In This Issue

Financial Services Firms Make Moves Targeting Cryptocurrency Markets

By Nicholas C. Mowbray

A major U.K.-based stock exchange recently announced plans to acquire a provider of cloud-based technology, including order and execution management systems for “digital assets.” According to a press release, “[t]he addition of digital assets to [the company’s] trading capabilities strengthens its presence in this rapidly expanding asset class, at a time when institutional market participants are increasing exposure to crypto and other digital assets.”

In related news, a major operator of global stock exchanges and clearinghouses made a strategic investment this week in a company that operates an SEC-regulated broker-dealer and alternative trading system (BD-ATS). According to a press release, the BD-ATS is “a leader in blockchain innovation and liquidity for digital assets.”

In a final notable development, a major U.S. bank is now working with blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis to develop certain cryptocurrency services for the bank’s clients. According to a blog post, the bank will use Chainalysis’ software for risk management protocols and to assess trends in cryptocurrency markets.

For more information, please refer to the following links:

POC Seeks to Defend Quantum Attacks; DAO Hacker Reportedly Identified

By Lauren Bass

According to a recent press release, a major U.S. bank, a major Japanese electronics and technology firm, and a major U.S. telecommunications equipment and software firm have completed a proof of concept for “a first-of-its-kind Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) network for metropolitan areas, resistant to quantum computing attacks.” A member of the project team said, “This work comes at an important time as we continue to prepare for the introduction of production-quality quantum computers, which will change the security landscape of technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency in the foreseeable future.”

In related news, a cryptocurrency journalist has reportedly uncovered the identity of the hacker who famously stole 3.6 million ETH in the 2016 hack of the Ethereum network, known as the 2016 DAO hack. According to reports, the hacker used various platforms to mix, launder and conceal the transmission of the funds. However, a blockchain forensic firm claims it has reverse-engineered the transactions to trace the stolen funds to accounts allegedly controlled by the hacker.

For more information, please refer to the following links:

Music Company Partners with NFT Platform, Record Label Converts to NFT Label

By Teresa Goody Guillén

Last week, a music-based entertainment company and a nonfungible token (NFT) platform for entertainment brands and music artists announced a collaborative agreement. Specifically, the NFT platform will serve as a dedicated global outlet for future officially licensed NFT projects from the music-based entertainment company’s record labels, operating companies and recording artists worldwide. The first collaborative project is planned to launch in spring 2022.

In other NFT news, Snoop Dogg recently announced plans to turn Death Row Records into an NFT label. Death Row Records was founded by Dr. Dre, Suge Knight, the D.O.C. and Dick Griffey in the early 1990s. The rapper reportedly said that “[j]ust like when we broke the industry when we were the first independent to be major, I want to be the first major in the metaverse” and that “[w]e will be putting out artists through the metaverse and through a whole other chain of music.” The week prior, he released an NFT collection called “Back On Death Row,” consisting of 25,000 “stashboxes,” each containing one song from the 17-track album of the same name. Each of these boxes was reportedly priced at $5,000, and nearly 9,000 have already been sold.

For more information, please refer to the following links:

DOJ Names New Crypto Enforcement Director; Scammers Target NFT Market

By Alex Karambelas

In a recent press release, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Eun Young Choi would serve as the first director of the National Cryptocurrency Enforcement Team (NCET). Choi is a veteran prosecutor with a background in complex cybercrime, fraud and money laundering investigations, according to the press release. In a statement on Thursday, Choi addressed the team’s future, saying that the NCET “will play a pivotal role in ensuring that as the technology surrounding digital assets grows and evolves, the department in turn accelerates and expands its efforts to combat their illicit abuse by criminals of all kinds.”

Meanwhile, this week a leading NFT marketplace was reportedly the target of an apparent phishing attack. According to reports, 17 users were impacted and had their NFTs stolen in this attack. The marketplace reportedly detected the attack early Sunday morning, after rumors of a smart contract exploit began to circulate on social media. According to a blockchain security company, the exploit was most likely the result of phishing tactics, whereby the attacker tricked users into migrating their NFTs to a new smart contract, which allowed the NFTs to be stolen. Reports indicate that an address said to be linked to the alleged attacker holds approximately $1.7 million in Ethereum as well as multiple valuable NFTs.

In a final notable item, members of the blockchain community reportedly foiled a $20 million NFT scam earlier this month. According to reports, community members discovered that the team behind a highly anticipated NFT release was linked to a group of alleged serial scammers. An anonymous report detailing the alleged scam was reportedly released on social media hours before the planned launch.

For more information, please refer to the following links: