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Privacy in cryptocurrencies: business or right?



Coinbase is selling surveillance software to the United States Secret Service. It is no longer a suspicion or comment that nobody dares to make: a contract is known to exist between the company founded by Brian Armstrong and the organization, attached to the Department of Homeland Security. This contract It will last 4 years, for which Coinbase will earn more than $ 180,000.

Before leaving with this article, make it clear: I understand that there is a commercial, influential, economic interest, in short, that there are compelling reasons for Armstrong’s company to proceed in this way. However, I share an ethical foundation closer to today’s privacy activists, cypherpunks, and Satoshi Nakamoto himself, so facilitating surveillance for money is not what you would do if you had the choice.

For almost two years I’m taking privacy and surveillance seriously. Before, they seemed interesting subjects to me, but thinking and acting on this new concern is not exactly easy.

Coinbase: business is business

That is why it seems so particular to me that a company related to Bitcoin -with cryptocurrencies-, give in so cheerfully to the claims of the authorities. And also, its CEO justifies it as a convenient decision, even for Bitcoin.

It is that Armstrong not only took advantage of Twitter to present his opinion on the case, but he did it to justify his position, completely aligned with the commercial interests of the company.

In fact, so justified On twitter:

“Blockchain analytics software is nothing new, it has been around for a long time, it uses publicly available data to try to track crypto transactions, generally to catch bad actors.”

Surveillance tools exist and are used, far beyond the ideal that we may want to see in Bitcoin. There are those who dedicate themselves to profiting from blockchain surveillance, and like Chainalysis, they consider it something positive, necessary, important.

The worst thing is that upon the acquisition of Neutrino, a team of “analysts” and specialists who had ceded their software to authoritarian governments without any scruple, was qualified as something that just “didn’t go so well.”

Again, for the CEO of Coinbase, it is clear that the information available is a business, and that they run it without ethical perks of any kind. The same is the privacy of cryptocurrency users, who will be increasingly refined monitored, as in the case of Coinbase Analytics available to the Secret Service.

It is expensive to develop this capacity, and we want to recoup the costs. There is an existing market for blockchain analytics software, so we also sell it to a handful of people. It also helps us build relationships with the police, which is important for the growth of crypto“He pointed out.

Obviously from this perspective, more than a right or the space of the individual’s realization, privacy is a business. Who can pay takes better care and who can investigate and snoop the data in a better way, can capitalize on it. They are two sides of the same subject, but completely different perspectives.

In fact, if you want privacy, you should use privacy coins, as Armstrong used to offer: “If people want real privacy, that’s what privacy coins are for.” Will we see Monero at Coinbase? I do not think so, as I do not believe or share a half word of what was said by the company or its CEO.

This is the same character who was betting on SegWit2X, even against the interests of Bitcoin node users and operators.

This article had been devised only to address this issue, but, during its writing, the Twitter hack also happened, allowing me to expand on the “positive” position of this type of surveillance tools, no longer just as a business, but as a supposed protection against malicious actors.

The Twitter hack and the narrative of “convenient surveillance”

The fact that cybercriminals have had access to a high level of management within Twitter, enough to take control of the accounts of Joe Biden, Kanye West, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, among others, and request ransoms in Bitcoin has rekindled the narrative of the convenience of tools like Coinbase Analytics.

It may interest you: Twitter promises additional security measures

In fact, as soon as the hack was revealed to Twitter, analytical firms began to give detailed information about the funds moved in the Bitcoin blockchain. The idea is simple: this type of companies and their surveillance tools are necessary because, in these scenarios, they can respond to the needs of the companies affected and even to the governments that request it, helping the industry to be more transparent and have better compliance with the law.

Thus, surveillance, the violation of privacy, ceases to be a problem, and becomes an efficient way of controlling the activity of users of a technology that was born, precisely, so that nobody can avoid its use.

All UTXOs are the same

It should be said that, in the specific case of Bitcoin, its movement towards fiat is conditioned, since within the system and the network, each UTXO is equal to the others.

The creation of these types of tools, and their commercialization, is justified, not only because the data is available, but also because this is something “good for Bitcoin”. And it is not only the companies that work developing this type of control and espionage tools; also those that use them for their expansion in the global market.

As a fact, and while this surveillance narrative gains momentum pushed by this and other events, the data Analyzed by Crystal Blockchain, it shows that the amount of bitcoin sent to mixers or CoinJoin implementations by Darknet entities increased significantly this year.

From 790 bitcoin totals in the first quarter of 2019 to 7,946 bitcoin in the first quarter of 2020. The same growth was also seen in USD: an increase of $ 3 million in the first quarter of 2019 to $ 67 million in the first 2020 quarter. This indicates a rapid adoption of cryptocurrency mixing services by Darknet entities”, Which reveals an unusual interest in privacy that, like it or not, reveals the interest of the market beyond law enforcement and blockchain surveillance.

There will be more and more justifications to “monitor” the chain for “positive purposes for bitcoin” and few will understand that this is false. I am among those.

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US law enforcement agencies are monitoring drug purchases with Bitcoin on the Darknet



Seven years ago, agents from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation broke into a San Francisco public library to arrest Ross Ulbricht, the brain of Silk Road. Launched in 2011, Silk Road was the first modern Darknet marketplace where anonymous users could purchase illicit drugs, weapons, and other illegal products using Bitcoin (BTC).

Although Silk Road closed in 2013 following Ulbricht’s arrest, many individuals still use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to buy illicit drugs on Darknet markets. For example, a recent Press release issued by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service, or NCIS, states that Over the past year, there has been an increase in drug-related investigations involving Navy personnel. Many of those individuals have been specifically caught buying LSD using cryptocurrencies in the Darknet markets. The release notes:

“Recent police reports have revealed that an increasing number of people are moving to purchase illicit substances through the Darknet due to perceived anonymity provided by tools like The Onion Router (TOR). They also use cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. to pay for purchases. “

Although the markets on the Darknet are havens for tools like TOR, which offer anonymity by hiding IP addresses, Law enforcement officials have been using new techniques to identify buyers and sellers in those markets. Also, while some cryptocurrency transactions may be anonymous, many are traceable. Michael Meyer, the chief information officer for the automated cryptocurrency trading platform ArbiSmart, told Cointelegraph that while using cryptocurrencies to purchase illicit drugs may seem safe, Bitcoin transactions are not as private:

“Even with the transparency associated with cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is not as private as people tend to think. Companies like Chainanalysis and CipherTrace are able to provide many details about each transaction, which can eventually reveal the identity of the owners of the wallets and the people involved”.

NCIS has issued a warning to Navy personnel about the risks of making illegal purchases in markets on the Darknet. NCIS has also noted that international, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have been working together to infiltrate those markets, identifying and prosecuting those involved.

Law enforcement agencies are getting smarter

John Jefferies, chief financial analyst at blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace, told Cointelegraph that virtually all market transactions on the Darknet are done with cryptocurrencies. Although this may be so, Jefferies noted that law enforcement is improving the way they act, saying:

“Criminals have the misconception that cryptocurrencies are anonymous, or believe they can launder it. However, the basics of money laundering in the real world now apply to the world of cryptocurrencies.”

In June 2019, the International Financial Action Task Force, or FATF, established a set of traditional banking regulations that will apply in the cryptocurrency sector. Also known as the “Travel Rule”, these new guidelines provide anti-money laundering and “Know Your Customer” measures regarding cryptocurrencies. These rules are ultimately intended to prevent cryptocurrencies from being used for money laundering. The FATF noted that the Travel Rule would be a requirement for digital asset service providers to enforce it by June 2020. However, It appears that it may take longer than expected for the entire cryptocurrency sector to adopt these rules.

However, according to Jefferies, some progress has already been made. According to the CipherTrace report on Cryptocurrency Crimes and Anti-Money Laundering in the spring of 2020, the global average of direct criminal funds received by exchanges decreased by 47% in 2019. This demonstrates a three-year minimum for cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, as only 0.17% of the funds received by the exchanges in 2019 come from criminal sources. In addition to the Travel Rule, Jefferies noted that CipherTrace has created a training program called “League of Defenders,” in which students are trained by professionals to investigate criminal activities of cryptocurrencies:

“It took a while to get the program up and running, but we already have about 30 students in the training program at a university in Monterey, California, which specializes in financial crime management. We also just created a bot to rate these cases. When law enforcement becomes more attuned to combat these crimes, this program will help. “

It is also notable that former United States Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker recently joined an advisory board at Chainalysis, a cryptocurrency forensics firm that provides cryptocurrency transaction data to the FBI. and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Mandelker is rumored to help Chainalysis understand how to properly investigate cryptocurrency-related crimes, as well as create partnerships with federal officials.

Silk Road was just the beginning

As new procedures are put in place to combat cryptocurrency-related crime, new challenges have begun to emerge, many of which stem from the brief success of Silk Road. According to Jefferies, there are still many versions of Silk Road today. He noted that drug dealers often settle in four or five markets on the Darknet and create their own websites as an alternative to generate additional income.:

“We have seen an increase in the number of new Darknet markets emerging. We are tracking hundreds of sellers selling drugs online. Our fourth quarter report shows that Russia’s largest market Hydra claims to be making 100,000 transactions a day with three million users. “

Furthermore, Jefferies mentioned that street crime is increasingly involved with cryptocurrencies as well. “Drug dealers, who often only accepted cash, are now accepting cryptocurrencies, which actually creates some advantages for law enforcement officials.“He said. Jefferies further noted that drug dealers and other criminals may be turning to cryptocurrencies due to the increase in cryptocurrency ATMs, or BTMs, that have made it more accessible. According to StatistaAs of July 8, 2020, there are 6,366 Bitcoin ATMs in the U.S., and they continue to cause laundering issues.

Todd Maher, the chief compliance officer of the advisory firm BitSource AML Solutions, told Cointelegraph that although there has been an increase in the use of BTM, it has not been proven that this is driving criminal activity: “It has not been possible to determine if these BTMs are being used for the purchase of drugs, since tools are available to help mitigate the risk of illicit use“he added:”Of the audits and clients that I serve, the correlation of Bitcoin’s purchases with Darknet markets and criminal addresses has been minimal

Maher further noted that every BTM operator must have a program to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. As a registered financial services business of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, These providers also require a dedicated compliance officer, an annual audit of their Anti-Money Laundering program, and regular training to ensure that there is an acceptable culture of compliance within their operation. He explained:

“A BTM operation with strong internal controls is capable of mitigating a large amount of inherent risk, leaving for low residual risk. An assessment of the risk that is being carried out in your operation with an Anti Money Laundering policy that addresses these risk is the first step in fighting financial crime. “

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CBDC momentum of the digital yuan grows as more Chinese companies test themselves



Despite the global economic crisis and the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the development of China’s national cryptocurrency, electronic digital currency payment, is constantly progressing. The increase in the number of large companies joining the digital yuan initiative as partners in testing and implementing the technology is clear evidence of the progress the project is making in its development.

Meituan Dianping, the country’s largest wholesale and product delivery platform, has become the latest corporation to agree to help the People’s Bank of China test and implement the initiative. The platform counts actually With almost 450 million customers and around 6 million companies who use it to sell their products.

