Open Source or Free for All? The Ethics of Decentralized Blockchain Development

Open Source or Free for All? The Ethics of Decentralized Blockchain Development

“Blockchain technology is not as decentralized as we think,” Golden Gate University law professor Michele Benedetto Neitz wrote recently. Public blockchains are supposed to operate by consensus — democratically, if you will — but critical decisions are more often made by a very small group of ‘agents of influence’ — often core software developers.As a case in point, Neitz referenced the infamous 2016 DAO hack, a $60 million theft that occurred in The DAO, an automated venture capital fund and side code to the Ethereum blockchain. In response, Ethereum’s seven core developers, led by Vitalik Buterin, proposed a hard fork to reverse the transaction and restore the funds. This generated a kind of existential crisis in the Ethereum community, because according to the blockchain’s decentralized principles “all the decision making power lies within the community. Stepping in to fix this problem would have meant completely undermining that principle.” A hard fork was the eventual outcome — it was ratified by a super majority of Ether holders — creating an entirely new version of the network.“This extraordinary remedy was created by a small group of people advocating successfully for the hard fork,” said Neitz, who went on to provide a second example of the power of  “agents of influence.”  In the Parity case, a bug accidentally took control of hundreds of wallets containing millions of dollars’ worth of Ether. In this instance, core developers decided against a hard fork. In both examples a small group of individuals took control of decisions on a public blockchain, raising some difficult questions: to whom do these core developers really answer? And how does one ensure they aren’t acting in a biased manner that is neither unfair to others, nor overly generous to themselves?  Is decentralization an ‘illusion’?Neitz isn’t the first to make this critique about public blockchains. “The development and maintenance of the Bitcoin code ultimately relies on a small core of highly skilled developers who play a key role in the design of the platform,” wrote Primavera De Filippi et. al. in 2016, calling attention to: “…the illusion of Bitcoin as a decentralized global network” — when, they argue, its governance structure “…in spite of its open source nature, is highly centralised and undemocratic.”Governance is supposed to be hard wired into…

The Invisible Man of the Visible World: How Blockchain Could Offer New Hope to Stateless Rohingya

The Invisible Man of the Visible World: How Blockchain Could Offer New Hope to Stateless Rohingya

On 16th April 2020, the Malaysian Navy intercepted a ship packed with an estimated 200 Rohingya refugees who had taken a long and precarious voyage. The Navy prevented the ship from approaching the shore; and while that boat’s whereabouts are now unknown, another vessel loaded with refugees was eventually located by the Bangladeshi coast guard.. From squalid camps in Bangladesh these refugees had traveled in search of safety.  Instead, dozens found only death.A coast guard spokesman told The Guardian that “They were at sea for about two months and were starving.”The Malaysian authorities later justified their actions on public health grounds, stating that the country was already stressed by the Covid-19 pandemic beyond its capacity to assist.Human rights activists were less convinced, and interpreted this as a signal that a country considered to be more welcoming toward the Rohingya was toughening its stance.These incidents became a focus for an online campaign by agitated Malaysians against the Rohingya population their country is hosting. A petition on Change.org to deport the Rohingya went viral and gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures in days, although it was then removed by the platform for promoting hate speech. A population that was already on the social margins was now being pushed beyond the edge.Of course, to the Rohingya people, this particular story is tragically familiar. Over recent years they have become known as the “the world’s persecuted minority”. From their native country of Myanmar, to the various countries that now host their diaspora, the Rohingya have been on the sidelines of society for decades, living an almost invisible existence as an unwanted people. Against this bleak backdrop, it may be easy to give in to despair. Yet it is precisely because of the struggle, because of the tantalizing hope that states and institutions will bring about some revival of the Rohingya, that an initiative has arisen which investigates the potential of technology to change their fate. The Rohingya Project is a grassroots effort originating from the Rohingya community that seeks to employ blockchain technology to address their stateless situation.Who are the Rohingya?The Rohingya are an Indo-Arayan people who trace their roots back centuries to their homeland of Arakan, now called the Rakhine state in Myanmar. At the time when Myanmar gained independence from the…

