Binance Offers $250,000 Bounty For Information Leading To Hackers’ Arrest

  • Binance is offering $250,000 for information that leads to the arrest of hackers who attacked it last week
  • The bounty will be paid in its BNB token, and may be split if multiple sources are used
  • Bounties aren't new to the bitcoin ecosystem. Currently available bounties include one for 37 BTC for information on hacker who hacked Satoshi Nakamoto

Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Binance is offering the equivalent of $250,000 for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for an attack on its platform last week. The attack, as reported, was only stopped by the exchange’s security systems.

Last week Binance managed to thwart a ‘large scale’ theft attempt, in which it managed to withhold hackers’ funds. Now, the company decided to ‘play offense’ and offer a reward for information that leads to the criminals’ legal arrest.

The security incident saw hackers create API keys for phished users, so they could then pump Viacoin with the victims’ funds and sell the little-known cryptocurrency at a premium in the VIA/BTC trading pair. The irregular trading activity triggered Binance’s security systems, which halted withdrawals.

Binance’s $250,000 bounty will be paid in its Binance Coin (BNB), a token used at the exchange. Those who wish to collect the bounty will have to send the information they have to the exchange, and to their local law enforcement agencies. If local laws allow, the bounty hunters will be able to remain anonymous.

Justifying its move, Binance wrote on Medium:

“To ensure a safe crypto community, we can’t simply play defense. We need to actively prevent any instances of hacking before they occur, as well as follow through after-the-fact.”

Binance

The company noted that if multiple data segments lead to the final arrest, the bounty may be split at Binance’s discretion. To widen its effort, it further revealed it allocated the equivalent of $10,000,000 in cryptocurrency reserves for future bounty awards. The Hong Kong-based exchange’s blog post further reveals it invited other cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses to follow suit.

Notably, bounties are nothing new in the bitcoin community. BitcoinBountyHunter.com currently has several bounties going. The biggest one, for 37 BTC (about $370,000), is being offered for information on the hacker that breached bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto’s email account, and claimed to send a SWAT team to bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney’s home.

Another 20 BTC (about $196,000) bounty is being offered for information on an extortionist who threatened the family of bitcoin angel investor Roger Ver. The website notably doesn’t encourage vigilantism, and reportedly only pays out bounties if the crime if reported to authorities.

BBC: Facebook Planning to Launch ‘GlobalCoin’ in Q1 2020

Siamak Masnavi

Social networking giant Facebook is planning to launch its own cryptocurrency (internally dubbed "GlobalCoin") and crypto-powered global payments network (internally called "Project Libra") worldwide by Q1 2020, according to a report published earlier today by BBC News, the world's largest broadcast news organization.

Project Libra's Origin Story

  • 8 May 2018: In a post on Facebook, David Marcus, the former head of Messenger, who was at that time also a board member (since December 2017) of crypto exchange Coinbase, revealed that he was leaving that role to set up a new group focused on exploring applications of blockchain technology across the whole of Facebook.
  • 13 December 2018: Cheddar reported that Facebook’s blockchain group is planning to "potentially disrupt the entire payments industry":

"At a private dinner Facebook hosted during a recent crypto conference, one attendee told Cheddar that Facebook employees pitched the idea of creating a decentralized digital currency for the social network’s 2 billion users."

  • 21 December 2018: Bloomberg reported that Facebook was creating its own cryptocurrency (a stablecoin) for money transfers within its highly popular messaging app WhatsApp.
  • 28 February 2019: The New York Times confirmed Bloomberg's earlier story, and said that, according to its sources, this project was "far enough along that the social networking giant has held conversations with cryptocurrency exchanges about selling the Facebook coin to consumers."
  • 8 April 2019: Nathaniel Popper, one of the two journalists who wrote the report in the New York Times, provided this update (on Twitter) about Facebook's cryptocurrency project:
  • 2 May 2019: The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook was "recruiting dozens of financial firms and online merchants to help launch a cryptocurrency-based payments system," and that the core part of this initiative (code-named "Project Libra") is "a digital coin that its users could send to each other and use to make purchases both on Facebook and across the internet." Furthermore, this report said that, according to people familiar, Facebook was talking to "financial institutions including Visa Inc., Mastercard Inc. and payment processor First Data Corp." about investing in this project.
  • 17 May 2019: A report by Reuters said that FinTech company Libra Network was registered in the Republic and Canton of Geneva on May 2. Looking at the entry for Libra Networks, which was published on May 7 in the Swiss Official Gazettte of Commerce (SOGC), tells us:
    • Libra Networks LLC (registration number: CHE193533388) has its registered office in Geneva.
    • According to the English translation, the stated purpose of this company is "provision of services in the fields of finance and technology, as well as the development and production of related software and infrastructure, particularly in connection with investment activities, the payment operation, the financing, identity management, data analysis, big data, blockchain and other technologies."
    • The share capital is CHF 20,000 (100 shares, each with a nominal value of CHF 200); all of the shares are owned by Facebook Global Holdings II, LLC.

Facebook's Stablecoin: GlobalCoin

Here is what we have learnt from the BBC News report:

  • Facebook "is planning to set up a digital payments system in about a dozen countries by the first quarter of 2020."
  • The plan is to start testing the new cryptocurrency (some kind of stablecoin), GlobalCoin, by the end of 2019.
  • Facebook has been getting "advice on operational and regulatory issues" from the UK's central bank governor Mark Carney (whom Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly met in April) and from U.S. Treasury officials.
  • Facebook is also in talks with global remittance firms such as Western Union "as it looks for cheaper and faster ways for people without a bank account to send and receive money."

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