Oldest Swiss University Awards Honorary Doctorate to Ethereum Co-Founder Vitalik Buterin

The University of Basel has granted an honorary doctorate to Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin, according to an official statement on the university’s website today, Nov. 30.

The Faculty of Business and Economics of Switzerland’s oldest university has awarded Buterin for “outstanding achievements in fields of cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and the design of institutions,” as the university noted in a recent tweet on the official Twitter account.


The honorary doctorate of the faculty of economics is awarded to Vitalik Buterin by dean Prof. Dr. med. Aleksander Berentsen. Source: Universität Basel

The honorary degree was granted by dean Aleksander Berentsen, Professor of Economic Theory and Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics during the university’s annual celebration “Dies academicus” that took place on Friday, Nov. 30.

The University of Basel specifically noted Buterin’s “groundbreaking” contribution to promoting the idea of decentralization, as well as “equal participation in the digital revolution.” The faculty emphasized that Buterin “wrote his scientific papers without a degree and commitment to a university.”

In July 2018, Buterin criticized centralized exchanges, stating that such institutions should “burn in hell.” The software developer argued that the crypto community should confront the idea of the “stupid King making power,” and confirmed his strong positive stance toward decentralization.

In early November, Buterin revealed some details of the upcoming upgrade to the Ethereum network. Dubbed “Serenity,” the upcoming Ethereum 2.0 will reportedly embrace multiple Ethereum projects that have been collected since 2014. Without specifying the expected date of the upgrade, Buterin only claimed that it was “really not so far away.”

Launched in summer 2015, Ethereum is a major cryptocurrency, as well as a public blockchain platform featuring smart contracts and providing а basis for decentralized applications (DApps).

The major altcoin is the third top cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, having recently lost its position as second to Ripple (XRP). ETH saw its all-time high of $1,400 in mid-January, which was followed by a massive sell-off this year. Ethereum is trading at $112.72 as of press time, according to CoinMarketCap.


Ethereum price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index

Cyber Security Firm Check Point Research Reports of ‘Evolving’ Monero Cryptojacker

Cyber security firm Check Point Research has found that the KingMiner cryptojacker targeting cryptocurrency Monero (XMR) is “evolving,” according to a company’s blog post published Nov. 30.

KingMiner was purportedly firstly detected in mid-June, subsequently evolving in two improved versions. The malware attacks Windows Servers by deploying various evasion methods to skirt its detection. Per Check Point data, several detection engines have registered significantly decreased detection rates, while sensor logs have shown a growing number of KingMiner attacks.

The firm has been monitoring KingMiner activity over the past six months and concluded that the malware has evolved in two new versions. The blog post further explains:

“The malware continuously adds new features and bypass methods to avoid emulation. Mainly, it manipulates the needed files and creates a dependency which is critical during emulation. In addition, as part of the malware’s ongoing evolution, we have found many placeholders for future operations or upcoming updates which will make this malware even harder to detect.”

Check Point has determined that KingMiner uses a private mining pool to bypass any detection of their activities, wherein the pool’s (API) is turned off and the wallet is not used in any public mining pools. The attacks are reportedly widely spread around the world.

According to the company’s findings, the malicious software attempts to guess passwords of the servers it attacks. Once a user downloads and executes the Windows Scriptlet file, it reportedly identifies the relevant Central Processing Unit (CPU) architecture of the device and downloads a payload ZIP file based on the detected CPU architecture.

The malware eventually destroys the relevant .exe file process and deletes the files themselves, if older versions of the attack files exist. Check Point also notes that the file is not an actual ZIP file, but rather an XML file, which will circumvent emulation attempts.

As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, Russian internet security company Kaspersky Labs has found that crypto mining malware became increasingly popular among botnets in 2018. During the Q1 2018 cryptojacking “boom,” the share of cryptojacking malware downloaded by botnets, out of total files, hit 4.6 percent — as compared with 2.9 percent in Q2 2017.

Botnets are reportedly therefore becoming increasingly viewed as a means of spreading crypto mining malware, with cybercriminals increasingly viewing cryptojacking as more favorable than other attack vectors.

New Exchange to Offer Customizable Dashboards — Giving Traders the Information They Want

A new exchange says it has the goal of becoming “the most professional, global and secure marketplace for digital assets” — utilizing state-of-the-art technology that it claims can deliver a processing capacity of 1.5 million order matches per second.

