How to Protect Yourself From the CryptoShuffle Trojan

How to Protect Yourself From the CryptoShuffle Trojan

Russian based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs has warned owners

of cryptocurrencies that their coins are not safe even in private wallets. A new trojan called CryptoShuffler is stealing coins right from under the noses of users by replacing wallet addresses on a user’s clipboard as they copy and paste wallet data for transfers. No wallet is safe because the trojan utilizes the clipboard function on computers. The trojan has already caused a substantial amount of damage in just a short time, though the cyber researchers believe the trojan has been working for perhaps a year or more.

Per Kaspersky:

“…cybercriminals have already managed to steal 23 Bitcoins, which is the equivalent of approximately $140,000 (as of the end of October). In addition, thousands of dollars of other cryptocurrencies such as Litecoin, Dash, Monero, Ethereum, Zcash and Dogecoin, have been accumulated.”

Protect yourself

The most basic way to protect yourself is to carefully compare the address you’ve inputted after copying. Carefully checking wallet addresses for every transaction should keep your funds safe. However, the trojan developers know that the normal process is simply to copy, paste and send, without carefully checking the address. For this reason, Kaspersky is warning users to take special precautions. Further, users are advised to utilize an antivirus and anti-malware system in order to detect and remove malicious programs. As the cryptocurrency world continues to grow, risks will continue to increase, and owners will need to be vigilant to protect their funds.

Chuck Reynolds

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Bjork’s Latest Album Available Only With Cryptocurrencies, Shows Adoption

Bjork’s Latest Album Available Only With Cryptocurrencies, Shows Adoption

Known for embracing all things edgy,

musician Bjork has announced that her latest album, Utopia, will be available for purchase only through cryptocurrencies. The artist will accept Bitcoin, Litecoin, DASH, and AudioCoin. Interestingly, the album cannot be purchased using normal fiat currencies. The move by the musician may seem like a marketing strategy of sorts to appear unique and to draw attention during a time when Bitcoin’s rise has brought cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. However,

according to Kevin Bacon of Blockpool:

"This really isn’t a marketing strategy with Björk. This is a decision to be a leader. In fact, it’s just the obvious thing to do for her. If I wasn’t involved in this project, I’d expect Björk to be a leader in this area, and for her team to be doing creative things with crypto.”

Virtuous Satoshi cycles

As adoption of cryptocurrencies increases, the price and number of transactions increase, causing greater price stability, and stability increases mainstream adoption. This process of adoption and stability has been referred to as a Satoshi cycle, and is the underlying driver for the increase in Bitcoin price. Bjork’s album offering is simply another step in the ladder of adoption and stability. As the cryptocurrency market continues to gain traction, prices follow the adoption curve and drive the adoption curve concurrently.

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Bitcoin Bulls Get More Bullish, Ronnie Moas Revises Bitcoin Price Prediction

Bitcoin Bulls Get More Bullish,
Ronnie Moas Revises Bitcoin Price Prediction

Bitcoin's stupendous rally in 2017 has clearly enthused the supporters of Bitcoin.

Standpoint Research’s Ronnie Moas, who is one of the most bullish analysts on Bitcoin, has revised his prediction upwards.

$7,500 by year end? Oops, we are almost there!

Ronnie Moas had surprised observers by his bold prediction in July 2007 that Bitcoin could reach $5,000 within months. The price was less than $3,000 when he made the prediction, but it jumped up to over $5,000 in Sep. 2017 before retracing briefly. In August 2017, the rapid increase in Bitcoin price led to Ronnie Moas revising his projection to $7,500 by the end of 2017. Bitcoin's rapid increase in price has dwarfed that projection as well, with Bitcoin price crossing $7,400 today. Ronnie Moas has now revised his projection, raising it to $11,000 in 2018.

In an email to his clients, Ronnie wrote:

Every day more headlines are hitting the newswires on crypto. More countries are embracing it, and the few obstacles that were standing in the way are falling down like dominoes.

Long-term: digital gold

Ronnie Moas is ultra-bullish about Bitcoin's potential in the long-term and believes that it will rival gold one day. He has predicted that its price will cross $20,000 in three years time and $50,000 in 10 years time. Given the current bull run of Bitcoin, he might even shorten the time frame projected for Bitcoin to reach those levels. While Apple might be the company with the highest market capitalization and whose value is reaching record levels each day, Ronnie believes that Bitcoin will overtake Apple in just five years.

