Led 29

Big Changes in 2017 Will Shape the Future of Cryptocurrencies

· January 29, 2017 · 5:00 am

2017 will be the year where many more substantial changes happen. These changes will affect the future of cryptocurrencies.


Big Changes in 2017

We’ve seen some great developments across the cryptocurrency landscape these past few years. Recent changes have made the cryptocurrency scene even livelier than anticipated.

As reported before, more than 2.3 billion people can now shop on Amazon using Bitcoin. New regulations are being put in place by Europol, Interpol and the Basel Institute to protect Bitcoin exchanges and users.

2017 will be the year where many more substantial changes happen. These changes will affect the future of cryptocurrencies. To help you prepare for this exciting year, here are some of the biggest changes to anticipate.

More Emphasis on Privacy

Bitcoin was never the most private cryptocurrency on the market. The nature of Bitcoin means each Bitcoin address can still be tied to an individual if the address is linked to an account or other identifiable information. When this happens, it is easy to dig up a lot of information about the owner of the Bitcoin address.

Bitcoin Privacy

A recent discussion in Bitcointalk Forum revealed that a payment recipient can find out more about the sender’s spending habits and calculate the amount of Bitcoin the sender actually has just by retracing a single payment. All that is needed is a linked Bitcoin address. This is a problem that has been haunting Bitcoin for a while.

In the future, cryptocurrencies such as Monero will gain more traction due to the way they are set up for maximum privacy. Monero is already enjoying a boost in value due to its immensely private nature. More merchants in the Dark Web are now using Monero to handle their transactions.

Cryptocurrency in Education

It is also interesting to note that cryptocurrencies are beginning to be seen as investment opportunities and legitimate transaction methods beyond their digital boundaries. Universities such as Ohio University and the master of financial economics programs they provide are already hosting classes about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Some colleges are also allowing students to pay for their online MFE degree using bitcoin.

20060417-cutler-hall

The move is a good sign that cryptocurrency is going mainstream. We already have thousands of offline merchants accepting Bitcoin payments today. It won’t be long before major corporations and brands begin to integrate cryptocurrencies into their transaction workflows.

The rapid growth of Bitcoin, Monero, Ethereum, and other popular currencies has also attracted investors who are buying into cryptocurrencies solely for investment purposes. These investments are yet to make a big impact on the value of cryptocurrencies, but this year’s addition may change that.

Bigger Capacity

One last potential issue that has been looming over the use of cryptocurrencies is capacity. The blockchain issues we had earlier last year already showed how capacity can still be an issue. Fortunately, newer algorithms and better programming loops are being implemented to expand the reach of cryptocurrencies outside its current limitations.

Bitcoinist_cargo_Shipping

All of these changes are very good for the future of cryptocurrency and they will be taking shape in 2017. There are still more steps to complete before cryptocurrencies can truly go mainstream, but we’ll be seeing a lot of progress happening this year.

Will these three areas be the main focus for cryptocurrencies in 2017? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Ohio.edu

Show comments

Share
Srp 14

Network Engineer Tries to Thwart UK Bill That Plans to Expand Surveillance State

Source: bitcoin

Network Engineer Tries to Thwart UK Bill That Plans to Expand Surveillance State

As the UK parliament is on the precipice of passing a new surveillance bill into law, one British engineer is trying to halt its progress through an anonymizing system that runs on top of the Tor anonymity network.

Also read: Blockstream Welcomes New Members to Their Team, Hires On Christian Decker

OnionDSL: The Tor-based ISP

British lawmakers are on the verge of passing a new law that expands the government’s ability to snoop on its citizens, and one network engineer believes he has a way to counter it.

The bill, which is championed by current Prime Minister Theresa May, generally aims to implement mass government surveillance throughout the UK.

Also called “Snoopers’ Charter,’ the bill’s provisions includes, among other things, requiring all ISPs in the country to keep tabs on client’s internet activity. The statute would make it mandatory for internet service providers to maintain Internet Connection Records for up to one year, and within that time must hand them over to authorities upon request.

While the controversial bill also mandates other things that are also not very favorable to privacy, it is the ISP requirements that have really got the attention of network engineer, Gareth Llewelyn, who is preparing a potential defense.

Llewelyn’s project is an anonymous ISP system that runs on Tor, which he began creating earlier this year. He presented his OnionDSL system at the HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference last month in New York. His hope is that it will make it almost impossible for the government to censor content.

