[This article is originally published in cointelegraph.com written by Connor Blenkinsop - Uploaded by AIRS Member: Deborah Tannen]

cryptocurrency exchange says it is prioritizing the privacy of its users — eliminating the “tedious” registration steps imposed by other websites.

BitConvert argues that some rival platforms ask for too many personal details when they are bringing new users on board and says this can make consumers uncomfortable when they are in pursuit of absolute anonymity.

The company also claims such excessive registration procedures actively undermine the purpose of coins that were designed to deliver privacy.

According to BitConvert, its users have the ability to “instantly exchange coins” without being required to register an account with the website. At present, it supports the exchange of Bitcoin and ZCash (ZEC).

ZCash — which, at the time of writing, is the 22nd-largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization, according to CoinMarketCap — describes itself as a “privacy protecting digital currency built on strong science.” The coin’s founders say that its infrastructure ensures personal details remain completely confidential — all without compromising transaction data being posted to a public blockchain. “Selective disclosure features” also enable consumers to share transaction details for audit or compliance purposes.

BitConvert says that it plans to support more cryptocurrencies in the not-too-distant future, all while remaining loyal to its mantra of “anonymous, fast, safe.” Ethereum — along with Monero, another coin that places an emphasis on privacy — are specifically named as two coins that are in the pipeline.

Quick transactions

The privacy-led exchange says that most transactions can be fully completed and confirmed within an hour — and in many cases, execution times can be as little as five to 30 minutes. While two block confirmations are required for Bitcoin, a total of five are needed for ZCash.

BitConvert stresses that its rationale behind eliminating the need for creating a user account is to “fully protect privacy” — and to this end, no personal information is collected when a transaction is taking place, including IP addresses. The company says that it promises these features will not change “so long as our platform is operating,” in an attempt to build trust among users. Data such as the transaction hash, address and amount are kept on record — but this is only to ensure that support can be provided to the consumer in the event there is a complication with a payment.

The company says it hopes to blend anonymity with simplicity. It monitors the best rates for Bitcoin and ZCash on a plethora of other platforms, such as Binance and Bitfinex, to ensure its users get the best deal.

Given how BitConvert users do not have their own account, the platform says it has taken a strong stance on security — making sure that its services are protected using strong security protocols, while also striking partnerships with dependable trading platforms.

Send and go

BitConvert sets out the procedure for using its exchange in three simple steps. Firstly, users select the crypto trading pair they wish to use (at present, it is limited to Bitcoin and ZCash). From here, they set out how much crypto they wish to convert along with their wallet address. Finally, the user can send their funds to BitConvert and complete the exchange. When it comes to the destination for converted coins, the company recommends its clients “only use trusted services in order to avoid losing their funds.”

Privacy has long been a buzzword in the crypto world — and contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin does not necessarily offer its users the anonymity they might expect. Instead, the leading cryptocurrency delivers something known as “pseudonymity,” meaning that consumers only have the opportunity to obfuscate their real identities rather than hide them altogether.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Today, blockchain technology is still at an early stage of its development and will be used in new interesting projects in the future, according to cryptocurrency expert Bogdan Shelygin.

"It’s difficult to predict what will happen to Bitcoin in the future, but I can say with full confidence that Bitcoin is more than just super profits. It has introduced to the world a new technology which is as revolutionary as the Internet," Bogdan Shelygin, an analyst with DeCenter, Russia’s largest blockchain, and cryptocurrency-related community, told Sputnik.

Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, has shown a meteoric rise in the outgoing year. Its value grew from below $1,000 in the beginning of the year and hit the historic milestone of $20,000 earlier in December. For some financial experts and economists, however, Bitcoin is a reason for concern as another possible bubble.

According to Shelygin, despite the fact that there are those predicting an imminent collapse of Bitcoin, it is impossible to say whether it is a bubble or not.

"Let’s get to the facts. Once the price of Bitcoin already fell, but it remains valuable for the global community as an alternative to the traditional financial system," the analyst pointed out, adding that the main feature of Bitcoin is its decentralized nature.

Shelygin also said that the phenomenon of Bitcoin is that it is the first cryptocurrency the global community has believed in for already 10 years.

