Student Faces Charges for Stealing $5 Million in Crypto via “SIM Jacking”

Student Faces Charges for Stealing $5 Million in Crypto via "SIM Jacking"

Motherboard has reportedly obtained court documents pertaining to the arrest of Joel Ortiz, a 20-year-old from Boston, who is accused of stealing $5 million USD in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Mr. Ortiz and his currently unidentified accomplices stole crypto from roughly 40 victims through a hacking technique known as “SIM jacking.”

Also Read: Archaeologists Argue Micronesian Stone Money Comprises Bitcoin Predecessor

20-Year-Old Arrested For Part in Theft of $5 Million in Crypto

Student Faces Charges for Stealing $5 Million in Crypto via "SIM Jacking"It has been reported that on the 12th of July, Californian police arrested a college student accused of being part of a group of criminals responsible for the theft of more than $5 million in cryptocurrencies.

Mr. Ortiz was reportedly arrested at Los Angeles International Airport whilst on his way to Europe donning a Gucci bag presumed to have been paid for with stolen money. The 20-year-old now faces 28 charges, including 13 counts of hacking, 13 counts of identity theft, and 2 counts of grand theft.

Ortiz is currently in jail awaiting his plea hearing on August 9th. His bail was set at $1 million.

First Reported Instance of Crypto Stolen Through ‘SIM Jacking’

Student Faces Charges for Stealing $5 Million in Crypto via "SIM Jacking"Motherboard has claimed that the case comprises the first reported instance in which the increasingly prevalent technique of “SIM jacking” has been used to steal virtual currency.

According to the publication, “SIM swapping consists of tricking a provider like AT&T or T-Mobile into transferring the target’s phone number to a SIM card controlled by the criminal. Once they get the phone number, fraudsters can leverage it to reset the victims’ passwords and break into their online accounts (cryptocurrency accounts are common targets.) In some cases, this works even if the accounts are protected by two-factor authentication.”

Hackers Target Consensus Conference in May

20-Y/O Faces 28 Charges for Stealing $5 Million via "SIM Jacking"Several of Mr. Ortiz and his yet-to-be-identified accomplices’ victims included attendees of the Consensus conference in New York City in May. One conference attendee who wishes to remain anonymous lost more than $1.5 million from one individual – nearly $1 million of which had been raised through initial coin offering.

“I looked at my phone and it was dead,” the individual told Motherboard. “We were having a meeting and all of a sudden he says ‘Fuck my phone just stopped working.'” The individual added that his friend later texted him: “My fucking SIM got hacked.”

Motherboard reported that “According to court documents, Ortiz took control of the entrepreneur’s cell phone number, reset his Gmail password and then gained access to his cryptocurrency accounts. The entrepreneur ran to the AT&T store to get his number back, but it was too late.”

What is your response to the arrest of Joel Ortiz? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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PR: SoPay – Blockchain Payment Platform Lists on Three Major Exchanges to Create Digital Assets “Alipay”

SoPay - Blockchain Payment Platform Lists on Three Major Exchanges to Create Digital Assets “Alipay”

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. does not endorse nor support this product/service. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

SoPay has announced its arrival in three exchanges (CoinEx, and BCEX) with an emphatic announcement of the trading contest that will feature 30 million SOP tokens.

SoPay is a new blockchain payment platform that brings a disruptive experience in the money market. Also, it has innovative operating models that it wants to leverage to make the digital asset trading environment more convenient.

Besides, SoPay will allow users to transact at no handling fee and with quicker processing duration of just 1 second. The platform supports transaction between numerous digital assets as well as cross-platform transactions. Furthermore, users can exchange digital assets for goods and services available in traditional offline and online businesses.

SoPay for Users
The SoPay experience is truly disruptive for users since it introduces a human touch to transactions. The platform eliminates the need for complicated passwords, elaborate processes and unnecessarily long confirmation durations. It has a simple, safe and user-friendly interface that is only comparable to Alipay.

How SoPay Works and its Reward Model
The simple process at SoPay involves registering a mobile phone number and a 6-digit transaction password. These two are equivalent to the average login information. This is all that users need to be able to make payment.

The platform hopes that this simple process will make blockchain payments open to everyone. Right now, the global population of participants in the blockchain space is a paltry 30 million. The platform foresees this number growing to 200 million by 2020 following the advantages that SoPay offers.

The SoPay platform rewards people that use the platform through its payment-mining model. This model gives incentive to users that deposit, lock assets or pay using the platform. The mine pool on SoPay comes from the income of service provider.

The First Target – The Gaming Space
SoPay is alive to the consumption barrier of digital assets among the gaming companies. To this end, it already has 40 gaming companies from the Orient, Europe and the U.S. in its pocket. These companies represent some 20 million players.

Market predictions estimate that blockchain payments in the gaming environment will reach US$ 100 billion in just three years. SoPay, therefore, sees it as a good starting point on its onslaught that also targets enterprises operating in the financial management, e-commerce and other allied industries. This strategy will enable it provide comprehensive services to all kinds of digital asset holders.

A New Consensus with Heightened Safety and Efficiency
SoPay is a product of extensive research and innovation in technology. The efforts intended to create a product that is different from existing payment platforms. Importantly, it’s SO Chain application gives users a chance to create accounts and virtual assets, transfer, confirm, transact, pledge and witness transactions, to name just a few among many other basic online transaction functions.

In addition, the platform offers users increased privacy at high operational speeds and enhanced security. The improvements and innovations are possible because the platform combines the benefits of EOS and third-generation consensus Delegated Proof of Stake (DPos).

More information about the SoPay platform:
Official website:
Telegram group 1:
Telegram group 2:

Press Contact Email Address

Supporting Link

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Omni Layer Fork Called ‘Wormhole’ Debuts for Bitcoin Cash

Omni Layer Fork Called 'Wormhole' Debuts for Bitcoin Cash

According to a report on the social media platform, software developers associated with the mining giant Bitmain plan on launching a smart contract protocol for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. The project called ‘Wormhole’ will utilize the increased data-carrier-size and OP_Return transactions alongside a protocol based on the Omni Layer project.

Also read: Group or Tokeda? A Look at the BCH Color Coin Debate

Bitmain Developers Debut the Omni Layer-Forked Wormhole Protocol for Bitcoin Cash

Omni Layer Fork Called 'Wormhole' Debuts for Bitcoin Cash On July 16 a report written on the platform detailed that Bitmain developers are in the midst of creating a smart contract system for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. The article written by the China-based, Cindy Daily, explained that Bitmain programmers introduced a token proposal called “Wormhole” in Chinese Wechat groups on Monday. The reporter explained that her news was roughly translated and said that Bitmain would officially reveal the concept in the coming days.

Within the Chinese Wechat conversations, the developers state that innovation requires a “permissionless community” and they have been studying ways to implement smart contract solutions on the BCH chain without utilizing a consensus upgrade.  

“After tremendous research effort, we have paid attention to the Omni Layer protocol, a scheme to realize token issuance through the OP_Return opcode — It is the technical basis for daily distribution and circulation of USDT (Tether),” explains the report.  

