Top 6 Biggest Bitcoin Hacks Ever - CoinSutra

A word of caution. All major exchanges are not even fiat gateways. The actual fiat in the system is likely grossly overestimated. Crypto is decoupled from USD. Implications.

First of all i should disclose i'm fully out of crypto since last Sunday, i'm just waiting for my EUR wire from Bitstamp as that has been my gateway since 2014. I would like to thank bitcoinmarkets for the good times, i've been around for a long time but not really participating that much, and even when I did i used throwaways. I decided to make this topic as a warning and to explain why I got out and why I think you should be very careful.
So we have a situation in which:
1) 80% or more of trading is in USDT (tether)
2) Coinmarket cap is an accomplice to Bitfinex which implies USDT-USD parity. To which degree this is intentional, irresponsibility or just incompetence I would not know. Basically conimarketplace lumps all USDT trades and prices with actual USD trades and prices. If you go there https://coinmarketcap.com/ and try to select PAIR, you get THIS. No USDT, even though most exchanges are USDT. Even if most of liquidity is USDT. Again, this is a major factor in implying parity along with what Bitfinex/Tether try to do. As if this wasn't enough, they also willingly or stupidly inflate USDT price itself. I have to remind you Coinmarketcap is THE point of reference for all cryptosphere. It's oscilating Alexa rank is 100-400. Betfair (real life gambling company) for example uses coinmarket price average for their own system. etc.
3) If/when tethebitfinex crashes, not only does bitfinex crash, it will crash all crypto pairings using USDT on all exchanges using USDT.
4) There are very few fiat gateways. Until recently I assumed the major(top) exchanges have some kind of fiat pairing. I mean.. any respectable exchange would have some way of actually getting money in and out, right? I didn't even think to check. Well, they don't. Literally all the major exchanges are USDT (and/or another stablecoin or proprietary coin) and nothing else. No USD, no EUR, no fiat whatsoever. https://coinmarketcap.com/rankings/exchanges/ . Only the 11th one has actual USD pairing. Didn't check lower but most exchanges don't have fiat. I did a full check on Binance myself as it's the biggest exchange and I had an account there for lulz. There is no fiat.
What does this mean? It means that an allegedly 200 BILLION market cap of all crypto has a fiat gateway of only a couple of exchanges. Most exchanges not using any fiat are not only immune to the risk, they offload risk on the much smaller exchanges that are fiat gateways. And on clients, of course. The cash side of the actual exchanges would need to have to siphon even a fraction of this are unimaginable. If any of these exchanges use crypto to evaluate their own fiat balance (it is illegal but crypto is hardly regulated or audited), they're fucked.
5) If the first four points looked bad, this one is by far the worst. The system is running on a presumed liquidity provided by Tether and on presumed USD capital. Even if tether was legit it's just 2b USD rolling 200b USD. And that 200b USD is just presumed quantity of USD that is in. We don't know how much USD is in the system, there could be and there probably is way less, as over the past 8 years or so crypto ran mostly on funny exchanges that could "provide" whatever USD value they wanted. More so, even if they went bust, people would usually get to withdraw crypto and store it on some other exchange. Even when an exchange was slowly withering, people just pulled out crypto and the exchange actual liquidity was hardly tested out. Or btc-e crashing or MtGox crashing. Their cash side crashed but "crypto" side did not crash. It was bailed out so to speak. So we have crypto running around that should've been worth 1/10 or 1/100 of it's price but it's instead running on par value with crypto on legit exchanges. This grossly inflates price.
Even if tether (or other stablecoin) is legit, it can be drained in a couple of hours. What happens to the pairings of crypto/USDT? People just trade one bitcoin at the presumable price of 6k for 6k USDT that are 100% backed but have no value because there's no USD in the treasury? Who is stupid enough to deposit USD there to get stuck waiting for another fool to bail him out by getting himself stuck?
edit: [Even if tether is 1%, it holds much more assumed/created value, which is the actual issue. Look at it this way. It only adds 1 cent to a real dollar market buy order for example. Each buy order made in a system that implies USDT:USD parity is now worth 1% more than a true USD purchase. Now repeat that buy order millions of times. It's not 1.01+1.01 times 1 million. It's more like 1.01$1.000.000 Each added value comes from USDT injection and USDT has to be liquid on the way down as well. It's added value to the market value is NOT it's market cap. That's a shitfest all "stablecoins" inject into the market, no matter how backed or audited they are.]
As I was saying, all the exchanges that are not holding any fiat are immune to any crash or actual liability. If/when cryptos fail, they'll give you back any number of cryptos/stablecoins you had, even if they're worthless. It's just entries in a database. If/when USDT fails, all it's corresponding crypto prices will go to infinity. If you're holding any USDT, you can't get out of the exchange because 1 btc will cost infinity. If you're in any margin position, no matter where your stops are you'll get margin called instead, as stops are just suggestions in high/extreme volatility. You can't get out through fiat cause there's no fiat.
Your only hope is you were actually holding crypto and they don't block withdrawals. Best case scenario you move your crypto to a fiat gateway exchange and hope to cash out there as fast as possible because it will have had become evident that cryptos were overvalued because of USDT (and even hypothetical USD in the system). Will most likely be too late as people that were already in fiat gateway exchanges already sold/cashed out. There will be enormous sell pressure. And no buyers.
The whole stablecoin issuance is idiotic and I just hope it crashes now and we won't see another bubble built on presumed capital, cause that will hurt way more people. All of this is a mess. Crypto is completely decoupled from real fiat now. The potential money that are in the crypto sphere is exponentially greater than available money to trade out of. Or maybe we should be grateful for stablecoins for finally crashing a system that would've crashed anyway in the long run.
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Evolution of Exchanges

Swap.Online delves into the background of centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges. As decentralization is our name for the game, we would primarily like to find out whether it was inevitable or not.

