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| November 21, 2019

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Yovanovitch communicated with Dem staffer on ‘delicate’ issue after complaint, emails show, despite denial

November 8, 2019 |

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, a key witness in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry, communicated via her personal email account with a Democratic congressional staffer concerning a “quite delicate” and “time-sensitive” matter — just two days after the whistleblower complaint was filed, and a month before the complaint became public, emails obtained by Fox News showed.
FOX News

Kamala Harris says she’s ‘all in’ on Iowa — despite campaign restructuring, layoffs

October 31, 2019 |

Still struggling in the polls nine months after announcing her run for the White House, Sen. Kamala Harris , D-Calif., said Wednesday she still considers herself a top-tier candidate amid reports that she has restructured her campaign — laying off staff in several states and at campaign headquarters — to focus all her efforts on winning one of the Democratic Party’s top three spots in February’s Iowa caucus.
FOX News

CNN

Fresh unrest erupts in Chile despite Cabinet reshuffle

October 29, 2019 |

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera replaced his Cabinet Monday following days of violent protests that have paralyzed the country, seen the military return to the streets, and led to the deaths of at least 20 people.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – Regions – Americas

TMZ

Eddie Van Halen Living Best Life Despite Cancer Treatment

October 22, 2019 |

Eddie Van Halen is not letting cancer kick his ass … he’s still living his rock star lifestyle to the fullest. Sources close to the Van Halen guitarist tell TMZ … Eddie’s going to the TOOL concert Monday night at Staples Center, and he’s super…

TMZ.com

Fighting in Northern Syria Continues Despite Ceasefire

October 18, 2019 |

Fighting continued Friday morning in a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite a US-brokered ceasefire that went into effect overnight. Shelling and gunfire could be heard in and around Ras al-Ayn as smoke billowed from locations near the border with…
Newser

Darknet Markets Are Thriving Despite the Mysterious Death of Dread

September 30, 2019 |

Darknet Markets Are Thriving Despite the Mysterious Death of Dread

Obtaining reliable information about darknet markets (DNMs) is a constant struggle, given the propensity of news sites and forums to come and go. No sooner has one portal gained ascendancy than it’s been toppled by law enforcement or exited under mysterious circumstances. The recent disappearance of darknet forum Dread has left a gaping hole in the DNM community – and a host of unanswered questions.

Also read: Despite Setbacks, Darknet Markets Show Continuous Growth in 2019

Hugbunter Flicks the Dead Man’s Switch

Dread is dead. The darknet forum where buyers and sellers gathered to exchange links, rate vendors, and discuss opsec has been offline for almost a fortnight. The site didn’t hold cryptocurrency deposits or directly facilitate DNM transactions, but was nevertheless a crucial cog in the darknet economy. The site went offline 10 days ago, prompting speculation as to what may have happened to its pseudonymous admin, Hugbunter. DNM tracker site dark.fail currently displays a warning that reads:

Dread is offline, Hugbunter is missing. Assume Dread and its team are compromised. Rotate all passwords you may have used there immediately. Assume all unencrypted private messages you sent have been compromised. Re-evaluate your OPSEC.

Users of darknet markets should not be directly affected by Dread’s disappearance, unless they’ve used the same password to access DNMs or sent incriminating private messages on its forum that may now be in the hands of law enforcement or hackers. “HugBunter’s Deadman Has Been Switched” reads the front page of Dread, with the remainder of the site inaccessible.

Darknet Markets Are Thriving Despite the Mysterious Death of Dread
The current homepage of Dread

A dead man’s switch is “designed to be activated or deactivated if the human operator becomes incapacitated, such as through death, loss of consciousness, or being bodily removed from control.” It’s been used in the past by Julian Assange, for instance, as a means of guaranteeing that damaging information on adversaries will be released in the event of his arrest or death. Edward Snowden is also believed to have set one up.

Dread Is Dead But r/Darknet Lives On

Dread went down on September 20 for maintenance, with Hugbunter promising a “huge update to provide increased stability as the platform grows” including “a variety of bug fixes.” When the site failed to return online, Dread admin “Paris” signed a message to the site which reads: “HugBunter’s deadman has been switched. It has been three full days without any contact … All I can hope is he is alive and well. Not harmed, captured, or dead. However we must assume the worse in this case.”

