Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Replace the Status Quo or Become Them?

Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Replace the Status Quo or Become Them?

When the idea of a working digital currency like bitcoin was introduced, many of its early adopters disliked the current bureaucratic system, with a cartel of bankers pulling the world’s monetary strings. Over time, however, something weird has happened and the idea of permissionless innovation perverted into people literally asking nation states for permission, begging for ETFs, and creating a settlement layer for the ‘new 1%.’

Also Read: Bitcoin Ownership: Your Private Keys to Financial Sovereignty

Bitcoin Changed Everything — But Some People Want to Pervert the Original Goals

Over the last two decades, there’s been a growing faction of anarchists, libertarians, and freedom fighters aiming to change the world. They have become fed up with the sociopaths leading the world into never-ending conflicts and are tired of the central banks printing massive amounts of fiat, devaluing currencies, and causing hyperinflation.

Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Replace the Status Quo or Become Them?

Then, after the 2008 economic crisis, a technological innovation called Bitcoin was born, allowing users a medium of exchange that couldn’t be censored. For the first time ever, a software-derived currency gained value, even though it wasn’t backed by a single individual, corporation or nation-state.

Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Replace the Status Quo or Become Them?
Many people believe cryptocurrencies are meant to end the nation state’s and central bank’s rule over money.

Back in the early days, on Bitcointalk.org and developer IRC channels, Satoshi and other developers discussed many ideas that revolved around removing central authorities. On Feb. 11, 2009, Satoshi posted to the Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives (P2P Foundation) introducing his software to the world. Within that specific post, the software’s creator explained that most commerce now relies on third parties and financial institutions that ultimately can’t be trusted.

“Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve,” Satoshi explained. “We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts.”

From this point on, not only did Satoshi’s idea changed the entire way people had thought about money, but the entire concept of trusting a third party was turned upside down for those who listened. During Bitcoin’s infancy, there were no discussions of exchange-traded funds (ETF) backed by corporate entities like Cboe and Vaneck. Network fees were a penny or less for the network’s first few years and at that time anyone could send micro-transactions across the globe. But since then, BTC fees have fluctuated wildly, effectively censoring people in developing nations, from time to time, who can’t afford higher fees. This makes the network undesirable for remittances.

Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Replace the Status Quo or Become Them?
How can BTC be censorship resistant if network fees censor more than half of the world?

Long ago, no one cared about Wall Street deals from Bakkt and institutional money flocking towards bitcoin. Satoshi talked about privacy, Tor and I2P integration back then — not shaking hands with the devil. Most people talked about using bitcoin to remove central authorities in banking, content publishing, music, tipping, domain services using .bit, and literally anywhere they could think of on the open web.

Taboo Talks of Darknets, Avoiding Taxes, and Even Remittances Has Been Replaced With the Need for Status Quo Acceptance

For a while now, these ideas have since been silenced by loud discussions of futures markets, politicians accepting bitcoin, and Wall Street thieves swapping BTC paper notes. Talking about things like darknet markets and the Silk Road is deemed ‘too taboo’ for the masses hoping and praying for elected officials to define bitcoin as ‘money.’

The malaise started in 2015 when blockchain hype jumped into light speed and more people began begging the state for cryptocurrency acceptance. Can you believe people ask permission from bureaucrats to use a permissionless currency? Instead of donating funds to Wikileaks, Antiwar, and other activists on the front lines, people now clap feverishly when they hear Goldman Sachs is contemplating a trading desk.

Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Replace the Status Quo or Become Them?
My interview with Cody Wilson back in 2015.

We have not yet realized that institutional money does not equate to mass adoption. For some odd reason, many people believe that once big money players jump in on bitcoin, the demand will skyrocket. They grow excited any time a financial incumbent enters the ‘blockchain space’, thinking that this lead to a significant network effect. These individuals seem to forget how small the financial elite is within this world, and they are forgetting or ignoring the massive amounts of people who could use a hard currency without a third party. One would think that mass adoption begins with the people who need it the most — the unbanked. Some people will recall that at one time the remittance industry was regarded as a prime sector for bitcoin to dominate, but nowadays cross-border payments are a distant memory.

Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Replace the Status Quo or Become Them?
Anarchist Amir Taaki has been very vocal against the current thought leaders and dogmatic followers.

There are certain thought leaders who are pushing a new agenda for Bitcoin technology. Many of these clowns disingenuously imply that the unbanked will be able to use bitcoin despite its high fees. Developers using sophistry act like meritocracy has elevated them to their positions. In fact, they’ve created a disgusting technocracy applauded by those prone to confirmation bias and circular logic.

Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Replace the Status Quo or Become Them?
In the Bitcoin space ‘thought leaders’ have grown in number. 

Thankfully, they don’t seem to have anticipated the blowback they’ve instigated. The cult of Bitcoin personalities is slowly losing power but it will take time to dissipate. Over the past year, after 2017’s absurd comments about high fees being good for settlement, these individuals have started to promote using fiat over bitcoin.

