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The writer whose book became ‘The Social Network’ just sold another book about the Winklevoss twins

Posted by on Jul 24, 2018 in crypto, cryptocurrency, TC, the social network, winklevoss capital, Winklevosses | 0 comments

The title could just as easily be “Sweet Justice.”

The U.K.-based publishing house Little, Brown has agreed to publish a new book about Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who famously settled a 2008 lawsuit against their former Harvard classmate Mark Zuckerberg over Facebook’s earliest days, then made a much larger fortune with their settlement money by investing it in bitcoin.

According to regional business magazine The Bookseller, the new opus, titled “Bitcoin Billionaires,” covers a lot of territory, from the brothers trying without success to raise a venture fund in Silicon Valley (no one wanted to upset Zuckerberg, is the claim), to first hearing about bitcoin on a jaunt to Ibiza, Spain. They were so convinced of its merits after being pitched on the cryptocurrency that they reportedly wound up buying one percent of all the bitcoin in circulation during or around 2012.

Whether the book — which has been picked up in the U.S. by Flatiron Books — is made into a movie remains to be seen, but it seems as likely as not, given that its author is fellow Harvard grad Ben Mezrich, who also authored The Accidental Billionaires.

That book was eventually adapted by Aaron Sorkin into the Academy Award-winning movie about Facebook’s origins, The Social Network. In fact, when Mezrich began pitching his newest effort to publishing houses in the spring, the New York Post reported on “buzz that there’s already a movie deal in the works for the planned book.”

In the meantime, the Winklevoss twins are receiving some fresh attention in Fortune, which included them in a new 40 Under 40 List that the outlet published this morning and which focuses on young movers and shakers at the “edge of finance and technology.” The reasoning behind their inclusion: the brothers, now 36, run one of the world’s most influential crypto funds with their New York and L.A.-based firm Winklevoss Capital. They also oversee the three-year-old digital asset exchange Gemini, which they founded in 2015.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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The crypto world’s latest hack sees Israel’s Bancor lose $23.5M

Posted by on Jul 10, 2018 in bancor, crypto, cryptocurrency, Hack, TC | 0 comments

Bancor, a crypto company that touts a decentralized exchange service, has lost some $23.5 million of cryptocurrency tokens belonging to its users following a hack.

The Israel-based company raised over $150 million in an ICO last year and its services include a wallet with a built-in exchange service. Today, Bancor said in a statement that “a wallet used to upgrade some smart contracts was compromised.” As a result, the attackers made off with $12.5 million in Ether, $1 million in Pundi X’s NPXS token and $10 million in Bancor’s BNT.

Bancor said it has frozen the BNT, but it is unable to do the same to the other tokens. The company added that it is communicating with a number of exchanges in a bid to “make it more difficult for the thief to liquidate” the stolen tokens, but it remains to be seen how successful those efforts will be.

Following the incident, Bancor has taken its exchange offline while it conducts an investigation. There’s no word on when it will resume operations.

Critics on Twitter, including Litecoin creator Charlie Lee pointed, out that the irony that Bancor, which claims to be decentralized, responded to the hack with strategies aligned to a centralized system.

Speaking at TechCrunch’s Blockchain event last week, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin said centralized exchanges should “go burn in hell”. Buterin’s disdain is mainly focused on greed since centralized exchanges demand large fees up front to list tokens, but given the regularity that exchanges are hacked for large sums of tokens owned by their users — seemingly monthly, if not weekly — security is another issue on the table.

In a further piece of irony, Bancor voiced support for Buterin’s comments just days before its service was hacked.

The Bancor attack completes a bad day of news for the crypto world after some users of popular wallet service MyEtherwallet were thought to have been hit by an attack after VPN service Hola was compromised by hackers.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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RIP “crypto”

Posted by on Jul 7, 2018 in blockchain, crypto, crypto.com, cryptocurrency, cryptography, language, Matt Blaze, Security, TC | 0 comments

RIP “crypto”. You had a good run.

This week veteran cryptographer Matt Blaze, finally gave in — to what must have been a near-constant, low-level drone of ‘CAn Buy Crypto.com???$$$$!’ spam — and sold the pithy domain name he registered in 1993, in the midst of the PC era crypto wars, to use as an encryption policy resource, to Monaco, a Zug, Switzerland-based payments and cryptocurrency platform startup whose self-styled mission is “accelerating the world’s transition to cryptocurrency”, positioning itself at the nexus of the current crypto craze.

So crypto.com now points to cryptocurrencies.

