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Here’s what’s big for AI this year, according to the annual State of AI report – Morning Brew

Its that time of year again: Pumpkin spice permeates the air, Thanksgiving flight prices are on the rise, and the annual State of AI report is fresh off the presses.

Spoiler alert: Transformers are in, semiconductors are hot, and AI + structural biology make a great couple.

Quick recap: Every year, Emerging Tech Brew digs into the report, which has been published by UK investors Nathan Benaich and Ian Hogarth since 2018. The authors 2020 predictions netted a ~68% accuracy rate: Nearly six out of eight became a reality, including a new structural-biology breakthrough from DeepMind and Nvidias failure to complete its Arm acquisition.

This year, the report covered top takeaways for research, talent, and politics. Well break down a few of them...

Biology: AI is taking over the structural-biology world, yielding new insights about both cellular machinery and protein shapeswhich could lead to not only drug discovery, but also better understanding of the human body and how diseases work.

Archi-tech-ture: Transformers, a popular architecture used to create models for natural language processing, are now being applied to many other machine learning use cases, like protein structure prediction and computer vision.

Large language models: The powerful and controversial AI tools, which underpin many of the services we use every day, are scaling up and out. And individual countries are looking to create their own dedicated LLMs.

AI talent: Academic organizations dont have enough compute resources to accomplish their projectsbut 88% of top AI faculty have received Big Tech funding, the researchers wrote.

AI safety: Although AI safety is making headlines, fewer than 50 researchers are working on it full-time at the largest AI labs, according to the reportmeaning there are a lot more people whose full-time job it is to build this tech rather than think about potential consequences.

Chips on chips: Semiconductors are hot, hot, hotand the global chip shortage is only increasing demand. Startups in the space are accelerating in a big way, and both countries and corporations are looking to make the semi supply chain more efficient.

Well see you back here next year to see how these sectors of AI move forwardand, of course, which of the reports predictions came true.

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I teach cryptocurrency at NYU. Here are 3 things crypto investors should know – MarketWatch

MarketWatch has highlighted these products and services because we think readers will find them useful. We may earn a commission if you buy products through our links, but our recommendations are independent of any compensation that we may receive.

Since 2014, Harvard-educated David Yermack, a professor of finance at New York University, has taught courses on cryptocurrency. And when hes not busy doing that, hes publishing in academic journals such as The Handbook of Digital Currency and once served as a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia. He says that when it comes to investing in crypto, people need to account for three things. Crypto investors should be aware of the high volatility of these assets, the unregulated nature of the trading platforms and the numerous frictions and delays involved in executing trades, says Yermack. Heres what he means:

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I teach cryptocurrency at NYU. Here are 3 things crypto investors should know - MarketWatch

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What is the Shiba Inu cryptocurrency? – Yahoo Finance

Decrypt Editor-in-Chief Dan Roberts breaks down what crypto investors need to know about Shiba Inu.

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, we're going to keep talking about crypto, especially Bitcoin, which is down to about $55,000. Remember that old ad in the '70s-- when EF Hutton talks, people listen? Well, they're out of business. So when Jamie Dimon talks, you better listen.

JAMIE DIMON: I personally think that Bitcoin is worthless. But I don't want to be a [INAUDIBLE]. I don't care. It makes no difference to me.

ADAM SHAPIRO: All right, we're going to bring in the editor-in-chief from Decrypt, Dan Roberts. You know him well. And Dan, what did you think about what Jamie Dimon was saying? Because he was saying personally, but on the other hand, people want to buy this, and there's absolute value in the asset. People are trading it.

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DAN ROBERTS: That's right, Adam, and not just people want to buy this, but specifically, our clients. He said our clients disagree with him. And he has contradicted himself a few times over the years. I mean, he has always remained negative and bearish on Bitcoin personally, but at one point, he was calling it a fraud and a scam. And a couple of years later, he came out and said, I regret calling it a fraud. So he, at least, pulled back on that. Now he's still out there calling it worthless.

But not only do some JPM clients disagree, the company separately has put out notes suggesting that it has interest in not just blockchain, but also in certain crypto assets. So I think there are a lot of people at JPM, as a company, who do not agree with what their chief has said publicly. And of course, you know, the idea of blockchain, but not Bitcoin is nothing new. We've heard that from banking people for years. In 2018, that was the big narrative, is you heard banks and also other traditional financial institutions coming out and saying, you know, crypto, we see is very risky. It's highly volatile, not interested. But we like blockchain. We like the idea of using blockchain.

