Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.

Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.

Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.

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A fifty-nine-year-old Canadian man accused of advising Ross Ulbricht, the creator and operator of the first anonymous free market, Silk Road, has been extradited to the United States from Thailand. Roger Thomas Clark has been charged by federal prosecutors for a number of crimes relating to the operations of Silk Road, including narcotics trafficking, computer hacking conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy.

Also Read: Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

Canadian Extradited From Thailand for Assisting Ross Ulbricht in Operation of Silk Road

Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York has revealed that Roger Thomas Clark has been extradited to the United States and charged with a number of offenses relating to his alleged association with Ross Ulbricht. The United States Department of Justice asserts that “Roger Thomas Clark was a key figure in the development of Silk Road and advised Ross Ulbricht on all aspects of the criminal enterprise.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman elaborated: “Silk Road was a secret online marketplace for illegal drugs, hacking services, and a whole host of other criminal activity. Roger Thomas Clark allegedly served as a trusted confidante to Silk Road founder and operator Ross Ulbricht, advising him on all aspects of this illegal business, including how to maximize profits and use threats of violence to thwart law enforcement. Thanks to the investigative work of our fellow law enforcement agencies and our international partners, Clark now faces justice in an American court.”

Mr. Clark Helped Develop Fundamental Rules Underpinning Silk Road

Canadian Accused of Assisting Ross Ulbricht Extradited to U.S.The Department of Justice reports that Ross Ulbricht described Mr. Clark as a “true mentor” who provided advice regarding “security vulnerabilities in the Silk Road site, technical infrastructure, management of the Silk Road users, and operating in a manner to attempt to thwart law enforcement.” Mr. Clark went by a number of pseudonyms on Silk Road – “Variety Jones,” “VJ,” “Cimon,” and “Plural of Mongoose.”

Mr. Clark had a hand in developing the rules and processes underpinning the operations of Silk Road, with U.S authorities asserting that “he communicated at length with Ulbricht regarding the rules that governed Silk Road vendors and users, and regarding the promotion of sales on Silk Road, including the sales of narcotics […] and assisted with hiring programmers to help improve the infrastructure of, and maintain, Silk Road.”

Mr. Clark was also reportedly “responsible for gathering information on law enforcement’s efforts to investigate Silk Road,” and “provided advice to Ulbricht on developing a “cover story” to make it appear as though Ulbricht had sold Silk Road.”

Mr. Clark Could Face Heavy Sentencing

If convicted, the fifty-nine-year-old faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison, among other charges. Mr. Clark was reportedly paid “at least hundreds of thousands of dollars for his role in operating Silk Road.”

Homeland Security Investigations special agent-in-charge, Angel M. Melendez, stated that “The extradition of this man today should be a reminder to those who think they can hide within the confines of the dark web, that you are never out of reach of the long arm of the law. These investigations are important in combating the illicit drug market and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to fight this fight.”

Do you think we will continue to see the arrests of high profile figures linked to Silk Road for years to come? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Mining Consumes Half as Much Power as BECI Estimates – Coinshares

Mining Consumes Half as Much Power as BECI Estimates – Coinshares

Mining Consumes Half as Much Power as BECI Estimates - Coinshares

Mining

Embellished estimates as to the total electricity consumed through bitcoin mining have again made the rounds in the media recently, with many stories claiming that energy consumed by mining annually is comparable to that which is consumed by the entire nation of Ireland. Said stories appear to have been triggered by research published by Alex de Vries citing Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index (BECI) – an index that critics have approximated to overestimate the power consumed through bitcoin mining by more than 115%. Refuting estimates based upon the BECI index, Coinshares has published a report claiming that the mining industry consumes approximately 35 terawatt hour (tw/h) worth of power each year – a 50% reduction from estimates based upon BECI.

Also Read: ”Ludicrous” – Analysts Debate How Much Power Is Consumed per Bitcoin Transaction

Exaggerated Reports Claim BTC Mining Consumes As Much Electricity as Ireland

Mining Consumes Half as Much Power as BECI Estimates - CoinsharesA report into the energy consumed by the bitcoin mining network by Alex de Vries, the founder of the Digiconomist blog, has inspired a recent barrage of reports claiming that bitcoin mining consumes as much electricity as the entire nation of Ireland.

Receiving less attention, however, have been the criticisms of the assumptions underpinning Digiconomist’s BECI. Mr. de Vries himself has acknowledged that “We’ve seen a lot of back-of-the-envelope calculations, but we need more scientific discussion on where this network is headed. Right now, the information available is pretty poor quality overall, so I’m hoping that people will use this paper as a foundation for more research.”

Coinshares Study Estimates Mining to be Half as Energy Intensive

Mining Consumes Half as Much Power as BECI Estimates - CoinsharesA report published by Coinshares has found that the total energy consumption of bitcoin mining to be 35 tw/h, or roughly half of that produced by Mr. de Vries’ study based on Digiconomist’s BECI.

