People Reportedly Shot At University Of North Carolina At Charlotte

  • Two people have reportedly been killed in a shooting at the University of North Carolina campus in Charlotte.

  • Reports say four people were injured in the campus shooting Tuesday night.

  • Local sources say that a suspect has been taken into custody and the campus was placed on a lockdown.

Two people have reportedly died in a shooting on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on Tuesday evening, according to Medic, an emergency services agency.

An additional four people are being treated for injuries, two of them life-threatening. Neither police nor UNC officials would confirm the injuries or fatalities, but Novant Health, a nearby hospital, referred HuffPost to Medic for updates.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is on lockdown after shots were reportedly fired on campus.



The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is on lockdown after shots were reportedly fired on campus.

Emergency officials at the school also confirmed that shots were reported and that a campus lockdown is in place. 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he had been briefed on the situation.

Earlier, sources told reporters at WCCB Charlotte and WSCO-TV that three people had been shot and that the suspected shooter was in custody.

Students told local news outlets that the campus was especially crowded at the time of the reported shooting because rapper Waka Flocka Flame was performing at the time at the university’s football stadium. 

This article has been updated with emergency personnel reporting two deaths.

Patricia Arquette Pleads For Women’s Rights At Historic Congressional Hearing

Clad in suffragette white, actress Patricia Arquette delivered a passionate plea for the Equal Rights Amendment at a historic hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

It was the first time in 36 years the ERA, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, has been discussed in Congress. Seated behind Arquette were several rows of women’s activists, including fellow actress Alyssa Milano. Many wore white, and some had suffragette sashes of purple and green.

“There’s a groundswell in this country,” Arquette said. “Women are rising up by the millions and saying they will not be sexually assaulted, they will not be paid less, they will not be treated as subhuman and they will have their voices heard.”

The ERA passed Congress in 1972 with bipartisan support, but fell three states short of the 38 required to ratify by the 1982 deadline. At issue Tuesday was a bill, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), that would eliminate the deadline.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world that does not guarantee equal rights for women in its constitution. Speier called the failure to enshrine women’s rights in the U.S. Constitution a “stain” on the country.

“Nations around the world recognize the equality of men and women,” Speier said Tuesday. “It’s frankly an embarrassment.”

The ERA would have enormous symbolic power. Updating the nation’s most important document to officially include women as part of “we the people” would be no minor thing.

The amendment could have huge implications for lawmakers, who have been constrained by the lack of formally codified gender equality. Most recently, a court struck down a prohibition on female genital mutilation passed by Congress, claiming it was unconstitutional. Part of the Violence Against Women Act was likewise struck down because it was deemed unconstitutional. With the ERA, women would also have less of an uphill battle demonstrating cases of unfair pay, sexual discrimination or harassment in the courts.

Jessica Neuwirth (left), president of the ERA Coalition, speaks with actress and activist Alyssa Milano at Tuesday's hearing.



Jessica Neuwirth (left), president of the ERA Coalition, speaks with actress and activist Alyssa Milano at Tuesday’s hearing.

Since 2017, Nevada and Illinois have ratified the ERA, bringing the number up to 37 of the 38 states needed to amend the Constitution.

Advocates are hopeful they’ll get one more state. Last week, a panel in the Louisiana state legislature voted to move forward with ERA ratification.

The failure of the U.S. to include women in its Constitution is a situation that “cries out for correction,” said Kathleen Sullivan, a partner at the law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan who also testified Tuesday.

The shadow of the Trump administration and Me Too loomed over the hearing, which ran for over two hours. Arquette spoke about the symbolic importance of simply calling for women’s rights. She said that her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech, in which she called for equal rights for women, inspired women around the country to demand equal pay, even leading to the passage of an equal pay law in California that had been hanging around for more than 30 years.

Arquette’s speech also kicked off a push for equal pay in Hollywood that helped lead to revelations about Harvey Weinstein in The New York Times, which in turn helped fuel the Me Too movement.

Add in the election of Donald Trump, and the push for equality has gotten a huge boost in recent years.

“The drumbeat for the Equal Rights Amendment has never been louder,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), a co-sponsor on Speier’s legislation who has introduced an ERA bill 12 times in Congress.

Maloney pointed out that since 2017, millions of women have taken to the streets in protest on various occasions. “Women are not waiting anymore,” she said. “We demand what is right ― full equality now. We demand it be spelled out in the Constitution.”

Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) are seen at an ERA press conference.



Reps. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) are seen at an ERA press conference.

In his opening remarks, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said he hoped the prospect of equality for women wouldn’t be subject to debate.

Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.) argued that equal rights for women would enshrine abortion rights into federal law. “The people’s right to protect the unborn would be eliminated if the ERA would be passed,” he said, adding that “of course, we all believe women should be protected from discrimination.”

Maloney and others pushed back on Johnson’s remarks, emphasizing that throwing abortion into the conversation about equal rights was little more than a distraction that would derail the amendment. Even if the ERA passed, they said, debates over reproductive rights would continue.

Sullivan pointed out that abortion and the ERA are two different issues, and that the passage of equal rights amendments in some states hasn’t changed abortion laws there.

“The ERA is just a totally separate issue from abortion and reproductive rights,” she said.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-La.) tried to argue that the ERA would somehow endanger women because it would mean transgender women could use women’s restrooms. That would cause women who’d been raped to suffer “those traumas” again, he claimed.

Several of the women testifying dismissed Gohmert’s argument. Arquette pointed out that women face the danger of sexual assault almost anywhere, and that their legal rights to protection from such assault would only be strengthened by a constitutional amendment.

“Do you know how scary it is to be a woman in the United States of America? You’re scared someone wants to go to the bathroom,” she said. “Women are being raped everywhere.”

Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman (D), who led that state’s ratification efforts, noted that the fight for equality always involves a push against these kinds of specious arguments.

“People who were born in privilege always debate whether those of us who were not deserve equality,” she said. “Equality is not debatable.”

Yet even if Speier’s bill passes the House, the Republican majority in the Senate would likely be unwilling to touch the ERA.

Still, Maloney battles on. “Today’s hearing is a critical step as we fight to finally ratify the ERA,” she told HuffPost Tuesday. “Every elected official across the country needs to know that we will not quit until women are in the Constitution, where we belong.”

Bitmain-Backed Japanese Crypto Exchange Liquid Readies US Launch

By CCN: Liquid, a Bitmain-backed Japanese cryptocurrency platform operated by Singaporean crypto exchange Quoine, plans to expand into the United States. Liquid hopes to on-board U.S. clients by January 2020.

In an April 29 statement, Liquid said it partnered with a consortium of crypto and fintech investors called Virtual Currency Partners (VCP). The two entities then launched a joint venture called Liquid Financial USA, which will manage the U.S. expansion.

Liquid Co-Founder and CEO Mike Kayamori says he’s making the move into the United States in response to “widespread expressions of interest” from Liquid’s corporate and institutional customers.

Liquid USA, which has offices in New York and Atlanta, is currently working on getting U.S. regulatory approvals.

Liquid claims it’s a tech unicorn

This American build-out comes three weeks after Liquid closed on financing that it claims raised its valuation to more than $1 billion.

In an April 3 statement, Liquid said the latest round of funding was led by investment firm IDG Capital, with participation from Bitmain, the world’s largest maker of cryptocurrency mining rigs.

“Founded in 2014, Liquid has achieved unicorn status in less than five years. This investment in Liquid marks an addition to IDG’s current portfolio of crypto investments, which include Coinbase, Ripple, Bitmain and Kakao’s crypto unit.”

It’s ironic that Bitmain is supposedly investing in Liquid since it announced in December 2018 that it’s laying off up to 50% of its staff. At the time, Bitmain had almost 2,000 employees in its mining and blockchain development segments.

