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  1. Facebook is due to release the white paper for its GlobalCoin cryptocurrency, in the coming days. As with everything related to the social media giant, their proposed venture into the cryptocurrency space has been met with much debate. Many people have arguments both for, and against, Facebook’s GlobalCoin. Arguments range from the usual “they just want more data” to “they will advance the blockchain industry”. Personally, I think there is something to be said for both stances. In my honest opinion I think that Facebook’s GlobalCoin will be good news for Bitcoin and other legitimate cryptocurrencies. What is ‘GlobalCoin’ I realise that some of you may be wondering what GlobalCoin even is. As such, before explaining my stance I thought I would take some time to give a bit of background. GlobalCoin is the native cryptocurrency to Facebook’s announced blockchain venture. They wish for their cryptocurrency to become a global payments solution. According to the BBC, Facebook wish for their GlobalCoin to provide “affordable and secure ways of making payments”. They will be attempting to provide banking services to those who are unbanked. And will be “competing with banks and reducing consumer costs”. Facebook’s social media ecosystem, which includes WhatsApp and Instagram, will be its first point of implementation. However, they have expressed their desire to get it accepted by other online merchants. How Does This Help Bitcoin & Others? Simply put, mass awareness. Whether you like them, or not, you cannot deny the size of Facebook’s global user base. According to Zephoria Digital Marketing, as of March 31st 2019 the Facebook user base tops 2.38 billion. That is over 30% of all people alive ((2.38b / 7.53b)*100). Of that 2.38 billion, over 1.56 billion people log in to Facebook on a daily basis. Again, this is a significant portion of the world’s population, roughly 20% of it ((1.56b / 7.53b)*100). Due to the nature of the technology, and lack of clear regulation, getting accurate statistics on Bitcoin (and cryptocurrency) usage is nigh on impossible. If we take the best case scenario of each BTC wallet created representing a user there are roughly 32 million active users of the BTC blockchain. While we know that 32m wallets does not mean 32m users, for our calculation we will be idealists and say it does. Using that number we can easily decipher that, the best case scenario (though extremely unlikely) for BTC is a marginal 0.42% of people using its blockchain. Using the numbers above it is easy to see that Bitcoin’s user base is incomparable to Facebook’s. However, the social media giant’s dip into the pool of cryptocurrency will surely raise awareness of the industry in general. It would be ignorant to believe that, of Facebook’s billions of users, a significant portion of people won’t explore the industry further. I think it is fair to say that, Facebook’s GlobalCoin will add some legitimacy to the entire blockchain space. I think it also fair to say that Facebook’s shady history regarding the privacy of their users will also cause more people to turn to Bitcoin in favour of GlobalCoin. Basically put, I think that the release of Facebook’s GlobalCoin will inadvertently raise awareness of Bitcoin and speed up the process of regulating the entire crypto/blockchain industry as a whole. When a company of Facebook’s size, and value, starts talking governments around the world start listening. As such, GlobalCoin could be the catalyst to kick start mass adoption. Love, peace and happiness. View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/opinions-blogs/cryptocurrency-blockchain-opinions/facebooks-globalcoin-could-be-good-news-for-bitcoin-co/
  2. Privacy focused messaging platform, Telegram, have been planning the release of their Telegram Open Network (TON) blockchain for some time. I remember the swathes of scams which proceeded its initial announcement back in 2018. Everybody involved in the cryptocurrency universe wanted to get a piece of the action, prompting the usual round of dodgy emails. Much to the dismay of potential retail investors, Telegram opted to conduct a private investment round. During said investment round the company only allowed large investments from accredited investors. They eventually concluded their investment round with a total haul of over $1.7 billion USD. This made the TON ICO one of the most successful, ever. So What is Happening Now? You would be forgiven for wondering what the latest announcement is about. Let’s face it, Telegram had their ICO and it was successful. It turns out that the latest ‘token sale’ could well be no more than a whale taking the opportunity to cash in on their investment. According to an official press release the latest round of investment is being held by Gram Asia. Gram Asia is the largest holder of GRAM tokens in the asian continent, however they are not officially affiliated with the Telegram company. They simply bought a significant portion of tokens when they had the chance. They have teamed up with Liquid.com, a cryptocurrency exchange, to enable retail users to part take in their token offering. According to the official press release Liquid.com will have “TON-compatible wallets” accessible on their platform, even though the TON blockchain isn’t scheduled for release until later this year. It is due for public release in October 2019. Treat it With Caution As with all ‘token offerings’ it is wise to proceed with caution. However, the fact that a large investor is offloading before the project is even released is concerning. For me it raises more questions that answers. Why, if you made such a significant investment, would you decide to lower your stake in a project which is due to go live in a matter of months? Surely it would be more financially rewarding to hold onto your tokens until the launch of the TON public blockchain. It begs the question of whether Gram Asia have any insider knowledge which they are acting upon. It also worth noting that, in this token sale, users are not dealing directly with the company who created the tokens. They are buying tokens for a network which does not exist, from a third party. Maybe their plan was to employ the Eric Cartman technique. For those who do not watch South Park, the Eric Cartman technique is a method of increasing sales. It generally means you increase interest in your product by refusing to allow the public to access it for a period of time. One saving grace for anyone interested in buying some GRAM tokens comes in the form of a promise from Liquid.com. They have agreed to refund any investments made in the event that the blockchain does not go live. Love, peace and happiness. View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/telegrams-gram-token-to-be-sold-on-liquid-com-through-a-whale/
