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MIT Cybersecurity Experts Warn Against Use of Blockchain Voting Systems

MIT Cybersecurity experts have said that blockchain-based mobile voting systems are vulnerable to serious failures….

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Cybersecurity experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have warned against the use of blockchain-based mobile voting systems as they cite the technology is innately insecure and a potential danger to democracy. The security researchers said that the online voting system is more vulnerable to be hacked than mail-in-voting or in-person voting methods.

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The team stated that the physical properties of mail-in ballots (vote by mail elections) make them less vulnerable to getting hacked than online voting, where cyber attackers could electronically exploit a single point to disrupt voting or affect the voting process.

The security experts mentioned that the blockchain-based e-voting system is vulnerable to serious failures as attacks are larger scale and easier to execute, but more difficult to detect compared to attacks against paper-ballot voting systems. MIT professor Ron Rivest said:

“While current election systems are far from perfect, blockchain would greatly increase the risk of undetectable, nation-scale election failures.”

Although blockchain-enabled mobile voting apps such as Voatz have been deployed in county and state elections, the MIT cybersecurity team of Neha Narula, Mike Specter, Sunoo Park, and Ron Rivest have previously found that such blockchain e-voting apps suffer from serious security issues and flaws enabling attackers to monitor poll sites and vote casting and even alter or block provisional ballots. Rivest said:

“If vote-casting is entirely software-based, a malicious system could fool the voter about how the vote was actually recorded.”

The researchers claim that only paper ballots voting is the best method that allows voters to directly verify that their marked ballots reflect their intended selection.

Meanwhile, many proponents of blockchain-based online voting argue at the system functions well just like industries like banking and retails that have had significant success with the application of online security for several decades. However, MIT experts claim that online banking and retail systems have had higher fault tolerance that could be accommodated such as cases of credit card fraud. But an election is a different story that such tolerance cannot be accepted. Rivest added:

“For elections, there is no insurance or recourse against a failure of democracy. There is no means to ‘make voters whole again’ after a compromised election.”

While banks can look at receipts to detect and fix fraudulent purchases, voting is a different case as electoral staffs cannot prove the way voters voted.

Blockchain and Internet Voting Security

The internet and computers have brought significant benefits like improving convenience, scalability, reliability, and efficiency of several aspects of daily life. Voting online appears convenient as people simply tap on their smartphone and vote from anywhere. However, voting online faces a serious flaw.

On June 27, Russia state-owned media company TASS announced that unknown attackers hacked the country‘s blockchain electronic voting system after exploited technical vulnerabilities within the system. Cybersecurity experts tried to restore access to the attacked node, but it remained unclear how far their efforts achieved success.

While efficiency and convenience are important properties of election systems, security is another essential property that must be optimized with other elements. An election system is inefficient if any of the three properties are compromised.

Source: https://blockchain.news/news/mit-cybersecurity-experts-warn-against-blockchain-voting-systems

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Ethereum’s Upside Appears Limitless as ETH Breaches $2,400 For the First Time Ever

On-chain metrics provider Santiment has delved deeper into Ethereum’s uptrend and noted that its rally to $3k and beyond looks set.

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Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, has breached the $2,400 mark and is currently hovering around $2,464 at the time of writing, according to CoinMarketCap.

Ethereum’s presence in the crypto space is continuously being felt based on its notable milestones. Santiment has delved deeper into Ethereum’s uptrend and noted that its rally to $3k and beyond looks set. The on-chain metrics provider explained:

Ethereum’s upside appears limitless currently. With diamond-fisted hodlers rejoicing at today’s $2,479 ATH, & early profit takers baffled, we’ve dropped free updates on what on-chain metrics could hint that $ETH is heading straight to $3k and beyond.”

Santiment added:

“Bitcoin and Ethereum being at record-high levels mean more opportunities for whales to make big moves.”

ETH’s bull run has been boosted by booming decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible token (NFT) sectors, as well as the launch of Ethereum 2.0 in December 2020.

ETH 2.0 is seen as a game-changer that seeks to transit the current proof-of-work consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake framework, which is touted to be more environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Reportedly, the total value locked in Ethereum 2.0 recently surged past $9 billion.

Ethereum’s daily transactions surge past $12 billion

According to crypto data provider Documenting Ethereum:

“In one year, Ethereum has grown from settling ~$373m per day to over $12b per day.”

This can be attributed to the fact that the number of active ETH addresses has hit a 3-year high of 34,736, as alluded to by digital asset firm Glassnode.

As Ethereum Futures total open interest hit an ATH of $8 billion, time will tell whether ETH will continue with its record-breaking moves in 2021.

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Market analyst Michael van de Poppe believes that it is only a matter of time until Ethereum scales to a new higher high of above $4,000 as its market capitalization of $286.6 billion is a stone’s throw away from that of PayPal’s at $312.95 billion.

Image source: Shutterstock

Santiment added:

Source: https://blockchain.news/news/ethereum-upside-appears-limitless-eth-breaches-2-400-first-time-ever

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HSBC Prohibits Clients from Trading Bitcoin-Backed MicroStrategy Stock

HSBC has ramped up its anti-crypto policy, banning its clients from trading MicroStrategy stock as the banking institution deems it to be “a virtual currency product.”

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HSBC has ramped up its anti-crypto policy, restricting its clients from trading MicroStrategy stock as the banking institution deems it to be “a virtual currency product.”

