Bitcoin

Hackers Keep Robbing Cryptocurrency YouTubers (theverge.com) 27

Hackers are going after YouTubers who make videos about cryptocurrencies. Adrianne Jeffries, reporting for The Verge: Cryptocurrency vlogging has exploded on YouTube over the last two years. In the last 90 days, there were 122,000 videos on cryptocurrency or Bitcoin uploaded to YouTube, garnering 328 million views, according to video analytics platform Tubular Labs. As it turns out, YouTubers are juicy targets for hackers because they share so much information about themselves. They often share their screens as they make trades, which can reveal what apps, usernames, and cryptocurrency addresses they use. They may even tell their followers what systems they use to secure their holdings, which can end up being a blueprint for attackers.

"You have to be very careful about that stuff as a YouTuber," says Peter Saddington, the host of Decentralized TV on YouTube who infamously bought a Lamborghini with his Bitcoin earnings. "In my early days of YouTube, I used to show my trades. I learned that was not a good idea." Saddington was hacked in late 2017.

Bitcoin

Cambridge Analytica Planned To Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency (theverge.com) 60

Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that harvested millions of Facebook profiles of U.S. voters, attempted to develop its own cryptocurrency this past year and intended to raise funds through an initial coin offering. The digital coin would have helped people store online personal data and even sell it, former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser told The New York Times. The Verge reports: Cambridge Analytica, which obtained the data of 87 million Facebook users, was hoping to raise as much as $30 million through the venture, anonymous sources told Reuters. Cambridge Analytica confirmed to Reuters that it had previously explored blockchain technology, but did not confirm the coin offering and didn't say whether efforts are still underway. The company also reportedly attempted to promote another digital currency behind the scenes. It arranged for potential investors to take a vacation trip to Macau in support of Dragon Coin, a cryptocurrency aimed at casino players. Dragon Coin has been supported by a Macau gangster Wan Kuok-koi, nicknamed Broken Tooth, according to documents obtained by the Times. Cambridge Analytica started working on its own initial coin offering mid-2017 and the initiative was overseen in part by CEO Alexander Nix and former employee Brittany Kaiser. The company's plans to launch an ICO were still in the early stages when Nix was suspended last month and the Facebook data leak started to gain public attention.
Bitcoin

New York's Attorney General Is Investigating Bitcoin Exchanges (theverge.com) 41

The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced today that it has launched an investigation into bitcoin exchanges. He's reportedly looking into thirteen major exchanges, including Coinbase, Gemini Trust, and Bitfinex, requesting information on their operations and what measures they have in place to protect consumers. The Verge reports: "Too often, consumers don't have the basic facts they need to assess the fairness, integrity, and security of these trading platforms," Schneiderman said in a statement. His office sent detailed questionnaires to the thirteen exchanges, asking them to disclose who owns and controls them, and how their basic operation and transaction fees work. The questionnaire also asks for specific details on how exchanges might suspend trading or delay orders, indicating Schneiderman is particularly concerned with exchanges manipulating the timing of public orders. The investigation will attempt to shed more transparency on how platforms combat market manipulation attempts and suspicious trading, as well as bots, theft, and fraud. Many of the exchanges Schneiderman is targeting, such as Beijing-based Huobi, have headquarters located outside the U.S., but the attorney general has jurisdiction over any foreign business operating in New York. Coin Center's director of research Peter Van Valkenburgh tells The Verge that the new investigation might be overkill, given the existing rules already in place for bitcoin exchanges. "Far from being unregulated," he says, "these businesses must contend with state money transmission licensing laws, federal anti-money laundering law, CFTC scrutiny for commodities spot market manipulation, SEC scrutiny for securities trading (should any tokens traded be securities), and in this case, state consumer protection investigations from the several attorneys general."
Bitcoin

Coinbase Buys Earn.com For Reported $100 Million, Adds Key Executive (cnbc.com) 8

