Kin plans to fork Stellar Lumens instead of using ERC20 Ethereum Coins

The first thing I remember about Kin is that they are Canadian and they raised a lot of money in their ICO.  The last thing I remember is that I tried to buy it and couldn’t find any proper safe exchange to buy it on (they were on what I consider essentially scam exchanges).  I also wasn’t able to gain access to their website (it was broken) so on that basis I will give my thoughts about the project and ideas behind it.

First of all I agree with their assessment of Ethereum  as being like dial-up internet.  But this raises the question of planning and management.  Slow transactions, lack of security and fraud have been synonymous with Ethereum since it debuted.  What I am getting is this choice is rather rush and sudden.  With such a big team why did no one think of the implications before doing ERC20 tokens or was it just a crash grab first and project as an afterthought?  What happens to the value of those ERC20 tokens that so many people bought?  They will become worthless and they are now a megacorporation who is going to make their own private blockchain for payments.  I resent the fact that they could contribute to the downfall of good ICOs and the few real tokens out there.

With that said I think KIN/KIK could kill it in a good way.  Yes they are centralized but if they do it right and are trustworthy in the end (maybe like a PayPal). The good news is that I do believe Stellar/Ripple are a good base for things, it is a fast and relatively secure network, albeit without privacy and first party wallets.  I think Kin has the right idea but possibly wrong execution based on their initial entry.  I have a  high standard of trust or ICOs a good part of that is the team, their decisions and how they treat their investors.  Time will tell how well they execute this one but I hope it works out and that investors do not lose their money.  I, for one am glad that I wasn’t able to buy KIN as they are now about to dump it and make it worthless.

Here’s my experience with the KIK/KIN team (nothing working and no response after they collected millions of dollars):

Kin-Kik-NoReply

Kin gave me the inspiration to realize how bad Ethereum was when trying to buy their tokens and they wanted to charge me about $100 in fees!

Kin-Kik-NoReply1

$98 in fees to buy KIN:

Why Hardforks In Cryptocurrency Are Bad

I’ve always felt this but hardforks are simply bad, even if in the rare case they intend to fix a problem with the original currency.  Most currencies which have issues like Bitcoin are simply not just a “single problem” but a collective bunch of inherent problems.   But most often it is so clear like is the case with Bitcoin Gold that the team just copies and counterfeits a coin to unjustly enrich themselves.

Risks and Issues with Hardforks

  1. Loss of value, normally the original coin is at least temporarily devalued when a hardfork is done.  People wonder which coin will survive or be more popular?
  2. Confusion leading to scams and fraud.  Which is the real Bitcoin or real Bitcoin Gold?
  3. Many forks don’t make a wallet (more evidence of bad intention) and more likely that fraudsters will make a wallet that steals your coins (eg. John Dass and the Bitcoin Gold team).
  4. Community frustration and division.

Instead of hardforking it is much better to do what Cloakcoin or Litecoin did and the many others did by just copying it, making changes and starting their own blockchain.  This ensures the process won’t allow fraud, confusion or devaluation of the original coin and no harm comes to the community that way.

All these coins have stolen value from the main coins like Bitcoin and then people ask why the value went down?  If Bitcoin was not hardforkable I think it should be several times the value we see now, almost certainly 2/3s or more of the crypto market cap.

Bitcoin Private and Cloak Cryptocurrencies

There is a huge emphasis on privacy with a lot of new coins but I do feel that a lot of coins focus on a single issue and leave the overall business and usability aspect out.  How do these newer coins fare?

Cloak

My first impression is why doesn’t the non-www version work while the www version does?  Does their team not know how to properly configure nginx or is it just a simple mistake and oversight?

Cloakcoin.com-Forbidden-ConfigError

They call their encryption ENIGMA which I am not sure is a joke or if they aren’t aware of the ENIGMA encryption box in Germany that was compromised during WWII?  I would more so be worried that it is a read between the lines joke or a hint that the team is doing something more than they claim?  Sorry but I just can’t get over the fact that they would not know about the Enigma box from Germany that was decoded.