  3. Yesterday, June 11th 2019, Something Decent reported that CCN.com was shutting down. The reason for the shutdown, as reported by them, was due to a drastic drop in traffic. The drop in traffic, once again reported by CCN, was caused by a dramatic change in Google’s search ranking algorithm. Today, June 12th 2019, in a bizarre turn of events, CCN founder, Jonas Borchgrevink, announced the return of the leading blockchain and cryptocurrency news outlet. In his announcement, Borchgrevink mentions the resurgence of CCN.com is due to resurfacing of their old domain, CryptoCoinNews.com. He states that a Google forum member alerted him of this. “a friendly helper in Google’s forum mentioned that ‘CryptoCoinsNews.com’ — our previous domain- is reappearing in Google searches.” Borchgrevink goes on to explain that the domain was changed back in 2017. He adds that CryptoCoinNews.com has been “absent” on the search engine ever since. Interestingly enough, Borchgrevink’s post states that new articles (from CCN.com) are being credited to their old domain name. This could signal that the change in Google’s algorithm is giving higher credit to domain age. Is There a Conspiracy? The news of CCN’s shutdown provoked a vocal response from multiple cryptocurrency and blockchain communities. However, Google did not directly reply to the accusations of foul play. This caused people, including myself, to seriously consider selective censorship from the search engine giant. And proved the need for further transparency. The reappearance of CCN is likely to add further fuel to the conspiratorial fire. How have they returned literally a day after they provoked a communal outcry? Have Google acted to alter their algorithm? Was this all a big kerfuffle about nothing? Whatever the reason behind Houndini’s crypto news outlet one thing is for sure: this whole debacle has proven a need for further transparency in the way Google carries out updates. Many of us, including myself, may have overreacted but, none the less, to quote Borchgrevink this is “abrupt and confusing”. Love, peace and happiness. View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/guess-whos-back-back-again-its-ccn/
  4. Yesterday, June 11th 2019, global payments processor, Visa, announced their B2B Connect network. They did so via a press release on their website. The B2B Connect network is a global payments solution which is intended to be used by financial institutions. It allows its users to process “high value” and “cross border” payments quickly, and securely. Currently the platform supports 30 “payment corridors”. Though it is expected to increase that number to 90 by the end of the year. Kevin Phalen, SVP, head of Visa Business Solutions, states B2B Connect will remove “friction”from direct bank to bank transfers. He also explains B2B Connect will provide better transparency, and consistency of data. The network will work by tokenising data, such as account numbers, held by banks. This data will then be associated with a “unique digital identity” — a wallet to the average crypto user. Said unique identity will then be able to manage funds and create transactions on the B2B Connect ledger. Using the Linux Hyper Ledger In order to deliver the B2B Connect service Visa have teamed up with IBM. IBM are assisting Visa in scaling the open source Hyperledger Fabric framework, offered by the Linux Foundation. IBM have a proven track record in the current blockchain space. They are also one of the global leaders in the technology field. It is expected their presence in the B2B Connect network will improve its performance to facilitate quicker growth. Speaking on the partnership, Marie Wieck, general manager at IBM Blockchain, said the following: “Working together on Visa B2B Connect, we are combining the strengths of the world’s leader in electronic payments with IBM’s recognized expertise in helping scale distributed ledger technology. This is a unique example of how blockchain-based architecture can help transform B2B value chains by facilitating secure and transparent transactions globally” Wait, There’s No B2B Coin? Many of the newer members of the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry may be wondering if there is a B2B cryptocurrency token. There isn’t. The software used by Visa is a permissioned ledger system. By permissioned it is meant that anyone who wishes to use the network needs to first acquire… permission. This is where the main difference between a traditional public ledger, such as Bitcoin, and permissioned ledger, such as Ripple, exists. In a public ledger anyone can see any transaction which ever occurred in the system. They can do so by simply using a block explorer. A permissioned ledger differs in the fact that publicly accessible data can be limited by the network owner. Another difference between the two ledger systems is the method of block validation. In a public ledger nodes are used to act as miners. Each time a block is ‘mined’ transactions are verified. When the transactions are verified miners get paid a fee in a cryptocurrency token. In a permissioned ledger nodes are still used to validate blocks. However, the number of nodes can be controlled by the network owner. Operators of the nodes may not receive a fee for validating a block. The easiest way to look at the two networks would be to compare an al a carte menu and a set lunch. In the permissioned ledger (al a carte) network owners can pick and choose what they want from the menu. In a public ledger the menu is set at the time of opening and changing anything about it requires consensus from everyone involved. For more information on public and permissioned ledgers read the following: https://www.coindesk.com/information/what-is-the-difference-between-open-and-permissioned-blockchains Love, peace and happiness. View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/visa-launches-b2b-connect-using-linux-hyperledger/
  5. Yesterday, June 10th 2019, Jonas Borchgrevin, founder of CCN, took to his website to announce the end of the world’s leading crypto news website. Within the announcing post Borchgrevin wastes no time in explaining the reason behind the shutdown. He explains that the latest update from Google has resulted in an overnight drop in traffic. The core update from Google is one which alters the way their search algorithm ranks traffic. As a result CCN have seen a ~71% drop in mobile traffic and ~53% drop in desktop/laptop based traffic. Borchgrevin explains that, the dramatic drop in traffic has destroyed their ad revenue. The company has seen over 90% of their ad revenue wiped away overnight. Within the same announcement Borchgrevin goes on to mention the fact that CCN are not alone in the Google shakedown. He explains that Coin Desk are also seeing dramatic drops in traffic for both mobile and desktop users. Looking away from the cryptocurrency industry, it would appear that Google’s update is far more wider reaching than most would have expected. Publications such as the UK’s Mirror and Metro have seen drastic increases in their search engine visibility. While websites such as Iceland (a UK based affordable supermarket which provides a lot of frozen goods) and Vimeo (a competitor of Google’s YouTube) have seen significant drops. Whatever their reasoning, Google’s brash actions have clearly had a direct impact of the livelihood of many people. Ok, Traffic is Down But Why Shut Down? You could argue that the CCN website has been ranked lower than it is today, it had to start somewhere, and that it should be able to grow once more. This is true, they didn’t begin with a high volume of traffic. Although, as the company saw increases in traffic, and ad revenue, the staff expanded. This means that the expenses grew. To quote Borchgrevin: “The money we make made on advertisements was directly funnel[l]ed back into growing the team.”