Dithering U.S. Regulators Risk Causing a Brain Drain to Friendlier Crypto Climes

Dithering U.S. Regulators Risk Causing a Brain Drain to Friendlier Crypto Climes

Cryptocurrency companies in the United States aren’t happy. Token issuers, exchanges, and VCs are up in arms about vague and contradictory guidance on crypto asset regulation. Should the U.S. fail to update its archaic securities laws, they warn, there is a risk of top talent making an exodus to friendlier crypto climes.

Also read: Countries Suffering From Rapid Inflation Show Significant Demand for Cryptos

The US Risks Being Left Behind

America is known for its forward-thinking approach to tech. As a consequence, Silicon Valley startups have been allowed to flourish in a favorable regulatory climate. Because blockchain technology intersects with money, however, innovating in the U.S. hasn’t been so straightforward. A string of regulatory agencies including the SEC and CFTC take a strict view of such matters as unlicensed money transmission and unregistered securities trading. Cryptocurrency issuers, service providers and P2P traders risk falling afoul of confusing state and federal laws, which are often enforced without rhyme nor reason. Figuring out the stance of the SEC and its cohorts is a task that’s kept even the best crypto lawyers guessing.

In a blog post on May 23, Poloniex exchange owners Circle pleaded for U.S. regulators to show sanity. The company warned of conflicting SEC policy “chilling innovation in the U.S. and nudging crypto projects toward jurisdictions with greater regulatory clarity—neither of which is good for U.S. business.” They added:

We’re frustrated by the consequences of the current guidance, and we know those sentiments are shared by the crypto community as a whole … we need … thoughtful and effective policies in the U.S. that enable creativity from technologists the world over and are built for crypto assets released on public blockchains, rather than age-old laws written for securities offered by corporations.

If the penalty for breaching securities laws was only a slap on the wrist, businesses might be more inclined to move fast and break stuff, rather than tread carefully for fear of censure. Instead, cryptocurrency exchanges have been forced to err on the side of the caution, in the knowledge that the slightest slip could see them slapped with a punitive fine or barred from trading altogether.

While America Slumbers, Other Nations Seize the Day

Confusion over what constitutes a security and whether “sufficient decentralization” makes a project’s token a utility have kept U.S. crypto leaders scratching their heads. While exchanges such as Poloniex have delisted coins like DCR and REP, due to uncertainty over their legal status, other countries have capitalized on this policy void and embraced tokenization, within certain bounds.

Dithering U.S. Regulators Risk Causing a Brain Drain to Friendlier Crypto Climes
A number of small nation states including Malta, Gibraltar and San Marino (pictured) have embraced crypto companies.

Jose Maria Macedo is the Head of Advisory at Amazix and a member of the San Marino Scientific Council. There he serves as a token economics expert, helping the crypto-friendly microstate develop its blockchain policy. He told news.Bitcoin.com: “The SEC finds itself in a difficult position in regulating the crypto space. One the one hand, it’s obliged to stamp out the most flagrant securities violations that have been perpetrated by ICOs, while taking a lighter touch towards tokenized projects that are acting in good faith. Unfortunately, a lack of clarity in the U.S. as to what constitutes a security token has led to exchanges self-censoring, and removing crypto assets out of fear that they may fall foul of the SEC.” He added:

If the U.S. doesn’t update its archaic financial laws to reflect the growth and innovation within the cryptoconomy, we could see a ‘brain drain’ in which the smartest token economists and developers flee to territories that have embraced crypto assets and enacted clear guidelines that let companies know ‘We’re open for business’.

In its impassioned blog post, Circle cited the Token Taxonomy Act, a bipartisan bill seeking to exclude digital tokens from security laws. The definition of what constitutes a security, based on the 1946 Howey Test, and supplemented by unofficial comments by regulators over the years, are murky at best. In “A taxonomy of token models and valuation methodologies,” Jose Maria Macedo defines crypto capital as “A token whose ownership provides ongoing access to something of value,” of which security tokens form a subset. Crypto assets, on the other hand, are “tokens whose ownership doesn’t yield an ongoing stream of value.” This interpretation sounds simple enough, but until such reasoning is enshrined in law, U.S. crypto companies are obliged to tread carefully.

Dithering U.S. Regulators Risk Causing a Brain Drain to Friendlier Crypto Climes

Crypto Leaders Take the Fight to the SEC

Fred Wilson, CEO of Union Square Ventures, weighed in on the regulatory debate Circle sparked, criticizing the SEC’s “damaging policy” that will drive liquidity and trading volume to Asia, where the remainder of the crypto sector will follow. “In 5-10 years when we look back and consider why the next big tech sector centered itself in Asia and not in the US, it will be the SEC’s unwillingness to create new rules to regulate new assets that will be the cause,” he concluded.

Dithering U.S. Regulators Risk Causing a Brain Drain to Friendlier Crypto Climes

On May 28, Kin founder Ted Livingstone went a step further, launching Defendcrypto.org whose mission statement reads: “The SEC has been shaping the future of crypto behind the scenes with settlements that set a dangerous precedent and stifle innovation. Kin is unwilling to let that happen and is setting aside $5MM with Coinbase to take them on in court. But with the future of crypto on the line, $5MM might not be enough. That’s why we’re calling on others to contribute to the Defend Crypto fund.”

In a follow-up blog post, Fred Wilson chipped in:

It is my hope, and Kin’s hope, that DefendCrypto.org will be an inspiration for the many other important crypto projects that are silently battling with the SEC to come public and raise capital from the crypto sector for their fights. The SEC is regulating by enforcement, not new rulemaking, and worse, they have taken a divide and conquer strategy. It is time for the crypto industry to come together and fight back.

Kin is unlikely to gain much public support in taking their fight to the SEC. This is a company, after all, which raised $100M via an ICO not so long ago. Nevertheless, there is a growing consensus that when it comes to crypto asset regulation, something has got to give. Otherwise, the U.S. risks falling behind to nations that aren’t afraid to embrace digital currencies. Drawing level with them again could take years.

Do you think lack of clarity from the SEC is damaging crypto companies in the US? Let us know in the comments section below.


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How Crypto-Based Microfinance Benefits Small Businesses

How Crypto-Based Microfinance Benefits Small Businesses

Starting your own business isn’t easy given the reluctance of banks to grant credit. Gone are the days when a compelling business plan would be enough to have the branch manager shaking your hand and bankrolling your venture. For entrepreneurs in developing nations, where even obtaining a bank account can prove challenging, getting their idea off the ground often calls for non-traditional funding. Crypto-based microfinance is one such solution.

Also read: Bitcoin Cash Privacy Has Improved in Leaps and Bounds

Unbanked Businesses Are More Common Than You Think

The unbanked are synonymous with Africa, where over 400 million adults lack access to the financial system, but can be found in their droves on every continent. In the U.S., for example, 8.5 million adults lack access to the financial system. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin have long been touted as a salvation for the unbanked, granting them a means of saving and exchanging value, but the benefit decentralized assets bring to small businesses is less documented.

How Crypto-Based Microfinance Benefits Small Businesses

SMEs, both banked and unbanked, face financial pressure from day one, paying proportionately more for goods, import taxes, legal and administrative expenses, and compliance costs than larger enterprises. As a result, many small businesses fold long before they’ve even had a chance to challenge the incumbents. Google and Facebook’s dominance of the advertising market, for example, is steadily increasing, with the introduction of regulations such as GDPR credited with disadvantaging smaller competitors.

How Crypto-Based Microfinance Benefits Small BusinessesAlthough most easily observed on a macro scale, it is on a micro level that this trend bites the deepest. Assetstream is a microfinance platform that assists SMEs that have been excluded by the traditional financial system. Its founder Thanin Piromward told news.Bitcoin.com: “When we hear the term ‘unbanked’ we tend to think of citizens of developing nations, but this is a problem which equally affects small businesses in these countries. They are denied access to services such as loans and other types of credit which are vital in ensuring early stage growth.” He continued:

Crypto assets and the rise of social credit can remedy this lack of access through exposing SMEs to a community of lenders who are willing to assess each business on its merits, and assign capital accordingly.

If Banks Won’t Lend, the People Will

Traditional microfinance has helped fund businesses in developing countries, but it’s not without its drawbacks: businesses typically pay more in interest for loans allocated in this manner, exacerbated by middlemen who bloat the terms offered to startups, whose founders often have nowhere else to turn. Crypto assets can offer a more transparent, frictionless, and trust-based alternative, particularly when combined with social credit, in which participants who earn and maintain trust are more likely to be allocated capital by lenders.

How Crypto-Based Microfinance Benefits Small Businesses

In the cryptosphere, microfinance assumes a number of forms, but at its core, it revolves around funding community-backed borrowers, who have demonstrated that they are of good character and sound business model. Business owners who pass these tests with flying colors can unlock capital in the form of BTC, ETH, stablecoins, or other crypto assets, with lenders receiving monthly interest payments in return. This system effectively bypasses banks altogether, which are no longer the gatekeepers that decide which businesses flourish and which are left to die.

Crypto-Powered Microfinance in Action

The number of crypto-based tools for small businesses is proliferating, aided by the growth of the decentralized finance (defi) movement, led by lending platforms such as Dharma and Compound. There are services such as Sweetbridge, too, which enables businesses to tokenize illiquid assets, releasing the unrealized value trapped within them, which can then be leveraged to obtain finance.

How Crypto-Based Microfinance Benefits Small Businesses
Dharma’s lending rates

Businesses can also utilize crypto lending services such as Cred, which lends fiat for crypto collateral, including BCH. Similar facilities are provided by Nexo, SALT, Youhodler, Ethlend, and others. These services, of course, require businesses to have access to crypto assets in the first place in order to obtain a loan. For business owners that have nothing to their name, save for some goodwill, crypto-based microfinance services such as Moeda and Assetstream bring counterparties together, enabling lenders to see where their money’s going, and borrowers to see where it’s originated. In addition to forging closer ties and increasing transparency, such initiatives help unbanked businesses obtain credit, while driving another nail into the coffin of the legacy financial system.

Do you think crypto-based microfinance can help small businesses? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Facebook Globalcoin: Killer or Multiplier?

Globalcoin: Bitcoin Killer or Bitcoin Multiplier?

It may sound like a 2014-era shitcoin, but Globalcoin is this year’s most anticipated new digital asset. It doesn’t matter that it’s not decentralized, not permissionless, and not even crypto. The only question that really matters is what does Facebook’s currency spell for bitcoin? Will it steal its thunder or accelerate adoption?

Also read: Traders Are Now Banned From Using Localbitcoins Exchange in Iran

Globalcoin: Coming Soon to a World Near You

If Mark Zuckerberg had hoped to convince the world that he’s a normal guy, and not a shape-shifting Illuminati reptilian, Globalcoin has scuppered that. It’s the name that satirists would have dubbed Facebook’s forthcoming currency, had Zuck not gone and claimed it for himself. Like Facebook itself, Globalcoin (GC) is easy to mock and easier to meme, but away from the easy one-liners, what’s known about the coin and what effect – if any – will it have on cryptocurrency?

GC is scheduled to launch in Q1 2020. Lest confirmation were needed as to how entrenched in the legacy financial system Zuck bucks will be, Facebook’s CEO has reportedly met with Bank of England governor Mark Carney as well as seeking advice from the U.S. Treasury. Project Libra, as the program is known, has been one of the world’s worst kept secrets since 2018, when it emerged that Facebook was seeking to hire blockchain developers for a covert monetary project.

GC will be nothing more than another fiat-pegged stablecoin, which is unremarkable. The coin’s real power comes in the network effects that can be leveraged to get the currency into the hands of billions, including Facebook users who don’t have bank accounts. The benefits this could bring to Facebook-loyal consumers, who can seamlessly use the coin in-app (be it FB, Insta, or Whatsapp) to pay friends and purchase goods, are substantial. But the benefits this powerful new trove of data will bring Facebook are bigger still.

A Cash Grab From the World’s Data Despots

Facebook’s extremely shitty attitude towards protecting user privacy does not need reiterating. Indeed, it is hard to think of a worse qualified custodian of a global digital currency. For all its crimes though – deplatforming, unauthorized data sharing, censorship and flagrant privacy violations – Facebook remains the world’s dominant social network. People are inherently complacent and, save for a handful of privacy purists, there has been no mass exodus of users in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and similar abuses. It doesn’t matter how much data Globalcoin harvests or who it’s shared with: if the coin works seamlessly, people will use it.

As for quite how crypto Facebook’s crypto is, the answer is “not very.” As a permissioned currency, just like the permissioned social network it lives inside, it’s irrelevant whether GC runs on a blockchain or an SQL database. No amount of nodes or validators will change the fact that your globalcoins are only yours provided you use them for the purpose that Zuckerberg intended. Play by the rules, and you’ll be just fine. Step out of line, however, and expect to see your account balance emptied and wallet frozen. As Bloomberg put it, “More than 2 billion users spending one currency, controlled by one billionaire. What’s to worry about?,” noting that Dr Evil would love Globalcoin.

What Globalcoin Means for Cryptocurrencies

As for what GC means for crypto, there are essentially two schools of thought. One holds that GC holds a genuine threat in giving the masses the benefits of crypto – fast settlement, low fees, wrapped in a package that even grandma can understand – with none of the downsides, such as volatility, complexity, or the irreversible loss of funds. In this paradigm, GC will replace BTC as a medium of exchange (MoE), leaving bitcoin to serve as a store of value (SoV) and for payments that fall outside of Facebook’s purview – like buying drugs. If this comes to pass, then GC could also threaten other cryptos such as BCH, LTC, and DASH.

The other school of thought holds that Globalcoin will serve as a Trojan horse, or gateway drug, to ”real” cryptocurrencies. Through normalizing the use of digital currency, it will make the transition to permissionless crypto seem less scary, ensuring that bitcoin is primely placed to onboard the masses when they tire of GC’s limitations: the privacy concerns, the data abuses, and the limited means of spending. In this context, Zuckerberg’s vanilla crypto will get bested by bitcoin, which can outmuscle it on all fronts, save for network effects. With an estimated 30 million cryptocurrency users versus 2.4 billion Facebook users, Globalcoin will launch with a massive advantage.

Love, hate, or fear it, Globalcoin merely represents the inevitable evolution of money. The majority of our spending has already gravitated to the digital realm, be it Paypal, Apple Pay, Visa, Venmo or bitcoin. With the underlying payment network being abstracted away while cash dies a slow death, Globalcoin will take a seat at the table of digital payment solutions, despite offering nothing new. As has been reiterated many times over, bitcoin doesn’t need to take over the world to succeed: it simply needs to survive, in one form or another. It is highly probable that Globalcoin will gain more users in its first month than bitcoin ever has or ever will. That metric, however, is meaningless.

What are your thoughts on Globalcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The Cryptocurrency Market Has Become a Casino

Crypto trading has always entailed a blend of skill and good fortune, but in the frothy markets of 2019, that weighting is skewed heavily in favor of the latter. Fundamentals go out the window when there’s a surety that the latest token is going to pump at any moment. For traders with a low timeframe patience, bitcoin will always be the safer and more profitable bet. But when your friends are getting fleetingly rich on altcoins, the temptation to FOMO in can prove irresistible.