Crypto industry is struggling after brutal winter

All these changes are occurring against the backdrop of continued volatility in the cryptocurrency industry. As CCN reported, Coinnest — South Korea’s fifth-largest crypto exchange — shut down last week.

A few days before that, ConsenSys — the flailing Ethereum development studio — announced that it’s trying to raise $200 million from outside investors to stay afloat.

The fundraising drive came just four months after the Brooklyn-based blockchain startup laid off 13% of its workforce.

Bitcoin can’t escape negative perception

Bitcoin shills are putting on a happy face and insisting that the brutal crypto bear market is finally over, but the stagnation and panic within the industry are palpable.

Not only has there been little progress with regulatory clarity that could legitimize the nascent ecosystem, but the industry continues to be plagued by the public perception that cryptocurrencies — especially bitcoin — are only useful for criminal activity.

Bitcoin is overwhelmingly the most popular and widely used of the 2,000 digital currencies around today. In fact, bitcoin is used in 95% of crypto crimes.

“Bitcoin is by far the favorite,” says Jonathan Levin, co-founder of Chainalysis, a blockchain forensics firm used by the IRS and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Many recent drug busts involving fentanyl purchases were uncovered through blockchain analysis because buyers paid for the illegal opioid with bitcoin.

Epic Fail for Google Parent Alphabet: Buy the Dip or Make a Run for It?

By CCN: Quarterly earnings from Alphabet showed alarming advertising growth deceleration as well as declining ad prices. Alphabet’s stock fell $95, or 7.3%, in response in after-hours trading. Does this signal the beginning of the end of the tech stock bull market or the market itself? In one respect, it provides more evidence of both scenarios and investors should be cautious.

Meanwhile, Gene Munster of Loup Ventures suggests that Google is the “oxygen of the internet,” advising investors “buy the pullback.” He’s looking at the longer-term picture despite an undeniably rocky quarter for Google.

Disastrous Growth

A revenue increase of 17% would be good news for most companies, but this is a decline from 28% growth in the year-ago quarter.  The revenue rise came on a 15% increase in ad sales, but that was down from 24% in the year-ago quarter.

Paid clicks skyrocketed 39% vs. last year, but once again, that’s down from the 66% increase in Q3 and 62% in Q4.

This tells us that advertisers are not finding the same value in Google search ads as they used to. Prices are declining, which should occur in a growing economy. It means those ad dollars are being pulled elsewhere, which means Google’s dominance may be faltering.

The reason Alphabet’s stock collapsed is simple. Investors give growth companies, like Alphabet, premium valuations because of their spectacular growth. Once growth slows, that premium contracts and investors flee.

Warning for Alphabet Investors

What does this mean for Alphabet’s stock? Has it seen its best days? GOOGL just hit an all-time high before earnings were reported. Tanking after hours like this does not bode well.

GOOGL stock hit an all-time high before the earnings debacle. | Source: Yahoo Finance

There has always been a sizable risk with GOOGL. It’s part of the FANG stocks, and just laying that moniker down for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google gave those stocks a “momentum halo.” Growth stocks like these are often driven more by momentum traders than actual investors. We see this in the steep drop in Alphabet stock price after-hours.

Yet this also speaks to overvaluation of the FANG stocks and tech stocks, not to mention the market.

Painful Collapse in Tech Stocks Ahead

Tech stocks are trading at levels that vastly exceed their growth rate. The SPDR NYSE Technology ETF and the Technology Select SPDR Fund own the largest tech names, including Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, Intel, Oracle, and Adobe. The metrics suggest the tech sector may be as much as 80% overvalued.

The overall market is at its fourth most expensive in history. The 10 year Schiller PE ratio is at 31.6.  The 2000 tech bubble and 1929 crash were previous highs.

That means that the market is pricing in earnings growth for the S&P 500 at 30% year-over-year. That’s absurd and impossible to achieve. Therefore, the market either has to go sideways for a very long time or, more likely, cascade down to the long-term average of 16.

The stock market is thus dangerously overvalued.

Profit Already Priced In

As for Alphabet stock, let’s look at valuation.

