Week 3, 2022

Friday weekly News Wrap up

This week has been very mixed for the tech world – exciting announcements from some and not-so-good news from others. The volatile cryptocurrencies market has seen some new low and vulnerability, while it has also gained more acceptance as seems from Twitter’s announcement of the new NFT profile pic. Here’s a summary of some developments from the world.

Russia proposes ban on use and mining of cryptocurrencies

While India does not have any clarity on its stand on cryptocurrencies, governments across the world are taking strong positioning against it. Last week it was Pakistan, this week  Russia’s Central Bank proposed to completely ban cryptocurrency investment and mining. 

As per the Central Bank, ‘speculative demand’ is driving the rapid growth of decentralized cryptocurrencies, and it risks the creation of a bubble in the market. The Bank also stated that “Cryptocurrencies also have signs of a financial pyramid as an increase in their prices is largely driven by demand demonstrated by new market participants.”

Twitter becomes one of the first social networks to build NFTs into the app itself. On Thursday, Twitter Blue welcomed its users by posting a very sizzling video with the content : 

Twitter Blue launches NFT profile pic for subscribed iOS users

gm! You asked (a lot), so we made it. Now rolling out in Labs: NFT Profile Pictures on iOS

The social media’s official statement said: 

We’re adding NFTs as one of several ways to customize your profile pic so you can show off the NFTs you own in a hex-shaped profile picture on your Twitter account. 
Setting up an NFT profile picture means people can associate your Twitter account with your connected wallet’s public crypto wallet address. This means your Twitter account will be associated with your current and historical crypto wallet transactions and holdings, including all other NFTs in that wallet, because this information is all available on the public blockchain.

This initiative has been powered by OpenSea, the largest peer-to-peer marketplace for NFTs, rare digital items, and crypto collectibles.

In a thread on Twitter, OpenSea posted:  

Attn Twitter fam! Today we’re excited to see @Twitter launch their new NFT Profile Pictures feature, powered by OpenSea’s API
Interest in NFTs has exploded, and PFPs are among their earliest mainstream consumer applications. For some, they’re used as a form of digital identity and self expression that signals membership within a community and ownership of a given NFT. As these signifiers open doors for conversation + community across social platforms, we want to make it easier to showcase NFTs, their creators, and the role they play in digital ID. So we’ve partnered with @Twitter to power their new NFT Profile Pictures verification feature
Using OpenSea’s API, metadata, and collection verification, the integration allows you to verify ownership seamlessly and uncover key NFT information, including the NFT name, its original creator, its collection description and additional properties of the artwork.

Amazon’s first bricks-and-mortar clothing store ‘Amazon Style’ to be launched later this year

Amazon announced yesterday that it will open its first bricks-and-mortar clothing store ‘Amazon Style’  later this year at The Americana at Brand in greater Los Angeles. It is obvious that when Amazon decides to open in-store shopping for its customers,  one can only imagine the level of disruption that it will bring in customers’ experience. The expectations are obviously high. Going by the videos and the pictures the company has released, it seems it is just out of the world.  

Here are five things you would like to know: 

  1. As a market leader, one can expect the widest choice of brands and diverse range of prices. Afterall which brand would know better the preferences of the mass buyers better than Amazon? 
  2. The whole concept of Amazon Style is built around personalization.  As per its website, Amazon’s machine learning algorithms produce tailored, real-time recommendations for each customer as they shop. As customers browse the store and scan items that catch their eye,  it will recommend picks just for them. For an even more tailored experience, customers can share information like their style, fit, and other preferences to receive more refined recommendations. Even shopping for deals is personalized and convenient—customers can easily view deals in store that match their preferences right in the Amazon Shopping app.
  3. How would you feel if the store already have your choices and preference ready in the fitting room when you are still browsing in the store? Yes, Amazon has introduced a completely reimagined fitting room turning it into a personalized space where customers can continue to shop a seemingly endless closet of great styles. When a shopper enters their fitting room, they will find the items they requested while browsing the store, plus additional options chosen based on their preferences.
The fitting room (Credit: Aboutamazon.com) 

4. With Amazon’s vast fulfillment center network, the selection at Amazon Style will be frequently updated so customers can discover new items each time they visit.

5. Several new technologies have been put together to make it effortless for customers to discover items they’ll look and feel great in. This includes Amazon Style’s mobile shopping experience within the Amazon Shopping app and fitting room touchscreens, enabling customers to learn more about items they scan and to discover new brands as they shop. With Amazon Style’s advanced machine learning algorithms, we provide customers with personalized recommendations that match budget, fit, and style. 

Cyber security attack compromise sensitive data of ICRC

It has been reported that cyber security attack has compromised personal data and confidential information on more than 515,000 highly vulnerable available at computer servers hosting information held by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). This data, originated from at least 60 Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies around the world, has sensitive information on highly vulnerable people, including those separated from their families due to conflict, migration, disaster, missing persons, and their families, and people in detention, its press release said.

“An attack on the data of people who are missing makes the anguish and suffering for families even more difficult to endure. We are all appalled and perplexed that this humanitarian information would be targeted and compromised,” said Robert Mardini, ICRC’s director-general. “This cyber-attack puts vulnerable people, those already in need of humanitarian services, at further risk.”

The ICRC does not have any indications as to who carried out this cyber-attack, which targeted an external company in Switzerland the ICRC contracts to store data.  “While we don’t know who is responsible for this attack, or why they carried it out, we do have this appeal to make to them,” said Mr Mardini. “Your actions could potentially cause yet more harm and pain to those who have already endured untold suffering. The real people, the real families behind the information you now have are among the world’s least powerful. Please do the right thing. Do not share, sell, leak, or otherwise use this data.”

Crypto.com confirms loss of over $30 million in Bitcoin and Ethereum after a hack

Crypto.com has lost over $30 million in Bitcoin and Ethereum after a hack that took place on January 17th. The incident affected 483 Crypto.com users. Unauthorized withdrawals totaled 4,836.26 ETH, 443.93 BTC, and approximately US$66,200 in other currencies.

Crypto.com writes in a blog: 

On Monday, 17 January 2022 at approximately 12:46 AM UTC Crypto.com’s risk monitoring systems detected unauthorized activity on a small number of user accounts where transactions were being approved without the 2FA authentication control being inputted by the user. This triggered an immediate response from multiple teams to assess the impact. All withdrawals on the platform were suspended for the duration of the investigation. Any accounts found to be impacted were fully restored. Crypto.com revoked all customer 2FA tokens, and added additional security hardening measures, which required all customers to re-login and set up their 2FA token to ensure only authorized activity would occur. Downtime of the withdrawal infrastructure was approximately 14 hours, and withdrawals were resumed at 5:46 PM UTC, 18 January 2022.

The blog mentioned Crypto.com is introducing the Worldwide Account Protection Program (WAPP). WAPP offers additional protection and security for user funds held in the Crypto.com App and the Crypto.com Exchange.

Sevashree Mohapatra
A strategic Corporate Communication leader and technology enthusiast, I have more than 20 years of experience in content, corporate communication, and Strategy. Having worked in major media houses and MNCs like Hindustan Times, Ogilvy, ArcelorMittal, and Suez, I have helped brands to create value for their customers.