Tether breaks up with auditor, inviting another "Mt. Gox moment"

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

Amid the confusion and fears caused by the Coincheck hack, new trouble brews: Tether, the controversial dollar-pegged token platform, has severed its relationship with independent auditor Friedman LLP (see story below). In September 2017 the firm was retained to verify Tether's USD reserves, which back USDT, a token used in lieu of "real dollars" USD trading pairs. Tether has become systemically important to major altcoin exchanges like Bitfinex and Bittrex, earning it comparisons to Mt. Gox, the bitcoin exchange that collapsed in 2014.

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News

Smells like Mt. Gox: Tether fears mount amid auditor fallout and anonymous 'Tether report' (Coingeek, by Cecille De Jesus)

"A collusion of such proportions, if proven, could be fatal not only for BTC—it could take down the rest of your portfolio. As we have seen throughout history, the unravelling and collapse of scams in the cryptosphere is enough to scare off holders from all cryptocurrencies even when none of the others are even remotely involved."

Japan's cryptocurrency whiz kid faces $530 million reckoning (WSJ, by Takashi Mochizuki)

"But engineers who worked for the duo said their company came to focus more on expanding the business than on security. Some of the new currencies it handled didn’t have strong security built into them, making them unsuited to the amateur investors who crowded onto Coincheck’s site."

Crypto hedge fund Polychain plans IPO in Canada (Bloomberg, by Scott Deveau and Natalie Obiko Pearson)

"Polychain Capital, the crypto hedge fund backed by venture firms Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz, aims to raise about C$400 million ($325 million) in an initial public offering in Canada."

Commentary

The follower factory (NYT, by Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris and Mark Hansen)

"All these accounts belong to customers of an obscure American company named Devumi that has collected millions of dollars in a shadowy global marketplace for social media fraud. Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online."

Technical

A little lightning project has two big implications (CoinDesk, by Alyssa Hertig)

"In that way, not only does Nayuta 'open the door' to interesting Lightning use cases, it also diversifies the number of Lightning software implementations there are, which the company thinks is important, because, it believes, some features are missing from current Lightning implementations"

How not to build a yet another mediocre internal tool... (Hackernoon, by Segah Meer)

"Since I work across vendors and indirectly benefit from the complexity of new data tools — open source included — I also frequently hear reasonable arguments against buying a new tool. The specifics vary among the non-techies, but among the technologists, most arguments boil down to just a few: 1)vendor lock-in 2)poor feature prioritization 3)product reliability"

Tools & Tutorials

A beginner's guide to online privacy (Medium, by Lulian Gulea) A breakdown of the risks and counter-measures of each layers in the internet stack.

Crypto Scam Checker A comprehensive database that checks if a crypto website is a scam.

Updates

Zcash completes the latest private Powers of Tau ceremony, a process that generates public parameters, using Chernobyl nuclear waste. CoinDesk

SiaCoin rebrands with new website and logo. Sia Blog

Decred opens a community discussion on potential hard-fork changes to the block header to improve SPV security. Github

Vertcoin releases an update that improves the memory footprint of p2pool, a peer-to-peer network of miner nodes, and removes Vertcoin network 3, which was defunct. Github

Releases an update that adds password protection to the RPC (remote procedure call) interface by default, and disables it for GUI instances of Electrum-VTC. Github