The head of Coinshares Research and co-author of the report, Christopher Bendiksen, states “The argument has long gone that the carbon footprint of mining is antithetical to the world’s environmental needs. Many miners we’ve spoken to have objected to the data used by Digiconomist; although they don’t make their methodology clear, it appears that they have taken a bottom-up approach by assuming a small pool of miners is representative of the community.”

Of BECI, the report states “Our findings strictly contradict both of these figures and we believe that they rest on incorrect assumptions resulting from inadequate research.”

BTC Mining “Mainly Powered by Renewable Energy”

Mining Consumes Half as Much Power as BECI Estimates - CoinsharesThe report finds that the bitcoin mining industry to be primarily fuelled by renewable energy sources, particularly hydropower.

“Overall, we find that contrary to previously reported assumptions, bitcoin mining is largely driven on cheap renewable energy, dominated by hydro, with the limited permanent use of, and some seasonal migrations to, coal-based generation in certain areas of China only representing a small part of the network’s total electricity demand.”

“China has huge excess electricity generation capacity locked up in hydropower stations in the south and southwestern provinces,” the report adds.

Do you mine for cryptocurrency using renewable energy? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinshares.co.uk


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Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

Market Updates

Cryptocurrency markets are steadily coasting along after suffering from some volatile low swings last week. Over the past 24 hours, most cryptocurrencies are still in the red nurturing losses between 1-3 percent, and a few are in the green by a few percentages. At the time of publication, the price of bitcoin cash (BCH) is hovering around $850 per coin. Meanwhile, bitcoin core values are meandering just above the $6,500 region.

Also read: William Shatner Joins Bitcoin Mining Project, Admits He Doesn’t Quite Get It

SEC Announcement Adds Second Wind Into the Cryptocurrency Market Sails

Since last week’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ cryptocurrency market have seen some slight recovery but not by much. Markets were dropping pretty low up until the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revealed cryptocurrencies that are decentralized are not securities. After the SEC’s head of the Division of Corporate Finance, William Hinman, made these statements digital asset markets saw a small rally and this push has kept markets from drawing lower, at least for a short period of time. The overall market valuation for all 1600+ cryptocurrencies is currently worth around $280Bn USD and 24-hour trade volume for the entire lot of digital currencies is $10.8Bn.

BCH Market Action

Bitcoin cash markets have steadily held above the $840 – $855 region over the past few hours with around $303Mn in 24-hour trade volume. Just like before last week’s dump, trade volume is pretty flat and action has simmered down over the past day. The top exchanges swapping the most BCH today are Okex, Exx, Hitbtc, and Bitz. Bitcoin core (BTC) currently represents 48.8 percent of the trades swapped with BCH today. This is followed by tether (USDT 28.8%), USD (13%), KRW (4%) and ETH (2%). As of this writing, one BCH is equivalent to 0.1309 BTC, and bitcoin cash is the fifth highest trade volume.

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

BCH/USD Technical Indicators

The daily and 4-hour charts on Bitfinex show that BCH bulls have some resistance ahead in order for the markets to progress upwards. The two Simple Moving Averages (SMA) on the 4-hour BCH/USD chart show the short-term 100 SMA is above the long-term 200 trendline.

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

The two SMAs recently crossed hairs and this indicates a move to the upside could be in the cards. Both the Relative Strength Index (RSI) oscillator (54) and the MACd show deep consolidation and a touch of uncertainty. Looking at order books shows BCH bulls have some solid resistance past the $870 mark and some more between $900 – $950. On the backside, stronger foundations have been built up over the past few days and BCH bears will see some pit stops around $825 and $775.

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

BTC Market Action

As mentioned above, bitcoin core markets have been hovering just above the $6,500 territory for most of today’s trading sessions. Trade volume over the past 24 hours for BTC is around $3.1Bn and the overall market capitalization today is $111Bn. The top five exchanges by BTC trade volume on June 16 are Bitfinex, Coinbase, Bitstamp, Kraken, and Neraex. The Japanese yen today is dominating BTC trades today by over 71 percent. This is followed by tether (USDT 14.3%), USD (9.1%), KRW (1.6%), and the EUR (1.3%). Currently, BTC dominance amongst all the other markets is 39.9 percent.

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

BTC/USD Technical Indicators

4-hour and daily charts for GDAX and Bitstamp’s BTC/USD markets show quite a bit of consolidation as well. We can see from this chart that the two SMAs have also crossed paths with the 100 SMA just above the 200 SMA trendline. This indicates the path of least resistance will be towards the upside, but much like the BCH/USD 4-hour chart the gap is small, and the two could easily cross again.