Increased awareness and investment will drive price rise

Ronnie believes that the price increase will be driven by increased awareness of Bitcoin and a larger proportion of the world's population investing in it. It is estimated that less than 0.5 percent of people currently have invested in Bitcoin and Ronnie believes that this could increase to five percent. Since the supply of Bitcoins is fixed, the demand-supply imbalance will cause the price to soar. Bitcoin's current rally has clearly divided people into two opposing camps, with the bulls becoming more bullish and the bears crying bubble.

UK Mint Reveals Live Gold-
Tracking Blockchain

The Royal Mint of the United Kingdom has just revealed

their live gold tracking mechanism built with Blockchain technology. The tracking system had its first genesis block on Aug. 2 and while still not yet available to the public, has verified more than 50,000 blocks. The Blockchain technology based tracking system is designed to keep records of sales and ownership of the precious metal – a task that is relatively complex. The system has been built with a number of careful additions in order to reduce any risk to relatively zero. Here are some points of the report:

  • The RMG network will require multiple, independent cryptographic signatures to enact any transaction thereby keeping RMG safe from loss of a single-key. Due to the way the Blockchain enforces the addresses, it is not possible to send RMG to an invalid destination where the RMG could not be recovered.
  • The Asset Trading Platform is secured by industry cyber-security practices and controls, which are informed by global frameworks such as NIST and ISO.
  • All parties participating on the network are identified.

The project was first unveiled as potential in 2016. The recent statement indicates the power of Blockchain technology to both protect and secure even physical assets. The senior marketing manager Nicola Robinson rightly stated, "It's simple, it's so simple, it's just a digital representation of real gold. The most exciting thing about RMG is that it's live, it's out there, it's working."

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Bitcoin Exchange Coinbase adds 100,000 users in 24 hrs, Shows Surging Interest in Crypto

Bitcoin Exchange Coinbase
adds 100,000 users in 24 hrs, Shows Surging Interest in Crypto

The announcement by CME that it plans to launch Bitcoin futures

has resulted in a spike in interest across the world. Coinbase, the world's largest Bitcoin exchange, has added 100,000 new users in the 24 hours past the announcement.

Why Coinbase matters

Coinbase is a popular exchange to buy Bitcoins with 11.9 mln users supported across 32 countries. It was one of the earliest exchanges to support Bitcoin trading in the Western world, doing so when Bitcoin was valued in single digits. It supports merchants as well, allowing them to accept Bitcoins for their products and services, but removing the price risk by crediting fiat currency to their accounts. Coinbase became the first unicorn of the crypto industry after it raised $100 mln in August 2017, implying enterprise valuation of $1.6 bln. The CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong, is also on Fortune’s 40 under 40 list.

The Stampede

The launch of Bitcoin futures by CME is expected to bring a deluge of institutional money into Bitcoin. Individual investors seem to be stampeding towards Bitcoin exchanges, trying to get their hands on Bitcoins before institutional investors make it out of reach. According to data compiled by Alistair Milne, of the Altana Digital Currency Fund, over 100,000 new users have joined Coinbase in the 24 hours since the CME announcement. The exploding Bitcoin price has resulted in a sharp increase in the number of users of Coinbase, which has already doubled in 2017 to reach 11.9 mln users.

Handling the surge

With hundreds of thousands of new users, the demand (and price) of Bitcoin is expected to eventually explode. It is estimated that currently less than 0.5 percent of the global population is invested in crypto space. While Coinbase has insurance protection for cryptocurrencies saved on its servers, questions will be asked about the robustness of its trading platform. A flash crash caused by a large order on Coinbase’s GDAX exchange resulted in Ethereum's price dropping to 10 cents for a short period of time, triggering stop loss orders. With increasing number of users, it is not just Bitcoin which is running full blocks and has a scalability problem; Bitcoin exchanges have to scale up too.

