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A Curious Crypto Caper Chronicle

The Hack Earlier this month, a hacker executed a massive crypto heist on PolyNetwork--a decentralized finance (DeFi) platform. The hacker was able to steal more than $600 million in crypto from thousands of users on three separate PolyNetwork blockchains (Binance Smart Chain, Ethereum & Polygon) and involving more than a dozen cyptocurrencies. In other words, this hack was * major *. The PolyNetwork protocol operates on multiple blockchains and allows users to send/receive tokens across these different blockchains using various smart contracts (also known as "bridges"). The hacker exploited a vulnerability in one of these smart contracts which maintains significant amounts of crypto to maintain liquidity and this allowed him to overwrite instructions and redirect all crypto funds to himself. From there, the hacker attempted to move the stolen crypto into various liquidity pools.   The Blacklist The hacker was successful in moving some of the crypto. But shortly after the
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Before You're Hacked

It would appear that the international hacker and cyberattacker association recently convened and decided they wanted to go for broke (or strike it rich) on widespread chaos and discord in the lives of everyday, ordinary, non-wealthy people. What decisionmaking tree leads one to conclude that attacking, oh I don't know, AN OIL PIPELINE is a good idea?? Water supply? Hospitals?! It is disturbing, to say the least, and much of the effort to thwart these attacks is being placed on private industry. I could pen a separate post on reasons why this particular burden shouldn't be borne mostly by private industry, but it suffices to say that it's not too late to switch out the Space Force for the Cyberspace Force.  I have several bones to pick with these nefarious actors. My biggest gripe is that they cause pretty significant disruption in the lives of innocent people--and I'm not just talking about the disruption of services. There is a seeping distrust, anxiety and/or paranoi

Around the Hill

Congress always has a lot on its plate--particularly before it heads into its annual August recess. And this year is no exception. There were the heartbreaking hearings about the events that unfolded on January 6. There was also a lot of scrambling to figure out a short-term solution to the expiration of the eviction moratorium. There was the Senate resolution establishing Hip Hop Celebration Day (August 11) and Hip Hop History Month (November 2021) (I love hip hop but who asked for these things...?).  And then there was the unveiling of the Senate's massive $1.2T infrastructure bill . The bill has a lot  in it. The proposed legislation has some things that one would expect to see in an infrastructure bill, such as improvement projects for roads, rails, pipes, broadband, etc. There are some other more surprising or interesting initiatives, such as the pilot program testing out national motor vehicle per-mile user fees. And then there's what some are calling the "cryptocurr

Enter the DAO

Does anyone know what Dru Hill is up to these days? This post isn't about them (though, note the nod to an iconic late 90s album) but I'm really curious.  Enter the DAO. What's that again? Decentralized autonomous organization. A DAO is an organization that is governed in whole or in part by a series of smart contracts. As a reminder, smart contracts are self-executing programs encoded on a blockchain. These programs automatically take whatever actions are directed by the code when predetermined conditions are met. A DAO could run completely autonomously. No CEOs or COOs. No board of directors.  Like in any organization, there are lots of decisions that need to be made in a DAO. How are members or participants admitted to the organization? What are the rights, responsibilities and privileges of membership/participation? Under what circumstances can a participant withdraw from the DAO? What kinds of actions can the DAO take and under what circumstances? In a DAO, the rules o

Before You Mint Your NFT

With NFT season taking a bit of a breather (kinda), I thought this would be the perfect time to lay out a few things to consider before minting an NFT.  If you missed the frenzy, well, welcome. "NFT" stands for non-fungible token and these digital tokens represent real world ownership and provenance of a particular asset. NFTs are minted (i.e., produced), stored and transacted (bought/sold/traded) on a distributed ledger like blockchain. Some NFTs represent ownership of tangible assets and some NFTs are digital/virtual assets  (yes, a digital piece of art was purchased for $69M). "Non-fungibility" is a scary word but it essentially means that the asset is unique, cannot be interchanged with another asset, and cannot be replicated. Think of NFTs as either collectibles, like artwork and trading cards, or title to tangible/real property, like real estate and cars.  So with all the excitement having simmered down a bit, below are a few things to think about before you

The Rundown on CBDCs

Everyday there is a news report about a country that is "exploring" or "studying" the possibility of developing a central bank digital currency (CBDC). In the past few days, I've read articles about Rwanda, Israel and France looking to pilot programs with CBDCs. And yesterday, the Bank of International Settlements announced its backing of the development of CBDCs. With approximately 80% of central banks around the world taking a closer look at CBDCs, now is as good a time as any to learn more about them. What Are They? A central bank digital currency is exactly what it sounds like--a digital currency issued by a central bank. In the same way our central bank, the Federal Reserve, issues the U.S. dollar, it would similarly issue some official U.S. digital currency ('digital dollar'). This is pretty much where the simplicity of it all ends. Things get really hairy (really fast) when central banks have to figure out how CBDCs fit into a traditional financ

New home. Who dis?

This post will be short and not blockchain-related. I recently moved my blog to a new platform so I'm still working out the kinks on the aesthetic aspects. Thanks for your patience!