Wanted Archives -
The half billion dollar Coincheck exchange hack is still working its way through the ecosystem, carrying implications of all sorts. Rarely mentioned is how, at least in part, the exchange’s problems were due to a lack of crypto engineers in Japan. A dearth of engineering know-how is a perfect recipe for security gaps to be exploited.
Also read: India Searches for Ethereum Over Bitcoin
Japan Needs Crypto Engineers
Shortly after the hack was discovered, Coincheck’s Koichiro Wada explained,“We were aware we didn’t have enough people working on internal checks, management and system risk. We strived to expand using headhunters and agencies, but ended up in this situation.” It was a spectacular mess, and in many ways the industry continues to deal with its ramifications: mergers, class action lawsuits, calls for more and tougher regulation, dramatic runs on the exchange as users attempt to withdraw what remains, and all that happening only four months after the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) gave the exchange formal approval.
Japan, of course, is a hotbed of crypto activity. The country has over 30 exchanges. And that does not include the “100 other companies [that] have approached the watchdog [overseeing] the sector about applying for a license,” the FSA told Reuters.
Mike Kayamori of the crypto exchange Quoine explained: “The FSA is breathing down necks on security, compliance and risk. And if you don’t hire, you won’t be able to survive.” According to Pascal Hideki Hamonic of Descartes Search, a recruiter specializing in tech and part of the Japan Blockchain Association, placement services like theirs cannot keep up with demand for crypto talent. In fact, according to the company, 60% of all placements within tech are crypto-related, and that’s up 15% from a year ago.
“And exchanges are prepared to pay,” Reuters claims. “Many are ramping up salaries and offering guaranteed bonuses to poach engineers from other businesses, two recruiters said. Base pay is up 20 to 30 percent from last year, they said, pushing salaries for engineers with five years’ experience to 11 million yen ($ 102,720).”
Japan’s Blunted Crypto Edge and Vitalik’s Vision
Bitcoin developer Nick Szabo refers to it as the $ /knowledge ratio, whereby gobs of employer money chases too few skilled employees. And it is for sure a problem all over the world. Leading tech job service Toptal reports how since “January 2017, the demand for blockchain engineering talent on Toptal has grown 700 percent, and 40 percent of the fully managed software development projects requested in the last month require blockchain skills.”
A novel potential solution was posed by Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founder, who believes “core developers and researchers should be employed by multiple companies or organizations … [and] … the knowledge of the technical considerations behind protocol upgrades must be democratized, so that more people can feel comfortable participating in research discussions and criticizing protocol changes.”
For Japan, however, culture also comes into play. Career moves are rare, and the “majority of Japanese that do understand blockchain and cryptocurrency already work for companies as lifetime employment, and have never considered the thought of changing jobs,” the head of Blockchain Daigakko, an engineering training firm, told Reuters.
Alexander Jenner of Computer Futures worries such a scenario “could put the brakes on everything. The sector’s growing so quickly, and the better exchanges are surviving. But many of them will fail,” blunting the country’s early competitive edge.
Is the crypto engineering shortage a good problem to have? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Images via Pixabay.
Some school counselors and officials were so concerned about the mental stability of Nikolas Cruz, accused in last month’s Florida school massacre, that they reportedly decided to have him forcibly committed more than a year before the shooting.
Indonesia police said they had confiscated a luxury yacht, Equanimity, which is controlled by the Malaysian financier who the U.S. Justice Department alleges directed a fraud involving money from 1Malaysian Development.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia
A tiny cherry pit has led to the capture of America’s “most wanted deadbeat” dad after nearly 20 years on the lam. Owing what the US government claims is some $ 560,000 in child support, Joseph Stroup fled arrest in 1998, at some point arriving in Alberta, Canada. Known there…
Stocks headed for their best week in five years, as investors backed out of high-yield corporate debt.
L.A. Times – Business
The Russian government is drafting a bill to introduce the accreditation of initial coin offering issuers. Accredited organizations must comply with a set of rules, including having 100 million rubles capital, and are subject to inspections every three years. The regulators are currently accepting public comments on the proposal.
Accrediting ICO Issuers
The Russian Ministry of Communications and Mass Media has submitted a proposal to accredit the issuers of initial coin offerings (ICOs) “on a voluntary basis for a period of five years,” the document reads.
This proposal details the procedure for accrediting organizations that issue digital tokens. It has been published on the Russian government’s portal of normative legal acts and the regulators are currently seeking public comments on the plan.