. Basically put, the choices which CCN have to choose from are either close down the site entirely or fire some of their staff. Some might say this is a no brainer, just fire the staff. However, this would be something which disrupted harmony within the remaining team. It would also beg the question of who to fire when nobody is at fault? Another point on the notion of simply firing staff, doing so would mean the diversity of writing styles present on CCN would drop. This would mean a degradation in the content which is provided. Something which could further lower the website’s traffic. Looking at the Bigger Picture It could be easy to dismiss this as the turning of the metaphorical tide. Websites are born and die on a daily basis. While that is true the issue which this event poses is a big one. If one sole centralised entity, Google, has the power to literally destroy websites overnight should they not be required to do all they can to limit the affect their algorithm changes have? After all, this is people’s livelihoods we are talking about. The fact that a centralised entity has this power is one which should not be taken lightly. What/who will be next? Does this not mean that Google have the power to literally control what the average person is reading on a daily basis? Does this not also mean that Google literally has the power to be the sole decider in what is considered real or fake news? I think it does. It also means that Google are, in turn, able to influence which of their advertisers are successful. The web is at risk of becoming Google’s playground and, if we as a society do not make stand we may lose its free nature for good. Love, peace and happiness? View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/latest-google-core-update-cripples-ccn-forcing-them-to-shutdown/
  6. Since EOSIO was announced the Delegated Proof of Stake system it uses has come under scrutiny. This is due to a vulnerability which could possibly lead to a cartel controlling governance of the entire blockchain. Due to this possible vulnerability the topic of block producer voting is a largely debated one within EOS communities. Just Google ‘EOS cartel’ and you will see an endless number of pages with articles on the matter. The nature of the fear comes from the fact that the DPOS system EOS uses takes into consideration the number of tokens each voter holds. This essentially means the person with the deepest pockets has the most say in the chain’s governance. While the ability to vote for up to 30 block producers (BPs) means collusion is possible. One Account, One Vote The concept of removing the ability to vote for more than one BP per account is not new. If you have a look in the r/EOS subreddit you will see multiple posts which discuss it. The obvious benefit is that collusion between BPs becomes a lot less of a threat. An obvious vulnerability (for now) is the lack of proof of uniqueness for account holders. This means whales could collude by pooling funds and evenly splitting the vote over a proxy. However, the theory would be that pooling funds would lower the say of the conglomerate. This would, hopefully, mean the diversified say of the average holder would have a superior weight. Enumivo’s Attempt EOSIO sister chain, Enumivo, has attempted to implement the ‘one account, one vote’ system mentioned above. They are also currently attempting to persuade their community to stake their ENU tokens and vote. As a means of incentivising token holder participation in the blockchain’s governance, Enumivo are rewarding those who take part in the one vote system. Aiden Pearce, Enumivo Founder, released a post on the official community forum explaining he would be allocating 400m LTS tokens for the cause. The amount of LTS tokens users receive is dependent on their vote weight which means refreshing your vote daily will give you the highest returns. However, it is not compulsory. In order to take part, users are required to stake their ENU and then vote for one BP. Once they have done so they need to send 0.0001 ENU to the ‘claimforvote’ account (this is returned). Telos’s Attempt It should be noted that the initial distribution of the EOS token (and alike) can’t be changed. Had they have been more even distributed the whale issue would not be present initially. However, hindsight is one thing and fundraising is another (in EOS’s case). One blockchain project which uses the EOSIO software, and attempted to tackle the issue of whales forming cartels, from the start, is Telos. As per the Telos Foundation website, the EOS token distribution saw the largest 1,050 accounts acquire roughly 90% of all the EOS tokens. This means they hold the accumulative power to control who is a BP, as well as all other aspects of EOS’s governance. Telos’s solution to the problem was to cap the number of TLOS tokens any one account received when their snapshot was taken. They capped the number of tokens to 40k- the 99th percentile of EOS ownership. Voter Diversity Coefficient My personal opinion is that a coefficient of voter diversity could be a useful tool in battling the cartel issue. When calculating the total weight a BP has received from voters I think it is short-sighted to ignore the diversity of those voting for said BP. In the current system a BP with one voter that has 10 EOS tokens will have the same weight as a BP which has been voted on by 10 people with one token. In reality the BP with 10 votes is more representative of the community as a whole. Should this not mean their position in the BP table reflects as such? While the issue of on-chain proof of uniqueness is solved there would always remain the chance of token spreading. By which I mean whales spreading their tokens across multiple wallets to increase their coefficient. If token spreading did occur it would be fair to assume that it would be provable via the blockchain. You would also expect the larger voting community to punish such behaviour by removing votes. When proof of account uniqueness issue is solved it would be possible to further improve this system. It could be improved by adding extra weight to accounts which have been proven to be unique. EOS and Enumivo’s initial distribution issues will not be changed. The only way to move forward is by attempting tackle them, which I believe both chains are doing. Hindsight, aye? Love, peace and happiness. View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/opinions-blogs/cryptocurrency-blockchain-opinions/addressing-the-dpos-whale-in-the-room/