And in the last year or so, as Bitcoin and Ethereum and other top crypto assets have really surged because of the pandemic and, you know, because of the actions of the Fed, you have started to hear less of that. So he's become an anomaly. You've started to hear less of blockchain, not Bitcoin, and you've seen the pendulum swinging back to, actually, Bitcoin is pretty interesting.

ADAM SHAPIRO: And also, there may be a bit of, we fear that which we don't totally understand, which sets me up to help us understand why anybody would buy the Shiba-- is it pronounced Shiba-- Inu coin? Because it was a picture of a cute puppy that Elon Musk put out. And yet, you think he would buy this thing?

DAN ROBERTS: Well, so first of all, let's explain. I mean, everyone by now knows about Dogecoin. And Doge is sort of this original, at this point, OG, joke cryptocurrency. It was [INAUDIBLE] just as a meme, and yet the price has surged. Elon Musk has repeatedly pumped the price of Doge. But now more recently, you've got SHIB, Shiba Inu. And of course, the original internet meme of Doge is a Shiba Inu dog.

And so Elon Musk put out a picture of his new Shiba Inu puppy and said, the name is Floki. And you had the creation of a number of new joke coins, including there's Floki Coin and Floki Frunk Puppy. But of course, it's important to distinguish that a lot of people think that SHIB was really on the rise, if you look at the data, before Musk's tweet.

Now, of course, I do think his tweet added to the pumping of this other joke coin because now it's number 12 by market cap of all cryptocurrencies. But this wasn't a case where it was just all Elon Musk. And in fact, if you look at OnChain data, something like 700,000 different wallets now hold Shiba Inu. So it's a joke, but it's not a joke. When the price goes up so much, there are some people who bought it and flipped it and made real money. So, you know, sometimes people point to those things, and they think that it reduces the legitimacy of the whole crypto space. I don't necessarily agree.

ADAM SHAPIRO: And help us understand this one because no joke here-- Skynet, also known as Facebook, was going to create a wallet for all of us. There was the Libra. Then there was going to be-- what did they call it-- Libra Diem and then Novi. The big news, though, is that Andreessen Horowitz-- and they're investors. Weren't they going to develop this with Facebook? They hired away two key people. What does that tell us?

DAN ROBERTS: Right, I mean, it's hard to look at this news, Adam, of Andreessen Horowitz hiring two of the top people at Facebook's, you know, Diem project as Andreessen Horowitz crypto partners. You know, a16z crypto has gotten very big. It's hard to look at that news and not see this as the continued gutting, the continued exodus of Facebook's crypto ambitions.

I mean, let's rewind. And remember, that when Facebook first announced Libra-- and by the way, it kept saying it's not just us. This is a consortium. But Facebook was leading it, and Facebook Messenger exec David Marcus was the public spokesperson. They said Libra was going to be a new global digital currency pegged to a basket of other multiple Fiat currencies. Then Congress didn't like it. They testified, they pulled back on the plans, they rebranded it from Libra to Diem. And they changed the name of the wallet from Calibra to Novi.

And now just recently, in August, David Marcus came out and said, our wallet product is ready for the market. Well, where is it? And now it looks like all that Diem is going to be is a US stablecoin pegged to the dollar, which we have a lot of those already. So maybe the project still exists, maybe something is going to launch. But a lot of people have left. And there is an irony now in seeing one of the backers that hypothetically is still on the board of the Diem Association plucking two prominent people from the project. But maybe that's because they want to keep better tabs on what it's up to and make sure that it's a success?

ADAM SHAPIRO: You know, I look forward to the day when Zuckerberg's trying to sell that wallet, and he says, well, it's got electrolytes, to quote the movie "Idiocracy." Dan Roberts, Decrypt editor-in-chief, we appreciate your being here. We'll see you soon, buddy.

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Bitcoin slammed as WORTHLESS by JPMorgan boss as cryptocurrency price spikes… – The Sun

ONE OF Wall Street's top dogs has taken aim at Bitcoin despite the digital currency's soaring price.

According to CNBC, JPMorgan Chase boss and outspoken crypto critic Jamie Dimon branded Bitcoin "worthless" at an event on Monday.


The investment banking behemoth told a virtual audience over video call that he saw no future for the fledging crypto market.

