Monero lost more than 50% of its network hash rate

This is old news to many but I’ve been watching it, the hash rate on Monero was just over 1000 MH/s prior to the algorithm update as a way to combat ASIC mining by companies like Bitmain.  It plunged to as a little as 157MH/s initially but as of now (2018-08-08) 461 MH/s.

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This is significant and the move wasn’t without controversy but I think it was the right way to go.  Monero wanted to stop giant mining farms like you see for Bitcoin and Litecoin.

I think it worked, initially and clearly a lot of mining was disrupted because all the mining software had to be updated such as xmr-stak or xmrig etc.. Today if you use a pre April 2018 miner you will get “invalid results” or “share not accepted” from the pool because the algorithm has changed.  This effectively bricked Bitmain’s Monero miners but all was not lost for them as it is believed they were probably mining with them for several months if not more before releasing them publicly.  For any critics at least Monero clearly communicated almost immediately after Bitmain’s announcement that they would update the algorithm and would be sure to brick them.  And in all fairness at least Bitmain warned of this on their own sales page so it is nice to see an issue like this handled well by the main parties involved (of course those who still bought a Monero miner are out of their money).

Considering that months later the old hash rate of 1+ GH/s is now only about 460MH/s I think it is fair to say there were ASIC mining farms controlling over half of Monero!  This very well could have been Bitmain and other manufacturers themselves.  But going back to the whole mining thing, most know I am against it.  One inherent vulnerability of any mineable coin is that whoever has the most hashing power wins or controls the network allowing them to steal from others essentially.  As illustrated in my picture earlier one pool supportxmr.com has 80 MH/s, Nanopool 95MH/s, minexmr 94 MH/s so essentially 3 pools control about 60% of the hashing rate or about 20% each on average.  If you check out the list of Monero pools essentially the hash rate is concentrated among numerous pools which puts it in a similar situation as Bitcoin in a sense.

The current situation is better but nothing stops people from spending millions on GPUs and CPUs in order to dominate the network. With Monero only worth around $100 USD at the moment there is little incentive to do so unless an organization simply wanted to kill Monero.  I would imagine criminal organizations like the ones who targeted Bitcoin Gold and other coins will be ready and waiting to do the same though.

What do you think?

Cheers,
A. Yasir

Your TV A Bitcoin Miner?

Yes, China-based Bitcoin mining products maker, Canaan Creative has revealed it’s plans to marry hardware and everyday products into one Bitcoin mining relationship.

South China Morning Post reported that Canaan has launched something called “AvalonMiner Inside. A TV set which can process 2.8 trillion hashes per second. Wow. That’s hot. Literally it’s going to be really HOT.

Bitcoin mining is already utterly difficult, high energy consumption and creates a lot of heat.  I’m just not sure how you would run a 1700W miner + an AC unit pulling between 6-12 amps on the same circuit.  Even then how much power would be wasted on cooling the miner?  These sure sound cool but would be very impractical.  Also consider that if the hashing units break then you probably can’t use your AC unit and vice versa (unless of course the two can be used separately if needed).

Canaan’s not the first company to try meshing mining and consumer products. Bitcoin start up 21 Inc and Chinese appliance manufacturer Midea Group have tried in the past to create appliances like AC units with chips inside that could mine. They even made a patent for the idea.

But not everyone is excited about Canaan’s and these other companies bold ideas.  Xiao Lei, a Beijing-based Bitcoin Analyst, said “It looks more like hype. It will be more meaningful if these companies are able to embed the mining function into existing major TV brands.”

Canaan has also debuted the Avalon Miner A9, which provides a hashrate of up to 30 TH/s, with a power consumption of 1,720 watts per unit, according to Canaan’s website. The price of the new miner has not yet been disclosed on the website.

How much power do you think this will need to cool down? Bitcoin mining is essentially extremely difficult now, with almost over 80% of the hashing power coming straight from Chinese mining farms. So these products will not help the average person trying to mine. In fact, unless you had been mining it early on, these products are more so hype then anything else and giants like Canaan are trying to jump on the ‘bitcoin bandwagon’ to make some money and then swiftly leave.

