Kraken CEO Underwent Surgery, Bitcoin Fees Skyrocket + More News

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Crypto Briefs is your daily, bite-sized digest of cryptocurrency and blockchain-related news – investigating the stories flying under the radar of today’s crypto news.

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Exchanges news

  • Jesse Powell, CEO of major crypto exchange Kraken, has revealed to the crypto community via a tweet that he had to undergo a neck surgery due to a disc/nerve issue. He is currently recovering and says he’ll write more on the situation in the future.

  • Three of Japan’s biggest crypto exchanges have won official recognition as financial instruments business operators, under the terms of the recently amended Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. Per official announcements from Rakuten Wallet, as well as GMO Coin and DMM Bitcoin (as reported by Next Money), all three are now officially clear to provide leveraged and derivative cryptocurrency trading-related services to Japanese customers.
  • Owners of cryptocurrencies held on the former server of crypto exchange, can contact the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to claim their funds, according to the warrant dated April 15, 2020. CoinGather allegedly committed an exit scam in November 2017 and was seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in March 2018.

Adoption news

  • Bitcoin (BTC) average transaction fees went up 343% at the end of April. According to BitInfoCharts, on April 28, it jumped from USD 0.664 to USD 2.944 on April 30. It dropped to USD 1.831 since, still being 176% higher than five days ago.
  • Ethereum holds 63% of total daily activity and 99% of the total transaction volume in the high-risk dapp (decentralized app) category in the first quarter of 2020, says dapp data aggregator and analysis firm DappRadar. Per their report, year-over year, high-risk category volume on Ethereum grew by 2,852.75% from USD 0.85 million to USD 25 million, and by 948.37% in regards to average daily active wallets. In April, HEX generated USD 15 million, representing 63% of the total Ethereum high-risk volume in Q1. Lastly, 14% of 724 high-risk dapps listed on DappRadar show almost zero daily activity within the last 7 days.
  • A leading Mexican economics expert has warned locked-down citizens to stay away from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Per Heraldo, Alberto Aldape Barrios, the director of the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas economic think tank stated that only people with advanced economics and financial expertise should dabble in crypto, and warned that inexperienced cryptocurrency traders could lose “everything they have within the space of a single day.”

Security news

  • Analysts in South Korea say that the notorious North Korean hacking group Larazus is now using “fake blockchain software” to distribute malware and ransomware. Per South Korean media outlet E Daily, cybersecurity analysts say that trial versions of legitimate-looking blockchain apps are being sent to unsuspecting companies, and words like “coronavirus” and “protective facemasks” are other new keywords for recent Lazarus-masterminded attacks.

Regulation news

  • Crypto exchanges in India have asked the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for a clarification regarding their status in the country, given that lenders still deny them banking services due to a lack of clarity from the regulator, reports The Economic Times. They also ask the bank to determine the category in which they belong (commodity, currency, goods or a service), as this will affect how they will be taxed domestically. This comes after India’s Supreme Court overturned the crypto ban in the country in early March.

DeFi news

  • Maker (MKR) holders have decided on May 3 through an Executive Vote to accept WBTC (wrapped Bitcoin) as the fourth collateral asset in the Maker Protocol. Per Maker’s blog post, WBTC will help bring greater liquidity to the Ethereum and decentralized finance (DeFi) ecosystems, as well as to decentralized exchanges (DEXs), and it can used in addition to ETH, BAT, and USDC to open Maker Vaults in order to generate Dai.

Crime news

  • The hunt for the private keys of the Telegram Nth Room’s chief suspect’s crypto wallets is continuing, reports the Kookmin Ilbo. The sexual exploitation and rape video sharing ring is thought to have accrued millions of dollars’ worth of crypto, but police have been stumped by the chief suspect Cho Joo-bin’s refusal to cooperate with investigators. Police now have access to Cho’s mobile phone and hope that a search of its contents will provide clues.
  • A Russian man’s USD 7,800 crypto mining rigs have been stolen in what appears to have been an elaborate sting. Per media outlet 73Online, police say that the man, in Ulyanovsk (around 700km to the east of Moscow), had posted an advertisement in December 2019 looking for buyers for his equipment. A man contacted the rig owner and arranged to meet the latter to discuss the sale. But police say that when the man was at the agreed venue, thieves broke into his property and stole the mining rigs.