A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

A Short History of the World’s Largest Bitcoin Mining Pools

Mining pools grow and shrink, and rise and fall altogether. Today there are more extinct mining pools than there are active ones. The hashpower of the survivors secures hundreds of PoW crypto networks, from major coins such as BTC and BCH to obscure altcoins such as monero classic and “zelcash.” The following guide provides an insight into the origins of the world’s largest mining pools including their founders, geography, and ideology. Also read: Big Banks Won’t Touch Crypto Clients – But These Smaller Banks Will Mining Pools Near Their Nine-Year Anniversary Mining pools have been in operation since late 2010, when they emerged as a means for solo miners to share their computing resources and increase their chances of discovering blocks. While a lot has changed in bitcoin mining since then, including the introduction of dedicated ASIC mining rigs and the rise of huge mining farms, the basic premise of pools remains the same. Save for a handful of privately operated exceptions, pools are open to anyone to join. BTC mining pool hashrate distribution for the last four daysIn addition to the dominant SHA-256 mined coins such as BTC and BCH, there are dozens of altcoins that can be mined using algorithms such as the popular equihash. Mining pool 2miners.com, by way of example, records the hashrate and profitability for scores of equihash coins, its layout showing the sort of metrics that cryptocurrency miners have become accustomed to crunching in their quest to determine the most profitable coins. As mining pools near their nine-year anniversary, an examination of the nine largest BTC pools – most of which also mine coins such as BCH and ETH – captures the state of pooled mining today. 2miners.com statsFounded: 2015 Owner: Bitmain BTC hashrate (four-day average): 17.7% Coins mined: BTC, BCH, ETH History: Originally created by Bitrail to serve as a web wallet, BTC.com still provides mobile and desktop wallets as well as a block explorer and Bitcoin API. It’s best known for its mining pool though, which has been in the hands of Bitmain since being acquired by the mining manufacturer in July 2016. Trivia: In June 2017, BTC.com appealed for the sender of a transaction with an 80 BTC fee attached to come forward, with the pool…

Developers of Ethereum DEX Protocol AirSwap Disclose Critical Exploit

Developers of Ethereum DEX Protocol AirSwap Disclose Critical Exploit

Ethereum (ETH) decentralized exchange protocol AirSwap’s developers announced that they have discovered a critical vulnerability in the system’s new smart contract. AirSwap’s team announced its findings and a possible solution for all potentially affected users in a Medium post published on Sept. 13. A limited vulnerability Per the release, on Sept. 12 AirSwap’s development team found a vulnerability in a new smart contract, which has already been reverted to an older version in under 24 hours after the discovery. The exploit in question could have allowed an attacker to perform a swap without requiring a signature from a counterparty under certain conditions. The scope of the vulnerability is reportedly limited: “The affected code was present in the AirSwap system for under 24 hours, and only affects some users of AirSwap Instant between midday September 11th and early morning of September 12th. We initially identified 20 vulnerable addresses matching this pattern and quickly reduced it to 10 accounts that are currently at risk.” Only nine addresses are at risk AirSwap notes that the exploitable smart contract was reverted immediately after the issue has been detected and that “both the AirSwap Instant and Trader products are no longer affected by the vulnerability.” The release also discloses the nine Ethereum addresses that used the exploitable functionality during that time period. It is noted that only the owners of those nine addresses are required to take any action to prevent loss of funds. More precisely, it is necessary that they revoke the authorization for the vulnerable smart contract by visiting the following link. As Cointelegraph reported in mid-July, the Ethereum smart contract of 0x decentralized exchange protocol has been suspended after a vulnerability has been uncovered in its code.