With Dread seemingly gone for good, Paris has recommended that DNM users congregate on one of the following forums:

Darknet Avengers: http://avengersdutyk3xf.onion

Envoy Forum: http://envoys5appps3bin.onion

The Hub Forum: http://thehub7xbw4dc5r2.onion

For clearnet users, there’s also sub-reddit r/Darknet which, as news.Bitcoin.com recently reported, is going strong with 65,000 users. Previous sub-reddits such as r/Darknetmarkets have been shut down in the past, however, as has DNM site Deepdotweb, highlighting the hazards of disseminating information on drugs which many nations still deem to be illegal.

Darknet Markets Are Thriving Despite the Mysterious Death of Dread

The hypocrisy of countries criminalizing the same drugs their three-letter agencies traffick and use to entrap targets, while selling over-the-counter medicines that cause greater death and addiction, is well-documented. Cryptocurrency users are well aware of the double standard at play. It was the primary driver for many bitcoiners to shun the filthy fiat system in the first place in favor of sounder money.

While powerless to dictate the whims of governments and their censorship-crazy apparatchiks, cryptocurrency users draw solace from the fact that the war on drugs – like the war on all amorphous concepts – is going badly. 50 years of failed policies have shown that criminalization does nothing to diminish the public’s desire to decide what they put into their bodies. On the darknet, business is booming, with DNMs such as Point, Berlusconi, and Empire enabling thousands of users a day to obtain goods and services in exchange for cryptocurrencies such as BTC, BCH, ETH, and XMR. Despite Dread’s loss, darknet markets aren’t just surviving – they’re thriving.

What are your thoughts on Dread’s disappearance? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is 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 courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Darknet Markets Are Thriving Despite the Mysterious Death of Dread appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

SEC Commissioner Speaks Positively About Digital Assets Despite Recent Enforcement Flurry

September 28, 2019 |

SEC Commissioner Speaks Positively About Digital Assets Despite Recent Enforcement Flurry

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regularly draws the ire of crypto proponents who are frustrated at its failure to support innovation and entrepreneurship. Despite this, some have warmed to the agency’s opinionated commissioner Hester Peirce, who has adopted the moniker of “Crypto Mom.” At a compliance conference this week, Peirce spoke positively about crypto assets, expressing the belief that they could one day become “the money of the internet.”

Also read: Venezuela’s Central Bank Indicates Plans to Stockpile Bitcoin

Crypto Mom Draws Applause at Digital Asset Summit

The Digital Asset Compliance and Market Integrity Summit isn’t the sort of event where crypto bros go to exchange fist bumps and shill token sales. With so many compliance professionals in the house, plus the SEC Commissioner herself, all talk of market manipulation is firmly geared around combatting, not abetting it. Despite the serious nature of the inaugural event, organized by SaaS transaction monitoring firm Solidus Labs, there were some lighter moments.

SEC Commissioner Speaks Positively About Digital Assets Despite Recent Enforcement Flurry
Hestor Peirce

“I got a card for Mother’s Day saying ‘Happy Mother’s Day Crypto Mom,’” confessed Hester Peirce after taking the stage to deliver her keynote on Thursday, “and I couldn’t be happier.” Like SEC chair Jay Clayton, Peirce has earned a reputation for even-handedness: she won’t turn a blind eye to the worst excesses of the crypto space, but nor is she trying to stifle legitimate business.

Aside from her comment about digital assets having the potential to become “the money of the internet,” Peirce used the phrase “transaction mechanisms” to describe the way she sees cryptocurrencies operating. She was also frank about the failures of the SEC in the past, conceding “When I came to the SEC, one of my hopes was to help change the way it addresses innovation … I saw it was slow.”

As Fiscal Year Closes, Further Enforcement Expected

The SEC’s fiscal year draws to an end on September 30, and some analysts believe the agency may finish with a flourish by taking action against fraudulent crypto projects. In his Money Stuff column on September 25, Matt Levine cited the SEC charging the founder of Fantasy Market, “a purported online adult entertainment marketplace, with orchestrating a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO).”

