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China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

September 23, 2018 |

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

Close to being yet another annoyingly false media piece on how ‘hard’ it is to live on cryptocurrency, the Netflix of China, Iqiyi, followed a woman attempting just that for 21 days. Bitcoiners have been doing so for years through various service providers, exchanges, and, yes, even peer-to-peer, yet the clearly untrue ‘hard’ narrative is often repeated. Thankfully, the new Chinese documentary Bitcoin Girl is somewhat different; instead of focusing upon tech hurdles exclusively, it also highlights how bitcoin lives on during a severe Communist Party crackdown.

Also read: Turkey Finance Minister Embraces ICO Hype for Already Troubled Economy

Netflix of China Airs 21 Day Bitcoin Challenge

Rifle through Youtube, and it’s easy to find a zillion vignettes and documentaries about using bitcoin, cryptocurrencies in general, as either part of a lifestyle or as a principal medium of exchange. The mainstream conception is always about hurdles and difficulties, and they usually devolve into dark web ghettos or tales of criminal gangs nefariously employing the tech.

And so it’s somewhat refreshing to learn a documentary series running in China on its version of Netflix, Bitcoin Girl 21 Days Digital Survival Challenge, offers a glimpse behind the wall, as it were, of the Communist state and how crypto enthusiasts are attempting to cope.  

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin
Ms. Youbing

An introduction blurb to the series, translated by google, reads, “There is such a girl, she is a blockchain believer. She said she wanted to rush into a city alone one day and be an experiment that only survived by bitcoin. Challenge rules: 1. With 0.21 bitcoins, one person lives in Beijing for 21 days. 2, only payable in bitcoin, can not accept any charity.”

For those lost in translation, the series (now up to 17 episodes as of this writing) is based upon He Youbing, an aka for a young-ish woman setting out to survive on about $ 1,300, give or take, on bitcoin without help or assistance – just peer-to-peer transactions, phone to phone.

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

Alone with Nothing but Bitcoin

Ms. Youbing was unable to take anything with her. No basic necessities are allowed. She must make do with what she has in China’s most populous cities, beginning in Beijing. Presumably, the show gave her the aka, which means having something of an obsession – in this case cryptocurrency.

The documentary’s main difference is its setting. And though it for sure could be viewed as propaganda to make crypto seem futile to the average person, it’s also a strange admittance. China, of course, has become notorious for its cryptocurrency bans. Recently, it has gotten so bad even events related to crypto are banned. Just prior to venues being formally prohibited, the government stepped up censorship campaigns against popular smartphone applications such as Wechat. Over 100 foreign crypto exchange websites were also banned. The Chinese government even put pressure on Alipay to stop all OTC crypto trading on their platform.

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on BitcoinAnd all of these no doubt contribute to the first episode’s showing her desperate and frustrated. Most of her day is spent trying to inform vendors just what bitcoin is, much less getting them to accept it. From fun parks to restaurants, she was unsuccessful the entire day and evening. Though she manages to find an unlocked public bike, helping to make her case to more potential businesses and ordinary people, she finishes her night exhausted and defeated, sleeping at a McDonald’s.

Sustenance came wherever she could find it, as the already slight woman dined on free condiment packets while eating leftover burgers yet to be thrown away, and even literally low hanging fruit. It was actually two days of this, and by the second she was vomiting, sick from the experience. The manufactured drama helped the local media bring attention to her case. Well-wishers brought her food, exchanged for bitcoin, while she was checked at a nearby hospital. An art gallery volunteered to put her up for the third night.

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

No Publicity is Bad Publicity

Strange and wonderful happens next. Chinese city dwellers find her on Wechat as a result of media coverage, and begin to exchange services and goods for bitcoin with her. In fact, a great many seemed to have no problem trading fiat, causing the show’s producers to adjust the rules to include no online transactions – real people, real life only.

The publicity compounded, and reports detailed how many Wechat groups were following her, filled to capacity. The upward limit is 500 people per group. Something like six such groups popped up, and from every sector of Chinese society.

China During Crypto Ban: One Woman Tries to Live on Bitcoin

Clearly, cryptocurrency fever remains behind the great Red wall. If the documentary does anything positive, it shows the power of crypto and social media. Even through massive crackdowns, smartphone and related tech brought fellow Chinese to her once word got out. Soon, outside of Beijing, she finds a restaurant to accept bitcoin. She is able to negotiate crypto for clothes, and even had a hotel booked for her.

The rest of the series appears to be much in this fashion, and for some reason the government has not censored it, yet. In fact, Ms. Youbing only seems to be gaining traction. The documentary’s makers do film how a significant portion of those familiar with bitcoin (BTC) are still stinging from giant transaction fees and slow confirmation times that characterized the final leg of its bull run in late 2017.

Their distrust of BTC is also heightened by crypto’s association with scams, and Ms. Youbing spends her time trying to convince potential trade counterparts she is legit. Without trying, Bitcoin Girl stumbles into the medium of exchange versus store of value debate. If 17 episodes are any guide, the Chinese clearly are ready for something closer to bitcoin cash (BCH) and its qualities over a seemingly tainted BTC.   

Do you think crypto will continue to grow in China despite all the bans? Let us know in the comments below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitcoin Glyphs Added to Apple’s Shortcuts Application

September 22, 2018 |

Bitcoin Glyphs Added to Apple's Shortcuts Application

Apple recently introduced a new lineup of iPhones and its new operating system iOS 12. Moreover, four days ago the company also updated its Siri extension called the ‘Shortcuts’ application with two new Bitcoin glyphs available.

