8 Tips for Getting the Most out of Crypto Telegram

8 Tips for Getting the Most out of Crypto Telegram

For news, gossip, FUD, FOMO, charts, bots, and project updates, crypto Telegram is where it’s at. The beating heart of the crypto community resides in Pavel Durov’s encrypted messenger application. Accessing Telegram is easy, but optimizing your experience to get the most out of the platform calls for a few do’s and don’ts. Here are eight tips to get you started.

Also read: 10 of the Best Telegram Crypto Channels

Do Telegram the Right Way

Like the other CT (crypto Twitter), crypto Telegram encapsulates the best and worst elements of the industry. From the lowest scammers to the highest grade projects, it’s all here if you know where to look. Much like the crypto markets, however, failure to master crypto Telegram comes at a high cost. Here’s how to up your opsec, enhance your learning, and extract the most value from the industry’s favorite messenger platform.

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Lock Down Your Account

If you haven’t already, go to “Privacy and Security” in Telegram’s Settings menu. Your phone number should be set as visible only to “My Contacts” or better still “Nobody.” If it’s set to “Everybody” you’re increasing your chances of being SIM swapped. While you’re in the Settings menu, there’s a few more options you should run through, the most important being “Two-Step Verification.”

Unfortunately Telegram doesn’t offer 2FA, but it does allow you to set up an account password that will prevent anyone getting into your account, even if they’re able to swap your SIM. Getting a stolen Telegram account returned to its rightful owner is harder than it is with Twitter, so it pays to lock it down. Finally, set “Groups” so that only your contacts can add you to Telegram groups. Set it to “Everybody” and you’re prone to being added to spammy crypto groups by randoms.

Keep It Secret

If you need to discuss sensitive information with a Telegram contact, select “New Secret Chat.” All messages are stored solely on the sender and recipient’s device – not in the cloud. That’s why if you start a secret chat on your smartphone, you can’t view the conversation when you access Telegram Web on your desktop. For added security, secret chats don’t allow message forwarding and have a self-destruct timer, after which the conversation will be deleted. Signal is regarded as the most private encrypted messaging app, but for most confidential conversations, Telegram secret chat is fine.

8 Tips for Getting the Most out of Crypto Telegram

What’s in a Name?

Impostors touting “ETH giveaways” and other low-level scams are more commonly found on Twitter, but Telegram is not immune. Be cautious of anyone who direct messages you on Telegram claiming to be the admin of a group you’re in, offering you discounted tokens OTC and similar deals. Similarly, don’t assume that a particular Telegram handle corresponds with the same personality on Twitter. You’re probably not going to be messaged by Satoshi Nakamoto or Nick Szabo on Telegram, so be highly skeptical of anyone purporting to be a known crypto influencer unless their username can be verified, such as by cross-referencing it with their Twitter bio.

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Pin Popular Groups, Archive Noisy Ones

You can pin up to three groups to the top of your Telegram app for convenience. Just hold down the group name for a second and then push the pin icon that appears at the top of the page. Popular Telegram channels are alive with chatter, memes, and gossip – a little too alive at times. For fast-moving channels that provide more noise than signal, swipe left on them from the homescreen and they’ll be archived. You can still access them whenever you want to dive back in by clicking the “Archived Chats” button at the top of the page.

Use ‘Saved Messages’ as Your Clipboard

Telegram has a “Saved Messages” private channel where you can forward messages you want to store for future reference. It’s also handy as a general purpose clipboard for images and text when jumping between devices. If you need to access a mobile wallet address on your desktop, for instance, you can paste it into saved messages and retrieve it from Telegram Web on your laptop. Just remember to periodically clean your saved messages of sensitive data. For cryptocurrency transactions where privacy is paramount, avoid pasting addresses into Saved Messages altogether.

8 Tips for Getting the Most out of Crypto Telegram

Pick Your Stickers Carefully

The best thing about crypto Telegram is the sticker packs of course. The bull market ones; the bear market ones; the Bogdanovs; the Wojaks and all the rest. While most of your stickers can be shared in most of the groups you use, there will be certain channels where pocket-sending a rude Pepe sticker can be the difference between keeping and losing your job. Unfortunately, there’s no ability to bar particular sticker packs from particular groups. Be careful which packs you install and deploy, therefore. For the ultra-cautious, Telegram will allow you to run multiple accounts from a single installation of the mobile app.

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The Blockstream NPC sticker pack

Pick Your Groups Carefully

This final piece of advice is a subjective one, since the Telegram groups and channels you join are dependent on your interests. News.Bitcoin.com has previously suggested a few of the better groups, but you’ll have your own favorites. If you find you’re not getting much value out of the channels you’re in, archive them or leave altogether. Telegram is your feed, after all, tailored just the way you like it. Like an altcoin you’ve fallen out of love with, don’t be afraid to dump channels that no longer give you that warm glow. Life’s too short for mediocre chat and bad memes.

What other tips do you recommend for getting the most out of Telegram? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post 8 Tips for Getting the Most out of Crypto Telegram appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Currency.com Accused of Exploiting KYC to Withhold Customer Funds

Currency.com Accused of Exploiting KYC to Withhold Customer Funds

Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Transaction (KYT) are ostensibly deployed by exchanges to combat money laundering. In practice, these provisions are used as an excuse to surveil, cajole, and threaten customers, who risk losing funds if they are unable to meet the impossibly high burden of proof. An investigation by news.Bitcoin.com suggests that tokenized securities exchange Currency.com is complicit in such behavior.

Also read: 50 Cent, Talib Kweli, Snoop Dogg and Nas: Celebrities Who Could Be Bitcoin Millionaires

Locked, Stocks, and Two Smoking Barrels

“My funds are stuck on Currency.com. They say I need to prove origin of funds and are refusing to release them. Can u investigate?” So read the anguished Telegram message I received from a cryptocurrency trader last month. News.Bitcoin.com does not have a mandate to investigate hard luck stories; we are a news organization, after all, not customer support. However, I had a connection of sorts with Currency.com, having previewed the crypto-powered stock exchange in January last year and interviewed its CEO Ivan Gowan.

Knowing that KYC/KYT abuses are on the rise, and already possessing a Currency.com account, I decided to try and replicate the trader’s fate. What I found raises serious questions about the integrity of Currency.com and the entire ‘surveillance exchange’ industry upon which KYC is founded. Unable to meet the unreasonable demands arbitrarily thrust upon them, traders are being locked out of exchanges that have unblinkingly accepted their funds only to refuse to return them.

Currency.com Allows Cryptocurrency Traders to Buy Leveraged Stocks and Metals

Know Your Transaction is the KYC of blockchain, a policy which places the onus on customers to prove their funds are clean. This is of course an impossibility, any more than a shopper can prove the cleanliness of the dollar bills in their wallet. As the February 17 Marty’s Bent newsletter noted, “in a world in which KYC/AML compliance is forced on everyone, individuals are presumed guilty until proven innocent.” As the following experience with Currency.com shows, surveillance exchanges will stop at nothing to seize their customers’ funds.

Currency.com Demands Proof of ‘Origin of Funds’

Following up on my Telegram contact’s tip-off, I deposited funds onto Currency.com on February 4. I wanted the sum to be high enough to trigger their compliance checks, but without losing all my crypto if the allegations proved true. In the event, I got my funds back – but not after more than a dozen withdrawal attempts, 20 customer support messages, and the submission of extremely personal information.

Currency.com Accused of Exploiting KYC to Withhold Customer Funds

After depositing $1,500 of BCH onto Currency.com, I made a couple of trades just like a regular trader would. My account was in full working order, having completed KYC in January 2019, and while using the platform I received no alerts to the effect that my account wasn’t in order. Then, on February 13, I made a withdrawal request in BTC for my full balance, which remained around $1,500. A few minutes later, I received the following email message:

Currency.com Accused of Exploiting KYC to Withhold Customer Funds

No explanation – just a straight out denial of funds. I’ve used cryptocurrency exchanges – including some extremely dubious trading venues – for eight years, and have never been denied funds with no explanation. I tried withdrawing to a different BTC address, in case Currency.com couldn’t handle bech32, but again received the same message. With no clue as to what could be wrong, I opened a customer support ticket, and that’s when things got really weird. According to Currency.com staffer M, “Your proof of funds has expired.”

What Is Proof of Funds?

The customer support response (edited to fix English) continued:

“In order for your trading account to operate properly in future, we kindly ask you to provide us with the documents that confirm the origin of funds you used for transaction conduction within your account on Currency.com.

As a confirmation of the origin of the funds you can provide:

– documents for inheritance;

– documents confirming the sale of real estate and crediting the proceeds to the account;

– a document confirming the fact of purchase of shares, bonds, securities;

– the contract under which money was received for the performance of certain services;

– contract for obtaining royalties;

– lease agreement (for receiving the rent);

– the contract under which the debt is returned;

– decision / protocol on dividend payment;

– bank statement, registration in the prescribed manner;

– deed of gift and etc.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never purchased cryptocurrency using my inheritance. Noting that the message had requested proof of funds for my “trading account to operate properly in future,” I thought I may have spotted a loophole. “You didn’t have any trouble accepting my funds two weeks ago without asking any awkward questions,” I responded. “So I’m sure you won’t have any trouble releasing them. Kindly do so immediately. I’ll be able to provide additional documents in future should I have cause to use Currency.com again.”

Currency.com were not to be bowed, however, even when I pointed out to M that it was she who had set up my interview with the company’s CEO a year ago. Even though my funds had been lawfully obtained, I had no way of proving as such – no one does – so to show Know Your Transaction for the farce that it is, I submitted a bank statement displaying a transaction that looked like it might pass as a cryptocurrency purchase.

Currency.com Accused of Exploiting KYC to Withhold Customer Funds

My “proof” was accepted without question, but still my funds remained locked up. Currency.com were clinging onto that $1,500 for dear life.

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Currency.com Moves the Goalposts

While I awaited the release of funds, I submitted a series of questions to Currency.com for a proposed news.Bitcoin.com article on the matter. Upon quizzing them on their KYC/KYT policy, I was told: “We reserve the right to verify your compliance … at any time within your use of the service, in particular by the following means: (a) requesting a documentary confirmation of the source of origin of funds, the title of property to them as well as the rights to external accounts.”

I asked: “How are customers meant to prove the source of their funds using, as per the suggested list, “documents for inheritance, documents confirming the sale of real estate and crediting the proceeds to the account” etc, when in many cases it is impossible to prove the source of cryptocurrency, especially when it has been earned or gifted?” Currency.com replied:

When the client’s funds were obtained as a gift, the client can provide us with their withdrawal/deposit history in order to prove the origin of funds, and if the funds were earned, the client can provide us with their trade history (for example from different platforms).

My trade history on other platforms is none of Currency.com’s business, and even if provided would prove nothing about how I originally obtained my funds. Currency.com also sent me a wall of text from their terms and conditions that boils down to “if our onchain analysis software flags any of your transactions as suspicious, we can hold onto your funds and there is nothing you can do about it.” For the record, the deposit I made into the exchange did not come from a mixer, and the withdrawal was into a new bitcoin address with no transactional history.

At this stage in proceedings, Currency.com performed a sudden volte-face and issued the following proclamation:

Currency.com Accused of Exploiting KYC to Withhold Customer Funds

All this time they were locking me out for not providing proof of funds, and it turns out it was proof of address they needed all along. It’s a simple mistake that anyone could make, and then drive home over the course of half a dozen messages.

Proof of Address Is Not Enough

I had provided proof of address 13 months earlier upon signing up for Currency.com. As anyone who has used a centralized service, be it a bank or an exchange, knows, it is not a requirement to prove one’s address on an annual basis. Nevertheless, Currency.com were determined, and I was determined to see how many hoops I would have to jump through to appease them. I submitted the following document, with my bank details and address clearly shown, and only my account balance blacked out because my net worth is no one’s goddamn business. I was wrong.

Currency.com Accused of Exploiting KYC to Withhold Customer Funds
A non-blurred version of this document was sent to Currency.com. They rejected it because my bank balance (blacked out on the right) wasn’t visible.

“Unfortunately, this document is not suitable, because on the previous screenshot you’ve used some graphics editing,” I was informed. “We kindly ask you to provide us with a different document without using graphics and photo editors.” This request made me uneasy. I had no desire to disclose my bank balance to a Belarusian customer service operative, who already had all my personal documents, which could hypothetically be acquired by Eastern European identity thieves.

Mildly frustrated at this juncture, I replied: “You’re quite right. The document has been blatantly edited to conceal my account balance: it’s common practice for people to do so when submitting verification documents, because it avoids the need to broadcast their net worth to the world, preventing them from becoming a target. However, in the interests of full transparency and getting my funds back, here is the same statement with balance intact,” adding:

If there’s anything else you’d like to know – mother’s maiden name; account passwords; balance of all bitcoin wallets; seed phrases – please let me know and I’ll do my utmost to comply.

And at that, my funds were finally released. While there is nothing to suggest that Currency.com were seeking to steal them, or those of the trader who suffered the same fate, the experience was unsettling. “These [KYC] laws are in place to control the little man,” ranted Marty in his Feb 17 newsletter. “Forced to send their most intimate data to insecure databases that are highly prone to being hacked. We’re talking date of birth, home address, social security numbers, bank account information, pictures of passports and driver’s licenses. All sent to be hacked and sold on the Dark Net to people looking to commit identity fraud. Or worse, find someone they want to harm.”

Marty signs off with a warning shot to the Currency.coms and their blockchain analysis cronies: “Those who build companies to de-anonymize bitcoiners to appease a corrupt, overarching and dying system should be publicly shamed. They are middlemen out to make a profit, they are enemies of freedom in the Digital Age, and they are most certainly enemies of Bitcoin.”

Do you think some exchanges enforce excessive KYC? If so, why? 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.

The post Currency.com Accused of Exploiting KYC to Withhold Customer Funds appeared first on Bitcoin News.

DEX Volume Soars But Bzx Exploit Raises Questions About ‘Decentralization Theatre’

DEX Volume Soars But Bzx Exploit Raises Questions About ‘Decentralization Theatre’

As the decentralized finance juggernaut rolls inexorably forward, the exploitation of defi project Bzx – in which $350K, or around 2% of total assets was taken – has called the decentralization of the industry into doubt. The attack forced an admin key reset to redeem lost funds and sparked a surge in defi insurance, with major players hastily taking out cover to immunize themselves from financial loss. Exactly how decentralized is decentralized finance, critics are wondering.

Also read: 50 Cent, Talib Kweli, Snoop Dogg and Nas: Celebrities Who Could Be Bitcoin Millionaires

DEX Volume Swells 71% in a Week

Decentralized exchanges, around which the defi movement revolves, are going strong. More than $2.3B was traded on Ethereum-based DEXs last year, and 2020 is on course to comfortably surpass that. $119M was traded in the last seven days, according to Dune Analytics, marking a 71% increase. Meanwhile, new DEXs are springing up regularly to meet growing demand. The latest, Dexive, will operate as a dual Ethereum and Neo decentralized exchange, with integrated trading features such as asset details, news portal, discussion forum and microblog. There are plans to ultimately integrate other blockchains such as Eos and Zilliqa to create a universal DEX.

DEX Volume Soars But Bzx Exploit Raises Questions About ‘Decentralization Theatre’
Latest DEX volume according to Dune Analytics

While demand for decentralized token trading, and the defi primitives it supports, ramps up, the industry has looked shaky of late. The Bzx exploit that occurred on February 15 has sparked intense debate as to whether decentralized trading protocols are truly decentralized, or whether the presence of a “kill switch” nullifies all such claims. Bzx is the seventh largest defi protocol, with over $18 million worth of funds locked.

A Complex Transaction

The exploitation of Bzx occurred on February 15, with project co-founder Kyle Kistner providing details via the platform’s official Telegram channel and temporarily pausing all trading on the exchange. “Exploit” is probably the most apposite term, although arbitraging, attacking, hacking, and thieving have all been liberally used. The net result is the same: Bzx’s balance wound up $350K worth of ETH lighter, though the damage was far worse given the consequent loss of equity. So, how did it happen?

Essentially an exploit was executed against a contract on the project’s Fulcrum trading platform. The perpetrator took out a 10,000 ETH flash loan from non-custodial exchange Dydx before dispatching 5,000 ETH to Compound and borrowing 112 wrapped bitcoins (WBTC).

Thereafter, the attacker sent 5,000 ETH to Bzx, opening a 5x short position for WBTC. After the exchange had converted 5,637 ETH to 51 WBTC via Uniswap, the attacker then converted the 112 WBTC to 6,871 ETH on Uniswap before paying Dydx their original 10,000 ETH. The total transaction cost incurred by the multi-part smart contract was $8. Confused? You’re not alone; the sophistication of the exploit has had commenters applauding and head-scratching in equal measure.

An Oracle Problem

In the end, the perpetrator exploited a Bzx flaw that enabled them to trade an inordinate amount on Uniswap at an inflated price of 3x. In other words, it wasn’t an oracle bug per se, but a fundamental vulnerability in the design of the defi stack that facilitated its execution. Opening such a huge position caused a drain of funds from Bzx to Uniswap, enriching the rogue actor to the tune of $350K and resulting in a $620,000 loss of equity for Bzx. Market manipulation at its finest.

