Binance API Exploited

The users of the largest crypto exchange by trading volume, Binance, were affected by a hack of third-party software this morning, March 7, resulting in unauthorized transactions being made from their accounts. The CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao has since claimed that all users’ funds are safe and the exchange is operating normally.

Numerous concerned users took to Reddit and Twitter, and started complaining that their altcoins had been converted into Bitcoin without their permission, many of them not even logged into their accounts.

“Same happened to me. I had 100% USDT worth $1548. Today I logged in so I can buy some xrp, but my account balance is $200 out of $1548, and apparently I bought 5 VIA coins and exchanged my USDT to BTC while I was in the gym?”, Julian_007 wrote.

According to several posts on Reddit, their bitcoins were used to buy VIA coins for 0.025 BTC each. Upon receiving the bitcoins, the attackers managed to withdraw them in small amounts without attracting attention. It took Binance’s administration almost an hour to freeze withdrawals after getting the first complaints, Reddit user Profetu has claimed.

“The hacker accumulated VIA in advance (from Binance or other exchange and sent to Binance) then he set a huge sell order at 0.025BTC. Then using API made some account sell alts and buy VIA with that BTC, [and then withdrew] BTC.”, the user further suggested.

Some traders proposed a theory linking the attack with compromised API keys which users requested from Binance to use within applications like trading bots and chart monitoring services.

“Do you use any trading bots like profittrailer or gunbot? Do you have any API opened for any kind of services?”, Bonnie_channel asked.

This theory could explain how the attackers have managed to skirt the two-factor authentication applied by users. However, it doesn’t explain why users who never requested API keys were affected by the attack as well.

“That is what I am wondering! I never gave permission for this API key to be created. That is why I think it’s an issue on [Binance’s] end”, Reddit user shashankkgg wrote.

Binance later posted a tweet saying that all irregular trades have been reversed, and deposits, trading, and withdrawals are now fully operational.

Binance has reversed all irregular trades. All deposit, trading and withdrawal are resumed. will write a more detailed account of what happened shortly. Interestingly, the hackers lost coins during this attempt. We will donate this to Binance Charity.

According to Binance’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, the hackers used a phishing website to obtain login data and redirect users to the original Binance website.

A user’s history. Can you see the two dots under the domain name? Phishing website that redirects to the real website after login. Additionally, after you log in once, it doesn’t let you access the phishing site again – will auto-redirect you to Binance (even after logging out)

Binance API Exploited 2018-03-08T14:25:26+00:00

US Court Freezes BitConnect Assets as Lawsuits Mount

A temporary restraining order (TRO) freezing BitConnect’s assets has been granted in the U.S. after a second lawsuit was filed against the cryptocurrency exchange and lending platform on Monday.

The order – granted by Chief District Judge Joseph McKinley, Jr. at the U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky  – requires the parties to disclose cryptocurrency wallet and trading account addresses, as well as the identities of anyone to whom BitConnect has sent digital currencies within the last 90 days.

The defendants have 10 days to comply with the order. In addition to the disclosures, BitConnect International PLC, BitConnect LTD, BitConnect Trading LTD and Ryan Maasen are prohibited from transferring any assets they may possess until they are granted permission by the court, according to the TRO.

The order comes in response to a second class action lawsuit filed against BitConnect after it shut down its trading and lending platform, alleging that the exchange is a Ponzi scheme.

The plaintiff, Kentucky resident Brian Paige, filed the lawsuit on behalf of every investor in BitConnect, noting that bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets had been converted into BitConnect Coin (BCC) when the company announced it was shutting down its exchange. BCC, which was trading at more than $300 at the time, had crashed to about $6 at press time.

The court found that the plaintiffs stood to lose any chance of recovering their funds if BitConnect’s assets were not frozen, and that enforcing a TRO “is in the public interest because the public is interested in preventing massive consumer fraud and other securities violations.”

The lawsuit continued:

“This temporary restraining order is being entered without notice to Defendants to preserve the status quo and prevent irreparable harm until such time as the Court may hold a hearing.”

Due to the nature of the lawsuit and alleged securities violations, the court also noted that the plaintiff “has shown a strong likelihood of success,” and that the TRO “would present the status quo and give the Court the ability to make a meaningful ruling on the merits of this case.”

