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India crypto bill awaits approval; Poly Network hack saga continues

India crypto bill awaits approval while Poly Network hack saga continues

India’s finance minister says long delayed crypto bill awaiting cabinet approval.

Microsoft unveils Argus anti-piracy plans.

Poly Network hack saga rumbles on.

We’ll have more on those stories — and other news shaping the cryptocurrency and blockchain world — in this episode of The Daily Forkast, August  17th.


Welcome to The Daily Forkast, August 17th, 2021. I’m Justin Solomon of Forkast.News, filling in for Editor-in-Chief Angie Lau, covering all things blockchain.

Coming up, India’s finance minister says the country’s long delayed crypto bill is now at the cabinet approval stage. Microsoft unveils Argus anti-piracy plans and the Poly Network hack saga rumbles on.

Now let’s get you up to speed from Asia to the world.

First up, an update on the slow progress of India’s cryptocurrency bill. It seems like things are picking up speed.

The country’s finance minister now says the cabinet note on the bill is ready and she’s waiting for it to be cleared. And inter-ministerial panel has already submitted its report to the government. It recommends a ban on all private cryptocurrencies.

So what does this mean for a possible crypto ban for the second most populated country in the world?

Forkast.News Monika Ghosh has the latest from Pune, India.

The inter-ministerial committee’s recommendations echoed those made in a prior report submitted back in 2019.It recommended a blanket ban on crypto and penalties, including jail time for violations.

The Reserve Bank of India has also repeatedly called for a ban and said it has no difference of opinion with the finance ministry.

That’s despite Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s earlier assurances that India would not be shutting all options on crypto.

While the full details of the bill are still uncertain, crypto exchange Unocoin told Forkast News a ban would be a very shortsighted move.

“This is definitely will be a very strong death blow, I think, for the entire industry. Just because it’s can be used by the bad actors does not mean it has to be curtailed.”

Sathvik says the government could have a fight on its hands if it goes ahead, as there are now bigger players in the industry and much more data is available on genuine use cases for crypto currencies.

If cleared by the cabinet before November, the bill could be introduced in parliament in the winter session.

For Forkast .News, I’m Monika Ghosh.

Meanwhile, tech giant Microsoft has unveiled a new plan to combat piracy.

A new white paper reveals the company has enlisted the help of researchers from Chinese tech giant Alibaba and Carnegie Mellon University. It’s named Argus, and it will use the transparency of the Ethereum blockchain to provide an incentive based system to fight piracy.

But what can it really do?

Forkast.News Lachlan Kellar has more.

In Greek mythology, Argus was a giant with a thousand eyes, he always kept watch, even while sleeping.

The parents of Project Argus hope it to be exactly that, striking a balance between privacy and transparency.

Microsoft says running Argus on a public blockchain will allow for informer anonymity and that its “proof of leakage” mechanism will allow pirated content to be traced to its original source using a watermark algorithm.

The company also says it has optimized cryptographic operations to minimize the cost of reporting piracy issues.

Alibaba has had its fair share of problems of piracy. Its Taobao site has been named and shamed in the past for selling pirated materials from books to movies.

But that has changed of late, and it is now heavily involved in the Chinese Central Bank’s E-CNY digital currency project.

With Project Argus, is another step to restoring a tarnished reputation from the past.

For Forkast.News, I’m Lachlan Keller.

And finally today, the Poly Network hacking saga rumbles on.

The hacker dubbed Mr. White Hat may not quite be the white hat, or ethical hacker, Poly Network thought they were.

Why? Well, that’s because they have yet to provide the key for the multi-signature wallet needed to complete the full return of the stolen assets.

Messages posted on Ethereum and shared on Twitter by crypto tracking firm Elliptic’s Co-Founder Tom Robinson, the hackers said they will provide the key when everyone is ready and that trust issues between the two parties are behind the delay.

Meanwhile, Poly Network, which had previously offered the hacker a bounty of a US$500,000 as a reward for returning all the assets safely, has now announced a separate bounty program.

That program has been launched in partnership with the Bug Bounty platform Immunefi.

It offers security agencies US$100,000 each for valid bug reports submitted, with a total bounty pool of a half a million U.S. dollars.

Poly Network also tweeted they are set to relaunch their system soon, following completion of their steps on their roadmap to recovery.

Not quite the fairytale or white hat ending many may have hoped for, at least not yet, but that’s probably for another news day.

And that’s The Daily Forkast from our vantage point right here in Asia. For more, visit Forkast.News. I’m Justin Solomon. Until next time.

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