  7. On Friday 7th June 2019 the United States Food and Drug Administration agency published a press release as part of World Food Safety Day. The nature of the press release was to discuss the USA’s role in the safety of food worldwide. Within the report Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas discusses the affect that unsafe food is having on people around the globe. He explains that food borne pathogens kill 420k people around the globe, annually. He also explains that, over a quarter of those affected are children under the age of 5 years old, emphasising the need for action from the global community. “420,000 deaths annually around the world, 125,000 of them in children under age 5” Currently the USA is responsible for importing roughly 15% of the global food supply and does so from over 200 countries or territories. This includes roughly a third of the fresh vegetables, over half of the fresh fruit and nearly all of the seafood eaten by US citizens. The above statistic emphasises the impact a food pathogen originating from anywhere in the globe could have on the USA’s food industry. And highlights a need to act upon food safety globally. Blockchain to the Rescue? Within the report Yiannas discusses the initiatives which the US FDA plan to investigate in an attempt to improve the quality of food safety worldwide. One of which is the “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” — an initiative setup by Yiannas and FDA Acting Commissioner, Ned Sharpless. While explaining the purpose of the initiative Yiannas makes it clear that the focus of the New Era of Smarter Food Safety is to “leverage new and emerging technologies to further our food safety goals”. He goes on to state that this approach has lead the US FDA into exploring the use of technology which is being used within society and businesses, including “blockchain, sensor technology, the Internet of Things, and Artificial Intelligence”. Yiannas goes further to explain that the aforementioned technology will assist the US FDA in creating a “more digital, traceable, and safer food system.”. While the report doesn’t mention any specific blockchain based project the fact that the US FDA is researching use cases for blockchain technology can only be a good sign. Love, peace and happiness. View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/fdas-new-initiative-to-explore-usage-of-blockchain-technology/
  8. Yesterday, June 8th 2019, Indian media outlets reported the release of a draft bill to ban cryptocurrencies in the country. The proposed bill is titled “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019”, and it suggests stiff penalties for anybody who is involved with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. It further goes on to detail that any person within the country who is proven to “mine, generate, hold, sell, transfer, dispose, issue or deal in cryptocurrencies”will be susceptible to a whopping 10 year jail sentence. To add to the harsh penalty, the drafted bill also recommends that anybody caught, and charged for, holding cryptocurrencies should not be granted bail. As with many governments around the world, the Indian government has taken the stance that cryptocurrencies are misused for money laundering and other illegal activities, thus (wrongly) justifying their ban. India’s Central Bank Denies Any Involvement On June 6th 2019 Bitcoin.com released an investigative article which reports that the Indian Central Bank denied any knowledge of, or involvement in, the drafting of the bill. It details the actions of Varun Sethi, founder of Blockchain Lawyer, in his attempt to get some answers regarding the bill which was originally drafted back in April 2019. Varun attempted to utilise the Right to Information act in order to acquire details of the Central Bank’s input, stating: “Our team was expecting to get insights about RBI role in helping draft the bill since it had been proactive in educating and informing investors about risks of cryptocurrencies,” However, the centralised bank offered no further insight into the process of making the draft bill, simply denying all involvement. Even more frustrating, and unbelievable, the bank goes on to deny that they even had knowledge of the drafted bill. “RBI has actually stated that they have not received any communication from any department and they have also not given any communication to any government department pertaining to [the] drafting of this bill and this is very surprising.”states Varun. If the bank is being truthful (highly unlikely) it would beg the question of why they have not been consulted in the creation of a bill which will directly involve them. The Indian rupee is a closed currency, meaning it cannot be taken outside of India. As cryptocurrencies directly undermine the ability of the Indian government and central bank to control cashflow it is highly likely that the bank would, or should, have been consulted during the bill’s creation. To add further skepticism to the integrity of RBI, when Varun asked to see minutes from an interministerial meeting which states “There is an urgent need to ban sale purchase and issuance of cryptocurrency” (reported by the Economic Times), the bank simply stated “It is not clear as to which minutes of the meeting is being quoted by the news article published in Economic Times.”. What Does This Mean? Simply put, if you are an Indian living in India you are going to have to watch this event unfold closely. If the bill does become enforceable I would not be surprised to see a task force setup in order to track and punish crypto holders, while allowing the government to confiscate any crypto they uncover. As the police forces in India can be extremely corrupt it is not far-fetched to believe that this bill could lead to a whole new world of baksheeshes (bribes). If the bill does come to pass, it would also be wise for travellers to the Indian sub continent to hide any traces of crypto wallets from their phone or laptop. There is no telling to what extent the government will want the law enforced and the last thing you want is to be held in an Indian jail for holding a couple satoshis. Priorities, Eh? As the Indian government considers handing out 10 year sentences for holding Bitcoin would you be interested to know the maximum sentence issued for kidnapping? 10 years imprisonment and a fine. How about the maximum sentence for sexual assault of a person? Up to 7 years imprisonment and a fine, depending on the severity. In some circumstances the offender will even be offered bail. What about the maximum sentence for killing, maiming or mistreating animals? 5 years in prison and a fine. To put all of this into context, the Indian government is stating that simply holding some Bitcoin, which has been legitimately acquired, is of more concern than the welfare of the Indian people and animals. What world do these law makers live in? Love, peace and happiness. View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/india-to-punish-bitcoin-holders-with-10-years-in-prison-matching-the-sentence-of-kidnappers/