"This means that the most interesting things are yet to come. A similar situation was with the Internet. Google was founded in 1998, but today the company is a pioneer in web and other technologies," he said.

Commenting further, Shelygin also suggested that even if Bitcoin collapses the entire cryptocurrencies market will not fall.

"Bitcoin is only the most popular example of the use of the blockchain technology, but it’s not the most outstanding one. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will contribute to the future improvement of the blockchain. Today, the industry is still too young," the analyst said, adding that there a number of other interesting blockchain-based projects to watch in 2018, including Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Ripple.

Source: This article was published sputniknews.com

Categorized in Science & Tech
  • Bitcoin's rise could help lead to the creation of a so-called "decentralized internet," according to a venture capitalist
  • Decentralized internet is the idea that the web is run across a number of machines that are owned by regular users rather than owned in a central place like a server
  • This could ultimately reduced the power of tech giants, the VC said

Bitcoin's rise could help lead to the creation of a so-called "decentralized internet" that could take power away from large technology firms, two venture capitalists told CNBC on Thursday.

The internet works thanks to large centralized services such as server owners, cloud providers, search engines and social media. As a result, many internet giants are dominant in their respective area of the internet.

A decentralized internet promises to spread the running of these services across users. So, a number of independent machines would power services across the web.

The money pouring into cryptocurrencies like bitcoin is helping to bring resources to developing a decentralized internet, according to Hemant Taneja, managing director at U.S. venture capital firm General Catalyst.

"The underlying reason for cyrptocurrencies is about building a decentralized internet. And I think that's a profound reason," Taneja told CNBC in an interview at the Slush technology conference in Helsinki, Finland.

"So, when you think about all these large platform companies that have become so powerful… wouldn't it be nice if we could get the benefit of what these companies provide but without these centralized authorities that have so much control."

Related...

Taneja said that the industry is "nowhere near" having the technology ready for such a project, but the cryptocurrency bubble is helping to bring capital and talent to the development of a decentralized internet.

"The more smart money that starts believing there are benefits around decentralized internet the better it is for us," Taneja said.

Albert Wenger, another venture capitalist at Union Square Ventures, echoed the sentiment, but admitted that reducing the power of internet giants is a long way off.

"In the long run, I think that's the goal we are shooting for. I don't think they (tech giants) have to tremble in their boots any time soon," Wenger told CNBC in an interview on Thursday.

Source: This article was published cnbc.com By Arjun Kharpal

Categorized in Internet Privacy

This week, Bitcoin dipped down to a $4,037 low after China announced it would crack down on cryptocurrencies. Will the Bitcoin bubble pop?

On Friday, September 1, Bitcoin hit a phenomenal new high of over $5,000 before falling back with further price declines. Commentators refer to the astonishing continuing price increase as a "bubble." But is it? 

"Unlike all previous infamous bubbles, Bitcoin is both an investable new asset class that won't go away and can also be used as 'money' to transfer value," said Michael Parsons, a Bitcoin entrepreneur at the UK Digital Currency Association. "It is as if the world has discovered, and is still discovering, the sudden availability of a new digital quality asset hoard which is a good alternative to physical gold and likewise with a limited known supply. And that is one of the underlying bitcoin price drivers." 

Despite the blip this week, Kamil Przeorski, co-founder of platform Experty, remains hopeful the price will continue to climb.

"Bitcoin's price is very likely to continue its trajectory in the next few years," Przeorski said. "As long as Bitcoin's technical fundamentals don't break, the price shall follow up to $10,000 in the next year. The current price level is much higher than expected at the beginning of 2017 -- which is a very nice surprise to the community, that we are going to hit $5,000 mark even before the other experts in the field expected." 

For the people who want to join the Bitcoin and blockchain revolution, the best option is to buy small amounts of cryptocurrency. 

"When you see bitcoin price on a discount then you should reconsider buying even more," he said. "The other part of the demand for cryptocurrencies world comes from Token Generation Events. For example, an Experty IO Token that we are working on will create a new opportunities to unlock untapped human productivity worldwide."