The Omni Layer runs on top of Bitcoin blockchain — Since the Omni Layer protocol uses the MIT license (open source), we forked the Omni Layer protocol and implemented the tech feature on Bitcoin Cash blockchain to achieve token issuance. We named this technical solution Wormhole protocol, and the original token in the protocol is named Wormhole Cash.

Omni Layer Fork Called 'Wormhole' Debuts for Bitcoin Cash

Two-Layer Security Approach

The reporter’s account also explains that Wormhole will utilize Bitcoind nodes and consensus will not need to be changed. Wormhole Cash (WHC) will use a two-layer security approach and the first layer will be BCH transaction security. The second layer run on Bitcoind will consist of nodes that won’t process data that doesn’t meet the Wormhole protocol requirements.

Another tokenization project reported on this past February is Counterparty Cash which is different from Omni layer but has similarities. It will be interesting to see an attempt to deploy a token creation mechanism for BCH alongside smart contract capabilities. A few members of the BCH community has been asking developers to create a fork of Omni Layer for quite some time now. Reportedly the Chinese-based mining firm will reveal the full details of this project soon.

What do you think about an Omni Layer-like idea for the Bitcoin Cash network and the Wormhole Cash currency? Let us know your thoughts on the Bitmain developer’s new idea in the comment section below.

Images via Shutterstock, and Cindy Daily. 

Want to get a few bits of BCH to test out this awesome technology check out our Bitcoin Cash Faucet today!

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Why Governance is the Greatest Problem That Blockchains Must Solve

Why Governance is the Greatest Problem That Blockchains Must Solve

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and in a blockchain that link lies in the form of its founders. Getting nodes to achieve consensus is easy compared to the difficulty of getting humans to achieve consensus. The greatest challenge that new blockchains must solve isn’t speed or scaling – it’s governance.

Also readHave You Tried Blockchain 5.0 Yet? Nobody Else Has Either

Governance: Easy to Define, Hard to Achieve

There wasn’t much thought given to on-chain governance when bitcoin was created; Satoshi was too busy reinventing the wheel on several other fronts. But the arrival of bitcoin spawned a wave of blockchains, and with it, the first faltering attempts at introducing a means of reaching consensus between network users, over and above that attained by validating nodes.

Dash first popularized the concept of blockchain governance, which is achieved through the use of masternodes, whose operators can vote on budget proposals. Its system provides a simple means of reaching agreement among community members who are most heavily invested in the project. Scores of subsequent crypto projects, including many that don’t use masternodes, have since copied Dash’s governance model. Often, they’ll tack voting rights onto their token as a means of shoring up its weak use case, but not all projects are as slapdash or cynical with their approach to governance – some aim to genuinely innovate, and in doing so, to overcome the weaknesses that are inherent to human structures.

Why Governance is the Greatest Problem That Blockchains Must Solve

The Quest for Human Consensus

While bitcoin core has muddled on without any sort of governance, and is all the more decentralized for it, other blockchains have tried to enact more formalized systems of governance. The idea is that by enacting an efficient means of achieving consensus among token-holders, decisions can be made promptly, without sacrificing the decentralized principles that make blockchains so appealing in the first place.

When Tezos was birthed last summer, governance was one of its big selling points. Its protocol promised, “a formal process through which stakeholders can efficiently govern the protocol and implement future innovations”. The subsequent fallout between Tezos foundation members emphasizes the frailties of humans, whose squabbles and power struggles can stymie even the most well-intentioned of projects. Tezos’ off-chain failures, ironically, may have strengthened the case for its onchain system of governance.

Governance is a Tough Nut to Crack

As well-known crypto commenter Nic Carter mused, “Creating a cryptocurrency corrupts… creating a billion-dollar cryptocurrency corrupts absolutely.” Due to the huge economic incentives at stake, getting token-holders to act in the interests of the community, rather than fixating on their own pecuniary gains, is a tall order. Storecoin is a zero-fee, high throughput blockchain whose most interesting feature is not a technical one – it’s a human one.

Why Governance is the Greatest Problem That Blockchains Must SolveIts creator, Chris McCoy, explains: “For today’s public blockchains to move past prototypes and low usage dApps – to where entities trust a decentralized blockchain enough to process $10 million+ of utility-based daily transaction volume – blockchains need an enforceable rules engine that has no centralization of power, that key network participants trust, and that is censorship resistant. To shape the future of trade and commerce, blockchains need an enterprise-grade governance [model] that is trusted, enforceable, and reaches finality in a democratic process.”

Storecoin’s governance is inspired by the US constitution, with consensus on change, McCoy explains, “reached by four separate branches that check and balance each other on protocol-level, key people, and monetary policy decisions”. Another blockchain that relies on a constitution, EOS, has come in for flak, prompting its founder Dan Larimer to return to the drawing board to draft a new one. MakerDAO, meanwhile, has been conducting deep research into a “governance risk framework” that aims to diversify trust in trustless systems.

Why Governance is the Greatest Problem That Blockchains Must Solve

The history of cryptocurrency is littered with hard forks, acrimonious splits, exit scams, lawsuits, and public fallouts. The case for governance does not need to be overstated. But the means of achieving it is a complex task that has taxed some of the cryptoverse’s brightest minds. So long as humans are in charge, internecine conflict and greed will be inevitable. Blockchains can’t eliminate avarice, but that won’t stop their architects from trying their damnedest to divest protocols from the fallible humans who control them.

What blockchain do you think has the best system of governance? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, and Storecoin.

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Blockchain Conferences Are the New Music Festivals

Cryptocurrency conferences provide a chance to absorb seminars, panel discussions, and keynote speeches from leading industry figures, and to conduct business face-to-face. At least that’s their official purpose. Unofficially, they’re an experiential extravaganza that puts some of the world’s most famous music festivals to shame.

Also read: Japan’s GMO Upgrades Margin Services, Launches Wallet and In-Game BTC Rewards

Crypto Conferences in 2018: Less Studying, More Partying

There were moments at the Futurama Blockchain Innovators Summit, held in Dubai on May 3-6, when you could have sworn you were at Burning Man. It wasn’t so much the appearance of Brock Pierce as star panelist, a man so enamored with Burning Man he actually got married there. Rather, it was the daily itinerary in which blockchain talks were squeezed in around networking events instead of vice-versa.

“The most likely way to get me to attend your conference is to throw really good parties,” chuckles Brock Pierce midway through an Altcoin Buzz video of the event. The organizers of Futurama, which included Coinsbank, duly obliged, throwing a lavish series of parties and meetups that included a harpist playing in the middle of the desert; fireworks; dune-riding in 4x4s; and a lavish final party hosted on one of the largest yachts in Dubai. Instead of adhering to a rigid schedule, the conference would start once everyone had assembled each morning, which meant that everything ran fashionably late. No one seemed to mind.

Blockchain Conferences Are the New Music Festivals
The setting for the Futurama after-party in Dubai

Face-to-Face > Inbox-to-Inbox

Blockchain Conferences Are the New Music Festivals
Catering aboard the yacht at the Futurama Blockchain Conference

One of the reasons why conferences such as Futurama and Consensus have come to be defined by their hospitality rather than their itinerary owes less to one upmanship and more to the power of face-to-face interactions. As attendees as these and many other blockchain conferences this year will attest, the most valuable deals weren’t sealed in the meeting rooms or conference halls; they were concluded with bumped fists while sharing shiskas at the Desert Rose Party; in the hot tub aboard a yacht with the city lights glittering across the bay; in the rooftop bar 37 floors up a New York skyscraper.

