Alleged Bitcoin Mining Scam Reported in Thailand

Alleged Bitcoin Mining Scam Reported in Thailand

Victims of an alleged cryptocurrency mining scam have filed claims against the suspected perpetrator with the Technology Crime Suppression Division in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports on Feb. 18. Per the report, 30 people have filed a complaint with police, stating that they were fooled into an alleged investment scam called “CryptoMining.Farm.” This purportedly led the loss of 42 million baht ($1.34 million). Local authorities reportedly suspect that a total of 140 individuals were affected by the scam. CryptoMining.Farm, which has offices registered in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai, supposedly promised investors an annual return of 70 percent in addition to the option to withdraw their funds at any time with no conditions. The Bitcoin (BTC) mining contracts offered by the company reportedly ranged from three months to a lifetime. One affected individual told the Bangkok Post “But from August the owner began imposing conditions for withdrawing the money. Then at the start of this month, the site announced it would start paying back investors in 84 instalments — which would take over seven years to complete.” The source, which reportedly preferred to remain anonymous, said that the payments would also be made in foreign currencies, which is illegal under Thai law. The most recent allegations follow a well-publicized case from last year, in which a former soap opera actor Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit and other suspects were accused of swindling $24 million worth of Bitcoin from 21-year-old Finnish investor Aamai Otava Saarimaa. The suspects, who were charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, reportedly pleaded “not guilty” at a court in Bangkok in November 2018. Last May, a 100-section royal decree published in the Thai Royal Gazette, defined cryptocurrencies as “digital assets and digital tokens.” In November, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam called for more regulations on cryptocurrencies. Krea-ngam said that new guidelines must be introduced in order to keep up with evolving tactics and threats to consumer security.

Drivechain Creator’s Latest Paper Sparks Debate Over Bitcoin’s Future Security

Drivechain Creator’s Latest Paper Sparks Debate Over Bitcoin’s Future Security

Drivechain developer Paul Sztorc has the cryptocurrency community riled up over his latest blog “Security Budget in the Long Run.” The essay discusses the economics of BTC network fees over a long period of time and suggests rather than giving up the fees to competition, a dominant protocol should collect fees “from all networks.” Also Read: More Than 30% of BTC Traffic Stems from the Veriblock Project Unraveling Bitcoin’s Security Budget Paul Sztorc has written another thought-provoking essay that has got many of the ‘bitcoin intellectuals’ talking. “Security Budget in the Long Run” speaks on how BTC could theoretically collect fees after many decades. Sztorc refers to this as the “security budget,” which is basically what participants are paying in order to prevent double spends and 51 percent attacks. Over the last few years during the scaling debate, many industry members showed concern about the block subsidy i.e the freshly minted coins and transaction fees miners get when they randomly find a block. A block needs to be instantly profitable to mine and Sztorc believes the block subsidy will continue to give the network more security in the future. “Even though it “halves” once every four years (effectively falling by a factor of 0.84 per year), it hits for full force no matter how high the BTC exchange rate climbs,” Sztorc’s paper explains. “As long as annual appreciation 19%+, it fully compensates for the PP lost to the halvening.” A graphical interpretation of BTC’s security budget over the next 40 years according to Sztorc’s essay “Security Budget in the Long Run.”Sztorc then discussed the various theories people have used in the past, in order to describe what will offset the block subsidy when the block reward shrinks to zero. Many believe a relatively high fee market is needed for onchain transactions (txn) and most people wanting txn with cheaper fees will use the Lightning Network. For instance, Sztorc quotes the Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell and other crypto luminaries for championing high fees back in 2017. The paper also underscores the rise of altcoins grabbing far more attention after BTC network fees crossed over $1 per txn and continued to rise. “Furthermore, this (true) premise — that Altcoin-payments are indeed substitutes for Bitcoin-payments — is occasionally explicitly admitted, even…

