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Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer Viruses

June 16, 2018 |

Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer Viruses

Japanese police from 10 prefectures have arrested website operators using Coinhive to tap into the computer power of their site visitors to mine cryptocurrencies without consent. They are accused of violating the law banning the use of computer viruses. Some people have already been fined. The police have been monitoring the Coinhive program since it was released.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

16 People Caught

The police from 10 prefectures throughout Japan have reportedly caught 16 people using mining programs to mine cryptocurrencies using other people’s personal computers, according to local media. The Japan Times reported the National Police Agency saying:

Sixteen people in Japan have been found to have embedded computer programs on their own websites to use personal computers of viewers for cryptocurrency mining without their consent…These people have been accused of violating the law banning the use of computer viruses.

The Asahi Shimbun elaborated, “Three men were arrested on suspicion of illegal use of what were defined as computer viruses, while 13 other men had their papers sent to prosecutors for the same suspicion.” Previously, news.Bitcoin.com reported that the police were investigating the three people whom they have now arrested.

Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer VirusesAll of the accused operate their own websites which allegedly had programs installed to use visitors’ computers to mine crypto. The 16 are between the ages of 18 and 48. One is a teenager, seven are in their 20s, four are in their 30s, and the remaining four are in their 40s.

Some of them have already been fined ¥100,000 (~US$ 904), the Japan Times further revealed, noting that “The most money earned among the 16 suspects was the equivalent of about 120,000 yen ($ 1,100).”

Furthermore, the publication emphasized, “It is the first time in Japan that a person has been accused by police of using another person’s personal computer through a cryptocurrency mining program without approval.”

Police Keeping an Eye on Coinhive

Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer VirusesJapanese police have been monitoring the Coinhive program since it was released in September last year to determine where it has been installed, the publication noted.

Citing that the programs were embedded in adult, music and game websites to mine four cryptocurrencies, including monero and jsecoin, the news outlet wrote:

Of the 16 people, 14 used Coinhive, a program that provides 30 percent of mined cryptocurrencies to the developer and the remaining 70 percent to owners of websites in which the program is embedded.

Hisashi Sonoda, a professor at Konan Law School knowledgeable about cybercrimes, believes that “the sudden arrests may have been somewhat excessive because there are no legal precedents on how to handle the use of such programs,” the Asahi Shimbun conveyed.

What do you think of the Japanese police’s action? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Coinhive.


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The post Japanese Police Arrest Coinhive Users for Violating Law Banning Computer Viruses appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain’s Official Account

June 16, 2018 |

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account

This week the Twitter handle @Bitmaintech was locked down because Twitter administrators claimed the account belongs to a 4-year-old. The Twitter handle’s owner and Bitmain’s head of marketing have complained to the social media company’s support team and Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey. The account lockdown marks the second high profile bitcoin-related account that’s been banned from Twitter in just a few months.

Also Read: Study Reveals ASIC Miners Represent 30% of the Equihash Mining Hashrate

The Official Bitmain Tech Twitter Account Has Been Suspended

On June 14 Bitmain Tech’s head of marketing Nishant Sharma tweeted to his followers that the company’s official Twitter account @Bitmaintech had been banned from Twitter. At the moment the Twitter account is completely inaccessible to the public and the Beijing-based company’s active ad campaigns have been paused.   

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account
The official @Bitmaintech Twitter account was locked on June 14, 2018.

Bitmain’s account accumulated thousands of Twitter followers over the past four years and now the account is unable to post or utilize the social media platform in any manner until the case is resolved.          

“The @Bitmaintech account is temporarily inaccessible because apparently, Twitter thinks that the people behind the account are as old as Bitmain i.e. 4 years old,” says Sharma.

It should be back soon (and long before Bitmain turns 13). @Jack help please. Case# 85911059

The Recent @Bitcoin Account Suspension

The account removal comes at an awkward time for the Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, who has been asked to address multiple issues tied to the social media platform. For instance, just recently the @Bitcoin account was banned and the topic was very controversial. The account with over 750,000 followers was initially suspended and then the account was restored with a much lower follower count than it had prior to the ban. Some people accused Dorsey of being biased and showing a conflict of interest towards supporters of the Lightning Network (LN) by allowing the banning of the @Bitcoin account. The reason for this speculation is due to Dorsey’s recent investment into the LN project.

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account

 Legitimate Accounts Banned, but ETH Bot Impersonation Thrives

Twitter users within the cryptocurrency industry are also dealing with the vast amounts of scamming ETH bots that have cloned nearly every well-known person in the crypto-community. The ETH bots have managed to scam millions worth of ether because Twitter will not remove the fraudulent accounts impersonating digital currency luminaries. So essentially people are pretty frustrated that Twitter has managed to ban and censor legitimate users like @Bitcoin and @Bitmaintech, while allowing fraudulent scammers to run amuck all over the platform.

Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain's Official Account

The case of Bitmain losing it’s official account, because Twitter admins believe it belongs to a four-year-old, seems absurd, but Twitter has been a whacky place lately, and the company hasn’t been very responsive. The issues with Twitter also follows the recent accusations and admissions stemming from other social media platform CEOs abusing their powers. Back in 2016, the Reddit CEO Steve Huffman admitted to editing comments on the pro-Donald Trump subreddit, r/the_donald. This year Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has been scrutinized for selling user data to Cambridge Analytica. And now Twitter users are complaining about banned accounts and censorship and many of them are pointing their fingers at Jack.   

