Author: Kai Sedgwick

This Week in Bitcoin: Who Do You Believe?

News The bitcoin space is a constant battle of truth versus untruth, rumor versus fact and optimism versus pessimism. With market manipulators up to their usual tricks and salty altcoiners crying FUD, it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake. This week truly had it all: keks, lies, and videotape beamed live from the U.S. Senate. Throw in the obligatory multi-million dollar hack, and you’ve got all the makings of another seismic week in bitcoin. Also read: Japan Cracks Down on Foreign ICO Agency Operating Without License The Rumor Mill Goes Into Overdrive The week started with rumors that China was banning bitcoin – yes, again. Not only that but they would be cracking down on mining too and laying the banhammer in Hong Kong into the bargain. It turns out the story was actual fake news, but that didn’t stop a couple of lesser publications from running with it. It was an elaborate hoax that showed much more sophistication than the average Nigerian phishing email, and was clearly an attempt at shorting the markets for monetary gain. As we reported: The objective of the bogus email’s senders was to spread rumours and panic, in the hope of manipulating the price of bitcoin, after taking short positions on bitcoin futures and betting that the price of bitcoin will fall, said Leonhard Weese, president of the Hong Kong...

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Bitcoin Private Fork Aiming to Make Bitcoin Anonymous

Bitcoin’s latest fork is just weeks away and this one’s a little different from the rest. Rather than simply tinkering with Segwit or adjusting block sizes, Bitcoin private (BTCP) is adding zk-Snarks. The privacy enhancing feature is best known for its use in the Z family of coins including zcash, zclassic, and zencash. That’s not surprising given that the fork is being instigated by Rhett Creighton, who is simultaneously forking bitcoin and zclassic on February 28 to create BTCP which will then be available to holders of both coins. Also read: U.S. Lawmaker Wants Ethics Committee to Form Bitcoin Disclosure Guidelines The Quest to Make Bitcoin Private Again Like all forks, bitcoin private is not without its controversies. Bitcoin’s underlying code hasn’t changed greatly over the years, but the ability of law enforcement, the IRS, and other busybodies to scrutinize blockchain activity has. Whereas once bitcoin could be used on the deep web and elsewhere with a reasonable assumption of privacy, doing so today is fraught with risks. The rise of privacy coins such as monero is a direct response to this gradual erosion of privacy. On February 28, a snapshot of the zclassic and bitcoin blockchains will be taken and holders of each cryptocurrency will be eligible for bitcoin private, distributed at a 1:1 ratio, once the BTCP mainnet launches a couple of days later. A total of 20...

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Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Suspends Operations After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano

Altcoins Bitgrail, an exchange whose primary purpose was to facilitate the trading of nano, has folded after ‘losing’ 17 million XRB, valued at around $170 million. The Italian exchange had been offline for weeks, and its customers feared the worst. Today, its operator “Francesco The Bomber” confirmed the bad news, which gained short shrift from the Nano community. Many believe Bitgrail’s owner to have exit scammed, taking with him almost 13% of the total circulating supply. Also read: Russia’s Largest Bank Caught Employees Mining For Crypto A Big Heist for Tiny Nano Up until December of last year, nano – then going under the name of raiblocks – was little more than another aspiring altcoin hoping to make it to the big league. Its promise of fast transactions and zero fees had some of the more diligent Twitter traders interested, but even they were astonished by the moon mission XRB suddenly embarked on. At the start of December, 1 XRB could be bought for $0.20. One month later, 1 XRB had soared to $35 after gaining 17,500%, making it 2017’s biggest gainer and putting the likes of bitcoin, litecoin and ripple in the shade. For most of last year, Bitgrail – the ‘rai’ in its name derived from raiblocks – was one of the only places where XRB could be bought. The exchange was clunky and erratic, like most small...

