The Monero Malware Response

Monero developers announced the creation of a working group aimed at combating hidden mining and malware – Malware Response Workgroup. As part of the initiative, a website has been launched to inform users about how they can clean their devices from hidden miners and ransomware, and protect their computers from getting infected by such programs. …

This content was originally published here.

Top 8 Women in Cryptocurrency: Bring On The Revolution | Women Blockchain 2018

It’s 2018, and thanks to cryptocurrencies and the blockchain we stand on the brink of a sea-change in global economics. This revolution has the potential to sweep away traditional power-bases and institutions and pave the way for genuine diversity and people power, providing unprecedented access to technology, data, and control regardless of location, status or identity.

Why then do we continue to see women and other minorities underrepresented at every level?

Frankly if Silicon Valley regards itself as the future, we’re in big trouble.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise when we remember that cryptocurrencies are fundamentally tech innovation companies. During the previous couple of years, the technology industry has spawned some of the worst high-profile examples of institutional sexism – with cases of bullying, discrimination and toxic organizational cultures coexisting alongside some of the most innovative products and ambitious mission statements on the planet. Frankly, if Silicon Valley regards itself as the future, we’re in big trouble.

So we’re looking at the intersection of both the nerdiest of tech and the heavyweight presence of the finance industry… Also not known to be a hotbed of feminist liberalism. (And anyone who argues that lack of a pay-rise or a bit of workplace ‘banter’ is irrelevant in the light of the exposure of recent criminal activities in the entertainment industry and elsewhere, is simply failing to understand how such abuses of power originate and get normalized).

As long as the tech industry, in general, is perceived to be somewhere that women will face systematic casual abuse in the workplace, or simply have diminished earning potential or career opportunities, then we shouldn’t be surprised if many of the best and the brightest choose to go elsewhere. And let’s remember that the earliest waves of cryptocurrency consumer adoption and knowledge-sharing happened across the least regulated channels of online communications, such as Reddit and 4Chan – again, spaces which are intensely gender-biased and appeal to a narrow subculture of those obsessed with Lambo memes and Pepe the Frog. Not exactly embracing inclusivity, shall we say.

Crypto in the real world

But even going beyond the politics to looking at the practicalities of the cryptocurrency marketplace, it’s obvious that failing to engage with the voices of women is going to seriously obstruct future mass adoption of blockchain-based products and technologies.

Women buy 70-80% of the world’s products and act as the purchasing gateways for multiple institutions across different categories. If cryptocurrencies are ever to cross effectively into use as a medium of exchange rather than just a store of value – which is surely the objective of the industry long-term – then it’s incredibly short-sighted to ignore the female perspective.

only 5%-7% of cryptocurrency users are women

However, in December 2017 Forbes quoted data that only 5%-7% of cryptocurrency users are women – and that means at best 5%-7% of the $85 billion wealth creation from Bitcoin in 2017 benefited women as a result. Far from leveling the playing field and empowering underrepresented groups in the way that it could, so far the benefits of crypto are actually deepening existing inequalities.

Thank goodness the backlash has started, even though it’s yet far from equally distributed. The Blockstack Summit in 2017 specifically reserved a quota of ticket allocation for women and other underrepresented groups, in an effort to amplify the voices which were going unheard, and create space for participants to speak up without feeling themselves to be in a minority. Linda Xie, the co-founder of Scalar Capital, described it as ‘one of the only crypto events I attended where I actually had to wait for the women’s restroom’!

ICOs too present increased opportunities for female engagement in the space, given that they are less dependent on the traditionally male-dominated careers related to coding and instead stand or fall on their whitepapers – in other words, effective communications, a professional realm where women have greater penetration. And stepping outside that closed (and yet again male-dominated) culture of VC funding to the egalitarian potential of crowdsourcing, ICOs have the scope to democratize access to startup capital for founders from every demographic.

