Month: May 2017

Consensus 2017 Lesson: Luxury Products are Going on the Blockchain

(Gold Silver Bitcoin) – $450 million RMB on a blockchain. That’s what VeChain brings to the table in the world of blockchain. It’s really the most promising blockchain use case out of China – and there are many. Read More

Biological Attack Threatened at India IT Firm if $100 Million Dollar Bitcoin Ransom Not Paid

Hackers threatened the Bengaluru-based IT giant Wipro with a biological attack if the company did not pay $77,760,498 USD (500 crore) in bitcoins by May 25. In an email sent on Friday the sender threatened to use Ricin, a natural toxin, in food served in cafeterias, drones or on toilet seats. The email, with a link for payment, contends a two gram sample of the toxin will be sent to a Wipro office in the coming days.

“The mail has mentioned that a biochemical powder (Ricin) will be sent in covers to your (Wipro) offices to assure that the threat is not fake,” said a police source on the condition of anonymity. The toxic protein (Ricin) is made out of castor bean, from which castor oil is also produced.



The company, who is not changing its operations but is bolstering security, registered a complaint with local authorities. “Wipro confirms that it has filed a complaint with the local law enforcement authorities after receiving a threatening letter from an unidentified source. Wipro has augmented security measures at all its office locations. There is no impact on the company’s operations. We have no further comments as the investigation is ongoing”, the IT major said in a statement.

The Bengaluru police cyber crimes unit is investigating the case, currently looking to find the origin of the email. Police have said the email might be a hoax.

“We will have to explore and find out whether these are genuine are not,” noted Additional Commissioner (Crime) of the Bengaluru police S Ravi.

“We have registered the case under Section 66F of the IT Act (cyber terrorism) and are investigating it,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Anand Kumar. Although the company declined to mention who sent the threat mail, police sources said it was from some “ramesh2@protonmail.com” mail ID.

“Though we got some clues, we cannot share, as the investigation is underway. We have to also find out who all are involved in it from the IP address from where the threat mail was sent,” noted Kumar.

The IT behemoth received a similar threat, which turned out to be a hoax, in 2013. An anonymous letter threatened to blow up the company’s campuses in Bengaluru.

Since the threat, WiproBSE shares are down an unnotable one-tenth of a percent. The ransom threat underscores the useful nature of bitcoins in the now.

While Wipro has been threatened with a biological attack, hackers typical merely threaten to destroy a person or company’s important data while demanding bitcoins. Reports say Wipro is bolstering security in the wake of threats at all of its offices. 

“We have augmented security measures at all office locations, though there is no impact on our operations,” said the city-based IT firm in a statement emailed on Saturday.

The toxic material can be fatal if inhaled, taken as a pill or mixed in water for anyone. “As the investigation is going on, we would not like to comment further on the issue,” said Wipro in the statement.

Golden State Warriors Owner Tweets Digital Currency Coke vs. Pepsi Analogy

Chamath Palihapitiya, an owner of the Golden State Warriors professional basketball team, recently took to twitter to celebrate the digital currency Bitcoin.

“Reiterating my belief about $BTC,” the venture capitalist from Sri-Lanka (raised in Canada) tweeted. “It’s the ultimate insurance policy against autocracy, currency curbs and other forms of value destruction.”

When asked to compare Ethereum with Bitcoin by a fellow Twitter user, Mr. Palihapitiya replied: “Coke v Pepsi. Pick the more mainstream option that more people can easily consume. Both will make money but bigger is always better.”

Mr. Palihapitiya has told his friends it is “entirely rational to allocate one percent of your assets to Bitcoin.” It’s what he’s done.  

As Alan Silbert, founder of luxury Bitcoin marketplace BitPremier, correctly pointed out on Twitter, Mr. Palihapitiya has called Bitcoin “schmuck insurance.”

He wrote: “As the 2008 crisis proved, schmucks can cause world damage.”

 

It’s no secret that Mr. Palihapitiya, a former executive with Facebook, invests in bitcoins and is also one of the largest holders in the world alongside the Winklevoss Twins. The serial entrepreneur likes Bitcoin for its electronic, peer-to-peer nature.

“Bitcoin today is in roughly the same development phase that TCP/IP was back then,” he once wrote for Bloomberg. “Instead of IP addresses and websites, Bitcoin has unique strings that represent money and a mechanism to send these strings securely and safely wherever you want. It is a protocol that is allowing money to flow around the world much like TCP/IP allows information to flow — in an orderly, predictable way.”

In his support of Bitcoin, he underscores not bitcoin’s future, but the ways in which Bitcoin is working today.

