Friday, February 23, 2018

Particl’s Security Prevents Meltdown / Spectre From Affecting Proof-of-Stake Blockchain


Earlier this year, nearly every device with an Intel CPU was affected by the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. The two vulnerabilities allowed hackers and malicious actors to steal passwords and sensitive information from devices, by accessing the memory and secrets of programs on the operating system of devices.

Meltdown, easier to exploit than Spectre, breaks the basic isolation between user applications and the operating system of devices, leaving memory and private data vulnerable to attacks. Spectre, more difficult to exploit but also harder to detect, allows malicious actors to trick error-free programs to leak secrets, leading sensitive data to be released.

In January, Oleg Andreev, the protocol architect at blockchain company Chain, stated that proof-of-stake (PoS) is an "incompetent" idea because when major vulnerabilities like Meltdown and Spectre are exploited, private keys stored locally in memory are retrievable. When private keys are lost, attackers can easily reallocate massive amounts of funds, getting ahold of the stake and obtaining the ability to attack the PoS blockchain.

"Meltdown/Spectre is why Proof-of-Stake is an incompetent idea: PoS authors ask for an unforgivable amount of money to sit in the online wallets that actively generate signatures," said Andreev.

Last month, almost immediately after Meltdown / Spectre were discovered and utilized to exploit devices, Particl introduced its Cold Staking safeguards, that prevent locally stored private keys of being vulnerable to attacks.

"Particl Cold Staking safeguards your wallet's private keys, and thus your PART, by using a script (contract) between an online staking node and an offline wallet. Both wallets have unique private keys, meaning that if/when the online staking node is exploited by Meltdown/Spectre with a memory leak only the private keys of the node are stolen. If setup properly, the staking node should have 0 PART — thereby eliminating the threat of theft and protecting the PART in your wallet kept offline and secure," explained the Particl development team.

If Particl Cold Staking safeguards are activated and integrated, even when Meltdown / Spectre exploits successfully leave the operating system of devices vulnerable to attacks and the private key from memory is obtained, attackers cannot steal or reallocate funds because staking nodes carry a 0 PART balance. Which means, even if hackers gain access to the locally stored private keys, funds cannot be stolen and remain safe.

"If the Meltdown/Spectre exploit is used on a machine running a Particl Staking Node an attacker could retrieve the private key from memory but it would be of no use since staking nodes typically carry a 0 PART balance," the Particl development team added.

The Particl Cold Staking also prevents quantum computer attacks, disallowing attackers with a quantum computer to obtain a private key from a public key, due to the integration of multiple quantum-resistant one-way hash functions.

Conclusively, the security in Particl prevent two major attacks in Meltdown / Spectre and quantum computer attacks from affecting a PoS blockchain.

Turkish Minister Proposes National Cryptocurrency


The deputy chair of Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu, has written a 22-page report seeking to highlight the regulatory vacuum that presently exists in Turkey pertaining to cryptocurrencies. The report also makes a number of policy recommendations for the development of a regulatory framework for virtual currencies, including advocating that Turkey develop a national cryptocurrency.

MHP Chair Authors Cryptocurrency Report
Turkish Minister Proposes National Cryptocurrency
Minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu
The MHP deputy chair and former Industry Minister, Mr. Tanrikulu, has written a detailed report seeking to encourage Turkish lawmakers to develop a regulatory apparatus for cryptocurrencies.

In recent history, the Turkish government has struck a dismissive regarding cryptocurrencies, describing such as akin to a Ponzi scheme and warning prospective investors against seeking exposure to the virtual currency markets. Mr. Tanrikulu is concerned that Turkey is failing to embrace the revolutionary technology, telling media outlet Al-Monitor that "The world is advancing toward a new digital system. Turkey should create its own digital system and currency before it's too late."

The minister asserted that cryptocurrency adoption is growing among Turkish citizens despite the country's current legal vacuum regarding virtual currencies. "The need for regulation is obvious," Mr. Tanrikulu stated, adding that "the use of those currencies in illegal activities must be prevented."

