Gemini Becomes the First Licensed Zcash Exchange in the World

Vlad Costea
  • Gemini is one of the oldest and most conservative cryptocurrency exchanges, which obtains trading licenses in the legally-challenging state of New York and only integrates new coins after long deliberation and analysis
  • Their third coin of choice is the privacy-oriented Zcash, and the unexpected news has already boosted the price by over 23 percent in the last 24 hours.

Say what you will about the Winklevoss twins, but they know a little something about planning and long-term strategies. They might have lost their Facebook project to Mark Zuckerberg, but they wisely invested the settlement money into Bitcoin, and have dedicated much of their business time to the purpose of growing cryptocurrencies and creating a bridge between regulatory frameworks and cryptographic inventions that are meant to dodge them with sheer excellence.

The efforts of Cameron and Tyler have created Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange which manages to comply with the strict rules imposed by the state of New York and has a perfectly-clean slate in regards to working with the authorities. Right now, Gemini only allows registered users to trade Bitcoin and Ethereum, but a recent announcement has revealed that the third crypto asset to get added to the platform is Zcash!

It might sound a little strange that a company which tries its best to comply with all the rules takes all the steps towards adopting a privacy coin, but it seems like the Winklevoss twins have undergone all the NYDFS procedures. Correspondingly, on Saturday, May 19th 2018, the Gemini users will be able to make ZEC deposits. It's worth noting that the New York State Department of Financial Services has also given green light to Gemini to add Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash, but the exchange platform hasn't announced any specific dates.

According to Tyler Winklevoss, "Zcash picks up where Bitcoin left off" - a statement which clearly points out the privacy capabilities of the coin. His twin brother Cameron, who acts as president of the Gemini exchange, has been a little more direct and mentioned that "Bitcoin being digital gold, and Zcash being digital cash". This can be interpreted as a jab to all the Bitcoin Cash supporters, as well as an acknlowledgement of the BTC limitations.

Regulatory Concessions

Both shielded and unshielded ZEC addresses can be used in order to make deposits to the Gemini exchange, but withdrawals will only be possible via unshielded addresses. Clearly, this is the compromise that's meant to please New York regulators and a measure which counters money laundering, tax evasion, and potential financing of criminal organizations.

To some privacy coin fans and HODLers, not being able to withdraw funds privately is a big drawback and can be interpreted as a trojan horse: it's like trading your anonymity for the ability to exchange your coins. To others, it's a really quick and convenient way of exchanging the ZEC that they have been holding in their portfolio. However, the procedures partly defeat the purpose of privacy coins and basically hand all the information to the authorities - which probably is one of the points that Monero fans will make, as they always say that optional privacy is not real privacy.

Screen Shot 2018-05-14 at 18.52.09.pngSource: CryptoCompare

In spite of this drawback, the price of Zcash has surged by over 25 percent inthe last 24 hours, reaching a peak of $336. Gemini is one of the biggest cryptocurrency platforms in the world, and they are among the heavyweights in terms of financial power and influence over the market. How will the addition of ZEC influence the trading volumes and long-term performance of the coin? That's still something which remains to be seen.

New Cryptocurrency Ransomware Could ‘Become Very Dangerous’, Researchers Warn

Francisco Memoria

A newly discovered cryptocurrency ransomware strain called “Anatova” has the potential to “become very dangerous,” according to cybersecurity experts who revealed the strain is more advanced than others that have in the past launched successful campaigns.

Anatova, according to cybersecurity firm McAfee, hides in common files, usually those of popular games or applications, to fool potential victims. Once downloaded, it asks the victim for admin rights, and then proceeds to encrypt as many files as it can in a short amount of time, to then demand a Dash ransom.

As first reported by The Next Web, researchers have detected over 100 instances of Anatova in the US already, with various countries in Europe also being significantly affected.

Known cases of Anatova by region

Speaking to the news outlet Christiaan Beek, McAfee’s lead scientist, revealed Anatova has “the potential to become very dangerous with its modular architecture which means that new functionalities can easily be added.”

Specifically, Anatova is reportedly more sophisticated than Ryuk, a malware strain that is estimated to have collected over $3.7 million in bitcoin ransoms over a five-month period. The researchers believe the team behind Anatova is better than that of Ryuk, as it has a “more advanced design” that “tries to make analysis difficult.”

Per Christiaan, those behind Anatova “have embedded enough functionalities to be sure that typical methods to overcome ransomware will be ineffective.” This, by making sure data cannot be restored without the payment being made, and stopping generic decryption tools from being working on it.

Notably, Anatova is using Dash instead of other cryptocurrencies. While it isn’t the first ransomware strain to demand Dash instead of Bitcoin or Monero, demanding the privacy-centric cryptocurrency is uncommon.

Per Christiaan, there’s a reason:

The main reason [Antova is] using DASH is that it has implemented a number of privacy enhancing protocols that make tracing transactions difficult.

As The Next Web pointed out, the GandCrab ransomware family, first discovered early last year, was reportedly the first to demand Dash payments.