Also read: Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Invokes the Multiple Client Argument

Two New Bitcoin Glyphs

Slowly but surely Bitcoin is finding its way into the mainstream in various ways. Apple users will now find that the Shortcuts application contains two unique glyphs showcasing the Bitcoin symbol. Shortcuts is a separate app that works with Siri and the device’s OS in order to create shortcuts that perform multiple steps in a far quicker method. Glyphs are an elemental symbol intended to represent a computational readable character and some system languages require the use of particular symbols. So essentially a Bitcoin glyph would be considered to be the symbol that represents the entire spelling of the word ‘Bitcoin.’

Bitcoin Glyphs Added to Apple's Shortcuts Application
Apple’s Shortcuts application and the two Bitcoin symbols available. Colors are customizable.

In Apple’s Shortcuts platform (not to be confused with the shortcut settings) users can choose from two Bitcoin glyphs and change the background colors as well. The Shortcuts app must be tethered to Siri and the user can deploy the Glyph within a specific shortcut such as asking Siri what the spot price of bitcoin is at the moment. The glyphs can be used with the keyboard but they do not operate as emojis do within a conversation. Across social media and Reddit forums, bitcoiners are excited because they think the Bitcoin glyphs will perhaps gain some attention from mainstream audiences.   

Unicode Characters and Apple Glyphs Help Bolster Mainstream Acceptance

The news also follows the recent Bitcoin symbol added to the Unicode standard. Back in June of 2017, the Unicode Consortium unveiled the computer character standards version 10, which contains the Bitcoin character. The cryptocurrency enthusiast Ken Shirriff requested the Unicode Consortium add the character for years, and finally it was added alongside 8,518 characters and 56 new emojis. The push for the Bitcoin symbol being added to the Unicode character system took about six years to accomplish.

Bitcoin Glyphs Added to Apple's Shortcuts Application
The bitcoin symbol was added to the Unicode character system last year.

The word ‘bitcoin’ was also added to Oxford dictionaries in 2013, followed by the word ‘cryptocurrency’ in 2014. The recently added Bitcoin glyphs within Apple’s Shortcuts app confirms to many proponents that cryptocurrency-related symbols and the underlying concepts are here to stay.

What do you think about the Bitcoin glyphs added to the Apple Shortcuts application? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, and Apple’s Shortcuts.


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Programmable Money: Bitcoin Cash Community Debates Oracle Driven Upgrade

September 22, 2018 |

Programmable Money: Bitcoin Cash Community Debates Oracle Driven Upgrade

Lately, there’s been a lot of conversation directed at adding a canonical transaction ordering (CTOR) process to the Bitcoin Cash protocol. Then there’s the topic of whether or not the BCH developers should add the opcode OP_Checkdatasig (CDS) into the codebase. Some believe CDS will be beneficial to Bitcoin scripting applications and allow for all types of smart contracts and decision-based transactions. However, others think adding CDS is unnecessary, and may compromise network security.

Also read: Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a ‘Forced Upgrade’

OP_Checkdatasig: The Possibility of Oracles, and Cross-Chain Atomic Contracts

Programmable Money: Bitcoin Cash Community Debates Oracle Driven UpgradeThere’s a lot of discussion concerning the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network hard fork coming this November. One of the topics is an implementation called OP_Checkdatasig (CDS) that’s been added to the Bitcoin ABC clients’ roadmap and codebase. Basically, CDS is an opcode that could theoretically enhance the BCH protocol’s scripting ability. When Satoshi created bitcoin, the software included a scripting system much like the programmable language Forth. In addition to the scripting, the codebase also included script words otherwise known as ‘opcodes.’ There are quite a few opcodes and all of them do various commands or binary functions but most of them were disabled long ago.

  • OP_Checkdatasig is referred to as OP_Datasigverify in the same context throughout this article. 

Some people believe that certain opcodes could add a ‘programmable money’ feature to the network. OP_Checkdatasig (also referred to as OP_Datasigverify or DSV) could possibly enable the creation of decentralized oracles that check the validation of certain signatures, and return two different outcomes in an autonomous fashion. Essentially the oracle determines a definitive outcome without the need for a third party or custodian’s decision. Oracles are the foundations of a smart contract because the software itself decides when and who to release the funds to based on the completion of meeting or not meeting certain requirements. When Bitcoin ABC announced version 0.18.0, included within the client is the addition of CDS and the development team’s announcement details the feature will be used for oracles and contracts.   

“[Checkdatasig] will enable uses such as the use of oracles and cross-chain atomic contracts,” explains the Bitcoin ABC development team.

Pay To Identity

There are multiple posts people can read on the subject of CDS and the theoretical use cases. Mark Lundeberg has written a proposed use case of CDS called “Pay To Identity” which would allow the BCH protocol to determine the validity of a users identification.

“[Pay To Identity] is a mechanism where a Bitcoin Cash payment is made to a personally identifying string (real name, email address, social media handle, etc.) instead of directly to a cryptographic key,” Lundeberg details. “The payment can only be claimed by the recipient if they generate a public key and get it certified by a trusted identity verifier.”

Lundeberg adds:  

This certification signature is confirmed in script via the new opcode OP_Checkdatasig.

Programmable Money

Two posts authored by Bitcoin Unlimited’s lead developer Andrew Stone explain the possible use cases of CDS as well. Stone’s post,“Bitcoin Scripting Applications: Decision Based Spending,” gives a comprehensive look at how data and signatures can be verified in an autonomous manner.