Digital currency exchange Coinbase announced today that it has acquired Earn.com, a portal that allows people to make money by answering emails or completing other tasks. Coinbase did not disclose the terms of the deal but according to Recode, the offer was more than $100 million. As part of the acquisition, the crypto company will bring on Earn's founder and CEO Balaji Srinivasan as its first-ever chief technology officer. From the report: Srinivasan will act as "technological evangelist" for both the industry, and for Coinbase in his new role, the company said. "Balaji has become one of the most respected technologists in the crypto field and is considered one of the technology industry's few true originalists," Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said in a blog post Monday. Srinivasan holds a BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, and has taught courses in data mining, stats, genomics, blockchain at his alma mater. He will also be responsible for recruiting more talent, an effort that the San Francisco-based company has beefed up in recent months.
Microsoft

Microsoft Engineer Charged In Reveton Ransomware Case (bleepingcomputer.com) 24

An anonymous reader writes: A Microsoft network engineer is facing federal charges in Florida for allegedly helping launder money obtained from victims of the Reventon ransomware. Florida investigators say that between October 2012 and March 2013, Uadiale worked with a UK citizen going online by the moniker K!NG. The latter would distribute and infect victims with the Reveton ransomware, while Uadiale would collect payments and send the money to K!NG, in the UK. Investigators tracked down Uadiale because this happened before Bitcoin became popular with ransomware authors and they used the now-defunct Liberty Reserve digital currency to move funds. Authorities from 18 countries seized and shut down Liberty Reserve servers in May 2013.
Bitcoin

A Coal Power Plant is Being Reopened For Blockchain Mining (cnet.com) 225

An anonymous reader shares a report: Sure, you could mine bitcoin on that old PC in your garage, or you could use a whole power station to do it. That's the idea behind the Blockchain Application Centre -- an Aussie tech initiative that will see one of the country's now-shuttered coal-fired power plants reopened to provide cheap power for blockchain applications. It's the work of Australian tech company IOT Group, which has partnered with local power company Hunter Energy on the project. According to The Age, Hunter Energy will recommission the Redbank power station in the Hunter Valley, two hours drive north of Sydney. Once the power plant is reopened (expected to be completed within 12 months), it will offer wholesale or "pre-grid" power prices to blockchain companies, allowing them to do things like mining cryptocurrencies, without having to pay retail power prices.
Bitcoin

438 Bitcoins Worth Nearly $3.5 Million Stolen From Exchange In India, CSO Accused (indiatimes.com) 85

William Robinson shares a report from The Economic Times: Nearly 438 bitcoins, worth nearly $3.5 million, were stolen from a top exchange firm in India in what is being billed as the biggest cryptocurrency theft in the country so far. The exchange, which has over two hundred thousand users across the country, found that all the bitcoins that were stored offline had vanished. It was later found that the private keys -- the password that is kept by the company and is stored offline -- were leaked online, leading to the hack. The company tried to trace the hackers, but found that all the data logs of the affected wallets had been erased, leaving no trails about where the bitcoins were transferred. Coinsecure, a Delhi-based cryptocurrency exchange, is accusing its CSO, Amitabh Saxena, of siphoning off the money from the firm's wallet. The exchange is urging the government to seize Saxena's passport, fearing that he may leave the country.
Bitcoin

Japan Could Have More Than 3 Million Cryptocurrency Traders (coindesk.com) 35

According to Japan's Financial Services Agency (FSA), the country has at least 3.5 million individuals that are trading with cryptocurrencies as actual assets. "Among them, crypto investors in their 20s, 30s and 40s make up a major share, accounting for 28, 34, and 22 percent, respectively, of the total crypto trader population in Japan," reports CoinDesk. From the report: Announced at the first meeting of a cryptocurrency exchange study group established by the FSA in early March, the data release marks the latest effort by the financial watchdog in bringing greater transparency to the industry following a recent hack of one of the domestic exchange Coincheck. According to the FSA, the study and disclosure of the domestic trading statistics is a first step towards a more comprehensive examination over institutional issues in the cryptocurrency trading space in Japan. In comparison, the financial regulator also disclosed in the latest report that the number of traders investing in cryptocurrency margins and futures is about 142,842 as of the end of March. What's perhaps notable is the major contrast in the growth of yearly trading volume drawn to these two different types of investments. According to the FSA's data, for example, yearly trading volume of the actual bitcoin cryptocurrency has grown from $22 million as of Mar. 31 in 2014 to $97 billion in 2017. Yet at the same time, trading on margins, credit and futures of bitcoin as an underlying asset has surged from only $2 million in 2014 to a whopping $543 billion just in 2017 alone, the agency said.
Bitcoin

