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Steve Wozniak Wants Bitcoin to Become the World’s Single Currency

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Woz BTC

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has some very positive things to say about bitcoin. In a recent interview with CNBC, the computer mogul admitted that he hopes bitcoin will become a single global currency and that he shares the sentiment of Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey, who expressed his belief last March that bitcoin will become a unifying cryptocurrency for every nation within the next 10 years.

“I buy into what Jack Dorsey says,” he explained, “not that I necessarily believe it’s going to happen, but because I want it to be that way.”

Wozniak first bought bitcoin when it was priced at $700, roughly $6,700 less than where it currently stands. He has since sold almost his entire stash but for one coin, admitting that he never wanted to be an investor but was only intrigued by how the cryptocurrency worked.

He also owns two ether (the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain platform), which he has been very complimentary toward. At a recent conference in Vienna, Wozniak praised Ethereum and said it had the potential to become “the new Apple.”

“Ethereum interests me because it can do things and because it’s a platform,” he affirmed.

Wozniak now refers to bitcoin as “pure” and says it’s the true equivalent of digital gold.

“Bitcoin is mathematically defined,” he explained, “there is a certain quantity of bitcoin, there’s a way it’s distributed … and it’s pure and there’s no human running it, there’s no company running it, and it’s just going and going, and growing and growing, and surviving. That, to me, says something that is natural, and nature is more important than all our human conventions.”

This is not the first time Wozniak has been vocally positive about bitcoin. At a Money 20/20 event in Las Vegas last October, the Apple co-founder lauded the cryptocurrency and its blockchain technology as stronger and more financially sound than both gold and USD. He stated that traditional currencies are “kind of phony,” as they are widely vulnerable to inflation, and that the problem with gold is that there is no fixed supply.

“There is a certain amount of bitcoin that can ever exist,” he continued. “Gold gets mined and mined and mined. Maybe there’s a finite amount of gold in the world, but cryptocurrency is even more mathematical and regulated, and nobody can change mathematics.”

Wozniak also called for further regulation efforts, saying they were crucial to bitcoin’s survival.

“Regulation is an essential element to the fintech transformation happening today,” he exclaimed. “Fairness, equality and truth is the foundation for good regulation and that will lay the groundwork for good development.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Stocks soar as Apple hits an all-time high

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

apple wwdc 2018, mac os

Stocks rose Monday, as markets shifted focus from trade tensions to last week's upbeat jobs data. The dollar slipped, and Treasury yields inched up. 

Here's the scoreboard:

Dow Jones industrial average24,812.10 +176.89 (+0.72%)

S&P 500: 2,747.47 +12.85 (+0.47%)

  1. New orders for US-made goods dropped more than economists expected in April. Factory orders decreased 0.8%, Commerce Deparment data showed, dragged lower by weak demand for transportation equipment and machinery.
  2. Oil prices slid as markets wait out a decision on the future of OPEC. Brent, the international benchmark, shed nearly 2% to $75.20 a barrel at session lows. There have been reports the cartel could raise output amid supply disruptions in Venezuela and Iran. 
  3. Apple hit an all-time high. Shares of the company soared as high as $193.42 as its developers conference, WWDC, kicked off on Monday. 
  4. Twitter rose to a three-year peak. Shares of the company rose as high as $37.97, a high not seen since 2015. 
  5. Crypto company Ripple is giving $50 million to universities for blockchain research. The project extends research funding to 17 universities including Princeton and MIT.

And some highlights of the upcoming economic calendar: 

  • Manufacturing numbers are out in the US and the UK.
  • Canada reports labor productivity.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia announces its interest rate decision. 

SEE ALSO: Hedge funds are crushing the market this year — here's the secret to their success, and their next big idea

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ZenCash Latest Altcoin to Suffer 51 Percent Attack

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Privacy-centric cryptocurrency ZenCash (ZEN) has become the latest altcoin to succumb to a 51 percent attack, the project’s developers confirmed over the weekend. According to an official statement, a malicious miner successfully executed the attack — as well as at least three double spends — against the cryptocurrency’s network on June 2 at approximately 10:43

The post ZenCash Latest Altcoin to Suffer 51 Percent Attack appeared first on CCN

CRYPTO INSIDER: Ripple donates $50 million to schools for blockchain research

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The logo of blockchain company Ripple is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider's roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Ripple, the company behind the cryptocurrency XRP, announced a new $50 million fund to finance university research into blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. Here's what you need to know. 

Here are the current crypto prices: 

bitcoin price today crypto

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin may be down 40% this year but crypto developers are still fetching $1 million bonuses

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CRYPTO INSIDER: Ripple donates $50 million to schools for blockchain research

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The logo of blockchain company Ripple is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Welcome to Crypto Insider, Business Insider's roundup of all the bitcoin and cryptocurrency news you need to know today. Sign up here to get this email delivered direct to your inbox.

Ripple, the company behind the cryptocurrency XRP, announced a new $50 million fund to finance university research into blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. Here's what you need to know. 