To take advantage of this service, a broadband connection will have to be physically moved over to Brass Horn Communication, which is Llewelyn’s non-profit, one-man, Tor-based internet service provider. Unlike normal ISPs, the Brass Horn routing system prevents the ISP that’s run over Tor from keeping any web browsing logs. Thus, making the ISP incapable of abiding by the bill’s provision requiring it to keep customer records.

Additionally, A subscriber’s home router or PC must be configured to connect with the Tor bridge private gateway. Traffic then bounces as it normally would across the Tor network, effectively anonymizing internet activities.

Llewelyn may have produced a foolproof system to get around the bill’s ISP record keeping provisions. However, that’s assuming he will be able to get the money to fund his project in the first place because, as of right now, he has admitted that the anonymous, Tor-based project is more of a proof-of-concept that is nothing more than an act of protest against the mass surveillance laws.

What do you think of Llewelyn’s proof-of-concept for his Tor-based ISP? Let us know in the comments below! 


 

Images courtesy of Tor, headlines-news.com

The post Network Engineer Tries to Thwart UK Bill That Plans to Expand Surveillance State appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Network Engineer Tries to Thwart UK Bill That Plans to Expand Surveillance State

Share
Čvn 15

Apple Plans To Introduce Differential Privacy Very Soon

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Apple

Apple is taking an unusual stance on privacy. The company has no plans to collaborate with law enforcement on decrypting their own devices, though. Instead, the technology giant will focus on differential privacy, to compete with Google and Facebook.

Also read: One Bitcoin is Worth 51 Million Hacked iMesh Accounts

Apple has been making media headlines regarding privacy in the past few months. Ever since the San Bernardino case, the company has been adamantly clear on its position. CEO Tim Cook stated how Apple will not weaken device encryption because law enforcement agencies feel they need to. After all, the company is primarily in the business of hardware, instead of advertisements.

Differential Privacy is Coming To Apple Devices

But there is more, as Apple wants to introduce differential privacy in the future. Rather than sending data to Apple servers and creating a personal profile of the user, on-device intelligence, and crowdsourced learning will be used. To be more precise, this technology will be part of iOS 10 and macOS, which will replace OS X.

As a result of this different approach, iOS 10 devices can personalize apps for its users. For example, it would be possible to identify objects in Photos, or get more relevant information through the News app. Having these options available without getting information sent to Apple first is a positive take on protecting user privacy.

“Starting with macOS Sierra, Apple is using technology called Differential Privacy to help discover the usage patterns of a large number of users without compromising individual privacy. In macOS Sierra, this technology will help improve autocorrect suggestions and Lookup Hints in Notes.”

Differential privacy is an interesting concept, which can combine great features with high privacy protection. Moreover, it is important to note this technology is rather statistical analysis, rather than a single piece of technology. Obscure data will be locked behind multiple techniques, including hashing, subsampling, and noise injection.

It is positive to see technology giants taking a clear stance in the privacy world. Although it remains to be seen how Apple will pull off differential privacy, in the long run, the concept holds a lot of promise. Technological solutions like these need to be thoroughly tested before being deployed to the masses, though.

What are your thoughts on Apple venturing into the world of differential privacy? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Sophos

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Apple

The post Apple Plans To Introduce Differential Privacy Very Soon appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Apple Plans To Introduce Differential Privacy Very Soon

Share
Čvn 12

AdNauseum Protects Your Privacy By Clicking Ads

Source: bitcoin

AdNauseum

A new Privacy add-on for the Firefox and Chrome web browsers is taking a scorched-earth approach to ad-blocking. The aptly named AdNauseum is an open-source fork of uBlock origin, that implements more extreme features in an attempt to increase its effectiveness. Catering to those that take issue with the newer, more moderate (and arguably less effective) ad-blocking methodologies, like Brave’s built-in ‘ad-replacement’ solution, and adBlock plus making a distinction between ‘non-invasive’ ads and your regular fair on a sponsor model, the new add-on takes things just as far in the opposite direction.

Read Also: Can Tor Survive it’s Recent Problems?

AdNauseum Clicks Every Single Ad, Silently

What makes AdNauseum unique? Well, instead of simply blocking ads and ignoring page elements that deploy tracking cookies and scripts, it silently clicks every, single one of them before blocking them entirely. This extra step, in practice, feeds useless noise to advertisers that invalidates parts of their profit model instead of just ignoring them. The stated reason for this escalation is to help in “amplifying users’ discontent with advertising networks that disregard privacy and facilitate bulk surveillance agendas.”

