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A Major Bitcoin Exchange Has A ‘Massive’ Problem

Bitcoin exchanges and platforms never seem far from scandal, with crypto investors always nervously awaiting the next bitcoin hack or data breach. The bitcoin price has been known to swing wildly following reports of major bitcoin thefts, though sometimes fails to react at all.

Now, Seychelles-based bitcoin futures exchange BitMEX has sparked panic among bitcoin traders and investors after accidentally exposing thousands of its users’ emails–with the exchange’s Twitter account then compromised shortly after.

BitMEX this week sent out thousands of its users’ email addresses along with a weekly newsletter after inadvertently CC’ing recipients instead of BCC’ing them.

Today In: Money

“We are aware that some of our users have received a general user update email earlier today, which contained the email addresses of other users,” BitMEX said in a statement posted to its blog, adding an apology for the leak.

“Our team have acted immediately to contain the issue and we are taking steps to understand the extent of the impact. Rest assured that we are doing everything we can to identify the root cause of the fault and we will be in touch with any users affected by the issue.”

The exchange has blamed a bug for the leak claiming the error has been “identified and fixed.”

BitMEX, known for offering 100-times leverage trading, is currently being investigated by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for allowing U.S. traders to use its platform without a licence.

“This kind of thing is a massive privacy breach with potentially serious consequences,” Jake Chervinsky, general counsel at Compound Finance, said via Twitter, adding: “[It’s] the last thing a derivatives exchange needs to deal with during a CFTC investigation.”

BitMEX has requested its users add BitMEX’s support email to their contact lists to decrease phishing emails along with adding 2-factor authentication.

Shortly after BitMEX warned users about the email leak, the exchange’s Twitter account @BitMEXdotcom posted two tweets that were promptly deleted.

The first read “Hacked” and the second advised followers to: “Take Your [bitcoin] and run. Last day for withdrawals.”

The bitcoin price, which is still choppy after a roller-coaster October, barely reacted to news of the leak, remaining steady at a little over $9,000 per bitcoin.

Last month, the bitcoin price was suddenly heavily sold off before rebounding sharply just a couple of days later.

Meanwhile, Malta-based bitcoin exchange Binance, the world’s largest bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange by volume, warned its users to change their Binance-registered email accounts following BitMEX’s blunder.

BitMEX, known for offering 100-times leverage trading, has been criticised previously for potentially exposing traders to too much risk, with economist and bitcoin skeptic Nouriel Roubini attacking the exchange and claiming it “may be openly involved in systematic illegality.”

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: A Major Bitcoin Exchange Has A ‘Massive’ Problem

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The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

Bitcoin conspiracy theorists have long suspected the U.S. government, among others, would like to shut down bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s first decade has seen its price explode, making early adopters overnight millionaires, and prompting some of the world’s biggest technology companies to create their own versions of bitcoin.

Now, it’s been revealed federal prosecutor-turned bitcoin and cryptocurrency expert Katie Haun was asked to look into “shutting down” bitcoin by her boss at the U.S. attorney’s office in 2012.

“They said ‘we have this perfect assignment for you’–there’s this thing called bitcoin and we need to investigate it,” Haun told CNBC in a wide-ranging interview, adding a colleague asked her to take down bitcoin.

“That was the first time I’d ever heard of bitcoin.”

Over the next few years Haun would go on to sit on the board of U.S. bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase and teach a class on cryptocurrency at Stanford Law School.

Today In: Money

Any serious attempt made by the U.S. Department of Justice to shut down bitcoin inevitably came to naught, with Haun saying, “it would have been akin to saying ‘let’s go prosecute cash.'”

Haun, who is now the first female general partner at U.S. venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and co-heads its $350 million cryptocurrency fund, has worked closely with social media giant Facebook in development of its troubled libra cryptocurrency project.

U.S. government opposition to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has become far more transparent since Donald Trump entered the White House.

Earlier this year, U.S. president Trump sent shockwaves throughout the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry when he tweeted a vicious attack on Facebook’s bitcoin rival plans, branding it and bitcoin “unregulated crypto assets.”

