In the crypto world, a week can hold enough events for a year in most other industries. In the past week, we saw crypto malware continue to evolve with the first cryptojacking worm on Docker, while attackers also turned to WAV files. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) was at it again, this time squaring it off with Telegram over the launch of the TON network. However, most importantly, we saw blockchain adoption continue, with Canada, China, and Wales in varied stages of state-backed digital currencies, Ford leading a blockchain vehicle payments system and the technology finally hitting Broadway. And of course, our friends over at Facebook had a busy week.
The week has been full of news of blockchain adoption. In China, the country’s central bank announced that it was seeking tech experts, some to work in its digital currency department. This indicates that the Asian giant is still in it for the launch of its central bank digital currency (CBDC), which some reports had indicated was dying down.
Canada was also reportedly jumping on the CBDC bandwagon, but for very different reasons. While many look at cryptos as the best way to reduce government interference, Canada is looking to launch a crypto that will give it a higher degree of control on people by learning about how they spend their money. In Europe, the Wales government is seeking to launch its own digital currency so as to boost local businesses. Despite all these efforts, the G7 believes that these government-backed stablecoins pose a threat to the financial system.
Away from CBDCs, blockchain tech is now headed for Broadway. A report this week revealed that Broadway’s largest ticket operator, the Shubert Organization, would integrate blockchain technology to combat fraud. The company partnered with True Tickets to offer a mobile ticketing solution that’s powered by IBM’s blockchain network.
The week also saw blockchain infiltrate the automotive industry a bit more, with a partnership between major automakers that will automate payments using blockchain. Part of the Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, the pilot project aims to use blockchain to automate such payments as parking fees and highway tolls by assigning every vehicle an ID. It brings together major companies including Ford, GM, Honda, BMW and more. Ford also announced a pilot project that will use blockchain to track drivers’ green miles.
In Singapore, blockchain adoption continued, with CIMB Group completing its first blockchain-based trade financing transaction. The bank, considered to be one of the largest in Asia, turned to blockchain to minimize the risks that come with commodity trade financing. Still in Singapore, the country’s shipping association deployed a blockchain-powered ship registry that leverages smart contracts to reduce the time and costs associated with ship registry.
The week also saw crypto malware continue to evolve, with security researchers at Palo Alto Networks discovering the first cryptojacking worm. Known as Graboid, the worm infects a host and begins to mine crypto while spreading to other systems. Security experts from Cylance also unearthed a new campaign that uses WAV audio files to spread cryptojacking malware. The attackers behind the campaign also deploy Metasploit code used to establish a reverse shell, giving them access to the host computer.
Still on cybersecurity, the notorious North Korean cybercrime gang Lazarus is back. This time, it’s hiding behind a fake cryptocurrency firm by the name JMT Trading. The firm’s GitHub code was reportedly embedded with malware that once download, executes to give the attackers unrestricted access to the victim’s system. The group has mostly targeted people who work at crypto exchanges.
On the regulatory front, the U.S. SEC squared it off with Telegram regarding its Telegram Open Network (TON). The messaging company had slated the launch of its TON blockchain network for late October, but the SEC had other plans. Having declared that Gram tokens were a security, the SEC sought to block the launch of the TON network. And it looks like it has succeeded, with Telegram calling on its investors to consent to the postponement of the launch to April next year. In all this, Telegram has insisted that the SEC is wrong and that Gram tokens aren’t securities.
Libra didn’t have a quiet week either, but then again, it never does. This week saw 21 companies sign a charter to be members of the Libra project (originally they were 28 but some walked away). And despite all the issues it faces, Libra has been a catalyst for reforms in the banking sector, the Swedish central bank chief stated. And while the unceasing attacks on Libra continue, there have been rare shows of support by some entities including crypto storage company Anchorage and the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney.
As this week ends and another begins, let’s hope we’ll have less malware campaigns and that blockchain technology will continue to have more applications that will solve people’s problems across the globe.
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