The NSA is spying on cryptocurrency including Bitcoin – Edward Snowden

Unsurprisingly Edward Snowden recently revealed to the world that the NSA is tracking cryptocurrency users including Bitcoin.  What makes it worse, but also not surprising is that they tricked users to install security software they wrote that actually feeds all of their private data, cryptokeys, back to the NSA directly.  It is soon going to be an absolutely necessity to increase your own security and to start using better, more secure coins that cannot be so easily tracked.  This is the equivalent of the government following you around and poking around your wallet and watching each transaction you do even with cash.  There’s no privacy anymore and ironically cryptocurrency is part of this reason, or shall we say at least, the majority of insecure, public, permissionless blockchain based currencies.    This could send the value of currencies like XMR/Monero skyrocketing as a Bitcoin alternative.  While Monero is in my opinion better in almost everyway to Bitcoin, it is still not the perfect coin as it does have some issues including the use of PoW and of course the whole public, permissionless issue, speed issues etc..

US Cryptocurrency and ICO Regulations Push Business Overseas

First of all bravo for Coinbase, with a lot at stake itself, for getting this issue right in the following quote:

There is so much uncertainty about the definition of a security and the scope of regulatory control that the market is being chilled. This is bad for everyone because the technology won’t stop — it will simply move overseas and we will miss out on the opportunity to cultivate the benefits in the U.S.

Much like I’ve been saying is that governments who are overly aggressive, ambiguous and don’t create a fair playing field for cryptocurrency and related companies will be sidelined.  Cryptocurrency cannot be contained by borders anymore than the web could be.  Naturally, I do agree certain practical laws and regulations should apply but the laws should be clear and easy to follow.  If companies are essentially being threatened, raided and faced with uncertainty it hurts both the company and investors.  Ultimately as I’ve said before it will drive these huge sums of money away to countries that treat cryptocurrency users, traders and companies well.

There are so many conflicting statements from governments around the world and multiple bodies in the US.  It sometimes seems as if government officials and bankers who have a lot of input in these matters diverge on the matter.  This is OK but it should not be reflected by creating an atmosphere of fear and confusion whether by design or by fluke.

We all see the market has been impacted significantly with nothing but negative press for cryptocurrency but I believe it will resolve on the upside as investors realize it isn’t going anywhere and no single government or bank can ever stop it.  In fact I predict that the market may just start using more privacy and security based coins and trade them exclusively and directly for goods, bypassing fiat altogether.  Ironically this is probably the last thing governments and banks want but this is where all of this action is heading towards in my opinion.

 

Ripple Performance Beats Bitcoin and Ethereum!

Despite so much turbulence in the markets Ripple has returned 4.8% vs Bitcoin’s 2.64% in the last 24 hours or Ethereum’s -.75%.  Ripple is proving itself to be able to withstand strong headwinds after nearly hitting the $5 mark last year.  Of course $.70 is a far cry from its all time high but considering the market as of lately this is impressive.  I think despite the concerns over XRP’s future in terms of it being associated with large and central banking clients, there is value in it being a hedge.  This is one of the reasons I invested in Ripple as I feel with increasing government scrutiny, regulation, threats, bad news etc.. that this would all cause Ripple to return much better in the long-term.  However as I’ve said in past posts, there appears to be the very real fear and possibility that Ripple may just dump XRP if the banks tell or pay them to.  In fact I even e-mailed them with detailed concerns from another blog and they had no comment other than asking me to check their news, blog and website so at this point I feel it is very plausible.  Ripple’s affiliation with banks and government will either help it right to the top or it could weight down Ripple.  Besides that I feel Ripple is a fairly good currency but does suffer from a few other flaws that I won’t get into here.

 

CoinmarketCap-2018-03-20

SEC Helps and Hinders ICO’s with Reg-A+

Basically the SEC is making it easier for cryptocurrencies to legally IPO with an ICO if that makes sense.  They have lifted the caq from 50 million to 75 million and a few ICOs have already launched under this rule.  The SEC’s aggressive pursuit of cryptocurrency projects, traders and exchanges will either have one of two effects in my opinion.

  1. The SEC could create a strong cryptocurrency ecosystem if it is fair with its rules and regulations.  This would be positive for the US cryptocurrency market.
  2. The SEC could completely alienate cryptocurrency users, traders and exchanges and force the majority of money to move offshore and this would be disasterous for the US economy but not necessarily cryptocurrency in the longterm.

It is concerning that the SEC seems to be going after even large firms and ICOs like tZero.  If they are trying to show no one will be exempt they’re doing a good job but they’re also giving incentive to ICOs and related business to move away from SEC jurisdiction.  Another concern is that the SEC as a branch of the US government can now legally and literally censor ICOs.  If an ICO is coming out that restores free speech and the US government doesn’t like this do you think they will be allowed to ICO by the SEC?  It could lead to far more than just financial consequences very quickly.