Others in the U.S. government were quick to tow the line, with U.S. Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin adding his voice to the assault on bitcoin, Facebook’s planned Libra crypto project, and other cryptocurrencies, warning they pose a “national security” risk to the country.

Elsewhere, Apple chief executive Tim Cook has warned companies against creating their own cryptocurrencies.

“What we heard with libra were the same criticisms [I’d first heard about bitcoin]” Haun said.

“They were just heightened and they got more attention because of the high-profile nature of the project and the fact that Facebook was involved. I think it would be a really dangerous thing, and frankly a dangerous precedent to start shutting down technology before it’s built.”

Facebook’s libra has been under fire over the last week, with internet payments company PayPal, one of the Libra Association’s founding members, suddenly pulling out of the group on Friday.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and chief executive, had hoped to work with global regulators to clear libra’s path to launch in June 2020 but appears to have underestimated the level of opposition to the scheme.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: The U.S. Government Tried To Shut Down Bitcoin

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Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

Researchers from cloud security-as-a-service provider Armor’s Threat Resistance Unit (TRU) have been taking a deep dive into a dozen dark markets and forums. Analysis of the data compiled from trawling these English and Russian-speaking criminal marketplaces has been published in the annual Armor Black Market Report. As well as the usual tracking of the prices for stolen credit cards, bank account credentials and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) for-hire operators, there was one surprising new trend: a Bitcoin to cash conversion scheme that offers criminal buyers the opportunity to buy cash for pennies on the dollar. Paying $800 (£647) in Bitcoin gets you $10,000 (£8,095) in cash.

The Black Market Report

The Armor Black Market Report is the result of researchers from the Armor TRU trawling through underground internet markets and criminal forums. These “dark markets” are notorious for selling just about anything that can be stolen online, from personal and financial data to illicit services such as articles of incorporation for creating shell companies, the distribution malicious spam and even hackers for hire who will scrub your credit history.

The TRU research team analyzed and compiled data from twelve dark markets and criminal forums visited between February and June 2019. It came as no surprise to me that they found cybercriminal after cybercriminal selling credentials for as yet “unhacked” Windows remote desktop (RDP) servers. These are often used by ransomware actors looking for an entry point into corporate networks. That these credentials were being sold for as little as $20 (£16) was unexpected though. The cost of entry, quite literally, to the ransomware threat sector has never been cheaper.

Today In: Innovation

Neither, for that matter, has the cost of cold, hard cash. The TRU researchers found that, partly to get noticed in a crowded market and partly to offset the risk of monetizing stolen banking and credit card accounts, entrepreneurial threat actors are selling cash for between 10 and 12 cents on the dollar. This isn’t, as you might have guessed, a case of criminal philanthropy.

Instead, it’s a method for criminals to offload the risk of monetizing stolen account credentials by transferring the funds available rather than taking possession of them. It’s still money laundering, and it’s illegal, but it puts the most significant weight of risk onto the buyer.

Here’s how the buy cash for Bitcoin scheme works

The seller offers bundles of cash in various amounts, from $2,500 (£2,020) to $10,000 (£8,095) in exchange for a pre-paid fee in Bitcoin. That fee varies between 10% and 12%. Which means that $10,000 of cold cash can be bought for $800 in Bitcoin.

The buyer makes the payment and then chooses how they would like to collect the cash. This can be a straightforward transfer of funds to a bank or PayPal account or wired via Western Union. As well as getting a significant return on their illicit investment, the purchaser no longer has to worry about monetizing online bank account or credit card credentials. It’s a turn-key service; there’s no risky logging into compromised accounts, no money mules to worry about, just the (totally illegal) collection of cash.

“For those scammers who don’t possess the technical skills and a robust money mule network to monetize online bank account or credit card credentials, this is an offer that can be very attractive,” Chris Hinkley, head of Armor’s TRU team said, “the threat actors are still selling financial account and credit card credentials outright, but this clever service gives them an additional channel for monetizing the large amounts of financial data available on the underground.”