SEC Commissioner Speaks Positively About Digital Assets Despite Recent Enforcement Flurry

As the SEC’s complaint explains, the founder “claimed that Fantasy Market would allow participants to control live adult entertainment performances by paying for specific requested activities with the Fantasy Market digital token.” There were also repeated claims of profiting from buying tokens in the project’s whitepaper, which is a surefire way to get the SEC’s spidey sense tingling. With Kik closing down its messaging app due to an SEC lawsuit, the agency has issued a warning shot that it is still closely monitoring the crypto space.

No to ICOs, Yes to Innovation

There’s nothing to suggest that the SEC’s view on token sales – whatever acronym they may assume – will be softened any time soon. U.S investors can trade utility tokens on regulated exchanges, but they can’t purchase them via a token sale in most cases. When quizzed at Thursday’s New York summit on whether the U.S. risks being left behind to countries that are more receptive to crypto, Peirce admitted this presented a threat. Emphasizing the need for the SEC to strike a balance when regulating crypto businesses, she said:

If you want a government that’s more forward-thinking on innovation, that means that if something goes wrong, you can’t go running back to the government and say ‘Hey, you didn’t protect me from myself!’ … I think we need to be a little less paternalistic.

Hester Peirce earned warm applause at the Digital Asset Compliance and Market Integrity Summit, but she’ll have her work cut out in winning over hardline SEC skeptics. “Maybe this will be the year that the SEC stops going after the “low hanging fruit” and actual nails one of the literally thousands of frauds in this godless industry,” tweeted crypto analyst Nic Carter.

SEC Commissioner Speaks Positively About Digital Assets Despite Recent Enforcement Flurry
Solidus Labs’ market surveillance software for exchanges

Solidus Labs and its partners have expressed the desire to build upon Thursday’s summit, with the goal of promoting better industry standards through voluntary cooperation between crypto exchanges and other ecosystem participants. Should that lofty vision be achieved, the SEC’s enforcement division might be able to direct the bulk of its energies elsewhere next year. For now, though, it looks like there’s still some low hanging fruit to be purged.

What are your thoughts on the SEC Commissioner’s remarks? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post SEC Commissioner Speaks Positively About Digital Assets Despite Recent Enforcement Flurry appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Despite Concerns, Germany to Put Stasi Files in Archives

September 27, 2019 |

Over the objections of historians and dissidents of the era, Germany is moving the files of the notorious East German secret police to the national archives. Parliament approved the transfer on Thursday, the BBC reports. The Stasi compiled millions of files on citizens during the Cold War and tried to…
Newser

Despite Lower Prices, Bitcoin’s Hashrate Remains Strong

September 26, 2019 |

Despite Lower Prices, Bitcoin's Hashrate Remains Strong

People watching cryptocurrency markets have been patiently waiting for prices to rise and the overall sentiment to change. However, one thing that’s been extremely bullish these days is how BTC’s hashrate has doubled in the last three months. Even with today’s sluggish crypto prices, the SHA-256 hashrate has remained unscathed and continues to show persistent growth.

Also read: Bitcoin Cash-Accepting Mayoral Candidate ‘Nobody’ Hosts Keene’s 420 Rally

SHA-256 Hashrate Trucks Forward

The SHA-256 hashrate, which helps secure both the BTC and BCH blockchain has seen steady progression this year. At the time of writing, while markets have seen 15-30% losses this week, both BCH and BTC’s hashrates have continued to chug along unfazed. According to current data, BTC’s hashpower is around 95 exahash per second (EH/s) and the BCH chain has roughly 2.25 EH/s. Most miners have continued to process BTC blocks without slowing down, but on September 23 the BTC hashrate quickly dropped to 57 EH/s.

Despite Lower Prices, Bitcoin's Hashrate Remains Strong
BTC hashrate on September 25, 2019.

The processing power has recovered almost all of its lost strength, and speculators believe the rising hashrate is a positive sign of things to come. The top-performing mining device as of September 25, is Bitmain’s Antminer S17 Pro which processes the SHA-256 algorithm at 53 terahash per second (TH/s). The S17 Pro is followed by the standard Antminer S17 (50 TH/s), Innosilicon’s Terminator 3 (52 TH/s), Strongu’s STU-U8 Pro (60 TH/s), and Microbt’s Whatsminer M20S (69 TH/s). All of these machines are profiting if they mine at an average of $ 0.12 kWh and the most densely populated mining zones get much cheaper electricity rates than the global average. Despite the lower bitcoin cash (BCH) prices, BCH miners have steadily held over 2 EH/s consistently over the last few months. According to coin.dance data statistics, it is currently 2.10% more profitable to mine BCH than BTC at 2:30 p.m. EDT on September 25.

