

Prosecutors say the fraud is the largest of its sort ever prosecuted criminally.

Satish Kumbhani, 36, of Hemal in Gujarat, India, swindled investors regarding BitConnect’s “Lending Program,” according to court filings.

Based on the indictment, Kumbhani founded BitConnect in 2016 as a “classic Ponzi scam.” he US Department of Justice said the exchange reached a peak market valuation of $3.4 billion.

Prosecutors allege that BitConnect’s proprietary technology made misleading promises about returns based on phony “volatility software” that monitored bitcoin exchange markets.

Another Major Ponzi Scam

According to court filings, the program was allegedly created to trade automatically and successfully by buying and selling Bitcoin’s volatility.

However, a large portion of the technology remained unknown to investors. When someone requested a demo at a 2017 event, Kumbhani was evasive:

“So you’re asking me a pretty difficult question,” he explained to one journalist. Later, as described by the Los Angeles Times, he stated, “We are not sharing anything for privacy concerns.”

BitConnect halted operations in January 2018 after receiving cease-and-desist letters from North Carolina and Texas state regulators.

Total crypto market cap at $1.766 trillion in the daily chart | Source: TradingView.com

The global repercussions was fast, with South Korean investors becoming “paranoid” and one promoter informing Kumbhani that people were discussing suicide in chat rooms, the indictment stated.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission filed charges against Kumbhani on September 1 for securing more than $2 billion in an unregistered offering.

Glenn Arcaro, BitConnect’s main promoter in North America, pleaded guilty that day.

Long Prison Time

Kumbhani is facing charges for conspiracy to commit price manipulation and wire fraud, as well as operating an unregulated money transfer business and conspiracy to launder money in foreign shores.

Kumbhani also violated US financial industry regulations, including those imposed by the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

For instance, despite the fact that BitConnect transacted money through its digital currency exchange, BitConnect never registered with FinCEN, as required by the US Bank Secrecy Act.

As bitcoin grows in popularity and encouraging foreign investors from all over the world, “alleged fraudsters like Kumbhani are deploying increasingly complicated methods to deceive investors,” Ryan Korner, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Office in Los Angeles, disclosed.

Kumbhani, who is still at large, faces a maximum sentence of 70 years behind bars if convicted on all charges.

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Russian Politicians’ Crypto Wallets Targeted By Ukraine – Hefty Reward Up For Grabs

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Ukraine is exploring more means of thwarting Russia’s onslaught on their country by running after government official’s crypto wallets.

Ukrainian authorities are attempting to stay ahead of crypto-savvy Russian officials who may shift to digital currency in order to evade rising efforts to financially isolate the Kremlin and its allies.

Wars can be waged on numerous fronts, as few stones are left unturned in the pursuit of the most effective techniques for gaining the upper hand.

Ukraine demonstrates resourcefulness in this aspect, as it fights Russia’s recent unprovoked invasion with conventional military techniques.

The country – which is unparalleled in terms of military capacity – is now hellbent on crippling Russian political figures by actively pursuing information about any digital wallets they may possess.

Ukraine Dangles Reward For Crypto Wallets Info

Vice Premier Mykhailo Fedorov announced on Saturday that the Ukrainian crypto community will reward those who give information.

The government has already begun soliciting cryptocurrency donations via social media and has advertised in online hacker forums that it is seeking assistance in defending against cyberattacks.

Federov also indicated that Ukraine is assembling an “IT army.”

Russia’s policy of combating adversaries using digital assets and online means has been in place for a long time, and the Ukrainian hope is that it may be turned around on them in a significant way.

Total crypto market cap at $1.731 trillion | Source: TradingView.com

Sanctions are among the most potent measures available to the United States and its Western allies for influencing the behavior of states they regard as threats.

And in this instance, a bounty for anyone who can provide information about crypto wallets belonging to Russian and Belarusian politicians can be a very effective instrument.

Bounty To Be Paid By Private Donors

According to Artem Afian, a Ukrainian attorney in charge of the project, the incentives for politicians’ crypto wallet information will be paid by private donations rather than by the Ukrainian government.

Afian did not disclose the total amount raised thus far, but said that donations were made primarily in Ether (ETH), but also in Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.

Ukraine’s actions demonstrate how cryptocurrencies can cross borders and be used by both those seeking assistance and those attempting to evade the law.

Afian said he intends to publish a list of politicians’ addresses over the next two to three days and distribute it to major cryptocurrency exchanges.

Putin May Not Fall Into The Trap

The primary goal is to flag these addresses as “unsafe” and to deter individuals and businesses from transacting with them.

However, it is unlikely that Russian President Vladimir Putin will fall victim to this dragnet.

According to credible grapevines, Putin is notoriously averse to technology and reportedly does not own a cellphone.

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