Also read: US Copyright Office Responds to Craig Wright’s Bitcoin Registrations

Traders Are Betting Big and Losing Large at the Crypto Casino

In the drawdown that followed the excesses of 2017, traders were taught a sobering lesson. Despite vowing to change their ways, stop being greedy, and learn to take profits along the way, it appears that old habits die hard. It was a little more than two months ago that BTC broke free of the $4,000 price point it had been locked into, embarking on a mazy run that’s seen it double in price and drag the rest of the market up with it. This has brought significant cheer to the beleaguered cryptosphere, as can be seen in the sentiment score indicators by data firm Omenics, which maps the mood of the markets alongside the price of the corresponding asset.

The Cryptocurrency Market Has Become a Casino
BCH sentiment score

Its social sentiment score for BCH, shown in purple, has broken its previous high and is heading to the positive zone, according to data for the week ending May 21.

The Cryptocurrency Market Has Become a Casino
BTC sentiment score

BTC is showing similar positive signs, though there is a notable drop depicted on May 9, which Omenics attributes to the Binance hack and the reorg debate this sparked. Even though BTC has retraced a little from the year’s high of $8,300, the mood of the markets remains distinctly greedy, according to an alternative sentiment analysis service.

The Cryptocurrency Market Has Become a Casino

Day Traders Are Going for Broke

With IEOs launching across scores of exchanges, there’s scarcely time to agree to the T&Cs and send funds, let alone perform DD on the project and the token metrics. Meanwhile, Binance tokens are performing impressive, albeit unsustainable, feats of multiplication; matic did 8X in a little over 10 days, aided by market makers, causing trading volume to surpass 50,000 BTC and inducing unprecedented FOMO. The crash, when it arrived, was almost as vertiginous, wiping 30% off the balance of traders who arrived late to the party.

The Cryptocurrency Market Has Become a Casino
The Rekt Plebs Telegram channel is filled with tales of woe from traders who lost heavily.

Bitcoin is not immune to manipulation, as shown a week ago, when a huge sell order on Bitstamp was triggered to induce a wave of liquidations on Bitmex, and healthy profits for whoever shorted with high leverage. Such behavior, however, is limited to whales with the means to engage in such mischief. For the retail rest, small fortunes can be won and lost on newly listed IEO tokens and illiquid altcoins belonging to near-abandoned projects, which can be easily pumped and dumped.

The Cryptocurrency Market Has Become a Casino

It’s hard to exercise restraint and apply risk management when crypto Twitter is shilling shitcoins and boasting of the sick gains they made in a day. To quote the New York Times’ infamous headline, “Everyone is getting hilariously rich and you’re not.” When the music stops, most of the current crop of crypto tokens will be as dead as those that launched last year, and every year before that, all the way back to 2014. In the meantime, though, it’s hard to resist the bright lights and bumper payouts of the crypto casino.

Do you think fundamentals have much bearing on trading strategy during market mania? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

There’s a party happening right now and everyone’s invited. The music’s playing, the fridge is loaded and the bathtub’s full of ice. All the ingredients for the sickest soiree are in place. There’s just one problem: the guests have yet to arrive. Welcome to the world of security tokens, where you can tokenize anything you like, but making it tradable is another matter entirely.

Also read: Developer Creates Interwallet Transfer Plugin to Strengthen Bitcoin Cash Privacy

STOs Are on the Rise But Liquidity Is Non-Existent

HYGH is a peer-to-peer advertising network and content management system seeking to make outdoor displays affordable to businesses of all kinds. It’s currently raising funds via a token sale, and has elected for an STO over an ICO. Explaining the rationale, CEO Vincent Mueller said: “We see clear benefits to aligning incentives between the project and its backers, and we believe a compliant STO is the best way to achieve this. We’ve set a small check size of $500, in exchange for which investors will receive a 9% share of revenue.” A security token offering was chosen, he added, on account of it being the most ethical means of raising money, helping investors become long-term advocates for the company, rather than short-term token flippers, as was the case with the ICOs of yore.

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

But how long-term are we talking about when it comes to trading security tokens? In the U.S., there’s generally a one-year lock-up before securitized assets become tradable, but that’s not to say that STO investors can exit after 12 months. Offloading any asset requires a counterparty willing to acquire it, and right now accredited investors with the means and will to purchase security tokens on the secondary market are thin on the ground – as are trading platforms themselves, for that matter.

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

First Comes Infrastructure, Then Liquidity

The Winklevoss twins might have caught flak for Gemini’s “Crypto needs rules” campaign, but when it comes to securities trading, they’re absolutely right. While the legal status of utility tokens can be debated ad infinitum, securities will always be securities, and thus any project pondering an STO must ensure they are au fait with all pertinent regulations before proceeding. Furthermore, any exchange wishing to list these assets requires a license from their securities regulator, which doesn’t dole such permits out to just anyone.

At Token Summit New York last week, Josh Stein, CEO of security token exchange Harbor, had a lot to say about the state of the nascent industry. “The issue is getting a critical mass of investments and investors,” he told event organizer William Mougayar. “You can have the best tech in the world, but you still need buyers and sellers willing to transact … It’s like a fission reaction, you gotta reach critical mass.” Solving that chicken and egg problem is a task that call for a multilateral approach involving STO projects, issuance platforms, custody providers, secondary exchanges, regulators, and all the other intermediaries who govern the complex security token landscape.

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them
Josh Stein

From ICO to STO – With an IEO Pitstop in Between

If 2017’s ICO boom was an illegal rave – wild and untamed, hella fun, but ultimately unsustainable – then the incoming STO wave is more of a swanky after-party. There’s still fun to be had and networking to be done, but there are bouncers on the door and it’s an invite-only affair. Despite these restrictions, security tokens still have the power to democratize investment and unlock innovative new financial products, just like conventional crypto assets.

Everyone’s Talking About Security Tokens But No One’s Trading Them

“The short-term innovation is minimizing the investor amount,” opined Harbor’s Josh Stein. “From $500K to $10K. So the short-term effect is to add liquidity and lower check sizes.” As for the long-term, he speculated: “When you have real estate bonds, you can leverage them … get increased credit on them using Darma or multi collateral Dai. The innovation today is the liquidity, which quickly leads into smaller units, more investors participating.”

In the here and now, the prognosis on the STO ecosystem is bullish, with a number of big money deals between major industry players being inked. In the past week alone, we’ve seen:

  • Rhodium Capital Advisors, lift the lid on a $100M tokenized real estate fund using Harbor’s security token protocol and platform.
  • CF Capital Group, a resource mining advisory firm, unveil a $250M STO using a multi-jurisdictional protocol from Koreconx.
  • Polymath team up with Cardano and Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson to create security token blockchain Polymesh.

There are other ways to issue securities, even within the cryptocurrency landscape, than through an STO, it should be noted. Kraken exchange, for example, has begun offering dividends to investors, with check sizes as small as $1,000 significantly lowering the barriers to entry.

Josh Stein predicts a future that will include securities which live only onchain – native digital securities. For now, most of the assets being tokenized are traditional securities such as real estate and bonds. Just as it would have been impossible, a decade ago, to visualize many of Bitcoin’s present day use cases, it is safe to assume that there will be applications for security tokens we have yet to conceive. In the meantime, for anyone wishing to get their hands on a tokenized security via the secondary market, it will be necessary to wait a while longer. “A year from now you’ll start to see the beginning of trading,” ventured Harbor’s CEO.

What are your thoughts on STOs – do you think tokenization adds any benefits over traditional securities? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

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Bitcoin History Part 13: The First Mining Pool

Bitcoin History Part 13: The First Mining Pool

The notion that anyone could solo mine bitcoin – on a CPU no less – seems positively quaint today. But in 2010, this method wasn’t just possible – it was the norm. With an exponentially lower hashrate, less competition and a 50 bitcoin block reward, there was enough pie for everyone to get a bite. But some miners didn’t just want a bite – they wanted a whole slice, and to achieve that, they decided to join forces and pool their hashpower. And thus “cooperative mining” was born.

Also read: Bitcoin History Part 12: When No One Wanted Your BTC

Bitcoin’s Pool Birth

If Bitcoin is a revolution, it is one which contains a series of micro-revolutions. In late 2010, Bitcoin was to experience its first industrial revolution when a few miners agreed to combine their hashing power. In that moment, history was made, and in the years to come, so was a lot of money. Not everyone was enamored with the idea, though, when it was first floated by Slush on November 27, 2010. “Once people started to use GPU enabled computers for mining, mining became very hard for other people,” he explained. “I’m on bitcoin for few weeks and didn’t find block yet (I’m mining on three CPUs). When many people have slow CPUs and they mining separately, each of them compete among themselves AND against rich GPU bastards ;-).” He continued:

I have an idea: Join poor CPU miners to one cluster and increase their chance to find a block!

Slush added: “Advantages? When you have poor standalone computer, you need to wait many weeks or even months for finding full 50BTC reward. When you join cluster like this, you will constantly receive small amount of bitcoins every day or week (depends on full cluster performance) … I think it is extremely important for bitcoin economy to diversify mining across whole network and not leave mining on few lucky guys with fast GPUs.”

Bitcoin History Part 13: The First Mining Pool

Skeptics Were Skeptical But the Believers Believed

Reaction to Slush’s bold proposal was mixed. Some bought into the idea, while others were distinctly unimpressed. “Isn’t cooperative mining a form of communism?” responded one Bitcointalk user. “I think it’s useless and much harder to do than one might think.” “This is fundamentally flawed,” snapped another pooled mining opponent.

Slush remained undaunted, though, and within three weeks of his proposal, “cooperative mining,” as it was then known, began. Slush Pool was compatible with Jeff Garzik’s bitcoin CPU miner at launch as well as a couple of early GPU miners. “There is already ~600000khash/s [600 MH/s] of power and more will come tomorrow,” proclaimed Slush. He wasn’t wrong.

Bitcoin History Part 13: The First Mining Pool

Today, Slush’s cooperative mining Bitcointalk thread has grown to 1,148 pages, and Slush Pool, which currently captures 9.3% of the BTC network hashrate, has also grown spectacularly. Since 2010, it’s mined over 1 million BTC and now boasts 8,500 miners and a hash rate of more than 5 EH/s – an increase of 8.4 billion X in nine years.

Bitcoin History Part 13: The First Mining Pool

Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first and finest cryptocurrency. Read part 12 here.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Blockchain.com


Did you know you can earn BTC and BCH through Bitcoin Mining? If you already own hardware, connect it to our powerful Bitcoin mining pool. If not, you can easily get started through one of our flexible Bitcoin cloud mining contracts.

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20-Year-Old Cryptographic Puzzle Is Solved and Stamped in the Bitcoin Cash Blockchain

20-Year-Old Cryptographic Puzzle Is Solved and Stamped in the Bitcoin Cash Blockchain

A fiendishly tricky puzzle that has baffled cryptographers for two decades has been solved, and the proof preserved on the BCH and BTC blockchains. The feat, which was achieved 15 years earlier than the puzzle’s architects had anticipated, was commemorated with another premature reveal – the opening of a special time capsule.

Also read: ‘Craig Is a Liar’ – Early Adopter Proves Ownership of Bitcoin Address Claimed by Craig Wright

Moore’s Law Estimated This Puzzle Would Take 35 Years to Solve

In April 1999, cryptographers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conceived a puzzle that was expected to take 35 years to solve. Last month, however, self-taught programmer Bernard Fabrot revealed that he had cracked it. The Belgian spent three and a half years working on the conundrum. As MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab explained:

The puzzle essentially involves doing roughly 80 trillion successive squarings of a starting number, and was specifically designed to foil anyone trying to solve it more quickly by using parallel computing.

Shortly after Fabrot cracked the puzzle, Simon Peffers, a former engineer at Intel, published his own proof. Reflecting on the remarkable achievement, MIT professor Ron Rivest said “There have been hardware and software advances beyond what I predicted in 1999. The puzzle’s fundamental challenge of doing roughly 80 trillion squarings remains unbroken, but the resources required to do a single squaring have been reduced by much more than I predicted.”

20-Year-Old Cryptographic Puzzle Is Solved and Stamped in the Bitcoin Cash Blockchain
Bernard Fabrot who solved the puzzle.

Time Capsule Cracked Open Early

When the puzzle was conceived in 1999, it was promised that if a correct solution was uncovered earlier than predicted, MIT would open a time capsule designed by architect Frank Gehry which contained historical artifacts from luminaries such as Tim Berners-Lee, Ethernet co-inventor Bob Metcalfe, and Bill Gates. On May 15, at a special ceremony, the capsule was duly opened.

The event was attended by puzzle creator Ron Rivest as well as by the teams who solved it: Bernard Fabrot from Belgium, and Simon Peffers, Justin Drake, Jeromy Johnson, and Erdinc Ozturk, who finished their own proof three weeks later. Fabrot’s proof was stamped and indelibly stored on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain in an OP_RETURN field on April 20 and also on the BTC blockchain five days later, after mining pool Antpool added a congratulatory message to the Coinbase data for block 573138.

20-Year-Old Cryptographic Puzzle Is Solved and Stamped in the Bitcoin Cash Blockchain

MIT, meanwhile, has plenty more time capsules littered about its campus for unearthing at a future date. One, buried under an 18-ton magnet, will be retrieved “in the coming months as the Institute prepares to break ground on the new College of Computing building there.”

What are your thoughts on the early solution to this puzzle being discovered, and proof being stored on the BCH blockchain? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The post 20-Year-Old Cryptographic Puzzle Is Solved and Stamped in the Bitcoin Cash Blockchain appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

One of the most enduring mysteries of modern times has produced another enthralling twist. Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous and enigmatic creator, has not been seen online in more than eight years. Evidence has now surfaced that points to a new Satoshi candidate, whose known life has a number of parallels with that of Bitcoin’s inventor. His name is Paul Le Roux and, if proven to be Satoshi, there is a good reason why his 1 million BTC hasn’t moved – the Rhodesian has been in jail since 2012.

Also read: Blockchain Researchers Mock Craig Wright’s Unsealed Bitcoin Address List

Craig Wright, Paul Le Roux, and the Badly Redacted Document

The Kleiman v. Wright lawsuit unfolding in the Florida courts has been filled with misdirection, red herrings, mistruths, forgeries, and bizarre theories, often floated by the defendant Craig Wright. Document 187, “Dr. Craig Wright’s Motion For Protective Order,” was recently filed with heavy redaction because Wright supposedly “has a well-founded fear that these criminals and their associates would seek retribution if they learned of his involvement in their apprehension and incarceration.”

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux
The unredacted footnote from document 187

Someone forgot to redact one of the corresponding footnotes, however, enabling a sharp-eyed sleuth to identify the master criminal in question: Paul Le Roux. The 46-year-old cartel boss is a character as flamboyant as Wright himself, but cut from a very different cloth. Readers may already be familiar with Le Roux’s life story, which surfaced in a seven-part series on Atavist and subsequent book titled “The Mastermind.” As the blurb summarizes:

He was a brilliant programmer and a vicious cartel boss, who became a prized U.S. government asset.

It has now been suggested that Paul Le Roux may be Satoshi Nakamoto – and that Craig Wright is in possession of encrypted hard drives containing Le Roux’s multi-billion-dollar stash of bitcoins. It’s a crazy theory, and yet, on closer inspection, there is a prima facie case for Bitcoin’s mastermind being criminal mastermind Le Roux.