Here are the current crypto prices: 

bitcoin price today crypto

In the news:

New to Crypto Insider? Business Insider has a ton of articles to get you caught up to speed, including:

What other questions do you have about crypto? Ask them in Business Insider's Crypto Insider Facebook group today to discuss with readers from all over the world, as well as BI editorial staff.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin may be down 40% this year but crypto developers are still fetching $1 million bonuses

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What humans will look like on Mars

A stock exchange behemoth is powering crypto markets across the world

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Adena Friedman

  • Nasdaq still hasn't launched its market for bitcoin futures, but it has been quietly powering crypto markets across the world. 
  • Most recently, SBI Group announced it would use Nasdaq's matching engine tech for its exchange. 
  • A person familiar with Nasdaq's operations says it's involved in four business arrangements of this nature with crypto exchanges. 

Nasdaq may not have launched its market for bitcoin futures yet, but it has been quietly powering crypto markets across the world. 

Rivals CME and Cboe Global Markets dominated financial headlines with the launch of their bitcoin futures markets at the end of 2017. And then Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) announced its crypto data feed at the beginning of 2018.

Nasdaq, in contrast, has stood out from the pack by making providing technology to crypto firms a focus, rather than futures or data. 

Most recently, the New York-based firm partnered with SBI Japannext, a trading company owned by SBI Holdings, on its digital currency exchange, Nasdaq announced Monday. 

SBI Virtual Currencies aims to provide the narrowest spreads in the market by leveraging Nasdaq's matching system technology. Nasdaq has been provided trading tech for SBI Japannext since 2012. 

A person familiar with the exchange's operations told Business Insider that Nasdaq is involved in four business arrangements of this nature with digital currency exchanges. 

Outside of matching engine technology, the exchange operator partnered in April with Gemini, the crypto exchange founded by the Winklevoss twins. As part of the deal, Gemini uses Nasdaq's Smarts market surveillance technology to sniff out unusual trading activity on its platform. 

Valerie Bannert-Thurner, a senior vice president in charge of risk and surveillance solutions at Nasdaq, told Business Insider there's a big opportunity for Nasdaq's Smarts. 

"The crypto space is certainly an area we're closely following and keen to bring our expertise and leadership in the surveillance technology space to," she said in an interview. "So yes, this is a growth area for us as a surveillance technology provider."

Adena Friedman, the firm's chief executive, said in April she was open to Nasdaq becoming a crypto exchange

"I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist it's just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature," Friedman said during an interview with CNBC. "Once you look at it and say, 'do we want to provide a regulated market for this?' Certainly Nasdaq would consider it."

Nasdaq is also trying to get into the market for bitcoin futures, as Business Insider previously reported

A person familiar with the matter said the firm is planning to launch a futures product in the second half of 2018. The futures contract would be based on 50 indexes. CME's product, by way of comparison, is based off four indexes.

Nasdaq is going with a later launch date because it wanted to give customers enough time to vet the product, the person said. 

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A startup just closed a huge $4 billion ICO — but the crypto fundraising method is 'absolutely and unequivocally slowing down'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Pavel Durov at the DLD Conference 2012 - Day 3

  • Autonomous NEXT: $9.1 billion raised through ICOs so far in 2018.
  • But if you strip out two mega deals — Telegram and Block.one — deal activity per-month is lower than at the end of 2017.


LONDON — Cryptocurrency startups have raised over $9 billion through so-called initial coin offerings in 2018, according to consultancy Autonomous NEXT, but the rate of activity is slowing down.

"Well, there doesn't seem to be another way to say it — ICO activity is absolutely and unequivocally slowing down," the financial consultancy said in an email newsletter on Monday.

ICO, short for initial coin offering, is a new form of fundraising activity that became hugely popular in 2017. Startups mint their own digital currencies, structured similarly to bitcoin, and sell them in exchange for bitcoin or ether. These cryptocurrencies can then be sold for fiat currencies or used as funding themselves.

These coins are often linked to an underlying product or company but there are no requirements for this. Regulators around the world have warned investors that ICOs are speculative, high-risk investments.

Startups, most of them looking at blockchain technology, raised $6.6 billion last year through ICOs, according to Autonomous NEXT, and have raised $9 billion via ICOs so far this year.

While that already eclipses the 2017 total, Autonomous NEXT said this figure is boosted by two mega deals that are unlikely to be sustainable.

Messaging app Telegram, which is hugely popular with the crypto community, has raised $1.7 billion through an ongoing ICO while Block.one, the startup behind the EOS token, on Friday closed a $4 billion raise.

"If we pull out Telegram and EOS on a monthly basis, the monthly trend look severely down — to $560 million from a high of $1.5 billion in December 2017," Autonomous NEXT wrote.

"So unless you believe in the continued presence of mega deals, token offerings have indeed been dragging due to continued regulatory uncertainty, tax overhang, and a lack of tangible progress in software adoption by the mainstream consumer."

The consultancy said it is hopeful that deal activity will pick-up once regulators take more definite action to establish a framework around ICOs.