What do you think about Bitmain’s Twitter account getting banned because admins believe the account belongs to a four-year-old child? Do you think Jack Dorsey and Twitter have a lot of explaining to do? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below.


Images via Pixabay, Bitmaintech, the Twitter logo, @bitcoin, @bitmaintech, @laurashin 


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post Censorship, Bans, and ETH Scams: Twitter Suspends Bitmain’s Official Account appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Wendy McElroy: Crypto Can Create a “Perfect” Political System

June 16, 2018 |

Crypto Can Create a “Perfect” Political System

The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations
Section 3: Decentralization
Chapter 8, Part 6
Crypto Can Create a “Perfect” Political System

The anarchists…work not for a perfect social state, but for a perfect political system. A perfect social state is…totally free from sin or crime or folly; a perfect political system is merely a system in which justice is observed, in which nothing is punished but crime and nobody coerced but the invader.

-Victor Yarros, American anarchist, lawyer, and author

The perfect society is embodied by the institutions that individuals create and through which they function. The same is true of a dystopian society. That’s why institutional analysis is essential to understand how freedom and totalitarianism work. One institution is cryptocurrency, which profoundly affects other institutions of society, and reaches far beyond the financial ones.


What is an Institution?

The Random House dictionary defines an institution as “a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, such as marriage,” voting, or bankruptcy. An institution is any stable and widely-accepted mechanism for achieving goals within society. The term applies to wide-ranging and complex concepts, such as “family,” “the free market,” “common law,” “religion,” and “the state.”

Not all institutions are compatible, however, because some pursue antithetical ends; free-market crypto and the central banking system are a stark example. Crypto is a spontaneous and decentralized empowerment of individuals; the banking system is a centrally-planned and unified expression of government control. As a practical matter, a society often contains the two institutions in uneasy parallel, but their antagonistic goals lead to inevitable conflict. Government will attempt to regulate or ban free-market crypto because, otherwise, the free market will do what it does when left unfettered: prevail.

Modern society is a political war zone: the culture war, a race war, weaponized media, class warfare against the 1%, the drug war, a war for democracy, militarized police, the new Cold War, a war on terrorism… One battle provides a common theme for them all. It is a warfare over the structure and goals of competing institutions. Every social conflict involves a clash of institutions that express different ideologies, including cryptocurrency. Created by anarchists using break through technology, it is at war with governments’ desire to regulate and to own it. Technology versus government. Freedom versus control.

Generally speaking, there are two types of institutions: spontaneous, and designed. An example of a spontaneous institution is the family. In Western culture, at least, no one predetermines who will marry and produce children; those decisions are left to the individuals involved. All spontaneous and non-violent institutions express freedom in how they function. By contrast, an example of a designed institution is the public-school system, which is created by authorities and experts who impose their vision upon children at tax-payer expense.

Not all designed systems are equal, however, and some can also be vehicles of freedom. These are voluntarily-designed free-market systems, such as a car factory or a tuna fish cannery. Factories may impose rigid rules, because producing a specific product requires them, but everyone who “obeys” does so willingly and from self-interest, which usually comes in the form of a paycheck. The pivotal question for a designed institution is whether it is coerced or voluntary. All coercive institutions express government or violence in how they function. Everyone who “obeys” does so without the option of saying “no.”

Free-market cryptocurrency is highly-designed and entirely voluntary. Central banks may offer a veneer of being voluntary–for example, people are not compelled to become customers—but the entire economy is regulated so as to prohibit alternatives that refuse to act as an arm of government. The same arguments are deployed against them as against crypto. Free-market financial institutions are said to be scams for tax evaders and other so-called criminals, such as drug dealers. They defraud honest people, who foolishly trust them with money. The true motivation of suppression is unspoken: alternative financial institutions threat the government’s monopoly on money and commerce. And, so, Institutionalized violence—that is, law enforcement—is used against the competition; it is justified as protection against occasional crime and against the poor judgment of individuals left to decide for themselves. 


What is Institutional Analysis?

Institutional analysis examines the dynamics by which institutions of society express and define laws, customs, and culture. It asks: What is an institution’s purpose, the rules by which it functions, its impact?

Parallel institutions that purport to serve the same purpose are often compared through a process called “comparative institutional analysis.” An example is to compare how the Federal Reserve creates currency with how an alternative system, such as cryptocurrency, does so. A good starting point of analysis is the competing assumptions upon which a centrally-designed institution and a free-market one rest. The first system uses mathematical representations, historical precedent, and market manipulations to produce currency, because it believes an economy can be scientifically engineered by authorities and experts. The second system realizes that human beings are fallible, driven by fluid preferences, by self-interest, and other factors that cannot be predicted, only analyzed in retrospect. Central banking grounds itself in mathematical models, which can be jiggered or false, and in central authority, which can lie or be badly mistaken. Free-market alternatives ground themselves in human behavior that faces the quick feedback of consequences, and which may be unwise, but not false.

