When I speak about the inefficiency of popular blockchains, or mention that we seem to be hurtling towards a “web3” so centralized it challenges big tech’s firm grasp on today’s web, or point out that somehow no one appears to have managed to find a positive use for blockchains that wouldn’t be better served by blockchainless technologies, I often hear “it’s the early days”. “Give it a chance”. “People are still figuring all this blockchain stuff out, ironing out the kinks”.

Bitcoin, currently one of the best-known and most-used blockchains, began to be used in 2009. Ethereum, another well-known and popular blockchain, launched in 2015. In the grand scheme of things, 2009 and 2015 were not that long ago. In the technology world, that was a lifetime ago.

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At this point pretty much every economist worth their weight in salt has given the public fair warning about the financial absurdity of crypto assets using the well-known basic economic arguments against the faux currencies. However economic crypto scepticism has to go hand in hand with a deeper understanding of why the technology doesn’t work as its advocates claim in addition to the legal and regulatory arguments against its existence.

Jul 23, 2021

The quick adoption of an El Salvador law declaring Bitcoin as legal tender has been poorly received by the country’s citizens.

Jun 24, 2021

The erstwhile ‘spokesman for crypto’ has gone to meet his maker. “I regret nothing,” was his final tweet. Here’s an appreciation, sort of.

Jun 21, 2021

Dogecoin is on the hot seat once again. This topic arose after the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneaopolis Neel Kashkari called it a Ponzi. Interestingly, this happened after Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer, created a poll on Linkedin on how to pronounce DOGE.

Jun 17, 2021

The World Bank has rejected a request from El Salvador to help with the implementation of Bitcoin as legal tender.

The international lender cited concerns over transparency and the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining.

Earlier this month, the Central American country announced plans to become the first nation to formally adopt the digital currency.

It aims to use Bitcoin as a parallel legal tender alongside the US dollar.

The World Bank’s decision could mean the country faces problems in hitting its deadline to ensure that Bitcoin is accepted nationwide in the next three months.

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Jun 11, 2021

The cabinet must ban bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, head of central planning office CPB, Pieter Hasekamp said in Het Financieele Dagblad. He believes that a crash of cryptocurrencies is unavoidable and that the Netherlands should act as soon as possible.

“For investors and the governments alike, the last person to act is the loser. The Netherlands must now ban bitcoin,” Hasekamp wrote in an essay published in the newspaper.

Hasekamp stated that several countries took steps to curb cryptocurrencies, citing fraud, criminal use, and financial instability. According to him, The Netherlands is lagging behind. Attempts have been made to tighten up the supervision of trading platforms but without much success.

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Jun 9, 2021

El Salvador officially recognizes bitcoin (BTC, +3.85%) as legal tender.

In an early Wednesday vote, a supermajority of the nation’s legislature voted in favor of President Nayib Bukele’s proposal for the Latin American nation to adopt bitcoin. The president intends to sign later tonight or early in the morning.

Sixty-two members of the legislature voted in favor of the bill, with 19 opposed and three abstentions.

@femme shared a post by @puhf

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele announced in a recorded message played at a Bitcoin conference in Miami Saturday that next week he will send proposed legislation to the country’s congress that would make the cryptocurrency legal tender in the Central American nation.

Do you know the dangers of KYC in crypto and daily life? Government ID requirements exclude millions of people from jobs, apartment rentals, healthcare and other daily life necessities. The state offers no solution to this. Agorism, crypto, gray markets and second realms make it possible for everyone to find work, housing, healthcare and more – no ID required. Read more here: https://read.cash/@anarkio/f30ba037/

May 27, 2021

When the CEO of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange reportedly died in 2019, it left over a quarter of a billion dollars of customers’ funds in limbo. While authorities investigated, one online sleuth decided to dig deeper to find the money.

May 18, 2021

Until recently, blockchains were seen as an “unhackable” technology powering and securing cryptocurrencies — but that’s no longer the case.

Hackers have gotten away with nearly $2 billion worth of cryptocurrency since 2017 by attacking the unique vulnerabilities of blockchains, MIT Technology Review reports. In other words, forget what you heard from Bitcoin boosters — just because information or currency is on a blockchain doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s more secure than any other form of storage.

In one recent attack, a hacker was able to gain control over Ethereum Classic’s network and rewrite transaction history. As a result, the attacker was able to “double spend” cryptocurrencies, getting away with some $1.1 million.

In fact, the same qualities that make blockchain technology so secure may also be the source of several unique vulnerabilities — a stark reminder that despite the hype, cryptocurrencies can’t entirely sidestep the vulnerabilities of any other banking systems.

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May 18, 2021

The internet has done a lot of dumb things in its brief lifespan. Some of them, such as naming a £200 million polar research ship Boaty McBoatface, have been objectively brilliant. Others, such as Donald Trump’s presidency and its country-size bin fire, have been a blight on humanity. Right now, Bitcoin is grappling with which side of that chasm it shall fall into and the omens aren’t exactly encouraging. That’s why India is reportedly moving forward with a plan to ban ownership of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As extreme as that sounds, it’s not a terrible idea.

