As with any situation, there is both good and bad to be found. Based on information released by Ledger, the following make up each category.
- Despite the breach, Ledger indicates that no client financial information was accessed.
- Client funds/holdings are unaffected
- Roughly 1 million accounts affected
- Multiple data points accessed
- Contact information (names, phone numbers, postal addresses)
- Order details
This particular breach occurred when an unknown third party utilized an Application Programming Interface (API) key, to access Ledgers services. This breach occurred on June 25th, 2020, and was discovered on July 14th, 2020.
Data Breaches and Bounty Programs
In an age where data has become one of our most valuable assets, it is not surprising that year after year companies find themselves on the wrong end of a breach. Recognizing this, it has become a regular practice in the crypto community to offer incentives (bounty programs) for hackers and programmers to find weaknesses.
In the bounty programs, companies typically recruit researchers to intentionally ‘attack’ the company’s networks and services. This is done with the purpose of discovering any weak-points and vulnerabilities before those with nefarious activity in mind can do so.
While the illegal breach took place in late-June, it wasn’t until mid-July that it was discovered by someone participating in a Ledger bounty program. As a result, without this program, the breach could have continued unnoticed, with the potential for repeated attempts in the future. In the instance discussed here today, involving Ledger, the merits of such bounty programs are proven.
As it stands, Ledger has deactivated the API key used to access information and implemented the necessary fixes to ensure that client information will not be exploited in this manner again.
Any breach of any kind is cause for concern. With this in mind, Ledger took the time to discuss this recent event, and put their clients’ minds at ease.
“Regarding your ecommerce data, no payment information, no credentials (passwords), were concerned by this data breach. It solely affected our customers’ contact details.
This data breach has no link and no impact whatsoever with our hardware wallets nor Ledger Live security and your crypto assets, which are safe and have never been in peril. You are the only one in control and able to access this information.”
Since they first launched, Ledger products have gone from supporting a select few assets to more than 1000 at the time of writing. It is expected that as this trend continues, we will see Ledger bring support for digital securities as they grow in popularity. Ledger was one of the first companies of its kind to provide wallet services for digital securities when they formed an alliance with now-defunct digital security company Neufund.
With the digital securities sector beginning to pick up, it is only a matter of time before token holders are looking for safe storage of their assets – hopefully, Ledger will be there.
Founded in 2014, Ledger maintains operations in Paris, France. Above all, the team at Ledger works to serve the blockchain industry through the development of various storage and security solutions.
CEO, Pascal Gauthier, currently oversees company operations.
Traditional Banks Ramp Up Custodial Services for Digital Assets
In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in the adoption of blockchain services, among traditional banks. First, U.S. based banks were given the green light to custody cryptocurrencies by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). Now, we learn that one of the largest banks in South Korea, KB Kookmin Bank, is already working to develop similar services.
With regard to South Korea, the plan is for KB Kookmin Bank to begin offering custodial services for digital assets. This is a group effort involving the following companies,
This collaboration is particularly noteworthy, as KB Kookmin Bank is not just any old bank. They are currently the largest bank in South Korea. Moves made by a bank of this stature are followed closely by many. Although KB Kookmin Bank and its partners may be first to the table, expect to see others take a seat in the near future.
Future Asset Expansion
While initial services will centre on the custody of cryptocurrencies, it is believed that this support will eventually grow, encompassing various types of digital assets. More specifically, it is expected that in time, these custodial services will support digital securities.
In commentary released by Hashed, this expansion of supported assets was touched upon. Hashed states that through this collaboration, participants anticipate, “…that the digital asset industry will not only involve cryptocurrencies, but also other traditional assets such as real estate, artwork, and other reified rights that will be issued and traded on blockchain platforms.”
Although cryptocurrencies stand to benefit first, the development of such custodial services has the potential to transform and usher forth new growth among the digital securities sector.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
In the weeks preceding the news surrounding KB Kookmin Bank and its forthcoming custodial service, we saw the OCC release of an interpretive letter on the subject.
In this letter, the OCC breaks down, not only what digital assets are, but how banks can support the growing use. The OCC summarized its stance, stating,
“The OCC recognizes that, as the financial markets become increasingly technological, there will likely be increasing need for banks and other service providers to leverage new technology and innovative ways to provide traditional services on behalf of customers. By providing such services, banks can continue to fulfill the financial intermediation function they have historically played in providing payment, loan and deposit services.”