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux
A young Le Roux.

Paul Le Roux Built a Criminal Empire – But Did He Also Build Bitcoin?

As his Wikipedia page – the very same page which escaped redaction in the Kleiman v. Wright case – notes, “Paul Calder Le Roux is a former programmer, former criminal cartel boss and informant to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). He created E4M, an open-source free Windows disk encryption software program, in 1999, and is a suspected creator of the open-source TrueCrypt, which is based on E4M’s code.”

Then it drops a bomb: “Le Roux is currently in US custody for ordering the assassinations of six people.”

If any screenwriters mulling a Satoshi Nakamoto movie are searching for inspiration, they just got a huge shot of it. With a career that’s included logging, precious metals mining, gold smuggling, land deals, drug shipments, arms trafficking and money laundering, Le Roux is a one-man movie waiting to happen – and that’s before the Bitcoin connection is thrown into the mix. In one of the many passports Le Roux owned, he goes by the Satoshi-like name of “Solotshi” – and that’s just the beginning of the curious coincidences.

A Daily Mail article which also slipped through the redactor’s net, leaving a trace of the URL visible in document 187 cited at the outset, calls Le Roux a “real-life Bond villain behind a cocaine and gun empire spanning four continents who’s now turned super-snitch” and quotes U.S. agents as calling him “a very bad guy.”

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux
“Solotshi” Le Roux.

Satoshi and Solotshi

As the anon who posted on 4chan’s /biz/ messageboard on May 12, after spotting Le Roux’s name in the Wright case postulated, “Bitcoin was a project of a evil genius … Paul Solotshi Calder Le Roux. He intended it simply for the purpose of money laundering … Unfortunately, soon after he went quiet with the Satoshi identity, he was captured by law enforcement, and he’s going to spend the rest of his life rotting in jail cell.”

Even if Le Roux did create Bitcoin, it does not follow that money laundering was his goal: it would likelier have been an extension of his obsession with cryptography, which can be traced back to the 90s. Before Paul Le Roux broke bad, he was by all accounts a brilliant programmer and privacy ideologue. In 1997, he began work on E4M (Encryption for the Masses), software which “is capable of encrypting entire disks, and optionally of plausible deniability (denying the existence of an encrypted volume),” Wikipedia explains. It continues:

In the “Politics” section of the E4M website [archive], Le Roux published a kind of manifesto stating that governments are increasingly relying on electronic data gathering. Citing projects such as Echelon, linked to the five nation states which would become known as the “Five Eyes” more than a decade later, he stated that encryption is the only way to preserve civil liberties.

The E4M manifesto finishes: “Strong Encryption is the mechanism with which to combat these intrusions, preserve your rights, and guarantee your freedoms into the information age and beyond – Paul Le Roux, Author, Encryption for the Masses.”

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

10 Clues That Point to Le Roux Building Bitcoin

For those intent on comparing Satoshi and Le Roux’s personas for similarities, there are several attributes and actions that align – plus a few that don’t. Given that both entities were adept at assuming false personas and concealing their natural language and idiosyncrasies, identification is no easy task. Here’s what’s known about the pair that points to them being the same person:

  1. The curious Satoshi/Solotshi monikers.
  2. Both were programmers familiar with C++.
  3. Both had a strong interest in cryptography and privacy.
  4. Both were wary of authority.
  5. Both had an interest in online gambling – Bitcoin’s initial code had a poker client included.
  6. Both were well aware of the difficulty with traditional payment systems, Le Roux on account of the illegal prescription drug racket he was running.
  7. Satoshi’s spelling and language – “analyse, colour, defence, bloody, hard” is consistent with Rhodesian Le Roux’s.
  8. Satoshi disappeared in early 2011 to “move on to other things” around the time that Le Roux was transitioning from software genius to cartel boss.
  9. With tens of millions of dollars in cash, Le Roux would have had no need to cash out his BTC once the price began rising.
  10. If anyone could have hidden wallets containing 1 million BTC, it would have been the creator of disk encryption software TrueCrypt.

And then there’s this post from 2002, seven years before Bitcoin was released:

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

It doesn’t read like Satoshi’s voice, but it does read an awfully lot like someone’s early idea of Bitcoin. The IP address of the author has supposedly been traced to the Netherlands – a country where Le Roux once lived.

For all of the surface evidence that suggests Le Roux could have been Satoshi, not all of the points align. In 2009, for example, when Satoshi was diligently refining Bitcoin, Le Roux was already dabbling in drug smuggling and gun running. Would it have been possible to maintain such a double life, one chaotic and the other scholarly?

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux
Some of the $100M of cocaine seized from a shipment that Le Roux sent by boat

A Credible Satoshi or 4D Chess From Craig Wright?

In an IRC chat dating from around the time of the Bitcoin Cash ABC/SV split, user “CSW” (Craig Wright) connects Bitcointalk and r/Bitcoin moderator Theymos to Paul Le Roux, claiming that the pair used to be partners “before Le Roux was arrested”. He also asserts that Theymos is still in the “pharma spam business,” which dovetails with Le Roux’s illegal pharmaceutical business.

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

There is a caveat to all of this, of course: Craig Wright is a habitual liar, whose every utterance must be fact-checked. Given that Le Roux’s name has been linked with Satoshi since late 2018, it is possible that Wright latched onto it, and wove it into the fanfic he’s been crafting for the Kleiman case. As such, any evidence from the mouth of the man known as Faketoshi should be treated with caution. Few, aside from Calvin Ayre, believe that Craig Wright created Bitcoin, but many believe that by luck or design he could have been lurking in the background from near the start.

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux
A December 2018 4chan post suggesting Le Roux is Satoshi

Could this involvement have been due to Wright serving as an informant on Le Roux, himself now an informant following his arrest in September 2012? It sounds fanciful, but it’s certainly an intriguing notion. As one anon theorized, “Craig Wright was an employee of Le Roux, who was vaguely aware of the bitcoin project. Craig was an informant who helped bring down Le Roux, and after his arrest, Craig managed (via long time friend and partner in crime, Dave Kleiman) to get his hands on the wallets that hold a million bitcoins, but unfortunately for Craig, all of Solotshi’s coins are locked away in secure TrueCrypt volumes (TrueCrypt being another software that Le Roux developed). He has been trying for years to crack them but with no success.”

“Another of Craig’s long time friends, Calvin Ayre, has set up warehouses of computers to try to crack Solotshi’s password and unlock the vast fortunes; his mining activity is simply a front to make these massive datacenters look legitimate. Craig is being set up as ‘the real satoshi’ so that when the coins are finally unlocked, they can legitimately sell them off.”

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux
In this document from the Kleiman v. Wright case, Wright claims to have access to Truecrypt files that he cannot access. It has been speculated that these are not Dave’s, but rather Paul Le Roux’s.

If the Rhodesian crime boss is Satoshi Nakamoto, it means that the two biggest contributors to Bitcoin’s early success, Paul Le Roux and Ross Ulbricht, are both in the custody of U.S. authorities. There they will likely see out the rest of their lives, while the rest of the world profits from the innovations of these flawed geniuses. Interestingly, in little more than 24 hours, Gotsatoshi.com promises to reveal the identity of Bitcoin’s creator. While the cryptosphere will not be holding its breath in anticipation, the countdown adds further intrigue to the most enduring mystery of the digital age.

Satoshi Nakamoto Could Be Criminal Mastermind Paul Le Roux

What are your thoughts on the Paul Le Roux and Satoshi connection? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Bitcoin History Part 12: When No One Wanted Your BTC

Bitcoin History Part 12: When No One Wanted Your BTC

Today, bitcoin is so precious that its hodlers are prone to locking their keys away inside nuclear bunkers, bank vaults, and military grade hardware wallets. But things weren’t always that way. Back in the early days, bitcoin was deemed so undesirable that you would have struggled to give it away, while exchanging it for fiat currency was out of the question.

Also read: Bitcoin History Part 11: The First Major Loss of Coins

One Man’s Junk is Another Man’s Treasure

The bitcoins you buy and sell on exchanges today for several thousand dollars apiece are in many cases the very same coins that were changing hands back in 2010. The properties of those coins, despite having passed through hundreds of wallets in the intervening years, haven’t changed: one bitcoin today is exactly the same as one bitcoin from 2010. What has changed is the value accorded to each one. Just as gold is precious on our planet, but a worthless rock to anyone inhabiting an asteroid made out of the aureate metal, when bitcoin was easy to extract and there were few ways to use it, exchanging it – for anything – was virtually impossible.

Bitcoin History Part 12: When No One Wanted Your BTC

Most bitcoiners, even those who were late to the game, will recall Laszlo Hanyecz. He’s the guy who famously completed the first recorded purchase of goods with cryptocurrency, when he acquired two Domino’s pizzas for 10,000 BTC in May 2010. It might be assumed that once this historic transaction went down, the floodgates were opened to a wave of merchant adoption and a thriving exchange ecosystem was spawned. The reality is less invigorating. On June 15, 2010, three weeks after completing the pizza transaction, Laszlo tried to complete another BTC sale, this time for something less evanescent – a camera. Would anyone take him up on his offer?

Wanted: Canon Camera Equipment

“I would be willing to pay a combination of bitcoins and USD for used Canon compatible photo equipment.. lenses and filters and such,” wrote Laszlo on the Bitcointalk forum. “If anyone is looking to sell this kind of stuff let me know.” His thread was greeted with silence. “Still interested in this if anyone has any lenses and such they want to convert to cash/bitcoins,” added Laszlo a month later. Still nothing.

Laszlo’s follow up post was composed just three days before Mt. Gox was launched, the exchange which took bitcoin from ignominy to the moon. And yet, incredible as it may seem today, bitcoin was so unknown and unappreciated, save for to a few early believers, that getting rid of your coins in mid 2010 was virtually impossible. A month prior to Laszlo’s failed camera buying attempt, and two days before his pizza sale was completed, someone else attempted to create a mechanism for swapping BTC for goods.

“I’m accepting Bitcoins now for [online game] A Tale in the Desert,” wrote forum user Teppy. “A player tells the game client that he wants to subscribe. I generate an address and tell him “Send 2000 BTC to

”, and then when the Bitcoins show up I credit his month of playtime.” Like Laszlo, Teppy struggled to generate interest in his proposal, and it is unclear whether A Tale in the Desert every collected a single subscription in BTC.
Bitcoin History Part 12: When No One Wanted Your BTC
A Tale in the Desert, as it looked in 2009.

Today bitcoin can be used to purchase all manner of goods, from airline tickets to t-shirts. And yet, paradoxically, due to the immense value it’s acquired, most bitcoiners are reluctant to part with their coins.

Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first cryptocurrency. Read part 11 here.


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Three Very Different Paths to Blockchain Scaling

Three Very Different Paths to Blockchain Scaling

How do you scale a blockchain so that it can process hundreds or even thousands of transactions per second – but without compromising on decentralization? It’s a question that has kept some of the brightest minds in the space awake at night, and some of the more ardent crypto factions sniping at each other for years. In this primer on blockchain scaling, news.Bitcoin.com looks at the very different approaches being taken by three prominent cryptocurrency projects – Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin Cash, and Zilliqa.

Also read: Decryptionary Helps New Investors Understand Crypto Terms

A Short History of Scaling

In Bitcoin’s early years, scaling was rarely discussed because it simply wasn’t a problem. Transactions per second (TPS) were low, fees were low, and there were more important concerns, like resolving critical bugs, and creating an ecosystem that would support a vibrant community of users who would ensure Bitcoin survived long enough to need to scale. That’s not to say that scaling was never broached; in fact the topic was discussed on multiple occasions on the Bitcointalk forum, on IRC chat and in emails, but with little urgency.

Three Very Different Paths to Blockchain Scaling
Increasing throughput without compromising on decentralization is tougher than it sounds

For example, in an email with Bitcoinj developer Mike Hearn, Satoshi proposed the idea of payment channels in which parties “can keep updating a tx by unanimous agreement …Only the final outcome gets recorded by the network.” Advocates of the Lightning Network have seized upon this as evidence of Satoshi’s vision for a layer two solution built upon the Bitcoin protocol. Given Satoshi’s near-nine-year absence, however, it is impossible to say with any certainty what his vision may have been for scaling Bitcoin along these lines.

One interesting point of note, however, is that Bitcoin launched without a block size limit. It would be a year before Satoshi introduced a 1MB block size limit to prevent spam attacks. Tellingly, Bitcoin’s creator envisaged a future in which larger block sizes could be introduced to the network, writing, in October 2010, that a larger block size “can be phased in, like: if (blocknumber > 115000), maxblocksize = largerlimit.” As such, proponents of the scaling approaches since taken by BTC (layer two/LN) and BCH (bigger blocks) can both lay claim to a solution that aligns with some of Satoshi’s early ideas. We’ll examine the pros and cons to each approach shortly, after considering a very different approach to blockchain scaling.

The Sharding Solution

If bigger blocks can be likened to building a bigger factory, then sharding is akin to creating an assembly line within that factory, so that each worker (miner) is given a specialist task – namely, verifying a portion of the block rather the whole thing. Zilliqa is the crypto network known for popularizing this scaling technique, after its founders authored a paper in 2016 on the feasibility of introducing sharding to public blockchains. Through splitting the transaction verification process into multiple parts – or shards – it’s possible to significantly increase the throughput, resulting in magnitudes more TPS.

Three Very Different Paths to Blockchain Scaling

In recent testnet trials, using a network of 2,400 nodes, Zilliqa claims to have recorded throughput of around 2,800 tx/s. When asked about the feasibility of applying sharding to UTXO chains such as Bitcoin, Amrit Kumar, Chief Science Officer with Zilliqa, told news.Bitcoin.com that “sharding can indeed be used for UTXO based chains. In fact, there have been a couple of academic works that study sharding particularly for UTXO-based chains.” Sharding will play a pivotal role in Ethereum’s scaling strategy. Although capable of dramatically increasing throughput, this approach has its trade-offs, which we’ll examine shortly, but first, back to Bitcoin and the acrimonious split that arose from opposing scaling ideologies.

The Two Bitcoins

As Aaron van Wirdum wrote in “The Long Road to Segwit,” “It had been looming for some time, technically since October 2010, more concretely since February 2013 and finally publicly, bursting onto the scene by the spring of 2015: the block size limit dispute.” This battle saw developers such as Gavin Andresen and Mike Hearn favor increasing BTC’s block size from 1 MB, while Bitcoin Core developers loyal to Blockstream, which launched in 2014, favored retaining the 1 MB cap, and scaling through other means. Initially, this was to be achieved through Segwit, which reduces the average size of each transaction, but the endgame was to be the Lightning Network, a layer two solution in which multiple transactions occur offchain, with only the initial and final transactions being recorded onchain.

Three Very Different Paths to Blockchain Scaling

Due to its complexity, development of Lightning has been beset by repeated delays and UX issues, and the network is still not fully production ready. However, the network has been growing steadily through 2019, and now holds close to 1,100 BTC, has over 8,300 nodes, and more than 38,000 channels. The advantages of LN include the potential to settle transactions almost instantly at negligible cost. Lightning has its share of critics, though, who take issue with its complexity, and its reliance on liquidity providers which to all intents and purposes makes the network a relatively centralized and custodial solution.