The TRO will expire on Feb. 13, according to the filing.

BitConnect Temporary Restraining Order by CoinDesk on Scribd

Source: Coindesk

US Court Freezes BitConnect Assets as Lawsuits Mount 2018-02-01T04:29:15+00:00

Mining Cryptos

Mining cryptocoins is an arms race that rewards early adopters. You might have heard of Bitcoin, the first decentralized cryptocurrency that was released in early 2009. Similar digital currencies have crept into the worldwide market since then, including a spin-off from Bitcoin called Bitcoin Cash. You can get in on the cryptocurrency rush if you take the time to learn the basics properly.

Which Alt-Coins Should Be Mined?

If you had started mining Bitcoins back in 2009, you could have earned thousands of dollars by now.

At the same time, there are plenty of ways you could have lost money, too. Bitcoins are not a good choice for beginning miners who work on a small scale. The current up-front investment and maintenance costs, not to mention the sheer mathematical difficulty of the process, just doesn’t make it profitable for consumer-level hardware. Now, Bitcoin mining is reserved for large-scale operations only.

Litecoins, Dogecoins, and Feathercoins, on the other hand, are three Scrypt-based cryptocurrencies that are the best cost-benefit for beginners. At the current value of Litecoin, a person might earn anywhere from 50 cents to 10 dollars per day using consumer level mining hardware.

Dogecoins and Feathercoins would yield slightly less profit with the same mining hardware but are becoming more popular daily. Peercoins, too, can also be a reasonably decent return on your investment of time and energy.

As more people join the cryptocoin rush, your choice could get more difficult to mine because more expensive hardware will be required to to discover coins. You will be forced to either invest heavily if you want to stay mining that coin, or you will want to take your earnings and switch to an easier cryptocoin.

Understanding the top 3 bitcoin mining methods is probably where you need to begin; this article focuses on mining scrypt coins.

Also, be sure you are in a country where bitcoins and bitcoin mining is legal.

Is It Worth It to Mine Cryptocoins?

As a hobby venture, yes, cryptocoin mining can generate a small income of perhaps a dollar or two per day. In particular, the digital currencies mentioned above are very accessible for regular people to mine, and a person can recoup $1000 in hardware costs in about 18-24 months.

As a second income, no, cryptocoin mining is not a reliable way to make substantial money for most people. The profit from mining cryptocoins only becomes significant when someone is willing to invest $3000-$5000 in up-front hardware costs, at which time you could potentially earn $50 per day or more.

Set Reasonable Expectations

If your objective is to earn substantial money as a second income, then you are better off purchasing cryptocoins with cash instead of mining them, and then tucking them away in the hopes that they will jump in value like gold or silver bullion. If your objective is to make a few digital bucks and spend them somehow, then you just might have a slow way to do that with mining.

Smart miners need to keep electricity costs to under $0.11 per kilowatt-hour; mining with 4 GPU video cards can net you around $8.00 to $10.00 per day (depending upon the cryptocurrency you choose), or around $250-$300 per month.

The two catches are 1) the up-front investment in purchasing 4 ASIC processors or 4 AMD Radeon graphic processing units, and 2) the market value of cryptocoins.

Now, there is a small chance that your chosen digital currency will jump in value alongside Bitcoin at some point. Then, possibly, you could find yourself sitting on thousands of dollars in cryptocoins. The emphasis here is on ‘small chance’, with small meaning ‘slightly better than winning the lottery’.

If you do decide to try cryptocoin mining, definitely do so as a hobby with a very small income return. Think of it as ‘gathering gold dust’ instead of collecting actual gold nuggets. And always, always, do your research to avoid a scam currency.

How Cryptocoin Mining Works

Let’s focus on mining ‘scrypt’ coins, namely Litecoins, Dogecoins, or Feathercoins. The whole focus of mining is to accomplish three things:

  • Provide bookkeeping services to the coin network. Mining is essentially 24/7 computer accounting called ‘verifying transactions’.
  • Get paid a small reward for your accounting services by receiving fractions of coins every couple of days.
  • Keep your personal costs down, including electricity and hardware.

