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” 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. 

Be sure to check out the podcast, Blockchain 2025; latest episode here. Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

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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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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.

Bitpico Cashes Out, Claiming BTC to Be “World’s Most Manipulated Commodity”

Bitpico, a controversial mischief-maker within the world of bitcoin, has allegedly rage-quit BTC altogether. The pseudonymous entity, who has previously caught attention for stress-testing the Bitcoin Cash network and trying to keep Segwit2x alive, has now reportedly washed his hands of Bitcoin core altogether. There remains the possibility, however, that it’s merely the latest publicity stunt from a notorious troll.

Also read: A Character Called Bitpico Thinks He Can Stress-Test the BCH Network

Bitpico Allegedly Rage Quits on Bitcoin Core

Bitpico was last in the news six weeks ago, when we reported that his crew were stress-testing the Bitcoin Cash network – and not out of love for it. Bitpico has made no secret of his dislike for BCH, but now it appears he’s fallen out of love with BTC too. In a tweet that strongly reeked of a hack or publicity stunt, Bitpico wrote on August 4: “We are no longer bullish on #bitcoin $btc & dumped all @ 8300 USD. We’ve put our farm up for sale also. Why? We no longer want to participate in the worlds most manipulated commodity. Bitcoin is now just a shit show. Good luck!”

The claim caught the attention of the crypto community, but was met with short shrift:

Bitpico Cashes Out, Claiming Bitcoin to Be “World’s Most Manipulated Commodity”

Others have speculated that Bitpico was a Bitcoin Cash shill all along, and that his team’s failure to successfully topple the BCH network was an attempt to demonstrate its strength, citing his sudden dismissal of BTC as proof.

Bitpico Deletes All Tweets

In addition to defiantly declaring BTC to be the world’s “most manipulated commodity”, and claiming to have sold his coins at the recent top, Bitpico went on to delete all his remaining tweets. He also updated his Twitter bio, reaffirming his opinion that “Bitcoin is fully manipulated shit show. Just say no.” If Bitpico was seeking to catch attention by throwing his toys out the pram, he certainly succeeded. Few people are prepared to take his claims seriously however.

Bitpico Cashes Out, Claiming Bitcoin to Be “World’s Most Manipulated Commodity”

Bitpico has a history of making threats and then never following through with them. As previously reported by “[In November] Bitpico explained that his team was carrying out the Segwit2x fork whether people liked it or not and claimed to have 30 percent of the hashrate…Following Bitpico’s threats this past November, nothing ever happened, and his 30 percent of hashrate never came to fruition.” He also previously threatened to DDoS the Lightning Network, but once again, nothing happened.

It’s possible that Bitpico’s non-existent hashrate, sloppy coding, and ineffectual DDoS army is accompanied by shoddy infosec, resulting in his Twitter account being hacked. It seems likelier, though, that he’ll return in a few days, promoting a new agenda with equally lackluster results.

Do you think Bitpico has really sold all his BTC? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Twitter.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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The Weekly: Musk Bots Blocked, US Crypto Candidate, a Herd of Institutional Investors

The Weekly: Musk Bots Blocked, US Crypto Candidate, a Herd of Institutional Investors

In this week’s daily editions of Bitcoin in Brief, we reported about Twitter blocking ETH scambots mimicking Elon Musk, a US presidential candidate who accepts crypto donations, the expected arrival of a ‘herd of institutional investors’ and much more. The most commented-on article during the week covered the latest development of the ongoing legal battle in the Ross Ulbricht case.

Also Read: The Iranian Government Is Preparing to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency

TCAP Explores Market

The Weekly: Musk Bots Blocked, US Crypto Candidate, a Herd of Institutional InvestorsOn Monday, we reported on another indication that mega banks are looking to enter the crypto dealing market. TP Icap plc (LSE:TCAP), one of the largest connectors between banks’ traders in the financial, energy and commodities markets, has set up a ‘working group’ to explore how it should approach cryptocurrencies. The crypto working group includes some of TP Icap’s most senior executives. Additional stories included: Hashflare stoping its SHA-256 cloud mining contracts, encrypted email service Tutanota integrating cryptocurrency support and Huobi launching a new service for companies that wish to offer a white label exchange of their own.

A ‘Herd of Institutional Investors’

The main story on Tuesday was that Michael Novogratz expects more financial institutions to be coming into the crypto space soon. A “herd of institutional investors” is headed towards cryptocurrencies, the prominent hedge fund manager said in a speech at Blockchain Week Korea. Other headlines included an upcoming crypto-custody service meant to answer increasing demand from high-net-worth and institutional clients in Hong Kong, and a study which reveals that about 30% of Brazilians are interested to invest funds in cryptocurrencies in the near future.