#Bitcoin traders seem to be taking the crash on Black Mon, triggered by China ruling initial coin offerings illegal, as buying opportunity. pic.twitter.com/v0Mxb1zLxM

— Holger Zschaepitz (@Schuldensuehner) September 6, 2017

Xavier Hawk, co-founder of Phireon Global Partners likens the Bitcoin boom to the tech bubble of the mid '90s as a reference.

"The reason we have a 'bubble' at all is because there is an underlying technological advancement that everyone knows is something, but they don't quite know how that something will be deployed," Hawk said. "After all, no one knew the internet would be used primarily to share pictures of cats. Go figure." 

Are you investing in cryptocurrency? Don't miss TheStreet's coverage:

Hawk believes that Bitcoin price will continue to skyrocket. "As will each and every other crypto along with it," Hawk said. "We will see considerable money pour into it from very very centralized control centers in efforts to bring down the price so they can buy it back up at lower prices. After all, it would only take a couple hundred million to lower the price considerably. This is what happened in 2015. Not many people know that. Right now there are considerable holdings waiting to be sold and dumped into the market in an effort to bring the price down. I'm fairly certain of it." 

In the future, we can expect to see some corrections, Hawk added -- perhaps even of a massive nature.

"Many people will cry out, 'Behold! The Bitcoin bubble is popped!'" he said. "Meanwhile behind the scenes, the truly powerful and savvy will be buying up as much as they can because it will not die. It will simply get more capable and rise again."

As the Bitcoin market develops ,we just have to ride out the highs and lows of Bitcoin. 

Source: This article was published thestreet.com By Tanzeel Akhtar

Categorized in Internet Privacy

What exactly is Bitcoin and what does the future hold for the virtual currency?

In 2010, financial history was made when someone bought a pizza. If you haven’t heard about this groundbreaking event, don’t worry, you're not the only one.

The pizza wasn’t the important part of the transaction - it was what was used to pay for it. The meal cost 10,000 bitcoins and was the first time the virtual currency was used to buy something in the real world. The day is now celebrated every year by bitcoin enthusiasts as Bitcoin Pizza Day.

Things have come a long way since then. Bitcoin’s use and value have soared. If that diner had held onto those 10,000 bitcoins they may not have made history, but they would be around $20 million better off today.

In March this year, the price of one bitcoin climbed above the price of one ounce of gold for the first time.

Bitcoin’s increasing value is due to the fact that its popularity has rocketed in recent years. In 2009, there were fewer than 10,000 transactions in bitcoin. By January this year that number had trebled. Analysts put this down to the fact that investors think it will hold its value better than some other investments, as well as the fact that it has become increasingly popular in Asia.

WHAT IS IT?

But let’s take a step back. What is bitcoin?

It’s a cryptocurrency, which means it exists only in the digital world.

It was developed in 2009 by someone – we still don’t know who for sure – using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and is based on a payment system that allows one person to pay another, without the need for any middle parties, such as banks.

There is only a limited number of bitcoins in circulation and new bitcoins are created at a predictable and decreasing rate.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

A person holds their bitcoins in a bitcoin wallet - in a mobile app or computer - and can send and receive bitcoins through it.

They get the bitcoins in the first place by accepting them for a good or service, or from an exchange, where they swap real money for bitcoins at the prevailing exchange rate.

Every bitcoin user has their own address - a bit like a bank account number - and controls all the bitcoins coming in and out of that address.

The bitcoin transactions run on a system called blockchain. This is a public ledger, which holds a record of every single transaction.

The other person receives the bitcoins once the transaction is verified. This verification involves solving a complicated mathematical problem, a process called “mining”, and anyone with a powerful enough computer system can do it.

WHAT DO I DO WITH MY BITCOINS?

You can spend them, either on the internet at places such as WordPress and Reddit, or at establishments that accept the currency.

When you want to turn your bitcoins into real money, you trade them on an exchange.

Whilst you’re unlikely to be able to use them at your local grocer yet, some say it is only a matter of time. There is now a bitcoin Visa debit card which makes spending them easier.

You don’t have to understand the process of bitcoin in order to start using it, after all, few understand the inner workings of a bank.

THE PROBLEMS

But not everything is rosy in the bitcoin world.