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Bitcoin jumps $400 in one day and soars to a new record high

Bitcoin jumps $400 in one day and soars to a new record high

  • Bitcoin reached a renewed all-time high of $7,454.04 at 6:40 a.m. Friday, after opening at $7,030
  • The virtual currency shot past $7,000 for the first time on Thursday

Bitcoin skyrocketed past $7,400 on Friday, hitting yet another record high.

The virtual currency had shot past the $7,000 mark for the first time Thursday and finished on $6,895.41 toward the end of the session. According to CoinDesk, the cryptocurrency reached a renewed all-time high of $7,454.04 at 6:40 a.m. ET Friday, after opening at $7,030. The jump in price saw bitcoin rise 6 percent.

Analysts believe more institutional investors could warm to the digital token after derivatives operator CME Group announced it would introduce bitcoin futures contracts this year. "This is bitcoin crossing the divide from the wild west of finance to the mainstream," Charles Hayter, CEO of cryptocurrency comparison website Crypto Compare, told CNBC in an email Thursday. "Futures from an incumbent exchange bring bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into the regulatory fold. This allows more complex financial products to be created and will eventually open the doors to institutional money."

CME's futures will be cash-settled and based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), launched in November last year with Crypto Facilities, a digital cryptocurrency trading platform. The bullish activity that followed CME's announcement also saw the total value of all cryptocurrencies surge past $200 billion for the first time. The market cap of bitcoin alone is more than $124 billion. Bitcoin's price has risen 640 percent since the start of the year.

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Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: I’m Open to Bitcoin

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein says that he isn't comfortable with bitcoin,

but he is open to the cryptocurrency. In an interview with Bloomberg at the Goldman Sachs Sustainable Finance Innovation Forum in New York, the CEO said that he has a "level of discomfort" over bitcoin as he has with anything that is new. His comments were in response to questions of his feelings over bitcoin futures, as recently proposed by CME Group. Citing new technology evolutions like cellphones, Blankfein continued, "I’ve learned over the years that there’s a lot of things that workout pretty well that I don't love."

He continued:

"Maybe in the new world, something gets backed by consensus … If we went into the future and bitcoins were successful, I would be able to explain how it's a natural evolution of money."

The bank chief's comments come after a remark last month on his Twitter account in which Blankfein he is "still thinking about bitcoin" and that he is not "endorsing or rejecting" it. The comment was in contrast with that of his counterpart at JPMorgan Chase, CEO Jamin Dimon, who now-famously stated bitcoin is a "fraud." On a concluding note, Blankfein said he doesn't hold any investments in the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Price Sets New Record As Cryptocurrency Market Tops $200 Billion

Amid a surging cryptocurrency market, bitcoin price gains have continued today, reaching a new all-time high of over $7,450.

A rapid rise starting around 03:00 UTC saw the cryptocurrency peak at $7,454 at 10:38 UTC. The session opened at $7,030. At press time, the price of a bitcoin is down slightly $7,402, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index – a 5.29 percent gain for the day so far. As per CoinMarketCap, bitcoin is up over 27.15 percent for the last 7 days, and its market capitalization has now peaked at over $124 billion. The combined market cap for all cryptocurrencies has also once again reached record levels, passing $202 billion for the first time.

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Bitcoin blows past $7,000, double its value in mid-September

Bitcoin blows past $7,000,
double its value in mid-September

Speculators have shrugged off a
Chinese crackdown and other controversies.

Six weeks ago, it looked like Bitcoin's latest boom might be coming to an end.

The virtual currency had been worth almost $5,000 in early September, but then Chinese regulators announced a harsh crackdown on China's Bitcoin economy. On September 15, Bitcoin's price reached a low of $3,000. But then the currency bounced back, and it has been on a tear ever since. Last night the price of one bitcoin soared to about $7,000 for the first time—that's a ten-fold increase over the last year.

It's never easy to pinpoint exactly what's driving market optimism about Bitcoin, and this case is no exception. A major factor in Bitcoin's growing value over the last year has been the broader popularity of initial coin offerings—sales of new Bitcoin-like cryptocurrencies. Because it's not easy to set up an exchange for trading a new currency for dollars, most ICOs are conducted using bitcoins or Ethereum's ether as an intermediary—customers buy those currencies first and then trade them in for the new token. There has been a lot of worry that ICOs are an unsustainable bubble in recent months, but people kept pouring money into them in October. Token sales generated more than $300 million last month, according to statistics from Coinschedule.