Tickets for cryptocurrency conferences don’t come cheap, with admission to a three-day event typically running into the thousands of dollars. Delegates are only too happy to pay up though, and to avail themselves of the open bars and sumptuous banquets, and to mingle with the “experience girls” enlisted to address the gender imbalance and make the Instagram pictures prettier. But that’s not really what it’s about. Such trappings are more a means to an end; an ice-breaker that enables strangers from opposing sides of the world to form fledgling friendships and profitable partnerships. That’s why delegates don’t calculate an event’s value by the cost of admission – they base their assessment on the value of the business generated.

Music Meets Crypto

Just as attending a music festival is more about cutting loose than it is about the music, blockchain conferences aren’t really about cryptocurrency. Sure, there’s a panel discussion on blockchain scaling you might squeeze in if there’s time, and a keynote on AI that looks interesting, but these things are optional. The parties are where the real action happens.

Blockchain Conferences Are the New Music Festivals
No yacht party would be complete without multiple screens displaying crypto prices

There’s a strong case for bemoaning the more egregious examples of excess at crypto conferences; the Aston Martins given away aboard a luxury cruise at Consensus and the celebrity rapper after-parties, which do little to enhance the industry’s perception. Eliminate the social element altogether, however, and you’d be left with a bunch of men in suits taking notes in a draughty conference hall. Due to the digital nature of cryptocurrency, whose proponents are as distributed as the bitcoin ledger itself, conferences are one of the few opportunities for interacting in the same physical space. Blockchain events are the new music festivals.

Do you think cryptocurrency conferences are getting more flamboyant? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinsbank, and The Void.

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DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

Investigations are all about the crypto ecosystem, but a recent report regarding a US Department of Justice price manipulation crackdown was widely said to be the cause of market caps falling, and by a lot. Fundstrat, the ecosystem’s favorite financial professional crypto bull, is on record as welcoming government regulation, what it calls “adult supervision.”

Also read: Bitcoin Use Case: Limiting Government Growth

Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision of Crypto

Legacy media, thanks to a Bloomberg article, ran wild with fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) this week, regarding a supposed US Department of Justice investigation of price manipulation. Weaker hands in response effectively sent bitcoin core (BTC) well below $8K, heading for 7, and the entire crypto market cap slid accordingly.

Debate about regulation in the US and around the world has raged the entirety of cryptocurrency’s near decade-long life. Bitcoin licensing in New York, senate hearings, G20 central bankers urging global crypto laws, the requisite jockeying and lobbying for exclusive access to regulators, taken together, seems to be slouching toward something major coming down from financial minders. And well-publicized recent hacks haven’t helped confidence. There seems to be a new initial coin offering scam daily. 

DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

Rumors the DOJ is teaming with US bitcoin futures regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and possibly patching-in the US Securities and Exchange Commission can spook animal spirits, of course. Anecdotal evidence abounds. Add to that six rather frightening words, when strung together by regulators, that make speculators’ ears perk, “neither confirm nor deny an investigation” becomes all the evidence anyone needs to dump positions. Even large exchange Bitfinex has been subpoenaed by the CFTC.

The ecosystem’s favorite bull, Thomas Lee of Fundstrat, in a client letter, put a finer point on happenings: “These stories have pressured the crypto market, as regulatory action (and related headline risk) reduces risk appetite and also is a further deterrent for near-term inflows from new investors. However, these actions signal that adult supervision is coming to crypto and adding such oversight incrementally improves the structural integrity and legitimacy for crypto-currency investor. In other words, in order for institutional investors to be more actively engaged in crypto markets, such adult supervision is a necessary precondition.”

Regulation is an Anathema to Bitcoin

Prior to welcoming crypto regulation, Mr. Lee ate a giant, warm slice of humble pie following his Consensus conference bump prediction of many thousands in BTC price increase. Just the reverse, of course, happened, and Mr. Lee, to his credit, reappeared on as many shows to take his medicine. He acknowledged getting it badly wrong, but ultimately attributed the decline due to unforeseen regulatory rumors and, ironically, saturation at the conference of hype.

In a slide presentation graphic, Fundstrat continued to use “welcome,” as in crackdowns being “welcome and also widely anticipated.” On price specific manipulation investigations, they urged “this probe is again, a very welcome development.”

DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

To crypto enthusiasts, they are decidedly torn. On the one hand, nearly everyone will agree bitcoin was developed to essentially leave government regulatory environments. Government regulations are not issued out of benevolence toward the hoi polloi. No, rather they’re instead an effort to pick winners and losers in terms of which sector of businesses lobbied the hardest, greasing wheels of states in their direction. Regulations enforce burdens often on startups, insulating more established and connected businesses from too much competition. Corruption, then, can and does become institutional. Present day banking is proof enough. Bitcoin, in Satoshi’s vision, releases adopters from financial cartels, at least in theory. To invite regulators goes against everything crypto stands for.

On the other hand, regulation does seem to be inevitable. And if it is, shouldn’t the ecosystem get out in front? Seems rational enough, and that’s a generous reading of Mr. Lee and Fundstrat’s comments. Nevertheless, the company remains bullish on bitcoin core (BTC). They point to Coinbase in particular and its staggering growth to 20 million customers, and BTC related wallet downloads of more than 3.5 million. They do, however, hold to a degree of caution if headlines remain negative and mining rewards/price reach parity.

Do you think regulation of crypto is inevitable? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Images via Pixabay, Fundstrat.

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$25,000 in 2018: Bitcoin Bull Tom Lee Sticks to Strong Forecast Despite Failed Prediction

Widely followed cryptocurrency analyst Thomas Lee’s short-term market forecast may not have materialized, but he’s sticking with his bullish long-term prediction despite the setback. If anything, Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Lee is digging in his heels even further, reportedly reiterating his forecast for a $25,000 BTC price by year-end. What Happened Lee placed a great deal of stock

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Fundstrat’s Bitcoin Price Rally Prediction Fell Flat: Tom Lee Explains Why

Fundstrat Global Advisers is a finance market strategy firm well-known for making bullish predictions on cryptocurrency prices. Co-founder Thomas Lee posted the group’s predictions that the bitcoin price would reach up to $64,000 by the end of 2019, citing the future trajectory of Bitcoin mining infrastructure growth as an underlying cause. He also predicted $91,000

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Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto

Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto

St. Louis Federal Reserve President, James Bullard, was recently interviewed at this year’s Consensus conference in New York City. That a top US economic policy maker was in attendance is victory enough; however, he was asked his opinions on cryptocurrency going forward by CNBC Global Markets Reporter Seema Mody. He explained he found the phenomenon “interesting,” and how more cryptos being issued all time necessitates keeping an “eye” on them. Mr. Bullard also compared the use case for cryptocurrencies with that of the dollar, and whether the former posed a threat to the latter.  

