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Japan’s space agency has attempted to detonate an explosive charge on an asteroid some 195 million miles from Earth, in hopes of creating a crater and collecting samples to shed light on the origin of the solar system.
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John Bolton, the national security adviser for President Trump, said Sunday that U.S. forces will remain in Syria until key benchmarks are met, which could mean troops could stay in the country for years, a report said.
After around 200 failed attempts over at least 100 years, a bill to make lynching a federal crime has finally passed the Senate. The bipartisan bill, which was introduced in July, passed the Senate unanimously on Wednesday, the Hill reports. It was sponsored by Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and…
It’s been a crazy week in cryptocurrency land as a large portion of the community watched the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network split into two chains on Nov. 15. Following the 24 hours of the BCH hash war, an interesting message was found stemming from block height 9 that claims there is an “issue with Segwit.” Of course, a few cryptocurrency developers have once again deemed the latest Satoshi signature as “fake” and have explained that the new message was likely another fluke attempt by Craig Wright.
Cryptocurrency Community Scrutinizes Another So-Called Signed Message from Satoshi
During the second day of the BCH hash war, a few cryptocurrency enthusiasts came across a message that appeared to be a valid signature for Satoshi’s key in block 9. The address contained a message which warned of some issues with the Segwit protocol on the BTC chain. Furthermore, the owner of Coingeek, Calvin Ayre, tweeted out to his followers a small statement in regard to the block 9 key signature and stated that “Satoshi Lives.” Ayre also retweeted the message from a Twitter account called “@Satoshi” which led to a few other tweets about the message.
“I do not want to be public, but, there is an issue with Segwit,” explains the signed message and the tweet from the now deleted, but archived Satoshi handle. “If it is not fixed, there will be nothing and I would have failed — There is only one way that Bitcoin survives and it is important to me that it works. Important enough, that I may be known openly.”
The Satoshi Twitter handle also tweeted a message across the social media platform that said:
The message will be clear in Dec 2019.
More Proof of Nothing
With all that’s going on in the BCH community and specifically Craig Wright, many observers believe the signature stems from him. Of course, a large majority thought it was just a PR stunt from Wright and company and quickly disregarded the message.
However, lots of people took a closer look at the message and agreed that it likely derived from Wright and even so the signature was still phony. For instance, the CTO of Purse, Christopher Jeffrey, detailed that the message appeared to be a valid signature from Satoshi’s key in block 9 but further stated that “anyone can mutate a hash for a valid ecdsa signature to produce a seemingly ‘new’ signature/message.” Jeffrey further said that he and a friend had fun creating fake Satoshi signatures in the past. “Looks like another failed attempt from Craig Wright if I had to guess,” explained the Purse developer.
In addition to Jeffrey’s statements, the BTC developer Gregory Maxwell showed the Reddit community on r/btc how easily the fake signature message can be accomplished. Jeffrey further explained on Reddit that he had long suspected that Craig would attempt this type of stunt. Overall, most of the BCH community members across social media channels like Twitter and Reddit didn’t seem to think the latest Satoshi message was legitimate. Craig Wright did respond to a Twitter handle called @Checksum0 who tweeted about the message during the day and said, “No, that is bamboozled — The last time it was spent from that address is 2009.”
Later on, Wright did tweet some more cryptic messages to his Twitter followers that seemed very similar to the block 9 message.
“I have done all I can for now to warn people — I will work to make the system right, it is not you, it is not your profit, it is sound money for the world,” Wright detailed. “If you cannot understand that, I cannot make you — I hope that your children will. About a year from now, I have something to release, but, right now, I cannot. So, the place is marked and saved, and in the time it takes, you will find what that is… when it is fixed — So, more cryptic markers,” the Nchain representative concluded.
What do you think about the so-called message from Satoshi warning about Segwit in Dec. of 2019? Do you think the signature attempt was phony and proved nothing? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
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It started with a feeling of isolation, of not wanting to engage with the world. He didn’t want to answer emails, and hundreds of answerphone messages went unreturned.
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After being denied a post-conviction relief extension in February 2018, Ross Ulbricht’s family and legal team filed a Petition of Certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court based on constitutional violations in the investigation and at sentencing. The petition was supported by 21 organizations, however, the Court denied Ulbricht’s petition on June 28. The fight to free Ross Ulbricht, 33, is now reinforced with a new petition created on Change.org, 3 days ago by FreeRoss.org. There are currently 6,242+ signatures and the petition aims at reaching 7,500.
