Report Claims Putin Aided Maduro in Creating Venezuela’s Crypto, Petro

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Report Claims Putin Aided Maduro in Creating Venezuela’s Crypto, Petro


A Time investigation into the development of Venezuela’s state-backed cryptocurrency, petro, revealed strong anecdotal and circumstantial evidence connecting Russia to its launch. At least two Russians with ties to Vladimir Putin were present at petro’s unveiling, complete with the Venezuelan president’s thanks. Analysts are claiming the South American country is Mr. Putin’s crypto guinea pig as the two nations try to find innovative ways around US sanctions.

Also read: Bitcoiners Demand More Crypto CFDs and Spread-Betting in the UK

Report Claims Putin and Maduro Teamed to Launch Petro

Time online is referring to Tuesday’s official sale of petro as “a half-hidden joint venture between Venezuelan and Russian officials and businessmen, whose aim was to erode the power of U.S. sanctions,” finding “Moscow’s fingerprints all over the creation of the petro.”

Such revelations come at an interesting time for all three countries. In the US, the present administration has been accused of being too close to re-elected Russian President Putin. Mr. Putin is under international pressure for alleged acts of assassination on foreign shores along with meddling in elections abroad. Venezuela has long been a client state of Russia, and has equally been the object of scorn for several US administrations. The three were tied together, somewhat unknowingly (on the US side at least) by President Trump’s recent Executive Order forbidding formal participation in the petro.  

And truth be told it is Russia who would rather tread lightly at this point. Indeed, as Mr. Putin’s economic advisor, Igor Shuvalov, explained, “For Russia, it’s too dangerous. If we say that the only reason we do it is to avoid U.S. sanctions, then the United States is definitely going to be displeased about it. Venezuela has nothing to lose. For them it’s the only chance.” The Venezuelan economy is the daily subject of press accounts, documenting economic horrors.

So it might have seemed somewhat brazen to have no fewer than two Russian nationals connected front and center at petro’s media scrum launch last month. Denis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky were thanked publicly by Mr. Maduro, and Mr. Bogorodsky stands at the one hour and eight minute mark to give a congratulatory speech in Russian (see video inset).

Covering Tracks on a Gamble

The two men were initially identified as representatives of a shadowy company, Aerotrading, which claims blockchain specialty. Within days of the presser, presumably to establish the company’s legitimacy, a sudden website and Twitter account were set up. Of the two men, Mr. Bogorodsky was the only to comment publicly.

Mr. Druzhkov is well connected to a Russian billionaire, while Mr. Bogorodsky is a former banking executive living in South America. The report describes him as having “close business ties with Russia and other former Soviet states.” It appears he’s been involved with petro since its inception late last year. Mr. Bogorodsky stresses, “Russia has been moving in this direction for a while now, trying to draft laws to regulate cryptocurrencies.” Venezuela’s pace has evidently been much quicker. Dismissing potential US concerns, he laughs, “Any citizen of the world can do what he wants. We offer freedom of choice. So I think there will be lots of investors, big and small, from all over the world.”

Report Claims Putin Aided Maduro in Creating Venezuela’s Crypto, Petro

According to an anonymous “executive at a Russian state bank who deals with cryptocurrencies, senior advisers to the Kremlin have overseen the effort in Venezuela, and President Vladimir Putin signed off on it last year. ‘People close to Putin, they told him this is how to avoid the sanctions,’ says the executive. ‘This is how the whole thing started,’” the report explained. Russia is insisting it had nothing to do with the petro’s creation.

State apparatchiks, on the other hand, have made plenty of statements about US financial sanctions. The head of Russia’s second largest bank, VTB, Andrei Kostin spoke openly recently about how “The reign of the dollar must end. This whip that the Americans use in the form of the dollar would then, to a great extent, not have such a serious impact on the global financial system.”

US regulators are quoted as not being too worried about petro nor the possibility of a crypto-ruble. It is hard to say if state-backed cryptocurrencies could ultimately work. Such ideas have always suffered from violating key tenants of crypto: censorship resistance and decentralization. By definition, state-backed currencies violate both.

Do you think state-backed crypto can work? Let us know in the comments!

Images via Pixabay, Wikipedia. 

At we do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

No, There Isn’t Child Porn on the Bitcoin Blockchain

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No, There Isn’t Child Porn on the Bitcoin Blockchain


Anyone swiping through the tech news on their tablet this week may have been startled by an unsavory story. Child pornography (CP) is permanently encoded in the bitcoin blockchain accoriding to mainstream media reports, making anyone who downloads the blockchain guilty of accessing CP. Not only is this old news, but it’s fake news. Understanding why calls for taking a quick dip into bitcoin’s code.