  9. Yesterday, June 6th 2019, cryptocurrency wallet service, GateHub, announced that 100 of their XRP ledger wallets had been compromised. As a result roughly $10m USD worth of Ripple’s XRP has been stolen. Within the GateHub announcement they mention that the company was alerted to the attack by members of their community. And, as a result, they have started an “extensive internal investigation”. The nature of the attack is still unknown to GateHub’s staff although they have confirmed that they do not suspect the actions of their staff to have either facilitated, or allowed the hack. While conducting their investigation GateHub have discovered “suspicious API calls” occurring on some accounts. They have contacted the people affected via email and provided advise to protect their remaining XRP. “We already sent out an email to all users that might be affected as a result of suspicious API calls with instructions on how to protect their funds.” How Did it Happen? The exact methods used by the attackers is still not clear. However, GateHub have confirmed that their preliminary investigation has found a few points of interest: Hackers Used Valid API Access Tokens: When users wish to allow bots or other applications (such as wallets) to access an account they will utilise an API system. API systems provide a unique access token which acts like a password. This grants access to your account from the outside world, without exposing your password. No Sign of Brute Force or Suspicious Logins: Brute force attacks see the attacker try to guess a user’s login information. Usually they would use a form of software which can work much faster than a human. An Increased Number of API Calls From Select IPs: A small number of IP addresses were used to access accounts. They did so using the valid access tokens mentioned above. GateHub speculate that this is how the attacker gained access to secret keys. Decryption of Secret Keys: Secret keys are essentially the pin number to a cryptocurrency wallet. GateHub state that their keys were stored encrypted. This has left them stumped when questioning how the attacker managed to decrypt them. On June 5th 2019, Thomas Silkjær (a community member who alerted the GateHub team of the attack) made a post on Medium regarding the incident. Within the post he states “roughly 23,200,000 XRP has been stolen from 80–90 victims, of which ~13,100,000 XRP have already been laundered through exchanges and mixer services.”. He also goes on to theorise the possible methods by which the hack occurred. Thomas writes that the most likely cause of the attack is either “Incremental nonces” or an “Old database leak”. The likelihood of incremental nonces being the culprit is unlikely as GateHub have ruled out brute force attacks since Thomas’s post. This means, at present, the most likely cause of the attack is an old database leak. In such a scenario an attacker would have acquired a database of encrypted keys and systematically brute force attacked it offline. By doing so they would be able avoid raising flags for failed attempts. This would mean the attacker would be able to wait until they had access to a desirable sum of money and nobody would know until it was too late. Whatever the cause of the hack this will no doubt affect GateHub’s service and should emphasise the need for crypto holders to practice stringent security measures. Love, peace and happiness? View this content’s WordProof Timestamp certificate Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/gatehub-hacked-for-23m-xrp-worth-10m-usd/
  10. The recent crypto winter has taken many victims during its recent chill. Projects have been disappearing left, right and centre, and the Twist Networkwas thought to be one of those which did not make it through. The last update on the project’s official blog was released in September 2018 while the most recent Tweet on their Twitter profile was made back in November 2018. The topic of the Twist team’s most recent update (via Twitter) was to announce their prospective roadmap for 2019. In the mentioned roadmap they state that a majorly anticipated feature of their protocol, Twist Nodes, was due to be released by the end of “Q1 2019”. It also explains that registration for Twist Nodes was set to begin during November 2018. https://twitter.com/TWIST_project/status/1058145914769100801 Needless to say, the milestone was never met and the Twist Network’s node system failed to ever see the light of day. Since the mentioned announcement the Twist team may as well have been in an anechoic chamber. They have failed to update their community on their status regarding the project and their official website has experienced numerous periods of intermittent downtime. On top of the above, the Twist token was crippled by the 2019 Cryptopia hackwhich resulted in the death of the New Zealand based exchange. Cryptopia was the only exchange which listed the token and its demise has lead to the Twist token being removed from cryptocurrency tracker CoinMarketCap.com The one glimmering ray of hope held by the community has been the fact that the staking rewards of the Twist wallet have continued to be distributed. This means that the blockchain is, in fact, still active and valid. A New Ray of Hope? On Friday 31st June 2019, the Twist community were offered a new opportunity to believe there is still hope in the project’s revival. This came in the form of an email to the CEO of ICOtimeline.com. The email was in reply to a query regarding the status of the project and it was from the lead developer of Twist Network. In his reply he acknowledged the fact that the project was close to abandonment before stating that there was “hope” for it. He then continues to explain that the team are working on getting Twist listed on new exchanges while continuing development on the Twist node system, as well as making a new roadmap. The update is concluded by stating that “work is being done” and that the community can expect to see some “activity” in the near future. However, whether or not the Twist team will deliver on the promise of a new roadmap and exchange listings is anybody’s guess. We will have to wait and see. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/twist-network-lead-developer-to-continue-development/