Onchain Scaling

Many of those who believe that scaling should be handled onchain have migrated to Bitcoin Cash, which will soon be approaching its two-year anniversary. 8 MB blocks have been processed by miners without any difficulty, and fees have remained low, enabling BCH to be sent for less than a cent. Critics of the big block approach tend to have two points of attack: that large blocks take longer to propagate across the network and that when the block reward is reduced, in years to come, transaction fees won’t be enough to incentivize miners to secure the network.

Three Very Different Paths to Blockchain Scaling

Advocates of big blocks assert that ever-improving data storage costs and download speeds negate the first criticism, while the diminishing block reward can be dealt with further down the line. At this point in time, at least, Bitcoin Cash is working as its proponents envisaged. Due to deep-seated differences and ongoing acrimony, however, onchain and offchain evangelists will likely never see eye to eye. There is too much water under the bridge and insults traded on crypto Twitter for the Core and Cash brigades to achieve concord.

The Future of Blockchain Scaling

Although big blocks and Lightning Network are presented as binary options for scaling Bitcoin, these are in fact merely the two prevailing approaches currently favored by BCH and BTC respectively. In reality, there are many other proposals for increasing throughput, including sidechains, which can take much of the strain off the network without having to switch to quasi-custodial solutions such as LN.

Although associated with so-called second generation blockchains, for example, sharding is also viable for UTXO chains such as BTC and BCH. It too has it drawbacks, however, which must be accommodated. As Zilliqa’s Amrit Kumar explains, “In a non-sharded network every single node verifies every single transaction. However, in a sharded network, only a subset of the network verifies each transaction. So, yes, the security guarantee that you get is slightly weaker in theory.”

“However, in practice,” Kumar added, “if the shard size (the number of nodes in each shard) is sufficiently large – say around 600 – and randomly chosen from the initial network, then the chances that anything bad will happen in the shard is infinitesimally small.”

Three Very Different Paths to Blockchain Scaling

While different blockchains press ahead with different visions on how to achieve high throughput, divergence between projects increases. What began with Bitcoin has now fragmented into a series of crypto networks, each doggedly pursuing their own path to scaling.

What are your thoughts on the different scaling solutions favored by BCH, BTC, and ZIL? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Deepdotweb Duo Indicted for Linking to Darknet Markets

Deepdotweb Duo Indicted for Linking to Darknet Markets

Federal indictments unsealed on May 8 have revealed further details of the case against Deepdotweb’s operators. Tal Prihar, 37, an Israeli citizen residing in Brazil, and Michael Phan, 34, an Israeli in Tel Aviv, have technically been charged with money laundering. The feds have made it very clear, however, what they believe the real crime to be: sharing ref links to darknet markets (DNMs). The day after the indictment was published, another darknet news site pulled the plug, fearing the same fate.

Also read: Feds Seize News Site Deepdotweb as Darknet Crackdown Intensifies

Is It Illegal to Share a Link?

In a 13-page indictment unsealed in the Western District of Pennsylvania, prosecutors have laid bare their case against Deepdotweb’s operators. The pair are accused of making $15.5M from sharing referral links to DNMs, netting them over 8,000 BTC. As a consequence, they’ve been slapped with money laundering charges, and feds are seeking to confiscate assets tied to the duo, including BTC held with Okcoin, Kraken, Bitpay, Paypal, and various bank accounts, in a bid to claw back the $15.5M in full.

Law enforcement has emphasized that the criminality it perceives lies in Deepdotweb’s linking to darknet markets and profiting from the commission. The indictment, together with press releases from Europol and other agencies, complete with graphics of how the scheme worked, make this very clear. What isn’t clear at this time, however, is whether Prihar and Phan have committed any crime in sharing links to publicly accessible sites. The case is believed to mark the first time feds have gone after anyone for such as crime, if it can even be called such. Regardless of the legality of certain wares sold on the DNMs that Deepdotweb linked to, there are numerous legal wares for sale on these sites, and there is no way of proving what shoppers bought after Deepdotweb directed them there.

Deepdotweb Duo Indicted for Linking to Darknet Markets
How prosecutors believe the “crime” was perpetrated.

There is only one case in recent history that has parallels with the takedown of Deepdotweb. In 2015, Barrett Brown, a journalist and unofficial spokesperson affiliated with the hacktivist group Anonymous, was jailed for five years in connection with the hack of intelligence firm Stratfor. As Wired reports, Feds initially charged him with “identity theft and trafficking in stolen data for simply posting a link in a chat room … The data included company emails as well as credit card numbers belonging to subscribers of Stratfor’s service. The charges against Brown caused a stir when they were first revealed, because Brown hadn’t stolen the data himself, but had simply copied the hyperlink from one public chatroom and posted it to another.”

While Deepdotweb Pair Wait to Learn Their Fate, Another Site Shuts Down

In breaking this story two days ago, news.Bitcoin.com listed a number of alternatives to Deepdotweb where links to DNMs can be found. One of those, Darkwebnews.com, has now gone, believed to have been voluntarily shut down by its operators, fearing impending legal action. This will have been exactly what law enforcement wanted, having elected to make an example of Deepdotweb in a bid to push the darknet drugs trade further underground.

Other sites, including Darknetlive.com, won’t be bowing so easily, however, be it out of dogged conviction that information should be free, or for less ideological concerns: the $15.5M Deepdotweb made over the years from linking to DNMs has not gone unnoticed. There is a lucrative business to be had for anyone with the balls to create the next DDW, but the shrewdness to keep their identity concealed. Prihar and Phan will have known they were operating in a grey area of the law, but will have been surprised by the intensity of the operation that led to their arrest, and the severity of the charges they face. It is conceivable that further charges could also be forthcoming against the pair as the investigation progresses.

Deepdotweb Duo Indicted for Linking to Darknet Markets
Brazilian police outside Prihar’s house

No Scruples in This Dirty War

Feds, as is their wont, were extremely sneaky about the manner in which they arrested the site’s alleged operators. Because Brazil won’t extradite citizens to the U.S. for money laundering charges, agents waited till Prihar landed in France, for a connecting flight between Israel and Brazil, before swooping. “This is the single most significant law enforcement disruption of the Darknet to date,” said U.S. attorney Scott Brady. “While there have been successful prosecutions of various Darknet marketplaces, this prosecution is the first to attack the infrastructure supporting the Darknet itself.”

Deepdotweb Duo Indicted for Linking to Darknet Markets
Some of the R$200,000 allegedly found at Prihar’s home

It remains to be seen whether there is a legal case for prosecuting the darknet’s supporting “infrastructure,” of which DDW was a major component. If the feds can make a case against the site’s operators, who else could they conceivably charge? Does linking to a DNM without including a ref link constitute a crime, for instance? Could providing a ref link to Amazon where someone purchases a knife which is later used in a murder also constitute a crime? Lawyers for the Deepdotweb duo will be scrutinizing case law closely for any precedent that might give cause for the charges against their clients to be dropped or reduced. In the case of Barrett Brown, they might have found their best shot at redemption, for as Wired notes:

The trial was poised to become an important First Amendment test case until those [link-sharing] charges were dropped in 2013, leaving Brown to face just two charges for accessory after the fact and for obstructing the execution of a search warrant.

Despite the picture painted in the DDW indictment of a pair of conniving and callous criminals, the reality is far different. Deepdotweb served as a valuable news source for many, supporting dozens of writers, publishing research papers on Tor security, and giving useful feedback to academic authors. As one individual working for a drugs awareness organization wrote, “DDW have been extremely supportive and collaborative spreading our Harm Reduction work for free.” Future Deepdotweb imitators may not be so benevolent.

What are your thoughts on the shutdown of Deepdotweb? Have feds overstepped the mark? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Feds Seize News Site Deepdotweb as Darknet Crackdown Intensifies

Feds Seize News Website Deepdotweb as Darknet Crackdown Intensifies

The FBI, working in conjunction with its European partners, has struck another blow against darknet markets (DNMs). On this occasion, it’s a particularly low blow, as news website Deepdotweb has become the latest victim of its interminable war on drugs. On May 7, both its clearnet and darknet domains were seized, and the operators arrested and slapped with money laundering charges.

Also read: Schnorr Signatures Await Bitcoin Cash as the Next Fork Draws Near

The War on Drugs Becomes the War on Information

Not content with waging a war on drugs, law enforcement (LE) have set their sights on media platforms that report on darknet activity. Earlier today, Deepdotweb became inaccessible, its homepage replaced by a seizure notice that’s become all too familiar to darknet market users. The shutdown generated shockwaves that have resonated way beyond the darknet community, marking the first time that feds have targeted the press in this manner. Deepdotweb (DDW) was by far the most popular clearnet resource for accessing links to DNMs, following the closure of subreddit r/darknetmarkets last year.

Feds Seize News Site Deepdotweb as Darknet Crackdown Intensifies

Two Israeli suspects were arrested in connection with the bust, as well as individuals from France, Germany, Holland, and Brazil. The arrests were the result of two months of investigation, and arrive within days of the ringleaders of Wall Street Market (WSM) being arrested in Germany, together with a WSM moderator from Brazil. Deepdotweb is reported to have made millions of dollars in BTC from referral links to DNMs. It is unclear, though, how this activity might constitute a crime, given that darknet markets are not in themselves illegal, and sell a variety of wares, some of which are perfectly legal.

The money laundering statute cited in the seizure notice on DDW –18 USC 1956(h) – suggests that LE has sought a roundabout way to shut down a site it believes to be complicit in spreading information that enables people to access darknet markets. If so, it is a move reminiscent of Al Capone’s arrest and incarceration for tax evasion, rather than for gang-related activities.

The Thin End of the Wedge

Numerous freelance reporters worked for Deepdotweb, covering a wide range of topics including the Tor network, cryptocurrency markets, opsec and privacy. The site’s closure is a major loss, not only to its staff, but to its sizeable readership, many of whom had no interest in darknet markets. With DDW gone and its ringleaders behind bars, operators of other darknet new sites will be looking over their shoulders nervously. Despite breaking no laws by providing links to DNMs, webmasters may be fearful that underhand LE tactics could see their site shuttered and freedom curtailed due to some tenuous infringement.

Feds Seize News Site Deepdotweb as Darknet Crackdown Intensifies

On Dread (dreadditevelidot.onion), the Reddit-like forum for DNMs which operates on the darknet, the news of DDW’s demise was the primary topic of discussion today. “I feel TPTB [the powers that be] are working on a big operation for this summer,” speculated one commenter. “It all adds up to that. They have been testing the waters with DDoS attacks and seizures. Now that they know the DDoS attacks can cripple the markets without much done to prevent it, they’ll start shutting down the sources of information to keep people from being able to alert the community once the real OP starts.” They continued:

The Hub, DNA, Dread will be attacked even more. DDW was seized because the Tor based DDoS attack wouldn’t have taken down their clearnet site. Now with the DNMs in chaos and everyone scrambling to various sites, they’ll start the OP in earnest and will prevent the spread of information in the meantime.

One Down, a Dozen to Go

If the FBI’s intent was to restrict the flow of information and trusted links leading to darknet markets, the agency has got its work cut out. Despite Deepdotweb’s stature, it was merely one of many conduits leading to the darknet’s preeminent marketplaces. Other aggregators of DNM links include Darkwebnews, Darkdotnet, and Dark.fail.

As the criminal complaints are unsealed in the coming days, further details about the circumstances surrounding DDW’s demise will emerge. One theory being floated on Dread is that one of the busted Wall Street Market moderators was also working for Deepdotweb. Wherever the truth may lie, it is evident that the war against darknet markets has now entered a new phase.

What are your thoughts on the shutdown of Deepdotweb? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The post Feds Seize News Site Deepdotweb as Darknet Crackdown Intensifies appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Don’t Trust Bitcoin Mixers and Other Opsec Lessons From the Darknet

Don’t Trust Bitcoin Mixers and Other Opsec Lessons From the Darknet

When darknet markets are shut down these days, the arrests don’t generate much fanfare. There’s a day of press at best, and then the media moves on to bigger stories, leaving the fate of the DNM operators unreported as their case grinds through the courts. This is a shame, as the indictments for the accused reveal valuable insights into how law enforcement caught their quarry, providing opsec lessons that every bitcoiner should take to heart.

Also read: Europol Claims New Scalps – Chaos as Darknet Markets are Downed

Opsec Lives and Dies on the Darknet

You don’t have to be operating a multi-billion-dollar darknet market (DNM) to require privacy. Maintaining anonymity, or at least pseudonymity, when operating online is an aspiration that everyone should harbor, cryptocurrency users especially. Even if you’ve no desire to launder cash or sell copious quantities of cocaine for crypto, there’s a plethora of reasons to hide your online activities.

If you’re wondering how much data you leak simply by sending or receiving cryptocurrency, or transacting on a darknet marketplace, last week’s Wall Street Market (WSM) indictments provide the perfect case study. Buried in these criminal complaints are opsec lessons that should give everyone pause for thought, whether you’re the next Dread Pirate Roberts or simply a staunch libertarian who wants to be left the hell alone.

Don’t Trust Bitcoin Mixers and Other Opsec Lessons From the Darknet

Lesson 1: Don’t Trust Bitcoin Mixers

According to the United States of America v. Tibo Lousee, Klaus-Martin Frost, and Jonathan Kalla, aka the three Germans charged with operating Wall Street Market, “The United States Postal Inspection Service learned, through its analysis of blockchain transactions and information gleaned from the proprietary software described above, that the funds from Wallet 2 were first transferred to Wallet 1, and then “mixed” by a commercial service … through thorough analysis, the United States Postal Inspection Service was able to “de-mix” the flow of transactions.”

Centrally operated BTC mixers of the sort referenced here include Mixertumbler, Bestmixer.io, Blender.io, Bitcoinfog, and Gramshelix. There is no means of knowing which mixer the authorities succeeded in deanonymizing – which they achieved on no less than three occasions – but as one recent article on mixers notes:

Centralized database systems’ server logs can easily be accessed by anyone (hackers and other malicious individuals or groups, law enforcement etc). Even though bitcoin mixers often claim not to store transaction details for more than 24 hours, this still poses an unknown risk of being found out.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid using mixing services – they are still a good privacy preservation tool. However, it would be foolish to stake your freedom on the irreversibility of a mixing service, and inadvisable to rely on a centrally operated service which could be compromised. Use a decentralized peer-to-peer mixing service instead like Coinjoin for BTC, or Cashshuffle for BCH. These services can’t guarantee your funds can’t be traced back to their source, but they are at least free of backdoors.

Don’t Trust Bitcoin Mixers and Other Opsec Lessons From the Darknet
The WSM indictment references the use of blockchain forensics tools

Lesson 2: Configure Your VPN Carefully

The WSM three were all technically proficient, with two holding down day jobs in IT – Lousee was a computer programmer. Despite these skills, VPN leaks appear to have been a contributor to their downfall.

As the complaint reads, “the WSM administrators accessed the WSM infrastructure primarily through the use of two VPN service providers. The BKA [German federal police] determined that one of the administrators … used VPN Provider #1. Based on the BKA’s analysis of the WSM server infrastructure, the BKA noticed that on occasion, VPN Provider #1 connection would cease, but because that specific administrator continued to access the WSM infrastructure, that administrator’s access exposed the true IP address of the administrator. The BKA then investigated the true IP address.”