Money mules served well by dark market documentation

One of the other interesting things to come out of this analysis was the fact that cybercriminals are selling articles of incorporation and sole proprietorship papers on the dark market. Not shocking, but interesting. While the cash for Bitcoin transactions gets rid of the money mule requirement, there are still plenty of people who adopt that role, and these papers are aimed at them. A money mule is someone who transfers stolen money between accounts in exchange for a fee of between 10% and 20% of the value. For a money mule to be successful, they need to open business bank accounts that don’t trigger fraud alerts on larger transfer volumes. To open these accounts, they need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) assigned by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, and that’s where the documentation to create shell companies enters the equation. The documentation does not come cheap, however. Sole proprietorship papers complete with EIN were found on sale for $1,611 (£1,298), and Articles of Incorporation with EIN were $811 (£653).

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I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share

Source: Here’s Where $800 Of Bitcoin Buys You $10,000 Cash

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Warning Issued After Malware Is Found To Have Hijacked Bitcoin Blockchain

Bitcoin’s blockchain has been hijacked by a new strain of the Glupteba malware that uses the network to resist attacks, cyber security researchers have warned.

The malware uses the bitcoin blockchain to update, meaning it can continue running even if a device’s antivirus software blocks its connection to servers run by the hackers, security intelligence blog Trend Micro reported this week.

The Glupteba malware, first discovered in December 2018, is distributed through advertising designed to spread viruses through script and can steal an infected devices’ browsing history, website cookies, and account names and passwords with this particular variant found to be targeting file-sharing websites.

However, according to researchers, the new version of the malware can also mine the privacy-specialized monero cryptocurrency and threaten the security of Instagram users’ accounts.

The malware uses the Electrum bitcoin wallet to send bitcoin transactions that the attackers use to gain access to systems.

“This technique makes it more convenient for the threat actor to replace command and control servers,” Trend Micro researchers wrote. A command and control server is the centralized computer that issues commands to an infected network of devices.

The Glupteba malware, first discovered in December 2018, is distributed through advertising designed to spread viruses through script and can steal an infected devices’ browsing history, website cookies, and account names and passwords with this particular variant found to be targeting file-sharing websites.

However, according to researchers, the new version of the malware can also mine the privacy-specialized monero cryptocurrency and threaten the security of Instagram users’ accounts.

The malware uses the Electrum bitcoin wallet to send bitcoin transactions that the attackers use to gain access to systems.

“This technique makes it more convenient for the threat actor to replace command and control servers,” Trend Micro researchers wrote. A command and control server is the centralized computer that issues commands to an infected network of devices.

“If they lose control of a command and control server for any reason, they simply need to add a new bitcoin script and the infected machines obtain a new command and control server by decrypting the script data and reconnecting.”

It’s not the first time the bitcoin blockchain has been taken advantage of by criminals, with German researchers last year discovering child abuse imagery shared via the decentralized network.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Warning Issued After Malware Is Found To Have Hijacked Bitcoin Blockchain

by Christian Karam & Vitaly Kamluk The blockchain is the public ledger stacking all bitcoin/altcoins transactions. It is constantly growing as “completed” blocks are automatically added to it with a new set of records. The blocks are added to the blockchain in a linear and chronological order. The blockchain has complete information about the addresses and their balances right from the genesis block to the most recently completed block through the mining process. Depending on the crypto-currency and the implementation of its protocols, there would be a fixed open space, where data can be stored, referenced or hosted on the blockchain within encrypted transactions and their records. This very versatile nature of the blockchain offers great opportunities for future innovation especially in decentralized systems. The research focus revolves around the threat of embedding decentralized chunks of malware on the blockchain by either hosting it or referencing it with cascaded pointers. Transactions and data are encrypted throughout the blockchain networks using different versions of public/private key encryption. Could malware survive eternally inside crypto-transactions? A proof of concept will be explained highlighting the concerns revolving around the “abuse and bloating” of the blockchain while comparing it to previous malware hosting and deployment models. In this talk, INTERPOL will frame the scope of this future threat and provide potential solutions for a threat surrounding the blockchain technology.

Something Very Strange Is Going On With Bitcoin And BTC Google Searches

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency prices are well known to be closely tied to media and general public interest–-though that could be changing.