Backing out net cash of $113 billion, GOOGL stock trades at a market cap of $783 billion on trailing 12-month net income of about $30 billion. That gives it a P/E ratio of 26.

With slowing growth in an insanely overpriced market, investors should be very cautious with both GOOGL stock and the overall market.

Elon Musk Wants Ethereums Best Applications. Vitalik Buterin Delivers 13

By CCN.com: Elon Musk is getting deeper and deeper down the cryptocurrency habit hole. After yesterday’s mysterious tweet which read simply “Ethereum,” the Tesla chief then asked Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin for suggestions on what to develop on the blockchain platform.

Buterin responded with a list of 13 real-world use cases for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The list included everything from payments to insurance to new governance systems. Here’s Vitalik Buterin’s list in full.

1. A globally accessible financial system

Buterin highlights cryptocurrencies most obvious use case – financial infrastructure. The Ethereum founder suggested payments, a store of value, and insurance. Insurance might chime with the Tesla CEO who recently announced a new Tesla insurance program. 

2. “Sign in with Ethereum” options

Buterin told Musk that Ethereum could be used to replace the ubiquitous “sign in with Facebook” option. He said it should be replaced with a “sign in with Ethereum” button to completely bypass intermediate companies.

3. Secure and transparent registries

Aside from financial applications, Ethereum can also be used to record data securely and with better transparency. 

4. Experiment with new forms of governance and human organization

Vitalik Buterin pointed to Moloch DAO – a “decentralized autonomous organization” pioneering a completely decentralized form of governance, executed by smart contracts.

5. Micropayments

Beyond the globally accessible financial system, Buterin highlights the power of micropayments specifically.

6. Markets for personal data

“For privacy preserving machine learning (you pay me X, I let you homomorphically execute function Y on my data that’s been attestated to by Z…)”

7. Spam prevention in social networks

8. Micropayment schemes for publishers of good content

Buterin is likely referring to initiatives like Steem which rewards writers for creating content and Brave which aims to compensate publishers in place of advertising revenue.

9. Testing grounds for new market designs

The Ethereum founder points to decentralized markets like uniswap.exchange and new ideas for auction markets.

10. Charity stickers for donations

In the past, Vitalik Buterin has promised to donate thousands. Ethereum could help develop branded stickers that acknowledge donations. 

11. Peer to peer marketplaces for internet connections

12. Identity, reputation, and credit systems

Specifically, identity systems for those without access to resources, such as refugees.

13. Decentralized DNS alternatives

Domain name servers are incredibly reliant on centralized systems. Decentralized alternatives like ens.domains and handshake are arguably more democratic and more secure.

Elon Musk’s obsession with cryptocurrency

This isn’t the first time Elon Musk has engaged with the crypto community on Twitter. He was ceremoniously appointed the CEO of Dogecoin before declaring the meme coin his favorite cryptocurrency.

Musk later retired his CEO title, changing his Twitter bio to “Former CEO of Dogecoin.”

Elon Musk moves ETH price?

Musk’s latest Twitter antics appear to have nudged the price of ETH up 3.25 percent in the last 24 hours. As EthHub developer Anthony Sassano pointed out, search interest in ethereum also shot up in the hours following Musk’s tweets.

It remains to be seen whether Elon Musk will tap the Ethereum blockchain for Tesla or SpaceX.

Amazing: Nasdaq to Add XRP Liquid Index, Crypto Bulls Rush In

By CCN: Nasdaq exchange is adding Brave New Coin’s XRP Liquid Index tomorrow, sending crypto traders into a bull frenzy.

Within an hour of the announcement, XRP had surged by about 4%.

XRPXRP

The XRP price surged on a bullish Nasdaq development. | Source: Yahoo Finance

The announcement comes within months of Nasdaq adding Brave New Coin’s (BNC’s) Bitcoin and Ethereum Liquidity Indexes – BLX and ELX. They are all part of the Nasdaq Global Index Data Service.