People should start looking at the early days of Bitcoin again. They should re-read old forum posts and discussions concerning how it was once the goal to remove the world’s money from the state and central banks. Back then people followed a philosophy that aimed for consistent freedom, but the get-rich mentality and permission-seeking mindset has proven pernicious.

As John Lennon once said, it’s easy to become the status quo when you are entrenched in trying to replace them. Bitcoin deserves better.

What do you think about the original philosophy of the early adopters and cypherpunks being replaced by visions of joining the status quo? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.

OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com 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 information in this Op-ed article.


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Ethereum Creator, NYU Economist Go to War On Twitter, Mull Public Debate

Ever since Nouriel Roubini appeared before the United States Senate Committee On Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, to discuss cryptocurrencies – he has certainly been causing quite the commotion with regards to the cryptocurrency community.   Roubini vs Buterin This is not surprising, considering the famed economist shared several controversial statements about bitcoin and cryptocurrency … Continued

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The Value of Uncensorable Technology in an Age of Censorship

Governments and corporations have deployed censorship to limit speech and deprive people of vital communication channels. The ruling elite are trying to shush activists and freethinkers, but they are losing control and lashing out in frustration. This is why the emergence of decentralized tools and uncensorable money is more vital than ever.

Also read: Bitcoin After Death: The Perils of Sharing One’s Fortune

Corporate Censorship and the Loss of Control

Facebook recently engaged in a massive campaign to purge a plethora of freedom-oriented pages from their platform. They removed pages such as The Anti-Media, Free Thought Project, V is for Voluntary, and Rachel Blevins. The move came after Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube joined forces to eject Alex Jones from their respective applications back in August.

The social media titans have become zealous in their mission to purge their platforms of anti-government messages and to stifle liberty. Twitter is now known as a company that embraces censorship, and Youtube has routinely demonetized pages that disseminate information that goes against their milquetoast company ethos.

It is unsurprising, though, that these social media giants have taken this route. They are centralized social media companies in an age of decentralization; they are outdated and ready to be displaced by scrappy upstarts.

People are also waking up to the depredations of government and corporate cronyism. They are beginning to acknowledge the broken nature of partisan politics. This mass enlightenment has led to an explosion of tools and technologies with the goal of subverting the system.

Emergent Uncensorable Technologies

Developers and entrepreneurs are fashioning tools with the purpose of freeing people and opening new information channels. They are also allowing value to be expressed in peer-to-peer ways that cannot be intercepted by State agents. There are several major technologies blossoming, but the most significant is uncensorable cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency, especially bitcoin cash, allows for the transmission of value in an uncensorable fashion. This means anarchists can fund their projects without having to worry about their money getting frozen, seized, or stolen. Having uncensorable money like BCH is indispensable for helping activists achieve their goals. If they had to rely on the traditional methods of receiving donations and funding their projects, the Visa and Mastercard networks could shutter their pipeline at anytime at the behest of the government. There are other options for uncensorable money as well, including nonero, horizen, and others. These monetary technologies aren’t social media platforms per se, but money is a form of communication and having uncensorable money is indispensable to thwarting censorship.

Along with bitcoin cash, uncensorable social media and messaging platforms have arisen. In Jamie Redman’s article Facebook and Twitter Beware — Censorship-Resistant Social Media Is Here, he mentions several applications that have actually been built on Bitcoin Cash, including Memo.cash, which is a decentralized version of Twitter. Platforms like Steemit have also emerged over the last couple of years. Steemit is a blogging platform that allows people to post content without having to worry about a centralized authority deleting their content. Users can earn cryptocurrency rewards for their posts, rather than having all the value they create siphoned by the platform and its founders. Other nascent decentralized media tools include Minds and Bittube.

The Decentralized Revolution is Currently a Bad User Experience

The problem with many of these decentralized social media technologies is they are still in their infancy. They are fresh out of the womb. This means they lack easy adoption. Their usability is limited and requires a degree of technological acumen. Their user interfaces are underdeveloped and sometimes suffer from technical problems. This makes the user experience suffer, causing people to leave the platforms.

The other problem is that the platforms have not experienced viral adoption as a result of the aforesaid issues. Established platforms such as Facebook and Youtube have an entrenched user base, many of whom have taken years to establish themselves. This means a system that is both user-friendly and prone to rapid growth will have to emerge in order to supplant these old applications.

The Technological Spring: The System Will Topple and Censorship Will be Mitigated

Nonetheless, these problems are mere technical issues that will be solved in time. These technologies will eventually prosper. The decline of the legacy systems is well underway; it is inevitable.

The maniacal drive to control people and contain their voice has led to the technological springtime we are now on the verge of witnessing.

New tools and technologies have cropped up not only to make human life more leisurely and simpler — they have emerged as a way to decentralize power. Iconoclasts and developers are building applications for philosophical purposes, to mitigate the effect of power on the rest of humanity. Their goal is to diminish the impact of violent hierarchies and to even the playing field.

