30.06.2022 • Issue No. 35
Five Minute Blockchain
Updates from the intersection of trust, content and blockchain. What are notable developments?
This newsletter is published by the TruBlo project. We are funding 45 early-stage blockchain ideas to explore new options for “trusted content on future blockchains”. A list of all TuBlo projects is here: https://www.trublo.eu/projects/.
Updates this week
Estimated reading time: 5 min 44 seconds
FBI says LinkedIn used for crypto scams
“In a typical scenario, according to the report, a scammer will pose as a professional with a fake profile and reach out to a LinkedIn user, starting with small talk before elevating to an offer to make money through crypto investments. Eventually, the scammer leverages the trust earned over months to direct the user to invest money to a site controlled by the perpetrator, and then drains the account.”
German telcos test new advertising technology, resulting in concerns by privacy advocates
In Germany, Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, the two largest mobile providers are currently testing a new advertising technology called TrustPid.
“TrustPid allows mobile carriers to generate pseudo-anonymous tokens based on a user’s IP address that are administered by a company also named TrustPid. Each user is assigned a different token for each participating website they visit, and these can be used to provide personalised product recommendations—but in what TrustPid calls “a secure and privacy-friendly way.” That “privacy-friendly” part has raised critics’ hackles.”
In essence, the question is whether or not the new technology would allow for personal tracking. A spokesperson from Vodafone answering to Wired denied that this would be possible.
New York Times with solid growth of website traffic
The New York Times is currently one of the fastest-growing news websites. The website got 524 million visits in May 2022, an increase of 52% compared to last year. A big driver for the traffic growth has been the acquisition of Wordle, a popular online game. The NYT purchased the game in February 2022. Another website with solid traffic growth is the Daily Mail (UK), with an increase of 14% to 373 million. For comparison: The website of CNN has even higher total traffic (641 million) but not as much growth (4%).
Netflix starts tier with advertising
Netflix will introduce a new tier supported by advertising. After years of solid growth, the company had recently lost around 200.000 subscribers. The idea is to reach an audience which would not pay the monthly subscription.
“We’ve left a big customer segment off the table, which is people who say: ‘Hey, Netflix is too expensive for me, and I don’t mind advertising”, Netflix Co-CEO Ted Sarandos said in an interview. “… we’re not adding ads to Netflix as you know it today. We’re adding an ad tier for folks who say, ‘Hey, I want a lower price, and I’ll watch ads.”
Based on reports, Google will organise the sales for such Netflix advertising.
China wants to censor all social comments in advance
A new proposal by a regulator in China aims to approve all social media comments in advance. It is not clear how this would be done technically. The assumption is that it would be an automated service.
“On June 17, the internet regulator Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) published a draft update on the responsibilities of platforms and content creators in managing online comments. One line stands out: all online comments must be pre-reviewed before being published. Users and observers are worried that the move could further tighten freedom of expression in China.”
Related: The New York Times has a visual report showing how surveillance technology in China works and how it has expanded in recent years:
“China’s ambition to collect a staggering amount of personal data from everyday citizens is more expansive than previously known, a Times investigation has found. Phone-tracking devices are now everywhere. The police are creating some of the largest DNA databases in the world. And the authorities are building upon facial recognition technology to collect voice prints from the general public.”
Notes: Twitter adds a long-form text option
Twitter will add a new feature called ‘Notes’, which then can be attached directly to a tweet. The idea is that content creation and tweet promotion can be done on one platform. Market observers view it as an experiment; it is unclear whether this will catch on. Twitter is testing the feature with several writers. So far, the quality is not available in all world regions, e.g., Europe.
Khaby Lame rises to most followed TikTok creator
Lame, who rose to popularity with comedy reactions to other TikToks now has 142 million followers on TikTok.
Falling prices testing platforms
The falling values of cryptocurrencies create all kinds of challenges. Example: Last week, users of Solend, a Solana-based protocol, voted to take over an account to prevent a margin call. The original user had borrowed $108 million but was getting under pressure to liquidate if the Solana token would fall below $22,30. Managers of Solend used “emergency powers” to take over the wallet. However, this decision was met with an outcry by users as a violation of the principle of decentralised decisions through code, not by single humans. While this is only one episode, the current situation in the crypto market creates all kinds of issues and pressure to invent policies for crises.
Three Arrows Capital ordered to be liquidated
The end of the crypto speculation bubble affects all kinds of Blockchain companies. Some of them are in crisis mode. Many watched the liquidity crisis in the past week at Celsius and BlockFi. Another firm in trouble is ThreeArrows Capital, which is based in Singapore. Sky News reported that a British Virgin Islands court had ordered the fund’s liquidation.
“The firm’s demise is likely to raise further questions, however, about the regulatory oversight to which cryptocurrencies and other digital assets are subject in the world’s major financial centres.”
The collapse of such prominent players sends shockwaves yet to other companies:
“Cryptocurrency market maker and lending firm Genesis Trading is facing potential losses into the “hundreds of millions,” according to three people familiar with the matter.”
Hackers steal $100 million exploiting bridge
The Harmony blockchain, used as a bridge to exchange tokens of different blockchains, has been hacked.
“Hackers looted about $100 million from a so-called cryptocurrency bridge, again exposing a key vulnerability in the digital-asset ecosystem.”
“…bridges are particularly vulnerable to hacks, as their technology is complex and they are often run by anonymous teams. The way they safeguard funds is often unclear. Sophisticated hackers have repeatedly targeted them. ”
• After the big crash, entrepreneur Do Kwon still wants to offer a new coin Wall Street Journal
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