Author: C. Edward Kelso

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Another ICO Ghosts with $50 Million – Sends Thanx from Beer Beach

Today we’ve simply given-in to no nutritional value, guilty pleasure, lowest common denominator: bitcoin-related crime news. Start your day with laughs and head scratching, as we examine the Savedroid ICO exit scam, an international bitcoin heist escape, the fury of a scorned woman, a bear spray robbery, and some whole food violence.   Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub Savedroid Ghosts With Investors’ Money This can’t be real, right? This must be a publicity gimmick. Well, in any event, German online news source Wirtschafts Woche documents how Savedroid has apparently taken the money and run. The company website was replaced with a meme picture, “Aannnd it’s gone.” Founder and CEO Yassin Hankir tweeted a picture of himself on a beach, long gone. All this after having raised $50 million in an ICO. Savedroid webpage Promises of artificial intelligence, curated portfolios, and a native credit card proved too much for investors, and they poured in money. Stranger than fiction. Reads Like a Movie Script A suspect involved in an Icelandic heist involving a dozen perpetrators, 600 missing bitcoin mining rigs, were able to evade authorities after they’d managed to capture him. “Sindri Thor Stefansson” the BBC reported, “escaped the low-security prison through a window and fled to Sweden on a passenger plane that was also carrying Iceland’s prime minister, local media report. The ticket had...

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Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub

Bitcoin in Brief for Wednesday is a potpourri of quickies to get your day going: Pornhub, a website we’ve never heard of, has joined the crypto revolution (well, Verge at least); South Korea’s loss is Switzerland’s gain; bitcoin blamed for every crime under the sun; Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin is accused of favoritism; and bitcoin cash (BCH) is getting a ton of love from CNBC’s Brian Kelly. Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Effect We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub, What’s Pornhub? “The adult entertainment titan has announced it will now accept payments in anonymous cryptocurrency Verge (XVG),” according to Hard Fork. “This means now you now have the option to pay for your premium subscription without leaving any trails.” Pornhub’s VP explained, “Here at Pornhub, we’re all about convenience and security, which makes cryptocurrency an attractive form of payment for us. We’ve been looking at crypto for quite some time and, while overall adoption is relatively low, we think it has gained enough steam for us to penetrate the market.” Dirty birds.  As South Korea Clamps Down, Foreign Markets Pick up Slack The funny thing about cryptocurrency is, a government arrogant enough to believe it can regulate mathematics probably also won’t understand how they’re essentially robbing themselves of commerce. If the people want crypto, there’s going to be a steady supply to meet that demand. Reuters reports,...

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Telegram Uses Bitcoin in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities

Recently, a Moscow court handed a win to Russian security forces. In an effort to combat terrorism, they announced Telegram would be banned immediately. The company refused to hand over user information. A day after the ban going into effect, CEO Pavel Durov announced Telegram would use bitcoin to fund proxies and VPNs as possible workarounds for Russian customers. Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet Telegram Remains Defiant Pavel Durov’s Telegram channel followers were pinged early this morning, explaining “For the last 24 hours Telegram has been under a ban by internet providers in Russia. The...

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Bitcoiner Runs for Mayor of Taiwan’s Capital

Hacker. Educator. Successful businesswoman. Yi-Ting Cheng, better known as Xdite, shocked the broader cryptocurrency world when she announced her campaign for Mayor of Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan. The native of China is taking a big risk by offering herself up for political leadership, but, then again, as her exclusive interview with Humans of Bitcoin examines, she’s all about challenging herself. Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Effect Xdite Runs for Mayor of Taipei City In a recent Facebook post, Xdite explains, “Most politicians [in Taipei City] have very little understanding of technology. So it’s really...

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Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Effect

Bitcoin in Brief continues with the second day this week of mostly FOMO news. The biggest economy in the world faces the tax man today, as the United States and its crypto enthusiasts must atone for the sin of last year’s gains. Economists and market bulls are insisting that this fact caused dramatic sell offs, leading to haircuts across the board. Bulls believe, after today, prices ought to soar. Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet Tom Lee on Crypto Tax Once again, we get another chance to test the predictions of a much cited financial professional. We’re once again focusing on crypto’s favorite guru, Tom Lee of Fundstrat. He was seen recently on Fast Money, making his case for why the ecosystem should prepare itself for the potential of incoming cash tsunamis, as this year’s US tax deadline is upon us today. It is estimated americans owe the tax man as much as $25 billion. The panel doesn’t just accept Mr. Lee’s prognostications, and instead makes him work a little to better flesh out why he continues to say what he does. If you’re a bitcoin core proponent, these five minutes will be comforting. They Pay You Assuming after-tax price spikes, you’re going to need a hot wallet to store your bitcoin cash. After you’re done installing the Bitcoin.com Wallet, check out the I Pay You...

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Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

Bitcoin in Brief today is slanted toward a crypto winter slowly thawing, as Pantera Capital bets on a moonshot price point. Also, the world’s most popular decentralized digital asset has been forked more than a plate of good pasta; there’s a growing list of countries who’re less likely to nab your crypto profits; Yahoo! smashes rumors; and a good-hearted wager between bitcoin core and bitcoin cash partisans exemplifies how ecosystem actors should treat one another. Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Hide Your Seed A Panther’s Moonshot Bulls have a panther as their advocate to help thaw this crypto winter. We reported this week, “Pantera Capital, an investment firm exclusively operating in the cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology sectors, has published a letter predicting that bitcoin has established the low for its current bear market. Pantera cites a number of factors as informing its market outlook.” Among those factors are taxes on capital gains, where estimates are in the many, many billions expected from enthusiasts. That in turn, the fund theorizes, dragged prices down, and bitcoin core has found a bottom at $6,500, as holders were forced to sell in order to pay government bills. We continue, “Pantera also states that ‘It’s highly likely’ for the price of bitcoin to exceed its previous record highs of $20,000 ‘within a year,’ asserting that ‘A wall of institutional money will drive’...