Programmable Money: Bitcoin Cash Community Debates Oracle Driven Upgrade

Stone also determines “whether [common use cases] they are expressible in the Bitcoin scripting language and if they are not determined and propose the extensions are needed to support the use case.” In the enable binary contracts BUIP078 Stone gives a lot of color when describing what the opcode could do in the future as well.      

“[The opcode] allows a script to validate the signature on arbitrary data using the same ECDSA algorithm (and code) used to validate the signature on Bitcoin transactions,” explains Stone’s BUIP078. “This opcode therefore enables the use of an external ‘oracle’, which is a very important too to enable external information to be imported into a transaction. Once the data is part of a transaction it is useful to be able to manipulate it to check various conditions on that data.”

Bitcoin Unlimiteds’ BUIP078 also states:  

To enable the simplest form of programmable money we must have additional opcodes that either access data from prior blockchain transactions, or verify data and signatures pushed onto the script’s stack.

Can Rabid Signatures Work Without Introducing OP_Checkdatasig?

Programmable Money: Bitcoin Cash Community Debates Oracle Driven UpgradeThe blockchain firm Nchain and Craig Wright have been against adding concepts like OP_Datasigverify or CDS to the protocol and the opcode is not added to the Bitcoin SV client. Wright talked briefly about the opcode and oracles in a video with Reina Nakamoto on August 26. There are so many problems with things like Datasigverify that people don’t think of — The first one is the entire concept is flawed,” Wright explains. “The idea is that you are going to have ‘permissionless oracles’ is what they try and sell.”

On Reina Nakamoto’s Youtube channel Wright further states:  

The reality is there is no such things as a permissionless oracle. An oracle exists in the world so if its actually creating something signed in a special format for use in bitcoin gambling. That oracle is not un-permissioned.  

Moreover, last week Nchain’s senior researcher, Owen Vaughan, published a post on a subject called Rabin signatures. Vaughan details that Rabin signatures allow the verification of signatures in Bitcoin Cash script without introducing OP_Checkdatasig.

“All computationally expensive operations (key generation, signature construction) are performed off-block — Only the simple step of verifying that holds is performed within script,” Vaughan writes. “The existentially unforgeable property of the solution allows extra functionality to be added to the Bitcoin Cash platform without compromising the security of the network, nor changing the core protocol itself.”

Vaughan adds:

We will continue to develop this solution using Rabin signatures, and will seek to collaborate with others on this work. Nchain does not intend to seek patent protection for its work on this solution; instead, Nchain will publish its work in this area for public review and usage.

OP_Checkdatasig is slated to be added to the Bitcoin Cash network if the miners decide to unanimously run with Bitcoin ABC’s roadmap. However, as news.Bitcoin.com has reported during the past few weeks, Nchain has an entirely different roadmap in mind for November. Instead, the Nchain development team, Bitcoin SV, and the hashrate that uses the client are shooting for a 128MB block size increase. Bitcoin SV also wants to introduce some opcodes to Bitcoin Cash protocol including OP_MUL, OP_LSHIFT, OP_RSHIFT, OP_INVERT, alongside removing the limit of 201 opcodes per script.  

What do you think about OP_Checkdatasig and oracles in Bitcoin Cash? What do you think about Rabid signatures and the opinions opposing the opcode? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below. 


Images via Shutterstock, Nchain Logo, and Pixabay.


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Financial Blockades Are Bad for Humanity But Great for Bitcoin

September 22, 2018 |

Financial Blockades Are Bad for Humanity But Great for Bitcoin

Vloggers. Sex workers. Conservatives. Iranians. People from every strata of society, with nothing in common, save for a shared grievance. All have found themselves locked out without warning by their payment provider. Account frozen. Funds seized. Lifeline severed. And for what exactly? For the amorphous crime of failing to comply with the terms of service. In reality, however, the only criminals are the financial providers who perpetrated these deeds against their customers.

Also read: Decentralizing the Web: Handshake, Akash and the Quest for Censorship-Resistance

Once Upon a Time, In a Cryptosphere Far, Far Away…

7th December, 2010. The combined forces of Bank of America, Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and Western Union have imposed a financial blockade against Wikileaks in retaliation for publishing the largest leak in journalistic history. Pressured by the US government, the financial cartels roll over and do Uncle Sam’s bidding. By summer of 2011, with 95% of its revenue cut off, Wikileaks turns to an obscure alternative payment system called Bitcoin.

Financial Blockades Are Bad for Humanity But Great for Bitcoin
2011 was a pivotal but volatile year for bitcoin

By December, bitcoins, then trading south of $ 3 apiece, are winging their way to Wikileaks’ BTC wallet. Not everyone is convinced that their decision to accept the nascent cryptocurrency is the right one, not least its creator Satoshi Nakamoto. “It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context,” he grumbles in a Bitcointalk thread. “Wikileaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.”

Financial Blockades Are Bad for Humanity But Great for BitcoinTwo days later, Satoshi Nakamoto logged out of the forum he founded for the last time and was never heard of again. Whatever his reasons for hanging up his mask, by the time he departed, the genie was out of the bottle. It would be several years before Bitcoin would permeate the mainstream and establish itself as a force to be reckoned with, but even back then, before Satoshi exited stage left, and long before terms like “deplatformed” had entered the collective consciousness, the seed of uncensorable money had been sown. From there, it was only a matter of time.

Financial Blockades Are a Crime Against Humanity

On September 21, 2018, Infowars revealed that it had been banned by Paypal. Ostensibly, Alex Jones’ site had been booted because a comprehensive review had found that Infowars “promoted hate and discriminatory intolerance against certain communities and religions”. Only that’s not entirely true. Paypal had been perfectly content to process Infowars’ payments for years, and to collect a hefty commission in the process. Only once it became fashionable to deplatform them in exchange for political capital did Paypal cravenly bowed out.