I’m instinctively averse to the idea of banning anything, but, let’s be clear, Britain bans things all the time and with good reason. We’re set to ban sales of petrol and diesel cars by 2030 to help ensure the planet isn’t engulfed by climate change-spurred hellfire. We banned the sale of all cartridge-ammunition handguns in 1997 and pyramid schemes have been illegal since 2008. What does something as seemingly innocuous as Bitcoin have to do with any of that? Buckle up…

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May 16, 2021

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, is under investigation by a laundry list of US government agencies, including the US Justice Department, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, according to a report by Bloomberg. The agencies are probing Binance for potential criminal violations, the report says, though the company has not been accused of any wrongdoing.

The investigations come on the heels of a report by Chainalysis that traced $2.8 billion worth of illicit bitcoin on exchange and trading platforms. Of that, $756 million went through Binance. Most of the suspect accounts received small amounts, but the majority of the illicit cryptocurrency flowed to a few hundred accounts that received between $100,000 to $100 million. Government officials are said to be focused on money laundering and tax evasion.

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May 16, 2021

Dogecoin developers confirmed today that they’ve been working with Tesla CEO and Dogecoin devotee Elon Musk behind the scenes since 2019. On top of this, they said there’s a technical upgrade in the pipeline.

It’s been quite a week for Musk. First, cryptocurrencies plunged across the board after he announced Tesla would suspend Bitcoin payments due to environmental concerns.

Today, he took to Twitter once again to assuage market fears that his crypto enthusiasm might be waning. “To be clear, I strongly believe in crypto, but it can’t drive a massive increase in fossil fuel use, especially coal,” he said.

And an hour later, he tweeted, “Working with Doge devs to improve system transaction efficiency. Potentially promising.”

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May 6, 2021

One decade and $1 trillion after the debut of Bitcoin, the environmental footprint of “mining” the cryptocurrency is still hotly contested. What’s certain, however, is that the amount of electricity the process requires is growing at a breakneck speed. Each time transactions are added to Bitcoin’s digital ledger, they have to be verified by its network, which requires “miners” to devote huge quantities of computational power to solving cryptographic problems. As more miners join the network — lured by the skyrocketing value of the bitcoin they receive in exchange for their work — the puzzles get harder, requiring ever greater amounts of processing power, and thus electricity, to solve.

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Apr 28, 2021

US authorities on Tuesday arrested Roman Sterlingov in Los Angeles, according to court records, and charged him with laundering more than 1.2 million bitcoins—worth $336 million at the times of the payments—over the 10 years that he allegedly ran Bitcoin Fog. According to the IRS criminal investigations division, Sterlingov, a citizen of Russia and Sweden, allowed users to blend their transactions with those of others to prevent anyone examining the Bitcoin blockchain from tracing any individual’s payments. He took commissions on those transactions of 2 to 2.5 percent. In total, the IRS calculates, Sterlingov allegedly took home roughly $8 million worth of bitcoin through the service, based on exchange rates at the times of each transaction. That’s before factoring in Bitcoin’s massive appreciation over the past decade. Ironically, it appears that the 2011 transactions Sterlingov allegedly used to set up Bitcoin Fog’s server hosting are what put the IRS on his trail.

“This is yet another example of how investigators with the right tools can leverage the transparency of cryptocurrency to follow the flow of illicit funds,” says Jonathan Levin, cofounder of blockchain analysis company Chainalysis.

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Apr 27, 2021

Starting on May 1st, users of sourcehut’s CI service will be required to be on a paid account, a change which will affect about half of all builds.sr.ht users.1 Over the past several months, everyone in the industry who provides any kind of free CPU resources has been dealing with a massive outbreak of abuse for cryptocurrency mining. The industry has been setting up informal working groups to pool knowledge of mitigations, communicate when our platforms are being leveraged against one another, and cumulatively wasting thousands of hours of engineering time implementing measures to deal with this abuse, and responding as attackers find new ways to circumvent them.

Cryptocurrency has invented an entirely new category of internet abuse. CI services like mine are not alone in this struggle: JavaScript miners, botnets, and all kinds of other illicit cycles are being spent solving pointless math problems to make money for bad actors. Some might argue that abuse is inevitable for anyone who provides a public service — but prior to cryptocurrency, what kind of abuse would a CI platform endure? Email spam? Block port 25. Someone might try to host their website on ephemeral VMs with dynamic DNS or something, I dunno. Someone found a way of monetizing stolen CPU cycles directly, so everyone who offered free CPU cycles for legitimate use-cases is now unable to provide those services. If not for cryptocurrency, these services would still be available.

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The founder of a popular crypto exchange in Turkey has disappeared, with media reports indicating that he has fled the country with $2 billion as roughly 300,000 frustrated users have suddenly lost access to their accounts.

In Turkey, the national currency lira has been in a secular decline for nine consecutive years, urging people to take some risks in a bid to protect their savings and maybe even earn something. As a result, the recent rise of cryptocurrencies predictably attracted many investors who hoped to protect their money and possibly gain some more. But things did not go well for them as Thodex, one of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, went bust.

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Discussions about cryptocurrency.

Created on Oct 20, 2020
By @gurlic