Fake Twitter profile busted for imitating official crypto accounts

The old saying goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” This might be true in some cases, but it’s not always appreciated. A Twitter profile that has been busted for mimicking not just one, but six different accounts. While it’s still not known who is behind the deeds, it should only be a matter of time before the mask is ripped off.

On Twitter, verified accounts are denoted by a blue checkmark, worn like a badge on the profile. An article published on Wednesday by The Next Web, however, showed that the system is seriously flawed. It started with an innocuous account, that of independent film producer and director Seif Elsbei. Elsbei’s Twitter account, @seifsbei, prominently displays the blue badge, and was determined to be posing as the official Verge cryptocurrency account. Having nothing to do with crypto, it was rather odd that posts began appearing by the @seifsbei account that seemed to be promoting the altcoin.

As it turns out, Elsbei’s account had been the target of hackers and, due to the fact that verified accounts can change their handle on the fly, his profile became the @vergecurrency account. After gaining access to the account, the hacker or hackers could easily manipulate it to be identified as any other Twitter user.

After spending a little time as Verge, the account then transformed to become Bitfinex. Seeing an odd pattern of tweets from the account, the Twitter world did a little digging and was able to trace four other copycat accounts to the same hacked profile. Before the Verge and Bitfinex imitations, Elsbei’s profile had been used as a Bittrex profile and even that of Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin. Additionally, evidence popped up showing that the profile had emulated the @bitcoin and the Tron project accounts.

Digging a little deeper it was also revealed that Elsbei’s account was tweeting almost solely in Arabic before the beginning of this week, a possible clue to the origin of the hackers. Elsbei confirmed through his Facebook profile that he had, indeed, been the target of a hack, and that he was working with Twitter to try and put everything back in order.

CoinDesk attempted to make contact with the hacker, but didn’t get a response. As of now, the account has a name of “.” and has gone silent. It doesn’t appear that any real damage was done, but some lowlife certainly seems to have a lot of time on his hands, and not much common sense.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

Coincheck, Bittrex weed out anonymous, low-liquidity altcoins

Spring (cleaning) came early for cryptocurrency exchanges Coincheck and Bittrex.

Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck will reportedly stop handling three anonymity-focused cryptocurrencies—Monero, Dash, and Zcash—as it “now recognizes the high risk” posed by these virtual currencies when used in money laundering activities, sources told the Japan Times.

Coincheck’s application for a cryptocurrency exchange license has been pending with the Financial Services Agency (FSA) in September, partly because most of its customers are anonymous, according to the report.

The news comes on the heels of a cyber-attack in January, which saw hackers getting ahold of $534 million worth of NEXM tokens from Coincheck’s hot wallet. Executives at Coincheck hinted that the theft was caused by a possible malware-related incident, but police investigators discovered “multiple suspicious transmissions” were made from Coincheck’s intracompany network to Europe and U.S.-based servers around Jan. 23, three days before the theft occurred.

Cybersecurity experts believe that half of the missing NEM tokens have already been converted into other types of cryptocurrency for money laundering purpose, making it even harder to track.

All kinds of transactions on the Coincheck platform were immediately halted after the hack, but the company has since resumed activities, albeit of certain currencies—on March 12, following its promise to pay the 260,000 users affected in what was considered as the biggest theft in world history, effectively dethroning the infamous Mt. Gox hack.

Meanwhile, Coincheck is eyeing the possibility of buying Monero, Dash and Zcash from its customers at a fixed price. According to sources, the embattled company has begun accepting transfers from verified accounts.

Bittrex de-lists 82 altcoins

Bittrex, once considered to be a safe haven for many altcoins, is bidding 82 of them goodbye.

Effective March 30, 82 token wallets will be removed from the cryptocurrency exchange’s system, according to an announcement on Bittrex website. These include altcoins who have low liquidity or do not have “a properly functioning blockchain and wallet.”