Also read: Bitpay Enables Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) for Tax Payments

Federal Reserve President Attends Crypto Conference

Federal Reserve President, James Bullard, gave a presentation at this year’s giant Consensus conference in New York City. Reread that sentence. A sitting Fed policy maker thought it important enough to attend a crypto soiree. That’s news enough. But more importantly, President Bullard gave a presentation on the government’s current thinking about cryptocurrency.

In his talk, he acknowledged crypto is facilitating trade that might otherwise not occur. He couldn’t help himself by mentioning illegal activity (and we all know fiat currencies are never used in illegal activity), but he did describe decentralized money’s lean toward frictionless transactions (especially with regard to costs/fees) as being an advancement.

Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto
Mr. Bullard and Ms. Mody

The Fed policy maker reserved the bulk of his comments, both in the presentation and during a post-game interview with CNBC, to talk about the problems in crypto as he sees them. One issue is simply the number of currencies being offered. The 12th St. Louis Fed President feels this over complicates matters, especially with regard to exchange rates and volatility.

Asked if cryptocurrencies pose a threat to the dollar, Mr. Bullard, 56, answered he didn’t think so. Global Markets Reporter Seema Mody, who is covering Consensus for CNBC this year, quickly followed up with a “but it could be?” The Fed President was noncommittal, choosing instead to shrug and give the pat answer about no one really knowing what the future holds. He emphasized how since its creation the US dollar has vanquished nearly all currency competition due to its being backed by the world’s strongest economy. It’s abundantly clear, Mr. Bullard suggested, people want the dollar and not crypto … at least at the moment.

Fed Coin on the Horizon?

Ms. Mody pressed Mr. Bullard about his presence at the conference, asking if this was a hint of things to come with regard to a future coin birthed by the Fed, a Fed Coin? Interestingly he didn’t dismiss the idea outwardly, and instead said they’d for sure look at the possibility, as the Fed does with many different types of financial innovations. He also assured there wasn’t any plan being hatched at the moment, no imminent Fed Coin coming. Mr. Bullard also wondered aloud what the gains would be by creating such a coin. He smiled subtly, assuring he’s keeping an “open mind.”

Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto

His comments seem to be less strident than statements issued by the St. Louis Fed on the very subject not even one month ago. “The St. Louis Federal Reserve has published an essay critically evaluating the notion of cryptocurrencies that are issued by central banks,” we detailed. “The article is highly dismissive in presenting what it describes as ‘the non-case for central bank cryptocurrencies,’ concluding that ‘a central bank will not issue cryptocurrencies in the sense of a truly decentralized and permissionless asset that allows users to remain anonymous.’”

A rather curious fact about the St. Louis Fed, one of twelve jurisdictions in the Federal Reserve system (the 8th district serves Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas), is how it has recently become very chatty about crypto. As these pages reported back at the beginning of this year, “Aleksander Berentsen and Fabian Schär of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis have recently published an article that emphasizes many of the benefits of cryptocurrencies. The article states that ‘cryptoassets are well suited to become an important asset class,’ in addition to offering praise regarding a number of the major applications associated with cryptocurrencies.”

Do you think a Fed president attending a crypto conference is meaningful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Twitter.

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Bitgo Launches Institutional Grade Custodial Services Suite

Bitgo Launches Institutional Grade Custodial Services Suite

This weekend the leading cryptocurrency security platform, Bitgo, announced the launch of custodial storage solutions for institutional investors. The new custodial program aims to offer a multi-level suite for digital asset security in partnership with the firm Kingdom Trust.

Also read: Markets Update: Cryptocurrencies Lose Steam During the Weekend

Bitgo Offers a Secure Custodial Platform for Institutional Investors

Bitgo Launches Institutional Grade Custodial Services Suite The Palo Alto-based firm Bitgo is now offering institutional investors custodial services due to a partnership with Kingdom Trust. The news follows the recent announcements from the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs launching a cryptocurrency product, and companies like Coinbase offering services to institutional clientele. The latest institutional grade suite offered by Bitgo and Kingdom Trust provides custody services like treasury controls, advanced security solutions, and 24-7 monitoring.

Multi-level services for the new custodial products include self-managed custody, institutional custody with multi-sig wallet, and the Bitgo offline vault. The vault stores keys offline and when tethered to a multi-signature wallet it can be programmed to require co-signers.        

Secure your digital assets in an offline multi-signature vault in minutes An offline vault generates and stores private wallet keys on a clean air-gapped computer,” Bitgo’s offline storage white paper explains.

To spend funds from an offline wallet securely, you can sign transactions with your private keys offline using Bitgo Offline Vault This means your private keys are never online or linked to a computer connected to the internet.

Bitgo Launches Institutional Grade Custodial Services Suite

Bitgo Will Face Competition from Others Providing Services to the Crypto-Wealthy

The company’s website which details the new custodial services says the products are more robust due to the partnership with Kingdom Trust. The services will be backed by individuals with digital asset solutions expertise, while also meeting the regulatory compliance requirements around custody of digital assets. The news follows the company’s implementation of seven new cryptocurrencies including  Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ether, Ripple and Royal Mint Gold. Further, the Bitgo revealed its enterprise-grade Ethereum wallet has seen a lot of growth and on April 17 Bitgo added support for ERC-20 tokens.

The latest Bitgo custodial services offering digital asset security for institutional clientele will also compete against a product offered by a former Bitgo employee Jameson Lopp. The former Bitgo engineer will also provide institutional grade security for cryptocurrency millionaires. The firm Casa also aims to serve the crypto-wealthy was launched six months ago raising $2.1Mn USD from groups like Boost VC, and Compound. Bitgo’s CEO Mike Belshe stated back in January when the firm first acquired Kingdom Trust that he believes Bitgo’s new services marry technology with security.

“Bitgo and Kingdom are building products for the future – marrying the new technology with the safety and controls all investors require,” Belshe explained at the time.

What do you think about Bitgo offering custodial solutions for institutional clientele? Let us know in the comments below. 

Images via Shutterstock, and Bitgo. 

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NYC Blockchain Week: What to Expect from Consensus 2018 This Week

NYC Blockchain Week

Big things are happening in the crypto and blockchain sector this week. In fact, this week is what the financial industry calls ‘NYC Blockchain Week’ and Consensus 2018 has kicked off. Companies will be announcing various things throughout the week, so stay vigilant; you are not going to want to miss some of these meetings and announcements. 

NYC Blockchain Week Has Arrived!

In New York, the largest digital currency conference has kicked off. The name of this conference is Consensus. It is thought that Consensus 2018 will see a dramatic increase in attendance. In fact, it ...

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How to Survive a Blockchain Conference Without Getting Hacked

How to Survive a Blockchain Conference Without Getting Hacked

Blockchain conference season is here, the industry’s equivalent of Hollywood’s awards season. It’s an opportunity for crypto celebs to tread the red carpet and for everyone from minnows to whales to mingle, network, and learn. But if you’re not careful, it’s also a chance to get your devices pwned and your cryptocurrency swiped.

Also read: Xapo Estimated to be Housing 6.25% of Total BTC Supply

May Is the Month for Blockchain Conferences

There are cryptocurrency conferences all through the year, but May is when they reach their zenith. Last weekend saw Futurama in Dubai, a glitzy event whose guests included Brock Pierce and whose closing party took place on a yacht in the Gulf. Next week it’s the turn of Consensus NYC, the industry’s largest event that will welcome 7,000 attendees and hundreds of delegates.

