News: Quadriga, the merchant case for cryptos, Ripple, Malta, Coinbase buys Neutrino, CoinHive shuts down, EOS hack, Tether on TRON

Amy Castor‘s hot on the Quadriga trail! She and Kyle S. Gibson are on a road trip to Halifax to attend the next hearing about the CCAA (which is a bit like Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but it’s totally not bankruptcy). “Really nice roads in Canada. Lots of Tim Horton’s, and right away, you notice, everyone has heard about Quadriga.”



Amy’s done a marvelous deep dive into WB21, the payment company that EY, the court-appointed monitor, can’t get to cough up $9m of Quadriga money they still have. Kadhim Shubber wrote an absolutely savage Financial Times piece on WB21 last year, after its CEO, Michael Gastauer, put up what appears to be a faked award video. “The story of Mr Gastauer is not just about alleged wrongdoing in the financial markets; it shows how an accused fraudster might sell himself and his fantastical story using the modern tools of the internet age.”

Email from the RCMP about Quadriga — “The RCMP are compiling a list of complaints in the event this matter is determined to be a criminal matter by the courts in Nova Scotia.” The RCMP also reached out to the British Columbia Securities Commission for complaints from the public.

The Globe and Mail bluntly states that Quadriga cofounder Michael Patryn is convicted felon Omar Dhanani (archive). Looks like I was wrong on that one. Patryn was also connected to Liberty Reserve.

James Edwards (CryptoMedication, Zero Noncense) has traced what he thinks (“a very strong possibility”) are the lost Quadriga Ethereum wallets — not “cold wallets,” but stored on other exchanges

EY has released the Third Report of the Monitor on Quadriga, a summary of how the CCAA process is going. Amy Castor summarises the highlights — it’s a barrage of “what on earth” moments. James Edwards says “I told you so.”

I could be overthinking it, but paragraph 20 of the third Monitor’s Report looks to me very like “we’ve called in the serious forensic accountants, because we’re pretty sure every person involved here is a massive crook and we’re sure as hell not getting any of this on us.”


In September 2014, Seymour Locksmiths in Worthing started accepting Bitcoin. “Since that day over four years ago and the time of writing, we have not had one customer ask to pay in Bitcoin, Dash or any other cryptocurrency.” But you should totally adopt it for your business!

A businessman tries to use Bitcoin and Lightning Network to pay employees in the Phillipines. It doesn’t go well — Bitcoin fees are unpredictable, and Lightning’s channel network is not how people expect money to work. Even using it to experiment — “I won money on online betting sites, but couldn’t withdraw the money because I needed incoming channels connecting to my node with money on the other side of the equation. I was like ‘what the f—?’ I eventually managed to find a service that would open up channels back to me, (for a fee), and was able to receive money again. Then I started trying to close some channels to get money back out of lightning. God what a hassle.”

A journalist attempts to purchase pizza over the Lightning Network. “Of the 1,500 orders submitted on the first day, only around 10 percent were successful.” I am reassured on Twitter that this is definitely everyone else’s fault and doesn’t mean a thing about Lightning — though if it had worked, you bet they’d have been shouting it from the rooftops.



R3 founder David Rutter makes it clear that SWIFT is not using XRP, even as it’s using R3’s Corda Settler platform, and Corda Settler allows XRP — “that is not at all my understanding and I think that is a misinterpretation of what in fact happened.”

John Kiff from the International Monetary Fund also wants to make it clear — “the alleged connection between the IMF and Ripple is total BS. As part of our surveillance work and member support, we’re talking all the time with major fintech players, including Ripple, R3, Bitt, eCurrency, and so on. We’re not ‘working’ with them … I think the misimpression comes from Ripple’s membership in our high-level advisory group, but that is what it says it is — an ‘advisory’ group.”

Jason Bloomberg bluntly asks: Is Ripple a scam? He sees it as a way to sell Ripple’s XRP stash to suckers, who look at Ripple’s press releases and assume there’s some genuine banking business happening here.

Despite Malta’s supposed “DLT” friendliness, blockchain and crypto companies are having trouble opening bank accounts there — banks are demanding that companies get a Malta Financial Services Authority license first.

Crypto companies elsewhere just can’t get a bank account. You can guess why: “I have met some really stand-up people in crypto … yet for every one of those, there are plenty of others trying to scam the public, launder money or evade taxes.”

Coinbase buys Neutrino, a startup founded by Hacking Team, a hacker group with an extensive track record of selling surveillance technology to oppressive governments, whose CEO regularly signed his emails with old Fascist slogans. Why did Coinbase buy Neutrino? Because their previous data analysis provider was selling Coinbase customer data to third parties!

CoinHive is shutting down its Monero-mining malware service (archive). Brian Krebs writes at length on what awful trash it was.

EOS got hacked for 2.09 million EOS tokens. The transaction was an old one, and had already been blacklisted — but a new block producer, games.eos, didn’t set up the blacklist correctly. Whoops.

The great thing about trustless cryptocurrency systems is just how many incompetents you have to trust along the way — the Coinomi wallet sent its users’ secret passphrases to the Google Spellcheck API. Via plain text HTTP.

How to run scam crypto ads on Twitter that are displayed as being from CNBC, or any other source — fool the Twitter card generator.

Charles Arthur discovers that if you’re using MailChimp to deliver your email newsletters, don’t use the word “cryptocurrency.”

Wasting electricity trying to win the Bitcoin lottery pays so much better when you don’t bother doing that transaction-processing stuff — the one job you’re getting the coins for. Diar documents $335 million in empty blocks.

Tether will soon be available as a TRC-20 token running on the Tron blockchain. It’s hard to think of a more apt pairing. The token will launch some time in Q2 2019.

Also, Amy Castor’s Tether timeline has had some updates.

Daniel Goldman has revived Jackson Palmer’s Are We Decentralized Yet site.

From the HODL to a crypto winter — crypto and meme generation go hand in hand.

“Extreme returns are possible in unconstrained securities because there is no basis for their value in the first place. The upper bound is some unknown quantification of psychological appetite for speculation.”

David Golumbia, author of The Politics of Bitcoin (US, UK), is interviewed in Usbek & Rica:  «Le Bitcoin est le reflet d’une idéologie anarcho-capitaliste». And there’s a nice summary of the book in De-Contemporary.






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