Financial Blockades Are Bad for Humanity But Great for Bitcoin

And therein lies the problem with relying on a financial provider: you never know when the goalposts will shift and the rug will be pulled out from under you. Many liberals will cheer the latest deplatforming of Alex Jones, arguing that Paypal has no obligation to serve him, any more than Apple, Youtube, Twitter, or Facebook do. If he doesn’t like his treatment, he should just take his business elsewhere, to…well, where exactly?

Financial Blockades Are Bad for Humanity But Great for Bitcoin

Demonized and Demonetized

When you’ve been perma-banned by every major internet platform for failing to adhere to some arcane sub-clause in their 82-page terms and conditions, your options are limited. You can’t build your own social network, form your own credit card company, or found your own bank. If only there was a non-exclusionary system that came with no checkboxes, no binding volumes of legalese, and no central authority to determine who gets to play and who’s left to sit on the sidelines…

Financial Blockades Are Bad for Humanity But Great for Bitcoin
Lauren Southern

Enter Bitcoin. Ever since the Wikileaks days, the censorship-resistant cryptocurrency has offered a lifeline to those excluded by the global financial system. And not just the dubious conspiracy peddlers like Alex Jones, but unsung members of the public who find themselves in financial straits through no fault of their own. Turks faced with a devalued national currency and no access to Paypal. Venezuelans hit with hyperinflation in need of a safe haven. Conservatives like Brittany Pettibone and Lauren Southern ejected from Patreon. Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) creators whose nonsexual videos have been deemed in violation of Paypal’s acceptable use policy and had their funds frozen for 180 days.

Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal: Financial Criminals of the Worst Kind

You don’t have to be a terrorist, money launderer, or drug trafficker to be targeted. You simply have to be from the wrong country. Or to make the wrong kind of noises in your videos. To believe in the wrong ideology. To be, as those celebrating your demise would crow, “on the wrong side of history”. If Paypal had existed half a century ago, it would probably have banned people for the crime of being gay. Somewhat ironic coming from a company co-founded by Peter Thiel. Belief systems change from generation to generation and even decade to decade. Who knows what deeds will fall foul of the censors in years to come?

Financial Blockades Are Bad for Humanity But Great for Bitcoin

Thought crimes come and go, but Bitcoin remains eternal, impartial, and unstoppable. It doesn’t care who you are, what you’re supposed to have done, or why there’s a mob baying for your blood. And in an era where anyone can be deemed persona non grata and booted from the major highways of the web with no recourse to appeal, Bitcoin is more vital than ever.

Blackstone’s formulation holds that “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. Bitcoin’s formulation runs pretty similar: it is better that ten guilty persons transact than that one innocent suffer. Financial blockades are bad for humanity but great for Bitcoin. The more Paypal, Patreon, Visa, and Mastercard censor, the stronger it becomes.

Do you think Paypal and their ilk impose exclusionary policies, or are they simply following the law? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter and Infowars.


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Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a ‘Forced Upgrade’

September 22, 2018 |

Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a 'Forced Upgrade'

This week the cryptocurrency community has been discussing and dealing with the critical vulnerability that was found in the Bitcoin Core (BTC) reference client. Many observers are calling the bug one of the worst issues BTC has had in years, comparing the exploit to the March 2013 mandatory hard fork. In fact, in the eyes of many, the network is still vulnerable to massive inflation from an attack that costs a mere 12.5 BTC ($ 83,000).

Also read: Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Invokes the Multiple Client Argument

Peter Todd: ‘The Most Dangerous Time Is Not *Prior* to It Being Patched, but Rather *While* It Is Being Patched’

Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a 'Forced Upgrade'The Bitcoin Core (BTC) community has been dealing with a critical vulnerability over the past few days. News.Bitcoin.com reported on the bug two days ago and some BTC supporters said because the exploit was patched now, “it wasn’t a big deal” anymore. However, if one was to observe social media and forums they would find that CVE-2018-17144 was a very big deal, and still to this day the bug poses a threat to the BTC network because not everyone has upgraded. Throughout yesterday and today, there are many subjective valuations from crypto-devs and well-known community members. For instance, the software developer Peter Todd explains the network can be the most vulnerable while the community is in the process of upgrading the recent patch.  

“The recent DoS vulnerability in Bitcoin, the most dangerous time is not *prior* to it being patched, but rather *while* it is being patched,” explains Todd. “Why? Because we have multiple implementations with different behavior, and thus potential chain splits — A 100% DoS crash is safer.”

So take the time this weekend to upgrade your nodes if you haven’t already, to get us back to ~%100 of the nodes running essentially the same implementation, and (hopefully!) the same protocol.

Theymos: ‘Updating to 0.16.3 is REQUIRED, and Anything Less Than 200 Confirmations Has a Low Probability of Being Reversed’

Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a 'Forced Upgrade'
Rather than being just a DoS issue the Bitcoin Core bug really could have caused a massive inflation issue.

On the Reddit forum r/bitcoin, Theymos explains that new information on the Core bug has escalated the importance of upgrading. “Updating to 0.16.3 is REQUIRED,” Theymos emphasizes in a stickied Reddit post. Moreover, Theymos says transactions with less than 200 confirmations have more of a probability they could be reversed. The stickied post written by Theymos stirred up an argument online on whether or not the upgrade was “forced.”

“For the next week, consider transactions with fewer than 200 confirmations to have a low probability of being reversed (whereas usually there would be essentially zero probability of eg. 6-conf transactions being reversed),” explains Theymos.

