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| April 21, 2019

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TMZ

Nipsey Hussle Surveillance Video Shows Getaway Driver’s Ties to Murderer

April 20, 2019 |

Nipsey Hussle’s murderer made a mad dash to a car with a driver who was waiting to speed away from the murder scene — and it’s all captured on video. TMZ has seen the video — shot from a surveillance camera in the area. You see the shooter race…

TMZ.com

GAD3 polls shows Socialists hold lead ahead of election, short of majority

April 11, 2019 |

GAD3 polls shows Socialists hold lead ahead of election, short of majoritySpain’s Socialists held the lead in voting intentions ahead of the April 28 election, a GAD3 poll for the ABC newspaper showed on Thursday, but they were seen short of a parliamentary majority even with backing from far-left allies Podemos. Voting intention surveys have illustrated how deeply Spain’s political system is torn between five parties as the country heads in to a bitterly fought parliamentary election. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s Socialists would win between 135 and 137 seats, the poll of 2,000 people taken on April 8-9 showed, short of a majority in the 350-seat parliament and slightly less than previously reported April 8.



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TMZ

Conor McGregor New Surveillance Video Shows UFC Star Smash and Stomp Phone

April 10, 2019 |

TMZ Sports has obtained new footage showing Conor McGregor swatting and smashing a cell phone in front of the Fontainebleau hotel in Miami … right after doing his famous “Billionaire Strut.” The footage is being used in the criminal case against…

TMZ.com

Xthinner Protocol Tested on BCH Mainnet Shows 99% Block Compression

April 9, 2019 |

On April 8, BCH developer Jonathan Toomim revealed how far he’s come with the Xthinner block compression protocol. Toomim tested the platform between two Bitcoin ABC full nodes on the BCH main network and a 363 kB block was compressed down to 1,660 bytes, or 99.54% compression.

Also read: Uyen T Nguyen: The Powerful Young Woman Behind the Alleged ‘Satoshi Affair’

Xthinner Compression and CTOR in Action

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community is all about scaling and increasing the block size, but very adding large blocks is just one part of the equation. In the first week of September, the BCH chain processed some significantly large blocks and millions of transactions per day. However, developers noticed issues with block propagation, bottlenecks, and nodes crashing when very large blocks were processed. Last January, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Jonathan Toomim’s project Xthinner, which could help alleviate such problems in the future. Xthinner is block propagation software that leverages canonical transaction ordering (CTOR) and can compress blocks by more than 90%, if all of the transactions in the block were previously transmitted. On Monday, Toomim detailed that he’s been testing the protocol on the main network and used two Bitcoin ABC full nodes to record his data.

“A few hours ago, I fixed the last showstopping bug in my Xthinner code and got it running between two of my ABC full nodes on mainnet,” Toomim told members of r/btc. “One node serves as a bridge to the rest of the world, receiving Compact Blocks and transmitting Xthinner — The other is connected to no other nodes except this bridge.”

Xthinner Protocol Tested on BCH Mainnet Shows 99% Block Compression

One Block Showed 99.54% Compression

The first block Toomim transmitted through Xthinner was BCH block 577,310 and he had a few issues transmitting a portion of the block’s transactions. Following that block, Xthinner worked on “every block since then, with no failures, and with no block taking more than 1.5 networking round trips,” Toomim explained. The developer noted that most “non-tiny block” got around 99% compression while compact blocks got roughly 96-97% compression. “Eight blocks have been complete on arrival without any missing transaction fetching (0.5 round trips), and 24 blocks have required a round trip to fetch missing transactions,” Toomim added.

Moreover, Toomim revealed that one specific block of 363 kB with 841 transactions was compressed to 1,660 bytes. According to the programmer that’s roughly a 99.54% compression or 15.79 bits/tx. “Uncoincidentally, this was also one of the largest blocks so far, with 23 minutes elapsed since the prior block,” said Toomim. The BCH developer further stated:

Bigger blocks get better compression because the header, coinbase, and checksum specification overhead is a smaller proportion of the whole, and sometimes also because the Xthinner algorithm can more consistently omit the initial bytes of the TXID.

