Telegram Gives Up On Its Blockchain, Crypto Project

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Rest in peace GRAM coin, we hardly knew ye.

No, seriously. TON was the next big cryptocurrency project attached to one of the biggest messaging apps in the world — Telegram — run by Pavel Durov, the expat Russian holed up somewhere between the Caribbean and Dubai after self-exiling from Moscow.

Durov said on his Telegram channel today that the two and a half year blockchain and crypto project has been put to sleep.

Ironically, after leaving Russia because the government wanted his encryption keys to his social media firm, Durov’s cryptocurrency idea lost steam because of a U.S. court.

“The technology we created allowed for an open, free, decentralized exchange of value and ideas. TON had the potential to revolutionize how people store and transfer funds and information,” he wrote on his channel. “Unfortunately, a U.S. court stopped TON from happening.”

New York’s Southern District court declared that GRAM couldn’t be distributed in the United States. The judge ruled that U.S. citizens might find some way of accessing the TON platform after it launched, so the platform couldn’t be allowed either. Keeping the project alive would be difficult now because it meant a legal headache for Durov to make sure no Americans would ever be involved in transactions on the platform.

“If the U.S. suddenly decided to ban coffee and demanded coffee shops in Italy be closed because some American might come there – we doubt anyone would agree,” he said.

Today marks the last day for Telegram’s active involvement with TON. No present or past member of Telegram is involved with any TON projects out there. Some networks based on the technology may appear, they won’t have any affiliation with Telegram, Durov told his channel followers.

TON Labs, a startup that had been running a test network, launched its own version of the network last week, dubbed “Free TON,” after Telegram announced further delays, Coindesk reported today.

The Securities and Exchange Commission frowns upon cryptocurrencies, for the most part. Though Americans are allowed to own them, they come with almost no investor protections.

Back in October, the SEC sought a temporary restraining order against the Telegram blockchain project, stopping them temporarily from offering, selling, delivering or distributing its GRAM coin.

The SEC said that it thought Telegram was going to “flood the markets with billions of . . . (coins) through an unregistered offering of securities.” The SEC said that “without a registration statement in place, Telegram’s planned distribution would violate the federal securities laws” and that pretty much put a nail in that blockchain operation’s coffin.

For Durov, the struggle is real. He wished other true believers good luck in trying to create a decentralized money system.

“You are fighting the right battle,” he said. “This battle may well be the most important battle of our generation. We hope that you succeed where we have failed.

I’ve spent 20 years as a reporter for the best in the business, including as a Brazil-based staffer for WSJ. Since 2011, I focus on business and investing in the big emerging markets exclusively for Forbes. My work has appeared in The Boston Globe, The Nation, Salon and USA Today. Occasional BBC guest. Former holder of the FINRA Series 7 and 66. Doesn’t follow the herd.

Source: https://www.forbes.com

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This week on #BlockchainCentral: We breakdown what happened to one of the world’s biggest ICO’s and most anticipated blockchain networks releases; the Telegram Open Network (TON). #Telegram began raising capital in January 2018 for their upcoming #TON blockchain. How much did they raise? A mind-boggling $1.7 BILLION USD! However, their expected October 21, 2019 release was hampered by the SEC, who halted their operation and insisted that Telegram and TON had failed to register their GRAM token as securities with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since then, Telegram has promised to release their network everywhere except the US and will hopefully be up and running by April, 2020. Launched in 2013 by brothers Pavel and Nikolaui Durov, Telegram has become one of the world’s most popular messaging network and at one point was seeing an influx of users at a rate of 3 million per day. Don’t forget to subscribe! http://bit.ly/SubToBlockchainCentral Twitter fan? https://twitter.com/BlockchainYT Love a good read? https://medium.com/@blockescence __________________________________ ‘Blockchain Central’ is your #1 trusted source for everything crypto. Our host Blu will guide you through weekly news about the political, legal and financial sides of crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum as well as recent developments in Blockchain technology, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs), Security Token Offerings (STOs) and new coins/tokens. This content does neither represent financial, legal or tax advice, nor is it supposed to be understood or interpreted as solicitation to buy or sell any securities, coins or tokens! Want to work with us? Contact us at marc.gilbert@blockescence.com Sources: https://t.me/durov/101 https://www.sec.gov/news/press-releas… https://www.wikiwand.com/ru/Telegram_… https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/27/te… https://www.coindesk.com/telegram-loo…

WhatsApp Users Beware: This Stupidly Simple New Hack Puts You At Risk—Here’s What You Do

 

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Whether or not Jeff Bezos was hacked over WhatsApp, and whether or not the culprit was Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Facebook-owned messaging platform has been compromised by security issues this year. And now there is another WhatsApp attack doing the rounds. But this one has nothing to do with nation state cyberattacks or the platform’s integrity, and everything to do with our susceptibility to social engineering and our complacency when it comes to securing our devices.

This new social-engineering hack is stupidly simple to execute and just as easy to prevent. There’s a basic security setting in WhatsApp that you have likely not set up, but which you should—it takes less than a minute. As soon as you finish reading this article, please check your app’s settings and make the fix if required.