“…we conclude a national bank may provide these cryptocurrency custody services on behalf of customers, including by holding the unique cryptographic keys associated with cryptocurrency. This letter also reaffirms the OCC’s position that national banks may provide permissible banking services to any lawful business they choose, including cryptocurrency businesses, so long as they effectively manage the risks and comply with applicable law.”
Which came first, the chicken? Or the egg? This old saying could easily be applied to the current world of blockchain. Are these traditional banks jumping on board the train due to the recent resurgence being seen in the sector? Or is the sector surging due to banks jumping on board. Regardless of the answer, signs of blockchain adoption within traditional industries is a definite positive.
Hopefully, this swing in sentiment among banks continues to gain momentum, as banks have not always viewed digital assets in a positive light. Only months ago, we were reporting on difficulties being faced by German companies, as they were refused services by traditional banks.
KB Kookmin Bank
Founded in 2000, KB Kookmin Bank maintains operations in Seoul, South Korea. Since launch, KB Kookmin Bank has grown to employ over 25,000, while providing customers on a global scale with access to commercial banking services.
CEO, Hur Yin, currently oversees company operations.
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
The OCC is a U.S. based regulatory body, tasked with supervising national banks. This supervision is undertaken with the goal of ensuring fair and transparent financial services to all customers.
Acting Comptroller, Brian P. Brooks, currently oversees operations at the OCC.
What is Cryptocurrency Trading?
Ever since 2017, cryptocurrency trading has been an area of interest for new and old investors alike. Notably, cryptocurrency trading involves speculating on future price movements within the market. In its simplest form, trading requires the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies in a manner that produces profit. In order to accomplish this task, you need to have a firm grasp on what cryptocurrencies are and what affects their market movements.
Cryptocurrencies are decentralized digital assets that rely on a network of computers to validate their authenticity and the overall state of the network. Unlike fiat currencies such as the dollar, there is no government or central authority backing these coins. Instead, cryptocurrencies rely on mathematical protocols to reduce human intervention and provide the world with a truly unique financial instrument.
Importantly, cryptocurrencies exist only as a shared digital record of ownership. This means you can’t handle or even touch a cryptocurrency. Instead, these assets exist only in the digital realm. Consequently, no crypto transaction is complete until it is verified by the network nodes (miners) and added to the blockchain.
Different Blockchain Assets Require Different Approaches
Interestingly, there are multiple different types of blockchain assets one can trade today. Each asset has its own regulatory and trading requirements that you must adhere to. The three main types of blockchain assets in the market today are cryptocurrencies, utility, and security tokens.
Luckily, buying and selling cryptocurrencies has never been easier. Today, there is a multitude of exchanges in the market at your disposal. Each of these exchanges provides a different UX and features. As such, it’s recommended that you take a look at a few exchanges before you make your final decision. Also, savvy investors will also trade between exchanges when there is an opportunity to earn revenue on the spread of a certain asset.
It’s recommended that you stick with reputable exchanges. The reasons for this are simple, every couple of months some exchange experiences a hack that drains the platform of its holdings. When this occurs, you can lose your cryptocurrency if the exchange doesn’t have the ability to refund your losses. A perfect example of this scenario playing out occurred during the now infamous Mt.Gox hack where investors lost millions. Here are some of the most recognizable exchanges to consider:
The Binance exchange entered the market in 2017 with the goal to simplify the trading process for normal investors. The firm’s founder, Changpeng Zhao was already well known in the FinTech sector as the premier developer of high-frequency trading software. This technological know-how helped Binance create a unique UX and cement its position as an industry leader.
This simplicity helped the exchange grow. By 2018, Binance was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world in terms of trading volume. Today, the exchange still dominates the sector. Binance has since opened multiple platforms including Binance US, Binance DEX, Binance KR, and Binance Australia, to name a few.
The Singapore-based crypto exchange KuCoin was one of the first platforms to enter the market. Reports confirmed that developers began market research for this exchange as early as 2011. In 2013 KuCoin entered the crypto market as a dominant player.
Today the platform is known for its state of the art technology. The exchange features a combination of reliable and extended technical architecture. In this way, developers have been able to streamline the standard trading operations encountered by users.
The Poloniex exchange entered the market in 2014 with the aim to provide US clientele safe access to digital assets. Currently, the firm has a headquarters located in the Greater Philadelphia Area of the Southern US. The founder of the exchange, Tristan D’Agosta, is known for living a private lifestyle, despite making Fortune magazine’s 40 under 40 list.
Poloniex is known for its accessibility and overall market positioning. Today the platform offers over 100 BTC trading pairs. Additionally, traders are privy to advanced charts and data analysis tools to help further their investment strategies. Notably, the exchange charges a 0.2% transaction fee on all trades.