The cumulative value of the portfolios swilling around inside New York’s Hilton Midtown will comfortably run into the billions of dollars. The vast majority of that wealth will have been left at home on hardware devices and paper wallets stashed in secure vaults, but that doesn’t mean attendees will be immune from thieves.

How to Survive a Blockchain Conference Without Getting Hacked

For one thing, you probably have more of your crypto holdings on an exchange, readily accessible via the 2FA app in your pocket, than you’d care to admit. And for another, hackers don’t have to strike at the event. They can phish or social engineer now and strike later when you’re on the other side of the world, or when you’re on the long-haul flight home and unaware that your SIM card has just been swapped.

Keep Calm and Be Prepared

The first rule when attending any public conference, especially one as high profile as Consensus, is to avoid insecure wifi networks. How do you know if a network’s insecure? You probably don’t, which is why you’re best relying on mobile data only. That wifi point named after the conference you’re attending could just as easily be a honeypot.

If you must connect via wifi while at the conference or your hotel, be sure to use a VPN. In addition, keep your cellphone’s bluetooth and NFC turned off and don’t plug it into a USB point to charge. You don’t know what’s on the other end of that cable, and while it could be innocuous, it could just as easily be extracting your data.

Be Careful What You Share and Who You Share It With

How to Survive a Blockchain Conference Without Getting HackedThe best thing about blockchain conferences isn’t the panel discussions and it certainly isn’t the ICO pitches. No, the best part is the after-parties. All those networking opportunities and chances to bump fists with crypto bros you’ve previously only known as an avatar in a Telegram group. Some words of caution are necessary though.

Literally anyone can whip together a business card purporting to be an investor or OTC broker, pull on an expensive shirt, and extend a firm handshake. Due to the public nature of crypto conferences, there is no means of vetting participants, and no easy means of telling who’s legit and who’s a snake. That ICO whale who’s befriended you and returned to your room for drinks could be the real deal…or they could just be waiting for an opportunity to slip something in your vodka and pilfer your laptop once you’ve passed out.

Crypto People Are Good People

This advice isn’t intended to be alarmist. Crypto people are some of the friendliest and most generous people you could ever hope to meet IRL (the less said about their Twitter personas the better). Provided you follow basic op-sec, you will be able to relax at the conference, enjoy yourself, and forge friendships that will last for years. Be careful, though, not to brag about gains, share portfolios, or engage in any other behavior that could mark you out as a target.

If possible, leave your primary laptop and smartphone at home and travel with a burner. That way, whatever happens, you’ll wake up regretting nothing more than that last shot of tequila. Be discrete, conceal your wealth, and remember that there’s no such thing as free wifi. Do all that and you’ll be sure to have a ball.

What other precautions do you think conference delegates should take? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Cryptocurrency Projects Aiming to be ‘ASIC Resistant’ Have Little Success

Cryptocurrency Projects Aiming to be 'ASIC Resistant' Have Little Success

Just recently the Bitcoin Gold (BTG) developers announced the project’s consensus algorithm Equihash was “threatened” in a blog post called “A Response to the ASIC Threat.” In the post, the BTG project’s team members explain that they might change the cryptocurrency’s current Equihash algorithm due to the recent launch of the Antminer Z9 mining rig. The firm Bitmain Technologies has once again produced a device that breaks the mold of digital currency networks that claim to be ‘ASIC resistant.’

Also read: Researchers Find Bitcoin Network 3X More ‘Evil’ Than the Public Internet

The Bitcoin Gold Project Aimed to be a ‘Better Bitcoin’ by Trying to Remain ‘ASIC Resistant,’ but the Idea Failed Miserably With the Launch of the Z9 Mini

Cryptocurrency Projects Aiming to be 'ASIC Resistant' Have Little SuccessLast year a project called Bitcoin Gold (BTG) forked the Bitcoin Core (BTC) protocol in hopes of creating a more fair and decentralized mining environment that would remain ‘ASIC resistant.’ The BTG project basically cloned the BTC codebase (Segwit included), and changed the consensus algorithm from SHA-256 to the Equihash algorithm, a popular mechanism used by the digital asset zcash and others. This week the Bitcoin Gold development team wrote a blog post that detailed a new Equihash mining rig that’s been released to the public “threatens” their dream of a “one CPU one vote” network. The mining rig manufacturer Bitmain has caused a stir throughout multiple cryptocurrency communities, by launching various miners this year that process algorithms most thought were ‘ASIC resistant.’ The latest Antminer Z9 mini was announced on May 3 and costs $1,999 USD per unit and the machine processes an Equihash hashrate of about 10k Sol/s ± 5%.

“We are pleased to announce the Antminer Z9 mini, an ASIC miner to mine Equihash-based cryptocurrencies — To prevent hoarding and to let more individuals worldwide get one, we’ve set a limit of one miner per user,” explains Bitmain the day they launched the Z9 mini.

Cryptocurrency Projects Aiming to be 'ASIC Resistant' Have Little Success
The Antminer Z9 mini mines the Equihash algorithm and has caused trouble for the Bitcoin Gold (BTG) team. 

After Feeling ‘Threatened’ by the Z9 the BTG Development Team Plans to Modify or Change the Current BTG Equihash Algorithm

The announcement has shaken development teams who believed their blockchain consensus models would be free from these high-efficiency semiconductors. But now that Bitmain has released the Equihash mining Antminer Z9, the BTG project may attempt to modify or change its consensus algorithm.

“This week, we learned that the dominant specialty crypto mining hardware maker (Bitmain) has released an “ASIC” miner for Equihash, which means it would be able to mine BTG if we were to allow that to happen,” explains the BTG organization.

The Bitcoin Gold dev team is now working to fix this. We’ve been planning to do this for some time – either by modifying how the Equihash algorithm is implemented, or by changing to an entirely different algorithm. Perhaps we’ll do each, over time.

Cryptocurrency Projects Aiming to be 'ASIC Resistant' Have Little Success
Due to the launch of the Antminer Z9 mini the BTG team plans to change or modify its consensus algorithm.

Is ‘ASIC Resistance’ a Pipe Dream?

Bitcoin Gold isn’t the only project that attempted to create an ‘ASIC resistant’ cryptocurrency that failed to meet that goal. The Litecoin (LTC) network utilizes a different hashing algorithm called scrypt, and when the project first launched everyone thought it would never see ASIC miners processing the LTC’s blocks. However, the once claimed ‘ASIC resistant’ Litecoin scrypt algorithm turned out to be minable by application-specific semiconductors and at the time when this was discovered in 2013 it was quite controversial.

Last month Bitmain released its Antminer E3 that processes the Ethhash (an ethereum, ETH) hashing algorithm. The launch of this device sparked a discussion between Ethereum users who wanted to become ASIC resistant quickly. One Ethereum proponent writes “a regularly scheduled PoW change, like Monero” is needed. The Monero (XMR) development team ran into the same situation as a Bitmain produced mining rig was launched before the E3, that mined cryptocurrencies that utilized the cryptonight algorithm.