Comparative analysis looks at the structures and procedures of competing institutions, which will determine what they produce. It does not consider motivations. In other words, as long as specific procedures are followed, the motivations are irrelevant. A worker in a hat factory may intend to produce wedding gowns. As long as he follows the workplace rules, however, the result will be a hat. A police officer may believe in Murray Rothbard’s free-market-anarchist model of justice, but as long as he follows police procedure, he will enforce laws that punish peaceful behavior. Only by breaking the rules can the hat maker and honest officer achieve their personal goals.

Comparative analysis also considers the differing impact of parallel institutions. For example, what can appear to be the ‘chaotic’ nature of spontaneous institutions provides a huge benefit to society—innovation, which cannot be centrally designed. Its powerhouse is the ability of creative people to adapt to changing circumstances. The adaptation can be lightning-fast, as with crypto, and successful adapters are richly rewarded by fortune that favors the first to arrive. Late arrivers are also rewarded, however, because an innovation will survive only if it provides value.

In 300 BD, the Chinese Taoist philosopher Chuang-tzu wrote, there has been such a thing as letting mankind alone; there has never been such a thing as governing mankind with success. Good order results spontaneously when things are let alone.”

By contrast, centrally-engineered institutions stifle innovation because their structures and procedures resist all feedback, their flaws are embedded and protected. The institutions serve the interests of an elite class, not of individuals or society.


The Institutional Ripple-On Effect of Free-Market Crypto

The effect of crypto on authorized financial institutions is well-known. But such a massive door to freedom does not merely crack open; it bursts all its hinges, and shakes up other institutions of society. To touch upon several, in passing:

Foreign Policy. Food is frequently used as a weapon of foreign policy. A recent article in Free Thought Project describes how blockchain is bypassing the weaponization of food: “Revolutionary Blockchain Tech is Helping Disaster Victims & Feeding the Hungry Without Government.” Crypto allows needy nations and individuals to skirt economic sanctions imposed upon them by the powerful. It makes it more difficult to starve people for political advantage.

Domestic Policy. When Venezuela’s government devalued the Bolivar by removing three zeros from the currency, citizens flocked to the free-market alternative of bitcoin, with which they were already familiar. Crypto rescues businesses; it saves lives; it can topple governments.

The Social Control of ‘Vice’. “Operation Chokepoint” was an Obama-era banking policy that attacked allegedly undesirable but legal businesses, such as selling medical marijuana. The banking system closed accounts, canceled credit cards, and refused all services to miscreant customers. The practice is being revived. Banks are targeting marijuana outlets, sex workers (legal or not), and gun businesses. Increasingly, these sellers are turning to crypto to sustain their livelihoods.

Protection of Free Speech. After circulating documents that embarrassed governments, Wikileaks faced a banking blockade that killed its access to donations, which were its life-blood. Wikileaks opened donations to bitcoin, and wealth poured in. Censorship was sidestepped.

The Free Flow of Information. Intellectual property (IP) prosecutions are usually based on following the money and uncovering the individual at the other end. Since crypto can be close to anonymous, that strategy is gutted. For those who reject the validity of IP, as I do, this is an amazing ‘good’ for the global flow of information.

Immigration Policy. Immigration and temporary migration are often based on the possibility of sending money back home. But migrants are often “unbanked” or pay huge fees to do so, with their families waiting days for the transfers. Trump has threatened to cut off this incentive for migration by closing down channels of transmission. Fast, cheap transfers of crypto will be incredibly difficult to control.

The Strangle-Hold of Lawyers and Courts. Smart contracts are legally binding agreements that use software to execute themselves. Smart contracts are on the path to becoming ubiquitous, from real estate deals to insurance claims, which dramatically reduces the need for lawyers.

The Autonomy of the Family. Inheritance taxes are heinous because they are double taxation; family wealth that has already been taxed is relooted by governments. Crypto can invisibly divide assets among loved ones.


Conclusion

The preceding is a passing taste of how profoundly cryptocurrencies are redefining the institutions of society.

To grasp the scope of the institutional revolution, however, it is necessary to focus contrast more intensely on the two fundamental human institutions. In his classic work, the German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer identified one of them in his book The State (1914). The other is Society.

[To be continued next week.]

Reprints of this article should credit bitcoin.com and include a link back to the original links to all previous chapters


Wendy McElroy has agreed to ”live-publish” her new book The Satoshi Revolution exclusively with Bitcoin.com. Every Saturday you’ll find another installment in a series of posts planned to conclude after about 18 months. Altogether they’ll make up her new book ”The Satoshi Revolution”. Read it here first.

The post Wendy McElroy: Crypto Can Create a “Perfect” Political System appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and Conservationists

June 16, 2018 |

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and Conservationists

Today’s Bitcoin in Brief features several examples of digital coins entering all spheres of life. A leading German auto manufacturer has revealed its cars may soon be fitted with onboard cryptocurrency wallets. A company now offers crypto payments for inmates in prisons across America. And in South Africa, a new token will support rhino conservationists, while fighting poachers.  

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief: Halting 51% Attacks and Where Now for Ripple?