Bittrex is another market leader to consider. This firm has been in operation since 2016. The developers behind this platform wanted to create an institutional brokerage firm that could help bridge the gap between the traditional financial sector and the crypto markets.
Bittrex is well known for its industry-best security practices. Currently, the platform is one of America’s leading blockchain technology providers. As such, it enjoys a reputation as one of the most reliable exchanges in the world.
Let the Cryptocurrency Trading Begin
Once you have chosen an exchange that is known for its quality and security, you are ready to begin trading. Keenly, the setup process is simple. You just need to register with your new platform and fund your online wallet. Funding your wallet can vary in the processes required and depending on if you want to fund it with fiat currency or using other cryptocurrencies.
Notably, there is a tiny learning curve that you must overcome when switching between platforms. Each exchange utilizes a slightly different approach and interface. Additionally, there are variances in transaction times, costs, and daily limits to consider.
You will also need to take into account your location. Certain exchanges do not permit users from specific countries to participate in their platform. For example, you can only trade on exchanges that require KYC and AML regulations if you live in the US.
Whenever you are investing directly in cryptocurrencies, you purchase the coins themselves. This strategy means that you will hold the cryptocurrency you own and not just some form of ownership rights. It also means that you must pay the full value of the asset to open a position. Additionally, you will be responsible for finding a reliable wallet to store your holdings.
What Moves Cryptomarkets
Cryptocurrency trading requires you to make educated guesses as to market movements in the future. While no one can predict these movements with 100% accuracy, there are still some techniques used by professionals to mitigate risks while trading.
The first thing you need to understand is what actually effects market movements in the sector. Unlike stocks, cryptocurrencies are uncoupled from many of the economic and political concerns that affect traditional markets. In most instances, the cryptocurrency market moves according to supply and demand. Here are some important factors to consider:
The supply of a particular cryptocurrency refers to the total number of coins the firm will issue over the entire lifespan of the project. It also references the time frame and structure that these coins will be introduced to the market. Importantly, you also need to take into consideration the number of coins destroyed or lost as well.
The next factor you need to examine is the total market capitalization of the project you are interested in. The market cap is the total value of all the coins in existence for a certain project. Understanding the growth and retractions of a tokens market cap is critical to making informed price speculations.
Importantly, not all factors that affect the market’s movements are technical in nature. One of the most influential market movers in the sector is the media. You must pay close attention to how the media portrays cryptocurrencies. You will want to be aware of any potential developments that could boost or hinder large scale adoption in the sector.
Specifically, regulatory news can play a huge role in the market capitalization of a cryptocurrency. For example, the market took a big hit when China began a large scale cryptocurrency crackdown at the end of 2017. Considering the sheer size of the Chinese market, investors could easily tell that this decision would negatively affect the market in some way.
The next point to consider in your investment strategy is how well the coin in question is able to integrate into the current financial system. Tokens that feature easier integration are more likely to experience rapid growth in the market. This growth can be substantial when a coin is introduced to an already existing network.
A perfect example of integration providing a huge potential for upside growth can be found in Facebook’s Libra token. While this token is still under development and undergoing regulatory approval, it has more upside potential than most new projects in the sector. The reason for this inherent value stems from the fact that the Facebook network encompasses billions of international users.
Major events within the sector can provide a boost to the value of your investment in different ways. One such event, known as the halving recently took place within the Bitcoin ecosystem. This event occurs roughly every four years when mining rewards are halved. Historically, these events are followed by rising market values.
Cryptocurrency Trading Terminology
Like any profession, trading cryptocurrencies requires you to learn some new terminology. Luckily, this terminology is standard across the trading industry. Consequently, you will also gain valuable insight into trading other assets such as stocks and commodities.
The spread is the price difference at which you buy or sell your cryptocurrency. As such, spreads are variable depending on the assets, time of the trade, and the time it takes to complete your transaction.
When discussing trading assets, you may encounter the term lots. In this instance, lots is simply the term used to describe batches of cryptocurrencies used to standardize the size of trades. In most scenarios, a lot can consist of a single coin. These small lots are popular in the crypto space because they help to mitigate risk to volatility.
Cryptocurrency futures are agreements to purchase or sell crypto at a set price. Notably, these financial instruments allow investors to earn profits from cryptocurrencies without the need to actually own the assets directly. Nowadays, futures are used by investors to maximize profits. Miners also use futures to lock in profits against drops in value.