Canaan took in 1.3 billion yuan (about US$205 million) in revenue in 2017, a 27-fold increase from the year earlier. Its profit in 2017 was 361 million yuan, up more than 230-fold from 2015, according to its filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

In 2017, Avalon miners accounted for 19.5 per cent of the world’s processing power for mining bitcoin, the filing said, citing data from consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

So they’re doing alright. But again, Bitcoin mining is extremely difficult and this TV thing is going to need incredible amount of cooling down. It would be interesting to see how this is done, since TV’s are already hot enough.

What do you think? Would you purchase this?

Cheers,
A.Yasir

 

 

 

Bitcoin Anonymity at what cost?

Wasabi Wallet

We’ve already heard of “tumblers” which make it very difficult to trace the true sender or receiver of a Bitcoin transaction.  Now we have the “Wasabi” wallet project, which does something a bit differently.  It actually uses the Tor network to anonymize you on the Bitcoin network.  However, I think this is a risky move because malicious actors on the Tor network (especially exit nodes) have been setup by malicious groups including government agencies for surveillance and other use.

The problem with depending on the Tor network and a third party client is what if someone injects malicious code such as the Bitcoin Gold client scam?  Even if that’s not the case what if some malicious Tor node runners get together and target Bitcoin users and use it to successfully trick the Wasabi client into thinking you’ve received money you don’t have?  It would certainly be an effort and tricky but with enough time, money and resources it is a likely possibility based on the reward value alone.

So, well the idea is well-intentioned I think trying to solve it any other way  is risky and it should be the Bitcoin code base that is modified to support these features.

Another personal alternative is that you can use your own personal proxy or server to hide your real IP as this is already a supported feature of the Bitcoin client itself.

What do you think?

Cheers!
A.Yasir

Crypto Internet Trolls MasterCard

Step Back Fiat, We Got This.

So Mastercard had an outage, so the CryptoVerse beat it down with tweets to make sure it knew what’s up.

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After reading so many bash pieces on Elon Musk, it was a welcomed break to read something fun.

Mastercard had a severe outage last week, that piled up to many people being unable to use their cards. Visa had a draw back not long ago, and crypto-internet wouldn’t let the world forget it.

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The Financial Times reported that it had a ‘global impact’, creating outrage and frustration from around the globe over this glitch. Customers took to twitter to complain to the credit card giant, which did eventually resolve the issue and service resumed for their customers.

End of story.

Well, not for Crypto Twitter, which took this time and pleasure to give Mastercard and their press team the social media headache of the decade. :)

 100’s of comments poured in with some of the most delightful and hilarious tweets.

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Oh crypto twitter.

But this public bashing did bring the very nature of blockchain technology and finance into light. If Mastercard adopts with their own private blockchain without the pressmissionless public blockchain, they could very well make a system similar to cryptocurrency. But without the insecurity.

I’m excited to see how the financial world changes alongside cryptocurrency.

The future is near?

A.Yasir

Sherman’s Head

Hating On Cryptocurrency To Save Fiat

Well I expected some crazy stuff going down during the Cryptocurrency hearings in front of Congress, and I wasn’t disappointed. My instinct was to follow the crowd, and just blame Congressman Brad Sherman for being old and too wrinkly to understand this technology. But this man isn’t old and stupid. No these people are actually pretty damn smart, that’s how they make that $$$ and that’s why it shouldn’t have been a surprise to know Sherman wanted a flat out ban on all cryptocurrency and mining.

While the internet went psycho in calling this old timer congressman for not understanding the technology nor listening to the experts, I was thinking “How clever this old snake”.  He spent most of the time interrupting the experts just to say how much he hated cryptocurrency and how it was used for only illegal stuff.

There’s two parts to this.

  1. Sherman’s Not Dumb
    As much as I want to fall back on the fact Sherman’s old, out of touch and just can’t get his old man brain around cryptocurrency, this isn’t the case. He’s very smart, in fact, he knows what cryptocurrency is and how it could completely change the face of money. He’s connected to other Congressmen, Bankers, Politicians, and the Elite, heck even gunrunners are Congressmen, he’s connected to money. Fiat money to be exact. A monetary system that his friends own, and he’s going to protect it.

