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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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DuckDuckGo Research Makes Bullish Case For Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency

DuckDuckGo, which is a privacy-focused online search engine, recently surveyed the general public’s view on the importance of privacy on the internet. The results indicated that people care about the amount of information being collected about them online, and many respondents even claimed they have taken action to better protect their personal data.

“The results are clear: not only are privacy concerns widespread, but people are, indeed, taking action,” said a DuckDuckGo blog post regarding the study.

This greater interest in online privacy should have a positive impact on Bitcoin adoption over the long term, as the cryptocurrency is basically the financial equivalent of deleting one’s Facebook account.

DuckDuckGo Research Shows People Care About Their Privacy

According to the DuckDuckGo survey, which involved a random sample of 1,114 Americans aged 18 and older, nearly 80% of respondents adjusted their privacy settings or reduced their use of social media in the past year. Additionally, almost a quarter of those surveyed claimed they had deleted or deactivated social media accounts due to privacy concerns.

Today In: Money

The changes social media users have made to their accounts include the removal of location tags on posts and taking their profiles private.

Outside of the social media realm, 38.6% of respondents in the survey said they have used a password manager in the past year and 24.1% said they had used a virtual private network (VPN).

On top of the numbers shared related to the survey, the blog post from DuckDuckGo also claimed the privacy-focused search engine company has seen 68% growth over the past year. Notably, a Pew Research survey from 2018 found results similar to those found in this new evaluation from DuckDuckGo.

The Bitcoin Connection

Now, those who do not quite understand why Bitcoin was created in the first place may be wondering what this DuckDuckGo research has to do with the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. In short, the increased desire for online privacy and true ownership over one’s data should also lead to greater interest in and adoption of Bitcoin because the cryptocurrency is the only option when it comes to digital financial self-sovereignty.

The only way for financial privacy and a form of digital money that doesn’t rely on trust in a third party to exist online is through a decentralized system like Bitcoin. In the past, centralized digital currency systems that allowed for a greater degree of privacy, such as E-gold and Liberty Reserve, were shut down by government agencies. When it comes to Bitcoin, lawmakers are aware that they are unable to regulate, control, or ban the cryptocurrency network.

The importance of the existence of something like Bitcoin becomes increasingly obvious as the world moves towards a cashless society.

According to Castle Island Ventures Partner Nic Carter, this focus on digital financial self-sovereignty is something that is often overlooked by the altcoins.

Although the Bitcoin price has struggled recently, this utility of Bitcoin to provide increased financial privacy and seizure-resistant properties in the digital realm is why some investors are predicting the crypto asset could go as high as $100,000 in a couple of years.

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: DuckDuckGo Research Makes Bullish Case For Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency

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Why DuckDuckGo is the best website…? Quora page: https://www.quora.com/Why-should-I-us… DuckDuckGo: https://duckduckgo.com/ Thanks for watching… duckduckgo duckduckgo.com vs google twitter im just adding random keywords in for seo Music: Bakin by Kid Ocean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvoMU… Gonk

Bitcoin Chaos Continues As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Libra Woes

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets went into meltdown this week, with the bitcoin price suddenly falling off a cliff.

The bitcoin price lost some 15% in a shock sell-off on Tuesday, dragging down the wider bitcoin and crypto market and catching traders, who had hoped the hotly-anticipated Bakkt crypto platform launch would give bitcoin a boost, off-guard.

Now, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has revealed his libra cryptocurrency, which is largely credited with sparking bitcoin’s bull run earlier this year, may not launch in 2020, as previously expected.

“Obviously we want to move forward at some point soon [and] not have this take many years to roll out,” Zuckerberg told Nikkei Asian Review, a Japanese business newspaper. “But right now I’m really focused on making sure that we do this well.”

Facebook’s libra has run into opposition around the world as countries, including India, France and the U.S., warn it will undermine their national currencies, with U.S. president Donald Trump launching a blistering attack on libra, bitcoin, and crypto earlier this year.

Bitcoin traders and investors have closely-watched the development of Facebook’s libra, which has been adopted as something of a cryptocurrency regulatory bellwether and a tacit endorsement of bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology.

