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Is Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Secure Enough to Use?

Is Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Secure Enough to Use?

                               

Bitcoin’s Lightning Network has been in development for several years now. But is it ready and secure for mainstream use? Let’s make a deep dive into what is currently going on in its development, and examine some ways it may affect users’ security in the future.

Creating a Centralized Lightning Network Hub

In the 14th minute of his response to the video “How The Banks Bought Bitcoin“, bitcoin personality Andreas Antonopoulos says that if you create a large Lightning Network hub with lots of BTC locked in it, and with lots of channels opened, you become a hacking target. Per Andreas, bad actors may want to crack your LN node (which is a hot wallet) to move all the funds. Andreas suggests that this fact prevents centralization of nodes and the creation of big hubs. That’s because people will be scared as hell not to lose their money, and will not put too much money into the so-called “hub”.

Interestingly, in another video, Andreas claims that “there is no such thing as hubs in LN” (1:52).If you decide to take the risk and create the “impossible”: a centralized bank-alike LN hub, then you can use some measures to do it. You could build a data center with powerful computers. How many people from this space do you know who work as a trader, user or journalist? Maybe fifteen? Barry Silbert, for instance, knows a lot of people. For example, say you and Barry Silbert have decided to create a network of interconnected LN nodes/hubs that are connected to an even bigger network of large hubs with channels and large amounts of BTC. Would that be a network hub?

Decentralized Does Not Mean Distributed

Which hub would last longer and have more LN transactions relayed and fees collected? How will LN affect the distribution of its nodes? Remember the difference between Centralized, Decentralized and Distributed network models? So, even though Andreas Antonopoulos can say there is no way to centralize the entire LN structure, we could create something that looks very similar to the old good centralized network of “payment providers”. Maybe new protocols will arrive, ones that classic BTC node operators can’t imagine yet and ones that could make them unable to check transactions.
LN operators will seek fees to make profits with network support. Don’t forget that nothing works in crypto without a constant cash flow.

Negative Perspectives of the Lightning Network Security Model

Did you know that, if you don’t have a direct connection with someone you need to transact with, the routing algorithm will seek an indirect path to reach that person you need? The usual explanation from Lightning proponents is that you will have lots of such collateral paths over time as the network will grow. The plan is that many BTC-related people will open channels with each other.  More channels mean more hops, and paths to forward bitcoins. Simple and easy.

However, there are several problems with LN that arise if you study the matter more closely:

1. What if someone puts bitcoins connected to illegal activity into the LN network and tries to launder “dirty BTC” with the help of your channel? Are you legally liable for them?

2. What if a bad actor studies the network topography and starts a DDoS attack on a node or hub?

3. What if the channel that clears a transaction right now suddenly goes offline due to a poor Internet connection or electricity issues? Where do bitcoins go from that point?

4. If everybody will be using LN channels for payments, how will miners earn money from the transaction fees?

5. How LN nodes will behave with double-spend RBF transactions and their children?

Like Bitcoin, Lightning Network Has a Fee Problem

Lightning Network node operators can charge a small fee for their service, say 0.00000444 BTC or even 0.0001 (the last one is possible if the price goes down if miners’ fee income is impacted by huge LN adoption rates). Let us imagine you try to send a bitcoin payment via LN and it goes “by ground” from Easter Island to Japan.

How much money could you pay as fees, if each hop represented on the map takes a fee of 0.0001 or even 0.00001 BTC? When paying on-chain, you can choose the fee amount depending on the time you’re ready to wait before the transaction is included in a block. While paying within the Lightning network, time is not an issue here, since the transaction is “fast as lightning” after you hit the SEND button. But the fee for such god-like speed will depend on the number of hops and corresponding fees set by each node/hub operator.

Some Developers Flee From Centralized Development

This situation is exactly what Stefan Molyneux described in his surprisingly correct prediction from 2014: If you watch the full version (it’s only 2 minutes), Molyneux details exactly what Bitcoin Core developers have been doing since they obtained veto power over any new change to the code. They and their supporters imposed censorship on discussion groups like Reddit and in the news, and made other developers flee. Those actions were made to push for updates that make bitcoin less and less attractive to smart investors.

People like Gavin Andresen, Mike Hearn, and Jeff Garzik are notable developers who refused to provide support to the general myth (about “digital gold”). But at what cost did the Bitcoin Core team make those developers flee? Obviously, at the cost of making client software less convenient and secure. It appears that Lightning Network doesn’t even have a pre-compiled installer. LN developers from different teams didn’t create an easy-to-use the installer on purpose. Because they don’t want general users to lose money in LN.