Also read: Bitcoin Cash Ecosystem Sees a Tidal Wave of Merchant Acceptance

Bitcoin’s Boogeyman Returns

No one can really recall what bitcoin was branded as first: a tool of terrorists, drug dealers, or child pornographers. All that can be said for certain is all three canards have been trotted out regularly over the years. Only last week in the U.S. Senate, Representative Brad Sherman expressed hope that a cryptocurrency panel would reconvene immediately after there had been a terrorist attack funded by crypto. But that was last week; this week it’s all about pornography of the worst kind. CP is the topic du jour thanks to a new research paper. Its abstract explains:

Blockchains…irrevocably record arbitrary data, ranging from short messages to pictures. This does not come without risk for users as each participant has to locally replicate the complete blockchain, particularly including potentially harmful content…Our analysis shows that certain content, e.g., illegal pornography, can render the mere possession of a blockchain illegal…our analysis reveals more than 1600 files on the blockchain, over 99% of which are texts or images. Among these files there is clearly objectionable content such as links to child pornography, which is distributed to all Bitcoin participants.

This all sounds pretty damning, and given some of the alarmist headlines the paper has generated, you would have thought the FBI van was speeding its way to every address known to operate a full bitcoin node. But that’s not quite how the real story goes.

No, There Isn’t Child Porn on the Bitcoin Blockchain
The Daily Dot cranks up the FUD.

Old News Is Old

The CP on the blockchain story isn’t news and it isn’t new either. In fact, it was first dragged up in 2013, and has been revived, six years on, purely because a new paper has given the claims an air of legitimacy. News outlets were quick to jump on the story again, which was then widely shared by attention trolls such as Brianna Wu. The false hypothesis comes from the fact that it’s possible to encode information in the blockchain. That was how Satoshi famously hid his message in the genesis block: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”. Anyone inspecting the blockchain won’t find those words however. Instead they’ll find the following hash: 000000000019d6689c085ae165831e934ff763ae46a2a6c172b3f1b60a8ce26. That is the block’s coinbase parameter (nothing to do with Coinbase the company), written in hex.

No, There Isn’t Child Porn on the Bitcoin Blockchain
Media publications have had a field day with the CP non-story.

A research paper published in July 2017 titled Data Insertion in Bitcoin’s Blockchain explores this topic in more detail and explains how the coinbase data “is arbitrary and can be up to 100 bytes in size”. Only miners have the ability to insert data in this manner, and it’s typically used to signal mining support for proposed protocol changes. There are five other ways in which data can be encoded on the bitcoin blockchain, and it is the OP_RETURN option that is at the center of the child pornography story. The 2017 research paper explains that “this method is appropriate for inserting small amounts of data (or transaction metadata), but it is not suitable for large quantities of data.”

No, There Isn’t Child Porn on the Bitcoin Blockchain
The Guardian gets in on the act

80 bytes is all that OP_RETURN can store, and what’s more that information is subject to deletion. That’s because bitcoin nodes are capable of pruning “provably unspendable” UTXOs for efficiency, which include OP_RETURN data. Anyone wishing to use the bitcoin blockchain to seek out child pornography would need to perform the following convoluted process:

  1. Download the entire bitcoin blockchain and sift through 251 million transactions to find the 1.4% that contain some kind of arbitrary data encoded in them.
  2. Ensure that the version of the blockchain you were using had been subject to no pruning that might have removed OP_RETURN data.
  3. Extract any web links that might be concealed in the data using some sort of steganography.
  4. Type the links into your browser until you eventually found a website that was still accessible.

To assert that the bitcoin blockchain contains child pornography is disingenuous, and is no more meaningful than saying that the internet contains CP. You could live to 100 and never encounter CP on the web, because that’s not how the web works. And that’s not how the blockchain works either.

Don’t Believe the Headlines

No, There Isn’t Child Porn on the Bitcoin BlockchainAsserting that there is child pornography on the blockchain would be like strolling through the U.S. Capitol Building, dropping a scrap of paper containing a deep web address, and then claiming that the American government is storing obscene content. As respected bitcoin commenter Nic Carter wrote: “Any journalist writing about arbitrary content injection into the Bitcoin blockchain should be extremely careful to detail to what extent that content exists, is extractable, viewable, etc. A text string which is a URL link to a [website displaying a thing] is not [the thing itself]. That is an extremely bad interpretation. Do not conflate the two. If you are willing to claim that “the blockchain contains X” you should be able to prove that you can extract X.”

