Italian man caught allegedly using airport computer systems for ETH mining
An Italian airport staffer allegedly took advantage of the computer systems at his place of work in order to mine Ethereum (ETH).
Employed at an airport located in the Italian city of Lamezia Terme, the staffer allegedly put mining malware onto the airport’s computer systems, said a news brief today from Italian media outlet Rai News. The employee is said to have set up multiple mining rigs on site, taking advantage of the airport’s backend systems in the process. Authorities eventually caught the culprit via security cam footage.
Technical services provide Sacal Global Solutions oversees the technical framework for the airports in the Italian region of Calabria. The airport employee, aged 41, is believed to have tapped into Sacal’s systems in order to install the mining malware. The staffer’s actions put the airport’s backend computer systems at risk, the news brief added.
“The investigators, with the collaboration of the airport authorities, analyzed the partitions of the IT network inside the hub, discovering the presence, in two different technical rooms, of a real ‘mining farm’ […] connected to the external Internet network through systems dedicated to the management of airport services and powered by the airport’s electricity supply,” Rai News reported, adding:
“The investigations, coordinated by the Lamezia Terme Public Prosecutor’s Office, were conducted with technical activities that made it possible to examine the IP addresses associated with the machines installed, to identify the site of the ‘Ethermine’ pool (used for ‘mining’ of the Ethereum cryptocurrency) and monitor the site.”
Crypto mining malware is not an uncommon threat in the industry. Near the peak of the last crypto bull market in Jan. 2018, such malware reportedly plagued 55% of the globe’s companies.
Governance remains highly centralized on many DeFi projects
A new report jointly developed by DappRadar and Monday Capital analyzes the token distribution and governance proposals seen in major DeFi protocols. Despite efforts to decentralize control in the yield farming phase, the researchers maintain that many projects — especially those with strong venture capital roots — remain highly centralized.
The researchers analyzed projects like MakerDAO (MKR), Curve (CRV), Compound (COMP) and Uniswap (UNI).
All present a significantly skewed token distribution that favors large holders. The analysts noted that Maker governance appears to be the most mature of all, owing to its longer existence. The MakerDAO forum is where preliminary discussion and analysis is conducted by members of the community, and it is open to all irrespective of their MKR holdings.
Nevertheless, the actual on-chain voting process appears to be controlled primarily by large holders as the top 20 addresses hold about 24% of the total supply. Compared to some other projects analyzed, this distribution is still fairly equitable.
For Compound, researchers noted that the leaderboard of COMP holders primarily includes venture capitalists, team members and some other blockchain projects — notably Dharma and Gauntlet.
Only 2.3% of the addresses have delegation, a requirement to make proposals and vote. Thus, only a small portion of the community is engaged in governance, and the true percentage is likely even lower given the presence of aggregated exchange addresses. The total supply is also heavily skewed towards the top 20 addresses.
Curve and Uniswap have similar issues, with the former featuring a single address apparently holding 75% of the voting power, while the latter is suffering from scandals and allegations of governance takeover by insiders.
The researchers identified three main causes that have led to this centralization of power. The first is that users see the governance tokens as yield and not as a voting tool:
“Protocols started using their governance tokens as ‘rewards’ for users participating in the network. Although the idea sounds nice — governance goes to those who use the product — in reality the financial incentives have been stronger than the governance incentives.”
The second issue is that the systems are designed as plutocracies — where wealth defines power. There are no minimum participation requirements that could establish “sufficient decentralization” and large initial holders are able to exert their power largely uncontested. It is worth noting that there is no easy way of proving an identity on-chain, making plutocracy the only practical mechanism of governance so far.
Lastly, researchers noted that initial investment plays a large role in centralizing governance. Venture capitalists and other investors will often have large initial stakes, which may also discourage other users from trying to acquire governance power.
In their conclusion, the analysts assert that it’s the distribution mechanisms that encourage centralization of power, suggesting that the current outcome is no surprise.
Nearly 24% of Ether held on exchanges — three times the percentage of Bitcoin
Almost one-quarter of Ethereum’s (ETH) circulating supply is held on cryptocurrency exchanges, according to analytics platform ViewBase.
The website shows that 26,768,260 ETH are on exchanges, equating to 23.6% with a value of $10.3 billion. Almost 26 million of these tokens are held by 10 centralized exchanges, with Coinbase alone sitting on 8,521,807 ETH — 7.5% of the supply.
Ether is miles ahead of Bitcoin (BTC) in terms of the percentage of tokens held on exchanges. Bitcoin has 8.1% of its circulating supply held on exchanges.
Earlier this month, Cryptocurrency statistician Willy Woo said he believes that when the number of coins held on exchanges drop, “It’s a sign that new buyers are coming in to scoop the coins off the markets and moving them into cold storage.” As such, the relatively low share of BTC held on exchanges is “macro bullish” according to Woo.
According to crypto data aggregator Glassnode, the number of Bitcoin held on exchanges has been reducing significantly for almost the entire year, falling from the all-time high of 2.97 million BTC in February to below 2.6 million yesterday.
Glassnode also shows bullish signals for Bitcoin with the daily number of new addresses for Bitcoin approximately 480,000 — six times that of Ether, which has less than 80,000 new addresses created each day.
Also worth noting is the seven-day moving average of exchange net flow volume for both Bitcoin and Ether have been negative since early August. The net flow volume is the number of coins sent to exchanges minus the amount removed. This suggests that whi Ether has a high percentage of coins held on exchanges compared to other coins, the overall sentiment is moving towards a bullish trend in the last few months.
Glassnode does not reflect the same percentage of coins held on exchanges as ViewBase. According to Glassnode, there are less than 16.6 million ETH (14.7%) and almost 2.6 million BTC (14%) on exchanges.