"Just look at the Internet wave: March 2000 was the peak value share a percentage of market capitalizations," the consultancy wrote. "Despite the crash, the web has never been more present or important than today. Will crypto follow the same hype cycle curve?"

SEE ALSO: Block.one just raised a $4 billion ICO

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Ripple Donates $50 Million to 17 Universities to Boost Blockchain, Crypto Adoption

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Cryptocurrency startup Ripple, the blockchain-based payment network, is donating $50 million to 17 universities around the world to bolster the adoption of blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin. Ripple announced the partnership, called the University Blockchain Research Initiative, on its website June 4. The company said its donations will be made in U.S. dollars, not cryptocurrency.

The post Ripple Donates $50 Million to 17 Universities to Boost Blockchain, Crypto Adoption appeared first on CCN

Ripple Donates $50 Million to 17 Universities to Boost Blockchain, Crypto Adoption

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Cryptocurrency startup Ripple, the blockchain-based payment network, is donating $50 million to 17 universities around the world to bolster the adoption of blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin. Ripple announced the partnership, called the University Blockchain Research Initiative, on its website June 4. The company said its donations will be made in U.S. dollars, not cryptocurrency.

The post Ripple Donates $50 Million to 17 Universities to Boost Blockchain, Crypto Adoption appeared first on CCN

Decentralized Exchanges: The Best Innovative Tool for Traders or Highly Risky Adventure?

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

This is a submitted sponsored story. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the content below. The creation of Bitcoin was aimed at destroying the centralized character of the currency, however, although the cryptocurrency is decentralized, it is still under the influence of the

The post Decentralized Exchanges: The Best Innovative Tool for Traders or Highly Risky Adventure? appeared first on CCN

Ripple Pumps $50 Million Into Academic Research on Blockchain

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Ripple is setting aside millions of dollars to fund university-based research into blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.

Facebook is slipping after news of more questionable data practices (FB)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Mark Zuckerberg scared

  • Facebook is down in early trading Monday after reports it shared data with device sellers without user consent. 
  • Those device sellers include Apple, Amazon, and Samsung. 
  • Facebook denies data was shared without permission. 
  • Watch Facebook trade in real time here. 

Facebook fell more than 1% in early trading Monday, after reports it shared data with 60 companies, many of which are device sellers. 

The companies receiving Facebook user data included Apple, Amazon and Samsung. Those device sellers received friends' data, although Facebook denies that data was shared without permission. The Times reported some device makers had access to user data such as relationship status, religion, political leaning and events.

Facebook stock got hammered in a two day span after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in late March. The stock recovered in full by early May. During the course of several government hearings - one with the EU, one with the US Senate, and one with the US House of Representatives - Facebook said it will focus on ensuring that data is only shared when users consent

Facebook is up 5.3% on the year. 

Screen Shot 2018 06 04 at 9.04.13 AM

 

SEE ALSO: Crypto company Ripple is giving $50 million to universities including Princeton, MIT, and UCL for blockchain research

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Facebook is slipping after news of more questionable data practices (FB)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Mark Zuckerberg scared

  • Facebook is down in early trading Monday after reports it shared data with device sellers without user consent. 
  • Those device sellers include Apple, Amazon, and Samsung. 
  • Facebook denies data was shared without permission. 
  • Watch Facebook trade in real time here. 

Facebook fell more than 1% in early trading Monday, after reports it shared data with 60 companies, many of which are device sellers. 

The companies receiving Facebook user data included Apple, Amazon and Samsung. Those device sellers received friends' data, although Facebook denies that data was shared without permission. The Times reported some device makers had access to user data such as relationship status, religion, political leaning and events.

Facebook stock got hammered in a two day span after the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in late March. The stock recovered in full by early May. During the course of several government hearings - one with the EU, one with the US Senate, and one with the US House of Representatives - Facebook said it will focus on ensuring that data is only shared when users consent

Facebook is up 5.3% on the year. 

Screen Shot 2018 06 04 at 9.04.13 AM

 

SEE ALSO: Crypto company Ripple is giving $50 million to universities including Princeton, MIT, and UCL for blockchain research

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This $530 Android phone is half the price of an iPhone X and just as good

India: Unocoin Launches Upgraded Altcoins Cryptocurrency Exchange ‘UNODAX’

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Unocoin, arguably India’s biggest and most well-funded cryptocurrency wallet, announced the launch of their digital exchange UNODAX on May 30, 2018. Active Crypto-Traders to be Benefited As stated on an official release, UNODAX is modeled as a “live-order book altcoin trading”  platform, that aims to amplify the offerings available in the India crypto-space to deal

The post India: Unocoin Launches Upgraded Altcoins Cryptocurrency Exchange ‘UNODAX’ appeared first on CCN

Block.one just raised a $4 billion ICO

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

This story was delivered to Business Insider Intelligence "Fintech Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

Cayman Island-based crypto company Block.one has raised $4 billion via its initial coin offering (ICO), which sold a proprietary token, dubbed EOS. This marks the largest ICO to date, and makes EOS the fifth most valuable cryptocurrency, according to CoinDesk
Largest ICOs Globally

Investors used 7.12 million Ether to buy EOS tokens, so the total value of the ICO could still shift depending on Ether’s price fluctuations. Interestingly, while Block.one has definitely attracted many investors, it did not have live product during the time it collected investments, meaning it raised this capital on investor confidence alone. Block.one launched its software over the weekend.