The bitcoin price has been climbing so far this year, rising some 200% since January, though has recently plateaued at around $10,000 per bitcoin after peaking at more than $12,000 in June.

Now, it appears Google searches for bitcoin and BTC, the name used by traders for the bitcoin digital token, could be being manipulated–-possibly in order to move the bitcoin price.

Source: Something Very Strange Is Going On With Bitcoin And BTC Google Searches

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Bitcoin Warning As Serious Security Vulnerabilities Uncovered

Bitcoin developers have been trying to make the world’s most popular cryptocurrency more useful for payments, with the somewhat controversial Lightning Network one of the most popular projects.

However, serious security vulnerabilities have this week been discovered on the bitcoin Lightning Network, which could result in users losing their funds if nodes are not upgraded.

“Security issues have been found in various Lightning projects which could cause loss of funds,” wrote software developer, Rusty Russell, who authored the majority part of bitcoin’s Lightning Network protocol specification, in a post shared via a Lightning Network mailing list. “Full details will be released in four weeks, please upgrade well before then.”

The specifics of the vulnerability will be disclosed on 27 September, a common software security practise to both prevent bug exploitation and give developers time to patch problems.

The vulnerability appears to be related to the lightning-ready bitcoin wallet Eclair, which Russell also advised users to update.

The Lightning Network, first proposed by Thaddeus Dryja and Joseph Poon in a 2015 white paper, creates a layer on top of the bitcoin blockchain, where transactions can be passed back and forth before being added to the underlying blockchain.

Today In: Money

This should mean bitcoin transaction speeds are increased while costs are significantly reduced.

There are now a few different Lightning-ready wallets available, as well as companies that are able to process them on behalf of merchants.

However, low user numbers mean bitcoin lightning nodes currently lose money when they process transactions, according to recent reports.

When sending a Lightning payment, two parties deposit the funds at one bitcoin address, a so-called channel, in which they can exchange funds a limitless number of times.

This maintains bitcoin’s security but means small, regular payments don’t need to be added to the underlying blockchain until the channel is closed.

Questions have been raised about what Lightning Network adoption will mean for the bitcoin price, with much of the price dependent on transaction fees picked up by miners.

Most are though confident that with increased bitcoin adoption the price will continue to rise.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Bitcoin Warning As Serious Security Vulnerabilities Uncovered

By Daniel Chechik, Ben Hayak, and Orit Kravitz Chechik A mysterious vulnerability from 2011 almost made the Bitcoin network collapse. Silk Road, MTGox, and potentially many more trading websites claim to be prone to “Transaction Malleability.” We will shed some light and show in practice how to exploit this vulnerability.

The Winklevoss Twins Made A Serious Wall Street Bitcoin Warning

The Winklevoss twins of Facebook-founding fame have long been strong advocates for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, buying up huge amounts of bitcoin and founding the U.S. Gemini crypto exchange.

The bitcoin price, now back above $10,000 per bitcoin after dipping under the psychological mark earlier this month, has climbed around 200% so far this year, emboldening bitcoin bulls who had feared last year’s bear market could drag on through 2019.

Now, the Winklevoss twins have warned Wall Street banks have been “asleep at the wheel” on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies—something that’s helped bitcoin retail investors.

“Unlike the internet, which you couldn’t buy a piece of, you can actually buy a piece of this new internet of money,” Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss told CNN.

“It’s still a retail-driven market, from day one. And a lot of people have done really well. Wall Street has been asleep at the wheel,” the twins warned.

Bitcoin’s epic 2017 bull run, which saw the bitcoin price soar from under $1,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to almost $20,000 in December, was largely thought to be due to Wall Street and institutional investment could be poised to flow into bitcoin and crypto.

When this investment failed to firmly materialise, the bitcoin price crashed to around $3,000 per bitcoin last year, only to rebound in 2019 as a result of technology companies taking an interest in bitcoin and crypto.

“We had to invest because we were afraid of missing out, we couldn’t miss out on this future,” the twins added.

Meanwhile, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss earlier said they are open to partnering with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on the social media giant’s libra cryptocurrency project after it was revealed they have been in talks about joining the Libra Association.