As well as temporarily taking Fulcrum down for maintenance, Bzx deployed a contract upgrade they said would make their system more robust against similar attacks and stated that they would cover the attacker’s loan repayment by streaming “interest and exit liquidity to existing iETH holders” from the 600k of WBTC left behind. Amid the post-mortem of the attack, insurance for DeFi lending has experienced a serious uptick, with hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of cover taken out across protocols such as Maker, Compound, Dydx and Bzx.

DEX Volume Soars But Bzx Exploit Raises Questions About ‘Decentralization Theatre’
The largest defi protocols according to Defi.Pulse

How Decentralized Is Decentralized?

Perhaps the most relevant question to emerge from this fiasco was posed by Twitter user @SupraBo_ in response to Bzx’s update on the transaction: “Decentralized finance is so efficiently decentralized that it can be paused.”

Another tweet suggested the attack exposed the wider danger posed to the Ethereum network of fast-growing finance initiatives: “DeFi = how to increase systemic risk on Ethereum.” Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, meanwhile, sounded off by calling defi “the worst of both worlds,” noting that it “can be shut down by a centralized party, so it’s just decentralization theatre. And yet no one can undo a hack or exploit unless we add more centralization. So how is this better than what we have now?” Research by Chris Blec, who bills himself as “defi’s best friend and toughest critic,” has shown that most defi protocols have an admin key that can override the system in emergencies.

While it is easy to see why faith in defi has been knocked by this ingenious heist of sorts, another perspective is that the event represents a bump in the road for the movement, which remains at an early, experimental stage despite over $1 billion worth of value being locked in, mostly in lending solutions. The exposure of vulnerabilities, and consequent beefing up of procedures, is necessary for maturation of an industry in which innovation continues to play out.

What are your thoughts on the Bzx exploit? Do you think defi protocols are truly decentralized? 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.

The post DEX Volume Soars But Bzx Exploit Raises Questions About ‘Decentralization Theatre’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

More On-Ramps, Liquidity, Options: Why Bitcoin’s Next Bull Run Will Be Different

More On-Ramps, Liquidity, Options: Why Bitcoin's Next Bull Run Will Be Different

Bitcoin’s next bull run will look very different from the last one. In 2017, BTC took the elevator to $20K before following the stairs down to $3K over the course of 12 months. In 2020, as bitcoin prepares for its halvening – followed by another potential price run – the cryptocurrency landscape looks very different. Here’s what’s improved since 2017.

Also read: Tradeblock Estimates Post-Halving Mining Cost of $12,500 per BTC

More Fiat Gateways

In 2017, getting funds into crypto called for routing them via dubious banks, paying dearly for the privilege, and often waiting days for the transaction to clear. In 2020, most exchanges have in-built fiat gateways, with new fiat currency options being added on a weekly basis. This week alone, Binance has added another 15 fiat currency pairs after payment processing partner Simplex expanded its fiat on-ramp. Similar ones in place at Bitcoin.com and on exchanges like Kucoin and Bithumb enable investors to purchase crypto using credit or debit card at low cost. As a result, when the retail FOMO begins, enhanced on-ramps will channel more fiat, more efficiently than was the case in 2017.

More On-Ramps, Liquidity, Options: Why Bitcoin's Next Bull Run Will Be Different

Better Customer Service

One of the biggest bugbears during 2017’s bull run was the time it took to get verified on exchanges. Users were left waiting weeks for the go-ahead to start trading, as overworked compliance teams battled to clear the backlog. Some, like Bittrex, simply closed their books altogether and refused to accept new registrations. If you ran into technical problems, meanwhile, such as withdrawal issues, you could forget about receiving customer support.

When Circle took over Poloniex in the wake of bitcoin mania, its first task was clearing the backlog of support tickets that had stacked up. In 2020, exchange support still has room to improve, but it’s far more robust than what passed for customer service three years ago. Technical improvements have also kicked in, enabling KYC verification to be completed in minutes rather than days.

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Better Liquidity

Better liquidity means stronger support for bitcoin at key price points. Not only do deeper order books reduce spread and minimize slippage, but they make it harder for whales to single-handedly move the market. That’s not to say that whale shenanigans have been entirely eliminated today, but it’s certainly harder to pull the kind of stunts that were commonplace three years ago. Better liquidity isn’t just about volume, either: it also applies to the number of trading venues where BTC and other cryptocurrencies can be acquired at market price.

How Market Makers Inject Liquidity Into the Cryptoconomy

More Options

When bitcoin embarked on its giddy run in 2017, there weren’t many derivatives options for shorting outside of Bitmex, and nothing at all for institutional investors. CME and Cboe’s futures products launched at the peak of the bubble, and were too late to have any meaningful impact on the market. Today, these institutional options are complemented by a string of derivatives exchanges for retail investors including Binance Futures, FTX, and Deribit. Even Coinbase Pro has belatedly gotten in on the act, introducing margin trading this month. If bitcoin reaches new all-time highs and then keeps on climbing – despite there being efficient ways to short it this time around – it will suggest the rally is steeped in more than simply speculative mania.

More On-Ramps, Liquidity, Options: Why Bitcoin's Next Bull Run Will Be Different
You can purchase Presidential futures on FTX

Lower Fees

Ever since peaking at a median of over $30 in December 2017, BTC fees have been mercifully low, averaging less than 10 sats/byte, and often reaching no more than a couple of sats per byte. Broad adoption of Segwit has also slashed the average transaction size by a third, further reducing costs, and exchanges have gotten more efficient at batching transactions. All this has meant that sending BTC onchain has been affordable for most people and for most amounts above $5.

If bitcoin enters a full-blown bull market, fees can be expected to rise as coins in cold storage are dusted down and sent to exchanges and the mempool fills up. However, if fees can stay affordable for most people, bitcoin should remain attractive to newbs making their first Coinbase buy and sending BTC over to Binance to trade. One thing that is unlikely to be ready by the next bull run is Lightning Network, which is still 18 months off, and may still be in 2140 when the last bitcoins are mined.

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Different Emotions?

There’s one final thing that will be different when bitcoin embarks on its next record-breaking run: many of the investors involved will recall 2017, when a good proportion of them first entered the industry. As bitcoin smashes record after record, they’ll recall those euphoric feelings that, for a few months in 2017, became the norm. This time around, though, will they have the presence of mind to sell while in profit, or will the lessons of three years ago be forgotten as greed takes over? In hindsight, $19K would have been a great place to have sold bitcoin. In the next bull run who’ll have the shrewdness to stop near the top? History suggests virtually no one.

Do you think bitcoin is on the verge of entering another bull market? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post More On-Ramps, Liquidity, Options: Why Bitcoin’s Next Bull Run Will Be Different appeared first on Bitcoin News.

US Department of Justice Is Criminalizing Onchain Privacy, Starting With Mixers

US Department of Justice Is Criminalizing Onchain Privacy, Starting With Mixers

The American government’s long-running war on privacy escalated this week following the arrest of Coin Ninja’s Larry Harmon on money laundering charges. A Department of Justice statement that “seeking to obscure virtual currency transactions in this way [using mixers] is a crime” means that bitcoiners risk prosecution simply for exercising their right to privacy.

Also read: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin Gives Testimony on Cryptocurrency, New Regulations Rolling Out Soon

First They Came for Larry Harmon

The cryptosphere was rocked on Thursday by the news that Coin Ninja and Dropbit CEO Larry Harmon had been arrested on charges of laundering $311 million from darknet marketplace (DNM) Alphabay. Despite having no direct connection with Alphabay, the Helix mixer Harmon had developed was recommended by the DNM. Coin mixers, or tumblers, are legally used by bitcoin owners to merge their transactions with those of other users, providing a degree of onchain privacy that Bitcoin does not provide by default. Mixers can also be used by criminals for the same purpose.

US Department of Justice Is Criminalizing Onchain Privacy, Starting With Mixers

The grand jury indictment served in Washington, D.C. is a nightmare for Harmon and his family (his wife has since faced telephone threats from blackmailers demanding bitcoin), as well as for Coin Ninja’s employees and customers. Dropbit, described as “Venmo for bitcoin,” sponsored the What Bitcoin Did podcast hosted by Peter McCormack and had a high industry profile. Both of Hamon’s companies have had their assets frozen, including those of customers which were in Dropbit’s custodial Lightning wallet. But the repercussions of Harmon’s arrest threaten to extend much further, affecting anyone who’s ever taken measures to enhance their privacy through deploying onchain obfuscation techniques.

US Department of Justice Is Criminalizing Onchain Privacy, Starting With Mixers
Dropbit

Is Bitcoin Mixing a Crime?

“This indictment underscores that seeking to obscure virtual currency transactions in this way [using a mixer] is a crime,” said Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski in a statement on Thursday. The day before, in testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “We want to make sure that these [cryptocurrencies] are not used as the equivalent of secret bank accounts … “We are working with FinCEN and we will be rolling out new regulations to be very clear on greater transparency so that law enforcement can see where the money is going and that this isn’t used for money laundering.”

Commenting on the indictment against Larry Harmon, Bitcoin developer Matt Corallo tweeted “Setting precedent that tumblers (aka “still-worse-privacy-than-cash-machines”) are illegal to own/operate would be the beginning of the end.” Prominent bitcoiners have long warned that U.S. regulators will seek to cripple the currency however they can, attacking it indirectly through asymmetric warfare against exchanges and centralized mixers whose operators can be cowed into compliance, under threat of imprisonment; Harmon faces up to 30 years if convicted. Centralized bitcoin tumbler Bestmixer.io was shut down last year in similar circumstance.

US Department of Justice Is Criminalizing Onchain Privacy, Starting With Mixers

It remains to be determined whether Harmon’s Helix mixer was knowingly complicit in laundering darknet drug money; the service shut down in 2017, the same year that Alphabay bit the dust. Whatever the case, it appears that a chilling precedent is being made in criminalizing the innate human desire for privacy. If “seeking to obscure virtual currency transactions” is a crime, as the DoJ claims, what other privacy practices could be outlawed? Is using noncustodial mixers such as Samourai’s Whirlpool or Wasabi Wallet’s Coinjoin implementation illegal? Does generating a new bitcoin address for each new transaction count as a crime?

In a world where citizens were forced to hold their dollar bills in see-through plastic wallets, no one would feel safe stepping outside. The DoJ is effectively trying to enforce the digital equivalent on bitcoiners, conflating all attempts at concealment with criminality.

What are your thoughts on the latest DoJ statement? Do you think the U.S. is trying to outlaw onchain privacy? 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.

The post US Department of Justice Is Criminalizing Onchain Privacy, Starting With Mixers appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How to Recover Your Funds If You Lose Your Bitcoin Wallet

How to Recover Your Funds If You Lose Your Bitcoin Wallet

Losing a phone or hardware wallet containing cryptocurrency is inconvenient, but it shouldn’t be fatal. Provided you’ve backed up your private key, recovering your coins is a simple exercise. Should you find yourself in such a predicament, however, there’s a few things you should know before reaching for your wallet recovery phrase.

Also read: Zengo Is a Keyless Yet Noncustodial Bitcoin Wallet

Recover Your Wallet the Right Way

If you’re smart enough to store your bitcoin in a noncustodial wallet, you’re smart enough to make a backup. Whether you’re using a desktop, mobile, or hardware wallet, the process is much the same: look out the seed phrase you’ve stashed in a safe place for this very scenario and enter it into your replacement wallet. All going to plan, you’ll see your balance restored and your coins reappear in your wallet within seconds of importing your seed.

Create an Unforgettable Wallet Seed by Building a Memory Palace

There are a few exceptions to this rule, however, as not all wallets rely on a seed phrase to restore access. Hashwallet generates a unique recovery key and recovery seed during setup of the smartcard device. When combined, these components can be used to regain access to the funds stored on the wallet, and must be stored separately for security reasons. Once the recovery key and recovery seed have been securely stored, they are permanently deleted from the smartcard.

In the event of wallet loss, the user can retrieve and combine these security elements, whereupon their new Hashwallet will generate the keys required to access the funds. Zengo is another wallet that deploys a keyless design. For the remainder of this guide, though, we’ll focus on conventional noncustodial wallets that utilize a seed phrase.

How to Recover Your Funds If You Lose Your Bitcoin Wallet

Sweeping vs Importing – What’s the Difference?

If your phone or hardware wallet have been lost or stolen, a third party may be able to access the private key. If so, importing it into your new wallet won’t prevent them from draining it at the earliest opportunity using the original device. To prevent that from happening, you’ll want to sweep your private key.

A private key is mathematically related to all public keys (i.e. addresses) generated for a particular bitcoin wallet and can be represented as a string of letters and numbers like the following example:

5Kb8kLf9zgWQnogidDA76MzPL6TsZZY36hWXMssSzNydYXYB9KF

It can also be represented as a seed phrase like the following example:

witch collapse practice feed shame open despair creek road again ice least.

When you import a private key into a new wallet, it’s usually done by entering the more memorable seed phrase. All previous versions of that wallet – such as on a lost mobile, hardware, or paper wallet – still exist however. This presents a risk of the older wallet being discovered by a third party and the funds drained.

To prevent this, it is safer to sweep your private key into a new public address in your newly created wallet. This entails creating a transaction that empties the balance of the old wallet and sends the funds to a newly created private/public key pair that is known only to you. Most noncustodial wallets, including Ledger, Trezor, Exodus, Electrum, Samourai, and Metamask enable you to sweep a wallet, draining it and aggregating its balance into a new one.

How to Import Your Private Key Into a New Wallet

If you’re certain that your old wallet isn’t recoverable by a third party (the software has been deleted, for example, or your paper wallet has been destroyed), you can simply import your private key into your new wallet. When you do so using the Bitcoin.com Wallet, you’ll see the following option:

How to Recover Your Funds If You Lose Your Bitcoin Wallet

If you’re importing a private key into a hardware wallet such as a Ledger, there’s an additional step involved. First, you’ll need to import the private key into a wallet such as Electrum, after which you can send the coins to your Ledger address.

Finally, if you’re importing your seed phrase into a different brand of wallet – say, from Exodus to BRD – there’s one final thing to be aware of: derivation path. HD wallets create a master seed based on BIP 32, from which all subsequent keys are derived. The derivation path used can differ between wallets, and must be set correctly when importing. Walletsrecovery.org, which is still in beta, provides information on the derivation paths used by the main hardware and software wallet developers.

To summarize, then, if you lose your bitcoin wallet, sweep your private key into a new wallet, if possible, and check the derivation path if you’re switching to a different brand of wallet. The cost of replacing a lost hardware wallet or smartphone is considerable, but the main thing is that your funds are safe. Keep your wallet seed in a safe place and you’ll be protected in the event of acts of god, man, and unfortunate boating accidents.

What bitcoin wallet do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post How to Recover Your Funds If You Lose Your Bitcoin Wallet appeared first on Bitcoin News.

You Can Privately Cash out Bitcoin on These P2P Exchanges – for a Premium

You Can Privately Cash out Bitcoin on These P2P Exchanges – for a Premium

Using P2P exchanges to cash out bitcoin provides privacy, but it comes with a premium – a price premium, to be precise. Whether you’re buying or selling crypto on these semi-decentralized platforms, be prepared to take a hit on the market price. If you’re planning to sell bitcoin on the leading peer-to-peer platforms, here’s what you can expect to receive below the spot price.

Also read: How Often Are Top Privacy Coins and Mixers Actually Used? – A Look at XMR, DASH, and ZEC

Privacy But at What Price?

On centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, the spot price for digital assets is set by thousands of traders simultaneously executing buy and sell orders. On P2P exchanges, those numbers run into the dozens at best, and single figures in some cases. With each buyer adding their own fee to ensure the trade is profitable, you can expect to receive anywhere from 1-15% below market price. To determine the typical premium commanded by P2P exchanges, news.Bitcoin.com checked the best price offered for payment by bank transfer on six platforms: Bisq, Hodlhodl, Localbitcoins, Localcryptos, Agoradesk, and local.Bitcoin.com. Here’s how they stacked up.

You Can Privately Cash out Bitcoin on These P2P Exchanges – for a Premium
Bisq

Bisq

Bisq is an open source application for buying and selling BTC and other cryptocurrencies. Using it requires installing the Bisq desktop client and connecting to Tor. The additional steps required to trade on Bisq account for its limited usage; the platform averages just 2-3 trades a day.

Bisq users start off with a trading limit of 0.01 BTC but this can be raised once another trusted peer has signed your account. In practice, this means you’ll encounter lots of small sell orders on the site. If you’re looking to liquidate large amounts of BTC, Bisq really isn’t the place. When visiting Bisq, news.Bitcoin.com was able to sell BTC at an average of 7% under spot price, but the order size was limited to 0.08 BTC and required two trades.

You Can Privately Cash out Bitcoin on These P2P Exchanges – for a Premium

Agora Desk

Agora Desk is a P2P exchange for BTC and XMR with a mediocre reputation. The complaints it fields appear to be mostly targeted at the price premium, rather than due to any intrinsic flaws in the site. Available on the clearnet and darknet, Agora will let you cash out quickly and easily, but expect to receive 10% under spot for your coins.

Localcryptos

Localcryptos, recently reviewed by news.Bitcoin.com, is the daddy of P2P exchanges when it comes to liquidity, with $126K of crypto shifted in the last 24 hours. On Localcryptos, you can sell BTC or ETH at just 4% under spot price.

Localcryptos Allows You to Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC

Localbitcoins

Localbitcoins.com (LBC) doesn’t really belong on this list since it introduced KYC, which defeats the entire point of cashing out P2P. Nevertheless, it is still a P2P exchange, and a dominant one at that. In testing, it was possible to cash out BTC at just 0.5% under spot for orders over $750, and 1.5% under for smaller sales. There’s a lot to fault with LBC, but you can’t fault that tight spread.