Blockstream Publishes Schnorr-Based Test Code for Bitcoin Blockchain Upgrade

Blockstream Publishes Schnorr-Based Test Code for Bitcoin Blockchain Upgrade

The Schnorr-based multi-signature scheme MuSig, a test code for a potential upgrade to the Bitcoin (BTC) blockchain, has been released by blockchain tech firm Blockstream, according to an announcement published on Feb. 18. Last January, four Bitcoin developers released a paper outlining how Schnorr multi-signatures (‘multisig’) could help scale the Bitcoin blockchain, saying that the technology could reduce its transaction size and “improve both performance and user privacy in Bitcoin”. In the paper, the developers state that MuSig is designed as “a protocol that allows a group of signers to produce a short, joint signature on a common message.” Today’s announcement reveals that MuSig has been turned from an idea into usable code, while this week the code was also merged into secp256k1-zkp, a fork of secp256k1 representing “the high-assurance cryptographic library used by Bitcoin Core.” In the post, the developers explain their decision to develop MuSig by creating “a misuse-resistant API without sharp corners, and which doesn’t encourage dangerous usage patterns even in constrained environments.” The post also stresses the necessity of improving verification efficiency and developing provable security in the public key model. MuSig signatures purportedly improve privacy since they hide the exact signer policy. However, since the beginning of the MuSig development, its creators have reportedly found that a number of already published signature schemes —  including an earlier unpublished version of MuSig — are insecure. The post further reads: “MuSig signatures, just like Schnorr signatures or ECDSA, use in their construction a secret ‘nonce’ which must be produced uniformly randomly. Any deviation from uniform, even by a single bit, can lead to secret key loss and stolen funds.” For now, the developers are asking community members to test the code, which is reportedly posted on GitHub, and provide feedback. Bitcoin’s next halving is expected to happen in May 2020. Bitcoin halving is an event that happens roughly once every four years, after which the amount of new BTC created and earned by miners will be cut in half. In anticipation of the next halving, United States-regulated trading and clearing platform LedgerX released a new type of derivative contract unique to BTC called LedgerX Halving Contract (LXHC). The new product represents a binary option and reportedly “allows you to get a fixed…

Report: Bitcoin Unable to Solve Problems of Traditional Payment Systems

Report: Bitcoin Unable to Solve Problems of Traditional Payment Systems

An official from Spain’s central bank, the Bank of Spain (BDE) believes that Bitcoin (BTC) is unable to resolve the problems faced by major payment systems. BDE’s Deputy General Director for financial innovations and market infrastructure, Carlos Colesa, gave his opinion on the leading cryptocurrency in a report published on Sunday, Feb. 17. The study dubbed “Bitcoin: a solution for payment systems or a solution in search of a problem?,” is marked as an “occasional paper,” according to Cointelegraph en Español. This  means that the Bank of Spain does not necessarily share the stance of the author. Colesa compared Bitcoin to traditional payment systems and financial intermediaries. First, he says that the Bitcoin blockchain processes only 250,000 transactions daily, which is a relatively small volume for a global system. For instance, major Spanish retail system, the Sistema Nacional de Compensación Electrónica (SNCE), reportedly handled around 7.2 million payments daily, as of 2017. Given that the miners have to approve transactions, Bitcoin payments are slow, and the time required for a transactions is purportedly unpredictable. Thus, the Proof of Work (PoW) in fact limits the capacity of the whole system instead of yielding benefits, Colesa concludes. The report further states that the absence of governance and coordination impedes improvements to the system. According to Colesa, the combination of private and public keys is a very unreliable system that is vulnerable to various types of fraud and scams. Moreover, the report states that loss of private keys means that users’ funds can never be restored. The report echoes the stance of some Bitcoin sceptics, such as Nouriel Roubini, who believe that crypto is in fact very centralized. For instance, crypto has commissions for transactions, and the payment speed depends on its rate. The average rate is set by mining pools, which, according to the expert, have enough power to control the system in order to get more rewards. Colesa concludes: “It is unlikely that Bitcoin in its current modification will have any significant impact on the finance sector as an alternative to traditional payment systems.” Earlier this month the bank issued a reminder to citizens, warning of the risks related to cryptocurrencies. The document notes that they are not yet regulated in the country, while exchanges are…