The Laundry List: What You Will Need to Mine Cryptocoins

You will need ten things to mine Litecoins, Dogecoins, and/or Feathercoins.

  1. A free private database called a coin wallet. This is a password-protected container that stores your earnings and keeps a network-wide ledger of transactions.
  2. free mining software packagelike this one from AMD, typically made up of cgminer and stratum.
  3. membership in an online mining pool, which is a community of miners who combine their computers to increase profitability and income stability.
  4. Membership at an online currency exchange, where you can exchange your virtual coins for conventional cash, and vice versa.
  5. reliable full-time internet connection, ideally 2 megabits per second or faster speed.
  6. hardware setup location in your basement or other cool and air-conditioned space.
  7. desktop or custom-built computer designed for mining. Yes, you may use your current computer to start, but you won’t be able to use the computer while the miner is running. A separate dedicated computer is ideal. Tip: Do not use a laptop, gaming console or handheld device to mine. These devices just are not effective enough to generate income.
  8. An ATI graphics processing unit (GPU) or a specialized processing device called a mining ASIC chip. The cost will be anywhere from $90 used to $3000 new for each GPU or ASIC chip. The GPU or ASIC will be the workhorse of providing the accounting services and mining work.
  9.  A house fan to blow cool air across your mining computer. Mining generates substantial heat, and cooling the hardware is critical for your success.
  10. Personal curiosity. You absolutely need a strong appetite for reading and constant learning, as there are ongoing technology changes and new techniques for optimizing coin mining results. The most successful coin miners spend hours every week studying the best ways to adjust and improve their coin mining performance.


Mining Cryptos 2018-01-26T09:31:46+00:00

Investors File Class Action Against BitConnect After Closure

Just a week after the abrupt closure of BitConnect’s lending and exchange platform, investors are seeking legal action to claim back their funds, according to public document.

The class action case (see below), filed with the Southern District Court of Florida on Jan. 24, alleges that BitConnect issued cryptocurrency tokens that were effectively unregistered securities and gathered additional funds as a “wide-ranging Ponzi scheme.” The lawsuit was filed by David Silver from the Florida-based law firm Silver Miller, which has filed suits on behalf of cryptocurrency consumers including those seeking damages against mining company Giga Watt.

In light of the recent closure of BitConnect after receiving two cease-and-desist orders by U.S. state regulators, the plaintiffs are seeking to claim back the investments they put into the company.

The document states that BitConnect launched several projects, such as a lending program that required investors to send in cryptocurrencies to purchase BitConnect Coin, a token generated by the company’s platform.

BitConnect then allegedly promised investors that its proprietary trading platform would use the funds to generate a monthly return of 40 percent or a daily compound rate at 1 percent, which could amount to 3,000 percent annually.

As such, the plaintiffs argue that BitConnect violated the Securities Act by issuing unregistered securities. The document further points to a statement claimed to be taken from BitConnect’s website:

“This investment option involves profiting from BitConnect trading bot and volatility software. You will receive daily profit based on your investment options. Upon investment term completion, you will receive your capital back to take out from the BitConnect lending platform or optionally reinvest back in lending platform to continue receiving daily profits.”

Yet the plaintiffs further allege that, instead of genuinely using the funds for cryptocurrency trading, BitConnect operated as a Ponzi scheme and took funds from additional investors to realize the promise for existing investors.

According to the document, six individuals filed the case on behalf of all investors and account holders who have transferred funds – both cryptocurrencies and fiat – to BitConnect for investment. While it’s unclear based on the document how much in assets the whole class put in, the six named individuals said their loss totaled $771,000.

As reported previously, BitConnect’s closure came after two cease-and-desist orders from the Texas and North Carolina securities regulators, which subsequently led to a 90 percent plunge in the price of its BitConnect Coin, which is traded on several cryptocurrency exchanges.

At press time, BitConnect had not responded to a CoinDesk email request for comment.

Class Action Complaint (BitConnect) by CoinDesk on Scribd

Source: CoinDesk

Investors File Class Action Against BitConnect After Closure 2018-01-26T03:32:07+00:00

Two More Companies Sign On to Test Ripple’s XRP in xRapid Pilots

Telecom provider IDT and international payments service group Mercury have announced that they will pilot Ripple’s xRapid for money transfers.

