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AWMKPX: Amazon launches their own crypto currency while crypto currencies in general set to new records

BREAKING NEWS: Bitcoin has briefly passed the All-Time-High (ATH) of $69.000 this year, which did not happen since 2021. With continuous positive news in the crypto communities Amazon's launch for the pre-sale of their new AMZ token is igniting the pricaction even further. AMZ tokens will be purchased and kept on their native Amazonwallet and can be used as exchange tokens or within the Amazon online stores for physical or digital products.

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Amazon AMZ Pre-Sale launched

With Amazon making the step forward to release the AMZ Token and Amazonwallet, we expect the full integration of AMZ to be used as a payment method within all Amazon stores and services by the end of 2024. You can participate in the AMZ Sale right here and get a significant bonus on your first time purchase of AMZ which is limited during the pre-sale only.

Due to the limitation, there will be no bonus offers at any stage of the upcoming public sales.

The Amazonwallet will be the first app to feature the new AMZ tokens, which are currently based on the ERC-20 network but will adapt to their own native chain next year.

Customers can use their AMZ tokens to buy products at a cheaper price, get better deals on Prime services, and possibly participate in staking programs in the future.

The supply is rather short during the pre-sale, as only 5 million tokens of AMZ can be claimed right now (1 AMZ = 1 USD), and we have no official date for the public sale stage at this point.

The expectations are high to see a strong brand name in the industry, but as usual, the golden rule is that any investment will not come without any risks.

The reactions so far are highly mixed; some see this as the turning point for crypto markets; "bullmarket is back" is commonly phrased. Now that a strong mainstream tech company has started its own token, that certainly sends a message.

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Secret Network resolves network vulnerability following white hat disclosure

Researchers were able to decrypt all of Secret's internal transactions using an exploit.

Secret Network resolves network vulnerability following white hat disclosure

On Nov. 30, Guy Zyskind, CEO of privacy smart contract blockchain Secret Network, said that developers had patched a privacy-related vulnerability and users' funds remain secure. In a document dated Nov. 29, Secret Network wrote that users or developers required no action and that all active nodes were upgraded to correct the exploit on Nov. 2. 

The sequence of events, unveiled late yesterday by the Secret Network developers, began when a group of white-hat computer science researchers contacted the Secret team on Oct. 3 regarding a recently disclosed xAPIC (Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller) architectural bug. The exploit allowed uninitialized memory reads in certain Software Guard Extension-enabled (SGX) Intel CPUs. Secret Network leverages SGX technology to provide confidential execution of smart contracts. 

As stated in their paper, researchers first registered a server as a validator node on the Secret Network, even when they did not have sufficient funds to be trusted to actively validate transactions. The registration process then stored a copy of Secret's global consensus seed inside its SGX enclave. Next, through the aforementioned CPU glitch, researchers extracted the consensus seed of its Secret Node and its private Intel Enhanced Privacy ID key. Finally, with these items, they were able to break Secret's privacy-preserving features and decrypt the internal state of all smart contracts on the network, as well as the digital assets embedded in them. 

Secret developers verified the exploit on Oct. 4 and devised a plan to patch the vulnerability together with researchers and Intel staff. First, nodes were forcefully ejected from the network, and their secret keys deleted. After that, nodes could only rejoin the network if they patched all known vulnerabilities, which was completed on Nov. 2. "With this upgrade, it is now infeasible to mount xAPIC attacks against the Secret Network mainnet," wrote the Secret Network team.

In addition, new nodes joining the network will be limited to server-class hardware only, as to limit the attack surface that user-class hardware presents. Founded in 2015, Secret Network currently has a market cap of $131 million through its native token SCRT. The firm partnered with director Quentin Tarantino to launch Secret NFTs last November.

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Uniswap launches NFT marketplace aggregator

Developers say the tool can help users save upwards of 15% on gas fees when shopping for NFTs.