Privacy Crypto Beam Gets Funding from ‘Japanese LinkedIn’ Recruit

Privacy Crypto Beam Gets Funding from ‘Japanese LinkedIn’ Recruit

Privacy-oriented cryptocurrency startup Beam has secured an undisclosed amount of funding from “Japan’s equivalent to LinkedIn” Recruit Co., Ltd. Recruit announced the news Monday, stating that the investment is through its $25 million-sized RSP Blockchain Tech Fund, which was set up last November. Beam also confirmed the investment in a Tweet Monday, stating that Recruit invested prior to its Mainnet launch last month, adding: “This investment helps Beam fulfill its mission in Japan too when it comes to deploying a compliant, scalable, and confidential cryptocurrency.” Giving the reason why it invested in Beam, Recruit said: “Beam token provides a blockchain with a function that prevents the divulgation of transaction data to third parties and protects the user’s transaction information.” Beam went live back in January and became one of the first cryptocurrencies based on Mimblewimble, a protocol that makes transactions confidential and reduces the size of the overall blockchain. Since launch though, the project has faced some technical difficulties. Most recently, its network “stopped at block 25709” for a brief period before operations were restored. Recruit, in its Monday’s statement, further said that through its RSP Blockchain Tech Fund, which is a venture between Recruit and its subsidiary Recruit Strategic Partners, Inc. (RSP), it aims to invest in “promising” blockchain startups. Besides Beam, Recruit has also invested in four other startups in the blockchain space, according to its website. These include crypto debit cards provider Shift Payments, blockchain identity startup ShoCard, blockchain payments provider Veem and Japanese bitcoin exchange BitFlyer. US dollars image via Shutterstock 

Survey: ‘Blockchain’ Was Most Overrated Buzzword of 2018

Survey: ‘Blockchain’ Was Most Overrated Buzzword of 2018

A survey has determined that advertisers believe the word “blockchain” to have been the most overrated of 2018. This is hardly a surprise as many companies from fields completely unrelated to cryptocurrency claimed to use or test blockchain technology last year with little to show for it. Also Read: In the Daily: Shapeshift Beta, Coinsquare Acquisition, Grayscale Investment Report Most Overrated Word of 2018 A recently released study for Media Post’s Research Intelligencer, which interviewed 120 marketers and 181 ad agency executives in January 2019, was conducted to find out what words or terms were given too much weight in the advertising industry last year. 26 percent of participants picked “blockchain” as the most overrated word of 2018, giving it the number one spot in the survey. “Blockchain consumed a disproportionate share of industry conversations in 2018, which may be one of the reasons it was also named the most overrated word of the year by ad execs surveyed by Advertiser Perceptions,” stated Media Post’s editor in chief Joe Mandese. Second place was shared between “AI” and “programmatic,” with 19 percent each. An abbreviation for crypto-assets and related ventures, “crypto,” came in at third place with 12 percent. Further, according to the survey, advertisers, with 31 percent, were more likely to think “blockchain” is overrated than ad agencies at just 22 percent. Corporate Marketing Hype The results of the survey seem to confirm that advertisers know that many companies abused the term “blockchain” just to get free media hype. Last month it was reported that management consulting firm McKinsey determined that of over 100 supposed use cases for blockchain presented, the vast majority of pilots and proofs of concept were still stuck in “pioneering mode” or were being shut down. Research Intelligencer explains that it fielded the survey following the Association of National Advertisers’ release of its annual words of the year, “brand purpose”, and in order to measure how the rest of the ad industry thinks. Besides the most overrated terms, it also found that the most important word of the year was “transparency” with “influencer” ranked second. Additionally, AI is expected to be the most important term in the ad industry for 2019 according to the executives it surveyed. What do you think about this…

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, EOS, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, TRON, Stellar, Binance Coin, Bitcoin SV: Price Analysis, February 18

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, EOS, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, TRON, Stellar, Binance Coin, Bitcoin SV: Price Analysis, February 18

