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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.

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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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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.

New Data Reveals Serious Bitcoin Warning

Bitcoin has been rallying hard so far this year but the latest bull run, which has seen the bitcoin price soar by around 200% in just six months, could be coming to an end.

The bitcoin price, which is now hovering just under $10,000 per bitcoin, has climbed so far this year mostly due to expectations the world’s biggest technology companies, led by social media giant Facebook, could be about to dive headfirst into bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Now, it seems bitcoin could be headed for a sudden fall, with technical data suggesting the bitcoin price could be about to move sharply lower.

Bitcoin earlier this week broke below its 50-day moving average, which it’s thought could mean the bull run that saw the bitcoin price rise from under $4,000 per bitcoin at the beginning of the year to almost $14,000 could be over.

Bitcoin price data also shows it’s trading under the lower limit of the closely watched GTI Vera Band indicator, it was first reported by Bloomberg, a financial newswire.

The bitcoin price began climbing earlier this year as the likes of iPhone maker Apple, micro-blogging platform Twitter, and Facebook looked to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as a potential new revenue stream.

However, the rally was halted in its tracks after regulators around the world poured cold water on Facebook’s ambitious plans to issue its own cryptocurrency, libra, some time next year.

It’s now thought that regulatory issues could completely derail Facebook’s libra project, though it says it’s committed to working with lawmakers around the world to make libra a reality.

“There can be no assurance that libra or our associated products and services will be made available in a timely manner, or at all,” Facebook said.

“[Bitcoin] stands at a key technical juncture,” Miller Tabak + Co.’s equity strategist Matt Maley was quoted by Bloomberg. “[Greater regulatory scrutiny] will become an even more prominent issue (much more prominent) once we move past the summer recess for Congress and into the meat of the 2020 election cycle.”

Bitcoin was pushed into the limelight earlier this month by U.S. president Donald Trump when he unleashed a scathing attack on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, branding them “unregulated assets” in a series of tweets.

Following Trump’s attack and warnings from other global regulators, forensic accountancy firm BTVK warned the bitcoin and crypto “wild west” could be coming to an end, with global regulators closing in on bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges as a result of the spotlight brought by Facebook’s libra project.

Some U.S. presidential hopefuls have though said they’d support bitcoin and the creation of other cryptocurrencies to rival the U.S. dollar, potentially turning bitcoin and crypto into a 2020 election issue.

Earlier today, U.S. lawmakers grilled bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain experts on how Facebook’s libra could upset the U.S. economy.

“It’s clear that digital assets don’t really fit in our current financial system, as the current regulatory framework is awkwardly divided between banking regulators and market regulators,” said Christine Trent Parker, partner at law firm Reed Smith, following the hearing.

“It is unfortunate that today’s hearing made clear that Congress is not going to move forward any time soon in rectifying this issue and that in fact, the lack of clarity and uniformity may be intentional to hamper the ability of U.S. consumers to access (and benefit from) these technologies.”

Some bitcoin and cryptocurrency analysts remain upbeat, however, despite regulatory fears.

“Volumes continue to decline in the crypto market as the cool-down seems to be coming to completion,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at brokerage eToro, wrote in a note to clients.

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

Source: New Data Reveals Serious Bitcoin Warning

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