There is a limit to how many transactions can be processed in a given time-frame, and the increase in transactions has meant a slowing down of payments.

For years, those involved in bitcoin’s software development have argued over how to overcome its capacity problems. That problem is still not solved.

But there are more mundane problems, like the fact that it suffers from price fluctuations.

And, like any software based system, it’s also vulnerable to attack.

Then there is the matter of how different countries treat the currency. Some treat is as a commodity, like oil or gold, but others treat it like money. Some prohibit its use entirely.

Governments don’t like the fact that bitcoin users are anonymous, and they have concerns over its use for criminal activity and money laundering.

Their worries aren’t unfounded. In the recent ransomware attack, WannaCry hackers demanded bitcoins as payment, and so far $80,000 has been paid out.

The EU wants to be able to identify bitcoin users in the name of preventing money laundering and terrorist financing.

In addition, the whole system is not highly regulated. Partly, this is because any developer in the world can verify exactly how bitcoin works. The bitcoin protocol itself cannot be modified without the cooperation of nearly all its users, who choose what software they use.

Even where regulation exists it is not always clear.

Some say that the uncertainty over regulations will get in the way of bitcoin growing.

IS IT HERE TO STAY?

Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency, lots of others have entered the market - over 200 of them. Whilst bitcoin is still the leader, Ethereum, Ripple and NEM and many others also exist.

The Economist thinks that we’re in a cryptocurrency bubble from where the only way is down.

Even some of those who work intimately with bitcoin say it is going to be a failure.

But according to a website that tracks bitcoin “obituaries”, the currency has already “died” - ie been predicted to fail - 106 times. And a newly published study says that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are no passing fad.

In short - no one really knows just yet.

Pizza anyone?

Written by Alex Gray, Formative Content.

The article was republished courtesy of World Economic Forum.

Categorized in Others

The computer of a Allegheny County district attorney Stephen Zappala, a state prosecutor in Pennsylvania, was infected by a ransomware known as Avalanche. Zappala paid US$1,400 in bitcoin to decrypt his computer and gain access to his files.

Avalanche is arguably the largest ransomware operation to date which was cracked down by the the U.S Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Europol and agencies across 30 countries globally earlier this year. The international investigation led to the seizure of over 800,000 domains, 39 servers and 5 individuals, a group that allegedly ran the Avalanche network.

In 2015, Zappala’s office was hit by the ransomware Avalanche an employee tried to access a government link in an phishing email. The email link redirected the computer of the prosecutor’s office to Avalanche, which encrypted files and data stored in the computer.

The US Department of Justice, which participated in the global investigation on the Avalanche network, stated that over 500,000 users were affected and fell victim to Avalanche on a daily basis. It also noted that state agencies were affected by the ransomware.

“Several victims of Avalanche-based malware attacks are located in the Western District of Pennsylvania. A local governmental office was the victim of a Nymain malware attack in which computer files were encrypted until the victims paid a Bitcoin ransom in exchange for decrypting the files,” the US Department of Justice stated.

The Associated Press revealed that the local government office emphasized by the Department of Justice was the office of Zappala, which was hit by the same ransomware.

“The Avalanche network, which has been operating since at least 2010, is estimated to involve hundreds of thousands of infected computers worldwide,” the U.S Department of Justice stated. “The monetary losses associated with malware attacks conducted over the Avalanche network are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide, although exact calculations are difficult due to the high number of malware families present on the network.”

Most victims were forced to send a bitcoin transaction in the range of $1,000 to $2,000 dollars. Considering that hundreds of thousands of users were affected by the ransomware, it is highly likely that the Avalanche network gathered over $1 billion, the majority of the payments settled through the bitcoin network.

By nature, bitcoin is far from anonymous. The bitcoin blockchain, which facilitates the peer to peer transactions on a decentralized network, demonstrates data and information of all payments processed within the network. Because each transaction holds the payment and settlement history of previous transactions, through a technology called transaction untangling, it is possible to find the origin of the payment.

Currently, there exists several technologies that could potentially anonymize transactions within the bitcoin network. These include a Bitcoin Core solution MimbleWimble and CoinJoin, a project led by bitcoin startups including popular wallet service provider Mycelium .