Lightning Network Code Incomplete?

Bitcoin was once about hardcore funds security, not about experimenting with the last money you have in risky software that is very hard to install. Thus far, LN lacks in accessibility to the masses and thus turns itself into yet another “store of value” payment layer. Take a look at how Polish game development studio CD Project RED polished The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt over a similar period: TW3 is now considered one of the best RPG games of all times, free of bugs and very stable. Can we honestly say the same of Lightning Network?

Honest Early Adopters and BTC Fans May Have No Free Money for LN Nodes

One more issue that may increase future LN centralization: Who will sacrifice even 0.1 BTC to a Lightning channel? It is not a big secret that many crypto-journalists are very poor at their jobs, despite their trade using dirty secrets unavailable to other people. Journalists send BTC to each other in small amounts, usually sums like 30 USD or less. They also suffer from low payments for their work. Some news website operators think it is perfectly fine for an author to receive money two to three months after an article is published.

And these are the people who need to report on how well Lightning Network works. So, how do LN fans propose they and other ordinary (i.e.: not large BTC holders) people open channels and put meaningful amounts of BTC in there? It’s hard to believe people will risk even sums like $100 or $200 USD per channel if they’re only earning $1 or $5 USD or so per week. Ask any crypto journalist you know how many bitcoins they have right now. You’ll be very surprised.

Article Produced By
Jeff Fawkes

I'm not a prominent person within decentralized something. I just look at the industry and write what I see.

https://bitsonline.com/lightning-network-secure/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Four Main Reasons Behind the Falling Bitcoin Price

Four Main Reasons Behind the Falling Bitcoin Price

                                   

A thought that makes most Bitcoin veterans nervous: that the price may never jump back over the $14,000 USD level. Why is this? Because the industry needs some new code before it can move on to wider adoption.

For BTC Price to Move Up, We Need New Technology

The blockchain revolution that was promised by many experts back in 2017 is approaching its end. Company CEOs need to show their investors that the code is working, but their efforts seem to be not so successful. What we see is that ICO projects continue to blow up, leaving people from around the world without any hope for recovering funds. While many of the blockchain developers were spending investment money on whores and bathhouses, planes and yachts, they were supposed to write the code.

Where is this code?  It’s non-existent. To grow and attract users, Bitcoin needs:

  • New code, that will increase Fungibility and Privacy of the coins
  • Block size increase, or some other solution (definitely not the Lightning Network due to its horrible lack of development transparency and dozens of unrevealed bugs) to increase Scaling and Adoption

It’s hard to believe, but Bitcoin Core developers have been discussing things like MAST, Schnorr signatures, Compact Blocks, CoinJoin, and block propagation time optimizations since July 2017. Yet, they don’t add any new code to the system. Minor improvements, like Lightning and Liquid support, is all we have today.

Development of Code or Good Old Politics?

You’ve been fed with the fairy tales about Bitcoin’s hardcore decentralization. In fact, it appears that there is no procedure that obligate outside devs to peer review the Bitcoin code, and there are no such devs at all. Blockstream, a private company, can turn Liquid on and off to cut users’ access to their bitcoins at any moment. Let us remember Jeff Garzik’s insight that Blockstream and Chaincode Labs had obtained veto power over any new change to the BTC code repository:

So the first reason behind the non-rising Bitcoin price is that it’s not scalable, and this is the political will of the developers. We don’t even know the majority of them. How many times has anyone seen Wladimir van der Laan at some crypto conference? Just look for a single video featuring him on YouTube.  Can you not find one? Hell yeah, he’s a ghost, and he is a key maintainer now with the highest access and has over 5,000 commits to BTC’s codebase behind his back. Pick any Bitcoin developer and you will be able to find something strange about him on the Web. For instance, Luke-jr has six kids but he restricts them from watching Disney movies and cartoons. He also thinks that the Sun revolves around the Earth, and that slavery is not a bad thing. Also, people aren’t really bothered by the fact that one of the most famous developers, Gregory Maxwell, is banned by Wikipedia admins for vandalism.

The NYAG Investigation Against Bitfinex and Tether

Don’t try to guess why some news websites keep writing about Tether, while others collect information about Anthony Pompliano’s strange theories or Craig Wright’s favorite drinks. When Bitfinex is your sponsor, you cannot write anything stupid, right? Since January 2019, Bitcoin’s price has risen significantly almost every time Tether issued a new batch of 100 million USDT tokens. Some market analysts say the Tether guys have been minting the coins in a fast manner and selling them for BTC. This is because, as you may already know, when some crypto business starts dealing with American regulators, the law always wins.

