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Saudi Arabia Has Significant Crypto Usage

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Saudi Arabia is an important market for digital currencies because of the high level of penetration and adoption of crypto in the country. This demonstrates the potential for expansion in the Middle East and North (MENA) area.

A survey that was carried out by a cryptocurrency exchange called KuCoin found that as of May 2022, approximately three million Saudi Arabians, which is equivalent to 14 percent of the adult population aged 18 to 60, have become crypto investors. These individuals either currently own cryptocurrencies or have traded in cryptocurrencies within the previous six months.

Another 17 percent of respondents are considered to be crypto-curious, and it is likely that they will invest in cryptocurrencies within the next six months. According to the conclusions of the survey, potential investors in cryptocurrencies in Arab nations have a long-term interest in the cryptocurrency market. In the first three months of 2022, nearly half of crypto investors had the intention of increasing the amount they had invested in cryptocurrency over the subsequent three quarters.

As the bear market began in the second quarter of 2022, investor mood began to change toward more conservative methods of cryptocurrency investment. This was in response to the market. A survey conducted in Saudi Arabia with owners of cryptocurrencies found that 31% of respondents claimed they would rather maintain their current cryptocurrency balance than increase it. According to the poll, during the same time period, investors with lesser incomes disposed of a share of the securities they had previously accumulated.

There has never been such a high number of new market entrants as there are in Saudi Arabia. Seventy-six percent of crypto investors have less than a year of experience in the industry, and nearly half of them have only recently started trading cryptocurrencies. This high number of new market entrants is unprecedented.

According to the findings of the study, males make up 63 percent of those who invest in cryptocurrencies. Over the course of several decades, there has been no discernible shift in the gender distribution. Young cryptocurrency investors under the age of 30 make up at least a third of the total population and have increased to 37 percent as of the second quarter of 2022.

The other half of crypto investors buy digital currencies using fiat currency and participate in spot trading on a monthly basis. Spot trading is the only type of cryptocurrency trading that some Arab theologians regard as halal. According to a report by Cointelegraph, the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) stoked excitement among cryptocurrency enthusiasts by investing $5 million in a blockchain-based oil trading startup called Vakt in the previous year. It was rumored that Saudi Aramco would start mining Bitcoin (BTC) in conjunction with this program, which aimed to digitize and automate the post-trade procedures.

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In spite of the fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not yet issued any formal legislation concerning cryptocurrencies, the government appears to have taken a supportive position toward digital assets and blockchain technology.

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) jointly announced the launch of a new digital currency in 2019. The name of the new currency is Aber. The fiat currencies of the two countries will be used as backing for the cryptocurrency, which would be utilized for making payments across the border between the two countries.

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India is Investigating Ten Cryptocurrency Exchanges For Money Laundering.

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India

The Enforcement Directorate of India is now pursuing an investigation against ten cryptocurrency exchanges that are suspected of being involved in the laundering of over 1 billion rupees, which is the equivalent of over $125 million in digital currency.

According to The Economics Times, the cryptocurrency exchanges, which have not yet been named, were used by several companies that have been accused of money laundering to make purchases of more than 100 million rupees worth of cryptocurrency, which were then transferred to other international wallets, the majority of which were linked to mainland China.
The exchanges had a poor control on the activities of their users.

In addition, the sources mentioned that the exchanges acquired KYC data of questionable provenance, as the accounts that were followed belonged to individuals who lived in faraway places “with no relation to the transactions.”

However, the exchanges asserted that they were in conformity with KYC laws, despite the fact that they did not provide any suspicious transaction reports (STRs) that could have led to the discovery of information regarding alleged instances of money laundering.
Therefore, the failure to comply with the measures required by regulators made it more difficult to trace the account, which, upon learning of the investigation, reportedly proceeded to withdraw their funds and log off, according to sources close to the investigation. This made it more difficult to track down the account.
“As soon as these companies discovered that they were being investigated, they shut down their operations and utilized the crypto way to transfer the money overseas. The unregulated nature of the cryptocurrency business combined with the opaque nature of the ecosystem for cryptocurrencies offered the necessary cover for these companies to park their funds offshore.

The cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and WazirX are currently under investigation in India.

Following a series of Twitter spats between the CEOs of both firms about ownership and regulatory non-compliance by WazirX, the ED has decided to focus its attention on Binance and WazirX, as was recently published on CryptoPotato.com.

After the argument between the two companies, the ED blocked WazirX’s bank accounts, which together held more than $8 million, on the grounds that the exchange had “actively” assisted in the laundering of illicit funds for more than 15 different fintech companies.

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In reaction, Binance stated that it expects WazirX to “take full responsibility for its operations and users’ funds,” while emphasizing that the global cryptocurrency exchanges has nothing to do with WazirX’s operations. Binance also emphasized that it has nothing to do with WazirX’s operations.

Although the ED is investigating several cryptocurrency exchanges for money laundering, an industry executive who spoke to the Economic Times stated that the exchanges are the second point of failure in these crimes. This executive stated that the money comes in and out of these crimes primarily from traditional banks, which did very little or nothing to trace the funds, which is why “it wasn’t caught at the banking level.” Despite the fact that the ED is investigating several cryptocurrency exchanges for money laundering, the executive stated that the exchanges are the second point of failure.

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Ethereum Completes Its Final Test Before a Major Crypto Event.

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Ethereum

Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, had a final dress rehearsal before a years-awaited upgrade.

Ethereum has been mined using a proof-of-work approach since its introduction in 2010. It needs difficult math formulae and a lot of energy.

Ethereum is transitioning to proof of stake for network security. The new method uses users’ existing ether cache to verify transactions and generate tokens, rather than energy-intensive mining. It consumes less electricity and should speed transactions.
Wednesday 9:45 p.m. ET was the final test.

Ansgar Dietrichs, an Ethereum Foundation researcher, said the most meaningful statistic for success is time to finalization. “Another good exam,” he said.
Galaxy Digital’s research associate noted that after the test merging, participation reduced and there may have been a client issue, but generally, it functioned.

Christine Kim tweeted, “A successful Merge = chain finalizes.” We may see similar troubles with the mainnet upgrade, but “the Merge worked.”
Thursday’s developer meeting will address the upgrade’s timing. The merger was expected to begin in mid-September.

For years, Ethereum’s transformation has been delayed. Core developers say the merge has been gradual to allow for study, development, and implementation.

Ether, the Ethereum blockchain asset, has gained about 80% in the last month, including 10% in the last 24 hours, to $1,875. It’s down half this year.

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One of Ethereum’s testnets, Goerli (named for a Berlin train station), mirrored the mainnet’s September process.

Testnets let developers try new things and make modifications before main blockchain updates. Wednesday’s exercise revealed that proof-of-stake reduces the energy needed to verify a block of transactions and that the merger process works.
Josef Je, a former Ethereum Foundation developer who now manages PWN, stated Goerli has a bottom-up testnet.

Je said it’s the most popular testnet, and proof of stake on Goerli will be almost equivalent to mainnet.

Goerli is “the closest to mainnet, which can be beneficial for testing smart contract interactions,” according to the Ethereum Foundation’s blog.
Tim Beiko, Ethereum’s protocol coordinator, claimed they knew “within minutes” if a test was successful. In the hours and days ahead, they’ll still seek for setup flaws to fix.

“We want the network to finalize and have a high participation percentage among validators,” added Beiko.

Participation rate is the easiest indicator to track, Beiko noted. Developers must discover out why if numbers drop.
Transactions are another matter. Ethereum blocks transactions. Beiko said blocks with transactions indicate the test went properly.

Last, make sure more than two-thirds of validators are online and agree on the chain history. Normal network circumstances take 15 minutes, says Beiko.

If those three things seem excellent, there’s more to check, but things are moving nicely, said Beiko.

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The Ethereum community has been testing proof-of-stake on a chain called beacon since December 2020. Beacon solved critical issues.