Block.one now has to deliver on the enormous expectations it has set.With investors putting so much faith in the startup, it will now be under serious pressure to deliver the technology and returns its backers are looking for. The sky-high valuation is largely down to some investors' assumptions that Block.one will offer a decentralized alternative to current cloud-hosting services, while others think it will be an improved version of Ethereum. 

However, Block.one hasn't benefited from entirely smooth sailing — the company's email system was breached last weekend, which allowed hackers to send messages to Block.one’s customers telling them they could buy unsold EOS tokens by handing over their private keys (cryptography passwords used in blockchain solutions). All eyes will likely now be on how well Block.one handles potential snags in the first days of its launch, and how well its technology brings about the efficiency it promises.

Investments in ICOs remain very risky, especially when there aren't many details around the project. Many ICOs don't provide investors with enough information about their projects, or straight up lie to them about what the plan is. This makes the space very risky for investors, who likely very often don't know enough to make an educated investment in a company. While it is possible that Block.one will succeed in delivering on its promises to investors, pouring funds into a startup without a live solution only increases the inherent risk of this fundraising method.

Of the many technologies reshaping the world economy, distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) are among the most hyped. DLTs are most often associated with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but such coverage sidelines the broader use cases of DLTs, even though they stand to make a far bigger impact on the broader the financial services (FS) industry.

DLT's value lies in its ability to centralize record-keeping, while cutting out the need for authorization by an overseeing party, instead allowing a record to be confirmed by multiple parties with access to the database. This means DLTs have the potential to streamline financial institutions' (FIs) operations, boost data security, improve customer relationships, and drastically cut costs. But many FIs have struggled to implement DLTs and reap the rewards, because of organizational obstacles, but also because of issues rooted in the technology itself. There are a few players working to make the technology more usable for FIs, and progress is now being made.

In a new report, Business Insider Intelligence takes a look at what DLTs are and why they hold so much promise for FS, the sectors in which DLTs are gaining the most traction and why, and the efforts underway to remove the obstacles preventing wider DLT adoption in finance. It also examines the few FIs close to unleashing their DLT projects, and how DLTs might transform the nature of FS if adoption truly takes off. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • DLTs are proving attractive to FIs because of their ability to act as a single source of truth, distribute information securely, cut out middlemen, improve transaction times, and cut redundancy and costs.
  • DLTs like blockchain and smart contracts stand to save the FS industry up to $50 billion a year through improved operational efficiencies, reduced human error, and better regulatory compliance. 
  • The technology is being explored actively across FS, with trade finance, insurance, and capital markets proving especially active. Overall adoption is still low because of organizational and technical hurdles, but these are now being eliminated, promising to boost implementation.
  • A few FIs have pulled ahead of the curve and are very close to taking their DLT projects live, if they haven't already. These players can serve as useful case studies for other institutions in getting their DLT solutions live.

In full, the report:

  • Looks at what DLTs are, and why the FS industry is working hard to make use of them. 
  • Gives an overview of the financial segments which are seeing the most DLT activity, and what they stand to gain.
  • Outlines efforts being made to make DLT more approachable and usable for the FS industry.
  • Examines use cases in which FIs have managed to take their pilots live, and what they can teach their peers. 

Subscribe to an All-Access pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

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The Genesis Files: Hashcash or How Adam Back Designed Bitcoin’s Motor Block

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Genesis Files: Hashcash or How Adam Back Designed Bitcoin’s Motor Block

[ANNOUNCE] hash cash postage implementation

The date is March 28, 1997, when the 2,000-or-so subscribers of the Cypherpunks mailing list receive an email with the above header in their inbox. The sender is a 26-year-old British postdoc at the University of Exeter, a young cryptographer and prolific contributor to the mailing list named Dr. Adam Back. The email includes a description and early implementation of what he describes as a “partial hash collision based postage scheme” — a sort of stamp equivalent for emails, based on a nifty cryptographic trick.

“The idea of using partial hashes is that they can be made arbitrarily expensive to compute,” wrote Back, explaining the advantage of his system, “and yet can be verified instantly.”

This proposal by the cryptographer who would go on to become the current Blockstream CEO did not immediately garner much attention on the email list; just one reader responded, with a technical inquiry about the hashing algorithm of choice. Yet, the technology underlying Hashcash — proof of work — would shape research into digital money for more than a decade to come.

“Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail”

Back’s Hashcash was actually not the first solution of its kind.

By the early 1990s, the promise of the internet, and the advantages of an electronic mailing system in particular, had become obvious to techies paying attention. Still, internet pioneers of the day came to realize that email, as this electronic mailing system was called, presented its own challenges.