Previously, DiDi Chuxing, Uber’s Chinese counterpart with a customer base of roughly 550 million, and the Bilibili streaming platform, which is used by more than 170 million, also joined tests of China’s national digital currency. Also, Simon Li, founding partner of Chain Capital, revealed to Cointelegraph that DiDi will become the first private company in the world to accept digital currency payments issued by the central bank.

What is there for these companies?

The People’s Bank of China began selecting the first merchants to test the DCEP in April. As reported by Cointelegraph, the list allegedly included mainly retail companies, especially food and beverages like Starbucks and McDonald’s.

The choice behind entities like DiDi, Bilibili and Meituan Dianping can be explained by the fact that their users carry out transactions worth several billions of dollars a day. Such volumes they can significantly accelerate popularization and, therefore, adoption of a digital yuan.

The total number of customers for the three services combined is more than a billion people located not only in China but also in Australia and various countries in South America, according to the statistics provided by the companies. If such a comprehensive approach is undertaken, the DCEP could gain trial access to a large segment of users, among which are representatives of large companies in the world of finance. As a result, DCEP has exceptional chances of becoming popular in a reasonable period of time.

Also, the companies mentioned will gain a significant competitive advantage by becoming the first to introduce such new technology into their products. As infrastructures with a large flow of daily transactions, companies will make use of facilitating remittances in a more reliable, cheaper and faster way. Experiments have demonstrated which, although generally It takes around 45 days to complete a full cycle of letters of credit with the participation of banks of buyers and sellers in different countries, Using blockchain can cut the process down to just a day or two.

Ongoing tests

It is still unclear how long the digital yuan trial period will last. However, as the number of China’s largest companies engaging with the technology is growing rapidly, it is safe to assume that the first phase of testing is underway.

According to the available information, DCEP testing is already underway in four cities: Shenzhen, Suzhou, Chengdu and Xiong’an. The objective is to test the theoretical reliability, the stability of the system, the functional availability, the convenience of the process, the applicability of scenarios and risk management. This is also the first time that regulatory authorities confirm the dynamics of the digital currency transition pilot project, as explained by Jianing Yu, President of Huobi University.

Previously, Four state banks, as well as a number of large companies, including Huawei and telecommunications giants China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, joined the trial phase. In April, the Agricultural Bank of China also confirmed its participation in the pilot project. However, you may still be far from completing the tests, such as Yu He noted in a conversation with Cointelegraph:

“We should see that these current tests are still in the investigation stage, not preparing for immediate release. Also, according to the latest report, Didi, Meituan, Bilibili and some other internet companies have partnered with a list of companies and banks to test DC / EP. Meituan and Didi will explore the application of digital currency on the smart transport platform. Bilibili’s cooperation has begun the stage of technological development. “

Is WeChat and Alipay off the list?

Total, more than 20 companies are involved in the digital yuan project to date. However, It is notable that Alipay and WeChat Pay, the largest payment systems in China, are not on the list of participants, based on information available to the public.

The South China Morning Post He suggested Recently, China is launching the digital yuan as an alternative to Alipay and WeChat Pay. Given that these peer-to-peer payment systems control approximately 90% of China’s digital payments market and outperform Mastercard and Visa combined, it will be interesting to see if they will play a role in the launch of the CBDC system. The question most analysts ask it is whether WeChat and Alipay will become the main providers of digital yuan services, or if they aim to compete with the CBDC.

According Jeff Chu, founding partner of BN Capital, Beijing is not seeking to replace Alipay and WeChat Pay with DCEP; rather, it is likely that companies are integrated into the DCEP, as he said to Cointelegraph:

“The popularization of P2P payment is now gradually increasing, and usage scenarios have changed from simple transaction payment scenarios to areas such as life travel, entertainment, health care, and insurance. That type of electronic peer payment software has become an essential tool for payment scenarios in China. We have reason to believe that the relationship between CBDC and WeChat and Alipay will be more one of cooperation than competition. “

Although 90% of contactless payments are made through digital platforms in China, The national cryptocurrency may offer the elements of the financial market that are lacking in modern electronic payments. In a conversation with Cointelegraph, Yu addressed the issues that the DCEP can solve:

“First, the cost of circulating cash is too high to track, there is a risk of money laundering. Second, current electronic payment on existing bank accounts is based on tight coupling, which often causes leakage of personal privacy information, and cannot meet the public’s demand for anonymous payments. “

In other aspects, Yu noted that China’s payment platforms such as WeChat Pay and Alipay only cover a portion of all transaction scenarios, such as customer-to-customer transfers and small payments in the customer-to-business sector, for example. However, Currently available mobile payment systems cannot facilitate situations such as business-to-customer salary payments and business-to-business transaction settlements. Users who have other needs may have qChoose between WeChat and Alipay, or CBDC. Yu assumed that in the short term, DCEP and third-party payment platforms may coexist. However, in the long run, they will gradually merge into a single system.

As China seeks to fully digitize its financial industry, Alipay and WeChat Pay may become even more popular as the payment systems of choice after DCEP begins to replace cash payments. Over time, the two platforms can also become vital instruments for the government to accelerate China’s transformation into a cashless economy. According to another scenario, Alipay and WeChat Pay could serve as digital yuan service providers. Li from, Chain Capital, he said to Cointelegraph:

“Although neither Ali nor Tencent participated in DCEP’s research and development work, DCEP will have an impact on WeChat and the payment. In the future, Alipay and WeChat Pay will play the role of providers of channels or scenarios, that is, functions of the platform, such as booking air tickets, hotels, purchases, etc. “

Considering that both Alibaba, the creator of Alipay, and Tencent, the creator of WeChat, have previously worked on blockchain-related initiatives with provincial governments and also at the national level, they are not likely to ignore the adoption of the DCEP. Musheer Ahmed, managing director of FinStep Asia, an advisory firm that helps financial technology startups, confident that the two will become important platforms for the adoption of the digital yuan locally, given the scale of its use in China, and said to Cointelegraph:

“The two techfins are an important and integral part of the payment ecosystem. I hope they are also an important part of using the digital yuan locally. With the digital yuan also playing a role in further allowing the cross-border use of the currency, both companies, especially Alibaba, will be a major enabler for e-commerce in OBOR / Digital Silk Road countries. “

The merger can be questioned

It may be too early to look into the future and see how cooperation between the government and big business can shape given the young blockchain technology and the regulatory aspects that surround it. It is also unclear whether blockchain, which is partially used by DCEP, will be able to work alongside electronic systems with a load of billions of transactions per day.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Olinga Taeed, board member and expert adviser to the China Blockchain E-Commerce Committee, provided extensive insights as to why large-scale cooperation between WeChat, Alipay and DCEP could be questioned, even though Tencent, owner of WeChat , is providing its Meituan Dianping platform to pilot the CBDC:

While AliPay and WeChat Pay are moving towards ‘blockchain’ transaction protocols, they currently consider them inadequate for the volume they have to manage. Bitcoin, for example, currently has a transaction speed of about 3 per second, but AliPay is at around 300,000 per second with a scalability of over a million intended before the end of the year.

Taeed also added that the protocols and the blockchain architecture are not adequate, but fifth-generation payment systems like AeMoney, which was created by former AliPay chief technology officer Hu Yan, are moving toward implementing a peer-to-peer system, but mocking blockchain as a viable solution. .

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How to start programming and deploying smart contracts on blockchain


Content sponsored by IOVLabs


During Bitcoin’s early years there wasn’t much discussion about smart contracts; they were not well known to the general community although their creation really predates Bitcoin (Nick Szabo the preconceptualized in 1997).

However, it didn’t take long for blockchain platforms like Ethereum and RSK to become part of the daily discussion, providing essential resources for the development of these programs in distributed networks.

When thinking about a contract, we almost accidentally refer to extensive documents with small letters, signatures everywhere and a lawyer that we do not trust much, but is the one we have.

Smart contracts differ subtly from this concept. Like computer programs, they have the ability to run automatically once configured based on the agreements reached between the parties.

They function as guardians of the fulfillment of real-world agreements, by executing in an irreversible and unquestionable way. For this they depend on the oracles, points of entry of information from outside the blockchain.

The agreed conditions for compliance must be very clear among its participants and transmitted to the programmers and developers so that they configure the smart contract, since, in some way, the agreement must be “translated” from verbal language to computer language.

Increasingly, the professional market rewards those who have knowledge of computer programming. Smart contracts, as a disruptive and innovative tool linked to the world of cryptocurrencies, are not far behind.

In this article we will explain the steps to follow to create and deploy a smart contract. We will mention key data to develop contracts based on Ethereum and RSK, blockchain networks with their own characteristics, but that keep a common framework between both, such as the Solidity programming language.

I’m a programmer What tools do I have?

The most popular network for scheduling smart contracts is Ethereum. From there many other projects have been inspired to enable the execution of smart contracts in their own fields and programming languages.

Since Solidity, Ethereum’s default programming language is inspired by other languages ​​like C ++, Python and JavaScript, mastering these languages ​​is the starting point for programming smart contracts.

Solidity is a must to create decentralized apps on Ethereum. Solidity allows the execution of smart contracts in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), the computational processor of this protocol.

This language is also used by RSK, a smart contracts platform which is a side chain of the Bitcoin blockchain, which allows developers create, import and deploy smart contracts in a more standardized and simple way. In this way, RSK takes advantage of the security provided by the computing power of Bitcoin to process smart contracts.

When visiting Ethereum we will find a huge amount of resources with various functionalities. From tools to build applications to those that allow us to track them and analyze their performance.

Truffle

The main tool for programming EVM-based smart contracts is Truffle. This digital environment allows you to display contracts and configure their evolution over time, as well as connect and interact with other contracts and protocols.

Using Truffle We can develop smart contracts and deploy them in other compatible blockchain protocols, private or public, opening the possibility of creating a variety of decentralized applications (Dapps). In addition, it allows linking various contracts with each other and compiling them effectively, making it easier to manage together and migrate to other work environments or networks.

That way, if we have a smart contract developed in any of the programming languages ​​compatible with Ethereum, they can be imported into RSK. Thus, this open source framework allows connect an RSK node and test previously created smart contracts, such as simulating a network in which various participants and contracts interact securely.

Ganache

Ganache is the simulated test network integrated into the Truffle suite, allowing you to deploy contracts on a network with the latest Ethereum updates, configure mining and block issuance, and debug the network of protocol errors and inconsistencies, without risk and without additional costs.

VisualStudio

Other available tools is VisualStudio, a console for inserting and editing code with a more intuitive and visual interface. This program allows developers to see how their lines of code relate to each other.

Among the most important features of this program is that you can edit live code directly in an application that is running. It also includes a variety of extensions to add other programming languages, themes and third-party services.

Buidler

Buidler It is the tool recommended by Ethereum to verify the correct operation of smart contracts, in a risk-free testing environment where plugins and additional tools are integrated.

Metamask

Among the essential requirements to interact with smart contracts is to use an appropriate portfolio. One of the best known is Metamask, which, once installed as an extension in the web browser, will allow us to manipulate Ethers and ERC-20 tokens. With this portfolio we will be able to interact with smart contracts and carry out transactions of this type. It is one of the best known, although there are others available such as MyEtherWallet.

With these tools we can deploy previously designed smart contracts, connecting them to a node in the public network. This suite of tools is very versatile for both Ethereum and RSK. Remember that EVM and its programming language are compatible with other platforms such as RSK or private networks such as Microsoft Azure.

What should I take into account?