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

RSI levels are the same as well (52) and the MACd looks to be heading southbound soon. The current resistance zone for BTC bulls is between $6650 and $6775 (20 and 50 MA) at press time. On the back side, bears will meet resistance between 6400 and 6200 and significant foundational buy support beyond that. If things were to go into the sub-$6K region, the $5K region will likely hold for a very long time. However, at any time between this vantage point and that theoretical region, we could see a strong impulse leg upward.

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

The Top Cryptocurrency Markets

On Saturday, June 16 the second highest valued market held by ethereum (ETH) is up 1.7 percent and one ETH is averaging around $500. Ethereum values over the last seven days are down 14 percent. Ripple XRP markets are down 0.4 percent over the last 24-hours and down 18 percent during the course of the week. One XRP is trading for $0.53 cents per token. The fifth largest market, EOS, is up 0.12 percent and down 23 percent over the last seven days. The EOS token is trading for $10.67 and the currency holds the fourth highest trade volumes today.

Markets Update: SEC Adds a Brief Market Spike — But Will It Last?

The Verdict: Skepticism Remains Strong

The verdict this weekend still leans towards the bearish side taking into consideration the current charts, but mostly, market volumes have been considerably low. The SEC news helped add some positivity to an otherwise extremely gloomy week as far as markets were concerned. Traders are likely to remain skeptical for the time being until some bullish signals appear. The good news is markets have found support once again but where it will take us from here is hard to say.

Where do you see the price of BCH, BTC, and other coins headed from here? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”


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Dutch AFM on Licensing Requirements for Institutions Invested in Crypto

Dutch AFM on Licensing Requirements for Institutions Invested in Crypto

Dutch AFM on Licensing Requirements for Institutions Invested in Crypto

Regulation

The Dutch financial regulator, The Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM) has published a letter addressed to new and currently existing institutions invested in cryptocurrencies. The letter seeks to inform that certain cryptocurrency investment activities may require licensing from the AFM, however, expresses “serious doubts” as to “whether managers of investment institutions in cryptos can meet the requirements for licensing.”

Also Read: Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain’s Official Account

Dutch Financial Regulator Issues Letter to Investment Institutions Operating With Cryptocurrencies

Dutch AFM on Licensing Requirements for Institutions Invested in CryptoThe letter seeks to address individuals seeking to apply as an administrator of an investment institution in cryptos, in addition to “existing […] administrator[s] of an investment institution active in cryptos, or [individuals] planning an investment institution to manage cryptos.”

The AFM states that it is placing the “heavy requirements” on institutions investing in cryptocurrencies due to “strong concern[s]” as to whether managers of investment institutions who invest in cryptos are able to meet the full licensing requirements. The AFM’s concerns principally regard “the sharp increase in interest in new market parties to provide these services in combination with the usually limited knowledge about applicable regulations,” which generally results in “ignorance” as to how to meet “supervisory standards in practice.”

The AFM also requests that investment institution inform the agency regarding “any desired expansion of [cryptocurrency] product offering[s]” well in advance of providing such.

Licensing Requirements for Dutch Investment Institutions

Dutch AFM on Licensing Requirements for Institutions Invested in CryptoThe AFM to clarify what circumstances in which the administrator for an investment institution will be required to seek licensing from the regulator. The letter states that the “threshold value for an administrator of (an) open-end investment institution (s) [is] €100 million [approximately $1,162 million USD].”

“An administrator of an investment institution must obtain a number of important licenses to [meet] licens[ing] requirements,” the AFM continues. “These requirements are intended to include to protect the interests of retail investors and to ensure the proper functioning of retail investors market. No distinction is made between different forms of investing.”

The AFM has “drawn up a number of questions” that administrators of institutions invested in cryptocurrencies will be required to answer in order to apply for the required licensing. Said requirements pertain to the institution’s liquidity management, valuation protocols, the product development process, and storage considerations.

What is your response to the AFM’s new licensing apparatus for institutions invested in cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, www.afm.nl


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Bitgrail Bitcoin Assets Taken by Italian Government, Victims Still Fuming

Bitgrail Bitcoin Assets Taken by Italian Government, Victims Still Fuming

Bitgrail Bitcoin Assets Taken by Italian Government, Victims Still Fuming

News

Embattled cryptocurrency exchange, Bitgrail, announced ongoing bankruptcy proceedings in Italy have turned full force, as the court seized the exchange’s bitcoin wallets. The ecosystem seems decidedly torn between addressing the fundamental cause, a hack that drained $170 million, and making victims whole.  

Also read: William Shatner Joins Bitcoin Mining Project, Admits He Doesn’t Quite Get It

Italian Court Seizes Bitgrail’s Bitcoin 

“On June 5, 2018, pursuant to the Tribunal of Florence orders,” Bitgrail posted Friday, a full eleven days after, “the Bitcoins contained in the company’s wallets were seized and brought under control of the judicial authorities pending further Court decisions in the pre-bankruptcy proceeding.”