Steganography and blockchain data insertion are fascinating topics that deserve scrutiny and further study. But to assert that the blockchain contains child pornography is misleading to the point of falsehood. It’s possible to encode a hidden link inside any database, including Facebook, Twitter, and Wikipedia. The act of doing so proves nothing other than the fascination some people have for concealing messages in messages – and that’s been happening since 1499.

Do you think mainstream media are guilty of misreporting this story, or are they right to air their concerns? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Daily Dot and Twitter.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

Snowden Releases NSA Documents Showing Bitcoin Was “#1 Priority”

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Snowden Releases NSA Documents Showing Bitcoin Was


Xkeyscore. MAC addresses. OAKSTAR. MONKEYROCKET. Edward Snowden is at it again. This time the world’s most notorious whistleblower has handed over National Security Agency (NSA) documentation to online investigative news outlet The Intercept revealing an invasive covert program to track bitcoin users using spy tools he uncovered during his infamous first go-round. The implications include the future of privacy along with warrantless data collection being used to prosecute bitcoiners such as Ross Ulbricht of Silk Road.

Also read: Bitcoiners Demand More Crypto CFDs and Spread-Betting in the UK

Snowden Reveals How NSA Tracked Bitcoin Users

Ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Brian de Vallance, in a November 2013 letter to Congress, worried that “with the advent of virtual currencies and the ease with which financial transactions can be exploited by criminal organizations, DHS has recognized the need for an aggressive posture toward this evolving trend.” Infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden seems to have found a trove of heavily redacted, classified NSA documents attesting to that “aggressive posture.”

It’s fitting Mr. Snowden should share them with The Intercept, an online investigative news organization founded by his benefactor, attorney turned journalist Glenn Greenwald. Mr. Greenwald was then writing for The Guardian, and the two unleashed the largest batch of government security documents ever revealed about US and UK global surveillance.

Snowden Releases NSA Documents Showing Bitcoin Was "#1 Priority"

Interestingly, the documents tracking bitcoin users stem from roughly the same period, 2013. They detail bitcoiners all over the world were targeted as powers granted the NSA under the rubric of fighting terrorism expanded, and might have even begun to play a role in early crypto prosecutions such as Ross Ulbricht and Silk Road.

American Civil Liberties Union’s Patrick Toomey, of its National Security Project, explained, “If the government’s criminal investigations secretly relied on NSA spying, that would be a serious concern. Individuals facing criminal prosecution have a right to know how the government came by its evidence, so that they can challenge whether the government’s methods were lawful. That is a basic principle of due process. The government should not be hiding the true sources for its evidence in court by inventing a different trail.”

Raw, Global Internet Traffic

Readers in recent years have been thrown a pivot. It’s not the currency aspect of bitcoin that is to be admired, but rather blockchain technology or some other such related innovation. Yet all along, since its inception, bitcoin was meant to be digital cash, a direct way to undermine governments and their cartelized banking system. In popular press accounts this aspect has been downplayed and almost forgotten. Until now.

It appears NSA has been focused on what’s important or novel about bitcoin, and it ain’t blockchain. And since the initial Mr. Snowden revelations of the Agency’s widespread data gathering streams and programs, enthusiasts have long suspected something of the sort was happening in crypto. Document sentences filled with snippets such as “help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoins” will only fuel more speculation.

Snowden Releases NSA Documents Showing Bitcoin Was "#1 Priority"“The data source appears to have leveraged NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents,” Sam Biddle of The Intercept wrote, noting “Bitcoin is #1 priority” over other cryptocurrencies, according to documents.

Information gathered wasn’t just about transactions. In fact, “the tracking may also have involved gathering intimate details of these users’ computers. The NSA collected some Bitcoin users’ password information, internet activity, and a type of unique device identification number known as a MAC address,” Mr. Biddle explains. A MAC address is also known as a media access control address, a unique hardware identifier. A crisper analogy would be to liken a MAC to an American social security number which remains with a person (device) for their entire lives.

Unsuspecting Bitcoiners

Deeper still, the NSA documents confirm the ease at which the Agency could identify users in particular, “hinting that NSA may have been using its Xkeyscore searching system, where the Bitcoin information and wide range of other NSA data was cataloged, to enhance its information on Bitcoin users. An NSA reference document indicated that the data source provided ‘user data such as billing information and Internet Protocol addresses.’ With this sort of information in hand, putting a name to a given Bitcoin user would be easy,” the report detailed. Xkeyscore (XKS) came into popular consciousness through Mr. Snowden’s first revelations. XKS was used by the NSA globally, collecting internet data daily, and shared with most English-speaking, industrialized nations. Its source code was publically analyzed in Germany during Summer of 2014.  

