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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

Cointelegraph

Nornickel to use blockchain for its new ETCs on Deutsche Börse and LSE

Nornickel’s Global Palladium Fund has launched exchange-traded commodities for metals on the Deutsche Börse, which are custodied by TokenTrust AG and also make use of its distributed ledger platform, Atomyze.

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A palladium fund founded by Norilsk Nickel will launch exchange-traded commodities for metals custodied using blockchain at the Deutsche Börse and London Stock Exchange.

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Nornickel to use blockchain for its new ETCs on Deutsche Börse and LSE

The world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel, Norilsk Nickel, is pressing ahead with its digital technologies strategy. As of Jan. 18, Nornickel’s Global Palladium Fund has launched exchange-traded commodities, or ETCs, for metals on the Deutsche Börse, which are custodied by TokenTrust AG and also make use of its distributed ledger platform, Atomyze.

Nornickel’s Global Palladium Fund intends to launch the ETCs on the London Stock Exchange “within a few days.” An ETC, which is an instrument that is tradable like a stock or share, offers traders and investors exposure to an underlying commodity — in this case, metals. Nornickel’s fund will contribute palladium, platinum, gold and silver to the newly-launched ETC instrument and will collaborate with the Swiss-based company TokenTrust AG on metals custody arrangements and a tokenization strategy.

TokenTrust provides the fund with a distributed ledger technology-based platform called Atomyze, built on Hyperledger Fabric that will be used to immutably record metals information and tokenize a part of the mining group’s contractual volumes.

The ETC instruments will be offered at the LME — London Metals Exchange — spot price and will provide additional guarantees about the provenance of the underlying commodities due to the usage of distributed ledger technology for monitoring and verifying standards. The CEO of Nornickel’s Global Palladium Fund, Alexander Stoyanov, said:

“Our way of digitalization of commodities allows one to capture and trace the source of underlying metals and the way they were produced, coupled with ESG credentials. Nornickel, whose products we carry, sets a new standard for responsible mining by fully endorsing the UN2030 charter and the existing LBMA source of metal standards. This gives our ETC platform a […] clear differentiator.”

As reported, Nornickel has recently joined an initiative called the Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network, which was set up to improve the transparency, traceability and verification of sustainable practices in the global minerals and metals industries. The network is built on the IBM Blockchain platform, similarly powered by Hyperledger Fabric.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/nornickel-to-use-blockchain-for-its-new-etcs-on-deutsche-boerse-and-lse

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Institutional investors won’t take Bitcoin mainstream — You will

While asset appreciation is exciting for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, there’s still plenty of real-world use for Bitcoin in everyday transactions.

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Similar to 2017 and the popular cryptocurrency bull run, last year created a fresh buzz in the world of crypto and Bitcoin (BTC) particularly. From setting new all-time highs to making various news rounds and capturing mainstream finance’s attention, the pandemic year was exciting for cryptocurrency enthusiasts and believers.

Related: Did Bitcoin prove itself to be a reliable store of value in 2020? Experts answer

One conversation that perhaps stands out amid the buzz is institutional investors’ increasing activity in crypto. Companies, financial advisers and institutions that mocked Bitcoin five years ago, or during the Silk Road saga, are now at the forefront of crypto investments. Notable big guns in finance such as JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs have reneged on their previous stances and are now willing to make a bet on the future of digital currencies. With a market capitalization of over $600 billion, Bitcoin is quickly rising ahead of gold as a popular choice of hedge over inflation.

Remember, Bitcoin was not just another asset proposed as a hedge against inflation in Satoshi’s original Bitcoins white paper. However, Bitcoin’s whole idea stemmed from the failed financial institutions and third parties and a possible solution that would be effective in everyday life.

Of course, with every institutional investor and the big guns of finance swinging into Bitcoin investment, Bitcoin’s popularization as an asset has become inevitable. However, here are some of the ideal, real-world applications that could challenge failing fiat currencies and propel Bitcoin into the mainstream.

Online purchases

In the past, Bitcoin was mostly perceived as a means to bypass the government and engage in illegal activities. However, crypto adoption has continued to soar tremendously, and many more companies are now open to accepting Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrencies as payment for goods or services.

In 2014, using BitPay as its payment processor, Microsoft became one of the first tech companies to accept Bitcoin to purchase digital goods. In October 2020, the popular American payments company PayPal announced that it would enable cryptocurrency as a funding source for purchases in 2021. With different fiat payment merchants now recognizing Bitcoin, there’s an increasing likelihood that Bitcoin will be used by everyone soon enough in every corner of the world.

