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Former Coinbase compliance exec joins BitGo as new CCO

BitGo appointed Coinbase’s former chief compliance officer as new CCO after settling with the U.S. Treasury over sanctions violations.

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BitGo has hired a former Coinbase compliance officer following a $98,000 settlement with the U.S. Treasury.

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Former Coinbase compliance exec joins BitGo as new CCO

BitGo, a major digital asset custody and security company, has hired a former compliance executive of Coinbase.

Jeff Horowitz, Coinbase’s former chief compliance officer, is joining BitGo as its new chief compliance officer, the firm announced Jan. 13. Horowitz joins BitGo after serving the same role at Coinbase since July 2018.

The new exec will be replacing BitGo’s former CCO Matt Parrella and will oversee the company’s compliance and Anti-Money Laundering programs to ensure compliance and regulatory requirements.

Horowitz told Cointelegraph that one of the biggest compliance challenges in serving institutional clients in crypto is to navigate the complex and changing regulatory landscape. He said that BitGo expects greater regulatory clarity from global financial authorities:

“We are confident that as the crypto industry continues to mature, we will see greater regulatory clarity on every level including state, federal and international policies and regulations.”

Horowitz is a past member of major compliance groups like the Large Firm Advisory Committee of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the United States Treasury’s Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group. He is also a former co-chair of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s AML Committee. Prior to joining Coinbase, Jeff spent over 12 years with Pershing clearinghouse and held compliance roles at companies like Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Salomon Brothers.

BitGo CEO Mike Belshe said that Horowitz’s experience will help the firm to gain greater traction into new markets as well as expand product offerings. “As we move into the new year, we will see greater regulatory clarity for digital assets both here and abroad,” Belshe said.

The new hire comes shortly after BitGo settled with the U.S. Treasury over charges that the firm facilitated users in sanctioned areas to transact using its crypto wallet services between 2015 and 2019. The news came shortly after BitGo announced that its digital custody service reached $16 billion in assets on Dec. 24.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/former-coinbase-compliance-exec-joins-bitgo-as-new-cco

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Programmer has two password guesses left before losing $266M in Bitcoin

The programmer’s story attests to the freedom — and risks — of total control over digital finances.

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The perils of inaccessible digital wealth — potentially lost forever — are being all the more keenly felt during the 2021 bull market.

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Programmer has two password guesses left before losing $266M in Bitcoin

A German-born programmer in San Francisco has now used up eight of 10 password attempts he has to unlock the hard drive containing the private keys to his Bitcoin wallet, which contains 7,002 Bitcoin (BTC). As of press time, those holdings would be worth $268 million — that is, if only they were accessible.

As a New York Times profile on Jan. 12 outlined, Stefan Thomas uses a hard drive called an IronKey, but lost the paper on which he wrote down the password for the device “years ago.” If Thomas fails to remember it, 10 failed guesses will result in the drive encrypting its contents forever. He has, so far, tried eight guesses with no luck.

“I would just lay in bed and think about it. Then I would go to the computer with some new strategy, and it wouldn’t work, and I would be desperate again.”

Nearly 20% of all existing Bitcoin — 18.5 million BTC — is thought to have been lost for good, in so-called “stranded” wallets, according to Chainalysis data. Thomas is not alone in his self-avowed desperation: a Los Angeles entrepreneur, Brad Yasar, told the Times that over the years “I would say I have spent hundreds of hours” trying to get back into inaccessible wallets.

Yasar has stored away his hard drives “in vacuum-sealed bags” so that he is no longer “reminded every day that what I have now is a fraction of what I could have that I lost.”

Neither story is uncommon: Wallet Recovery Services, a company that specializes in recovering lost digital keys, reportedly gets 70 requests each day from clients seeking help. That number is three times higher than it was before the bull market.

Thomas’s experience has apparently turned him off the concept of a technology that places the onus on individual users to take their finances into their own hands — with all the freedom, and risks, that it entails. Having originally received the 7,0002 BTC as a gift in exchange for producing a video to educate people about the currency, he’s now skeptical about leaving users with that degree of control:

“This whole idea of being your own bank — let me put it this way: Do you make your own shoes? The reason we have banks is that we don’t want to deal with all those things that banks do.”

Aside from his extraordinary losses, Thomas nonetheless held on to enough Bitcoin over the years to make a fortune — he is reportedly so wealthy that he barely knows what to do with it, to paraphrase the report. He also later joined Ripple and acquired XRP, although the company’s recent legal difficulties may now cast a shadow over the project’s future prospects.

The report notes that similar risks exist when users entrust third-party custodians with their keys — citing Mt. Gox and other industry crimes — but does include input from those who believe the trade-offs of digital currency are, at the end of the day, worth it.