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New Reports Shine a Spotlight on Tether’s Legal Status

Regulation Rarely a week passes when Tether, the company responsible for issuing the USD-pegged cryptocurrency of the same, isn’t in the news. In the last 24 hours, two separate reports into the status of Tether and its USDT tokens have been published, one examining its legal status and the other exploring its blockchain. Meanwhile, Upbit exchange has reassured its customers that in the event of USDT being withdrawn, it will guarantee all deposits in USD. Also read: Hong Kong Cracks Down on Securities Tokens – 7 Crypto Exchanges Targeted Tether Faces a Twin Attack Nicholas Weaver Nicholas Weaver is a computer security researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley. On Thursday, he published a piece in Lawfareblog giving his thoughts on the likelihood of Tether being targeted by U.S. regulators. It was recently revealed that Tether was subpoenaed in December amidst mounting speculation as to the company’s operations. Subpoenas of companies that have a presence on U.S. soil are not unusual, and are not evidence in themselves of an imminent shutdown by financial regulators. But with no official comment from Tether or U.S. regulators, onlookers have been left wondering. In the opinion of Nicholas Weaver, “Because of their use in criminal activity, most cryptocurrency exchanges are cut off from the conventional banking system. Those that have access are required to generate IRS reports on transactions of a certain...

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Myetherwallet Relaunches as Mycrypto Following a Hostile Twitter Takeover

Altcoins Myetherwallet, the web’s most popular client-side ethereum interface, has announced a surprise rebrand. The service will henceforth be known as Mycrypto following an acrimonious split. The sudden move took one half of the Myetherwallet team by surprise, who claims the “Twitter handle was changed without knowledge or permission of MEW’s founder”. It has also emerged that a lawsuit was filed in December, with one party alleging that the other failed to allow them to inspect the company’s books. It now looks like there will be two competing brands moving forward, Myetherwallet and Mycrypto. Also read: Bitcoin Couture Makes Its Debut at New York Fashion Week Myetherwallet Hard Forks Mycrypto’s Taylor Monahan On Thursday evening, the Myetherwallet Twitter account announced to its 77,000 followers that it had rebranded as Mycrypto and had a new Twitter handle to match. There was just one problem: founder Taylor Monahan doesn’t seem to have told her co-founder Kosala. The revelation sparked a Twitter spat and overshadowed what had initially looked like a slick rebrand. The first ethereum wallet with a proper interface, MEW, as it’s affectionately known, has been around since 2015. Its users witnessed the DAO hack and subsequent hard fork of the ethereum blockchain to create two versions of the coin: ETH and ETC. Now, MEW has undergone its own hard fork that’s set to be every bit as contentious as the...

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Thanks to Mainstream Media, the Public Are Clueless About Cryptocurrency

News Did you hear that bitcoin’s dead? Or how about the new coin that’s going to be the next ethereum? Also, there’s this cryptocurrency called verge that experts are tipping to make huge gains this year. And let’s not forget ripple either. You should totally load up on $3 ripple. Navigating the cryptocurrency landscape is tricky enough for experienced heads. But for the general public, who take their news from traditional media outlets, the situation is far worse. Hopelessly misinformed reporting and PR puff pieces published as ‘news’ have left the public more clueless than ever. Also read: Weiss Ratings Defends its Decision to Give Bitcoin Only a C+ Grade Sowing the Seeds of Crypto Confusion As bitcoin reached record highs in December, the mainstream coverage grew to a crescendo. Suddenly everyone from mom to the metaphorical shoeshine boy had an opinion on cryptocurrency as the masses wired their deposits to Coinbase to get some skin in the game. When the markets started to fall in January, these new adopters got burned the worst. Many were stunned to see their rapidly diminishing portfolios, and a number quit altogether, electing to sell at a loss rather than endure more financial agony. Mainstream media aren’t to blame for the price of bitcoin, and can be forgiven for getting swept up in the crypto mania that was unavoidable for a while. Reporting on...

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Bitcoin Couture Makes Its Debut at New York Fashion Week

News While New York Stock Exchange traders were grappling with a market in freefall, elsewhere in the city this week all eyes were on more important matters. New York Fashion Week officially starts today (February 8), and at a pre-show on Tuesday, the latest haute couture and avant-garde designs were on display. Seeking to tap into the zeitgeist, Ovadia & Sons’ catwalk show featured a model rocking a bitcoin-themed outfit. Also read: You Can Now Bid for Jamie Dimon Crypto Art Made From Old Credit Cards From the Blockchain to the Catwalk Bitcoin has been popping up in the unlikeliest...