Crypto Crime Blotter

The Weekly: Musk Bots Blocked, US Crypto Candidate, a Herd of Institutional InvestorsIn Bitcoin in Brief on Wednesday, we covered a number of stories related to crime from around the cryptosphere. These included an exchange operator that plead guilty to securities fraud for trying to hide that hackers stole approximately 6,000 bitcoins from his venue, a scammer that was fined over $1.9 million for bitcoin and binary options fraud, London City police academy adding a cryptocurrency course for teaching cops on anti-money laundering related purposes, and a new type of bitcoin-demanding ransomware attack against porn viewers in Israel.

Skrill Launches Crypto Trading

On Thursday, we reported that Skrill, the online payments service formerly known as Moneybookers, has enabled its wallet users to instantly buy and sell cryptocurrencies, including BTC, BCH, ETH and LTC, using more than 40 supported fiat options. The new service is available in over 30 countries and the company plans to roll it out to additional markets and extend the service to its mobile app and Paysafe’s Neteller digital wallet in the next few months. In other news: The White Company, a concierge and luxury marketplace, surpassed $100 million in cryptocurrency sales and transactions; Bitmex, an exchange offering cryptocurrency trading with very high leverage, reported more than 1 million BTC traded on the platform in the 24-hours period closing July 24; and AMD suffered a decline in GPU mining related sales in Q2, 2018.

Musk Bots Blocked

The Weekly: Musk Bots Blocked, US Crypto Candidate, a Herd of Institutional InvestorsThe big news on Friday was that Twitter is now finally automatically locking any unverified account that changes its display name to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Spacex. This only came after Musk recently pointed out the impressive skills of the scammers who are designing bots to mimic high profile people like himself and flood the social network with fake ETH giveaways. In other news, an “anonymized” currency that can fluctuate wildly does not deserve to be considered as a medium of exchange, according to Mastercard President and CEO, Ajay Banga, who called cryptocurrency “junk.”

US Crypto Candidate

On Saturday, we reported that Democrat Andrew Yang’s campaign has begun accepting crypto donation for the 2020 US presidential election. The announcement released by his team to “our crypto donors” reads: “We currently accept Bitcoin and anything on the ERC20 standard.” It also comes with instructions on how to donate cryptocurrency and notes that the maximum for individual donations is set at the fiat equivalent of $2,500. We also reported that Kickico experienced a security breach, with 70,000,000 KICK stolen – equal to $7.7 million. According to an announcement from the company, Kickico restored full control over the its smart contract and will return all stolen Kickcoins to their holders.

No Murder-for-Hire Indictment in Silk Road Case

The most commented-on article during the week covered the latest development of the ongoing legal battle in the Ross Ulbricht case. The Maryland district US Attorney filed a motion to dismiss a 2013 three-count indictment against the online marketplace Silk Road operator which included murder-for-hire allegations. Join the discussion.

The Weekly: Musk Bots Blocked, US Crypto Candidate, a Herd of Institutional Investors

This Week in Bitcoin Podcast

Catch the rest of this week’s news in the This Week in Bitcoin podcast with host Matt Aaron.

What other stories in the Bitcoin world caught your attention this week? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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The Daily: Twitter Blocks Bots Mimicking Musk, Coinvault Hackers Sentenced

The Daily: Twitter Blocks Bots Mimicking Musk, Coinvault Hackers Sentenced

In Friday’s edition of The Daily, Twitter has taken measures against crypto scammers imitating the profile of Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk and a Dutch court has sentenced the operators of the Coinvault ransomware. Also, crypto has been labeled as ‘junk’ by Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, and Wirex has reported $2 million worth of XRP deposited to its crypto debit card after announcing support for ripple.

Also read: Skrill Launches Crypto Trade, Luxury Market Reaches $100M Transactions

Twitter Blocking Bots Imitating Musk

The Daily: Twitter Blocks Bots Mimicking Musk, Coinvault Hackers SentencedTwitter is trying a new strategy to address the issue with the numerous crypto scammers on the social network. The microblogging platform is now automatically locking any unverified account that changes its display name to Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla and Spacex. Access to a blocked account can be restored only after passing a CAPTCHA test and providing a valid phone number, The Verge reported.

