EXMO Exchange Employee Kidnapped in Kiev, Ukraine

A leading crypto-analyst at EXMO, an exchange based in the UK, has been kidnapped in Ukraine. According to a report in the Telegraph, Pavel Lerner was taken from outside his office in a district of Kiev called Obolon.

The abduction took place on December 26. Reports from local media claim Lerner was dragged into a black Mercedes-Benz as he was leaving work. Exactly who is behind the incident is currently unknown. All the perpetrators concealed their identities using balaclavas.

Curiously, after the news broke about Lerner’s kidnapping, the EXMO exchange experienced a DDOS attack. This temporarily affected trading. However, normal service has since resumed.

Despite the gravity of the incidents affecting the company, a statement from them to RT claimed that the kidnapping would not affect the operation of the exchange and that users needn’t fear the loss of funds from their accounts. It read:

“We are doing everything possible to speed up the search of Pavel Lerner… Any information regarding his whereabouts is very much appreciated. Despite the situation, the exchange is working as usual. We also want to stress that nature of Pavel’s job at EXMO doesn’t assume access either to storages or any personal data of users. All users funds are absolutely safe.”

The kidnapping is the latest in a spate of criminal acts against cryptocurrency exchanges. They’ve become lucrative targets with the prices of digital assets ever-increasing throughout 2017. Being cryptographically-secured, and decentralised, cryptocurrencies themselves, when stored correctly, don’t present many opportunities for cybercriminals. However, vast stores of digital assets, such as those kept by exchanges, provide a suitable honeypot to direct criminal operations toward. This year, several exchanges and centralised cryptocurrency services have had their security comprised.

YouBit fell to cybercriminals twice in 2017 causing them to declare bankruptcy, and Slovenia-based cloud mining firm NiceHash were also victims of similar attacks. Meanwhile, various ICOs have been targeted by cybercriminals, as well as the Ethereum wallet platform Parity. The trend looks set to continue into 2018 as interest in cryptocurrencies increases.

Such examples are causing companies that are new to the space to consider security more than ever. Unnamed sources associated with Goldman Sachs (rumoured to be in the process of opening a trading desk by mid-2018) have acknowledged the importance of keeping their platforms safe from the threat of cyber attacks. The security of client funds represents one of the largest obstacles for them and ensuring they are airtight before they launch is likely behind the delayed the launch of the Goldman trading desk until June of next year.

UPDATE

In the latest statement, EXMO officials reiterated the earlier message and requested the public to share any useful information. The statement reads,

“We are doing everything possible to speed up the search of Pavel Lerner. Any information regarding his whereabouts is very much appreciated. We are kindly asking you to email to [email protected] in case you are aware of any facts that might help the investigation. Despite the situation, the exchange is working as usual. We also want to stress that nature of Pavel’s job at EXMO doesn’t assume access either to storages or any personal data of users. All users funds are absolutely safe.” 

The article originally labeled Pavel Lerner as the Chief Technological Officer at EXMO. However, the company has since then clarified that Lerner was the platform's leading analyst and not the CTO or CEO as few publications have reported.
Image: Shutterstock

 


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So we are closing on the end of the European session in the bitcoin price space and things have been pretty volatility during the day. We said this morning that we’d love to see some degree of upside action as the session matured but that – at the same time – this was far from guaranteed based on the low volume that’s currently skewing the price action in the markets (because of the festive period and the reduction in market participants this causes).

As it turns out, we didn’t get the upside run we were looking for but we did get the next best thing – plenty of volatility that we can use as entry and exit points as and when it came round.

So, this evening, we’re going to echo this sentiment – if we get some strength, it’s a bonus, if we don’t, we’ll be happy so long as we get some volatility.

So, with all this said, let’s get some levels in place that we can try and use to push forward into the session this evening. As ever, take a quick look at the chart below before we get started so as to get an idea where things stand. The chart is a one minute candlestick chart and it’s got our primary range overlaid in green.

As the chart shows, then, the range we are looking at for the session today comes in as defined by support to the downside at 13835 and resistance to the upside at 14129.

Standard breakout rules apply, meaning we will look to get in long on a close above resistance towards an immediate upside target of 14200. Conversely, id we see price take a dip and close below support, we’ll be in short towards a downside target of 13770.

Let’s see what happens.

Charts courtesy of Trading View

DASH/USD

DASH continues to be volatile against the US dollar, as we have slammed into the $1000 handle. Currently, we are in very thin markets, as we are between 2 major holidays. Because of this, I think we are more apt to continue the overall consolidation. That means we could very easily bounce towards the $1200 level. However, if we were to break down below the $900 level that would be cause for concern.