Bitgrail Bitcoin Assets Taken by Italian Government, Victims Still Fuming

Reaction was pretty fierce, if Twitter threads can be believed. @LucChase thundered, “Very bad news to see the court seized the remaining assets. Which idiot thought bringing the courts in could ever be a good move? We need Bitgrail to trade it’s way out of this mess. Now it is a guaranteed loss.” @Bitgrailed struck another note, claiming asset seizure was “Better than in your hands Firano.” @asael2 echoed a popular sentiment, asking, “Somebody know where this criminals live? Local authorities should be notified!” @LookItsLewis put a finer point on the affair, “Wow … and so everyone who predicted all of your funds would disappear and you’d shut down were correct. You should have let everyone withdraw their currency while there was still time. This is now (as if it wasn’t already) officially your fault.”

Indeed, the Italian court seized assets in what appears to be a foregone conclusion: bankruptcy, determination of findings, and eventual redistribution of what’s left to outstanding creditors and victims.

Nano Soldiers On

Bitgrail has had a tough go of early 2018, and was more or less shuttered as far back as February. At first it seemed to be the result of a Mt. Gox-like hack, totalling 17 million nano (XRB) worth something on the order of $170 million. Francisco Firano, founder of the exchange, announced its insolvency, attributing losses to the development team and their failure to secure the token. For its part, developers put the blame squarely on Bitgrail, arguing “all reliable evidence we have reviewed continues to point to a bug in Bitgrail’s exchange software as the reason for the loss of funds.”

Bitgrail Bitcoin Assets Taken by Italian Government, Victims Still Fuming

The Nano Foundation, an advocacy group charging to recover funds, made the above statement in April. By May, Mr. Firano seemed to be attempting a relaunch of the platform, and some say it was in an effort to make victims whole by offering a new token scheme to fill in gaps of losses. The same day Bitgrail announced its return, it announced it would be unable to launch due to a court injunction.

While the exchange seems to be all but dead, the Nano project soldiers on, releasing three node updates, patches, in as many months.  

What do you think about going to courts for relief in such cases? Let us know in the comments. 


Images via the Pixabay.


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BIS GM Argues New Cryptos Are “the Alchemy of the Age of Innovation”

BIS GM Argues New Cryptos Are “the Alchemy of the Age of Innovation”

BIS GM Argues New Cryptos are

Economics

The Bank of International Settlements (BIS), a transnational institution owned by and comprised of central banks that seeks to “fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks,” recently published its quarterly review of “International banking and financial market developments” for June 2018. The report includes an op-ed written by BIS general manager Agustín Carstens that describes many cryptocurrencies as comprising “get-rich-quick schemes” that “should not be conflated with the sovereign currencies and established payment systems that have stood the test of time.”

Also Read: Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer Viruses

BIS General Manager Critical of New Cryptocurrencies

BIS GM Argues New Cryptos are "the Alchemy of the Age of Innovation"Mr. Carstens’ article opens with a recognition that popular confidence in legacy financial institutions has been undermined by contemporary innovations in communications and technology, such as cryptocurrency, stating that “preserv[ing] trust in financial transactions is a tricky business in our digital age.”

The BIS general manager asserts that “With new cryptocurrencies proliferating, it’s as important to educate the public about good money as it is to build defences against fake news, online identity theft, and Twitter bots.”

“Conjuring up new cryptocurrencies is the latest chapter in a long story of attempts to invent new money, as fortune seekers have tried to make a quick buck,” Mr. Carstens continued. “It has become the alchemy of the age of innovation, with the promise of magically transforming everyday substances (electricity, in this case) into gold (or at least euros).”

“Private Cryptocurrencies Struggle to Earn Public Trust”

Mr. Carstens argues that “What makes currencies credible is trust in the issuing institution, and successful central banks have a proven record of earning this public trust.”

By contrast, the BIS general manager claims that “Many cryptocurrencies are ultimately get-rich schemes” that “should not be conflated with the sovereign currencies and established payment systems that have stood the test of time.”

“The short experience of cryptocurrencies shows that technology, however sophisticated, is a poor substitute for hard-earned trust in sound institutions.”

Central Banks Explore Blockchain Technology

BIS GM Argues New Cryptos are "the Alchemy of the Age of Innovation"Mr. Carstens states that “Currently, central banks around the world are working on systems for retail payments that will allow instant transfers, anytime and anywhere. They are also actively testing the distributed ledger technology underlying cryptocurrencies – not as a substitute for the current system, but to build on it.”