Xthinner Protocol Tested on BCH Mainnet Shows 99% Block Compression

Toomim Might Release an Alpha Version of Xthinner Soon

Bitcoin Cash enthusiasts were pleased to hear about Xthinner being tested on the main network and discussed the project throughout the day. “Wow, 99.54% compression, I’m impressed — Thank you, Jonathan, for your marvellous work and thanks lead devs for sound roadmap and CTOR/LTOR which made this possible,” one BCH supporter wrote. Toomim also detailed that he would likely be releasing an alpha version of the Xthinner protocol soon so other developers can experiment with the platform as well. He stressed that the code still has a few bugs and vulnerabilities and recommends that people don’t run the software on a node that needs to stay running. “There’s still a lot of work to be done before the code is of high enough quality to be merged into Bitcoin ABC,” the developer concluded.

What do you think about Xthinner and the possibility of 99% block compression? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Jonathan Toomim, and Bitcoincash.org.


Keep track of the bitcoin exchange rate in real-time.

The post Xthinner Protocol Tested on BCH Mainnet Shows 99% Block Compression appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

NZ Mosque Suspect Shows No Emotion During Hearing

April 5, 2019 |

A New Zealand judge has ordered that the man accused of killing 50 people at two Christchurch mosques undergo two mental health assessments to determine if he’s fit to stand trial. High Court judge Cameron Mander made the order during a Friday hearing in which 28-year-old Australian Brenton Harrison Tarrant…
Newser

Data Shows Short-Term Crypto Tax Filers Increase, But Lots of Investors Still Won’t File

April 3, 2019 |

Data Shows Short-Term Crypto Tax Filers Increase, But Lots of Investors Still Won't File

According to personal finance firm Credit Karma Tax, filers who reported short-term capital losses for cryptocurrencies in the first month of 2019 jumped fivefold year-over-year. After the incredibly bearish crypto markets of 2018, data from early tax filers highlights the fact that more investors are claiming losses this tax season. However, a survey the company recorded back in November found that the number of people deciding not to file crypto taxes has increased.

Also read: Bitcoin Cash Markets and Network Gather Strong Momentum in Q1

Tax Filers Reporting Short-Term Crypto Gains and Losses Spike Considerably

Last April, as tax season approached, news.Bitcoin.com reported on how many cryptocurrency holders didn’t really care. At the time, the general manager of Credit Karma Tax, Jagjit Chawla, explained that out of 250,000 cryptocurrency holders, less than 100 people (0.0004%) reported their gains to the IRS. The tax season in 2019, however, has seen an increase of individuals reporting short-term capital losses. Sharing the data with our newsdesk, the company said that filers who reported short-term capital losses for bitcoin in the first month of 2019 jumped 521 percent in comparison to the first month of 2018. Moreover, short-term BTC losses averaged $ 3,405, which is a 322 percent increase since last year’s tax season.

Data Shows Short-Term Crypto Tax Filers Increase, But Lots of Investors Still Won't File

“Short-term bitcoin gains declined during the first month of the 2019 filing season, with a net 7% decrease in the average amount of gains,” the report reads. “However, 33% more early filers reported short-term gains year-over-year.” The document’s author notes:

Investors with long-term gains are the winners so far this tax season, with early filers reporting an average gain of $ 15,352 during the first month of the 2019 filing season — up 103% from the same period last year.

Data Shows Short-Term Crypto Tax Filers Increase, But Lots of Investors Still Won't File
Out of 1,000 bitcoin investors, 47 percent of respondents stated they did not plan on reporting crypto gains or losses.

Despite Increase in Short-Term Filings, Survey Reveals 47% of U.S. Investors Still Plan to Skip Paying Crypto Taxes

The methodology Credit Karma Tax used stems from data from members who filed their 2018 federal income taxes with the company between January 28 and February 22, 2019. This is in comparison to tax filers who submitted their 2017 taxes with the firm between January 29 and February 22, 2018. So year after year, data shows that people are claiming gains and losses more so than 2018 and 2017. However, the amount of people paying taxes on crypto assets is still incredibly small compared to the number of investors. In November of 2017, a Lendedu survey of 1,000 U.S. residents showed that 35.87 percent of the survey participants responded, “No, I do not plan on reporting gains or losses on my tax return.”