George Soros, Rockefeller Take Their Marks Before Diving Into the Cryptocurrency Pool (businessinsider.com) 100

john of sparta shares a report from Business Insider (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): Reports of a crackdown on cryptocurrency advertisements by tech giants such as Google and Facebook as well as regulatory uncertainty in Asia and the U.S. have weighed on the coin for much of March and April. The coin is down 50% since the beginning of the year. But investors appeared to be more bullish during Sunday's trade following reports that two Wall Street icons were looking to get into the market for cryptos. More notably, the investment fund founded by billionaire George Soros is preparing to dive into cryptocurrency trading, even though Soros himself previously described them as a "bubble." Adam Fisher, who oversees global macroeconomic investing for Soros Fund Management, has gained internal approval to invest in and trade cryptocurrencies, according to a Bloomberg News report. Also, Venrock -- a venture capital firm founded by descendants of famed capitalist John D. Rockefeller -- announced it was partnering with a cryptocurrency investment firm based in Brooklyn. Fortune first reported on the partnership.
Bitcoin

GPU Prices Soar as Bitcoin Miners Buy Up Hardware To Build Rigs (computerworld.com) 157

"Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency miners have created a dearth of mid-range and high-end GPU cards that are selling for twice as much as suggested retail," reports Computerworld. "The reason: miners are setting up server farms with the cards." Lucas123 writes: GPU prices have more than doubled in some cases... Some of the most popular GPUs can't even be found anymore as they've sold out due to demand. Meanwhile, some retailers are pushing back against bitcoin miners by showing favoritism to their traditional gamer customers, allowing them to purchase GPUs at manufacturer's suggested retail price. Earlier this year, NVIDIA asked retailers of its hardware to prioritize sales to gamers over cryptocurrency miners.
Bitcoin

Coinbase Launches Early-Stage Venture Fund (cnbc.com) 5

Coinbase announced today that it is launching a new incubator fund for early-stage startups. "We're going to invest off our balance sheet into crypto companies," Coinbase President and COO Asiff Hirji told CNBC's "Fast Money" Thursday. "We will invest in companies that are in the space and are aligned with our values." From the report: Profits from the fund will be "de minimis" in the scope of the entire company but the fund is already off to a $15 million start and set to grow, Hirji said. The fund's seed-stage investments, which will begin this week, will help companies and founders in the crypto and blockchain space get off the ground. It's also meant to focus on building relationships within that ecosystem, he said. In order to do that, Coinbase could be investing in its competitors.

"You may also see us invest in companies that ostensibly look competitive with Coinbase," the San Francisco-based company said in a blog post. "We're taking a long term view of the space, and we believe that multiple approaches are healthy and good." Hirji emphasized that Coinbase Ventures is searching for founders, not the next money-making cryptocurrency. "By giving them access to capital we hope that they will grow great businesses," he said. "It's not about investing in the token, it's not about trying to line up tokens that we would put on our exchange."

Bitcoin

Hacker Uses Exploit To Generate Verge Cryptocurrency Out of Thin Air (bleepingcomputer.com) 85

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: An unknown attacker has exploited a bug in the Verge cryptocurrency network code to mine Verge coins at a very rapid pace and generate funds almost out of thin air. The Verge development team is preparing a hard-fork of the entire cryptocurrency code to fix the issue and revert the blockchain to a previous state before the attack to neutralize the hacker's gains. The attack took place yesterday, and initially users thought it was a over "51% attack," an attack where a malicious actor takes control over the more than half of the network nodes, giving himself the power to forge transactions. Nonetheless, users who later looked into the suspicious network activity eventually tracked down what happened, revealing that a mysterious attacker had mined Verge coins at a near impossible speed of 1,560 Verge coins (XVG) per second, the equivalent of $78/s. The malicious mining lasted only three hours, according to the Verge team. According to users who tracked the illegally mined funds on the Verge blockchain said the hacker appears to have made around 15.6 million Verge coins, which is around $780,000.
Bitcoin

