As discerning dark web drug dealers and pseudonymous hackers have figured that Bitcoin is not magically private money, many have turned to Monero, a digital coin that promises a far higher degree of anonymity and untraceability baked into its design.
But one group of researchers has found that Monero's privacy protections, while better than Bitcoin's, still aren’t the cloak of invisibility they might seem. Monero is designed to mix up any given Monero "coin" with other payments, so that anyone scouring Monero's blockchain can't link it to any particular identity or previous transaction from the same source.Read more
Internet paranoiacs drawn to bitcoin have long indulged fantasies of American spies subverting the booming, controversial digital currency.
Increasingly popular among get-rich-quick speculators, bitcoin started out as a high-minded project to make financial transactions public and mathematically verifiable — while also offering discretion. Governments, with a vested interest in controlling how money moves, would, some of bitcoin’s fierce advocates believed, naturally try and thwart the coming techno-libertarian financial order. It turns out the conspiracy theorists were onto something.Read more
It’s the end of your phone’s annual life cycle and you have decided to go in for an upgrade. You make your way into a local Sprint store where you are warmly greeted by Pepper, a four-foot-tall, humanoid service robot.
Pepper welcomes you and asks how it can be of assistance. Suddenly, something goes terribly wrong. Before you can avert your gaze, hardcore porn starts streaming from Pepper’s chest tablet. You plea to make the moaning stop but instead Pepper simply looks at you and angrily demands large sums of Bitcoin. You throw your hands up in defeat, unsure what to do.Read more
Purity is so hard to find. Everything is, in some way, tainted, even if you don't see it at first. This painful truth seems to have descended upon one of the purer minds in tech, that of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Speaking on Monday in New Delhi, India, at the Economic Times Global Business Summit, Woz explained that he was fascinated by the purity of cryptocurrency. "Bitcoin to me was a currency that was not manipulated by the governments. It is mathematical. It is pure. It can't be altered," he said. Ah, but it seems it can be stolen. "I had seven bitcoins stolen from me through fraud," he said.Read more
The odds are about one in four that the crypto fanatic in your office is involved in illegal activities. After conducting a study of historical Bitcoin transaction data an Australian research group concluded:
We find approximately one-quarter of Bitcoin users and one-half of Bitcoin transactions are associated with illegal activity. Around $72 billion of illegal activity per year involves Bitcoin, which is close to the scale of the US and European markets for illegal drugs. And that $72 billion? Here’s a bone for you conspiracy theory types: Business Insider reports Bitcoin has lost $72 billion in value since the beginning of 2018. Coincidence? Probably.Read more
For almost two years, hackers could have easily stolen your prized stash of bitcoins if you were keeping them in the popular software wallet Electrum, thanks to a critical security vulnerability that went unpatched until now.
The vulnerability allowed any website to steal bitcoins stored using Electrum, as long as the software was running and there was no encryption password set up, according to security researchers. The bug was initially reported by Github user “jsmad” on November 24, 2017. Electrum, however, didn’t fully patch the bug until Sunday, January 7, and only after Google security researcher alerted them to how serious the bug really was.Read more
China plans to ban trading of bitcoin and other virtual currencies on domestic exchanges, dealing another blow to the $150 billion cryptocurrency market after the country outlawed initial coin offerings last week.
The ban will only apply to trading of cryptocurrencies on exchanges, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the information is private. Authorities don’t have plans to stop over-the-counter transactions, the people said. China’s central bank said it couldn’t immediately comment. Bitcoin slumped on Friday after Caixin magazine reported China’s plans, capping the virtual currency’s biggest weekly retreat in nearly two months.Read more
Cryptocurrencies were supposed to be largely anonymous. But a software tool gives the IRS has a better chance of identifying people who hide their wealth.
You can use bitcoin. But you can’t hide from the taxman. At least, that’s the hope of the Internal Revenue Service, which has purchased specialist software to track those using bitcoin, according to a contract obtained. The document highlights how law enforcement isn’t only concerned with criminals accumulating bitcoin from selling drugs or hacking targets, but also those who use the currency to hide wealth or avoid paying taxes. The IRS has claimed that only 802 people declared bitcoin losses or profits in 2015.Read more
More and more shopping Web sites accept cryptocurrencies as a method of payment, but users should be aware that these transactions can be used to deanonymize them – even if they are using blockchain anonymity techniques such as CoinJoin.
Independent researcher Dillon Reisman and Steven Goldfeder, Harry Kalodner and Arvind Narayanan from Princeton University have demonstrated that third-party online tracking provides enough information to identify a transaction on the blockchain, link it to the user’s cookie and, ultimately, to the user’s real identity. “Based on tracking cookies, the transaction can be linked to the user’s activities across the web. And based on well-known Bitcoin address clustering techniques, it can be linked to their other Bitcoin transactions,” they noted.Read more
Imagine logging into your checking account and seeing that you now also have a second account, stocked with an equal amount of a newly created currency. It could happen this morning to many people who hold the cryptocurrency bitcoin.
Not long after 8 am EDT, a new currency called Bitcoin Cash is due to appear, split from bitcoin in a technical maneuver called a “hard fork.” It’s the project of a group that says bitcoin’s keepers are limiting its reach by resisting change. The creation of Bitcoin Cash is the most striking result yet of a 2-year-old feud over bitcoin’s future. Bitcoin is collectively valued at $47 billion but remains a niche product.Read more