“As part of our continuing efforts to combat spam and malicious activity on our service, we’re testing new measures to challenge accounts that use terms commonly associated with spam campaigns. We are continually refining these detections based on changes in spammy activity,” a Twitter spokesperson commented. The company has declined to confirm if the policy is applied to other accounts.

The measure is meant to mainly combat the growing number of bots that are active on Twitter and imitate Musk’s profile to scam people by replying to his tweets. This means that once a user confirms the authenticity of their account according to the procedure, they can keep the display name as Elon Musk. Most scam bots operate by automatically replying to tweets from high profile figures, often promising giveaways or investment opportunities. Earlier this month, Elon Musk himself posted a comment showing that he is impressed with the skills of the scammers.

Coinvault Operators Sentenced to Community Service

The Daily: Twitter Blocks Bots Mimicking Musk, Coinvault Hackers SentencedA court in the Dutch city of Rotterdam has ordered 240 hours community service for two brothers responsible for spreading and operating the Coinvault ransomware. The pair have been accused of hacking into the personal computers of almost 1,300 victims in several countries including the Netherlands, the UK, France, and Germany.

The two men, who had clean criminal records prior to their arrest, were spared prison sentences after they agreed to cooperate with the police investigation. However, they will have to pay compensation to several victims in addition to the community service they must perform.

Coinvault is based on Microsoft’s .NET framework. It encrypts system files and then decrypts a single file before demanding ransomware payment in bitcoin (BTC). The malware was first discovered in 2014, when its operators demanded one bitcoin in return for a decryption key. At the time, 1 BTC was worth around €220. Investigators believe the two men have received about 20,000 euros from their victims.

Mastercard CEO Labels Crypto as ‘Junk’

The Daily: Twitter Blocks Bots Mimicking Musk, Coinvault Hackers SentencedAn “anonymized” currency that can fluctuate wildly does not deserve to be considered as a medium of exchange, according to Mastercard President and CEO Ajay Banga, who called cryptocurrency “junk.” The head of the global payment processor is also concerned that 95 percent of the illegal transactions conducted on the dark web, including credit card and social security fraud, are paid for in cryptocurrency.

“I think cryptocurrency is junk. The idea of an anonymized currency produced by people who have to mine it, the value of which can fluctuate wildly – that to me is not the way that any medium of exchange deserves to be considered as a medium of exchange,” the India-born executive said, quoted by the Business Standard. He was responding to a question he was asked during a lecture organized by the Indian Consulate in New York together with the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF).

Despite Banga’s comments, the credit card giant is believed to be keeping its crypto options open. It was reported earlier this year that the company would consider facilitating digital coins but only fully-regulated, central bank-issued, and non-anonymous. Mastercard has also applied for several crypto-related patents. In June, it became known that its filings include a patent for anonymous distributed ledger transactions via a third party processor. This month, it was announced that the payments behemoth has patented a method to manage cryptocurrency “fractional reserves.”

$2 Million Worth of XRP Deposited to Wirex Accounts

The Daily: Twitter Blocks Bots Mimicking Musk, Coinvault Hackers SentencedWirex, the major provider of crypto debit cards in Europe which announced this month it is adding support for ripple (XRP), has already registered over $2 million worth of XRP deposited into the wallet which is connected to its Wirex Visa cards. The company has also reported having 1.5 million users and announced a transaction volume of approximately $1.7 billion USD.

Wirex cards, offered in both plastic and virtual variants, are available within the European Economic Area which is a huge potential market. The company was the first to reintroduce crypto debit cards in Europe after they were suspended by Visa last year. It started shipping its new plastic cards to customers in the UK and the EU in May this year.

The plastic cards offered by Wirex come with a chip and support also bitcoin (BTC), litecoin (LTC) and instant currency exchange with GBP, USD, and EUR. The virtual Visas provide for the opportunity to deposit and exchange over 50 digital coins through the Wirex wallet.

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

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Michael Novogratz (Twitter).

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Coinbase Flexes Political Muscle, Beating While Joining Them

Coinbase Flexes Political Muscle, Beating While Joining Them

Widespread reporting revealed the United States’ largest cryptocurrency bank, Coinbase, has formed a political action committee (PAC). This is the debate. Is onboarding broader sectors, mainstream folks, coming at too grave a cost? Is crypto’s philosophical soul worth greater adoption? One company is threading between those tensions, siding on the venial sin of being in bed with gatekeepers while moving against the mortal sin of not bringing everyone to digital assets. And now they’re bent on conquering electoral politics.

