Cyber-criminals are not as anonymous as they think — Weekly digest, June 25-29 ’18

All in this week’s news digest: Bitpico threatens BCH, Jack Ma calls Bitcoin a bubble, Bithumb recovers half of the stolen funds, ERC-721 will be officially confirmed, Coinbase CEO creates a crypto charity fund, Node Capital opens a US branch, Azul app will help Venezuela, Facebook reverses ban on crypto ads, new EOS constitution & other news.

  • A new market research shows that 69% of all crypto trading volume belongs to 6 currencies. These currencies are BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC and USDT. Most coins, traded at the market, are very illiquid, half of them barely hitting 10,000 in trading volume.
  • An unknown person threatens he will bring down and fork Bitcoin Cash. A person from Twitter, who calls himself Bitpico, claims he will continue to attack BCH network with spamming attacks and will overtake it. Nobody takes him seriously, as he has already made similar claims regarding SegWit2x, and it seems that he can’t back up his words.
  • Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma calls Bitcoin a bubble again. At the same time, he believes that technology itself is useful and even may help revolutionize many industries. His company, Alipay, is currently working on their own blockchain direct payments system.
  • The number of transactions in DOGE is three times higher than those of BCH. Despite BCH claiming to be a transactional currency, actually it's being used far less than Bitcoin or even DOGE, being more like a store of value, than an actual cryptocurrency for merchants use.
  • Bithumb claimed it was able to recover almost half of the funds stolen during the hack. It was possible thanks to cooperation from other exchanges that returned the stolen funds to their appropriate owners. The funds stored in hot wallets were moved to a cold storage pretty fast, thus the overall damage was reduced by $13 million.
  • A secret Bitcoin key, a remnant of Satoshi’s architecture, is going to be revealed to the community. It was being used long ago for broadcasting messages to the network. It was gotten rid of in 2016, with a new patch, so nobody could use it with malicious intentions. Now it will be disclosed soon to evade reputation attacks against its holders.
  • ERC-721 standard is going through a finalization process to be recognized as an officially confirmed Ethereum standard. ERC-721 is widely known as a collectible token, but its use isn’t limited to simple games. This type of tokens can represent any physical or digital assets, thus making it useful in nearly all kinds of fields, according to its creators.
  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong announced the creation of a crypto charity platform. This platform allows donating crypto, namely, BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, XRP and Zcash to those who are in need. All money will go directly to people in poor countries, eliminating the need for a middle man.
  • Swiss Bankers Association held a meeting to ensure the facilitation of opening bank accounts for blockchain companies in Switzerland. The lack of regulations and the uncertainty of laws are the cause why Swiss banks evade dealing with blockchain companies. Now thanks to efforts of Heinz Tannler of Zug, it will become easier, attracting more companies to Switzerland.
  • A big venture company, Node Capital, is opening a US branch. It's ready to invest 200,000 Ethers in blockchain startups from the Silicon Valley. Node Capital is pretty big in China, its founder Du Jun co-founded the Huobi exchange in 2013.
  • A group of enthusiasts, led by Jonathan Wheeler, is developing an application, called Azul, that could make the lives of the people of Venezuela a little bit easier. They want to airdrop millions of dollars in Bitcoins to Venezuelan citizens via that app. That app will be using Lightning Network to reduce transactional fees. The team has plans to partner with the Human Rights Foundation and the United Nations. They refused to conduct an ICO and are looking for venture investors now.
  • Facebook partially lifts its ban on cryptocurrencies. Now it will be possible to run ads for services related to crypto, for example, crypto exchanges. Now advertisers will have to complete a sophisticated verification process to be approved to run adsHowever, ICOs and binary options are still banned.
  • Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO of SBI Holdings, the leading Japanese financial group, declared that XRP will be the global standard. SBI holdings has a partnership with Ripple, soon they will list Ripple and some other cryptocurrencies on their platform and will launch their own crypto exchange.
  • In a recent interview, Neil Walsh, head of UN cybercrime department, explained that in his opinion, blockchain technology isn't bad, and it’s counterproductive to fight it. He called the technology beneficial and necessary and said it's better to fight criminals who violate the law. He made a remark that those criminals, who consider themselves anonymous, will be tracked down eventually and brought to justice.
  • A few weeks after EOS mainnet launch Dan Larimer proposes to completely change its constitution, changing the governance model and switching to the common 'code-is-law' paradigm. This change will also remove Article XV, a controversial rule about losing an address in EOS and everything associated with it after 3 years of inactivity in network. However, this new variant of constitution contradicts all previous statements by EOS developers about blockchain governance.