Of the 82 tokens, 26 currencies suffered from blockchain issues, such as not having a working blockchain, according to the exchange. Bittrex urged its customers to withdraw their coins before March 30, because “once these wallets are removed, we will no longer be able to recover these coins.”

The list of soon-to-be-removed altcoins can be found here.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Bittrex bans North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Crimea clients from exchange

The ban kicks in March 9th, but some say their accounts—and their funds have already been frozen without a heads-up.

Last year, the US signed into law the politically controversial bill titled, “Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act,” which aims “to provide congressional review and to counter aggression by the Governments of Iran, the Russian Federation, and North Korea.” Under the bill, as part of “combating terrorism and illicit financing, accounts belonging to citizens and residents of North Korea, Iran, and the Crimean region of Ukraine will be added to the restricted territories list banned from accessing US finance services—including cryptocurrency exchanges.

While Cuba was not part of this new bill, a series of embargoes has been imposed against the country for decades, starting in 1958 with succeeding broader sanctions stretching to this day. Similarly, the US has enforced sanctions against Syria since 1979, labelling the country as a “state sponsor of terror.” And the same ban applies to citizens and residents of the two countries.

To comply with the new bill, Bittrex has released a revised terms of service document.

“You may not use the Services if you are located in, or a citizen or resident of any state, country, territory or other jurisdiction that is embargoed by the United States or where your use of the Services would be illegal or otherwise violate any applicable law. You represent and warrant that you are not a citizen or resident of any such jurisdiction and that you will not use any Services while located in any such jurisdiction. You also may not use the Services if you are located in, or a citizen or resident of, any other jurisdiction where Bittrex has determined, at its discretion, to prohibit use of the Services. Bittrex may implement controls to restrict access to the Services from any jurisdiction prohibited pursuant to this Section 2.2. You will comply with this Section 2.2, even if Bittrex’s methods to prevent use of the Services are not effective or can be bypassed,” Bittrex wrote on their website.

The embargo would supposedly start on March 9. But some users are saying that Bittrex started freezing accounts since last year—along with the funds in them. Complaints claim that shortly after the bill was signed last year, the exchange closed down thousands of accounts belonging to Iranians, Indians, Pakistani, Russian, Syrian, Turkish nationals, as well as some from American, French, and German nationals without a proper heads-up. And worse, no recourse was provided to users on how they can take out their funds from the exchange before they were closed.

In December last year, in an article by news.Bitcoin.com, Yasser Ahmadi of Lioncomputer says Bittrex failed to give Iranians a proper exit from the exchange, and has been ignoring support tickets from locked out users.

“We’re having difficulties for a long time now, it started around two years ago. Poloniex and Bitfinex announced that Iranian users should withdraw their funds and leave the exchange and now we’re having trouble with Bittrex. Bittrex started closing Iranian accounts without any heads up or announcements from Oct 12 and haven’t responded to our support tickets and emails since.”

Ahmadi added that the bill was a political manipulation and a violation of Bitcoin and the blockchain’s principle.

“I think Bitcoin should not be limited by the regulation process and that’s exactly what the United States is doing. They’re using the fluidity of bitcoin to control the needs of people around the world and reach their own political interests – that is not what bitcoin and blockchain is about, it’s against the spirit of this system.”

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Exchanges call for time-out on new account registrations as demand overflows

Coinbase reported a staggering 100,000 signups within 24 hours in November last year.

As fluctuations in trading value draw massive attention to cryptocurrencies, the deluge of new users is challenging the stability of cryptocurrency exchanges, forcing some of them to temporarily freeze new account registrations altogether.

For the last half of 2017, Bittrex has been struggling with handling the volume of users trying to register new accounts with them. As part of KYC (know your customer) compliance procedures, verification of new accounts were on a standstill for months, much to the frustration of new users.