“In particular, the easy and low cost of sending electronic mail, and in particular the simplicity of sending the same message to many parties, all but invite abuse,” IBM researchers Dr. Cynthia Dwork and Dr. Moni Naor explained in their 1992 white paper bearing the name “Pricing via Processing or Combatting Junk Mail.”

Indeed, as email rose in popularity, so did spam.

A solution was needed, early internet users agreed — and a solution is what Dwork and Naor’s paper offered.

The duo proposed a system where senders would have to attach some data to any email they send. This data would be the solution to a math problem, unique to the email in question. Specifically, Dwork and Naor proposed three candidate puzzles that could be used for the purpose, all based on public-key cryptography and signature schemes.

Adding a solution to an email wouldn’t be too difficult, ideally requiring only a couple of seconds of processing power from a regular computer, while its validity could easily be checked by the recipient. But, and this is the trick, even a trivial amount of processing power per email adds up for advertisers, scammers and hackers trying to send thousands or even millions of messages at once. Spamming, so was the theory, could be made expensive and, therefore, unprofitable.

“The main idea is to require a user to compute a moderately hard, but not intractable, function in order to gain access to the resource, thus preventing frivolous use,” Dwork and Naor explained.

While Dwork and Naor did not propose the term, the type of solution they introduced would become known as a “proof of work” system. Users would have to literally show that their computer performed work, to prove that they spent real-world resources.

A nifty solution, but perhaps too far ahead of its time. The proposal never made it very far beyond a relatively small circle of computer scientists.

Adam Back and the Cypherpunks

Around the same time that Dwork and Naor published their white paper, a group of privacy activists with a libertarian bent came to recognize the enormous potential of the internet as well. The ideologically driven crowd started to organize through a mailing list centred around privacy-enhancing technologies. Like Dwork and Naor, these “Cypherpunks” — as they would come to be called — utilized the relatively new science of cryptography to work toward their goals.

Over the years, Adam Back — who earned his Ph.D. in 1996 — established himself as one of the more active participants on this list, at times contributing dozens of emails in a single month. Like most Cypherpunks, the cryptographer was passionate about topics including privacy, free speech and libertarianism, and engaged in technical discussions pertaining to anonymous remailers, encrypted file systems, electronic cash as introduced by Dr. David Chaum, and more.

But for a while, Back was perhaps best known for printing and selling “munition” shirts: T-shirts with an encryption protocol printed on them, intended to help point out the absurd decision by the U.S. government to regulate Phil Zimmermann’s PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) encryption program as “munitions” within the definition of the U.S. export regulations. Wearing Back’s shirt while crossing the border to exit the United States technically made you a “munitions exporter.”

munitions tshirt

Like many, Back was not aware of Dwork and Naor’s proof-of-work proposal. But by the mid-1990s, he was thinking of similar ideas to counter spam, sometimes “out loud” on the Cypherpunks mailing list.

“A side benefit of using PGP, is that PGP encryption should add some overhead to the spammer — he can probably encrypt less messages per second than he can spam down a T3 link,” Back commented, for example, in the context of adding more privacy to remailers; an idea somewhat similar to Dwork and Naor’s.

The Cypherpunks mailing list grew significantly in about half a decade. What started out as an online discussion platform for a group of people that initially gathered at one of their startups in the Bay Area became a small internet phenomenon with thousands of subscribers — and often more emails on a single day than anyone could reasonably keep track of.

It was around this time — 1997, close to the list’s peak popularity — that Back submitted his Hashcash proposal.

Hashcash

Hashcah is similar to Dwork and Naor’s anti-spam proposal and has the same purpose, though Back proposed some additional use cases like countering anonymous remailer abuse. But as the name suggests, Hashcash was not based on cryptographic puzzles like Dwork and Naor’s; it was based on hashing.

Hashing is a cryptographic trick that takes any data — whether it’s a single letter or an entire book — and turns it into a seemingly random number of predetermined length.

For example, a SHA-256 hash of the sentence This is a sentence produces this hexadecimal number:

hash1

Which can be “translated” to the regular decimal number:

hash2

Or to binary:

hash binary

Meanwhile, a SHA-256 hash of the sentence This, is a sentence produces this hexadecimal number:

hash3

As you can see, merely inserting one comma into the sentence completely changes the hash. And, importantly, what the hash of either sentence would be was completely unpredictable; even after the first sentence was hashed, there was no way to calculate the second hash from it. The only way to find out was to actually hash both sentences.

Hashcash applies this mathematical trick in a clever way.

With Hashcash, the metadata of an email (the “from” address, the “to” address, the time, etc.) is formalized as a protocol. Additionally, the sender of an email must add a random number to this metadata: a “nonce.” All this metadata, including the nonce, is then hashed, so the resulting hash looks a bit like one of the random numbers above.

Here’s the trick: not every hash is considered “valid.” Instead, the binary version of the hash must start with a predetermined number of zeroes. For example: 20 zeroes. The sender can generate a hash that starts with 20 zeroes by including a nonce that randomly adds up correctly … but the sender can’t know in advance what that nonce will look like.