From Childhood to the Golden Age: DCEs and CEXs

The first centralized cryptocurrency exchanges had two main pre-historical roots of origin. Ideologically, they originated from the e-commerce exchange services of the early 2000s. Digital Currency Exchanges, or DCEs, were particularly popular in the U.S. and Australia. GoldAge Inc., E-Gold Inc., Liberty Reserve were frequently seen in the headlines mostly due to legal issues, as the U.S. SEC, as well as the Australian ASIC failed many times over to figure out whether the e-gold exchange was a form of banking, money laundering, non-licensed remittances or illegal entrepreneurship. These services exchanged fiat money on different digital currencies (1MDC, E-Gold, eCache etc.) and, in a way, fulfilled the demand of New World and EU citizens for anonymous transactions of digital and fiat money.
But, in fact, the first significant cryptocurrency exchange arose from a surprising source… The website of the online game “Magic: The Gathering Online”. This game’s name refers to a magical world, where the currency system is represented in the form of cards. Jed McCaleb, the programmer from San Francisco and future contributor for Ripple and Stellar, developed the Mt.Gox project with the purpose of trading these cards like traditional stocks. In January 2007, he purchased the domain name mtgox.com, but in 2008, he abandoned the project as a premature venture. One year later, he used this domain to advertise his own online game. In the year of 2010, he read about the concept of Bitcoin and decided to launch the Mt.Gox exchange and exchange rate service allowing to trade Bitcoin freely. The project was released on July 18, 2010.
Rapid commercial growth started when the product was sold to the French-Japanese developer Mark Karpeles in January 2011. It was the year 2011 when Mt.Gox demonstrated the main security challenges that traditional centralized exchanges will encounter all along their development path in the future. These included direct thefts from the platform’s wallets, attacks with multiple ‘ask’ orders, malefactor invasions resulting in price drops (one day, in the spring of 2011, 1 BTC was worth less than 0.01 USD) etc. By the way, the dramatic collapse of February 2014, with more than 750K BTC lost and the $65M civil suit in Tokyo court were still to come. During the years 2012–2013, every 3 of 4 Bitcoins in the world was sold via Mt.Gox, and it was a real success story.
The years 2011–2012 gave birth to the bulk of top centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. BTCC was founded in June 2011 as the first exchange for the Chinese market. At the same time, American developer Jesse Powell had spent a month visiting Mt.Gox offices to offer assistance in the aftermath of the first hack. He was unsatisfied with the level of business organization, and that was how Kraken was founded in July 2011. The infamous BTC-e platform for exchanging rubles for BTC was also launched in July 2011. In late 2011, the largest American exchange BitInstant was founded and started selling Bitcoin via WalMart and Walgreen. 2012 became the year of origin for Bitfinex, Coinbase (first Ethereum marketplace) and LocalBitcoins.

Pros and Cons of Centralized Exchanges

We are now six or seven years away of those days. Today, hundreds of centralized exchanges are offering the services of exchanging BTC, ERC-20 and another cryptos. We can even hardly classify them. Usually, specialists speak about three mainstream types of centralized exchanges.
Trading platforms. They connect buyers and sellers to each other, allowing them to publish trading orders and take some transactional fees (most commonly 0,3 per cent from the taker of the liquidity). For example, Cex.io, BitFinex, BitStamp belong to this group. Usually, these platforms are characterized by a complicated interface, which is not suitable for newbies.
Cryptocurrency brokers. If a trading platform is a local market where you buy goods from their producers, the broker is a small player on the market. They sell coins at definite prices while setting high fees, but allow acquiring cryptos in a simpler manner. Moreover, most of them support a broad range of payment tools. Coinbase, Coinmama, Coinhouse are among the most popular brokers.
Peer-to-peer-services. They simply allow their users to publish announcements about operations with cryptos. The buyer and the seller directly negotiate the prices. It is even possible to find one selling crypto for cash in your neighborhood. The most remarkable example here is LocalBitcoins.
As one can see, now the range of services offered is truly broad. By the way, there is a list of common complaints regarding centralized exchanges both from traders and crypto theoreticians.
Safety. Even a single point of centralization can lead to the massive theft of users’ funds and keys. More than a million BTCs have been stolen by the time of writing of this article.
Regulation. If the center (or even one of the centers) of a CEX is physically located in some country, the position of this country’s government on ICOs and crypto related issues becomes crucial for the future of the project. Legal restrictions in this sector are now imposed in the U.S., China, South Korea, India etc. When your exchange is centralized, the officials can arrest your cryptos for no reason. Moreover, the administration of the exchange can be involved in fraud with your private information and money.
Speed. We have conducted some particular research on the speed of popular CEXs (Binance, Huobi, Poloniex, see p. 11). The results are sad: you can wait dozens of minutes waiting for the pending of your transaction.
KYC/AML. There is nothing to talk about in this regard, we suppose. If you must send someone your photo, a scanned copy of your ID or even proof of income wanting nothing in return but to withdraw your own funds, it is not OK.