Which seems a fitting moment to say RIP “crypto” as shorthand terminology for an entire domain of cryptographic work that underpins so many more things than just Bitcoin or Ether or Ripple or Litecoin or Zcash — or any of the myriad digital coins that have winked (and more recently minted) into virtual existence over the last decade or so, hoping to hit the crypto jackpot.

Frankly this is not at all fair. But, linguistically, so it goes. Languages live or they die. And to live in linguistic terms means to shift your meaning as word usage ebbs and flows.

The sale of crypto.com tells us not so much that money talks, though clearly there’s that too — domain sellers were speculating that the price for crypto.com could have been a cool $5M-$10M, per this Verge report from March; though the actual price-tag paid by Monaco has not been disclosed.

Mostly it underlines that trying to push as an individual against a surging tide is hopeless. Principled, one-man-stands of linguistic resistance against the crypto(currency) craze are futile at this particular juncture of its technological development. Spam with no end in sight would worry the will of anyone.

So apologies also to the few folks who have written to complain about incorrect use of “crypto” in TC headlines. Using “cryptocurrency” is indeed more accurate if that’s what the story is about. But as a term it’s headline-unfriendly as well as being really quite a horrible mouthful.

And, well, “coin” is too generic unless you’re coin trade press.

Alternative linguistic confections — anyone for ‘cryptoc’? — were never going to fly. So cryptocurrency colloquially colonizing “crypto” was really only a matter of time, given how many joules of attention-energy are being claimed and drained in its name.

Turns out language change can have plenty to do with the price of Bitcoin.

On the flip side, any craze can be a fleeting thing, and it’s entirely possible that, in time, “crypto” could revert to its proper meaning of cryptography should the cryptocurrency hype die back, as hype is wont to do when people get bored — because something that was new and novel becomes properly understood and adopted (and thus less of a conversation starter).

Sustained acceptance can make tongue-tripping nicknames less necessary, and reset the linguistic order.

Equally, though, a nickname can stubbornly stick around for ages — outlasting any nonprofessional understanding of the logic underlying its coinage.

Or at least until evolving usage causes another terminology shift. Think, for example, of the rhythmic swings of “telephone” -> “phone” -> “mobile phone” -> “mobile”.

Crypto(currency) could ultimately even lose the ‘crypto’ prefix should the technology end up becoming so ubiquitous as to be considered synonymous with the generic term “currency”, and usurp/displace that word, sinking back into the accepted conceptual morass that envelopes the idea of money.

Of course the crypto(graphy) community have not been at all happy about the linguistic sands shifting treacherously under their foundational field.

And they do have a point, given that without their founding crypto there could be no, er, ‘crypto’…

“”Crypto” could mean encryption, cryptography, or cryptology, but never cryptocurrency,” one computing academic tells us, adding: “I’ve heard plenty of whinging about the changed meaning of “crypto” and I don’t expect a dignified fall-back.”

“Normal usage says “encryption” is only one application of “cryptography” (building schemes for encryption and similar apps) which together with “cryptanalysis” (trying to break such schemes) makes up “cryptology”,” he adds.

Certainly, don’t expect the original crypto community to migrate to alternative terminology — not willingly, and not anytime soon. Which will probably make for some confused messaging at times. But technology applying pressure points to human communications is just par for the course.

As recently as last month the content on Blaze’s (now former) website included the express declaration that: “This site does not trade in or provide services related to cryptocurrencies. It is concerned with cryptography, computer and network security, and technology policy research.”

It further capped that caveat with an explicit disclaimer — writing: “Warning: Many cryptocurrencies are scams, and I strongly advise against their use as investment vehicles.”

Visitors to crypto.com now will not encounter any such caveats. But most of these folks probably weren’t headed there looking for cautionary tales. Nor seeking Blaze’s contact details. So you really can’t blame him for moving with the times.

For the original crypto community, playing the long game and waiting for the upstart crypto usurper to get linguistically cut back down to size seems the best option.

Sure, they’ve lost this “crypto” war — but many more important crypto wars remain to be fought and (hopefully) won.

And of course, in the far-flung future, who knows how 2018’s crypto craze will be viewed? Perhaps as the pinnacle of a hype-cycle that didn’t end in the wholesale reconfiguration of business and society that the crypto oracles promise, even if they managed to shift the conversation of a certain IT crowd for a while.

On another level, given rising levels of tech-fueled disruptive uncertainty crisscrossing so many facets of life, perhaps it’s fitting for “crypto” to become something of a cipher itself, devoid of fixed meaning.

“Encryption technology is the key to the future of the information revolution,” wrote Blaze in 1996. “It allows businesses and individuals to communicate securely over any inexpensive communication platform without fear of eavesdropping.”