The report relies heavily on tracking derived from OAKSTAR, also first uncovered by Mr. Snowden during his initial affair, which uses “a collection of covert corporate partnerships enabling the agency to monitor communications, including by harvesting internet data as it traveled along fiber optic cables that undergird the internet.” A sister program, MONKEYROCKET, was employed to snatch data from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and South America, according to documents. It’s “full take”, which can mean “the entirety of data passing through a network was examined and at least some entire data sessions were stored for later analysis,” The Intercept claims.

Snowden Releases NSA Documents Showing Bitcoin Was "#1 Priority"As part of a broader anti-terrorism program, MONKEYROCKET was also used to develop software promising relative anonymity to unsuspecting bitcoiners in places like China and Iran. The program wasn’t disclosed, but its import is plain enough: “it functioned as a privacy bait and switch, tricking Bitcoin users into using a tool they thought would provide anonymity online but was actually funneling data directly to the NSA.” This seems to indicate a virtual private network (VPN) of some kind was compromised. The forever rub with VPNs is that users have to trust the issuer. 

While the latest news might further push enthusiasts toward privacy coins, equally disturbing, if not more, is the assumption the NSA played a role in the prosecution of Ross Ulbricht, now serving double life without the possibility of parole and awaiting a possible Supreme Court reprieve. Mr. Ulbricht argued the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s recounting of their case left serious holes. And if it could be proved an outside entity, like the NSA, used unethical, illegal means to obtain evidence, then the entire prosecution against him was compromised. Mr. Snowden’s current batch doesn’t speak to the issue directly; however, the timeframe and government sense of urgency seems to make it at least plausible, if not probable.  

Do you think Snowden’s latest documents will push more enthusiasts to privacy coins? Will the information provided help Ross Ulbricht? Let us know in the comments!

Images via Pixabay, The Intercept. 

At we do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

PR: Breakthrough Crypto Investment App Coinseed Launches Globally and Announces Its ICO

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Crypto Investment App Coinseed Launches ICO

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. does not endorse nor support this product/service. is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

Coinseed ICO

NYC, USA – New York based fintech startup Coinseed, announced today that its app – which lets users invest their spare change into crypto – has now launched globally. They also announced the ICO to start on March 20th which has 15% bonus for early investors who get whitelisted.

Originally, Coinseed was founded when it became evident there was a huge audience interested in cryptocurrencies but those people found it hard to invest in crypto. They mostly wanted to invest small amounts initially to learn. “Many of our app users came to us seeking a solution that makes it child’s play to buy small amounts of cryptocurrency. We believe the Coinseed app delivers this seamlessly. So today we’re giving the whole world a chance to try what we’ve created” said co-founder Del Davaasambuu.

The Coinseed app makes it very quick and simple to invest in most of the top cryptocurrencies. Setup takes less than five minutes to both fund an account and build a portfolio. One of the most unique features of the app is that a user is able to completely change their portfolio in seconds because there are no private keys, or digital wallets (it’s all held within the platform). This one feature alone extends Coinseed’s potential global market significantly – a market that is now downloading the app in large numbers.

The Coinseed app solves two other critical pain points for many users – accessibility and security of funds. Many holders of cryptocurrency find converting crypto into physical cash challenging. Coinseed makes it incredibly easy to withdraw money. Security of funds can also be a significant issue – particularly for those less technologically literate. Coinseed uses identical security measures as Mint, Venmo, Acorns and Transferwise. It also uses the latest technology to secure the cryptocurrencies it holds – in multisig cold wallets.

The Coinseed ICO has been designed to be a highly attractive proposition for investors. “We have rolled out a steady stream of new features in the app and have added a number of highly experienced advisors and team members. We are an actual business and we are already profitable. We believe the token configuration and offering make it a difficult combination to turn down”. Coinseed’s pre-ICO fundraising round came in at $200,000, and they are raising a further $10 million during their crowdsale beginning March 20th.

Learn more about Coinseed’s ICO
Join Coinseed’s Telegram channel

Contact Email Address
Supporting Link

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. 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 the press release.

G20 Argentina Ends With No New Cryptocurrency Regulation

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G20 Argentina Ends With No New Cryptocurrency Regulation

Economy & Regulation

Nations forming the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Argentina this week issued Comunicado oficial de la primera reunión de ministros de Hacienda y presidentes de Bancos Centrales del G20, or first communication from the world’s central bankers concerning their work. The two page document is crammed with statements, and on the final page bankers seemed to table cryptocurrency regulations, while acknowledging both their potential for “efficiency and inclusiveness” but also “tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing.” Bankers urged the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to apply their standards to “crypto-assets” in order to “advance global implementation.”

