VeChain Foundation, the Singapore-based nonprofit behind the VeChain public blockchain platform, recently announced that about $6.7 million worth of its VET tokens were stolen late last week. The company attributed the hack to human error and lack of oversight by its finance and auditing teams rather than any fundamental problems with its hardware wallet or standard procedures. VeChain made a list of addresses associated with the hack and requested all exchanges to flag or freeze funds coming from them. VeChain is working internally and with Singapore law enforcement to ascertain more details about the incident.

Also last week, the New Orleans government fell victim to a cyberattack that apparently involved Ryuk, a type of ransomware used to lock up computer data until a ransom is paid (usually in bitcoin) to unlock it. A state of emergency was declared last Friday, and more than 4,000 government computers and servers were shut down. Although some online services remained affected early this week, the government said it expected the data loss was expected to be minimal. This is the fourth attack against a U.S. city this December; others occurred in Pensacola, Florida; St. Lucie, Florida; and Galt, California.

According to reports, one of the largest Russian illicit marketplaces on the darknet, Hydra, says it will raise funds for international expansion with an ICO. Dec. 16 was identified as the ICO start date, but it is unclear whether the ICO actually occurred. Among other things, the ICO would purportedly fund the development of a new service called Eternos, a worldwide darknet marketplace combined with an encrypted messenger, a cryptocurrency exchange and an anonymized browser akin to Tor.

Also this week, reports are linking the drop in bitcoin price to the PlusToken cryptocurrency scam that occurred earlier this year. PlusToken, a China-based entity posing as a wallet, allegedly obtained $2 billion to $3 billion worth of cryptocurrency in a massive Ponzi scheme. Although individuals were arrested in connection with the fraud, the stolen cryptocurrency has largely been unrecovered. A recent report by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis hypothesizes that bitcoin obtained through the scheme are being reintroduced in the market, thereby lowering the bitcoin price. The Chainalysis report tracks the bitcoin and its movement with the apparent corresponding drop in price. The report concludes that a little under half of the stolen bitcoin has yet to be laundered.

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