Visa Approves New DeFi-Enabled Crypto Card in EU and UK

Visa Approves New DeFi-Enabled Crypto Card in EU and UK

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) aren’t really easy to spend in day-to-day life, mainly because retailers prefer to stay away from crypto’s volatility. In order to build a bridge between traditional finance and emergent assets like Bitcoin, a Swiss crypto startup called Eidoo has introduced a new Visa crypto debit card that uses regulated stablecoins for crypto-to-fiat conversion.The so-called Eidoo Card has been approved for operation by payment giant Visa. Announcing the news on May 25, Eidoo told Cointelegraph that its new card will enable 40 million Visa merchants to accept crypto-derived fiat currencies, including the British pound (GBP) and euro (EUR).Eidoo CEO Thomas Bertani said that this latest approval by Visa is part of Eidoo’s partnership with Contis, a principal member of Visa Europe and a holder of a U,K. e-money license. Bertani said Visa has approved the entire flow of Contis-led card issuance as well as crypto-to-fiat conversion involving regulated stablecoins issued by Moneyfold, a U.K.-based financial services firm focused on fiat-pegged stablecoins.This means Contis acts as the issuer of the Eidoo Card, similar to how other crypto cards like Monolith operate. In the meantime, Moneyfold’s Ethereum-based stablecoins, Moneyfold Euro and Moneyfold GBP, are planned to unlock a higher degree of decentralization and transparency in the process of converting between crypto and fiat.Bertani explained the process:“People have a given crypto token, they sell it for the stablecoin via DeFi DEXes like Uniswap. Then the regulated stablecoin obtained from there is topped up with a 1:1 exchange rate (1 Moneyfold EUR = 1 EUR) on the crypto card when the payment occurs.”Nikola Tchouparov, co-founder and CEO at Moneyfold, emphasized the unique stablecoin-based nature of Eidoo’s crypto debit card. “It will be the first time the backend of a crypto card is done via stablecoins and DEXes,” Tchouparov said.In order to preorder an Eidoo Card, users need to stake or burn Eidoo’s native EDO token. Depending on the plan, an Eidoo Card requires that the user to burn 100 EDO tokens or stake 25,000. As of press time, EDO is trading at $0.26 according to data from Coin360. Bertani says that users have already pre-ordered more than 2,700 cards, with more than 3 million EDO tokens staked to date.

Price Analysis 5/25: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, BSV, LTC, BNB, EOS, XTZ, ADA

Price Analysis 5/25: BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, BSV, LTC, BNB, EOS, XTZ, ADA

Bitcoin (BTC) has neither run away nor plunged following its halving, which suggests that history might be repeating itself. After the first halving, the top-ranked cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap moved up only by 7% after a month. After the second halving the price dipped 10% during the same period.However, the important thing to note is that both the halvings were followed by strong bull runs. Therefore, even if history doesn’t repeat itself it could still offer handsome returns to investors at a time when the global economies are staring at their worst recessions in decades.Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360Although the bull markets following the previous two halvings were vertical in nature, the next bull market is likely to follow a gradual trajectory. This is because the derivatives market will keep the exuberance under check for some time. Nonetheless, every bull market ends with a parabolic move and the same can happen with Bitcoin as well.Therefore, investors could use the dips as an opportunity to build their long-term portfolio. Let’s study the charts of the major cryptocurrencies to spot the critical support levels that can offer buying opportunities to traders.BTC/USDBitcoin (BTC) broke below the uptrend line on May 24. If the bulls fail to push the price back above the uptrend line within the next couple of days, it will suggest that the uptrend has ended.BTC–USD daily chart. Source: TradingviewThe next support on the downside is $8,130.58, which is just below the 50-day simple moving average ($8,262). If this support holds, the BTC/USD pair could remain range-bound between $8,130.58 and $10,000 for a few days.The flattening 20-day exponential moving average ($9,073) and the relative strength index just below the midpoint indicates a balance between supply and demand. If the pair bounces off $8,130.58, it could offer a buying opportunity with a target objective of about $10,000.Conversely, if the bears sink the pair below $8,130.58, it could signal the start of a downtrend.ETH/USDThe bulls have not been able to keep Ether (ETH) inside the ascending channel, which is a negative sign. Currently, the bulls are attempting to defend the uptrend line, which had held twice before (marked via ellipses on the chart).ETH–USD daily chart. Source: TradingviewIf the 2nd-ranked cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap bounces off the uptrend line and…