A digital token is defined in the proposal as “a record in a distributed information system created using cryptographic (encryption) means that certifies that the holder of the digital token has the right to receive from the person who posted the initial (initial) digital token of the initial (nominal) value token by presenting this token.” Under the proposal, Tass summarized:
The organization must comply with a number of criteria: registration in the territory of the Russian Federation in accordance with the legislation on state registration of legal entities; a charter capital of at least 100 million rubles; a license to develop, produce and distribute cryptographic funds; and a special account with a bank, obtained as a result of the sale of digital tokens.
The accredited ICO issuers are required to adopt a number of mandatory rules. Firstly, they must “redeem digital tokens at a nominal price from any bearer of a digital token on the basis of an irrevocable public offer,” the news outlet described. Secondly, they are obligated to “issue digital tokens for Russian rubles through a cashless settlement.” In addition, they have a “duty to use funds received from purchasers of digital tokens, only for purposes related to maintaining the ability to fulfill the obligation to redeem digital tokens at a nominal price.”
The publication further noted:
The Ministry of Communications will decide on accreditation or refusal of accreditation within 30 days after receiving the application. Accredited organizations will also be subject to inspections every three years (with the exception of unscheduled inspections) for compliance with the requirements of the provision.
Despite the strict requirements for would-be ICO issuers, the Minister of Communications and Mass Media, Nikolai Nikiforov, commented last week that “it is very important in all projects of the digital economy not to over-regulate what is just emerging,” according to Tass. RBC also quoted him describing:
We decided that we should go the way of accreditation and get some professional organizations to implement the first real projects. Otherwise, our country will become technologically backward.
What do you think of this ICO accreditation proposal? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
The post Russia Drafts Bill to Accredit ICO Issuers – Public Comments Wanted appeared first on Bitcoin News.
With over 50 privacy coins on the market, purveyors of anonymous transactions are spoilt for choice. This smorgasbord of privacy-centric coins can be a little overwhelming though. To help you pick the best of the bunch, here’s our rundown of the main contenders.
How Privacy Coins Work
Bitcoin transactions are semi-anonymous: every transaction on the blockchain is broadcast publicly and visible for all eternity, but the owner of each wallet is unknown. Tying addresses to real-world identities is now relatively easy for the powers-that-be, because everyone has to cash out somewhere, and that usually involves linking bitcoin addresses to bank accounts.
Most privacy coins still rely on a bitcoin-style public ledger, but use technology that obfuscates the path of the transaction. It might still be possible to determine that a certain amount of cryptocurrency was sent, but the path leading from sender to recipient has been concealed. The way in which various privacy coins go about this differs considerably.
Privacy Tech Algorithms
The three most common privacy algorithms are zk-Snarks, Coinjoin, and RingCT. The latter method is used in monero; Coinjoin features in dash and is also being trialed with bitcoin; and zk-Snarks are used by most of the Z coins including Zcash. Here’s how they work:
RingCT: Monero’s ring signatures allow the sender to hide their transaction among other outputs. In addition, RingCT makes it possible to hide the amount being sent. Coupled with a stealth receiving address, this makes for an extremely discreet way of sending funds. Transparency is optional with monero, which uses an “opaque” blockchain.
Coinjoin: Developed by Gregory Maxwell, Coinjoin deploys a ‘safety in numbers’ approach. When two senders despatch a transaction of an identical amount, this is converted into a joint payment. When this occurs, correlating the transaction inputs and outputs is virtually impossible. There are many variants of Coinjoin including Private Send, which is used by dash, and Coin Shuffle; Cash Shuffle is the version currently being tested with bitcoin cash.
zk-Snarks: Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Argument of Knowledge is a technology that allows miners to verify transactions without knowing who sent or received the coins. Using a cryptographic hash, each party can prove that a certain statement is true without revealing the precise details of who sent what and where. Although most commonly associated with the Zerocoin family, zk-Snarks are also being tested with ethereum.
The Main Privacy Players
Several of the most popular privacy coins have since forked, creating additional flavors of privacy coin. These spin-offs tend to use the same privacy algorithm but add additional features. We’ll consider some of these forks shortly, but first let’s examine the big two in the privacy war.
Zcash: Born out of the Zerocoin protocol, Zcash is basically bitcoin with the option of privacy. There’s a fixed supply of 21 million coins (sound familiar?) and despite using a public blockchain, Zcash allows for the sender, recipient, and amount being sent all to be concealed. Researchers have published evidence that suggests some Zcash transactions can be de-anonymized, though for everyday usage, Zcash should still provide enough privacy for most people.
To date, Zcash is mostly being used as a regular cryptocurrency, with only a small portion of users enabling its privacy features. Tellingly, Zcash doesn’t have much by way of deep web adoption, a realm whose users are especially paranoid about privacy.