One of the advantages of trading futures is the ability to utilize leverage. Leveraged trading is an advanced investment strategy. It requires an investor to take a short term loan to fulfill their investment. In this way, investors can gain access to larger investment opportunities without the need to fully pay for the assets upfront. Leveraged traders only need to pay a small deposit when they open their position. This deposit is also called the margin.
The margin is the initial deposit you put up to open and maintain a leveraged position. Keenly, you need to be aware that margin requirements will change from broker to broker. Also, the size of your trade will play a part in how large of a margin is required.
Pips are units used to measure movement in the price of a cryptocurrency. The Pip can change depending on the platform and the pairing used. For example, in the US you can say that a coin raised one Pip in value if its market value went up one dollar. The key point here is that pips refer to a one-digit movement in the price at a specific level.
Another common phrase that you will encounter if you trade cryptocurrencies in the US is KYC/AML. Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering Laws (AML) refers to a legal framework that requires exchanges to verify the identity of users. All regulated exchanges in the US and EU require AML and KYC.
Trading cryptocurrencies can be a great way for you to earn some extra Satoshis and improve your understanding of the market. Remember, the difference between a successful investor and one that fails usually comes down to the level of research and their ability to stick to their investment strategy. Savvy investors know that the secret is to stay vigilant in your market assessments and you are sure to see some gains.
Ledger Nano X Review – A Secure Hardware Wallet for Advanced HODLs
Ledger has an impeccable reputation when it comes to bitcoin hardware wallets. They have two products and the Ledger Nano X is the more advanced of the two which is perfect for the advanced cryptocurrency investor who is looking at protecting their digital assets. When it comes to quality, functionality and security this is comparable to Trezor’s Model T but with a more slick design.
In this review we will analyze the design, functionality, and most importantly the security.
What is the Ledger Nano X?
The Ledger Nano X is a premium version of the Ledger Nano S. This device is extremely compact and it can easily fit in your pocket which makes it perfect for traveling.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the device has an inscription which reads ‘vires in numeris’, this is Latin for ‘strength in numbers’. This is in reference to the cryptographic security contained in the device.
It has multiple security features and it is intuitive to use.
This device is an advanced option to keep security accessible for anyone who has cryptocurrency.
Ledger Nano X: First Impression
Nano X comes in a simple package and the box contains the device itself, 1 USB cable, one keychain and a key ring, and multiple recovery sheets for writing down the seed phrase.
The advantage of this device is how it does not stand out, from a distance most people would assume it is a simple USB stick.
Operating the Ledger Nano X
Whether you are an advanced digital assets holder, or a novice you do not need to be worried. The instructions that are provided in the package are simple and guide you on how you can set-up the Ledger Nano X.
What you should always remember is to write down the recovery seed on the provided recovery sheet and save it in a safe place. I would recommend that wherever you save it, that you choose to save two backups of the recovery seed. I personally choose to backup both in electronic and paper form. This means you will need to scan the recovery sheet and save it in a secret folder on your computer and make sure that you do not name it with anything that is associated with bitcoin, Ledger or cryptocurrency. For those who are unaware, the recovery seed is what you need to access your funds in the scenario where the device is either damaged or lost.
Again, the entire process is simple, you connect the Nano X to your computer, access the Ledger website, and then install Ledger Live. From there you click on ‘Initialize a new Ledger device’, and you are on your way.
Ledger Nano X: Security Features
Ledger takes security seriously. They offer the CC EAL5+ Security. What this means:
CC: Stands for common criteria for Information Technology Security Evaluation. This is based on an international standard (ISO/IEC 15408) for computer security certification. When it comes to a particular product, it must meet the base standards of the common criteria.
EAL: The Evaluation Assurance Level is a category ranking assigned to an IT product or system, after a Common Criteria security evaluation. The five levels of EAL are:
- EAL1 — functionally tested
- EAL2 — structurally tested
- EAL3 — methodically tested and checked
- EAL4 — methodically designed, tested and reviewed
- EAL5 — semi-formally designed and tested
Ledger ensures that all of their hardware wallets including the Nano X are fully-certified on the market certified by ANSSI, the French cybersecurity agency.
Another security element is the device does not arrive with pre-installed software– that’s installed during the set-up process. It is PIN-protected and allows you to label your device and customize the home screen to make it unique to you. You will install Ledger Live software during the sign-up process.
The Ledger Nano X is a great way to protect your cryptocurrency and offers all of the advanced security solutions that you would find with its director competitor the Trezor Model T. The safety of this device and the fact that it resembles a simple USB stick makes this this device a popular favorite for members of the cryptocurrency community.