Women to watch

So today let’s take a quick look at some of the women who are really making a difference in the crypto world because there are plenty of them. With a few notable exceptions, they’re doing it too quietly, compared with the airtime and exposure that their male counterparts are gaining in the press.

Let’s change that right here, right now, by rounding up a few female movers and shakers in the space to keep an eye out for in 2018. Some of these you may not have heard of yet… But you will:

Joyce Kim
@joyce
Joyce Kim
Joyce is Executive Director of Stellar.org (Stellar Lumens) and managing partner at Spark Change Capital. She is passionate about the potential for blockchain on the global stage, as a tool for empowering the unbanked and tackling inequality at the grassroots.

An expert in the cryptocurrency space, she has presented on cryptocurrency platforms for banks, governmental organizations, the UN and the Bank and has advised numerous crypto-related projects and ICOs, as well as devoting pro-bono time as an attorney to helping immigrant families and domestic violence victims.
Image: sparkchaincapital.com

An expert in the cryptocurrency space, she has presented on cryptocurrency platforms for banks, governmental organizations, the UN and the Bank and has advised numerous crypto-related projects and ICOs, as well as devoting pro-bono time as an attorney to helping immigrant families and domestic violence victims.
Image: sparkchaincapital.com

Perianne Boring
@PerianneDC
Perianne Boring
Perianne is the founder of the Digital Chamber of Commerce, advocating for blockchain “at the intersection of innovation, investment and policy” (their leadership team is 50% female). A regular Forbes contributor through her column, “The Beauty of the Blockchain.”, Perianne was named among CoinDesk’s “10 Most Influential People in Blockchain 2016” and “Top Woman in Bitcoin 2015” for her public policy accomplishments.
Image source: digitalchamber.org
Amber Baldet
@Amberbaldet
Amber Baldet
Amber is the executive director of JP Morgan’s Blockchain Center of Excellence. She is working on blockchain in a bank, and she has pink-tipped hair. This would make her someone to watch in any circumstances. She is one of the real synergists in the world who will be vital to mass adoption, bridging the crypto/big-bank world, as she similarly champions the benefits of both open-source and digital privacy.

Amber also speaks up for inclusivity issues, and making the blockchain world fully accessible, whenever she gets the chance. She made Coindesk’s list of “Most Influential in Blockchain 2017”, and taught herself to code when she was 11.
Image: Fortune.com

Amber also speaks up for inclusivity issues, and making the blockchain world fully accessible, whenever she gets the chance. She made Coindesk’s list of “Most Influential in Blockchain 2017”, and taught herself to code when she was 11.
Image: Fortune.com

Jinglan Wang
@jinglanW
Jinglan Wang
Jinglan is the executive director of Blockchain Educational Network and Blockchain Product Manager at NASDAQ .

Designed to help students start and/or grow their blockchain clubs across the world, the Blockchain Educational Network cross-campus initiative ambitious seeks to propagate blockchain culture across university campuses. By connecting the various blockchain hubs through friendly competitive activities, student-leaders form strong relationships between each other and amplify their local efforts, whilst the organizational support takes the non-hierarchical form of ‘janitors’ rather than managers. In 2017 they reached new (decentralized) growth goals, exceeding 1,200 members across 270 schools in over 50 countries.

Blockchain isn’t all about making money, this organisation is engaging young people across the world using volunteer activity to make a difference in the world.
Image: twitter.com

Designed to help students start and/or grow their blockchain clubs across the world, the Blockchain Educational Network cross-campus initiative ambitious seeks to propagate blockchain culture across university campuses. By connecting the various blockchain hubs through friendly competitive activities, student-leaders form strong relationships between each other and amplify their local efforts, whilst the organizational support takes the non-hierarchical form of ‘janitors’ rather than managers. In 2017 they reached new (decentralized) growth goals, exceeding 1,200 members across 270 schools in over 50 countries.