 

LTC/USD

Litecoin had a slightly negative session on Thursday, but we have enough support just below to keep me somewhat optimistic. I think we could drift towards the $275 level without much effort, as the $225 level underneath offer significant support. With low-volume, I would not expect much of the next couple of sessions, but certainly it looks as if we could settle into a nice tight range between $200 on the very bottom, and $300 and the very top.

Thanks for watching, I’ll be back next time.

ETH/USD

Ethereum fell initially during the trading session on Thursday, reaching towards the $675 level before bouncing. It looks as if we are ready to rally though, and I think the market is probably going to go looking towards the $770 level above. A break above the $775 level opens the door to $800 next. If we do fall from here, I expect to see massive support at the $600 handle.

 

ETH/BTC

Ethereum continues to fight against Bitcoin which of course has been a bit soft. I think we are currently testing a range, meaning we could rise to the 0.053 level, but anything beyond that is probably expecting a bit too much during the holiday season. Look at the 0.045 level as massive support.

Thanks for watching, I’ll be back tomorrow.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin fell slightly against the US dollar initially on Thursday, testing the $13,500 level. We are currently in the middle of consolidation, with $13,000 on the bottom being support, and the $16,000 level above is significant resistance. I believe that the market should continue to be very choppy and sideways, as volume is not a major part of the market between holidays.

 

BTC/JPY

The Bitcoin market was also soft against the Japanese yen, reaching down towards the ¥1.6 million level. The 1.9 million level above is significantly resistant, extending to the ¥2 million level. If we can break above the ¥2 million level, the market should then continue to go much higher. If we break down below the ¥1.5 million level, that would be a very negative sign.

Thanks for watching, I’ll be back tomorrow.

Legendary Swiss ski resort St. Moritz has announced today that they will begin accepting Bitcoin payments for lift passes. The 2017/18 season that has just begun will be the first in which the payment method is trialled.

According to Swiss information port SwissInfo, the director of the ski lift company at the resort, Markus Meili claimed that he wasn’t concerned about Bitcoin’s volatile price. In a subtle jive against the European single currency which the resort also accepts, he explained their position to local newspaper Südostschweiz:

“We also have to accept the euro, regardless of the exchange rate… We have to keep up with the times, especially when it comes to digitilisation.”

The news that skiers and snowboarders will be able to use cryptocurrencies to buy their lift passes in St. Moritz is likely in response to the sudden influx of cryptocurrency investors that will be visiting the resort this January. Whilst it’s the Crypto Finance Conference that has drawn them to the mountain town rather than its world class alpine sports facilities, it’d be rude not to take in a few runs on some of the planet’s most famous slopes – particularly when the option to pay in cryptocurrency is presented.

The conference will draw investors from all corners of the globe for a three day meet up of talks and presentations. Topics on the agenda include regulation, societal implications of cryptocurrencies, and investment opportunities. Speakers have been selected from a vast spread of industry professionals and thought leaders. The likes of Jon Matonis of the Bitcoin Foundation, and Bobby Lee of BTCC will be amongst those presenting to the audience of investors interested in the field of Blockchain technology.

There will also be workshops dedicated to understanding more technical aspects of the cryptocurrency space. These will include topics on forks, ICOs, and general understanding of blockchain technology.

Despite being located in the global cryptocurrency hub that is Switzerland, St. Moritz isn’t the first ski resort on Earth to begin accepting payments using Bitcoin. In Bankso, Bulgaria, BTC can be used to pay for ski hire, ski lessons, and lift passes. Meanwhile, Spanish Highs in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Spain, and legendary Canadian resort, Whistler Blackcomb, are also amongst the few cryptocurrency-friendly resorts. Of course, it’s likely that there will be many more in the future, as adoption of digital currencies increases.

 

Traditional financial word is long-established, it is strictly controlled by the government, and its functions are divided amongst a number of players: banks, brokers, stock markets, auditors, and investors.

The cryptocurrency market situation is different: chaos and inconsistency reign supreme, clear-cut rules of the game and external regulation are non-existent.

Mass media and social media are stirring up interest for blockchain projects and new cryptocurrencies, but very few sources publish verified information. Today hundreds of altcoins exist, and new ones keep coming all the time, so it is hard for a newcomer to make sense of all this variety.

In order to ease the immersion into the world of cryptocurrencies for those investors used to working in the traditional financial market, the experts of the Double Capital Group financial team have created the CryptoEYE.pro platform. This is an analytical platform, where, for the first time in the industry, the tools familiar to fiat investors — indices — are represented, but in this case — for cryptocurrencies.