Only time will tell where things head but so far I suspect things are heading out of the SEC jurisdiction and people, especially investors, may view US cryptocurrency companies as a ticking time bomb or at least a liability.

 

First Bitcoin Mining Arrest

In this case a Florida government employee was arrested for “mining Bitcoin”.  But there’s more to the story that is probably missing or inaccurate.

Many people use work resources to mine but this case is unique.  This IT manager apparently spent $22K using his workplace issued credit card on mining hardware including dozens of GPU cards.

Considering we are talking GPUs the IT manager was more probably mining Ethereum or another profitable coin.  It also could be he had some ASICs for Bitcoin running considering he racked up an extra $800/month in power consumption!

The moral of the story is that he wouldn’t have been arrested and charged with theft and fraud had he not used his work credit card.

I could see it being normal for an employee to be disciplined but its  a gray area especially for workplaces without applicable policies for mining.

As much I like mining here is one of the evils that it can impact anyone paying utilites.

Youtube’s Communist Censorship Plan

Youtube has announced it will be the new thought police.  They’ll be doing this by discouraging and contradicting any thoughts, beliefs or theories that are not within mainstream beliefs or teachings.  At this rate they’ll have met the gold standard for censorship and subversion and China will be viewed as an easier place to share your thoughts.  On its face it may not sound that bad to link to Wikipedia articles but in fact anyone can write and manipulate Wikipedia.  Google will be choosing what counterpoints to make by of course selecting which article(s) get linked to.  This is quite alarming and also frustrating since hate, racism and other harmful activity has been rampant on the web ever since it began but no company or government have made any concrete steps to counter it.  So why worry about people posting their alternative beliefs and thoughts online and exposing the lies of the news?  By the gauge of most the mainstream news is the fake news yet media giants like Facebook want to declare thoughts outside of that realm as “Fake News”.  By this method then the PRISM system of spying on and intercepting people’s private information is a “bad conspiracy theory” that people have to be warned away from (of course most now understand this was never a conspiracy since Edward Snowden revealed more details about what most already knew).  There are some valid reasons for this to be done (from the perspective of nice government men and corporate greed).  There is a lot of information being shared on Youtube about pharmaceutical companies and really whole swaths of very solid information about a lot of things going on in our world.  The majority of it is well sourced and quoted and most people won’t view that content as conspiracy.  Could it be that anything that doesn’t fit the viewpoint or ends of certain elite companies and people are what is really being targeted?  Until racism and hate has been cleaned up from these platforms I am just not buying there is any good or genuine reason for Google to do this.    I think we’re heading down a slippery slope to the point where freedom of thought and expression will be completely eliminated gradually through these policies.  Eventually Google will probably start deranking websites which fit into this category of “non-conformity” to the mainstream and elitists.

What do you guys think?  I think it’s time to support Tron (TRX) and any other decentralized social media platforms.  It’s time to take the internet back!

Washington Org Warns Of Petro Coin Threat

Based on an article from Brookings Institute they have a dire warning for all cryptocurrency users!  They first take a shot at the very idea of it helping Venezuela in the first paragraph “the idea that the petro can ameliorate an economic crisis rooted in the bolívar’s volatility seems unbelievable”.  It goes on to say it is a threat to all cryptocurrency “petro will not only fail to cure Venezuela’s economic woes but will also weaken the integrity of cryptocurrencies writ-large”.  And my last but most favorite quote is what I think it’s really about “As Turkey, Iran, Russia, and other sanctioned countries deal with their severe economic impacts, they might pursue the same fraudulent strategy as Venezuela: create a cryptocurrency tied to a government-controlled asset, raise money in violation of sanctions, and proceed to manipulate that cryptocurrency’s value to maximize profit.”

While they do make some valid points governments around the world create their own currency usually without any backing of gold or resources out of thin error and continue to manipulate their currencies all the time.   To call Petro Coin over any other coin or ICO doesn’t seem to be based on anything other than political views. I think the article is highly biased and that Brookings is essentially the mouth piece for Washington and cannot be taken seriously.

The fact that Petro raised over 700M USD is significant and is less likely to be a scam than the other 90% of ICOs out there.  If I want to offer criticism of Petro I am frustrated that they don’t have their own top level domain for it and that they didn’t allow individual investors to get in on the coin.  As an investor when things are difficult and information is not easy to find I get frustrated and lose interest.  I think that is really the biggest risk to the Petro Coin.  I also disagree with larger countries sanctioning smaller countries who do not do their bidding since it just ends up creating poverty and suffering for the average person.

