Daily Byte: Wednesday, November 7, 2018


UAE gets a crypto exchange, BTCC is finished mining, and hackers go after Gate.io.

Here is some of what’s happening for Wednesday, November 7, 2018:

Crypto Exchange Arrives in UAE

The Al Zarooni Group and Crypto Bulls have launched the Cryptobulls Exchange, which they are calling the first to be registered in the United Arab Emirates.

Crypto has traditionally found it difficult to develop a foothold in the Middle East, as it is commonly thought to violate Sharia’s prohibition against non-physical trades and against interest-based economics.

The UAE, however, has sought to embrace blockchain through its implementation of the UAE Blockchain Strategy 2021, which seeks to migrate 50 percent of government transactions to blockchain by 2021. To simplify this transition, the UAE government has recently issued a regulatory framework on crypto assets. The government is also planning a government-backed cryptocurrency, emCash.

The move may be to bring the UAE to the ranks of Malta, Singapore, and South Korea as top destinations for blockchain businesses. Ripple recently announced it will be opening an office in Dubai.

BTCC Getting Out of the Mining Business

In a notice sent yesterday, Hong Kong’s BTCC – once one of the biggest exchanges globally – has announced that it will close its mining pool. BTCC Pool has been in operation since 2014.

“Today, we regret to announce that due to business adjustments, the BTCC pool will shut down all mining servers on November 15 and will cease operations indefinitely from November 30,” the notice reads.

BTCC, co-founded by Bobby Lee, mined bitcoin, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash, among other coins. BTCC has been losing hash power over the last few months, with the pool no longer appearing on blockchain.info. Presumably, the pool is no longer turning a profit for the exchange.

Hackers Hit Almost 700,000 Sites with Bitcoin-Stealing Malware

ZDNet is reporting that hackers have compromised StatCounter, one of the most used web traffic analytical services, to siphon bitcoin from users of online exchange desk Gate.io.

Over 680,000 websites ended up loading the corrupted script in what amounts to a targeted attack. The script redirected bitcoin from crypto trades, particularly when Gate.io was used. The script simply replaced the destination address for the transfer to a wallet address controlled by the hackers.

The researchers at ESET who discovered the exploit believe it could do nothing unless the user clicked on a link containing the string “myaccount/withdraw/BTC.” Gate.io appears to be the only exchange that uses URLs with that specific string.

It is unknown how many users were affected or how much the thieves have made off with. The script generated a new address each time it ran, making it difficult to correlate all transactions affected. Gate.io has indicated that it will remove StatCounter from its site.

Be fast, be clever, be wise. Most importantly, be here tomorrow for your Daily Byte.

Frederick Reese is a politics and cryptocurrency reporter based in New York. He is also a former teacher, an early adopter of bitcoin and Litecoin, and an enthusiast of all things geeky and nerdy.

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