The newly-created, independent governance consortium for Facebook’s planned token currently counts 28 founding members but is expected to swell to around 100 by the time of libra’s launch next year.

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I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: The Winklevoss Twins Made A Serious Wall Street Bitcoin Warning

Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss talk with Ben Mezrich and Paul Vigna about Cryptocurrency and the Future of Money. Recorded July 9, 2019 at 92nd Street Y. What do bitcoin, ether, zcash, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies tell us about where capitalism is going next? And how did the Winklevoss twins see it coming? Cryptocurrency has emerged in the last decade as a powerful bellwether for what money might look like in the future—and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss are leading the way in how it’s being used. Join them for a fascinating discussion along with author Ben Mezrich (Bitcoin Billionaires) and the Wall Street Journal’s Paul Vigna about the origins of Gemini, their cryptocurrency exchange and custodian, and the future of money. Subscribe for more videos like this: http://bit.ly/1GpwawV Your support helps us keep our content free for all. Donate now: http://www.92y.org/donatenow?utm_sour… Facebook: http://facebook.com/92ndStreetY Instagram: http://Instagram.com/92ndStreetY Twitter: https://twitter.com/92Y Tumblr: http://92y.tumblr.com/ On Demand: http://www.92yondemand.org

Legendary Investor Makes Sudden, ‘Psycho’ Attack On Bitcoin

Bitcoin has divided opinion since it was created a little over a decade ago, with some seeing it as a sort of digital gold, while others dismissing it as a scam or pyramid scheme.

The bitcoin price, up over 200% so far this year after a disastrous 2018, has remained highly volatile, despite some thinking bitcoin has become a safe haven asset, similar to gold.

Now, legendary investor Mark Mobius, who last year founded his own Mobius Capital Partners after some 30 years at Franklin Templeton Investments, has attacked bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, branding them ‘psycho currencies,’ and predicting their emergence will ultimately push up the price of “real, hard” assets, such as gold.

“I call them psycho currencies, because it’s a matter of faith whether you believe in bitcoin or any of the other cyber-currencies,” Mobius told Bloomberg, a financial newswire.

Earlier this year, Mobius expressed his tacit support of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, saying they fulfill “a desire among people around the world to be able to transfer money easily and confidentially,” and he expected them to be “alive and well” in the future.

Mobius, who once branded bitcoin a “real fraud,” appeared to have changed his tune on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

However, his latest comments suggest Mobius’ belief in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies extends only as far as their emergence will boost the price of gold.

“I think with the rise of [bitcoin], there’s going to be a demand for real, hard assets, and that includes gold,” he added.

Gold has recently hit a six-year high due to a sharp rise in expectations of a U.S. and global recession, looser monetary policy from the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks, and the escalating U.S. China trade war.

Earlier this month, some bitcoin and cryptocurrency traders and investors excitedly proclaimed bitcoin a so-called safe haven asset, declaring it had joined the likes of gold as a refuge from rocky or uncertain markets.

However, a sudden, sharp fall in the bitcoin price as global markets continued to slide put paid to hopes bitcoin had become a safe haven asset.

Meanwhile, Mobius said investors should be “buying [gold] at any level,” pointing to dovish moves from many of the world’s biggest central banks, including the European Central Bank and the Fed.

“Gold’s long-term prospect is up, up and up, and the reason why I say that is money supply is up, up and up,” Mobius said.

Follow me on Twitter.

I am a journalist with significant experience covering technology, finance, economics, and business around the world. As the founding editor of Verdict.co.uk I reported on how technology is changing business, political trends, and the latest culture and lifestyle. I have covered the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012 and have charted its emergence as a niche technology into the greatest threat to the established financial system the world has ever seen and the most important new technology since the internet itself. I have worked and written for CityAM, the Financial Times, and the New Statesman, amongst others. Follow me on Twitter @billybambrough or email me on billyATbillybambrough.com. Disclosure: I occasionally hold some small amount of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Source: Legendary Investor Makes Sudden, ‘Psycho’ Attack On Bitcoin

Bill Harris, former PayPal CEO, discusses his op-ed on why he thinks bitcoin is a scam. »

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Former PayPal CEO Bill Harris Reveals Why He Thinks Bitcoin Is The Biggest Scam In History | CNBC

US Lawmakers Are Realizing They Can’t Ban Bitcoin

Those who have been longtime critics of Bitcoin usually have one key theory in common, which is that governments will eventually ban Bitcoin and cryptocurrency will then cease to exist in any meaningful form. For examples of this point of view, just look at economist Nouriel Roubini and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon.