As far as different types of Proof-of-Work algorithms there hasn’t really been a cryptocurrency yet that has maintained full ASIC resistance. Most people believe the goal to produce an ASIC resistant PoW is a mythical pipe dream as there are warehouses full of ASIC machines that mine these digital currencies that once claimed to be immune from ASICs.

What do you think about the goal to create an ASIC resistant PoW cryptocurrency? Is this goal attainable without going full PoS? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments below.

Images via Pixabay, Shutterstock, Bitcoin Gold blog, and Bitmain Technologies. 

Have you seen our new cryptocurrency market caps page Satoshi Pulse? It shows live updated price feeds and market caps for the top 500 coins and there’s no need to refresh for prices. Check out Satoshi Pulse today! 

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Upgrade Time: Bitcoin Cash Plans a 32 MB Hard Fork

Upgrade Time: Bitcoin Cash Plans a 32 MB Hard Fork

This week the Bitcoin ABC developers officially announced the much anticipated Bitcoin Cash network hard fork on May 15. In addition to the statement from the development team, the codebase for the client Bitcoin ABC 0.17.0 has also been made available with the newly added consensus rules.

Also read: New Karate Combat League Arena Features Bitcoin Symbol

Bitcoin Cash Forks Again This Spring

Upgrade Time: Bitcoin Cash Plans a 32 MB Hard ForkBitcoin cash is forking again on May 15, 2018, and the protocol’s consensus rules will change going forward. The fork was expected as the Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet announced intentions to fork a few months ago. Further, Séchet explained that it would be easier to fork after the new year and detailed some of the reasons why the fork would take place. Now, this week the ABC development team has released version 0.17.0 which contains the code to change the Bitcoin Cash network’s consensus rules.   

The scheduled activation time will be on May 15 but there is no specific block height for this hard fork. Much like the birth of BCH, and the last fork in November consensus rules will change based on the “Median Time Past” (MTP) method. So on Tuesday, May 15 at 12:00:00 UTC, 2018 when the MTP takes place with the most recent 11 blocks equal to or greater than 1,526,400,000, the very next block will activate the hard fork.

A 32 Megabyte Block Size Increase and Op-Code Additions

The development team explains that anyone running an ABC node should immediately upgrade to the 0.17.0 release or other compatible software. As far as other clients are concerned, ABC developers state they cannot speak on behalf of these other implementation teams, but ABC has communicated with them. “Bitcoin ABC is currently testing both the new rules and their activation — a testnet should be available soon,” explains Bitcoin ABC. The latest announcement also details the important changes within the new software:

The most notable change is the increase of the maximum block size to 32 MB — There are also several bitcoin script operation codes (op-codes) being added or reactivated.  

No Hard Fork Fears

The developers also detail that they are in the midst of talking with major exchanges and wallet providers concerning the May 15th upgrade. The team emphasizes that the community can help by contacting infrastructure providers to make the process go more smoothly. The last Bitcoin Cash network upgrade back in November of 2017 had zero complications, and the Difficulty Algorithm Adjustment (DAA) consensus changes have kept the mining difficulty consistent. It’s safe to say the BCH community, in general, doesn’t seem to be afraid of hard forks. Proponents are looking forward to a 32 MB block size increase and op-code additions that could bring ethereum-like characteristics to the BCH network.

What do you think about the Bitcoin Cash network upgrade slated for May 15? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, and Bitcoin ABC.

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Cryptocurrency Mining Industry Sees Influx of New Hardware

Cryptocurrency Mining Industry Sees Influx of New Hardware

On April 3, 2018, the Chinese based firm Bitmain Technologies had launched it’s latest miner the Antminer E3. The new pre-manufactured mining rig processes the hashing algorithm Ethhash, the PoW consensus protocol for the Ethereum network. Lately, Bitmain has been releasing a bunch of new products including the Antminer X3 which mines Cryptonight algorithms for coins like monero, and a slew of other mining devices.

Also Read: Reddit Removes Bitcoin Payment Option, Censors Darknet Forum

The Latest Ethhash and Cryptonight Miners

Bitmain is a well-known manufacturer of cryptocurrency mining hardware and other related services. The company was founded in 2013 by Jihan Wu and the firm has made quite a name for itself over the years. Last year the company produced a whopping revenue of over $4 billion, making it one of the largest technology companies in China. The company has been making BTC miners for quite some time, and soon offered both dash and litecoin miners as time passed. Just recently the firm has officially launched two more miners which have caused heated discussions among network participants throughout a few cryptocurrency ecosystems.

Cryptocurrency Mining Industry Sees Influx of New Hardware
The new Antminer E3 claims to operate at 180MH/s

This week the company launched the Antminer E3; a cryptocurrency mining device that processes the Ethhash (an ethereum ETH) hashing algorithm. The machine boasts a 180MH/s and the company has started shipping batch one. The E3 launch announcement had riled up a bunch of ethereum community members who are quite sour that an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) device of this magnitude has been released to the public. Members of the ethereum community are already calling for a faster hard fork to avoid these types of ASIC miners. Some ETH community members explained that the creation of these devices supported the need to have “a regularly scheduled PoW change, like monero.”

Cryptocurrency Mining Industry Sees Influx of New Hardware
The latest Antminer X3 mines Cryptonight coins like monero.

The monero (XMR) community has been facing the same dilemma, as Bitmain has just launched the Antminer X3 which mines the Cryptonight hashing algorithm. This means coins like monero, boolberry, and other Cryptonight-based coins can be mined using the X3 at a rate of 220KH/s, according to Bitmain. Because of this new mining device situation, the privacy-centric cryptocurrency monero plans to hard fork and call itself moneroV (XMV).

Halong Miners Dragonmint Claims to Produce 16 Terrahash and Utilize ASIC Boost Technology

Bitmain has competition coming as well as development teams from DMM, GMO Group, and more. Further, this week individuals started receiving their Halong Mining Dragonmint 16T1 SHA-256 miners which, according to the company, are highly efficient cryptocurrency ASIC processors. Halong says the miners are a brand new generation of devices that claim to produce 16TH/s and also advertise the devices use of overt ASIC Boost technology.

Cryptocurrency Mining Industry Sees Influx of New Hardware
The Dragonmint series advertises that it uses ASIC Boost technology. The machines have shipped to customers and the public waits for performance reviews.

The news follows the great controversy surrounding ASIC Boost, alongside the anonymous character Cobra Bitcoin, the co-owner of, calling Halong Mining a scam operation. Many cryptocurrency community members were skeptical of the legitimacy of Halong’s machines, but machines were delivered to customers this week. There are multiple videos of individuals opening boxes of Dragonmint machines and even side-by-side comparisons to Bitmain chips. At this moment in time, it is hard to say if Halong machines perform as well as the company’s claimed specifications but it is likely reviews of these machines will come shortly.

Cryptocurrency Mining Industry Sees Influx of New Hardware
A side by side comparison of the Bitmain and Halong chips show very similar manufacturing.

 The New Avalon 841 SHA-256 miner

Then there’s the new release by Canaan Creative’s new 8th generation SHA-256 miner. The Avalon 841 is a mass-produced miner that claims to possess a power consumption of .099 Joules per Gigahash and a hashrate of 13TH/s. The device is powered by 104 Canaan manufactured A3210HP 16nm ASICs. Canaan’s Avalon series miners have been a reputable brand for quite some time compared to large firms like Bitmain. Additionally, Canaan has stated that it is in the midst of working on the next generation Avalons 861, 921, and the 10 series miners.