When it comes to the hacking of WhatsApp or other messaging platforms, it is important to separate out the various types of risks. Last year we saw nation-state attacks infecting targeted users with spyware, we saw the a potential risk from crafted media files sent over the platform, and we saw a backdoor where bad actors could lock targeted individuals out of the messaging app.

All of these issues were fixed by WhatsApp—software patches plugged security gaps and ensured users were kept safe. The latest issue, though, was fixed before it even hit. But that fix requires users to take action, which means it’s almost certain that many if not most of you have not yet done so.

This weekend, a friend in a group chat warned the rest of us not to open a message from her—she had been hacked, she said, and we should not “give away any six-digit numbers.” Attackers, it seems, had gained access to her WhatsApp account and captured the phone numbers of members of the group. They were then able to send WhatsApps to the other group members, telling them they were about to receive an SMS message and could they please send it back to her. Social engineering at its best. Who would question the simple request of a trusted friend?

Behind the scenes, though, the SMS message was a WhatsApp verification code for the account of the person receiving the text. And in sending it back to the “friend,” they were sending it to the attackers. With a fresh WhatsApp install, those attackers could then complete an account take over and progress their scam another turn. This is much simpler than porting the SIM to a new device. The effect, though, is the same. This same scam prompted a raft of police warnings in Singapore last summer.

With the account taken over, the attackers could then message the rest of the group as if from the account holder, as well as any other contacts whose WhatsApp messages were received after the take over. No legacy data is compromised. The target device remains untouched. WhatsApp has simply been ghosted onto an illegitimate device.

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This can easily be prevented. In WhatsApp you can set up a PIN of your own choosing, and even an email address to use if you forget that PIN. This is separate to the six-digit code that WhatsApp will send by SMS to verify a new install. It’s easy to see the verification code as the two-factor authentication. That can be defeated, as recent headlines on SMS security have shown. Another security layer with your own password is materially harder to beat. So even if you send the code to the attackers, they would still not have your own PIN. Clearly, you should not send the SMS code, but it makes absolute sense to set up this additional security layer anyway.

WhatsApp’s “Two-Step Verification” process can be found under the Settings-Account from within the app. it takes less than a minute to set up.

The direct risk is not to you if you’re attacked, but to your contacts. They can expect to receive requests for data or even emergency funds. Again, social engineering at its best. An end-to-end encrypted platform, a message from a trusted friend. We are coded to have our guards down in these circumstances.

If you have been the victim of this scam, you can clearly reactivate your device with a new SMS and transfer everything back. The attackers are banking on it taking time for you to realise what’s happened and they may even send you additional SMS codes to confuse you as you look to repair the situation.

It is surprising how many people have not yet enabled the PIN in WhatsApp—almost everyone I have asked has yet to set it up. If you’re the same, then please take that minute and set it up now. I know you won’t send that verification SMS to a “friend” if asked, but do it just in case.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I am the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers—developing advanced surveillance solutions for defence, national security and counter-terrorism. I write about the intersection of geopolitics and cybersecurity, as well as breaking security and surveillance stories. Contact me at zakd@me.com.

Source: WhatsApp Users Beware: This Stupidly Simple New Hack Puts You At Risk—Here’s What You Do

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How WhatsApp Can Add Another $10 Billion To Facebook’s Revenue Almost Overnight

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Facebook earned over $60 billion last year. But it could add another $10 billion almost overnight. One of the vastly under-reported story over the last 12 months is the almost unprecedented growth of WhatsApp. I’m not sure we’ve ever seen anything like it in the history of mobile. We’ve seen apps like Pokémon Go blast off from zero to a half a billion installs in mere months. We’ve seen social entertainment platforms like TikTok acquire 614 million new users incredibly quickly.

But have we ever seen already-mature billion-user-plus social platforms gain 760 million new users in a single year? Shockingly, that’s exactly what WhatsApp did in 2019.

I don’t think we’ve seen that before. That makes WhatsApp Facebook’s fastest-growth platform.

And, its greatest opportunity.

Because WhatsApp is almost completely unmonetized right now, according to mobile expert Eric Seufert, who runs MobileDevMemo.

WhatsApp is an incredibly important virgin field for Facebook. It can start selling inventory directly or integrate audience network there and very nearly instantly will into existence billions of dollars worth of revenue per quarter.

Eric Seufert

Facebook’s average revenue per user was over $7 in the company’s most recent financials. While it’s lower in Asia Pacific, where WhatsApp is strongest, an analysis from 2017 suggests that WhatsApp could add between $5 and $10 billion to Facebook revenue.

It’s also before we’ve seen the potential for what WhatsApp might really become: something approaching what WeChat is in China, an uber-app that manages massive portions of people’s commerce as well as communications.

Much of the growth has been fueled by India, and that’s where we see the greatest impact.

WhatsApp is the WeChat of India.

Subhodip Dutta

The Indian “monopoly” factor has driven a lot of WhatsApp’s growth, says entrepreneur Subhodip Dutta. It’s the “epicenter” of marketing, spam, political campaigns, he added … in addition to being the primary place people use to communicate.