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You Can Now Bid for Jamie Dimon Crypto Art Made From Old Credit Cards

“Terrible Store of Value” is a great piece of work if you’re a collector of crypto art that sticks it to the man whilst providing a side order of utility. Formed out of repurposed credit cards and molded in the likeness of Jamie Dimon, who inspired the artwork’s name, the piece is currently up for auction with a reference bid of $15,000. Naturally the auction can be paid in bitcoin and comes with a blockchain verifiable certificate of authenticity. Also read: Dignitaries, Pundits, and Bigwigs Reveal Their 2018 Crypto-Predictions SoBs and Their SoV While Jamie Dimon seems to have softened his stance towards bitcoin, the JP Morgan chief’s most stinging jibes still resonate. The cryptocurrency, he famously opined, is “a terrible store of value”. Given bitcoin’s 65% decline in the last couple of weeks, the Wall Street CEO may have had a point, though that doesn’t diminish the need for cryptocurrencies in any way – it simply suggests they may have more utility as a medium of exchange (MoE), just as they were originally intended. Regardless of whether you ascribe to the SoV or MoE doctrine, as best exemplified by bitcoin core and bitcoin cash respectively, there’s no disputing the quality of Cryptograffiti’s latest work. The crypto artist, who’s previously created work from Federal Reserve money bags and torn up T&Cs, has used a bank safety deposit box as the...

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Forbes’ Inaugural Crypto Rich List Is Crass Yet Compelling

Ogling the fortunes of the filthy rich is a popular pastime with the poorer segments of society. It’s been that way for centuries, with 1849 marking the debut of Who’s Who, a 250-page guide “of living noteworthy and influential individuals, from all walks of life, worldwide.” In more recent years, Forbes has picked up the baton with its annual Rich List which reveals how the 1% are faring. Predictably, the U.S. publication has now launched its own crypto edition for the community to pore over. One name who doesn’t make the list, though, is the most famous and moneyed of all – Satoshi Nakamoto. Also read: You Can Now Buy Luxury Stuff With Bitcoin and Have It Delivered – All Anonymously The Shifting Sands of Crypto Riches It would be nice to pretend that decentralization and the separation of money and state are the primary motivators for people flocking to crypto. The truth is often more vulgar though. Do an internet search for Vitalik Buterin or any other major crypto figure and the autocomplete result that follows will inevitably be “net worth”. Human curiosity is a powerful urge, and money – in all its forms – is a natural magnet for the envious and the curious. Due to the volatility of cryptocurrencies, putting a precise dollar price on the entrants’ wealth is impossible, as Forbes readily admits, noting: “It’s a...

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New Research Suggests Ripple Is Even More Centralized Than Previously Thought

Despite being associated with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ethereum, ripple’s status as a decentralized currency is a matter of dispute. Critics have taken aim at XRP for years, claiming that Ripple exerts an unprecedented degree of control over transactions, something the company has always denied. A new report from Bitmex Research, whose cryptocurrency analysis carries great weight, suggests that ripple may be even more centralized than previously thought. Also read: The Rise and Fall of Ripple is a Case Study in Mass Hysteria Bitmex Goes Forensic On Ripple The Bitmex blog, operated by the exchange famed for its 100x leverage, isn’t like other blogs. Instead of being ephemeral and newsy, it’s characterized by deep and thoughtful research that is unlike anything else within the crypto space. When a new blog post is published, the community takes notice. On Monday, the latest Bitmex Research post, “The Ripple story”, arrived. Written more like an academic paper than a blog, it delves into the origins and backstory to Ripple in forensic detail. While the entire report will be of interest to anyone trying to gauge what to make of Ripple, it is the section regarding centralization that has provoked the most interest. In January, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Ripple Gateways’ ability to freeze users’ funds, something the company’s chief cryptographer David Schwartz bitterly protested. The Bitmex blog post explores this allegation at...

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