Minister Advocates Development of National Currency "Turkcoin"
Turkish Minister Proposes National CryptocurrencyMr. Tanrikulu makes a number of policy recommendations aimed at strengthening both the competitiveness of Turkey's distributed ledger technology sector and the government's regulatory capabilities regarding cryptocurrencies. "We need to create the infrastructure for the blockchain database. There are nearly 1,400 digital currencies in the world today and many countries are using them […] Opposing those currencies is meaningless. This is a national issue which requires a national consensus," Mr. Tanrikulu said.

The minister also advocated that Turkey develop a state-administered virtual currency. Mr. Tanrikulu stated "We, too, can create a digital currency, based on companies in the Wealth Fund. Since the demand exists, we should create and release our own digital currency."

Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Simsek, also recently indicated that the country may be making preparations for the development of a national cryptocurrency. In an interview with CNN earlier this month, Mr. Simske stated "We are planning to start our own work on digital currencies. We place high importance on digitalization."

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Lisk Price Retakes $23.5 Level With Solid Gains Over Bitcoin


As all cryptocurrency markets show a sign of life again, things are looking pretty good all across the board. So far, the Lisk price has seen some positive changes over the past week. Even though there was a big dip along the way, the overall trend seems to be intact right now. With the current Lisk price of $23.83, things are looking rather interesting for this particular altcoin. Maintaining a positive trend will prove to be difficult in the long run, though.

It is quite interesting to see how things evolve in the world of cryptocurrencies. More specifically, we have seen several weeks of negative pressure, but things are certainly heading in the right direction once again. Even the Lisk price is noting some solid gains, as this particular altcoin has been on the rise for quite some time now. With a solid 16.83% gain over the past 24 hours, the Lisk price is making up a lot of lost ground in quick succession. All of this is achieved despite a rather low trading volume, though.

While the current Lisk price momentum appears to be positive, the past week has been subject to a massive dip as well. A few days ago, the LSK price went from $23.5 all the way to $12 in quick succession. Considering how Bitcoin and other currencies saw losses of up to 45% during this time, that is no big surprise whatsoever. In fact, the Lisk price lost nearly 50% of its value as well, indicating the currency is just following the general trend of major cryptocurrencies right now.

With a solid 16.83% gain in USD value and a 13.56% increase in the LSK/BTC ratio over the past 24 hours, things are looking pretty good for Lisk right now. While this results in solid Lisk price gains as of right now, it is certainly possible the momentum will turn against most cryptocurrencies again in the near future. With such strong gains in just 24 hours, it seems a small correction will become apparent in the coming weeks hours and days.

One thing to keep in mind is how Lisk has virtually no trading volume to speak of. Although $78.21m in 24-hour trading volume is not all that bad, it is a rather disappointing number first and foremost. Especially given the current Lisk price, one would expect there to be an even bigger interest in LSK, things are not adding up by the look of things. It is possible we will see a bigger interest in Lisk over the next few days, especially if this Lisk price trend continues at this rate.

Most of the Lisk trading volume comes from Upbit, which is quickly becoming the go-to exchange for most altcoins right now. Bittrex is in second place, with a marginal difference compared to both Upbit and CoinEgg in third place. It is good to see the current volume being spread out a bit across multiple trading platforms. Binance is barely in the top five right now and they value Lisk nearly three dollars lower. An interesting trend well worth keeping an eye on.

For the time being, it remains unclear what the future will hold for the Lisk price. So far, the uptrend is in place, but the cryptocurrency markets remain extremely volatile first and foremost. It is evident interesting things are bound to happen in the next few hours and days, but no one knows for sure if it will be a positive or negative outcome. Always take profits whenever the opportunity arises, as any gains can be wiped out extremely quickly in this industry.

Bitcoin Cash Markets Recover — While Infrastructure Support Increases


This past week bitcoin cash (BCH) markets have been suffering from the bearish sentiment plaguing cryptocurrencies across the board. On February 6 the price of BCH reached a low of $740 per coin but has since bounced back to the $950-1,050 region on Bitstamp Tuesday evening.

Bitcoin Cash Markets Begin to See Recovery Ahead
This week bitcoin cash markets took a hit as BCH had lost roughly $588 USD (-39%) in value over the past seven days. At the moment the price has rebounded and is coasting along at just between the $950-1,050 zone after bouncing back much of Wednesday's trading sessions. BCH trade volume has been averaging roughly $650 million to $1 billion over the past week. Exchanges swapping the most bitcoin cash today include Okex, Bitfinex, Hitbtc, GDAX, and Huobi. Currently, the top currencies traded with bitcoin cash include BTC (57%), USD (21%), tether (USDT 11%), the Korean won (4%), and the euro (2%).