ProBit says its platform is “fast, robust and reliable” — helping to give its users an upper hand while trading. The company says security is a priority, and this is why it promises to store “95 percent or more of digital assets in a cold wallet” — protecting users against security breaches and theft. Hardware security keys are also being made available to traders, which are “impossible for hackers to crack,” yet convenient to use.

According to the company, many traders end up using multiple exchanges because they cannot find the trading pairs they want — or because the user interfaces are too difficult to understand. ProBit aims to remedy this problem through a modular dashboard — meaning that the layout can be personalized around the needs and interests of a trader. Instead of pushing the same information to every user, Probit appreciates different crypto enthusiasts are interested in different things, and wants to put the power in their hands.

Through ProBit, “a wide array of the most trusted coins and tokens on the market” can be traded — and the company says that more than 150 cryptocurrencies will be available. This is complemented by hundreds of trading pairs. Five of them — Bitcoin, Ethereum, USDT, EOS and the native ProBit token among them — serve as “base currencies.”

Customizable user interface for traders of all levels

According to ProBit, many of the exchanges out there at the moment are failing to hit the sweet spot when it comes to attracting users from all backgrounds. It says that, as a rule, most exchanges are geared toward inexperienced traders or experts. Although some platforms do enable traders to toggle between basic and advanced modes, the ProBit says this just means that every user is not getting what they fully need.

This is the rationale behind the fully customizable interface. Every component can be moved and resized as per their priorities — enabling traders to benefit from a service that acts as the left hand to their right hand. This personalization even extends to the colors used on tickers, giving users the chance to find a layout tailor made for them.

Of course, using a crypto exchange for the first time can be a daunting experience — and this is why ProBit offers an array of preset layouts for new users. This serves as a starting point which enables traders to figure out how they want to lay out the vast amounts of information that the company exchange has to provide.

ProBit says that its platform will be active 24/7, and customer support will be available in multiple languages — cementing its goal of becoming a global exchange.

A global player

The company is clear that it wants to be more than a copycat exchange that seems to offer identical features to the platforms already out there. ProBit says this ambition is going to be realized thanks to its team of executives. While CEO Hyunsu Do worked as an accelerator for fintech and blockchain-based companies, CTO Steve Woo amassed 25 years of experience in the software industry thanks to his tenure as CEO of Linux International.

The main sale of ProBit tokens — known as PROB — is taking place on Dec. 3, 2018 and will last for only one day. The company stresses that these tokens are never going to be used for marketing or bounty services. Moreover, its team adds that they are not going to charge listing fees for projects to be traded on ProBit for three reasons: to protect users, because it amounts to a conflict of interest and because it enables them to be selective.

Ronald Chan, the director of partnership for ProBit, shared that projects from around the world have submitted themselves for listing on ProBit because of the co-marketing campaign that ProBit and crypto projects will conduct together. He added that this win-win partnership raises the visibility of both parties.


Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

New ASUS Partnership Allows Users to Mine Crypto With Idle GPU Power

Taiwan-based tech giant ASUS has partnered with GPU mining platform Quantumcloud to allow users to mine crypto via their graphic cards, multinational tech media TechRadar reported Thursday, Nov. 30.

According to the agreement, ASUS graphic cards owners will be able to mine crypto through Quantumcloud software and withdraw earnings using PayPal or Chinese app WeChat.

The new partnership allows gamers to monetize idle GPUs when the units are not occupied by graphic-consuming processes by mining cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC).

However, Quatumcloud does not guarantee specific profits or outcomes for users, stating that users have to consider usage costs on their own, according to U.K.-based tech publication HEXUS.net. The GPU-mining startup claims to provide high standards of customer data protection compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Earlier in November, ASUS teamed up with California-based semiconductor supplier AMD and other major tech companies to produce eight new crypto mining rigs. Partner companies reportedly include Sapphire, ASROCK, and MSI, among others.

In July, Cointelegraph reported that GPU prices were declining along with sinking prices in crypto markets. Other GPU manufacturers like Nvidia have been negatively affected by the current bear market. When the firm announced its Q3 results earlier this month, it revealed a “crypto hangover” due to disappearing sales to crypto miners.

Meanwhile, major crypto mining firms in China have reportedly started selling off their mining hardware by weight, following a recent collapse of crypto markets that began in mid-November.

VanEck, SolidX Make Case for Bitcoin ETF at Latest Meeting With US SEC

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has published a memorandum Nov. 28 of the latest meeting regarding a Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded-fund (ETF) proposal. The application was originally brought to the commission by U.S. investment firm VanEck and blockchain software and financial services company SolidX.