Browser Extensions Can Help Scammers Steal Your Bitcoin: Casa CEO

Browser Extensions Can Help Scammers Steal Your Bitcoin: Casa CEO

Browser extensions can help scammers steal your crypto Casa CEO Jeremy Welch warned the audience at the Baltic Honeybadger conference in Riga this weekend. “Browser extensions impose major risks, and these risks haven’t been discussed until this point,” Welch said. Extensions can gather a wealth of data, which can be leaked, stolen, and used by scammers. One example is browser history, which can expose users’ online habits, including crypto-related site visits. “Make sure you don’t expose your bitcoin addresses anywhere,” Welch warned. Another thing to keep in mind is that some extensions capture users’ KYC information and can leak it to scammers. The only major multisig system that requires KYC at the moment is the one supplied by Unchained Capital, Welch said. He warns against commonly-used consumer software that gathers identity data. As an example, Welch demonstrated how an extension providing wallpapers with inspiring quotes or other content was actually stealing data as you filled in KYC forms. The malware stole graphical data, like a photo of your driver’s license, which is captured as a code and then easily decoded, providing an actual picture of your ID document to hackers. Quiet data thefts All this is happening on the background, without the user noticing. “You got a nice background here and you don’t realize that your browser is actually dumping data,” Welch said. The same wallpaper extension can alter a receiving address when you’re trying to send your crypto to somebody else (or to yourself), sending it to a scammer’s wallet instead. The ubiquity and popularity of browser extensions makes the situation quite dangerous, Welch noted: “It’s terrifying, right? We all are using browser extensions all the time.” Even if a user is very careful and selective in what they’re using, the software can be upgraded and get new, unsafe features without a consumer noticing, Welch added. Welch noted that many well-known applications are gathering personal data including password managers, text editing app Grammarly, Joule extension for in-browser Lighting transactions, and the Lolli bitcoin-earning extension. The solution? There is no easy one, Welch says. Developers can only keep building better tools that will make users’ experience safer and better. “We all need to be discussing this issues more, because we’re not even in the phase…

Ethereum Price Flashing Bullish — Can ETH Trigger an Altcoin Revival?

Ethereum Price Flashing Bullish — Can ETH Trigger an Altcoin Revival?

For the past two weeks, Ether (ETH) price has been a frequent topic of discussion among traders. Investors are beginning to wonder if the altcoin has finished its retrace from a 2019 high at $364 and this week Ether settled at the $170 support and proceeded to reverse course. Cryptocurrency Monthly Performance. Source: Coin360 While this is not terribly exciting, and not convincing enough to indicate a trend reversal, the excitement comes from the interpretation that if Ether bottoms and reverses course, other ailing altcoins will follow suit.  Traders will remember that starting December 2018, Ether and Litecoin kickstarted the rally that would affectionately be dubbed “altseason.” This is probably where all the excitement surrounding Ether’s recent 15.31% is coming from.  Let’s take a look at the ETH/USD and ETH/BTC charts to see what’s going on. Ether attempts to change the trend ETH/USD Daily Chart Source: TradingView As the daily chart shows, Ether managed to pop above the descending wedge after a double bottom slightly below the $167.50 support. The 12 EMA and 26 EMA have yet to converge but given the strength of the recent move, it seems they will shortly.  ETH/USD Weekly Chart Source: TradingView The weekly chart shows Ether attempting to reverse the trend and a move above $196 would set a higher high.  Purchasing volume is less than fantastic and something traders should keep an eye on. Some analysts are attributing Ether’s rise to the network’s demand skyrocketing over the past month.  Ethereum Total Gas Used. Source: Glassnode Studio According to Placeholder partner Chris Burniske,  “This can be read as: demand for #Ethereum’s world computer is at ATH.”  SetProtocol Head of Product Marketing Anthony Sassano explained that in his opinion an increase in gas usage does not necessarily mean that prices are lagging or will “catch up” in the future. Sassano said: “The reason the gas usage is higher is because of more complex transactions (DeFi txs aren’t just simple ether or token sends — they use a lot more gas).” The weekly Moving Average Convergence Divergence (MACD) histogram flipped to positive and is nearly at 0 but the MACD has yet to pull above the signal line.  Weekly MACD ETH USD Source: TradingView Meanwhile, the weekly Stoch is flashing bullish.…