Blockchain isn’t all about making money, this organisation is engaging young people across the world using volunteer activity to make a difference in the world.
Image: twitter.com

Jen Greyson
jengreyson
Jen Greyson
The CEO of Powered by Neureal Jennifer brings decades of executive leadership to the blockchain/crypto space.

Her adamant stances on empowering women, global issues, and educating over regulating, set her team at Neureal apart in the frenzy that is the current crypto space. With a project tackling artificial intelligence, big data, and cryptocurrency, she’ll be one to watch as she bridges some of the biggest nascent technologies.

About Neureal’s far-reaching impact, she says, “We are giving everyone the ability to matter, to make a difference in the world on a grand scale. Users will be able to predict anything they’re passionate about, from hurricane paths to the extinction of a species to climate change to medical advances. And, of course… Bitcoin prices.”
Image: Neureal.net

Her adamant stances on empowering women, global issues, and educating over regulating, set her team at Neureal apart in the frenzy that is the current crypto space. With a project tackling artificial intelligence, big data, and cryptocurrency, she’ll be one to watch as she bridges some of the biggest nascent technologies.

About Neureal’s far-reaching impact, she says, “We are giving everyone the ability to matter, to make a difference in the world on a grand scale. Users will be able to predict anything they’re passionate about, from hurricane paths to the extinction of a species to climate change to medical advances. And, of course… Bitcoin prices.”
Image: Neureal.net

Fahima Anwar
@FahimaAnwar
Fahima Anwar
Fahima is the Director, Marketing & Communications for IVEP, and Senior Director, Global Marketing & Communications at Dubtokens. The Canada-based organisation is bringing the immutability of the blockchain to the trust-challenged industry of media engagement metrics, and Fahima is a content strategist with 8+ years in marketing, e-commerce & technology with a keen interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain.

She is the founder of Canada’s largest influencer conference, Spark Sessions, and has a background in the fashion influencer space. At IVEP she has purposefully built her team to be 90% female, in order to deliberately disrupt the growing lack of diversity in the cryptocurrency movement. “They [all] had the skills, they just didn’t know they could excel in the space”. She has exciting plans for 2018 to hopefully get other women thinking about entering the industry and making the change an unstoppable reality.
Image: LinkedIn.com

She is the founder of Canada’s largest influencer conference, Spark Sessions, and has a background in the fashion influencer space. At IVEP she has purposefully built her team to be 90% female, in order to deliberately disrupt the growing lack of diversity in the cryptocurrency movement. “They [all] had the skills, they just didn’t know they could excel in the space”. She has exciting plans for 2018 to hopefully get other women thinking about entering the industry and making the change an unstoppable reality.
Image: LinkedIn.com

Meltem Demirors
@Melt_Dem
Meltem Demirors
Meltem is the development director at the Digital Currency Group (whose subsidiaries include Coindesk), where she has been described as “the ‘connective tissue’ between subsidiaries, portfolio companies, investors, and corporate partners”.

Working as a synergist between the cutting edge of blockchain development and traditional investment, she is focused on creating new models for partnership and growth. As well as driving investor relations, development programmes and vendor partnerships, she incubated DCG Connect, a subsidiary of DCG that connects startups with enterprises and technology service providers to build scalable solutions across value chains.
Meltem is also a member of Global Future Council on Blockchain at the World Economic Forum.
Image: LinkedIn.com

Working as a synergist between the cutting edge of blockchain development and traditional investment, she is focused on creating new models for partnership and growth. As well as driving investor relations, development programmes and vendor partnerships, she incubated DCG Connect, a subsidiary of DCG that connects startups with enterprises and technology service providers to build scalable solutions across value chains.
Meltem is also a member of Global Future Council on Blockchain at the World Economic Forum.
Image: LinkedIn.com

Raine Revere
@metaraine
Raine Revere
A background in contemplative psychotherapy and now working as a blockchain engineer, would be enough to make Raine an interesting person on its own. She is still a practicing therapist, but as well as being a developer and educator in the smart contracts space, she is a founder at Maiden – teaching modern cryptocurrency investment and development skills to women, people of color, LGBTQIAP+, and others who have not traditionally had access to wealth.