That said, implementing such a ban is no easy task. After all, Bitcoin was built by cypherpunks as a form of digital money that would be unaffected by the desires of politicians and regulators around the world.

Lately, it appears that lawmakers in the United States are starting to realize the difficulties associated with a potential Bitcoin ban.

Bitcoin Ban Deemed Unlikely During Congressional Hearings

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology regulation. During that hearing, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) shared his belief that the United States would not be able to succeed in banning Bitcoin.

“If the United States were to decide — and I’m not saying that it should — if the United States were to decide we don’t want cryptocurrency to happen in the United States and tried to ban it, I’m pretty confident we couldn’t succeed in doing that because this is a global innovation,” said Crapo.

This statement came in the form of a question to Jeremy Allaire, who is the co-founder and CEO of global financial services company Circle. In his response, Allaire explained the new reality created by the creation of Bitcoin.

“I think the challenge that we all face with this is some of these cryptocurrencies — they’re literally just a piece of open-source software,” said Allaire. “There’s nothing else. It exists on the internet, it’s open-source software, anyone can implement it, it runs wherever the internet runs, and these have a monetary policy where these assets are algorithmically generated . . . That is a challenge that every government in the world now faces — that money, digital money, will move frictionlessly everywhere in the world at the speed of the internet.”

These remarks made during Tuesday’s hearing follow comments made by U.S. Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) from earlier in the month when he stated “there’s no capacity to kill Bitcoin” during an interview with CNBC.

Back in May, Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA) claimed that Congress should implement a ban on Bitcoin, but Sherman did not share specific details as to how such a ban could be effectively achieved.

                                

The difficulties associated with implementing a ban on Bitcoin are behind one economist’s theory that the best way to kill the cryptocurrency would be for governments to become more competitive in terms of monetary policy and financial freedom.

Abra CEO Bill Barhydt has also pointed out that bringing forth a Bitcoin ban could be legally difficult for the U.S. Government. That said, there is growing support for bans on encryption-based technologies among various law enforcement agencies in the United States, in addition to the Trump White House.

On the other hand, more centralized cryptocurrency systems like Facebook’s Libra project, which is really a cryptocurrency in name only, would be much easier for governments to control.

It should be noted that extreme limitations on technology and financial freedom, such as the new cash-related bill making its way through the Parliament of Australia, may end up unintentionally educating more people as to why Bitcoin has value in the first place.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I’m a writer who has been following Bitcoin since 2011. I’ve worked all over the Bitcoin media space — from being editor-in-chief at Inside Bitcoins to contributing to Bitcoin Magazine on a regular basis. My work has also been featured in Business Insider, VICE Motherboard, and many other financial and tech media outlets. I’m mostly interested in the use of Bitcoin for transactions that would be censored by the traditional financial system (think darknet markets and ransomware) in addition to the use of bitcoin as an unseizable, digital store of value. Altcoins, appcoins, and ICOs don’t make much sense to me. Find all of my work at kyletorpey.com. Disclosure: I hold some bitcoin.

Source: US Lawmakers Are Realizing They Can’t Ban Bitcoin

A Stark Prediction For The Future Of Bitcoin, ETH, XRP, And LTC

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Bitcoin, ETH, XRP, and LTC prices, will be on a roller coaster for a long time. Traders and investors will make and lose fortunes in record time, betting on them. In the end, say some analysts, these cryptocurrencies will either die on their own, or be killed by the ‘establishment’ — big governments and big banks around the world that defend sovereign currencies.

Take the case for Bitcoin.