WhatsApp is big in India, for sure. But not just in India. My friends in the Caribbean use it significantly. Colleagues on the east coast of the United States have started asking to WhatsApp instead of messaging with Messenger. And it’s big in Africa, with tens of millions of downloads recently in Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa, and other countries on the continent, according to Apptopia.

Why?

“No ads, [and] minimal bandwidth hit makes it popular with professional connections in Africa,” says Jerome Lengkeek, president of Urban Matters and former president of Fourth Watch African Investments. “On the same note, the quality of calls is much better with weak internet connections than Skype.”

So why has Facebook left WhatsApp almost entirely unmonetized, beside some minor efforts to connect businesses and consumers on the platform?

One theory: Facebook is waiting for a rainy day.

When, inevitably, growth stalls in North America and Europe.

“Facebook seems to be waiting strategically to monetize WhatsApp: possibly because it wants to use WhatsApp revenue to buoy its stock price when the Big Blue App and Instagram revenue growth stalls in high-ARPU (average revenue per user) markets again,” says Seufert.

Another theory is that the value is already baked into Facebook’s stock price, and it’s more valuable as a possibility than a reality, Seufert adds.

Which, of course, gives Facebook more time and less pressure to figure out ways of harvesting golden eggs from WhatsApp without killing the goose. The company just backed off plans to fit ads into WhatsApp, according to recent reports from the Wall Street Journal and The Verge, and that might be a good idea.

One commonality in answers to my queries on WhatsApp?

People really like the lack of ads.

“My mother has old relatives in Pakistan and they all chat together on WhatsApp,” says entrepreneur Miguel Ali. “Before it, other apps did the same, but you were either bombarded with horrific amounts of ads (that slowed down your device) or you had to continually buy ‘credits’ which made it undesirable.”

Which means that Facebook’s plan to not stuff the app with ads is probably good. And that Facebook will redouble its efforts to integrate payments and commerce into communication in WhatsApp.

That might be challenging in India:

India hasn’t yet allowed the most innovative wallet function of WhatsApp there, yet.

Rajesh Johnny

India has a strong technology industry of its own, and isn’t looking to be digitally colonized by American tech giants, as Amazon’s Jeff Bezos learned this past week. And there are local competitors like PhonePe, who are aggressive and well-funded.

Over time, however, you have to think that Facebook will figure out how to turn over a billion users into cash.

It is, after all, what the company is best at.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I forecast and analyze trends affecting the mobile ecosystem. I’ve been a journalist, analyst, and corporate executive, and have chronicled the rise of the mobile economy. I built the VB Insight research team at VentureBeat and managed teams creating software for partners like Intel and Disney. In addition, I’ve led technical teams, built social sites and mobile apps, and consulted on mobile, social, and IoT. In 2014, I was named to Folio’s top 100 of the media industry’s “most innovative entrepreneurs and market shaker-uppers.” I live in Vancouver, Canada with my family, where I coach baseball and hockey, though not at the same time.

Source: How WhatsApp Can Add Another $10 Billion To Facebook’s Revenue Almost Overnight

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Report: Telegram Open Network (TON) Is 70% Complete – Jodie Lauren Smith

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New details have emerged about Telegram Open Network (TON), a hotly anticipated blockchain created by Telegram. Telegram (Telegram Messenger LLP) is a London Based company who run a messenger app much like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger. What distinguishes its app from the other messaging apps is that it’s highly secure, and because of this feature, it became the service of choice for terrorists.

Telegram raised more than a billion US dollars to build its own blockchain platform, called TON. The Block reports that multiple parts of the project are already over 90% complete. The project as a whole is 70% complete.

What is TON:

TON’s aim is to be a fast, scalable and user-friendly cryptocurrency and blockchain platform
All telegram users will receive a TON wallet. This will automatically make it the world’s most adopted cryptocurrency, since Telegram has a high user base.
It will be able to transfer value in milliseconds, making it much faster than traditional payment methods such as MasterCard and Visa.
The multi blockchain architecture will allow it securely handle millions of transactions per second.
It will be designed to be highly flexible; each block within the TON blockchain can become its own distinct blockchain.
Smart routing systems will be created to allow for fast data exchange
TON is based in Russia.

What has been revealed about TON in the new report:

The component that executes smart contracts is “fully implemented and internally tested.”
The software for block generation and validation is the least complete element of the project, with only 10% of the work complete.
The component responsible for making transaction requests is nearly complete.

Telegram doesn’t expect to have its cryptocurrency listed on any major exchanges until 2019.

TON has huge potential to transform the amount of blockchain and cryptocurrency users worldwide. Telegram already has a large user base that trusts in the company and is technology minded. These users will be encouraged, especially with the wallet, to try their hand at the crypto world.

One major concern that needs to be overcome to bring crypto and blockchain to the mainstream, is the trust of the public. Many people just aren’t sure about the technology and are too cautious to give it a try. Telegram is in a better position than most companies to bridge this gap because they are already very privacy and security focused, which will likely help the public put their trust in them.

 

 

 

 

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