According to the memorandum, representatives from VanEck and SolidX, as well as from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) met with members of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, Division of Trading and Markets, Division of Economic and Risk Analysis and Office of General Counsel Nov. 26.

As previously reported, in June 2018, VanEck joined SolidX to apply for a physically-backed Bitcoin ETF to be listed on CBOE’s BZX Equities Exchange: its approval or disapproval is still pending since the SEC postponed its decision this August.  

At the center of the presentation’s argument was a comparison of Bitcoin as a commodity with more traditional assets — crude oil, silver and gold — all of which already have ETFs at market.

In an analysis of price formation across traditional commodities alongside Bitcoin, the team argued that “[s]imilar to gold and silver, Bitcoin derives its value as a “money substitute” (unlike crude oil, which is a “pure industrial commodity”).

The presentation emphasized that in all three traditional commodity futures markets, “empirical evidence” shows that “spot and futures prices are cointegrated,” indicating they “are tightly linked.” The same, as per the presentation, pertains to Bitcoin spot and futures, and this pattern — for all commodities at hand — is “evidence of a well-functioning capital market.”

In another central argument, the VanEck-SolidX team argued that Bitcoin was in fact more resistant to market manipulation than its traditional counterparts with approved ETFs.

In the case of physical commodities, the team said that “inside information,” such as “the discovery of new sources of supply” or “significant disruptions” at production sites, can be exploited. For Bitcoin, these situations are “inapplicable,” according to the claimants.

Among further examples of Bitcoin’s “resilience” to manipulation, the presentation included the lack of a “strong concentration of funds on any particular Bitcoin exchange or OTC platform,” given that “[a]rbitrageurs must have funds distributed across multiple trading platforms in order to take advantage of temporary price dislocations.”  

Moreover, the “arbitrage process also has advantages in Bitcoin as compared to other commodities, such as oil, because the homogeneity of Bitcoin makes for a uniform worldwide market rather than regional semi-independent markets that result in non-fungibility and market fragmentation.”

As reported earlier this week, VanEck has just announced a partnership with the world’s second largest stock exchange Nasdaq to jointly launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products, starting with a Bitcoin futures contract, slated for as early as Q1 2019.

SEC Chairman: Investors Should Consider Lack of ‘Safeguards’ Before Investing in Crypto

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton reiterated his wary view of the crypto markets during an interview. His discussion with New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin took place at the The Times Center in New York City Nov. 29.

Mid-way through the interview, Clayton told Sorkin that the securities regulator had worked hard to educate investors about the risks of participating in an emerging and unpredictable market, one for which regulation is still taking shape. Clayton continued:

“We tried to get the word out that although the trading looks like the trading you would see on Nasdaq or on the New York Stock Exchange, these markets do not have the same kinds of safeguards for you. We’ve worked for […] seventy years to try to prevent manipulation in those [traditional] markets, to try and prevent people taking advantage of the small player.”

The chairman also acknowledged the limitations facing the regulator in the context of offshore token sales, stressing that he has “tried to make it clear” that if investors purchase digital assets overseas, and something goes awry, ”there’s very little [the SEC] can do to get it back as a practical matter.”

The interview moved beyond market action to the very structure and innovation of the technology underpinning most digital assets, blockchain. In response to Sorkin’s point that the cornerstone ideology of a blockchain-based ecosystem is that it has “no real arbiter” — neither judge nor jury — Clayton implied this very principle was at loggerheads with existing regulation.

In comments after the interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” segment, Sorkin reflected that while he had previously expected the “next inflection point” for crypto to be some form of “positive regulation” from government regulators, he now felt the SEC was unlikely to shift its stance to adapt to and “work with” the emerging space. Clayton’s effective point, Sorkin argued, was rather that “crypto would have to change its technology to work with the law.”

In another interview earlier this week, Clayton underscored the SEC’s hardline stance on digital tokens that are deemed to be “non-compliant” — i.e. unregistered with the agency — securities offerings.

Clayton has previously affirmed that while cryptos that aim to act “replacements for sovereign currencies” — most notably Bitcoin (BTC) — are not securities, most sold through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) are. He also emphasized the agency would not “do any violence to the traditional definition of a security” to accommodate the new sector.

‘Nour’ and a New Friend: Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Profile Makes New Post, Befriends User

An account once associated with Bitcoin (BTC) creator Satoshi Nakamoto on the non-profit global network P2P Foundation posted a one-word status update yesterday, Nov. 29.