To generate a valid hash, therefore, the sender has only one option: trial and error (“brute force”). He must keep trying different nonces until he finds a valid combination; otherwise, his email will be rejected by the intended recipient’s email client. Like Dwork and Naor’s solution, this requires computational resources: it’s a proof-of-work system.

“[I]f it hasn’t got a 20 bit hash […] you have a program which bounces it with a notice explaining the required postage, and where to obtain software from,” Back explained on the Cypherpunks mailing list. “This would put spammers out of business overnight, as 1,000,000 x 20 = 100 MIP years which is going to be more compute than they've got.”

Notably, Back’s proof-of-work system is more random than Dwork and Naor’s. The duo’s solution required solving a puzzle, meaning that a faster computer would solve it faster than a slow computer every time. But statistically, Hashcash would still allow for the slower computer to find a correct solution faster some of the time.

(By analogy, if one person runs faster than another person, the former will win a sprint between them every time. But if one person buys more lottery tickets than another person, the latter will statistically still win some of the time — just not as often.)

Digital Scarcity

Like Dwork and Naor’s proposal, Hashcash — which Back would elaborate on in a white paper in 2002 — never took off in a very big way. It was implemented in Apache’s open-source SpamAssassin platform, and Microsoft gave the proof-of-work idea a spin in the incompatible “email postmark” format. And Back, as well as other academics, came up with various alternative applications for the solution over the years, but most of these never gained much traction. For most potential applications, the lack of any network effect was probably too big to overcome.

Nevertheless, Dwork and Naor as well as Back (independently) did introduce something new. Where one of the most powerful features of digital products is the ease with which they can be copied, proof of work was essentially the first concept akin to virtual scarcity that didn’t rely on a central party: it tied digital data to the real-world, limited resource of computing power.

And scarcity, of course, is a prerequisite for money. Indeed, Back in particular explicitly placed Hashcash in the category of money throughout his Cypherpunks mailing list contributions and white paper, mirroring it to the only digital cash the world had seen at that point in time: DigiCash’s Ecash by Chaum.

“Hashcash may provide a stop gap measure until digicash becomes more widely used,” Back argued on the mailing list. “Hashcash is free, all you’ve got to do is burn some cycles on your PC. It is in keeping with net culture of free discourse, where the financially challenged can duke it out with millionaires, retired government officials, etc on equal terms. [And] Hashcash may provide us with a fall back method for controling [sic] spam if digicash goes sour (gets outlawed or required to escrow user identities).”

Despite the name, however, Hashcash couldn’t properly function as a full-fledged cash in itself (nor could Dwork and Naor’s proposal). Perhaps most importantly, any “received” proof of work is useless to the recipient. Unlike money, it could not be re-spent elsewhere. On top of that, as computers increased in speed every year, they could produce more and more proofs over time at lower cost: Hashcash would have been subject to (hyper)inflation.

What proof of work did offer, more than anything else, was a new basis for research in the digital-money realm. Several of the most notable digital-money proposals that followed were building on Hashcash, typically by allowing the proofs of work to be reused. (With Hal Finney’s Reusable Proof of Work — RPOW — as the most obvious example.)

Bitcoin

Ultimately, of course, proof of work became a cornerstone for Bitcoin, with Hashcash as one of the few citations in the Bitcoin white paper.

Yet, in Bitcoin, Hashcash (or, rather, a version of it) is utilized very differently than many would have guessed beforehand. Unlike Hashcash and other Hashcash-based proposals, the scarcity it provides is not itself used as money at all. Instead, Hashcash enables a race. Whichever miner is the first to produce a valid proof of work — a hash of a Bitcoin block — gets to decide which transactions go through. At least in theory, anyone can compete equally: much like a lottery, even small miners would statistically be the first to produce a valid proof of work every so often.

Further, once a new block is mined, confirming a set of transactions, these transactions are unlikely to be reversed. An attacker would have to prove at least as much work as required to find the block in the first place, and under normal circumstances exponentially more, for any additional block. The real-world resources that must be spent in order to cheat outweigh the potential profit that can be made by cheating, which should give recipients of Bitcoin transactions confidence that these transactions are final.

This is how, in Bitcoin, Hashcash killed two birds with one stone. It solved the double-spending problem in a decentralized way, while providing a trick to get new coins into circulation with no centralized issuer.

Hashcash did not realize the first electronic cash system — Ecash takes that crown, and proof-of-work could not really function as money. But a decentralized electronic cash system might well have been impossible without Back’s proof of work.