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Uniswap launches NFT marketplace aggregator

According to a new post on November 30, decentralized exchange (DEX) Uniswap announced that users can now trade nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, on its native protocol. As told by Uniswap, the function will initially feature NFT collections for sale on platforms including OpenSea, X2Y2, LooksRare, Sudoswap, Larva Labs, X2Y2, Foundation, NFT20, and NFTX.

"To bring users the first-rate experience they've come to expect with Uniswap, we built the aggregator to deliver better prices, faster indexing, more unassailable smart contracts, and efficient execution."

Uniswap developers claim that users can save up to 15% on gas costs compared to other NFT aggregators when using Uniswap NFT. unifies ERC20 and NFT swapping into a single swap router. Integrated with Permit2, users can swap multiple tokens and NFTs in one swap while saving on gas fees.

The NFT aggregator is powered by the Universal Router smart contract and optimized by UX smart contract Permit2, both Uniswap inventions. According to the DEX, it "unifies ERC-20 and NFT swapping into a single swap router. Integrated with Permit2, users can swap multiple tokens and NFTs in one swap while saving on gas fees."

"We originally conceived Permit2 and Universal Router to improve our own products, optimizing gas costs, simplifying user transaction flows, and strengthening security. As we ideated, we realized that other applications could greatly benefit from integrating these contracts."

As part of launch efforts, Uniswap says it is airdropping approximately 5 million USDC to certain historical users of NFT aggregator Genie, based on a wallet snapshot on April 15, 2022, and offering gas rebates to the first 22,000 NFT users. However, the gas rebate will only run for two weeks and is capped at 0.01 Ether (ETH).

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Singapore’s Temasek sees ‘reputational damage’ due to FTX, official says

Despite writing down its $275 million investment in FTX, Temasek still apparently holds its investments in many other crypto-related businesses.

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Singapore’s Temasek sees ‘reputational damage’ due to FTX, official says

Singapore government-owned investment firm Temasek has suffered a lot more than just financial losses due to investing in FTX, according to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.

Wong, who is also the finance minister, believes that Temasek’s $275 million investment in FTX has caused significant damage to the company’s reputation. The official addressed the growing criticism over Temasek’s FTX exposure at a parliament meeting on Nov. 27, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.

The prime minister emphasized that the collapse of FTX was a result of a “very badly managed company” as well as possible fraud and misappropriation of user funds.

“What happened with FTX, therefore, has caused not only financial loss to Temasek but also reputational damage,” the official said, adding that Temasek has launched an internal investment review to improve processes and draw lessons for the future.

Wong stressed that investments by other major institutional investors like BlackRock and Sequoia Capital do not mitigate that reputational damage.

Temasek, which is fully owned by the minister for finance but operates independently, said on Nov. 17 that it wrote down its entire $275 million FTX investment. The amount accounted for just 0.09% of Temasek’s $403 billion portfolio as of March 2022. According to Wong, FTX-related losses would not affect investors’ contribution to the net investment returns contribution, which is the amount of the government revenue coming from interest earned on its reserves.

Apart from addressing concerns around FTX and Temasek, Wong also argued that Singapore had no ambitions to become a crypto hub but rather seeks to be a “responsible and innovative digital asset player.”

“Some of the earlier optimism about blockchain technologies has been proven to be [...] not well-placed. I think there’s a more realistic sense of what these technologies can do,” Wong stated. He also emphasized that crypto investors must be prepared to lose all their investments on crypto, adding: “No amount of regulation can remove this risk.”

Related: FTX collapse put the Singapore government in a parliamentary hot seat

Despite Temasek writing down its investment in FTX, the state-owned company apparently still holds investments in many other industry platforms. Despite not directly investing in crypto, Temasek is known for participating in multiple investment rounds for big crypto companies, including Binance and Amber Group.

In August, Temasek also reportedly led a $110 million strategic funding round for the major metaverse and blockchain gaming company Animoca Brands.

Temasek did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

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Illicit cross-chain transfers expected to grow to $10B: Here's how to prevent them

Forecasts predict cryptocurrency criminals laundering more than $10 billion through cross-chain bridges by 2025, leading to calls for holistic screening solutions.