“Watch for further news. If a chain split happens, action may be required,” Theymos adds.

Furthermore, the Core contributor Matt Corallo explains that he believes most of the companies and mining pools have upgraded to the latest Core release that contains the patch.  

“Now I can breathe — No attempts to exploit,” Corallo explains on Twitter. “Most hash power upgraded — Most companies upgraded.”

Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a 'Forced Upgrade'
Bitcoin.org owner Cobra explains his opinion of the situation.

Luke Jr: ‘It’s Not Too Late for Bitmain to Exploit It — the Network Has a Long Way to Go Until We’re Safe Again’

Even the Core developer Luke Jr says it’s not too late for miners to exploit the vulnerability, but also smears the mining pool Bitmain while he explains the network is still not safe.

“Unfortunately, it’s not too late for Bitmain to exploit it — The network has a long way to go until we’re safe again,” Luke Jr states on Twitter. When asked what he thinks Bitmain would do if they chose between “option A: create inflation and destroy the bitcoin network, and dump the price, or option B: fix the bug and maintain network and price stability.” Luke Jr believes Bitmain might choose option A.    

“Considering the situation Bitmain is in, option A might be very tempting,” explains the Core developer.

Jameson Lopp: ‘[Upgrade] Optional, but Recommended if You Disagree With Unbounded Inflation and Crashes’

Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a 'Forced Upgrade'Some developers seemed to think the upgrade was not considered “forced.” Jameson Lopp says to the r/bitcoin moderator ‘Bashco,’ that maybe some people were triggered by the phrase “forced upgrade.” “I think some of them are triggered by the “forced” upgrade — Perhaps you should rephrase it as “optional, but recommended if you disagree with unbounded inflation and crashes,” Lopp states on Twitter.

“Exactly — Nobody is required to upgrade, anyone can audit the code before doing so,” Core contributor Eric Lombrozo explains in a response. “Critically, there are no deviations from expected consensus behavior — Language matters.”

The recent 2018 Core CVE is still being debated ferociously online in regard to whether or not the network is safe, if people really need to upgrade, and if the bug was handled correctly. As far as everyone saying it wasn’t a “big deal” most of the comments online from both developers and crypto-luminaries suggest the vulnerability was and still is an issue until everyone updates.

What do you think about the critical bug found in the Bitcoin Core client? What do you think about the debate over whether or not it was a big deal? Do you think this is a forced upgrade? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comment section below. 


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Bitcoincore.org, and Twitter. 


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The post Crypto-Community Debates Bitcoin Core Bug and a ‘Forced Upgrade’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades Bitcoin

September 21, 2018 |

China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades Bitcoin

The China Center for Information Industry Development has updated its crypto rankings. The list contains 33 crypto projects, ranked overall and in three separate categories. High up in the overall ranking are EOS, Ethereum, and Bitshares. Bitcoin, however, has been downgraded.

Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals

China’s Fifth Ranking

China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades BitcoinThe China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID), under the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, officially published its fifth crypto rankings on Sept. 20. Thirty-three crypto projects are ranked. Each is given an overall score and a separate score for each of the three categories – basic technology, applicability, and creativity.

In the overall ranking published Thursday, the center put EOS at the top of the list, followed by Ethereum, and then Bitshares. EOS and Ethereum were also at the top of last month’s overall ranking. Bitshares, however, jumped from the 12th place the 3rd place.

BTC was downgraded from the 10th place to the 16th place while BCH fell a few places, from the 29th place to the 31st place. In the creativity category, however, BTC tops the list, with EOS in the 3rd place.

China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades Bitcoin

The center started ranking 28 crypto projects in May. Two more projects were added in June, one in July, and two in August. Last month BTC made the top ten list in the overall category for the first time.

Ranking Methodology

The center explained that there were some improvements in the latest evaluation methodology compared to the previous month, stating:

The evaluation of the public chain development tools was classified and refined, and the accounting method of the actual throughput of the public chain was optimized.

The basic technology category “mainly evaluates the technical realization level of the public chain, and examines the function, performance, safety and decentralization of the public chain,” the center described. This category accounts for 65 percent of the overall ranking.

China Updates Crypto Rankings, Downgrades BitcoinThe applicability category “mainly evaluates the comprehensive level of public chain support for practical applications, involving node deployment, wallet application, development support and application implementation,” the CCID explained. This category accounts for 20 percent of the overall ranking.

Creativity only carries a weight of 15 percent in the overall ranking. This category “focuses on the continuous innovation of the public chain, including developer size, code update and code impact,” the center detailed.

Referring to the latest ranking, the CCID wrote:

Compared with the previous period, the EOS and Ethereum indices decreased by 13.2 and 5.3 respectively, and Bitshares rose by 9.9. The position of Bitshares also jumped from the 12th in the previous period to the 3rd place.

What do you think of China’s latest crypto ranking? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and CCID.


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Weiss Ratings Backtracks After Tipping Ethereum to Beat Bitcoin

September 20, 2018 |

Weiss Ratings Backtracks After Tipping Ethereum to Beat Bitcoin

Weiss, the financial ratings agency that recently took a shine to cryptocurrency, has caught flak over its latest claim. After Weiss Ratings issued a tweet predicting BTC to lose 50% of its market share to ETH, the firm was forced to backtrack in the face of widespread scorn. It’s not the first time Weiss has made a bad crypto call.