“A lot of people have had questions and concerns, and we’re committed to making sure that we work through all of those before moving forward,” Zuckerberg added.

The bitcoin price lost further ground yesterday, dropping some 5% and dipping below the psychological $8,000 per bitcoin mark.

Bitcoin cash, an offshoot of bitcoin itself, led the cryptocurrency market lower, recording losses for the day of over 5% and taking its weekly decline to almost 30%.

The bitcoin sell-off comes after a muted launch of the New York Stock Exchange owner Intercontinental Exchange’s Bakkt crypto platform, which was unveiled last year boasting software giant Microsoft and coffee chain Starbucks among its partners.

Bakkt’s platform allows traders and institutional investors to swap so-called “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts, meaning traders and investors are not able to sell more bitcoin than they actually have, but the total number traded came to just 72 by the end of its first day, compared to over 5,000 traded on the first day of CME’s cash-settled futures, launched at the peak of bitcoin-mania in December 2017.

“Bitcoin staged a brief recovery yesterday but is again below [$8,000], currently trading at $7,990,” Marcus Swanepoel, chief executive of bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Luno, said in a note to traders.

“Similar losses have been recorded by all the main altcoins. The loss of value is certainly as a result of the overall global market negativity, but the change in the structure of the market with the launch of the bitcoin futures on Bakkt is thought, by a number of traders, to have been a contributing factor.”

Facebook’s libra, considered by some to be a competitor to bitcoin, is being pitched as a global currency, with the social media giant aiming to bring as many countries on board as possible.

However, the primary target is developing countries where banking and access to finance is low.

Facebook and Zuckerberg, who launched the platform in 2004, are both still reeling from a string of data-sharing and privacy scandals that have plagued the company in recent years and led to questions around the power of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest internet companies.

“Part of the approach and how we’ve changed is that now when we do things that are going to be very sensitive for society, we want to have a period where we can go out and talk about them and consult with people and get feedback and work through the issues before rolling them out,” Zuckerberg said.

“And that’s a very different approach than what we might have taken five years ago. But I think it’s the right way for us to do this at the scale that we operate in.”

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: Bitcoin Chaos Continues As Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Reveals Libra Woes

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is speaking at the social media giant’s annual F8 Conference, where it will announce new services. » Subscribe to NowThis: http://go.nowth.is/News_Subscribe #Facebook #F8 #MarkZuckerberg Connect with NowThis » Like us on Facebook: http://go.nowth.is/News_Facebook » Tweet us on Twitter: http://go.nowth.is/News_Twitter » Follow us on Instagram: http://go.nowth.is/News_Instagram » Find us on Snapchat Discover: http://go.nowth.is/News_Snapchat NowThis is your premier news outlet providing you with all the videos you need to stay up to date on all the latest in trending news. From entertainment to politics, to viral videos and breaking news stories, we’re delivering all you need to know straight to your social feeds. We live where you live. http://www.youtube.com/nowthisnews @nowthisnews

Bitcoin Market Falls Sharply As Litecoin Suddenly Crashes

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency market watchers were on high alert today as the eagerly-anticipated Bakkt crypto platform went live.

The bitcoin price failed to perform, however, with bitcoin losing around 2% of its value since Bakkt began trading its “physically” settled bitcoin futures contracts, with some $8 billion wiped from the wider cryptocurrency market today.

Meanwhile, litecoin, the fifth largest cryptocurrency by market value, has suddenly gone into free fall, losing almost 10% of its value in a matter of minutes.

The reason for litecoin’s sudden sell-off was not immediately clear, however litecoin is down some 50% since June, thought to be a response to the gains litecoin made earlier in the year as traders cashed out of their positions.

Today In: Money

Litecoin, which has been called the silver to bitcoin’s gold, surged in the first half of 2019 as traders bet an August so-called halvening of the cryptocurrency, where miner rewards for finding blocks are cut, putting a squeeze on supply, would spark a crypto bull market.

Bitcoin is itself due to undergo a halvening event in May next year and many have suggested this will be the catalyst for the next major bitcoin leap higher.

However, many had also expected bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency market to get a boost when the Bakkt platform began operating today.