VW Teams with IOTA to Offer Crypto Wallets in Cars

It’s a trademark of the Cebit expo in Hanover to entertain visitors with ingenious ideas on how to further digitize our world. The crypto ecosphere has become a new source of inspiration for designers and engineers. One of this year’s surprises: German auto manufacturer Volkswagen has revealed a concept model equipped with a cryptocurrency wallet. The car can pay for its carwash and fill up its tank without the driver moving a finger.

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and Conservationists

The “Cryptocurrency for the Internet of Things,” IOTA will be embedded in new cars developed by VW. The European automotive giant has announced it wants to integrate crypto technology in its upcoming products. Distributed ledger will be used to handle, store and transfer data between the motor vehicles and their producer, and an IOTA wallet may also be incorporated to facilitate contactless payments using the MIOTA tokens.

The cooperation between IOTA and Volkswagen is based on the Proof-of-Concept of IOTA’s Tangle system for autonomous cars. Tangle can transfer software updates and will be interconnected with Volkswagen’s own smart system “Connected Cars”. Each automobile will receive its own, unique Car ID that will be checked by IOTA’s Tangle. The integration of the wallet software is an option that can be added as well.

Cellblocks Introduces Crypto Transactions in Prisons

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and ConservationistsA new digital payment system aims to address some of the issues with monetary systems currently used in US prisons and correctional facilities, like high fees charged by third-party financial institutions, limited access to funds, and waiting times.

Cellblocks, a cryptocurrency designed to be used by inmates, offers a solution that will put money directly into their hands, its creators promise. They say the system provides a fast, efficient, and secure way for families and prisoners to exchange funds.

Inmates will be able to use the cryptocurrency through kiosks that will be installed in the prisons as part of the project. This will allow them to spend their coins in the prison commissary, cover court costs and fees, pay other inmates, and receive money from friends and family. Each user will have a digital wallet to store their funds. Transactions will be made in real time and at minimal fees, the company said in a press release.

The new crypto payment system offers several other benefits over the traditional systems. For example, outside parties won’t be able to withdraw money without the inmate’s consent. Wages and other funds can be easily deposited in wallets through any digital access point, such as a laptop or a smartphone. Wallet holders will have total control over their funds at all times. Last but not least, the cryptocurrency can be cashed in for fiat money when the inmate is released.

‘Rhino Coin’ to Support Conservation and Fight Poaching in South Africa

A “cryptocurrency with a conscience”, as its creators describe it, Rhino Coin aims to generate sustainable income for rhino conservation efforts in South Africa by supporting the legal horn trade and fighting poaching. According to its founders, Alexander Wilcocks and Jacques du Randt, the new crypto, which has been built on ethereum, “attempts to give value to the legal rhino horn by converting it to cryptocurrency in a 1 coin per 1 gram ratio.”

Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and ConservationistsRhino Coin is meant to “unlock the value of ethically obtained, stockpiled rhino horn, creating a new stream of revenue for conservation”, as well as a trading opportunity for coin holders, local media reported. Wilcocks and Du Randt explained that a holder of the digital token can either trade it or redeem it. Earlier this week, Rhino Coin was selling for around R119 (~$ 8.8 USD), which represents a 25.26% price increase since the day of its launch, June 7, when it was trading at R95 per coin (~7 USD).

Most of the Rhino Coins will be distributed to conservationists to sustain their operations. Although there are many fundraising projects, very little of the money actually reaches the private conservationists. Around a third of all rhinos in South Africa are currently in private care. Each conservationist will be able to obtain Rhino Coins in return for their rhino horn, which can then be traded. “By providing communities with a better means to receive a sustained income, we hope to lower the benefit and temptation of participating in illegal poaching in the immediate areas,” Du Randt explained.

What are your thoughts on today’s topics in Bitcoin in Brief? Tell us in the comments section below.  


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Coins for Drivers, Prisoners, and Conservationists appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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New Platform Ranks Cryptocurrency Exchanges by Liquidity, Security, and Reliability

June 16, 2018 |

Hacken has launched a new website that provides an all-in-one tool for rating cryptocurrency exchanges. Crypto Exchange Ranks (CER) allows for side by side comparisons of well over a dozen exchanges, including real-time arbitrage data and ratings for liquidity, compliance, reliability, and security.

Also read: Hollywood Stars in Movie About Crypto Money Laundering

CER Aims to Accurately Rank Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Crypto Exchange Ranks by Ukraine’s Hacken officially launches on Monday, June 18. The service allows users to access a wide range of metrics for major exchanges within the cryptocurrency ecosystem. News.Bitcoin.com was granted access to the beta version of the platform, which comprises a scoring dashboard for exchange comparison together with tabs for viewing liquidity and arbitrage.

While not every feature has been activated in the beta version, the ones that are in operation appear to work well and provide useful tools for traders seeking arbitrage opportunities, or trying to determine the withdrawal limits of various platforms. Anton Kaminsky, Business Development Director of Crypto Exchange Ranks, told news.Bitcoin.com that the goal was “to create a sophisticated tool for crypto exchange rankings, to save time and effort for all market participants”.