The BIS general manager concludes that “Even in this digital age, trust in the issuing institution matters and will continue to underpin currencies. Central banks, for their part, will have to continue earning that public trust by closely guarding their currency’s value.”

Mr. Carstens added that the BIS would be providing further elaboration regarding its opinions pertaining to cryptocurrency in a “special section” of its annual report on June 17th.

Do you think that cryptocurrency undermines the financial hegemony of central banks? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia


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Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer Viruses

Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer Viruses

Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer Viruses

News

Japanese police from 10 prefectures have arrested website operators using Coinhive to tap into the computer power of their site visitors to mine cryptocurrencies without consent. They are accused of violating the law banning the use of computer viruses. Some people have already been fined. The police have been monitoring the Coinhive program since it was released.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

16 People Caught

The police from 10 prefectures throughout Japan have reportedly caught 16 people using mining programs to mine cryptocurrencies using other people’s personal computers, according to local media. The Japan Times reported the National Police Agency saying:

Sixteen people in Japan have been found to have embedded computer programs on their own websites to use personal computers of viewers for cryptocurrency mining without their consent…These people have been accused of violating the law banning the use of computer viruses.

The Asahi Shimbun elaborated, “Three men were arrested on suspicion of illegal use of what were defined as computer viruses, while 13 other men had their papers sent to prosecutors for the same suspicion.” Previously, news.Bitcoin.com reported that the police were investigating the three people whom they have now arrested.

Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer VirusesAll of the accused operate their own websites which allegedly had programs installed to use visitors’ computers to mine crypto. The 16 are between the ages of 18 and 48. One is a teenager, seven are in their 20s, four are in their 30s, and the remaining four are in their 40s.

Some of them have already been fined ¥100,000 (~US$904), the Japan Times further revealed, noting that “The most money earned among the 16 suspects was the equivalent of about 120,000 yen ($1,100).”

Furthermore, the publication emphasized, “It is the first time in Japan that a person has been accused by police of using another person’s personal computer through a cryptocurrency mining program without approval.”

Police Keeping an Eye on Coinhive

Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer VirusesJapanese police have been monitoring the Coinhive program since it was released in September last year to determine where it has been installed, the publication noted.

Citing that the programs were embedded in adult, music and game websites to mine four cryptocurrencies, including monero and jsecoin, the news outlet wrote:

Of the 16 people, 14 used Coinhive, a program that provides 30 percent of mined cryptocurrencies to the developer and the remaining 70 percent to owners of websites in which the program is embedded.

Hisashi Sonoda, a professor at Konan Law School knowledgeable about cybercrimes, believes that “the sudden arrests may have been somewhat excessive because there are no legal precedents on how to handle the use of such programs,” the Asahi Shimbun conveyed.

What do you think of the Japanese police’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Coinhive.


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Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain’s Official Account

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain’s Official Account

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account

News

This week the Twitter handle @Bitmaintech was locked down because Twitter administrators claimed the account belongs to a 4-year-old. The Twitter handle’s owner and Bitmain’s head of marketing have complained to the social media company’s support team and Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey. The account lockdown marks the second high profile bitcoin-related account that’s been banned from Twitter in just a few months.

Also Read: Study Reveals ASIC Miners Represent 30% of the Equihash Mining Hashrate

The Official Bitmain Tech Twitter Account Has Been Suspended

On June 14 Bitmain Tech’s head of marketing Nishant Sharma tweeted to his followers that the company’s official Twitter account @Bitmaintech had been banned from Twitter. At the moment the Twitter account is completely inaccessible to the public and the Beijing-based company’s active ad campaigns have been paused.   

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account
The official @Bitmaintech Twitter account was locked on June 14, 2018.

Bitmain’s account accumulated thousands of Twitter followers over the past four years and now the account is unable to post or utilize the social media platform in any manner until the case is resolved.          

“The @Bitmaintech account is temporarily inaccessible because apparently, Twitter thinks that the people behind the account are as old as Bitmain i.e. 4 years old,” says Sharma.

It should be back soon (and long before Bitmain turns 13). @Jack help please. Case# 85911059

The Recent @Bitcoin Account Suspension

The account removal comes at an awkward time for the Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, who has been asked to address multiple issues tied to the social media platform. For instance, just recently the @Bitcoin account was banned and the topic was very controversial. The account with over 750,000 followers was initially suspended and then the account was restored with a much lower follower count than it had prior to the ban. Some people accused Dorsey of being biased and showing a conflict of interest towards supporters of the Lightning Network (LN) by allowing the banning of the @Bitcoin account. The reason for this speculation is due to Dorsey’s recent investment into the LN project.