In December 16, Bittrex finally released a statement saying new registrations are halted until the exchange finishes some upgrades that will help them cope with the heavy traffic. Cex.io followed shortly, saying they will “temporarily pause the registrations of new users, until we can guarantee the decent response time to each and every ticket or a verification request.” Adding to this list is Binance, announcing last week that they are also calling for a time-out.

While these exchanges made official announcements, Bitfinex chose a more subtle approach: new registrants now need an “invitation code” to get in. “Due to extraordinary demand, new accounts require an invitation code,” the form reads. Where such codes can be found, however, remains unknown, but they would supposedly be open for new registrations again on January 15.

Exchanges call for time-out on new account registrations as demand overflows

 

These exchanges are not the only ones struggling to keep up. Kraken reported a series of days with 50,000 new account registrations and 10,000 new support tickets in December. And Coinbase endured 100,000 user registrations within 24 hours from CME’s announcement of its inclusion of BTC in its futures trading platform.

As the mainstream population starts to get in on the cryptocurrency boom, some are out to take advantage of the situation. A report has been circulating saying some users are selling “fully verified exchange accounts”, which offer larger withdrawal limits. Beware of such practices, however. If the previous owner has set up the account recovery to loop back to accounts he has control of, this means whatever funds you have in the wallet are at risk.

Similarly, second-hand hard wallets are also unsafe. Reddit user u/moodyrocket lost his life savings recently after moving them to a second-hand Ledger Nano. Apparently, the previous owner set up the wallet so that it unlocks with a recovery seed he holds—not the one he gave the buyer, a trick called “man in the middle.” Suffice it to say, saving a few bucks in this case was far more costly.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Exchanges call for time-out on new account registrations as demand overflows

Coinbase reported a staggering 100,000 signups within 24 hours in November last year.

As fluctuations in trading value draw massive attention to cryptocurrencies, the deluge of new users is challenging the stability of cryptocurrency exchanges, forcing some of them to temporarily freeze new account registrations altogether.

For the last half of 2017, Bittrex has been struggling with handling the volume of users trying to register new accounts with them. As part of KYC (know your customer) compliance procedures, verification of new accounts were on a standstill for months, much to the frustration of new users.

In December 16, Bittrex finally released a statement saying new registrations are halted until the exchange finishes some upgrades that will help them cope with the heavy traffic. Cex.io followed shortly, saying they will “temporarily pause the registrations of new users, until we can guarantee the decent response time to each and every ticket or a verification request.” Adding to this list is Binance, announcing last week that they are also calling for a time-out.

While these exchanges made official announcements, Bitfinex chose a more subtle approach: new registrants now need an “invitation code” to get in. “Due to extraordinary demand, new accounts require an invitation code,” the form reads. Where such codes can be found, however, remains unknown, but they would supposedly be open for new registrations again on January 15.

Exchanges call for time-out on new account registrations as demand overflows

 

These exchanges are not the only ones struggling to keep up. Kraken reported a series of days with 50,000 new account registrations and 10,000 new support tickets in December. And Coinbase endured 100,000 user registrations within 24 hours from CME’s announcement of its inclusion of BTC in its futures trading platform.

As the mainstream population starts to get in on the cryptocurrency boom, some are out to take advantage of the situation. A report has been circulating saying some users are selling “fully verified exchange accounts”, which offer larger withdrawal limits. Beware of such practices, however. If the previous owner has set up the account recovery to loop back to accounts he has control of, this means whatever funds you have in the wallet are at risk.

Similarly, second-hand hard wallets are also unsafe. Reddit user u/moodyrocket lost his life savings recently after moving them to a second-hand Ledger Nano. Apparently, the previous owner set up the wallet so that it unlocks with a recovery seed he holds—not the one he gave the buyer, a trick called “man in the middle.” Suffice it to say, saving a few bucks in this case was far more costly.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Warning: scammers are taking advantage of the Bittrex “verification backlogs” issue

Bittrex users should beware of scams asking for keys and threatening to have accounts “disabled again.”