FOMO Risk? THETA Outpacing Bitcoin With 1000% Gains Since March Crash

FOMO Risk? THETA Outpacing Bitcoin With 1000% Gains Since March Crash

As the halving hype has now passed for Bitcoin (BTC), altcoins are beginning to regain traction. In that regard, many altcoins have been showing significant movements in the past two weeks.One of the biggest gainers is Theta Token (THETA), which gained 1,000% since the crash on Black Thursday, March 12. The second token of the Theta platform is called Theta Fuel (TFUEL) has also surged more than 1,150% in a matter of one week.Crypto market daily performance. Source: Coin360Theta Token reaches new highs, but is it time to buy?As the candles are getting greener and greener, people are getting triggered by FOMO, hype, and emotional bias towards entering these strong altcoin rallies.Where did we see that before? During the pre-halving rally, traders and investors were eager to step into the markets at $10,000. However, the same traders and investors have a hard time stepping in when a coin retraces.In that regard, the next chart shows the massive surge of THETA in recent months.THETA/USD 2-day chart. Source: TradingViewTHETA made an 80% crash in March, after which the lows were tested and confirmed for support, again.Since that crash, several support/resistance flips were done and confirmed the upwards continuation. One of them is found at $0.068 and the second one at $0.125.However, the altcoin started to accelerate and speed up significantly in recent days, as the momentum and hype increased heavily. Today, Binance announced that the exchange will support the token’s mainnet upgrade. This raises the question of whether this is another buy the rumor, sell the news event?What should be stated? After such a peak rally, a correction and retracement are heavily needed. The left part of the chart is showing a similar surge, after which the price dropped down for support tests.Therefore, it isn’t very reasonable to start entering coins in these zones with such an overextended price move.The grey zones are pointed out as levels to watch, which are the $0.155-0.165 and $0.237 area. The primary zone to watch would be the support/resistance flip around $0.165.The THETA/BTC tests the range highTHETA/BTC 2-day chart. Source: TradingViewThe THETA/BTC is showing a massive chart. The range support at 0.00001000 sats held, after which the price surged towards the range high.This range high has been tested a few times…

Bubblers for Bitcoin: Why I’ve Started Accepting BTC for Glass Pipes

Bubblers for Bitcoin: Why I’ve Started Accepting BTC for Glass Pipes

Once my company, Jerome Baker Designs, had become one of the premier producers of custom pipes and bongs in the 1990s, I no longer enjoyed doing it. However, when the Drug Enforcement Administration busted through the doors of my warehouse, and the Feds closed my business and seized all my assets, I had a change of heart. While I still won’t blow a custom glass for cash, I will do it for Bitcoin (BTC). Why? Because I truly believe in Bitcoin.When I was indicted in 2003 for trafficking illegal drug paraphernalia, alongside 50 other individuals like my pal Tommy Chong, the authorities said I succeeded, in part, because of the internet.As an early adopter of technology, when I first heard of Bitcoin, I recognized it as a potential currency of the internet. Some of my peers were already accepting BTC. Bitcoins were being traded for cannabis in Humboldt County, California, for example. After Bitcoin became popular, it took off, and a lot of farmer friends became millionaires.Initially, a friend of mine in Los Angeles told me about Bitcoin when its price was around $75. This same guy told me about Instagram and Snapchat before those apps became popular, too. Next thing I knew, the price was already $750. That is when I decided to accept Bitcoin. My friend showed me how to set up my own wallet. When it comes to computers, I am not super technical. I wouldn’t be able to figure out how to mine Bitcoin. So, I decided to mine Bitcoins out of humans by selling them products they would buy with Bitcoin. I began selling large bubblers — the piece for which I was best known in the 1990s — when Bitcoin was approximately $700. It turned out that some people who owned Bitcoin wanted my glass bubblers. I got a few deals for Bitcoin, and then the price went through the roof.Accepting Bitcoin has been great for business. I have been able to reach people who many of my peers in the cannabis industry are still missing out on. When I tell them they should accept Bitcoin, many of them respond: “What is a Bitcoin?”For me, Bitcoin is the biggest no brainer thing ever. It is a great way to transact.…