Hodlhodl

Hodlhodl’s best achievement is orchestrating the Baltic Honeybadger conference, though it also serves as a reasonable P2P exchange. The best offer available on the site is 3% under market price, which isn’t bad at all.

You Can Privately Cash out Bitcoin on These P2P Exchanges – for a Premium

Local.Bitcoin.com

Local.Bitcoin.com is a BCH-only P2P exchange. When filtering for U.K. buyers, offers start at just 0.5% below the spot price for bitcoin cash. For the U.S., however, it’s a different picture, with the best offer for bank transfer coming in at 6% below spot, and limited to $200 of BCH. When other payment methods are selected, though, it’s possible to sell large amounts of BCH in the U.S. via Cashapp or Skrill for just 3% below spot.

You Can Privately Cash out Bitcoin on These P2P Exchanges – for a Premium

And the Winner Is…

If you’re using a P2P exchange to cash out crypto to cover everyday expenses, you’re already a winner. However, if you’re seeking a P2P platform solely on price, your best option is Hodlhodl at 3% under or Localcryptos at 4% under. (LBC technically provides a better price, but the KYC hit means it isn’t worth it.)

In third place is local.Bitcoin.com (-0.5-6%), followed by Bisq (-7%) and Agora (-10%). For some bitcoiners, however, the additional privacy provided by the latter two markets may justify the price premium. And remember, if you don’t like the price being quoted, there’s nothing to stop you from creating your own ad on a P2P exchange, naming your price, and waiting for the buyers to come to you.

What P2P exchanges do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post You Can Privately Cash out Bitcoin on These P2P Exchanges – for a Premium appeared first on Bitcoin News.

How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts

How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts

Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) is an open standard for strengthening two-factor authentication. It involves the use of a physical key to reinforce 2FA, hardening your online accounts from attack. In this guide, we’ll explain how to use a Yubikey to lock down your exchange account, email account, and other valuable online accounts.

Also read: German Economy in Risk of Recession Amid Weak Demand, Tariff Threat, and Epidemic

U2F Is Physical 2FA for the Security Conscious

If you’re at heightened risk of online attack, say, cos you’re a sysadmin or cryptocurrency trader, you should take steps to secure your accounts. Most bitcoiners already use 2FA, such as the Google Authenticator app, to secure their crypto accounts. U2F takes that to another level by mandating use of a physical key that is inserted into the USB port of your device, or held in proximity to your smartphone if it’s an NFC key. Even in the event of malware being installed on your computer, or your 2FA recovery codes being stolen, a U2F key should keep attackers at bay.

How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts

For the purposes of this guide, we’ll be using a Yubikey, one of the most popular devices on the market. (Google, for its part, also recommends the Feitian keys.) Manufacturer Yubico boasts “Zero recorded account takeovers in 11 years” because “the physical key requires a human touch and cannot be remotely hacked.” Lose your key, however, and things get a little complicated, since unlike Google Authenticator, Yubikeys don’t come with recovery codes. We’ll troubleshoot that problem shortly, once we’ve covered the basics.

How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts
Feitian’s Multipass FIDO key works with Bluetooth, USB-C and NFC

One Key to Secure Them All

Yubikeys retail for around $50 apiece and, like hardware wallets, are best ordered direct from the manufacturer to prevent tampering. Yubico supplies a range of keys including a Nano version whose compactness makes it suitable for leaving permanently plugged in to the USB slot of a trusted desktop computer. The 5 series is the range that most consumers will opt for. They’re designed to secure Google, Microsoft, Github, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, and Lastpass accounts, as well as various crypto related platforms.

How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts

Yubico works with Binance, Bitfinex, Bitmex, Kraken, and hundreds more companies across dozens of industries. Attend any developer-oriented crypto conference and you’ll see U2F keys plugged into laptops and dangling from keychains worn by delegates. You don’t have to be in charge of your team’s Github repo to warrant a Yubikey, however – simply holding crypto on a centralized exchange can be cause enough. Plus, in an era of NFC, biometrics, QR codes, and contactless payments, it feels badass to be carrying a physical key with magical powers.

Using Your U2F Key

If you’re intent on locking down your accounts with the aid of a Yubikey or similar U2F device, the first place to start is your email. If you’re a Google user, the Advanced Protection portal will guide you through the process. Other email providers including Protonmail also support the U2F protocol.

How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts
Pairing a Yubikey with Google.

Next, you should secure your cryptocurrency accounts, including any exchanges you trade on, in the same manner. Add a Yubikey to your Binance account, for instance, and you’ll be prompted to plug it into your computer every time you log in or withdraw. It effectively replaces the 2FA you will have been using up until now.

How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts
Pairing a Yubikey with Binance

If you’re wondering what happens if your U2F key is lost, broken, or stolen, many sites will let you pair multiple keys, providing redundancy in the event of key loss. Unfortunately, Binance is not one of them. Lose your key and you’ll need to initiate Binance’s account recovery process, which may take a few days to complete and will require alternate verification.

How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts
Every time you log in to Binance you’ll see this message

U2F keys aren’t perfect, then, or to be more accurate, there are situations where their security model comes at the expense of convenience. If you’re intent on using one, though, that’s a sacrifice you’ll be willing to make in the quest of greater security. Where possible, pair two U2F keys with each of your online accounts, and keep your master key securely stored on a chain at all times. Once implemented, using a U2F key every time you log in will become second nature.

What’s your experience of using U2F keys? Would you recommend them? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post How to Use a U2F Key to Secure Your Crypto Accounts appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Defi Market Surpasses $1 Billion – But There’s a Catch

Defi Market Surpasses $1 Billion – But There’s a Catch

The total value locked (TVL) in decentralized finance applications has surpassed $1 billion, prompting celebrations from the Ethereum community. Not everyone has been swift to toast the milestone, however, with suggestions that the true value locked into defi protocols is materially lower. Meanwhile, creeping competition from centralized lenders shows that defi will have to innovate if it is to retain its value proposition.

Also read: Bitcoin, Tesla Stock, Tron: How Warren Buffett Got His First Bitcoin

A Big Day for Defi

The moment decentralized finance advocates had been awaiting for weeks arrived on February 6, when the TVL of all assets in defi protocols exceeded $1 billion. At press time, that figure has receded slightly and is sitting at $997M. Defipulse.com, which tracks ecosystem growth, records Maker’s dominance to be 60%. The crypto collateralized stablecoin network is to defi what bitcoin is to the crypto market, its shadow looming large over proceedings.

Many of the decentralized lending, derivatives, and trading protocols draw their liquidity from Maker’s sai and dai stablecoins, which in turn draw theirs from ethereum. In a short blog post toasting the achievement, Defi Pulse proclaimed “$1 billion marks an important milestone for Defi to be celebrated. It illustrates the progress we’ve made towards our community’s vision of decentralized finance and the future of the world at large.” One year ago, the defi market was valued at less than $280M. Today, lending alone accounts for $766.5M.

Defi Market Surpasses $1 Billion – But There’s a Catch

Centralized Lenders Eye Defi’s Market Share

Just as centralized exchanges have commercialized staking, squeezing out dedicated masternode and staking services, there is a risk of crypto lending following suit. Lending is at the heart of decentralized finance, accounting for five of the top 10 dapps (Maker, Compound, Instadapp, Dydx, and Bzx). Centralized finance (cefi) lenders are making inroads into this lucrative vertical, however.

This week, Binance rolled out the 13th phase of its lending products, offering rates of 6% on USDT, 8% on BUSD, and 15% on ERD. Then there are cefi lenders like Cred and Squilla Loans to factor in, whose business model requires zero knowledge of decentralized finance protocols, and boasts a superior UX. In the case of Squilla, for instance, borrowers and lenders can simply enter the amount they are seeking and the desired loan period to receive an instant quotation. Decentralized finance applications are improving, but they will struggle to match the user experience and rates offered by centralized crypto companies.

Is defi’s $1 billion TLV the first milestone of many, or will observers look back on this moment as its apotheosis, the high water point before value flowed into centralized crypto competitors? Speaking of the $1 billion figure, not everyone is convinced that the numbers add up…

Picking Apart the $1 Billion Valuation

“Defi Pulse monitors each protocol’s underlying smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain,” explains the website whose defi valuation is referenced by the entire industry. “Every hour, we refresh our charts by pulling the total balance of Ether (ETH) and ERC20 tokens held by these smart contracts. TVL(USD) is calculated by taking these balances and multiplying them by their price in USD.”

It’s a methodology which mimics the way in which the market cap of cryptocurrencies is calculated. However, market cap has long been regarded as an imperfect reckoner, and the same accusation has been levied against defi. “What percent of the “$1 billion dollars” that’s “locked up” … is: 1) made up of ICO tokens (illiquid?) 2) not fluffed by Consensys or Ethereum foundation/Ethereum founders?” protested one bitcoiner.

Decentralized Finance Is Blossoming, But Just How Decentralized Is Defi?

“$1B isn’t locked up in Defi,” weighed in crypto legal commenter Preston Byrne. “At least $300mm of that is in ether that early investors don’t want to sell and thereby incur the tax hit, if Dai proponents are to be believed. It’s the difference between saying “Jeff Bezos is worth $100bn” and saying “Jeff Bezos has $100bn in cash.” Defi doesn’t have $100BN locked in it, it has ether that early holders didn’t want to sell, the value of which is appreciating in the middle of a nascent bull market.”

Others demurred, however, with Ethereum advocate Nathaniel Whittemore calling the feat “one hell of a milestone.”

Do you think the defi market can keep growing? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post Defi Market Surpasses $1 Billion – But There’s a Catch appeared first on Bitcoin News.

There’s No Such Thing as Tainted Bitcoins

There’s No Such Thing as Tainted Bitcoins

All bitcoins are created equal. But in the eyes of blockchain forensics firms, some bitcoins are more equal than others. If these companies are to be believed, coins that have been used in criminal transactions are ‘tainted,’ destined to be forever linked with nefarious activity. The reality, however, is far different, for ‘taint’ is solely in the eyes of the beholder – and most beholders aren’t Chainalysis.

Also read: Chainalysis Report Sheds Light on Darknet Markets and the Need for Onchain Privacy

Tainted Coins Are All in Your Mind

It’s long been known that freshly minted bitcoins can command a premium because there is no transactional history attached to them. If you want true onchain anonymity, mine some coins and then lock them away. The fewer times those coins turn over onchain, the fewer clues there are pointing to their current owner. The notion that coins might acquire taint, however, that makes them undesirable – or potentially even unlawful – to receive is a wholly subjective phenomenon. It’s one thing to flag a particular wallet address as being associated with phishing or hacking, as many block explorers do, but quite another to flag assets that pass through such wallets as being indelibly associated with criminality.

Just as offense to a risqué tweet is taken not given, the same is true of ‘taint’ when applied to coins. It is an interpretation rather than an inherent characteristic. Despite this, blockchain forensics firms and their surveillance partners are desperate to advance a narrative that certain UTXOs are sullied through their past association with illicit deeds. By the same reasoning, that $20 bill in your wallet is tainted because three transactions ago, it was robbed from a 7/11.

Blockchain forensics software can map the number of ‘hops’ a transaction is removed from one suspected of being criminal, such as an exchange hack. Proving that those coins are still in the hacker’s control, and haven’t been sold to an innocent third party, however, is virtually impossible.

Ain’t No Taint in These Coins

As the site 6102bitcoin.com notes, a tainted coin “is only such because the address of the scammer is known to the analyst. Suppose that the analyst doesn’t know this vital piece of information, would the coin still be tainted? It should be clear that the degree to which coins can be classified as tainted depends on the level of information available to the person doing the classifying.”

Despite the fact that bitcoin cannot be intrinsically tainted, that hasn’t prevented KYC-kissing companies from discriminating on those grounds. As a result, bitcoiners using these firms are unable to send and receive coins through mixers with impunity. For so long as cryptocurrency gatekeepers flag coins as pure or dirty, users will be forced to jump through hoops in order to appease them.

One of the great ironies about the taint game is that to clean one’s coins involves passing them through a mixer, only to be discovered having used one is to risk having your funds frozen by centralized exchanges. Because there is no practical way for bitcoiners to verify how coins that come into their possession were used in the past, they are powerless to contest forensics software that decrees their UTXOs to be ‘dirty.’

There’s No Such Thing as Tainted Bitcoins

In Dr Seuss’s “The Sneetches,” half of the creatures on an island have a green star on their bellies that marks them out as privileged. Then an entrepreneur named Sylvester McMonkey McBean shows up with a machine that can add and remove stars at will. Pretty soon, the islanders can’t tell who had stars to begin with and who didn’t.

Even for bitcoiners who don’t use centralized services, increasing the fungibility of one’s coins is desirable. If everyone routinely used mixing services such as Coinjoin and Cashshuffle, blockchain forensics firms would lose the ability to flag all such transactions as suspicious. The more coins that pass through mixing machines, the harder it will be for anyone to discriminate.

Do you think ‘taint’ is a genuine classification that can be applied to bitcoins? Let us know in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. 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 information in this Op-ed article.


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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 There’s No Such Thing as Tainted Bitcoins appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Crypto’s Dotcom Era Begins as Handshake Launches Decentralized Domains

Crypto’s Dotcom Era Begins as Handshake Launches Decentralized Domains

Handshake, one of the more original crypto projects to have spawned during the ICO era, has completed its long-awaited launch. The decentralized domains registrar, founded by MIT engineers, has spent the last year in stealth mode but is now opening up to the general public. The Handshake protocol, coupled with the Namebase registrar, enables users to search and bid on domain names in a transparent manner. In the coming weeks, hundreds of coveted top level domains such as /source and /dining will go up for auction, prompting a bidding war.

Also read: Craig Wright’s ‘Bonded Courier’ Allegedly an Attorney Who Can’t Communicate

Handshake Mainnet Goes Live, Decentralized DNS Arrives

Handshake has gone live, with its genesis block encoded into BTC block 615817, and the first trades involving Handshake coins (HNS) on the books of Namebase exchange. The decentralized, permissionless Handshake protocol enables users to buy and sell DNS names via Namebase, a domain registrar and crypto exchange. Recently, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) caught flak after agreeing to sell the rights to .org to a private equity firm. Namebase’s architects are adamant that the best way to govern internet names is by decentralizing the authority that governs them. This is achieved by building on top of Handshake.

“Our waitlist has grown 3x over the past two weeks,” Namebase CEO Tieshun Roquerre told news.Bitcoin.com. “People are buying and trading HNS — that’s to be expected — but what’s excited me most is that people are adding domains to their watchlist. In the coming week, we’ll open up Namebase to the general public and enable anyone to trade HNS and buy Handshake domain names.”

Crypto’s Dotcom Era Begins as Handshake Launches Decentralized Domains
Some of the domains that will soon go up for auction on Namebase

The D Is for Decentralized

At present, domain names rely upon centralized bodies who retain de facto control of systems. Established in 1983, DNS – Domain Name Systems – have are an integral part of internet architecture but, despite being used by billions, they are controlled by just a few well-placed entities. This makes seizing and censoring domain names a walk in the park for governments with vested interests, for example, in suppressing dissident content. While we often hear about China’s aggressive censoring of Google, Youtube, and Facebook, even supposedly democratic governments can take down sites and pursue domain authors with comparative ease – just ask Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom.

The centralized nature of the existing domain-naming framework also means it is vulnerable to hacking. ICANN currently sits at the summit of the DNS hierarchy, deciding who gets which domain; it also requires a $185,000 application fee to request a new top-level domain (TLD), and applications for new TLDs are currently closed. The for-profit corporation Verisign, meanwhile, owns .com. In this milieu, registering domains anonymously is far from easy.

Crypto’s Dotcom Era Begins as Handshake Launches Decentralized Domains
HNS can be bought with BTC on Namebase Pro

Tradable Domains Onchain

The Handshake public blockchain, which like Bitcoin uses Proof-of-Work mining, positions itself as an experimental base layer for a new, wholly decentralized internet, and seeks to become a viable alternative to existing Certificate Authorities. A pro-privacy, peer-to-peer root naming system, Handshake allows anyone, anywhere, to register a domain name that is impervious to censorship and seizure – all without having to reveal their identity.

Handshake’s naming protocol is distinct from its predecessors, eschewing the concept of namespacing or subdomains at the consensus layer. Its ambition is not to overhaul DNS as it currently exists, but to replace the root zone file and root servers – the “lowest” rung of the internet’s architectural stack. In the protocol, every peer validates and manages the DNS naming zone, with economic incentives ensuring a transparent name auction process. As the sole unit of account, HNS coins are used by participants to register, transfer and update internet names, while community members initiate auctions and make bids for top-level domains. In the Handshake ecosystem, the value of domains differs based on perceived value.

Crypto’s Dotcom Era Begins as Handshake Launches Decentralized Domains

Improving Security and Repelling Attacks

Because Handshake’s domains are distributed on a public blockchain, rather than living on a central server, they are resistant to theft, tampering, and censorship: only owners of registered domains can update or transfer their names using their own private keys.

As it currently stands, Certificate Authorities can compromise the security of SSL by issuing bad certificates or facilitating government efforts to spy on encrypted traffic. Moreover, the way DNS is currently centered on a handful of chokepoints allows for DDoS attacks, for example, the malicious 2016 attack on Dyn.