The main requirement in addition to knowing programming languages ​​such as Javascript, is to master Solidity, as the main language to use in creating smart contracts.

To create a smart contract, you should also not forget to define its conceptualization and outline. Based on real legal contracts we can emulate its conditions, its structure, the instructions to follow. Listen to the parties involved and fully understand the requirements and characteristics that our contract must have.

Regarding the development of decentralized applications and tokens used for other purposes, you should think carefully about the functionality of this contract before offering it as a product to the user community. These must be clear about what the token is used for and what is its proper functioning.

Also consider creating a graphical interface for better management of the end user. The ease and accessibility of the contract client in using its functionalities can be crucial in the case of contracts that require the manual insertion of information.

It may also be advisable to work with consultants or entities such as OpenZeppelin, in order to expertly verify the operation of these contracts, in addition to not having security breaches or weak points that can be exploited.

Deploy the smart contract on Ethereum

To deploy a smart contract on the Ethereum public network, we must first have some Ethers deposited in our portfolio, in order to carry out the transaction that will put our contract online; and pay the “gas” of the network.

Once we have performed the tests and debugged the contract, we use Truffle to display it, using the command truffle deploy. When deploying the contract, we will obtain the address of this, through which the users of the contract will be able to interact with it.

In the case of Ethereum there is a variety of test networks, with different characteristics to choose from according to the preference of the developers.

We have Ropsten, a blockchain based on the Proof of Work (PoW) algorithm that even allows Ethers mining.

We also have Kovan, a proof of authority (PoA) based blockchain developed by the Parity team. In this case, the Ethers are not mined, but are acquired through a faucet.

On the other hand, Rinkeby, also based on the Authority Test and developed by Geth’s team. Nor can Ethers be mined, but acquired through a faucet.

With the Ethereum test network you can interact through Metamask, but also through wallets MyEtherWallet and MyCrypto.

RSK, smart contracts secured by Bitcoin

RSK smart contracts platformAs we have already discussed, smart contracts can be created from Truffle using other complementary tools and resources. But the code of a smart contract can also be imported into other platforms and environments, such as RSK.

RSK is a blockchain that allows the configuration of smart contracts over Bitcoin. The technical complexity of the Bitcoin protocol makes it more difficult to develop and execute smart contracts on your network. However, RSK uses Bitcoin’s processing power to execute contracts and transactions, being a link bridge with the protocol of the original cryptocurrency.

As RSK explains in its BlogThe steps to follow to deploy a smart contract begin with the installation of a local RSK node.

Install an RSK node

On the RSK website they provide details about installing a node, emphasizing that these are compatible with the main operating systems, such as Mac, Linux and Windows. As indicated, the installation should not take more than 15 minutes if the instructions Step by Step.

The importance of installing a node lies in the fact that with it we will transmit and deploy our smart contract, being a connection bridge with the rest of the network participants.

Test smart contracts in RSK

Before deploying a smart contract on the RSK core network, you must first evaluate its performance on the test network. We can use this network with the Metamask portfolio, defining a customized name for the network, and then enter the URL of the public testing node in the RPC (Remote Procedure) box. Lastly, configure rBTC, the native RSK tab, as the default token.

Once this configuration is ready, we enter the faucet of tokens tR-BTC, we copy the address, resolve the captcha, and wait about 30 minutes to receive the tokens.

Conclusions

Smart contracts have the power to perform tasks automatically, with the agreement of the parties. Their programming and coding is complex and for this reason, they have the potential to drive the creation and development of multiple applications and utilities.

Increasingly, smart contracts will be part of processes that are changing the world. They will be involved in artificial intelligence, the internet of things and the massive handling of data and information.

Likewise, it can be part of the social dynamics around the world of cryptocurrencies, such as enabling decentralized finance and the exchange of assets based on blockchain.



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A “wake up call” for centralized platforms


July 15 will be an infamous day for Twitter, as an unknown attacker managed to take control of a series of accounts on the social media platform before tricking unsuspecting users into a deceptive Bitcoin gift campaign.

The event attracted media attention as some of the world’s most notable companies, politicians, and business leaders saw their accounts compromised before sharing similar messages promoting Bitcoin gifts (BTC), that required users to send their coins to an address before receiving double that amount.

User accounts like Tesla founder Elon Musk, former President of the United States Barack Obama, 2020 US presidential candidate Joe Biden, Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, as well as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates were taken to share Similar messages telling users to send $ 1,000 in BTC to an address to receive $ 2,000 in BTC in return.

Tweet

The company’s Twitter accounts like Apple, Uber, and CashApp were also used to share duplicates of the original message. The Hollywood celebrity couple Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, and of the rappers Wiz Khalifa and the deceased XXXTentacion, they were also victims, among many other celebrities.

Notable figures from the world of cryptocurrencies like Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, Justin Sun, Charlie Lee, King Cobie and AngeloBTC were also victims of the hack. Major crypto exchanges Binance, Coinbase, Bitfinex, and Gemini were also victims of the attack, along with the accounts of Bitcoin and Ripple Twitter.

Some of these accounts did not directly include the same Bitcoin address that was used in the Musk account and others, instead, they were prompting users to visit a malicious website to be considered for a fake 5,000 BTC gift. Users supposedly They would receive double the amount of BTC they sent to the indicated address.

Since then, the website and domain registration information have been removed from the Whois domain registration database, for privacy reasons. However, The registered owner’s name and physical address were widely published.

The last search for the BTC address shared by Musk and the other compromised Twitter accounts, shows that he has received 12.86584703 BTC since the hit started. Attackers too They tried to gain control of Cointelegraph’s Twitter account, but were unsuccessful.

For some of the unfortunate hacking targets, like CZ, who is the CEO of Binance, a large-scale hacking of Twitter accounts belonging to high-profile users and the theft of more than 12 BTC is “a wake-up call for media and social media platforms.”

An internal job?

There is evidence that the attacker may have been helped by an employee or an active Twitter developer, since they had access to the administrative panels of the various accounts that were in danger. Twitter confirmed that the attackers had accessed the internal tools of the employees that allowed them to take full control of the various accounts. Other users in Twitter they speculated that the attackers phone numbers changed and email addresses for verification to gain control of accounts.

Vice main panel reported, that the screenshots of a hacker using an internal Twitter user management tool in several of the accounts in question were being shared between groups of hackers. The publication also stated that the hackers confirmed that a Twitter employee was paid to gain access to the tools necessary to carry out the nefarious attack.

For example, A screenshot of Binance’s Twitter account admin panel was shared and widely posted on social media. It is understood that Twitter began removing screen captures from user administration panels that were posted by various accounts on the platform, given the confidential information displayed on these pages.

Twitter then took steps to curb any further damage by blocking the affected accounts and eliminating the nefarious tweets. After that, the social media platform It limited the functionality of a larger group of verified accounts while investigating the situation. As a result, users began to experience limited functionality. The Twitter account of, Whale Alert informed his followers that the changes meant that his bot could no longer alert users with automatic posts on the platform.

A hidden message

Adding intrigue to this saga, is the discovery by users on Reddit of a message not so hidden in one of the outgoing transactions. The sender of this particular transaction, spent $ 11 in transaction fees to include the following text in the transaction:

“Just read everything. Outgoing transactions as text. You take risks when you use Bitcoin. For your use of Twitter. Bitcoin is trackable. Why not Monero? “

What is not clear is if the sender of this message was responsible for the Twitter hack or simply another user who took the opportunity to promote the privacy-focused cryptocurrency Monero (XMR).

The movement of funds

Just over 24 hours after the attack, the perpetrators began moving some of the funds to an address that had previously sent Bitcoin to wallets on BitPay and Coinbase. The various Twitter accounts that were compromised had led users to send their BTC to a directionbut the funds now they would have moved to other direction.

The blockchain analysis company, Whitestream has identified three different transactions from the address to these conventional cryptocurrency exchanges. One involved a transfer of 1.2 BTC in Maywhile the The last two transactions were made two days before the debacle on Twitter.

Cointelegraph has also reported, that Binance, Coinbase and BitGo may have information that could identify who is behind this incident. Cointelegraph contacted CZ’s, Binance, to find out if Twitter had disclosed any details about how the malicious actors gained control of the company’s account, as well as its personal profile. CZ confirmed that there has been no information from Twitter about who had been responsible for the attack.

Looking at the incident from an ideological perspective, CZ believes the breach is not necessarily poorly reflected in Bitcoin and demonstrates that the cryptocurrency is inherently valuable. On the other hand, CZ says it’s hard to argue against the idea that the hack has misrepresented Twitter and its internal security system, which should lead to improvements:

“We believe this is a good wake-up call for all social media platforms to renew their security practices given the increased adoption of cryptocurrencies. Social media platforms are no longer just a place to share a selfie, but can and will be used for financial transactions and even crime. Stronger security must be built on these platforms. ”

CZ highlighted the reality that many social media platforms don’t even offer two-factor authentication (2FA) options. This was the case with Twitter until recently, but even The introduction of 2FA was made redundant by other security options that circumvent its effectiveness:

“Twitter added the 2FA feature not too long ago, but its implementation is flawed and leaves an attacker’s ability to implement brute force on an account and block the original owner of the account. Even if the 2FA and email address are reset, defeating the purpose of the 2FA. I tweeted about this less than a month and a half ago. “

Whether it was a trick in the management system on the Twitter backend, CZ suggested that Twitter and other social media platforms they must “quickly move to a zero-trust security architecture where even internal employees cannot make these kinds of account acquisitions.”

CZ believes that this trick highlights what he described as an “inherent flaw built into a centralized web”, whatIt has unfortunately involved Bitcoin as a tool for theft of funds. However, the CEO of Binance cre there is something positive about leaving the high-profile event, since attention will now be paid to solving the problem: “This is something that we, the players in the cryptocurrency industry, have been asking for for a long time, and it will finally get some real attention.”

A reminder to practice good cybersecurity measures

Cybersecurity company Kaspersky also intervened in the series of events that have occurred recently in conversation with Cointelegraph. The Kaspersky Threat Investigation and Security Intelligence Communications Officer, Blair Dunbar told us that the company could only draw conclusions about the facts that have been publicly confirmed:

Twitter wrote that several of its employees were victims of the attack. This suggests that criminals attempted to gain access to the platform infrastructure through their accounts. Furthermore, the fact that criminals were able to immediately access such a large number of accounts suggests that something in the internal system was compromised. “

According to Dunbar, the motive behind the attack appears to have been a financial gain, targeting a criminal group. The company believes that a nation state uses access to collect “private information, such as DMs of people of interest” instead of taking control of the accounts of high-profile companies such as Uber, Apple and the various exchange accounts that were compromised.

While the situation was negative for both Bitcoin and Twitter, in terms of public perception, Dunbar believes that it does not necessarily mean that the cryptocurrency is only used as a vehicle for hackers. “Any criminal can abuse the cryptocurrency for their own malicious purposes, but that does not mean that the cryptocurrency is to blame.” Also, do you think Twitter will recover from the incident: “As for Twitter, they should work to regain the trust of their users.” That said, they seem to be taking this bump very seriously. “

According to Dunbar, The situation is a clear reminder that users of social media platforms and online tools should be aware of the threat from hackers and nefarious organizations, and practice appropriate security measures. But Most importantly, users “should be skeptical even if this information comes from a supposedly reliable source.”