Also read: Philippines Embraces Cryptocurrency: Exchanges Issued Provisional Licenses

Coinbase Forms PAC

Colin Wilhelm effectively broke the story, and he did where it would get traction, Twitter. “SCOOP: @Coinbase has formed a political action committee as part of a push to increase its presence in DC,” he tweeted late last week.

Cryptocurrency success stories such as Coinbase have a real choice: wait around to be regulated, which is coming in as many forms imaginable; or, get ahead of politicians, and frame regulation in a favorable manner. The answer seems obvious. 

Coinbase Flexes Political Muscle, Beating While Joining Them

The San Francisco-based crypto bank is officially the first in the space to form a PAC, a fact later confirmed by the Federal Election Commission (FEC). For potential institutional investors, such actions show mature, long-term thinking leads Coinbase. For the market as a whole, it just might be a lynchpin in the quest to bring about more certainty, clarity, going forward from regulators.

It’s the latest in a series of such moves for the bank. Its executives are well known political animals, personally donating to favorited politicians. As a unit, however, the company reportedly approached US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulators about becoming a full-fledged brokerage, which would better explain the whys behind its PAC. If regulators don’t play ball, the politicians who appointed them could be targeted for defeat. 

Screwy Melange

To outsiders, US politics are a melange of screwy laws, regulations, arcane rules. And nowhere is that more in evidence than with regard to political financing. PACs, in a long line of ironies, were a post-Watergate, early 1970s reform to clean up corruption. The overrepresentation of big money was thought best counteracted by regular folk being allowed to cartel up and pool resources, giving them a fighting chance in the moneyed arms race.

And then there was reform of the reform meant as final reform. Odious federal and state reporting laws were enacted. Legal language Swiss cheese-like holes, wide enough to match the Grand Canyon, were quickly found. Big money got around it all, as anyone with a modicum of sense would’ve predicted. By 2010 the Roberts Court upheld more than three decades’ old challenges to the concept of money as speech. Citizens United does seem to have settled the matter. Money is speech.

Coinbase Flexes Political Muscle, Beating While Joining Them

Key, of course, is the noun money. If a given crypto, or all, isn’t considered money then such cases mean little. Indeed, complications are numerous when its fifty states are put into play: in one instance, Colorado, is considering allowing crypto as a form of political donation; in another, Kansas outright forbade such an occurrence. Federal clarity on the issue could be an influential force for states also struggling with it.

Whatever the case, Coinbase is on another roll: not only has it formed a PAC, but it snagged a giant hedge fund, became whitelisted on Facebook, and one of its founders, Brian Armstrong, was named a leading young executive.

What do you think about Coinbase’s PAC? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Images via Pixabay, Twitter. 

Be sure to check out the podcast, Blockchain 2025; latest episode here. Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

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Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

Cryptowhispers explores the wildcatting world of direct denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and why the socially maladjusted tend to flock to that particular vector … especially for coin projects they hate; a popular cryptocurrency trading application executive was involved in a serious car accident on the eve of an anticipated cross promotion at Comic Con; and what would a crypto gossip column be without Twitter drama.

Also read: Philippines Embraces Cryptocurrency: Exchanges Issued Provisional Licenses

Cryptowhispers at Comic Con San Diego 2018

Rumor has it a multibillion dollar smartphone cryptocurrency trading application executive was involved in a serious car accident Friday, July 20th, ahead of a major promotional reveal. The company has been on a tear this year in particular, expanding its offerings while staying hungry enough to try new, innovative marketing.

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama
As far as anyone knows, these two were not paid for their efforts.

Its cross promotion over several days at the Comic Con International San Diego gathering, where an estimated 300,000 cargo-shorts wearing nerds descended upon the city’s convention center and famed Gaslamp District, was set to climax Saturday, early afternoon. The company partnered with Lionsgate to feature two products: the studio’s forthcoming movie and the app’s crypto platform.

Fans were led via social media in an effort to find literal money drops off campus, around San Diego’s downtown. At about 1 am that morning, just hours before the final drop, the very high up trading app executive emailed involvement in the accident and of sustained injuries bad enough to warrant an emergency room visit. That’s right, the executive, while under trauma examination and still at the ER, was sure to apologize for not being able to make the final event. Such dedication might be at least one reason said company is thriving.