Author:  JOSEPH YOUNG

Source:  https://www.deepdotweb.com/2016/12/16/pennsylvania-state-prosecutor-pays-1400-bitcoin-ransom

Categorized in Others

The function of the dark web is to provide anonymity to those who would like to protect their privacy and keep their real-world identity unknown.

Cyber criminals have always taken advantage of this aspect leading to the dark web being associated with mostly illegal activities including but not limited to drug dealing, weapons, and stolen data are among others.

However, operating within the dark web platforms does not guarantee safety from the law.

On October the 5th, a man from Wallingford, Connecticut was arrested by the federal authorities due to a criminal complaint that was filed against him.

Michael Richo, 34, is being charged with crimes such as access device fraud, identity theft, money laundering, wire fraud and computer fraud.

The complaint is in regards to his involvement in an elaborate phishing scheme targeting bitcoin users on the dark web.

This announcement was made by Special Agent Patricia M. Ferrick and Deirdre M. Daly, a day after Michael Richo’s arrest.

Agent Ferrick is the one in charge with New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation while Daly is The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

Michael was allegedly caught illegally acquiring the identities and digital currencies of dark web users, this activity threatens to hand him more than 50 years imprisonment.

MICHAEL’S DARK WEB PHISHING SCHEME

A 34-year-old man from is being charged with operating a dark web phishing scheme that was designed to steal bitcoins from the accounts of unsuspecting users.
A 34-year-old man from is being charged with operating a dark web phishing scheme that was designed to steal bitcoins from the accounts of unsuspecting users.

He would then log into the real dark net markets using the usernames and passwords and monitor their bitcoin transactions.

At this point, it was very easy for him to withdraw the bitcoins once a user deposited them to the actual marketplace.

He had his own account where he would transfer the bitcoins before the dark web users could make purchases with the crypto currency.

He proceeded to trade the bitcoins to other dark web users in exchange for fiat US dollar.

The fiat currency was later deposited to a bank account under his control.

At the moment, there is no information from the authorities on the exact number of bitcoins that were stolen or their total value in US dollars.

According to the complaint, Michael Rico managed to acquire more than 10,000 passwords and usernames using the phishing scheme, all of which he had saved on his computer.

THE CHARGES AGAINST MICHAEL RICHO

Michael Rico is currently a free man on a $100,000 bond after appearing before a Magistrate Judge in New Haven.

He was released on the same day he was arrested.

Federal authorities stated that the maximum sentence he would serve in prison if he is found guilty of all the aforementioned charges is 57 years.

The prosecutor is Neeraj N. Patel, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

Although, there is a small possibility that he may not be given the maximum sentence if convicted.

The Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies have been bold in their efforts to tracking and bringing to justice the cyber criminals operating on the dark corners of the internet.

This will not be the first case related to the bitcoin crypto currency that the Department of Justice will be dealing with.

An almost similar case was handled by a federal grand jury earlier this year and was the first bitcoin-related dark web case for the Department of Justice.

In that case, three men from New York were charged with operating an unlicensed money transmitting business (bitcoin exchange business), this includes money laundering conspiracy, transacting in criminally acquired property among others.

Two of the men were given the maximum sentence for the said crime.

Michael Richo’s case could go in the same direction.

The wire fraud and money laundering charges carry a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years each.

The access device fraud and computer fraud have a maximum prison term of 10 years and 5 years respectively.

The charge with the least prison term is the aggravated identity theft charge that warrants a mandatory two-year sentence.

Michael Richo’s case is still under investigation by the FBI and as it stands, he cannot be considered guilty of any of these crimes yet.

Source : darkwebnews

Categorized in Deep Web

airs logo

Association of Internet Research Specialists is the world's leading community for the Internet Research Specialist and provide a Unified Platform that delivers, Education, Training and Certification for Online Research.

Get Exclusive Research Tips in Your Inbox

Receive Great tips via email, enter your email to Subscribe.

Follow Us on Social Media

Book Your Seat for Webinar GET FREE REGISTRATION FOR MEMBERS ONLY      Register Now