May News Roundup | Whatsapp Breach | Trump Big On Crypto

WhatsApp's security team has revealed that there is a worrying vulnerability in the messaging app that might expose users to government spying.

Whatsapp Breach

This was an interesting month for Crypto News. In the same month that CypherpunkTimes published an article about messaging apps and privacy 'Secure Chat Showdown', there was an issue with security, privacy and WhatsApp.

WhatsApp's security team has revealed that there is a worrying vulnerability in the messaging app that might expose users to government spying. They have issued an alert addressing this. The Intercept was able to receive a previously secret danger assessment, which shows that government agencies had managed to get beyond the strong encryption that safeguards the contents of chats among its 2 billion users.

This vulnerability, known as "traffic analysis," depends on broad-scale internet traffic monitoring to ascertain individuals' communication habits, group affiliations, and maybe even their whereabouts. Although WhatsApp's encryption protects the content of messages, users' privacy and safety are in danger due to this monitoring method, especially those who are in vulnerable situations.

The evaluation advises WhatsApp's parent company, Meta, to give fixing these vulnerabilities top priority in order to safeguard users who are vulnerable. Christina LoNigro, a spokesman for Meta, insists that WhatsApp is secure and does not appear to include any backdoors. Stressing that it does not represent a particular flaw in the platform, she characterizes the paper as "theoretical" and not exclusive to WhatsApp.


WhatsApp boss in online spat with Elon Musk over message security
The messaging app’s boss has taken to social media to deny Mr Musk’s claim it “exports user data.”
New WhatsApp Warning As Encryption Is ‘Bypassed’
New warnings from WhatApp’s own engineers and Elon Musk will seriously worry its 2 billion users—has the platform’s encryption really been hacked?

Trump campaign now accepting crypto as he pledges to free Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht if re-elected

The Donald Trump campaign recently announced it will accept campaign contributions in cryptocurrencies, joining independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

The Federal Election Commission decided back in 2014 that candidates could legally accept crypto campaign contributions, but there are some things that make crypto a bit different from just giving a campaign cash.

“Cryptocurrency is extremely volatile and unpredictable. So you can bypass the contribution limit if the value goes fairly up,” said Ishan Mehta, director of the media and democracy program at Common Cause. “It becomes easy to do money laundering if you’re using, you know, some of the lesser known cryptocurrency or some of the fly-by-night cryptocurrencies.”

The FEC says that as long as the value of the crypto at the time it was donated falls below the contribution limits, it’s fine. But Mehta said that there are transparency issues, as well.

“Fundamentally by architecture and design, cryptocurrency’s untraceable, which makes it easier for foreign actors to influence campaigns by making these donations,” he said.

Because of these concerns, a few states have banned cryptocurrencies from campaign finance altogether. But in the majority of states, it’s still kind of a gray area.

“The ability for governments to control it and to be sure that it comes from noncriminal entities — governments haven’t figured that out entirely yet,” said Heather Ba, who teaches at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Government and Public Affairs.

There’s no reason for candidates like Trump or RFK, Jr., not to accept contributions this way, she added.

Ross Ulbricht:

Donald Trump promised to commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht, the founder of the online illegal drug marketplace Silk Road, in a raucous speech before the Libertarian National Convention on Saturday night.

“And if you vote for me, on Day One, I will commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht,” the former president said, generating cheers from the audience, moments after mentioning his plans to pardon supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.


Donald Trump’s campaign says it will begin accepting contributions through cryptocurrency
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign will begin accepting donations in cryptocurrency, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s campaign says.

Week 1:

  • Roger Ver was arrested in Spain and charged with mail fraud, $48 million tax evasion, and filing false tax returns, wanted extradition to the United States
  • CZ sentenced to 4 months in prison
  • Jack Dorsey’s Block says it will buy Bitcoin every month with 10% of its Bitcoin-related gross profit until the end of 2024

Week 2:

  • Revolut launches standalone crypto trading platform for UK retail customers
  • 98% of FTX creditors will receive at least 118% of their approved claims in cash within 60 days after the effective date. Other creditors are to receive 100% of allowed claims plus billions in compensation for the time value of their investments
  • Coinbase saw trade volume in Q1 more than double to $312 billion, with institutional volume increasing faster than retail, accounting for 82% share of the total
  • House votes to erase SEC crypto policy while President Biden vows veto
  • Binance, KuCoin win registration with India's Financial Intelligence Unit

Week 3:

  • Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev found guilty of money laundering and sentenced to 64 months in prison by Dutch court
  • Vanguard said set to name Bitcoin-friendly ex-BlackRock exec as CEO: WSJ
  • CME plans to launch spot Bitcoin trading
  • US Senate passes measure withdrawing SEC accounting bulletin

Week 4:

  • Mt Gox is moving coins to a different wallet in preparation for the distribution that will likely happen this year, there is no imminent sale of Bitcoins happening
  • Trump campaign now accepting crypto
  • Coinbase to launch gold and oil futures trading
  • Trump pledges to free Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht if re-elected