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

Crypto Twitter Aflutter as Craig Wright is, well, Craig Wright

Vinny Lingham, voted one of the world’s top CEOs, founder of Gyft and Civic, and a Bitcoin Cash supporter, is the latest to be bounced by Mr. Wright, the controversial once-thought-to-be-Satoshi-but-admitted-he-wasn’t and prolific academic entrepreneur. He’s apparently clearing up follower space. Mr. Wright has also recently excommunicated Vin Armani of CoinText fame. Even prominent Bitcoin Cash developer, Amaury Séchet, has had enough of Mr. Wright’s social media theatre. 

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

With talk in some quarters of how Bitcoin Cash is controlled or centralized, those claims are increasingly becoming more difficult to sustain. BCH proponents are taking polar opposite sides on the coin going forward, and debate seems more of feature than a bug. But it does make trolls very happy. 

Mr. Lingham is taking the latest weirdness in stride, retweeting the spectacle. Mr. Wright has also more recently taken to outright bizarre diatribes against “anarchists,” insisting they had little-to-nothing to do with crypto’s development. Each tweeted rant usually ends with Mr. Wright “not giving a fack,” emphasis mine on the last word to underline his Aussie patois.   

DDoS Attack on Bitcoin Cash Projects is an initial coin offering (ICO) accepting bitcoin cash (BCH). Understanding how, in some quarters, trolls were prone to make incorporating BCH an issue of derision or worse for entrepreneurs, Avinoc gave previously hidden 5% post-deposit bonuses. They also used airdrop promotions, common in the ICO space, whereby the company hatched user missions, tasks, one of which involved promoting BCH and a faucet — a previous tradition in the community is to give away small amounts of BCH to entice folks into downloading a wallet and giving the BCH experience a try.

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

Word got out, and before its latest BCH faucet promotion could commence, the Avinoc site was held up by a direct denial of service (DDoS) attack vector, effectively preventing customers from using the site (now closing-in on 200,000). Rumors are the company relocated entry servers in anticipation of future malicious acts.      

A person familiar with the matter explained the attack lasted at least “a day. The website was down for several hours. Well, not really down, but unreachable. [The company] had another small one yesterday very early in the morning, but [they] were already able to handle that.” CEO Roger Ver voiced exasperation, “The fact [attackers] are willing to do such things shows that their morals are in the wrong place.”

“Everyone [at the company] is a huge Bitcoin Cash fan, but […] it can be dangerous to publicly state this. […] the token contract creation [was purposefully delayed] in the hope to have it working on BCH, but the May hard fork was too little. [The company hopes] that OP_GROUP will be added ASAP [so they] can eventually move [the project] from ETH to BCH,” a personal with firsthand knowledge noted.

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

BTC Trolls Getting Desperate as BCHers Continue to Build

As ICOs go, Avinoc is a compelling idea, at least theoretically. They “have a working product for business aviation since almost 10 years ago. And it is a real competitive advancement for its users. However, the real problem of the Bizav is that is has more than 50% overhead ($150+Billion/year),” a person in the industry detailed. That’s “because there is no unified global data solution. And even the best product is always a competitor to all other solutions. So the only solution to crack that issue is to create something that is not a competitor.” Thus the reason for the company’s “blockchain based data layer. [Permissionless], every competitor can […] integrate it and eventually it will eliminate all the overhead.”

Avinoc is also rumored to have moved servers out of Asia altogether, and to an undisclosed location in “the west.” An anonymous source ranted, “For real, those Core trolls should do something productive with their lives. The world is full of real enemies of freedom, there are plenty of actual real enemies worth to be fighting against.”

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

Placing the blame at the feet of BTC trolls comes only as an inference. The source has “some experience with regular DDoS attacks on Bitcoin sites, [and] usually one gets an email with some demand. This time we got nothing, so that clearly indicates that the DDoS was not to get a ransom.” This was very personal.

Rumors also include the company being bullish on BCH going forward, even with hater potential at annoyance level. The source insists, BCH is “the real Bitcoin, and frankly ETH is a mess compared to Bitcoin,” and the company sees “a great potential for it in the future.” A mainnet launch is in the works with the current token referred to as “just a placeholder,” as BCH is the company’s go-to.

OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. 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. 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.

What juicy tidbits do you have? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Images via Pixabay, Twitter. 

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Ross Ulbricht Joins Twitter

Ross Ulbricht Joins Twitter

Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht, serving life in prison without parole, has joined Twitter. While denied direct internet access from behind bars, he is now able to communicate with the Twittersphere, in a fashion, with the aid of hand-written notes posted to a Twitter account in his name. It is hoped the account will keep his case in the spotlight as he fights for his freedom.