Related: Will PayPal’s crypto integration bring crypto to the masses? Experts answer

Cross-border transactions and travel

If there’s any lesson learned from last year and throughout the ravaging global pandemic, it is the ever-increasing need for digitization. While there are several ways to send and receive money globally, cryptocurrencies are quickly becoming a preferred option. Besides the fact that cryptocurrency is a global currency, factors including speed, convenience and lower transaction fees are pushing Bitcoin as the popular option for cross-border transactions.

Related: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the crypto space? Experts answer

Many countries that once outlawed Bitcoin are now open to it, and the mainstream media has been more than receptive in the past couple of months. Some companies already provide travel packages that allow tourists and travelers to book flights, hotels and transportation using cryptocurrency. With time, the foreign exchange market’s many disadvantages may popularize traveling with crypto ahead of local or fiat currencies.

Bitcoin ATMs

In all fairness, the goal has never been to phase out local currencies but to create a world where Bitcoin is as relevant as any fiat currency. Bitcoin ATMs are, without a doubt, a huge part of this goal. They essentially allow anyone to purchase Bitcoin with a credit card; with some Bitcoin ATMs, you can also sell Bitcoin for cash.

The number of Bitcoin ATMs worldwide is more than 13,000 in 71 countries. While there’s a long way to go with these ATMs, there has been an increasing trend every year with an average of one ATM now being added every hour. Without a doubt, Bitcoin ATMs are a big part of the crypto revolution, and they’re only going to get better in operation.

Conclusion

While cryptocurrencies are quickly becoming part of our digitized world, the underlying blockchain technology has also played a crucial role in revolutionizing many industries. Supply chains, healthcare, and the food and auto industries have benefitted immensely from this revolution over the past 10 years.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, and readers should conduct their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Andrey Sergeenkov is an independent researcher, analyst and writer in the cryptocurrency niche. As a firm supporter of blockchain technology and a decentralized world, he believes that the world craves such decentralization in government, society and businesses.

Of course, with every institutional investor and the big guns of finance swinging into Bitcoin investment, Bitcoin’s popularization as an asset has become inevitable. However, here are some of the ideal, real-world applications that could challenge failing fiat currencies and propel Bitcoin into the mainstream.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/institutional-investors-won-t-take-bitcoin-mainstream-you-will

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China turns up pace on CBDC release, tests infrastructure prior to adoption

The yuan is not seen as a major currency. Could digitizing it change that? China is breaking new ground in the Shenzhen region and beyond.

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The COVID-19 crisis has done little to dampen China’s interest in becoming the first major economy to distribute a central bank digital currency. Quite the contrary, its digital currency/electronic payment project appears to be picking up speed.

In the Shenzhen region, for example, 100,000 local citizens this month received for free a total of $31 million digital yuan via lottery, and now residents can use ATMs to convert digital yuan to cash on a test basis.

Meanwhile, the Postal Savings Bank of China has reportedly developed physical wallet cards on which to store digital yuan, something useful for the elderly who aren’t always comfortable with electronic currency. The government, which seems to be covering all eventualities, recently enlisted payment-platform Alipay in the construction of digital yuan systems in the Shanghai area as well.

Why all the rush?

Kevin Desouza, professor of business, technology and strategy at Queensland University of Technology, told Cointelegraph: “China is accelerating its pace of development of its CBDC. Simply put, they see this as a critical competitive advantage in the digital economy.” Given the nature of China’s markets and governance and its determination to gain a “first-mover” advantage in the CBDC race, “we can expect China to triple down on this effort going forward.”

Eswar Prasad, a professor of economics at Cornell University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Cointelegraph: “China has made significant progress in establishing and refining the design and conceptual frameworks for its CBDC” and has brought “the shift from physical to digital versions of central bank retail money that much closer to reality.”

When fully rolled out, the digital yuan will be used as an M0 currency — i.e., as cash in circulation like coins and banknotes, according to an official of the Peoples Bank of China. The preparation has been extensive, with 2020 pilot tests in four regions — Shenzhen, Suzhou, Xiong’an and Chengdu, plus the Winter Olympics scene — while the 2021 agenda calls for tests in five regions — Shanghai, Hainan, Changsha, Qingdao, Dalian and Xi’an. There has been an emphasis on usability in these test areas, according to the Beijing Review.

A key phrase from the report stated that “both mobile phones were offline.” China’s digital yuan will not require an internet connection, something viewed as critical in a land where many remote areas still have no or spotty internet access.

Challenges like interoperability and privacy remain

China has not solved all the problems attached to a CBDC, though. “There are still important issues to be tackled in terms of scalability, interoperability and transactional privacy for users of the DC/EP,” as Prasad told Cointelegraph.

Yu Xiong, international associate dean at Surrey University and chair of business analytics at Surrey Business School, told Cointelegraph: “There will still be some technical issues remaining before full rollout, however, the main issues have already been addressed in the test period.” The matter of usability has been largely settled.