The two companies become the latest to sign onto the product, which uses the firm’s XRP token, following news that remittance major MoneyGram was testing it for internal processes. Ripple had previously announced last October that Cuallix, a Mexican financial services firm, was using XRP.

As indicated in statements, the aim is to improve the speed of payments to a point at which they are occurring in real time. In tandem with that goal, the companies are looking to the tech as a way to drop the overall cost of transacting.

Alfredo O’Hagan, SVP of IDT’s consumer payments business, said in a statement:

“We’re excited to pilot Ripple’s xRapid solution for on-demand liquidity. We expect that xRapid will enable us to settle more transactions in real-time and at a lower cost.”

“Payment providers like IDT Corporation and MercuryFX are early movers because they understand what XRP can do for their business and customer experience,” Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said of the announcement. “We’re excited to have them at the forefront of the Internet of Value.”

Source: CoinDesk

Two More Companies Sign On to Test Ripple’s XRP in xRapid Pilots 2018-01-24T21:22:29+00:00

Payment Processor Stripe to End Support for Bitcoin Transactions

Payment processor Stripe announced Tuesday that it will end support for bitcoin as a payment method in April.

Product manager Tom Karlo wrote in a blog post that Stripe would transition away from bitcoin over the next three months, fully ending support for the largest cryptocurrency on April 23, 2018.

Stripe first enabled bitcoin transactions in 2015, a move that came a year after first testing the technology. At the time, residents from more than 60 different countries could pay merchants on Stripe’s network using bitcoin.

However, lengthy transaction times, an increasing transaction failure rate, and growing fees mean bitcoin is becoming less popular among Stripe’s merchants and users, Karlo wrote.

He continued:

“Because of this, we’ve seen the desire from our customers to accept Bitcoin decrease. And of the businesses that are accepting Bitcoin on Stripe, we’ve seen their revenues from Bitcoin decline substantially. Empirically, there are fewer and fewer use cases for which accepting or paying with Bitcoin makes sense.”

While Stripe will no longer accept bitcoin payments, Stripe remains “very optimistic about cryptocurrencies overall,” Karlo wrote, saying he believes support for other coins may be implemented at a future date.

The problematic fees were similarly cited by gaming services firm Steam, which announced in early December that it would stop offering support for bitcoin payments. At the time, a representative for the company said that the elevated fees “cause even greater problems when the value of bitcoin itself drops dramatically.”

Source: CoinDesk

Payment Processor Stripe to End Support for Bitcoin Transactions 2018-01-23T17:57:37+00:00

How To Save on Bitcoin’s Soaring Fees

Rising fees seem to be the only thing people talk about in the bitcoin world these days.

The crypto space is full of frustration and vitriol on the topic, as the average transaction fee has soared to $19, turning bitcoin’s old claim to fame as a cheaper online payment method into a laughable assertion.

But despite these increasing costs, and the long-running debate they’ve caused, developers and users argue there are simple ways to decrease fees that aren’t being fully taken advantage of.

This point was raised recently when new data came to light suggesting that one bitcoin startup, Coinbase, singlehandedly facilitates as many as half of all bitcoin transactions, based on the drop in overall network volume when the U.S.-based exchange went offline for a couple hours on Jan. 11.

The problem with that situation, according to critics, is the company could singlehandedly save users (not only its own but other companies’ customers as well) a bundle on their transactions by implementing a couple technical features, namely Segregated Witness (SegWit).

And since the code change for SegWit was activated on bitcoin nearly six months ago, many are upset Coinbase hasn’t yet implemented it.

Sergej Kotliar, the CEO of payment provider Bitrefillcalled the new data a “smoking gun” in that it shows how much of bitcoin’s limited transaction space Coinbase is using up. The pseudonymous blogger WhalePanda went so far as to blame bitcoin’s transaction backlogs and high fees on the Silicon Valley startup’s “incompetence.”

Patience is running especially thin as it relates to Coinbase, since the startup was one of the more vocal during bitcoin’s block size debate, complaining about high fees and arguing that an increase in the block size parameter would help alleviate those expenses.

Yet, critics argue, the company really shouldn’t be complaining since it’s not doing everything it can to push fees lower.