Throughout the past few months, users took to Reddit and Facebook to voice out their frustration over Bittrex’s very slow verification process for their accounts, preventing new users from moving their funds at all. As part of compliance to KYC laws, new and unverified accounts created on or after August 1 have been restricted from withdrawing any BTC, as users found that their withdrawal limit has been changed to zero until they go through the identity verification process successfully. However, even compliant users have been having problems, much to the frustration of users.

According to Bittrex, the delay is due to the influx of user sign ups that prompted the need for a system upgrade. Support tickets have piled up as a result. And as of December 16, Bittrex announced through their support announcement web page that they are freezing all new account sign ups until certain upgrades are finished to accommodate the “enormous number of new account registrations.”

The process has been particularly bloody, judging based on over 5,000 angry comments on their last Facebook post, and over 700 more spilling over on an even older post. They haven’t posted anything on their Facebook page since June 12, but their Twitter account has been active.

Based on their wallet status, however, majority of Bittrex’s wallets and markets are working smoothly.

Two months ago, the exchange said that they have disabled certain accounts as part of a compliance review, and that it affects less than 0.1% of their user base. They also clarified that there is nothing fishy going on.

“Any reports that Bittrex miscalculated or misapplied its exchange fees, that there is a security problem with the exchange, that Bittrex lost any coins stored on users’ behalf, or that Bittrex is banning people trying to access Slack to discuss the status of their accounts are incorrect.  We are committed to making Bittrex a strong, safe, and compliant exchange where people can securely participate in the digital currency economy.  We ask for patience from our highly valued customers.  As for us, we plan to ‘keep calm, and carry on.’”

The delay has been ongoing, so much so that scammers are taking advantage of the confusion. On Christmas day, Bittrex re-Tweeted a post from Coinigy, reiterating that scammers are asking for users’ private keys lest they risk their accounts getting disabled again.

You’ve been warned.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Warning: scammers are taking advantage of the Bittrex “verification backlogs” issue

Bittrex users should beware of scams asking for keys and threatening to have accounts “disabled again.”

Throughout the past few months, users took to Reddit and Facebook to voice out their frustration over Bittrex’s very slow verification process for their accounts, preventing new users from moving their funds at all. As part of compliance to KYC laws, new and unverified accounts created on or after August 1 have been restricted from withdrawing any BTC, as users found that their withdrawal limit has been changed to zero until they go through the identity verification process successfully. However, even compliant users have been having problems, much to the frustration of users.

According to Bittrex, the delay is due to the influx of user sign ups that prompted the need for a system upgrade. Support tickets have piled up as a result. And as of December 16, Bittrex announced through their support announcement web page that they are freezing all new account sign ups until certain upgrades are finished to accommodate the “enormous number of new account registrations.”

The process has been particularly bloody, judging based on over 5,000 angry comments on their last Facebook post, and over 700 more spilling over on an even older post. They haven’t posted anything on their Facebook page since June 12, but their Twitter account has been active.

Based on their wallet status, however, majority of Bittrex’s wallets and markets are working smoothly.

Two months ago, the exchange said that they have disabled certain accounts as part of a compliance review, and that it affects less than 0.1% of their user base. They also clarified that there is nothing fishy going on.

“Any reports that Bittrex miscalculated or misapplied its exchange fees, that there is a security problem with the exchange, that Bittrex lost any coins stored on users’ behalf, or that Bittrex is banning people trying to access Slack to discuss the status of their accounts are incorrect.  We are committed to making Bittrex a strong, safe, and compliant exchange where people can securely participate in the digital currency economy.  We ask for patience from our highly valued customers.  As for us, we plan to ‘keep calm, and carry on.’”

The delay has been ongoing, so much so that scammers are taking advantage of the confusion. On Christmas day, Bittrex re-Tweeted a post from Coinigy, reiterating that scammers are asking for users’ private keys lest they risk their accounts getting disabled again.

You’ve been warned.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.