And bitcoins have been performing better than a lot of other cryptocurrencies. Other major cryptocurrencies, including ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, have yet to regain their early September highs. By contrast, Bitcoin is now more than 40 percent above its early September peak. We can expect more volatility in the coming weeks, as Bitcoin is due for another contentious network fork in mid-November. Still, speculators don't seem very worried about that controversy denting the popularity of the Bitcoin network.

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Bitcoin smashes past $7,000 for the first time

Bitcoin smashes past $7,000
for the first time

  • Bitcoin soared past the $7,000 mark for the first time Thursday
  • The virtual currency reached an all-time high of $7,355.35 at about 7:16 a.m. ET
  • CME Group said it would introduce bitcoin futures contracts Tuesday

Bitcoin soars past $7,000 to a new record high

The cryptocurrency has had a bullish streak throughout the week following the CME's announcement that it will introduce bitcoin futures contracts. According to data from CoinDesk, the virtual currency reached an all-time high of $7,355.35 at about 7:16 a.m. ET. The jump in price saw the virtual coin rise by more than 7 percent on the day. A surge in the digital coin's value saw the total market value of all cryptocurrencies top $189 billion for the first time Thursday. The market cap of bitcoin alone is currently more than $121 billion, according to data from industry website Coinmarketcap.

CME bitcoin futures

On Tuesday, the CME Group, the world's largest derivatives operator, said it would introduce bitcoin futures contracts. The introduction of such a product could bring more institutional investors into the market. Analysts believe this has been boosting the price. CME said its bitcoin futures contract would be cash-settled and based on the CME CF Bitcoin Reference Rate (BRR), launched in November last year with London-based online trading platform Crypto Facilities.

"This is bitcoin crossing the divide from the wild west of finance to the mainstream," Charles Hayter, CEO of cryptocurrency comparison website Crypto Compare, told CNBC in an email Thursday. "Futures from an incumbent exchange bring bitcoin and cryptocurrencies into the regulatory fold. This allows more complex financial products to be created and will eventually open the doors to institutional money." The digital currency's price has risen 600 percent since the beginning of the year.

Regulatory concerns

A number of regulators have warned of illicit activity surrounding cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. In September, China banned a practice known as "initial coin offerings" (ICOs). An ICO is a crowdfunding method for firms to raise funds by selling new cryptocurrencies. China's regulators also moved to close down domestic bitcoin exchanges later that month. Both measures sent the price of bitcoin down sharply.

And on Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said that celebrity endorsements of ICOs could be "unlawful" if they do not disclose how they are benefiting. Banking executives like JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Blackrock CEO Larry Fink have also criticized the cryptocurrency. Dimon has made several comments on bitcoin, and last month said that investors "stupid enough to buy bitcoin" would "pay the price for it one day." Fink called the virtual currency an "index of money laundering" that same day, raising concerns over fraudulent activity.

Chuck Reynolds


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How Blockchain Would’ve Saved Bitcoin Gold, Can Stop Hackers

How Blockchain Would’ve Saved
Bitcoin Gold, Can Stop Hackers

They say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

This may prove to be true for Blockchain technology as well, particularly when it comes to new platforms. As has reported already, the recent Bitcoin ‘fork,’ Bitcoin Gold, was the victim of a DDoS attack on the very day it started.

According to the official Bitcoin Gold Twitter account, the platform was under a huge request barrage as the altcoin was seeking to get off the ground, with 10 mln requests per minute. With such huge volume, the site was down for most of the launch day, and took a couple of days to become fully functioning again. The news follows other hacks in the second quarter of 2017, where substantial amounts of cryptocurrency have been stolen, and where white hat hackers came to the rescue.

Blockchain as solution for DDoS

The issue for Bitcoin Gold was bandwidth – the ability for a site to handle and process data. With 10 mln requests per minute, the Bitcoin Gold site simply did not have enough bandwidth to process the requests. The decentralization that Blockchain provides has created a way for bandwidth to be monetized and pooled. After all, most home internet users only use a fraction of the bandwidth they pay for every month. Through Blockchain, that bandwidth can be pooled together and sold off to companies seeking DDoS protection. According to hacking expert

Daan Pepijn:

"During a DDoS attack, this spare bandwidth is utilized to deflect and absorb the bad traffic coming from zombie machines (the same ones that the bad hackers have taken over). [Now], anyone with a computer, fast broadband connection, and spare bandwidth can rent out excess bandwidth in order to contribute to global and regional pools of DDoS mitigation nodes."

