Last Week’s Cryptocurrency News. Friday, December 30th


Friday, 30th of December. As the week comes to an end, we can focus on the highlights of the crypto industry over the past few days.

Near Project’s Octopus Network cuts 40% of its workforce

Octopus Network has announced a set of restructuring measures amid current bleak market conditions.

40% of its members (12 out of 30) leave its core team. The remaining team members will accept a 20% salary cut, while the token incentive will be suspended indefinitely .

The crypto winter “will last at least another year, perhaps much longer. Web3 startups will not survive,” projected Octopus Network founder Louis Liu.

According to him, the project will concentrate only on the crucial areas. Cross-chain solutions and the “expanding IBC to non-Cosmos-SDK-based blockchains” will be prominent in the updated strategy.  

The Octopus Network platform is designed to support Web3 by providing an appchain infrastructure. 

Let us remember that in November, America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced the reduction of 60 workplaces. 

Kraken, Bybit and OpenSea platforms adopted similar decisions.

Telegram to launch TON-based NFT gifts

This week, a team of independent developers will release TON Gifts, a service which lets you send NFT gifts within the popular messenger.  Created on the TON blockchain, the service operates through a bot. 

Users can generate one-of-a-kind gifts in the form of a Christmas tree, a snowman, a black rabbit or a bouquet of flowers. Furthermore, the option to send any amount of Toncoin or NFT from the TON Diamonds platform in an animated box is also available.

Concurrently with the launch of the NFT gifts, the developers are announcing a Toncoin lottery. The winner will be chosen randomly. 

As you may remember, TON Diamonds wrapped up two record-breaking expensive auctions for 10,000 TON and 9,860 TON on December 21.

MicroStrategy introduces Lightning Network-based solutions in 2023

MicroStrategy is set to unveil a number of solutions based on the Lightning Network (LN) bitcoin micropayment network in 2023. Michael Saylor, the company’s founder and executive chairman, made this announcement.

He also explained that MicroStrategy is exploring software that is based on the LN. Among other things, the company is mainly driven by website security and corporate marketing solutions.

The development of network-based tools is handled by a separate team. Saylor specified that she will be able to reveal the early results in the Q1 2023. 

The marketing team can use LN in customer incentive programs, according to Saylor. Take, for example, rewards for participating in certain activities like surveys. 

MicroStrategy’s founder claimed that the company is eager to create products that allow any business to “deploy” the infrastructure needed to interact with the Lightning Network “in half a day.”

LN-based tools can be built to protect websites from attacks, Saylor added. What the concept involves is the integration of a paywall, requiring visitors to make a certain deposit in BTC, which will be refunded after the end of the session. 

As a reminder, the plan to develop LN-based enterprise solutions was first announced by Saylor in September 2022.

BlueNoroff cyber group attacked Bitcoin startups worldwide

As of this fall, Kaspersky Lab analysts discovered a targeted attack by the BlueNoroff cyber group on crypto venture funds, startups and banks all over the world. 

A total of 70 fake domains were created by hackers disguising themselves as well-known venture capital funds and banks in Japan, the United States, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates. Attackers are also experimenting with new file types such as Visual Basic Script, Windows Batch and Windows executable files in order to roll out the malware.

As a rule, virus infections occur by sending out documents that allegedly include a contract from a customer. The malware allows criminals to control the system and plot the theft of cryptocurrencies.

Once the transaction is performed by the victim, the funds are transferred to the wallet of the attackers. Due to BlueNoroff’s ability to raise transfer ceilings, the transferred amount may turn out to be higher.

The hackers mastered ways to bypass the Mark-of-the-Web feature, which warns users about opening downloaded files and runs them in protected mode. To do so, they embed malware in images and ISO files.

Kaspersky Lab cautions that in 2023, BlueNoroff threatens to launch a large-scale cyber epidemic that surpasses WannaCry. 

Binance now reaches over 120 million users

In 2022, the customer base of the Binance crypto exchange grew to more than 120 million people, while its team enlarged to 7,500 employees. Changpeng Zhao, head of the company, said so in an open letter. 

According to him, the platform puts special emphasis on regulatory compliance. At the end of the 2022, Binance was granted licenses to operate in 14 countries, including Kazakhstan, Italy and France. 

Moreover, the company’s compliance team expanded from 500 to 750 people. Over the past 12 months, Binance has processed more than 47,000 requests from law enforcement agencies.

As Zhao pointed out, the platform’s strategy made it possible to actively broaden the business even amid a bearish cycle of the market. This also applies to the area of venture investment as well – more than $500 million was invested by Binance Labs in various Web3-projects throughout this year. 

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