How a few hackers and a Tokyo whale crashed the crypto-markets

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

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Editor's note

The price of bitcoin cratered 20 percent last week, widely attributed to two unrelated events.

First: the bankruptcy trustee of Mt.Gox disclosed that he had sold $400 million worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash to repay creditors over the course of the last several months. This Tokyo whale still has $1.9 billion to sell.

Also this week, a group of hackers compromised users credentials at the exchange Binance (see Thursday's story) enabling a few small thefts. The hackers allegedly exchanged users' bitcoin into small-cap altcoins, in an attempt to manipulate markets.

While Binance claims that its users suffered few losses, the event left traders feeling uncertain. The hackers had gained access by collecting user data over a long period of time, only springing to action once they had enough. What other traps lie waiting for exchange users?

This week's news recap

Monday: As it generates shocking revenues, Coinbase hit with insider trading lawsuit
Tuesday: FinCEN says ICOs are "generally" money transmission businesses
Wednesday: SEC says online crypto-trading platforms must register as exchanges
Thursday: How hackers compromised Binance, last year's breakout exchange
Friday: The strange ways Bitcoin miners change rural counties

Further reading this week

'Corporations are people' is built on an incredible 19th century lie
(The Atlantic, by Adam Winkler)

"His gambit worked. In the following years, the case would be cited over and over by courts across the nation, including the Supreme Court, for deciding that corporations had rights under the Fourteenth Amendment."

When venture capital becomes vanity capital
(Techcrunch, by Eric Paley)

"Because they were never beholden to venture capitalists or outsize valuations, they had the flexibility to sell for $50M or $500M along the way. These founders could decide to sell, or not, depending on the performance of their businesses and appetite for risk, not their capital structure."

The five biggest mistakes enterprises make with AWS
(Hackernoon, by Bernard Golden)

"However, many of them are doing it wrong. During my decade-plus of cloud computing, I’ve worked with many enterprises as they make the transition to AWS. A few have taken to AWS fantastically; some eventually achieve their hoped-for results; a huge number flail and never accomplish their objectives."

U.S. considers broad curbs on Chinese imports, takeovers
(Bloomberg, by Andrew Mayeda and Jennifer Jacobs)

"Under the most severe scenario being weighed, the U.S. could impose tariffs on a wide range of Chinese imports, from shoes and clothing to consumer electronics, according to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions aren’t public."

Inside Google’s plan to make the whole web as fast as AMP
(The Verge, by Dieter Bohn)

"Despite all those problems, here’s what is impressive about AMP: when you publish a webpage, it can be served from any caching server. But that’s not what really makes it fast; what truly makes a difference is that it can load nearly instantly because it’s already been preloaded in the background."

The Smallness of Mark Zuckerberg
(Medium, by Maria Bustillos)

"Advertisements which, by the way, could be so microtargeted that buyers could serve them up to groups of 'Jew haters.' But here’s Mark Zuckerberg, saying he considered the notion that Facebook had influenced the election in any way to be 'a pretty crazy idea,' a remark he later said he regretted."

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.