An entrepreneur in Barbados, despite having lost 800 BTC in the past, claimed that “the risk of being my own bank comes with the reward of being able to freely access my money and be a citizen of the world.” His view, from a corner of the globe where financial inclusion remains a concern, provides an insight into why many individuals may continue to think likewise.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/programmer-has-2-password-guesses-left-to-avoid-losing-266m-in-bitcoin

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Survey: 25% of crypto users not securing assets as well as they think

Almost half of respondents back up their exchange login credentials either online or inconsistently.

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Although 96% of exchange users utilize some form of 2FA, and 87% of hardware wallet users perform test transactions.

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Survey: 25% of crypto users not securing <a class=assets as well as they think”>

Cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer Ngrave released the initial results of its ongoing crypto security survey on Jan. 13.

The results give a number of insights into the current state of security in the digital asset space and show that a full quarter of users perceive their current security measures to be more effective than they actually are.

The survey has so far been completed by over 1,400 crypto users from 78 countries around the world. Despite efforts to push for inclusion in the space, 90% of respondents were male and over 60% fell within the 25–45 age bracket.

Of those surveyed, 62% held at least some of their cryptocurrency on an exchange, with one in three holding over 40% of their assets on a single exchange.

The vast majority (96%) of those holding assets on exchanges use some form of two-factor authentication, or 2FA. However, one in four do not make a backup of their 2FA code.

Additionally, almost half of respondents back up their exchange login credentials either online or inconsistently. Furthermore, 44% of exchange users do not whitelist withdrawal addresses.

Two-thirds of those surveyed use a hardware wallet, with three quarters of these being USB devices. 87% of hardware wallet users perform test transactions before making large withdrawals.

However, 67% of hardware wallet users keep their backup on a paper wallet, and over half confirmed that their private keys would be compromised if someone found the backup.

Alongside its hardware wallet, Ngrave produces the Graphene, which is a method for keeping a wallet backup key engraved on a pair of steel plates, which are both required in order to recover the key.

The survey is still available for those who want to perform an audit on their own cryptocurrency security and gives actionable tips to improve safety measures employed.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/survey-25-of-crypto-users-not-securing-assets-as-well-as-they-think

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Underhyped? Bitcoin sentiment lags despite bull run

Bitcoin’s Hype-To-Activity Ratio has been below its price since 2019.

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Bitcoin hype has never been quite the same since 2019, according to this metric.

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Underhyped? Bitcoin sentiment lags despite bull run

Since its drop below $4,000 in March 2020, Bitcoin (BTC) has ridden a bullish trend all the way past its 2017 all-time high, recently hitting almost $42,000. During that time, however, Bitcoin’s Twitter activity has underperformed in comparison to its price.

Looking at information from crypto data outfit The TIE indicates that Bitcoin’s price is traveling above its Hype-To-Activity Ratio — a metric which shows tweet volume against asset trading volume — since 2019.

“Hype-To-Activity Ratio measures the number of tweets a particular coin has per each $1M in reported trading volume of that coin,” The Tie’s CEO, Joshua Frank, told Cointelegraph, as previously reported. Based on a study from The Tie, posted in August 2019, 1.02 came in as the average Hype-To-Activity Ratio score across the industry.

Bitcoin’s Twitter hype vastly overshadowed its price for most of 2018, coming down to intersect with the price for a brief period in May, 2019. Twitter hype continued falling, finding itself below price in the latter half of May, and has remained under price since then. Even at Bitcoin’s recent peak on Jan. 8, 2020, the digital asset only held a 1.24 Hype-To-Activity score — just a tad above average industry levels.

Source: The Tie

Mainstream media coverage, however, skyrocketed after October 2020. When Bitcoin’s price rises dramatically, the asset gains more mainstream attention, as seen during its 2017 rise to nearly $20,000. Bitcoin has surged in price since October, logically flagging media attention.

Source: The Tie

A number of big mainstream entities, such as MicroStrategy and Square, began announcing Bitcoin purchases in 2020, impacting the scene. “The Bitcoin rally was clearly led by institutional investors,” Frank told Cointelegraph on Monday, adding:

“As Bitcoin surpassed $20K in December, the 30-day average Tweet volume on Bitcoin was only half of 2017/2018 highs. The lack of Twitter conversations suggests that those initially buying were a small number of large investors, rather than a large number of small investors.”

Using tweets in line with market cap, NVTweet Ratio data from The Tie gives rationale for a big-player-led Bitcoin price trend narrative, according to Frank. Recent data, however, suggests increased retail participation — some of which has shown up in Twitter chatter about BTC. Record-level Bitcoin mentions on Twitter came in around the same time as Bitcoin’s recent price correction. Frank added:

“Generally speaking we have found that extremely high sentiment in conjunction with abnormally high Twitter activity tends to be a negative signal on Bitcoin price in the short to medium term. Bitcoin’s long-term sentiment (a measure of how positive conversations have been over the past 50 days vs. the previous 200) is near an all-time high.”

Bitcoin’s price recently fell approximately 28% from its high, but has recovered slightly since the drop at time of publication.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/underhyped-bitcoin-sentiment-lags-despite-bull-run

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