For more on the history of proof of work, also see hashcash.org and, in particular, hashcash.org/papers/.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

SBI Launches Japan’s First Bank-Owned Cryptocurrency Exchange with Ripple Support

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Japanese financial institution SBI holdings has confirmed the launch of its cryptocurrency exchange, called ‘VCTRADE’, 15 months after its initial announcement in 2016. In an announcement on Monday, the Japanese financial giant revealed it will initially focus on trading XRP, the native token powering Ripple’s Consensus Ledger (RCL), with upcoming support for bitcoin (BTC). While

The post SBI Launches Japan’s First Bank-Owned Cryptocurrency Exchange with Ripple Support appeared first on CCN

SBI Launches Japan’s First Bank-Owned Cryptocurrency Exchange with Ripple Support

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Japanese financial institution SBI holdings has confirmed the launch of its cryptocurrency exchange, called ‘VCTRADE’, 15 months after its initial announcement in 2016. In an announcement on Monday, the Japanese financial giant revealed it will initially focus on trading XRP, the native token powering Ripple’s Consensus Ledger (RCL), with upcoming support for bitcoin (BTC). While

The post SBI Launches Japan’s First Bank-Owned Cryptocurrency Exchange with Ripple Support appeared first on CCN

Bitcoin Price Struggles to Secure Momentum at $7,700, Downside Break Expected

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The bitcoin price has failed to secure momentum above the $7,700 mark, struggling to break above the one-month descending trendline since May 3. If the upward movement of bitcoin fades and the dominant cryptocurrency is unable to bounce back quickly to the higher end of $7,700, a bleed out to the $6,000 region can be

The post Bitcoin Price Struggles to Secure Momentum at $7,700, Downside Break Expected appeared first on CCN

10 things you need to know before the opening bell (SPY, SPX, QQQ, DIA, FB, MSFT)

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Queen's birthday rehearsal

Here is what you need to know. 

Trump's trade war could kill hundreds of thousands of jobs"The tariffs and retaliation would increase U.S. steel employment and non-ferrous metals (primarily aluminum) employment by 26,346 jobs, but cost a net of 495,136 jobs throughout the rest of the economy, for a total net loss of nearly 470,000 jobs," according to a study conducted by The Trade Partnership.

Morgan Stanley studied decades of stock market history and nailed down the best areas that protect against huge portfolio losses"We think a rotation to more defensive market leadership is coming later this year and into 2019," they said.

Crypto company Ripple is giving $50 million to universities including Princeton and MIT for blockchain researchThe new fund highlights the early-stage nature of blockchain and crypto tech, which many companies around the world are trying to use to create commercial ventures.

New York is the most influential city in the world. That's according to the management consultancy firm A.T. Kearney's annual Global Cities Report, which looks at which global cities "are improving in their competitiveness and what factors are driving that success."

Italy's biggest bank reportedly wants to merge with France's Societe Generale to create a $2.5 trillion European giantJean-Pierre Mustier, CEO of UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank, is reportedly interested in begining merger talks with French banking giant Societe Generale. 

Facebook gave user data to 60 companies including Apple, Amazon, and SamsungThe New York Times reported device makers were able to access data of users' friends, such as relationship status, religion, and political leaning.

Microsoft is closing in on buying GitHub. A deal for the popular developer tools platform, which was last valued at $2 billion in 2015, could be announced as early as Monday. Bloomberg says.  

Stock markets around the world are higherHong Kong's Hang Seng (+1.66%) led the way in Asia and Spain's IBEX (+1.76%) is out front in Europe. S&P 500 futures are up 0.4%. 

Earnings season is winding downDell Technologies reports ahead of the opening bell.

US economic data flowsFactory orders and durable goods orders will both be released at 10 a.m. ET. The US 10-year yield is up 2 basis points at 2.92%. 

Join the conversation about this story »

Crypto company Ripple is giving $50 million to universities including Stanford, MIT, and UCL for blockchain research

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

In this photo illustration of the ripple cryptocurrency 'altcoin' sits arranged for a photograph on April 25, 2018 in London, England. Cryptocurrency markets began to recover this month following a massive crash during the first quarter of 2018, seeing more than $550 billion wiped from the total market capitalisation. (Photo by )

  • Payments company Ripple is launching a $50 million fund to finance blockchain and crypto research at universities.
  • The new fund highlights the early-stage nature of blockchain and crypto tech, which many companies around the world are trying to use to create commercial ventures.


Crypto payments company Ripple has announced a new $50 million fund to finance university research into blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

Ripple has partnered with 17 universities around the world for the new project, including MIT, University College London, Princeton, Stanford, and the Australian National University. Universities involved in the project will be able to apply to Ripple's University Blockchain Research Initiative fund for cash. Some of the $50 million has already been allocated.

Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple, said in a statement: "Academia has traditionally been a critical driver of technical innovation.

"The University Blockchain Research Initiative is an acknowledgement of the vital importance of the unique role universities will play in advancing our understanding and application of cryptography and blockchain technology. It also speaks to the reality that university graduates will fuel a continually evolving and maturing financial marketplace and workforce."

Ripple is not the first to collaborate with the university sector. Charles Hoskinson, who helped develop ethereum, last year committed to investing $1 million in setting up new blockchain labs at the University of Edinburgh and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Both instances highlight the fact that the cryptocurrency space remains an early stage, development-led sector, despite large numbers of businesses trying to build commercial products using the technology and the huge amounts of capital these companies have attracted.

Blockchain tech, which was first popularized as the underpinnings of bitcoin, still faces issues around processing power, privacy, and energy usage, among others. Developers around the world are looking at these and other issues in a bid to improve the nascent technology.

van Miltenburg said in a statement: "Much of the enthusiasm and activity to date around blockchain is disconnected from real use cases that result in clear benefits to businesses or civil society.