In response, Coinbase co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong took to Twitter to stress that the company is working on rolling out technical features to reduce fees, but hinted that it’s not easy. “Thanks for bearing with us!” he said. (Coinbase declined to comment for this story).

But should users not be interested in enduring the fees for transacting, there are several possible ways to reduce them today.

The fee halver

SegWit was lauded as the optimization that would help bitcoin scale without upping the block size during last year’s scaling debates – yet only 12% of bitcoin transactions take advantage of the technology, even though SegWit transactions cost half as much as normal transactions.

Not all wallets currently have SegWit capability, but hardware wallets Trezor and Ledger support it and mobile wallets such as Edge (formerly Airbitz) and privacy-minded Samourai Wallet do as well.

But for users who don’t want to go through the trouble of switching providers, SegWit capability is on its way at other companies too.

Coinbase and are working on implementations, for example, but both have emphasized that SegWit is a new and complex change that they need to take their time with – they could lose user funds if a big enough mistake occurred.

Overall though, as the number of companies supporting the new feature grows, bitcoin fees will decrease – some even argue that transaction fees would disappear altogether if SegWit transactions replaced normal transactions.

But if fees aren’t eliminated altogether, a more specific type of SegWit address is in the works, which could potentially save users more in the future.

Estimation game

But while users wait for mass SegWit adoption, they can reduce fees individually using fee estimators.

Although early bitcoin wallets didn’t let users choose fees, this has changed, with many bitcoin wallets providing fee estimator tools to help users decide how much of a fee they should attach to their transaction to get it through the network in a timely manner.

In short, the higher the fee, the quicker the transaction will get added to a block, but on the other hand, users don’t want to overpay. New fee estimator tools try to help users strike the right balance.

That said, some estimators are better than others.

Some users check with standalone tools that consider different factors, such as the estimator from University of Freiburg computer science researcher Jochen Hoenicke, which gives a good idea of what fee is required to get your transaction into the next block.

Another from considers transaction complexity – such as how much data is sent with the transaction. Fees also take this into account, meaning that even a transaction equal to $1 could have large fees based on a large amount of data attached to the transaction, whereas a transaction equal to $1,000 could have a smaller fee if the amount of data attached to it is limited.

Users have criticized some estimators as telling them to pay higher fees than necessary, but that’s partly because fees are so difficult to predict. Fees can fluctuate for all sorts of reasons. The day of the week, for instance, can be a factor since people generally make fewer transactions on the weekend, meaning transaction backlogs would ease and fees wouldn’t need to be so high during that time.

In this way, users who don’t need to send money right away always have the option to wait for transaction backlogs to die down.

Beyond that, there are more roundabout ways to eliminate transaction fees completely, but these are highly dependent on what wallet or exchange provider is used.

For instance, it’s possible to transfer bitcoin on Coinbase for free, using its off-chain way of transacting or by moving funds to the startup’s cryptocurrency exchange, GDAX.

Longer-term tools

While the idea of batching a bunch of smaller transactions into one big transaction has been used in the traditional payments space for some time, it’s becoming more popular for bitcoin businesses that facilitate payments.

If more companies use this feature effectively, bitcoin transaction fees could be reduced by as much as 80 percent, according to one estimate. However, it’s worth mentioning that batching can erode privacy and is potentially slower, depending on how the company or user implements it.

Despite these tradeoffs, though, several companies, including Coinbase, have announced they intend to implement batching to tame fees.

In an effort to keep up with all the industry’s progress on decreasing fees, Bitrefill’s Kotliar launched a tool that allows users to see how optimized their bitcoin transactions are, displaying whether the transaction used batches, SegWit or a handful of other mechanisms shown to increase or decrease fees.

“Just paste a transaction ID and see if you’re overpaying for your bitcoin transactions and withdrawals,” Kotliar tweeted.

Plus, looking even further into the future, bitcoin developers are working on a handful of projects, such as the Lightning Network, that would be instrumental in reducing transaction fees, even as the number of people using the network continues to grow.

Summing up the work in the industry to reduce transaction fees in the short term, BitGo engineer Mark Erhardt tweeted:

“There is a lot of throughput to be gained by making better use of the available capacity.”