Share indices, used to designate asset groups, have existed for many years on traditional markets. Companies belonging to the same economic sector are often included into an index, which helps the traders to understand in general the state of affairs in the field, and to realize the current stock value dynamics of the companies included in the index. Now cryptocurrency investors also have an opportunity to do such analysis.

At present the CryptoEYE.pro project is in the first stage of its development: the cryptoindices have been actualized, knowledge base and a security device for investors have been arranged. In the future, a news aggregator based on the Big Data analytics, an opportunity to buy index funds, trade strategies development and trade hypothesis testing service will appear on the platform.

“The classification of all the information obtained will be subject to an all-round systemic analysis which will uncover the factors that affect a specific cryptoasset. As a result, a summary of important news will be formed, together trading signals, allowing the investors to determine the best moment for buying or selling assets — or to create an automatic trade strategy, using such signals, directly on our platform”, commented the Double Capital Group co-founder Sergey Gukasyan.

Most people associate blockchain with cryptocurrencies – but its uses extend far beyond this. Blockchain is so much more than just Bitcoin.

The blockchain is being adopted by more and more businesses. In many cases, it is completely transforming old business models and pumping new life into companies. IBM is only one example of this. In as little as three to five years, the number of businesses using blockchain is expected to increase exponentially.

What Actually is Blockchain?

Essentially, blockchain is a huge decentralized ledger of transactions. It is maintained by many decentralized sources, meaning there is no centralized authority (such as a bank or government).

As a result, transactions that are recorded in the blockchain are secure and irreversible.

This transparent method of tracking transactions is quickly proving to be one of the most exciting revolutions of the century. There is no end to the list of applications it can be used for.

How Can Businesses Make Use of Blockchain?

There is a huge variety of applications for blockchain. Some examples of potential future blockchain applications include:

  • Audits – Blockchain offers a permanent, immutable transaction record. It is guaranteed to be accurate, which makes it easy to create an easy-to-follow trail for audits.
  • Voting – Using blockchain for voting allows votes to be moved along the blockchain in an accurate and secure way – much like how cryptocurrencies are transferred. Immutability and transparency are both a necessity for election results, and using blockchain could strengthen their validity.
  • Smart Contracts – Using blockchain to implement smart contracts will enable organizations to handle large sums of money automatically, without divulging sensitive information.

Even a quick glance into the technicalities of these examples demonstrates how blockchain isn’t just a revolutionary advancement in technology – it’s a complete paradigm shift that changes who is in control.

How Can We Implement Blockchain in Businesses?
There are already several companies racing to be the first to bring blockchain to the business landscape. One of these companies is Jelurida.

Jelurida is the company behind the popular Nxt Blockchain Platform – an advanced open-source platform. It was one of the first blockchains on the market, meaning it offers many functionalities that newer companies are still yet to implement – such as a marketplace, a voting system, and a shuffling functionality for anonymity purposes.

Nxt was the first 100% Proof-of-Stake (PoS) that is completely scalable for businesses and requires no power consumption.

This is huge news – especially at a time when the Proof-of-Stake mechanism is becoming more and more popular. Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, recently released a rough implementation guide outlining the planned transition from Proof-of-Work to the Proof-of-Work/Proof-of-Stake hybrid.

There are many reasons why more and more blockchain startups are making the transition. The switch has only become more urgent following the China ICO Ban, amidst fears that the next ban will fall on crypto mining factories.

Following Jelurida’s success with Nxt, they are going full steam ahead with their next project – Ardor – a scalable blockchain platform for businesses

Jelurida’s platforms allow businesses to leverage the power of blockchain to build their own smart contracts. They are even more secure than Ethereum for this purpose, and they are also easier to adopt. This is because they are built in Java, and will not require business employees to learn new programming languages, such as Solidity or other blockchain languages.

This dramatically cuts the learning curve and saves time and money for companies who want to get started using blockchain technology.

Ardor’s platform design even allows businesses to make their own ICOs and collect their funds directly in whichever currency they require.

When Can Businesses Start to Implement Blockchain Technology?

Given how much blockchain technology is going to disrupt our conventional methods, it could be quite a while before we see mass adoption. However, many experts have agreed that the mass adoption of blockchain technology is becoming inevitable.

After 1 year of testing, Ardor will be released on January 1st. This will be a huge step forward in enabling businesses to adopt blockchain technology in an easy, scalable way.

It is very likely that 2018 will be the first year we start seeing successful blockchain-based businesses.