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    Imagine a coin the Federal Reserve couldn’t make, control and manipulate. Instead, it’s a system where people can make, control and manipulate. Well, thats not to say it’s better, but it’s better than what we have. The unbankable would be bankable simply because they could mine, buy and exchange or trade coins for other coins or goods/services. Where poverty stricken places could make their own family or community economies. Imagine the endless possibilities of this level of adoption?

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    But this possibility is why Mr. Sherman wouldn’t even let Cryptocurrency Experts finish a sentence before rudely interrupting. Accusing cryptocurrency of being mainly used by criminals and the dark web- where illicit activities take place. He declared he wanted a blanket ban on all mining and cryptocurrencies. Creating the uproar amongst the cryptoverse.

  2. Sherman’s Criminal Link
    With all the talk about cryptocurrency only being used for criminal activities, Mr. Sherman forgot to consider his own criminal links. One of the largest donors to his campaign was by a California based company Allied Wallet, who was involved in illegal gambling. Allied Wallet was forced to pay $13million to the US after investigation. Mr. Sherman probably forgot but the internet didn’t.

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    Not to say that a proper discussion on the topic of security and safety of Cryptocurrency isn’t something we should engage in. However, flat out slamming Cryptocurrency to secure the Fiat system, isn’t a good method nor is it right.In the end, the #CryptoCongress hashtag trended and hopefully, the American people will make their voices clear with their vote next election.

    In the meantime, click here to contact him and other Congress people on how you feel.

    What do you think? Is Mr. Sherman in conflict of interest here?

    Cheers,
    A.Yasir

“The Future Of Money”

US House Of Representatives

The United States will begin official hearings on cryptocurrency on July 18 2018, on a live stream for the general public to listen on the hearings. The title of this hearing is “The Future of Money: Digital Currency’, somewhat acknowledging that bitcoin and cryptocurrency at least has the potential of being the ‘new cash’ if not the only ‘cash’ of the future. As technology develops, having digital cash is the next natural course.

The exact list of people attending hasn’t been released, but it’s expected to be presided over by the legislators and cyprtocurreny experts. When I hear cryptocurrency experts though, there’s a few worries that come to mind.
The first is that ‘most’ if not all cryptocurrency ‘experts’ tend to completely negate the security portion of digital currency, upselling completely unsafe technology. Which is a legitimate concern surround cyprtocurrency. It’s not fully anonymous like people think, Bitcoin is traceable for example. Public ledgers, permissionless public blockchain, and no central authority within the community to protect the currency itself, are all concerns. Ripple does this fairly well, but still lacks considering their bank affiliations and their motivation to dump XRP (which is unlikely but still worrying).

This hearing will look into the security concerns related to cryptocurrency and curbing issues like money laundering, but experts would have to present a solid case, to show that it’s not different than laundering fiat or gold bars for that matter.

The US congress had released an economic report in March of this year that highlighted the benefits of cryptocurrency and why using it would be good for the economy. Which is a surprising change of mood considering how the Federal Reserve has been on behaving towards it. Perhaps fear that the debt system that they created for over a century is going to break down.

What do you think? Will this hearing  finally give Bitcoin and cryptocurrency the boost it needs after 6 months of FUD?

Cheers!
A.Yasir

Amazon’s Racist Shop

Shopping For Hate

Despite Amazon’s strict policies against the sales of racist, homophobic, anti-semitic, Islamaphobic and general ‘hate glorifying’ goods, these items are still for sale and are being bought on Amazon.  According to Reuters, Action Center on Race & The Economy and the Partnership for Working Families, released the report today hammering Amazon the online shopping king, for failing miserably to enforce their policies.

Amazon’s policy prohibits:

“Products that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.” The two groups say they found toys with propaganda symbols, books and other products aimed at children to further normalize these intolerant or racist beliefs.