Despite Lower Prices, Bitcoin's Hashrate Remains Strong
BCH hashrate on September 25, 2019. Despite the lower bitcoin cash (BCH) prices, BCH miners have steadily held over 2 EH/s consistently over the last few months.

200% Hashrate Growth Increase and a 120 Exahash by 2020

The cofounder of Canaan, Kong Jianping, believes the computing power of the SHA-256 hashrate will climb 200% by 2020 according to local reports. Canaan is a powerful Chinese mining rig manufacturer that distributes the Avalonminer series. Kong discussed his belief at the New Era Mining Summit and claimed that his firm would help bolster the push. The cofounder said that Canaan has plans to unleash a “large-scale production” of 7nm chips dedicated to mining coins like BTC and BCH. Kong also remarked the company aims to be a leader in the industry by enhancing the 7nm chip design, alongside upgrading the mining rig supply chain. Local reports have also detailed that Canaan has no plans to file an IPO any time soon. Canaan has unveiled its Avalonminer 1066 that processes 50 TH/s and November batches are still available. However, in order to make an Avalonminer 1066 purchase, visitors must inquire by email.

Despite Lower Prices, Bitcoin's Hashrate Remains Strong
The new Canaan Avalonminer 1066 which claims to process 50 TH/s.

In another discussion at the New Era Mining Summit, Microbt founder and CEO, Yang Zuoxing announced the firm will have delivered 200,000 M20 series miners by the end of September. The Microbt Whatsminer has been a prevalent mining rig within the industry in the last two years with the M20S and the M21 series. In the last four months, the BTC hashrate has jumped by at least 40 EH/s and Zuoxing claims Microbt miners contributed to at least 10 EH/s of that number.

Despite Lower Prices, Bitcoin's Hashrate Remains Strong
The New Era Mining Summit.

The Microbt founder thinks the BTC hashrate will rise to 120 EH/s by 2020 and the 200,000 M20 models should add around 10 EH/s to the overall computing power. “Based on the information I have seen and based on our current production capacity, the bitcoin network’s total hashrate is estimated to reach 120 EH/s by the end of this year,” Zuoxing stated at the mining summit hosted by Poolin. Zuoxing also revealed the company was dealing with the chip manufacturer Samsung. Besides Canaan and Microbt, the mining giant Bitmain has also sold a significant amount of next-gen miners and released a slew of new models in 2017. Bitmain, Microbt, and Innosilicon have managed to produce these units while 7nm chips have been hard to come by due to the smartphone market. The New Era Mining Summit saw 1,800 attendees and roughly 400 mining farm operations according to the mining pool Poolin.

Despite Lower Prices, Bitcoin's Hashrate Remains Strong
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Chinese Miners Unfazed by Migration, Floods, and Ban Rumors

Mining the SHA-256 algorithm continues to be a very competitive industry and a great number of miners are located in China. A few reports detail that the local government in China’s Inner Mongolia region has been cracking down on illegal bitcoin mining facilities. An Inner Mongolian regulator stated: “The virtual currency ‘mining’ industry belongs to a pseudo-financial innovation unrelated to the real economy, and should not be supported.” The news hasn’t really amounted to anything just yet except for the threat, which sort of thing has already happened on countless occasions in China over the last few years. However, Chinese miners have been migrating recently and many operations reportedly suffered in mid-August due to the flooding in Sichuan. None of the reported issues and so-called crackdowns in China have affected the overall SHA-256 hashrate so far. Even with crypto markets blood red this week, for miners, its still business as usual.

What do you think about the massive SHA-256 hashrate and the mining industry developments? Do you think the BTC hashrate will be 120 EH/s by the year’s end? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, The New Era Mining Summit, Canaan, and Charts.Bitcoin.com.


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The post Despite Lower Prices, Bitcoin’s Hashrate Remains Strong appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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