In the same way, CZ offered a reminder that the public should do their due diligence when it comes to gifts, donations and online projects: “This is also an opportunity to educate the mass population and an important step for people to learn not to fall. in online scams, even if their favorite idol asks them to donate or transfer funds. “

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Why did Harvard, MIT, Microsoft, Google and Facebook denounce Uncle Sam?



With deep regret, we have seen how science and technology live constantly muddied by the mud of political passions. Of course, this is not a particularly new phenomenon. In fact, it is very old. Throughout history, many scientists and innovators have come across a society inferior to their individual powers. The struggle between reason and stupidity has always existed. But that stupidity becomes fashionable over time is something I never anticipated in my childhood years. I grew up under the naive notion that in the future we would be more advanced. That the common man is ignorant even romantic can be. But ignorant leadership is not only regrettable but shockingly dangerous.

As living proof of the gigantic contrast that exists today between the man of knowledge and the cavemen of this world, we would only have to go to any university in the world in search of a reference. Then, visit the United States Congress, take a random sample, and make a comparison. Well, actually, any congress would work, but let’s choose the United States because of that great power leads to great responsibility. Let’s take any topic. For example, climate change. And let’s do a survey. Let’s talk to experts on the subject first, and then let’s talk to politicians. Good, these subjects could not have a conversation of more than two minutes. The differences are from heaven to earth.

Read on: Buy Bitcoin? Trump says the US “should match” China’s money printing game

It turns out that the Honorable Congressman X has the same opinions as the guy who sleeps with an assault rifle under his pillow, thinks that the Earth is flat and protects his head with aluminum so that the aliens cannot read his mind. This combo comes with the Earth being created in 7 days, global warming is a myth, and homosexuality causes earthquakes. Ok, the covid-19 doesn’t exist. And everything that happens is for the Illuminati. Surveys have been done and the ones solved are crazy. I never even imagined, even in my wildest and psychedelic dreams, that I would see what I am seeing today in the United States, the country that put a man on the moon in the 1960s. United States, the world’s superpower.

According to a survey by the research center Pew in 2015, only 27% of Republicans believe that global warming is human-caused. In stark contrast to Democrats who do believe 71%. And the list goes on. This particular study is not recent, but I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that those numbers have gotten worse over the past 5 years. We can talk about the evolution of species, or topics like the financing of science and research. It is to amaze with the number of people who simply think that investing in science and technology is not worth it. Something simply unnecessary.

That general rejection of innovation, technology and science is seen on the street and seen in movies. In fact, right now I don’t remember a recent Hollywood movie that presents technology as something positive. All (or almost all) are a modern version of Frankenstein’s monster. In other words, technology as the cause of our own destruction. Since the creation of the television series Star Trek, the future in fiction has tended to be dystopian. And science and technology are the big culprits.

Read on: Do you have Bitcoin? US Federal Reserve warns that growth of national debt “is not sustainable”

Can the US retain its leadership in the world by being hostile to science and technology? Big Tech is the most important sector for your economy right now. And, at the same time, they are the villains of the novel. Innovation is vital to the economy, but there is no system that encourages it. It all comes down to a small minority with exceptional individualities. Of course, an extremely influential minority, but a minority at the end. If we stray too far from Silicon Valley or Seattle, there is not much to see.

Now, why did Harvard, MIT, Microsoft, Google and Facebook denounce Uncle Sam? It turns out that geniuses in Washington thought it would be a good idea to send all foreign students to their home countries because the classes would be online for coronavirus. Of course, the universities shouted to the sky with this absurd measure and soon some of the most important technology companies in the world joined. The specialized human resource comes from all over the world and limiting immigration is slowing down the flow of talent to the country. Populism and this new wave of nationalism in the United States are directly affecting technological and scientific development.

While a new obscurantism is being created in the United States, China has made technological development its priority. TOCurrently, China is the great factory of the world, but it is taking the steps to become the Big Tech of the world. And it is having overwhelming success. Right now, China has as many unicorns as the United States.

The economic and non-economic benefits of technology are simply vast. And there is no doubt that the future belongs to today’s innovators. Can a super power be anti-technological and unscientific? Can the United States economy continue to prosper without science, without technology, without immigration, and without globalization? With China on his heels!

Read on: Will Trump’s Executive Order on Social Media Help Against Bans on Cryptocurrency Channels on YouTube?

When the sage is rejected for being annoying, ignorance has won. When the populace comes to power and claims to know more than the experts, we know that this story will not end well. Recently, from the White House, a spokeswoman for the current administration said, referring to the start of classes in the fall, “Science shouldn’t get in the way of reopening schools.” You have to sit down and digest this phrase calmly. Reflect on their meanings, their implications and multiple readings.

Right now, anyone thinks what they want. It is the age of instinct and hunch. No one has to justify their arguments in a debate. Logic, science, universities and technology are part of the “great conspiracy”. The evidence is out of fashion and now the truth is built on a whim. A guy like Bill Gates, for example, who has donated millions of dollars like no one else and has a foundation dedicated to health that helps millions of people around the world, is branded as a criminal just because some memes and false reports say so . And people just believe it. Because now everyone is a conspiracy detective, tying up dots and uncovering clues. And things are stated with total and complete irresponsibility. But the politician who calls a massive event in his forties and does not wear a mask is a messiah. Gentlemen, by the winds that blow, everything seems to indicate that a stupid democracy is prevailing in the world. Every man for himself!

While experts and scholars are locked up in their universities, increasingly ignored by the general public, anyone claims nonsense and thinks they are an expert. Measures such as removing all foreign students from the country are applauded. (Measurement that apparently was reversed by a sensible judge thanks to the claims of the universities and big tech). But the current administration takes such measures because it is obviously not understood that talent (foreign and non-foreign) is essential for the development of a country. Can a country that thinks that knowledge and knowledge are not closely linked to its future have a future?



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In the coronavirus period, the new normal creates opportunities for the crypto space



The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, but it has created us many opportunities in the blockchain industry. In most industries, sales vectors are declining as bankruptcies and layoffs rule the day. But companies in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space have expanded, hiring and applying for new licenses.

The pandemic has caused suffering in this industry, as in others, but the fundamentals of crypto are better than those of traditional financial markets. We will experience some changes, but The cryptocurrency and blockchain industry will be strengthened by this crisis. The participants of the new market They seek derivative and margin products, and increasingly seek to trade on their phones and mobile applications.

A second wave

The next wave of COVID-19 would gut underdeveloped startups. Therefore sustainability is very important. Soon there will be a crash test not just for crypto players, but for everyone. However, Those efficient companies will persist and the industry can be strengthened by it.

Traditional investors fear that a second wave will plunge the traditional market back into turmoil. In March, the price of Bitcoin (BTC) fell to approximately USD 3,000 and quickly recovered to over usd 9,000, even reached briefly $ 10,000. By regaining its pre-pandemic level, We see how Bitcoin recovered much faster than other financial investments. I anticipate that prices of cryptocurrencies will collapse and bounce quickly in the event of a second wave of COVID-19.

Crypto space will continue to grow despite a global economic downturn, although many still suffer from COVID-19 and the effects of quarantine. In a Global economic downturn, individuals and institutions have drifted away from traditional assets and have been looking for opportunities in cryptocurrencies.

Traditional and institutional will be more aggressive in terms of cryptocurrencies

Thus, Traditional investors will continue to turn to crypto assets, especially family offices and asset management companies. The market alone It will mature, particularly initial exchange offerings, decentralized finance, and traditional financial markets. We see that traditional investors they become more aggressive when they invest in this space, as well as They build incubators for blockchain projects.

Multinational companies and even banks have established new investment weapons for blockchain technology and cryptocurrency, looking to diversify into these alternative assets. According to a recent Fidelity poll, 80% of institutional investors found digital assets attractive, while 60% of them have been proactively looking at Bitcoin as part of their regular portfolio investment.

In the survey, 74% of institutional investors in the United States and 82% of European investors found cryptocurrencies attractive. In the meantime, 36% of institutional respondents were attracted to cryptocurrencies because “they are not correlated with other asset classes”, and the 34% were attracted to the innovative nature of technology. And 33% liked the high bullish potential.

Commenting on the survey, Tom Jessop, President of Fidelity Digital Assets, said: “These results confirm a trend we are seeing in the market towards greater interest and acceptance of digital assets as a new class of investible assets.” He also added:

“This is evident in the evolving composition of our client base, which ranges from crypto funds to pensions.”

Working from home is an opportunity for crypto space

The shift from offline physical and commercial activities to an online setup for startups of cryptocurrency and blockchain. From now on, we will see discussions and debates about investing in cryptocurrencies from billionaires and traditional investors. Whether they admit it or not, They will closely monitor blockchain technology.

In the “new normal”, blockchain technology can be applied to the Internet of things, medical systems, supply chains, and can be used for transparency in financial markets, charities and non-governmental organizations. In the Asian countries, for example, Little is known about how NGOs spend their money and how many intermediaries take part.

Sometimes, only 10% of a donation goes to those who really need it. If this process is placed on a blockchain, then everything is chain and transparent. There is no black box, and we can track donations to make sure they go where they were originally intended. After For companies to adopt blockchain technology for these purposes, only then will they begin to discuss tokenization.

For now, to be sure, most of the attention remains on Bitcoin. In a post-COVID-19 world, portfolio diversification will become increasingly important, especially for asset management companies and banks. COVID-19, therefore, is an opportunity for cryptocurrencies to penetrate new markets, work with large banks, and attract major investors.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Kiana shek is the experience director for DigiFinex. Having held senior management positions for various publicly listed companies, Kiana has extensive experience in Big Data, IA, Finance and International Business Development. DigiFinex is a world-leading cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Hong Kong and seven offices worldwide, serving 4 million users globally.

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Twitter wouldn’t have been hacked if it was backed by blockchain technology



Murphy’s law says, “Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.” It always happens with centralized services. A year ago, we saw how half a million Facebook accounts were leaked online, exposing personal data. We will see many times more with other services. The recent Twitter hacking underlines this once again. The accounts of Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Mike Bloomberg, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, among others, were hacked to carry out a fraudulent offer with Bitcoin (BTC).

Writing for the BBC, cybersecurity commentator Joe Tidy opined: “The fact that so many different users have been compromised at the same time implies that this is a problem with the Twitter platform itself.” Tall accounts were vulnerable; it was just a matter of choice for hackers: Using celebrities is best to “endorse” scams.

The problem is that even If Twitter or any other service with a similar architecture continues to build cybersecurity walls around your system, it will become more complicated and expensive, but not more secure. The current paradigm of centralized services it cannot offer a more secure solution for user authentication.

I’ve recently written on new technologies that could protect data and digital identity, using the example of Australia and the European experience, and about the way the one that public key certificates could be protected with blockchain technology against distributed denial of service and attacks by intermediaries (man-in-the-middle). Although my analysis was quite Technical and comprehensive, perhaps it would be better to step back and examine some general but pertinent details that could improve data protection.

