Binance accounting bug involving Helium tokens results in $19 million of erroneous payouts

Helium has two different tokens: HNT, which is paid out to people who run Helium hotspots, and MOBILE, which is paid to those maintaining the new Helium 5G network. However, Binance erroneously treated both tokens as HNT within their exchange. As a result, anyone who sent MOBILE to Binance wound up with that same number of HNT tokens in their wallet—a big benefit, given that HTN has traded between $4 and $7 this past month, and MOBILE is not yet easily tradable.

Binance distributed around 4.8 million HNT before discovering and patching the bug, valued at around $19 million.

Hours after Ethereum transition to proof-of-stake, SEC Chair says PoS crypto could be classed as securities

Official portrait of Gary GenslerSEC Chairman Gary Gensler (attribution)
In the early hours of September 15, Ethereum completed "The Merge – the long-awaited transition from its original proof-of-work consensus mechanism to proof-of-stake.

Later that day, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler pointed to the staking mechanism as a signal that an asset might be a security as determined by the Howey test.

There has been much discussion over whether cryptocurrencies in general or individually should be considered securities, commodities, or possibly even something else. Broadly, people within the crypto community don't want to see the assets fall under SEC jurisdiction, as the SEC is seen as much less friendly to the industry than the CFTC.

Vulnerability discovered in vanity wallet generator puts millions of dollars at risk

The 1inch Network disclosed a vulnerability that some of their contributors had found in Profanity, a tool used to create "vanity" wallet addresses by Ethereum users. Although most wallet addresses are fairly random-looking, some people use vanity address generators to land on a wallet address like 0xdeadbeef52aa79d383fd61266eaa68609b39038e (beginning with deadbeef), or one with lots of 0s at the end, or some other address the user thinks looks cool.

However, because of the way the Profanity tool generated addresses, researchers discovered that it was fairly easy to reverse the brute force method used to find the keys, allowing hackers to discover the private key for a wallet created with this method.

Attackers have already been exploiting the vulnerability, with one emptying $3.3 million from various vanity addresses. 1inch wrote in their blog post that "It’s not a simple task, but at this point it looks like tens of millions of dollars in cryptocurrency could be stolen, if not hundreds of millions."

The maintainer of the Profanity tool removed the code from Github as a result of the vulnerability. Someone had raised a concern about the potential for such an exploit in January, but it had gone unaddressed as the tool was not being actively maintained.

"No politics at work" Coinbase rolls out a feature to promote crypto-friendly politicians

A mobile screenshot of a list titled "explore legislators", showing various representatives and their "Crypto sentiment". Carolyn Maloney of New York, District 12 is displayed with a negative crypto sentiment.Coinbase crypto policy feature (attribution)
When the "politics" were widespread civil unrest in the summer of 2020 triggered by the police murder of George Floyd, and pressure on the company to release a statement in support of Black Lives Matter, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced that there would be no political discussion or activism at work, and those who didn't like it could leave.

Now, he's just announced that Coinbase will be "integrating our crypto policy efforts right into our app" by providing a rating of Congressmembers' negative or positive "crypto sentiment". He also said that they plan to "help pro-crypto candidates solicit donations from the crypto community (in crypto)", and wish to get their users to attend town hall events. "We've also added a very easy way for you to contact your member of Congress to urge them to support pro-crypto policies," Armstrong said in a video demonstrating the feature.

"Double your money" scammers capitalize on Ethereum merge

Tweet by Twitter account with the verified display name "vitalik.eth" but the account handle "iThinkBuzz". Tweet reads "To celebrate the Merge, Ethereum Foundation giving away 50,000 ETH! 🎉

First come, first serve ➡️https://ETH-MERGE.BLOGSPOT.COM

You can only apply once."Tweet by hacked verified account (attribution)
If it seems like you've been seeing a lot of Ethereum co-founder and figurehead Vitalik Buterin around Twitter lately, it may be due to the influx of hacked verified Twitter accounts that have been retrofitted to resemble Vitalik's account. They've been used to share a litany of scam links to supposed Ethereum giveaways in celebration of "The Merge": the much-anticipated change to Ethereum's consensus model that's scheduled to happen on September 15.