Also read: Petition Attempts to Fight for Ross Ulbricht’s Freedom

Ross Ulbricht Finds His Voice

For approaching five years, Ross Ulbricht has awoken each morning inside a federal penitentiary. Barring a miracle, that pattern will repeat every day for the rest of his life. Despite all conventional avenues of appeal having been exhausted, hopes remain that the Silk Road mastermind may eventually taste freedom. Until such a time, the 34-year-old now has a means of conveying his thoughts to the public, many of whom have been campaigning for his release.

Ross Ulbricht Joins Twitter

@RealRossU is the handle of the Twitter account that launched today to convey the thoughts of Ross Ulbricht. “I’m hoping to find my voice here after all these years of silence. It has been a strange journey, but I’m so grateful for all those who’ve shown love and support and held me up through the hard times. You give me strength,” he writes in a note that has been transcribed and shared on his behalf. A photo of the original letter, hosted on, attests to its authenticity.

“This is My First Time on Twitter”

“This is my first time on Twitter,” writes Ross, “so I’m not sure yet what I’ll be tweeting about. I guess we’ll figure it out together. It’s coming up on five years that I’ve been in prison though, so I’m hoping this will help me feel more connected to the outside. Thank you for supporting me and for all your support in my struggle for freedom.”

Ross Ulbricht Joins Twitter

Ross Ulbricht is serving his sentence in USP Florence High, a maximum security penitentiary in Colorado, which has a population of 776 inmates. Policy governing the electronic communications granted to prisoners differs on a state by state and case by case basis. However, individuals whose cases have become a cause célèbre have been granted this right in the past, albeit under tight restrictions. Chelsea Manning was able to join Twitter in 2015 while imprisoned and dictate communications over the phone to a third party who published them on her behalf.

If Ross’s updates are to be delivered by mail only, as appears to be the case, followers will have to content themselves with sporadic updates. That said, given the amount of free time the Austin, Texas native has at his disposal, he may be able to despatch multiple missives that are shared in installments. Within an hour of his first tweet being published, @RealRossU had already attracted 500 followers, a number that is sure to grow significantly in the coming days. While social metrics and the minutiae of Twitter are the least of Ross Ulbricht’s concerns, knowing that an army of followers are hanging on his every word is sure to fortify him as his fight for freedom steps up.

Do you think Ross Ulbricht will ever receive clemency? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Crypto Twitter Accounts Are Being Exposed by ShillExed

Crypto Twitter Accounts

On Sunday, July 15th, 2018 a new account emerged on Crypto Twitter under the handle @Shillexed and the “ShillExed” name. Within 48 hours that account had gained over 5,000 followers. This account claims to be “dedicated to exposing those who do not disclose their paid shills” which is another way to say, they will attempt to find and report on anyone on Crypto Twitter who promotes a blockchain project in exchange for payment. The ShillExed operator is actively soliciting other Twitter users to report these account. The ShillExed account has already reported on a couple of people and ...

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ETH Bots Run Rampant While Twitter Claims to Ban Lookalike Accounts

ETH-Bots Run Rampant While Twitter Claims to Ban Look-Alike Accounts

According to reports the social media platform Twitter has been deleting millions of fraudulent accounts per day, and stated during the first week of July that it suspended more than 70 million accounts throughout May and June. However, the cryptocurrency industry is still plagued by tons of ‘ETH scam-bots’ pretending to be bitcoin luminaries and this scheme has made these particular fraudsters millions.

Also read: BCH Roundup: Steady Development, Market Uptrends, and New Apps

Twitter Says The Company Has Suspended 70 Million Phony Accounts, But Bots Still Plague the Twitter-Sphere

Over the last few weeks, had written about the various Twitter scams and fake Ethereum giveaways that can be found throughout lots of conversations within the cryptocurrency industry. Some developers have even been working on cryptographic solutions that can weed out the vast amount of lookalike Twitter scammers. The massive amount of phony accounts use a person’s profile picture, the same username, and these frauds typically jump into a conversation following a hot tweet and push their ETH giveaways.

ETH-Bots Run Rampant While Twitter Claims to Ban Look-Alike Accounts
Phony John McAfee and Tone Vays Twitter accounts. Screenshots were taken on July 15, 2018.

An example giveaway is you give them 5 ETH, and they say they will give you 50 ETH in return after the funds are sent. This particular trick, even though it’s pretty obvious to some people, has been able to help these imposters acquire millions of dollars worth of Ethereum. Then just last week Twitter detailed to the media that they have thrown the ban-hammer down on fake accounts and have been suspending millions a day. 