Behold Here are some terms you can use when asking your service provider, online store, or government if they are protecting your personal data:

  • Decentralized identifiers, or DID, is a general framework of W3C with Various methods to create and manage personal identifiers in a decentralized way. In other words, lOnline service developers don’t need to create something new if they want to use the potential of decentralized technologies. They can use these methods and protocols.
  • The selective disclosure protocol, or SDP, which was presented last year in the EOS Hackathon by the Vareger co-founder, Mykhailo Tiutin, and your team, It is a decentralized method of storing personal data (using DIDs) with cryptographic protection on a blockchain. With DIDs, the user can reveal carefully selected pieces of information in any particular transaction.
  • The self-sovereign identity, o SSI, is a concept that, in simple terms, allows users to be the sovereign owners of their personal data and identity, and not third parties. It implies that you can store personal data on your device, not on the server of Twitter or any other person. To illustrate the power of the SSI concept, think about this statement: It is easier to hack a centralized system that stores millions of accounts than to hack millions of personal devices. But the issue it is much deeper. If we ever face a Digital dictatorship, the root of this problem will be the absence of the right to control and prohibit third parties (including the government) from storing and operating your personal data. The terrible experiment with the Uighurs in China is an example of this. Citizens do not have the legal right to say no to the government that collects their personal data. Of course, eThe Chinese government created accounts without its consent to obtain records of what it considers inappropriate behavior.

To put things in perspective, Let’s move on to a hypothetical situation.

Use case: Alice and her digital identity

Alice generates her crypto pair: a private and public key. The private key encrypts the transactions, using a digital signature; the public key decrypts them. The public key is used to verify if Alice logged in, signed the contract, signed the blockchain transaction, etc.

To protect the private key, you will store it on a secure hardware device with PIN protection, for example, on a smart card, a USB authentication token or a hardware cryptocurrency wallet. However, a cryptocurrency address is a representation of a public key, which means Alice can use it like your coin and token wallet.

Although the public key is anonymous, you can also create a verified digital identity. She can ask Bob to certify your identity. Bob is a certifying authority. Alice will visit Bob and show him his ID. Bob will create a certificate and publish it on a blockchain. “Certificate” is a file that announces to the general public: “Alice’s public key is valid.” Bob won’t post it to his server the same way other traditional CAs do now. If un centralized server is ever disabled by a DDoS attack, no one could confirm whether Alice’s digital identity is valid or not, what could I do that someone steal your certificate and falsify your identity. This it would be impossible if the certificate or at least its hash sum were published in the chain.

With a verified ID, you can conduct official transactions, for example registering a company. If Alice is an entrepreneur, she can post her contacts, like a phone number. Using a blockchain is a more secure option because when the data is posted on social media, a hacker can log in to and replace an account to redirect calls to another number. None of this would be possible on a blockchain.

Yes Alice goes to a liquor store, she can use her verified DID. The seller, Dave, will use his app to verify and confirm Alice’s DID instead of her paper ID. Alice you do not need to reveal your name and date of birth. She will share with Dave’s app his identifier, that Bob certified, your photo and a statement “Above 21 years”. Dave trusts this record because Bob is a certifying authority.

Alice can create multiple pseudonyms for online shopping, social media, and cryptocurrency exchanges. If he loses his private key, he will ask Bob to update his record on the blockchain to announce that “Alice’s public key is invalid.” So, if someone stole it, everyone who interacts with your public key will know that they should not believe transactions signed with this key.

Of course, This is a simplified scenario, but it is not unrealistic. Furthermore, some of these processes already exist. For example, the electronic residence Estonia is nothing more than a smart card with the user’s private key. With this card, you can remotely register a company in Estonia or even sign contracts. Being integrated into a larger market, Estonian digital signatures are recognized throughout the European Union. Unfortunately, their governments still don’t protect certificates on blockchains.

Knowledge is power. Users should know that their cybersecurity is not only in their hands, as you might say. The giants of software and social media should make the change to improve security standards, and users should demand it.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Oleksii Konashevych He is the author of the Cross-Blockchain Protocol for Government Databases: The Technology for Public Records and Smart Laws. Oleksii is a Ph.D. Fellow of the Joint International Doctorate Program in Law, Science and Technology funded by the EU government. Oleksii has been collaborating with RMIT University Blockchain Innovation Hub, researching the use of blockchain technology for e-government and e-democracy. He also works on the tokenization of real estate titles, digital identifications, public records and electronic voting. Oleksii is a co-author of a law on electronic petitions in Ukraine, collaborates with the country’s presidential administration and serves as manager of the non-governmental group on electronic democracy from 2014 to 2016. In 2019, Oleksii participated in the drafting of a bill on money laundering and tax problems for crypto assets in Ukraine.

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Bitcoin price charts suggest deadlock at $ 9,000 may end next week


Bitcoin price (BTC) The weakness of the previous week has continued as the $ 9,000 support has been tested many times. However, the market itself is not acting bearish because altcoins like DOGE, for example, are rising in all directions.

Is the market ready for a momentum change and a big volatile move in BTC, cryptocurrency best ranked by market capitalization?

Daily performance of the cryptocurrency market

Daily performance of the cryptocurrency market. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin acts at final support levels to justify bullish scenario

Bitcoin price continues to rest at significant support level as there is a deadlock between bulls and shorties.

Like the price of Bitcoin has been consolidating, it can be argued that the price is registering constant lows since March 12. The most recent minimum is the area between USD 8,700 – USD 8,900. That is the bullish case.

However, the price has been falling from the $ 10,300 high and has been hitting lower highs ever since. This leads to general conflict in the markets. since there are bullish and bearish arguments.

BTC / USDT day chart

One-day chart for BTC / USDT. Source: TradingView

Bitcoin’s price is currently above the 100-day and 200-day moving averages (MA), as shown in the graph. At the same time, the crucial level of support of USD 8,700 – USD 8,900 still remains and also set a smaller level of support in USD 9,050 – USD 9,100, which is where the pair is currently located BTC / USD.

In the meantime, A possible ascending triangle is ready to form if Bitcoin’s price exceeds $ 9,300 any time soon.

4-hour chart for BTC / USD

4-hour chart for BTC / USD. Source: TradingView

The 4-hour chart shows a clear break from the level of USD 9,150 – USD 9,200, that actually is being tested for resistance and a confirmation of this support / resistance change, is currently being endorsed at the level of USD 9,000 – USD 9,050.

This is remarkable for Bitcoin’s price action lately, since levels have become very narrow, resulting in very small price movements.

Also, as the price acts in such a small range, its volume decreases. Volume generally comes through a breakout of any construction, which is likely to occur next week.

Total market capitalization shows more strength than Bitcoin

One-day chart for total market capitalization

One-day chart for full market capitalization. Source: TradingView

Market capitalization shows stronger than Bitcoin’s price. Market capitalization it shows a clear upward trend that reversed each resistance level prior to support, such as $ 255 billion (upper green box).

The next important step for market capitalization to open is $ 270 billion. If that level breaks, a move is likely towards USD 305 billion.

One-day chart of total altcoins market capitalization

One-day chart of the total market capitalization of altcoins. Source: TradingView

The total capitalization of the altcoins market is showing more strength than Bitcoin due to the recent strength of altcoins in recent times.

The total capitalization of the altcoins market shows a clear break and a change of support / resistance of USD 91 – 92 billion. As long as the green box is still supported and the total capitalization of the altcoins market don’t fall below, altcoins are likely to continue the recovery.

The next area of ​​resistance to look out for is $ 113 billion, which is about twenty percent from here.

The bullish scenario for Bitcoin

The bullish scenario is mainly based on breaking the resistance level at $ 9,200, and another test of the support level could affect the bullish scenario.

4-hour chart for the bullish scenario of the BTC / USD pair

4-hour chart for the bullish scenario of the BTC / USD pair. Source: TradingView

The chart shows many untested levels on the upside, which are likely to be tested if the $ 9,200 level is exceeded.

The first potential level of resistance after $ 9,200 it is the resistance zone at $ 9,400. As shown in the graph, there has been no “proof” of this previous level. A test means that the price rises towards this level to confirm a rejection by that level. Such rejection can be classified as resistance, and later the price is reversed.

However, the chart shows many untested levels above the current price level. Not only have they not been tested the USD 9,400, but you can see a similar case with $ 9,600 and $ 9,800, for example. If Bitcoin’s price exceeds $ 9,200, a support / resistance change of that level increases the probability of reaching $ 9,600 shortly.

Exceeding $ 9,200 also forms the structure of an ascending triangle. Then it turns highly probable that price will try and revisit the region of USD 10,000 – USD10,500 and a possibility of a giant break up.

The bearish scenario for Bitcoin

6-hour chart for the bearish scenario of the BTC / USD pair

6-hour chart for the bearish scenario of the BTC / USD pair. Source: TradingView

The bearish scenario is to reject the $ 9,200 level and then lose the support level of $ 9,000. Each rejection of the previous support level by the resistance would indicate a further downward momentum for BTC, making the price more likely to fall.

These signals are confirmations to traders that the Bitcoin price is ready for a further drop to occur. However, a move from $ 9,200 to $ 9,400, after losing $ 9,200 as support would also mean no buyers to step in, another bearish signal.

Bitcoin’s price will likely accelerate once it breaks the $ 10,500 barrier, the opposite is true for the bearish case if the $ 8,600 support is not maintained.

This is likely because there are not many support levels below $ 8,600, suggesting that the price can quickly drop $ 1,000 in a few hours, since the Trader stop / losses can also increase downward pressure with the price falling below a critical two-month period at the support level.

The next major support level below $ 8,600 is the $ 7,500 range.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the Author and do not necessarily reflect Cointelegraph’s views.Every investment and business move involves risk, you should do your own research when making a decision.

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Blockchain extends its reach to eradicate fake wines and spirits


For wine collectors, provenance is everything. Since up to 20% of all the wine that circulates around the world It is considered false, it is not surprising. In days gone by, spotting a fake burgundy required a good nose and an eye for detail. Now, thanks to blockchain technology, the problem is being solved from the root, or should it be from the vineyard?

Sommeliers, winegrowers, collectors, and other connoisseurs of red matter go out of their way to determine authenticity. Since the weight of the bottle to the anomalies observed in the year of production, to the inspection of the glass of the bottle, the seal on the cork and the glue of the label, the smallest discrepancy may be the largest red flag. But somehow, every year, thousands of bottles of counterfeit wine slide down the net.

That’s because wine counterfeiters also go to great lengths. Making a new burgundy bottle disguised as a 60-year-old vintage is no easy feat. Nor is it always about the aesthetics of the bottle; the taste is just as important, if not more. Scammers are known Recreating each note, using a hybrid blend of wines that mimic the flavor of an original, they are like modern alchemists who create gold.

Because for some, gold is essentially what good wine is, and what counterfeiting can become. In the last 16 years, Burgundy’s 150, an index that tracks the prices of the most sought-after crops, has increased by almost 450%.

Several popular fine-wine indices plotted side-by-side

A climactic revival of good wine occurred between 2016 and 2018 amid uncertainty about the Brexit presidency and Donald Trump, which made some experts speculate that investors were using wine as a store of value at the time, not unlike gold. The parallels of wine with gold do not end there. Like a asset class, fine wines, are similar to precious metal, they are extremely scarce, every time scarcer, each someone decides that their bottle of Cheval Blanc of 1947 of USD 300,000 is ready for consumption.

Others have made the analogy, perhaps a Slightly more cynical, that vintage wines are more akin to the tech boom in the 2000s, where a “.com” suffix could add an additional set of zeros to the company. Similarly, a vintage label from, Hermitage, attached to any old plonk bottle could cost more than $ 10,000. Effectively, This happens all too often in the wine industry.