Ethereum Founder Confronts Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Creator Craig Wright, Calls Him a Fraud (businessinsider.com) 54

The dispute between Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin and self-proclaimed "Bitcoin creator" Craig Wright is far from over. At the 2018 Deconomy conference, Buterin asked, "Given that he makes so many non sequiturs and mistakes, why is this fraud allowed to speak at this conference?" From the report: Audience members applauded him. The confrontation (video) happened during a question-and-answer session after a panel called "Bitcoin, Controversy over Principle" featuring Roger Ver and Samson Mow; Wright gave a talk just before the panel.

[...] Wright first shot to fame when stories from Gizmodo and Wired both identified him as the likely inventor of bitcoin. In May 2016, Wright published a blog post and spearheaded a media push in news outlets including the BBC, The Economist, and GQ in which he said he was, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto. But the evidence in Wright's blog post made little sense on a technical, cryptographic level. Cryptography experts said at the time that it was nearly nonsensical.

Chrome

Google Bans Chrome Extensions That Mine Cryptocurrencies From the Web Store (bleepingcomputer.com) 49

An anonymous reader writes: Google announced that effective today, the Chrome Web Store review staff would stop accepting new extensions on the Web Store that perform cryptocurrency mining. Existing Chrome extensions that perform cryptocurrency mining will be delisted sometime in late June. The decision came after Google saw a rise in extensions that performed hidden in-browser mining (cryptojacking) behind the users' backs, in background processes.

Even if Google has not said it outright, the company has taken this step to protect Chrome's image. Cryptojacking scripts have a huge impact on a computer's responsiveness, and when most users investigate, they see Chrome's processes hogging CPU resources. Very few of these users will be able to track the spike in CPU usage back to an extension. Google has worked incredibly hard to create the image that Chrome is today's fastest browser, and the company isn't going to stand by and watch some extension developers ruin Chrome's brand so that some devs can make a few Monero on the side.

Advertising

MailChimp Bans Emails Promoting Cryptocurrency (gizmodo.com) 48

"MailChimp to Cryptocurrency Promoters: Your Fake Money's No Good Here," jokes the headline at Gizmodo. The mass emailing service -- which sends over a billion emails a day -- just updated its Acceptable Use Policy to warn users that MailChimp "does not allow businesses involved in any aspect of the sale, transaction, exchange, storage, marketing, or production of cryptocurrencies, virtual currencies, and any digital assets related to an Initial Coin Offering, to use MailChimp to facilitate or support any of those activities."

An anonymous reader quotes Gizmodo: The ban on cryptocurrency promotion isn't out of the blue so much as a clarification of existing use policies... In a statement to Gizmodo, MailChimp further clarified: "We recognize that blockchain technology is in its infancy and has tremendous potential. Nonetheless, the promotion and exchange of cryptocurrencies is too frequently associated with scams, fraud, phishing, and potentially misleading business practices at this time..." MailChimp previously held policies prohibiting multi-level marketing, "make money online" businesses, and "industries hav[ing] higher-than-average abuse complaints," and earmarked "online trading, day trading tips, or stock market related content" for "additional scrutiny..."

This follows similar, though less restrictive bans by Facebook (and Instagram by extension), Google, Linkedin, Twitter, and Snapchat on ICO ads, and country-wide bans in China and South Korea.