ETH-Bots Run Rampant While Twitter Claims to Ban Look-Alike AccountsAccording to the Washington Post, the social media giant suspended 70 million accounts throughout May and June. Even though in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, these bots or spammers are in full force impersonating cryptocurrency figures, executives, and even digital asset exchanges like Binance. Yet the bot problem has also plagued movie stars, musicians, and political parties as well. A researcher from a Palo Alto-based think tank, Samuel C. Woolley, believes Twitter should be doing more to prevent spammers and bots.      

“When you have an account tweeting over a thousand times a day, there’s no question that it’s a bot,” said Woolley, at the Digital Intelligence Lab at the Institute for the Future.

Twitter has to be doing more to prevent the amplification and suppression of political ideas.

ETH-Bots Run Rampant While Twitter Claims to Ban Look-Alike Accounts
A fake Binance exchange Twitter account. Screenshot was taken on July 15, 2018.

Crypto-Luminaries, Bigwigs, and Exchanges Are Not Giving Away 200 ETH

Even though Twitter claims they have been banning millions of fake accounts the problem is still happening within the cryptocurrency industry. Lots of ‘cryptocurrency bigwigs’ are being copied by look-alike accounts still to this day. For instance, on July 15 the writer and speaker Andreas Antonopoulos shared a tweet of one of his latest talks. After the tweet, a phony “CZ” pretending to be the CEO of Binance states: 

A nеw prоmоtion with suppоrt is available tоday Get 200 ETHEREUM in your wallet now. You саn use аnу wal­let or exch­ange (Fоr example: Coinb­ase, Bina­nce, and others) or use a smart con­tract. If you’re Ia­te for this eve­nt, you’ll get your investment bасk imme­diately!

Unfortunately, the ETH scam bots are alive and well on Twitter and are still able to spawn new accounts after the company claims to have thrown down the ban hammer. For now, these cryptocurrency scammers don’t seem to be going anywhere soon.

What do you think about this situation? Do you think Twitter is doing a good job of taking care of this issue? Let us know what you think in the comment section below. 

Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Twitter.

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One Guy Controls the Lightning Network’s Biggest Node

One Guy Controls the Lightning Network's Biggest Node

BTC supporters were elated to discover recently that the Lightning Network’s (LN) capacity had spiked by 216 percent in just one day. Some individuals suspected the Build on Bitcoin conference had sparked more LN interest. However, onlookers have found the spike was due to a single node created by the owner of According to LN explorers, the node holds more than 49 percent of the Lightning Network’s total funds.

Also read: Study Finds Cryptocurrency Rebalance Portfolios Outperform ‘Hodling’

Everyone is Talking About One Node That Holds More Funds Than 49% of the Entire Lightning network

One Guy Controls the Lightning Network's Biggest Node

There’s a new Lightning Network node on the block that has BTC supporters in a frenzy trying to figure out why one person has so much money on this nascent network. At the time of writing the so-called “≡ƒÆ⌐LN.SHITCOIN.COM≡ƒÆ⌐” holds 35.24 BTC or $220,000 USD at the time of writing. The node is operated by Andreas Brekken, the owner of who has detailed he plans on doing a review of the Lightning Network. Brekken’s reviews a wide variety of cryptocurrencies like IOTA, Tron, EOS, and Dash.

Brekken’s node is massive compared to the rest of the nodes across LN and on July 14 the node operator stated to his Twitter followers:

To make the Lightning Network truly decentralized, we must first become the Lightning Network.

One Guy Controls the Lightning Network's Biggest Node One Guy Controls the Lightning Network's Biggest Node

Supporters Afraid the Node May “Reduce People’s Trust in the Lightning Network”, While Some Are Using the Node for Routing, Even Though They “Don’t Trust the Guy” Operating It

Of course, LN supporters had a lot to say about Brekken’s node as some believed it was just an expensive marketing attempt for his review website. Some users even argued that Brekken might try to attempt some sort of “attack”.

One Guy Controls the Lightning Network's Biggest Node

“If he could somehow crash or reduce people’s trust in the Lightning Network, that would be a plus for his side,” explains one Reddit user. Oddly enough, one user explained that even though he didn’t trust Brekken, he’s been using the node for liquidity.

“I opened a channel with this node — it routes payments very well (loads of liquidity),” reveals another Reddit user.