Also read: Apocalyptic Predictions About Privacy Coins Are Very Wide of the Mark

Weiss Still Doesn’t Get Bitcoin

Like a new kid in school desperate to make a big impression, Weiss Ratings came out swinging upon entering the world of cryptocurrency. A series of bold and often controversial ratings of blockchain projects achieved the goal of attracting attention from the crypto community Weiss courted. Seemingly operating under the mantra that any publicity is good publicity, Weiss has continued to dispense misguided predictions with the absolute certainty that only a newb could possess. Its latest proclamation might just be its oddest yet:

Weiss Ratings Backtracks After Tipping Ethereum to Beat Bitcoin

Describing Bitcoin as a “one-trick pony” is as audacious as it is disingenuous. That one trick Bitcoin does well – deliver fully decentralized and censorship-resistant money – is worth more than a million all-singing, all-dancing blockchains that can be shut down with the flick of a switch. Ethereum is at least decentralized, certainly compared to most other blockchain projects, but even its staunchest advocates would balk at waxing lyrical over its “superior blockchain technology”. The project doesn’t even scale at present, and Ethereum network congestion has become the norm rather than the exception.

Weiss Executes a Volte-Face

Weiss Ratings Publishes Complete List of 93 Cryptocurrency RatingsAfter being called out over its cringeworthy tweet, Weiss backtracked, tweeting: “In 5 yrs we see #ETH-LIKE platform dominating the market – not necessarily ETH. Hard to predict which project dominates, but we feel usefulness and flexibility of ETH will be the standard. We apologize for not being clear.” It also linked to the third party article where the assertion that Bitcoin would lose half of its market share to Ethereum in five years originated. (The article, for the record, can be wholly discounted since the claim came from the founder of an art project shilling their Ethereum ICO.)

“Experts” such as Weiss Ratings are perfectly entitled to issue predictions about where they see the market going, but tipping ETH to beat BTC is surely a false dichotomy since each project is designed to solve a different problem, and thus the market share of the one is largely dissociated from the other. Last month, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Weiss’ embarrassing pronouncements on privacy coins, the agency advising that “efforts to discourage the usage of privacy coins for illicit activities would not hurt the crypto industry. Nor would it deny citizens protection from invasions of their privacy.”

Just as CNBC’s bitcoin price predictions have been memed into a contra-indicator by crypto Twitter, Weiss Ratings’ assertions are going the same way. Whatever Weiss happens to believe, there’s a very good chance that the opposite is true.

What do you think of Weiss Ratings’ cryptocurrency predictions Let us know in the comments section below.


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New App Allows Users to Create a Custodian-Free Bitcoin Trust

September 19, 2018 |

On Wednesday, September 19, a team of developers launched a platform called the Open Savings Initiative. The application allows any Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) user to save funds in a time-locked address that cannot be spent until a specific date and time has passed.

Also read: Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Invokes the Multiple Client Argument

Open Savings Initiative Allows Bitcoin Users to Lock Funds Until a Specific Time

There’s a new platform that allows people to save BCH and BTC in a time-locked address making the funds unspendable until a specific time. The Open Savings Initiative (OSI) is an open source application that uses the opcode OP_checklocktimeverify to build a custom pay-to-script-hash (P2SH) address. The coins held inside the address cannot be spent until the predetermined timestamp with the lock-time parameter is met. So essentially a user who wants to give 1,000 BCH to their son on his tenth birthday but wants to lock up the funds until he turns 21 can do so using the OSI platform.

New App Allows Users to Create a Custodian-Free Bitcoin Trust

“We just launched this open source initiative to offer anyone in the world a secure, time locked and trustless savings account,” explains the project’s creators.  

We coded up this application in the hope that ALL the wallets in the Bitcoin Cash / Bitcoin Core ecosystems adopt this feature, either by leveraging our code or implementing it themselves.

New App Allows Users to Create a Custodian-Free Bitcoin Trust

Securely Locking up Funds on the Blockchain Without a Custodian

New App Allows Users to Create a Custodian-Free Bitcoin TrustBoth the BCH and BTC communities seemed to like the idea when the project’s creators announced the OSI on each forum. According to the announcement, the platform was created by Factom’s David Johnston, the Prestige IT team, Ransom Christofferson, and with guidance from Yeoman’s Capital. Johnston also says the project was funded by  a donation from Ricardo Jimenezh and the OSI project is a “dream come true.”

“Ever since I joined the bitcoin community in 2012 I’ve seen crypto as the ultimate savings account. One protected from inflation and built on free market & sound money principals,” Johnston emphasizes. “I dreamed of crypto providing a real alternative to centralized systems such as social security which many rely on for longterm, time-locked income, in old age.

However before that could happen we needed a way to remove the temptation to spend the crypto funds before a future date. Thanks to the “nlocktime” parameter and scripts such a “OP_checklocktimeverify” being introduced into Bitcoin and continued on Bitcoin Cash, there is now a straightforward way of securely locking up funds on the blockchain without a custodian, which can only be spent at a future date.

New App Allows Users to Create a Custodian-Free Bitcoin Trust

OP_checklocktimeverify and nlocktime have always been in the BCH and BTC codebase, but OSI now makes it easier for any random person to use. The concept allows people to create a decentralized trust fund that cannot be spent until a certain time, but more importantly, without the need for a third party to unlock and distribute the funds. Moreover, the Open Savings Initiative gives a step-by-step walkthrough on how the platform works and how the opcode OP_checklocktimeverify is used. Johnston recommends people test out the platform and report any bugs on the project’s Github repository.