Beiko said the original idea needed validators to hold 1,500 ether, worth $2.7 million. The new proof-of-stake proposal requires only 32 ether, or $57,600.
“It’s not trivial, but it’s more accessible,” Beiko added.

Other events have shaped Wednesday’s test. Ethereum’s longest-running testnet, Ropsten, united its proof-of-work and proof-of-stake chains in June. It was the first big dry run for the mainnet’s planned process next month.

Beiko said testing the merge ensured that Ethereum’s software was reliable and that everything built on top of the network was ready for the changeover.

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Blockchain Bridges In Trouble

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Blockchain Bridges

Another day, another hack, and another bridge on the blockchain is destroyed.

It was the eighth heist of 2022 to target Blockchain “bridges,” which are lines of code that assist transmit cryptocurrency money between different applications. The theft occurred last week when thieves stole an estimated $190 million from American crypto business Nomad.
According to statistics from London-based blockchain analysis company Elliptic, hackers have already stolen cryptocurrency worth over $1.2 billion from bridges this year, more than double the amount they did last year.
Ronghui Hu, an associate professor of computer science at Columbia University in New York and co-founder of the cybersecurity company CertiK, stated, “This is a conflict where the cybersecurity firm or the project can’t be the winner.”

“We have so many initiatives to safeguard. When they examine a project and discover no bugs, they (hackers) can just go on to the next one until they identify a weak spot.”

Currently, the majority of digital tokens operate on their own distinct blockchain, which functions as a kind of online ledger for cryptocurrency transactions. When initiatives using these coins get isolated, their chances of being widely used are decreased.
Blockchain bridges seek to topple these barriers. In “Web3,” the much-hyped vision of a digital future where cryptocurrency is integrated into online life and commerce, backers claim they will play a crucial role.

The Nomad hack ranked as the eighth-largest cryptocurrency theft ever. A $615 million theft from Ronin, which was utilized in a well-known online game, and a $320 million theft from Wormhole, which was used in so-called decentralized banking applications, are two other bridge thefts that have occurred this year.
According to Steve Bassi, co-founder and CEO of malware detector PolySwarm, “Blockchain bridges are the most fertile ground for new vulnerabilities.”

Support has been given to Nomad and other businesses who produce blockchain bridge software.

Nomad, situated in San Francisco, claimed to have received $22.4 million from investors just five days before being hacked, including prominent exchange Coinbase Global (COIN.O). Pranay Mohan, co-founder and CEO of Nomad, referred to its security methodology as the “gold standard.”

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To monitor the stolen funds, it has stated that it is collaborating with law enforcement organizations and a blockchain analysis company. It announced a reward of up to 10% for the return of money stolen from the bridge late last week. It announced on Saturday that it had so far recovered more than $32 million of the funds stolen.

The restoration of bridging user cash is our first priority, and community is what matters most in cryptocurrencies, according to Mohan. “Any party that reimburses 90% or more of monies that were misused would be regarded as a “white hat.” White hats won’t be charged by us, “He claimed, making reference to purportedly moral hackers.
According to recent discussions with several blockchain and cyber security experts, bridges’ intricacy makes them potentially vulnerable points for projects and apps.

According to Ganesh Swami, CEO of blockchain data company Covalent in Vancouver, which had some cryptocurrency stored on Nomad’s bridge when it was hacked, “one reason why hackers have targeted these cross-chain bridges in recent times is because of the immense technical sophistication involved in creating these kinds of services.”

Some bridges, for instance, alter crypto coins to make them interoperable with various blockchains while keeping the original coins in reserve. Others rely on smart contracts, intricate agreements that automatically complete transactions.

All of these could have bugs or other weaknesses in the programming that could open the door to hackers.

So how should the issue be handled?

According to some experts, audits of smart contracts and “bug bounty” programs that reward open-sourced assessments of smart contract code could assist prevent cybercrimes.

Others argue that deconcentrating control over the bridges among fewer organizations would increase their resilience and code openness.

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Because they frequently use a centralized infrastructure that typically locks up assets, cross-chain bridges are a tempting target for hackers, according to Victor Young, founder and chief architect of U.S. blockchain company Analog.

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