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. Market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. CNBC commentator and CEO of digital currency investment firm BKCM LLC, Brian Kelly, believes that, “Bitcoin is about 50 percent undervalued.” However, just because it is undervalued is not a good enough reason for it to move up. Kelly opines that due to extreme negative sentiment, he will not be surprised even if Bitcoin drops to $1,500. While it is difficult to predict where the current bear market will bottom out, various experts believe that the next bull run will be a strong one. Zhu Fa, the co-founder of Poolin, a Chinese-based crypto mining pool, is extremely ambitious as he expects Bitcoin to reach $738,000 during the next bull phase. However, he also warns that the next bull run might be the last. Though astronomical price targets look enticing, we are currently looking for fundamental developments to carry crypto prices out of the bear market. Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten is likely to integrate crypto payments in its mobile app that will be released on March 18. If this happens, it will be a welcome step in bringing crypto closer to mass adoption.   There have been a few recovery attempts in the past few months but they have not sustained. Will the current recovery signal a bottom? Let’s look at the charts to find out. BTC/USD Unlike previous occasions, the tight range in Bitcoin (BTC) has resolved to the upside. Currently, the price is attempting to break out of the downtrend line, which has been a stiff resistance since the end November 2018. A break out of this resistance will indicate strength and attract buyers. Traders can wait for a close (UTC time frame) above the downtrend line and buy 30 percent of their desired allocation. The stop loss can be kept just below the lows at $3,200. The next level to watch on the upside is $4,255. A breakout above $4,255 will complete a double bottom pattern, that has a target objective of $5,273.91. Traders can add the…

Blockstream Releases Test Code for Proposed Bitcoin Tech Upgrade Schnorr

Blockstream Releases Test Code for Proposed Bitcoin Tech Upgrade Schnorr

Schnorr signatures, a code change likely to be one of the biggest coming upgrades to bitcoin, have now gone from a theoretical idea to real code courtesy of technology startup Blockstream. Announced Monday, Blockstream has added a technology known as “MuSig” to its test cryptographic library, making it possible for developers to tinker with the Schnorr signature scheme and potentially find bugs. That the code is being opened up to the public to test is an exciting step because, if Schnorr is one day added to bitcoin, the new digital signature scheme could add privacy and bitcoin scalability improvements down the line. As such, developers have been eyeing the technology for quite some time. Blockstream mathematician Andrew Poelstra wrote in the announcement blog post: “We’ve been turning MuSig from an academic paper into usable code, and this week we merged that code into secp256k1-zkp, a fork of secp256k1, the high-assurance cryptographic library used by Bitcoin Core.” It’s been a theoretical upgrade for years, with cryptographers making mathematical progress last year necessary to ensure the scheme’s security. This will be the first time the code opened up for testing. “To address these concerns, we started an initiative to design a new signature scheme, and a significant practical engineering effort to implement it in a robust and antifragile way,” Poelstra added. Most bitcoin developers think it’s a positive upgrade and some have already started thinking about what new technologies can be built on top of it. For instance, developers have theorized how it could help anonymize lightning transactions, considered to be a more feasible and speedy system of payments on bitcoin. “As the bitcoin community is exploring the use of Schnorr signatures in bitcoin we hope that our code will eventually be merged into the upstream library secp256k1 used by bitcoin core and many other projects,” Poelstra added. To that end, he invites developers to play around with the code, which can be found on GitHub and to give feedback. Andrew Poelstra image via CoinDesk