Bakkt, an Intercontinental Exchange-backed bitcoin and crypto platform, was unveiled last year and boasted computing giant Microsoft and coffee chain Starbucks among its partners–promising to open up bitcoin to institutional investors and bring crypto spending to the high street.

Trading of Bakkt’s hyped “physical” bitcoin futures, meaning that traders and investors are not able to sell more bitcoin than they actually have, have been muted today, however.

There were just five bitcoin futures contracts traded via the platform after the first hour, rising to 28 ten hours after launch.

Traders and bitcoin industry executives were quick to play down Bakkt’s slow start.

“Bakkt will be likely first a trickle and then a flood,” Su Zhu, chief executive of Singapore-based hedge fund Three Arrows Capital, said via Twitter.

“The reality is that most regulated futures contracts get low adoption on day one simply because not all futures brokers are ready to clear it, many people want to wait and see, the tickers are not even populated on risk systems.”

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: Bitcoin Market Falls Sharply As Litecoin Suddenly Crashes

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The cryptocurrency market has fallen sharply over the past couple of days and is currently at $241 billion market capitalization at the time of recording. While the Bithumb hacking and Japanese regulators’ strict outlook towards cryptocurrency exchanges are being cited as reasons for the sharp decline, the likely cause is that we are still stuck in a long-term bearish cycle. We have still not discovered the bottom of the market, and chances are that the market will continue to be in a state of decline for some time. EOS has taken the biggest hit after a stop-start mainnet launch and controversies surround centralization and constitution. We strongly recommend cryptocurrency investors to take a mid-to-long term approach towards investing and hodl strongly. We believe that mainstream adoption and regulation will brining institutional investors and the next set of retail investors to the market driving prices up in the ling run. References: Correction Deepens as Coin Values Approach 2018 Lows: https://hacked.com/cryptocurrency-mar… Cryptocurrency Market Drops to $241 Billion, EOS Takes a Huge Beating: https://www.ccn.com/cryptocurrency-ma… Bitcoin Price Hits 2018-Low at $5,825, Where Will it Bottom Out?: https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-price-hit… Follow Crypto Dost on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheCryptoDost For enquiries, write to thecryptodost@gmail.com Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I have made this channel to share my experiences in the cryptocurrency market. I am not a professional financial advisor and the information provided is solely for educational purposes. Consult your own financial advisors and do your own research before investing in cryptocurrencies. Investing in cryptocurrencies is inherently risky and you can also lose all the amount you invested. Only invest the amount you can afford to lose. The channel shall not be liable to the viewer for any damages, claims, expenses or losses of any kind (whether direct or indirect) suffered by the viewer from or in connection with the information obtained on this channel.

 

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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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.

Blockstream Reveals Massive Bitcoin Mining Facilities, Fidelity An Early Customer

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On Thursday, blockchain technology company Blockstream revealed details related to their massive Bitcoin mining data centers in Quebec, Canada and Adel, Georgia. The facilities account for a combined 300 megawatts worth of energy capacity, and they’re currently available for hosting enterprise-level mining activities, in addition to Blockstream’s own mining operations.

Blockstream plans to open their facilities to smaller scale miners in the future. For now, two of their active customers include Fidelity Center for Applied Technology and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman.

The size of Blockstream’s mining facilities cannot be overstated. According to Blockstream CSO Samson Mow, the facilities would account for roughly 6 exahashes of Bitcoin mining power if used at full capacity with the latest ASIC mining hardware. This would have equated to 10% of Bitcoin’s total network hashrate less than a month ago, according to BitInfoCharts. However, the Bitcoin network hashrate recently skyrocketed to around 80 exahashes this week.

In addition to their mining centers, Blockstream will soon launch the first mining pool with a focus on putting more power back into the hands of individual miners via the BetterHash protocol.

Blockstream Concerned About Bitcoin Mining Centralization

According to a company blog post, Blockstream first got into Bitcoin mining due to concerns around the centralization of the industry back in 2017. At that time, the activation process for Segregated Witness (SegWit), which was a capacity increase and bug fix for the Bitcoin network, had become politicized by Bitcoin miners in the eyes of many Bitcoin developers and users.