“It’s Not the End,” Mother Cried at Her Son When Taken Back to Prison Cell
“It’s not the end.” Lyn Ulbricht had cried at her son in the courtroom when a marshal set his hand on his back to signal it was time to return to the cell after hearing the sentence. That was in Manhattan’s U.S. district court in May 2015. That day, Lyn had declared she would never turn away from her son, whom she considers innocent. The fight to seek justice for their son is not over for this family.
“My son, Ross Ulbricht, is serving a double life sentence plus 40 years, without the possibility of parole, for a website he made when he was 26 years old and passionate about free markets and privacy. Ross, an Eagle Scout, scientist and peaceful entrepreneur, had all non-violent charges and no criminal history.” The petition says.
“A Sentence That Shocks the Conscience.”
Ulbricht was accused of being the creator of Silk Road, the infamous international dark site and drug bazaar created in 2011, under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” aka “DPR” and was arrested in 2013.
The physics graduate and alleged mastermind behind Silk Road, described in the petition as “an e-commerce platform similar to eBay, where individual users chose what to list for sale,” was convicted in February 2015 after a four-week trial on all seven counts, from drug trafficking and money laundering to maintaining an “ongoing criminal enterprise.” All to be served concurrently with no chance of parole. A sentence usually reserved to drug kingpins.
Judge Katherine Forrest said she would give Ross “the severest sentence possible.” Restrained by law from issuing the death penalty, she gave him a walking death sentence instead. “Ross’s appeal points out “grotesque disparity” between Ross’s life sentence—which is unheard of for a young man with no criminal history and all non-violent charges, and the sentences of other Silk Road defendants.” FreeRoss.org writes.
Ulbricht’s new legal team, Williams & Connolly, also argue that there have been discrepancies in the investigation, namely with the participation of two rogue agents leading the federal investigation into Silk Road.
“Ross is condemned to die in prison, not for dealing drugs himself but for a website where others did. This is far harsher than the punishment for many murderers, pedophiles, rapists and other violent people.” The petition says.
Ulbricht has been relocated from New York to a maximum-security penitentiary called USP Florence. The family says this prison is meant for some of the country’s most violent offenders and they don’t understand why Ross is being kept there for his life sentence.
Do you think the sentence faced by Ross Ulbricht was fair and do you think the Change.org petition will be heard? Let us know in the comments section below.
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The government of South Korea held a meeting on Thursday to discuss measures to deal with the growing trend of cryptocurrency speculation. The regulators clarified the clampdown on virtual accounts as well as other measures to end anonymity. In addition, the Ministry of Justice suggested an even more extreme measure.
Clampdown on Virtual Accounts
Much of the discussions on Thursday centered on the subject of virtual accounts that are issued by banks for cryptocurrency exchanges. The government announced, according to Yonhap:
It [the government] is banning the use of anonymous virtual accounts in cryptocurrency transactions as part of efforts to curb virtual currency speculation.
This follows the regulators’ previous announcement on the virtual account clampdown that is part of the “emergency measures” on cryptocurrency regulation, which news.Bitcoin.com reported earlier this month. Even before the emergency measures were announced, banks anticipated the ban and already stopped issuing new virtual accounts, news.Bitcoin.com also reported. This would effectively put some exchanges out of business.
Hong Nam-ki, the minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination, explained at the Thursday meeting, as reported by Yonhap:
Under the measure, only real-name bank accounts and matching accounts at virtual currency exchanges can be used for deposits and withdrawals, while the issuance of new virtual accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges will be banned…The Financial Intelligence Unit and the Financial Supervisory Service will carry out joint inspections to make sure that such real-name transactions will take root at an early date.
This announcement followed the government’s efforts to make banks identify virtual account owners. When the regulators released their emergency measures, they asked banks to confirm the identity of virtual account owners, as new.Bitcoin.com previously reported. However, banks said at the time that they could not comply, citing that they “only issue virtual accounts to the exchanges and do not know whom the virtual accounts are issued.”
To comply with the regulation in the future, banks are now building a system to identify virtual account owners in collaboration with the Korean Blockchain Association. The association has been working on self-regulation with 40 companies, including 14 crypto exchanges.