"I personally think that bitcoin is worthless," Dimon said during the Institute of International Finance event.

The 65-year-old added that, while he was sceptical of cryptocurrencies, JPMorgan clients were still free to invest in them.

"I dont want to be a spokesperson I dont care. It makes no difference to me, he said.

"Our clients are adults. They disagree. Thats what makes markets.

"So, if they want to have access to buy yourself bitcoin, we cant custody it but we can give them legitimate, as clean as possible, access."

Bitcoin is currently going through a golden period after a tough spring. The cryptocurrency's value peaked at 47,000 in April before a sharp decline.

However, it has been steadily climbing ever since, currently sitting around the 41,000 mark close to an all-time high.

Dimon has taken jabs at cryptocurrencies in the past.

Recently, he told Axios CEO Jim VandeHei that bitcoin has no intrinsic value.

And while he thinks bitcoin will be around long term, "Ive always believed itll be made illegal someplace, like China made it illegal, so I think its a little bit of fools gold."

Dimon also told VandeHei that he thinks "regulators are going to regulate the hell out of it."

It's been a rocky few weeks for Bitcoin.

Last week, the Biden administration unveiled sanctions against a cryptocurrency exchange over its alleged role in enabling illegal payments from ransomware attacks.

The Treasury Department accused Suex of facilitating transactions involving illicit proceeds for at least eight ransomware variants.

It's the first such move against a virtual currency exchange over ransomware activity.

"Exchanges like Suex are critical to attackers' ability to extract profits from ransomware attackers," Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said.

The action "is a signal of our intention to expose and disrupt the illicit infrastructure using these attacks."

It came after President Biden announced that the U.S. will bring together 30 countries to stop "the illicit use of cryptocurrency."

He's not the only US president to criticise the currency.

Earlier this year, former president Donald Trump called Bitcoin a "scam against the dollar."

Speaking to Fox Business in June, he expressed concerns that the cryptocurrency is threatening the value of the US dollar.

"Bitcoin, it just seems like a scam," Mr Trump said. "I don't like it because it's another currency competing against the dollar."


In other news, President Joe Biden is weighing up appointing a cryptocurrency despot to handle Bitcoin and its rivals.

Crypto investors weresent into paniclast month after a data provider showed a 90 per cent plunge in Bitcoin's value.

Theprice of Bitcoin rocketedin July following claims Amazon could start accepting the cryptocurrency as payment by the end of the year.

And, nine apps have had to beremoved from the Google PlayStore after they were caught stealing Facebook passwords.

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India Has Highest Number of Cryptocurrency Owners in the World at Over 10 Crore: Report – Gadgets 360

Cryptocurrency's legal standing in India is uncertain but that hasn't dampened the spirit of Indians from investing in the asset. As per an annual proliferation index put together by broker discovery and comparison platform BrokerChoose, India has the highest number of cryptocurrency owners globally in terms of an individual number of holders. The United States and Russia were ranked a fairly distant second and third, respectively. In terms of number of crypto owners in terms of population, India has the fifth-highest crypto ownership rate, but the country's sheer population blows other countries away.

Based on the percentage of a country's population who are crypto owners, the rankings are led by Ukraine (12.73 percent), Russia (11.91 percent), Kenya (8.52 percent), and the US (8.31 percent), while stood fifth with 7.3 percent. But since India's population is gargantuan in comparison to the likes of Ukraine and Russia, the two nations aren't even remotely close when we look at the total number of cryptocurrency owners. While India has 10.07 crore cryptocurrency owners, the US has 2.74 crore, while Russia has 1.74 crore.

The report also looked at cryptocurrency searches across nations. Here, the US saw the highest number of crypto-related searches followed by India, the UK, and Canada.

Recently, Chainalysis published its 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index, which placed India second out of 154 nations.

The Chainalysis study also noted the role of big institutional investors in India who we're key in driving volumes. Accounting for 42 percent of transactions from India, the report also recently revealed that India's crypto industry increased 641 percent, with 59 percent of activity occurring on DeFi platforms.

That said, since the nation lacks a legislative framework and regulatory requirements for cryptocurrencies are still a fair bit away, India is still far from realising its potential as a powerhouse nation in the space.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

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Students hop on to the cryptocurrency bandwagon – Economic Times

Crypto exchanges have recorded a spurt in students investing in cryptocurrencies as the disruptive asset class has found favour with the community as an investment.