New Platform Ranks Cryptocurrency Exchanges by Liquidity, Security, and Reliability

CER Is to Exchanges What CMC Is to Cryptocurrencies

While platforms such as Coinmarketcap provide certain data on exchanges, such as 24-hour volume and most traded pairs, CER has taken a different approach. The site, which will be free at launch before later introducing a subscription model, scans the order book of each exchange in real time to calculate its size. It also enables users to compare prices for any coin on up to five exchanges, to view aggregated volumes for up to five exchanges, and to check the balances of the platforms’ hot and cold wallets.

New Platform Ranks Cryptocurrency Exchanges by Liquidity, Security, and Reliability

While most traders are unlikely to be concerned with cybersecurity ratings, the existence of such tools may incentivize exchanges to improve their service, knowing that their every action is being monitored. Dmitriy Budorin, CEO of Hacken who created the platform, said: “Cryptocurrency exchanges are the backbone of the whole emerging crypto economy. CER will contribute to its healthier development. We hope that with CER, the exchanges will start taking their cybersecurity more seriously and refuse any bad practices, while users will receive comprehensive tools for smart decision making”.

Version 1.0 of CER launches on Monday, before future updates will add the ability to track aggregated portfolios, and to access TA and FA tools within the platform’s dashboard.

Would you use a platform like Crypto Exchange Rankings? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of CER.


Disclaimer: Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service.

Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.

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Freedom Fest 2018: Cryptocurrency Speakers, Debates, & Growing Interest Among Attendees

June 16, 2018 |

Freedom Fest 2018: Cryptocurrency Speakers, Debates, & Growing Interest Among Attendees

For more than a decade, Freedom Fest has been a top attraction on the conference circuit for those leaning toward freer markets. Through the years, it has grown to include speakers and topics well beyond economics. In doing so, it has attracted some of the most interesting minds in the world. 

Also read: William Shatner Joins Bitcoin Mining Project, Admits He Doesn’t Quite Get It

Freedom Fest Founder Talks Crypto

Freedom Fest 2018: Cryptocurrency Speakers, Debates, & Growing Interest Among Attendees

This year’s gathering in Las Vegas, July 11th through 14th, is continuing to branch out. Cryptocurrency and its underlying technology are taking up more intellectual space this July, with a host of debates, lectures, and presentations sure to interest news.Bitcoin.com readers. We caught up with its founder, legendary economist Mark Skousen, to gain insight into the popular conference.

Freedom Fest 2018: Cryptocurrency Speakers, Debates, & Growing Interest Among Attendees
Dr. Skousen

News.Bitcoin.com: Freedom Fest is one of the biggest, best attended libertarian/freedom movement soirees. Why do you think it’s so popular while other conferences struggle to sell tickets?

Founder Mark Skousen: We do several things unique — first of all, Freedom Fest is a Renaissance gathering, where we talk more than just politics. We also discuss and debate philosophy, history, science & technology, healthy living, music & dance, law & religion, etc. We even have a film festival. There’s something for everyone. We also have lots of breakout sessions, so there’s plenty to choose from, and nobody is bored. We also have a “financial freedom” investment conference, my area of expertise. I think if we were strictly a libertarian conference, we wouldn’t be so successful. I also like to think that because we are a “for profit” business, we focus more on what the attendee wants, rather than what the donors want. Also, we aren’t competing with non profits and engaged in fundraising. 

I do think we could be a lot bigger and more influential — as “the greatest libertarian show in earth,” as the Washington Post calls us — if everyone in the freedom movement, including think tanks, would join together instead of each one starting their own conference, which is what they are all doing. As Ben Franklin says, “We just all hang together, or we shall surely all hang separately.” (So let’s hang out in Vegas!) We are relatively small in the world, and spreading ourselves too thin these days. So we offer every major freedom organization a chance to create their own mini-conference at Freedom Fest.

Every year Freedom Fest seems to incorporate more cryptocurrency themes into the program. I’ve counted at least four events centered around them, including what looks to be a pretty great debate. Is it just my bias showing? Or, have you seen a growth in interest by Freedom Fest participants as well?

Yes, I think so.  We’ve been covering digital currencies for several years now, which I regard as a legitimate currency, although not especially utilitarian given its volatility. That’s why we invited Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock, to address us this year — he thinks bitcoin and blockchain are revolutionary. I agree.

This year’s Freedom Fest boasts Naomi Brockwell, Bitcoin Girl, as the gathering’s mistress of ceremonies. We’re, of course, big fans of her, but why did you choose her as MC?

Not because she’s the Bitcoin Girl, but because she’s young, attractive, and intelligent — and a great voice. She’s also well known in the freedom community.

Just about every year, there’s a surprise guest or someone thought to be controversial. Two years ago, for example, no less than candidate Donald Trump made a pitch to participants. Any hints as to what might happen this year?

We have invited a surprise guest, and if he shows up, it will be standing room only. But it’s a long shot.

Freedom Fest 2018: Cryptocurrency Speakers, Debates, & Growing Interest Among Attendees
Naomi Brockwell

I printed out the agenda, itinerary, for this year’s Freedom Fest. Wow. It’s something like 20 pages. Is having a wide arrange of topics, from religion to education, to anarchy, done on purpose? Or has it just evolved that way?

