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| June 18, 2019

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She Was Driving Home When a Random Bullet Killed Her

April 30, 2019 |

Micalla “KK” Rettinger was driving home at 2:30am Sunday on an Iowa highway when a bullet came through her window, hitting her and then one of her two passengers. The 25-year-old was able to drive to a highway exit, but was later pronounced dead at the scene, NBC News…
Newser

Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator

April 16, 2019 |

One of the biggest responsibilities of cryptocurrency owners is safely storing their digital assets. Over the last few years, hardware wallets have become an extremely convenient security solution that has helped in this regard. The BC Vault is a new hardware device with a number of distinctive features.

Also read: The Struggle to Buy Bitcoin in Crypto-Starved Botswana

The BC Vault Isn’t Like All the Rest

The BC Vault (short for Blockchain Vault) is a new hardware wallet that was designed by a Slovenia-based firm called Real Security Inc. Its creators believe that the BC Vault is “the safest way to store your cryptocurrencies,” refusing to even refer to the gadget as a wallet. “Wallets are for pocket money and vaults are for safekeeping,” Real Security asserts. The BC Vault costs $ 155 plus VAT for EU customers and the firm will ship to customers around the world. My BC Vault arrived this weekend in a box sealed with tamper-resistant holographic tape which I removed after inspection with a pocket knife.

Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator
Both the box and the device itself are sealed with tamper-resistant holographic tape.

Inside the box is a piece of paper that explains the BC Vault setup process and the device itself which sits in a foam enclosure. Under the device is a few stickers and a long USB cord to attach the BC Vault to a computer. One end of the cord is a traditional USB insert, but the other side of the cord that fits into the device itself is the new USB-C standard. The machine is similar in size to the Keepkey wallet but has a four-way control pad and a 2.42 inch OLED screen. The USB connection is also taped over with tamper-resistant tape which needs to be peeled off gently. The D-pad reminded me of an old Sega Genesis controller. The USB-C cord, as is customary with devices of this nature, needs to be inserted with a forceful push.

Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator
BC Vault uses a global password and PIN.

It was after plugging the BC Vault in that I observed just how different the device is compared to other hardware wallets. This is because the BC Vault generates each wallet with a random number generator (RNG) which uses an integrated gyro sensor. The process obliged me to shake the Vault for at least a minute and a half in order to begin the setup process. The scheme is similar to moving your mouse around or typing random keys in order to create a paper wallet. Essentially, the RNG mechanism inside the device created my private key after I’d shaken the device enough and from there I proceeded to the Vault’s quickstart guide.

The guide offers standalone software for Linux, Mac OS, and Windows. The application I downloaded for Mac OS was around 29.9 MB in size and the process took only took a minute. I was prompted to use my computer’s administrator password for the install and the software wound up taking around 62 MB of disk space. After launching the software, you will be asked to agree to an end-user license agreement.

Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator
The main BC Vault dashboard display.

Unlike the Trezor or Ledger, the BC Vault does not use an unencrypted BIP39/44 seed phrase, instead opting for a global password, PIN, and encrypted backup. In order to back up the funds, the device gives the option of saving encrypted wallet data on an SD card or backing up the encrypted wallet data by printing out a series of QR codes. Competitors use hierarchical deterministic wallets which means the funds and addresses can be traced back to the seed.

Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator
Ethereum wallet dashboard.

BC Vault claims it brings higher security to the table because the non-deterministic wallets on the device cannot be mathematically linked. While browsing the software I noticed I can add a variety of different digital currencies, with bitcoin core (BTC) available by default. BC Vault can hold BTC, BCH, ETH, DASH, XRP, LTX, XLM, DOGE, and a bunch of ERC20 tokens as well.

Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator
Bitcoin cash wallet dashboard.

An Integrated Gyro Sensor, Random Key Generation, and Encrypted Backups Provide a Different Approach to Security

The BC Vault device I received was built well and the seed creation by shaking the RNG was an interesting experience. The product reminded me of a cross between Shapeshift’s Keepkey and the Swiss-made Digital Bitbox because of the SD card backup. Unlike the Bitbox, however, the BC Vault does not come with an SD card and you have to purchase one. The standalone software was also a nice change to having to use a Chrome extension.

Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator
Choosing to add another wallet.

Similarly to the Trezor model T and the Keepkey, I found that inserting the cord needs a forceful push. The BC Vault will actually make a clicking sound so you will know the device is securely connected. The wallet interface worked well and things like network fees can be customized. One issue I had found with the BC Vault is that it still uses legacy addresses for bitcoin cash (BCH). It would be nice if they added the Cashaddr format to make things less confusing for wallet sends.

Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator
The application settings panel is where most changes can be made.

The BC Vault is fairly intuitive to use and a beginner could master this wallet without much difficulty. Even though the device doesn’t use a mnemonic seed, users must remember to back up the encrypted key on an SD card or print out the QRs for recovery purposes. If the global password, PIN, and encrypted backups are lost, the funds held inside the BC Vault can never be retrieved.

