Decentralized Crypto Exchange is Solution to Hacks, Will They be Ready?

Not long after the successful hacking attempts on crypto exchanges Bithumb and Coincheck, Japan’s Zaif was hacked, losing $60 million in user funds. All three exchanges were found to have poor security measures. Coincheck in particular, which lost more than $500 million in XEM, the native cryptocurrency of NEM, outraged investors in Japan after the … Continued

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eCash Founder David Chaum Makes Bold Promises with Elixxir Blockchain

eCash Founder David Chaum Claims Invention of World’s Fastest Blockchain

Over 30 years after creating eCash, a predecessor of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies which spawned the Cypherpunk movement of the 1980s, Dr. David Chaum is back in the public eye with a claim of having invented “the world’s fastest cryptocurrency.”

Chaum is widely regarded as the forefather of cryptocurrencies and the wider world of cryptographic security and online privacy because of his pioneering security research work in the ’80s. His academic paper, “Blind Signatures for Untraceable Payments,” laid the groundwork for modern cryptography used in securing blockchains and cryptocurrencies. The “private key” and “public key” framework he laid out decades ago is still the basis for how cryptocurrencies are kept secured in wallets.

Birth of Elixxir

Now he claims to have invented the first blockchain in the world with the capacity to handle all the needs of consumer-scale messaging and payments. The new platform, dubbed “Elixxir,” is reportedly able to process hundreds of thousands of confidential, quantum-resistant transactions every second.

According to Chaum, the Elixxir blockchain offers faster and cheaper messaging and payment solutions than all other existing blockchains, with the ability to scale to levels current blockchains cannot dream of. While Elixxir claims to be able to handle hundreds of thousands of concurrent transactions every second with no problem, Ethereum, by comparison, is only capable of handling about 15 transactions per second.

In correspondence with Bitcoin Magazine, Chaum said the response to Elixxir has been overwhelming.

"Since our announcement, 24 hours ago, we’ve had over 600 express interest in running nodes and thousands express interest in our community. Our team is delighted and humbled by the response, and we look forward to further growing and working with our community."

Building on the background of eCash alongside more recent cryptographic innovations, Chaum claims that Elixxir will give users the benefit of speed and scalability on the level of non-blockchain platforms like PayPal or Visa — something which, if it can deliver, promises to be a game changer for the crypto industry regarding mass adoption.

Huge Promises

According to Chaum, Elixxir succeeds at two majors things that other blockchains generally fail at. The first is that it has changed the makeup of the digital signatures used to verify ownership of cryptocurrency tokens. In his view, modern digital signatures are too much of a computational hassle, which in turn prevents blockchain platforms from scaling or achieving anything approaching the speed of non-blockchain networks. Elixxir will use one digital signature per block for each node contributing to that block.

"There's no way we can get speed and scalability if for every transaction a server has to do a public key operation like making a signature or checking a signature. We can cheat a little bit,” Chaum remarked at the recently concluded Consensus event in Singapore.

Elixxir effectively “cheats” by carrying out public key operations “in advance,” a framework that Chaum claims has not been attempted before, and which delivers speeds that are up to 1,000 times faster than any other blockchain in existence. This, Chaum says, is a breakthrough.

When asked if his blockchain can rival some popular networks such as Lightning, Chaum said, "Elixxir can take blockchain to a new level.

"A consumer messaging and payment app with performance, privacy and capacity that consumers are used to with today’s centralized systems. But at the same time, it can be resistant to attack even at the national adversary level."

In addition to speed, Elixxir’s cryptography “cheating” effectively future proofs the network against the specter of quantum computer attacks at a time when there is a substantial amount of debate over whether quantum computing poses a threat to blockchains.

For now, the project remains focused on transactions and is still not ready to hit the market anytime soon. Nevertheless, Chaum believes that Elixxir could eventually grow into much more than just a cryptocurrency by becoming a fixture in online security frameworks.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Ripple (XRP) Temporarily Passes Ethereum (ETH) but ETH Reclaims #2 Spot

Ripple (XRP)

Ripple (XRP) just passed Ethereum (ETH) this morning to take the second-largest cryptocurrency spot. Except, a few hours later Ethereum enthusiasts shot back and Ethereum re-gained its #2 spot.

Ripple (XRP) Comeback

XRP is among the group of worst performing cryptocurrencies this year, but it seems to be making a comeback. In the summer, it was down more than 90 percent from its high in January.

XRP and Ripple are often confused, and people intertwine them. Ripple Labs is a fintech company that focuses specifically on global payments and hold the majority of XRP. ...

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Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto

The cryptocurrency markets have produced a significant rally today – with just three of the top fifty crypto markets by capitalization posting losses for the last 24 hours of trade action as of this writing. The most notable gainer has been XRP – gaining over 50% in the last day to overtake ETH as the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization.