Monero: Like Zcash, monero has emerged as a viable cryptocurrency in its own right, even for individuals who aren’t interested in privacy. Its privacy tech is highly regarded and numerous deep web marketplaces accept monero. Monero usage surged in the wake of the Alphabay shutdown, after it emerged that feds were unable to determine how much XMR the site’s alleged kingpin, Alexandre Cazes, held.
A string of deep web dealers were busted this year after their bitcoin transactions were tied to their real-world identities, and it was around then that monero cemented itself as the darknet’s privacy coin of choice. SHUM – Should Have Used Monero – is the default reply on r/darknetmarkets any time another vendor is busted.
The Forked Contenders
The Zerocoin protocol has spawned a slew of Z-named coins, most of which forked from Zcash. There isn’t space to detail them all, but the following two are particularly interesting.
Zclassic: ZCL forked from Zcash over concerns that Zcash had an excessive pre-mine. Zclassic has since forged its own path and is currently one of the hottest privacy tokens in town. ZCL has rocketed in value this week due to the forthcoming launch of Bitcoin Private. This is a fork which aims to combine the best bits of bitcoin and Zclassic. Because Bitcoin Private will be available to holders of Zclassic, buyers have bundled into ZCL, pushing its price to over $ 100, in readiness for the free Bitcoin Private coins they stand to receive at the time of the fork.
Zencash: ZEN is a fork of Zclassic – that’s right, a fork of a fork – but it’s got some interesting features, not least encrypted messaging. Like dash, zencash uses nodes as an additional means of securing its network; there are currently almost 5,000 ZEN Secure Nodes in operation. ZEN is a community-oriented project that utilizes many of the principles governing a DAO, and the nascent privacy coin seems to have a solid roadmap in place.
The following coins have privacy features either enabled as standard or as an optional extra and are also worthy of consideration.
Dash: By market cap, dash is the biggest coin on this list. It’s not an outright privacy coin however, but does have Private Send for users who’d prefer to keep their business to themselves.
Zcoin: The other Z worth mentioning, Zcoin enables users to “mint” a coin on a public ledger so as to transform it into a private coin. This process can be repeated multiple times, allowing a coin to be sent publicly or privately as desired.
Pivx: An open source project, Pivx is another community-oriented privacy coin. It uses a mixing mechanism that’s based on Coinjoin, but which operates in a decentralized manner, aided by a network of masternodes.
Verge: XVG is another anonymous cryptocurrency that was designed for privacy-friendly networks such as Tor and I2P. The general consensus is that verge isn’t as private as some of its competitors, so don’t trust it with your life. On the plus side, it boasts fast and low-cost transactions.
The Rest of the Pack
Unfortunately there isn’t space to delve into the inner workings of every privacy coin on the market. When it comes to the likes of Navcoin, Hcash, Cloakcoin, Stealthcoin, Hush, Zoin, Spectrecoin and all the rest, you’ll need to do your own research and assess the merits of each coin’s privacy tech. With over 50 coins to choose from, you could be reading for some time. This Twitter thread rounds up the rest of the chasing pack.
How to Ensure Complete Privacy
Buying a privacy coin doesn’t mean you now operate under a cloak of invisibility. From browser fingerprinting to recording IP addresses, there are various ways in which three-letter agencies can de-anonymize supposedly private transactions. Unless you’re a drug lord or a terrorist, though, they’ve probably got better things to do with their time. In situations where absolute privacy is essential, there are mixers such as Bitmixer and Join Market that can be used to tumble coins and obfuscate their origins.
When using monero, some users split their transaction into multiple hops, often passing through Shape Shift from a different altcoin and then on to an Electrum wallet using Tails. There’s no such thing as perfect privacy on the web, but privacy coins make it a lot easier to send and receive funds without broadcasting your business to the world. Expect to see many more privacy-centric coins entering the market in 2018 as the battle for privacy heats up.
What’s your favorite privacy coin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Coinmarketcap.
Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.
The post Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy Coins appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Damon Dash’s putting an end to the urban myth he bitch-slapped Harvey Weinstein – he actually did NOT slap him … but somebody definitely got SMACKED. We talked to Damon who tells us the physical confrontation went down on the set of…
Colin Kaepernick has been out of a job for nearly a year, but his resume still looks appealing … to Hollywood! A well-known casting director posted on a message board for managers and agents last week, asking for someone representing the former…
Wanted: Mixologist with a hankering for lots of ice—and no small amount of snow. One of the most remote watering holes in northern Canada is searching for a bartender. But not just any candidate will do. To join the staff of seven at Eagle Plains Hotel & Service Station…