Data from top exchanges indicate that about 15% to 20% of all the users are students and in the 18-20 years age group.

The number of students trading and investing in cryptocurrencies has jumped anywhere between 400% to 500% at the top exchanges when compared to last year, or for that matter even a few months back.

About 20% are pursuing fashion and related courses, while 10% are studying arts, media and entertainment.

A sudden crypto buying event seems to have taken place over the last two months when the global rally in cryptocurrencies has caught everyones attention.

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The exchanges said that the average age of investors has dropped while their investments have gone up.

Around 190K BuyUcoin users are from the same age group with 11.7% share in crypto holdings, said Thakral.

Industry trackers say that the new age investors are not only changing the way they invest but also how they invest and in which assets they deploy capital.

The new age investors are not just sticking to Bitcoins but are buying and trading even other cryptocurrencies, which seems to be a hedging strategy.

Many college students and other young investors could also be interested as the exchanges have started offering schemes similar to systematic investment plans.

Till last year India had approximately around 5 million crypto users which went up to 15 million making India 3rd country in the world for crypto adoptions, said Kumar Gaurav, founder and CEO, Cashaa, an online banking platform to manage fiat and cryptocurrencies.

Despite regulatory confusion and hiccups on the payments front, new young investors are flocking to the exchanges.

And as a result money is following the exchanges.

Recently CoinSwitch Kuber, a cryptocurrency exchange, said that it has raised $ 260 million from investors including Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India and Andreessen Horowitz. The investment values the exchange at $ 1.9 billion.

Bitcoin on Tuesday was trading at $ 57,000 while Ethereum was trading at $ 3,250.

Industry trackers say that India is mirroring a global trend where more investors are flocking towards the crypto assets.

During the slight dip last month, crypto-related investments witnessed record inflows owing to the growing global acceptance of crypto assets. India and neighbouring countries are the main growth drivers of the crypto economy in South East Asia and they will continue their dominance because of the large number of active crypto investors in the region, said Jay Hao, CEO,, a cryptocurrency exchange.

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Philip Hammond adds cryptocurrency role to post-Treasury jobs list – The Guardian

The former chancellor Philip Hammond has added another job to the dozen or so he has taken on since leaving the Treasury in 2019, this time as an adviser to a Mayfair-based cryptocurrency trading firm.

Lord Hammond, who also served as foreign secretary and was an early supporter of bitcoin and other digital currencies, joined with immediate effect on Monday.

The former chancellor, who was said to be one of the wealthiest ever cabinet ministers with a fortune once estimated at 8.2m, has taken up as many as 14 paid and unpaid jobs since leaving politics after a bust-up with Boris Johnson over Brexit.

Hammond was last month criticised by Westminsters lobbying watchdog for using his government connections to assist OakNorth, a bank he is paid to advise.

Starting out as a schoolboy running church hall discos, then becoming a medical equipment entrepreneur, Philip Hammond has been involved in an eclectic mix of business ventures. In two years since leaving office he has been given the green light by the UKs lobbying watchdog, Acoba, for 14 roles, including advising three Gulf states and working with several companies set up by Tory peers.

1. Non-executive director, Ardagh

Hammonds first appointment after quitting politics was with the Luxembourg-based metal and glass packaging firm, on an estimated salary of 125,000.

2. Adviser to OakNorth

Hammond joined the board of SoftBank-backed British fintech bank alongside Conservative ex-minister Francis Maude and former senior regulators Adair Turner and Martin Stewart.

3. Keynote speaker, Washington Speakers Bureau and London Speakers Bureau

Last year Hammond applied for part-time paid appointments at these two events agencies. Being on their roster opens up opportunities for lucrative after-dinner speeches to corporate clients.

4. Adviser to Canary Wharf Group

He joined the board of the property company last summer. It is chaired and was until recently run by Sir George Iacobescu, a Romanian-born British property chief who helped transform the once-barren London Docklands estate into Canary Wharf.

5. Senior adviser, Chatham House

Hammond joined the international affairs thinktank in June 2020 and speaks on panels discussing international economic policies.

6. Adviser to Saudi Arabias finance minister.

Hammond had previous ties with the minister, having advised him on Saudi Arabias G20 presidency.

7. Adviser to FMA Partners

The consultancy was founded by Maude and co-run with Simone Finn, who was appointed as a non-executive director of the Cabinet Office last May. Its latest filing of accounts registered assets of 209,000.

