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Daily Byte: Monday, November 12, 2018




An exchange cuts and runs, South Korea pushes crypto fund to close, IBM takes on scientific research, and Swedish man sentenced.

Here is what's happening, for Monday, November 12, 2018:

South Korean Exchange Pulls Exit Scam, Runs Off with 13,000 Ether

On Friday, South Korean exchange Pure Bit pulled a seeming "grab and run" following the close of its ICO. South Korea's Cryptocurrency & Blockchain News conformed the situation via Twitter:

Pure Bit was raising funds for its Pure Coin, which would have offered trade commission discounts and a share of the exchange's profits to coin holders. "PURE COIN is a 3rd generation mining coin that includes dividend + mining + incineration," Pure Bit's archived homepage reads, translated from Korean. "The PUREBIT exchange pre-sells the PURE coins for smooth initial operation when the exchange opens."

The Pure Bit homepage is currently down. The exchange, which was run by an anonymous team, has seemingly followed a routine exit scam, spiriting away the approximately 13,000 ETH stolen and burning its evidence trail.

ICOs are banned in South Korea and it is believed that the South Korean government is already investigating the theft.

First South Korean Crypto Fund to Close

Staying with South Korea, crypto exchange Zeniex is closing, apparently due to regulatory pressure.

According to an official statement, "With recent issues regarding ZXG, we have gone through great deliberation both internally and externally. As a result, we have come to the conclusion that continuing to operate such service will be difficult. It is with much regret to announce that all services of Zeniex will be terminated on November 23, 2018."

Zeniex ran afoul of regulators when it offered its fund, Zxg Crypto Fund No. 1, which failed to receive approval from either the South Korean Financial Services Commission or the Financial Supervisory Service. Zeniex argued that the size of the fund was not significant enough to necessitate reporting; per Zeniex, the fund was scheduled to raise 1,000 ETH in September. It is unclear if it was successful.

Swedish Man Sentenced for Mail Bomb to Bitcoin Company, Threats

The Associated Press reported Friday that a Swedish man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for sending a letter bomb to a London bitcoin company and sending threatening letters to Swedish legislators.

The man, Jermu Michael Salonen, 43, mailed two "pipe bomb-like devices" in 2017 to two employees of British company Cryptopay. The packages were opened but did not explode.

Salonen was found guilty of 20 counts of threats, which includes the delivery of letters laced with white powder to lawmakers. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven received a handwritten letter that read "you will soon be dead," along with some of the white powder. The white powder was found to be harmless. Salonen was also convicted of attempted murder.

Salonen was identified by DNA testing conducted by British police on the pipe bombs. Salonen was arrested in May at the Stockholm international airport upon his arrival from Thailand, where he was captured pending extradition.

The London Metropolitan Police have determined that Salonen likely sent the pipe bombs because Cryptopay refused to reset his account password, citing its privacy policy.

IBM Focuses on Scientific Research for Latest Blockchain Patent

Per a new patent application dated Thursday, IBM is looking at blockchain as the future of scientific research. Citing a concept the firm filed in December of last year, IBM is imagining "using a blockchain system that integrates the trustworthiness of the blockchain concept with open scientific research by generating a blockchain of the experiments formed, data collected, analyses performed, and results achieved."

This is the latest in a slew of blockchain applications IBM has submitted in recent months, with the last patent application coming last week for an augmented reality system. The rash in blockchain research comes from a strategy to focus on blockchain development. IBM is instrumental in the development of Walmart's food tracking system and currently has 1,500 employees working on over 500 blockchain projects.

IBM's proposal seeks to address the problems with research collaboration. Currently, researchers working for research labs without research agreements can only learn about other research through science journals and online research paper repositories. As both tend to be for-profit operations, the editorial integrity of the current research paper infrastructure could be challenged.

"Currently, there are limited platforms that allow for sharing information about scientific research and showing transparent data collection and analysis steps," the patent application reads. "Platforms that do exist, lack the requisite controls and mechanisms to allow for trustworthy data, as there are few options for ensuring that data will be resistant to modification."

Have a great Veterans Day! To all who have served, we thank you. We will see you tomorrow for your Daily Byte.

Frederick Reese

Frederick Reese is a politics and cryptocurrency reporter based in New York. He is also a former teacher, an early adopter of bitcoin and Litecoin, and an enthusiast of all things geeky and nerdy.

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