I will not be receiving (only spending) via this channel as I don’t trust this guy — If you spend only — there is no need for watchtowers, or zero risk to your money.

All Eyes on One Node

Brekken hasn’t disclosed when his official LN review will be published or what type of testing he has been doing. Just recently he revealed how much money he’s made so far from routing, which turned out to be around $0.028 USD worth of BTC. It’s likely Brekken will follow through with a detailed review, but in the meantime, it’s safe to say many bitcoiners will be watching this node closely.

What do you think about the node on the Lightning Network? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.

Images via Shutterstock, Twitter, Recksplorer, and

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Watch Out Bears, Crypto’s Only Getting Started: Coinbase CTO

Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan ignited a Twitter firestorm yesterday when he tweeted that while 63% of the world’s adults own smartphones, only 8% of those in the U.S. and less than 1% worldwide  own cryptocurrency, indicating there is a potential user base that is 60 times larger than the existing user base. Some agreed that

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The Daily: Google Founder Is a Crypto Miner, Elon Musk Impressed by Scambots

The Daily: Google Founder Is a Crypto Miner, Elon Musk Impressed by Scambots

In today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief we cover why Google founder Sergey Brin has become a crypto miner, and why Elon Musk is impressed by crypto scambots on Twitter. Additionally covered are a new response from Fcoin regarding recent allegations and a $100 million venture capital fund for blockchain startups in Israel.

Also Read: Opera Browser Introduces a Built-in Cryptocurrency Wallet

Google Founder Is a Crypto Miner

The Daily: Google Founder Is a Crypto Miner, Elon Musk Impressed by ScambotsSergey Brin, one of the two founders of Google and current president of its parent company Alphabet, took part in a blockchain conference in Morocco a few days ago and revealed that he is a crypto miner. With a net worth of over $50 billion, Brin has no need for an extra income, but he started mining to further his son’s knowledge about the technology and got hooked himself. “A year or two ago my son insisted that we needed to get a gaming PC,” Brin said. “I told him If we get a gaming PC we have to mine cryptocurrency. So we got an ethereum miner on there and we’ve been making a few pennies and dollars since.” He added: “That definitely got me interested and I started to study the technology behind it and found it to be fascinating.”

Elon Musk Impressed by Scambots

The founder of Tesla and Spacex, Elon Musk, knows how to recognize great tech when he sees it. Twitter is infested by scams that automatically reply to messages by high profile accounts with promises of giveaways while mimicking them in every possible way. This phenomena has spread from just crypto influencers to even people such as the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner. Musk has taken note of this and he seems to be very impressed with the scammers. He said: “I want to know who is running the Etherium (sic) scambots! Mad skillz …” The geniuses behind these might want to reach out to Musk to seek work on getting humans to Mars, developing a self-driving car, or even preventing an AI takeover of the Earth. Sounds more challenging than taking money away from fools, no?

Fcoin Denies Fake Volume Bots

Speaking of bots, Fcoin, which was previously pilloried for slowing the ethereum network, has came under fire from critics with new accusations of employing bots to drive up its exchange volume. The team denied this to us, saying: “Just like Bitcoin cannot control miners’ activity, FCoin cannot control the mining activity of the community. With that said, FCoin doesn’t encourage bot-trading on the platform. The ‘Trans-Fee Mining’ model is designed in a way that it eliminates such possibilities…FCoin doesn’t hire or own bots to increase the trading volume. As far as fake volume is concerned, FCoin cannot indulge in such practices. It simply doesn’t make any sense to create fake volume and use our own funds to reimburse the 100% transaction fee.”

$100 Million for Blockchain Startups in Israel

The Daily: Google Founder Is a Crypto Miner, Elon Musk Impressed by ScambotsIsrael might not be the most welcoming of cryptocurrency environments, but its specialized tech and cryptographic talent continues to attract venture capital. Benson Oak, an investment bank which raised over $5 billion for young technology companies such as AVG, has announced it has already secured $25 million in commitments for a new $100 million fund. Benson Oak Ventures is said to be focused on Israeli startups, with an emphasis on blockchain technologies. Managing partner Robert Cohen said: “I believe that there are great entrepreneurs in Israel who are leading the platforms of the future, with creating and disruptive use of blockchain technologies. I moved to Israel six years ago, and with a passion to build companies, I have established Benson Oak Ventures as a new platform to provide financial and operational capital to the best entrepreneurs in Israel and around the world.”

What do you think about today’s news tidbits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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