Source: CoinDesk

How To Save on Bitcoin’s Soaring Fees 2018-01-23T02:28:08+00:00

Opera Browser Adds Cryptocurrency Miner Protection for Smartphones

Cryptocurrency miners embedded in websites is increasingly becoming a problem for smartphones, but the Opera web browser is trying to remove the threat for its users.

Opera, which already introduced cryptocurrency miner protection in its desktop-based versions, is now putting the same feature into its smartphone browsers, the company announced Monday.

The new feature will be available on Opera Mini and Opera for Android, according to a press release, and is part of the browser’s native ad blocker function.

According to the press release:

“The new anti-cryptocurrency mining feature is activated by default when you enable the ad blocker on Opera Mini (iOS and Android) or Opera for Android. The ad blocker can be enabled by going to ‘settings’, and it will automatically detect and stop the mining scripts written into the code of a webpage.”

Opera estimates that more than a billion devices worldwide are slowed down by website-based cryptocurrency miners that users do not realize are “cryptojacking” their browsers. On the other side of the browsing experience, the company believes there are now more than 3 million websites with embedded cryptocurrency miners.

Making it tricky for users to know there’s a problem, there may be no visual cue that a miner is taking advantage of a web browser, according to the firm.

Cryptocurrency miners can overload smartphones’ CPUs, forcing 100 percent usage and potentially causing a phone to overheat.

And the damage can sometimes be permanent. According to a ZDNet article, one trojan generated so much heat in a phone, its battery became swollen, permanently damaging the phone. While excessive ads were one reason for the heat generation, the main cause was that the phone’s CPU was hijacked to mine for Monero.

The trojan was so effective, it “wrecked the phone within 48 hours,” according to the article.

Opera’s new feature is already available, and the browser can be downloaded from the Google Play store, according to the release.

Source: CoinDesk

Opera Browser Adds Cryptocurrency Miner Protection for Smartphones 2018-01-22T05:20:56+00:00

Battle-Testing Lightning: 26 Schools Start Contest to Secure Bitcoin’s Layer 2

While many see the Lightning Network as the main hope for bitcoin’s scaling issues, it’s unclear whether many developers are actually working to make that a reality.

According to Lightning Labs CEO Elizabeth Stark, there may be as few as 10 total full-time developers focused on implementations of the technology, something that’s kept the network from launching sooner.

Against this backdrop, a group of 26 universities known as the have launched a contest to entice people to evaluate bitcoin’s layer-two technologies, namely Lightning.

Although the prize hasn’t been named yet, the contest looks to entice engineers, students and professors to measure the security and privacy of the network and “collect attack models” that bad actors could use to disrupt payments going over the Lightning Network, a technology which is heralded as a way to scale bitcoin and potentially reduce fees.

This extra boost in scrutiny comes at a time when users and developers are anxious for Lightning to launch for real.

While Lightning Network developers recommend only using the technology on the testnet with dummy coins, a handful of eager users and developers have begun playing around with the technology with real bitcoin. Some of these intrepid testers have even lost a little money in the process. A few companies, such as VPN provider TorGuard, already accept Lightning Network payments.

The competition is inspired by past successful contests to improve the cryptography standards commonly used across the internet to secure data, such as AES and SHA-3, said co-founder and Georgetown University research professor Shin’ichiro Matsuo.

And, he continued, Bsafe’s global test network maintained by the universities will act as a neutral research body to analyze submissions for battle-testing Lightning Network.

Matsuo told CoinDesk:

“We think many enhancements of Lightning Network will come through this competition.”

Submissions for the contest, which is open to anyone, are due in March. Once all the proposals are in, the universities will test all of them on Bsafe’s global test network, culminating in a conference in August where winners will be announced.

Figuring it out

Matsuo said he also hopes the submissions will shine a light on the security and privacy of the technology and how it will interact with the cryptocurrency’s “layer one.”

Because no one can really know how the technology will be used or exploited at scale, this contest could help. By asking for proposals from all over the world, which will be analyzed by academics from a number of different countries and fields, Matsuo believes the competitive atmosphere will help to shed light on what the precise trade-offs are.