Don’t Trust Bitcoin Mixers and Other Opsec Lessons From the Darknet

Lesson 3: Don’t Recycle Identities

One of the ways in which Dread Pirate Roberts was busted was through reusing the nickname “frosty” which tied his Silk Road identity to his real life persona. Six years on from that hard lesson in opsec and DNM operators aren’t any wiser. One of the WSM trio, Frost, used the same PGP public key on Wall Street Market as he had used previously on Hansa Market, making it easy for his BTC transactions on the latter DNM to be associated with other wallet transactions he’d made for services in his real name. As the complaint notes, a “PGP public key, in the context of darknet investigations, is likely a unique identifier to an individual.”

In addition to recycling PGP keys and wallet addresses, one of the accused, Lousee, is believed to have used the handle “coder420” to access the WSM test server. This was subsequently correlated to “Pictures of LOUSEE consuming marijuana” and “Numerous references to “420,” including a license plate of LOUSEE’s vehicle and a sign on a bedroom wall with “420.””

A separate criminal complaint against WSM moderator “MED3L1N” reveals a string of similar errors, with recycled usernames, passwords, and duplications making it possible for LE to identify their suspect with little more than some diligent internet detective work. For instance, in one public profile, the accused, Marcos Annibale, is pictured alongside a bookshelf with “Gomorra,” written by Roberto Saviano, visible in the background. MED3L1N later recommended the same book in a thread on WSM.

Don’t Trust Bitcoin Mixers and Other Opsec Lessons From the Darknet

The thousands of hours law enforcement pours into tracking down darknet market operators is is an affront to those who see the war on drugs as an assault on personal sovereignty and a gross intrusion into citizens’ private lives. It is not time wasted, however. Whatever your take on darknet market prosecutions, we should be grateful for the intensive pen testing these investigations entail. Through piecing together the clues found in criminal complaints and reading between the redacted lines, we can learn better ways to protect our privacy and preserve our right to transact anonymously.

What are your thoughts on the war on drugs and the authorities’ attempts to close down DNMs? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Don’t Trust Bitcoin Mixers and Other Opsec Lessons From the Darknet appeared first on Bitcoin News.

New Website Promises to Unveil Satoshi Nakamoto in 10 Days

This Website Promises to Unveil Satoshi Nakamoto in 10 Days

The hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto, which has beguiled internet sleuths for years, has taken another bizarre turn. A new website, Got Satoshi, shows a countdown timer to when it will unveil Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator. The reveal will occur in 10 days’ time, when many bitcoiners will be gathered in New York for the annual Consensus summit. Although sure to be little more than a PR stunt with a disappointing reveal, the site has generated significant interest, demonstrating the enduring appeal of the Satoshi myth.

Also read: Europol Claims New Scalps – Chaos as Darknet Markets are Downed

Where in the World Is Satoshi?

Throughout human history, elusive characters have provoked intense manhunts, from Amelia Earhart to Percy Fawcett. Satoshi Nakamoto is unique, however, in being the first digital outlaw to have the world’s press, sleuths, and hobbyists on his tail. They’ve been chasing Bitcoin’s enigmatic creator for almost a decade now, and they don’t seem to be getting any closer. On May 14, gotsatoshi.com will host the latest unveiling of Satoshi Nakamoto, or at least so it claims.

New Website Promises to Unveil Satoshi Nakamoto in 10 Days

The one-page website is short on detail, with the only text consisting of “Where in the World Is Satoshi?” and “Can’t find Satoshi? Sign up for the live unveiling.” The meta description provides a little more detail though, reading “Inventor, programmer, genius, maverick. Who is Satoshi? And is the world ready to meet him face to face? Follow the clues and watch our live unmasking and be the first to discover Satoshi [sic] next world-changing project.”

Aside from struggling with the English language, unlike Satoshi Nakamoto himself, the creator of Got Satoshi can’t decide whether they’re unveiling a third party as Bitcoin’s founder, or are themselves Satoshi, as the corresponding Twitter account seems to think.

A Clever Viral Marketing Campaign but No Satoshi

The Gotsatoshi.com domain was registered in May 2017, but has lain dormant until last month, when an archived snapshot of the site shows it to have been proclaiming Satoshi’s unveiling as 10 days away then. It’s possible that the great reveal will remain forever 10 days away, to frustrate watchers hoping for a thrilling denouement, or the countdown may reach zero only to reveal a new shitcoin, puzzle game, or to hail the efforts of the marketing agency that dreamed up the stunt.

New Website Promises to Unveil Satoshi Nakamoto in 10 Days

One thing that won’t be happening, should the counter reach zero, is Nakamoto being revealed as Craig Wright. The operator of the Got Satoshi account may have delusions of grandeur, but they’re not crazy.

What are your thoughts on Gotsatoshi.com – it is just another PR stunt? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post New Website Promises to Unveil Satoshi Nakamoto in 10 Days appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Chaos Reigns as Darknet Markets are Downed

Chaos and Conflicting Stories as Darknet Markets are Downed

In the last 72 hours, numerous darknet markets (DNMs) have been downed in a concerted DDoS attack. Meanwhile, Europol has been crowing over its success in toppling two markets that were already known to be stricken, Wall Street and Valhalla. As the dust settles, darknet users have been trying to separate FUD from fact.

Also read: The Darknet Rises With 6 New Markets

Europol Claims Two New Scalps from the Dark Side of the Web

Three Germans have been arrested for their alleged involvement in running Wall Street, the darknet’s second largest marketplace after Dream, according to Europol. With Dream itself having spent the past month winding down, and its successor (weroidjkazxqds2l.onion) yet to materialize, DNM users have been forced to look elsewhere. As news.Bitcoin.com recently reported, there is no shortage of darknet markets seeking to pick up the slack from Dream and Wall Street, though accessing them is proving challenging.

Chaos Reigns as Darknet Markets are Downed
The majority of the darknet’s marketplaces were offline for a spell on May 3

Earlier today, Deepdotweb was showing 20 of the darknet’s 30-odd DNMs as being offline including Cryptonia, Core, and Agartha. The Dread discussion forum was also down, though service appears to have been restored to most of these platforms at press time. The aim of the DDoS attacks is likely to sow confusion and to prevent DNM users from conversing, though financial incentives may also be a factor; Dream’s admins previously claimed to have been blackmailed for $400K by a persistent DDoSer, spurring them to shutter the site.

Law Enforcement Prowess or Admin Error?

On May 2, a seizure notice appeared on Wall Street Market, reminiscent of the one that was posted on Silk Road after the feds pounced in 2013. On this occasion, however, DNM users were suspicious as to whether law enforcement had genuinely seized Wall Street, given that the site appears to have been exit scamming, and moderator logins have been circulating on the web for weeks. According to Europol’s statement issued May 3, however, the seizure was all their doing.

“This operation lead by the German authorities has seen the arrest of three suspects and as part of the house searches carried out, the police officers seized over €550,000 in cash,” claimed Europol. It also referred to “6-digit amounts” of BTC and XMR being seized, believed to total over €1M, plus “several vehicles and other evidences, such as computers and data storage. In the US, during the investigation by the Attorney General in Los Angeles, two of the highest-selling suppliers of narcotics were arrested.”

Chaos Reigns as Darknet Markets are Downed
The Wall Street seizure notice

As observers have noted, the Wall Street exit scam began on April 20, followed by moderator credentials being leaked three days later and arrests by German police of a 31-year-old in Bad Vilbel, a man aged 22 in Kleve and a 29-year-old man in Esslingen a day later. It has been speculated that law enforcement may have been left with an open goal, with internecine conflict within Wall Street Market making their job significantly easier. It seems likelier, however, that Wall Street moderators got wind of impending law enforcement action and scattered to the four winds, making off with whatever assets they could in the chaos.

Despite Busts, It’s Business as Usual on the Darknet

For all the fanfare Europol have made over their latest success, for users of DNMs, it’s business as usual. Aside from sporadic DDoS attacks, the remaining markets are operational, and serve as a reminder that for all their efforts, LE will struggle to do more than chip away at the tip of the iceberg. Wall Street and Valhalla both survived for years, with the latter, also known by its Finnish name of Silkkitie, having been founded in 2013.

For so long as governments remain hellbent on pursuing their failed war on drugs, the game of DNM whack-a-mole will continue. With 1.1 million customer accounts and more than 5,400 sellers on Wall Street alone, the authorities lack the resources to go after everyone – assuming they even have plaintext access to their communications from seized servers. The past month’s events have reiterated to DNM users, however, the importance of maintaining good opsec and using PGP, rather than ticking the box to have the marketplace encrypt on their behalf. As cryptocurrency users are prone to remind, “Don’t trust – verify.”

What are your thoughts on the latest darknet market busts? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Bitcoin History Part 11: The First Major Loss of Coins

Bitcoin History Part 11: The First Major Loss of Coins

Since the very start, people have lost bitcoins due to human error. Mislaid wallets, forgotten passwords, broken hard drives, hacks, and scams have conspired to remove over 20% of all BTC from circulation by some estimates. The dubious accolade for the first major bitcoin loss goes to forum member Stone Man, who, on August 10, 2010, managed to permanently erase his access to almost 9,000 BTC.

Also read: Bitcoin History Part 10: The 184 Billion BTC Bug

A Stone Cold Lesson on the Need to Back up Your Keys

In the early days of Bitcoin, people were free and easy with coins. A plentiful supply of coins and nominal value, coupled with a nascent community that was still getting to grips with the technology, meant that losses were common. It didn’t help that bitcoin wallets were rudimentary back then, leaving even the savviest of users just one misclick away from disaster. In mid-2010, that’s the fate that befell Stone Man, one of the Bitcointalk forum’s earliest users.

“Lost large number of bitcoins,” read the matter-of-fact title to his post published on August 10 of that year. The incident had occurred a day earlier after Stone Man had amassed 9,000 BTC, purchased from the first ever exchange, and then tried to send one coin from his wallet to a different address. The transaction, which can be viewed here, shows that Stone Man achieved this objective. What it doesn’t show is what happened next. The pseudonymous forum user outlined the sequence of events:

1) Bought 9,000 BTC on one of the exchanges over time.

2) Transferred them to my client running on a Linux live CD distro of Debian.

3) Backed up the wallet file to a flash drive.

4) Sent 1 BTC to myself

5) Closed client before any confirmations

6) Shut down system (wiped system disk loaded into memory and therefore the ./bitcoin folder

7) Loaded system back up

8) Copied old wallet.dat file into ./bitcoin folder

9) After some confirmations appeared the balance was 1 BTC and there was a transaction saying I spent 8,900 BTC to an address I did not recognize

Bitcoin History Part 11: The First Major BTC Loss
The fateful transaction

Where Stone Cold Went Wrong

To a contemporary bitcoiner reading this account, it may not be immediately clear how Stone Cold got rekt. Because BTC uses a UTXO set, whenever you send a transaction, the unspent remainder, known as the change output, is saved to a separate address. Nowadays, that address is automatically subsumed into the sender’s existing bitcoin wallet, without requiring any action on their part.

As the second responder to Stone Cold’s post chastized, “It sounds like [the coins] are lost for good. Lesson to other people: Remember you need to back your wallet up after every transaction!” Other users chipped in, trying to help the unfortunate Stone Cold track down his 8,999 BTC using what passed for a block explorer in those days. When viewed in “bitcointools,” an early explorer developed by Gavin Andresen, the transaction looked something like this:

Bitcoin History Part 11: The First Major BTC Loss

A Mistake That Anyone Could Make

“The sad part was I wasn’t even testing the wallet backup when this happened,” rued Stone Cold. “I was trying to watch when the network should have confirmed a payment to a website that takes bitcoins by paying myself 1 coin at about the same time. I never dreamed it could compromise my whole balance, especially since I was sending to myself.”

Ordinarily, Stone Cold might not have forfeited the remainder of his balance, for as Satoshi, who chipped in on the thread, observed: “[Bitcoin] doesn’t usually empty your wallet with each transaction. It uses the smallest set of coins it can find to add up to near the amount. In this case, unfortunately, his wallet had a single 9000 BTC bill in it, and it had to break it to get 1 BTC and 8999 BTC change.”

Today it is no longer necessary to back up your wallet after every transaction, but that hasn’t prevented large quantities of bitcoin from being permanently removed from circulation due to user error. To lose close to 9,000 bitcoins today would be incalculably painful. To lose them back in 2010 was also incalculably painful, because the loss, while stomach-churning, was difficult to price: the first bitcoin exchange had opened only five months earlier, and coins were still trading for only a few cents.

Stone Cold never recovered his lost 8,999 BTC and may have never recovered from the blow caused by the then-record-breaking loss. In October 2010, two months after filing his tale of woe, and two months before Satoshi was to publish his final forum post, Stone Cold logged in to Bitcointalk for the last time. He has never been seen since. As for his coins, they will reside in wallet 167ZWTT8n6s4ya8cGjqNNQjDwDGY31vmHg till time indefinite.

Bitcoin History is a multipart series from news.Bitcoin.com charting pivotal moments in the evolution of the world’s first cryptocurrency. Read part 10 here.


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As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To

As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To

You wouldn’t know to look at it, but Binance DEX could soon become the busiest exchange in the cryptosphere. At present, MITH is the only token tradable on there, though it will soon be joined by NOW – the first token to be added to Binance Chain – plus hundreds more if exchange boss CZ has his way. But how accessible is Binance DEX, particularly to users of countries that are denied access to centralized exchanges? And exactly how decentralized is Binance DEX?

Also read: Wizsec Security Blames Coinlab After Mt. Gox Trustee Delays Proceedings

Binance Wants to Make DEXs Sexy

Characterized by poor UX, low liquidity, and slow onchain order execution, decentralized exchanges (DEXs) aren’t much fun. Binance DEX promises to change all that, with an interface that resembles its parent exchange, and block times of just a few seconds ensuring trades are settled rapidly. Cryptocurrency projects seem sold on it, at least, with dozens having already applied to join Binance Chain and be listed on its DEX. The first project to be officially added to Binance Chain, Change Now, is in the midst of initiating a token swap, and appears destined to join the DEX next, based on tweets from Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and sentiment expressed on Binance Community. There it will join mithril (MITH), which is currently trading on Binance DEX against BNB.

As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To

There’s not much to do on Binance DEX at present other than create a wallet and acclimatize to its layout and ordering procedure, before waiting for projects migrating to Binance Chain to complete their token swaps. In addition to Change Now, whose Now Swaps service has also been assisting with the BNB token migration, CZ has spoken of welcoming multiples more projects onto Binance Chain and its corresponding DEX than are currently listed on the main exchange. In the weeks to come, the trickle of tradable projects on Binance DEX looks set to become a torrent.

Getting Started With Binance DEX

A wallet creation tutorial guides beginners through the prerequisites to begin trading on Binance DEX and there’s also a detailed guide to getting started. Users are given three ways to access their wallet: using a keystore file and password, using a 24-word mnemonic phrase, or with a private key. The Binance-owned Trust Wallet, as well as the Coolwallet S and Ledger devices are all supported, enabling users to access the DEX directly from their hardware wallet. Trust and Coolwallet utilize a service called Wallet Connect, which provides DEX authentication by scanning a QR code via the respective mobile wallet.

As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To

True Decentralization or Just Window Dressing?