Everything You Should Know About Bitcoin Address Formats

Everything You Should Know About Bitcoin Address Formats

A wallet address, comprising a string of 26-35 alphanumeric characters, is all it takes to send and receive bitcoin. Any bitcoin address can be used to transfer cryptocurrency to any other address on the network, provided the sender’s wallet software supports that address type. With multiple address formats to choose from, and wallet providers and exchanges only supporting certain address types, it pays to familiarize yourself with the differences. Also read: Bitcoin Cash-Focused Ifwallet Implements Cash Accounts Name System Address Formats Are the Internet Protocol of Bitcoin Just as there are multiple versions of the Internet Protocol, such as IPv4 and IPv6, there are multiple bitcoin address formats. Most of the time, these don’t come into conflict with one another, with transactions zipping seamlessly across the network between custodial and non-custodial wallets. There are three Bitcoin Core address formats to choose from, P2PKH, P2SH, and bech32, with only a handful of service providers supporting all of them. There’s a good chance your preferred wallet or exchange doesn’t support at least one of these formats, with bech32 the likeliest to be omitted. Learning the pros, cons and quirks of each address format will enable you to choose a compatible bitcoin wallet, exchange or platform. It will also furnish you with a deeper knowledge of Bitcoin’s inner workings, and reveal the trade-offs that come with each format in terms of security, flexibility and functionality. P2PKH or Legacy Address Format If your bitcoin address starts with a 1, you’re using a P2PKH or legacy address, for example 1BvBMSEYstWetqTFn5Au4m4GFg7xJaNVN2. This was Bitcoin’s original address format and it still works faithfully to this day. P2PKH, incidentally, stands for Pay-to-Pubkey Hash i.e pay to a hash of the recipient’s public key. Legacy addresses are not segwit compatible, but you can still send BTC from a P2PKH address to a segwit address without any problems. The average fee when sending from a P2PKH address is likely to be higher than when sending from a segwit address, however, because legacy address transactions are larger in size. P2SH Address Format P2SH addresses are structured similarly to P2PKH, but start with a 3 instead of a 1, for example 3J98t1WpEZ73CNmQviecrnyiWrnqRhWNLy. P2SH, which stands for pay to script hash, enables more elaborate functionality than legacy addresses.…

Bitmain Announces New 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chip With 29% More Efficiency

Bitmain Announces New 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chip With 29% More Efficiency

On Feb. 18, mining rig manufacturing giant Bitmain Technologies announced its next-generation 7nm ASIC chip for mining SHA-256 cryptocurrencies like BTC and BCH. According to Bitmain, the mining chip, called the BM1397, is more efficient when mining proof of work (PoW) coins and the new chips will be installed in the latest Antminer series of devices. Also Read: Orca Pool Mining Operation Aims to Defend Altcoins and Forks From Attacks The Next Generation 7nm Chip From Bitmain Technologies Bitmain has announced a new mining chip that claims to be more effective than the semiconductors the company manufactured in the past. The new BM1397 chip is the successor to Bitmain’s previous SHA-256-centric chip, the BM1391. The revamped 7nm model “enables faster and cheaper mining” and offers a 28.6 percent improvement compared to the BM1391. Bitmain says the BM1397 uses low amounts of power and provides an energy consumption to computing ratio as low as 30J/TH. The new BM1397 7nm semiconductor produced by Bitmain and TSMC. “To achieve [better efficiency], Bitmain’s engineering team has thoroughly customized the chip design to optimize its architecture, circuit, and economics,” explains the company’s press release. It continues: The chip is made using TSMC’s 7nm FinFET process — The BM1397 is a testament to Bitmain’s improvements in chip design methodology and deep understanding of the most advanced semiconductor fabrication technologies. Bitmain also revealed it was manufacturing new Antminer models that will be announced at a later date. Antminer S17 and T17 Models Will Support the New BM1397 and More Mining Rigs Are on the Way The chip announcement follows recent rumors and discussions about the floundering mining ecosystem. Many reports have also detailed company shakeups with firms like Bitmain, Canaan, and Ebang making internal changes. Bitmain says the new semiconductor is proof of the company’s ongoing commitment to advancing the cryptocurrency ecosystem. The company’s announcement underscores that Bitmain devices allow anyone to participate in this fast growing economy. “The BM1397, part of Bitmain’s growing chip portfolio, is designed to bring a better mining experience and aims to set a new benchmark in ASIC chip technology,” the company notes. According to the press release, the BM1397 chip will be integrated into the latest Antminer S17 and T17 models. Moreover, Bitmain says the company has…