An enterprise organization concentrated on developing the stellar framework, Interstellar, has designated Mike Kennedy as Chief Executive Officer recently. Interstellar has created another organization which present CEO Adam Ludwin will lead.
We are thrilled to have Mike lead Interstellar through its next phase of growth. Mike’s record of success founding and growing Zelle [fka clearXchange], his innovation in mobile payments, FX and banking, and his history as a high-impact advisor to Stellar make him the perfect fit to lead Interstellar.
Alongst Kennedy’s deputation, Interstellar additionally declared that it is “spinning-out a new app-focused company” known as Pogo, which has been in stealth mode for quite some time. Kennedy will supplant Adam Ludwin, the previous RRE Ventures partner and the present CEO of the blockchain payments startup Interstellar.
In the meantime, Ludwin will proceed to steer the organization’s most recent project, Pogo, a subsidiary that will concentrate on applications and mobile wallets. Further, Kennedy’s designation as CEO at Interstellar pursues the news that Franklin Templeton, Investment fund, plans to tokenize the part of a government currency market fund on the stellar system.
Besides, as CEO, Mike will direct all aspects of Interstellar, by focusing on helping to expedite the adoption of the stellar system for worldwide payments. Mike is an accomplished official with notable payments experience. Moreover, he established, led, and sold Zelle (fka clearXchange), one of the most prominent Peer-to-peer payment frameworks in the US.
Furthermore, Kennedy’s system Zelle, the payment framework is utilized by Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and several other finance-related organizations, as indicated by its site. Additionally, it claimed that Zelle oversees over 50 billion dollars in transaction volumes from more than 25 million clients.
Interstellar was initiated in 2018, from an acquisition deal with Lightyear.io, a startup based on the stellar protocol, and a decentralized ledger technology builder chain. Meanwhile, the organization expressed that it planned to provide enterprise solutions for embracing the stellar blockchain, created by the non-profit SDF (Stellar Development Foundation).
Regardless, Interstellar is developing the system by building the payment layer on stellar, a sector where Kennedy has broad experience. The organization has been associating with different banks, authorized non-bank providers and organizations, and building layers to attract a more extensive client base, as indicated by Kennedy.
Presently at Interstellar, Kennedy intends to work on with similar giants like correspondent banking and the SWIFT payment framework. Over and above, most traditional financial organizations use these instruments to transfer cash universally; however, Kennedy said blockchain could do it quicker, more reliably and at a lesser cost.
Privacy Laws Are Only as Effective as the Companies Implementing Them
Privacy is a hot topic for legislators all over the world.
Democractic presidential candidates have privacy laws and regulations in their campaign platforms. Amy Klobuchar discussed a tax on companies who share user data. Elizabeth Warren has introduced legislation that considers the idea of jail time for CEOs over privacy failures. Before he dropped out of the race, John Delaney proposed the U.S. adopt a law similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act, which gives greater agency to consumers when it comes to limiting companies collecting of their data.
Voters are demanding action. A recent poll from Morning Consult found that 79 percent of registered voters said Congress should pursue a bill to better protect the online data of consumers, while 65 percent called data privacy one of the biggest issues facing society.
The European Union, 27 member states with the loss of the UK, enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), enshrining the idea that people have control over personal data. California recently enacted its own privacy law, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect January 1. The law empowers California consumers to know when private companies collect, share or sell their data and to stop that sale if necessary. It applies to companies with annual gross revenue of more than $25 million or that possess information on 50,000 or more consumers.
But laws can have unintended consequences. Sometimes the very laws meant to enforce privacy can result in companies nevertheless sharing it. GDPR opens up a way of crooks to impersonate people and get their data from companies.
A year after GDPR went into effect, researchers in the EU showed how it’s easy to access personal data from companies.
“This isn’t a problem with the law itself, but instead with the companies and organizations implementing it,” Mariano Di Martino, one of the researchers, who is a PhD student as Hasselt University in Belgium, told CoinDesk in an interview. “This may be because of budgetary constraints or maybe it’s because they don’t understand the risks of this data.”
One group used publicly available information, such as names, emails, and phone numbers, in addition to more complicated methods to request information on their research partners from 55 companies under GDPR. One of these complex methods for obtaining the data included replacing the name, birth date and photo on the image of an ID to reflect the person whose information the researchers wanted. Of those 55 companies, 15 companies gave up sensitive personal information to the researchers. Four companies never responded to their data requests, in clear violation of GDPR.
The information they gathered included financial companies giving up details such as ID card numbers, a list of timestamped financial transactions, customer IDs, telephone numbers and place of birth, and transportation and logistic companies releasing locations people visited in the past as well as routes they’d saved.