The report criticized that Amazon was profiting from sales of these items since it takes a cut of the sales, and that it, “provides a number of channels through which hate groups can generate revenue, propagate their ideas and grow their movements.”

Through writing e-books and through Amazon’s Music store, they are giving these hate groups the ability to spread their hateful speech and message. Using these Amazon platforms, racist writers, musicians and ‘racist activists’ including violence against black people, Muslim, Jewish & LGBTQ people, supporters are able to sell their hate and make Amazon millions in profits, as well as fund the racist/hate groups.

The two watchdog groups that reported Amazons dirty shopping, through their report insist that Amazon take down these hate sellers, and also make a public stance against these hateful, racist, intolerant ideologies, as well as promising not to profit from them. They’re asking Amazon to remove these items from their platforms as well as destroy any physical products that are currently in their warehouses.

 Amazon spokesman did say that they will shut down anyone breaking their rules, it’s a weak statement considering they should have been already removed.  Another spokesperson said they are currently removing some neo-Nazi bands that had been identified from its music platform.

Spotify, Google and Deezer all purged their libraries of racist music back in August 2017. In the same month, Apple removed Apple Pay support from white nationalist sites and Squarespace culled hate sites from its web hosting service.

Amazon also has a track record of holding payments for small businesses for small infringements or sometimes no particular reason, or even shut them down completely. It makes me wonder why it’s taken so long for them to purge the hate sellers.

It remains to be seen how much is actually left over, or how many try to circumvent the rules. Nobody thought tiki torches would ever be used a white supremacist march- but here it is. Of course this tiki torche company had nothing to do with the group.

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The Truth About Laundering Bitcoin

It’s The Same As Laundering Fiat, Just Smaller.

CCN.com reported that CipherTrace released their Q2 2018 report that noted the rise of cryptocurrency crime, money laundering and other illicit activities. One particular glaring item was a $1.2 billion figure, that had been laundered through cryptocurrency tools such as Bitcoin Tumblers and privacy coins like Zcash and Monero.

Now this isn’t really news. We already know about Drug trafficking busts, weapons and human trafficking busts, which the different levels of the US government have made on the dark web. But what this is suggesting is that not only is crime up using Bitcoin, but ransom is also up. And it’s implying that it’s only happening to Cryptocurrencies and not really happening to such an extent to Fiat- which is incorrect.

The Problem
The problem I have with CipherTrace’s reports and other reports of such nature, is the idea that only cryptocurrency is used to do crimes. Now the report isn’t suggesting that, but it’s implying it. Fiat money has been doing daily orders of crimes for decades. Just recently a large scale report in British Columbia revealed that the Liberal government looked the other way while criminals used casino’s to launder millions of dollars- literally duffel bags of $5, $10 and $20 bills, and the casino staff were told to turn the camera’s away. The government let this slide, even the RCMP, because it created a booming economy in B.C. The results cost lives and livelihoods:

“At an event Wednesday to release the report, Eby said money laundering in casinos was linked to the opioid crisis that has claimed thousands of lives and to escalating housing prices that have made life unaffordable for British Columbians.”

Which is serious considering houses that should actually be worth $500,000 are now worth over $1million in a mere 6 years.

Fiat’s Way Worse
Fiats been used to launder money, crimes, wars, arms deals, genocides, human and sex trafficking of children and much more for decades. Anyone willing to stop investing in real estate because of the money it’s laundered? Anyone willing to stop using a bank because of their very real crimes of over charging people on transactions and NSF’s? Anyone willing to stop paying their government taxes because of their illegal invasions and human rights violations?

NO? Well stop complaining about crimes with cryptocurrency. Its not good and slowly a system will be created to hopefully limit such crimes. At least cryptocurrency will grow and smooth this out, Fiat money has had decades to fix their crime issues, and now it’s 2018 and nothings been solved.

Just because cryptocurrency is being used by ‘some’ to do terrible things doesn’t mean we all are- the majority aren’t. The ugly truth is that crime happens, and we can’t really stop it, whether it’s with cryptocurrency or not. Some will argue and say ‘well it’s easier now with privacy coins’ and they aren’t wrong, but these ‘privacy coins’ can be watched for the most to see where it’s going. Eventually they’re going to need to collect the value of those coins, and undercover government Exchanges on the dark web will nab them, and then collect those coins for their government wallet (valued over $40 million). Read my “Dark Web Bust” post for more details.