On February 7, 2018, the price of bitcoin cash is hovering around $1,020 at the time of publication.
New Localbitcoincash Features, Openbazaar Integration, and a Bitcoin Cash SMS Application  
Bitcoin Cash Markets Recover — While Infrastructure Support Increases
Cointext screenshot.
Even though markets were down this past week, the bitcoin cash community got a bunch of infrastructure support and new applications. For instance, everyone in the BCH community is talking about a new app called Cointext which aims to create the ability to send bitcoin cash through text (SMS). According to the creators, all texts are on-chain transactions like the tipping platform Chaintip. However, with the platform being so new, some BCH supporters are skeptical of this project being secure when used via text messages.

Another interesting BCH feature announced this week came from the Localbitcoincash exchange which announced it had added skycoin and smartcash services to the platform. The implementation features no fees to these types of trades, explains the exchange developers. "No fee exchange is exactly what it is, it's totally free, and you can keep exchanging the different cryptocurrencies supported by our platform, and there are no trading fees involved," Localbitcoincash reveals on February 7.

Openbazaar integrates bitcoin cash, and zcash this past week.
Just recently the decentralized cryptocurrency infused marketplace Openbazaar integrated bitcoin cash and zcash into the latest 2.1.0 version.

"This release is the first step towards allowing more options for cryptocurrencies in Openbazaar — It includes native support for nodes using one cryptocurrency at a time, bitcoin, bitcoin cash, or zcash," explains the Openbazaar developers.

The AcceptBitcoin.Cash website has added an adult section to the portal.
Another addition to the BCH infrastructure is the AcceptBitcoin.Cash website has added an adult section to the portal. The developers of the website believe there is a demand for adult merchants to start accepting bitcoin cash. Further, the team said it has seen over 70 submissions since it implemented a request form, and the team added nearly every single merchant to the site in under three weeks of usage.

BCH Supporters Remain Optimistic
In other news this week a fake bitcoin cash token was created on the Omni layer chain. According to reports, the Omni chain's ability to generate asset tokens was used to create a misleading BCH token. BCH supporters think the token was created to cause confusion while adding to the growing list of scammy snapshot forks that have come into existence over the past few months.

Overall the BCH community is in high spirits even with the past few weeks of bearish market sentiment. The protocol continues to get support nearly every day from exchanges, wallets, and merchants. Bitcoin cash markets are also starting to gather steam again alongside the rest of the cryptocurrencies who got hammered this past weekend.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Wolf Of Wall Street Says Bitcoin Could Hit $50K Before Crashing


Jordan Belfort, known colloquially as the "Wolf of Wall Street", has yet again cast doubt on Bitcoin, this time in a video interview with entrepreneur Patrick Bet-David, posted on Bet-David's Facebook Jan. 31.

Belfort told Bet-David that he doesn't believe Bitcoin (BTC) itself is a scam, referring to it as the creation of "financial anarchists". He does think, however, that the way the cryptocurrency was built is a "perfect storm for manipulation".

Belfort believes that the rising price of BTC can be attributed to wild speculation because of what he sees as improper use of the cryptocurrency:

"Something [BTC] was designed to be used as a currency, and it's being used as an investment vehicle [...] As a currency, Bitcoin is no more useful at $20,000 or $100."

Belfort spoke negatively about the potential for manipulating crypto markets due to the thinness of the market, specifically referencing the case of Olaf Carlson-Wee, an early adopter of BTC who was paid in crypto when working at Coinbase in 2013.

According to Belfort, Carlson-Wee sold all of his Bitcoin, bought Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and then gave a televised interview saying that BTC was dead and that Bitcoin Cash was the future, causing its price to skyrocket.

CT could not confirm that Carlson-Wee ever mentioned dumping all of his BTC for BCH, although he did give an interview to CNBC about Ethereum that some Reddit users misconstrued as Carlson-Wee moving all his holdings to Ether.