The launch of crypto indices is clearly significant because it plays right into the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies. Institutional traders who may have been on the sidelines are being drawn into the space with the launch of each index.

Also, the launch of the indices could lead to regulatory approval for crypto-based derivatives in the market, as CCN previously reported.

More Ways to Track

The BNC XRP index addition will allow users to track the price of XRP “with far greater transparency than before,” Nasdaq boasts. With a market cap of roughly $12 billion, XRP is currently the third-largest crypto asset behind bitcoin and Ethereum.

According to the Nasdaq press release:

“The XRP Liquid Index (XRPLX) to meet the marketplace requirement for a single, reliable and fair USD price for XRP — based on live real-world trading activity. The index is designed to report a market price at which liquidity could enter or exit an XRP position.”

Spot On

The XRP Liquid Index has several features that make it ideal for settlements and accurate spot pricing. This includes 30-second intraday pricing, end-of-day OHLCV, and time and volume-weighted-averages, according to Nasdaq.

Like its bitcoin and Ethereum indexes, the XRP Index will provide a real-time spot or reference rate for the price derived from the most liquid parts of the global market. XRPLX could serve as the base price of XRP for regulated investment vehicles in the long term. The same holds true for BLX and ELX.

Nasdaq indices are not concentrated in a small group of exchanges or over-the-counter (OTC) exchanges. Rather, the indices take into consideration all platforms processing cryptocurrency trades and find a reliable spot price.

Right now, the exchanges for the XRPLX include Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Poloniex, and Kraken. Nasdaq says it plans to add Coinbase in the future.

Floodgates Opened?

Traditional trading players like Nasdaq have long been considered key to the mass adoption of crypto. The exchange doesn’t want to get left behind in the space that is growing despite challenges.

The Nasdaq news comes on the heels of Ripple revealing a 54% sales-spike with institutions buying XRP. It released its Q1 2019  XRP markets report last week showing it sold $169.42 million in XRP from January to March. Institutional sales accounted for $61.93 million, more than one-third of all its sales.

Dow Slides Red as China’s Factories Struggle Amid Economic Woes

By CCN.com: The Dow and broader U.S. stock market traded lower on Tuesday, as investors sifted through weaker than expected Chinese manufacturing data that seemed to show a loss of momentum at the start of the second quarter for the world’s second-largest economy.

Dow Flat; S&P 500, Nasdaq Hold Near Record Levels

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened 40 points higher on Tuesday but has since reversed gains to post a minor loss. At the time of writing, the blue-chip index was down 31 points, or 0.1%, at 26,523.11.

Dow Jones Industrial Average slides in early morning trade. | Chart via Yahoo Finance.

The broad S&P 500 Index of large-cap stocks declined 0.3% to 2,935.17. Losses were primarily concentrated in the communication services sector, which fell 2.4%.

Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite Index plunged 0.5% to 8,112.36.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq set fresh record highs on Monday as upbeat consumer spending data lifted investor sentiment.

A measure of implied volatility known as the CBOE VIX rose at the start of Tuesday’ session, reaching a high of 13.41 on a scale of 1-100 where 20-25 represents the historic average. VIX remains largely in a holding pattern, which is taken as a sign of complacency or optimism in the stock market recovery.

Trouble in China?

China’s economy shows signs of slowing at the start of the second quarter. | Source: Shutterstock.

China’s economy defied expectations in the first quarter, as industrial production rose sharply and consumer demand showed signs of recovery. That momentum appears to have slowed considerably in April, according to the latest batch of PMI data.

China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers index weakened to 50.1 in April from 50.5 in March, the National Bureau of Statistics reported Tuesday. Analysts in a median forecast had called for no change. The non-manufacturing PMI, a gauge of service-sector activity, weakened to 54.3 from 54.8 the previous month.

On the PMI scale, 50 separates expansion from contraction.

A slowing China is one of the biggest risk factors facing the world economy. The International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development have each cited Chinese headwinds in their downward revisions to global growth. A prolonged trade war with the United States has accelerated the slowdown, based on trade, production and foreign direct investment data.