Smart investors and insiders know that Bitfinex is on its way to oblivion. And Tether management knows they’re on fire, and it’s their last chance to make lots of cash and escape before it’s too late. The theory goes that Tether was used back in 2017 to pump the BTC price significantly. And the situation is similar in 2019, with a slight difference. This time, the NYAG is after Bitfinex, and they have stopped printing vast amounts of Tether since July 2019. It has become clearer that this time, iFinex Ltd. and its subsidiaries won’t escape the law that easy.

Bakkt Launch Proves Institutional Investors Are not Interested in Bitcoin

As you may remember, the Bitcoin price went $2K down from $10,000 zones to $8,000 zones right after the community saw the Bakkt futures trading volume. On the first day of the trades, Bakkt had only 12 BTC in their “Vault”. If there’s something indeed crucial in this launch: we finally understood that law-abiding capital is not interested in cryptocurrencies. Since Bitcoin is not something that attracts institutional investors right away even in 2019, it cannot be worth $100,000 per unit. Or whatever price is bouncing back and forth in regular prediction news this week. Instead, Bitcoin seems to be a means of illegal exchange, or legal capital doesn’t want to trust their Bitcoin keys with the Bakkt team.

Crypto Exchanges’ Fake Orgasms and Wash Trading

Just take into consideration the fact that the QuadrigaCX investigation did shed light on a web of undercover connections between the top exchanges. Some of the famous exchanges conduct wash trading. Deal with it. All of those exchanges are connected in some way or another, and many of them perform dirty ops, behind their customer’s backs. Sometimes, exchanges even freeze users’ funds for a few weeks or exploit their personal data to create bank accounts in offshore zones, and to launder money through them.

It’s not only crypto exchanges trying to make it look like nothing wrong is happening under the table. They also engage with a broad set of inner activities, sometimes just dirty, occasionally illegal. Stealing a database with millions of users is not a crime – you can always draft up a press release to note that the exchange “was hacked”. And the user agreement says that users have agreed to any crap the exchange could dish out to them, so it’s all OK. Faking the trades is not a crime – especially when you work at the exchange’s office. You know some insider information. Like, when the newly hyped ICO starts off on the platform and how the price will move in the first couple hours. Also, trading bots and fake volumes are the pumper’s best friends. According to some researchers, 90 percent of Bitcoin trading on most exchanges could be false.

What To Do in a World of Lies?

Never give up. The simple facts that we have featured in this quick writeup show that people in the industry have drowned in corruption and laziness. If you look at the famous people from the crypto sphere, many of them seem to divide the community for easy control, pump tokens, and speak bullshit at conferences. Look at how Adam Back says crypto businesses should use a tab, it’s from 2017. Almost 2.5 years have passed and there is no solution to the question from this video. Strange feeling, right?

At the same time, everybody misses the real progress made by separate developers working in different communities. For example, the Monero and Bitcoin Cash communities have active developers. They made big efforts to make crypto transactions more private and the coins more fungible. Although the industry is now at the edge of destruction, we should never stop fighting for the principles. Especially when it comes to decentralization and the things every one of us can make to help it survive. Bitcoin is centralized in every possible way… and we won’t even start considering Ethereum’s metrics here. Like the top “rich addresses” ownership. What will you do to change the situation, and should you?

Article Produced By
Jeff Fawkes

I'm not a prominent person within decentralized something. I just look at the industry and write what I see.

https://bitsonline.com/four-main-reasons-bitcoin-price/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

French central bank to launch tests on digital currency from 2020

French central bank to launch tests on digital currency from 2020

                                   

Almost every week, you hear about states that want to bring their own digital currencies on the market

or already implement the implementation. One of the pioneers in this project and in general on cryptocurrencies is France. The head of the French central bank has now announced that it could start soon and the call for the project will be launched early next year. France plans to test its first projects in the area of ​​cryptocurrencies issued by the central bank next year, according to French news site AFP. In a conference held last Wednesday Francois Villeroy de Galhau said: "We want to start with the implementation of experiments quickly and will start a project call before the end of the first quarter of 2020."

