Current State of The Crypto Market (December 8th, 2019)

Hackers:  On Dec. 2, the Norwegian app security firm Promon revealed the discovery of a dangerous Android vulnerability called StrandHogg, which has reportedly infected all versions of Android and has put the top 500 most popular apps at risk. Promon CTO Tom Lysemose Hansen commented:  “We have tangible proof that attackers are exploiting StrandHogg in order to steal confidential information. The potential impact of this could be unprecedented in terms of scale and the amount of damage caused because most apps are vulnerable by default and all Android versions are affected.”  StrandHogg poses as any other app on the infected device and tricks users into believing that they are using a legitimate app. The vulnerability then allows malicious apps to phish users’ credentials by displaying a malicious and fake version of a login screen. The report reads:  “When the victim inputs their login credentials within this interface, sensitive details are immediately sent to the attacker, who can then login to, and control, security-sensitive apps.”  Aside from stealing personal information like crypto wallet login credentials, StrandHogg can also reportedly listen to the user through their microphone, read and send text messages, and access all private photos and files on the device, among other nefarious exploits.

Key Players:  Billionaire venture capitalist Tim Draper is a fascinating man. Some folks might even call him eccentric. Call him what you like, but with his recent predictions, you certainly can’t call him a Bitcoin bear.  In mid-November, Draper made a prediction that turned heads even among the pro-crypto crowd. He then doubled down on his crypto call on December 5.  Draper’s call for Bitcoin to hit $250,000 certainly stirred up controversy. But the man’s an established name in the crypto world—he’s a major investor in the Tezos project, which is now worth $232 million in cryptocurrency.  Don’t misunderstand. Draper’s not calling for Bitcoin to reach $250,000 this year or even next year. He expects it to get there in 2022 or 2023 because “Bitcoin payment processors are really going to open the floodgates.”

Banks & Institutions:  Cryptocurrencies have the potential to eventually replace cash, according to new research from financial services giant Deutsche Bank.  In the “Imagine 2030” research report, Germany-headquartered Deutsche Bank said cryptocurrencies may have been “additions” rather than “substitutes” in the finance world thus far, but the next decade could change that as regulatory hurdles get past.  “If one of the GAFA [Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon] for example are able to overcome regulatory hurdles…this would broaden the appeal of cryptocurrencies, hasten their adoption, and give them the potential to eventually replace cash,” per the report, which is led by Jim Reid, global head of fundamental credit strategy and thematic research at Deutsche Bank.

Adoption: In October, web browser developer Opera Software AS launched added support for in-browser transactions with Bitcoin and Tron. This follows the company’s initial launch of an in-browser Ether wallet in 2018. The latest announcement is part of the company’s grander plan to make the “Web 3.0” easier to access for the average consumer.  Cryptocurrencies are still more popular in the developed world than in developing markets, where most of the world’s financially excluded people live. Opera’s moves to enable Web 3.0 can potentially bring cryptocurrency to several financially excluded people.  Therefore, making crypto wallets easily accessible to this group of consumers could be a big step toward using cryptocurrencies to offer financial services to the unbanked and underbanked. In addition to Bitcoin, Ether and Tron, the Opera crypto wallet also supports ERC-20 and TRC-10 tokens. Multiple decentralized financial, or DeFi, products are already being built using certain ERC tokens.