Fighting counterfeiters

While actual estimates are sparse for obvious reasons, counterfeit wines are believed to be a multi-million dollar problem. Sour Grapes, a 2016 documentary, recounts the dramatic rise and fall of the prolific fake wine scammer, Rudy Kurniawan, who was instrumental in creating the counterfeit wine market, and its high prices. But while it’s a remarkable case, it’s just one of many on a great counterfeiting racket.

And this is not limited to good wine either. A 2018 report from the European Union Intellectual Property Office, reveals that in Europe alone, approximately EUR 2.7 billion (USD 3 billion) is lost per year due to counterfeiting of wines and spirits.

The market for illegal spirits is potentially a serious problem, with health complications and deaths from fake gins, vodkas, and whiskeys mixed with battery acid and even methanol, a toxic chemical used in antifreeze. Attempts to crack down on liquor fraud have not been without merit.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Marton Ven, Marketing Director for TE-Food, a farm-to-table food traceability solutions company, He explained that the molecular analysis of spirits, through a system known as, Raman spectroscopy, can expose a fake liquor. However, Ven added the caveat that implementing this process on a broader scale it would be costly and inefficient. The same happens with centralized databases already in use to track wine. Due to the problems inherent in centralized databases, the scope of corruption and subversion is relatively broad.

A modern solution to an old problem

Fortunately, verification with blockchain may have eliminated the problem of counterfeit wine forever. In the Blockchain ecosystem the latest product from Nem, Symbol, is a blockchain solution aimed at fighting fraud, specifically within the fine wine sector. Symbol verifies and tracks a large number of transactions per second, what allows efficiently track raw materials and their end products. Since the grape, to the bottle and the journey to its final destination, everything that is tracked through Symbol is registered on an immutable blockchain, which guarantees the authenticity of each stage.

Disposable smart contracts ensure data privacy, while requiring confirmation of authenticity before payment is released, incentivizing supply chain intermediaries to independently verify authenticity. The approach can be extended in a similar way between retailers and customers, closing the remaining gaps in the supply chain.

Dave Hodgson, direct managing director of Nem Ventures, told Cointelegraph, that at take notes on itinerary or product information; track wine bottles, boxes, cases or pallets; serial number tracking; and so on, the wine becomes practically tamper-proof. However, according to Hodgson, Symbol’s reach could be further deepened, literally:

“It’s also possible to go deeper into this (for higher-value liquor, most likely) to have an IoT sensor in the tracking solution to record things like temperature, moisture content, or GPS location of boxes / containers. Plus There could be IoT sensors in the soil to detect pH balance, chemicals, pesticide use, and maturity. “

Symbol is not the first to leverage blockchain for wine verification. In fact, there are a myriad of blockchain-based solutions on the market, each of which offers slight variations on the last one. A solution from blockchain startup WeCan takes wine verification beyond the supply chain, extending it to private auctions and buyers.

Similar to Symbol, WeCan records every facet of information about the wine, from the producer, to the original winemaker and even its previous owners, and links them to its blockchain. A scannable QR code exposes the data, they even go so far as to detail the purchase and price history. Camille Ernoult, head of marketing and communications at WeCan said to Cointelegraph:

“Liquor fraud is a real problem in the industry, as more than 20% of the bottles sold are counterfeited. Blockchain could help in this matter by tracing the entire value chain, from production to sale. This would mean that each actor in the chain should enter the information that would be immutable, time-stamped and securely registered on a blockchain platform. “

Even one of the big four audit firms, Ernst & Young, he launched into the game of the verification with blockchain. The wine platform, Tattoo, which directly supplies hotels, restaurants and cafes, sells wines directly from the vineyard, excluding private market interference. Each bottle is “tattooed” (hence her name) with her own QR code, which details data like la variety of grapes, the types of fertilizers used in crops and even delivery logistics.

Taking verification one step further, Tattoo combines traceability with tokenization. Buyers can buy, and sellers can connect their products to the platform via tokens based on Ethereum’s non-expendable ERC-721 token standard.

Blockchain can’t block them all

While these solutions They can address the problem of counterfeiting between merchants and retailers, there is little in the way of stopping refilling once it reaches the private market. According to Ernoult, there is almost nothing that blockchain can do in this regard. “A missing piece of the puzzle for blockchain in the use of liquor verification is another actor to secure the bottle and make sure it hasn’t been opened and replaced by something else,” said.

Ven takes a pragmatic view and points out that no traceability system is without defects. “I do not know of any security system that cannot be subverted”, he explained. The goal of blockchain-based traceability it is to make adulteration more difficult and costly so that it is less profitable and, ultimately, not worth the risk.

Similarly, although it admits that blockchain is not a panacea to counter counterfeitersNem’s Hodgson suggests that verification at least alleviates the problem: “There will always be ways to subvert verification systems. While blockchain is not a silver bullet for liquor fraud, it does dramatically reduce the likelihood of it happening.”

However, Alastair Johnson, founder and CEO of Nuggets, a self-sovereign payment and identification platform, suggested an alternative: A mandatory customer-centric app introduced into private shopping, a stage where the most counterfeit bottle refilling process arguably isn’t hampered. Johnson said:

“Through verified identities established for merchants, brokers, and consumers with blockchain tied to unique labels and stamps, along with non-expendable tokens, you could have an immutable record of provenance that could not only be proven at the point of purchase, but also, at the time of uncovering. “

With a KYC verified customer ID, along with the immutable ledger on the blockchain, the counterfeiter not only risks being caught, but subsequent resellers can damage his reputation. But sadly, blockchain didn’t exist about 8,000 years ago when it believe that wine was first created. If I had, maybe the counterfeiting problem would never have arisen. Still, with With established modern practices and the use of blockchain verification techniques on the rise, the hope remains that counterfeit figures will decrease.

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Ethereum 2.0 and Polkadot offer alternative solutions to the escalation problem



After Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood left the Ethereum Foundation in 2016, he wrote a white paper for a new type of blockchain, one that would use an innovative form of communication from sharding and cross-chain to achieve the kind of scalability and interoperability that Ethereum 1.0 could never manage. Wood’s new blockchain, called Polkadot, threw his first iteration in May and recently moved to the second stage of the main network.

In the moment in which Wood has been developing Polkadot, Ethereum’s core development team has been working on the largest update to the Ethereum infrastructure since its release in 2015. Ethereum 2.0, also called Serenity, will launch their first iteration this year, with a gradual launch in the next two years. Ethereum 2.0 will also use a variant of fragmentation as a means to finish cith the scalability issues that have plagued it since the initial coin offering boom in 2017.

Considering the intertwined history of these two platforms, Are the two comparable? And if so, in what ways?

Scalability with sharding

Both Ethereum 2.0 and Polkadot use sharding to achieve scalability. Sharding involves partitioning the blockchain network, or its data, to enable parallel processing, and therefore to increase performance. However, sharding is a broad term, and these two projects use different methods.

Actually, Ethereum 1.0 operates in a unique chain structure where each node must validate each transaction. Conversely, Ethereum 2.0 has a main chain called Beacon Chain that facilitates communication between the shards, which connect to Beacon Chain. Shards can be processed in parallel, allowing greater performance than the single chain structure.

Ethereum 2.0 will impose a particular condition on the shards that connect to the Beacon chain, as each shard must have a uniform method of changing the state with each block added to the blockchain. Essentially, a beacon chain is a series of ports or plugs like a USB connector where only shards can be connected to it with the correct shape of USB plug.

Polkadot uses a different variant of sharding. The network also has a main chain called the Relay Chain. Shards in Polkadot are known as “parachains” and can also execute transactions in parallel. However, Polkadot uses a much more flexible meta-protocol to allow parachains to connect to the main chain, meaning that any parachain can determine its own rules for how it changes state. The only condition is that the relay chain validators can execute it using the meta-protocol, which uses Standard WebAssembly. Going back to the USB connector analogy, the relay chain serves as a kind of universal plug. Now anyone with any type of plug can connect to Polkadot.

Interoperability

The flexibility described above means that Polkadot offers a high level of interoperability that will not be possible with Ethereum 2.0, since only Ethereum-specific shards may be part of the Ethereum ecosystem. Polkadot uses bridge parachains that can be connected to external blockchains, offering bi-directional compatibility.

Effectively, Ethereum could connect to the Polkadot ecosystem via a bridge parachain so that DApp developers can interact with any other Polkadot parachain. However, the opposite is not possible: Polkadot could not become an Ethereum Beacon Chain shard. Moonbeam is an example of a bridge parachain that provides developers with a smart contract platform that supports Ethereum that is based on Polkadot.

Until now in the evolution of blockchain, interoperability has not played a major role. However, perhaps because As so many blockchains have evolved to become “walled gardens,” interoperability is beginning to play a bigger role in 2020. In the Blockstack Summit from last year in San Francisco, the blockchain entrepreneur, Andreas Antonopoulos, presented a compelling argument for interoperability, explaining that any chain that attracts enough development will eventually eat itself, lor that will require an infrastructure upgrade.

If Antonopoulos is right, then much of the current infrastructure, such as the blockchain bridges or interoperable platforms like Polkadot, could be key enablers of Ethereum’s future development.

It’s also worth noting that Wood acknowledges the symbiosis inherent in this relationship between the two platforms, after having declared in a blog post that, since the Polkadot white paper was released: “We knew that uniting with the Ethereum ecosystem to help expand capabilities anywhere would be one of the key points of the network.”

Development progress

Polkadot launched on the mainnet in May, with the project roadmap that includes phased updates to a fully decentralized infrastructure with all planned governance in place. The first phase is the authority test, which consists of assembling validators for the network. The project recently launched its second phase, which is known as nominated proof of participation. This refers to an initial start-up of the network consensus model. Assuming all goes well, the next step will involve implementing the network governance model.

Ethereum 2.0 is taking a somewhat different approach to phased deployment, so the full release will come after phased updates. Beacon Chain is expected to launch this summer, along with the participation under the new proof of participation consensus. The change to Full sharding is scheduled for the next phases.

Teams

While the project Ethereum 2.0 boasts some leading names within the blockchain developer space, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, There is no single team responsible for the development and implementation of Ethereum 2.0. Multiple teams, or clients, are working on multiple Ethereum 2.0 iterations as a means of maintaining network security.

Polkadot has been developed by a single company called Parity Technologies, a global team of engineers, cryptographers, solution architects, and researchers. Together with Polkadot, Parity has developed its client, Parity Ethereum and its client Parity Zcash.

Parity Technologies was founded by Wood and Jutta Steiner. The credentials of Wood are well established through their history with Ethereum and as the creator of the programming language Solidity, with Steiner being also one of the original members of the Ethereum team, having served as their first chief of security. She is applied mathematics and is now the executive director of Parity.

Time is of the essence

One of the biggest challenges Ethereum 2.0 faces is the time it takes to complete the project. There’s been talk of a scalability update since around 2017, and it’s likely to be 2022 by the time the implementation is complete, and that’s assuming that there are no more delays. However, Ethereum has a critical advantage over Polkadot and all other blockchain platforms: It has a long-standing developer base and community, and more development activity compared to its competitors.

However, Delays in Ethereum 2.0 implementation have allowed other projects, of which Polkadot is obviously a major competitor, to develop their own platforms that offer additional attributes, such as interoperability. Polkadot offers Ethereum compatibility, which means that lDevelopers could adopt the platform without necessarily straying from its original base.