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A Citigroup job ad suggests blockchain initiatives are heating up at the bank

JPMorgan's got JPMCoin. And Goldman Sachs has its "bitcoin" trading desk.  But don't sleep on Citigroup. The New York-based financial services firm appears to be just as deep in the blockchain world as its cross-town rivals — at least according to a recent crypto job ad.  As per a LinkedIn ad for a blockchain role, one unit of the bank — Citi Markets and Securities Services — is working on initiatives across the crypto landscape.  "Citi Markets and Securities Services business is working on a number of Blockchain/ Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Digital Asset initiatives that span asset classes, businesses and regions," the bank notes. The product manager position is no longer accepting applications (sorry hopefuls!).  The ad asserts that the bank has a wide-range of crypto clients, noting:  "We are working with clients, Financial Market Infrastructures (FMIs) (i.e., exchanges, clearing houses, and settlement venues), and FinTech providers. These initiatives have continued to grow and are in various stages of the innovation and deployment funnel. We expect our engagement to continue to expand as Blockchain/DLT technology continues to evolve and will impact our business on multiple fronts." The role would play a "key part" in driving "multiple internal and external engagements," according to Citigroup. Still, a recent report by CoinDesk shows the bank stepped away from one notable crypto project, dubbed Citicoin. The JPMCoin-like project was never announced and was being worked on out of its Ireland offices.
The Block Crypto

Bitcoin [BTC] Futures in good stead against its Spot equivalent: Bitwise Report

Bitcoin [BTC] Futures were thought to be a snippet of the overarching cryptocurrency market, though meager in comparison to the larger spot market. A recent report from Bitwise Asset Management, the crypto-centric investment firm has stated otherwise. In a March 20 report presented to the United States’ Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC], Bitwise analyzed the Chicago Mercantile Exchange [CME], and the Chicago Board Options Exchange, with ten prominent cryptocurrency exchanges’ in terms of their trade volume. Prior to shedding light on their Futures versus Spot findings, it must be noted that the report revealed that 95 percent of the trading volume of unregulated exchanges were seemingly “fake and/or non-economic wash trading”. Taking into account this disparity, the percentage of futures volume to their spot equivalent increases from 1.51 percent to 33.33 percent. Reported Spot volume totaled $6 billion, but after removing the “suspicious exchanges”, the actual volume recorded dropped to $273 million, in comparison to the futures market volume of $91 million. Furthermore, the increase in futures’ volume as a percentage of the spot market has been steadily increasing. From November 2018 to January 2019, the futures market was just over 15 percent, and almost doubled in February 2019 to 33 percent. Since the Futures contracts were approved in December 2017, only on two occasions did the Futures volume, in comparison to the Spot market, shoot above 20 percent; this was in May and August 2018. Futures Volume expressed as a percentage of their Spot Equivalent In terms of their stand-alone trade volume, the CME and the CBOE are in good stead against the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges. The daily volume the CME, which brings in $84.82 million, ranks second behind Binance’s $110.5 million and ahead of Bitfinex, which records $38.06 million in daily trade volume. The CBOE also fairs well, taking the ninth spot on the ladder, ringing in $6.12 million in daily trade volume. Gemini takes the eight spot with $8.11 million and itBit caps off the top-10 with $5.58 million in daily volume. Notable, among the top-12, eight exchanges are registered within the United States. Despite the CBOE’s comparative success against the spot exchanges’, it has not been performing well against its cross-town rival, the CME. This slump forced the CBOE to delist their Bitcoin Futures [XBT] for March 2019. However, the XBT futures that are yet to expire later in the year will not be off-loaded prematurely. Bitwise also points out that the CME Futures Price tracks the Global Spot Price based on an arbitrage model. Given below is a chart attesting the same: Arbitrage between the CME Futures price and the global Spot price The post Bitcoin [BTC] Futures in good stead against its Spot equivalent: Bitwise Report appeared first on AMBCrypto.