As with many of the women making this list, Raine is working across the boundaries of the technological and social change, quite possibly the only place where the true implications of the impact of the blockchain revolution might be understood.
Image: Linkedin.com

As with many of the women making this list, Raine is working across the boundaries of the technological and social change, quite possibly the only place where the true implications of the impact of the blockchain revolution might be understood.
Image: Linkedin.com

International Woman’s Day

Jane Zhang, Marketing Partner, Delphy – a blockchain-powered predictive market, is one of the leading women in the blockchain space and has written a brief quote sharing her thoughts on women’s treatment in crypto space and highlighting some important issues.

“On March 8th it is International Woman’s Day, which seeks to celebrate women’s achievements. This year’s theme #pressforprogress is calling for change – change in gender equality across the globe. As a woman in the relatively new area of blockchain, a technology industry that has only been around for 9 years, it is interesting to reflect on the presence of the female voice in this area.

“Sadly, for all its talk on innovation and disruption, the world of cryptocurrencies trails behind in diversity and there is underlying tone of a “gentlemen’s club” culture. The wider technology industry has faced many issues with gender equality, but strides are being made in the right direction. Yet why do we see and read about cryptocurrency events being held at gentlemen’s clubs? Why are there so many stories from women who have attended cryptocurrency events only to be subjected to sexist and condescending remarks? An innovative and exciting new world is stuck in the dark ages.

“But there is hope. The crypto community is still relatively new. We need to ensure that women’s voices are being heard, that women are being brought into the industry whether that be from a business, investment or development perspective. This is an exciting world, but it can only succeed in truly disrupting if it is inclusive.”
“We definitely see a wave of talented women bagging leadership positions in blockchain start-ups.

Grassroots change

Indeed, education is where change has got to start. Whilst valuable initiatives such as Girls in Tech can start to bridge the gap for women to enter the highly male-dominated world of coding, it’s vital that more generally financial literacy is heightened for all young people.

Investing has been the largest wealth generation tool for decades worldwide, so it’s essential that women are equal players in this system. A lack of financial literacy and no social empowerment to invest for those in developing markets is leading women to miss out on opportunities such as cryptocurrency. The only way to fix this is to work financial literacy and investment training into global education programmes, so all young people will be more able to advance their financial positions in a rapidly changing world.

Sadly our educational institutions in the ‘developed’ world have always failed badly at this area. Watching my own daughters struggling with schoolwork covering critical life-skills like trigonometry, I can’t help thinking how much more useful it’d be for them to be learning to understand trading, risk, and even compound interest… Whatever their future holds for their generation, a fundamental understanding of triangles probably won’t help them as much as understanding how to value and manage and make their most of the assets they acquire.

But in a world where learning is a click away for most of us, the traditional curriculums surely become less and less important, and so in parallel will the institutions which gate-keep such knowledge. I look forward to the next generation of men and women in cryptocurrency, who are the self-taught pioneers of a new age and will build the new economy to fit a world we can’t begin to imagine. I believe, or at the very least sincerely hope, we won’t be looking around wondering where the women are.

Please share:

This content was originally published here.

Wall Street’s interest in bitcoin, like ICE’s Bakkt, isn’t boosting crypto prices — Quartz

Wall Street is steadily making it easier for a wider range of investors to buy and sell bitcoin. It’s a development that should, in theory, boost prices—if a torrent of institutional money is poised to rush into crypto, then the buildout of professional-grade infrastructure should be a boon for things like bitcoin, ether, and other offshoots. But so far that’s not the case:

Bitcoin has fallen more than 50% since Dec. 10, when Cboe Global Markets launched its futures contract, which allows traders to hedge or speculate on the digital asset’s price in the future. CME Group started its own bitcoin derivative seven days later. While crypto trading has been dogged by regulatory uncertainty, futures seem like a promising development because government watchdogs have given them their blessing and institutional investors are deeply familiar with these types of derivatives.