It will be interesting to see how the two platforms play together once the Ethereum 2.0 implementation is fully completed. If all goes well, each platform can complement the strengths of the other to create a connected blockchain network greater than the sum of its parts.

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Fight terrorism using blockchain


The Unicri workshop about the solutions that exploit blockchain and artificial intelligence to be able implement to combat terrorism. Cryptonomist got to participate in this workshop by asking questions.

The project was launched about a year ago and is comprised of three phases.

  • The first phase is to see the risks, such as aircraft, drones, cyber cyber attacks, dangers in the field of biotechnology and 3D printing;
  • in the second phase of the project all the ideas and projects suitable for solving the previous risks will be taken;
  • Finally, a report will be drawn up in the autumn with all the information acquired.

The event saw the participation of different experts and users from various sectors, such as Interpol, CERN, WCO and others, and countries, such as Burundi, Georgia, Ukraine, USA and so on, and focused on examining different proposals in different areas such as:

  1. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS);
  2. AI-powered cyber-attacks;
  3. Synthetic biology, including gene-editing technologies;
  4. Additive manufacturing.

We are talking about very detailed proposals that implement advanced technological solutions that could and prevent the proliferation of illegal activities or the improper use of technologies in the field of biology and additive manufacturing.

Big data

The first proposal presented concerned big data analysis for Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), from sources such as social media, the internet, government data, sector data and various publications, to combat the proliferation of the dual-use of objects as passports, all through the use of artificial intelligence.

The goal is to model a complex predictive system interdependent on the systems to support the decisions to be made, as the AI ​​will analyze the various data collected to monitor patterns and correlations with the illicit traffic of the related objects, thus amplifying OSINT.

Both the positive aspects such as the improvement in making decisions and the effectiveness in using the analysis of the data in this way have been analyzed, discovering in advance illegal activities.

There is also the negative aspect concerning the bias in using the algorithm and the scarcity of the data, which could lead to poor information quality, since the collection of this data does not always take place correctly. An obstacle is represented by the digital divide since qualified people are needed to use this data and obviously the technology.

In addition, some already active products and tools were shown, including that of OSDIFE, Italian non-profit project, which collaborates with the Italian government in its public administration.

Dual use item

The second proposal instead concerned the blockchain as a tool for counter the dual-use item, no less than the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation). It aims to create a digital platform that also connects the industry in order to provide any anomalies in the structures in real time.

The platform is called CTIX (Common Threat Information Exchange).

Thanks to the use of the blockchain, in fact, you have the security of communicating extremely sensitive data in a protected way. Reference is made to an encryption structure that guarantees the secrecy of the message thanks to private keys.

The tool is used through an extension of the Chrome browser, therefore easy to use, in which the file is loaded, usually a suspicious email, and then all the information is analyzed and is shared on the network. Only useful information is saved separately in the FBI database. The information is provided free of charge and without any form of incentive, precisely because we pursue a common good, which is security.

Cryptonomist had the opportunity to ask about this project which DLT had been used and why not a public blockchain.

Brendan Abbot explained that one of the reasons why private use was used is precisely because the data that is being handled is sensitive and access must be maintained. The privacy issue is also expressed given that with a public blockchain you would not have the opportunity to manage that type of information, and also because given that it is a PoC (Proof of Concept) it was preferred to focus on this type of DLT , while the chosen platform is that of Enterprise Ethereum by ConsenSys.

In this case the advantages are multiple such as the aforementioned security, the speed of the transaction, no central authority, scalability and so on. On the disadvantages side, we have a smart contract system that could have limitations and also the appearance of any attacks aimed at the various protocols that afflict all blockchains.

Blockchain and nuclear power

Another proposal concerning the blockchain is that relating to the management of nuclear installations. In this case there is more talk of a system for tracking and verifying nuclear products and raw materials, considering that it is something that must be traceable and verify without revealing the type of material transported externally.

In this case one of the problems with radioactive materials is that a part can be recycled and reprocessed and could be used for nuclear weapons. Thanks to blockchain tracking, it is possible to determine both the amount of input and that of output and determine if and how much part is missing.

This solution does not replace the traditional system, the NMAC (Nuclear Material Accounting & Control) system, but it is more a second layer complementary to the existing one, as a form of guarantee.

Mike Thornton of the International Alliance CBRN (INAC) stressed that the choice for a private DLT was determined for the type of materials and information, which must remain as confidential as possible. In addition, a structure was chosen that allows the use of smart contracts.

The system has qualified accesses for each type of information and therefore there are different levels that not everyone can access. All information belongs to International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The other nuclear power projects

Some projects have been presented such as SLAFKA using a Hyperledger-based DLT, which is coordinated by the STUK (Finland Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority) and the university of New South Wales.

Asked by Cryptonomist about the blockchain used and the costs, both Mike Thornton and Mariana-Diaz of UNICRI, said that Hyperledger was chosen, while as regards the costs, nobody was able to provide an answer.

This time the advantages are truly remarkable since it is possible to control the tracing, the origin, the contrast to the forgery, the ease of access and other aspects.

Among the limitations or disadvantages, the high cost of the infrastructure is pointed out, even at an energy level, which is widely questionable if we consider different blockchains and protocols. Another disadvantage is represented by the adoption of a standard common to all both in practical terms with the various nuclear plants and in legal terms with the various jurisdictions.

The contrast to illicit activities with cryptocurrencies

Finally we find the latest proposal for the use of blockchain and artificial intelligence to contrast instead illicit activities carried out with cryptocurrencies.

In this context, not only the various cryptocurrencies used by criminals are examined, but also the platforms active in the dark net in order to then be able to recycle them, buying weapons, drugs and other illegal products or services.

There has been talk of recent attack to Twitter and therefore in this type of case it becomes fundamental to trace the funds and how they are used.

A graph is shown that starts with the buyer who converts their fiat into crypto and then transfers the same to a wallet for this type of operation, which will be used to buy the goods from the seller who in turn will ship and then convert the crypto received in fiat.

The graph is a bit forced because it does not take into consideration some variables and other eventualities that actually make the scheme almost useless, but in any case it is expected to create a blockchain in which to save the related accounts and addresses that have operated to recover goods and services illegal and track them permanently in this way, also creating a kind of index for high risk ones.

Cryptonomist asked how we can intervene to directly track transactions coming from mining and never converted into fiat. Pandey Pankaj of the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) responded by arguing that this project is only a data point to have a connection, and which allows to have other types of information such as the starting transaction and also the final one, therefore in some way tracing those types of movements; while as regards Monero considering the volume not exaggerated also for the number of transactions, it is quite simple to be able to trace them.

It is pointed out how a smart contract could be drawn up which automatically takes and analyzes the various transactions and then the AI ​​processes that type of information. In this case, the disadvantages arise in the adoption of this type of system, the anonymity that makes it extremely difficult to follow the transactions, the lack of skills of the authorities to use these types of instruments and also the type of asset seizure measures, given that there is no clear and compliant regulation for all countries.

Existing solutions have shown some that analyze from the mempool to the transaction, some are DARPA, one is HTRU for people trafficking, then we have Elliptic’s Deep WEBINT and Cryptocurrency Forensics which has an instrument, Bitcoin Big Bang, which shows the volume of transactions and to where.





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Onecoin, history of the “bitcoin killer”


Onecoin it had to be the Bitcoin killeruntil judicial authorities across the world called it a scam. Indeed, for some it may be considered the scam of the century, capable of raising 4 billion euros.

Between successes, disappearances and even crimes, this is the story of the cryptocurrency that promised a financial revolution.

OneCoin, the Bitcoin Killer

Onecoin was born in 2015. The founder of this coin is Ruja Ignatova, administrator of the company of the same name based in Bulgaria. The purpose of Onecoin was to be the creation of an electronic currency, alternative to cash and above all alternative to Bitcoin.

In the era when Bitcoin was already well known, OneCoin began to structure itself not as a real cryptocurrency, but as a “future” cryptocurrency. OneCoin was in fact spread by real promotersthe architects of a multi-level marketing. What investors bought was token packets that would be converted to OneCoin in the future when the coin would finally go live.

In fact, the company has always claimed to sell educational packages. However, these packages were of various amounts and each amount guaranteed a decidedly advantageous return.

Taking as an example what reported the Italian AGCM in a 2017 investigation, the packages on sale went from an investment of 140 euros to the more substantial one of 27,530 euros. In the first case, in 2018 a revenue of 2,800 euros was promised. In the case of the larger investment, the guaranteed return was € 3 million.

Although there was no blockchain, although the mining system was unclear, despite OneCoin professing himself the heir of Bitcoin despite not having the technical infrastructure in common, although the reasons why the value of OneCoin were not even clear should rise to such an extent as to guarantee returns of € 3 million, package purchases proliferated.

OneCoin built a real community, with engaging and spectacular events. Of these, the most famous remains the one held in London at the Wembley Arena, in the presence of Ruja Ignatova. It was 11 July 2016.

From the stage, Ruja Ignatova promised an easy-to-use cryptocurrency for everyone that would become the most used in the world. He said that behind OneCoin there was not only a vision, but a family.

“In the past two years I have been called in various ways. Probably the best thing was: ‘Onecoin, it could become Bitcoin’s killer’. I must say I like it “

This is what Ruja said to the public in delirium. Deluded to be a family, deluded that they would get rich easily, many wanted to join the “Financial revolution”.

The explosive growth of OneCoin, combined with the failure and always postponed launch of the cryptocurrency, brought the attention of the authorities to OneCoin. Because actually, the only way to get rich with OneCoin was to sell packages to other people and recruit new investors.

The regulatory authorities set their sights on this system in a short time. The crucial year is 2017, when the German BaFin requires the termination of OneCoin-related activities as the OneCoin and OneLife companies did not have adequate licenses to trade financial instruments. It had already expressed itself before the authority of Belgium, that in the same period he warned consumers of the risks of an investment in OneCoin. The same warning also came closely from the English FCA.

The Italian Competition and Market Authority also came to fine OneCoin and OneLife for unfair practices.

Nonetheless, OneCoin continued to raise money and venerate the company’s creator, Ruja Ignatova. That on a mysterious day in October 2017, it disappears.

Ruja Ignatova

Dr. Ruja is the mastermind behind OneCoin. Charming, charismatic, cultured, she is the star of this story. In her appearances she was always extremely cured, with the inevitable red lipstick. A graduate in private law, she said of herself that she had also studied in Oxford.

Its tracks are lost in October 2017. Waiting for a OneCoin event in Lisbon, Ruja never came.

The theories of his disappearance are manifold. The first hypothesis is that it was kidnapped, because his project promised to nip traditional finance. The second hypothesis is that she disappeared because she wanted to disappear. According to some, OneCoin was now too big to handle.

A reconstruction of Ruja Ignatova’s life, business and disappearance can be found in the BBC documentary The Missing CryptoQueen. In this podcast it is speculated that Ruja has completely changed his appearance with cosmetic surgery. And that would be in Germany.

The arrest of Konstantin Ignatova

With the disappearance of Ruja Ignatova the OneCoin business has not stopped. His brother and former bodyguard took care of it Konstantin Ignatova. But on March 6, 2019, he was arrested at Los Angeles airport, where he was about to embark on a flight bound for Bulgaria after a OneCoin event.