In the long term, this will cause power structures to topple under the weight of truth. Decentralized technologies will erode the ability of centralized institutions to censor freethinkers who pontificate on liberty and anarchy. Without censorship to indoctrinate the masses, the system will begin to unravel and the power elite will no longer be able to run roughshod over the people. Humanity will then be able to move forward into the future with dignity and decency.

This is the value of uncensorable technology.

Do you think uncensorable social media platforms will gain traction? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com 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 information in this Op-ed article.

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Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and Japan

Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and Japan

Google has announced that regulated cryptocurrency exchanges will be allowed to advertise on its platforms in the United States and Japan starting in October. This removes some of the restrictions the company placed on crypto ads in June.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

Some Crypto Ads Will Be Allowed

Google has posted a notice on its website regarding changes in its cryptocurrency ads policy, stating:

The Google ads policy on financial products and services will be updated in October 2018 to allow regulated cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise in the United States and Japan…Advertisers will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve.

The company considers “financial products and services to be those related to the management or investment of money and cryptocurrencies, including personalized advice.”

Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and JapanGoogle explained that “Advertisers will be able to apply for certification once the policy launches in October,” noting that “This policy will apply globally to all accounts that advertise these financial products.”

In May, Google announced restrictions on ads relating to “Cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice).” This policy went into effect in June. According to Cnbc, Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., gets roughly 86 percent of its total revenue from advertising. The firm earned more than $54 billion in ad revenue in the first half of this year.

Google’s Current Crypto Ads Policy

Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and JapanGoogle’s Advertising Policies section explains that some financial products are restricted “Due to the inherent complexities and risks involved” in their trading. The company noted that the information will be updated once the new policy goes into effect.

Currently, restricted products include “Ads for cryptocurrencies and related content” and “Ad destinations that aggregate or compare issuers of cryptocurrencies or related products.” For example, “Ads for initial coin offerings, ads promoting the purchase or sale of cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency wallets, cryptocurrency trading advice” are prohibited, the firm wrote. Furthermore, ads about “Cryptocurrency trading signals or investment advice; aggregators or affiliate sites containing related content or broker reviews” are also prohibited.

Other Platforms’ Crypto Ads Policies

Google Bringing Back Crypto Ads in US and JapanSome other major platforms have similar policies regarding cryptocurrency advertising. After banning them in January, Facebook started allowing some types of crypto ads in June.

Twitter’s ads policy page currently lists “Cryptocurrency ICOs” and “Cryptocurrency token sales” under “financial services and related content” that Twitter permits the promotion of “with restrictions.”

Microsoft’s policy page for Bing ads currently states that advertising for “Cryptocurrencies and cryptocurrency related products including, but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, and cryptocurrency wallets” are not permitted.

What do you think of Google bringing back some crypto ads? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Trader Alleges Bithumb is Losing $150,000 USD Daily to Washtrading

Trader Alleges Bithumb is Losing $150,000 USD Daily to Washtrading

A trader has posted on Twitter alleging that an actor is taking advantage of Bithumb’s 120% fee payback to milk the platform of approximately $150,000 USD each day through washtrading.

Also Read: Uzbekistan Legalizes Crypto Exchanges and Trading

Twitter Trader Claims Bithumb’s Promotional Fee Schedule is Getting Exploited

The Twitter account of Alex Kruger, a cryptocurrency trader, has posted allegations Bithumb is losing roughly $150,000 each day to a single opportunist actor who is exploiting the exchange’s 120% fee payback schedule.

Summarizing his findings, Mr. Kruger asserts that “There currently are USD 250 million of fake volume traded at Korean crypto exchange Bithumb, every day at 11 AM Korean Time, since August/25.”

Trader Alleges Actor is Rorting Bithumb Through Washtrading

Trader Alleges Bithumb is Losing $150,000 USD Daily to WashtradingElaborating upon his theory, Mr. Kruger posted “Bithumb offers 120% payback of trading fees as an airdrop,” before quoting Bithumb’s website – “Daily Limit 1 billion KRW, First Come First Served.” As of this writing, 1 billion KRW equates to approximately $890,068.

“Trading fees are 0.15% taker,” his post continues. “Wash trading conducted by entering two opposite limit orders => Total fees 0.3%. Rebate is for 120% => 0.36%. To collect the full KRW 1 billion rebate a wash trader must thus trade KRW 278 billion. That is USD 250 million in daily fake volume.”

31,000 BTC Traded at 11 AM on Bithumb Daily

Again citing Bithumb’s “First Come First Served” stipulation, Mr. Kruger links to a chart that shows 31,000 BTC being executed at 11 AM each day, stating “Notice how 31K bitcoin are traded at exactly 11 AM. That represents KRW 252 billion,” also asserting that “The remainder KRW 26 billion are traded in other coins.”