For my second point I do like the privacy aspects but this is where I have concerns.  On one head they tout privacy, but then to have more privacy they obfuscate transactions by using other clients wallets?  Why would you allow a third-party and random strange to process or handle any part of the transaction?  I do realize they say it is fully encrypted and obfuscated so the random third party stranger on the network shouldn’t know anything about you or your transaction, but to me it violates the principle of privacy and security.  It reminds me of how everyone believed the TOR network is a good idea and secure, but in reality whoever runs an exit node can spy on other users, including the NSA.  This architecture of Cloak makes me worried that a vulnerability could be found and that privacy could be worse than most other Bitcoin-style coins.  Even if a simple vulnerability was not found, you are essentially passing private information to random strangers on the network, the NSA or other large funded organizations could use this to spy on other users or even perhaps modify transactions and create chaos on the network.

I also find it confusing how they say it is private but you have to enable “ENIGMA” on top of “Cloak Shield” to truly make it private?

Here are the parts I’ve picked on from their website:

Alice’s Cloak wallet then automatically sends a request to the network for other Cloak wallets who have elected to become ENIGMA mixer nodes to obfuscate her transaction. All of this is done privately and securely throughout with no identities or true IP addresses revealed.

Bob has cloaking mode enabled in his wallet and the wallet generates a secure CloakShield encryption channel for communications with Alice’s wallet. Bob’s wallet sends Alice a secure connection, containing encrypted inputs and outputs to commence the transaction.

With this confirmed, Alice, with full anonymity, creates an encrypted ENIGMA transaction containing her true inputs and outputs and Bob’s cloaking (obscured) inputs and outputs. Bob and Alice both sign the ENIGMA transaction before it is submitted to the network for inclusion into a PoS block.

Going back to the concerns I have above, I really don’t like how Alice’s wallet would ever communicate with anyone other than the receiver or the Cloak network.  By introducing Bob, there is the chance that Bob could decipher and identify what Alice is doing.  Of course that’s not what should happen, but I believe it is a huge security whole to involve random third parties in confirming or obfuscating transactions.  The situation reminds me a lot of the vulnerabilities in the TOR network.  Essentially Bob is like an exit node, running transactions for Alice.  Bob shouldn’t know who Alice is or what she is doing, but what if there is an implementation error or other issue?  This could be avoided by not using any random third party.

I think Cloak does a great job but they’ve actually introduced a huge security hole by doing the random, third party, processes the transaction part.  It would be like saying “my data is encrypted so I’ll send encrypted copies to everyone”.  Sure it is encrypted but if someone can ever hack your encrypted data either through bruteforce or an algorithm/implementation error then you are done for.  The best solution is to never send private and sensitive data to an extra, third party.

I do think the Cloak project has worked hard and it has some great ideas but aside from privacy and what I believe are security holes in how they implement it, they have done a great job but it is not a coin that does everything right.

Bitcoin Private

For those who know me, I am very much against forks.  As I’ve stated before they decrease, value, lead to scams and confusion.  This can be evidenced with Bitcoin Gold regardless of who you believe was responsible.  Right off the bat Bitcoin Private is warning of scammers trying to confuse you with a warning on their website.

BitcoinPrivate-BTCP-Scam-Private-Keys

The problem with these types of coins, hardforks or what I think are really counterfeits is that you need to give up the very “private keys” of your real, valuable Bitcoin to claim the “new counterfeit coin”.  This is a huge security problem, regardless of who made the wallet what if the wallet is designed or hacked to maliciously steal your real Bitcoins?  There is no easy and secure way to claim your coins from these counterfeits.   Once you give up your private keys to Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Private they could steal your real Bitcoins.

Now there is a way around it, you could transfer your coins to another wallet but it’s a huge pain and a mistake could cost a novice user all of their Bitcoin.