TrackMeNot utilizes similar obfuscation techniques

The core idea of AdNauseum revolves around data obfuscation, a concept in internet privacy whereby randomly generated data is fed to tracking services in an attempt to invalidate data collection of individual users. This methodology differs from traditional privacy software because it hides or replaces user data with what amounts to useless noise. Data Obfuscation is seen as preferential in circumstances where privacy measures can be profiled or simply blocked, (a common issue with ad-blocking software) as it makes these privacy measures harder to detect. This method of data protection has been implemented by similar privacy add-ons in the past, like TrackMeNot and Blender.

AdNauseum add-on also eschews centralized data collection, which offers a clear advantage over Brave or AdBlock +, as both of these services collect varying amounts of data from their users. This new add-on is worth a look for those that value their privacy as well as dislike looking at ads.

 

Questions or Comments Regarding AdNauseum or Data Obfuscation? Leave them Below!


Images Courtesy of AdNauseum, TrackMeNot

The post AdNauseum Protects Your Privacy By Clicking Ads appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

AdNauseum Protects Your Privacy By Clicking Ads

Share
Kvě 23

The Torist Is A Literary Magazine Hosted On The Deep Web

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Literary Magazine

A new online magazine called The Torist has surfaced, and it wants to rectify some of the most common misconceptions regarding the deep web. Very few people are aware over half the sites on the deep web are perfectly legal under US law.

Also read: Lisk Gears Up for May 24th Launch

The Torist Issue One Is Available Now

The term deep web has a lot of negative connotations these days, as people often associate the term with drug trafficking, child pornography, and other illegal activities. The Torist, a newly created deep web magazine, wants to rectify this situation, as there are plenty of legal reasons to use the deep web these days.

In fact, The Torist is the very first literary magazine on the deep web, which is a significant milestone for this technology. Very few people are aware that, according to the magazine writers, over half of the deep web websites are entirely legal under US law. One of the prime examples of a legitimate website is Facebook, which is being accessed through deep web software by over one million users.

Although there is a lot of discussion regarding illegal activity taking place on the deep web these days, it is also a home for political resistance and rebellion. Consumers and enterprises tend to dismiss any form of technology that is not embraced by a mainstream audience, and both Bitcoin and the deep web seem to be prime examples of that attitude.

American University Communications Professor Aram Sinnreich stated:

“The notion that Tor is only good for buying ecstasy from a stranger is just not an accurate description of the platform’s capabilities. Someone might come to Tor to see a movie they don’t want to pay for, but it also allows them to get access to political communications and ideas that are being systematically excluded from the clear internet.”

The Torist is a magazine that can go a long way in rectifying these misconceptions regarding the deep web and Tor software. People who value privacy and anonymity on the Internet, as well as free access to uncensored content, will flock to these solutions for legitimate purposes. Accessing The Torist can be done through the deep web, and users can follow their Twitter account for the latest updates.

What are your thoughts on a literary magazine for the deep web? Will you be checking out The Torist? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Deep Dot Web

Images courtesy of The Torist, Shutterstock

The post The Torist Is A Literary Magazine Hosted On The Deep Web appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

The Torist Is A Literary Magazine Hosted On The Deep Web

Share
Kvě 12

FBI Director: “Encryption is Essential Tradecraft of Terrorist Groups”

Source: bitcoin

Bitcoinist_Encryption

Law enforcement has been making a lot of media headlines as of late in their “war’ on encryption. FBI Director James Comey mentioned how encryption is “essential tradecraft” of terrorist groups, and more requests to access electronic devices will be part of the future.

Also read: Talking Crix with Founder Dmitry Koval

FBI Still Wants To Gain Access To Encrypted Devices

Although it is not the first time debate ensues over what the FBI wants to do, and what consumers feel they should have access to, it looks like there is no end in sight for these discussions. In fact, things may be taken to the next level, as FBI Director James Comey mentioned how there will be “more US government Litigation over accessing electronic devices”.

But that is not all, as Comey feels tech companies can be compelled to unlock personal devices in the interest of national security. Some people may argue that encrypted forms of communication facilitate terrorist groups to coordinate their attacks, but at the same time, this type of encryption provides all consumers with privacy protection.

Comey even went as far as saying how WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is affecting the criminal work of the FBI in huge ways. However, there are no plans to take matters to court just yet,  which may not bode well for the future. So far, the Bureau has been able to unlock close to 500 out of 4,000 examined devices, which is a higher percentage than most people may have anticipated.

Perhaps the most interesting statement made by Comley is the following:

“Encryption is an essential tradecraft of terrorist groups, such as Islamic State. The number of Americans trying to join Islamic state has dropped to one per month since August of 2015, compared to between six and 10 per month in the previous 18 months. I think the ISIL brand has lost significant power in the United States.”