Mr. Kruger concludes that “some smart trader/s are milking […] Bithumb every day,” adding that “The amount traders collect from Bithumb is USD 150,000 daily. Or USD 4.5 million for the duration of the promotion. Expensive marketing campaign.”

News.Bitcoin.com reached out to Bithumb for commentary, however, did not receive a response.

What is your response to the theory that a trader or traders are exploiting Bithumb’s 120% fee payback through washtrading? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Pope Francis Latest Target of Crypto Giveaway Scam on Twitter

Pope Francis has become the latest victim of crypto scammers on Twitter, as a network of bot accounts promoting scam ICOs and fake crypto giveaways continue to target public figures both within and outside the crypto world. Familiar Pattern Earlier in the month, security researchers working at Duo Security unveiled the results of a study … Continued

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Tippr Bot Distributes Over $100K in Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit Forums

Tippr Bot Distributes Over $100K in Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit Forums

During the first month of 2018, news.Bitcoin.com reported on a bitcoin cash (BCH) tip bot called Tippr, which distributes thousands of BCH tips on Reddit and Twitter. This week, according to Tippr statistics just on Reddit alone, the tip bot has tipped people over $100,000 worth of bitcoin cash (76 BCH) since the app’s launch.

Also read: Researchers Find Discrepancies With Top Exchange Volumes

Bitcoin Cash Bot Tippr Sends $100,000 Worth of Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit

Tippr Bot Distributes Over $100K in Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit ForumsBecause bitcoin cash transactions (tx) have really low network fees that typically average around $0.003 per tx, sending micro-transactions and tips happens regularly within the BCH community. For instance, for a very long time, every Tuesday patrons of the Reddit forum r/btc celebrate ‘Tipping Tuesday’ a day where lots of tips are sent to bitcoin cash fans on Reddit. Usually, when people are tipping funds on Reddit they use a platform called Tippr a tipping bot that can send BCH transactions by command and the app is also used on Twitter. While perusing through lots of cryptocurrency Twitter threads the Tippr bot can be seen tipping people small fractions of BCH as anyone can use the platform to send transactions to people.

Tippr Bot Distributes Over $100K in Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit Forums
Tippr has distributed over $100K in bitcoin cash to 15,171 unique visitors.

Since Tippr was launched the platform has seen over $100,000 worth of bitcoin cash transactions since its integration with Reddit. Statistics detail that Reddit users have sent 34,227 BCH tips to over 15,000 unique users. Furthermore, the Reddit users u/asicshack ($7,582), u/jarenfeser ($5,390), u/grant-meaccess ($4,649) u/mobitcoinsmoproblems ($3,735), and u/cryptorebel ($3,370) are the top five tippers today.

Scrolling through the app’s profile timeline on Twitter, people can also see a bunch of BCH micro-transactions being dispersed throughout the social media platform. Tippr also has an index which explains how people can use the Tippr bot commands online.   

“Tippr is a bitcoin cash tipbot for Reddit and Twitter that allows you to reward good content,” explain’s Tippr’s tutorial.  

See something you like, want to support the author? Then reward them by leaving a tip — How generous is up to you.

Tippr Bot Distributes Over $100K in Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit Forums
The top 25 largest tippers and most tipped Reddit users according to Tippr data.

15,000 Unique Users Have Received BCH Tips, and Tippr Is Used Frequently on Twitter as Well

Reddit users like u/rawb0t ($4,290), u/singularity87 ($3,939), u/kain_niak ($3,079),  u/deadalnix ($2,872), and u/chronoscrypto ($2,580) have been tipped the most. When using the bot on Reddit users simply call “/u/tippr” and enter the amount of BCH they want to send to specific Reddit users. On Twitter write “$0.50 @tipprbot” or any amount they want to send and tag another Twitter user (the receiver) in the post.

Tippr Bot Distributes Over $100K in Bitcoin Cash Across Reddit Forums
Alongside Reddit, Tippr can also be used on Twitter.

BCH proponents can also use another tipping platform on Reddit called Chaintip. The Chaintip app also works with Github and on Reddit. BCH users often use either Tippr or Chaintip for sending micro-transactions on the forum’s platform. The Tippr bot was created and operated by the payment processing firm and digital goods marketplace Rocketr.

What do you think about Tippr bot sending over $100K in bitcoin cash transactions? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below. 


Images via Pixabay, Reddit, tsbw.io, Tippr, and Twitter.  


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Binance Denies 400 BTC Listing Quote; Accuser Responds “You are a F***king Liar”

Binance Denies 400 BTC Listing Quote; Accuser Responds, “You are a F***king Liar”

News.Bitcoin.com feature ‘Cryptowhispers’ reported on what has turned from rumor to an all-out verbal war between two well-known figures in the cryptoverse. It began last week when Christopher Franko, co-founder of the Expanse project, took to Twitter and accused popular exchange Binance of quoting 400 bitcoin to list a token. The exchange’s head, Changpeng Zhao, has since responded rather personally to Mr. Franko, and, well, all hell has broken out. Get some popcorn.