Overall, the BC Vault, much like the simple Bitbox, offers cryptocurrency users something different and people may enjoy the alternative security aspects it incorporates. A built-in random number generator definitely sets the BC Vault apart from the rest of the hardware wallets on the market.

What do you think about the BC Vault? Let us know what you think about this device in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company, software or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com or the author 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. This editorial review is for informational purposes only.


Image credits: Jamie Redman, and BC Vault.


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The post Review: BC Vault Is an Unorthodox Hardware Wallet With a Random Key Generator appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Exchanges Roundup: Yobit Unveils Random Coin Pump, Okcoin USA Plans Stablecoin

October 11, 2018 |

In recent news pertaining to crypto exchanges, Yobit has announced a “random coin” pump for Oct. 11, the founder of Okgroup has announced Okcoin USA’s plan to launch a stablecoin, and Coinbase’s chief policy officer has predicted that the exchange will attain Japanese regulatory approval by 2019.

Also Read: A Bitcoin Rat Is Occupying Wall Street

Skepticism on Twitter over
Aggressive Yobit Campaign

Yobit, the shadowy Russian cryptocurrency exchange, has announced an upcoming “Yobit Pump” scheduled for 9 a.m. EDT on Oct. 11. According to Yobit’s Twitter, the pump will see Yobit purchase one random coin for 1 BTC every one to two minutes, 10 times.

The comments section beneath the tweet shows a predominantly critical reaction to an aggressive promotional campaign premeditated by an exchange that’s already mired in controversy. Last year, Forbes Ukraine reported that Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecommunications regulator, had launched juridical proceedings against Yobit, with Roskomnadzor seeking to block Russian IP addresses from accessing the exchange.

In 2016, Waves also published a warning pertaining to Yobit after the exchange listed a waves/BTC pairing, even though users were unable to withdraw the cryptocurrency from private Waves wallets at the time.

Okgroup Founder Vows Full Compliance
with Planned Stablecoin

Exchanges Roundup: Yobit Random Coin Pump, Okcoin USA StablecoinStar Xu, the founder of Okgroup, has announced that Okcoin USA is planning on entering the stablecoin market.

In a recent tweet, Mr. Xu posted: “Embracing the tide of technology, the launch of a #CNY backed #stablecoin is an inevitable trend, and it will significantly improve the internationalization of the RMB. OKCoin USA will launch a fully compliant stablecoin.” Xu added that “the dollar-pegged #stablecoin regulated by the U.S. government will strengthen the penetration of the U.S. dollar 100 fold.”

Xu also spoke in favor of stablecoins, stating: “Stablecoins are in essence electronic cash. They have the same attributes. The central bank issues the currency and then it is distributed peer-to-peer. The difference is it’s electronic. Today, the amount of cash in China’s domestic monetary system is not small.”

Coinbase Executive Optimistic About Securing Regulatory Approval in Japan

Exchanges Roundup: Yobit Random Coin Pump, Okcoin USA StablecoinIn a recent interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Mike Lempres, the chief policy officer of Coinbase, optimistically discussed the exchange’s desire to obtain regulatory approval to operate in Japan.

Lempres stated that talks are “going well” with Japan’s Financial Services Authority, adding: “We are … committed to getting it done. It will certainly be in 2019.”

Lempres also spoke favorably of the Japanese regulatory system relating to cryptocurrencies. “The Japanese government is more focused on security,” he explained. “That is good for us … Japan has been an active large market from the very beginning, and has proved resilient as it bounces back from several bad experiences. We think there is great demand for a trusted provider of services here.”

Despite his praise for Japan’s crypto regulations, Lempres noted that there are still several issues to be resolved, including whether or not the regulator would require Coinbase to manage its systems from within Japan in order to obtain a license. “We have everything built to protect our storage … in the U.S,” he stated. “We won’t do anything to even raise (the) possibility of a hack. It would be hard for us to duplicate what we do in the U.S. today in Japan and other countries.”

What is your response to Yobit’s random coin pump? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter


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The post Exchanges Roundup: Yobit Unveils Random Coin Pump, Okcoin USA Plans Stablecoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Masked Gunman Sought in Apparently Random Chicago Slayings

October 3, 2018 |

The Chicago PD is in search of a suspect who they say fatally shot a man Sunday before gunning down another victim the next day in the same neighborhood. Per ABC News , officials are on high alert in the city’s Rogers Park area, where 73-year-old Douglass Watts was shot in…
Newser

Teen Fatally Stabbed on Train Platform in Random Attack

July 24, 2018 |

An 18-year-old woman was fatally stabbed on an Oakland train station platform Sunday night, the third possible homicide related to the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in five days. Nia Wilson had just stepped off a train at the MacArthur Station around 9:36pm when, officials say, 27-year-old John Lee…
Newser

Jessica Chastain Hands Random Woman $2K For Fertility Treatment

March 10, 2018 |

Jessica Chastain celebrated International Women’s Day by donating $ 2,000 to a woman who was apparently in need , reports ABC News . The Molly’s Game actor had engaged in an Instagram exchange with Karin Schulz, who said she was short of money for a fertility treatment. The two didn’t agree on…
Newser

Bitcoin 2018 Price Projection Using Monte Carlo Random Walks: ~50,000 USD

January 26, 2018 |

Bitcoin 2018 Price Projection Using Monte Carlo Random Walks: ~50,000 USD

Using the Monte Carlo statistical projection method, combined with what are known as random walks, Xoel López Barata developed some pretty fun bitcoin price scenarios for the end of this year. His projections are compelling because he follows data, revealing the difficulty being able to accurately prophesize much about the world’s most popular cryptocurrency’s path.