Much has been made of the design of Binance Chain, whose node validators are all controlled by the exchange. In the context of censorship resistance, therefore, Binance DEX, which runs on Binance Chain, doesn’t score highly, but then that was never the intention. The DEX has been designed to facilitate trustless trading without the need to deposit funds, and it achieves that with aplomb.

Binance Chain doesn’t need to rival Bitcoin or Ethereum in terms of decentralization; its primary purpose is to enable the noncustodial exchange of assets. These assets are of course limited to Binance Chain’s native BEP2 tokens. Unless wrapped versions of BTC and ETH are made available on the chain, therefore, leading cryptocurrencies will remain unavailable on the DEX.

As Projects Flock to Binance Chain, Its DEX Has a Lot to Live up To
Binance DEX looks very similar to its parent exchange

As for who can trade on Binance DEX, the exchange has issued no formal guidelines as to which countries, if any, are excluded. With no KYC or registration required to participate, however – not even an email address – anyone can technically trade on the decentralized exchange, with a VPN taking care of any IP blocking that might otherwise stand in the way. Binance caught flak for quietly excluding countries that were subject to U.S. sanctions, such as Iran, late last year. These individuals will be able to trade on Binance DEX in the knowledge that central powers are powerless to seize their funds. If Binance DEX can provide that, it will have justified its existence. Justifying the great expectations surrounding the new decentralized exchange will take longer.

What are your thoughts on Binance DEX? Have you tried it yet? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Blockchain Projects Bloom as Crypto Spring Fuels a Fundraising Boom

Blockchain Projects Bloom as Crypto Spring Fuels a Fundraising Boom

As crypto winter subsides, spring has sprung in the cryptosphere, ushering in green shoots of growth across the board. Attention has largely focused on the increase in digital asset prices, as cryptocurrencies have swelled by an average of 40% in 2019. But away from the frothy market action, there is far more tangible evidence that the worst of the downturn is over. Scores of crypto projects have reported renewed interest from investors, signaling that better times are ahead.

Also read: How to Create a Bitcoin Cash Wallet With Cashaddress

Crypto Spring Is in Full Bloom

There is still significant debate as to whether we’ve officially exited the bear market that has dragged on since early 2018. Some commenters, such as Vinny Lingham, believe BTC will have to surpass $6K territory again for that to occur. Regardless of whether bitcoin’s cup is currently deemed to be half full or half empty, what’s indisputable is that raising funds has become significantly easier for crypto projects since the market perked up a months ago. This week, news.Bitcoin.com spoke to more than half a dozen projects that all reported a similar story: investors have loosened their purse strings.

Blockchain Projects Bloom as Crypto Spring Awakens a Fundraising Boom

While the most obvious manifestation of this has been in initial exchange offerings, away from the IEO market, a broad array of crypto projects have good tidings to report. Kinesis is a yield-bearing digital asset which is backed by physical gold and silver. Its CEO Thomas Coughlin told news.Bitcoin.com: “It’s great to see renewed interest in the crypto markets and with our own Kinesis stablecoin sale, we’ve seen a surge in interest and investment from the crypto community. The heating up of the markets has attracted newcomers and renewed confidence from those who were waiting for more favorable conditions to get involved.”

Blockchain Projects Bloom as Crypto Spring Fuels a Fundraising Boom

This sentiment was echoed by GEO Protocol, a layer three solution that aims to connect networks to create a universal value transfer system. Earlier this month, the project announced it had closed a seed round with US firm Coinfund, with the timing of the deal aided by a propitious fundraising climate. “Crypto winter has washed away many of the weaker and more dubious projects,” Dima Kovalchuk, business development director at GEO Protocol, told news.Bitcoin.com. “Nowadays investors are much more picky. If a year ago they could give money to virtually anyone, now they are looking for prospective projects with deep technical expertise, like GEO Protocol. That indicates that the market has matured, and is ready for take-off, on a basis that will be much more justified by real innovation and economics.”

More Whales, More Action

All across the cryptosphere, there are signs that something has stirred, awakening former giants, from “retired” traders coaxed back into the game, to dormant whales reawakened and willing to thrown down large sums on projects with wanton abandon. Roobee, a blockchain-based investment service, has been one such beneficiary, having raised $4.5 million in pre-seed funding with the aid of a famous crypto whale who chipped in $1 million alone, encoding their 200 BTC transaction with the words “In Roobee I Trust” as an added flourish.

Blockchain Projects Bloom as Crypto Spring Fuels a Fundraising Boom

Finally, cryptocurrency service providers have reported an uptick in activity. Felipe Vorobey, who oversees Cash Games for Bitcoin.com, reports that “in the past three weeks the number of both new and returning players has significantly increased. This is a clear indication that crypto users are looking to own more BCH and in finding fun ways to participate in the cryptoconomy, such as gaming.”

Jumber Kruashvili of market data site Coinlore reported similar findings, telling news.Bitcoin.com that site traffic and registrations are up by 20% in the past month, and the average time spent on the site has increased, with BTC, BNB, ETH, and OMG among the most popular pages visited. It would be premature to predict that a full-blown bull market is imminent. Nevertheless, there are clear signs that crypto winter has melted away, leaving behind the first blossoms of an industry rejuvenated.

Do you think the crypto market will maintain its recovery, or are there more trying times ahead? Let us know in the comments section below.


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The Darknet Rises With 6 New Markets

The Darknet Rises With 6 New Markets

As Dream dies and Wall Street exits, a string of new darknet markets (DNMs) has emerged to take their crown. The majority of these have only been operational for a matter of weeks, and have launched at a time when trust in DNMs is running low. The success or failure of these marketplaces will be pivotal in shaping the darknet’s crypto-powered economy in the months to come.

Also read: Crescent Cash BCH Wallet Features SLP Token Support for Smartphones

Six New Darknet Markets in a Month

Just as sunrise follows sunset, the death of a darknet market inevitably begets the birth of another. In the past month, Deepdotweb has added half a dozen markets to its DNM list, the majority of which are very new. Names like Cryptonia, Empire, Nightmare, and Yellow Brick Road may not be household names yet, and are unfamiliar to even the darknet’s greatest devotees. Any one of these markets has the chance to become the new Dream or Wall Street, but that will take time and trust.

Wall Street, the darknet’s leading DNM, following the voluntary shutdown of Dream, is confirmed to have pulled an exit scam, making off with millions in vendors’ funds. In less than a week, DNM users will find out whether the onion address that has been cited as the forthcoming home for Dream’s successor will resolve to a working marketplace, or simply a federal seizure notice. For customers who can’t wait that long to find out, there is mercifully no shortage of alternative DNMs to service their needs. News.Bitcoin.com decided to put a few of them to the test.

The Darknet Rises With 6 New Markets
New DNMs have been luring vendors from Dream and Wall Street

New Heads on the Darknet Hydra

As the legend goes, for every head the hydra loses, two new ones take its place, and so it seems to be on the darknet. The loss of Dream and Wall Street has spurred four new DNMs, bringing the total of recently launched markets to six. The first of these, Cryptonia, promises two-of-three bitcoin multisig, a wallet-less escrow system, two-factor authentication, strong anti-phishing measures based on public key cryptography, and EXIF metadata stripper for images.

The Darknet Rises With 6 New Markets
Cryptonia

In the interests of journalism, I made a small purchase from Cryptonia and the item arrived three days later, discretely packaged. I paid in BTC, although the site also accepts XMR. The shopping and checkout process was straightforward. Cryptonia sells all the usual darknet vices, but due to its newness, has only a few hundred listings at this time, though the number is growing by the day.

A Quick Tour of the Rest

Agartha is another new arrival. Unlike Cryptonia, it requires a deposit to be made to your marketplace account before you can make a purchase. There are less than 500 listings at present, and thus it’s too early to make an assessment of Agartha’s merits. It looks like it may have potential, however, and notably the site accepts more cryptocurrencies than most – BTC, BCH, LTC, XMR, VTC, and DASH.

The Darknet Rises With 6 New Markets

Nightmare operates very similarly to Agartha, accepting wallet deposits for six cryptocurrencies including BCH and ZEC. With 24,000 listings for drugs alone, it’s got a significant headstart on the competition, despite having only launched last month. I placed a small order with a vendor who had a high feedback rating, paying with BCH, and the item arrived three days later and was just as described.

Despite repeated attempts, I couldn’t get past the captcha on Yellow Brick Market, and have my suspicions as to the site’s legitimacy, and its Dread forum looks dead. Empire Market accepts deposits in BTC, XMR and LTC. The site has around 20,000 listings and looks like the real deal. I made a small BTC deposit, but have yet to order anything, as there’s a limit to how much journalistic research one can undertake in a week. Finally, we have Core Market, which takes BTC and XMR and looks to have positive feedback so far. Some of these markets will naturally get shut down or exit scam in due course, but as always, more will rise to take their place.

Have you tried visiting any of the new darknet markets? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse or support claims made by any parties in this article. None of the information in this article is intended as investment advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


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Blockchain Migration Is All the Rage

Blockchain Migration Is All the Rage

On April 24, Gifto announced that it’s moving house from Ethereum to Binance Chain. In doing so, it joins half a dozen other projects that have recently committed to the most talked about new blockchain in town. Blockchain migration can occur for a number of reasons, but beyond providing an instant shot of publicity, does making the move yield any long-term benefits?

Also read: Survey Shows South Koreans Increased Crypto Holdings by 64% Last Year

Tokenized Projects Can’t Stop Chain Hopping

“While we have tremendous respect for what the Ethereum community has built, it’s time for Gifto … to move to a new blockchain that better suits our aggressive plans for mainstream adoption,” reads the blog post released today by the South Korean gifting protocol. “One where the real usage and growth of the Gifto ecosystem can be shown today without incurring massive fees or slow transaction times which negatively impact user experience.”

Gifto’s reasons for moving to a faster and more payment-centric chain make sense given that its GTO token has little need for Ethereum’s smart contract functionality. The fact that Gifto was the first tokenized project to feature on Binance Launchpad meant that when the project began eyeing alternative blockchains, there was only going to be one winner. The reasons quoted for the switch – fees and network congestion – are the most commonly cited for projects jumping ship.

Blockchain Migration Is All the Rage

Impatience and Irreconcilable Differences – Two Reasons for Abandoning Chain

One of the reasons why Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) has begun to be used for token issuance is on account of the low onchain fees and fast confirmation times that are a hallmark of the Bitcoin Cash network. While it’s early days for SLP’s tokenized ecosystem, the participation of projects such as Liberland has heightened interest. Ongoing delays to the Lightning Network have caused some cryptocurrency users to switch to Bitcoin Cash, as onchain fees for BTC have begun to creep towards the $2 mark in recent weeks. Similarly, the promise of decentralized Lightning apps – or “Lapps” – has yet to materialize, making the prospect of building on BCH seem appealing to some developers.

Aside from scalability issues, there’s another reason why projects may elect to switch blockchains: for publicity. Latching onto the coat tails of the hottest new blockchain can be a way to fleetingly revive the fortunes of a flagging project. When EOS launched in 2018, a number of ERC20 projects chose to entrust their fate to Dan Larimer’s latest creation, and promptly set about initiating token swaps. While news of a blockchain migration can inflate a token’s price, the effects are short-lived. Ultimately, it will require more than a new crypto network to generate sustained interest.

Blockchain Migration Is All the Rage

Multiple Chains Existing in Tandem

In its announcement on April 24, Gifto made no bones about its reasons for leaving Ethereum, explaining: “Let’s face it, fancy features like smart contracts are great, but when they slow down transactions and open up security vulnerabilities, they are not worth it if all you want to do is to pay cryptocurrency for a virtual gift. As consumer application developers, we should not need a sub-industry of smart contract security audit companies every time we want to add a crypto payment method to our apps.”

For outsiders, peering curiously into the world of cryptocurrency, blockchain networks and their never-ending array of token swaps and chain migrations must appear like some strange form of digital cannibalization. In addition to tokenized projects merrily chain hopping, networks themselves often begin life on a rival’s chain. EOS launched as an ERC20 token, for example, before swapping once its own mainnet was ready. Binance is currently doing the same with BNB, which is transitioning to Binance Chain.

Whereas holders of EOS ERC20 tokens were given a strict timeline in which to upgrade or risk being lumped with worthless tokens, Gifto is taking a more relaxed approach to its chain migration, and will support ERC20 and Binance Chain’s BEP2 in its wallet simultaneously for the foreseeable future. As its announcement cheerily concludes, “Welcome to the cross-chain world.”

What are your thoughts on token migrations – can they strengthen a crypto project? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Paytomat Enables Merchants to Accept 18 Cryptocurrencies In-Store

Paytomat Enables Merchants to Accept 18 Cryptocurrencies In-Store

Accepting cryptocurrency payments in your store doesn’t require specialist hardware or complex integration – Paytomat is proof. The crypto payment gateway enables merchants to accept 18 cryptocurrencies including BCH using their existing equipment. To date, hundreds of brick and mortar stores across four continents have added crypto support using Paytomat.

Also read: Crypto-Based Transfers Can Cut Remittance Costs in Africa by 90%

Hassle-Free Crypto Payments at the Point of Sale

Over the last two years, Paytomat has quietly been making a name for itself as an accomplished crypto PoS solution. From its base in Europe, the company has spread its wings and now lists hundreds of stores in countries as diverse as Venezuela, Netherlands, and the United States. A dropdown menu on the Paytomat website enables shoppers to filter through shops and restaurants to find crypto-accepting businesses in their area.

In addition to BCH, Paytomat supports over a dozen cryptocurrencies including BTC, ZEN, EOS, and ETH. Merchants incur zero fees, and can withdraw funds in a fiat currency of their choice if desired, with Paytomat hedging the risk incurred by potential cryptocurrency volatility.

Paytomat Enables Merchants to Accept 18 Cryptocurrencies In-Store

Simple Merchant Integration

Paytomat integrates with a number of established PoS systems, enabling merchants to add cryptocurrency support using their existing hardware. Upon upgrading their software to incorporate digital currency, the only visual difference the merchant will see is the addition of a button marked “Crypto” that appears on the payment terminal, alongside the “Card” and “Cash” buttons. When a customer pays for goods using cryptocurrency, a QR code is added to the check, which the customer scans before transferring the amount to the merchant’s wallet.

To date, more than 300 merchants have begun using Paytomat to accept cryptocurrency including beauty salons and medical practices. For merchants interested in introducing cryptocurrency as a payment option, Paytomat provides an enrolment form on its website to start the process. Encouraging greater adoption of digital assets on a daily basis is a vision shared by many cryptocurrency projects, including advocates of bitcoin cash. Solutions like Paytomat play their part in helping to realize that goal.

Have you spent cryptocurrency in-store? If so, what was your experience of doing so? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock and Paytomat


Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to third party companies or any of their affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any third party content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

The post Paytomat Enables Merchants to Accept 18 Cryptocurrencies In-Store appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency without privacy is pointless. If your coins aren’t fungible, you lose much of the benefits of using cryptocurrency in the first place. Privacy isn’t just won and lost onchain though. In fact, much of the privacy gains to be made when it comes to sending, spending and trading crypto occur offchain, as you go about your business on the web.