Zcash’s First Halving May Solve Its Inflation Problem

Zcash’s First Halving May Solve Its Inflation Problem

Mining reward halvings are a hot topic in the crypto markets, as they alter a cryptocurrency’s supply and often have a significant impact on prices.  Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market value, underwent its third halving on May 11, which reduced the reward per block mined to 6.25 bitcoin from 12.5. Bitcoin offshoots bitcoin cash and bitcoin SV also witnessed halvings in April.  Next in line is zcash (ZEC), a privacy-focused cryptocurrency first created in 2016 that uses a proof-of-work (or mining) algorithm and encrypts user information within shielded transactions. Currently, it is the 26th largest cryptocurrency by market value, as per data source CoinMarketCap. Rewards per block mined on the zcash blockchain – launched and supported by the Electric Coin Company – are scheduled to be cut by 50% from the current 12.5 ZEC to 6.25 ZEC at block 1,046,400 this year.  Zcash’s first ever halving, the block subsidy reduction is expected to happen sometime in November. High-inflation cryptoWhile ZEC’s supply is capped at 21 million like bitcoin, its inflation rate is significantly higher than other major cryptocurrencies.  Cryptocurrency inflation ratesSource: ViewBaseAt press time, ZEC’s annualized inflation rate is 28.19% – the highest among major cryptocurrencies, according to data source ViewBase. Meanwhile, bitcoin’s inflation rate is 1.44.  Zcash’s high inflation rate has long been a cause of concern among the investors and the analyst community. “If ZEC were a country, it’d have the 8th highest inflation rate worldwide at 32%,” popular analyst Josh Olszewick tweeted in December 2019.  The cryptocurrency was one of the worst-performers in the first nine months of 2019, largely due to its “disproportionate” supply hitting the market, tweeted economist and trader Alex Krüger in September 2019.  ZEC ended 2019 with an 88% decline, while bitcoin achieved gains of over 90%. These concerns, however, may ease following November’s supply cut. “After the halving, the inflation rate will effectively get cut in half from its current level, so any concerns about the inflation rate should be alleviated or be considered a non-issue,” said Connor Abendschein, a crypto research analyst at Digital Assets Data.  Pre-halving price boost?In recent months, the cryptocurrency has been languishing not far above all-time lows against both the U.S. dollar and bitcoin. After November’s halving, though, investors may give up…

Craig Wright Called ‘Fraud’ in Message Signed With Bitcoin Addresses He Claims to Own

Craig Wright Called ‘Fraud’ in Message Signed With Bitcoin Addresses He Claims to Own

The credibility of Craig Wright – the Australian tech entrepreneur who controversially claims to be bitcoin’s pseudonymous inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto – has taken another blow. After a list of bitcoin addresses Wright had provided as being his holdings in an ongoing court case were briefly and “inadvertently” made public by plaintiffs on May 21, 145 of the addresses were used to sign a public message both calling Wright a “fraud” and making it plain that he does not in fact own or control them. The court case was brought by Ira Kleiman, the brother of Wright’s former business partner, David Kleiman, and seeks half of 1.1 million bitcoin (worth around $9.6 billion) the two allegedly mined in the early days of the cryptocurrency, as well as intellectual property. The case hinges on whether Wright can prove he has the keys to the trove of cryptocurrency. “Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud. He doesn’t have the keys used to sign this message. The Lightning Network is a significant achievement. However, we need to continue work on improving on-chain capacity. Unfortunately, the solution is not to just change a constant in the code or to allow powerful participants to force out others. We are all Satoshi”Some of the many addresses in the court filing published on Court Listener are indeed used to sign the message. The message was first brought to wider attention on Reddit, with the claim that the addresses are for bitcoin mined in 2009 and that have not been moved since. BitMEX Research tweeted that it had taken “a random sample of 20” of the addresses and found they did not match the holdings of the “dominant” early bitcoin miner in 2009, who many think was Satoshi. The firm’s earlier research on this is to be found here. Wright had claimed in court that his billions in bitcoin were held for him in so-called Tulip Trusts, but that he could not prove his control of the keys due to attorney-client privilege. He has been accused by the judge of “abusing” client-attorney privilege to withhold documents and “obfuscate” proceedings elsewhere in the case. Last August, the judge also found Wright had argued in bad faith, perjured himself and admitted false evidence. In…