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official AccountCensorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account

 Legitimate Accounts Banned, but ETH Bot Impersonation Thrives

Twitter users within the cryptocurrency industry are also dealing with the vast amounts of scamming ETH bots that have cloned nearly every well-known person in the crypto-community. The ETH bots have managed to scam millions worth of ether because Twitter will not remove the fraudulent accounts impersonating digital currency luminaries. So essentially people are pretty frustrated that Twitter has managed to ban and censor legitimate users like @Bitcoin and @Bitmaintech, while allowing fraudulent scammers to run amuck all over the platform.

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account

The case of Bitmain losing it’s official account, because Twitter admins believe it belongs to a four-year-old, seems absurd, but Twitter has been a whacky place lately, and the company hasn’t been very responsive. The issues with Twitter also follows the recent accusations and admissions stemming from other social media platform CEOs abusing their powers. Back in 2016, the Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted to editing comments on the pro-Donald Trump subreddit, r/the_donald. This year Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has been scrutinized for selling user data to Cambridge Analytica. And now Twitter users are complaining about banned accounts and censorship and many of them are pointing their fingers at Jack.   

What do you think about Bitmain’s Twitter account getting banned because admins believe the account belongs to a four-year-old child? Do you think Jack Dorsey and Twitter have a lot of explaining to do? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Pixabay, Bitmaintech, the Twitter logo, @bitcoin, @bitmaintech, @laurashin 


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Wendy McElroy: Crypto Can Create a “Perfect” Political System

Wendy McElroy: Crypto Can Create a “Perfect” Political System

Crypto Can Create a “Perfect” Political System

News

The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations
Section 3: Decentralization
Chapter 8, Part 6
Crypto Can Create a “Perfect” Political System

The anarchists…work not for a perfect social state, but for a perfect political system. A perfect social state is…totally free from sin or crime or folly; a perfect political system is merely a system in which justice is observed, in which nothing is punished but crime and nobody coerced but the invader.

-Victor Yarros, American anarchist, lawyer, and author

The perfect society is embodied by the institutions that individuals create and through which they function. The same is true of a dystopian society. That’s why institutional analysis is essential to understand how freedom and totalitarianism work. One institution is cryptocurrency, which profoundly affects other institutions of society, and reaches far beyond the financial ones.


What is an Institution?

The Random House dictionary defines an institution as “a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, such as marriage,” voting, or bankruptcy. An institution is any stable and widely-accepted mechanism for achieving goals within society. The term applies to wide-ranging and complex concepts, such as “family,” “the free market,” “common law,” “religion,” and “the state.”

Not all institutions are compatible, however, because some pursue antithetical ends; free-market crypto and the central banking system are a stark example. Crypto is a spontaneous and decentralized empowerment of individuals; the banking system is a centrally-planned and unified expression of government control. As a practical matter, a society often contains the two institutions in uneasy parallel, but their antagonistic goals lead to inevitable conflict. Government will attempt to regulate or ban free-market crypto because, otherwise, the free market will do what it does when left unfettered: prevail.

Modern society is a political war zone: the culture war, a race war, weaponized media, class warfare against the 1%, the drug war, a war for democracy, militarized police, the new Cold War, a war on terrorism… One battle provides a common theme for them all. It is a warfare over the structure and goals of competing institutions. Every social conflict involves a clash of institutions that express different ideologies, including cryptocurrency. Created by anarchists using break through technology, it is at war with governments’ desire to regulate and to own it. Technology versus government. Freedom versus control.

Generally speaking, there are two types of institutions: spontaneous, and designed. An example of a spontaneous institution is the family. In Western culture, at least, no one predetermines who will marry and produce children; those decisions are left to the individuals involved. All spontaneous and non-violent institutions express freedom in how they function. By contrast, an example of a designed institution is the public-school system, which is created by authorities and experts who impose their vision upon children at tax-payer expense.

Not all designed systems are equal, however, and some can also be vehicles of freedom. These are voluntarily-designed free-market systems, such as a car factory or a tuna fish cannery. Factories may impose rigid rules, because producing a specific product requires them, but everyone who “obeys” does so willingly and from self-interest, which usually comes in the form of a paycheck. The pivotal question for a designed institution is whether it is coerced or voluntary. All coercive institutions express government or violence in how they function. Everyone who “obeys” does so without the option of saying “no.”

Free-market cryptocurrency is highly-designed and entirely voluntary. Central banks may offer a veneer of being voluntary–for example, people are not compelled to become customers—but the entire economy is regulated so as to prohibit alternatives that refuse to act as an arm of government. The same arguments are deployed against them as against crypto. Free-market financial institutions are said to be scams for tax evaders and other so-called criminals, such as drug dealers. They defraud honest people, who foolishly trust them with money. The true motivation of suppression is unspoken: alternative financial institutions threat the government’s monopoly on money and commerce. And, so, Institutionalized violence—that is, law enforcement—is used against the competition; it is justified as protection against occasional crime and against the poor judgment of individuals left to decide for themselves. 