While the account is tied to Nakamoto’s old email address satoshin@gmx.com — the same address that reportedly uploaded one of the early Bitcoin papers to P2P back in 2009 — the same email was allegedly hacked in November 2014, four years after Nakamoto’s withdrawal from traceable online activity in late 2010.

The meaning of yesterday’s update, which reads simply “nour,” in quotation marks, is not easily deciphered. The top result on Google search leads to urbandictionary.com, which defines “nour” as the following:

“The most loving, affectionate and caring person you’ll ever meet. Extremely smart, funny and sensitive. A bit lost, still figuring out what she wants in life and how to reach it. Stubborn and not willing to take other peoples advice. When she smiles she makes you forget all the problems you have, her hug will give you an assurance that you have never felt and will never do.”

Another possibility is that “nour” is a transliteration of Arabic “نور” for “light,” also used to mean “light” or “fire” in ancient Hebrew (“נור,” “nour”) and Aramaic (“,נורא” “noura”): the latter is used in the “Haggadah,” the text used to set the order of the ritual for the Jewish festival of Passover.

Alongside the cryptic four-letters, the account also befriended a user named Wagner Tamanaha, whose profile indicates he is based in São Paulo, Brazil. Tamanaha has acknowledged the “befriending,” tweeting today in Portuguese, “Parece que o Satoshi reapareceu e estou sendo investigado 🙂 [“Looks like Satoshi’s reappeared and I’m being investigated :-)”].

Publicly-shared posts on Tamanaha’s Facebook page suggest he is currently active in the Brazilian blockchain and crypto community, and his blogspot profile contains a post titled “Social networks with crypto media Steemit, coming together in the blockchain revolution,” dated November  2016.

Nakamoto’s abrupt disappearance in late 2010 spawned a legend almost as famous as the cryptocurrency he, she, or they invented on Oct. 31 2008 with the publication of the Bitcoin white paper. The inventor’s first “name,” Satoshi, has also been used to christen one hundred millionth of one Bitcoin — the smallest, indivisible unit of the cryptocurrency.

Controversially self-proclaimed “Nakamoto” Craig Wright has recently been in the crypto limelight in connection with the fallout of the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork in mid-November, which led to Wright’s preferred protocol spinning off into the newly-forked Bitcoin SV (BSV) token. (A hard fork of a hard fork, as Bitcoin Cash was itself forked from the original Bitcoin).

Bitcoin pioneer Jeff Garzik, reportedly the “third-biggest contributor” to Bitcoin’s code and one of Nakamoto’s key collaborators, has recently ventured his “personal theory” that the coder Floridian Dave Kleiman is the much-mythologized figure behind the coin.

Belarus: High Tech Park Releases ‘Complete Legal Regulations’ for Cryptocurrencies

Belarus High-Technologies Park (HTP), a national special economic zone contributing to the IT business, has established the rules for the operation of the cryptocurrency market in the country, according to documents published by HTP Nov. 30.

The regulatory documents define the requirements for various types of businesses related to cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), as the general rules for industry regulations — Decree No. 8 “On the Development of the Digital Economy” — had already been signed last year.

The HTP, commonly known as the Belarusian Silicon Valley, was responsible for establishing the rules under which the cryptocurrency industry would be regulated in the country. Today, the HTP has published five documents: “Requirements for Applicants,” “Requirements for Cryptoplatform Operators,” “Requirements for Cryptocurrency Exchange Office Operators,” “Requirements for ICO Operators,” and “Requirements for Internal Control Rules.”

Now that these rules have been accepted, they form “a complete legal regulation of cryptocurrency in Belarus,” local Belarusian news outlet Dev.by reports. It also states:

“The cryptocurrency activities of the HTP residents received full comprehensive legislative support from the regulator. The HTP administration, together with the National Bank, the Financial Monitoring Department of the State Control Committee, international experts and other bodies, compiled and signed all the necessary documents.”

Back in the spring, the Belarus government called the digitalization of the national economy “a top priority,” because of its ability to transform “the economy, public administration and social services,” as Cointelegraph reported May 16.

Previously this fall, the deputy foreign minister of Belarus stated that Belarus aimed to establish relations with South Korean investors interested in the so-dubbed “fourth industrial revolution” technologies, focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, Cointelegraph wrote Sep. 6.