Also Read: China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades Bitcoin

BTC Break Above Resistance at $6,500 USD

BTC has broken above the $6,500 resistance area, following roughly two weeks of sideways price action between approximately $6,000 and $6,500.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto

As of this writing, BTC is trading for approximately $6,700 after appearing to establish roughly $6,800 as local resistance when looking at intraday price action. BTC has gained roughly 4% in the last 24 hours.

Looking at the stochastic RSI on the weekly charts shows that momentum is coiling into an increasingly tightening mid-level range – suggesting that the markets may be primed for a strong move in either direction.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
BTC/USD – StochRSI – Bitfinex – 1w

Bitcoin Core has a total capitalization of $115.7 billion and a market dominance 52%.

BCH Tests $500 Area

Bitcoin Cash gained roughly 12% in the last 24 hours – bouncing from approximately $430 to currently be trading for $483.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
BCH/USD – Bitfinex – 4hr

BCH also gained nearly 7% over BTC today – rallying from 0.067 BTC to 0.0735 BTC, before retracing to the current price area of 0.072 BTC.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
BCH/BTC – Bitfinex – 1d

The BCH/BTC rally appears to coincide with a bounce of the upper-side of the descending trend line that has guided price action since May. BCH currently has a market cap of $8.34 billion and a dominance of 3.75%.

Dramatic XRP Rally Elevates Ripple to Second Largest Crypto by Market Cap

XRP posted the largest gains of the top cryptocurrency markets – rallying by 100% before violently retracing to post daily gains of approximately 50% as of this writing. The markets quickly bounced from roughly $0.4 to $0.8, before retrace to the current $0.6 price area.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
XRP/USD – Bitfinex – 4hr

XRP posted similarly impressive gains over BTC also – rallying 90% from 0.000062 BTC to test 0.000117, before retracing to the current price are of 0.0000875 BTC.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
XRP/BTC – Bitfinex – 4hr

The dramatic XRP rally drove Ripple to overtake Ethereum to rank as the second largest cryptocurrency by capitalization for the third time in the last 18 months. Ripple currently has a market capitalization of $23.5 billion and a dominance of roughly 10.5%.

ETH Bumped Down to Third-Largest Crypto

Despite a slight slide Ethereum’s ranking by market cap, ETH also produced bullish price action today – gaining by over 10% in the 24 hours from $210 to currently be trading above $230 after breaking the descending trend line that has guided USD price action since May.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
ETH/USD – Bitfinex – 1d

Looking at the ETH/BTC chart, it appears that Ethereum has broken out of the descending channel in which it has traded since mid-July – gaining almost 5% in the last day to currently be trading for approximately 0.036 BTC.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
ETH/BTC – Bitfinex – 1d

Ethereum has a market capitalization of $23.3 billion and a dominance of roughly 10.5%.

Stellar and Cardano Also Post Double-Digit Gains for Today

XLM and ADA were the second and third strongest performing of the top ten crypto markets by capitalization today.

Stellar’s current price of $0.255 comprises a daily gain of 18.5%, however, similar to XRP, the markets XLM market produced a parabolic spike of 30% on the intraday charts before retracing to current price levels. Stellar is also trading for 0.00003835 BTC and has a market cap of $4.72 billion – making it the sixth-ranked cryptocurrency by capitalization.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
ETH/USD – Kraken – 4hr

ADA gained 13% today – rallying from $0.076 to the current price area of roughly $0.086. Cardano is also trading for 0.00001300 BTC and is the ninth largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of roughly $2.19 billion.

Markets Update: XRP Briefly Dethrones ETH as Second Largest Crypto
ADA/USD – Bittrex – 4hr

Do you think XRP can hold its position as the second largest cryptocurrency market by capitalization? Or do you expect that ETH will quickly reclaim such? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

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Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Unveils ‘Next-Generation’ 7nm Chip

Bitmain, the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency company, isn’t ready to relinquish its position as the dominant manufacturer of bitcoin mining chips — at least not yet. The China-based firm on Friday announced that it had developed a new 7nm application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) mining chip for the SHA256 algorithm used by bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and

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Let’s Talk Bitcoin: Authority in a Decentralized System

Let’s Talk Bitcoin: Authority in a Decentralized System

On the most recent episode of Let’s Talk Bitcoin!, the hosts discuss the now-defunct Bitcoin Alert system, devised by Satoshi himself. A rarity in the podcast space, this episode’s exploration involved no guest appearances, instead relying on the wealth of experience that Adam B. Levine, Stephanie Murphy, Jonathan Mohan and Andreas Antonopoulos had already picked up from their time with Bitcoin.

Although seldom used and quickly discontinued, Bitcoin Alert was originally devised as an emergency means of sending communications to all members of the Bitcoin network, by propagating and authenticating the message through the nodes of the entire network. Very few people had access to this alert system, and critically most of those people’s identities were kept secret.