What is Institutional Analysis?

Institutional analysis examines the dynamics by which institutions of society express and define laws, customs, and culture. It asks: What is an institution’s purpose, the rules by which it functions, its impact?

Parallel institutions that purport to serve the same purpose are often compared through a process called “comparative institutional analysis.” An example is to compare how the Federal Reserve creates currency with how an alternative system, such as cryptocurrency, does so. A good starting point of analysis is the competing assumptions upon which a centrally-designed institution and a free-market one rest. The first system uses mathematical representations, historical precedent, and market manipulations to produce currency, because it believes an economy can be scientifically engineered by authorities and experts. The second system realizes that human beings are fallible, driven by fluid preferences, by self-interest, and other factors that cannot be predicted, only analyzed in retrospect. Central banking grounds itself in mathematical models, which can be jiggered or false, and in central authority, which can lie or be badly mistaken. Free-market alternatives ground themselves in human behavior that faces the quick feedback of consequences, and which may be unwise, but not false.

Comparative analysis looks at the structures and procedures of competing institutions, which will determine what they produce. It does not consider motivations. In other words, as long as specific procedures are followed, the motivations are irrelevant. A worker in a hat factory may intend to produce wedding gowns. As long as he follows the workplace rules, however, the result will be a hat. A police officer may believe in Murray Rothbard’s free-market-anarchist model of justice, but as long as he follows police procedure, he will enforce laws that punish peaceful behavior. Only by breaking the rules can the hat maker and honest officer achieve their personal goals.

Comparative analysis also considers the differing impact of parallel institutions. For example, what can appear to be the ‘chaotic’ nature of spontaneous institutions provides a huge benefit to society—innovation, which cannot be centrally designed. Its powerhouse is the ability of creative people to adapt to changing circumstances. The adaptation can be lightning-fast, as with crypto, and successful adapters are richly rewarded by fortune that favors the first to arrive. Late arrivers are also rewarded, however, because an innovation will survive only if it provides value.

In 300 BD, the Chinese Taoist philosopher Chuang-tzu wrote, there has been such a thing as letting mankind alone; there has never been such a thing as governing mankind with success. Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone.”

By contrast, centrally-engineered institutions stifle innovation because their structures and procedures resist all feedback, their flaws are embedded and protected. The institutions serve the interests of an elite class, not of individuals or society.


The Institutional Ripple-On Effect of Free-Market Crypto

The effect of crypto on authorized financial institutions is well-known. But such a massive door to freedom does not merely crack open; it bursts all its hinges, and shakes up other institutions of society. To touch upon several, in passing:

Foreign Policy. Food is frequently used as a weapon of foreign policy. A recent article in Free Thought Project describes how blockchain is bypassing the weaponization of food: “Revolutionary Blockchain Tech is Helping Disaster Victims & Feeding the Hungry Without Government.” Crypto allows needy nations and individuals to skirt economic sanctions imposed upon them by the powerful. It makes it more difficult to starve people for political advantage.

Domestic Policy. When Venezuela’s government devalued the Bolivar by removing three zeros from the currency, citizens flocked to the free-market alternative of bitcoin, with which they were already familiar. Crypto rescues businesses; it saves lives; it can topple governments.

The Social Control of ‘Vice’. “Operation Chokepoint” was an Obama-era banking policy that attacked allegedly undesirable but legal businesses, such as selling medical marijuana. The banking system closed accounts, canceled credit cards, and refused all services to miscreant customers. The practice is being revived. Banks are targeting marijuana outlets, sex workers (legal or not), and gun businesses. Increasingly, these sellers are turning to crypto to sustain their livelihoods.

Protection of Free Speech. After circulating documents that embarrassed governments, Wikileaks faced a banking blockade that killed its access to donations, which were its life-blood. Wikileaks opened donations to bitcoin, and wealth poured in. Censorship was sidestepped.

The Free Flow of Information. Intellectual property (IP) prosecutions are usually based on following the money and uncovering the individual at the other end. Since crypto can be close to anonymous, that strategy is gutted. For those who reject the validity of IP, as I do, this is an amazing ‘good’ for the global flow of information.

Immigration Policy. Immigration and temporary migration are often based on the possibility of sending money back home. But migrants are often “unbanked” or pay huge fees to do so, with their families waiting days for the transfers. Trump has threatened to cut off this incentive for migration by closing down channels of transmission. Fast, cheap transfers of crypto will be incredibly difficult to control.

The Strangle-Hold of Lawyers and Courts. Smart contracts are legally binding agreements that use software to execute themselves. Smart contracts are on the path to becoming ubiquitous, from real estate deals to insurance claims, which dramatically reduces the need for lawyers.