Likewise, Wall Street has shown a willingness to support bitcoin if the institutional demand is there. In May, the New York Times reported that Goldman Sachs will post bids and offers for bitcoin futures, and is looking into ways to trade actual crypto tokens.

Another big concern for institutions—how to protect crypto holdings—may be gradually resolved. Pensions and hedge funds typically rely on specialized custody banks to safeguard their securities. Crypto exchanges, on the other hand, have a worrying propensity to get hacked. With this in mind, last month Coinbase rolled out a custody service, with a mission “to make digital currency investment accessible to every eligible financial institution and hedge fund in the world.”

And last week, Intercontinental Exchange—the owner of the New York Stock Exchange—said it’s starting a company and trading platform for bitcoin called Bakkt. The idea is to bring applications for digital assets together with “regulated, connected infrastructure,” ICE CEO Jeffrey Sprecher said in a statement. Pending regulatory approval, ICE said it intends to start a bitcoin futures contract in November. Starbucks, which has a mobile payment service for its rewards members, is also participating. Bitcoin drifted lower following the announcement.

Mind you, bitcoin is still trading at more than $6,900, double its level a year ago, according to CoinDesk. But even so, the prospect for more institutional involvement doesn’t seem to have buoyed prices lately. They are, after all, well down from the all-time high near $20,000 at the end of 2017.

Kenneth Griffin, the founder of the hedge fund group Citadel, said last month that he doesn’t “have a single portfolio manager who has told me we should buy crypto.” In its mid-year investment research outlook, Goldman’s strategists said they expect further bitcoin declines because it doesn’t fulfill the role of money. By their reckoning, it’s not a medium of exchange, a unit of measurement, or a store of value.

Of course, bitcoin has been pronounced dead in the past—and then soared spectacularly. But for now, the potential for more Wall Street involvement is doing little to stoke a crypto rally.

This content was originally published here.