The “people’s currency” holds a great promise: to become the first true global currency, free of the control of central banks that print money and big banks that generate credit.  But to do that, Bitcoin must gain the trust of the “general public.“ This means it must be adopted as a medium of exchange, standard of value, and store of value, replacing national currencies.That isn’t easy, given the many obstacles Bitcoin has to overcome. Like lack of awareness, familiarity, and stability, etc. And that makes some experts bearish about the future of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Price YTD

Bitcoin Price YTD

Lars Seier Christensen, Chairman of Concordium, the next-generation decentralized world computer, is one of them. “In the longer term, I am bearish on bitcoin as I believe it does not have the necessary characteristics of a longer-term valuable asset and, eventually, that reality will catch up” says Christensen.“But in the short term, price movements will likely be random as Bitcoin is affected by low liquidity and unpredictable bigger trades.”

Unpredictability will make it hard for Bitcoin to gain broad adoption as a medium of exchange. And without broad adoption, Bitcoin will remain a play for speculators and true believers, and eventually die on its own.

But even if Bitcoin overcomes all these obstacles and gains broad adoption by the general public, and was in a position to replace national currencies — ie, become the new currency — what would happen then?

Bears argue that the “establishment” cannot afford to let that happen.

For a couple of reasons, including  the loss of Seigniorage” — simply put, the profit made by the national governments by printing currency. Then there’s the profit made by banks helping circulate that money and create credit.

The establishment will do whatever it takes to defend these profits from Bitcoin and any other cryptocurrency that seeks to replace it.

Recent Congressional hearings on Libra attests to the determination of the establishment to protect the dollar from competing cryptocurrencies. In a rare display of unity, Democrats and Republicans opposed Libra, and had many unkind words for Bitcoin.

“Cryptocurrencies that are ONLY there as a currency substitute, however, have no real long-term future,” says Christensen.“They will be outlawed by governments wanting to control the money supply and taxation, and in any case, cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic long-term value of significance. Hence, Bitcoin will only survive as a fringe activity.”

Not everyone agrees with this gloomy assessment, however. Dave Hodgson, Director and Co-Founder of NEM Ventures, is one of them.

“In my opinion, Bitcoin will never die nor be killed by the establishment, despite some people’s efforts to the contrary,” says Hodgson. “The recent drop we have seen in Bitcoin is within the boundaries of what our analysts were expecting from technical analysis. However, the timescale has been slightly skewed in light of recent announcements, primarily from US government representatives.”

 Corentin Denoeud, CEO and Co-founder of Blockchain Studio, is another .

“The fact that governments around the world are even talking about crypto is a sign of progress for the blockchain industry in general,” says Denoeud. “While countries such as India have called for the outlawing of cryptocurrencies, representatives from Germany’s Central Bank have responded favourably and advanced the view that cryptocurrencies are not a threat to global monetary stability. Even China, who has previously banned ICOs and cryptocurrency trading, has called bitcoin a ‘safe-haven asset’ (via its state-run media agency) and is now reportedly stepping up its own efforts to create its own cryptocurrency, following Facebook’s unveiling of Libra.”

 While it’s still unclear which side is right, one thing is clear: Bitcoin (and ETH, XRP, LTC, etc) true believers who think that cryptocurrency will eventually replace national currencies, need a 101 lesson in Money and Banking.

Follow me on Twitter.

I’m Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at LIU Post in New York. I also teach at Columbia University. I’ve published several articles in professional journals and magazines, including Barron’s, The New York Times, Japan Times, Newsday, Plain Dealer, Edge Singapore, European Management Review, Management International Review, and Journal of Risk and Insurance. I’ve have also published several books, including Collective Entrepreneurship, The Ten Golden Rules, WOM and Buzz Marketing, Business Strategy in a Semiglobal Economy, China’s Challenge: Imitation or Innovation in International Business, and New Emerging Japanese Economy: Opportunity and Strategy for World Business. I’ve traveled extensively throughout the world giving lectures and seminars for private and government organizations, including Beijing Academy of Social Science, Nagoya University, Tokyo Science University, Keimung University, University of Adelaide, Saint Gallen University, Duisburg University, University of Edinburgh, and Athens University of Economics and Business. Interests: Global markets, business, investment strategy, personal success.

Source: A Stark Prediction For The Future Of Bitcoin, ETH, XRP, And LTC

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