Ministry of Justice’s New Attempt
Despite repeated warnings by the government of the risks of cryptocurrency trading, Hong pointed out that:
Speculation has shown little signs of abating, with values of many cryptocurrencies excessively higher at home than abroad.
The Ministry of Justice, which heads the task force to spearhead regulations, has been a proponent of extreme measures. Earlier this month, the ministry suggested a blanket ban on cryptocurrencies in South Korea. However, this proposal was not adopted in the emergency measures.
During the Thursday meeting, Hong mentioned that the Justice ministry suggested “shutting down cryptocurrency exchanges.” However, the meeting’s minutes do not indicate whether other ministries support this idea.
Furthermore, Hong reiterated that the government will strengthen requirements of local exchanges to prevent money-laundering and toughen punishments for crypto-related crimes. The government will also put restrictions on cryptocurrency advertisements.
What do you think of the Korean government’s new attempts to discourage crypto trading? Let us know in the comments section below.
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It was an audacious and callous scheme. A parcel bomb, mailed to a crowded German market, with a ransom note demanding €10 million in bitcoins. Had the device packed with gunpowder, shrapnel, and nails detonated, the casualties would have been extensive. In the event, the bomb, like the ransom demand, proved to be a damp squib. Bitcoin blackmail attempts – like everything else associated with bitcoin – have soared this year. There’s just one problem, from the perpetrators’ perspective: no one’s paying.
Bitcoin Blackmail is Harder Than It Sounds
The notion of an untraceable digital currency that can be used to extort millions before hackers disappear into the matrix with their ill-gotten gains is screenplay gold. It’s the sort of premise to get TV scriptwriters foaming at the mouth. Grey’s Anatomy is the best-known drama to have fallen for the bitcoin blackmail meme. Last month, the show’s mid-season finale showed the hospital succumbing to ransomware, causing blue screens of death across the board.
SC Magazine describes the action:
Patients’ monitoring systems all begin to flatline at once, even though there is no medical emergency. One doctor even mistakenly shocks a sleeping man with a defibrillator because it falsely appeared as if his heart stopped.
The most unrealistic aspect of the show wasn’t the malfunctioning machines however – it was the ransom demand. In exchange for rebooting Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital’s systems, the hacker wanted 4,932 BTC worth $ 20 million at the time, and substantially more now. In real life, ransomware demands are significantly lower, and it’s rare for organizations to pay up. One hospital, Hollywood Presbyterian, did accede to ransomware demands this year, but only to the tune of $ 17,000.
This week, Mecklenburg County in North Carolina was hit by a ransomware attack, with the hacker demanding $ 23,000 to decrypt the files. Government officials pondered the matter but eventually refused to pay up. Even the most successful ransomware attack to date, Wannacry, which affected over 230,000 computers, raised a total of just $ 140,000 in bitcoin.
Festive Fear Without the Good Cheer
Perhaps the boldest bitcoin blackmail attempt to date is that of Potsdam Christmas market, which was targeted on December 1 via a parcel bomb sent to an adjacent pharmacy. Attached to the DHL delivery was a ransom note and a QR code for the address the bitcoins should be sent to, with a warning that further bombs would be despatched if the attacker’s demands weren’t met. As it was, the bomb failed to detonate, emitting nothing more hazardous than a hissing sound. Its intention was presumably to scare rather than to explode, as the blast would have also obliterated the ransom note and bitcoin address in the process.
The sort of criminals capable of dreaming up these schemes seem to be divorced from reality. In real life, no one ever pays a €10 million ransom – in bitcoin or any other currency. That sort of stuff only occurs in TV dramas. In fact, that may well have been where the German bomber drew his inspiration. In the Grey’s Anatomy episode which aired two weeks prior to the attack, the hospital gave in to the hacker’s demands and paid the ransom. All $ 20 million of it.
Do you think organizations should give in to ransomware demands? Let us know in the comments section below.
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The post Bitcoin Blackmail Attempts Are On the Rise – But No One’s Paying appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Hoping to erase all memory of its recent troubles, Uber has unveiled a host of new policies aimed at better treatment of its drivers—though forgetful riders might not be so thrilled. Among the recent policy changes making headlines is a new rule requiring riders to pay $ 15 to have…
An Oregon man is being called a hero for saving the life of a bear cub he found while hiking Monday evening, but officials aren’t so sure. Corey Hancock tells the Oregonian he found a baby black bear just off the trail that “wasn’t breathing” and was “barely moving.” He…