De Galhau points out that his country would like to contribute to the innovation of digital currencies. At the same time, he warned that he would experiment with technology in a serious and methodical way. The fact that France is one of the first countries in Europe with concrete plans to implement its own digital currency, seems to fit into the picture. The Minister of Finance and Economy, Bruno Le Maire, called on an EU meeting to create a public digital currency. However, the question arises as to how France wants to bring its own cryptocurrency with the euro under one roof.

TheBitcoinNews.com – Bitcoin News source since 2012

Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. TheBitcoinNews.com holds several Cryptocurrencies, and this information does NOT constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. Everything on this website can be seen as Advertisment and most comes from Press Releases, TheBitcoinNews.com is is not responsible for any of the content of or from external sites and feeds. Sponsored or guest posts, articles and PRs are NOT always flagged as this. Expert opinions and Price predictions are not supported by us and comes up from 3th part websites.

Article Produced By
Bitcoin News

https://thebitcoinnews.com/french-central-bank-to-launch-tests-on-digital-currency-from-2020/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Huawei is developing Chinese government Blockchain

Huawei is developing Chinese government Blockchain

                                   

Chinese technology group Huawei is developing blockchain for the Chinese government

to streamline data exchange between political institutions and public authorities. Instead of many central data silos, a decentralized register is to be used with the blockchain. Huawei thus creates an infrastructure that plays into the political interests of the party leadership in the cards. This is reported by the Chinese news magazine East Money. Initially, data will be transferred from the Beijing district to the Blockchain, and further regions will follow according to a proof of concept.

According to Zhang Xiaojun, Huawei Project Director, Blockchain aims to streamline data exchange between government agencies and institutions. In addition, the conversion and transfer of the data to a blockchain-based infrastructure resulted in high administrative costs. More than 50 institutions in Beijing, including municipal tax authorities, health insurances and public security bureaus, will exchange information about the blockchain in the future. Instead of centralized data silos, the blockchain, as a decentralized register, enables a networked administration of databases with authorized queries and approvals. This ensures interoperability between offices and ministries.

Zhang said the directory will initially contain over 44,000 files and 8,000 responsibilities. After a proof of concept, 16 more districts and counties in China will be added to the network. Huawei is currently in negotiations with People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to participate in the Digital Central Bank Currency (CBDC) project. The telecommunications provider develops database and network software to handle large amounts of data that the digital currency management infrastructure could deliver.

TheBitcoinNews.com – Bitcoin News source since 2012

Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. TheBitcoinNews.com holds several Cryptocurrencies, and this information does NOT constitute investment advice or an offer to invest. Everything on this website can be seen as Advertisment and most comes from Press Releases, TheBitcoinNews.com is is not responsible for any of the content of or from external sites and feeds. Sponsored or guest posts, articles and PRs are NOT always flagged as this. Expert opinions and Price predictions are not supported by us and comes up from 3th part websites.

Article Produced By
Bitcoin News

https://thebitcoinnews.com/huawei-is-developing-chinese-government-blockchain/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

This Week in Crypto: BitPay Supports XRP German Bank Eyes 90000 Bitcoin Libra In Turmoil

This Week in Crypto: BitPay Supports XRP, German Bank Eyes $90,000 Bitcoin, Libra In Turmoil
                                  

This Week in Crypto: BitPay Supports XRP, German Bank Eyes $90,000 Bitcoin, Libra In Turmoil

This Week In Crypto is a weekly segment from the Live Coin Watch News team, providing readers with a fun, succinct, and pertinent summary of the most important Bitcoin-related events in the past seven days.

This Week in Crypto:

