Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Crypto Leakers, Hackers and Rappers
Today’s collection of Bitcoin in Brief stories from across the cryptosphere showcases how bitcoin is an unstoppable force. Even if one centralized avenue can be pressured by some governments, others will soon pop up to replace it in the decentralized global ecosystem.
Wikileaks vs Coinbase
A couple of days after Wikileaks called for a global blockade of Coinbase because the cryptocurrency exchange and payment processor blocked its official swag shop without notice or explanation, the organization has switched to a competing solution. Wikileaks announced that the shop has moved to using Canada’s Coinpayments and that its publishing arm has expanded its own bitcoin and privacy system.
The organization then called out its former service provider again, explaining that: “Coinbase has become an unreliable and even dangerous service, subject to arbitrary, non-transparent actions as it merged with the US banking sector and started to provide information on its customers to the US government. It has become everything that Bitcoin was designed to stop.”
Tellingly, while the US-based Coinbase remained silent on the matter, its competitor Kraken commented and explained the problem with relying on centralized services. The company tweeted: “Thank you all for suggesting Kraken as an alternative for @wikileaks, however, Kraken is also a centralized choke point. Those who require uncensored financial autonomy should control their own private keys and rely only on the blockchain for processing.”
Ripple Seeking Street Cred
If you’ve always considered Ripple to be a boring banking technology corporation riding the coattails of the cryptocurrency revolution, think again because they just got Snoop Dogg to perform at an upcoming event. The 46-year-old rapper, who has been a part of mainstream culture for a couple of decades now, will join a “VIP gathering” in New York next month. While Ripple will limit admission to only those on their invite list and tickets can’t even be purchased, they will offer ten members of the community a chance to enter by wining a trivia and a “Make the Meme” contests. The latter is not an original meme making competition but rather one in which the company will share two images and ask people to add captions for them.
Hackers Shake Down Governments for Bitcoin
Whether ransomware hackers are getting more brazen or just shooting aimlessly in every direction to see what they can hit, they are becoming a nuisance to more government bodies around the world. The latest example comes from the Ukraine where the energy ministry’s website has been blocked with a ransom request for just 0.1 bitcoin. Ukrainian cyber-police spokeswoman Yulia Kvitko reassured the public that: “This case is not large-scale. If necessary, we are ready to react and help. Our specialists are working right now. We do not know how long it will take to resolve the issue.”
While paying off a modest 0.1 bitcoin ransom should not be too difficult for Ukraine, governments aren’t exactly known for efficiency. It was recently revealed in the US that Atlanta’s city government spent about $2.7 million to recover from a ransom demand of just $50k. In fact, city officials paid that sum for communications crisis management alone.
Atlanta .gov ransomware attack costs pic.twitter.com/xgQEpbeZPZ
— Ryan Naraine (@ryanaraine) April 23, 2018
New Crypto VC Fund
Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm that previously invested in Coinbase, Earn.com and Cryptokitties, is apparently looking to spin-off a separate crypto-focused fund. While the company hasn’t announce anything publicly yet, it has published wanted ads for a “Finance and Operations Manager, Crypto Assets” and a “Legal Counsel, Crypto Assets” detailing it is planning “a separately managed fund focusing on crypto assets,” spotted by Recode.
Majority Votes Against Restoring Parity’s Lost Ethers
All the votes are in and the motion to restore Parity’s lost ethers has failed. 55% voted against implementing EIP 999 which was meant to patch the contract which was accidentally self-destructed costing users more than half a million ether, worth over $230 million at the time. Now it only remains to be seen if everyone will respect this decision and move on or if another ethereum fork is inevitable.
San Marino Wants Part of Blockchain Action
The tiny nation of San Marino joins other small locations in the European periphery, like Malta and Switzerland’s Zug, which see themselves potentially benefiting from the recent hype around blockchain.
“We are the world’s oldest Republic and we are proud to begin a transformation lead by technology. We believe this partnership will have an significant impact on the economy, growing the innovation sector which is at the core of our development strategy” explained Andrea Zafferani, Secretary of State for Economic Development. “The Republic will also acquire a state of art set of regulations to become a world-leading blockchain hub.”
“San Marino is ideally placed to become an innovator with this type of technology,” added Sergio Mottola, Executive Chairman of San Marino Innovation. “We are not interested in short term or opportunistic policies to take advantage of the speculation surrounding today’s cryptocurrency world. Rather, we are intrigued by the revolution implicit in the underlying technology: the “blockchain”, which we expect to bring an impact on the global economy greater than what the Internet has”.
What other developments in the cryptoshpere caught your attention today? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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