Also read: Wasabi’s Privacy-Focused BTC Wallet Aims to Make Bitcoin Fungible Again

The Never-Ending Quest for Privacy

Privacy is like fitness: a way of life rather than a task that can be ticked off. Just as it takes time, perseverance and focus on different muscle groups to build a better body in the gym, strengthening your privacy calls for undertaking regular exercises to stem the flow of doxable information. Every time you perform an action online, you’re hemorrhaging a trove of data. This can be particularly damaging for cryptocurrency users, whose onchain actions will be recorded indefinitely.

When paired with offchain data points such as IP, email address, and cell number, it’s possible for an adversary to build a complete picture of their target. Given the ever-increasing capabilities of three-letter agencies, it’s safe to assume that in the near future, the state will be able to construct a highly detailed picture of the activities of today’s cryptocurrency users.

tl;dr: privacy matters. Here are five ways to up yours.

Use a VPN

There’s an assumption that using a VPN requires a degree of technical knowledge, and is for privacy zealots only. In fact, the majority of VPNs are foolproof and can be up and silently running in a couple of clicks – no manual port reconfiguration necessary. Opera even offers a VPN now in its desktop and Android browsers. “Enhanced online privacy is a right for everyone,” claim Opera. They’re right. A VPN will provide an added layer of privacy when logging into exchanges as well as masking the IP address associated with Bitcoin transaction relays.

Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

Separate Your Regular Email From Your Crypto Email

Creating a separate email account for every cryptocurrency service you need to log into is impractical. You can, though, segment all of your crypto-related emails into a single account. This will yield twin benefits: if your main account is compromised, the hacker will have no information on or access to your crypto activities. Secondly, if you choose a fully encrypted email account such as Tutanota, prying eyes at border control and other government agencies will have no insight into your penchant for trading obscure shitcoins.

Stop Reusing Addresses

More than half of all bitcoin transactions involve addresses that have previously been used. Creating a new bitcoin address is free, instant, and provides an immediate privacy boost. If the wallet or platform you’re using doesn’t allow you to create a new address at will, stop using it. There’s a wealth of competing services out there, and switching to a more privacy-minded alternative can be done in a matter of minutes. Unless you’re transacting solely in privacy coins like monero, or are using an account-based, rather than UTXO-based, system like ethereum, you should aim for a fresh address every time.

Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

Keep Your Keys and Codes Offline

Where do you store the backup 2FA codes for your trading accounts and the private keys to your crypto wallets? Are they written down, split into parts and stashed offline in a series of very safe places? Or are they hidden in plaintext in a folder on your laptop marked “anime”? You’d be surprised how many people go with the latter. Even if you’ve encrypted the folder containing your keys and codes, it’s dangerous to assume it can’t be cracked by a determined attacker since, statistically speaking, you almost certainly recycle passwords – you and 10 million others.

Keeping your private keys offline will protect you in the event of your computer being physically or digitally compromised. Even if you can’t afford a bank vault or strongbox, separating your key into parts and storing it in multiple locations – with duplicates, to ensure redundancy – will work just as well.

Always Be Shuffling

Coin mixers aren’t for the ultra-paranoid and the ultra-shady: they’re for everyone. If more people ran their coins through tumblers before withdrawing them to hardware wallets, bitcoin would become significantly more fungible, and blockchain forensics companies would suffer a major blow. Even if you can’t be motivated to mix your coins for the greater good, do it for your own. Services such as Cashshuffle for BCH make it easier than ever to obfuscate the origin of your coins, while Coinjoin, incorporated into pro-privacy wallets like Wasabi, do the same for BTC.

Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency

There’s something extremely comfortable about having a stash of cryptocurrency that can’t be linked to your identity safely stored in a hardware wallet that’s been backed up. It’s the digital equivalent of having a backyard bunker filled with canned goods and ammo in readiness for the apocalypse. Treat yourself to a privacy makeover and see how good it feels.

What other privacy tips do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support the products/services mentioned in this article.

Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

The post Five Simple Ways to Increase Your Privacy When Using Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Token Analyst Monitors Exchange Inflows to Help Predict Market Movements

There’s a wide array of on- and offchain signals that can be used as indicators by cryptocurrency traders. When combined, they paint a detailed picture of the current state of the markets, and suggest which way they may move next. Token Analyst is a service that focuses on exchange inflows and outflows, in a bid to determine which way the money is moving.

Also read: The Struggle to Buy Bitcoin in Crypto-Starved Botswana

Follow the Flow of Cryptocurrency

The cryptocurrency markets exist in a constant state of flux, which can make it hard to cut through the noise and identity the important trading signals. Token Analyst is a market monitoring tool that takes a different approach to the usual Coinmarketcap clones. Rather than focusing on digital asset prices, it’s more concerned with their onchain movements to and from major exchanges such as Binance, Bitfinex, and Bitstamp.

Token Analyst Monitors Exchange Inflows to Help Predict Market Movements

The platform reveals the net change in BTC and ETH over a 24-hour period for each platform, and also offers a subscription-based service for more serious traders interested in viewing real-time exchange inflows. The Hobbyist package is priced at $99 while the Pro package, at $499, includes more advanced features. For the casual and the curious, however, there’s plenty of information that can be sourced from Token Analyst without the need to spend a cent. This includes:

  • BTC and ETH daily onchain volume
  • Live feed of onchain transactions for major ERC20 tokens
  • 24-hour transaction count for selected ERC20 tokens
  • Significant whale transactions

This latter feature covers the BTC and ETH chains, comprising notification of transactions of $500K or more, with a blockchain explorer link provider for further scrutiny.

Token Analyst Monitors Exchange Inflows to Help Predict Market Movements

Token Analyst works well when combined with a pricing tool such as Bitcoin.com’s Markets, which provides real-time information on thousands of cryptocurrencies. Through comparing the movements of major digital assets onchain with the price moves that occur on exchanges, it’s possible to gain a fuller picture of the cryptoconomy and an insight into where the market may be headed next, be it up or down.

What other tracking sites do you use to gain a better understanding of the cryptocurrency markets? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to third party companies or any of their affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any third party content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


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Why the Future of Esports Is Tied to Cryptocurrency

At the League of Legends World Championship Finals in South Korea last year, 100 million viewers tuned in to watch Invictus Gaming defeat Fnatic 3-0 and collect $2.4M in prize money. With its young, passionate and tech-savvy global audience, esports shares evident similarities with cryptocurrency. Not surprisingly, many predict great things for the twin industries whose future may lie intertwined.

Also read: Review: Crypto Is a Surprisingly Fun Movie About Compliance

The $1 Billion Nut to Crack

With a 33% compound annual growth rate, the $1 billion esports market is highly lucrative. Hundreds of millions of fans regularly watch their esports heroes battle it out in games such as DOTA, League of Legends, Halo, and FIFA at live streamed events whose prize money can run into the millions. To its global audience of digital natives, accustomed to having everything they covet on demand, esports is to entertainment what cryptocurrency is to cash: the natural order of things. Most esports fans are too young to recall the before time, when games were played offline and money was physical.

Why the Future of Esports Is Tied to Cryptocurrency

Already, there are signs of a blossoming bromance between the esports and cryptocurrency industries, with an inflow of investment fueling the projected wave of cryptocurrencies focused around esports and blockchain gaming. Esports team-building platform Dreamteam recently closed a $5M seed round with Mangrove Capital Partners and has secured partnerships with major industry players including last year’s League of Legends finalists Fnatic. David Waroquier, partner at Mangrove Capital Partners, told news.Bitcoin.com: “The massive growth in esports popularity mixed with the fact that gamers eagerly accept the newest types of technology is creating the perfect storm for blockchain. Using smart contracts for tournament winnings, player salaries and sponsorship money creates the fraud-proof environment esports needs in order to sustain its growth.”

Gaming and Cryptocurrency – the Perfect Pairing?

In addition to esports, the gaming industry at large has been aligning closely with the rails that run the cryptoconomy. Ripple turned heads last month when it was revealed to be the backer of a new $100M fund dedicated to blockchain-based games. “Gaming is a $140 billion global industry driven predominantly by digital microtransaction economies, which we believe will benefit immensely from the integrity and resilience of blockchain technology,” said Brett Seyler, the chief platform officer at Forte, the San Francisco-based startup that inked the deal with Ripple. As with esports, the similarities between gamers and cryptocurrency users are manifold.

Effective monetization is critical to sustaining video content creators, most of whom don’t boast the same numbers as the top esports professionals and Youtubers. Pewdiepie made headlines last week for joining live streaming platform Dlive, which accepts cryptocurrencies such as BCH and ETH for purchasing its native tokens. His actions have spawned an array of smaller creators to follow suit.

Why the Future of Esports Is Tied to Cryptocurrency

It remains to be seen whether crypto-friendly platforms such as Dlive last the course or prove to be little more than a flash in the pan. What’s less debatable is that the marriage of cryptocurrencies and gaming, in all its many forms, is inevitable. In case more evidence were needed, on April 15, $1 million puzzle game Satoshi’s Treasure launched, promising a bounty-laden bitcoin wallet whose keys have been divided into 1,000 fragments, spawning a global hunt for the prize pieces.

Do you think esports and gaming are prime industries for cryptocurrency adoption? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Review: Crypto Is a Surprisingly Fun Movie About Compliance

Review: Crypto Is a Surprisingly Fun Movie About Compliance

“Fuck” is the first word uttered in Crypto. It might also be yours after watching John Stalberg Jr’s claustrophobic movie about an anti-money laundering agent caught in a web of deceit, intrigue, and bad beer. Copious cryptocurrency references have no tangible impact on the plot, but serve as a running gag for bitcoiners intent on scrutinizing the movie for the slightest sign of inaccuracy.

Also read: Bitcoiners’ Seastead in Deep Trouble With Thai Government

Beau Knapp Makes Compliance Look Sexy

Just as the shark’s arrival is heralded by that seat-clenching “dun-duuun, dun duuuun” music in Jaws, you’ll have no trouble deducing the bad guys in Crypto. The blast of Russian opera music every time their white van appears saves you from having to think for yourself, which is exactly how we expect our Hollywood movies to be packaged. In Crypto, the music builds the tension rather than the tension building the tension, and the movie’s sins don’t end there. Yet for all its flaws, including a nonsensical plot, Crypto is a fast-paced thriller that simmers nicely before spilling over in a ferocious finale.

Review: Crypto Is a Surprisingly Fun Movie About Compliance
Crypto was shot in better times for the cryptocurrency market

AML agent Marti, played by Beau Knapp, is the very personification of the New York Bitlicense. Lines such as “I demand a culture of complete compliance in my department” are prone to make the skin crawl for every bitcoiner watching. Marti gets booted from his big city job for being too good at compliance, whereupon instead of being appointed to the Ripple board, he finds himself exiled upstate to the small town where he was raised.

There, he discovers something has taken root, and it’s not dad’s (Kurt Russell) potatoes. With glamorous art gallery hostesses, sexy assistants, and Russian mobsters skulking about, upstate New York is more NY than NY itself. Upon arriving to find his father’s farm failing, Marti is all set on restructuring loans and bringing in silent partners to save the day. Kurt just wants him to grab a shovel. Metaphors for the gulf between old money and new are all over Crypto.

Review: Crypto Is a Surprisingly Fun Movie About Compliance

A Cornucopia of Cryptocurrency References

Five minutes into Crypto and you’ll be praying that goodie two-shoes Marti winds up on the wrong end of a Kalashnikov, such is his toe-curling obsession with doing everything by the book. Marti is so square that when bitcoin bro Earl (Jeremie Harris) who runs the liquor store tells him the beer’s on the house, he drops a 20 on the counter anyway. Naturally, Marti drinks Bud Light. He’s the sort of guy who’d show up at your party and then call the cops cos some people were smoking pot by the pool. Marti mercifully gets some of those square edges rubbed off him as the movie progresses, and it’s hard to find fault with Beau Knapp’s portrayal of the AML agent. In fact it’s hard to find fault with any of the acting in this movie, which is more than can be said for some of the plot points.

Review: Crypto Is a Surprisingly Fun Movie About Compliance

Everything has labels in Crypto. It’s like the whole film is an exposition, because the trouble with treating audiences to a movie about cryptocurrency and money laundering is that you have to explain things as you go. Thus we encounter Earl logging in to a cryptocurrency exchange named “Cryptocurrency Market,” in between dropping crypto bro lines such as “Hang on – time is of the essence. I’m getting in on this ICO!” The scene in which Earl explains to a woman how Bitcoin works is a particular highlight.

Early in the movie, Earl shills the hottest new ICO to Marti like it was a brand of potent crystal meth but Marti demurs, presumably because he hasn’t performed compliance checks on the company, and what if they haven’t filed a CTR exemption for those funds? You can tell Crypto was shot in the last throes of the 2018 bull market, incidentally, because XRP is still trading at 60 cents.

Review: Crypto Is a Surprisingly Fun Movie About Compliance
Crypto features a BTC logo that looks surprisingly similar to that of Bitcoin.com

Don’t Think – Just Roll With It

It’s not a classic by any means, but there’s plenty to enjoy in Crypto. My nocoiner mate described it as a “really good film” that was “solid” which, if nothing else, suggests that appreciation of the movie doesn’t call for a grounding in cryptocurrency. As Crypto progresses, we learn that Omni bank, which Marti is dutifully investigating, secretly invested $10 million in cryptocurrency in the previous quarter. The significance of this is unclear, but judging by the ominous music, it’s clearly A Bad Thing.

Review: Crypto Is a Surprisingly Fun Movie About Compliance
Omni’s dubious looking investment portfolio

“I’m not entirely satisfied with the way the DD was handled,” spits Marti, always a stickler for doing things by the book, even as the Russians begin circling and the body count rising. He’s a fast learner though, to give him credit: at the outset, Marti confesses to have only understood 5% of Earl’s ICO spiel; by the midpoint, he’s effortlessly dropping insights such as “My guess is they’re buying Bitcoin over the counter to avoid market slippage.”

Director John Stalberg Jr. captures the essence of a small town where everyone’s got a secret to hide, and as the movie nears its climax, there’s no denying that whatever the hell is happening, this is hella fun. It would be asking too much for a movie about compliance to end with anything other than an American three-letter agency riding in to save the day; the Russian mobsters never stood a chance against the barbed quills of Hollywood. Whether you read Crypto as an allegory for Bittrex’s struggle to obtain a Bitlicense, or a brainwashing exercise on why money laundering is bad is your call. Despite having very little to do with cryptocurrency, Crypto is compelling fare for bitcoiners. If only real life compliance was this fun.

Have you watched Crypto? If so, what are your thoughts on the movie? Let us know in the comments section below.


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How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin

How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin

Darknet marketplaces (DNMs) provide a wide range of services beyond those commonly portrayed by the media. One of these is the provision of pain relief drugs for the terminally ill. In this guide, we run through the process for obtaining CBD, a cannabis oil compound that provides comfort to people suffering from chronic pain, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Also read: Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

The Darknet Is a Refuge for the Desperate and the Downtrodden

In 2016, a close friend of mine was diagnosed with terminal cancer. As part of her therapy, she began self-medicating cannabidiol (CBD), derived from the cannabis plant. It helped her to relax and to sleep better. Every time she purchased CBD capsules, she was technically breaking the law: in Britain, as in many countries, cannabis products are illegal. Last year, an outcry over a seven-year-old boy denied the right to use CBD to control his epilepsy seizures prompted the government to soften its stance, but the oil still remains all but impossible to obtain for pain relief purposes – only doctors can prescribe it in extremely narrow circumstances. Even in the U.S., companies such as Stripe refuse to process payments for CBD.