  • Crypto Crisis: PayPal Leaves Libra Association: Libra, the crypto project founded by Facebook, has just suffered a heavy blow according to a number of sources. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for the fintech giant, PayPal, said that the company has decided to “forgo further participation” in the project. Despite this, they added that PayPal continues to support Libra’s mission to democratize finance, and will thus keep its options open with Facebook in the future. This announcement comes shortly after sources to the Financial Times said that PayPal representatives did not make an appearance at a Libra-focused event in Washington.
  • Mastercard, Visa, Stripe Also Skeptical of Libra: In similar news, sources told Bloomberg that Visa, Mastercard, and Stripe are currently hesitant to sign the Libra Association’s inaugural charter in fear of angering regulators, most of which have expressed heavy reservations about crypto, the people said. Bloomberg’s sources added that the four payment giants’ executives believe that Facebook “oversold the extent to which regulators were comfortable with the project” and are fearful about the social media giant’s historical handling of data privacy.
  • Apple CEO Not Excited About Crypto Trend: In an interview with French publication Les Echos, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, quipped that crypto assets are not something that Apple is pursuing at the moment. Cook argued that currency is something that should “stay in the hands of states.” The technology executive went on to say that he isn’t comfortable with “the idea of a private group setting up a competing currency”, seemingly referencing Facebook’s Libra.  Cook’s assertion that Apple will not have its own crypto asset comes after an Apple executive told CNN earlier this year that the technology behemoth is “watching cryptocurrency”, as they believe it has “interesting long-term potential”.
  • BitPay to Add XRP Support: Announced in a press release published on Wednesday morning, Atlanta-based crypto payments giant BitPay has partnered with Ripple’s developer initiative, Xpring, to enable XRP payments through “BitPay’s merchant processing and cross-border payments platform safely, securely, and compliantly.” This payment method will be activated by the end of the year. Speaking on the matter of the recent move, BitPay’s Sean Rolland remarked that XRP payments are important as they are “fast, cost-effective and scalable”. Ethan Beard, the Senior Vice President of Xpring, also expressed his excitement, quipping that this partnership with XRP will be “key in advancing the proliferation and adoption of XRP as a medium of exchange to help solve real-world problems.”
  • ConsenSys Acquires Ethereum Infrastructure Provider Infura: Ethereum development studio ConsenSys has just fully acquired Infura, an infrastructure provider that is believed to handle a large portion of the code requests that are on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Ethereum “DeFi” DApp Bags $2.4 Million in Funding From Top Crypto VCs: Announced in a blog published at the turn of the month, InstaDApp, an Ethereum DeFi portal that aggregates major protocols “using a smart wallet layer and bridge contracts”, has bagged some $2.4 million in funding from investors like Coinbase Ventures, Pantera Capital, Robot Ventures, and IDEO Colab, prominent Silicon Valley investor Naval Ravikant, former Coinbase executive Balaji Srinivasan, “amongst many others”. Coupled with the funding, InstaDApp brings on Edward Moncada, CEO of Blockfolio and “Ming Ng, who collaborates closely with prominent projects including Handshake, Kyber, and Blockfolio,” to its advisory board.
  • German Bank Expects Bitcoin Price Appreciation: According to a recent report from Munich-based financial institution Bayerische Landesbank, Bitcoin’s block reward reduction in 2020 will give the cryptocurrency a  fair valuation of $90,000 per coin, implying that “the forthcoming halving effect has hardly been priced into the current Bitcoin price of approximately USD 8,000.”
  • Ripple Makes Large Acquisition: Last week, fintech upstart Ripple revealed that it had acquired Algrim, a cryptocurrency trading firm based in the Nordic country. This move marks the company’s latest expansion into Europe. According to the announcement, this new team, which formerly focused on developing a crypto trading platform, will be focused on leveraging their skills to develop Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity product, which uses the XRP token as a means to settle and process cross-border payments.
  •  

Article Produced By
Nick Chong

Nick has been enamored with cryptocurrencies since finding out about them in 2013. He now reports crypto- and blockchain-related news for a number of leading outlets.

https://news.livecoinwatch.com/week-crypto-bitpay-xrp-german-bank-90000-bitcoin-libra/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

This Week in Crypto: Bitcoin Narrative Strengthens Amid PayPal Debacle Ethereum Istanbul Nears Bakkt Swells

This Week in Crypto: Bitcoin Narrative Strengthens Amid PayPal Debacle, Ethereum Istanbul Nears, Bakkt Swells

                                

This Week In Crypto is a weekly segment from the Live Coin Watch News team, providing readers with a fun, succinct, and pertinent summary of the most important Bitcoin-related events in the past seven days.

This Week in Crypto:

  • RBC May Launch Crypto Asset Exchange: Reported by The Logic, a Canadian innovation-centric news outlet, Royal Bank of Canada — the country’s largest bank with $660 billion in assets under management — is exploring the creation of a cryptocurrency trading platform for investments in an array of digital assets, purportedly including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Citing four Canadian and American patents that can be found by the public, the outlet reported that the institution is “exploring the creation of a cryptocurrency trading platform for investments as well as in-store and online purchases.” Serving over 16 million customers, RBC’s platform could be a boon for the crypto industry at large. What’s interesting is that this comes after
  • RBC announced last year that:
  • “Effective immediately, RBC will no longer be allowing the use of RBC credit cards for transactions involving cryptocurrency. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.”