The top 100,00 websites, determined by Alexa rank, have been allocated Handshake domain names and $115 million worth of HNS dispersed to developers in an airdrop. As well as being able to register typical .com and .org addresses, users can select unique domains (.blank) and accrue coins whenever other users register a subdomain to it.

Crypto’s Dotcom Era Begins as Handshake Launches Decentralized Domains

Handshake is one of many forms of dissident tech hoping to fundamentally reshape the internet, eliminating the need for centralized gatekeepers and omniscient overseers. It’s an ethic crypto holders can certainly rally around, and Handshake can be filed in the same folder as decentralized networks like Orchid and Helium and privacy-oriented browsers like Brave.

“Right now Namebase is the only place you can go to trade HNS, and we’ve partnered with the mining pool 6block to provide early liquidity,” explained Tieshun Roquerre. “In the next few months, you can expect a slew of tooling, products, and partnerships that make Handshake domains more powerful and easier to use. I expect that by the end of 2020 most people using Handshake won’t even know it’s powered by a blockchain.”

What are your thoughts on Handshake and Namebase? What domain names would you bid for? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post Crypto’s Dotcom Era Begins as Handshake Launches Decentralized Domains appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Zengo Is a Keyless Yet Noncustodial Bitcoin Wallet

Zengo Is a Keyless Yet Noncustodial Bitcoin Wallet

Zengo is a non-custodial mobile wallet that dispenses with private keys in favor of threshold signatures to create two ‘mathematical secret shares’ – one stored on your mobile device, the other on their servers. In other words, there’s no single point of failure and no risk of irretrievably losing your coins in the event of hacking or wallet loss. It’s a novel means of dispensing with seed phrases, but there are some trade-offs to consider.

Also read: Bitcoin Verde’s New Project Aims to Promote Bitcoin Cash Node Diversity

‘Safer Than a Seed Phrase’

That’s the elevator pitch of Zengo, who want users to quit entrusting exchanges with their funds and favor a safer option than custodial wallets. They’ve got a point, and judging by the $4 million in seed funding they received last year, others think so too. Incidentally, the mobile wallet is headed up by former Techcrunch editor Ouriel Ohayon.

I decided to check Zengo out for myself – the app is free from the App Store and Google Play, although the company plans to introduce a small monthly subscription fee further down the road. Zengo allows you to store bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), Binance coin (BNB), dai (DAI), maker (MKR), USD coin (USDC), tether (USDT), and paxos standard (PAX), with the promise of more coins to come.

Zengo Is a Keyless Yet Noncustodial Bitcoin Wallet

After downloading the app and creating an account, I was prompted to back up my wallet to the cloud using face ID. A few seconds later I was cheerily advised that if the app were to get deleted or I switched devices, all that would be required to gain access is my email, iCloud, and face. “Welcome to keyless :).”

Zengo isn’t storing these authentication details, incidentally – Apple and Google are, just as they have been all along. They have no access to the funds stored on your Zengo wallet, however. Nevertheless, it’s evident that Zengo isn’t as private as using a fully noncustodial wallet, which requires the support of no third party – merely the ability to store your seed phrase offline.

Biometrics and Buying Bitcoin

Can face biometrics really be trusted for securing a bitcoin wallet? Wouldn’t it be possible for someone to use a photograph of your face – or even a sophisticated 3D mask – to break into your account? According to Zengo, the answer is no. To prove it, there’s a Test My Face Map feature in the app, with users encouraged to replicate their real face map. Zengo, who rely on face scanning tech from Zoom, insist that only your real phiz will fit. No need to create a seed phrase for account restoration here – just smile and you’re in.

There’s no money in developing crypto wallets, which is why they’re either run by ideologically motivated volunteers or there are revenue-generating services inserted – like the ability to buy cryptocurrency. With the Zengo app, you can purchase BTC, ETH and USDC with credit card. For purchases less than €150 per month you won’t be asked to provide identification or documentation – at least if you’re outside the U.S. For €150 up to €10,000, and for all U.S. transactions, you’ll have to complete verification.

Zengo Is a Keyless Yet Noncustodial Bitcoin Wallet

Do You Trust the Cloud?

Regarding the ‘mathematical secret shares’ that replace a seed phrase with Zengo, one resides on your smartphone, an encrypted copy sits on the Zengo servers, and the decryption code is separately stored in your iCloud or Google Drive account. That last part could be a bone of contention for some users. While Zengo undoubtedly provides a slick, user-friendly onboarding experience, particularly for newbies, not everyone will feel comfortable uploading their mathematical shares to the cloud, even though they’re encrypted, in the face of law enforcement dipping into iCloud accounts whenever they get the urge.

Last year, Zengo challenged hackers to break into a Zengo wallet and claim 1 BTC. At the time, bitcoin had just broken $11,000 so it was a fair old bounty. Anyway, the booty went unclaimed and the reputation of the wallet’s open-sourced security model (and that of third-party auditors Kudelski and Appsec) was reinforced. As well as promising “unbreakable security,” Zengo states that users can retrieve their funds even if the company shuts down, thanks to an escrow mechanism.

Zengo Is a Keyless Yet Noncustodial Bitcoin Wallet

Zengo Works Like Any Other Wallet

BTC and ETH appear as default options in the main dashboard during initial setup, while other supported cryptos are accessible from the Asset Manager in the top left-hand corner. In the opposite corner, you can click a smiley icon to initiate a conversation with the support team if you come unstuck.

Zengo Is a Keyless Yet Noncustodial Bitcoin Wallet

The Zengo app is incredibly easy to navigate and the UX every bit as smooth as advertised. In testing, I sent some BTC to Zengo and saw the transaction appear as pending in the app, with all the requisite details summarized. In the main bitcoin window, there’s also a nice at-a-glance view of the price change over the last hour, day and week.

All told, Zengo is a solid non-custodial wallet for those who don’t want the faff of private keys. It occupies a sort of halfway house between custodial and noncustodial, providing greater protection than leaving your coins on an exchange, but with less privacy than using a noncustodial wallet in which keys are generated and stored client-side. Zengo won’t be for everyone, but it might be for grandma – and mom and dad and uncle too.

What are your thoughts on wallets like Zengo that dispense with the need to store a seed phrase? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post Zengo Is a Keyless Yet Noncustodial Bitcoin Wallet appeared first on Bitcoin News.

These Are the Most Traded Tokens on Decentralized Exchanges Right Now

These Are the Most Traded Tokens on Decentralized Exchanges Right Now

The decentralized exchange landscape is evolving fast, with new liquidity aggregators and relays enhancing usability while reducing slippage. Trade volumes are also strong across the leading ERC20 DEXs and Binance DEX. The bulk of this volume is captured by a small proportion of tokens, however, whose demand augurs well for the projects and the DEXs they dominate.

Also read: Ethereum’s Value Transfer Is Now Dominated by Stablecoins

Verasity Is Binance’s King of the DEXs

On Binance DEX, the decentralized exchange that operates on the eponymous Binance Chain, verasity (VRA) is out in front, with 19% of all trades. Verasity is an attention-based video and gaming platform that enables content creators to earn tokenized rewards. Rather than trying to create a crypto-friendly Youtube, a la Dlive, Verasity is designed to integrate into existing platforms such as Twitch, Youtube, and Vimeo.

These Are the Most Traded Tokens on Decentralized Exchanges Right Now

Behind the scenes, Verasity has been busy, gaining an entry into Asia’s lucrative streaming market through a partnership with Jun Capital, while a token burn has seen 17% of VRA’s supply removed from circulation. In Q4 2019, the project reported a 20x increase in videos viewed and a 10x increase in wallet registrations. VRA is currently listed on six exchanges, with the volume on Binance DEX exceeded only by that on Hitbtc.

Stablecoins Dominate Kyber Network

In keeping with Ethereum’s evolution into a stablecoin network, the most traded coins on Kyber’s DEX are all dollar-pegged assets. The most popular of these is multi-collateral dai ($890K 24-hour volume), USDT ($384K), and USDC ($282K). This is followed by wrapped bitcoin (WBTC) and wrapped eth (WETH), with link the leading altcoin on Kyber, with $147K in trades. Kyber Swap – the token swapping platform created by Kyber Network – has processed over $500M of trades since launching, and in December added support for Ethereum Name Service (ENS) token transfers.

These Are the Most Traded Tokens on Decentralized Exchanges Right Now

Maker and Augur Are Uniswap Favorites

On Ethereum token exchange protocol Uniswap, dai is the most traded currency ($420K), followed by Maker’s MKR governance token ($204K), Augur’s REP ($183K), and synthetix (SNX, $165K). Fifth and sixth spot are taken by stablecoins – SAI and USDC – before HEX makes an appearance at seventh with $115K in volume.

These Are the Most Traded Tokens on Decentralized Exchanges Right Now

Unibright Tops the IDEX Charts

IDEX, the leading decentralized exchange for years, lost ground when it introduced KYC. The exchange nevertheless maintains a lead over its Ethereum counterparts, recording 24-hour volume of $738K. The leading token by far is unibright (UBT) with $264K. The token is up 55% in 24 hours, which accounts for its high trading volume, which has surpassed $1 million across all exchanges.

Unibright is an enterprise-oriented blockchain project that’s focused on helping businesses integrate tokenization and distributed ledger technology. It’s unclear why the UBT token has spiked in value, though speculative trading is the likeliest cause.

These Are the Most Traded Tokens on Decentralized Exchanges Right Now

Uniswap and Token Aggregators Make Gains

Crypto Differ has published data showing that Uniswap was the biggest winner in December, increasing its volume by 33% and its traffic by 29%, while other Ethereum DEXs, save for IDEX, lost market share. Conventional Ethereum DEXs are also losing ground to token aggregators, which achieve the best rate for buyers by splitting orders across multiple DEXs in a single transaction. 1inch exchange is the leader here, seeing its volume increase 50% to $15M this month. It’s followed by DX.ag and Totle, the trio handling $1.7M in weekly volume.

Decentralized exchanges still account for only a fraction of crypto trading, but the rate of innovation and ecosystem growth augur well. On Jan. 28, 0x launched its own liquidity aggregator, combining the order books of Kyber Network, Uniswap, and Oasis. As user experience and liquidity improve, and the defi movement gathers pace, DEXs can expect to break new records this year, even if they won’t be challenging CEXs anytime soon.

Do you trade on DEXs? If so, which platforms do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Crypto Differ.


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 These Are the Most Traded Tokens on Decentralized Exchanges Right Now appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Decentralized Finance Is Blossoming, But Just How Decentralized Is Defi?

Decentralized Finance Is Blossoming, But Just How Decentralized Is Defi?

The defi market has hit an all-time high as the total value locked up in decentralized finance has surged past $850 million. A flurry of new applications, privacy proposals, wallets, DEXs, and protocols is extending the limits of what defi is capable of. This jubilation should be countered with a healthy dose of caution, however, for not all of the products sailing under the defi flag are as decentralized as they claim. In some cases, what’s being branded as defi isn’t defi at all – it’s just finance, with the same chokepoints and centralized controls as before.

Also read: Cold Storage and Bearer Bonds: How to Print an SLP Token Paper Wallet

Decentralized Finance Products Are Proliferating

Of the $850M currently locked into defi, $490M is contained in Maker, whose collateralized stablecoins, and the array of defi products they engender, account for 57% of the sector’s value. Other defi mainstays include derivatives, courtesy of Synthetix ($147M locked up), and lending care of protocols like Compound ($104M) and Instadapp ($62M), followed by DEXs such as Uniswap ($48M). The predominantly Ethereum-based products that can be lumped under the defi banner look to be in rude health, even if their market size is a fraction that of Ethereum’s previous use case – ICOs.

Decentralized Finance Is Blossoming, But Just How Decentralized Is Defi?

This month alone has seen the Ethereum ecosystem welcome projects such as Syscoin’s bridging protocol, social trading from Set Protocols, loans collateralized with NFTs courtesy of Rocket, and token curated registries (TCRs) from dispute resolution protocol Kleros. Of these, Syscoin Bridge aims to advance the defi narrative by improving interoperability via a decentralized link to the Syscoin ecosystem, combining the higher throughout and low network fees of the latter with Eth’s smart contracting capabilities. As a result, value can move freely between the two networks using a trustless, censorship-free protocol that increases token fungibility. Given that Plasma is effectively now dead in the water, access to decentralized scaling solutions has taken on a renewed urgency.

Decentralized Finance Is Blossoming, But Just How Decentralized Is Defi?
Syscoin Bridge

Kleros, for its part, has developed a general TCR that can be used to create crypto-economic backed lists of anything, from verified social media accounts to lending dapps to darknet markets. It’s also been integrating its decentralized arbitration system into defi platforms, and the team’s endeavors appear to be bearing fruit. While one should be cautious of information obtained from anonymous imageboards, the proliferation of Kleros threads on 4chan’s /biz/ suggests the link marines may have found a new project to latch onto. If the justice as a service protocol can’t 10x through cornering the defi market, perhaps it can be memed to the moon courtesy of the same ‘weaponized autism’ that saw Chainlink turned into a $1 billion project.

Decentralized Finance Is Blossoming, But Just How Decentralized Is Defi?
Kleros

Open Finance or Permissioned Protocols?

“The value of decentralized finance is lost if underlying instruments cannot serve sovereignty because of skewed incentives or attack vectors stemming from a lack of decentralization,” notes Syscoin co-founder and Lead Core Developer Jagdeep Sidhu. “The only successful way to build a blockchain protocol is to begin and end with decentralization as the focal-point. Trade-offs made at the core layer, such as relaxing mining or other requirements of the decentralized ideals Satoshi gave us, introduce loss of value proposition to anything built on top.”

Creeping centralization doesn’t just manifest in defi protocols whose creators hold the master keys; it can also be seen in projects such as Pool Together, the lossless lottery platform, where whales have taken over. There is nothing illegal about major players gaming the system, nor does their doing so put user funds at risk. However, it serves to illustrate the ease with which the defi market can be manipulated – and how projects founded with good intentions can be hijacked by monopolies with little interest in fostering financial inclusion.

“Decentralized finance isn’t possible without interoperability,” insists Jagdeep Sidhu, who is convinced that reliance on Ethereum alone to carry the defi movement is a recipe for disaster. “One platform will not be capable of supporting global demand without being centralized, and at that point it is essentially traditional finance. Proper interoperability bridges provide decentralization for users and systems, alleviate scaling pressures, and empower users to determine their own speed/security trade-off. When these interoperability solutions are adopted, people who currently lack access to financial instruments as basic as a bank account will find it easier to take back control of their own financials and achieve sovereign ownership in a decentralized, trustless, and censorship-free way.”

Eliminating Susceptibility to Censorship

While well-secured blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum are virtually impossible to stop, censorship can manifest in more insidious ways. Shut down the websites and apps that package defi into a user-friendly product and you’re left with protocols that must be queried directly to collateralize stablecoins, issue loans, and trade tokens. Thus, even defi protocols that do not contain backdoors or central levers are reliant on an application layer that must withstand the ever-present threat of censorship. “There is a danger of short-sighted design changes leading to increasingly centralized defi solutions sold as ‘holy grails,’” finishes Jagdeep Sidhu.

Decentralized Finance Is Blossoming, But Just How Decentralized Is Defi?

The maturation of defi base layer protocols such as Maker has fueled innovation at the application layer, where new concepts are being proposed on a weekly basis. Some won’t make it past the theoretical stage, but others will make it to MVP and beyond. The defi movement feels very much like the early Bitcoin or the current Bitcoin Cash movements: lots of experimentation, free-thinking, and solo projects that advance the collective understanding of what can be done with crypto technology.

The defi sector might be in rude health, but its architects would do well to look to Bitcoin and the trade-offs it’s suffered over the years through federated sidechains like Liquid and decreased fungibility that’s enabled Know Your Transaction surveillance and privacy violations. The defi dapps that stand the test of time won’t just be unputdownable – they’ll also be ungamable and uncensorable.

Do you think most defi protocols and applications are truly decentralized? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post Decentralized Finance Is Blossoming, But Just How Decentralized Is Defi? appeared first on Bitcoin News.

New Chainalysis Report Sheds Light on Darknet Markets and the Need for Onchain Privacy

New Chainalysis Report Sheds Light on Darknet Markets and Highlights the Need for Onchain Privacy

Darknet market activity hit new highs in 2019, as shown in a new report from blockchain forensics firm Chainalysis. Despite concerted attempts from law enforcement (LE) to crack down on darknet markets (DNMs), coupled with several exit scams, crypto inflows and outflows surpassed $800 million last year.

Also read: Monopoly Is a Tiny Darknet Market With Big Aspirations

Darknet Markets Are Recession-Proof

“What two businesses have traditionally been recession proof since time immemorial?” asks Tony Soprano in an episode of the American crime drama. “Certain aspects of show business…and our thing,” replies his consigliere Silvio Dante. Today “our thing” – namely, organized crime – increasingly takes place on the web, and the darknet in particular. Monitoring its health falls to software companies armed with the tools to analyze the flow of digital assets in and out of known DNMs.

The Chainalysis Crypto Crime Report 2020 focuses heavily on darknet markets, examining which currencies were transacted, where the coins flowed, and what percentage of crypto activity they constituted. In its wake, the inevitable “We told you so” style editorials appeared – the New York Times leading with “Bitcoin Has Lost Steam. But Criminals Still Love It.” While the data published by Chainalysis, which acts as an advisor to various government agencies, makes for interesting reading, it sends a warning to bitcoiners, whose privacy is being gradually eroded.

