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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.

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Bitcoin Has ‘No Intrinsic Value,’ As U.K. ‘Moves Towards’ Crypto Ban

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation has been pushed into the limelight over recent weeks, thanks to social media giant Facebook’s high profile plans to launch its own potential rival to bitcoin sometime next year.

The bitcoin price, which had been climbing on rumors that big technology companies were taking an interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, has plateaued at around $10,000 per bitcoin after a number of countries rebuffed Facebook’s plans, unveiled in June.

Now, the U.K.’s financial services watchdog has warned potential investors that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have “no intrinsic value,” with some taking the caution as a signal the country could be moving towards a bitcoin ban.

“This is a small, complex and evolving market covering a broad range of activities,” said Christopher Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition at the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which oversees London’s huge banking industry.

“Today’s guidance will help clarify which crypto-asset activities fall inside our regulatory perimeter,” Woolard added, with the FCA warning: “Consumers should be cautious when investing in such crypto-assets and should ensure they understand and can bear the risks involved with assets that have no intrinsic value.”

The FCA branding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as without “intrinsic value” is likely to rile many bitcoin believers who have long argued blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies, gives the digital tokens value.

“It is technically true that cryptocurrencies have no ‘intrinsic value’ when compared to share ownership in actual companies, however there are many examples where a marketplace bestows value on an intangible asset,” Jon Ostler, of comparison site Finder.com, told the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper. “For example, the brand of ‘bitcoin’ itself has value and although its future place in society is still unclear, it is one of the most likely coins to stay the course.”

The warning from the U.K. comes shortly after U.S. president Donald Trump unleashed a scathing attack on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, comments that were then echoed by other senior officials in his administration, including Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin who branded bitcoin and cryptocurrencies a “national security issue.”

It’s thought that Trump’s attacks on bitcoin and crypto were in direct response to Facebook’s libra cryptocurrency project, which, if successful, could undermine the international dominance of the U.S. dollar.

“Although not a ban, [the U.K.’s FCA warning is] a move in that direction,” said Herbert Sim, head of business development from Broctagon Fintech Group. “This lack of enthusiasm is shared by several countries; the U.S. with its scrutiny of libra, and India, who are looking to implement a similar ban on cryptocurrencies which are not state regulated. These movements could end up coming back to bite. The international competition on cryptocurrencies is heating up and there are huge risks in being left behind.”

Meanwhile, the watchdog warned investing in what it called “unregulated crypto-assets” will not be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which pays out if the investment collapses.

“It remains possible in the future that if an unregulated token is subject to common acceptance and usage in the U.K. then either the FCA or the Bank of England will reconsider this position in order to ensure that adequate consumer protection exists,” said Tim Dolan, partner at law firm Reed Smith.

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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

 

Source: Bitcoin Has ‘No Intrinsic Value,’ As U.K. ‘Moves Towards’ Crypto Ban

NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition

Bakkt – the cryptocurrency startup launched by New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) owner Intercontinental Exchange – just yanked the lid off the full range of its blockchain ambitions.

The firm announced today that it has acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC) as part of its efforts to gain regulatory approval for its crypto products.

Reportedly, Bakkt is less concerned with merely building a Bitcoin exchange than they are with offering institutional custody and payment platform services, all of which still requires regulatory approval.

Bakkt Acquires Crypto Custodian DACC

bakkt bitcoin futures

Bitcoin startup Bakkt acquired a crypto custodian to help bring its regulated platform to market. | Source: Shutterstock

The company recently announced its application for a BitLicense, and it is also pushing to become a trust company in New York. The company’s efforts have been repeatedly stalled by regulatory delays, despite positive news around its partnerships with Starbucks, Microsoft, and others.

Coinbase previously acquired a trust charter with the New York Department of Financial Services. Becoming a trust can be a faster process than becoming a BitLicense recipient, which can take several years. Bakkt says in a new blog post that it’s applied for a charter, and recently we reported that they’re also seeking a BitLicense.

Bakkt wants to offer Bitcoin futures contracts that pay out in cryptocurrency, which would set them apart from other Bitcoin futures offerings. Bakkt has several other ambitious projects in mind, but it must get through several layers of red tape before it finally launches.