We’ve had wide diversity of topics, debates, panels, etc. from the very beginning. We also work hard to make the topics provocative. It’s essential to get a good turnout, since each session competes with nine others.

We also have a different theme every year…In the past, it’s been “Are We Rome?”…”Are We Headed for Another French Revolution?”…”Is the American Dream Lost?”…and this year “Where is the Voice of Reason?”

Your seminal textbook, Economic Logic, now in its 5th edition, has a brief mention of bitcoin. Do you think that’s bound to change, say, for the 6th edition? In other words, do you think economists such as yourself will be compelled to grapple with it to a greater degree?

I do plan to include a major section of digital currencies in the 6th edition. I wished I had put in more in the 5th edition.

Freedom Fest 2018: Cryptocurrency Speakers, Debates, & Growing Interest Among AttendeesAt least one of your quotes about bitcoin went viral a while back. You basically contend it won’t ever replace gold due to the fact computers can be effectively shut off, shutting off access to bitcoin. Do you still maintain your contention about it never replacing gold?

I’m of the opinion that the upward trend in gold seems to have been affected by the increasing interest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legitimate alternative. But because it’s digital and non-physical, it can never replace the benefits of actual gold ownership.

You were one of the few well-known economists to express a bullishness towards cryptocurrency. Do you still think well of crypto? Has the price drop changed your mind?

Volatility is still a problem, and that’s keeping back its use by everyman. Most investors hold it as a speculation rather than a medium of exchange.

Do you, or have you, actually used cryptocurrency to purchase goods and services? Just curious.

Not yet.  Like everybody, I wished I had gotten in early and become a millionaire!

Freedom Fest 2018: Cryptocurrency Speakers, Debates, & Growing Interest Among AttendeesThis year Freedom Fest is throwing a 50th Anniversary celebration for Reason. How important is Reason to the liberty movement in your view?

Reason Foundation has grown tremendously in the past 50 years and now competes with the Cato Institute as the most influential libertarian freedom organization. I’m a big supporter, and they are equally supportive of what we are trying to do. We are delighted to have them co-sponsor many of our events this year. For the first time, they are holding their Reason Media Awards at Freedom Fest at the Saturday night banquet on July 14 rather than in New York.

We are honored to celebrate special years with all the freedom organizations.

Next year we have a theme that will draw a big crowd (I predict): “The Wild West.” July 17-20, 2019, Paris Resort, in Las Vegas. And yes, we are planning a square dance!

What do you think about Freedom Fest? Let us know in the comments. 


Images via the Pixabay.


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Hollywood Stars in Movie About Crypto Money Laundering

June 16, 2018 |

Hollywood Stars in Movie About Crypto Money Laundering

A crime thriller called Crypto is reportedly being filmed, featuring a money laundering agent and a case involving cryptocurrency. Among the cast of the movie are Hollywood actors Kurt Russell, Luke Hemsworth, Alexis Bledel, Beau Knapp, Jeremie Harris, and Vincent Kartheiser.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

A Crypto Thriller

Hollywood Stars in Movie About Crypto Money Laundering
Kurt Russel.

An upcoming crime thriller called Crypto is currently filming in New York, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The cast includes a number of Hollywood stars including Kurt Russell, Luke Hemsworth, Alexis Bledel, Beau Knapp, Jeremie Harris, and Vincent Kartheiser, the media outlet detailed on Friday.

The movie reportedly takes place in a U.S. government agent’s “remote New York hometown,” the publication continued, noting that it is “where his father (Russell) and brother (Hemsworth) are struggling to maintain their family farm in a changing economic landscape.” The Reporter described the movie’s plot:

Crypto centers on a young anti-money laundering agent (Knapp) tasked with investigating a tangled web of corruption and fraud…The agent quickly finds himself enmeshed in a dangerous underworld populated by a mysterious art dealer (Bledel), a cryptocurrency enthusiast turned cyber-sleuth (Harris) and a corrupt accountant doing the bidding of ruthless clients (Kartheiser).

The Cast and Production of Crypto

Hollywood Stars in Movie About Crypto Money Laundering
Alexis Bledel.

Leading actor Beau Knapp was the main character of the sci-fi thriller The Signal. He also starred in Netflix’s recently-canceled series Seven Seconds. Alexis Bledel grew up on the set of the Gilmore Girls and won an Emmy for her role as Ofglen in Handmaid’s Tale last year.

Hollywood veteran Kurt Russell has been constantly featured on the silver screen since the 1960s. Among his most famous roles is Snake Plisskin in the 1981 classic Escape from New York. Luke Hemsworth, of Westworld fame, was also in a couple of older brother Chris Hemsworth’s Thor movies. Vincent Kartheiser of Mad Men and Jeremie Harris of Legion are also accomplished TV actors with many credits under their belts.

Hollywood Stars in Movie About Crypto Money Laundering
Beau Knapp.

According to the news outlet, this indie film is directed by John Stalberg Jr, who directed the 2010 movie High School, starring Adrien Brody and Colin Hanks. Crypto is written by Carlyle Eubank and David Frigerio, who previously co-wrote The Signal. Producer credits include Frigerio, Jordan Yale Levine, and Jordan Beckerman.