How Blockchain Can Democratize AI Development

Data Access for AI: An Under-Explored Use for BlockchainThere is a vast amount of computing power around the world that is not used efficiently. There are an estimated 4 billion personal computers in the world and 90% of them have free capacities at any given moment. This is to say nothing of the idle capacities of other personal devices, like smartphones and tablets. In effect, this excess computing power is wasted.Lots of startups are trying to use blockchain technology to take advantage of this inefficiency to meet different economic needs. The blockchain is exciting in this context because it provides an infrastructure for distributed computing power, while at the same time providing an incentive for individuals to link their idle devices to the network.Many of the startups I’ve come across are focused on providing web hosting and/or data storage solutions via blockchain. However, the use case I think is the most exciting involves artificial intelligence or “AI”.Democratizing AIThe idea of applying the blockchain to artificial intelligence is attracting a lot of attention. Similar to the goal of distributed data storage and web hosting, some experts argue the blockchain could encourage a broader distribution of the data and algorithms that will determine the future development of artificial intelligence.However, many artificial intelligence experts are concerned that IBM, Facebook, Google and a few other big companies are monopolizing all the talent in the field. These giant corporations also control the massive silos of digital data necessary to create and refine the best machine learning programs. Many argue there is a need to democratize data if A.I. is to develop in a direction to benefit all of humanity.This is where blockchain technology comes in.At the most basic level, just as the blockchain allows money to be transacted between private parties without a bank or central authority in the middle. Artificial intelligence experts are hoping blockchain technology can allow artificial intelligence networks to access large stores of data and computing power without a large company or other centralized entity in control.Browser-Enabled AI CalculationsSeveral start-ups are setting up blockchain-based marketplaces, where people can buy and sell data. The goal, says one expert, is to “decentralize access to data before it’s too late.” I’ve encountered multiple projects looking to accelerate artificial intelligence development in this way. Serious entrepreneurs with impressive academic credentials are behind several of them (e.g. Skynet and Kaasy).In this article, I want to focus on Hadron. Hadron is creating a marketplace to harness otherwise unused and wasted computing power to solve real-life problems with artificial intelligence. Specifically, Hadron processes and categorizes images and sounds in ways that can be tailored to various uses, such as face detection and image classification. Users who link their devices to the Hadron network perform a piece of this work and in return, they get rewarded in Hadron tokens.The Demand for AI ComputationHadron gets its supply of artificial intelligence. tasks from the marketplace it creates, which enables people looking to processes and categorizes images to put in a bid for the task. Hadron assigns the tasks to devices linked to its network and pays out a percentage of the bid proportional to demand. The demand refers to the number of artificial intelligence tasks in the marketplace and supply refers to the number of linked devices. Together these determine the price of computations on Hadron’s platform. For example, if the demand for computation is high, the bid prices will be higher. If the demand is low, the bid prices will be lower.Centralized vs Distributed AI ComputingIn contrast to centralized artificial intelligence computing, Hadron’s distributed computing model has several advantages. The most notable is that scaling the computational resources based on demand is easy. When the demand for computation increases, the price increases, which provides an incentive for existing and new users to link their devices to Hadron.Hadron recently announced it will be the first dService launched by Aikon, which is a blockchain-enabled API marketplace. This will let anyone use Hadron’s new “Computer Vision API” to recognize and categorize any image.ConclusionWhile still very much in its early days, blockchain technology seems to hold much promise for accelerating artificial intelligence development. More than merely accelerating this development, however, blockchain also provides a decentralized infrastructure that can side-step corporate and government controlled data siloing while also ensuring that the value created through artificial intelligence can be shared in a democratic way.Subscribe to my channels Medium and Twitter if you like my articles and want to learn more about blockchain and cryptocurrency projects. If you have any questions about this article, please comment in the section below. Thank you!How Blockchain Can Democratize AI Development was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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