Also read: Report: 15,000 Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots

Binance Slams Expanse Co-Founder for Listing Quote Claim

“We don’t list shitcoins even if they pay 400 or 4,000 BTC,” the face of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, came out swinging on Twitter. He was responding to a string of tweets by Expanse co-founder Christopher Franko, who insisted Binance quoted him by email a price of 400 bitcoin core (BTC) to list his token.

Binance Denies 400 BTC Listing Quote; Accuser Responds, “You are a F***king Liar”

“ETH/NEO/XRP/EOS/XMR/LTC/more listed with no fee,” Mr. Zhao continued, “Question is not ‘how much does Binance charge to list?’ but ‘is my coin good enough?’ It’s not the fee, it’s your project!  Focus on your own project!”

Not five minutes later, Mr. Zhao went after Mr. Franko by name, removing any vagueness about his subject matter. “Also, the email Franko showed is a spoofed/scam email, not from Binance. Binance never quote fees in email, and not in BTC. Project owners should be able to spot email spoofing, those who can’t should not issue a coin. The communication process/method tells a lot about a coin,” the Binance head scolded.

Binance Denies 400 BTC Listing Quote; Accuser Responds, “You are a F***king Liar”

“You are a Fucking Liar”

Mr. Zhao further mused publically how much of what amounts to dissatisfaction with Binance is just sour grapes. “All complaints about listing fee come from projects we did not list, ie, did not charge (did not even ask for a fee). It’s not the fee, it’s the project. Granted, there are many great projects out there we haven’t listed. Working on it,” he ended his Twitter rant. He went on to explain how he’s not involved in listing quotes for Binance.

Binance Denies 400 BTC Listing Quote; Accuser Responds, “You are a F***king Liar”

For his part, Mr. Franko of Expanse didn’t take Mr. Zhao’s tweets seriously. “You are a fucking liar. It’s that simple,” he tweeted a few hours later. “Right here,” Mr. Franko noted angrily, while attaching a chart (see below), “it shows that binance uses Google Apps (gmail) for MX.. Just like the signed email said it did… You cant fake the encryption buddy.  Punching down like this is beneath you.”

Binance Denies 400 BTC Listing Quote; Accuser Responds, “You are a F***king Liar”

And along those same lines, Mr. Franko chastised, “Instead of addressing it like a good leader and honorable man, he has decided to just come at me like this. The encryption doesnt lie. It came from his gsuite. The responsible way to handle things would be to approach me directly and get it straightened out. Not attack me.”

Which side do you believe? Let us know in the comments section below. 


Images via Pixabay, Developer David Shares contributed sourcing for this article. 


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Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and Posts

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and Posts

Financial software developer Intuit has been awarded a patent for processing BTC payments via SMS and we’ve covered the details in today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief. Also in The Daily, Brave browser plans to enable BAT tips for tweets and Reddit posts, cryptocurrency is projected to constitute 5 percent of the portfolios of US investors next year, and in Thailand, a famous actor has been arrested for an alleged crypto investment fraud.

Also read: Ledger Adds Coins, Okex Launches Coinall, Exmo Partners with Mistertango

Intuit Awarded Patent for BTC Payments via SMS

California-based company Intuit, a financial software developer, has been awarded a patent for processing bitcoin core (BTC) payments via text messages (SMS), according to a filing published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on August 7. The patent that outlines a system to transfer BTC funds by sending text messages on smartphones was filed back in 2014. According to its abstract:

The method includes receiving, by a payment service, a payment text message comprising a payment amount and an identifier of a payee mobile device, validating the payment text message based on a payer balance of a virtual payer account maintained by the payment service for the payer […] transferring, in response to creating the virtual payee account, the payment amount from the virtual payer account to the virtual payee account […].

Despite the prolonged consideration of the patent application, Intuit has been continuously developing its crypto-cash payment solutions in the meantime. Earlier, the company announced it had reached a partnership agreement with the payment provider Veem to build a system for processing international cryptocurrency payments.

Brave Browser to Enable Tips for Tweets and Posts

Brave, the privacy-oriented web browser that supports opt-in ads and crypto payments between users and website publishers like Twitchers and Youtubers, is now planning to expand its service to Twitter and Reddit. The startup intends to introduce support for the two platforms in the fourth quarter of this year, according to an announcement quoted by CNET.

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and PostsTo take advantage of the tipping system, which uses Brave’s basic attention token (BAT), users have to enable the payments in the browser. Then, if another Brave user decides that a tweet or a post is worth rewarding, they can send a BAT tip. “The model will be tipping – a user likes a tweet and can give BAT to the tweeter, and optionally tweet back that he tipped,” the company explained. The mechanism for Reddit users will be similar.