Now in all fairness I appreciate this team at least has official wallets ready for download, unlike Bitcoin Cash.

Users who have the currency called “ZClassic” are also involved here, which is also another confusing fork of ZCash.

This is what I mean about all of the confusion.  It creates an environment where holders and buyers are easily confused about which is the real “Bitcoin”, which is the real ZCash.  And really, I can’t see any reason why people are forking except as a cash grab and counterfeiting spree.

For this reason I don’t trust Bitcoin Private anymore than I trust the other forks (although I trust Bitcoin Gold the least).  I personally feel there is no good reason to trust any of them.  If they want to make a new or better currency they should really just make their own, or at least copy it under a new name.  But of course forking, creates unwilling participants and owners of the new currency, while enriching and rewarding the hardforkers for their counterfeiting.

For those reason if I had to pick between the two, I think Cloak has our best interests at heart and hardforked coins are just a scam, counterfeit and cash grab by unscrupulous people.

Nano AKA Raiblocks XRB and Bitgrail Scam $150M Lost!

A good friend of mine asked me about Nano and I honestly haven’t paid much attention to it.  I didn’t even know what it was until I realize it was recently rebranded from Raiblocks (XRB).  That alone set off alarm bells, aside from it being confusing I suspected there must be more of a reason.

The technical side is impressive although I haven’t used it, they have this block-lattice technology which doesn’t use traditional PoW mining.  It confirms transactions individually between two wallets instead of the entire blockchain.  This is a huge plus but the weakness is that they only seem to focus on transaction speed.  The algorithm described that seems to automatically allow successive transactions to be confirmed sounds dangerous.  I may be missing something from the implementation but it sounds like a potentially vulnerability that an attacker could use after doing a transaction with you.  In addition they still use a public ledger so essentially they are solving the transaction speed alone but they may also have introduced a huge attack vector and vulnerability.

They do have some interesting features such as instant transactions and being infinitely scalable.  But I take issue with any team claiming anything is infinite.  To infinitely scale there would have to be infinite computing resources available which there are not.  It could just be marketing but this stuff does catch my attention.  Combined with the timing of their rebrand and a lot of insider trading and selling I am very skeptical of this team.  At the very least, hiding from the Bitgrail fraud by renaming just before the news broke doesn’t seem honest at all.

I think we have it here straight from their own blog.  I believe the Raiblocks team knew of a massive fraud about to go down with Bitgrail well before they let on or claim to have known something was wrong.  I am not saying they were involved but the timing of their re-branding is extremely suspicious.

This is because on January 31st they suddenly announce the rebrand to Nano.

Raiblocks-Rebrands

Then just 8 days later the Bitgrail $150M loss of XRB happened.  As you will see from the Raiblocks own timeline it appears they were possibly aware for weeks or months that something was going down.

Raiblocks-Rebrands1

The Raiblocks own timeline seems to imply they were aware of issues for weeks if not months before.   It does not mean they were directly involved but it gives the appearance that for publicity and to shrug off this massive fraud associated with their project they rebranded just before things hit the fan.

Raiblocks-XRB-ScamOn 10/19 – 2017 it is not clear if Raiblocks knew about the suspicious transaction but they definitely did in February.  Being under maintenance for no good reason to withdraw is always cause for concern on January 8th.  I am sure when the Bitgrail owner left the joint Telegram channel for Raiblocks they knew something was very amiss on 2018-01-25 (6 days before the rename and about 2 weeks before the public announcement of fraud).  I find this timing to be highly suspicious, it reminds of the Bitcoin Gold scam and I have no confidence in this team or currency because of that alone.

Bitgrail in March 2018 has gone on to make a statement claiming they are reopening and that they insist there is a flaw in Raiblocks that caused the theft.  Of course both sides may have motivation to blame the other.  In all fairness at least Bitgrail has pledged to offer some ERC20 tokens they are creating and that users will have access to all of their coins upon reopening (aside from the lost XRB of course).