"While Ripple won’t dictate research parameters, we are excited to play a role in helping to support faculty and student-led projects that explore increasingly useful applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies."

Ripple is closely linked to the cryptocurrency XRP, sometimes also dubbed Ripple, and owns 60% of the currency. The sale of XRP is used to generate the money for the new university fund.

Ripple initially wanted businesses to use XRP to send and receive global payments but struggled with adoption. It has since pivoted to offering a blockchain-based payments product and pitching XRP for use as a liquidity solution.

SEE ALSO: The University of Edinburgh is launching a blockchain research lab with one of the cofounders of Ethereum

DON'T MISS: Everything you need to know about the complex relationship between Ripple and cryptocurrency XRP

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE KRISTIN LEMKAU INTERVIEW: JPMorgan Chase's CMO explains how she deals with disruption on two fronts at once, why she's moving some ad dollars back to TV, and why it matters what your credit card feels like

Crypto company Ripple is giving $50 million to universities including Stanford, MIT, and UCL for blockchain research

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

In this photo illustration of the ripple cryptocurrency 'altcoin' sits arranged for a photograph on April 25, 2018 in London, England. Cryptocurrency markets began to recover this month following a massive crash during the first quarter of 2018, seeing more than $550 billion wiped from the total market capitalisation. (Photo by )

  • Payments company Ripple is launching a $50 million fund to finance blockchain and crypto research at universities.
  • The new fund highlights the early-stage nature of blockchain and crypto tech, which many companies around the world are trying to use to create commercial ventures.


Crypto payments company Ripple has announced a new $50 million fund to finance university research into blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

Ripple has partnered with 17 universities around the world for the new project, including MIT, University College London, Princeton, Stanford, and the Australian National University. Universities involved in the project will be able to apply to Ripple's University Blockchain Research Initiative fund for cash. Some of the $50 million has already been allocated.

Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple, said in a statement: "Academia has traditionally been a critical driver of technical innovation.

"The University Blockchain Research Initiative is an acknowledgement of the vital importance of the unique role universities will play in advancing our understanding and application of cryptography and blockchain technology. It also speaks to the reality that university graduates will fuel a continually evolving and maturing financial marketplace and workforce."

Ripple is not the first to collaborate with the university sector. Charles Hoskinson, who helped develop ethereum, last year committed to investing $1 million in setting up new blockchain labs at the University of Edinburgh and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

Both instances highlight the fact that the cryptocurrency space remains an early stage, development-led sector, despite large numbers of businesses trying to build commercial products using the technology and the huge amounts of capital these companies have attracted.

Blockchain tech, which was first popularized as the underpinnings of bitcoin, still faces issues around processing power, privacy, and energy usage, among others. Developers around the world are looking at these and other issues in a bid to improve the nascent technology.

van Miltenburg said in a statement: "Much of the enthusiasm and activity to date around blockchain is disconnected from real use cases that result in clear benefits to businesses or civil society.

"While Ripple won’t dictate research parameters, we are excited to play a role in helping to support faculty and student-led projects that explore increasingly useful applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies."

Ripple is closely linked to the cryptocurrency XRP, sometimes also dubbed Ripple, and owns 60% of the currency. The sale of XRP is used to generate the money for the new university fund.

Ripple initially wanted businesses to use XRP to send and receive global payments but struggled with adoption. It has since pivoted to offering a blockchain-based payments product and pitching XRP for use as a liquidity solution.

SEE ALSO: The University of Edinburgh is launching a blockchain research lab with one of the cofounders of Ethereum

DON'T MISS: Everything you need to know about the complex relationship between Ripple and cryptocurrency XRP

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: THE KRISTIN LEMKAU INTERVIEW: JPMorgan Chase's CMO explains how she deals with disruption on two fronts at once, why she's moving some ad dollars back to TV, and why it matters what your credit card feels like

Bitcoin's Low Volume Breakout Could Be a Bull Trap

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin looks primed for a move to $8,000, but low trading volumes point to the risk of a bull trap.

Australia’s First ‘Digital Currency Town’ Accepts Bitcoin to Boost Tourism

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Australian beach town Agnes Water is billing itself the country’s first ‘digital currency town’ in an effort to attract international digital-savvy travelers to boost its primary industry, tourism. Over 30 local businesses including accommodation providers, tour operators, restaurants and even the local pub in Agnes Water are now accepting cryptocurrencies, despite being a town of

The post Australia’s First ‘Digital Currency Town’ Accepts Bitcoin to Boost Tourism appeared first on CCN

Opinion: Do We Really Need Cryptcurrency?

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

On my last piece I defended the idea that the market will experience a bubble due to the fact people over-hype projects and don’t truly understand the relationship between money and technology. I’m including myself in this group, as a majority of those who ever bought a cryptocurrency but Bitcoin or Ethereum, do not really

The post Opinion: Do We Really Need Cryptcurrency? appeared first on CCN

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