Also read: Bitcoiners Demand More Crypto CFDs and Spread-Betting in the UK

G20 Will Tackle Crypto Regs Mañana

“We acknowledge that technological innovation, including that underlying crypto-assets, has the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system and the economy more broadly,” G20 central bankers noted in their publication, Communiqué: Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors,19-20 March 2018, Buenos Aires, Argentina. “Crypto-assets do, however, raise issues with respect to consumer and investor protection, market integrity, tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing. Crypto-assets lack the key attributes of sovereign currencies. At some point they could have financial stability implications.”

G20 Argentina Ends With No New Cryptocurrency Regulation

The G20 is an international forum for governments and central bankers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, (plus Spain as a permanent guest member). Collectively, they represent two-thirds of the world’s population and over 80% of the globe’s economic output.

“We commit to implement the FATF standards as they apply to crypto-assets,” the online posting continued, “look forward to the FATF review of those standards, and call on the FATF to advance global implementation. We call on international standard-setting bodies (SSBs) to continue their monitoring of crypto-assets and their risks, according to their mandates, and assess multilateral responses as needed.”

Crypto Enthusiasts Breathe a Sigh of Relief

The FATF ahead of this week’s meeting issued their own report, FATF Report to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors March 2018. The 12 page document discusses standards for “virtual currencies,” noting “Virtual Currency Payment Products and Services (VCPPS)” will continue to be monitored, especially “particular methods of terrorist financing activity that pose an emerging threat, as well as at products and services that may represent an emerging vulnerability.” Later, they describe the current state of crypto as a patchwork of “regulatory framework across different countries” which “can be exploited by criminals, stifle innovation and create uncertainty,” stressing the how “FATF will continue its work on FinTech and virtual currencies, including considering how to promote and ensure a more coherent and consistent approach by countries to mitigating the risks and supporting financial innovation.”

G20 Argentina Ends With No New Cryptocurrency Regulation
Mark Carney

The Paris-based FATF is an intergovernmental organization (also known as Groupe d’action financière) focused mainly on money laundering with a particular emphasis on terrorism financing. Its jurisdiction is among 37 member states, operating a blacklist of uncooperative nations … which can amount to severe financial pressure without formal sanction.

Overall, cryptocurrency enthusiasts took a giant breath of relief. Prior to the meeting, crypto markets were tanking. The run-up to Argentina was largely seen as a black cloud, as many member nations had openly called for tighter crypto restrictions on a global level. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, a letter from the chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), Mark Carney, advised the G20 against new rules regarding crypto, suggesting what eventually became evident: there is no consensus among global leaders with regard to regulation. News sent markets into bull mode with bitcoin’s price rising above 9,000 USD as of this writing.

Do you think crypto is headed for another bull run? Let us know in the comments!

Images via Pixabay, G20. 

At we do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

Bitcoin Cash Ecosystem Sees a Tidal Wave of Merchant Acceptance

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Bitcoin Cash Ecosystem Sees a Tidal Wave of Merchant Acceptance


Just recently reported on Bitpay launching bitcoin cash (BCH) integration for the firm’s loadable Visa debit cards. Since then the company has implemented BCH invoice support for all of the firm’s vendors, and now bitcoin cash can be spent with thousands of merchants worldwide.

Also read: Some of Bitcoin’s Earliest Adopters Find it Difficult to ‘Cash Out’

Thousands of Merchants and Nonprofits Now Accept Bitcoin Cash

Merchant adoption has been increasing lately for the BCH ecosystem, but in one day that metric spiked considerably. Bitpay has fully integrated bitcoin cash payments for all of its vendors and merchants that utilize the company’s payment processing services. Since the ‘cryptocurrency fever’ swept the globe in 2017, Bitpay’s merchant list has grown considerably last year. This includes significant merchant growth in the U.S., South America, Asia, and Europe.

Bitcoin Cash Ecosystem Sees a Tidal Wave of Merchant Acceptance
Bitcoin cash can be used with well-known merchants like Microsoft.

Bitcoin cash supporters have been extremely pleased to see some of their favorite merchants accepting BCH as a form of payment and network fees are considerably less. The list of Bitpay vendors who now accept BCH, includes Newegg, Apmex, Vultr, Namecheap, eGifter, Gyft, Zeek, Wefunder, Heifer International, Vodi, JM Bullion, and many more. This also includes a wide variety of nonprofits and charities like Save the Children, the Internet Archive, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Wikipedia.