Cash Fund dedicated to the victims of the NANO theft In view of the forthcoming reopening of Bitgrail.com (we will soon announce the exact date), BitGrail srl intends to inform its users of the details of the soon to be established cash fund dedicated to NANO owners, victims of the theft that was communicated on February 9 2018. Prior to that, a premise concerning the suffered theft and Bitgrail's obligations arising from the theft itself. BitGrail S.r.l intends to stress having been subject to theft, a crime made possible by taking advantage of faults in the team NANO's softwares (rai_node and the official block explorer) and therefore, for these reasons and in accordance with the law, it is not in any way responsible for the situation. We confirm that an investigation led by the legal authorities is underway The purpose of the investigation is to shed light on the theft, therefore we have already provided all the useful elements in order to reconstruct the facts, including the evidence concerning those involved in the fraudolent activity, who took advantage of the vulnerability of NANO's software, thus not Bitgrail's. Those grounds are alone sufficient to relieve BitGrail S.r.l of any refund obligation and/or repayment of the stolen amounts. However, as further demonstration of the good intentions and seriousness of the company, in order to meet its users half-way though without recognition of any liability, BitGrail S.r.l intends, on a voluntary basis, to establish a cash fund (by creating a token) dedicated to the users damaged by the theft. Doing so, they'll be enabled to recover their stolen funds over time. We must specify that, since they are not victim of the theft, users that didn't own NANO will have full access to their coins at the site reopening. (all the coins are safe, apart from XRB). Token BGS (BitGrail Shares) A new token (BGS, BitGrail Shares) is already present on the wallet page. 15.6 MLN of them have been distributed in a 1 to 1 ratio with the stolen NANO. The users who have been damaged by the theft (Meaning solely and exclusively all the NANO owners on Bitgrail) can already see their 20% updated XRB balance and, at the same time, the remaining part (80%) converted into BGS. Access and ownership to/of the BitGrail's token is granted only to users who will accept the settlement agreement, as stated in the next point. The new BitGrail Shares token will have its own market on Bitgrail's platform. It will be possibile to trade the token, but not deposit it or withdraw it. It is not excluded that the abovementioned token could be converted into an apposite cryptocurrency, thus enabling withdrawal and deposit. The first of the month BitGail will use the 50% of the previous month trading fees income in order to reacquire the BGS token, proportionally among the users who have them in their Balance. The tokens' buyback will occurr at the fixed price of 10.5 $ per unit (in Bitcoin), considering an average of BTC/USD pair among various exchanges ( Bitfinex, Binance, Bitstamp...) As said, it will be possible to trade BGS on the platform. Users who own said token will be able to buy and/or sell at a different pricing from the one required for the buyback. Doing so, users will have the chance of liquidating their BGS in advance, whenever there is an adequate market situation with the desired price. Any amount that can, in case, be recovered from those who have perpetrated the unauthorised withdrawals (therefore materially in the availabilty of BitGrail S.r.l) will be immediately destinated to the tokens' owners up to the extent of the pro rata sums subracted from the damaged users. (with value of 10.5$) Agreement with the users With the reopening of the site, the use of the platform for the victims of the theft will be bound by the signature of a settlement agreement. The latter will be characterised by an expressed renouncement from the users to every type of legal action, and will have to be formalized through the compilation of a form. The last will have to be printed, signed and uplodaded with the attached documents. Such renouncement will allow the availability of the BGS tokens above described. In denegata hypothesis, subjects who won't accept the settlement agreement will have no alternative except for the account termination in compliance with the TOSs. Extra UE users As already anticipated in the past, BitGrail won't be able to guarantee the trading to the extra UE users for a limited period of time. Our intention is to reopen the access to the whole world as soon as possible. Extra UE users will be able to deposit and withdraw. The BGS token buypack will also be available. Implementations of the platform With the purpose of guaranteeing a faster execution of the plan concerning the purchase of the tokens owned by the victims of the theft who have accepted the agreement, BitGrail S.r.l. will immediately work on the implementation of the site, focusing on: Markets/pair increasing by adding other criptocurrencies Interface and charts improvements an APP for smartphone / tablet the realization of a referral link system A voting system based on the BGS tokens for the list of new emergent criptocurrencies will be implemented. Thanks for the attention. Bitgrail S.r.l.