  • Chinese Government-Run Xinhua Releases Bitcoin Article: Earlier this week, Xinhua, China’s purportedly most-read news outlet, released an entire article on Bitcoin. The article, whose title roughly translates to “Bitcoin: The First Successful Application of Blockchain Technology,” was seen by many on Twitter as a ground-breaking development. Sure, it did raise awareness of the cryptocurrency, but it wasn’t as bullish as many painted it on Twitter. The article, per some translations online, calls the cryptocurrency “highly concentrated/centralized” phenomena, something that is bad for the climate, and is something “most importantly” used for black market transactions. It also touched on the hyper-volatile nature of the crypto markets.
  • Bakkt to Launch Cash-Settled Futures: As Bakkt’s Bitcoin volumes have swelled to reach over $10 million per day, the company has revealed that it wants to launch cash-settled futures contracts. “We have the intention of offering a cash-settled contract as well,” said Bakkt executive Adam White at a New York conference.
  • Compound Raises $25 Million from Andreessen Horowitz, others: On Thursday, Fortune revealed that Compound — a decentralized platform that allows users to lend out and borrow Ethereum-based assets like ETH itself, USD Coin, Basic Attention Token, and 0x — has secured a $25 million worth of investments from Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z (round leader), Paradigm, Bain Capital Ventures, and Polychain Capital. Compound CEO Robert Leshner explained that his company’s goals will be to be integrated “with crypto exchanges, custodians, and wallets by the end of 2020.
  • Ethereum Istanbul Nears: Speaking of Ethereum, the blockchain’s Istanbul hard fork is slated to take place on December 4th, during the blockchain’s block 9069000. The Istanbul hard fork will introduce six key code changes to Ethereum. One change is EIP 1884, which will “increase the computational costs of recalling data about the ethereum blockchain for application developers,” according to a CoinDesk report.  The other changes are focused on changing gas/price limits for blockchain users.
  • PayPal Stops Pornhub-related Transactions in Move Bullish for Bitcoin: Pornhub recently announced that it will no longer be supported for payments by PayPal. This move will impact thousands of the performers that post videos on the site to garner income. Many have said that this is bullish for the cryptocurrency space, as things like Bitcoin are decentralized, digital, and censorship-resistant alternatives to PayPal.
  • Unknown Fund Looks to Distribute $75 Million in BTC to Privacy Firms: Announced in a press release published to an independent website on November 13th, a group of “ordinary” though anonymous people (seeming crypto whales) plan to invest and donate some $75 million worth of Bitcoin to companies and non-profits looking to aid privacy rights. The group’s name is “Unknown Fund.”
  • Abra Bolster Crypto App by Adding 60 New Digital Assets: Fintech startup Abra is bolstering its U.S. offerings in a move bolstering crypto adoption. According to CoinDesk, the app is adding 60 new cryptocurrencies — including things like Cosmos, MakerDAO’s DAI, and Bitcoin SV — and doubling users’ bank deposit limits. The new assets will eventually be activated for Abra customers outside of the U.S.

Article Produced By
Nick Chong

Nick has been enamored with cryptocurrencies since finding out about them in 2013. He now reports crypto- and blockchain-related news for a number of leading outlets.

https://news.livecoinwatch.com/week-crypto-bitcoin-narrative-paypal-ethereum-istanbul/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Ethereum’s Harmony will not support upcoming Istanbul hardfork

Ethereum’s Harmony will not support upcoming Istanbul hardfork

                                 

With the Istanbul hardfork expected to roll out by 4 December,

developers of the Ethereum community have been releasing several upgrades in its ecosystem.The testnets before the execution of the Istanbul hardfork have been activated with Rinkeby testnet being the latest one. While the community is gearing up for the Kovan testnet scheduled for December, the team lead at Ethereum Péter Szilágyi affirmed that Rinkeby was a success.

His tweet read,

“The Rinkeby #Ethereum testnet is officially in Istanbul!!! :-)”

In more recent updates, Ethereum’s Tim Beiko took to Twitter to elaborate on the developments that took place in the Ethereum Core Devs Meeting #75. After the release of several versions of Nethermind, Besu, and Geth, Parity v2.5.10-stable and v.2.6.5-beta was the latest versions to be released. The release would add block numbers for the activation of the Istanbul hardfork on the mainnet along with other updates. Along with the latest versions of Parity, Aleth 1.7.0 was also released which focused on EIPs for the Istanbul hardfork. While the developers urged the community to update their nodes, Beiko revealed that only 16% of nodes were updated. Additionally, Beiko revealed that Harmony wouldn’t be supporting Istanbul.