New Chainalysis Report Sheds Light on Darknet Markets and the Need for Onchain Privacy

DNM Business is Booming

Following a modest decline in 2018, darknet market sales returned to rude health in 2019, rising from 70% to constitute over $790 million worth of cryptocurrencies. The darknet market share of all cryptocurrency received doubled from 0.04% in 2018 to 0.08% in 2019.

While giddy reports from mainstream media would have readers believing that cryptocurrencies (especially bitcoin) are used largely for illicit purposes, it’s vital to remember that less than 1% of crypto usage revolves around darknet marketplaces – a hunting ground for “scoundrels” according to the New York Times.

New Chainalysis Report Sheds Light on Darknet Markets and the Need for Onchain Privacy

So where did the crypto spent on darknet markets come from – and where did vendors send their ill-gotten gains? According to the report, the overwhelming majority of funds used to purchase goods on DNMs came from exchanges: 38.6% from P2P exchanges, 31.8% from centralized exchanges, and 8.8% from exchanges deemed “high-risk.” The rest originated from darknet markets themselves or other unnamed services.

It was a similar picture for crypto leaving DNMs: 42.8% of cashed-out currency went to centralized exchanges and 23.2% to P2P exchanges; unnamed services accounted for 11.7%, while darknet markets got 9.1% and high-risk exchanges 4.7%. Only 4% went to mixing services, wherein privacy-minded users can obscure the ties between their BTC addresses and real-world identities by shuffling their coins.

New Chainalysis Report Sheds Light on Darknet Markets and the Need for Onchain Privacy

Although darknet market sales are on the up, the report indicates that the number of DNMs has not really grown since 2016. Indeed, the figure of 49 is the same as 2018. However, the fact that eight DNMs were taken down in the past 12 months indicates that replacements soon spring up. On average, each active market generated more revenue in 2019 than those open in any other year, except during the pinnacle of Silk Road in 2012/13, before law enforcement wrapped their heads around the dark web.

Darknet Markets Seem Immune to Market Forces

The success of traditional markets is governed by market forces – the actions of buyers and sellers which cause the price of goods and services to rise or fall. However, darknet markets appear to be relatively invulnerable to such economic forces.

While exchanges, gambling portals and merchant services saw spikes in July, when bitcoin’s price rose, darknet markets demonstrated a much more modest upturn. In fact, a review of bitcoin’s transaction volume across the year indicates that sales remain stable regardless of what the cryptocurrency market is doing.

Crypto Crime Connection Used to Restrict Privacy

Publication of the Chainalysis report occurred in the same week that Paxos sent a threatening message to a user suspected of using a “known bitcoin mixing service.” It would require mental gymnastics not to see the correlation here: tools developed by the Chainalysises of the world erode personal privacy and give rise to nonsense of this nature repeatedly occurring. Heaven forbid anyone would use a coin-mixing service to restore their right to privacy.

The trend that sees centralized crypto companies berating and browbeating users for mixing coins – after they’ve withdrawn them to a noncustodial wallet – is troubling, and in the above case prompted the user in question to respond: “Apparently you are not allowed to do what you want with your bitcoin once you own the keys. Fortunately that’s not how Bitcoin works, but the level of chain analysis here is alarming.”

If you care about your privacy, and don’t fancy being smeared as a criminal, the best idea is to take your business away from centralized exchange before the censorious email hits your inbox.

As for DNMs, they’re not going anywhere. As noted by Chainalysis, many are implementing new decentralized infrastructure to avoid shutdowns, while others are considering mandating the usage of privacy coins like monero, which is already accepted by Empire and enforced on White House Market and Monopoly Market. Defending the work of blockchain forensics firms, one monero advocate urged: “Boycotting services that are taking advantage of Bitcoin’s flaws is futile. All services and governments will eventually take advantage of Bitcoin’s flaws. It’s like walking around nude and blaming everyone for looking at you. Put some pants on. Convert your Bitcoin to Monero.”

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


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Chainalysis


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 Chainalysis Report Sheds Light on Darknet Markets and the Need for Onchain Privacy appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Localcryptos Lets You Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC 

Localcryptos Allows You to Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC 

If you’ve ever had a sudden need for fiat while all in crypto, you’ll understand the difficulty of cashing out without KYC-ing away your identity and that of your unborn children. Localbitcoins is now an AML hellhole, Bisq is great if you’re happy to wait two days for a trade, which leaves what exactly? Localcryptos.com. That’s what.

Also read: A Bitcoin War Is Brewing Over KYC

What’s the Deal With Localcryptos?

Before its rebrand, Localcryptos (LC) went by the name of Localethereum. Launched in Australia in 2017, the platform’s addition of BTC support in late 2019 made a name change inevitable. Just as Localbitcoins.com (LBC) was raising its shutters, ejecting traders who’d been with it for six years through draconian KYC, Localcryptos swung open its doors and welcomed in the misfits whose only ‘crime’ was to desire to swap magical internet money for filthy fiat in privacy. LC haven’t minced their words in describing their main competitor, LBC, as “centralized, custodial and a far cry from private.”

Localcryptos Lets You Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC
Stats displayed on localcryptos.com on January 27, 2020.

The Finland-based LBC, to be fair, didn’t want to KYC all their customers away to Localcryptos; blame EU regulators and the jackboot stomp of AML legislation that crushes all who stand in its path. Still, when you can’t even make it past the login screen of Localbitcoins to export your trading reputation into Localcryptos due to KYC notices that literally stop you in your tracks, there’s something very wrong. KYC is a cancer on society and the world would be a better place without it.

But the purpose of this article isn’t to bitch about KYC – there are plenty of other news.Bitcoin.com articles that do that. Rather, it’s to review Localcryptos.com from the perspective of a cryptocurrency user wanting to swap BTC for fiat. I used the site a couple of times this month to cash out, and found LC to be better than LBC in virtually every way, from the clean user dashboard to the escrow and reputation system. As a 2013 OG of LBC, switching my affiliation didn’t come easy. But after a couple of effortless trades on Localcryptos, I was sold. Bisq is great for selling XMR, and local.Bitcoin.com for BCH. But for BTC and ETH, Localcryptos has got it locked down.

Localcryptos Lets You Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC

A Bitcoin Beginner Makes Their First Trade

If you found your way around Localbitcoins okay, you’ll moonwalk through LC. To make sure, though, I enlisted the help of a friend who we’ll call Patrick. Patrick is new to crypto, and until this review was commissioned, had never sent a bitcoin transaction in his life. I instructed him to send some BTC from his Wirex account to Localcryptos and record his experience of losing his bitcoin virginity, adding “If there’s anything you’re unsure of while doing it, ask, but try and figure out as much of it as possible yourself.” Here’s what he had to say:

“Pretty simple process, really. After creating an account, confirming my email and sending some BTC from Wirex to my Localcryptos wallet, I was good to go. I hit the “Sell Bitcoin” button on the homepage, chose my preferred payment method (bank transfer), location (UK) and currency (GBP), then got a list of sellers along with the number of trades they had performed and the rate they were buying at. I chose a user with 3,000+ trades and 100% positive feedback and initiated the trade. Now, I had to fund the escrow account and send the trader my bank details, using an encrypted chat.”

Localcryptos Lets You Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC

“It took about 25 minutes for the funds to reach the escrow, then the seller advised that he was transferring the agreed amount to my bank. After quickly logging into my banking app and verifying that the GBP was there, I hit ‘Release Escrow’ and that was it.”

Localcryptos Lets You Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC

Cash Out Your Coins, Keep Your Privacy

Patrick’s experience of using LC sounds effortless. But in the interests of full disclosure, I should note that he did reach out to me during the process for some guidance. In fact, he sent me a dozen questions over Telegram, adding “sorry for the bombardment of questions, it’s just not obvious and I wanna do it right.”

In the event, Patrick did everything right, and successfully completed his first crypto-fiat swap with minimal intervention on my part. Most of the areas where he was uncertain pertained to Bitcoin’s architecture, rather than UX failings on behalf of LC. That said, Localcryptos could still do more to help beginners out here. The first time you send bitcoin, in this case to a Localcryptos wallet, it’s not clear that the transaction requires additional blockchain confirmations before the funds can be moved into an escrow account and sold.

That was Patrick’s main sticking point; a 25-minute wait for BTC to confirm, with no information as to why his funds were unmoveable. My main complaint with Localcryptos is that there’s no ability to select your entire wallet balance at the push of a button. As a result, it’s common to set up a trade, realize you’re a few satoshis or vitaliks short of the total amount, and be forced to cancel the deal or send additional funds from an external wallet. This minor gripe aside, Localcryptos gets a thumbs up from me – and a nod from Patrick who’s now leveled up his crypto knowledge and found a convenient way to cash out when he’s strapped for fiat.

Localcryptos Lets You Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC
Patrick toasts his first bitcoin transaction.

Localcryptos is light on regulations, letting you cash out without enduring laborious and invasive KYC – at least for now. What’s more, the platform utilizes noncustodial escrow, favoring smart contracts for ETH transactions and P2WSH for bitcoin. At no point are your funds custodied sitting on a centralized server. As with bitcoin P2P platform Bisq, and bitcoin cash marketplace local.Bitcoin.com, users retain their private keys, immunizing them from the fallout resulting from a hack or security breach. P2P exchanges that let you keep your privacy while selling your coins are a luxury in today’s surveillance society. Use them while you still can.

What’s your favorite non-privacy-invasive way to convert coins to fiat? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post Localcryptos Lets You Cash Out BTC P2P – Minus the KYC  appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Governments and Enterprises Can’t Get Enough of Blockchain

Government and Enterprises Can’t Get Enough of Blockchain

Governments have long been wary of Bitcoin, while expressing admiration for its innovative ledger system. This trend can be traced back till 2014, when the “blockchain not bitcoin” mantra was coined. Six years on and that sentiment is being backed by action as governments and businesses the world over commission blockchain initiatives. Are these entities genuinely bullish on blockchain? Or are they simply trying to stay relevant and capitalize on tech trends?

Also read: US Tax Advisor Tells Crypto Customers to Self-Report on Taxes, Even If Imperfectly

National and Enterprise Blockchain Projects Are Stacking Up

Global governments are falling over themselves to commission blockchain projects. Last week, the Canadian government awarded a contract for steel tracking onchain, and at Davos there was widespread talk of using blockchain for data collection and environmental solutions. “Most Davos experts seem to agree that blockchain tech is best used for data collection rather than self-sovereign finance,” read one media tweet from the event, prompting Neeraj Agrawal to retort “Experts agree blockchain tech is better for the thing no one has used it for rather than the only thing it’s been used for.”

Governments may envision vastly different use cases for blockchain than those favored by the crypto community, but they appear earnest in their desire to deploy distributed ledger technology. So too do the enterprises interested in utilizing and fostering blockchain adoption. In addition to the Canadian government inking a $130K deal for an onchain steel-tracking blockchain, the past week has seen Hyperledger launch a climate action special interest group dedicated to advancing DLT for governments and businesses to monitor emissions. Other entities to have recently gotten in on the blockchain game include Thailand, whose government is integrating blockchain technology into its new e-visa system.

Governments and Enterprises Can’t Get Enough of Blockchain

Private Chains in the Public Sector

Lior Yaffe is the director and co-founder of Jelurida, a blockchain software company that maintains the Ardor and Nxt chains and develops enterprise solutions. In his view, government-favored “permissioned blockchain solutions alone cannot unleash the full potential of the technology since they ultimately depend on the good will of only a few parties.” Yaffe believes that broader blockchain adoption calls for the creation of “hybrid solutions where the main consensus engine is public and decentralized, while specific applications (for example child chains) can be permissioned for specific use cases by specific actors.”

There are good reasons why governments are commissioning permissioned blockchains as opposed to building on Bitcoin or Ethereum. The trustless nature of public ledgers, and the difficulty of enforcing KYC and AML are anathema to agencies seeking DLT solutions with compliance baked in. As Coindesk’s Davos newsletter observed, ““Crypto” and “bitcoin” are still dirty words but “blockchain” – its neutered cousin – has been fully assimilated” by the global elite. The question is whether government adoption of permissioned chains will serve as a gateway to ‘full fat’ crypto networks in time.

Governments and Enterprises Can’t Get Enough of Blockchain

Is Blockchain the Gateway to Bitcoin?

The main value proposition for permissioned blockchains, according to Lior Yaffe, is to enable “cooperation between third parties who do not trust each other.” He cites examples such as governments “using their power to force competitive corporate entities to cooperate using a single ledger not controlled by any single one of them for the benefit of their taxpayers” and envisions voting being another major use case, highlighting “shareholder voting to government internal vote tracking to city and even national elections,” adding:

But in order to get blockchain voting you also need to figure out identity, which is a very privacy sensitive application. For this to materialize we need stronger built-in privacy mechanisms such as zero knowledge proofs to become more mature and harder to misuse. Chains which support these functions will always become semi-public for people to be able to review and audit them. The more public and global blockchains become adopted [at government and enterprise level], the higher the trust they will earn that they cannot be manipulated.

As blockchain technology is tested at scale by government agencies, NGOs, banks, and other institutions, it will prove itself as a ledger whose data integrity can be trusted. Blockchain cannot verify the truthfulness of the information recorded on it, but it can show that the information hasn’t subsequently been tampered with. Whether that capability is enough to warrant governments and enterprises plunging headlong into blockchain can be debated. What’s less debatable is that the legitimization of Bitcoin’s underlying technology has created a world in which blockchain is no longer just a buzzword – it’s just a word – and where it’s not uncommon to find financial institutions running nodes for public and private chains.

“It’s not about the B word,” insists IMB Blockchain’s Jason Kelly. “It’s about outcomes. We’re talking about sharing data across a complex supply chain with accuracy and trust … Before long we won’t even say the B word. It’ll simply be the way we transact with trusted data.”

“”Before long we won’t even say [blockchain],” say the blockchain people at the blockchain companies,” riffed Matt Levine in Money Stuff. “I’m looking forward to it.”

Governments and Enterprises Can’t Get Enough of Blockchain

Many of the blockchain pilot projects being commissioned by governments will fail to bear fruit. If their legacy is to normalize the technology, blurring the lines between private, public, and hybrid chains, and making Bitcoin appear less alien, those trials will not have been in vain.

Do you think governments are genuinely interested in blockchain, or are agencies just toying with the technology? 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.

The post Governments and Enterprises Can’t Get Enough of Blockchain appeared first on Bitcoin News.

5 Online Casinos That Accept Bitcoin Cash

5 Online Casinos That Accept Bitcoin Cash

Digital cash was the original use case for bitcoin, and it remains the primary one for bitcoin cash (BCH) today. The ability to send funds anywhere in the world quickly and cheaply has made bitcoin cash a popular choice for online casino players. There are scores of gaming sites where you can deposit BCH and other cryptos and then withdraw your winnings in the same manner. Here’s a snapshot of what these crypto-friendly sites have to offer.

Also read: How to Create Custom SLP Tokens With the Bitcoin.com Mint

Mintdice

Dice is a long-standing favorite among bitcoiners, some of whom fondly recall playing Satoshi Dice in the early days, when the hi-low gaming site provided one of the first use cases for bitcoin. At Mintdice, you can roll the dice to your heart’s content, or have a go at Bit.Rocket, a social bitcoin game that combines skill and luck. There are also slots and plinko games to be tried. The latter is a board game based on a popular TV gameshow that entails climbing a staircase to the top of the board, with various prizes appearing along the way.

5 Online Casinos That Accept Bitcoin Cash

Mintdice accepts BCH and BTC plus around a dozen other cryptos including privacy coins like XMR and PIVX. Once your onchain deposit has cleared, you’re free to start playing. Mintdice supports anonymous accounts that require only a username for players who value their privacy, but full accounts are also available.

5 Online Casinos That Accept Bitcoin Cash

Wild Casino

Fiat and crypto are supported at Wild Casino, but deposit with the latter and you’ll receive a bigger bonus of up to $9,000. As seasoned players will know, casinos typically offer to match your first deposit by way of a welcome bonus. To claim the maximum amount proffered, therefore, you would have to deposit an equally large sum. Not only does Wild Casino accept bitcoin cash, but it also takes BTC, ETH, and, unusually, XRP. In terms of games, the casino serves up a familiar blend of slots, blackjack, table games, video poker, and a live casino.

5 Online Casinos That Accept Bitcoin Cash

Mbit

Mbit is a proud bitcoin-first casino that pledges a welcome bonus of up to 5 BTC. The site, which was established in 2014, serves up 2,000 games, requires no account to play, and enables players to cashout in less than 10 minutes. In addition to bitcoin cash, Mbit allows players to use BTC, DOGE, LTC, and USDT. There’s also a VIP program whose tiers are named after cryptocurrency planets. 500 points will take you to Planet Bitcoin Cash, while The Moon is “by invitation only.”

5 Online Casinos That Accept Bitcoin Cash

1xbit

If a casino has “bit” in its name, it’s a sure sign it’s crypto friendly; it’s just a case of which cryptos it accepts. At 1xbit, the answer is “all of them.” In addition to BCH and BTC, there are less fancied coins like BTG and XVG accepted. You’ll receive a 100% welcome bonus of up to 1 BTC, and in addition to casino games, 1xbit has an extensive sportsbook and a separate esports section. Alternatively, if sports aren’t your thing you can bet on politics instead.