Adam White wrote in Bakkt’s blog today:

“To provide regulated custody, we have filed with the New York Department of Financial Services for approval to become a trust company and in this capacity serve as a Qualified Custodian for digital assets. […] It is with that same commitment to setting a new standard for securely storing digital assets that we’re excited to announce that we have acquired Digital Asset Custody Company (DACC). DACC shares our security-first mindset and brings extensive experience offering secure, scalable custody solutions to institutional clients. The team’s experience integrating multiple blockchains and operating cutting-edge consensus mechanisms is a valuable addition to our team and future product line.”

Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler told Fortune:

“From the ground up what ICE has been building for two years is the safest version of a custody solution for digital assets.”

Custody: The Key to Mass Bitcoin Adoption?

bitcoin wallet crypto

A lack of regulated custodians has kept many crypto-curious institutions out of the burgeoning asset class. | Source: Shutterstock

Bakkt and Coinbase have both claimed that offering secure, modern custodial solutions for cryptocurrency will encourage institutional investors to expand their portfolios to include the speculative asset class. Thus far, Coinbase and Circle’s offerings have yet to make a significant dent in the overall market.

Fidelity, a traditional assets management company, also nears completion of its custodial solution. A range of options doesn’t necessarily equate to investor interest, but their availability may play a vital role during any future bull run. Institutional investors will, at a minimum, have several popular options to choose from if they consider getting into the market, opportunities that didn’t exist in previous times.

Bakkt’s current push is three-pronged:

  • They’ve acquired a company already engaged in playing custodian to digital assets.
  • They’ve applied for a BitLicense.
  • They’re working to become a registered trust.

There are other avenues they might still pursue, such as operating without New York as an available market at first. What is clear is that the company is anxious to get into the game, and the recent bull market activity is probably not far from their mind.

Source: NYSE-Linked Bitcoin Exchange Bakkt Just Unveiled a Major Acquisition

Sleeping with the Enemy: Why Institutional Adoption is Bad for Bitcoin

bitcoin, wall street, crypto, nyse

If recent noises coming out of Wall Street are anything to go by, it looks like 2019 is shaping up to be the year of the institutions for Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.

However, the arrival of the institutions as they stampede over that hill represents a double-edged sword. On the one hand, prices will almost certainly pump in the short to medium term, even if just by association alone.

On the other hand, we appear to be in the process of welcoming into our beds the very enemy that cryptocurrency was set up to defeat – the old, deep-rooted bloodlines of the financial elite.


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So yes, the institutions are absolutely coming to crypto, and if you think that’s a good thing, then this may be a good time to ask where your loyalties actually lie.

Cryptocurrency’s Overton Window Threatens to Get Smaller

gemini bitcoin crypto exchange

Gemini, the crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins, is touting its status as a “regulated” platform to lure institutions. | Source: Shutterstock

The Overton window refers to the range of ideas that are permitted to be discussed in the public sphere. The topics outside the window aren’t necessarily banned or censored – they’re just buried so deep that most people don’t know they exist. Not until years later when you stumble across them in some shady corner of the internet, usually presented in the form of a rouge-colored pill.

As has already been witnessed in the r/bitcoin subreddit, when people have a vested interest to protect, they will quite happily make adjustments to the length and breadth of the Overton window to keep its range of view to their liking.

Deleting unfavourable comments from a crypto subreddit isn’t all that surprising, especially given how much rabid coin holders want to protect their investments. But there’s ample evidence to suggest that the rampant censorship on r/bitcoin began only when the institutions arrived.

Those institutions are the financial backers behind Bitcoin’s leading development group – Blockstream. They include AXA Venture Partners, an investment wing of AXA Group – the second largest financial services firm in the world. Blockstream has helped guide the development of Bitcoin since 2016, and if you didn’t already know that, then it may be because the Overton window has been set up specifically so that you don’t.

Without veering into the Bilderberg conspiracy, the censorship of r/bitcoin offers a taste of how the ‘old money’ institutions react to cryptocurrency’s open-source, decentralized ideals. They laugh, then proceed to take your money.

Recuperation: Absorbing Bitcoin Without Killing It

facebook privacy scandal

It’s hard to believe that Facebook was once hailed as a technological messiah. Will crypto suffer a similar fate? | Source: JOEL SAGET / AFP

“Whoops! The web is not the web we wanted in every respect.”

Those words were uttered by Sir Tim Berners-Lee earlier this year, as the man who invented the World Wide Web bemoaned the fact that the original dream of the internet had not come to fruition.

Berners-Lee was comparing the early 1990s notions of what the internet promised to be – free, open, anonymous, decentralized – with the internet we’ve come to know today – censored, controlled, tracked, and spied upon, thanks to the collusion of governments and big tech corporations.