Chinese consumers are flexible when it comes to applying new payment methods, and the digital yuan wallet is expected to be similar to those already being widely used in China on non-bank payment platforms like Alipay or WeChat Pay, explained Xiong. Users will download digital yuan wallets to their smartphones where the digital currency can be stored. “All the major online trade and communication platforms will follow, so the infrastructure will not be an issue,” he added.

Crucially, a user won’t have to open a bank account to get started — just provide a unique form of identification, like a driver’s license or a cell phone number. A digital yuan would be an event of some social importance for China, suggested Xiong, because it could bring many poor people into the financial system and alleviate poverty.

Monetary surveillance

Elsewhere, China is already mostly cashless, so a digital yuan isn’t going to bring dramatic changes to the retail sector. But as for the reasons beyond social equity for why China is so committed to a digital yuan, Desouza told Cointelegraph:

“The reason for China’s investment in this is to increase the credibility and universality of their currency. Today, the yuan is not seen as a major currency. However, in the future, they see the CBDC taking a leadership position in the digital currency market.”

There’s a practical reason, too. Desouza suggested that a CBDC would give the central bank an enhanced ability to surveil and control the flow of money between the citizens. Indeed, a digital yuan appears to be a double-edged sword. Enabling the government to track the money flow might be useful for clamping down on corruption, as Xiong noted, and would also “help the government to monitor the finance system and reduce the chance of a financial crisis.”

A digital yuan could reduce certain investment risks, for instance, when the government continued to build mammoth residential complexes in so-called “ghost” cities — i.e., under-occupied developments.

But perhaps these advantages come at the price of sacrificing privacy and even some basic freedoms. Political critics or dissenters could more easily be denied access to the finance system if all money flows can be tracked — as they could with a CBDC.

During recent protests in Hong Kong, demonstrators waited in long lines to purchase subway tickets with cash — fearing that, otherwise, the authorities might trace them to the demonstration site and take punitive action, Marta Belcher, a Ropes & Gray attorney, told Fortune magazine, adding: “A cashless society is a surveillance society.”

Sidharth Sogani, CEO of crypto and blockchain research firm Crebaco, even sees a Bitcoin (BTC) aspect in China’s drive toward a digital yuan. He believes that China has not taken to decentralized crypto, however, the software, hardware and mining industries were allowed to grow. “Currently, a majority of Bitcoin is mined in China — so I see an ulterior motive behind being aggressive with their CBDC. Maybe it would enable China to trade BTC more efficiently,” he told Cointelegraph.

Can it be replicated elsewhere?

At this point, the PBoC has accumulated heaps of data about how consumers would actually use a digital currency. The central bank provided employees in a Shanghai hospital with the aforementioned plastic cards holding digital yuan to order meals in the staff restaurant, for example; and at the start of January, Alipay was testing the digital yuan in a Shanghai shopping center, placing signs in beverage shops where consumers could employ the usual Alipay scan code function — only here selecting a yuan pay option. Will other countries now draw on China’s experience as they build their CBDCs?

A DC/EP-type project could be reproduced elsewhere, said Xiong, but it would take time to gain acceptance, as with mobile payments. China can adapt to the new payment method quickly because its banks and e-commerce platforms can be easily synchronized. As Xiong outlined for Cointelegraph:

“But most of the Western countries could not enforce a new policy/technology smoothly. So, the DC/EP model will be carried out first in China, and other countries will have to gradually grow the users and infrastructure, which will take time.”Is the U.S. dithering?

Does it really matter if China comes to market first among large economies with a digital currency? The Bahamas, a small West Indies nation, launched the first CBDC available to all residents in October — so China won’t be the first country overall. “In CBDCs, it will have the first-mover advantage,” said Sogani. “If a U.S. [digital] dollar comes after two years, they may lose the market.”

Others aren’t so sure. “It will hardly put a dent in the dollar’s status as the dominant global reserve currency,” Prasad told Cointelegraph. “The dollar’s strengths lie not just in the depth and liquidity of U.S. financial markets but also the institutional framework that underpins the currency’s status as a safe haven.”

Neha Narula, director of the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT Media Lab, noted in November: “They will be able to see all of the payments that people are making and collect information about all of those payments. That is — [it] might make sense in China. But I don’t think that makes sense in the United States… And we have to think about how to architect the system so that isn’t the case.”

In sum, even if China is already a mostly-cashless society, especially in its cities, it continues to methodically roll out a central bank digital currency on a scale not previously seen, both for internal reasons — like broader social equity and the ability to exert more financial and political control — but also because it realizes, arguably, that global leadership entails having a world-class currency and the DC/EP project provides the fastest way to get there.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/china-turns-up-pace-on-cbdc-release-tests-infrastructure-prior-to-adoption

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