His tweet read,

“We also have an update from EthereumJ/Harmony to announce that they will stop maintaining their Eth1 client to focus on Eth 2.0. They will not be supporting Istanbul.”

While meeting mainly focused on Istanbul as there were no major updates pertaining to the Berlin hard fork. Furthermore, Beiko revealed the status of Ice Age and

tweeted,

“One final update, on the Ice Age! @JHancock is still looking at predicting exactly when it will hit. He will share the numbers with core developers as soon as he has them!”

Article Produced By
Sahana Kiran

Sahana is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto covering the US market. A graduate in Political Science and Economics, she writes mainly about regulations and its impact.

https://ambcrypto.com/ethereums-harmony-will-not-support-upcoming-istanbul-hardfork/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Jed McCaleb has sold half the XRP he received left with 45 billion

Jed McCaleb has sold half the XRP he received; left with ~4.5 billion

                                

The culmination of 2017 bull-run gave rise to scores of crypto millionaires and a few billionaires.

Jed McCaleb, co-founder of Ripple was one of the very few who made the list. On his exit from Ripple in 2013, McCaleb held 9 billion XRP and had signed a contract with Ripple to ensure that no huge XRP dumps would take place. However, there have been allegations of McCaleb selling hoards of XRP, but an active XRP member put these allegations to rest. Twitter user @LeoHadjiloizou identified accounts used by Ripple to send XRP to McCaleb’s XRP selling wallet and charted out the sales of XRP over-time by the co-founder. Leonidas tweeted, According to their deal, Ripple has control over McCaleb’s XRP and it holds it in 3 distinct accounts and 1 account through which it sold XRP via Bitstamp.

Thus, the wallet addresses mentioned by Leonidas, are associated with Ripple and indicate a moving of XRP from their wallets to the address that sells McCaleb’s XRP.  The chart provided by the Twitter user called attention to the sale of XRP and compared it to the daily CoinMarketCap volume. Even though the chart reflected similarities between McCaleb’s XRP sales and XRP volume on CMC, the Twitter user pointed out that a “huge” percent of the total volume was fake. The sale of XRP took place according to the deal with Ripple and saw a no-sell period between January 2019 and June 2019, indicating that McCaleb’s XRP sale has not amounted to a large figure that could cause market instability.

Leonidas added:

“… a huge % of the total volume is fake. I wanted to check if the sales are being calculated based on a different metric, like the volume from crypto compare. The graph doesn’t seem to suggest that anything changed.”

After revising a few details from the contract in February 2016, the new deal asked McCaleb to donate 2 billion XRP and noted that even though he retained ownership of the 5.3 billion XRP, Ripple will control its release. According to the data, the co-founder has managed to sell half the XRP he received and was left with approximately 4.5+ billion more.
Namrata Shukla

Namrata is a full-time journalist at AMBCrypto covering the US and Indian market. A graduate in Mass communication, while majoring in Journalism, she writes mainly about regulations and its impact with a focus on technological advancements in the crypto space.

https://ambcrypto.com/jed-mccaleb-sold-half-xrp-he-received-left-with-4-5-billion/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

Iranian Grid Explains Electrical Costs Will Fluctuate for Bitcoin Miners

Iranian Grid Explains Electrical Costs Will Fluctuate for Bitcoin Miners

                                    Iranian Grid Explains Electrical Costs Will Fluctuate for Bitcoin Miners

Throughout the course of 2019, Iran’s government and the country’s energy officials have been creating new guidelines for bitcoin miners setting up data facilities in the oil-rich nation. On Wednesday, Mostafa Rajabi, a spokesperson for Iran’s Energy Ministry, described a new price model for mining operations and prices per kilowatt-hour (kWh) will fluctuate during certain months.

Iran’s Energy Ministry Plans to Pay Anyone Who Exposes Illegal Bitcoin Mining Operations

There’s been a lot of reports over the last year detailing how mining operations have migrated to Iran for cheap electricity. After the initial migration, the Iranian government and the country’s power supplier noticed a lot of energy was being used by crypto mining facilities. Following a government announcement about illegal miners, pictures were shared online that showed bitcoin miners housed inside a mosque. On November 13, Iran’s Energy Ministry spokesperson Mostafa Rajabi explained the country’s new guidelines for mining operations during an interview with IRIB News. Rajabi told the press that anyone who identifies illegal bitcoin operations to the government will be rewarded. Rajabi emphasized that people who expose these facilities will be paid 20% of the recovery damage stolen from the electrical grid.