On October 31, my friend lost her struggle with cancer. She was 29. The following day, the law permitting the prescription of CBD came into effect in the U.K. For anyone who finds themselves in similar circumstances to my friend, CBD oil can help to make the pain manageable as well as minimizing discomfort. If you’re not fortunate enough to know a cannabis grower, the darknet is your best bet for getting hold of the stuff. Here’s how you might go about doing that.

How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin
Wall Street market

How to Buy CBD on the Darknet

Like many bitcoiners, I’ve bought an array of wares on the darknet over the years, but until recently, I’d never purchased CBD. With the normally reliable Dream market in the process of shutting down, I elected to make my purchase from Wall Street. Its Tor address can be found on sites like Deepdotweb and Darkwebnews. Because I already use the Brave browser, I don’t even need to download Tor to pay a visit to Wall Street: a Tor browsing tab can be opened directly within Brave.

How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin

From there, I log in to Wall Street and browse the drug listings. (If you don’t have an account, it only takes a couple of minutes to set one up. Be sure to choose a unique username and password). Wall Street accepts bitcoin core and monero for payment. In this case, I’ll be using the former since I already have some BTC to hand on a mobile wallet.

Since I’m based in the U.K., I’d prefer to order from a seller in this country for quickness and because domestic mail attracts less suspicion. While CBD oil is at the lower end of the scale when it comes to classified drugs, it’s still illegal to purchase here. I filter my search results for U.K. sellers only, and soon I’ve found my CBD supplier. A note of caution before ordering: always check the seller’s most recent feedback. The one I’ve selected looks legit, but as a glance at the feedback for other sellers shows, there are some lowlifes out there:

How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin

The Purchasing Process

One of the cool things about Wall Street is that funds don’t have to be deposited into your account on the DNM – instead they go directly from your personal wallet to the seller’s, with multisig preventing the funds from being released until you’ve marked the order complete. This provision also protects customer funds in the event of the market committing an exit scam.

How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin

The CBD listing describes “30 x 35mg THC/CBD oil capsules” and promises to be the cleanest and purest product on the market. “Capsules are produced from concentrate extremely high in DELTA-9 THC (58.8%) This is sky high for Delta-9,” reads the listing. “We recommend 1 capsule to be taken at a time.” Using PGP, I encrypt my delivery address and sign the message. This means that only the seller will be able to decode our correspondence; even if the marketplace is compromised, law enforcement will have no means of descrambling the data. Deepdotweb has a good tutorial on PGP; once you’ve gotten to grips with it, it only takes a few seconds to encrypt and decrypt messages, and is a measure that’s well worth taking.

How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin

Within minutes of submitting my order, Wall Street has generated a unique BTC address for the transaction, which I complete using the Bitcoin.com Wallet.

How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin

15 minutes after that and the payment is marked as received. Two days after that, a padded envelope lands on the doormat. Inside a smell-proof and scan-resistant silver bag is a ziplock pouch containing 30 THC/CBD capsules. While I must now undo my anonymity by writing an article about the purchase, if I were a cancer suffer, I could now set about self-medicating in peace and quiet. Cryptography and cryptocurrency are a beautiful thing.

How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin

What are your thoughts on using the darknet to purchase medicinal products that cannot be obtained easily by prescription? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse this product/service. Review editorials are intended for informational purposes only. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com or the author is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

The post How to Buy Pain Relief Drugs off the Darknet With Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How Mobile Browsers Are Driving the Next Wave of Cryptocurrency Adoption

How Mobile Browsers Are Driving the Next Wave of Cryptocurrency Adoption

You may not have noticed, but crypto’s first killer app is already here. It’s called the mobile browser. Until recently, mobile internet browsers were little more than a means to connect to the web on the go. Then, developers began integrating crypto-friendly functionality such as wallet, dapp store, and VPN, supercharging the humble mobile browser and transforming it into a powerful toolkit with a range of applications.

Also read: Simple Bitcoin Widget Gives You Crypto Prices on the Go

Using Crypto on the Go Is Getting Easier

Mobile web browsers are quietly evolving into highly versatile tools for cryptocurrency users. In the process, they’ve lowered the barriers for entry for beginners by making it easy to take the first steps towards owning and using cryptocurrency. Quietly yet steadily, a number of software and hardware developers have been adding functionality to feature phones through infusing them with the tools required to browse the Web 3.0. It’s still early days, but the progress that has been made in bringing everyday usability to crypto assets bodes well for wider adoption.

Dream Team is an esports token that can be used for payment, sponsorship, and competition prizes in the $750M gaming market. While creating use cases for the project’s token has been a relatively straightforward exercise, getting it into the hands of its intended audience – pro players and the millions of fans who watch their live-streamed antics – has hitherto been hard. Now, thanks to the emergence of in-browser crypto wallets, young, mobile-oriented audiences can receive and award tokens such as Dream Team’s seamlessly while streaming their favorite esports events. Opera’s crypto-friendly Android browser has been pivotal in driving this trend, with Brave hot on its heels.

How Mobile Browsers Are Driving the Next Wave of Cryptocurrency Adoption

New Features, New Users, More Options

Until Opera came along, spending cryptocurrency in-browser was largely constrained to desktop devices, with Metamask handling ETH and ERC20 tokens and Badger taking care of all things BCH. With the introduction of Opera’s integrated ETH wallet, however, it’s now simple for users to browse, buy, send and receive crypto all within their web browser. On March 20, Opera went one step further, introducing an in-browser VPN for mobile users that can be activated in two clicks. At the same time, its new Android update introduced crypto pairing, enabling mobile users to link their Opera cryptocurrency wallet with their desktop browser, explaining:

With the recent improvements to our Crypto Wallet, including our efforts to dramatically simplify the acquisition of funds, we are fulfilling our goal to make Opera for Android the natural choice for stepping into blockchain technology and Web 3.0 for the first time.

How Mobile Browsers Are Driving the Next Wave of Cryptocurrency Adoption

The Marriage of Smartphone Hardware and Software

The greatest progress that has been made in mainstreaming cryptocurrency through mobile has arguably come courtesy of HTC and Samsung, working in conjunction with companies such as Opera. The former’s Exodus smartphone includes a hardware wallet that integrates with the Opera browser. Users benefit from having their funds securely stored on the phone’s Zion wallet, while still being able to spend their crypto within the Opera browser, which also grants access to a plethora of dapps through the Opera Dapp Store.

This week, a software update to the Exodus phone added Zion wallet support for stellar. The wallet already supports bitcoin core, litecoin, and ethereum. In addition, Zion now enables crypto to be purchased directly via credit card in conjunction with Simplex. There’s a 5% fee and $10 minimum fee, but it’s another small step towards making it easier to purchase crypto assets and spend them directly within the Opera browser. In the last three weeks, Brave has also rolled out Brave Rewards Beta on Android, enabling users to reward content creators using the native BAT token.

How Mobile Browsers Are Driving the Next Wave of Cryptocurrency Adoption

There’s still work to be done in improving the UX and the range of cryptocurrencies these browsers support. Nevertheless, significant strides have been made in making it easier to spend and send cryptocurrency on mobile. Out of nowhere, the humble mobile browser has risen to become one of the most valuable drivers of mainstream cryptocurrency adoption.

What’s your favorite mobile browser and have you used it to store and send cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Moon Landing or Misfire? 2019’s Biggest Initial Exchange Offerings Analyzed

Moon Landing or Misfire? 2019’s Biggest Initial Exchange Offerings Analyzed

Whatever your feelings on initial exchange offerings (IEOs), there’s been no avoiding them this year. Nurtured under the wing of cryptocurrency exchanges before being unleashed onto liquid secondary markets, many tokens have mooned, while a few have fizzled out like damp squibs. To gauge the current market sentiment toward IEOs, news.Bitcoin.com has calculated the return on investment (ROI) for the first wave of initial exchange offerings.

Also read: How Traditional Stock Markets Can Help Mainstream Cryptocurrency

A Breakdown of 2019’s Leading IEOs

When it comes to fundraising, there’s only been one acronym on everyone’s lips this year and it hasn’t been “STO.” Rather, the cryptoconomy has fixated on the IEO, which has become the talk of Telegram trading groups, crypto Twitter, subreddits, image boards, and every other hub for digital asset discussion. As Priority Token’s Artur Boytsov points out, the first IEOs actually took place in 2017 with the likes of Bread and Gifto, but the trend didn’t really catch on until the beginning of 2019. He notes “at least 15 exchanges which have either started supporting IEOs or announced that they are developing an IEO concept.”

Platforms such as Binance, Kucoin, Huobi, and ZBG have become synonymous with hosting initial exchange offerings, though participating platforms are proliferating so fast it’s impossible to list them all. Having analyzed the performance of the first wave of IEOs, news.Bitcoin.com can provide detailed figures regarding the ROI and all-time high (ATH) of 10 of this year’s most popular initial exchange offerings. The results show significant variance between exchanges in terms of the profit realized by investors.

Moon Landing or Misfire? 2019’s Biggest Initial Exchange Offerings Analyzed
The y-axis shows ROI in USD terms for 10 of the most popular IEOs to date. Bittorrent, for example, has returned 6.4x its original IEO price.

ZGB Launchpad and Binance Launchpad Lead the Charge

Because IEOs are still a relatively new phenomenon, the number of completed token sales per exchange is low. As a result, it is too early to draw any definitive conclusions, although two exchanges have established an early lead: ZGB and Binance boast the first and second most successful IEOs to date respectively, with the former also claiming the number four spot. At the time of publication, kamari (KAM), which was issued on ZGB Launchpad, has performed a 7x in USD terms, followed by Binance’s bittorrent (BTT) at 6.4x. In third place is the Huobi Prime-issued TOP (5.4x), followed by Global Trading System (5.3x), again on ZGB.

Moon Landing or Misfire? 2019’s Biggest Initial Exchange Offerings Analyzed

While the majority of these first-gen IEOs are currently in the green, some exchanges have gotten off to an inauspicious start. Bittrex International had to cancel its first IEO, for Raid, at the last minute after concerns emerged about the legitimacy of the project’s partnerships. Its second token sale, for Veriblock, sold out in just 10 seconds, but investors who managed to snap up VBK tokens have come to rue their seeming good fortune: it’s currently the only IEO profiled here to be underwater, with an ROI of just 0.83x. Be it through luck or judicious vetting of projects, some exchanges have produced a string of winners, while a handful have yet to strike gold.

What are your thoughts on initial exchange offerings? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Rebiton Allows You to Buy Bitcoin and Keep Your Privacy

Rebiton Allows You to Buy Bitcoin and Keep Your Privacy

Purchasing bitcoin ought to be quick and easy, but over the years, encroaching KYC has made that task more complex. Rebiton is a service that cuts through the red tape, making it possible for anyone to buy up to $999 without the need for ID.

Also read: How 5 Asian Countries Regulate Cryptocurrency

Re-Up on Bitcoin With Rebiton

Purchasing small amounts of BTC shouldn’t require a verification process akin to buying a firearm. Unfortunately, that’s how it’s come to be in many parts of the world, where regulators view cryptocurrency with deep distrust. As a consequence, anyone wishing to acquire bitcoin must consent to deeply invasive know your customer laws which can include scanning identification documents and submitting a selfie as added proof, all of which presents a honeypot for hackers. Rebiton does away with that, enabling anyone to buy BTC without suffering a major privacy loss.

The service facilitates the purchase of bitcoin core with fiat currency using a voucher system. Vouchers are available in various denominations, and can be swapped for BTC instantly, but are valid for up to six months. The next iteration of the service will enable instant bitcoin purchase, without the need for the voucher component.

Rebiton Allows You to Buy Bitcoin and Keep Your Privacy

Compliance Doesn’t Have to Be Cumbersome

Rebiton is incorporated in the EU and fully compliant with AML laws. Thanks to the strict purchase limits, which are capped at $999, the service is able to operate in accordance with all legal requirements without mandating overly intrusive compliance. BTC vouchers can be purchased online by card or bank transfer, as well as in Gera Dovana stores in Lithuania for cash. An email address is all that’s required, and vouchers can be gifted to friends, converted instantly, or held until market conditions seem more favorable for switching to BTC. Rebiton is proof that purchasing cryptocurrency doesn’t have to be complex or convoluted.

What’s your favorite privacy-friendly way to buy bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned companies or any of their affiliates or services.Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

As the darknet’s largest market prepares to wind down, its second largest is taking the strain. When Dream closes for good at the end of April, Wall Street will become the largest darknet market (DNM), at least until Dream’s successor launches and can prove its legitimacy. Paranoia has pervaded the darknet in recent weeks amidst uncertainty over marketplace integrity and a string of high profile busts.

Also read: The Darknet’s Largest Marketplace Is Closing – But a Replacement Is on Its Way

Wall Street Profits from Dream’s Demise

While Dream winds down the clock, ahead of a planned shutdown and transition to a new DNM, customers have flocked elsewhere. Many have taken up residence at Wall Street, which has struggled to process the spate of new orders. A notice posted on the site this week warned of address generation, input detection, signing messages and other onchain processes taking longer than normal. Unlike Dream, Wall Street doesn’t provide deposit addresses: instead buyers send funds from a personal wallet directly to a two-of-three multisig, created for each unique transaction.

Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down
The warning notice posted on Wall Street

Customers have the option to pay with BTC or with monero (XMR), and PGP login is available for added security. The number of vendors and listings on Wall Street is much lower than on Dream, and the success or failure of the first orders placed by former Dream users will be pivotal in determining whether Wall Street can capitalize on its competitor’s impending demise.

With DNMs in Turmoil, LEA Launches Crackdown

In addition to facing uncertainty on the darknet, vendors and buyers have been on high alert in the streets. A series of law enforcement raids have added to the sense of disquiet, including a Sacramento operation that netted close to $2M of BTC. “The darknet is not the cloak of secrecy for illegal drug users that they think it is,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott at a news conference announcing the busts, which targeted opioid sellers.

Meanwhile, a Canadian drug dealer battling to retain the $1.4M of BTC found in his possession has suffered mixed fortunes. Superior Court Justice Jane Kelly ruled that the BTC should be confiscated, but consented to allow 30-year-old Matthew Phan to keep 7.23 BTC, as the judge was not entirely confident that this sum was associated with criminal activity. The raid which saw Phan’s BTC confiscated occurred in 2015, when his digital assets were worth around $65,000. While he has now forfeited the lion’s share of the 280 BTC he was found with, Phan’s remaining 7.23 BTC should provide some solace upon his release.

Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

Tor Project Supports 10 Cryptocurrencies Including BCH

The past month has provided little cheer for darknet users, with one of the few crumbs of comfort coming courtesy of the Tor Project, responsible for developing the onion browser used for connecting to the darknet. The foundation has expanded the list of cryptocurrencies it accepts, and now takes donations in bitcoin cash, monero, zcash and several more. In addition, donations sent to Tor will now be received directly by the project, instead of going via Bitpay. Thanks to the addition of support for several privacy-centric coins, the darknet’s most devout users now have an easier way to support the project whose work makes it all possible.

Darknet Buyers Flock to Wall Street as Dream Winds Down

What are your thoughts on the closure of Dream and its proposed successor? Let us know in the comments section below.


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