Bitcoin Cash Ecosystem Sees a Tidal Wave of Merchant Acceptance
Bitcoin cash can be used to donate to hundreds of charities and nonprofit organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

BIP 70 Wallet Support for Bitcoin Cash and BCH Being Used for South Korean Cross-Border Payments

In addition to the full range of merchants and non-profits now available to the BCH ecosystem. Bitcoin cash payments are also now compatible with the Payment-Protocol (BIP70) used in Bitpay invoices. Further, there are currently more supporting wallets utilizing this feature, and the Electron Cash client was added yesterday. Wallets that are compatible with the BCH Payment-Protocol include BRD Wallet, Bitcoin Core, Edge (formally Airbitz), Electrum, Mycelium, Copay, Bitpay, and the Wallet. Bitcoin cash users who have these types of wallets can utilize any Bitpay merchant.

Bitcoin Cash Ecosystem Sees a Tidal Wave of Merchant Acceptance
The BCH wallet Electron Cash can now be used with the Payment-Protocol for those who wish to pay Bitpay merchant invoices.

Another announcement from Bitpay that will also please BCH proponents is the company’s recent partnership with the South Korean exchange Bithumb. The two companies are launching a cross-border payment solution which will utilize BTC and BCH to help cheapen the costs of international payments for South Korean businesses. Bitpay executive Sonny Singh says that South Korean companies are sometimes paying or receiving $100,000 – $5 million USD per invoice. “A 1 -2% savings on each invoice can lead to dramatic cost savings,” explains Singh.

Overall the announcement of Bitpay integrating bitcoin cash has pleased BCH proponents quite a bit as the number of merchants added to the ecosystem, and the new South Korean cross-border payment platform will increase BCH usage greatly. In addition to Bitpay, since the San Francisco company Coinbase integrated bitcoin cash support, BCH payments can be used with its new merchant plugin.

What do you think about Bitpay integrating bitcoin cash? Let us know in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock, Bitpay, Bitcoin Cash, Microsoft, and the EFF. 

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

New Tools Help Crypto Traders Make Smarter Decisions

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New Tools Help Crypto Traders Make Smarter Decisions


If knowledge is power, today’s traders are stronger than they’ve ever been. The range and function of analytical tools is improving by the day, presenting investors with a smorgasbord of options. Sites such as Onchainfx are continually adding new features, empowering traders to make more informed decisions based on more data sets.

Also read: 8 Alternatives to Coinmarketcap

Today’s Investors Have an Enviable Suite of Analytic Tools

From technical analysis to fundamental analysis, the best traders leave no stone unturned in their quest to find hidden gems. Low market cap coins with a solid development team; tokenized projects with the potential to 10x; altcoins that have been unfairly pummeled and are due for a rebound. All this, and much more, can now be gleaned in little more than a few clicks. There’s no need to connect to APIs and painstakingly perfect spreadsheet formulas, for the best online toolkits do it all.

New Tools Make Crypto Investors More Informed Than Ever
The cryptocurrency top 10 ranked by 90-day Github commits

Onchainfx is the jumping off point for many researchers. Altcoin information such as 24-hour transaction volume, number of transactions per day, NVT ratio, fees, and short-term ROI can all be viewed by enabling the appropriate checkbox in the right hand margin. You can then click on a column to filter results based on the metric you’d like to measure. This week, Onchainfx upped its analytics game by adding data for Github repos. It’s possible to filter coins based on the number of Github stars, watchers, commits, lines added, and lines removed. Now lazy altcoin devs have nowhere to hide.

Previously, the only place where this information could easily be compared was on Cryptomiso. According to Onchainfx, the busiest crypto project over the last 90 days has been Lisk (1,620 commits), followed by Tron (1,240) and EOS (1,032). The less said about Dogecoin’s Github activity the better. For anyone who places a lot of weight on Github ratings, Darpal Ratings delves into these in much greater detail.

New Tools Make Crypto Investors More Informed Than Ever
Live Coin Watch

Live Coin Watch Demystifies the Data

Live Coin Watch is another up and coming site making data sexy. The best thing about the cryptocurrency tracker is its customizable layouts. At the toggle of a button, you can view which coins are down the most percent from their ATH. Combine that with data on a coin’s Github activity, or price based on BTC normalized supply, say, and you’ve got a ready reckoner for which alts are unfairly cheap.

For more serious traders, who thrive on log charts and rolling correlations of daily returns, is the only tool that counts. It’s not the easiest platform to master, but the knowledge it bestows upon those diligent enough to put in the time can make the toil worthwhile. Even the simpler charts Coinmetrics cooks up, such as a retrospective of the times bitcoin’s RSI exceeded 75, are fascinating.

New Tools Make Crypto Investors More Informed Than Ever
Areas in red show when bitcoin’s RSI surpassed 75.

