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Must-reads for September 23, 2018: Big Bitcoin bugs, big oil, big hacks, and other big wastes of time

Here are the crypto stories you should be watching this weekend

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How we read news over the weekend (via Pixabay).

A Major Bug In Bitcoin Software Could Have Crashed the Currency (Motherboard)
“On Tuesday, the developers of Bitcoin Core—the software that effectively powers the Bitcoin blockchain—released a new version that patched a vulnerability that allowed a malicious user to crash the network, making everyone’s digital coins effectively useless. The bug has been variously described as ‘very scary,’ ‘major,’ and one of the ‘top three or four’ most serious bugs ever discovered in Bitcoin,” writes Motherboard’s Jordan Pearson. But it’s okay. Everything’s fine now. No need to ever worry about anything ever again. Now where’s our Xanax?

 

These Oil Traders Are Trying to Overhaul the Industry With a Blockchain Venture (Bloomberg)
Here’s something that’s not small: “Commodity giants Mercuria Energy Group Ltd. and Gunvor Group joined forces with Royal Dutch Shell Plc and a slew of international banks to create a trade-finance venture aimed at becoming the industry standard. Using blockchain technology, the Komgo SA venture will develop a digital ledger-based system to track commodity transactions, the partners said Wednesday,” writes Bloomberg’s Andy Hoffman. Besides Societe Generale, “Other banks involved include ING Groep NV, ABN Amro Group NV, Cooperatieve Rabobank UA, Macquarie Group Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Natixis SA, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc. and Credit Agricole SA. Koch Supply & Trading LP and inspection giant SGS SA are also among Komgo’s 15 founders.”

 

SEC Moves to Make Decision on VanEck-SolidX Bitcoin ETF Proposal (CoinDesk)
The SEC received 1,400 comments on the proposed ETF but decide, eh, why not get more? Here’s the only one they should care about.

 

Hackers steal $60m from Japanese cryptocurrency exchange (Financial Times)
The irony is that the exchange is called Zaif but, clearly, your bitcoins weren’t zaif.

 

Hackers Are Targeting Bitcoin With a Leaked NSA Software Tip, Report Says (Bloomberg)
A consortium of security companies called the Cyber Threat Alliance (which sounds like it was named by a writer for a late ‘90s film or a failed early-‘00s CBS drama) said that the National Security Agency was hacked by a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers (which was clearly named by the same guy). That shadowy group took copies of an exploit of Microsoft Windows called EternalBlue (whoever this writer is, he’s clearly been working a lot). They then used it to mine crypto on other people’s computers, a more mundane story than whatever a hack screenwriter would have come up with.

 

Plans are underway for a cryptocurrency ‘stable coin’ pegged to the Aussie dollar (Business Insider Australia)
Can anything pegged to the Aussie dollar really be considered stable? We may soon find out. “The project is a joint initiative between Emparta, a blockchain employment platform, and domestic crypto exchange Bit Trade,” writes BI’s Sam Jacobs.

 

Bitcoin bonanza – or tax-time headache? (Acuity)
If you’re an accountant in Australia or New Zealand, you may have a ton of work cut out for you dealing with crypto. And you thought counting sheep (which is pretty much all what antipodean accountants do) was boring…

 

L’UNICEF FRANCE COLLECTE MAINTENANT DES DONS EN CRYPTO-MONNAIE (UNICEF France; translation: “UNICEF France now raises cryptocurrency donations”)
UNICEF France will now accept donations with Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Monero, EOS and Stellar. No word yet on how people can those into those tiny orange boxes during Halloween.

 

California watchdog agency bans bitcoin political donations (Associated Press)
While the Federal Election Commission allows donations in bitcoin, California—like its emissions standards—is a bit more stringent. Its Fair Political Practices Commission has banned it. You’re just going to have to come up with another way to give money to horrible politicians.

 

Candidate Receives First Ever Bitcoin Donation to a Political Campaign in Taiwan (CCN)
Speaking of places with horrible politicians…

 

THE HTC EXODUS BLOCKCHAIN PHONE COMES INTO FOCUS (Wired)
HTC has a new phone called the Exodus. From the way Breaker’s Jessica Klein describes it, it’s a mess. The giveaway should have been that it’s made by HTC. [Editor’s note: Hey, Wired, that is the laziest headline we’ve seen in years. We know you’re phoning it in but, c’mon, are you phoning it in on an HTC Exodus?]

 

 

Lawrence Lewitinn, CFA is editor in chief of Modern Consensus. Disclosure: Lewitinn owns no cryptocurrencies in his portfolio.