I am long Petro Coin if they can get more organized and get out better information.  Petro Coin stands to succeed if not for the reason that there are powerful backers of it.  Historically this been enough for the weakest of states, currencies and assets to continue floating on.  It’s also the same principle of what makes Bitcoin work, people have invested into it in different ways and it continues to be used although I do agree all cryptocurrencies essentially need an overhaul and they are certainly lacking in ease, functionality and security but his will be resolved in time.

 

IMF Wants To Regulate Bitcoin with Blockchain!

Christine Lagarde of the IMF has suggested “fighting fire with fire” by regulating Bitcoin with the IMF’s own blockchain technology.  I am not sure what they are proposing on a technical level or what this common is really based on, but let’s read between the lines of the intention.

This is very exciting news as it signals the IMF is acknowledging that cryptocurrency and Bitcoin especially are here to stay.  They wouldn’t regulate something that they don’t expect to survive.

Now the bad news is that the IMF may have something up their sleeves that slows or impedes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from functioning as they should.  After all the IMF has also played roles that many of us do not think is constructive or fair to the countries that have used it.  If we apply the same scenario to Bitcoin it is time to get excited and scared at once.  It also seems disingenuous to imply cryptocurrency has a darkside while implying fiat doesn’t.  I get it and agree, fiat is better controlled so they like it but fiat is still used for crimes all the time.  If fiat wasn’t regulated under their control they would probably make similar statements about fiat instead of cryptocurrency.

The real question is what is the real intention?  Obviously as they’ve stated it is regulation but will the regulation make it so only the elite can trade Bitcoin or do they simply just want their own cut and control of cryptocurrency?  I think if we look at the history of their role and fiat, the truth will lay right in the middle but only as far as what they’ve decided should be the fate and role of fiat.  Both can coexist but do they intend for them to coexist or for one to roll over the other?

Either way announcements like this show us that cryptocurrency is certainly here to stay and it has caught the attention of the entire finance world.

Binance Proposes a new Decentralized Exchange

Binance’s new blockchain which will be its own decentralized exchange could be just what the decentralized world needs.  I am actually not a fan of a decentralized exchange as it really means no one is responsible for your losses and in fact more scams have happened on the more famous ones like Etherdelta.  One look at most other decentralized exchanges just screams insecure and scam to me.

So this is where Binance comes in as a trusted central exchange.  Centralization is not always bad so long as the person or team behind is trustworthy and conversely as we’ve seen with Etherdelta the opposite applies.

Binance has a real shot here of being the top player in cryptoexchanges.

I’ve found Binance to be easy, safe, and honest for an exchange.  If they apply this to their new blockchain for decentralized exchange trading it could be a huge winner.

We must always remember it’s not so much about the technology but about the integrity, intention and ability of the team behind it.

I am still hesitant on decentralized exchanges because of rampant losses and scams, but if anyone can do it right I bet it will be Binance.  Time will tell but this is exciting to me.

Videoblocks.com Scam Review Complaint

I don’t know why but I’ve never encountered so many online scams in my life!  Gone are the days where things were fairly normalized and most online stores and sellers were generally honest.  I thought these tactics were a thing of the past in the wild wild west of the web but in comes videoblocks.

They seemed good enough and their offer was reasonable at $149 USD/year for unlimited downloads to their footage.  This was confirmed on their main site and screenshots during the offer.

Videoblocks-scam

A few days later I received this e-mail from them saying they will randomly bill me for some trial I didn’t agree to in 2 days!  Also note there is no information on how to stop the billing.

Note the timestamp is on 2018-03-09

Videoblocks-scam-billingemail

However on the same day they billed me (apparently 2 days means the same day to them)! To be clear I didn’t signup for any trial or authorize any further billing!

Videoblocks-scam-billing

I immediately fired off an e-mail telling them what I thought about being billed without my authorization or knowledge.

Videoblocks-scam-billing-email

There was never any mention of this during my signup but I am told it is crammed into their TOS.  This is clearly deceptive and a scam in my opinion.  Even though I responded to the e-mail right away telling them I didn’t agree to it they are still trying to steal my money!

I’ve included the response from Videoblocks.com below.

Leigh Harrison
Subject: Fwd: Re: Thanks for taking your membership to the next level Areeb!


Rick Jernigan replied:

 

The problem with their response is that I didn’t agree to anything they signed me up on their own for some bogus trial I wasn’t notified of and then instantly billed me.  There was no mention of a $198/year package anywhere on their signup form or their website at all.

Because of this I don’t trust them and I will never use them again and sure hope they don’t charge my credit card again for some other random services or trials that I didn’t agree to!

There are also numerous complaints identical to mine on this issue: https://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/videoblockscom/reston-virginia-20191/videoblockscom-footage-firm-deceptive-free-trial-reston-virginia-717040