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Greedy Facebook Versus Ideological Telegram: Why Principles Matter

Something happened this week that rarely occurs, history offered up a side-by-side comparison with a control. Heads of respective social network and messaging platforms Facebook and Telegram were each brought before their home governments, the United States for Mark Zuckerberg, Russia for Pavel Durov. How the two men responded is telling, and should inform everyone concerned with privacy, especially cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Also read: CBS’s NCIS Los Angeles Weaves Stolen Bitcoin Into Script, LL Cool J Is on the Case Facebook and Telegram Have Very Different Principles Mike Butcher at Tech Crunch’s Disrupt back in 2015, put it to Pavel Durov of Telegram fame directly, “Does it concern you ISIS uses Telegram?” Mr. Durov looks away from his interviewer, Mr. Butcher, as if the answer is somewhere at the back of the room. “That’s a good question,” he says, considerately. Mr. Butcher asks pointedly, interrupting, “You sleep well at night knowing terrorists use your platform?” Mr. Durov again congratulates the line of questioning, and answers, “I think that privacy, ultimately, and our right for privacy, is more important than our fear of bad things happening like terrorism.” Mr. Durov’s post after a Russian court ruled Telegram be banned. Such answers would be instant business suicide in the US, England, etc. Mr. Durov would be publicly attacked in the press, vilified by government minders. And yet here he is, in San Francisco,...

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Coinbase Uses Crypto Winter to Expand – Acquires Decentralized Wallet Startup

Crypto winter? What crypto winter! The exchange arguably most responsible for onboarding bitcoin investors, Coinbase, has not allowed sour price levels to keep them complacent, conservative. Instead, they’ve maintained a breakneck pace, forming a venture capital fund, hiring top executive talent, and now they’re gobbling up competitors such as Cipher Browser. Also read: Russian Court Bans Telegram, Founder Pavel Durov Defiant Coinbase Expands Depressed prices force weak hands out, and ill-prepared businesses begin the sorrowful process of inevitable decline, issuing layoffs and regimes of belt tightening. Such is not the case for San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. The billion-plus in revenues, and climbing, company continues to expand its position. Business press has quoted its executive team as patterning itself after Google, including the possibility of going public, and acquiring competitors.   Rachael Horwitz Just this year alone, barely out of the first quarter, they’ve created Coinbase Ventures. Emilie Choi, head of corporate business development and operations for Coinbase, explains, “We’ll be providing financing to promising early stage companies that have the teams and ideas that can move the space forward in a positive, meaningful way.” The fund is already $15 million strong. Also, key management positions are being filled by the likes of Ms. Choi, formerly of Linkedin, Asiff Hirji, former COO at TD Ameritrade, now Coinbase COO and President, and Facebook/Twitter veteran Rachael Horwitz as Vice President of Communications....

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Russian Court Bans Telegram, CEO Pavel Durov Defiant

Russian security services ordered Telegram to hand over access to encrypted user messages, but the messaging application (app) refused. Founder Pavel Durov didn’t bother to send lawyers to Moscow’s Tagansky court, and the court dutifully ruled against his company, taking less than 20 minutes in decreeing an immediate ban. Also read: CBS’s NCIS Los Angeles Weaves Stolen Bitcoin Into Script, LL Cool J Is on the Case Russian Court Bans Telegram Dmitri S. Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, stressed, “There is a certain legislation that demands certain data to be passed to certain services of the Russian Federation.” Judge Yulia Smolina agreed, ruling, “The ban on access to information will be in force until the [Federal Security Service’s] demands are met on providing keys for decrypting user messages,” TASS reported. Roskomnadzor, a censuring media body responsible for attempting to ban everything from Github to pornography to white nationalist websites, evidently made the most vigorous appeal in urging the court to shutter Telegram. Last month, the company appealed before the Supreme Court over Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) 800,000 ruble fine. The FSB ordered Telegram to decrypt messages in accordance with relatively recent anti-terrorism laws. “We don’t do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies. Since the day we launched in August 2013 we haven’t disclosed a single byte of our users’ private data to third parties,” a Telegram blog post insisted....

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Place Your Bets! Bitcoin Core Lightning Network Fails to Complete Basic Transaction

Wagers really don’t settle matters, but they are a lot of fun and force advocates to have some skin in the game. In the ongoing debate about scaling, network fees, congestion and mempools, the Lightning Network is Bitcoin Core’s answer. Some in the ecosystem have doubted its efficacy. A bet was placed. If a payment failed, as opponents assured it would, the Core advocate would have to wear a bitcoin cash (BCH) t-shirt. If it succeeded, the BCH advocate would wear a Blockstream t-shirt from their Lightning store.  Also read: Coinsecure India Down After $3 Million in Bitcoin Missing A Bet in the Bitcoin World Can Be Outrageous or Just Plain Fun Whatever else anyone thinks about bitcoiners, the ecosystem does have its share of characters. One of the most visible is presidential candidate, software magnate, rebel John McAfee. Using mathematical gymnastics and various theories, Mr. McAfee arrived at the price of $500,000 for one bitcoin core (BTC) by 2020. His Twitter followers were blown away, and so Mr. McAfee goaded them into betting. When challenged further, on 17 July 2017, Mr. McAfee tweeted, “if not, I will eat my dick on national television.” Even after the price dropped, he reportedly doubled down, insisting BTC would reach $1,000,000 in that time. There are people monitoring the price to see if it’s on pace. One snarky columnist even suggested wines to...

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