What Bitcoin’s Valuation Says About Its Volatility

What Bitcoin’s Valuation Says About Its Volatility

Noelle Acheson is a veteran of company analysis and CoinDesk’s Director of Research. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. The following article originally appeared in Institutional Crypto by CoinDesk, a weekly newsletter focused on institutional investment in crypto assets. Sign up for free here. For a primer on crypto valuation concepts, you can download our free report here. Most of us think we understand the term “volatility.” We digest headlines about tense political situations around the world; we are wary of explosive chemical compounds; some of us have had relationships with their fair share of ups and downs. “Volatility” implies sharp and unpredictable changes, and usually has negative connotations. Even when it comes to financial markets, we intuitively shy away from investments that would produce wild swings in our wealth. But volatility, in finance, is usually misunderstood. Even the most commonly accepted calculation is often incorrectly applied. Its desirability is also confusing. Investors hate it unless it makes them money. Traders love it unless it means too high a risk premium. And few of us understand where it comes from. Many think that it’s the result of low liquidity*. This intuitively makes sense: with thin trading volume, a large order can push prices sharply up or down. But empirical studies show that it’s actually the other way around: volatility leads to low liquidity, through the wider spread market makers apply to compensate the additional risk of holding a volatile asset in their inventory. (*The misconception also stems from our mistaken conflation of low liquidity and low volume – it is possible to have high volume and low liquidity, but that’s for another post.) This confusion matters in the crypto sector. Bitcoin’s volatility has often been cited as the reason why it will never make a good store of value, a reliable payment token or a solid portfolio hedge. Many of us fall into the trap of assuming that as the market matures, volatility will decrease. This leads us to believe in use cases that may not ever be appropriate; it can also lead us to apply incorrect crypto asset valuation methods, portfolio weightings and derivative strategies that could have a material impact on our bottom line. So it’s worth picking apart…

eToro Aims to Put Derivatives on the Blockchain With Lira Programming Language

eToro Aims to Put Derivatives on the Blockchain With Lira Programming Language

eToro, an Israel-based exchange platform, revealed a new programming language designed to simplify derivatives trading. Speaking ahead of the Ethereal Summit Tel Aviv 2019, on Sunday, chief blockchain specialist Omri Ross said the language, dubbed Lira, will reduce the risks involved in settling financial contracts and enable the creation of new derivative products from assets on the ethereum blockchain. A demo trading platform, built by eToroX Labs, was also revealed to enable retail and institutional investors to begin trading derivatives. The platform uses Lira to test a full range of contract experimentation. The language opens up the possibility to set varying time limits on trades, trustlessly swap different cryptocurrencies and write complex settlement terms. eToro open-sourced the programming language to encourage community development of “anything from simple futures contracts to complex exotic contracts,” like collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). Further, the lab intends for the language to be deployed for other decentralized finance (DeFi) projects across different blockchains. “We are excited to see how the market and the community will adopt this new programming language in decentralized applications, on cryptocurrency exchanges and in institutional finance,” Ross said. Domain-specific language Unlike “broad” programming languages used for the majority of blockchain development, Lira will be “domain-specific,” meaning it can only describe and perform a limited set of instructions. Lira’s only function is to enable counterparties to write, verify, and collect on the terms of a self-executing contract. Ross said the typical length for scripting a financial contract in Lira is between 6-10 lines of code, leading to a simpler development cycle and less room for error. “Essentially, financial contracts are trivial computations, typically involving a lot of money, making them a highly suitable use-case for domain-specific programming languages,” Ross said. “It can only describe a very limited set of instructions but does so with the highest level of competence and integrity attainable.” Contrarily, broad languages, like Solidity, the native scripting language used for ethereum, enable a wide range of use cases, but also introduce risk. Ross specifically mentioned the DAO “hack,” in which a malicious actor exploited the decentralized autonomous organization’s code and syphoned off 3.6 million ETH. Ross joined eToro in March and has lead the development of the company’s 12 stablecoins. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York calculated the…