Futurism reports that the first victims are "responding in kind by attempting to read the riot act to a Twitter account whose avatar is a monkey with a hat," strongly informing that monkey that "Centralized capricious power is exactly why we need blockchains."
Intel

Intel Files Patent For Energy-Efficient Bitcoin Mining Hardware (crn.com) 48

Intel is exploring the creation of specialty hardware for mining the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin, according to a U.S. patent application released Thursday. From a report: The patent, filed on Sept. 23, 2016, describes a Bitcoin mining hardware accelerator that may include a processor core with a hardware accelerator coupled with it. Bitcoin mining is the process of using powerful computer processors to record Bitcoin transactions on a public ledger, which is done by attempting to solve cryptographic puzzles. If the miner becomes the first to solve the puzzle and record the next transaction, it is rewarded with newly released Bitcoin. The high energy and equipment costs associated with mining have brought into question whether the activity can be profitable, especially as the price of Bitcoin has nose-dived in the past few months, as noted by Forbes. But that hasn't stopped people from hoarding equipment -- one report from Coherent Market Insights pegged the cryptocurrency mining market at $610 million in 2016 and expects it to grow to $38 billion by 2025. The current issues faced by miners also has propelled companies and individuals to find new technologies and methods for making mining more efficient.
Bitcoin

Reddit No Longer Accepts Bitcoin (fortune.com) 61

Reddit, one of the most active hubs of Bitcoin enthusiasts, has dropped its support for the cryptocurrency. From a report: The widely read social media site will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment for its Reddit Gold program. A person claiming to be an administrator on the site told users who were grumbling about the shift that the decision was made, in part, due to Coinbase discontinuing its Merchant Tool product. "The upcoming Coinbase change, combined with some bugs around the Bitcoin payment option that were affecting purchases for certain users, led us to remove Bitcoin as a payment option," said user "emoney04."
Bitcoin

Students Are Using Their Loan Money To Buy Cryptocurrency, Study Says (fastcompany.com) 228

Student loans aren't just for buying textbooks, No. 2 pencils, and apples for bribing teachers anymore. According to a recent survey, as many as one in five college kids may be using their student loans to cash in on the cryptocurrency craze. From a report: The Student Loan Report surveyed 1,000 current college students with student loan debt about whether they were asked whether they used their student loan money to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and found that 21.2% of them have Sallie Mae to thank for their cryptocurrency investment. Many students borrow a little more money than is necessary to pay for tuition and books, according to Student Loan Report. The leftover cash is typically used for college living expenses, but some wily students think that investing in Ethereum or Ripple may be a better investment than a bachelor's degree in comparative English literature.
Twitter

Twitter Moves To Ban Crypto Ads (techcrunch.com) 58

An anonymous reader shares a report: Twitter is the latest social service to boot out cryptocurrency advertisers. The company told Reuters it will be launching a new policy this week to prohibit the advertising of token sales/initial coin offerings (ICOs), and crypto wallet services. Ads for cryptocurrency exchanges will also be banned -- with some limited exceptions. Facebook announced a ban in January, while Google said earlier this month that it will ban them from June. In a statement, the company said, "We are committed to ensuring the safety of the Twitter community. As such, we have added a new policy for Twitter Ads relating to cryptocurrency. Under this new policy, the advertisement of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales will be prohibited globally."
Bitcoin

Pablo Escobar's Brother Says He Met an FBI Agent Posing As Satoshi Nakamoto (vice.com) 38

Jordan Pearson, writing for Motherboard: Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar's brother, Roberto Escobar, is launching a new cryptocurrency called "Dietbitcoin." It's a clone of Bitcoin of the kind that can take mere minutes to create, with no changes or improvements whatsoever. But Escobar is nonetheless hawking virtual coins for $2 USD each now, and $1,000 in later rounds of the crowd sale. Now here's the good shit. Along with Dietbitcoin's launch came a 280-page book, part memoir and part manifesto, titled "Pablo Escobar's Dietbitcoin: The True Story by Roberto Escobar." Roberto allegedly authored the book -- when I reached Escobar for an interview the company said he was not available, but CEO Olof Gustafsson told me over the phone that Roberto wrote it. In it, Roberto claims that he had a close encounter with a US government agent posing as the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. This encounter led Roberto to conclude that the US government created Bitcoin and will one day crash the market by selling all of Nakamoto's stashed bitcoins. The veracity of this tale is highly suspect; Roberto Escobar is a well-known eccentric who once claimed to have cured HIV with his knowledge of horses.

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