By decentralizing the bandwidth needs and pooling the excess, the technology allows companies to effectively ‘bank’ resources to protect against future attacks. Without the solutions that Blockchain technology provide, an attack like one on Bitcoin Gold will always result in a shut down.

Incentivizing the good guys

Blockchain is also being used to incentivize white hat hackers who are seeking to protect platforms from bad hackers. By offering incentives in the form of bug bounties, companies are seeking to bring their enemies into their circle of friends, and produce a system where all potential weaknesses have been found, exploited, and patched.

The digital currency Dash, for example, recently used a group of approximately 60,000 whitehat hackers to take apart their Blockchain platform in every possible way, seeking for bugs. The process resulted in a far more secure Blockchain system for the cryptocurrency. Other cryptocurrency platforms are seeking to employ these “good” hackers to protect them from bad (“black hat”) ones. White hat hackers are often incentivized by tech providers to pursue bugs via decentralized Blockchain platforms. Again, per

Daan Pepijn:

"According to Bugcrowd, businesses have so far paid out $6 million since the start of 2017, which is already a 211 percent increase from the total 2016 figure. This underscores the potential of an ecosystem for ethical hacking."

By incentivizing white hat hackers, cryptocurrency platforms are protecting users from theft and themselves from disgrace and massive loss. As with other industries, Blockchain technology seems to be the basis for such protection. Between whitehat groups and DDoS protection, Blockchain technology is providing solutions for hacking events that were unthinkable even a couple of years ago.

Chuck Reynolds


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Survey: Most Americans Remain Blissfully Unaware of the Blockchain Revolution

Survey:
Most Americans Remain Blissfully Unaware of the Blockchain Revolution

With the cryptocurrency market cap now estimated

to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars and a sort of familiar frenzy kicking into overdrive, here’s another reminder that widespread adoption by the U.S. public has not yet materialized. A September poll conducted by student loan refinancing market LendEDU found that 78.6 percent of Americans were aware of Bitcoin, the most famous cryptocurrency—and up to 39.6 percent were open to “the idea of using Bitcoin for transactions and purchases.” But a poll released by LendEDU on Tuesday suggests that beyond having heard about Bitcoin in the news, the vast majority of Americans have so far declined to learn more than the bare minimum.

LendEDU’s new 1,000-respondent online poll found that just 31.6 percent were aware of Ethereum, a newer cryptocurrency which has exploded in scale to the second-largest market position in recent years. Just 18.2 percent said they planned to invest in Ether tokens. Even fewer had heard or planned to invest in Ripple, the third-largest cryptocurrency. Almost exactly three-quarters of respondents said they had never heard of initial coin offerings, a complicated and almost completely unregulated form of investment vehicle in which crypto-backed companies sell stakes in “new” cryptocurrencies in lieu of traditional stocks. Just 15.1 percent said they planned to invest in an ICO.

ICOs have boomed this year, with billions of dollars flooding into the sector despite warnings from various authorities—as well as notorious Wall Street scammer Jordan Belfort—many of the companies involved could be pump-and-dump schemes. There are hints of a possible crackdown by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the future, though U.S. regulators don’t have a great track record. ICOs’ relative obscurity may be both a curse and a blessing. It could limit the fallout of any possible implosion in the cryptocurrency markets, but people who haven’t been adequately informed of the risks might also wander into bad investments.

Taken together, the polls also suggest that regardless of the ongoing crypto boom, much of the public is staying away from the rampant speculation. It’s hard not to envy them, especially given how much resemblance the typical blockchain business pitch has to a time-share promotion. But it’s also a reminder that if trends continue, a crash could hit the larger economy with possibly serious consequences—and for many people it will seem like it came out of nowhere. Of course, it’s also possible that the bubble will never pop and the 15.1 percent who plan to get into ICOs will be the billionaire libertarian overlords of our future, in which case…

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
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