Cryptocurrency Mining Industry Sees Influx of New Hardware
Canaan Creative’s new SHA-256 miner the Avalon 841

Over the years mining devices are becoming increasingly more efficient and semiconductors are just getting smaller and faster. Just recently the Japanese firm GMO Group claims it will be launching miners with 7-nanometer technology. It’s safe to say that the cutting edge innovation and competition within the mining industry is sure to heat up even more over the next few years.  

What do you think about the latest mining devices coming to the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Images via Pixabay, Bitmain, Halong Mining, and Canaan websites. 

The Bitcoin universe is vast. So is Check our Wiki, where you can learn everything you were afraid to ask. Or read our news coverage to stay up to date on the latest. Or delve into statistics on our helpful tools page.

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The Satoshi Revolution – Chapter 5: Privacy, Anonymity, and Pseudonymity (Part 1)

Privacy, Anonymity, and Pseudonymity

The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations.
Section 2 : The Moral Imperative of Privacy
Chapter 5: Implementing Crypto Privacy
by Wendy McElroy

Privacy, Anonymity, and Pseudonymity (Chapter 5, Part 1)

It is often said that there is a tradeoff between privacy and security…. Security is defined as the state of being free from danger or threat. One threat is assault. How is one made free from assault by being assaulted at an airport?…. How is one made free from the threat of being harassed or charged with a crime by the State by the State’s knowing every move you make, every statement you make, and every financial transaction you make? I say that your security is going DOWN, not up. The State can fend off terrorists by the ordinary methods of policing if it had a mind to. It doesn’t. It prefers to expand into a totalitarian monster.
Mike Rozeff

Privacy will determine the future of cryptocurrencies. Will they continue to enhance individual freedom, or will they become a government tool of social control?

Privacy is a human need, which is why the battle over its control is so intense. Constant surveillance makes it difficult or impossible for individuals to forge intimate family and romantic bonds, to create, to vote their conscience, to sexually explore, to discover who they are politically and religiously, to experiment with drugs, or to dissent without danger. Personal privacy is also the greatest barrier to government power, which rests on government knowledge.

“Only criminals need to fear government surveillance” is a common response to the defense of privacy. But every peaceful person is a criminal with something to hide. Why? They have exceeded the speed limit, taken an illegal drug, smuggled cheap booze or cigarettes across a border, made “unauthorized” additions to a house, fibbed to a customs official, understated their income on a tax form, or violated one of the tens of thousands of other laws that criminalize harmless behavior. Government makes criminals of us all. As Ayn Rand explained, “The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” Thus, all individuals are under control.

The assault on privacy also harms society as a whole. Consider freedom of speech. I remember being in a restaurant when a relative went on a post-9/11 rant about how the U.S. was beginning to feel like Cuba, from which he escaped. His wife tried to silence him, declaring in an adamant whisper, “You can’t say those things in public.” She was nervous as she glanced around to see who could have heard. Surveillance and informants make people reluctant to express opinions that could be used against them in a legal or political manner. Property can be seized, families destroyed, and prison ensue. Why would anyone speak out if his children could lose a parent as a result?

The killing of free speech is one of many political repercussions of destroying privacy. Privacy is a key characteristic that distinguishes a totalitarian, Kafka-esque society from a free one. Can you shut your front door and be safe from invasion? Everyone agrees that criminals should not break through your locks and treat your body and possessions as their own. Why are government agents entitled to do the same thing? They are nothing more than the for-hire workers of an employer whose authority comes because enough people give the employer a thumbs up to invade and steal. They are criminals sanctioned by consensus.

Until recently, many incursions on privacy have been prevented for no other reason than they were difficult to enforce. And, then, technology arrived. Even with its notorious incompetence, government is now able to surveil as never before, and many people have grown afraid or complacent, as the mass frisking at airports proves.

The government assault on privacy benefits from a Big Lie: namely, privacy is now impossible because government surveillance is omnipotent, omniscient. Resistance is futile. Privacy is so last century. Balderdash. First of all, technology has always empowered the individual more than it has the government. Second, there is a world of difference between “difficult” and “impossible.” Privacy is  certainly more difficult in the 21st century, which only means it takes work. Individuals need to assert actively what they once could take for granted in order to end the ongoing rape of their data.

What Should You Do?

No one answer exists. How to handle personal information is up to the lifestyle and goals of each individual.

Before answering, however, some distinctions are useful: privacy versus anonymity, for example. Privacy is the ability to keep personal data or activities to yourself; you close the door while using the washroom, for example; the activity is not shameful but neither is it for the world to see. Anonymity is when your activities are transparent to the world but the fact that you are the one acting is not. Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party, elaborated, “The typical example would be if you want to blow the whistle on abuse of power or other forms of crime in your organization without risking career and social standing in that group, which is why we typically have strong laws that protect sources of the free press. You could also post such data anonymously online through a VPN, the TOR anonymizing network, or both. This is the analog equivalent of the anonymous tip-off letter, which has been seen as a staple diet in our checks and balances.”

Another distinction: there are two types of data — private and public. If data is private – for example, if it is kept behind closed doors or within a limited circle of personal transmissions–then it can remain private. If data is publicly displayed, however, the practical ability to control it is lost. If I discuss my sex life on a public bus, for example, I have no business denouncing a blabby eavesdropper who passes on my experiences. Unfortunately, a great deal of personal data becomes public through no fault of the person it describes. Government vigorously mines information on everyone from birth, and well-meaning parents register children for everything from medical care to government entitlements.

Happily, cryptocurrency transfers are the data under discussion; they combine the best aspects of private and public data. They are protected by encryption and anonymity or pseudonymity, while remaining transparent. This is a new expression of data that needs to be protected in new ways, both from government and from malicious hackers.

The most effective tactics may well be technological, but this article does not address them. The tactics change constantly and quickly in response to government or hacking threats. And, frankly, although some tactics are simple, like spreading assets over a number of wallets, understanding other tactics requires a technological sophistication that I do not possess.

Instead, the article points to variations on privacy strategies that have been used for decades, if not for centuries. Pick and choose, but it may be best to use them all because the regulatory wolves are circling. Here is a sampling:

Obfuscate or “hide in plain sight.” One way for a person to preserve privacy is to be so inconspicuous or subtle that he is almost unnoticeable. Blend in, or become invisible. Sometimes obfuscation involves participating in so much noise that an eavesdropper cannot distinguish your signal from any other. An example might be sending only modest payments across the blockchain so the transactions join with hundreds of thousands of similar others, all of which are of scant interest because of the small amounts. Other times, obfuscation means masking activity through mixers or tumblers that further anonymize transactions. The anonymization carries a risk, however. It can constitute a red flag to eavesdroppers.