5 Online Casinos That Accept Bitcoin Cash
Cash Games

Cash Games

Perhaps the best known gaming site for BCH fans is Bitcoin.com’s Cash Games. As a gaming site built around bitcoin cash, it features a leaderboard that pays out $1,000 in BCH bonuses to slots players, and there’s no need to create an account to play. Built-in coin conversion, implemented using Sideshift.ai, allows players to switch from other cryptos such as BTC to BCH in order to play.

All of the games on the site are provably fair, which entails taking a random number and cryptographically hashing it, which can later be used to show that the outcome of the game hasn’t been manipulated. There’s a jackpot of up to 10,000 BCH for playing slots and 5,000 for keno. Instant cashouts come as standard and so does player anonymity.

What other BCH casinos have you tried? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post 5 Online Casinos That Accept Bitcoin Cash appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Everybody’s Staking But Who’s Using Proof of Stake Blockchains?

Everybody’s Staking But Who’s Using PoS Blockchains?

The primary use case for staking blockchains is staking. That is their raison d’être, and thousands of cryptocurrency holders have utilized this provision to increase their holdings by earning staking rewards. As the total amount of staked tokens trends towards 80% for some blockchains, however, it raises questions as to what other utility these chains provide.

Also read: The Fallout From Onecoin’s Ponzi Scheme Continues to Impact Investors

Two Thirds of All Staking Coins Are Locked Up

The total market cap of all Proof of Stake (PoS) coins stands at $12.6 billion, of which $8 billion is locked up in staking wallets. Much of this occurs imperceptibly to cryptocurrency holders due to exchanges managing staking on their behalf. Store tezos on Binance, for example, and you will automatically be eligible for staking rewards. The top five staking networks by market cap have the majority of their circulating supply locked up: Tezos (77%), Cosmos (73%), Decred (51%), Synthetix (81%), and Waves (53%).

Everybody’s Staking But Who’s Using Proof of Stake Blockchains?
The amount of staked coins as a percentage of total issuance has been growing steadily

Just as masternode coins were so-named because running a node was their defining feature, many staking coins now exist primarily to disburse staking rewards. It’s healthy to have coins distributed as widely as possible, and through locking up tokens, holders have a vested interest in seeing the network flourish. If the only users are stakers, however, not only will everyone’s staking rewards be diluted, but the network will wither away after failing to attract the developers, dapp users, and businesses that are its lifeblood.

Everybody’s Staking But Who’s Using Proof of Stake Blockchains?
Leading PoS coins, showing total percentage staked. Source: stakingrewards.com.

Build First, Stake Later

Tellingly, the PoS chains that have achieved wide adoption were slow to add staking rewards, preferring to build a community and establish a diverse ecosystem of network participants. Two examples of this are Matic Network and Waves. The former has spent the past year onboarding dapp developers, forging partnerships, and gaining liquidity through multiple exchanges including Whitebit, where matic token-holders can claim lower trading fees and additional bonuses. Matic is now applying the final touches to its staking program which will see validators stake tokens as collateral and become part of the network’s PoS consensus mechanism. A partnership with South Korea’s Coinone exchange will enable users to lock up matic tokens for monthly periods in return for an APR of 30.29%.

Everybody’s Staking But Who’s Using Proof of Stake Blockchains?

Waves, meanwhile, operates Leased Proof of Stake, whereby holders can earn a return through running a full node and generating blocks or by leasing waves tokens to a full node. The current annual reward for staking waves stands at 6.23%, or 3.1% when adjusted for inflation. Like Matic, Waves has more to offer its community than merely staking; recent developments have included interoperable blockchain protocol Gravity Hub, which can communicate with networks such as Waves and Ethereum and serve as an oracle for non-blockchain data.

Everybody’s Staking But Who’s Using Proof of Stake Blockchains?

Waves also has a blockchain games marketplace created in conjunction with The Abyss where digital goods and in-game items can be traded. A strong developer community, complete with hackathons, online courses, and workshops, supports third parties creating and launching dapps using the Waves platform.

How Sustainable Are Staking Rewards?

Crypto networks that offer high staking rewards have no trouble attracting users willing to lock up their tokens to make ‘easy money.’ It is hard to see how staking rewards that run into double-digit percentages are sustainable, however. The rapid increase in the circulating supply dilutes everyone’s holdings, while the lack of features beyond staking deters adoption. Livepeer (LPT), for instance, which has 24-hour volume of just $40K, provides a staking reward of 64.8%, but when inflation adjusted, this drops to 18.8%. Fantom promises 57.7%, adjusted to 33%.

As mining has become commercialized and the days of easy altcoin profits have faded, staking and lending have become the primary forms of passive income. Exchanges that provide staking as a service have obviated the need to spin up a node, and the monthly payouts provide a steady source of revenue. Stakers nevertheless have some tough choices to make. Locking up tokens over an extended period increases the risk of loss when measured in BTC. It’s possible to be up in tokens for the month but down in BTC, rendering the whole exercise pointless from a commercial perspective.

Everybody’s Staking But Who’s Using Proof of Stake Blockchains?

The Future of Blockchains Lies in Staking

Despite empirical evidence that Proof of Work makes for a more robust blockchain, the days of new PoW coins are over. Grin was the last major mineable coin to launch; today it’s all PoS chains entering the market. Stakingrewards.com lists dozens of Proof of Stake coins that are scheduled to launch, ambitiously including Ethereum 2.0, whose launch date is anything but certain. When the new improved ETH blockchain does see the light of day, it’s expected to offer staking rewards of 3.7%. Other staking options scheduled for 2020 include Polkadot (5%), Cardano (3.7%), and Matic (10%). These blockchains promise to solve a range of problems including scalability, fast payments, and interoperability. Their greatest use case, however, is likely to be staking.

Do you think staking rewards of 20% or higher are sustainable? Do you intend to stake any of the PoS coins that will launch this year? 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.

The post Everybody’s Staking But Who’s Using Proof of Stake Blockchains? appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Polkadot Will Finally Launch This Year – But Is the Multi-Chain Network too Late to Catch Ethereum?

Polkadot Will Finally Launch This Year – But Is the Multi-Chain Network too Late to Catch Ethereum?

Remember Polkadot? It’s the multi-chain network that raised $145 million in 2017 and hasn’t been seen since. But unlike many of the blockchain projects from that era, Polkadot hasn’t taken the money and run. Its team, led by Ethereum founder Gavin Wood, has been beavering away at the ambitious task it set itself. Two and a half years on from, Polkadot is finally poised to launch. Can it live up to its promise, or is Polkadot arriving too late?

Also read: Bitcoin Cash Miners Plan $6M Development Fund by Leveraging Block Rewards

Ethereum Prepares to Face Its Final Challenger

Filecoin, Dfinity, and Polkadot are the big three from the ICO era that have yet to ship. Only one of these is gunning for Ethereum’s crown, however. Polkadot aims to solve blockchain’s interoperability problem, as well as the governance problem, the forking problem, and a bunch of other commonly cited problems. Polkadot could easily be lumped in with all the other blockchains professing to magically solve these problems, but it shouldn’t be written off so quickly.

Polkadot Will Finally Launch This Year – But Is the Multi-Chain Network too Late to Catch Ethereum?

For one thing, there’s the size of the war chest it’s had to play with over the last two years – $145 million buys you a whole lot of blockchain, even allowing for the $91 million that got lost in the Parity bug. And then there’s the team to consider: Polkadot boasts the talents of Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood, Peter Czaban, the Technology Director of the Web3 Foundation, and Robert Habermeier, a Thiel Fellow who’s received funding to pursue scientific research into blockchains and cryptography.

There’s a lot of brains behind Polkadot, then, but as anyone who’s been following the fate of VC-funded chains will know, it takes more than boffins to build a successful ecosystem. If Polkadot can’t create a thriving community of developers, users, and businesses eager to tap into its multi-chain network of networks, it will be dead on arrival.

Polkadot Will Finally Launch This Year – But Is the Multi-Chain Network too Late to Catch Ethereum?

What Polkadot Is Building

Polkadot will enable all kinds of assets to be transferred cross-chain to any of the blockchains housed within its capacious network. It promises high scalability because a shared set of validators will be used to secure transactions on multiple blockchains. New blockchains that join Polkadot can tap into this security model from the get-go. Polkadot’s governance model shares some similarities with Tezos, whereby network upgrades are proposed and voted in by the community.

While most interoperability projects are focused on enabling assets to be swapped cross-chain, Polkadot goes further. It also enables data to be swapped in the same manner, and supports cross-chain computation. Use cases for Polkadot include smart contract chains, data curation networks, oracle chains, IoT, file storage and identity. Basically anything that you can currently do on blockchains you’ll be able to do within Polkadot’s blockchain network, with the added bonus of being able to move assets between chains seamlessly.

Polkadot Will Finally Launch This Year – But Is the Multi-Chain Network too Late to Catch Ethereum?

The Bull and Bear Case for Polkadot

Polkadot will launch sometime this year: the final nuts and bolts are being tightened now, including security audits and integration of its blockchain components. The project sees “2020 as the year where we can get the interior decorations done and start moving in. In real terms, this means a Polkadot network launch with a staged rollout of the various pieces of functionality, including governance, parachains, slot auctions, parathreads, XCMP and Spree.”

The bull case for Polkadot prospering includes the extent of development work going on behind the scenes. 64 projects have received $4.4 million from the Web3 Foundation to build on Polkadot, and there’s a Polkadot Ecosystem Fund operating with the support of Polychain Capital. In his Crypto Theses for 2020, Messari’s Ryan Selkis ventured that “Ethereum will face legitimate smart contract platform competition during its transition, and the most credible early favorites to attract defectors are likely Cosmos and Polkadot.”

Polkadot Will Finally Launch This Year – But Is the Multi-Chain Network too Late to Catch Ethereum?
This year, Ethereum will meet its toughest challenger yet in Polkadot

He also projected that “For token projects that raised gobs of money at nosebleed valuations in 2017, things could get very ugly, very quickly once they start trading. It’s not even guaranteed Telegram, Filecoin, Dfinity, or Polkadot come to market in the new year, but if they do, I’d be surprised if they traded at anything close to their last priced rounds.” This is essentially the bear case for Polkadot: it may be launching too late to land a blow on Ethereum. EOS has failed in that respect, Tezos is still warming up, and Algorand and Hedera Hashgraph have created nothing but disgruntled bagholders at this stage.

It won’t just be DOT token-holders who will be eagerly gearing up for Polkadot’s launch. The project presents the last credible challenge to Ethereum’s smart contract dominance, and thus the entire cryptosphere will be watching closely. While Polkadot isn’t looking to replace Ethereum – the networks will interconnect – the success of the former will inevitably draw market share and support from the latter. Will Eth’s network effects prove too great to surmount, or will Polkadot’s superior tech and team prevail?

How well do you think Polkadot will perform? 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.

The post Polkadot Will Finally Launch This Year – But Is the Multi-Chain Network too Late to Catch Ethereum? appeared first on Bitcoin News.

These Online Stores Are Bitcoin Only

These Online Stores Are Bitcoin Only

The number of stores that accept cryptocurrencies such as BTC and BCH is growing. But while such stores will accept bitcoin alongside existing fiat payments, a handful operate in reverse. These online shops are bitcoin only and they’ve no intention of accepting fiat currency – ever.

Also read: How Is Bitcoin Cash Different From Bitcoin Core?

Your Filthy Fiat’s No Good Here

In a world where everyone used bitcoin, shopping would be much more private. There’d be no risk of card fraud, no credit scores, payment blacklisting, or geo-restrictions. We don’t inhabit that world, however, and probably never will. For bitcoiners curious as to what such a system would resemble, however, there’s a number of online stores that are proudly bitcoin only – and many more that accept BTC and BCH alongside fiat options. Here you can buy all manner of goods and services, but don’t bother reaching for your credit card at checkout. At these discerning stores, everything’s billed in satoshis.

These Online Stores Are Bitcoin Only

Buy Bitcoin’s Source Code at Pirate Hash

“No fiat accepted” reads the footer of piratehash.com. The BTC-only store sells printed editions of Bitcoin’s alpha source code v0.01. It also stocks genesis block posters, with everything from the block header to the coinbase transaction neatly annotated. There’s also a BTC board game called Hodler of Last Resort which is billed as “coming soon,” but shoppers may blanche at the $1,000 price tag. A $50 P2PKH coinbase transaction poster is more affordable. Pirate Hash is a minimalist maximalist site. That is to say it combines an uncluttered design with bespoke items for hardcore bitcoiners. Checking out with BTCpayserver is a breeze, with the onchain transaction showing up in seconds. Fiat or crypto, all checkout experiences should be this seamless.

These Online Stores Are Bitcoin Only
Yours from piratehash.com

Buy BTC Apparel at Bitcoin Tunnels

Bitcointunnels.com sells clothing and wall art. The site is BTC/LN only, with checkout handled by bitcoin payment processor Open Node. Less refined than Pirate Hash, Bitcoin Tunnels is a shop for those who are newer to crypto, and wish to swear their allegiance with a ‘Proof of Work is the solution’ t-shirt or a ‘Stacking sats’ tee. More experienced bitcoiners may balk at broadcasting their beliefs to the world every time they step outside, but if you’re happy to be affiliated with crypto, Bitcoin Tunnels has got every inch of you covered.

These Online Stores Are Bitcoin Only
Some of the wares at 21X.io

Buy Unique Bitcoin Art at 21X

For bitcoiners seeking swag that’s less mainstream, 21X.io is worth a look. With such designs as “The sum of all scams” alongside an Ethereum poop emoji badge, 21X is decidedly maximalist in flavor, with most of its threads obliquely praising the cult of BTC. Prices are denominated in bitcoin, not dollars; for 0.21 BTC, for instance, you can obtain an original artwork depicting a row of Cold Card wallets and a topless woman. 21X ain’t subtle and it ain’t got time for “shitcoins,” which are anything bar BTC apparently. If its ethos aligns with yours, head on over and scope it out.

These Online Stores Are Bitcoin Only
Available from store.Bitcoin.com

Buy Hardware Wallets and BCH Gear at Bitcoin.com

Okay, so technically you can pay with fiat at store.Bitcoin.com, but why would you do that when you can pay with BCH or BTC? The quality of the designs at the Bitcoin.com shop is several notches higher than your average hobbyist store, and not all of the tees promote Bitcoin Cash – just most of them. The new “BCH not bombs” range will appeal to principled bitcoiners, while the hardware wallets will appeal to anyone seeking a safe place to stash their coins.

It would be nice to pay for all your shopping in bitcoin, or to have the option at least. Until then, take comfort in the knowledge that if your bank ever bans you, bitcoin will keep you in clothing and quirky wall art.

What other bitcoin-only stores do you know of? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post These Online Stores Are Bitcoin Only appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Peter Schiff Forgets Bitcoin Wallet Password, Blames Bitcoin

Peter Schiff Forgets His Bitcoin Wallet Password, Blames Bitcoin

Peter Schiff hates Bitcoin almost as much as bitcoiners hate Schiff. The gold bug makes a point of dissing the cryptocurrency whenever he can, despite the hypocrisy of accepting BCT on his own website. Today, the eccentric entrepreneur found a new reason to rip on bitcoin after forgetting his wallet password – and apparently Bitcoin is to blame.

Also read: How to Create Custom SLP Tokens With the Bitcoin.com Mint

Schiff Shifts Blame for Forgetting Password

Bitcoin has been blamed for all manner of crimes over the years, from destroying the environment to funding terrorism. Today the decentralized cryptocurrency had a new accusation leveled against it: denying Peter Schiff access to his wallet.

Peter Schiff Forgets Bitcoin Wallet Password, Blames Bitcoin

“I just lost all the #Bitcoin I have ever owned,” Schiff tweeted in typical Trumpian fashion. “My wallet got corrupted somehow and my password is no longer valid. So now not only is my Bitcoin intrinsically worthless; it has no market value either. I knew owning Bitcoin was a bad idea, I just never realized it was this bad!”

When it was put to the 56-year-old that user error, rather than an intrinsic flaw in Bitcoin, may be to blame, he became defensive and doubled down on his facepalm. “There is zero chance I forgot my password. I used a very simple numeric password that I have used many times in the past … I remember it. The wallet doesn’t.”

While some pointed out the fatuity of using a simple password, and others the inability for software to “forget” a password, most simply typed the two-word riposte that has been used mercilessly against Schiff more than any member of his generation: okay boomer. “You just went full boomer,” tweeted one. “Never go full boomer.”

Peter Schiff Forgets Bitcoin Wallet Password, Blames Bitcoin

Not Your Password, Not Your Coins

The screenshot accompanying Schiff’s initial tweet showed it to be the Blockchain.com wallet he was using. Within hours of his frustrated message, the company had tweeted to reassure him that they were “sorry to hear about the issues you’re currently experiencing with your Blockchain Wallet. Please rest assured, your funds are secure. We will PM you shortly.”

Peter Schiff Forgets Bitcoin Wallet Password, Blames Bitcoin
Peter Schiff

If Schiff has genuinely forgotten the password to his noncustodial wallet, he can recover the funds provided he retains the private key. Many wallets, including Blockchain.com, enable an optional user-generated password to simplify logging in. Exporting the wallet keys into wallet software such as Electrum should restore access to the BTC.