A beginner’s guide to Ethereum tokens

What is an Ethereum token?
Before learning about Ethereum tokens, it is important to first understand the basics of Ethereum . Please see my beginner’s guide to Ethereum for those new to this concept entirely . Ethereum tokens are simply digital assets that are being built on top of the Ethereum blockchain. They benefit from Ethereum’s existing infrastructure instead of developers having to build an entirely new blockchain. They also strengthen the Ethereum ecosystem by driving demand for ether, the native currency of Ethereum, needed to power the smart contracts. This beginner’s guide should help those who are new to digital assets to understand Ethereum tokens at a high level and how they are different than Ethereum.
Comparison
Ethereum is a platform that can be used to create any arbitrary smart contract including smart contracts that represent digital assets called Ethereum tokens. This is similar to the App Store providing a platform for iOS apps with some apps issuing their own digital currencies that are used within the game or system. However, with Ethereum there is no centralized entity like Apple that controls what gets added to the App Store. Anyone can create a token on top of Ethereum.
Ethereum tokens can represent anything from a physical object like gold ( Digix ) to a native currency used to pay transaction fees ( Golem ). In the future, tokens may even be used to represent financial instruments like stocks and bonds. The properties and functions of each token are entirely subject to its intended use. Tokens can have a fixed supply, constant inflation rate, or even a supply determined by a sophisticated monetary policy. Tokens can be used for a variety of purposes such as paying to access a network or for decentralized governance over an organization.
Tokens are often issued to the public through a crowd sale called an initial coin offering (ICO). The creators of the token will issue the token to others in exchange for ether and sometimes bitcoin and other digital currencies. There have been many ICOs recently and in a short time they have completely changed the way projects are funded . There is no requirement that tokens must be well distributed, although if you are building a decentralized application ideally you want the tokens to be owned by as many people as possible.
There are multiple resources that can walk you through the process of creating a token and that explain how tokens work on a technical level. For example, Token Factory provides a simple user interface that allows you to create your own Ethereum token with custom parameters.
Similar to bitcoin and ether, Ethereum tokens are also tracked on the blockchain which is the public ledger of all transactions that have occurred. This is because Ethereum tokens are just a specific type of smart contract that live on the Ethereum blockchain.
Among the largest Ethereum tokens by market cap are Augur’s REP and Golem’s GNT. Both projects are in development and have a combined market cap of about $450 million. I’ll briefly go over how each of them work to provide a better understanding of the vastly different functions an Ethereum token can have.
Augur
Augur is a decentralized prediction market co-founded by Joey Krug and Jack Peterson . Prediction markets allow users to bet on the outcome of different events and can also be used for hedging purposes. For example, if you own 1 bitcoin that is worth $2,000 and want to hedge that holding, you can bet that the price of bitcoin will be below $2,000 by a certain date. That way if the price of bitcoin goes up your holdings will be more valuable but if it goes down you will offset your losses through the prediction market. There is no centralized source that reports on the outcome of events. This mitigates the risk of a corrupt reporter but also creates a need for a decentralized reporting source.
Augur issued an Ethereum token called Reputation (REP). There is a fixed supply of 11 million REP tokens in existence, 80% of which were sold through a crowd sale raising $5.3 million. These tokens are used for reporting on the outcome of prediction market events. All active REP holders are required to report on the outcome of randomly selected events. This maintains the decentralized reporting pool needed to settle the outcome of Augur’s prediction markets. As a reward for providing this critical reporting function, REP holders receive half of all transaction fees generated by prediction markets on the platform. If someone tries to lie and report on the outcome incorrectly then they will get penalized by having to give up some of their REP. In addition if the majority of REP holders are dishonest then people would not want to use Augur and the value of REP goes down. This incentivizes people to act honestly in the Augur system.
Golem
Golem is a project headed by Julian Zawistowski that allows people to rent out their spare computing power to others. The idea is that by creating a worldwide supercomputer, computing power will become less costly and more accessible to everyone.
Golem issued an Ethereum token called Golem Network Token (GNT). There is a fixed supply of 1 billion GNT in existence, 82% of which were sold through a crowd sale raising $8.6 million. These tokens are required for interacting with the Golem network and is the currency used as payment when renting computing power. Since there is a limited supply of tokens for accessing this network if more people want to use Golem then the value of GNT increases. This theoretically aligns the incentives of people holding GNT with those using it.
ERC20 token
You may hear the Ethereum community refer to ERC20 tokens. The initial ERC20 page “describes standard functions a token contract can implement.” ERC20 is a standard interface for tokens. ERC20 tokens are simply a subset of Ethereum tokens. In order to be fully ERC20 compliant the developer needs to incorporate a specific set of functions into their smart contract that at a high level will allow it to perform the following actions:

  1. get the total token supply
  2. get the account balance
  3. transfer the token
  4. approve spending the token

ERC20 allows for seamless interaction with other smart contracts and decentralized applications on the Ethereum blockchain. Tokens that have some but not all of the standard functions are considered to be partially ERC20 compliant and can still be easy for external parties to interact with depending upon which functions are missing.
Resources
There are many existing and upcoming Ethereum tokens. Below are some links that may help you understand Ethereum tokens further and keep up with the exciting news.
Understanding Ethereum tokens

  • The difference between App Coins and Protocol Tokens
  • How to Raise Money on a Blockchain with a Token
  • Introducing the Blockchain Token Securities Law Framework
  • Tokens, Tokens and More Tokens
  • The Token Economy
  • The perfect token sale structure

    Keeping up with Ethereum tokens

  • ICO Alert

  • Smith + Crown
  • Ethereum Subreddit
  • The Control
  • Week in Ethereum News
  • The Dapp Daily

Thank you to Will Warren and many Coinbase employees especially Jordan Clifford , Reuben Bramanathan , David Farmer , and Dan Romero .
Disclosure: The author owns various ethereum-based assets, including augur rep and golem gnt. All opinions in this post are the author’s alone. This post is not an endorsement by Coinbase of any asset and you should be aware of the risk of loss before trading or holding any digital asset.