Although HSBC traders will be allowed to hold and sell their MicroStrategy shares, they will not be able to buy or trade new MicroStrategy stocks on HSBC’s investment platform, as MicroStrategy’s underlying valuation is closely tied with Bitcoin. Currently, Bitcoin makes up 80% of MicroStrategy’s reserve.

Per a statement from HSBC shared with Reuters:

“HSBC has no appetite for direct exposure to virtual currencies and limited appetite to facilitate products or securities that derive their value from VCs (virtual currencies).”

In a statement released on March 29, HSBC said that it had revised its policy on virtual currencies. Consequently, clients can no longer purchase or transfer digital assets, but they can continue to hold them or sell them.

HSBC’s announcement comes at a time when major institutions have changed their views regarding Bitcoin. MicroStrategy leads the pack of institutions expressing a growing interest in diversifying their treasury reserve with the mainstream cryptocurrency.

Demand for Bitcoin and Crypto Skyrockets

Other leading institutions have also begun to recognize Bitcoin’s worth as a store of value. Last month, Morgan Stanley announced that its customers will now have access to Bitcoin fund investments. Eligible clients will have access to three Bitcoin funds, two of which originates from Galaxy Digital and one from a joint fund established by FS Investments and NYDIG.

Institutional interest has been the underlying rocket fuel that has catapulted Bitcoin to new heights. From the beginning of 2020 to now, BTC has experienced an incredible growth, increasing by 781%. At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading sideways at $60,610.90, according to data from CoinMarketCap. Currently, Bitcoin appears to be consolidating before moving higher.

With the entire crypto market hitting a valuation of over $2 trillion, market experts are anticipating that this is just the beginning of digital assets entering mainstream finance. Justin Shuh, a senior trader at Wave Financial asset investment management firm, predicts that more and more crypto portfolios will soon emerge, as demand for cryptocurrencies rises. In an email shared with Blockchain.news, Shuh said:

“Now that crypto-assets are becoming more mainstream, large cap coins and tokens are big magnets for investors with direct market access. Investment trusts and funds are announcing additions to their product line up or inclusion in their offerings. Now that the investable base is wider, the sophisticated investor will likely distribute new risk across several blockchain protocols and create diversified or fragmented crypto portfolios similar to equities in the traditional world.”

Image source: Shutterstock

“HSBC has no appetite for direct exposure to virtual currencies and limited appetite to facilitate products or securities that derive their value from VCs (virtual currencies).”

Source: https://blockchain.news/analysis/hsbc-prohibits-clients-trading-bitcoin-backed-microstrategy-shares

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WWE Plans to Release the Undertaker NFTs Ahead of WrestleMania 37

The World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) has announced that it will release non-fungible tokens (NFTs) featuring the Undertaker ahead of WrestleMania 37, which will run today and tomorrow at Raymond

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World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. plans to release its first-ever non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to showcase great moments of legendary iconic fighter – Mark William Callaway, popularly known as by ring name the Undertaker.

The goal behind the launch of these NFTs is to celebrate the Undertaker’s legacy and increase fan engagements. Of course, the Undertaker is recognized as the best WWE superstar of all time who won several titles during his wrestling career, including three-time World Heavyweight Champion and maintaining the longest unmatched winning streak at WrestleMania, with twenty-one wins and zero losses. The Undertaker retired from professional wrestling in November 2020, after 33 years of engaging in wrestling activities.

The WWE – the New York stock exchange-listed firm – has partnered with cryptocurrency wallet provider Bitski to roll out the initiative.

The WWE will drop the NFTs on Bitski’s website today April 10 at 10:30 AM Eastern time. The NFTs would be available for auction purchases in two instalments between April 10 and April 11. Participants would need to have a Bitski account, and winners will get NFTs in their wallets.

The Undertaker NFTs will be offered in four tiers – Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The Platinum tier has an opening bid of $10,000 while the Gold one has an opening bid of $5,000.

Silver and Bronze tiers have fixed prices of $1,000 and $100 respectively, with some limited offerings.

The higher bidder for the platinum tier will get two front-row tickets for WrestleMania 38 in 2022 and WrestleMania 39 in 2023, and also get VIP access, hotel accommodation, and a personalized video from the Undertaker himself.

In the recent past, Triple H, a retired professional wrestler and the current WWE executive vice president talked about the integration of NFTs into the sports during an interview with fight author and podcast creator Jeremy Lambert. However, he was unsure when such integration into wrestling sports would happen.

NFTs Attracting Investors’ Interest

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are digital blockchain tokens that represent ownership of unique items (such as music, art, real estate or even casks of whiskey), whether physical or digital. They are something with units (value) which can be bought and sold like any other piece of property, but they have no tangible form of their own.

NFTs have become the latest craze in the digital and crypto asset world and the hype around such tokens has currently resulted in an explosion of digital art being sold via blockchain technology. Currently, there is a significant growing interest among investors in these tokens.

For example, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey recently sold his first NFT tweet for $2.9 million. A blockchain company recently bought a Banksy art piece worth $95,000. Millions of people across the globe have seen Beeple’s art sold for $69 million and the image has been copied and shared countless times.

Image source: Shutterstock

The WWE will drop the NFTs on Bitski’s website today April 10 at 10:30 AM Eastern time. The NFTs would be available for auction purchases in two instalments between April 10 and April 11. Participants would need to have a Bitski account, and winners will get NFTs in their wallets.

Source: https://blockchain.news/news/wwe-plans-release-undertaker-nfts-ahead-wrestlemania-37

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