The final week of December is always something of a strange period in the equities markets and, indeed, in many of the major financial asset markets across the globe. Most markets have reopened by now subsequent to the Christmas break but many are trading on relatively low volume and this can impact not only how much things move but also the way in which they move into the New Year.

In all honesty, things don’t really get going again until January 2.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t any trades to be had, of course. It just means we’ve got to be a little bit more careful with our target and risk management placement so as to account for any unusual activity.

So, with this noted, get some levels in place that we can use to try and draw a profit from the session today. As ever, take a quick look at the chart below before we get started so as to get an idea where things stand and where we are looking to jump in and out of the markets as and when things move. The chart is a one-minute candlestick chart and it has our key range overlaid in green.

As the chart shows, then, the range that we are looking at for the session this morning comes in as defined by support to the downside at 13977 and resistance to the upside at 14194.

We’re going to lead the charge today with our breakout strategy, so the two trades we are looking at initially are as follows:

  • A long entry on a break above resistance with an initial upside target of 14265. A stop loss on the trade at 14175 looks good.
  • A short entry on a close below support targeting an immediate downside target of 13910, with a stop loss at 13995 defining risk on the position.

Let’s see how things play out.

Chart’s courtesy of Trading View

Native Video Box is on its way to change the way people host and share videos. The platform, referred to as NVB, in short, is leveraging the blockchain technology to create a holistic monetary ecosystem for video content industry. In order to gain a better understanding of the platform, we spoke to Alexander Shishow, the CEO of NVB.

NewsBTC: NVB, sounds like a great concept. Can you please let us know how it is different from the already existing video sharing platforms?

Alexander: If we look at YouTube or its competitors like Vimeo or DailyMotion for instance, we will find out that any particular video, most of them, can be embedded to third party webpage. Of course, they run ads before content, but usually that ‘third-party web page’ does not get any advertising revenue. NVB aims at changing every element in this game. We choose relevant videos automatically and share advertising revenues between ‘third-party webpage’ and video content creators.

NewsBTC: Can you explain what exactly do you mean when you say NVB is a decentralized platform?

Alexander: We deliver videos on the web pages, so there was a moment when we considered using third-party video content delivery networks. But it’s really expensive. So, we decided to create decentralised content delivery network, maintained by the community. Being the part of our video cloud storage, publishers can host videos and earn some extra money from it.

NewsBTC: How does NVB plan to build its community?

Alexander: With NVB any video creator, even inexperienced, can instantly gain traffic for the video and get paid for it. It’s a unique opportunity on the market right now.

NewsBTC: Would you like to give a brief overview of the platform to our readers?

Alexander: Sure. From publisher’s perspective NVB is a widget that can be easily installed on a website. It’s a widget that shows videos to the audience and provides bundled monetization solution.

From advertisers’ perspective, it’s a video content discovery platform that provides unique and high-quality instream video inventory with the transparent tokenized economy.

NewsBTC: Are you planning for any tie-ups or partnerships? Anything in place already?

Alexander: Yes, first of all we have already gathered some advertising demand providers (BetweenX, Dynovid and Vispot). We also have commitments with startups (Adhive, for instance) and some video content aggregators and video bloggers. Publishers and networks are also welcome. Unfortunately, I can’t disclose more for now – stay tuned for updates on our website!

NewsBTC: How much are you planning to raise during the ICO? What will the funds be used for?

Alexander: We are planning to raise 15M USD during our ICO, but we also will be content with a smaller sum (e.g. 3M USD). This will mean a slower pace of development for us, but still it won’t prevent us from reaching our goals!

NewsBTC: Tell us about your team

Alexander: Native Video Box brings together a dream-team of experienced professionals from AdTech, community management, and blockchain.

For instance, Petr Kozyakov, NVB IR Director is a Strategic Partnerships professional with 10+ years of experience in banking and finances. Andrey Smirnov is a machine learning and artificial intelligence pro with 10+ years of experience. Among our advisers is Julian Zegelman, serial entrepreneur and angel investor, whose previous successful ICOs include Starta ICO, Suretly, Goldmint.io, Blackmoon Crypto, Cindicator, and ParagonCoin.

NewsBTC: Anything else you would like our readers to know about NVB?

Alexander: Our mission is to bring value to all ecosystem participants, from user to advertiser. We have reinvented content discovery: we deliver people videos they will love, but never knew existed.

Native Video Box aims at changing the game for all market players. While offering transparent revenue share, we will fight fraud with help of multi-tier blockchain. We invite everyone to join us in creating the future of advertising, which you can do by purchasing NVB tokens, placing your video content on our network or installing our widget on your websites.