Monero may overtake Bitcoin on the darknet according to cybersecurity expert, and the FBI now advises to refuse Bitcoin ransoms. Here are the cryptocurrency highlights of week 36:
- Security company Webroot is predicting that Bitcoin may be replaced by privacy-centric cryptocurrency Monero, as the preferred currency of ransomware merchants on the darknet. The use of ring signatures makes transactions untraceable, which is advantage that will continue to grow with more users. Tyler Moffitt, senior threat research analyst, therefore expects that “Cybercriminals are going to be exchanging all of their Bitcoins for Monero to evade detection from firms like Chainalysis”, as governments, law enforcement and crypto technology companies have created tools that can figure out the algorithms of Bitcoin laundry services.
- The FBI previously encouraged victims of Bitcoin-demanding ransomware to simply pay the ransom, but the agency has now changed its stance. Supervisory special agent for the FBI’s Cyber Division, Will Bales, said that businesses or individuals targeted by ransomware should refuse to pay the ransom. According to Bales “people have to remember that ransomware does not affect just one person or one business. It will more than likely move on and affect somebody else. And for those who pay the ransom, it only encourages them to extort the next person”.
- DLT Financial, a new firm spun out of a technology business, Tramonex, is planning to launch a cryptocurrency fund in the coming weeks. The fund will follow an index of 10 crypto-currencies including Ethereum and Ripple, which are designed for bank-to-bank transactions. Details are not completely known, but is likely that this would differ in two ways from the Bitcoin Investment Trust. Firstly, the latter invests in Bitcoin only, and secondly the investors aren’t investing in Bitcoin directly. Instead, investors buy shares of the Bitcoin Investment Trust which continues to invest in Bitcoin. This results in big discrepancies between the value of the fund and the actual value of the Bitcoins held. A real tracker would closely follow the price of the index, and it would also open up other currencies besides Bitcoin for investors unwilling to hold cryptocurrency themselves.
- BNY Mellon has developed a test system that leverages blockchain technology as a backup system for its brokerage transactions. The new system, which operates alongside BNY’s existing transaction records system, aims to provide an operational buffer in the event that the first layer of transaction records becomes unavailable. BNY CIO Suresh Kumar framed the effort as a way for the bank to test “the strengths and weaknesses” of the technology. The trial does suggest BNY seems to feel somewhat uneasy about switching to a new kind of infrastructure, given that the blockchain will merely be working in the background.
- The price of Bitcoin rallied this week by more than eight percent to about $624 per BTC. The price of Ethereum remained flat over the same period, sticking to a current rate of $11.60 per ETH. Ethereum Classic on the other hand stopped its losing streak, and gained more than six percent, taking the price $1.41 per ETC. Monero consolidated it gains after an impressive run-up, although it did lose almost five percent of its value taking the price down to $12.37 per XMR.