  11. Yesterday, May 24th 2019, The Financial Times reported that social media network, Facebook, had held talks with US based cryptocurrency exchanges, Gemini and Coinbase. The talks are, apparently, in order to discuss the possibility of adding Facebook’s proposed GlobalCoin cryptocurrency to both of the high liquidity exchanges, in 2020. According to the report, Facebook has employed a secretive unit, to investigate the creation of a cryptocurrency, for more than year. The purpose of Facebook’s proposed cryptocurrency is similar to that of their previous failed venture into the web-based financial market, Facebook Credits. It is thought that their GlobalCoin will be used as a payments mechanism throughout their ecosystem. Facebook are also intent on attempting to get their cryptocurrency accepted by retailers in the real world. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, recently went on record, at a developer conference, to state that he intends for his platform to make sending money as easy as “sending a photo”. In an attempt to try and stabilise the value of their currency they are discussing the possibility of pegging it to multiple fiat currencies. Said currencies are rumoured to be the US Dollar, Euro and Japanese Yen. According to the BBC, Facebook have already contacted the Bank of Englandabout their prospective coin, although it is unclear exactly what was discussed in the meeting. Just an Attempt to Reenter the Financial Market and Sell More Data? My personal opinion on the Facebook owned GlobalCoin is that this is just another attempt for the company to expand into the financial market. As the company has been on the wrong side of press when discussing privacy, the use of a cryptographically secured coin may be an attempt at repairing some of the damages which have been felt after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. However, privacy is a topic which the current crop of crypto/blockchain enthusiasts take extremely seriously and I highly doubt that any Bitcoinsupporter will be looking to trust Facebook with their spending data. When you consider that Facebook’s business model makes all users of their services ‘products’, and the data they share fair game for advertisers, it begins to feel as though their attempt to enter the financial market may be in pursuit of fine tuned targeted advertising. The company is already able to share details regarding its users’ likes, dislikes, political persuasion, diet, friends circle, family, ethnicity and pretty much anything else. They don’t, however, have access to accurate spending records. The proposed GlobalCoin would give Facebook, and its advertisers, access to in-depth information regarding every transaction made by users of the currency. This would mean that advertisements will become even more targeted and scandals, such as the Cambridge Analytica one, would become even more of a threat and have a much higher success rate. In turn, this would mean that users of Facebook’s services, whom also used GlobalCoin, would become even more susceptible to subliminal manipulation. As the project rolls out we will know more about the technical aspects of the coin but, personally, I think the last company which should be trusted with the spending habits of the world is Facebook. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/facebook-seeking-partnership-with-gemini-and-coinbase/
  12. I might be a bit late on these two, although it does appear both keys are still unsolved (as of 24th May 2019). The real world Bitcoin treasure hunt, Satoshi’s Treasure, continues to tick along and treasure hunters have successfully located one of three keys associated with key #5, The Hunted Key. However, the two bonus keys which remain unfound have been retired and two new keys have been released. They are Key #6: The Earth Key and Key #7: The Audubon Key. So far it would seem that people are struggling to correlate the clues and connect the dots. Below I have listed the clues listed on the Satoshi’s Treasure website, as well as my attempts at searching for the Audubon key. Possible spoilers beyond this point Key #6: The Earth Key Clues for The Earth key seem pretty ambiguous if I am honest. But that could just be down to the fact that I am an idiot. The official clue which is posted on a click titled “Breakbeats on the Beach”states the following: “The last key was a bit of a trek for some Hunters, but your help was greatly appreciated. Maybe now it’s time to kick back with some tunes and relax a bit. The world is heating up all over, and it might be time for some beach time with blue skies. That said, a Hunter is always hunting…” As you can see there isn’t much to be given away on this one. Maybe it is referring to Hunters Beach — found by searching on Google — But it could literally be anything. Key #7: The Audubon Key This one seems to have a bit more depth about the clue offered. The actual clue is a story which describes birds having pieces of a puzzle. It also has mentions of the sky and jungle. The jungle could be referring to Amazon and the birds are, in my opinion, referring to Twitter. Specifically I think they are referring to a Twitter list which contains random accounts which have only ever tweeted once. All their profile pictures contain a jigsaw piece which, when combined, make the picture below: Within the story posted as a clue there are numerous hashes mentioned. These hashes are mentioned within Tweets from people within the aforementioned list, further making me believe I am right about its significance. To view the list you can visit the following link: https://twitter.com/SatoshisHunters/lists/audobon-key/members I have taken the time to go through all Twitter accounts on the list and noted the hex codes they have tweeted. They are listed in chronological order: 7C2BAC1D 1CC28A903 2AC30BE38 52726803C BF1D1DF06 C2D2850F2 14AF795748 17A9890B05 1662E06E20 16745C4AC8 21094DA0BA 5EF2C378CE 5875BBE0E 44EB750F25 157DD50A06 65973D9530 9FB7E3E4FC 7ABD23E5D3 DF541EE218 2E6BA45A58 7E2701D11E 823C06C520 7B88F5EF55 113E02222C9 53E32A9CCA A752CF21D8 15B2C475C6A 12724D06A0E 1619F8D755A 221C16920D0 6AD468B480 247A94DC38 B42107937E 6D1AC74CF0 2D664D312A8 9CD9383ED6 1D09B515179 359F562F500 17047AC9970 3750CBEF581 3B27CE0CDA3 23F395D1220 7B49565700 33D1E9B5BA5 1FAF56F5C3B 3BFCC53FE40 The story can be read on the following link: https://satoshistreasure.xyz/7 (It is quite a long one so I thought best to just link it) Random Clue While continuing to look I found that there is a page on Satoshi’s Treasure site which is titled “quickbrownfox”. The page is encrypted and I am not sure which key this is related to. However, the fact it is named after the quick brown fox pangram and the clue mentions getting “hunger pangs” — quite an unlikely typo — makes me think it relates to key #7, The Audubon Key. You can visit the page on the following link: https://satoshistreasure.xyz/quickbrownfox **EDIT** After conversing with Eviscer8 on Twitter it turns out that this page is, in fact, for The Earth Key. To follow them please visit the following link: https://twitter.com/Fadeddeath Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/satoshis-treasure-key-6-the-earth-key-key-7-the-audubon-key-released/ Love, peace and happiness.