Then there will be those who say ‘well you can’t compare fiat and cyrptocurrency as a proper excuse’. Yeah actually we can. Because most people who do cryptocurrency aren’t criminals. The biggest criminal we have in the crypto scene is probably George Soros who was responsible for the Asian Financial Crisis- he was never held responsible, never faced any criminal charges or jailed. He continued on, making his millions. He suspiciously entered the crypto world just after Dec 2017 highs….not sure if there’s a link, buuuut that is for sure a link….

Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Have Value
If old socks become a hot valued commodity, guess what, they’re going to use it for crimes. Criminals only use things that have value, well cryptocurrency has value, just like fiat and that’s why it’s being used.  Love it or hate it, cryptocurrency is not going to die. You can argue that Tokens and ICO’s will (if they haven’t already) die, but the major players like Bitcoin, Monero, Dash, Dogecoin (yes even Dogecoin) Litecoin and even the expensive gas induced Ethereum, will last.

Bitcoin isn’t all just crimes. Just like Fiat money isn’t all just crimes. Keep that in mind when you’re thinking FUD thoughts.

Cheers,
A.Yasir

Dogecon 2018: Vancouver

Such Wow! Much Conference!

Amongst the sea of self serving blockchain conferences, and large scale multi-million dollar Internet of Things conferences and expo’s, was a refreshing Dogecon held in Vancouver that captured the heart of cryptocurrency. The meme essence came to life.

What started off as a fork of Bitcoin, and a running meme joke, became the largest most dedicated community of cryptocurrencers ever. More than Bitcoin, more than Ethereum, Dogecoin’s strong and proudly loved. It’s community strong, not just about value, but about substance. From tipping to charity, to car racing, the Dogecoin is actually the most viable coin out there. And to celebrate the ‘such wow’, Dogecon was held in Vancouver BC.

A conference where nobody talked about panic selling or the market crashing, instead dance parties, rap shows, dinner and a freaking puppy parade- that’s right, a freaking Shibu Inu parade, was held. You can only wish in your dreams that you had seen it in real life, it was just that amazing.

It wasn’t ‘tradition’, with high rolling investors in thousand dollar suits, no this conference was down to earth, honest and genuine- something you don’t see often in the superficial world of Instagram cryptocurrency.

No twitter cryptoinvestors and enthusiasts had lots of good genuine things to say. Four days of celebrations, real discussions, and Dogecoin worship took place in Vancouver British Columbia. And the reviews are in: It was awesome.
Yes Rocco, this is what it should look like.

Even the sponsors proudly stood by Dogecon with ETH Classic joining in.

Just over 200 participants attended Dogecon, and tickets were sold out by the time I posted about it- sorry about that…  It was a breath of fresh air from the stuffy blockchain conferences, it was relaxed and real, and showed what this amazing Dogecoin community is.

So if you’re looking to invest in a good coin, Dogecoin is it.

Why do I say this:
1. Dogecoin is used more frequently than even Bitcoin cash
2. 40th in Market Cap
3. Has been in use since 2010 for tipping, charities, to car racing etc etc
4. It’s the 4th most popular cryptocurrency (yes that’s right, Dogecoin is the 4th)
5. More viable since the community even after the Creator abandoned it, kept it up.
6. Unapologetically a joke currency that became seriously serious.
7. Doesn’t fall under SEC regulations as a original coin
8. Faster and cheaper to use
9. Dogecon!!!
10. It’s a freaking Shibu Inu, who doesn’t like dogs!
11. It’s not all about ‘Bitcoin level value, or pumping and dumping’, its about the coin itself.

Such wisdom! So get yourself some Dogecoin, and bow to Lord Doge.