Fluctuating Electrical Prices

Iran’s Energy Ministry will also prohibit mining digital assets after the peak hours of consumption surpass a threshold of 300 hours annually. During the interview, Rajabi also noted how much bitcoin miners would be charged using the average price for the export of electricity in Iran. During some points of the year, miners could be charged $0.08 per kWh (9,650 rials) and during the cold months of the year, miners would only be charged $0.04 per kWh. However, during the summer months when electricity is used the most in Iran, electrical prices could quadruple to $0.16 per kWh, Rajabi noted. Rajabi disclosed that the new mining rules were initiated when Iran’s summer electrical demand jumped by 7%.

Last June, Iranian law enforcement officials reportedly confiscated 1,000 bitcoin miners from two facilities. This was followed by a bill that was ratified two months later stating that cryptocurrency mining in Iran would be considered a legitimate business. During Rajabi’s interview, he told IRIB News that Iran will help operations that create their own power plants with government incentives. Mining operations that utilize renewable energy sources would be also rewarded, Rajabi stressed.

Article Produced By
Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

https://news.bitcoin.com/iranian-grid-explains-electrical-costs-will-fluctuate-for-bitcoin-miners/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur

The Bank of Google Wants Your Spending Data

The Bank of Google Wants Your Spending Data

                                   

The multinational technology giant Google has plans to get into the banking industry according to multiple reports that reveal the firm intends to work with Stanford Federal Credit Union and Citigroup. However, analysts assert that Google is not jumping into banking for revenue purposes and the move is simply an acquisition of more customer data.

Google Bank

One of the ‘Big Four’ technology companies, Google LLC, plans to launch checking accounts through a partnership with Citigroup, Stanford Federal Credit Union, and a number of other financial partners. The secret project has a code name called ‘Cache,’ according to sources stemming from the Wall Street Journal. However, people using the Google-backed checking accounts might not know the internet-related services company is behind the financial products. The checking accounts will still feature branding from the likes of financial incumbents such as Citibank and Google will only work behind the scenes. Google executive

Caesar Sengupta explained:

Our approach is going to be to partner deeply with banks and the financial system — It may be the slightly longer path, but it’s more sustainable.

The move by Google follows the recent partnership between Apple and Goldman Sachs that produced the Apple Card product. Many speculators believe Google is planning to enter the fray of banking in order to stay competitive with the other three heavyweights Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. In a note to clients this week, Wells Fargo’s analyst Brian Fitzgerald said that Google is more interested in obtaining data. “Google is likely entering into these partnerships to increase its insights into consumer purchase behavior and consumer finances more broadly,” Fitzgerald said. At the moment, a lot of the giant tech firms are laser-focused on financial technology and Facebook’s Calibra project is a testament to the trend. “Google is primarily focused on data to feed its core ad business, and less so on acting as a full-fledged bank,” CB Insights senior intelligence analyst Arieh Levi remarked.

Another Extension of Surveillance Capitalism

Since the news went viral the ‘Bank of Google’ discussion has a lot of people wondering if Google will be privy to everyone’s finance behavior. Combing personal data like spending habits is just another extension of surveillance capitalism in the opinion of many skeptics. But Google believes the strategy is good for the internet in general. “If we can help more people do more stuff in a digital way online, it’s good for the internet and good for us,” Sengupta stressed to the Wall Street Journal. “Of course they plan to leave the nitty-gritty details to the traditional finance folks. All Google is really interested in is your financial data and for that I’m sure they’ll be willing to slap a kickass GUI and possibly a bit of value add as far as fees and rates are concerned,” Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at Etoro explained in a note to investors about Google announcing “intentions to get deeper into financial services.”

”Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, they all just want to be like Tencent who’s been dominating Chinese payments for nearly a decade. In fact, the earnings report from Tencent today seemed to contain just as much valuable insight into the Chinese consumer than it did the actual company,” Greenspan added. Many people believe massive tech firms like Apple and Google becoming financial behemoths is not out of the question, despite the kickback these companies receive from governments. However, the retail giant Walmart had its banking intentions stopped by financial institutions lobbying politicians. A few years later, Walmart is now exploring cryptocurrency concepts. To digital currency advocates, the Google checking account news is just one more sign of the surveillance state growing larger, which in turn could push people toward decentralized cryptocurrencies.

Article Produced By
Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

https://news.bitcoin.com/the-bank-of-google-wants-your-spending-data/

Heiko Closhen, Entrepreneur