  13. On Wednesday 22nd May 2019, Europol teamed up with the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), and authorities in Luxembourg to bring down bestmixer.io. The closure was announced via a press release on the official Eurpol website, stating that the trio had “clamped down” on one of the world’s “leading cryptocurrency mixing” services. Their investigation into bestmixer.io was initiated by the FIOD back in June 2018 with the support of digital security company, McAfee. This investigation lead to the FIOD seizing six servers in Luxembourg and The Netherlands. What is Bestmixer.io? As mentioned, bestmixer.io was one of the top three cryptocurrency mixing services. It began operations back in May 2018 and generated roughly 27,000 BTC (~$200m) in revenue. It allowed user to swap cryptocurrency coins such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin while preserving the anonymity of the person making the swap. One of the main focuses of the cryptocurrency industry is the ability to preserve one’s privacy while making use of funds. As a result of this, coins which are traceable are deemed to be tainted and mixer services, such as bestmixer.io, offer the ability to obfuscate the origin of any given coin. What’s the Issue? Simply put, global governments do not like services such as bestmixer.io due to the fact that they enable criminals to detach themselves from the funds they have illegally acquired. While this is not the sole purpose of mixer services, the Europol announcement does state that “many of the mixed cryptocurrencies on Bestmixer.io had a criminal origin”. It also reports that, in these cases, the service was more than likely used as a means to conceal or launder the money flow of criminals. What’s Next? According to the press release, the next step of Europol and the FOID on this matter, is to analyse all the information they have acquired as a result of seizing the servers. The information they have publicly admitted to acquiring includes “IP-addresses, transaction details, bitcoin addresses and chat messages”. This means that their seizure could possibly lead to arrests further down line. Europol and the FOID will be creating “intelligence packages” with the information they acquire and they will proceed with sharing said packages with other countries. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/europol-close-bitcoin-mixer-bestmixer/
  14. Before starting I want to state that, as per Marble’s official announcement on Humanity DAO, the project’s current smart contracts are in a “pre-alpha”state. This means that they “may contain bugs” which result in a “loss of funds”. You should also be aware of the fact that this is not an investment opportunity. Please do not enter with the hope of making a profit. Now that we have warnings covered, let’s continue. As mentioned, the Humanity DAO project is one which seeks to solve the issue of unique identity on the Ethereum blockchain. It was created by Ethereum based lending platform Marble. The current situation with Ethereum addresses means that any one person can create an unlimited number of wallets. This is not an issue within itself. However, this mechanism provides quite the issue for applications which require each participant is unique, for example a voting app. If people are not proven to be unique when voting on proposals, the application utilising the vote is susceptible to a sybil attack. A sybil attack is an attack in which one person games a voting system by using multiple votes. It is one of the most common types of attack in the crypto-space. Marble’s Solution: Humanity DAO The solution offered by the team behind Humanity DAO utilises a so called Web of Trust (WoT). A WoT is essentially a system by which a pool of people, confirmed to be unique, vote on the legitimacy of new applicants. When someone is deemed to be unique they are added to the pool of voters. Generally speaking, WoT systems implement an approach which rewards people for honesty when voting, while penalising dishonesty. However, as far as I am aware, the Humanity DAO only penalises applicants, not voters. The idea of a WoT is not unique to Humanity DAO, other blockchain solutions (such as Enumivo) are also attempting to implement it. Incentivised Uptake Humanity DAO’s introduction states that their system uses their own Ethereum based token. The token is called HUM and has a total supply of 100m tokens. The token is distributed in a way which sees 75m issued as an incentive to join the platform. This reward is only applicable to the first 10k people who are successfully voted into the platform. There is no information regarding whether tokens are issued equally or staged. As the tokens will have weight on the outcome of future votes I would expect them to be equally distributed. But this is just speculation. The Rest of Their Tokens The remainder of the HUM tokens are allocated in a way which gives 20m to the development wallet and 5m to be ‘mined’. Said development funds are also to be used in a way which will give the dev team a “small portion”in order to allow them to “participate in voting”, although exact amounts are not disclosed. The method by which the 5m ‘mined’ tokens are to be distributed is somewhat unclear. While the official introduction states they will be “mined directly into Uniswap… at a rate of 1 per block (for ~2 years)” it does not clearly state howthey will be mined. Teething Issues or a Lack of Transparency? With so much still to be cleared up it is expected Marble’s Humanity DAO project would have teething issues. However, Reddit user fuckhumanitydao noticed an issue with the project’s admission rate and found something odd. According to his research (backed up with blockchain data), the team behind the Humanity DAO project purposefully manipulated their own system in order to allow Vitalik Buterin (a co-founder of the Ethereum network) to slide into the first 100 members. The relevance of being within the first 100? A large percentage of the tokens which are