“Layer-two technologies such as the Lightning Network are needed to enhance the scalability of payments over the bitcoin blockchain, but they might change the trust model, meaning Lightning Network might not be wholly decentralized,” he told CoinDesk.

Because of this, the technology has its fair share of critics, the strongest of whom contend it won’t be decentralized in practice.

The contest, then, is an effort to glean insights about the Lightning Network’s strengths and weaknesses.

Open competition

And after the submissions are judged and awarded, the plans to “disclose all of the evaluations” and open-source all the code so the bitcoin community can pick through it and learn from the results.

But beyond improving the Lightning Network, Matsuo hopes will have another broader impact on the bitcoin and blockchain industry.

Matsuo wants this contest to be only the first of many and wants to grow the network of universities that are part of the group, in an effort to make its reach even more diverse.

“With 26 universities and growing, doing this type of open competition gives us a neutral result to compare that kind of technology,” he said.

And if the group can convince the wider community of its neutrality, Matsuo hopes those engaged in fiery arguments – such as the block-size debate – in the community can turn to Bsafe for guidance based on tests. In his mind, the vitriol that many times comes from the debates is exacerbated by “communication issues” that a could steer more productively by providing technical analysis.

He concluded:

“We already have this for cryptography, but for bitcoin and blockchain, we need a more neutral way of analyzing the technology.”

Source: CoinDesk

Battle-Testing Lightning: 26 Schools Start Contest to Secure Bitcoin’s Layer 2 2018-01-21T01:47:22+00:00

Ripple and Stellar Lead the Way as Crypto Market Shakes Off Rout

Cryptocurrencies have witnessed a “V” shaped recovery in the last 24 hours, with Ripple (XRP) and Stellar (XLM) leading the way among top 10 currencies.

As of writing, XRP is trading at $1.57. The world’s third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization has appreciated by 56 percent in the last 24 hours, according to data from CoinMarketCap. More impressive has been XRP’s 77 percent recovery from the 3.5 week low of $0.897797 hit yesterday.

However, the cryptocurrency is still down 17 percent on a weekly basis, while year-to-date, XRP has depreciated by 31 percent.

Meanwhile, Stellar’s XLM token has appreciated by 53 percent in the last 24 hour. XLM was last seen changing hands at $0.535388. As of writing, prices are up 80 percent from yesterday’s 2.5 week low of $0.305034.

That said, XLM is largely unchanged week-on-week. Also, on a year-to-date basis, the world’s ninth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is up 48.41 percent.

Ripple 4-hour chart

The above chart (prices as per Bitfinex) shows:

  • The 50-day moving average (MA) carries a strong bearish bias (sloping downwards).
  • A bearish crossover between 50-MA and 100-MA (long-term average cuts short-term average from above).
  • The 200-day MA has shed bullish bias and is currently neutral (flatlined).
  • XRP is trading above the head-and-shoulders neckline.
  • The descending trend line is still intact.


  • Lower highs as represented by descending trend line and bearish MA indicate the bears are still in the game.
  • A quick move above $2.25 (right shoulder high) would add credence to the sharp recovery from $0.85 and turn the tide in favor of the bulls.
  • On the other hand, a failure to hold above the head-and-shoulders neckline, followed by a break below $1.20, could yield a deeper sell-off to $0.60 levels. A violation there would expose $0.30 (head-and-shoulders breakdown target).

Stellar chart

The above chart (prices calculated by TradingView) shows:

  • Descending channel (price action contained between two downward sloping lines) is intact.
  • Bearish 50-day and 100-day MA crossover.
  • 50-day MA carries a strong bearish bias (sloping downwards).
  • 100-day and 200-day MA have topped out, but are neutral (flat).


  • Despite the recovery from the low of $0.29, the outlook for Stellar remains bearish as indicated by above technical points.
  • Only a multiple 4-hour closes above $0.60 (upside break of descending channel) would abort the bearish view and open thedoors for $0.90–$1.00.
  • Meanwhile, the sell-off could resume if prices drop below $0.40. In such a scenario, prices could drop to $0.24 (falling channel support).

Source: CoinDesk.

Ripple and Stellar Lead the Way as Crypto Market Shakes Off Rout 2018-01-18T18:50:52+00:00
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