It’s hard to know for sure what has gone on in this case.  But this week XVG (Verge Coin) was hacked due to a flaw in how coins are mined, and something similar with Cryptonight for Monero and Bytecoin was also disclosed recently.    Who is to say that the Coincheck NEM issue also wasn’t due to a similar but unknown or undisclosed flaw?

ICOs Still Going Strong in 2018

Despite the slow start and bearish sentiment of the cryptocurrency market this year, apparently ICOs have been going strong.  Various reasons are plentiful for why the ICO market remains this strong and it has me scratching my head.

Some say that serial investors are cashing out and then reinvesting into new ICOs.  Others say new investors from outside the traditional cryptocurrency world are coming into the market.

I am not sure what to think, as someone like myself is shying aware from most ICOs based on my experience that I feel 99% of these are scams and won’t ever deliver anything.  I think most of them are the next dot bombs and it is absolutely right to panic and sell these worthless Ethereum ERC20 tokens.

In ICOs the traditional due diligence is simply not enough.  It is easy to weed out people without IT or business experience.  And from that you have to weed out who has valid experience and qualifications?  Working for big name companies does not make you qualified to deliver on an overly ambitious project, but it does of course help attract investors.  I’ve seen enough big names including the Telegram ICO to be unimpressed (the Telegram ICO tells you to send money and then e-mail them to confirm the transaction……..how on earth will they build a proper blockchain if they can’t make their own API for transactions?).

Sorry for the rant but seriously what is driving the ICO market despite all the bad news?  I suspect it is people in the cryptocurrency world and I suspect they are miners who are thinking “my coins aren’t worth that much at the moment why not invest some of my spare ones into ABC scam ICO in the hopes that it grows and acts as a hedge to my underperforming cryptocurrency”.

That’s the best I can do and I suspect that is what is happening.  There are of course the institutional and whale investors who play a role but it’s unclear to what extent.

Hardforks Are Scams Says Charlie Lee LTC Creator

Charlie has been saying exactly what I’ve been.  Hardforks are essentially scams that devalue the original coin and cause confusion.  At the same time, I’m sure he meant well but it never helped that he announced he sold all of his LTC.  It’s akin to a CEO selling all of their stock and saying “I still believe in the company”.  Granted this happened well before this scam hardfork so the hardfork is surely what caused the latest drop.

CharlieLee-LTC-Litecoin-Founder-Says-Forks-Scam-Confusing

As we can see after Litecoin Cash, the real and original Litecoin went down in value.

Charlie also correctly warns not to give your private keys to these scammers.  Whether Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Litcoin Cash and the many scam coins they require you to give your private keys to their wallets (if they even create one).  The risk there is that the developers or wallet creator will steal your original coins and this has happened already with the Bitcoin Gold Scam.

LitecoinSlide

I think exchanges should outright refuse to deal with these scam coins.

The underlying issue is simply that why are hardforks possible at all?  Counterfeiting is so easy with these opensource, public and permssionless blockchains.  To me it is a complete security and privacy flaw that was well-intentioned but simply doesn’t work.

Going forward, community maintained coins that cannot be forked, that are secure, private and are real time will be the long-term ones to invest in and the long-term winners.

Telegram Raises 1.2Billion in unnecessary ICO

I’ve checked their website but not the whitepaper (it took forever and never loaded-why use a PDF and a slow server?) and I’m shaking my head.  There is little to no background on the website about exactly why this coin is needed, what it does or what it solves.

Granted they do say it is fast, allows decentralized apps but there are little details that are discernible to me.  I remain unconvinced that it is really anything but a cash grab like most ICOs are.

It’s hard to figure out if they are trying to be an Ethereum or a currency and how they would do things better?