The alert system was not entirely a misstep, as it did have practical applications in the early “Wild West” days of the platform. For example, as Andreas points out, a bug impacting 26 blocks of the chain was discovered in 2013, and the Bitcoin Alert system was used to quickly resolve the issue by getting community consensus to hard fork the affected blocks.

Nevertheless, access to the Bitcoin Alert system was one of the few components of the network hard-coded in by Satoshi that allowed one user to claim some higher authority, expertise or precedence in the development of Bitcoin over another user. Alongside Satoshi’s mailbox, PGP keys and first blocks, a person sending alerts over the Bitcoin Alert system would undeniably have a demonstrable high status in a supposedly horizontal system.

The discussion also turns to some of the complications of actually trying to remove this protocol, describing some of the exploits in code that allowed actors to restore functionality to the defunct alert system.

Andreas muses over the double-edged sword that such a state of affairs can exist because if “there is no central point of failure, then there is also no central point of recovery.” Juggling centralization and democratic ideals is likely to be a conflict in Bitcoin that can never be completely solved.

The episode also includes a brief interview with Joe Looney to discuss parallels between his Rare Pepe Wallet and the more recent trend of CryptoKitties, ruminating on the possibilities of using blockchains to add gamified incentives to a number of possible platforms. The full episode and further episodes from both this and other podcasts are all available now on the LTB Network.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Presenting a United Front of Blockchain Companies to Work With Congress

Presenting a United Front of Blockchain Companies to Work With Congress

It’s a sign of the times and the growing maturity of the crypto industry that a new industry trade association launched in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2018, to lobby the U.S. government on a range of issues from taxation to regulations; to educate members of congress about the growing success of blockchain; and to encourage lawmakers to allow innovation to flourish and benefit the economy.

Kristin Smith, director of external affairs for the new Blockchain Association (BA), told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview that the time has come to properly represent a growing number of contributing companies with a unified front in working with members of Congress and regulatory agencies.

“We look forward to working with members of Congress and key regulators like the SEC and the CFTC to advocate for nimble, informed regulations that balance the need for consumer protection and market integrity with opportunities to let innovative companies thrive,” said Smith.

So far, the BA’s first order of business has been to sign up as many blockchain and cryptocurrency companies as possible as members. Founding members of the BA include Coinbase, Circle, Digital Currency Group, Polychain Capital and Protocol Labs. Also signed up are Hangar, Inter/Stellar, Coinlist and Blockstack.

Coinbase has been active in helping the BA get established. Mike Lempres, Coinbase’s Chief Legal and Risk Officer told Bitcoin Magazine:

“The biggest threat to cryptocurrency is not opposition but ignorance. We are committed to serving as a resource for legislators and regulators, both inside the U.S. and around the world, so we can unlock the benefits of cryptocurrency to lift billions of people out of poverty.”

A United Front of Companies to Work With Congress

Smith acknowledges that there is a wide range of views among crypto companies, particularly about the appropriate role of government, so it won’t necessarily be easy to present a united front:

“The blockchain industry is so innovative in large part because of the strong and informed views of its leaders, many of whom are part of the inaugural group of Blockchain Association members.

“Will all of our members agree on all of these important issues all the time? Certainly not, but we value the chance to harness the robust debate on vital issues, allowing us to speak with a unified voice and engage constructively with policymakers moving forward.”

Founding member Circle sees the role of the BA as that of a “bridge” between the crypto industry and the government.

"As with early internet innovators, blockchain firms need to partner with the government to effect this technology’s full potential. BA is a critical bridge for this partnership," Bob Bench, Circle's head regulatory counsel and CCO, told Bitcoin Magazine.

Smith recognizes that there’s an uphill battle ahead for the BA, bringing members of Congress up to date on the rapidly changing cryptocurrency landscape, including the growing importance of ICOs and the new token economy.

The BA also must face down a wall of misinformation and prejudice, while advocating for fairer and more future-oriented regulatory decisions that recognize ways in which the new world of blockchain technology does not fit neatly into the old regulatory categories.

Partnership with Coin Center

Smith acknowledged the instrumental role that Jerry Brito and his think tank Coin Center played in helping the BA get set up.

In a blog on their website, Brito says:

“... we share with the Blockchain Association a vision of a regulatory climate that welcomes permissionless blockchain networks and privacy preserving cryptocurrency. So, welcome to our friends at the Blockchain Association! We’re glad you’re here and we can’t wait to work with you.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Canada to Study Cannabis Cryptomarkets Ahead of Recreational Marijuana Legalization

As Canada prepares to legalize recreational marijuana next month, the impact this will have on online drug marketplaces has remained unclear. Consequently, the Department of Public Safety Canada is looking to commission a study that will shed light on the cryptomarkets – online drug marketplaces that rely on the TOR browser and cryptocurrencies – with … Continued

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