Also read: Tezos Swiss Foundation Concept is “Old, Inflexible and Stupid”

Monte Carlo Projection Method

Xoel López Barata recently published a pretty great thought experiment. Mr. Barata ran a simulated price projection for all of this year, attempting to figure out just where bitcoin will end in 2018. It is “my opinion and not investment advice,” he urges. And it’s always good to remind readers past performance is no indication of future returns, as life seems to always have other plans.

Mr. Barata used what’s known as a Monte Carlo method. The nerdiest among us will really enjoy following his inputs on Github. He uses daily returns, price variants, but doesn’t assume a normal distribution and instead notes “extreme events have a higher probability of happening.” The Monte Carlo method is usually attributed to a WWII Greek-American scientist Nicholas Metropolis.

Bitcoin Price Projection Using Monte Carlo Random Walks

Nicholas Metropolis worked with Robert Oppenheimer, Enrico Fermi, and Edward Teller at Los Alamos. There, he delivered a paper said to have simulated liquid numerically. Bitcoin is often compared to water in its resiliency, though is completely unrelated here. Named for its loose relationship to the gambling icon Monte Carlo, the algorithms rely upon random sampling, and appear to have been initially used in mechanical engineering applications.

In finance, however, “we assume that the future behavior of the price of an asset will be similar to its past behavior, and we generate a lot of random versions of that future, called random walks, similar to the past. That’s done taking random samples from the past and stacking them together to build each one of those random walks,” Mr. Barata explains.

Bitcoin Price Projection Using Monte Carlo Random Walks

$ 13,200 and $ 271,277

Starting with daily returns from 2010 to the present, he plucked random samples, added one to each, multiplying them cumulatively until the end of the year. “Then we multiply the current price of bitcoin times the values of the random walk to get the simulated future prices,” he clarifies. “This will be done a lot of times (100,000 in this case) and at the end of the year we will see the distribution of final price for each random walk.”

He struggles to get much anything concrete, as the prices swing logarithmically from 10,000 USD to as high as 100,000 USD, almost refusing to settle. After generating many more random walks, he finds “the most likely price is somewhere between $ 24K and $ 90K,” which is still a pretty wide swing but admittedly closer to something interesting.

Bitcoin Price Projection Using Monte Carlo Random Walks

He basically offers the distribution’s 50th percentile, which yields 58,843 USD. He then goes with an estimation technique known as Kernel Destiny, ending again above the 50,000 USD price mark. But he’s not satisfied, and explains estimations help us to find possible overall distribution intervals. His numbers reveal an 80 percent price distribution “between $ 13,200 and $ 271,277.” And those numbers too seem wildly out of whack, but they do jump off the page. Mr. Barata quickly tampers down excitement by noting this means only “the chance that the price at the end of the year will be below 13,200 is the same as that of it being above $ 271,277.”

He holds the Kernel Destiny figure above, and tries to find if bitcoin’s price will be lower or equal to its present day level. After plotting, he suggests an almost 10 percent chance by year’s end the price will be equal to or lower than where it sits at the moment (he uses 20 January 2018).

Bitcoin Price Projection Using Monte Carlo Random WalksMost sober bitcoiners will take away a mild hope of a 90 percent chance bitcoin’s price will be more than it is today at end of 2018. Considering the last month, that’s at least a positive outlook. For those new to the price projection game, it’s always good to remember that if anyone really could predict that number with any kind of accuracy, bitcoin would’ve more or less ceased to exist — by design it is unknowable. That fact strikes terror in some while being its best feature for others. 

What do you make of the Monte Carlo projection? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, Medium.


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The post Bitcoin 2018 Price Projection Using Monte Carlo Random Walks: ~50,000 USD appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

How Amazon Picks Its Seemingly Random Deals of the Day

December 9, 2017 |

Third-party merchants slash prices and stockpile inventory in hopes Amazon.com will select their items for holiday promotion—which can boost sales all season.
WSJ.com: US Business

Gunman Picking Random Targets Kills 4, Wounds Kids

November 14, 2017 |

A gunman choosing targets at random opened fire in a rural Northern California town Tuesday, killing four people at several sites and wounding others at an elementary school before police shot him dead, authorities said. The AP reports the gunfire began around 8am in the community of Rancho Tehama Reserve….
Newser

Mystery Solved After Man Finds Random House in His Field

November 6, 2017 |

“If you know someone who has lost a house, let me know,” a Canadian man wrote on Facebook this week after stumbling upon a complete house in the middle of his property. His plea worked. Patrick Maze tells the CBC he was driving past a section of his property near…
Newser