4 Billion Crypto Adopters Will Outnumber Internet Users, Predicts Binance CEO

By CCN.com: Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao boldly claims that cryptocurrency will reach more users than the internet in a matter of years. His wildly bullish prediction suggests that over 4 billion people on the planet will use crypto in the near future.

Crypto: bigger than the internet

Current estimates suggest that 58 percent of the global population have access to the internet. That’s a total of 4.4 billion people with China, India, and the United States leading the pack.

While exact cryptocurrency metrics are difficult to come by, recent estimates put global crypto usage at 139 million people. That’s a seven-fold increase in the two years since 2017, which puts crypto adoption on a rapid growth curve.

However, to reach CZ’s huge 4.4 billion prediction, crypto adoption would have to increase 3,065 percent. Many in the crypto space jumped to confirm CZ’s analysis, including Morgan Creek co-founder Anthony Pompliano.

Cryptocurrency adoption: powered by satellites?

CZ is perhaps hinting at the power of bitcoin and cryptocurrency to reach even those communities without internet access.

Crypto company Blockstream uses satellites to beam the bitcoin blockchain to remote locations around the world. Referring specifically to those without internet access, Blockstream said:

“Blockstream Satellite is the world’s first service that broadcasts real-time Bitcoin transactions and blocks from a group of satellites in space. With the service, everyone will have free access to the Bitcoin network, in any corner of the world, including the estimated four billion people not currently connected to the Internet, due to lack of availability or affordability.”

Huge communities in developing countries also rely on mobile phone payments without internet access. When blackouts ravaged Venezuela’s electricity supply, users exchanged bitcoin via text message services. 

Binance Coin dominates 2019

The Binance CEO’s bold prediction comes as his native cryptocurrency Binance Coin (BNB) chalks up more 258 percent gains in 2019.

CZ’s cryptocurrency is the only crypto to achieve an all-time high in 2019 while others struggle to break the brutal crypto bear market.

Lyft Stock: Totally a Success? Company Has Its Head Stuck in Sand

By CCN: Lyft’s stock remains stuck in the doldrums, trading 22% below its IPO price of $72. Yet, the company appears to have its proverbial head stuck in the sand about its stock market debut flop.

Lyft board member Maggie Wilderotter believes the Lyft IPO on the Nasdaq was “totally a success,” she told CNBC. She said the company has its “heads down,” but could it be possible that they’ve really got their heads stuck in the sand? What part of plunging shares does she not understand?

According to Wilderotter:

“I think it’s totally a success. I think we priced it right. I think we had very good momentum for the IPO. We raised the appropriate money that we were looking to do to keep the company healthy. And we look at this as a marathon, it’s not a sprint.”

Lyft investors aren’t buying it, as evidenced by the class-action legal battle that has surfaced among burned shareholders, blaming the ride-sharing company for “overhyping” the IPO.

Lyft’s Stock Is a Disaster

The board member’s perspective is predicated on being a long-term investor in Lyft’s stock. It sure didn’t work out for IPO investors looking to capitalize on the momentum of a newly issued stock. That stigma is going to stay with Lyft for the foreseeable future. The company has another thing coming if they define a double-digit drop in the Lyft stock price as a success. Consider similarly recent IPOs Zoom and Pinterest, both of which had had a rock star reception on Wall Street, as the CNBC host alluded to. To say that Lyft priced its IPO right is doing a disservice to the investors who bought early and to the tech IPOs in the pipeline, such as Uber and WeWork.

Lyft Lyft

The bleeding continues in Lyft’s stock. | Source: Yahoo Finance

Tech IPO Pipeline

Lyft’s larger rival Uber is next in the pipeline for its stock market debut, and the company seems nervous. Lyft set the tone not only for tech IPOs but that of ride-sharing plays on Wall Street. Uber has been feverishly attempting to distance itself from Lyft, and rightfully so. They want to be considered the next Amazon instead, which despite being a stretch goes to show that the Lyft stock is not a success, at least not yet. Uber has slashed its valuation from $100 billion to a range of $80 billion to $90 billion, suggesting that it might have further to fall. If the Uber IPO is overpriced similarly to Lyft, investors have other options with the Softbank-backed WeWork on the tech IPO horizon.