Most of the tweets say something like "To celebrate the Merge, Ethereum Foundation giving away 50,000 ETH!", and link out to various websites that invite people to send some amount of Ethereum with the promise that they'll receive twice as much in return—a classic double-your-money scam.

At least 36 verified Twitter accounts were compromised and used for the scam, including the 6 million-follower Cityarabia account that normally tweets for Arabic-speaking fans of the Manchester City football club. On the afternoon and evening of September 14 alone, at least 195 ETH (~$314,000) was drawn in by the accounts and scam websites I found.

South Korea issues arrest warrant for Terra founder Do Kwon

A South Korean court has issued a warrant for the arrest of Do Kwon, the founder of the Terra ecosystem, as well as five other people. According to Bloomberg the allegations include violations of Korea's capital markets law.

Kwon and the others named in the warrant are currently in Singapore. In June, Korea banned current and former Terraform Labs employees from leaving the country, and in July Korean authorities raided multiple exchanges in connection to their investigation.

Starbucks wants you to have an "immersive coffee experience" with their web3 rewards program

A glitchy photograph of a coffee farm, with the text "Starbucks Odyssey" atop it in white capitalsStarbucks Odyssey promotional image (attribution)
When Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz first announced at an employee town hall in April that the company was looking to get into NFTs, I assumed he was just hoping for a headline to distract from all the union busting they'd been doing. After all, they already have a rewards program that by all appearances seems to be quite successful.

Despite that, Starbucks has apparently decided that what its rewards program really needs are "digital collectible stamps", a euphemism for NFTs that somehow makes them sound even less appealing.

These NFTs promise to provide their holders with "immersive coffee experiences", which sounds an awful lot like what cost McDonald's a few million in the mid-nineties.

Unfortunately for Starbucks, between the time they came up with the idea, announced it at their town hall, and are now inviting people to sign up to the waitlist, the NFT craze has died down considerably. Even at the peak of NFT mania, though, I'm not sure if people would have been lining up to buy "digital collectible stamps" that allow them to "claim an ownership stake in their loyalty to Starbucks" (what??)

Ubisoft now claims its forceful introduction of NFTs was only "research"

Remember when Ubisoft decided it was going to shoehorn NFTs into their Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Breakpoint game, to the nearly universal disappointment of their fans? Remember when one of their execs said that gamers just "don't get what a digital secondary market can bring to them"? Remember when their employees were so unhappy with the NFT plan that they had to hold an internal workshop about it, shortly before giving all employees NFTs of hats?

Well, despite being pretty bullheaded about their stance on NFTs and web3, even Ubisoft is now backing away from it all. In April, only a few months after launch, Ubisoft announced that there would be no more NFTs for the Ghost Recon Breakpoint title. Now, the CEO is putting a different spin on the company's once determination to introduce NFTs: "we are still in research mode" when it comes to web3 technologies, he said. "We probably were not good at saying we are researching. We should have said we were working on it, and when we have something that gives you a real benefit, we'll bring it to you." I imagine that might come as a shock to the handful of people who actually bought the Ghost Recon Breakpoint NFTs, given they were promised "real benefit" back in December and are now left with useless collectibles.

Algorand Foundation discloses $35 million exposure to Hodlnaut

The Algorand Foundation is a group responsible for managing Algorand, a proof-of-stake blockchain. On September 9 they disclosed that they had put $35 million of the project's treasury into Hodlnaut, a lending firm that halted withdrawals on August 8 and applied for creditor protection a week later. Hodlnaut was in turn heavily exposed to Terra, the ecosystem that collapsed in May.

The Algorand Foundation reassured people that the funds potentially lost to Hodlnaut were less than 3% of the Foundation's assets, and "we do not anticipate operational or liquidity issues due to this action". They also wrote that they would be "pursuing all legal remedies to maximize asset recovery".

New Free DAO loses $1.25 million in flash loan attack

A flash loan attack against the New Free DAO project resulted in a $1.25 million loss. The project's token also crashed 99% in the wake of the theft. The hacker quickly sent 1,500 BNB (~$415,000) of the stolen funds through the Tornado Cash cryptocurrency mixer, and sent another 2,900 (~$803,000) to the PancakeSwap decentralized exchange.

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