Avoid Centralized Exchanges and Other Data Sharing Centers. If a person wants government to have his financial data, then he should just mail it in an envelope to the government. Of course, signing up with an exchange, like Coinbase, saves a stamp. Centralized exchanges are now an arm of the government. Moreover, they carry their own risks, including bankruptcy or other reasons for withholding funds. Nevertheless, there are good reasons for using exchanges; they permit futures trading and other Wall Street niceties, for example. But decentralized exchanges are preferable; exchanges outside the U.S. or other crypto-hostile nations are preferable, as are ones that do claim jurisdiction over private keys. Even then, wealth should be moved in and out as quickly as possible, without allowing the third party to control it for longer than necessary.

Find Discreet Ways to Cash Out. The crypto veteran Kai Sedgwick wrote,

“Bitcoin transactions are semi-anonymous: every transaction on the blockchain is broadcast publicly and visible for all eternity, but the owner of each wallet is unknown. Tying addresses to real-world identities is now relatively easy for the powers-that-be, because everyone has to cash out somewhere, and that usually involves linking bitcoin addresses to bank accounts.” Don’t. As much as possible, deal with people one-on-one. Seek venues that exchange crypto for gift cards to stores you regularly use, such as grocery stores. Be inventive in avoiding the banks and centralized exchanges; they are the “trusted third parties” that Bitcoin was designed to obsolete.

Use a Privacy Currency. Dozens and dozens of private currencies exist, with several being solid. Although most of them use different techniques to preserve privacy, anonymity is a theme. The founder of Zcash explained the philosophy behind that particular privacy currency. “We believe that privacy strengthens social ties and social institutions, protects societies against their enemies, and helps societies to be more peaceful and more prosperous…. A robust tradition of privacy is a common feature in rich and peaceful societies, and a lack of privacy is often found in struggling and failing societies.”

Zip It on Public Forums. Public forums, like Facebook or Twitter, are monitored and mined by government and corporations. They are collection points for data, even if a person tries to post anonymously. If social media is necessary for professional reasons, then use it to the bare minimum. Never post anything on social media that you wouldn’t put on the front page of the New York Times, and that includes crypto forums.

Be Careful in Writing Down Information. Do not write down your private keys, for example, without having a secure, undisclosed place to store them.


The government is coming for crypto, which means it is coming for users. Its front line attack will be an attempt to eliminate privacy; it realizes privacy is the backbone of cryptocurrency as a freedom tool, even when users do not. Now it the time for heightened vigilance. To paraphrase the comedienne Lily Tomlin, “No matter how paranoid I get, it is never enough to keep up.”

[To be continued next week.]

Reprints of this article should credit and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters

Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.

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As Blockchains Grow Bigger, Full Node Counts Increase

As Blockchains Grow Bigger, Full Node Counts Increase

Back in 2016, the number of full nodes within the Bitcoin core network was dropping. At the time, Bitcoin enthusiasts thought the amount of nodes would continue to decline and the metric was used heavily in the scaling debate. However, in contrast to many people’s predictions, the count of full node BTC implementations has been rising, and over the past year, its node count is up over 106 percent.

Also read: Cryptocurrency Activities Will Be Legal and Tax Free in Belarus Starting in March

What Is a Full Node?

A full node is basically a computer that connects to a cryptocurrency’s network and downloads every single block and transaction on the blockchain. Because full nodes record the entire blockchain’s network activity in real time, they rely on both storage and bandwidth requirements. A wide variety of digital assets that utilize blockchains have participants running full nodes on networks like dash, litecoin, bitcoin cash, ethereum, and bitcoin core. There are also a lot of ‘lightweight nodes’ which do not download entire blockchains but rather verify transactions by downloading the associated block headers. One of the cheapest methods of building a full node is using a Raspberry Pi computer, and a one terabyte external drive for roughly $100 USD. There are also many businesses that sell pre-manufactured full nodes but these are usually far more expensive.

As Blockchains Grow Bigger, Full Node Counts Increase
Examples of pre-manufactured full nodes. Nodes can run on any computer that has the storage and bandwidth capacity.

BTC Node Count Jumps to Over 11,000 Reachable Nodes In 2018

Currently, BTC has 11,703 detectable nodes that interact within that specific network. The number of nodes is never static and continually changes when participants either drop off the network or join. This metric has increased significantly over the past year, and the 12-month average has been roughly 8,643 nodes according to Bitnodes statistics.

As Blockchains Grow Bigger, Full Node Counts Increase
BTC node count 1 year.

The leading countries with the most full nodes at the moment include the U.S., Germany, China, France, Netherlands, Canada, the UK, and Russia. Nodes are also operated in countries suffering from poor internet service and economic hardship such as Venezuela, Algeria, Mexico City, South Africa, Namibia, Pakistan, and Nigeria.

As Blockchains Grow Bigger, Full Node Counts Increase
BTC node count displayed across a map of the globe showing specific concentrations of full nodes.

Core Software and Alternative Clients

There are multiple types of different forms of the BTC software within the network. According to the data website Coin Dance, there are 9,002 nodes running the Core software, 542 Bitcoin Unlimited nodes, 294 Bitcore nodes, and nine more implementations. Even after the intense scaling debate throughout the summer and into the fall, nodes signaling for the user-activated-soft-fork (UASF), and Segwit2x (BTC1) continues to this day. A large number of bitcoin core supporters are against alternate implementations and don’t recommend using them for “serious use because it is currently difficult to determine whether they implement the consensus rules with 100 percent accuracy.”

As Blockchains Grow Bigger, Full Node Counts Increase
Current detectable BTC clients.

  Alternative Clients Move Towards Supporting the Bitcoin Cash Network

Another interesting trend that has taken place over the last year was the August 1 hard fork and the bitcoin cash (BCH) blockchain split. Since the inception of BCH nodes, alternative nodes on the BTC network have dropped in numbers sharply. Implementations such as Bitcoin Unlimited, XT, and others started to assist the BCH network and contribute to its node count. Currently, BCH has 1,231 nodes between four types of clients. Bitcoin ABC is the dominant client with 1,024 nodes which is followed by Unlimited, XT, and some unrecognized implementations as well. BCH supporting nodes have also increased significantly over time, and their numbers saw all-time highs throughout November and December of 2017.

As Blockchains Grow Bigger, Full Node Counts Increase
Current detectable BCH clients.
As Blockchains Grow Bigger, Full Node Counts Increase
BCH node count less than 1 year.

Even Though BCH Utilizes Bigger Blocks, the BTC Chain Is Still 20 GB Larger

Overall both the BTC and BCH blockchains have grown in size as far as storage capacity is concerned. Presently the bitcoin core network adds roughly 50 GB a year to the blockchain’s size, and the BCH chain is already 8,517 blocks ahead of the core chain. Most people would think that because BCH miners process much larger blocks, a full client’s storage size would be more substantial. However, as of today, the BTC chain has grown 20.66 GB more than the BCH chain, even with BCH blocks processed at anywhere between 2-8 MB in size. A majority of network nodes within both networks are lightweight clients due to the popularity of Simplified Payment Verification (SPV) wallets. Even though SPV clients still eclipse full nodes, both BTC and BCH full network node counts continue to rise.

What do you think about the rise of full nodes? Do you think full nodes are essential for the network? And what do you think about bitcoiners who are against alternative clients? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Bitnodes, and Coin Dance.

Want to etch a document into the bitcoin cash blockchain? Check out our bitcoin cash powered notary service here.

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