It’s safe to say that Dogecon 2019 is going to be even larger and better! What do you think of Dogecoin? Is it still a joke coin to you or are you showing some Doge love! I personally mined and owned Dogecoin, and I’ve easily used it, and it’s honestly one of my top 5 favorite coins. If I had to pick something to invest in, I’d skip the ICO’s and Ethereum tokens, and go straight to Dogecoin.

Cheers!
A. Yasir

Does the CIA know Or Not?

Who Is “Satoshi Nakamoto”

A video titled, CIA Project Bitcoin: Is Bitcoin a CIA or NSA project? made by a group calling themselves the “CIA Project” surfaced on youtube. This group is dedicated in finding all the governments secret projects and making it public. And in this latest video, they are claiming that Bitcoin is actually the creation of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

Now don’t scoff it off as a conspiracy theory or ‘FUD’ and run away. Lets have a gander at what this group is claiming to be their biggest proof.

Satoshi Nakamoto- the name itself.

Now I do touch on this subject a little in my post here, so have a read of that as well to put some other very important pieces of this together.

Satoshi (meaning ‘clear thinking, or intelligent). Nakamoto is a common Japanese surname meaning “central origin or one who lives in the middle) This surname is commonly found in Ryukyu Islands of Japan, which is strongly associated with the Ryukyu Kingdon, a highly centralized kindgom that originated in the Okinawa Islands.  This Island in particular was known as the ‘the place where cannibals lived’….not sure if this gives any weight to Warren Buffets fantastic quote, where he equates Bitcoin mining to harvesting baby brains…

Combined, both names could be interpreted as “Central Intelligence”- could be, loosely. There is in fact a real Satoshi Nakamoto (well Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto) but he vehemently denies he’s the Bitcoin creator and even hired a lawyer to clear his name. How badly do people want to know who this guy is?

The next claim is that no one has actually met Satoshi Nakamoto in person or spoken on the phone with him or her or even them.  Even Gavin Bell (known as Gavin Andresen), who only has contact by email, never in person or over the phone.

Other evidence includes the fact that Bitcoin uses a common PRNG (crypto program) to create secure keys, which is itself believed to have an NSA backdoor. Numerous Reddit threads linking Bitcoin or Satoshi Nakamoto with the NSA have been removed; and that Bitcoin is not decentralized as it is being controlled by a small group which is led by Gavin Bell. Which is true, I’ve said it before that cryptocurrencies are not decentralized in the sense people assume, there is a central body controlling it, and right now with Bitcoin it’s the 80% hashing power Chinese mining farms and Gavin Bell.

But do the CIA Project’s claims have any merit? I think there is- even just a little, is still too much.

The NSA creating Bitcoin has been rumor for many years. People have questioned why it uses the SHA-256 hash function- which by the way we designed by the NSA and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology..

The fact that the NSA is tied to SHA-256 leads some to assume it’s created a backdoor to the hash function that no one has ever identified, which allows it to spy on Bitcoin users.

“If you assume that the NSA did something to SHA-256, which no outside researcher has detected, what you get is the ability, with credible and detectable action, they would be able to forge transactions. The really scary thing is somebody finds a way to find collisions in SHA-256 really fast without brute-forcing it or using lots of hardware and then they take control of the network,” cryptography researcher Matthew D. Green of Johns Hopkins University said in a previous interview.

This alone makes it worrisome for Bitcoin users or Cyber security specialists. Snowden is very harsh on Bitcoin and says it’s being watched by government agencies- more on that in a different post.

And of course this comes just at the heels after the CIA refused to confirm or deny if they knew who Satoshi Nakamoto is- leaving many to speculate, if they know.  And like Snowden says, ‘they know’.

I myself didn’t want anything to do with Bitcoin in 2009 when my wife told me about it- because of the sheer nightmare that is security and fraud. (Of course I’m glad I reconsidered it and mined as much as I could back then), but it did have the distinct smell of ‘government’ even back then.

Then there’s recent news of 21e8….that’s for another post.

What do you think? Does this prove that Satoshi Nakamoto is actually the NSA? Or does it simply just add another layer of conspiracy theories to an already large mystery.

We may never know.

Cheers,
A.Yasir