This content was originally published here.

Europol Warns Zcash, Monero and Ether Playing Growing Role in Cybercrime

European Union law enforcement agency Europol has for the first time released a cybercrime report examining the growing role of zcash, monero and ether on the darknet.

In the 2017 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (IOCTA), Europol states that, although bitcoin is still the preferred currency in cybercrime, the landscape is beginning to evolve, with “monero, ethereum and zcash … gaining popularity within the digital underground.”

The research document analyzes the differing desirability of these cryptocurrencies for cybercriminals, and concludes that monero is increasingly popular due to the “additional security and privacy features it offers.”

“Transactions cannot be attributed to any particular user/ address, all coins used in a transaction are ‘hidden’ by default, and transaction histories are kept private.”

Europol also mentions the cryptocurrencies’ popularity on darknet marketplaces, and decribes the first known case, earlier this year, of a monero-focused ransomware named Kirk.

Discussing ethereum’s ether token, the assessment restates Europol’s earlier concerns that smart contracts could be used to formalize payments between crime service providers. Further, it documents a case of a decentralized darknet market planned to operate on the ethereum blockchain.

The document goes on to say that zcash “has yet to feature in any reported law enforcement investigations.” However, due to its privacy features, which involves “obscuring both the transaction recipient and transaction amount,” darknet marketplaces are interested in the currency. 

Although since disbanded, the largest darknet market AlphaBay added monero and ethereum as payment options in the year prior to its closure, and had plans to implement zcash.

Europol shutdown AlphaBay earlier this year as part of an internationally coordinated darknet crackdown.

An investigative document stated at the time that authorities had seized large quantities of bitcoin, ethereum, zcash and “an unknown amount of monero” from the site administrator. Monero enthusiasts celebrated the statement on social media as proof of the resilience of the currency.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Zcash Company, the for-profit entity that develops the Zcash protocol.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at .

This content was originally published here.

Bitcoin and Ethereum Have a Hidden Power Structure, and It’s Just Been Revealed

In cryptocurrency circles, calling something “centralized” is an insult. The epithet stems from Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s revelation: a monetary system doesn’t need a central authority, like a government, to work. That’s such a potent idea that it’s morphed into a battle among crypto-enthusiasts between good—that is, “decentralized”— currencies and evil ones, or anything with a whiff of “centralization,” that are assumed to threaten the utopian view of cryptocurrencies as the vehicle for a new financial world order.

Do these arguments hold any water? Emin Gün Sirer, a cryptocurrency expert at Cornell University, says in many cases the jury’s still out—mainly because no one’s bothered to take a hard look at how decentralized these networks actually are.

This piece first appeared in our new twice-weekly newsletter, Chain Letter, which covers the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Sign up here – it’s free!

“We don’t have any real metrics yet.” he says. His group aims to help change that with newly published results from a two-year-long study focused on Bitcoin and Ethereum, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency networks.

Perhaps the most striking finding is that the process of verifying transactions and securing a blockchain ledger against attack, called mining, is not actually that decentralized in either system. Bitcoin and Ethereum are open blockchain systems, meaning that in principle anyone can be a miner (see “What Bitcoin Is, and Why It Matters”). But organizations have formed to pool mining resources. The researchers found that the top four Bitcoin-mining operations had more than 53 percent of the system’s average mining capacity, measured on a weekly basis. Mining for Ethereum was even more consolidated: three miners accounted for 61 percent of the system’s average weekly capacity.

They also found that 56 percent of Bitcoin’s “nodes,” the computers around the world running its software (not all of them engage in mining), are located in data centers, versus 28 percent for Ethereum. That might indicate that Bitcoin is more corporatized, Gün Sirer says. Overall, the group concluded that neither network “has strictly better properties than the other.”