Brave is essentially trying to redefine how online advertising works. Its browser is blocking ads by default and people’s attention is rewarded with tokens. BAT payments can be made between users, publishers and advertisers. The opt-in system allows anyone who sees a Brave-placed ad to get a portion of the revenue from the advertiser. Brave claims to have more than 20,000 verified publishers and 3.25 million monthly active users who can send and receive BAT tips. The Brave browser project was funded through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and launched by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich.

Crypto Expected at 5% of US Investments in 2019

Despite declining prices of most cryptocurrencies amidst a continuous bearish trend in crypto markets this year, a new survey has found that digital coins are becoming a permanent part of many investment portfolios in the US, decreasing the dominance of traditional instruments such as stocks, bonds and real estate. The authors of the study have detected a growing desire among US investors to get exposed to cryptos, considered by many to be the next big asset group.

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and PostsThe Harris Poll survey, conducted on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), has established that cryptocurrencies will represent 5 percent of the investments of those 35 percent of Americans that consider themselves investors or plan to invest in 2019. At the same time, Exchange Traded-Funds (ETFs), which have received much attention in the crypto space recently, account for 8 percent of the projected investments.

The study has attempted to assess the knowledge and awareness of cryptocurrencies among active investors in the United States. According to the published results, their levels remain relatively low with almost half of the respondents admitting having little or no understanding of the matter. “Cryptocurrency appears to be foreign to many investors. The survey found that nearly half of U.S. adults (48 percent) are not familiar with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin,” the AICPA commented on the findings.

Thai Actor Arrested for Alleged Crypto Investment Fraud

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and PostsPolice in Thailand have arrested Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit, a famous Thai actor, for his alleged participation in a fraudulent crypto-investment scheme. According to local media reports, he lured a foreign national into investing 797 million baht (~$24 million USD) in digital currency. Mr. Jiratpisit, who was apprehended on Wednesday after the Thai Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant in July, has been also charged with collusion in money-laundering.

The actor is one of seven suspects who allegedly committed the crime, The Bangkok Post reported. Law enforcement officials said they acted after receiving a complaint that the accused had defrauded the foreigner into sending them the money in bitcoin (BTC). The fraudsters assured the person the funds would be used to buy shares in companies that had invested in the Dragon Coin digital currency. The investor, identified as the Finnish national Aarni Otava Saarimaa, met the suspects in June, 2017. The Thai actor has denied the charges.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and Posts appeared first on Bitcoin News.

15,000 Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots: Duo Security

15,000 Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots: Duo Security

This week, researchers uncovered empirical data confirming what most in the crypto Twittersphere already know – the space if flooded with scam bots: 15,000 of them to be exact, according to Duo Security.

Also read: Queensland, Australia Invests Portion of its $6.1Mil Ignite Ideas Fund in Crypto Startup

Researchers Find 15K Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots

Don’t @ Me: Hunting Twitter Bots at Scale by Duo Security’s Jordan Wright and Olabode Anise is 46 pages of intense fine-tooth combing of data related to the phenomenon of Twitter bots. “Social networks allow people to connect with one another, share ideas, and have healthy conversations. Recently, automated Twitter accounts, or ‘bots,’ have been making headlines for their effectiveness at spreading spam and malware, as well as influencing this online discussion,” the authors began.

Over three months on their way to present findings at Black Hat USA 2018, researchers detail how they “identified botnets, including a spam-spreading botnet case study,” Mr. Wright and Mr. Anise explain, though they “specifically looked for automated accounts, not necessarily malicious automated accounts.”

15,000 Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots: Duo Security

Their key findings, published open source, were achieved as they “gathered a dataset of 88 million public Twitter profiles consisting of standard account information represented in the Twitter API, such as screen name, tweet count, followers/following counts, avatar and description. As API limits allow, this dataset was enriched with both the tweets posted by accounts, as well as with targeted social network information (follower/following) information. Practical data science techniques can be applied to create a classifier that is effective at finding automated Twitter accounts, also known as ‘bots.’”

Duo Security is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and just this month announced being acquired by Cisco. Cisco is interested in the firm because of its zero-trust authentication solution in order to buttress Cisco’s own network and cloud security offerings. The deal is worth well over $2 billion, and is expected to finalize in late October of the present year.

15,000 Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots: Duo Security

Case Study of At Least 15,000 Bots Spreading a Cryptocurrency Scam

“By monitoring the botnet over time,” the researchers continued, “we discover ways the bots evolve to evade detection. Our cryptobot scam case study demonstrates that, after finding initial bots using the tools and techniques described in this paper, a thread can be followed that can result in the discovery and unraveling of an entire botnet. For this botnet, we use targeted social network analysis to reveal a unique three-tiered hierarchical structure.” 