8. Adviser to Nomura

Hammond joined one of Japans largest investment banks.

9. Adviser to Apidae

The Essex-based management consultancy is run by Boris Johnsons fintech ambassador, Alastair Lukies.

10. Co-chair of Future Economy Surrey Commission

The council-run body commissions reports about Surreys economic health and sets out solutions for post-pandemic recovery.

11. Partner at Buckthorn

The energy investment firm is run by Colin Moynihan, a former Conservative MP and hereditary peer.

12. Adviser to Bahrains finance minister

Acoba cleared Hammond to accept a paid, part-time role advising the country on a programme of economic and fiscal reform.

13. Adviser to Kuwait Investment Office

The office is part of the Gulf states sovereign wealth fund, with estimated assets of $592bn. Hammond told Acoba he would advise on economic challenges and investment opportunities.

14. Nominated for a peerage

Boris Johnson awarded a life peerage to Hammond in February 2020.

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Eric Pickles, a former cabinet colleague who chairs the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), said it was an unwise step for Hammond to contact a senior Treasury official about a project developed by OakNorth.

Lord Pickles said Hammonds use of his contacts in government was not consistent with the intention of the rules and was not acceptable because of the privileged access you obtained for OakNorth.

Hammond, who also served as defence secretary, was later cleared of breaching lobbying rules after an investigation by the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL), an independent body that monitors lobbying activities of former ministers and senior civil servants.

ORCL accepted Hammonds argument that, since lobbying was not his main activity, there was no need for him to register as a lobbyist working on behalf of a third party.

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Copper said Hammond would focus on promoting the UK as a global leader in digital asset technology. The firm, which was founded in 2018, recently announced plans to expand into the US and Asia and secured $75m (55m) of investment from the British billionaire hedge fund manager Alan Howard and the venture capital firms Dawn Capital and Target Global.

Hammond said Copper was a true pioneer of crypto and digital asset investment technology. But the really exciting opportunity lies in the application of this technology to revolutionise the way financial services are delivered, he said. If we can bring together the best of Britain entrepreneurs, industry, government, and regulators to create and enable a blockchain-based ecosystem for financial services, we will secure the UKs global leadership in this field for decades ahead.

Dmitry Tokarev, the chief executive of Copper, said: We would like to drive growth in our client base within a regulatory framework which will allow us to thrive globally from our London headquarters. With Lord Hammonds expertise adding to the strength of our team, we look forward to growing Copper and further enhancing the UKs digital asset technology offering.

As chancellor, Hammond had called for light-touch regulations for cryptocurrencies. I am interested in bitcoin. The Bank of England, as you know, among the central banks, has been leading on looking at bitcoin, he said in 2018. What is really important is that in regulating cryptocurrencies, we dont inadvertently constrain the potential of the technology that underlies it, the blockchain technology, which has a wider and more important application.

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Philip Hammond adds cryptocurrency role to post-Treasury jobs list - The Guardian

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Is It Safe for Retirees to Buy Cryptocurrency? – The Motley Fool

Cryptocurrency has become a hot investment over the past year as more people have begun dabbling in digital coins. The reality is that there's a lot of money to be made in cryptocurrency. But there's also a lot of risk involved -- generally more so than investing in stocks. And that begs the question -- should retirees invest in cryptocurrency? Or are they better off playing it safer with their money?

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As a general rule, retirees are often advised to have more conservative investment portfolios than people who are still many years from retirement. The reason? Retirees commonly cash out their investments and use that money to pay their living costs. Many seniors can't live on Social Security alone, so they invest their savings in stocks and bonds and take withdrawals as needed.

Taking withdrawals can sometimes mean having to cash out investments when they're down. And since stock values tend to fluctuate a lot more than bond values, seniors are often advised to move away from stocks and load up more on bonds because they're a more stable investment.

Since cryptocurrency is even more volatile than stocks, at first glance, it may not seem like a suitable investment for retirees. But that doesn't mean retirees have to stay away from it completely.

Some retirees have access to many income sources. For example, someone might have money coming in from a pension, Social Security, an investment property, a dedicated retirement plan, and a separate brokerage account. So it wouldn't be a terrible idea for a financially-healthy senior to invest a small amount of money in cryptocurrency.