Stalberg commented, “I am overjoyed to be working with such an incredible cast to bring this timely, thrilling story to life.” Levine elaborated:

Cryptocurrency has captured the attention and imagination of consumers and entrepreneurs all over the world but has never been explored in film in such a nuanced and exciting way.

Bitcoin at the Movies

Hollywood Stars in Movie About Crypto Money LaunderingCrypto will not be the first movie to feature a cryptocurrency. The first to debut in cinemas worldwide was the well-received 2015 Lionsgate feature film Dope. The following year Vietnamese audiences enjoyed Bitcoin Heist, which was similarly focused on crime surrounding bitcoin.

Another crypto-themed movie that has been announced is called Bitcoin, which features a suburban father trying to convert bitcoin from an anonymous account into cash to save his family after he lost his job. This movie was announced back in December 2016 and, according to Imdb, is currently in the pre-production stage.

What do you think of the movie Crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Survey: 13% of Net-Savvy Ukrainians Own Cryptocurrencies

June 16, 2018 |

Survey: 13% of Net-Savvy Ukrainians Own Cryptocurrencies

Ukrainians are increasingly aware of cryptocurrencies, and 13 percent of those using the Internet own digital coins, according to a new survey. The total of the daily turnover on the three leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the country currently reaches $ 2 million USD.  

Also read: Ukrainian Companies Mint 25 Coins, Raise $ 132 Million

Majority of Ukrainians Know About Bitcoin

A sizable majority of the respondents in an online survey in Ukraine have said they are aware of digital currencies – 72 percent of those questioned know what cryptocurrency is. Another 23 percent have heard the term, while 5 percent told interviewers they were hearing the word for the first time. Ukrainian men are better informed about coins – 81 percent, as well as youngsters – 79 percent.

Survey: 13% of Net-Savvy Ukrainians Own Cryptocurrencies

The poll has been conducted by Kantar TNS, the local representative of the marketing research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). 1,000 residents, aged 18-55, have been contacted online throughout Ukraine, with the exception of the conflict zones in the eastern part of the country and Crimea.

The results show that bitcoin (BTC) remains the most well-known cryptocurrency, with 98 percent of the Ukrainians with access to the web saying they know about it. It’s followed by litecoin with 29 percent and bitcoin bash (BCH), 27 percent. Fourteen percent of the participants recognize dash, and 6 percent – NEM.

Survey: 13% of Net-Savvy Ukrainians Own CryptocurrenciesThe authors of the study have also tried to determine how involved Ukrainians are with cryptocurrencies. According to their data, 13 percent of the respondents own digital money. Among them 88 percent have acquired bitcoin core (BTC), and 25 percent – bitcoin cash (BCH). 18 percent own litecoin, and dash and ethereum – 7 percent each. The rest either do not trust cryptocurrency, don’t have the technical means to acquire it, or do not understand its principles.

Participants were asked if they thought cryptocurrencies should be treated just like regular, fiat money. The answer options yes/no/I don’t know received about a third of the votes each.

Survey: 13% of Net-Savvy Ukrainians Own Cryptocurrencies

A majority of 41 percent said authorities should support the free circulation of cryptos, 19 percent stated it should be banned by the government, and 37 percent had no opinion. Only 1 present of the polled believe regulation is necessary, while 2 percent think the state should not interfere at all.

Ukrainians Trade $ 2 Million Worth of Crypto Daily

Survey: 13% of Net-Savvy Ukrainians Own CryptocurrenciesDespite the lack of comprehensive data about the size of the Ukrainian cryptocurrency market, it has been estimated that the daily crypto-hryvnia turnover on the three major exchanges reaches $ 1.9 – $ 2 million USD (~$ 700 million a year), local media reported.

Experts note, however, that the transactions on these trading platforms, Exmo, Kuna and BTC Trade UA, are only a part of the total. More than a dozen other platforms, as well as thousands of individual traders are offering exchange services, both online and offline.

Other sub sectors are also contributing to the growth of the industry. “According to market sources, approximately $ 80 million have been invested in mining in Ukraine. About 90 – 95,000 Ukrainians own cryptocurrencies. The majority have invested small amounts in 2017 – 2018,” Ekaterina Belous, an expert working on the USAID “Financial Sector Transformation” project, told Realist. For the past several years, more than 50 high-ranking officials and members of parliament have declared digital assets on their tax returns.

Do you expect the ownership of cryptocurrencies in countries like Ukraine to increase in the near future? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com

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UK Company Launches Crypto Mining Electric Bicycle

June 16, 2018 |

UK Company Launches Crypto Mining Electric Bicycle

50cycles, a specialist electric bicycle manufacturer, has revealed what it has described as the world’s first range of cryptocurrency mining e-bikes. Toba, the new series of crypto mining bikes, are estimated to generate approximately £20 (approximately $ 26.5 USD) worth of ‘Loyalcoin’ per 1,000 miles ridden.

Also Read: Study Reveals ASIC Miners Represent 30% of the Equihash Mining Hashrate

UK Company Reveals Cryptocurrency Mining E-Bike

UK Company Launches Crypto Mining Electric BicycleFounded in 2003, UK-based 50cycles describes itself as a specialist in “advanced electric bikes.” In what the company is claiming as a world first, 50cycles has revealed the ‘Toba’ – a cryptocurrency mining electric bicycle.