Microsoft Under Fire After Hackers Access Outlook Emails to Steal Bitcoin

By CCN: Hackers infiltrated Microsoft Outlook email users’ accounts in order to steal crypto, including bitcoin. The scope of the cyber-theft is still as-yet undetermined, but it appears to be more expansive than first thought.

One victim is Dutch engineer Jevon Ritmeester, who says a hacker gained access to Microsoft customer support workers’ login credentials.

The hacker used this information to pore through Ritmeester’s Outlook emails to reset passwords and withdraw bitcoin from his accounts on cryptocurrency exchanges.

Ritmeester is furious at Microsoft’s casual reaction to this egregious negligence.

Crypto theft was apparent motive for hacks

So far, Ritmeester says he only lost one bitcoin (roughly equivalent to $5,200 using today’s bitcoin price).

“The hackers also had access to my inbox, allowing them to password-reset my Kraken account and withdrawal [sic] my bitcoin,” Ritmeester told Motherboard via email.

Ritmeester says the hackers devised a forwarding protocol so that anytime one of his emails mentioned the word “Kraken,” his Microsoft Outlook would automatically forward that email to a secret Gmail account controlled by the hackers.

Ritmeester recounted what happened on the tech forum Tweakers, where he lamented that he’ll probably never recover his stolen bitcoin.

microsoft outlook email hackedmicrosoft outlook email hacked

Engineer Jevon Ritmeester says hackers stole his bitcoin by infiltrating his Microsoft Outlook email account. | Source: screenshot

Victim: ‘Crypto users were targeted’

Other victims have also come forward to recount their harrowing experiences.

A Reddit user called Shinratechlabs says he lost “25,000 in crypto,” as a result of the Microsoft data breach, but did not provide further details. He’s disgusted at how easy it was for a hacker to illegally gain control of his Microsoft account.

“Lost 25,000 in crypto. Hackers didn’t have my credentials. They just had access to the content of my emails. Didn’t need passwords. Just put in password change requests. Verified the email confirmation links. Any confirmation they needed they had access to.”

“Strange New IP [Internet Protocol]. Click. New password? Sure? Click. Want to add 2fa [two-factor authorization], so the real owner can’t get in and you can do fast 2fa withdrawals? Click.”

“Do I have recourse against Microsoft? I am sure I am not the only one. Crypto users were targeted.”

microsoft outlook hacked for cryptomicrosoft outlook hacked for crypto

A Reddit user says he lost 25,000 in crypto as a result of Microsoft’s data breach. | Source: screenshot

Microsoft initially downplayed Outlook hack

The victims are understandably outraged at having their crypto stolen and the violation of their privacy. But they’re even more incensed at Microsoft’s apparent cover-up of this screw-up and their lax reaction to the aftermath.

When TechCrunch reported on the Outlook data breach two weeks ago, Microsoft claimed it only affected “email metadata and customer information, such as subject lines and the names of other email addresses users communicated with.”

When confronted with evidence that email content was also compromised, Microsoft backpedaled and sent breach notification emails to victims admitting its screw-up.

Dutch engineer: Microsoft is trying to cover this up

Jevon Ritmeester says he’s planning to file a police report. Moreover, he plans to hold Microsoft accountable for the financial damage he suffered and the leak of sensitive personal information as a direct result of the tech giant’s alleged negligence.

“I feel Microsoft is trying to cover up and is not taking this seriously. I think Microsoft talks way too lightly about this leak. There are a lot of users who have suffered damage in one way or another as there is a lot of sensitive information in an inbox.”

As it is, Microsoft can afford to restore the financial damage to hacking victims, since it reported record third-quarter earnings.