Those who are more cash strapped, however, may want to stay away from crypto. Because cryptocurrency is relatively new, it's hard to know whether it will end up being a solid long-term investment or not. Much of that will depend on whether it becomes a widely accepted form of payment and if demand for it stays strong. So retirees who don't have a lot of financial wiggle room may be better off playing it safe and staying away from digital coins.

In fact, a good rule of thumb when investing in cryptocurrency is to expect to lose all of your money. That may not happen at all. But it's a good expectation to set so you don't invest money you can't afford to lose.

Retirees who decide to buy cryptocurrency should start slowly and only invest a limited amount of money, at least at first. What's more, anyone planning to invest in cryptocurrency should research the various coins out there to land on the right ones for their situation. It's easy to assume that Bitcoin is the best choice because it's been around the longest, but that doesn't mean it's right for every investor.

Ultimately, cryptocurrency can be a solid investment, even for older people. But there's a danger to investing in cryptocurrency in retirement, and seniors should be aware of that before jumping in.

Retirees with a hearty appetite for risk may feel comfortable buying cryptocurrency. But proceeding with caution is ultimately the best bet.

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Is It Safe for Retirees to Buy Cryptocurrency? - The Motley Fool

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Critical Flaw in OpenSea Could Have Let Hackers Steal Cryptocurrency From Wallets – The Hacker News

A now-patched critical vulnerability in OpenSea, the world's largest non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace, could've been abused by malicious actors to drain cryptocurrency funds from a victim by sending a specially-crafted token, opening a new attack vector for exploitation.

The findings come from cybersecurity firm Check Point Research, which began an investigation into the platform following public reports of stolen cryptocurrency wallets triggered by free airdropped NFTs. The issues were fixed in less than one hour of responsible disclosure on September 26, 2021.

"Left unpatched, the vulnerabilities could allow hackers to hijack user accounts and steal entire cryptocurrency wallets by crafting malicious NFTs," Check Point researchers said.

As the name indicates, NFTs are unique digital assets such as photos, videos, audio, and other items that can be sold and traded on the blockchain, using the technology as a certificate of authenticity to establish a verified and public proof of ownership.

The modus operandi of the attack relies on sending victims a malicious NFT that, when clicked, results in a scenario whereby rogue transactions can be facilitated through a third-party wallet provider simply by providing a wallet signature to connect their wallets and perform actions on the targets' behalf. "Users should be hyper-aware of what they sign on OpenSea, as well as other NFT platforms, and whether it correlates with expected actions," the researchers said.

OpenSea said it hasn't identified any instances where this vulnerability was exploited in the wild but added it's working with third-party wallet services to "help users better identify malicious signature requests, as well as other initiatives to help users thwart scams and phishing attacks with greater efficacy."

"Blockchain innovation is fast-underway and NFTs are here to stay. Given the sheer pace of innovation, there is an inherent challenge in securely integrating software applications and crypto markets," said Oded Vanunu, head of products vulnerabilities research at Check Point. "Bad actors know they have an open window right now to take advantage of, with consumer adoption spiking, while security measures in this space still need to catch up."

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Critical Flaw in OpenSea Could Have Let Hackers Steal Cryptocurrency From Wallets - The Hacker News

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Chess Fever sweeps the nation – WATE 6 On Your Side

Posted: Oct 13, 2021 / 09:50 AM EDT

Updated: Oct 13, 2021 / 09:50 AM EDT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) World records may be broken, bonds built, and rivalries rekindled as the bestchessplayers in the country converge on theChessCapital of the United States, Saint Louis, for the 2021 U.S. & U.S. WomensChessChampionships, an elite, invitation-only gathering designed to discern one thing: who has the right to stand atop the pinnacle of their sport and definitively declare checkmate?

Many viewers across the country may find themselves extra interested in the tournaments this year, as interest inchesshas gone viral following the wildly popular release of the Netflix miniseriesThe Queens Gambitand the extra time at home to both watch and learn to play due to COVID-19. In fact, 62 million households streamed the show in the first month that it was available.Chesssearches on Amazon skyrocketed to 857% on Amazon in that same month, andchesssets even made it into the Top 25 Toys on the popular e-commerce site in 2020. Registration has almost tripled since 2017 and is boasting 1.5 million players daily. To not say thatchesshas taken the country by storm would be a blunder!

We had the opportunity to sit down with the first-ever African-American Grandmaster and U.S.ChessHall of Famer Maurice Ashley.

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