Binance Loses 7000 BTC in Hack; WeChat Bans Crypto Trading; Milestone for Ethereum 2.0 as Testnet Launched
The crypto industry has grown accustomed to seeing Binance dominate headlines, and today was no different. What was, however, was the contents of the news itself. Indeed, for the first time in its near-two-year-long existence, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange was hacked for 7,000 BTC.
Believe it or not, other significant news stories broke today. Among them, reports that Chinese messaging giant WeChat has updated its payment policy to state that users engaging in crypto trading will be banned. More positively, Prysmatic Labs released the first staking-enabled testnet for Ethereum 2.0.
In the markets, bitcoin (BTC) retraced 1.81% for the day to $5,887.04. As for ether (ETH), it slumped 5.32% to $170.06. The MVIS CryptoCompare Digital Assets 10 Index also fell 0.65% to 2,854.90 as at time of writing.
Binance Loses $40.7 Million Worth of Bitcoin
Top-tier cryptocurrency exchange Binance reported a hack totalling 7,000 bitcoin (≈$40.7 million) was discovered late-afternoon on May 7. In an official statement, Binance co-founder and chief executive Changpeng ‘CZ’ Zhao said “one transaction” was all that was used by the hackers, who were able to obtain large volumes of user information including API keys and two-factor authentication codes. In order to compromise user accounts, the hackers “used a variety of techniques, including phishing [and] viruses,” the statement pointed out. To fully cover the loss, Binance will use its Secure Asset Fund for Users, a BNB-denominated fund that holds 10 percent of all trading fees absorbed by the exchange. CZ discussed the idea of re-organizing the bitcoin blockchain to undo the hacked transactions, which caused some controversy amongst the community.
Cryptocurrency Transactions Banned by WeChat
Popular Chinese social media platform, WeChat, reportedly announced it will terminate any user accounts involved in cryptocurrency trading. Per sources familiar with the matter, WeChat’s management has revised its payments policy to read “merchants may not engage in illegal transaction such as [those involving] virtual currencies.” The updated policy will come into effect at the end of this month. Ever since China outlawed cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017, messaging apps like WeChat have emerged as popular solutions for prospective cryptocurrency buyers and sellers looking to perform over-the-counter trades.
Prysmatic Labs Releases Ethereum 2.0 Phase 0 Testnet
Ethereum scaling solution developer Prysmatic Labs launched its Ethereum 2.0 testnet. The release marks the first staking-enabled testnet for Ethereum 2.0; a major development milestone, to be sure. In a blog post accompanying today’s release, Prysmatic Labs’ co-founder and team lead Preston Van Loon shared the “next step is to launch v0.6 of the official Ethereum 2.0 specification into [its] testnet.” This, he added, promises to be “a massive improvement, as the research team aims to freeze the spec by June and have something that will represent a more polished version for mainnet release.”