Furthermore, the paper “provides an in-depth description of the entire process for finding Twitter bots, from gathering the data to performing the analysis.” Many of Duo Labs employees “use Twitter as a way to connect to the infosec industry. We were familiar with automated Twitter accounts, and had read previous academic papers covering both techniques on building a dataset of Twitter accounts as well as using various techniques to identify automated accounts from a previously shared dataset.”

15,000 Twitter Crypto Scam Giveaway Bots: Duo SecurityFor its part, “Twitter announced that they are taking more proactive action against both automated spam and malicious content by identifying and challenging ‘more than 9.9 million potentially spammy or automated accounts per week.’ In a follow-up blog post, Twitter also described their plans to remove accounts that had been previously locked due to suspicious activity from follower counts,” the researchers noted.

The team doesn’t consider the problem solved, however. “We’re excited to see these efforts by Twitter and are hopeful that these increased investments will be effective in combating spam and malicious content,” they laud. Still their case study “demonstrates that organized botnets are still active and can be discovered with relatively straightforward analysis. By open-sourcing the tools and techniques developed during this research, [they] hope to enable researchers to continue building on [their] work, creating new techniques to identify and flag malicious bots, and helping to keep Twitter and other social networks a place for healthy online discussion and community.”

Have such bots lessened your time on Twitter? Let us know in the comments section below. 


Images via Pixabay, Duo Security.


Be sure to check out the podcast, Blockchain 2025; latest episode here.

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Duo Security researchers’ Twitter ‘bot or not’ study unearths crypto botnet

A team of researchers at Duo Security has unearthed a sophisticated botnet operating on Twitter — and being used to spread a cryptocurrency scam.

The botnet was discovered during the course of a wider research project to create and publish a methodology for identifying Twitter account automation — to help support further research into bots and how they operate.

The team used Twitter’s API and some standard data enrichment techniques to create a large data set of 88 million public Twitter accounts, comprising more than half a billion tweets. (Although they say they focused on the last 200 tweets per account for the study.)

They then used classic machine learning methods to train a bot classifier, and later applied other tried and tested data science techniques to map and analyze the structure of botnets they’d uncovered.

They’re open sourcing their documentation and data collection system in the hopes that other researchers will pick up the baton and run with it — such as, say, to do a follow up study focused on trying to ID good vs bad automation.

Their focus for their own classifier was on pure-play bots, rather than hybrid accounts which intentionally blend automation with some human interactions to make bots even harder to spot.

They also not look at sentiment for this study — but were rather fixed on addressing the core question of whether a Twitter account is automated or not.

They say it’s likely a few ‘cyborg’ hybrids crept into their data-set, such as customer service Twitter accounts which operate with a mix of automation and staff attention. But, again, they weren’t concerned specifically with attempting to identify the (even more slippery) bot-human-agent hybrids — such as those, for example, involved in state-backed efforts to fence political disinformation.

The study led them into some interesting analysis of botnet architectures — and their paper includes a case study on the cryptocurrency scam botnet they unearthed (which they say was comprised of at least 15,000 bots “but likely much more”), and which attempts to syphon money from unsuspecting users via malicious “giveaway” links…

‘Attempts’ being the correct tense because, despite reporting the findings of their research to Twitter, they say this crypto scam botnet is still functioning on its platform — by imitating otherwise legitimate Twitter accounts, including news organizations (such as the below example), and on a much smaller scale, hijacking verified accounts…

They even found Twitter recommending users follow other spam bots in the botnet under the “Who to follow” section in the sidebar. Ouch.

A Twitter spokeswoman would not answer our specific questions about its own experience and understanding of bots and botnets on its platform, so it’s not clear why it hasn’t been able to totally vanquish this crypto botnet yet. Although in a statement responding to the research, the company suggests this sort of spammy automation may be automatically detected and hidden by its anti-spam countermeasures (which would not be reflected in the data the Duo researchers had access to via the Twitter API).

Twitter said:

We are aware of this form of manipulation and are proactively implementing a number of detections to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner. Spam and certain forms of automation are against Twitter’s rules. In many cases, spammy content is hidden on Twitter on the basis of automated detections. When spammy content is hidden on Twitter from areas like search and conversations, that may not affect its availability via the API. This means certain types of spam may be visible via Twitter’s API even if it is not visible on Twitter itself. Less than 5% of Twitter accounts are spam-related.

Twitter’s spokeswoman also make the (obvious) point that not all bots and automation is bad — pointing to a recent company blog which reiterates this, with the company highlighting the “delightful and fun experiences” served up by certain bots such as Pentametron, for example, a veteran automated creation which finds rhyming pairs of Tweets written in (accidental) iambic pentameter.

Certainly no one in their right mind would complain about a bot that offers automated homage to Shakespeare’s preferred meter. Even as no one in their right mind would not complain about the ongoing scourge of cryptocurrency scams on Twitter…

One thing is crystal clear: The tricky business of answering the ‘bot or not’ question is important — and increasingly so, given the weaponization of online disinformation. It may become a quest so politicized and imperative that platforms end up needing to display a ‘bot score’ alongside every account (Twitter’s spokeswoman did not respond when we asked if it might consider doing this).