Crypto News From the Spanish-Speaking World: Sept. 8–14 in Review

Crypto News From the Spanish-Speaking World: Sept. 8–14 in Review

The Spanish-speaking world sees major cryptocurrency and blockchain developments with Uruguay approving a new bill that could be applied positively to ICOs, Cuba using crypto to access the global economy and Venezuela finally installing its first Bitcoin (BTC) ATM. Here is the past week of crypto and blockchain news in review, as originally reported by Cointelegraph en Español. Argentinian Bitex stops accepting balance charges in US dollars Cointelegraph en Español reported on Sept. 12, that the economic crisis in Argentina is now taking its toll on the country’s cryptocurrency operations. The Bitex firm, a blockchain financial services provider, informed its customers that it will stop accepting balance charges in US dollars. It explained: “We communicate with you to inform you that for reasons beyond Bitex, as of this date, balance charges in US dollars will not be accepted at Bitex Argentina. All transfers in dollars received in Argentina made after this release will be returned to origin with the corresponding charges and taxes discounted. Those users who currently have US Dollars on the platform may request to download the balance and receive them by bank transfer to accounts of their ownership .” Uruguay approves crowdfunding law that could be applied to ICOs On Sept. 12, Cointelegraph en Español reported that the government of Uruguay approved a bill to promote entrepreneurship, which will regulate collective financing or crowdfunding platforms, and that could be applied to some ICOs. Lawyer Paula Rodríguez Medalla added: “Without a doubt, this rule supposes a new legal framework for some ICOs dedicated to collective financing, so it will be essential to be attentive to the regulation that the Central Bank of Uruguay issues on the subject.” Cuba: The use of crypto is gaining traction and Cubans are turning to BTC to access the global economy Cointelegraph en Español reported on Sept. 13, that despite the silence of the Cuban government in regards to crypto’s such as Bitcoin, Cubans are increasingly using cryptocurrencies to take advantage of online work, make online purchases, as well as to invest and trade. Cointelegraph further reported that Bitcoin trading is opening new avenues for citizens in communist-run Cuba, which has been financially isolated for years under a United States trade embargo. Without access to debit or credit…

Hacker Spends $1K to Win Over $110K in EOS Betting Game Using REX

Hacker Spends $1K to Win Over $110K in EOS Betting Game Using REX

A hacker spent $1,000 in EOS to steal more than $110,000 in cryptocurrency through an exploit of EOS gambling game EOSPlay. Biggest DeFi service EOS REX used An alleged bug in EOSPlay allowed the attacker to steal 30,000 EOS via using EOS REX, a major decentralized financial (DeFi) service enabling EOS lending in exchange for extra CPU on the EOS blockchain, crypto-focused publication CryptoSlate reports Sept. 14. According to the report, the hacker used REX in order to ensure that blocks were filled with their transactions, allowing them to win continuously on EOSPlay. As previously reported, EOS REX is the biggest DeFi platform by a comfortable margin, having 331 million in EOS placed on the platform at press time, according to DeFi.Review website. Citing crypto entrepreneur Jared Moore, the report says that the hacker had to spend approximately 300 EOS ($1,200 at press time) to set up the attack, which involved a number of subsequent transactions indicating consecutive wins on the EOS decentralized application (DApp). Block.One CTO: EOS network not affected Daniel Larimer, CTO at EOS developer company Block.One, tweeted that the hacking incident did not affect EOS network but rather caused a network overload resulting in no extra bandwidth available on a free basis. He said: “EOS is operating correctly. This is no different than when attackers flood eth or bitcoin with high fee transaction spam. The network didn’t freeze for token holders, there was just no extra bandwidth available for free use.” FUD fails as EOS surges over 8% Meanwhile, some users, including Moore himself, stated that the hack froze the EOS blockchain, claiming that the network was not usable for both DApps and wallet. Another EOS user reported on CPU issues, suggesting that the network was under attack. A user on Reddit pointed out that the network remained active despite the claims that the attack stopped the EOS blockchain for an hour, citing data from EOS block explorer Blocks.io. Despite the apparent FUD, EOS has seen notable growth on the day. After hovering around $3.7 for some time, the altcoin has surged about 8.3% over the past 24 hours to trade above $4 at press time, according to data from Coin360. The coin is seeing the biggest gains out of top-20 coins…