Accused of fraud, he faces up to 20 years in prison. There judgment it is still to be issued.

With his arrest The OneCoin epic actually comes to a standstill. After the fines, the ban on operations, the seizures, the closed sites, and the definition of scam of the century, OneCoin has probably finished deceiving its investors. There will be no financial revolution, to the detriment of those who believed it.

OneCoin failed to kill Bitcoin, which instead continues its slow path towards mass adoption.

The story, however, confirms one thing: always be wary of those who promise easy earnings with minimal investment. And always study your investments before entrusting your money, or worse, your savings.





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Tezos, Waves and Stellar stand out among the week’s most prized cryptocurrencies


Key facts:
  • Next week Tezos will be demonstrating its new Magma portfolio.

  • Waves will be able to open a new office in Berlin, Germany, thanks to a new partnership.

During the week of July 11 to 17 the cryptocurrency market is mostly down. A large majority of altcoins record drops that are up to 20% less. Meanwhile, the few cryptocurrencies with increases show significant increases that exceed 20%.

Bitcoin, the main cryptocurrency in the market, also registers a drop in its price, after the slight recovery of the previous week. In these seven days the price of BTC fell an average of 0.78%. The value ranged from $ 9,268 to $ 9,137, according to Live Coin Watch statistics. Bitcoin was the cryptocurrency of choice for hackers who this week attacked the accounts of personalities and companies on Twitter.

Ether, meanwhile, is down with an estimated drop of 2.79% less. The ETH price hit a low of $ 231 on July 16, after peaking at $ 244 on the 13th of the same month.

A report on the growth of decentralized finance on Ethereum in the second quarter of 2020 was released this week. It is noted that the presence of Bitcoin-anchored tokens on Ethereum outpaces BTC on the Lightning Network. Although this comparison is not entirely fair, considering that in LN there are BTC income caps for being in test.

At the same time, the price of other relevant cryptocurrencies in the market is also down: ethereum classic (ETC) loses -5.12%, Ripple’s XRP is down -2.83%, and litecoin (LTC) is -4.99%.

The this week’s most appreciated cryptocurrencies they are headed by tezos (XTZ) and waves (WAVES). Stellar (XLM), zcash (ZEC) and cardano (ADA) round out the top.

cryptocurrency boom tezos waves

Tezos prepares to launch a new portfolio

In the framework of the most recent meeting of Tezos, called TQuorum, the co-founder of this project of weekly events, Alison Mangiero, announced that by July 22 a first demonstration of the new non-custodial mobile portfolio will be held for Tezos, Magma.

The announcement was made on July 15, the same date that XTZ, the native cryptocurrency of the Tezos network, achieves your highest value of the week, trading at USD 3.30. The average growth in these seven days was 25.6%. The TQuorum tweet adds that in the next meeting the Tezos roadmap will also be exposed.

Magma is a project that has been developing for several months. Wallet will launch for Android and iOS simultaneously and will support the Tezos FA1.2 standard. At this time, XTZ’s market capitalization is about $ 2,183 million and its daily trade reaches $ 134.2 million.

XTZ cryptocurrency price level
Tezos advances in the development of its Magma portfolio. Source: Live Coin Watch

Waves CEO sells Vostok shares to Russian firm

This week, news spread that one of the early investors in the Waves project sold its shares in the Vostok project to a Russian financial firm. Thanks to this sale Waves will be able to open an office in Berlin, Germany.

The information was released on July 17, and notes that Waves CEO Alexander Ivanov “sold his stake” in the data and smart city management project to Mark Garber of the GHP Group consultancy. This fact seems to have influenced the rise registered by the cryptocurrency for this July 17, when peaked of USD 1.54.

In the days before the rise, waves were trading in the range of $ 1.32 and $ 1.27. He weekly increase estimated at 22.3%. The market capitalization, at the time of this writing, is USD 144.5 million and the trade volume in the last 24 hours was about USD 33.2 million.

WAVES investment precious cryptocurrencies
The price of waves reached a maximum after the announcement of the sale of shares in the Vostok project. Source: Live Coin Watch

Stellar presents its second quarterly report of 2020

Stellar is located in the top of most appreciated cryptocurrencies for the second consecutive week. XLM price went up in 20.21% in the course of these 7 days. Its highest value was recorded this July 17, when it reached USD 0.107.

The stellar price increase began on July 16, starting at a value of $ 0.095. In parallel, the Stellar Development Foundation publishes a new newsletter with his report on the performance of the project in the second quarter of the year. The update carried out with Protocol 13 stands out, which provides important characteristics to the network. This includes “rate reductions, detailed control of the authorization of assets and first-class multiplexed accounts,” according to the statement.

They are also mentioned two business fund investments for Abra, a next-generation financial platform, and SatoshiPay, a platform for instant payments. At press time, XLM’s market capitalization is about $ 2,164 million, and its daily trade is estimated at $ 301.1 million.

stellar-transactions-volume-prices
In its quarterly report Stellar highlights the update of its network. Source: Live Coin Watch

Zcash Fork Introduces New Privacy Features

Keeping its focus on privacy, the Zcash network executed its fourth fork on July 16. Through this update, called Heartwood, the network introduced new privacy features for mining, as well as greater interoperability with other blockchains for network developers.

Prior to the fork, the price of the cryptocurrency registered a constant increase since July 12, reaching a peak of USD 63.32 on day 13. For the date of the fork it is noted a drop in price, however, ZEC it grew around 5.8% in these seven days.

New features introduced through the Zcash update are identified as Shielded Coinbase and Flyclient. As of this writing, the cryptocurrency’s market capitalization is $ 569.6 million and the daily trade is $ 91.5 million.

cryptocurrency increase zec transactions
With its recent update, Zcash offers developers greater interoperability. Source: Live Coin Watch

Cardano summons developers of smart contracts

Cardano is in the top of the 5 most appreciated cryptocurrencies for the fourth consecutive week, with an advance of 3.3%. In these seven days, the project has been inviting developers to participate in the expansion of network smart contracts to multiple programming languages.

Through a message posted on Twitter On July 15, the Cardano Foundation opened a period for receiving proposals until August 31. Meanwhile, the price of ADA kept up a constant rise between July 13 and 15, with a peak of $ 0.13 on day 13.

Cardano’s request for proposals “will focus on facilitating the implementation of smart contracts using the network’s extended ledger model on UTXO (unspent) transactions,” the team clarifies. on his blog. As of this date, the market capitalization of ADA is USD 3.197 million and the daily trade volume is 122.1 million dollars.

cryptocurrency appreciated investment increase
Cardano is in the top of cryptocurrencies of the week for the fourth consecutive week. Source: Live Coin Watch





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Pushing the legal limits, July 10 to July 17



Every Friday, Law Decoded provides an analysis of the week’s critical stories in the areas of politics, regulation and law.

Editor’s Note

New developments in cryptocurrencies this week are challenging a number of critical limits on legal authority. Accordingly, we are analyzing several cases that promise to establish new lines for the scope and overreach of the government.

Cassius lamented that Caesar took the narrow world as a colossus. While nothing in today’s newsletter will be as dramatic as the death of the Roman Republic, we actually saw a rather mysterious but strangely comical dress rehearsal by bad actors disguised as state leaders. We will also be looking at some national regulators looking to go beyond their obvious borders.

In last week’s Law Decoded, I pointed out that the cryptocurrency industry has a bad habit of forgetting that regulators who manage cryptocurrencies are managing other colossal financial systems at the same time. In a sense, today’s newsletter is a throwback to that sentiment. There is a lot of power at stake.

Elon Musk won’t give you Bitcoin and other harsh realities

By far the loudest news item to come out of the cryptocurrency world this week was the Twitter hack that although it was ingenious enough to access and tweet from the accounts of many of the world’s most powerful people, he lacked the ingenuity to use that power for anything other than a simple scam, that offered to multiply Bitcoin sent to an address.

As many pointed out, This was an extremely elaborate scam and executed on an extraordinary scale. In fact, as the hack expanded beyond the characters known in the world of cryptocurrencies as CZ, and step towards global figures like Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, Many They saw Donald Trump’s profile and became desperate.

Given the the President has used Twitter to announce policies, as well as for engage in high-profile conflicts against the leaders of Iran and North Korea, during which the American troops were suddenly forced to plan new mobilizations, the reminder of Twitter’s vulnerability as a centralized platform was sinister.

For the record, Trump’s profile remained intact. But in the last months There has been a lot of talk about limiting the authority of social media platforms because of their importance to public discourse. But this is almost a reverse problem for government figures like, Joe Biden, who can potentially be hijacked from a high-profile public profile. You can expect this recent trick, and the implicit threat to global order, to play a role in future conversations on the subject.. On the other hand, the Blockchain industry use this to promote decentralized analogues to social media giants.

Either way, Keep in mind that whoever was behind this ruse only got about $ 121,000 net. Certainly not great news for the reputation of cryptocurrencies in the public, But it’s hard to see that this event is primarily about instant winnings.

A Supreme Rupee

The author of an infamous proposed cryptocurrency ban in India has spoken, telling the industry that it is not a total ban at all.

Former Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg said the real objection to cryptocurrencies in the bill it is its use as currency. He said that such a measure It would allow investment in cryptocurrencies as a digital product.

If so, this is a message that the media, including Cointelegraph, have confused in the past. But also, that seems like a remarkably fine line to move. If you can exchange cryptocurrencies as merchandise, What about peer-to-peer transactions? How is it possible to leak all of that into categories like “suspiciously like currency”? And so how do you really hold such a responsible criminal accountable?

Garg’s concerns are very common among regulators, who see cryptocurrencies as a threat to monetary sovereignty. In places like Venezuela or Zimbabwe today, avoiding the current government’s monetary authority is a hugely optimistic argument for Bitcoin. But also, it seems clear that The full implications of such a ban in India, a country with almost 1.4 billion people, have not yet been adequately established.

They are not my citizens, they are still my problem

After considerable tug-of-war rounds, the two US federal investment regulators, the SEC and the CFTC, jointly fined crypto-based app Abra, for its synthetic exchange service, which translated price movements into US stocks and ETFs in changes to the guarantee that investors put on BTC and Litecoin.

The fines themselves were quite nominal, totaling $ 300,000, which is unlikely to stop the app, but the case is definitely a loud warning shot for various reasons, between them, the fact that mixed exchanges are one of those areas that trigger action by the SEC and the CFTC. The nature of the jurisdictional limits of US financial regulators is also in doubt.

Abra had withdrawn its synthetic securities service in February 2019 at the behest of the SEC. The company resumed it later that year, after excluding US investors and registering a subsidiary to offer the service in the Philippines. The new intervention of The SEC and CFTC clearly place a flag on new territory: Neither agency suggests the company offer these services to US investors, but they claim jurisdiction over Abra and its subsidiaries, due to the company’s California offices.

Once again, $ 300,000 is not a particularly draconian deal, but it wasn’t either Block.one. He is a precedent for the expansion of authority.

Further reading

Peter Van Valkenburgh from, Coin Center, exposes what recent legislative threats to encryption They mean (and don’t mean) for cryptocurrencies and decentralized networks.

JDSupra has updated your information on state and federal laws when it comes to cryptocurrencies to include, among other things, new licenses in Louisiana.

Patrick Tan reflects on how China’s CBDC could provoke a boost to cryptocurrencies by citizens concerned about their privacy.

Keep reading:



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