While crypto Twitter weighed in with a mixture of helpful support and dank memes, Schiff continued to bump his gums, tweeting “Since all the Bitcoin in my corrupted wallet were gifted to me, it’s not that great a tragedy for me that they’re lost. “Easy come, easy go,” is especially true for #Bitcoin. My plan was to HODL and go down with the ship anyway. The difference is that my ship sank before Bitcoin.”

Schiff’s ship may have sank, but Bitcoin sails on, with the maverick libertarian’s BTC still aboard.

Peter Schiff Forgets Bitcoin Wallet Password, Blames Bitcoin

Do you think Schiff will ever remember his wallet password? 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.

The post Peter Schiff Forgets Bitcoin Wallet Password, Blames Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Monopoly Is a Tiny Darknet Market With Big Aspirations

Monopoly Is a Tiny Darknet Market With Big Aspirations

There’s a certain irony in the smallest market on the darknet being named Monopoly. With less than 150 listings, the monero-friendly Monopoly Market is anything but. What this tiny darknet market (DNM) lacks in size, however, it makes up for in spirit. The cypherpunk ethos permeates this nascent market where sovereign individuals can exercise their right to peacefully transact.

Also read: White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM

Take a Chance on Monopoly

Monero darknet markets are all the rage right now. While the XMR-oriented White House Market is going strong, Monopoly is playing little league for now, with a trade volume that’s unlikely to have law enforcement throwing all they got at it. Darknet markets lead a precarious existence, however, and all it takes is a takedown, exit scam, or prolonged DDoS of the competition for an unfancied DNM to be catapulted to the major league.

Don’t write Monopoly off just yet, then, even if its listings are few, its vendors fewer still, and in its latest newsletter the site admin expressed frustration at the reticence of DNM users to choose monero over bitcoin. Acknowledging that BTC sales far exceed XMR on the darknet, the admin wrote “people just do not want to go to the effort of using monero … personal use buyers could not care less, so we have a decision to make. Do we forget our morals and why we created Monopoly to begin with and introduce bitcoin payments to boost sales and our revenue?”

The answer to that has proven to be yes, but to assert that Monopoly has thereby abandoned its morals would be doing the site a disservice. All evidence suggests that this is a DNM committed to doing the right thing, namely safeguarding its vendors without inconveniencing its users. BTC is now a payment option, but XMR remains the default choice on Monopoly.

Monopoly Is a Tiny Darknet Market With Big Aspirations

Roll the Dice and Make a Monopoly Purchase

To see how Monopoly compares to White House Market, as well as Empire and the numerous other DNMs out there, I gave it a spin. The first thing that strikes you about the market is the means by which you must access it: after finding the link on dark.fail, I was led to a splash page that instructs “Find the two highlighted pieces of text below … Simply join them together and insert .onion at the end to form your unique market link.” As security measures go, this one’s certainly innovative. Pretty soon, DNMs will be asking you to recite the complete works of Shakespeare backwards while standing on your head in the name of opsec and DDoS reduction. I balk at clicking past a cookie notice on the clearnet, but on the darknet, I’ll go the extra mile.

“Welcome to Monopoly,” beams the homepage proper, “the first true walletless/userless experience intended to provably rid the ecosystem from malicious exit scams pulled by markets. Built by vendors, for consumers.” Any DNM can talk the talk, but at the end of the day, there’s still a degree of trust required to trade on it. I’m inclined to believe Monopoly though, not least because with 5% commission on its current sales, there’s little in its community chest with which to exit scam.

A Pleasure to Play, a Pain to Pay

In Barry Schwartz’ 2004 book “The Paradox of Choice,” the psychologist argues that eliminating excess consumer choice can reduce anxiety for shoppers. On Monopoly Market, there’s no such problem: with so few listings, it’s a case of pick your preferred shipping country and choose from a handful of options. I am okay with this, even though it would be nice to see a greater selection, for the site’s sake and for its users’. The vendors aren’t so ill served, at least, as most of them ply their trade on multiple DNMs.

Monopoly Is a Tiny Darknet Market With Big Aspirations

A lot of care has gone into creating Monopoly Market, which is more than just another DNM clone. The site loads quickly and its listings feature vendor badges and other info that helps buyers make an informed choice. This includes the amount of items in stock, the number of views per listing, and the number of open orders. There’s also a leaderboard showing the most popular vendors on the site. The coolest thing of all, though, is that you don’t need to create an account to place an order. That means no username, no password, and no trail of breadcrumbs leading back to your door.

My only gripe with Monopoly come after paying for an item, having first encrypted my details using PGP in the usual manner. After 10 block confirmations, buyers are prompted to click a button confirming that payment was sent, and must enter the monero TXID and the TXKEY pertaining to the transaction. I have the former but not the latter because that information is not supplied in Cake, the monero light mobile wallet I used. Obtaining this calls for using the full monero desktop wallet. To solve the problem, I’m obliged to upload a screenshot of the wallet transaction and await a manual check. Monopoly does recommend using the full monero desktop wallet in its tutorial, but there’s no guarantee first-time users will see this before they buy, and moreover it doesn’t explain the perils of paying with a light wallet.

Monopoly Is a Tiny Darknet Market With Big Aspirations

May Monopoly and Its Kind Reign Supreme

With a couple of kinks ironed out, Monopoly has the potential to become one of the best DNMs on the darknet when it comes to balancing opsec with convenience. Whatever the fate of the market, its accountless and depositless system is to be admired and emulated. We need more darknet markets that are willing to innovate and protect the privacy of their users. Because if there’s one thing that we’ve consistently learned over the past decade, it’s that when faced with a choice between convenience and security, web users will invariably pick the easy option. Enforced privacy should be the default when using darknet markets. White House and Monopoly Market aren’t perfect, but they’re a step in the right direction. May they and their kind thwart LE and live long.

Do you think monero will gain ground over bitcoin on the darknet? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post Monopoly Is a Tiny Darknet Market With Big Aspirations appeared first on Bitcoin News.

New Stablecoins Commence a Fresh Assault on Tether

New Stablecoins Commence a Fresh Assault on Tether

Can any stablecoin topple tether? In 2019, the answer to that question was an emphatic ‘No.’ Despite a string of stablecoins being released onto the market, tether (USDT) increased its grip on the cryptoconomy’s fiat supply, racking up $127B of on-chain volume on Ethereum alone. This year, the king of stablecoins faces a renewed assault from Binance’s BUSD, Saga’s SGD, and a revitalized USD Coin (USDC). But can any of them claw market share from tether, or will the king of stablecoins increase its stranglehold?

Also read: Competing Stablecoins Can’t Topple Tether

Stablecoin War Enters a New Phase

Tether’s market cap serves as a good barometer for the crypto market. When USDT commands a top four spot, it’s a sure sign that the outlook is bearish and traders are seeking refuge in tether as they try to time bitcoin’s next move up. When tether drops a few places, as has occurred in the past week, it can be taken as evidence of bullish conditions returning. At press time, USDT sits in sixth with a market cap of $4.1B and litecoin and EOS hot on its heels.

What a casual glance at the top 10 can’t reveal is the health of the stablecoin contenders that are intent on eating away at tether’s market share. They’ll have their work cut out, but they have history in their favor at least: just two of the coins that were in the top 20 by market cap in 2013 are still here, just three from 2014, and five from 2015. There’s a lot of churn, in other words, and tether is not immune from this trend.

New Stablecoins Commence a Fresh Assault on Tether

Tether Challengers Stack Up

One challenger that should be in Tether’s sights is BUSD, the dollar-pegged stablecoin issued by Binance. The exchange giant is using its might to nudge traders towards favoring BUSD over the other stablecoins it supports. On Thursday, it launched 1:1 stablecoin to BUSD conversion, allowing traders to swap from PAX, USDC and TUSD at a guaranteed rate. It followed this up today with a 10 BUSD promotion for traders who connect their Visa card to their Binance account.

New Stablecoins Commence a Fresh Assault on Tether

It’s not just pure stablecoins that are competing to control the cryptoconomy’s fiat rails: there are also payment tokens which aim to provide low volatility, making them suitable as a medium of exchange, such as Saga’s SGA which launched on Bithumb Global this week. Based on the monetary model used by central banks, SGA’s exchange rate can vary, but with lower volatility than traditional crypto assets. As such, it is not a pure stablecoin, but its compliance and governance framework give it an edge over tether when it comes to transparency. In many respects, SGA has more similarities with Facebook’s Libra, but with one key advantage – Saga’s token has already reached the market, while Libra remains mired in red tape.

New Stablecoins Commence a Fresh Assault on Tether

There’s also another stablecoin of sorts in the works that piqued the crypto community’s interest this week – the digital dollar. Promoted by former chairman of the Commodity Futures Exchange Commission (CFTC) Christopher Giancarlo, the digital dollar will form an electronic version of the U.S. greenback, if it ever sees the light of day. The Digital Dollar Foundation has now been established to explore rolling out a blockchain-based version of USD, which can be sent “as easily as a text.”

ERC20 Tether Goes From Strength to Strength

In 2019, tether’s migration from Omni to Ethereum, and also to Tron, was an unbridled success. While $127 billion of ERC20 USDT was traded last year, closest challenger USDC only managed around $27 billion. However, USDC’s backers can take heart from the fact that its monthly transaction count tripled over the course of the year, reaching 110,000 onchain transactions in December.

New Stablecoins Commence a Fresh Assault on Tether

Meanwhile, in the defi space, dai’s rebrand to sai has enabled the collateralized stablecoin to increase its grip on the decentralized finance space. It’s not the only stablecoin gunning for a share of the burgeoning defi economy, though: Pegnet, an entire network dedicated to stablecoin issuance, promises low-cost conversion of assets, priced at 1/10th of a cent, coupled with cross-chain interoperability. If bitcoin continues to go from strength to strength this year, stablecoins may see reduced demand as a safe haven asset. But behind the scenes, their issuers will continue to push for their adoption in the knowledge that whoever controls the fiat flow controls the keys to the entire cryptoconomy.

Do you think Tether’s share of the stablecoin market will increase further in 2020? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Token Analyst.


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 Stablecoins Commence a Fresh Assault on Tether appeared first on Bitcoin News.

4 Bitcoin Mixers for the Privacy Conscious

4 Bitcoin Mixing Services for the Privacy Conscious

In an era of unprecedented global surveillance, it is unreasonable to expect the blockchain world to be any different. It is perfectly reasonable, though, to resist this surveillance through countermeasures that thwart the would-be surveillers. Digital privacy is a right that everyone is entitled to. Thanks to the provision of bitcoin mixers, you can claim that entitlement by shuffling your coins and emerging with untainted crypto whose origins have been obfuscated.

Also read: How Dropgangs and Dead Drops Are Transforming Darknet Practices

Before You Mix, Know the Basics

Just as using Tor doesn’t give you internet anonymity, bitcoin mixing alone doesn’t grant you automatic privacy. It helps, but only when used in conjunction with other privacy enhancing techniques, like not using exchanges that enforce KYC, and not recombining your freshly mixed UTXOs, thereby undoing all your hard work. News.Bitcoin.com will examine ways to enhance your anonymity when using mixing services in the near future. For now, just know that the following mixing services are not a silver bullet for privacy. When used as their developers recommend, however, they can significantly enhance the fungibility of your coins.

4 Bitcoin Mixers for the Privacy Conscious

Bitcoin Mixer

Bitcoin Mixer does exactly what its name sounds like, but it also does a lot more. In addition to mixing up your BTC, the service can do the same with LTC and ETH, providing privacy for three of the most popular cryptos. It’s a custodial service, which generally means you can mix larger amounts of coins than with a noncustodial service, where you’re reliant on your peers to provide privacy in numbers. Using the service is simple: enter the address you’d like your shuffled coins to be sent to, and drag the slider to select your desired mixing time, ranging from 30 minutes to 20 hours. The longer you’re prepared to wait, the greater the degree of anonymity you can expect. The platform charges a fee of 2-5%.

4 Bitcoin Mixers for the Privacy Conscious

Cashshuffle

One for the BCH brigade, Cashshuffle provides noncustodial mixing of bitcoin cash. It’s fully decentralized, and operates by mixing the UTXOs in your BCH wallet with those of other Cashshuffle users. Over $40 million of BCH has been mixed through Cashshuffle, which is compatible with wallets such as Electron Cash. If you’re new to the world of bitcoin cash mixing, news.Bitcoin.com has published a detailed guide to using the service. There’s also plans for a Tor-integrated version of the service, known as Cashfusion, which will further diminish the ability for blockchain forensics firms to profile BCH users.

4 Bitcoin Mixers for the Privacy Conscious
Whirlpool promises to remove deterministic links that blockchain forensics firms use to correlate onchain transactions

Whirlpool

Most noncustodial BTC and BCH mixers are based on implementations of Coinjoin, a trustless method for combining bitcoin payments from multiple users into a single transaction, masking their origin. Cashshuffle is based on Coinjoin, and so are the two most popular wallet-integrated BTC mixers – Whirlpool and Wasabi. The former is developed by Samourai Wallet, and enables users of the noncustodial wallet to mix their UTXOs with others through selecting from one of three pools of varying sizes: 0.01, 0.05, and 0.5 BTC. If you have 1 BTC to mix, for example, select the 0.5 BTC pool and your UXTOs will be sent through in two cycles, until all of your coins have been cleaned. The Whirlpool fee remains the same whether you’re mixing one coin or 10, making Samourai’s Whirlpool Coinjoin implementation cost-effective. It’s also fast.

4 Bitcoin Mixers for the Privacy Conscious

Wasabi Wallet

Samourai and Wasabi are engaged in a dispute over whose mixing service provides greater anonymity. Samourai appears to have the upper hand at present, but that doesn’t mean you should write off Wasabi – it’s an excellent noncustodial BTC wallet for the privacy-conscious, and its integrated Chaumian Coinjoin mixing service is continually improving. The Plustoken scammers famously tried to wash thousands of BTC through Wasabi and failed due to the size of their transactions, which dwarfed those of all other users combined. For regular users seeking to mix modest amounts of BTC, greater anonymity and less scrutiny should be assured, making Wasabi perfect for everyday use.

4 Bitcoin Mixing Services for the Privacy Conscious
Wasabi’s Coinjoin in action.

Whether you’re planning to use a custodial or noncustodial bitcoin mixer, do your homework, read some reviews, and familiarize yourself with its workings. Then, after successfully mixing your first set of UTXOs, make it a point of habitually repeating the exercise with new coins that come into your possession. Think of it as cleaning your digital house. In the process, you’ll also be enhancing the anonymity of your fellow coinjoiners.

What bitcoin mixers do you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post 4 Bitcoin Mixers for the Privacy Conscious appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin Futures Hit 3-Month High in Frenetic Tuesday Trading

Bitcoin Futures Hit 3-Month High in Frenetic Day for the Markets

January 14 was the best trading day of the year for many cryptocurrencies, which saw double or even triple-digit percentage gains. It was also a good day for futures markets, where more than $25 billion in trades was placed on Tuesday. The result constituted the busiest day for futures in almost three months, with the Binance-affiliated FTX seeing much of the action.

Also read: Institutional and Retail Bitcoin Futures Demand Continues to Climb

Bitcoin Shenanigans Get Futures Traders Buzzing

Tuesday, Jan. 14 was all about bitcoin – all the bitcoins, to be precise. BTC, BCH, BSV, BCD, and BTG all posted their best day in months, borne along by Craig Wright’s shenanigans and rumors of bonded couriers delivering private keys. While retail traders scalped what they could from mega-pumps on the spot market, futures traders took a longer view, particularly on platforms like Bakkt, whose monthly futures have been growing steadily. Retail still dominates futures volume, however, as seen in derivatives analysts Skew’s breakdown of Tuesday’s action.

The analytics firm also highlighted a 15% increase in open interest for aggregated BTC futures, which now stands at $3.5 billion. BTC wasn’t the only futures market to see heavy trading either, with ETH volumes up three-fold on Jan. 14.

FTX and Deribit Catch the Glut of the Action

Okex, Huobi, Kraken, Deribit, Coinflex, Bitmex, Bitfinex, FTX, and Binance account for the primary futures exchanges for retail. Of these, FTX and Deribit saw particularly strong demand for futures options on Tuesday, with volumes up around 400% and 500% respectively. On Jan. 11, FTX launched cash-settled bitcoin options, which passed $1 million in volume within hours of going live. 12 hours after launch, more than 2,000 contracts had been traded. FTX may have also benefited on Tuesday by the fact that it offers leveraged trading of BSV, whereas Binance famously delisted the coin last year.

A multi-million dollar “strategic investment” from Binance has enabled CZ’s megalith exchange to lend its expertise to the fledgling FTX, with a view to cornering the retail futures market between them. That achievement is still some way off, with Huobi, Okex, and Bitmex far out in front when it comes to futures volume. Regardless of which retail exchanges hold sway, the proliferation of user-friendly crypto derivatives is a boon to traders seeking an on-ramp to a world of bitcoin options.

Until relatively recently, it was the adversarial world of Bitmex or nothing, complete with the steep learning curve its interface and options entailed. Today, that learning curve has been substantially lowered, with many traders electing to start off on options exchange apps like Moby Trader, to master “micro-trading” with short contract expiration times. The app gives retail traders access to crypto option exchanges like Deribit and Quedex. Having mastered the simplified derivatives options presented to them here, traders can then gravitate to “full fat” derivatives exchanges, with Binance and FTX providing the next step up in terms of accessibility, leaving Bitmex and Deribit to more experienced traders.