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Illicit cross-chain transfers expected to grow to $10B: Here's how to prevent them

Improved blockchain analytics will become increasingly important to combat the use of cross-chain bridges for illicit means, which are estimated to surpass $10 billion in value by 2025.

Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic forecasts a 60% rise in the value of illicit cryptocurrency laundered through cross-chain bridges from $4.1 billion in June 2022 to $6.5 billion next year. This figure is projected to double midway through the decade.

Cross-chain crime has been a major talking point in 2022 with over $2 billion fleeced in hacks targeting cross-chain bridges. Aside from these bridges and their contracts being targeted, these bridges have also become an avenue for criminals to launder cryptocurrency. A prime example is an unknown hacker moving stolen funds from the now bankrupt FTX using cross-chain bridges.

Cointelegraph unpacked the findings of research released by Elliptic in correspondence with senior cryptocurrency threat analyst Arda Akartuna. 

The Elliptic analyst explained that billions of dollars in assets have been transferred between Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchains using bridge services such as Portal, cBridge and Synapse. Decentralized cross-chain bridges offer an unregulated alternative to exchanges for transferring value between blockchains.

Related: After FTX: Defi can go mainstream if it overcomes its flaws

While some bridges are used legitimately, Akartuna noted that the tools have emerged as a key facilitator in money laundering. ‘Chain-hopping’, or moving proceeds of crime between blockchains, has long been used to evade tracing efforts by exchanging cryptocurrency assets through decentralized or anonymous exchanges.

As blockchain surveillance, enforcement and regulatory efforts have improved, criminals have turned to cross-chains to continue laundering illicit funds:

“Decentralized cross-chain bridges provide unregulated alternatives that are being embraced by cybercriminals.”

Akartuna also notes that the sanctioning of cryptocurrency mixing service Tornado Cash has seen a shift in the way criminals launder money. Decentralized exchanges, cross-chain bridges and coin swap services are becoming a new means of moving illicit funds:

“Although the use of these platforms is overwhelmingly legitimate, they facilitate cross-chain money laundering and terrorist financing due to their lack of identity checks and anti-money laundering controls.”

An example of increased use of a cross-chain avenue for illicit means is RenBridge, which Elliptic research found to have laundered around $540 million of criminal proceeds as of August 2022. Meanwhile centralized exchanges, which also facilitate cross-chain or cross-asset swaps, are less popular for illicit actors given the push for AML and identity screening/KYC solutions.

The growing prevalence of cross-chain bridge usage for illicit means highlights the need for solutions or efforts to minimize criminal usage. Akartuna suggested users conduct due diligence on the services used to hop between blockchains and tokens and be wary of platforms associated with illicit activity.

Businesses should make use of blockchain analytics tools to screen addresses and transactions and set clear risk rules for their cryptocurrency usage. Nevertheless, there are some circumstances that simply cannot be predicted or avoided, as Akartuna explained:

“The sanctions against Tornado Cash is a prime example of how legitimate wallets may be inadvertently tainted due to sudden enforcement actions, as you now have 'pre-sanctions activity' which doesn't carry the same risk as post-sanctions activity.”

Existing single blockchain analytics solutions have done a lot to combat money laundering in the cryptocurrency space but fall short of capabilities to trace, screen or forensically investigate transactions across blockchains or tokens.

As the Elliptic threat analyst highlighted, once an asset 'hops' to a different blockchain, investigations become significantly more complex and resource intensive.

“The risk here is that a wallet can hold any number of different assets, and legacy blockchain solutions are not able to automatically trace the activities of the same entity across separate chains.”

Screening the movement of funds on separate blockchains may see some assets flagged as sanctioned while others may show no risk. In theory, this could lead to an exchange or wallet user unwittingly transacting with a sanctioned entity.

Elliptic, for example, makes use of a proprietary analytics tool with ‘holistic screening’ capabilities which merges existing blockchains into an interconnected system. This allows for visualization and screening across chains to better detect the movement of illicit funds.

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