The data from Credit Karma Tax published on April 3 reveals that these numbers could be climbing higher. In November 2018, the company surveyed 1,000 bitcoin investors aged 18 and older and discovered 47 percent of U.S. based investors did not plan on reporting crypto gains or losses. “More than a third of those surveyed were unaware they could be required to report the same on their tax returns,” the firm’s report reveals. Last year a few bitcoin proponents got extremely salty with the previous year’s survey which showed lots of crypto holders were not paying taxes, so the increase last year may infuriate them.

Data Shows Short-Term Crypto Tax Filers Increase, But Lots of Investors Still Won't File
Many crypto investors despise taxation and believe that bitcoin was meant to be used as a tool to protest such acts.

In fact, for many people in the bitcoin world, the idea of crypto and taxes is like mixing oil with water. Only recently, bitcoiners have been discussing how crypto taxation is actually the biggest hindrance to digital currency adoption. So the steady increase of bitcoin holders that do not plan to report losses and gains to the IRS suggests that people may be thinking twice about paying into a blatantly corrupt and immoral system.

What do you think about the increase of short-term capital losses filed year-over-year? What do you think about the November 2018 survey showing 47% of investors do not plan to file crypto gains and losses? Let us know what you think about this story in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, and Wiki Commons.


Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

The post Data Shows Short-Term Crypto Tax Filers Increase, But Lots of Investors Still Won’t File appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Exit poll shows comedian leading Ukraine presidential election: ‘The first step toward a great victory’

March 31, 2019 |

A comedian with no political experience received the most votes in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential election, an exit poll projected Sunday night.
FOX News

Body-Cam Shows Rapper Asleep Before Police Shot Him

March 31, 2019 |

Police in California have released video that shows six officers opening fire on a 20-year-old man who’d been asleep in his car with a gun in his lap. Willie McCoy, 20, was killed in February in the drive-thru lane of a Taco Bell in Vallejo. The release includes a 30-minute…
Newser

Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers From Trust Issues Exacerbated by Rising Fees

March 30, 2019 |

Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers form Trust Issues and Rising Fees Makes it Worse

Over the last two years, the Lightning Network has been touted as the scaling solution for the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network. However, the solution has been heavily criticized for its lack of security, and on March 28, Bitcoin Unlimited’s chief scientist Peter Rizun wrote an interesting evaluation of the Lightning Network’s “dirty little secret.”

Also read: Mempool ‘Spam’ and Rising Fees: The Consequences of Veriblock’s Mainnet Launch

Visualizing the Lightning Network from a Different Perspective

This week, Bitcoin Unlimited’s Peter Rizun wrote a critique concerning the often controversial Lightning Network (LN). In delving into the project, Rizun asks the reader to visualize the LN as a string of beads (Fig. 1) extended between two individuals, Alice and Bob. In essence, Alice can send Bob funds by pushing one of her beads to Bob, utilizing the string which represents an LN channel.

Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers From Trust Issues Exacerbated by Rising Fees
Fig. 1. Alice can send a payment to Carol by routing it through Bob. Because beads cannot leave the string they are on, Bob ends up with one more bead on his string with Alice, and one fewer bead on his string with Carol.

Rizun’s essay notes that the foundation of the network is the reason for LN liquidity problems because “the beads can move from side to side but cannot leave the string they’re on.” From there, Rizun discusses the LN security model which depends on Hash and Time-Lock Contracts (HTLCs).

Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers From Trust Issues Exacerbated by Rising Fees
Fig. 2. The hash-lock opens when a password is entered that hashes to the specified value (45f8 in this case). The time-lock opens after the specified time has elapsed (48 hours in this case).

Essentially, HTLCs explain how the system prevents Bob from keeping the bead from Alice without sending one on to Carol. In order to bypass this issue, the LN project uses locks in the channel and in Rizun’s the locks are placed in the string in order to constrain the beads’ movements until the agreement’s conditions are met. “The hash and time-lock contracts (HTLCs) used in Lightning payments involve two types of locks (Fig. 2): the first is a lock that opens if presented with the correct password (we’ll call this a “hash-lock”), and the second is a lock that opens automatically after a time delay (we’ll call this a “time-lock”),” Rizun’s blog post details. The developer then returns to the example of a payment between Alice to Carol through Bob, and Rizun notes that in order to make the process “trustless,” Alice, Bob, and Carol need to be online simultaneously in order to settle the agreement.