Note: the internet didn’t need to be destroyed to have its disruptive potential neutralized; it only had to be brought round to the accepted way of doing things. This is a process which has happened often enough to gain its own name – recuperation, defined as:

the process by which politically radical ideas and images are twisted, co-opted, absorbed, defused, incorporated, annexed and commodified within media culture and bourgeois society, and thus become interpreted through a neutralized, innocuous or more socially conventional perspective.”

Some Bitcoin enthusiasts were predicting a fate of recuperation for the crypto space back in 2014, such as this early Bitcoin miner by the name of Stefan Molyneux.

Zooming in on the internet analogy, in 2011 Facebook was being hailed as a technological messiah for the inadvertent role it played in helping to organize the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt. Fast forward a few years, and Mark Zuckerberg’s social network has become one of the biggest threats to privacy in internet history.

Crypto is the Cure: But Will We Take Our Medicine in Time?

bitcoin crypto

Bitcoin’s future success or failure as a tool of freedom will not come down to the efficiency of its technology, but whether or not people can step up to the responsibility of being their own caretaker. | Source: Shutterstock

The only way to avoid the snare of the banksters, the globalists, the mainstream, the man – whoever it may be – is to become independent and self-sufficient enough that we no longer need to buy what they’re selling. Under those conditions, no amount of propaganda or salesmanship would have an effect, since there would be no gaping hole left in our lives for them to fill.

The ears of libertarians should be picking up about now, and rightly so. The plight of libertarianism as a political ideology is very analogous to the plight of Bitcoin in its quest to liberate the masses from financial bondage.

The fate of libertarianism depends not on its efficacy as a system of governance, but rather on the ability of the average citizen to live up to its ideals. Likewise, Bitcoin’s future success or failure as a tool of freedom will not come down to the efficiency of its technology, but whether or not people can step up to the responsibility of being their own caretaker.

In today’s culture of dependence, the prospect of either of these eventualities coming to fruition seems slim. The education required to foster this new mentality of independence isn’t found in the public school system. If the sudden increase in Bitcoin’s use in Venezuela is anything to go by, then as is often the case as we look through history, we may first need to suffer catastrophe before we can see where we’ve gone wrong.

Perhaps a catastrophe similar to, or worse than, the one which caused a cipher named Satoshi Nakamoto to commence work on Bitcoin in 2008.

“03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

Bitcoin’s Future is Not Set – its Fate is what it makes for Itself

bitcoin, institutional investor

It’s unlikely that the established financial order will just saddle up and play along with the quasi-anarchist rules set up by a freakish band of coders and cypherpunks.| Source: Shutterstock

Look, if the institutions arrive and all they do is use cryptocurrency to diversify and boost their pension funds, then all is well. Prices will increase through increased demand and exposure, and all of us early adopters will reap the benefits of this adoption in the long run.

It’s unlikely, however, that the established financial order will just saddle up and play along with the quasi-anarchist rules set up by a freakish band of coders and cypherpunks. Yes, they’ll use the technology, but that doesn’t mean they’ll play by its rules.

This has been seen already as firms like JP Morgan and Facebook turn to creating their own cryptocurrencies – based on their own private protocols, with their own self-tailored rules. Strangely enough, this could turn out to be the most amicable solution between the cryptosphere and the institutions – they have their ‘cryptos,’ and we keep the real thing.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.

Source: Sleeping with the Enemy: Why Institutional Adoption is Bad for Bitcoin

Twitter CEO believes internet will have its native currency, possibly Bitcoin

In an interview with Joe Rogan, Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey answers the question on whether or not he will create his own cryptocurrency. He said that he has no plans for that at the moment, however, he expressed his personal view towards cryptocurrency and the internet. Dorsey believes that the internet will have its native currency one day, although he doesn’t know what that would be………

Source: Twitter CEO believes internet will have its native currency, possibly Bitcoin

Bitcoin Does Not Threaten Global Economy According To FSB

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies do not pose a threat to the world economy, but should be monitored as the market “continues to evolve rapidly.” That’s the assessment of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international body that monitors the global economy. The observations were brought to light in a December 28 report by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which is India’s central bank. The RBI report noted: The FSB has undertaken a review of the financial stability risks posed by the rapid growth of crypto-assets. Its initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability currently.

Source: Bitcoin Does Not Threaten Global Economy According To FSB

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