The Autonomy of the Family. Inheritance taxes are heinous because they are double taxation; family wealth that has already been taxed is relooted by governments. Crypto can invisibly divide assets among loved ones.


Conclusion

The preceding is a passing taste of how profoundly cryptocurrencies are redefining the institutions of society.

To grasp the scope of the institutional revolution, however, it is necessary to focus contrast more intensely on the two fundamental human institutions. In his classic work, the German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer identified one of them in his book The State (1914). The other is Society.

[To be continued next week.]

Reprints of this article should credit bitcoin.com and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters


Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Bitcoin.com. Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.

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Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and Conservationists

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and Conservationists

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and Conservationists

The Daily

Today’s Bitcoin in Brief features several examples of digital coins entering all spheres of life. A leading German auto manufacturer has revealed its cars may soon be fitted with onboard cryptocurrency wallets. A company now offers crypto payments for inmates in prisons across America. And in South Africa, a new token will support rhino conservationists, while fighting poachers.  

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief: Halting 51% Attacks and Where Now for Ripple?

VW Teams with IOTA to Offer Crypto Wallets in Cars

It’s a trademark of the Cebit expo in Hanover to entertain visitors with ingenious ideas on how to further digitize our world. The crypto ecosphere has become a new source of inspiration for designers and engineers. One of this year’s surprises: German auto manufacturer Volkswagen has revealed a concept model equipped with a cryptocurrency wallet. The car can pay for its carwash and fill up its tank without the driver moving a finger.

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and Conservationists

The “Cryptocurrency for the Internet of Things,” IOTA will be embedded in new cars developed by VW. The European automotive giant has announced it wants to integrate crypto technology in its upcoming products. Distributed ledger will be used to handle, store and transfer data between the motor vehicles and their producer, and an IOTA wallet may also be incorporated to facilitate contactless payments using the MIOTA tokens.

The cooperation between IOTA and Volkswagen is based on the Proof-of-Concept of IOTA’s Tangle system for autonomous cars. Tangle can transfer software updates and will be interconnected with Volkswagen’s own smart system “Connected Cars”. Each automobile will receive its own, unique Car ID that will be checked by IOTA’s Tangle. The integration of the wallet software is an option that can be added as well.

Cellblocks Introduces Crypto Transactions in Prisons

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and ConservationistsA new digital payment system aims to address some of the issues with monetary systems currently used in US prisons and correctional facilities, like high fees charged by third-party financial institutions, limited access to funds, and waiting times.

Cellblocks, a cryptocurrency designed to be used by inmates, offers a solution that will put money directly into their hands, its creators promise. They say the system provides a fast, efficient, and secure way for families and prisoners to exchange funds.

Inmates will be able to use the cryptocurrency through kiosks that will be installed in the prisons as part of the project. This will allow them to spend their coins in the prison commissary, cover court costs and fees, pay other inmates, and receive money from friends and family. Each user will have a digital wallet to store their funds. Transactions will be made in real time and at minimal fees, the company said in a press release.

The new crypto payment system offers several other benefits over the traditional systems. For example, outside parties won’t be able to withdraw money without the inmate’s consent. Wages and other funds can be easily deposited in wallets through any digital access point, such as a laptop or a smartphone. Wallet holders will have total control over their funds at all times. Last but not least, the cryptocurrency can be cashed in for fiat money when the inmate is released.

‘Rhino Coin’ to Support Conservation and Fight Poaching in South Africa

A “cryptocurrency with a conscience”, as its creators describe it, Rhino Coin aims to generate sustainable income for rhino conservation efforts in South Africa by supporting the legal horn trade and fighting poaching. According to its founders, Alexander Wilcocks and Jacques du Randt, the new crypto, which has been built on ethereum, “attempts to give value to the legal rhino horn by converting it to cryptocurrency in a 1 coin per 1 gram ratio.”

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and ConservationistsRhino Coin is meant to “unlock the value of ethically obtained, stockpiled rhino horn, creating a new stream of revenue for conservation”, as well as a trading opportunity for coin holders, local media reported. Wilcocks and Du Randt explained that a holder of the digital token can either trade it or redeem it. Earlier this week, Rhino Coin was selling for around R119 (~$8.8 USD), which represents a 25.26% price increase since the day of its launch, June 7, when it was trading at R95 per coin (~7 USD).

Most of the Rhino Coins will be distributed to conservationists to sustain their operations. Although there are many fundraising projects, very little of the money actually reaches the private conservationists. Around a third of all rhinos in South Africa are currently in private care. Each conservationist will be able to obtain Rhino Coins in return for their rhino horn, which can then be traded. “By providing communities with a better means to receive a sustained income, we hope to lower the benefit and temptation of participating in illegal poaching in the immediate areas,” Du Randt explained.

What are your thoughts on today’s topics in Bitcoin in Brief? Tell us in the comments section below.  


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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