The company’s founder and chief executive officer, Scott Snaith, told media “This is not only the first electric bike of its kind, but it will also be the first product ever to be tokenized and which issues reward for use.”

Mr. Snaith describes the ‘pedal-powered crypto miners’ as being indicative of the company’s desire to engage with new technologies, stating “We have always been a company that moves ahead of the times by embracing the latest technology. Just like we saw the potential in electric bikes in Tokyo 15 years ago, we now see the promise and future in blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and product tokenization.”

Cyclists to be Rewarded in ‘Loyaltycoin’

Bike owners are unable to choose which cryptocurrency is mined, with each of the electric bikes exclusively mining for ‘Loyaltycoin’, a token which will be redeemable in exchange for products available on the 50cycles website, or can be exchanged for leading cryptocurrencies through Loyaltycoin’s platform. At the time of writing, Loyaltycoin appears to have only been trading for approximately ten days, with current prices appearing poised to fall to record lows below $ 0.0044 USD.

Mr. Snaith stated, “At the moment we are working with Loyaltycoin to reward our customers but eventually the Toba bikes will have their own digital coin which will become one of thousands of currencies of the future, and the Toba will allow riders to become an integral part of its growth.”

The Toba bikes will hold their unique private key as proof of ownership, and customers will be able to monitor how many Loyaltycoin tokens they have generated through a mobile app. The bikes are expected to be delivered to customers in September.

Innovative Mining Experiments

UK Company Launches Crypto Mining Electric BicycleIn recent years, the cryptocurrency community has witnessed increasingly creative attempts to recycle energy for the purpose of virtual currency mining.

Last year, reports detailed the owner of a Tesla S who had installed a graphics processing unit (GPU) based cryptocurrency mining rig in his car to capitalize on the unlimited supercharging program made available to most owners of Telsa’s S and X models.

Last month, Motherboard reported on “Lee” – a man who sought to repurpose the heat generated through cryptocurrency mining to warm his bath. Lee described his experiment as being “a little too effective,” stating that he “left it running all day as it produced baths of up to 122F/50C. Dangerously hot, especially as I have a few pets who could fall in if they somehow gained access to the bathroom. I took the experiment down to preserve the safety of my living space. Safety is an absolute priority to me.”

What consumer products do you think will be next to mine for cryptocurrency? Join the discussion in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cyclingindustrynews


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

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Overstock Generates “Between $68,000 and $120,000” in Crypto Weekly

June 15, 2018 |

Overstock Generates "Between $  68,000 and $  120,000" in Crypto Weekly

During a recent address to the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C, Jonathan Johnson, the former chairman and current member of the board for Overstock, sought to emphasize that payments in the form of bitcoin comprise a steadily growing source of revenue for the company.

Also Read: Cryptocurrency Games Have Invaded the Most Popular App Stores

Former Overstock Chair Detail’s Retailer’s Cryptocurrency Revenue

Overstock Generates "Between $  68,000 and $  120,000" in Crypto WeeklyJonathan Johnson, the former chairman of Overstock, one of the first major companies to accept bitcoin as a means of payment, has detailed the revenues generated by the company in the form of cryptocurrency payments whilst speaking to the Heritage Foundation.

“We have somewhere between $ 68,000 and $ 120,000 a week in cryptocurrency revenues; people buying sheets and toasters using bitcoin or Ethereum or other coins,” Mr. Johnson told the conservative think-tank.

Advantages of Accepting Crypto

Overstock Generates "Between $  68,000 and $  120,000" in Crypto WeeklyMr. Johnson sought to convince attendees of the advantages cryptocurrency offers to businesses over orthodox payments forms.

The Overstock board member stated: “We pay a processing fee for credit cards, and we employ about 40 people in our fraud department. That’s a cost of doing business with credit cards.”

“When we take cryptocurrency, we have a very small transaction fee with Coinbase, much smaller than our credit card processing fee, and we have no fraud prevention department. It’s like a cash transaction. For us, that is a much cheaper way of doing business,” Mr. Johnson added.

Crypto as Democratizing Force

Overstock Generates "Between $  68,000 and $  120,000" in Crypto WeeklyThe former Overstock chairman described cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology as having a democratizing effect upon access to financial services and fundraising mechanisms.

Mr. Johnson stated “Today, so many of us can’t participate in the capital markets the way accredited investors or well-connected investors can. And those of us that are trying to raise money have a hard time crowdfunding or raising money in a democratized way.”

Despite praising the democratizing of fundraising processes through cryptocurrency, Mr. Johnson stated that Medici Ventures, Overstock’s investment firm of which he is president, “is not invested in a single ICO, in large part because the regulation around them is still very hazy.”

Mr. Johnson also expressed his belief that the cryptocurrency sector should operate without regulation, stating “We should not be regulating this technology. If there are uses of it that need regulation, maybe.”

Do you think that more retailers will begin accepting cryptocurrency payments? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Medici Ventures


At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

The post Overstock Generates “Between $ 68,000 and $ 120,000” in Crypto Weekly appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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