Numbers like these may help clarify some debates. But the overall discussion of what “decentralization” means is much broader and more complicated. Hundreds of cryptocurrencies now exist, and many of them work differently from Bitcoin and Ethereum. Not all of them rely on miners or even use a blockchain.

There’s no perfect way to measure the decentralization of a cryptocurrency network, which is a complicated social as well as technical phenomenon. The way coins are distributed in a network can matter hugely, for example. In the case of Ripple, a privately owned company oversees the distribution of coins and still holds more than half of all in existence.

Discussions of decentralization may seem esoteric, but anyone interested in the future of cryptocurrency should try to follow along. Part of the vision sold by the technology’s biggest promoters is that it can help solve problems of financial inequality created in part by traditional, centralized institutions. If digital currency allows wealth and power to pool in the hands of a few, that’s not so revolutionary.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

  • Andrew Burton | Getty
  • Bitcoin and Ethereum Have a Hidden Power Structure, and It’s Just Been Revealed

    Close examination reveals how power is being consolidated across their networks.

    This content was originally published here.

    Christmas Miracle is Needed for Monero Mustangs

    Please Sponsor a Monero Mustang Today. 48243143_218625292250195_7944448312180998144_n

    Citizens Against Equine Slaughter has partnered with many good organizations and sanctuaries for wild and domestic horses. Monero Mustangs is a 501c3 in New Mexico with mustangs that were removed from the Carson National Forest by US Forestry Service. Monero Mustang needs your help to get through the winter with the 36 horses they currently have.

    When the Forestry Service started a gather of the horses in the Carson National Forest our sister organization Wild Horse Observers Association was able to step in and stop the helicopters and bring a halt to the gather, but the Forest Service was not required to return the horses they had already gathered.

    Monero Mustangs stepped up and rescued the wild horses from going to slaughter. Now, they need us to help get them through the winter with feed and hay bills. This continuing need is something that happens when horses are removed from the wild and have to go to sanctuary to keep their lives. But, if they are going to be in sanctuary Monero is the best of the best, which one 31-year-old gal can tell you!

    This is La Vieja (Grandmother) and she sure doesn’t look her age. The great people at Monero are so diligent about the care they provide for these horses and La Vieja is only one of many seniors at the sanctuary.

    La Vieja grandmother
    The picture was taken December 12, 2018. La Vieja who will be 32 this spring.

    To sponsor a Monero Mustang means that you are providing the essential feed and vet care for a specific horse at the sanctuary for only $50 a month. You will receive a certificate with your horse’s photo and you will get updates about your horse and the sanctuary throughout the year.

    We suggest that if you cannot afford the whole sponsorship monthly you find a partner, ask another to split the sponsorship with you and just let Monero Mustang know who your partner is so both of you get a certificate for your horse!

    At this time of year we all are worried about finances, and getting our family a trinket or 2, but maybe you have a special relative who would love to have a wild mustang sponsored in their name…? Most of all we hope that everyone who supports CAES and our work will strive to sponsor one horse, find 12 people who would each make one month donation and donate the care for that horse for the year…just give Monero and these mustangs that critical help they need to make their holiday season one that they can enjoy not going to bed worried about how they will manage the hay bills next month.

    We know our loyal supporters can do this… and because this is our holiday wish we are going to update this post everytime one of the 36 horses has been sponsored for the year! Good luck to all of us and let’s get it done!!

    CAES and another non-profit have sponsored the first horse for Monero. Merry Christmas La Vieja, may your 2019 be as wonderful as the past 31 years!

    To make your donation go to Paypal and type in moneromustangs@yahoo.com and please leave us a comment and tell us your name or the names of all in the group who are sponsoring a Monero mustang for 2019.

    You can also find Monero Mustangs on Facebook at   https://www.facebook.com/Moneromustangs/

    This content was originally published here.