While there are existing research methodologies and techniques for trying to determine Twitter automation, the team at Duo Security say they often felt frustrated by a lack of supporting data around them — and that that was one of their impetuses for carrying out the research.

“In some cases there was an incomplete story,” says data scientist Olabode Anise. “Where they didn’t really show how they got their data that they said that they used. And they maybe started with the conclusion — or most of the research talked about the conclusion and we wanted to give people the ability to take on this research themselves. So that’s why we’re open sourcing all of our methods and the tools. So that people can start from point ‘A’: First gathering the data; training a model; and then finding bots on Twitter’s platform locally.”

“We didn’t do anything fancy or investigative techniques,” he adds. “We were really outlying how we could do this at scale because we really think we’ve built one of the largest data sets associated with public twitter accounts.”

Anise says their classifier model was trained on data that formed part of a 2016 piece of research by researchers at the University of Southern California, along with some data from the crypto botnet they uncovered during their own digging in the data set of public tweets they created (because, as he puts it, it’s “a hallmark of automation” — so turns out cryptocurrency scams are good for something.)

In terms of determining the classifier’s accuracy, Anise says the “hard part” is the ongoing lack of data on how many bots are on Twitter’s platform.

You’d imagine (or, well, hope) Twitter knows — or can at least estimate that. But, either way, Twitter isn’t making that data-point public. Which means it’s difficult for researchers to verify the accuracy of their ‘bot or not’ models against public tweet data. Instead they have to cross-check classifiers against (smaller) data sets of labeled bot accounts. Ergo, accurately determining accuracy is another (bot-spotting related) problem.

Anise says their best model was ~98% “in terms of identifying different types of accounts correctly” when measured via a cross-check (i.e. so not checking against the full 88M data set because, as he puts it, “we don’t have a foolproof way of knowing if these accounts are bots or not”).

Still, the team sounds confident that their approach — using what they dub as “practical data science techniques” — can bear fruit to create a classifier that’s effective at finding Twitter bots.

“Basically we showed — and this was what we were really were trying to get across — is that some simple machine learning approaches that people who maybe watched a machine learning tutorial could follow and help identify bots successfully,” he adds.

One more small wrinkle: Bots that the model was trained on weren’t all forms of automation on Twitter’s platform. So he concedes that may also impact its accuracy. (Aka: “The model that you build is only going to be as good as the data that you have.” And, well, once again, the people with the best Twitter data all work at Twitter… )

The crypto botnet case study the team have included in their research paper is not just there for attracting attention: It’s intended to demonstrate how, using the tools and techniques they describe, other researchers can also progress from finding initial bots to pulling on threads, discovering and unraveling an entire botnet.

So they’ve put together a sort of ‘how to guide’ for Twitter botnet hunting.

The crypto botnet they analyze for the study, using social network mapping, is described in the paper as having a “unique three-tiered hierarchical structure”.

“Traditionally when Twitter botnets are found they typically follow a very flat structure where every bot in the botnet has the same job. They’re all going to spread a certain type of tweet or a certain type of spam. Usually you don’t see much co-ordination and segmentation in terms of the jobs that they have to do,” explains principal security engineer Jordan Wright.

“This botnet was unique because whenever we started mapping out the social connections between different bots — figuring out who did they follow and who follows them — we were able to enumerate a really clear structure showing bots that are connected in one particular way and an entire other cluster that were connected in a separate way.

“This is important because we see how the bot owners are changing their tactics in terms of how they were organizing these bots over time.”

They also discovered the spam tweets being published by the botnet were each being boosted by other bots in the botnet to amplify the overall spread of the cryptocurrency scam — Wright describes this as a process of “artificial inflation”, and says it works by the botnet owner making new bots whose sole job is to like or, later on, retweet the scammy tweets.

“The goal is to give them an artificial popularity so that if i’m the victim and I’m scrolling through Twitter and I come across these tweets I’m more likely to think that they’re legitimate based on how often they’ve been retweeted or how many times they’ve been liked,” he adds.

“Mapping out these connections between likes and, as well as the social network we have already gathered, really gives is us a multi layered botnet — that’s pretty unique, pretty sophisticated and very much organized where each bot had one, and really only one job, to do to try to help support the larger goal. That was unique to this botnet.”

Twitter has been making a bunch of changes recently intended to crack down on inauthentic platform activity which spammers have exploited to try to lend more authenticity and authority to their scams.

Clearly, though, there’s more work for Twitter to do.

“There are very practical reasons why we would consider it sophisticated,” adds Wright of the crypto botnet the team have turned into a case study. “It’s ongoing, it’s evolving and it’s changed its structure over time. And the structure that it has is hierarchical and organized.”

Anise and Wright will be presenting their Twitter botnet research on Wednesday, August 8 at the Black Hat conference.