After the fact, all sorts of patterns become clear showing when markets were blatantly overbought or oversold. Discerning that at the time though, and using it to guide future trading decisions, is harder than it sounds. In the current market conditions, altcoin trading is a hazardous pastime. But as noted in last week’s podcast and Sunday round-up, it’s a great time for building and learning. The tools you add to your arsenal now will prove invaluable when the time comes to intrepidly venture into the altcoin markets once more.

What’s your favorite site for cryptocurrency research? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinmetrics, Onchainfx and Live Coin Watch.

Why not keep track of the price with one of’s widget services.

Hardware Wallet Demand in South Korea Grows Exponentially

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Hardware Wallet Demand in South Korea Grows Exponentially


According to local reports in South Korea, demand for hardware wallets is increasing exponentially. The demand has stemmed from attempted hacks last year against domestic trading platforms like Upbit and Bithumb.

Also read: Lawsuit Challenges Google’s Ban on Crypto Ads in Russia

Regional Reports Detail South Korean Hardware Wallet Demand is Rising

South Korean cryptocurrency traders want to keep their digital assets safer after a few scares from local exchanges in 2017. The cryptocurrency trading platform Upbit, and Bithumb were both targeted last year with attempts at breaching the firm’s hot wallets. Further, the recent Coincheck exchange hack in Japan has frightened South Koreans as well, which has bolstered more individuals to get their hands on some form of cold storage.

Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts worldwide use cold storage devices like Trezor, Ledger, Bitbox, and Keepkey. However, South Koreans also have a few local choices to choose from when it comes to hardware wallets and more in the near future. The cold storage hardware producers selling products in South Korea or plan to launch this year include Key Fair, Penta Security, Coldwelt, and K-Sine.

Two Local Choices

Key Fair’s CEO Lee Chang-keun has created the ‘Key Wallet Series’ that utilizes its own developed algorithm tethered to a dedicated security chip. There are also features called “Pro and Touch” which uses fingerprint recognition and NFC communications with smartphones. The Key Wallet can hold multiple cryptocurrencies including bitcoin core, ethereum, bitcoin cash, dash, ethereum classic, ripple, and litecoin.

Hardware Wallet Demand in South Korea Grows Exponentially

Another company offering cold storage devices in South Korea is Penta Security although the products beta testing is due to finish in June of this year. Penta’s offering is a hardware wallet that resembles a credit card which uses advanced key storage and offers multiple authentication features. This includes a one-time-password, two-factor authentication and being tied to the user’s mobile device.

Hardware Wallet Demand in South Korea Grows Exponentially

Two More Hardware Wallet Manufacturers Plan to Offer South Korean’s Cold Storage Products

Two other companies planning to launch cryptocurrency hardware wallets to the Korean market includes Kay Sine, and Coldwelt. Kay Sine’s subsidiary S-Tech Co., Ltd will launch the ‘Touch X-Wallet’ later this year which uses biometric fingerprint authentication. It also provides an electronic signature function through BLE communication with a smartphone application.

Hardware Wallet Demand in South Korea Grows Exponentially

The French company, Coldwelt, will also be selling its hardware wallet to Koreans later this year with a device that is similar to Ledger’s Nano S. According to Coldwelt, the product will hold up to 20 different cryptocurrencies.

What do you think about hardware wallet demand increasing in South Korea? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: does not endorse these products/services. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. 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.

Images via Shutterstock, Key Wallet, Touch X-Wallet, and the Penta Crypto Wallet.

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Survey Says 8% of the American Population Now Own Cryptocurrency

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Survey Says 8% of the American Population Now Own Cryptocurrency


A new survey of Americans has discovered that the cryptocurrency community still has a long way to go to in order to simplify the technology or to reach out and educate more people in the United States, especially among women and older folks.

Also Read: Mainstream Media Reports of “Blockchain Elections” in Sierra Leone Are All Fake News

Today’s Bitcoin Buyers Are Still Early Adopters

Survey Says 8% of the American Population Now Own CryptocurrencyPersonal finance comparisons portal Finder recently commissioned a survey of 2,001 American adults to help map out the cryptocurrency landscape in the US. It found that 7.95% of the population has invested in a cryptocurrency, leaving much room for adoption to grow among the vast majority of Americans. And among the 92.05% of didn’t buy any cryptocurrency, 7.76% do plan to purchase some in the future.

As for the reasons people didn’t invest in cryptocurrency, 35.02% fear that the risk is too high, 27.04% find it too difficult to understand, 17.97% say it’s a scam, 16.12% are waiting for the “bubble” to burst, 11.40% find it too difficult to use, and lastly 5.75% think that there are too many fees. Just 40.01% say they are not interested or they think there’s no need for them.