Square Crypto Grants $100,000 to Open-Source Crypto Payment Processor

Square Crypto Grants $100,000 to Open-Source Crypto Payment Processor

Bitcoin (BTC)-supporting payments service Square Crypto is giving the first of what will be many grants to support open-source Bitcoin projects to BTCPay Foundation. BTCPay receives $100,000 grant On Sept. 14, Square Crypto, the crypto-focused branch of mobile payment company Square, took to Twitter to announce that it is providing BTCPay Foundation with a grant of $100,000 to support BTCPay Server, an open-source cryptocurrency payment processor. BTCPay Server can allocate the funds to create anything, “as long as it’s free and open-source software that improves the security, scalability, privacy, user experience, or fungibility of Bitcoin — or all of the above.” The Square Crypto team added: “BTCPay represents everything we love about open-source bitcoin projects. It exemplifies the ideals of our community and promotes adoption by letting merchants accept bitcoin, control their private keys, and self-validate their coins. It also creates powerful real world applications for bitcoin without sacrificing user experience or requiring trusted third parties.” Square Crypto went on to explain why they are giving a “bunch of money” to BTCPay Server, a product that appears to be in direct competition with its own services. Square explained: “Existing payments companies have a choice to make: adapt or be left behind. This isn’t an investment in a competitor, it’s an investment in the future of money — something that Square obviously has a stake in.” Square and BTC infrastructure As Cointelegraph reported at the end of July, project manager at Square Crypto Steve Lee emphasized in a Twitter ask me anything that his team is particularly keen on developing support for the Bitcoin ecosystem. He added: “We are very, very pro-Bitcoin. There is more than enough work for us to do there. That said, we are open to emerging use cases and technologies that complement Bitcoin.”

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money

Distrust of the Bolivar Prompts Venezuelans to Seek Sound Money

There’s a small team of committed researchers and activists called the Ryver Bitcoin Cash group surveying Venezuelans, and giving them educational resources about the benefits of bitcoin cash. The Venezuelan country has been suffering from rapid inflation and many people distrust the sovereign bolivar. Unfortunately, most Venezuelans are not getting any exposure to digital currency use cases, and according to Ryver’s community manager, Sofia Corona, some people spreading the crypto message are doing it all wrong. Also Read: Developer Reveals Token Reward Platform Fueled by Bitcoin Cash 88% of Venezuelan Respondents Don’t Trust Their Currency This week news.Bitcoin.com spoke with Sofia Corona, the community manager of a Ryver Bitcoin Cash group. Sofia lives in Bogata, Colombia and was attracted to the project because “South American countries have a lot of problems.” The Venezuelan people have been dealing with extreme hyperinflation and central planners have destroyed the economy. Sofia joined the group because of the “bad decisions made by governments” and the team’s work is a form of independence for her. Sofia and her team members. “Listen to people’s needs, and try to do things with simple terms — [Venezuelans] do not want to know how big BCH blocks are, they want something else besides bad government decisions and bank interest,” Sofia said.The group has been surveying 100 or more Venezuelan citizens on a weekly basis and asking them all sorts of questions. “I studied in Venezuela and emigrated from there,” Sofia told our newsdesk. “We started the survey because it is the best research strategy and you can share information shoulder to shoulder with the people and face to face.” So far, news.Bitcoin.com has seen two weeks’ worth of survey responses from 100-150 people living in Venezuela and dealing with hyperinflation. Survey week one – 100 people. (Right chart) 68% said they do not know of any cryptocurrencies, while 32% felt that they did. (Left chart) 88% of the Venezuelan respondents do not trust the bolivar as a method of savings and investment.The first week’s survey was comprised of 100 Venezuelan citizens, surveyed by Sofia and the other team leaders Mr. Tank, Jena, and Jorge. The group visited malls and stores with a lot of foot traffic, specifically in Puerto la Cruz, Maturin, Guayana and…