Decentralization: The Solution

Decentralization, as the initial meaning and internal essence of blockchain, smart-contracts and cryptocurrencies, was first italicized by Satoshi Nakamoto and even Nick Szabo in 1990–2000-s. The rise of CEXs resulted in an obvious contradiction, because blockchain-based currencies are being operated via centralized mechanisms just like Visa or MasterCard, but much slowly. Is it normal? Where is the next stage of evolution or, does it even exist in the first place?
The answer was the main point of arguments in the crypto community during the year of 2017. In February, Vitalik came out with the suggestion about the nature of blockchain’s decentralization: “Blockchains are politically decentralized (no one controls them) and architecturally decentralized (no infrastructural central point of failure), but they are logically centralized (there is one commonly agreed state and the system behaves like a single computer)”.
The only possible expression in the commercial implementation of ‘architectural decentralization’ is the decentralized exchange of cryptocurrencies.
And the most advanced technology in this case is that of the Atomic Swaps — the direct peer-to-peer instant cross-chain transaction.
CEXs were the natural and inevitable stage of development for cryptocurrency exchanges. By the way, the DEXs are coming: we found them (namely IDEX, EtherDelta and Waves DEX) on the list of the top-100 exchanges on Coinmarketcap.
So, the Swap.Online team is on the right track. Get ready for ERC-20 ⇔ BTC, ETH ⇔ BTC, USDT ⇔ BTC, EOS ⇔ BTC trading directly from your browser with neither middlemen nor a centralized infrastructure.
See you on the mainnet on August 27, 2018,
Swap.Online Team
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Cross chain transactions. Problems and solutions

As cryptocurrency is becoming more popular as it replaces conventional banks, we are beginning to notice some of its problems. A fundamental flaw of some of the most dominant coins on the cryptocurrency (i.e. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin) is their inability to be transacted for other currencies without a centralized entity arbitrating the trade. This decreases the scalability of crypto and makes peer to peer transactions very difficult.
Exchanges are not solution
Currently, most digital assets and currencies rely upon third-party exchange software such as Binance, Coindesk, and Coinbase as a way of arbitrating peer to peer trade. This way of transacting is more susceptible to being exploited by hackers or failing from human corruption or manipulation. Even worse, the funds that are illegally acquired are unable to be recovered and refunded to users resulting in cataclysmic losses. Such losses have occurred in instances like the attack on the MtGox exchange which resulted in the loss of $700,000,000 worth of BTC, the Cryptsy hack which resulted in the loss of $9,500,000 worth of Bitcoin and Litecoin, and the Bitstamp attack which resulted in the loss of $5,100,000 worth of bitcoin.
We need smarter peer to peer transactions
Not only do thousands of people lose the money that they worked hard for, but these attacks ruin bitcoins public perception and cause people to have bad connotations about the new technology. Moreover, the more secure ways to transfer funds to different coins requires that coins be converted into different currency twice which depletes the amount of money your new coins are worth because of the exchange fees, making coin exchanging not only inefficient, but also a waste of money. Although the current way of trading coins has shown to be inefficient and dangerous, many professionals speculate that atomic cross chain trading won’t become a viable solution to this problem until 2019, but some coins are already paving the way to smarter peer to peer transactions. These blockchain technologies are using something similar to a lightning network, an instantaneous and anonymous system in which peers can exchange currencies with a virtual contract that is verified when the ledgers of two peers are fairly transferred to the wallets of the two peers.
Atomic cross chain technology. What’s advantage?
The beauty of this system is that it is programmed so that if a peer doesn’t complete their demand, all currency is refunded making the system much safer and less prone to fraud. In addition, all decisions regarding the trade are made by the computer eliminating the risks of human corruption. This system is another layer of code that can be applied on top of the blockchain to increase its interoperability which means that none of the traditional blockchain technologies security features are lost. A coin that enables users to exchange distinct coins without a third party with atomic cross chain technology will be able to optimize the way in which funds of different currencies are transferred.
One promising coin in this sector of technology is Quark.Market.
The initial coin offering has implemented an additional layer to their blockchain that makes cross chain exchanging super easy. Users can do fast and simple exchanges of their coins without liquidity fragmentation, a problem with most other coins that aren’t compatible with each other which results in users losing money on their trade while the exchanges rack up money. Quark will allow users to trade their coins without losing substantial amounts of money or risking their accounts being expropriated all while keeping their transactions secret so as not to impact the market. The new ICO’s promising features may revolutionize the simplicity and security of peer to peer cross chain transactions.
submitted by quarkmarket to BlockchainStartups [link] [comments]

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