There is one thing to consider when creating time-locked bitcoin addresses — the issue of forks or blockchain splits. During the announcement earlier today, one Reddit user named r/jaimewarlock said there’s “a particular danger that should be mentioned when it comes to time-locked addresses.” People may have issues trying to spend the coins in a time-locked address on one side of a fork. Jaimewarlock says he had a hard time when he had to split BTC for BCH and for BTG as well and was forced to create his own tool.    

What do you think about the Open Savings Initiative? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Disclaimer: 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.


Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, and OSI.


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Raising the Dead: Is Bitcoin Cash Fiat Currency?

September 19, 2018 |

Raising the Dead: Is Bitcoin Cash Fiat Currency?

Since the inception of cryptocurrency, some critics have dubbed it “just another fiat money.” This has been the wail of anti-crypto combatants. They have succumbed to grasping at straws in order to manufacture any rebuttal against the thing they loathe. It doesn’t matter how valid the argument is so long as it satisfies their desire to smear crypto. 

Also read: A Third of Humanity Remains Financially Excluded

Non-Argument

Using this kind of non-argument is akin to raising the dead. When one cannot count on truth to win the day, they reach back in time to deploy old, tired bromides. Jimmy Song performed his own ritual for the dead during a debate with Roger Ver at the Coinsbank Cruise on September 10th.

Instead of articulating a legitimate problem with bitcoin cash, Jimmy claimed it is a “centralized fiat money.” This is virtually the same broken premise crypto-antagonists have trotted out ever since Satoshi penned the white paper, including naysayers like Peter Schiff. It was a tragedy to witness, because fiat currency means something entirely different than what Jimmy believed.

What is Fiat Currency?

Fiat currency is money that is issued by decree or formal authorization. To be more specific, by decree means it is backed by a government’s alleged authority, and then enforced on the population by law — at the barrel of a gun. Generally, when a money is decreed by government, using other kinds of competing paper money is considered a criminal act.

For example, when Bernard Von Nothaus created the Liberty Dollar and attempted to put it into circulation, thugs in costumes raided his company headquarters. They put him in jail and charged him with counterfeiting and fraud.

Raising the Dead: Is Bitcoin Cash Fiat Currency?
Roger Ver

No one is forcing anyone to use bitcoin cash. No men in costumes are coming to arrest those who use bitcoin cash. It is an opt-in, voluntary cryptocurrency.

Here is the definition of “fiat” according to Investopedia:

“Fiat money is currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but it is not backed by a physical commodity.”

Why Bitcoin Cash is not Fiat currency

This is why bitcoin cash, or any other crypto, is not fiat. It is not decreed or authorized by government. It is not “legal tender.” It is possible that a digital currency can eventually be decreed, but then it is likely the “cryptocurrency” in question will not be cryptocurrency in the traditional sense.

For example, the Russian government has talked about creating the “Crypto Ruble,” which would act as their version of cryptocurrency. The problem is it would not be minable, and it would be manipulable by that government. A true cryptocurrency would not possess these “features.”

Jimmy’s Arguments

Jimmy claimed bitcoin cash was fiat currency, because he believed it is “authorized authoritatively.” Jimmy mentioned bitcoin cash was “paternalistic and Keynesian.” He also said it was “controlled by a central authority.”

Raising the Dead: Is Bitcoin Cash Fiat Currency?
Jimmy Song, left.

Bitcoin cash is an open-source and peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that anyone can get involved in and use. It is not “Keynesian.” The amount of cryptocurrency issued into existence cannot be arbitrarily determined. It is determined by the protocol, and is the exact same as bitcoin: 21 million units will be minted by year 2140.

Keynesian economists believe the economy should be controlled and stabilized by government printing of money to prevent economic catastrophe. The bitcoin cash protocol functions antithetically to Keynesian ideology. No one can arbitrarily inflate or deflate the supply of bitcoin cash.

Clearly, Jimmy did not read the primary source on Keynesian economics as Roger pointed out.

Crypto Centralization

Jimmy might have only been trying to argue that bitcoin cash is centralized. However, that is a MUCH DIFFERENT argument than claiming bitcoin cash is fiat. Of course, most people who claim some crypto is “centralized” do not really define what they mean by “centralized.” Bitcoin and bitcoin cash are also both a bit centralized in terms of mining operations. However, the problem is overstated.

Mining in bitcoin and bitcoin cash is more centralized as a result of limited adoption. This means only a handful of mining pools control the networks. However, the more users that begin to adopt cryptocurrency, the more mining operations will appear. This will mitigate the problem of centralization. Regardless, what matters is cryptocurrency remains censorship resistant.

In this regard, bitcoin cash is more censorship resistant than bitcoin core, which has had transactions censored because they got stuck in the mempool when fees skyrocketed. In this sense, one can make the case that bitcoin core is less censorship resistant than bitcoin cash. Therefore, bitcoin core is more “centralized.”

Crypto Paternalism and the Case for Op-Codes

Jimmy’s claim that bitcoin cash is paternalistic was the most problematic comment of the debate. A paternalistic cryptocurrency would mean that it is controlled by an oligarchic cult of developers. In terms of the ecosystem, bitcoin cash does not fit this criteria. It is truly open source in the sense that developers have wide-ranging leeway to build protocols on top of it.

Many of the op-codes have been re-enabled on the bitcoin cash protocol. This means developers have the ability to create new tools and programs. Some have already been developed, such as the Wormhole protocol and platforms like Memo.cash. Ironically, this is impossible on the bitcoin core network because of a mixture of high fees, disabled op-codes, and developer hegemony.

If anything, bitcoin core is more “paternalistic” and strict in terms of who has the right to develop on top of the protocol in a truly open source fashion. What protocol is really the most “paternalistic”?