Early Bitcoin Miner Calls Craig Wright a Fraud Through ‘His Own’ Addresses

Early Bitcoin Miner Calls Craig Wright a Fraud Through ‘His Own’ Addresses

A message signed by 145 wallets containing Bitcoin (BTC) mined in its first years calls Craig Wright a “liar and a fraud.” The message was published on May 25 with a list of 145 addresses and their corresponding signatures. This seemingly proves that the addresses do indeed belong to the person broadcasting the message. The message itself reads:“Craig Steven Wright is a liar and a fraud. He doesn’t have the keys used to sign this message. The Lightning Network is a significant achievement. However, we need to continue work on improving on-chain capacity. Unfortunately, the solution is not to just change a constant in the code or to allow powerful participants to force out others.”Notably, Cointelegraph was able to verify that all of the addresses can be found among the list of thousands claimed by Craig Wright in the case against Ira Kleiman.Wright has on multiple occasions failed to produce proof of ownership of the alleged fortune of Satoshi Nakamoto, who is believed to have mined more than one million BTC. An easy way of doing so is by signing a message with the cryptographic private key of the wallet in question, which can be checked with the public key.Given that Wright tried to evade every occasion where he would have been forced to conclusively prove ownership, many in the community doubt that he owns those Bitcoins — and thus, that he’s Satoshi Nakamoto.Is this a message from Satoshi?The signed message bears some similarity to a 2015 message coming from Satoshi’s email address, saying “I am not Craig Wright. We are all Satoshi.”While the first part of the new statement rehashes the same concept, the message then expresses an opinion on the debates that ravaged Bitcoin before Bitcoin Cash (BCH) spun off into its own chain.The blocks mined by this unknown person fall outside of the Patoshi pattern, which is the basis behind the claim that Satoshi mined more than 1 million BTC. Nevertheless, there is no absolute certainty in identifying which blocks are Satoshi’s and which are not. It seems likely that the similarity is a tribute to the alleged Satoshi message.The early Bitcoin miner appears to have a middle ground position between Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. While he praises the Lightning Network, he also argues for…

As Bitcoin Falls to 2-Week Lows, Small Investors Look to Be Buying

As Bitcoin Falls to 2-Week Lows, Small Investors Look to Be Buying

With bitcoin’s price losing altitude again, small investors appear to be seeking exposure to the top cryptocurrency by market value. Prices fell by 9.8% last week to register bitcoin’s biggest weekly decline since the second week of March, according to CoinDesk’s Bitcoin Price Index. A two-week low of $8,630 was registered early on Monday, with prices last seen at $8,730 – down over 11% from the post-halving high of $9,960 registered on May 18.  Despite the price drop – or perhaps because of it – the number of addresses holding smaller amounts of bitcoin has continued to rise.  The number of unique addresses holding at least 0.01 BTC (around $87 at press time) rose to a new high of 8,478,746 on Sunday, according to data provided by blockchain intelligence firm Glassnode. Meanwhile, the number of addresses holding at least 0.1 BTC (roughly $870) also rose to a lifetime high, reaching 3,053,004 on Friday. Both metrics regained their upward trajectory following the May 11 mining reward halving. See also: Bitcoin Halving Arrives: Mining Rewards Drop for Third Time in History “Retail investors are likely in an accumulation phase,” said Ki Young Ju, CEO of blockchain analytics firm CryptoQuant.  The dip demand may be associated with the bullish narrative that bitcoin could repeat history by charting a solid price rally over the next 12 months. The cryptocurrency witnessed a 30% pullback in the four weeks following its second reward halving on July 9, 2016. However, the decline was erased in the subsequent months and prices rallied to record highs by March 2016. Prominent trading firms are also retaining a constructive outlook on the cryptocurrency. “The price pullback was expected and the long-term bias remains bullish. We would accumulate if prices drop to the $6,000-$8,000 range,” said Darius Sit, co-founder and managing director at Singapore-based QCP capital. That said, the growth in the number of small addresses does not necessarily all represent new individual investors. This is because a single user can hold cryptocurrency in multiple addresses.  Exchanges and custodial services also tend to hold bitcoins in multiple addresses. “Wallet management systems of virtual asset service providers have become more complex and granular. Their wallet clusters include more small wallets for security, etc.,” said Ju.  As such, it is…