Another team of researchers in the EU found similar issues when one requested information on his research partner and the research partner’s wife using a spoofed email account that was a variation on the name of the wife. About a quarter of the 150 companies and organizations they contacted gave up sensitive personal information without verifying the identity of the requester. The information given to him included everything from her social security number to her high school grades and various account passwords.
As the CCPA goes into effect, it’s possible we may see similar issues. The GDPR research illustrates that privacy laws may only be as good as the companies affected by them. Which is scary. These leaks have real world implications.
“Say I was trying to stalk someone, and I want to learn more about them,” says Di Martino. “I might send a data request to a company that provides taxi or bus services and try to get all the routes or GPS locations where this person has been. And it could work.”
DROPBIT WALLET CEO CHARGED WITH MONEY-LAUNDERING
- Dropbit CEO Larry Harmon Faces 30 Years in Prison
- Harmon Facilitated Coin Mixing for Darknet Sites
Privacy of crypto transactions has been challenged again, as the CEO of the Dropbit app Larry Harmon has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to launder money.
DROPBIT CEO LARRY HARMON FACES 30 YEARS IN PRISON
Dropbit, the Bitcoin wallet and service, continues to operate for now. But Coin Ninja, Harmon’s cryptocurrency media, had its assets seized. The most contentious issue was the Helix service, which could help Dropbit clients mix their coins.
Peter McCormack, prominent Bitcoin supporter, has noted in a lengthy Twitter thread that Harmon faces serious consequences from attempting to offer private BTC transfers. Reportedly, the usage of Dropbit and Helix have also been related to dark markets.
Dropbit aimed to be an app for mainstream adoption, becoming “the Venmo for Bitcoin”. The app also had a referral program to send and receive Satoshis to drive adoption.14 BTC & 30,000 Free Spins for every player, only in mBitcasino’s Crypto Love Affair! Play Now!
However, coin mixing is facing high levels of intolerance, as law enforcement goes after mixer providers. This time, it was US authorities that took notice, making the case directly against Harmon for attempting money-laundering through BTC.
HARMON FACILITATED COIN MIXING FOR DARKNET SITES
The other serious accusation against Harmon is the creation of the Gram search engine, which aggregated results from darknet websites. The Helix coin-mixing service was also affiliated with the Gram search engine, attempting to anonymize BTC usage.
In the indictment papers, there is evidence of actively advertising Helix as a tool to mix BTC and exchange them for new coins that were not tainted by darknet usage. The messages and advertisements helped law enforcement make the case against Harmon. Helix has also reportedly offered mixing services to the Alpha Bay darknet site back in 2016.
Mixers have been used for years in the crypto space, with crackdowns only happening in the past couple of years. With stricter money-laundering rules, even blockchain records are not exempt from scrutiny. Most anonymous uses have been discouraged, and exchanges or merchants already require de-anonymization through KYC.
As a result of the Helix activity, Harmon reportedly helped launder 354,468 BTC, equivalent to above 354 million at current prices. But what is even more curious, the BTC that went through Helix were treated as “money”, in a case where Harmon transferred value without owning a money transmitting business license in the District of Columbia.
Jill Carlson, Meltem Demirors Back $3.3M Round for Non-Custodial Settlement Protocol Arwen
Arwen, a non-custodial settlement protocol developer, has raised $3.3 million in a funding round including Meltem Demirors at CoinShares and Jill Carlson at Slow Ventures.
According to Arwen CEO and co-founder Sharon Goldberg, Slow Ventures led the round, which also included Collaborative Fund, Underscore VC and DG Lab Fund.
The funding will help the Boston-based startup expand its non-custodial settlement system, a layer-2 protocol that secures “assets in motion” via atomic swaps, Goldberg said. In simpler terms, Arwen allows users to settle trades via an exchange’s hot wallet without actually handing over custody of the underlying asset.
The protocol currently supports bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum trades on the KuCoin exchange, though Goldberg said her company is in talks with “institutional partners” interested in using the service. Demirors said an announcement is expected in Q2 2020.
Arwen’s non-custodial solution plays to high-dollar investors, according to Demirors – the type of trader that wants quick access to liquidity, but wants to avoid the risks associated with hot (online) wallets. She pointed out that hackers have proven time and again through 2019 that centralized honeypots are vulnerable, valuable targets to strike.
However, “this settlement technology can be used more broadly than just with centralized exchanges,” Goldberg said. In the long-term, she sees Arwen providing settlement services to a wider market.
Jill Carlson, who led the funding round with her firm Slow Ventures, is also bullish on the technology’s long-tail potential to impact markets beyond crypto.
“This problem of efficient clearing and settlement without more risk, it’s not crypto specific,” she said, adding that traditional capital markets rely on a sluggish settlement process that could also stand to benefit.
Carlson also identified another aspect of Arwen funding round, one she said came more by circumstance than design: the deal’s major players are all women.
“I think it’s really cool to see more and more female entrepreneurs in crypto,” she said.