That sentiment at least remains constant.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Crypto Visa card company Monaco just spent millions to buy Crypto.com

Posted by on Jul 6, 2018 in Apps, Asia, crypto, cryptocurrency, monaco | 0 comments

Highly-prized domain name Crypto.com has been sold!

Registered in 1993 by Matt Blaze, a professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania who sits on the board of directors of the Tor Project, the domain has attracted a vast amount of interest as you’d expect given the explosion of crypto in recent years. However, Blaze has turned down all offers.

In January, Blaze repeated that the domain was “not for sale” and that people shouldn’t both to contact him — as The Verge noted —  however fast forward to July and he has parted with it after Monaco, a crypto project best-known for developing a crypto debit card, bought the domain in an undisclosed deal.

Experts told The Verge that Crypto.com could have attracted as much as $10 million, however Monaco CEO Kris Marszalek declined to go into the specifics.

“If it was only about money he’d have sold it a long time ago,” he told TechCrunch in an interview.

Hong Kong-based Monaco’s ICO finished in June 2017 with the company raising what was then worth $25 million in crypto. Fast forward today and Marszalek said the firm has close to $200 million on its balance sheet thanks to a surge in the valuation of cryptocurrencies like Ether, but he suggested that, more than money, the sale was about finding the right home for the domain.

“This is a very powerful identity that we are taking on. It’s representative of the entire category so it comes with a huge responsibility on us to carry the torch. We don’t take it lightly and this is one of the things that I think we conveyed successfully, that, as a company, we do have a higher purpose,” he said.

“Fundamentally, blockchain and crypto will enable [the next generation] to control their money, to control their data and to control their identity, these are the three fundamental things that weave the fabric of society. For us this is the purpose, we want to acceleration the world’s adoption of cryptocurrency,” he added.

The splashy purchase of the domain is part of a rebrand for Monaco that will see the parent company become Crypto.com and its Monaco services — which the upcoming Visa card, peer-to-peer transfer and a wallet app — become MCO, the same name as the company’s cryptocurrency.

The Monaco card itself just entered testing for a small group of users, primarily the MCO team, and Marszalek said it will be available for all customers in Singapore and Europe this summer, with a rollout for those in the U.S. likely in Q4. That’s covering a backlog of over 70,000 waiting users, but the company has sweetened the appeal of a card for new people by adding a number of perks, most notably cashback on transactions and a concierge, which vary based on the level.

At around $7 per MCO token, the commitment for a card isn’t cheap. The top of the range ‘Obsidian Black,’ which has the highest rate of cashback and perks, requires a customer to hold around $350,000 in MCO tokens. However, there’s a selection to cater to different budgets.

MCO is well-known for its card project, which has been two years in the making and it captured the attention of early crypto enthusiasts, but Marszalek said the company is cooking up other services in a bid to offer a more rounded product line. (That also explains the rebrand.) Among things to expect, he said MCO is opening to introduce lending that uses crypto as collateral, a low-rate credit service, and a robo trading investment feature.

Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.


Source: The Tech Crunch

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Samsung confirms it is making ASIC chips for cryptocurrency mining

Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 in Asia, Bitcoin, crypto, cryptocurrency, mining, Samsung, TC | 0 comments

 Fresh from toppling Intel as the planet’s biggest seller of chipsets, Samsung has confirmed that it has begun manufacturing ASIC chips which are used to mine bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies.
“Samsung’s foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips. However we are unable to disclose further details regarding our… Read More
Source: The Tech Crunch

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Chat app Line announces plan for cryptocurrency services, loans and insurance

Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 in Apps, Asia, Bitcoin, crypto, cryptocurrency, line | 0 comments

 Line, the messaging app with around 200 million monthly users, is embracing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to fend off increased competition from Facebook and others. The Japanese company today announced the creation of a new financial services division which will spearhead a move into cryptocurrencies and other services including loans and insurance. Line already operates a payment… Read More
Source: The Tech Crunch

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One bitcoin is now worth $10,000

Posted by on Nov 29, 2017 in 10000, Bitcoin, btc, crypto, cryptocurrency, TC | 0 comments

 It happened. One bitcoin is now worth $10,000. The milestone was hit on international exchanges earlier in the day (where prices are normally a few percent higher) and was just crossed on U.S exchanges like Coinbase and Gemini a few minutes ago. This comes two days after bitcoin hit $9k, and eight days after it crossed $8k. This $10,000 marks a bull rally essentially never before seen in… Read More
Source: The Tech Crunch

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