Bitcoin Futures Hit 3-Month High in Frenetic Tuesday Trading

Tuesday resulted in around $85M in liquidations on Bitmex, with over 90% of those for traders who’d tried to short BTC. Bears will have better days, and 2020 will have even bigger days for bitcoin futures than yesterday’s impressive $25B haul.

Do you think futures volume will reach record highs in 2020? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and market updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”


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.

The post Bitcoin Futures Hit 3-Month High in Frenetic Tuesday Trading appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Win or Lose, These Crypto Whales Share Their Trades

Win or Lose, These Crypto Whales Share Their Trades

Whales are mega-rich traders who inhabit the depths of the crypto seas. Theirs is a realm of dark pools, hidden order books, OTC deals, and rich list wallet addresses. Shunning publicity in favor of pseudonymity, most whales keep their trading and personal lives separated, with only the blockchain revealing the monster sums they shuffle between exchanges. A handful of whales have bucked this trend, however, laying their trading record on the line for all to judge.

Also read: Close to 11 Million BTC Haven’t Moved in Over a Year

These Crypto Bellwethers Are Willing to Share Their Trades

When quantitative trading firm Alameda Research decided to publicize its trading performance via Bitmex’s leaderboard in early 2019, it was seen as a bold move and clever marketing ploy – a novel way of touting their nascent over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk. A year on, though, and such leaderboards give us a voyeuristic insight into the activities of some of crypto’s biggest whales. But who are they and what can we actually glean from their growing mountains of money?

Bitmex is not the only exchange that maintains a trading leaderboard; Bitfinex does too. You can sift through a list containing a couple of hundred traders, many of whom are making modest gains or losses. Few are willing to disclose whether they’re long or short at any given point in time, but the leaderboard on Bitmexresources.com can extrapolate this information, explaining:

If the overall profit for the user has increased since last update and Bitcoin price also increased during that period, it is safe to assume that the user on Bitmex’s leaderboard has a long position. It is vice versa for short position assumption – if the overall profit for the user has increased since last update and Bitcoin price has decreased during that period, we can assume that the user on Bitmex’s leaderboard has an open short position.


At the top end of the scale, however, are big players, some of whom have elected to forego anonymity and interact with crypto Twitter.

Win or Lose, These Crypto Whales Share Their Trades

The Cult of JOE007

Sitting atop Bitfinex’s leaderboard at present is one such whale, @JOE007, who has racked up over a million dollars in realized profit since the turn of the year. Joe, who identifies as a “proto-bitcoin whale” according to his Loki-like Twitter profile, has also accrued close to 10,000 acolytes on Twitter, with crypto enthusiasts doubtless keen to follow the master and, with any luck, learn a thing or two.

Although most accounts on the leaderboard are pseudonymous, @JOE007 is one of six “unmasked” traders sitting inside the Top 50. It’s fair to say he’s by far the most successful, though – something he has fun with on Twitter. In a tweet from January 6, he remarked, “OK, now that I’m back to number one Leaderboard position in every category on every timeframe, can I finally get some time off?”

Win or Lose, These Crypto Whales Share Their Trades
The Bitmex leaderboard.

Those who want to mine the White Whale’s tweets for more than mere memes will extract deeper insights: Joe loves bitcoin, detests “shitcoin scammers” and self-appointed influencers, thinks crypto needs more whales and exhibits both pity and contempt for noobs entering the crypto space in pursuit of a “get-rich-quick dream.” He also scoffs at the notion that his followers could replicate his success by reading his posts intently; his Christmas cheer was evident in a droll post on December 23: “Sure, once I decide to close my longs I’ll definitely announce it on Twitter first. For every cryptotrader and his mom to try to front-run me. Of course.”

Not every crypto trader is out to “front-run” Joe and other unmasked whales, however. After sustaining an eight-figure loss in December, Joe was back in the profit – something that keen observers couldn’t help but applaud. Another compelled Joe to “pump it, push the price up and punish these greedy bears. I believe in you.” Cult status isn’t too far away for Joe.

Whales Making Waves

For crypto whales, throwing around life-changing amounts of money like it’s pocket change is the norm. It’s not that they don’t ever sustain big losses; it’s that they don’t sweat the odd failure and soldier on with nary a complaint.

Those other non-anonymous Top 50 Bitfinex traders, incidentally, are @BtcKreacher, @FeXBT, @damian_trader, @TraderSadBoi and @HyperTradingBot. While their low follower counts indicate that traders aren’t exactly hanging on their every word just yet, expect their audience to grow if they remain staples of the leaderboard. As noted by Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino, API trader @john_j_brown gained 540 followers in a single day after climbing up the table.

Whether you track Bitfinex, Bitmex or another exchange leaderboard, it’s important to remember that social media is curation-based: whales will promote what they want, when they want, to their own ends. By all means follow these crypto bellwethers but don’t linger too long in their slipstream. While their pockets are deep enough to deal with major losses, that’s not the case for us minnows.

Do you think crypto whales move the markets, or are they just big fish in an even bigger sea? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post Win or Lose, These Crypto Whales Share Their Trades appeared first on Bitcoin News.

NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Just Tokenized His Own Contract

NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Just Tokenized His Own Contract

The news that Brooklyn Nets star Spencer Dinwiddie was to roll out an Ethereum-based investment vehicle for his own contract took the NBA and crypto communities by surprise. Disregarding an NBA threat to ban him from the professional basketball league, the 26-year-old point guard – who tellingly describes himself as “a tech guy with a jumper” on Twitter – launched his unique bond on January 13 with the aid of security token platform Securitize.

Also read: Close to 11 Million BTC Haven’t Moved in Over a Year

An Ambitious Leap Into the Crypto World

Dinwiddie’s desire to tokenize his lucrative Brooklyn Nets contract first made news in September, with the NBA quickly conveying its ire to the New York Times by citing a CBA provision that “no player shall assign or otherwise transfer to any third party his right to receive compensation from the team under his uniform player contract.”

Despite fierce protestations, Dinwiddie has turned his three-year, $34.4 million contract with the Nets into an investment vehicle called Dream Fan Shares, via which he will sell 90 SD8 tokens or Professional Athlete Investment Tokens (PAInTs). There is a caveat, however: the tokens can only be purchased by qualified accredited investors who have passed various SEC and legal standards. Regulations also stipulate that the tokens – priced at $150,000 a piece – cannot be sold or traded for one year.

NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Just Tokenized His Own Contract
Spencer Dinwiddie

As “digital transfer agent and technology partner,” Securitize is facilitating the move, which will let Dinwiddie claim $13.5M of his contract upfront as a sort of business loan. It’s a novel idea, and it is likely that other sports stars will be watching closely to see how it plays out. It’s conceivable to imagine other athletes structuring and issuing their own debt instruments in digital token form, the size of their contracts making it simpler to bootstrap liquidity and interest using tokenized instruments. Incidentally, Dinwiddie’s three-year bond is forecasted to pay out 4.95% base interest on a monthly basis, with the entire principal dispensed at the end of the period upon maturity in a bullet payment.

Dinwiddie’s initial idea – to offer dividends for investors if he opts out of his contract in the final year, switching allegiance to another team or inking a new deal with the Nets – was kiboshed by the NBA, who deemed it a form of gambling. Nonetheless, the forward-thinking player seems to have gotten most of what he craved following protracted discussions with the Association.

In an attempt to further sweeten the deal for potential investors, Dinwiddie promised to take eight backers to All-Star weekend in Chicago if he’s picked for the game.

NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Just Tokenized His Own Contract
Home of the Brooklyn Nets

When Crypto and Sport Collide

The announcement of the player’s bond-based security provoked an outpouring of opinion on social media, ranging from acclaim (“You’re pioneering a new way for athletes and fans to engage with each other”) to scorn (“This is awesome conceptually but the “accredited investor” bit is wack. It’s bullshit in legacy markets and it’s bullshit here. Keeping real folks from participating”). Tron CEO Justin Sun was in the former camp, as he inquired how to get his hands on the token. It will be interesting to see just how many parties back Dinwiddie before the investment period ends on February 10.

One person who welcomed the release of SD8 tokens was Messari CEO Ryan Selkis. In his January 13 newsletter, the entrepreneur said, “I’m a net buyer of tokenized athletic contracts as a precursor to widespread ISA adoption, and view the Dinwiddie bonds as merely the first in a coming slew of high-profile contracts that leverage a much more efficient technology (crypto) than previous attempts at similar structures through the legacy securities markets.”

NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Just Tokenized His Own Contract

Of course, it is not the first time that the worlds of sport and the NBA have collided. Back in 2014, Sacramento Kings became the first pro sports franchise to accept bitcoin for tickets and merchandise, a feat replicated by Portuguese soccer team Benfica last June. English Premier League teams Wolves and Newcastle United have also struck kit sponsorship deals with crypto platforms like Stormgain, while boxing champion Manny Pacquiao launched a merchandise-backed crypto (the “pac” token) in August. As for Dream Fan Shares, their website states that they are “actively working to bring additional athletes, artists, and influencers onto the platform.”

What are your thoughts on Spencer Dinwiddie tokenizing his contract? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and NY Post.


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 NBA Star Spencer Dinwiddie Just Tokenized His Own Contract appeared first on Bitcoin News.

White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM

White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM

White House Market (WHM) is an ultra-secure darknet market (DNM). It disallows Javascript, enforces PGP throughout, admins key sign every 72 hours, and only accepts monero (XMR). It might be the darknet’s most private market. But do its vendors deliver? News.Bitcoin.com dusted down some XMR and decided to find out.

Also read: How to Encrypt Messages With PGP When Using Darknet Markets

A Fortress in the War on Privacy

“All transactions on the blockchain can be traced due to blockchain’s immutability,” begins surveillance firm Bitfury in its December report on darknet interactions. That’s not quite true, for while public chains like bitcoin can be inspected by anyone with a block explorer or forensic analysis tool, monero provides no such luxury. That’s why its usage is enforced on White House, one of the several dozen DNMs competing for market share.

Empire, the darknet’s most popular market, has been struggling under heavy DDoS attacks for weeks, believed to be the work of a slighted ex-vendor, “Stackz420,” who’s gone so far as to publish a script so that anyone can join in the assault on its servers. Just to add to their woes, Stackz420 has attempted to dox Empire’s operators and exposed security holes in the site. Empire survives for now, but given its extended periods of downtime, it seemed opportune to give a different DNM a try.

White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM

White House is locked down like a fortress, with enough security measures to keep amateurs at bay, but enough tutorials to ensure the determined can get inside and ply their trade. It’s an opsec obsessive’s paradise.

What’s Inside the White House?

The homepage for WHM lays down the house rules from the get-go. For starters, you need to upload your PGP key just to be able to browse. You also need to add the site’s public key to your keychain to verify the signed messages from its operators attesting that they are still alive and supplying mirror links for the market.

White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM
WHM homepage

Exit scams occur almost monthly on the darknet, with Grey Market the latest site to disappear. Even with frequent message signing, there is no way of verifying the integrity of White House’s operators, and thus it too could fall by the wayside. The use of mandatory encryption throughout, however, coupled with direct payments between vendors and buyers, limits the possible fallout.

After logging into the site, you must decrypt a PGP message using the private key you associated with your WHM account. It contains a code that you enter to verify your pseudonymous identity.

White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM
WHM enforces PGP

A Darknet Safety Charter

On its About page, White House Market lays out the security measures it has in place, which functions are encrypted, and what information is retained in plaintext. It explains: “We assume that any server can be hacked or seized eventually, so we don’t want to keep more data our servers then we need to.” PGP and monero private keys are reportedly not kept on the servers.

Under “Security Considerations,” detailed advice on maintaining good opsec, both online and offline, is provided. This includes the invocation not to reuse usernames/passwords/PGP keys over multiple darknet markets, finishing: “Under any circumstances do not use on darknet any username / nickname / moniker / password / PGP key that you may use or may have used on the clearnet or in real life, not even something similar. It’s the fastest way to get caught.”

Although PGP can seem complex at first, once you’re accustomed, it adds mere seconds onto DNM purchases, and the peace of mind it buys is well worth it. While other DNMs employ optional PGP, White House enforces it, preventing users from getting lazy.

Buying Monero to Buy Darknet Goods

In reviewing WHM, I had no monero to hand but did have some BTC in a noncustodial Bitcoin.com Wallet. I sent it over to accountless crypto changer Flyp.me and within half an hour had its XMR equivalent in a noncustodial Monerujo Android wallet. For similar privacy guarantees and a slightly better exchange rate I could have alternatively traded BTC for XMR on exchange.Bitcoin.com.

White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM

As a newer darknet market and one with a stricter door policy, WHM has fewer listings than the market leaders; a little over 4,000 products in its drugs category, and around 6,000 across all categories. This will grow, though, if the site sticks around and builds up trust. In the meantime, there’s enough listings to cover most bases, territories, and tastes. Many vendors have yet to accrue much feedback, but some have ported their PGP key and with it their rep over from other DNMs.

White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM

I order something fragrant for testing purposes, from two different sellers, and receive a PGP encrypted message containing the seller’s XMR address. I must decrypt it with my own key, or I can scan in the wallet QR code. A BTC option is available at checkout, but WHM discourages its usage. I send the XMR from my Monerujo wallet and within 10 minutes my transaction has cleared and within 48 hours the package is on my doorstep. Financial freedom and the free exchange of goods and services is a beautiful thing.

Bitfury estimates that $920M of BTC poured into darknet markets last year, with other cryptos likely taking that total past the $1 billion mark. “Unfortunately, we see that the annual flow of funds to darknet entities is increasing,” finishes Bitfury’s darknet report. Fortunately, we have private cryptocurrency and there’s nothing Bitfury and their surveillance sisters can do to stop it.

Do you think darknet market sales will increase this year? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company 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.


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.

The post White House Market Wants to Become the Darknet’s Toughest DNM appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Independent Report Declares News.Bitcoin.com the Top Crypto News Site

Independent Report Ranks News.Bitcoin.com the Top Crypto News Site

A new research report from BTC Peers has ranked 145 crypto news websites for quality. It analyzes scores of benchmarks including average visit duration, bounce rate, and number of backlinks. The report features the usual suspects in its top 10, including Coindesk at number three and Cointelegraph at two. Top of the list, however, is news.Bitcoin.com.

Also read: Court Gives Craig Wright More Time to Await the Mysterious Bonded Courier

The Best 145 Crypto News Websites of 2019

The cryptosphere is filled with news sites that cover multiple cryptocurrencies, ecosystems, and angles. From the unquestioningly fawning to the unrelentingly skeptical, there’s a crypto news outlet to suit all dispositions. ‘Best’ is a highly subjective term, therefore, whose declaration largely depends on the needs of the reader. Nevertheless, when BTC Peers published its methodical analysis of the top 145 crypto sites and placed news.Bitcoin.com top, our publication was duty bound to report on the matter.

“News.bitcoin.com won first place with 978 points,” notes the report, adding: “It was interesting to compare it with Cointelegraph. On the one hand, CT has a higher Alexa Rank, with more than twice the audience and more backlinks. But news.Bitcoin.com has less of a bounce rate and a twice higher avg. visit duration, which suggests that although they have a smaller audience, their readers interact with the content better and longer.”

In other words, news.Bitcoin.com may not attract the highest readership, but the increased time readers spend on the site is indicative of quality long form content. Other sites may be good for grazing, but for deep analysis, news.Bitcoin.com has got it locked down. That’s the long and short of the BTC Peers report. Naturally there are a few caveats to consider.

Independent Report Declares News.Bitcoin.com the Top Crypto News Site

‘Quality, In-Depth Reporting’

The thorough analysis of 145 crypto news sites was commissioned with a particular audience in mind. Specifically, it was published for the benefit of “Marketers and PR managers, in order to assess the quality of resources to get better results,” as well as “Journalists, editors, and owners of content platforms looking for quality news, and to evaluate competitors and investors and traders, to assess the quality of information sources to make better decisions.”

Of these groups, marketers in particular are seeking reliable data with which to plan media campaigns. The ability to compare key metrics, such as bounce rate and Alexa ranking, across all leading crypto publications, is extremely valuable. This data enables advertisers to optimize their campaigns and to submit press releases to sites that can deliver a return on investment. Low bounce rate – i.e. the amount of time a reader will spend on a page before clicking the back button – is one of the leading determinants of quality.

Independent Report Declares News.Bitcoin.com the Top Crypto News Site
Top 10 crypto news sites according to BTC Peers

Commenting on the report, news.Bitcoin.com Editor-in-Chief Nanok Bie said: ”I’m grateful for this recognition, particularly the fact that BTC Peers looked closely at metrics like bounce rate and time on page, to find which site readers engage with the most. The high numbers awarded to news.Bitcoin.com are due to our consistent high quality, relevant and in-depth reporting.”

He added: “If you’re only going to read one news source to keep up with crypto, it should be news.Bitcoin.com, as we deliver balanced, well-researched and neutral news that covers everything bitcoiners need to know about the industry.”

The BTC Peers report is sure to spark debate about how media quality is measured and which benchmarks matter the most. At news.Bitcoin.com, we’re grateful to all our readers for their time spent reading and passionate debates in the comments section, which have helped make this site what it is – namely, the best crypto news website of 2019.

What are your thoughts on the findings of the BTC Peers report? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Dapp Review.


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 Independent Report Declares News.Bitcoin.com the Top Crypto News Site appeared first on Bitcoin News.