One thing worth noting is how none of the unlocked devices have the same model and operating system as the iPhone used in the San Bernardino case. That being said, the FBI will is still actively working on a way to use the same tool used in that case in an attempt to unlock other devices by different manufacturers.

What are your thoughts on the FBI’s crusade against end-to-end encryption? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: Reuters

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, FBI

The post FBI Director: “Encryption is Essential Tradecraft of Terrorist Groups” appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

FBI Director: “Encryption is Essential Tradecraft of Terrorist Groups”

Share
Úno 27

University Data Compromised When Will Proponents of Centralization Learn?

Source: bitcoin

University Data Compromised When Will Proponents of Centralization Learn?

The University of California Berkeley announced on February 26th that 80,000 students and faculty members have been victim to a cyber attack within the schools records system. The compromise revealed to the hackers large amounts of data filled with social security numbers, credit card credentials, and bank account information. Paul Rivers, UC Berkeley’s chief information security officer said in a statement:  

Also Read: Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong Announces Switch to Bitcoin Classic 

“We looked at all the available evidence of what the attackers did, and as we looked at that, we don’t see any evidence that these are the kinds of attackers that did access the data, or did anything to take that data. However, in an abundance of caution, we don’t want to depend on our judgment alone. We want to be transparent and (let people) make their own choice on how they should respond.” — Paul Rivers, University of California Berkeley

University’s Central System Failed 

The University of Berkeley attack is just another example of centralized planning gone wrong. After the past few years of government breaches and financial institutions losing data to hackers people still haven’t learned. Berkeley says currently there is no evidence that the attackers actually took the personal information but it wanted to alert school members that it was a possibility.

Berkeley’s hackers gained access to the financial management software in December due to a “security flaw,” within the school’s system. Officials at the university say they have contacted the FBI and local law enforcement about the incident. In the press statement Berkeley says that 57,000 current and former student’s information was potentially compromised. The university says that credit protection services will be offered to victims of the case free of charge. The rest of the numbers applied to vendors working at the school and former and current employees. Paul Rivers, UC Berkeley’s chief information security officer, explains:

“The security and privacy of the personal information provided to the university is of great importance to us. We regret that this occurred and have taken additional measures to better safeguard that information.” — Paul Rivers, University of California Berkeley

This is another shining example of how centralization has serious faults. Blockchain technology and zero-knowledge proof systems would be ideal for these organizations to research. Concepts like MIT’s Enigma are pushing the envelope with this type of trustless technology and it’s making its way into Bitcoin core discussions as well. Businesses, financial institutions, and schools need to realize that housing personal data in a centralized way will always be open to points of failure. Until these organizations realize this it’s open game for hackers, the NSA, and malicious entity’s prying into the public’s private affairs.

What do you think about the University of California Berkeley hack? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of California Berkeley, the Zero-Knowledge Privacy Standard, and Pixbay

 

The post University Data Compromised When Will Proponents of Centralization Learn? appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

University Data Compromised When Will Proponents of Centralization Learn?

Share
Úno 26

Coinbase is ‘Building a Retail Exchange’ Not a Wallet

Source: bitcoin

Coinbase is ‘Building a Retail Exchange’ Not a Wallet

The San Francisco-based Bitcoin exchange CEO Brian Armstrong recently wrote a Medium blog post called “Coinbase is Not a Wallet.” Armstrong believes some customers are confused about the company thinking of it as this type of service. In the beginning, the business originally set out to be a wallet service but over time has become a “regulated exchange.”

Also read: Bitcoinist Jobs: Accepting Applications For Sales Manager

“We set out to build a bitcoin wallet, but it turns out we were building a retail exchange.”— Brian Armstrong, CEO Coinbase

Coinbase Is a Regulated Exchange ‘Not a Wallet’

Armstrong is concerned that “hybrid wallet/exchanges” such as Coinbase and others have caused confusion within the industry. Lots of exchanges not only enable the purchasing and selling of the digital currency but also have a wallet within the exchange architecture. Currently, Armstrong’s company has 80% of its customer base using the service to purchase and sell Bitcoin. 20% of users are using it for day-to-day wallet transactions and storage. The Coinbase CEO says there is a strong difference between these types of services. Armstrong states in the blog, “I feel like a lot of confusion and anger has been voiced by customers who thought they were using us as a wallet, and didn’t realize they were using a (regulated) exchange. I want to make it perfectly clear going forward that Coinbase will focus on being an exchange.”