used for governance of the system. How Did They Do It? Fuckhumanitydao’s post states that Vitalik was applicant number 136 and the Humanity DAO dev team used their voting power to veto applications ahead of him. As a result Vitalik Buterin made it into the first 100 applicants. He then continues to prove his accusations with the address of a member from the team and matching transactions which ‘kick’ members ahead of Vitalik. Vitalik Buterin commented on the situation and stated he would no longer support Humanity DAO if the accusations were true. He went on further to state that it appeared Humanity DAO have retroactively sought to prioritise “some subjective class of people”, continuing to state he believed that a “maximally simple and neutral project” was what the community needed. Their Reply A member of the Humanity DAO team, Rich Mcateer, attempted to calm the storm by commenting in the thread. He promised that the firm had “good intentions” and that they tried their best. Rich continued to argue that the team saw their actions as the “best path forward”. Judging by the response of their representative, and in consideration of the proof provided, it would appear that Fuckhumanitydao’s accusations are, in fact, true. The reasoning behind the actions of the Humanity DAO team are understandable, however, they do go completely against the transparent nature for which blockchain was intended. Since the incident Humanity DAO have released a statement on their blog which explains they will compensate those who were kicked with: 12 DAI, 500 HUM and their ETH gas fees. You can read it here: https://medium.com/@mcateer/humanitydao-community-update-7390c58d7d47 Peace, love and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/blockchain/humanity-dao-seeks-to-solve-the-issue-of-unique-addresses-on-ethereum/
  15. Yesterday, May 21st 2019, the British FCA released a statement containing figures related to currency and ‘crypto asset’ scams. It states the total amount of money lost through said scams tops £27 million and represents an average loss of over £14,000 per person affected. The report highlights online trading platforms which have a “get rich quick”theme as the main culprit. It also states that said schemes often use fake celebrity endorsements to legitimise their brand in the eyes of consumers. “Fraudsters often use social media to promote their ‘get rich quick’ online trading platforms. Posts often use fake celebrity endorsements and images of luxury items like expensive watches and cars. These then link to professional-looking websites where consumers are persuaded to invest.” It goes on to state when people invest they’ll tricked into thinking they have “made a profit” then be convinced to reinvest and/or introduce friends/family. Eventually the victim’s account on the platform is closed and the scammer moves on. Some Safety Advice Nobody wants to get scammed, so I thought I would give some safety tips for any newcomers in the crypto-space. A lot of this will be ingrained in most of your minds with other basic information like “the sky is blue”. However, if you don’t know your hot wallet from your hot pocket this is for you. Rule #1: Never Share Your Keys! The first rule of crypto is a very simple one but it is the most important. Do not share your private key with anyone. Your private key is your metaphorical key to your existence in the crypto-verse. No legitimate website will ever ask for your private key as a result of this. A solid rule to go by is this: if a site asks for your private key it is not a site you want to be visiting. The only people you should ever share your key with, are people you would give access to your bank account. Rule #2: Invest What You’re Comfortable Losing Although this rule might well be a cliche, it is an important one. Never invest more money than you are able to lose. If your investment is using money which you need for the rent, pay the rent. The volatile nature of the cryptocurrency industry means even legitimate projects have a high chance of losing you money. While the industry is still finding its feet it is hard to accurately predict what tomorrow’s price will be. If you look at the bitcoin charts you will see that the price can change hundreds of dollars in a matter of hours. This type of swing has the ability to cripple new investors. This brings me to my next point… Rule #3: No One Can Guarantee a Profit If a project is guaranteeing that you will earn a profit, avoid it. It is more than likely a scam and will take your money. We have all had bad experiences in the crypto-space and let our greed cloud the judgement of our mind. It’s a hard lesson to learn but an important one. You’ve heard the saying about things which are too good to be true. Well, the same rule applies here. If something is guaranteeing you a profit on your investment run for the hills. Rule #4: Do Your Own Research Again, a pretty basic rule but important none-the-less. People take random internet personalities all too seriously in all walks of life. Don’t do the same with your investments. Just because Bob, the famous internet blogger with a million fans, says something is a good project to invest in doesn’t mean it is. A lot of the time famous internet bloggers/vloggers are being paid to push a product. Again, crypto is no different. On top of this you also need to factor in the possibility of the online personality trying to get a bit of attention to a coin they wish to dump. Rule #5: If You’re on the Ropes, Bail This is a rule I try to employ in all walks of life. If you are not 100% sure in the prospect of investing in a project, don’t. As humans, when we are on the metaphorical ropes about something we tend to make brash decisions which we may regret. This is why I would advise to always lean on the side of caution when you are unsure. Better safe than sorry. Love, peace and happiness. Original article: https://somethingdecent.co.uk/news/cryptocurrency/british-fca-warn-of-27m-scams-in-currencies-and-crypto-assets-last-year/