Belfort predicts that while Bitcoin is, in his words, a "wolf in sheep's clothing,"  it also "might go to $50,000" before what he is certain will be its eventual fall to zero.

In September 2017, Belfort had said that Bitcoin was problematic because of the potential ease for hackers to steal virtual currency. In October, he commented that ICOs were the "biggest scams ever".

Belfort told Bet-David he had invested "not a penny" in cryptocurrency.

The Cryptocurrency Markets Are Having an Interesting Week


The crypto markets have been having an interesting week to put it mildly. Seas of red and deep cuts have had the vultures circling, the weak hands folding, and the naysayers expending their lifetime's allocation of "I told you so's". While the last two weeks have been painful for anyone who bought bitcoin in December or ripple in January, they've been welcomed by many as "a necessary correction" and an opportunity to pick up cheap coins.

Flash Sale for a Limited Time Only
At times of sudden upward or downward movements, market psychology is fascinating to watch. The giddy highs of December, when crypto traders found themselves stupidly rich and refreshing their portfolio apps in disbelief, feel like a lifetime ago. Only three weeks ago CNBC were shilling $3 ripple and a token designed for the global dental industry had a billion dollar market cap. Something had to give, and when it did, it was inevitable which coins would bear the brunt of the collapse.

It's bitcoin which has attracted the apocalyptic headlines though. As the market leader and the "face" of cryptocurrency, it earns the praise in good times and bears the scorn in bad times. And right now, for many crypto investors, it is the worst of times. For those with short memories and shallow pockets, the past week has taken its toll, both financially and emotionally. But for crypto believers who got in before 2017's peak mania, the current cycle is nothing to be alarmed at.

For one thing, they got into crypto before it was all about money, and thus don't measure its success by its dollar value. And for another, they've seen it all before and know not to confuse current pain with terminal illness. The crypto markets will bounce back, and when they do, the recovery will likely be strong and sudden. Quite when that feat occurs though is anyone's guess. When mass panic sets in, TA and FA go out the window and emotions reign supreme.

Iron Hands Show Their Might
Just as times of oppression spawn the best protest music, art, and culture, bear markets spawn the best memes. Morbid humor has been in plentiful supply on crypto trading forums of late complete with the obligatory "pink wojak" reaction images and talk of seeking new employment. While jokes about burger flipping remain little more than that at this stage, the Lambo dreams have been put on hold for now. "I unironically sent an email to my ex manager this morning," confessed one forum user. "I feel like a total idiot and she didn't respond yet". Crypto Feels, which displays a scrolling page of red markets against a sombre orchestral soundtrack, is beautiful in its bleakness at times like these.

It's hard to find a capable performer in the cryptocurrency market right now. Even ETH, which had weathered the worst of the storm this week, has succumbed to the red tidal wave, dropping 30% in the past 24 hours. The less said about ripple (-40%), the better. Sites such as Coincodex chart the market movements in real time and for anyone who's all in altcoins, it's not a pretty sight. For those watching from the sidelines – either because they've yet to buy in or because they've long since switched to tethers – the slump is an extremely comfortable one to observe.

Speaking of tethers, they're by no means the only cause of the market capitulation and may not even be a major cause (the truth is no one knows). It would be fair to say that the lingering uncertainty surrounding the solvency of Tether and the U.S. subpoena of its records aren't helping. While some people have praised pseudonymous critic Bitfinexed, who first shone a spotlight on the company, others are deeply critical.

Tethering for Dear Life
The Cryptocurrency Markets Are Having an Interesting WeekIt has been speculated that Bitfinex and Tether may be solvent but may also be engaged in dubious financial practises due to banking issues or other reasons. The companies aren't headquartered in the U.S., so can't be shut down by U.S. regulators, but exchanges such as Kraken and Bittrex, which are reliant on tethers, are within their reach. It has also been speculated that events as diverse as a regulatory "raid" on Coincheck's Japanese HQ and the Chinese New Year are to blame for the tumbling markets.

For all the hysteria, schadenfreude, and obligatory FUD, it is worth noting that the cryptocurrency markets, currently valued at around $350 billion, were worth just $200 billion as recently as November. What goes up must come down, and when the capitulation gives way to consolidation, iron hands will begin to rebuild and reaccumulate.