the filter: the five most important stories in crypto

Just weeks away from Bitcoin’s 2020 Halvening, prices continue their rally above $8,000 and futures demand soars. That’s back to where we were in a bullish January, before the great portfolio destruction of late March. Exchange cyberattacks are back on the agenda, with Binance revealing a DDOS attack it has blamed on its competitors. Cryptocurrency is not legal tender in China, and McDonalds, Subway and Starbucks are reportedly preparing to test the country’s central bank digital currency, but nine months after declaring Bitcoin legal transferrable property, now a Chinese court has done the same for Ethereum. And there’s life in Facebook’s Libra yet as another payments giant jumps aboard.

DForce refunds $25m to DeFi users after wild april hack

Chinese DeFi protocol DForce has reportedly refunded traders after recovering $25m from a cyberattack on its systems. The details are wild by anyone’s standards. A hacker breached the platform on 19 April and drained 99.5% of its funds within three hours. But the hacker accidentally revealed their identity when trying to transfer funds, and returned the stolen funds three days later. DForce has come under intense criticism as a straight copy-paste of established US DeFi marketplace Compound, which launched in 2017 as an Ethereum-based P2P lending and borrowing venue. One DeFi company CEO, Brian Kerr, alleges DForce copied code they did not understand and illegally deployed it without realising latent security issues. Read more.

binance blames “competitors” for DDOS attack 

A denial of service attack against the world’s largest cryptoexchange attacked Binance’s Chinese domains, slowing sites and taking some offline. CEO CZ Zhao said internal investigations had traced the source of the hack back to “self-perceived competitors”, mirroring a statement put out by OKEx when both the Hong Kong exchange and Taiwan’s Bitfinex were taken offline in a similar DDOS attack in late February. Read more here.

bitcoin futures interest returns to pre-crash levels

Open interest in Bitcoin futures, a measure of market activity, is roaring back to where it was before the March 2020 crash. Volume for Bitcoin futures contracts has rocketed in recent days on the CME exchange, the largest futures trading venue in the world. Binance and Huobi now lead the charts for futures trading volume. BitMEX, which was blamed for the 12 March flash crash, has dropped to fourth place. Read more here.

chinese court declares ethereum legal property

Cryptocurrency is not legal tender in China, but people can hold and transfer them like any other kind of property, a court has ruled.  The news that a Chinese court has declared Ethereum ‘legal property with economic value’ follows a June 2019 ruling that found the same was true for Bitcoin. So crypto investors are slowly benefiting from the accumulation of case law, even while a hostile government prepares to debut its Bitcoin competitor in the form of a central bank digital currency.  Read more. 

UK payments processor checkout.com joins libra association

There’s life in Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency yet, as payment firms are starting to return to the stablecoin project. UK e-money institution Checkout.com, which counts Samsung and digital bank Transferwise among its clients, joins Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify in the Swiss project, months after Visa, Mastercard and Paypal departed.

Zuckerberg’s social network has backtracked from initial plans after facing a global regulatory firestorm. It now says Libra will be backed by a reserve of fiat currencies. Read more.