Crypto Markets See Persistent Red, Bitcoin Briefly Dips Below $4K

Friday, Nov. 30 — After a short-lived spike earlier this week, the crypto markets are today back in the red, with virtually all of the top 20 cryptocurrencies seeing losses within a 4 and 10 percent range, as data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) has had a volatile week, jaggedly trading between its low of around $3,600 (Nov. 25) and high of $4,400 (Nov. 29). As of press time, the top coin is at $4,037, down 6.3 percent on its 24-hour chart, according to CoinMarketCap. Today’s negative momentum briefly brought the asset below the $4,000 mark, before it stemmed losses somewhat in later trading hours.

On the week, Bitcoin is around 6 percent in the red; monthly losses are at a stark 36.3 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Second-largest ranked crypto asset, Ripple (XRP), is down 5.5 percent on the day, trading at $0.35 to press time. While its market share has dropped down to $14.45 billion, it continues to hold its margin ahead of Ethereum (ETH), now ranked 3rd largest crypto, with a market cap of just below $11.7 billion.

On the week, Ripple is 12 percent in the red, with monthly losses above 19 percent.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ethereum (ETH) is down a round 5 percent on the day to trade at $112.9. The asset veered close to double digits during a market tumble Nov. 25, and has since recovered, briefly hitting $125 Nov. 28 — yet without sustaining significant gains. The altcoin’s decline on the week has brought it to around 7.6 percent in the red; monthly losses are pushing 43 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Most of the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are seeing losses of between 4 and 10 percent, with the notable exception of newly-forked Bitcoin SV (BSV) (from the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) split), which has decoupled from the wider market to seal a 2.6 percent gain on the day, trading at $96.35.

Meanwhile, EOS (EOS) is down 5.4 percent at $2.86 and Litecoin (LTC) is down 6.3 percent at $32.06: Cardano (ADA) is the hardest hit among the top ten, sinking 9.2 percent to trade at $0.038.

The remaining coins in the top twenty by market cap are all red, with the exception of privacy-focused alt, Zcash (ZEC), ranked 19th, which is up 1.74 percent at $82.05. Zcash’s spike is likely due to major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announcing its launch of support for the asset on its Coinbase Pro platform yesterday, Nov. 29.

15th largest coin NEM (XEM) is down almost 8 percent at $0.07, and Tron (TRX) is pushing a 10 percent loss at $0.014. 13th largest crypto, IOTA (MIOTA), is down 5.7 percent at $0.28, and Dash (DASH) is down 6.74 percent at $90.60.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $130.4 billion as of press time, up  almost $16 billion from an intraweek low of $114.6 billion Nov. 25.

Total market cap 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

With the deep red markets continuing to command attention, Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain has today released several price indices for cryptocurrencies, aiming to track the largest 17 assets by market cap for both institutional and retail investors.

BlockShow Asia 2018 has been a barometer of both the crypto sector’s dynamic development and of recent market sentiment, with BlockShow CEO Addy Creeze quipping that “bear market” and “crypto winter” were among the most-heard words at the event.

Chinese Mining Giant Bitmain Releases ‘Crypto Index’ Tracking Bitcoin, 16 Altcoin Prices

Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain released several price indices Nov. 30, aiming to track the largest assets for both institutional and retail investors.

The Bitmain Crypto Index (BCI) comprises real-time spot price reading which refreshes every second, along with a daily reference price. The spot index covers the 17 largest cryptocurrencies by market cap.

In a methodology overview, Bitmain said the product was “developed to provide institutional and retail investors with a transparent, timely, methodology-based, and investable benchmark of the most active cryptocurrencies traded globally,” explaining:

“The Index is solely owned by Bitmaintech Pte. Ltd. and is administered by Bitmain Index Operating Committee (‘BIOC’) which will conduct regular review and engagement with external stakeholders for feedbacks to keep the Index methodology as updated and representative as possible.”

BCI forms the latest branching out for Bitmain as the company undergoes a significant period in its history.

As the largest Bitcoin mining participant, controversy around both the company and co-founder Jihan Wu has increased in recent weeks due in part to the role of both in the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) contentious hard fork.

Bitmain also reportedly intends to hold an IPO in Hong Kong, but doubts remain as to whether such an event is likely to happen.

Regarding hard forks, the BCI will treat fresh forks of cryptocurrencies covered using a ten-day grace period. The overview states:

“For the purpose of Index calculation and dissemination, a hard forked new token will be measured against a set of criteria on its 10th day post-fork to determine whether it is a ‘significant’ one.”

Other requirements include the coin “trading on at least 2 constituent exchanges” with “at least 200 daily trades in the new token vs. USD or equivalent pairs on all constituent exchanges.”

Earlier this month, a subsidiary of VanEck launched the first cryptocurrency index based on over-the-counter (OTC) rates.