Concerns related to Bitcoin mining centralization were recently discussed on a panel at the Bitcoin 2019 conference in San Francisco. Genesis Mining CEO Marco Streng explained why Bitcoin users should be more alarmed about the level of centralization in mining, while longtime Bitcoin developer Matt Corallo did his best to point out the issue may not be as bad as it seems at first glance.

Notably, Blockstream CEO Dr. Adam Back, who was cited in the original Bitcoin white paper, also spoke at the conference regarding his thoughts on the future of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies alongside Yugen Partners Chief Scientist Dr. Scott Stornetta, who was also cited in the Bitcoin white paper.

Putting Power Back in Miners’ Hands

In addition to pushing for the geographic decentralization of Bitcoin mining, Blockstream’s upcoming mining pool should be helpful due to its use of BetterHash. The BetterHash protocol, which was developed by the aforementioned Corallo, solves a key issue with mining centralization in that it allows individual miners to choose which transactions go into new blocks rather than the mining pool operators.

While Bitcoin mining is rather centralized in terms of mining pools, the picture looks much better in terms of the diversity of entities that are actually operating the hardware. Putting individual miners in control of transaction selection means collusion in terms of transaction censorship, blockchain reorganizations, or other types of 51% attacks on the network would be much more difficult.

Braiins also recently announced a new mining protocol, called Stratum v2, that offers a similar upgrade in terms of the decentralization of transaction selection (based on Corallo’s work).

When asked why Blockstream decided to go with BetterHash rather than Stratum v2, Blockstream CSO Samson Mow stated, “Stratum v2 seems to still be in the discussion phase, and we started with BetterHash months ago.”

Some critics may argue that implementing BetterHash while also developing large Bitcoin mining data centers may be a bit of a contradiction in terms of promoting decentralization, but Mow pushed back on this argument when reached for comment.

“I don’t believe Blockstream Mining poses centralization risks,” said Mow. “If anything, Blockstream Mining serves to decentralize the Bitcoin mining ecosystem in many ways. We’re self-mining with just a small portion of our available power, with the rest allocated to customers, and we have plans to make the hosting service available to smaller miners that otherwise would not be able to mine effectively. Also, by leveraging the BetterHash protocol in our mining pool, all of our customers can run their own full-nodes and build block templates. This means the pool cannot use their hashrate for censoring transactions or falsely signaling readiness for Bitcoin protocol upgrades – which has happened in the past as with SegWit2x.”

Even with these concerns around Bitcoin mining centralization, some U.S. lawmakers are convinced they would not be able to ban Bitcoin.

On the other hand, Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency project would be much easier to manipulate, regulate, and control. That said, multiple members of the Bitcoin industry have pointed out the roundabout ways Bitcoin could benefit Facebook’s Libra.

That said, even if improvements are made to the decentralization and censorship resistance of Bitcoin from a technical level, the reality is the digital cash system still faces a serious regulatory issue in terms of its use as a payments mechanism due to the way in which the crypto asset is taxed.

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

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

Bitcoin Price Crashes $800 in Minutes as Bears Eye $9K Support Next

Bitcoin Price Crashes $800 in Minutes as Bears Eye $9K Support Next

Bitcoin traders eat their wallets

Traders were scratching their heads on social media Saturday in the wake of the sudden losses, with BTC/USD crashing from $10,180 to $9,410.

At press time, the pair had recovered marginally to circle $9,500, while a lack of obvious factors left commentators struggling to understand the market.

As Cointelegraph reported, a return to $10,000 earlier came as a surprise after a similar uptick occurred in a matter of minutes.

Previously, regular commentator Josh Rager had eyed a break below $9,600 as a gateway to lower levels, with the potential for $9,000 to also fall.

Some had anticipated volatility continuing in the short term. On Twitter, the trader known as CryptoCohen sounded the alarm hours before the $800 losses.

“Could be a larger correction in play – could take a lot longer too – longer than many would expect/hope. But good things come to those who wait,” he summarized.

Bitcoin’s move meanwhile had a more predictable effect on altcoin markets, with tokens in the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap shedding up to 4.5%.

Monthly, Bitcoin price has lost 20%, Cointelegraph noting that end-of-year and longer-term price forecasts remain bullish.

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-price-crashes-800-in-minutes-as-bears-eye-9k-support-next

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