Retail exchanges are an easy way to convert government issued fiat in and out of Bitcoin says, Armstrong. This means less privacy and building relationships with “banks and regulators,” and wallets are meant for individual privacy. Armstrong explains, “they want to use all sorts of innovative apps that are emerging in bitcoin. Often they want privacy. And the way you’d measure success in a wallet is probably by the number of transactions sent per day.”

The company knows its service is a popular method of storage. Coinbase says it stores nearly 10% of all Bitcoin in circulation between its multi-sig vaults, and company controlled cold storage. Armstrong says that security is a top priority for the business and people will continue to use it as a wallet. However, he believes the 80/20% numbers in about five years could be “inverted.” This is why over the next year the CEO says Coinbase will be changing its focus. Armstrong says this entails:

  • We will add as many payment methods as possible to make it convenient for people to get their money into and out of bitcoin all over the world. I think this will be an incredible force for good in the bitcoin ecosystem to help it grow.
  • We will continue to be a regulated business and proactively work with governments, banks, and regulators around the world to educate them about bitcoin.
  • We will continue to comply with financial services laws, and our customers should expect as much. You will not be anonymous if you decide to use Coinbase.

Not that this news should come as a surprise to hardcore Bitcoin enthusiasts, but it does solidify the Coinbase company interests and goals within the industry. Users should understand that using the service will not be anonymous and will be regulated through government policies. Other cryptocurrency solution exchanges may not feel the same way and may want to cover both aspects of buying/selling with day-to-day wallet use as well. Coinbase is making its stance quite clear and wants people to understand exactly what they are.

What do you think about Brian Armstrong saying Coinbase is not a wallet? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, the Coinbase Website, and Wiki Commons

 

The post Coinbase is ‘Building a Retail Exchange’ Not a Wallet appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Coinbase is ‘Building a Retail Exchange’ Not a Wallet

Share
Led 07

Cybersecurity Regulators Feel Companies Need To Step Up To Protect Consumer Privacy

Source: bitcoin

Cybersecurity Regulators Feel Companies Need To Step Up To Protect Consumer Privacy

In the world of technology, there has always been a huge debate going on regarding consumer privacy policies. Ever since the Internet came around, regulators have been struggling to keep up with privacy policy adoption, and that gap is going only growing larger now that technology is evolving at an accelerated pace. During the CES 2016 interview, heads of two cybersecurity regulation agencies stated how tech companies need to be more vigilant regarding personal information protection.

Also read: New BTCC Bitcoin Nodes Are Hosted on Amazon Web Services

The Game of Consumer Privacy Responsibilities Continues

There is no denying something has to change if companies and governments want to properly protect consumer privacy and data. Solutions used today are not adequate from a technology point of view, and privacy policies drafted by regulators are raising a fair amount of questions as well.

The biggest culprits addressed during the CES 2016 panel were internet service providers, as they have a responsibility to ensure collected information is transmitted and stored in a secure manner. Just a few months ago, British ISP TalkTalk fell victim to a major database breach, and customer records of a lot of people were stolen by unknown assailants.

It was only a matter of time until the topic regarding personal device security became a subject of conversation, as all types of devices are gathering sensitive user information. No one knows exactly how all of that information is shared or used, and what the repercussions of doing so might be in the long run.

Edith Ramirez, the chairwoman of the FTC, stated how she is worried about her health care data being used by third-parties. In fact, it has become such a big worry that she decided to revert to a pedometer, rather than using a fitness armband or other wearable device syncing with a mobile or desktop application.

Various companies around the world are collecting user data, without giving any hint as to why they are collecting these details. More importantly, it is impossible to tell who is recorded what type o f data to begin with. More transparency would be a good start, however, that responsibility does not lie solely with manufacturers and service providers.

Regulation Agencies Need To Step Up

To a lot of people, hearing regulation agencies talking about how companies need to be more transparent, is a joke. Governments are notorious for harvesting user data without shedding any light on what type of information they acquire, let alone how they are using it. If there is one area where more transparency is needed, it would be at the very top of the information harvesting chain.

That being said, there is a lot of work to be done before consumer privacy, and data are being treated with the respect it deserves. The time for talk is coming to an end, and it is time to see some actions being taken by either or both parties in this regard. Disrespecting consumer privacy has gone on for far too long, and these shenanigans have to come to an end.

What are your thoughts on consumer privacy and data harvesting? How can we make sure this information does not fall into the wrong hands? Let us know in the comments below!

Source: CNET

Images courtesy of CES 2016, Shutterstock

The post Cybersecurity Regulators Feel Companies Need To Step Up To Protect Consumer Privacy appeared first on Bitcoinist.net.

Cybersecurity Regulators Feel Companies Need To Step Up To Protect Consumer Privacy

Share