“First, Alice asks Carol to think up a secret password and tell her the password’s hash. Let’s pretend the password Carol thought up was ‘boondoggle’ and its hash was ‘45f8’ — Next, Alice places a hash-lock between her and Bob, set to open when presented with a password that hashes to ‘45f8,’” runs Rizun’s critique. “At this point in time, neither Alice nor Bob can open the lock because neither knows the password — Alice then pushes a bead against the hash-lock. Lastly, she places a time-lock on the left side of the bead, set to automatically open after 48 hours (Fig. 3).”

Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers From Trust Issues Exacerbated by Rising Fees

Lightning Network Micropayments Are Not Trustless at All

The study further explains why Bob would bother to participate in this settlement in the first place if Carol had not been cooperative. Basically, the theory assumed is that Alice will send Bob a fraction more than what she asks Bob to send to Carol, as a fee to compensate for risks. It also reveals the purpose the time-locks serve in order to protect someone’s funds if a payment fails. An example of this situation would be if Bob becomes uncooperative after Alice shifts her bead over and adds the two locks, Rizun adds, and remarks that time-locks give Alice the ability to retrieve the funds. His essay says that even though this is possible, the Lightning Network has a dirty little secret which can be seen when the channel state involves three outputs: Alice’s coins, Bob’s coins, and the coin “in flight.” The problem occurs if the value-in-flight is below the BTC dust threshold, in which case it can’t be used as a third output in the channel-state transaction.

“It is thus not possible to use hash- and time-locks to protect the payment if the payment is too small,” Rizun paper emphasizes. “It is not exactly true that the number of beads on a string is constant. There is actually a bucket beside each string labeled “Miner’s Fee” that contains small fractions of beads. The value in this bucket gets claimed by the miner who confirms the channel-state transaction, should the channel state be pushed to the blockchain. Fractions of beads can move from the string to the bucket, or from the bucket back to the string, but only if the persons on both sides of the channel agree.”

The paper continues:

Rather than locking the value in-flight with hash- and time-locks, for small payments Alice and Bob just move the value-in-flight into the fee bucket (Fig. 8). Bob trusts that Alice will cooperate with him to take the value-in-flight out of the fee bucket when he reveals Carol’s secret password.

Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers From Trust Issues Exacerbated by Rising Fees

Bob can then dump the value-in-flight into another bucket he shares with Carol and manipulate the situation by asking Carol to tell Bob the secret password. Carol tells Bob the secret, and Bob and Carol together move the payment from the fee bucket to Carol’s side, Rizun states. Bob then goes back to Alice, tells her Carol’s secret, and if all goes well, Alice cooperates with him to take the value-in-flight out of the fee bucket and place it on Bob’s side of the string. The paper adds:

Unlike the HTLC scheme described earlier, this scheme relies on trust. For example, Carol could reveal the password to Bob, who could then leave the payment in the fee bucket yet still go to Alice and deliver the password in exchange for his payment.

Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers From Trust Issues Exacerbated by Rising Fees

According to a few individuals on social media and cryptocurrency forums, the problems associated with the trust issue and micropayments are well known. At the time of writing, the dust threshold is less than 600 satoshis which means if fees were to spike considerably again, the Lightning Network wouldn’t be a feasible option. Rizun’s paper notes that the issue adds unneeded friction from layer one to layer two by “forcing complex and poorly-understood work-arounds to the L2 protocol.” Moreover, those who have been cheering for higher network fees in order to bolster more Segwit use (were the dust limit is even lower) and forcefully pushing for LN adoption do not seem to understand how impractical that would be.

What do you think about the issues involved with LN and the added friction that layer two adds to common settlements compared to traditional layer one transactions? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, and Bitcoin Unlimited’s Peter Rizun.


Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

The post Analysis Shows Lightning Network Suffers From Trust Issues Exacerbated by Rising Fees appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Fentanyl overdose deaths soared after 2013, new federal data shows

March 22, 2019 |

Drug overdose deaths linked to fentanyl saw a sharp rise from 2013 through 2016, doubling each year, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
FOX News