The three most popular cryptocurrencies are bitcoin, with an estimated 5.15% of Americans surveyed owning an average of $3,453.89 in BTC; ethereum, with an estimated 1.80% of people owning an average of $1,243.42 in ETH; and bitcoin core with an estimated 0.90% of people owning an average of $636.22 in BCH.

27% of Americans Find Cryptocurrency Too Difficult to Understand

Cryptocurrency Demographics

27% of Americans Find Cryptocurrency Too Difficult to UnderstandThe survey also found a major gender gap in cryptocurrency holding, with just 4.27% of women saying they own cryptocurrency compared with 11.86% of men. And the average amount of bitcoin purchased by women is just $1,821.65, compared with $3,923.16 for men. This gap appears likely to continue in the future as of those who don’t own cryptocurrency, 6.28% of women and 9.47% of men plan to purchase.

The results also show a distinct generational gap in cryptocurrency ownership, with 17.21% of millennials having skin in the game compared with only 8.75% of Gen X and 2.24% of baby boomers. And millennials who haven’t purchased cryptocurrency are much likelier to just be those who find it too complicated to understand or too difficult to use.

27% of Americans Find Cryptocurrency Too Difficult to Understand

How should bitcoin advocates make the cryptocurrency more easily accessible to a wider segment of the American population? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

15-Year-Old Security Researcher Shares Ledger Wallet Exploit

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15-Year-Old Security Researcher Publishes Ledger Wallet Exploit


Hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger has published a firmware update to remedy several security flaws. The exploits were independently found by a trio of white hat security researchers, one of whom, Saleem Rashid, is a 15-year-old British boy. The attack vector he discovered is hardware based, and is not limited to Ledger devices, making it difficult to mitigate altogether via software alone.

Also read: Ledger Addresses Man in the Middle Attack That Threatens Millions of Hardware Wallets

Ledger at Loggerheads with Security Researcher Who Found Flaw

On March 20, Ledger released an update to its firmware, 1.4.1, accompanied by a blog post that promised “a deep dive into security fixes”. It began: “Following a transparent and responsible disclosure process, we are giving a full detailed assessment of the fixed attack vectors that the Firmware 1.4 patches, which were initially reported by three security researchers. As the publication of these technical details might elevate the threat level of non-patched devices, we strongly encourage our users to update their firmware”.

It is the exploit discovered by Saleem Rashid that’s gathered the most attention, both on account of his tender age, and his publication today of a detailed explainer on how he achieved the feat. “An attacker can exploit this vulnerability to compromise the device before the user receives it, or to steal private keys from the device physically or, in some scenarios, remotely,” Rashid explains. “I have demonstrated this attack on a real Ledger Nano S. Furthermore, I sent the source code to Ledger a few months ago, so they could reproduce it.” He also told a security blog that “[Ledger] make it so easy to open the device that you can take your fingernail and open it up [to tamper with it]”.

15-Year-Old Security Researcher Publishes Ledger Wallet Exploit

White Hat Hacker Forgoes His Bounty

Ledger says the security researchers were asked to sign a Bounty Program Reward Agreement as one of the conditions of being remunerated for their efforts, while noting that this doesn’t prevent the researchers from publishing their own reports. The article is worded in such a way as to suggest all three researchers were happy to comply with this agreement, but that’s not entirely true. Rashid actually forwent his bounty reward, explaining:

I have not been paid a bounty by Ledger because their responsible disclosure agreement would have prevented me from publishing this technical report. I chose to publish this report in lieu of receiving a bounty from Ledger, mainly because Eric Larchevêque, Ledger’s CEO, made some comments on Reddit which were fraught with technical inaccuracy. As a result of this I became concerned that this vulnerability would not be properly explained to customers.

The teen researcher is of the opinion that Ledger were seeking to downplay the seriousness of the exploit he’d uncovered. Publishing a full and frank report of how he broke the Ledger wallet, and giving up his right to a reward, hasn’t done his reputation or his Twitter follower count any harm either. Saleem Rashid is clever beyond his years, and his article on the exploit is lengthy but fascinating for anyone with an interest in such matters.

Your Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet Is Safe

One matter in danger of getting lost amidst all this is the status of Ledger wallets. Cryptography teacher Matthew Green posted a tweetstorm in response to Rashid’s blog, exploring the difficulty of fully preventing hardware-based attacks of this nature. He finishes, reassuringly: “Nothing in the post or thread above means you should freak out about these vulns, or that you should assume other wallets are better. Just be safe.” Ledger users should update to the latest firmware, but there is no cause for alarm. Attacks such as the one demonstrated by Saleem Rashid show the difficulty of creating a device that is immune from all known forms of attack.

Do you think Ledger is guilty of trying to downplay the seriousness of the exploit? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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