Raising the Dead: Is Bitcoin Cash Fiat Currency?

Conclusion: Mind your Argument, Jimmy

In the end, Jimmy could not muster a strong argument against bitcoin cash so he resurrected a long-dead one and resorted to hand-wringing and arm-waving. The tragedy is there are certainly questions that need to be addressed regarding bitcoin cash, but it being a “fiat money” is not one of them.

This suggests Jimmy did not intend on making a case against bitcoin cash, but instead wanted to incite drama during a debate. It was just surprising that he would have premised his whole position on an argument that some people make against bitcoin core itself. That alone should have signaled to him that he was reaching.

Do you bitcoin or bitcoin cash is fiat currency? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Cryptocomes, and Coinsbank Cruise


OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. 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 information in this Op-ed article.

The post Raising the Dead: Is Bitcoin Cash Fiat Currency? appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Invokes the Multiple Client Argument

September 19, 2018 |

Over the last 24 hours, the cryptocurrency community has been discussing a critical vulnerability that was found in the Bitcoin Core (BTC) reference client. A bug introduced in Bitcoin Core version 0.14, that also affects all subsequent versions, could have caused a great majority of current Core nodes to crash. According to the developer’s Optech newsletter, Core contributors released a patch that fixes Core version 0.16.2 and the latest 0.16.3 fix requires an immediate upgrade.

Also read: US Confiscates Millions in Cryptocurrencies in Alphabay Forfeiture Case

An Anonymous Individual Discloses a Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Clients

The whole community is talking about a vulnerable bug that was introduced into the Bitcoin Core reference client two years ago. The issue found in Bitcoin Core software (patched now) versions 0.14 and above has brought about another heated discussion concerning the fallibility of developers, and using a single reference client as opposed to using multiple implementations. The bug in question went unnoticed for two years when it was introduced in November of 2016 and a great majority of Core contributors accepted (ACK) the change without many questions.

Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Invokes the Multiple Client Argument

According to developers, the bugs’ patch release notes, and the Optech newsletter, an anonymous individual reported the bug to Core contributors. Essentially, the vulnerability found in Bitcoin Core software would have allowed a malicious actor with a mere 12.5 BTC to crash roughly 90 percent of Core nodes. The Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine (FIBRE) baked into Core would have made matters worse because of the way FIBRE propagates blocks.

“[CVE-2018-17144] A bug introduced in Bitcoin Core 0.14.0 and affecting all subsequent versions through to 0.16.2 will cause Bitcoin Core to crash when attempting to validate a block containing a transaction that attempts to spend the same input twice,” explains the Optech newsletter.   

Such blocks would be invalid and so can only be created by miners willing to lose the allowed income from having created a block (at least 12.5 XBT or $ 80,000 USD).

Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Invokes the Multiple Client Argument

Are Bugs and Exploits a Compelling Argument for Multiple Clients?

Of course, the bug started a ferocious debate in regard to the BTC community putting Core developers up high on a pedestal all these years. Further, the bug re-invoked a compelling argument for multiple clients. For example, Bitcoin ABC released a patch for the vulnerability two days ago, but both Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin Unlimited were unaffected by the issue. On Reddit Bitcoin Unlimited’s Peter Rizun has emphasized this is why having multiple implementations is a good idea.    

“Wow, isn’t this one of the most serious consensus bugs ever? It affects all BTC Core nodes and the only thing preventing unbound inflation is the fact that the nodes crash, taking down the entire BTC Core network instead,” Rizun says on September 19.

Maybe multiple implementations aren’t such a bad idea, after all, Greg Maxwell? I think only ABC is affected for Bitcoin Cash.

The issue people have with a majority dependence on one reference client, is because some people say history has shown that alternative clients can be very beneficial when critical bugs are discovered, like the one introduced in Bitcoin Core 0.14. For instance, when over the last couple of years consensus bugs were found in Ethereum’s Geth, the network still had Parity clients to rely on and vice versa.

Critical Bug Found in Bitcoin Core Invokes the Multiple Client Argument
Left: BTC nodes — Right: BCH nodes.

At the time of writing, there are 9628 nodes running on the BTC network and 9135 are Bitcoin Core nodes. That’s 94 percent of the BTC network running one reference client and every node is affected by any issues found within Core’s codebase. This means bugs not only have to be fixed fast, but mandatory upgrades have to be speedy too. In contrast to the BTC network dominated by Core nodes, there are currently 2006 nodes running on the BCH network but only 59 percent are Bitcoin ABC nodes. So much like the ETH network, client diversity gives BCH 738 Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) nodes covering 39 percent of the network.

Additionally, according to a comment on r/bitcoin, Lightning Nodes could also be vulnerable to attacks due to the recent Bitcoin Core bug.

The Reddit user /deafboy_2v1 says, “When your bitcoind is down for longer than the time lock period (usually 24 hours) of your channels, your peers could try to steal from you by publishing an outdated channel state. You have no way of knowing, because your lightning node wouldn’t receive the closing transaction. Luckily, your peers has no way of knowing which bitcoind does your lightning node really talk to, so this attack would be risky (peer trying to cheat could lose all funds if you find out).”

The recent bug confirms to many cryptocurrency proponents that being dependent on one development team’s QA process, as opposed to client diversity and multiple development teams, can be extremely risky — Especially when an exploit like this is found in production and tethered to a $ 100 billion dollar system.

What do you think about the bug found? Do you think multiple clients is a better way to avoid bugs and exploits? Let us know what you think about this story in the comment section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter, and Coindance nodes.


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