Based on the website having just about 2 paragraphs of information I am very skeptical but time will tell.  I’m certainly not going to invest based on this information.  The question really remains is why would Telegram even need the money?

Surely they would already have enough to do this project and it should already be done based on their resources.  For that reason alone it reminds me of another regret from FINOM.  FINOM convinced me because they have existing projects up, running and making money and it turned it to be a scam (I never received my tokens and see no evidence of anything being delivered in terms of performance).

Telegram looks to be about the same, they have a working application that is successful.  Why do you need to collect money at all if it’s not just a cash grab?

I think that is the litmus test for judging ICOs which appear to come from trustworthy teams and successful projects.  If they should already have the money and resources and are doing an ICO, they chances are it’s only to collect your coins.

 

Coinbase To Support Ethereum ERC20 Tokens

Coinbase just announced it will be supporting the trade of ERC20 tokens.  A lot of times in the crypto world I look and shake my head and I just can’t stop with this one.  I could see if Coinbase wanted to support actual currencies like Ripple, Lumens, Monero etc… those are reasonably safe currencies to invest in.

ICOs which are essentially crowdfunding/pseudo-stocks (depending on who you ask) are extremely risk and I would say about 90% of those are fraudulent in that they collect your coins and never intended to deliver anything.  I think we can all agree at any rate that ICOs are extremely risky and HODLING may be as useful with those tokens as holding RIM stock.

Coinbase has a huge client base and is one of the easiest ways for people to get into cryptocurrency.  However, they risk bringing regulatory wrath and also dampening new investors from coming in when they get burnt on these ICO scams.

It’s recently come to my attention that some people weren’t aware that Ethereum Smart Contracts or ERC20 tokens are not vetted, supported or approved by the Ethereum team in any way.  This is  huge issue of course and why I am so against smart contracts at the moment.  Let’s get cryptocurrency as an infrastructure in terms of B2B,B2C,C2C etc… working fast, efficiently, securely and easily before biting off more than we can chew!

I am also at a loss as to how the Coinbase legal team approved this one?  Did they run it by any counsel at all?  I think if and when people lose massive amounts that Coinbase could be held liable regardless of waivers and disclaimers for losses in some of the huge ICO busts and scams to come.  Especially when there are so many other avenues and stable currencies they could have directed their customers to.

I am fearful for the investors, for Coinbase and the cryptocurrency market as a whole but should these warnings go unheeded and “things go terribly wrong” then it would be a good, fresh start for the industry.  Investors also need to do their diligence and exercise good understanding and judgement before making investment decisions.

It will be interesting to see where this leads but I would never recommend any friend or family member to invest in any Ethereum Based Token ICO and to stick with solid and real cryptocurrencies that solve the problems of today.

Pablo Escobar’s Brother Trafficks an ICO and new Bitcoin Fork!

Pablo Esobar’s brother makes some very bold claims surrounding his new cryptocurrency launch.

https://www.ccn.com/pablo-escobar-brother-diet-bitcoin/

One of those claims is that Bitcoin was created by the CIA, however this may be contradicted by the fact he also claims he met a Satoshi Nakamoto of Japan.  As proof he shows a Passport bearing the same name:

satoshi-passport

Of course it is possible someone from Japan could be working for the CIA, most people don’t believe a single person created Bitcoin.  So I do think there is credence to believing a large organization such as the CIA or other resourceful and skilled group created Bitcoin (so I call this one plausible).

Some critics have said his website for his coin Diet Bitcoin was nearly copied from the original bitcoin.org and that so are the specs.  I’m going to be fair in that I don’t see how Diet Bitcoin is any worse than other Bitcoin forks such as Bitcoin Gold.  As many know I am against hardforks as I see them as counterfeiting, being confusing and just simply wrong but it also illustrates weaknesses in any currency which can be copied in such a manner (where I believe forks should be impossible to keep the network secure and ensure integrity).

 

 

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.