“Bitcoin is being used all over the world in a wide range of ways already: to avoid the high fees of using a Visa card in San Paulo; to settle the purchase of a million dollar home in Buenos Aires; to pay a mechanic for services in Lagos; to provide Egyptians access to a liquid currency,” the Silicon Valley veteran wrote in the Bloomberg article that appeared in 2013. “The list goes on.”

It’s a diverse range of uses for the digital currency, he notes.

Because “the world needs more red pills”, he says, he hopes Bitcoin succeeds.

“There is a famous scene in the Matrix where Morpheus asks Neo if he wants to take the blue pill and go back to life as he knows it or take the red pill and see life as it is,” he once wrote about Bitcoin. “Neo takes the red pill and begins a period of exploration about humanity, hierarchy, rules, etc. Bitcoin is a red pill. There will be some bad and awkward moments, but lots of good, useful and powerful things will also ensue. It will reallocate financial strength and power to the people versus keeping it within a few centralized authorities.”

 

Geopolitics Driving Gold

(Gold Silver Bitcoin) President Trump warned last week of a  “major, major conflict with North Korea”. He said he’d rather do things diplomatically, though it’d prove “very difficult.”

Trump has made no secret about tensions between North Korea and the US. “There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely,” the president said. “We’d love to solve things diplomatically, but it’s very difficult.”

Trump noted that he was confident in Chinese President Xi Jinping and his attempts to influence the North. The pair met in Florida earlier this month to discuss the situation in the Korean Peninsula.



“I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn’t want to see turmoil and death,” Trump told Reuters. “He doesn’t want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well. With that being said, he loves China and he loves the people of China. I know he would like to be able to do something, perhaps it’s possible that he can’t.”

White House officials on Wednesday describe North Korea as an “urgent” threat to national security and a “top foreign policy priority.”

Military action by the US would likely snowball into a massive strike from the North on South Korea. North Korea could also attack Japan.




“My problem is that I have established a very good personal relationship with President Xi,” the president said. “I really feel that he is doing everything in his power to help us with a big situation. So I wouldn’t want to be causing difficulty right now for him. So I would certainly want to speak to him first.”

Russia blocked a Security Council statement proposed by the U.S. on Wednesday to condemn North Korea’s missile tests. China supported the measure.

“Russia is slowing this down, and it is not clear why,” the diplomat told CBS News. “The U.S. wanted to get the message out.” North Korea’s failed missile test launch on Sunday added to geopolitical tensions escalating between President Donald Trump and Pyongyang.

By Wednesday, the world learned that military aircraft headed for Australia were not on their way to North Korea, as President Trump had intonated.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that Washington would work with its allies and China but that United States would meet any attack with an “overwhelming response”.

The first of 1250 US Marines have begun to make landfall  “stand ready to fight” against North Korea.

“I think that the commitment that we’ve taken to put a task force here with a conversation to get larger over the years says that we do think this is an important region,” Lieut. Colonel Middleton said.

“We are seeing once again a little bit of a flight to safety as a result of the news over the weekend of North Korea’s attempted missile test. That’s resulting in a little bit of a weakness in the U.S. dollar,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.

The U.S. military intercepted two Russian bombers in international airspace off Alaska’s coast. A pair of F-22 Raptor aircraft intercepted the Russian TU-95 Bear bombers on Monday, according to Navy Commander Gary Ross, a Pentagon spokesman said. He called the intercept “safe and professional.”

On Tuesday, at an annual military parade in Tehran, Iran put on display new S-300 air defense missile system, as well as other weapons seen under banners calling for “Death to Israel” in Persian.

President Hassan Rouhani said at the ceremony that Iranian military was “avoiding tensions and encounters” but that it had to “remain vigilant in the face of plots hatched by the others and increase deterrent power.”

Gold has held firm in recent weeks, thanks to tensions surrounding North Korea other geopolitical uncertainty including the upcoming French presidential election. Still, it endured its worst gain in a month on Wednesday, falling 0.8 percent.

Poor U.S. economic data and a lack of confidence for the Trump administration on tax cuts have led to the expectation of faster inflation.

Economic turbulence, extended by President Trump, contributed to safe-haven bids for gold. Unrest in other parts of the world, like Syria and North Korea, also contributed to gold’s higher price.

Gold climbed on Friday, ensuring a monthly gain of more than 1%, as data showing weak U.S. economic growth weighed on the dollar.

The ICE U.S. Dollar Index, which helps measure the dollar, had fallen 0.1% and trading about 1.6% lower for the month.

Exchange-traded funds SPDR Gold Trust increased 0.2%, climing for the month 1.6%. iShares Silver Trust fell 0.2%, down 5.3% for the month. The VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF increased 2.5% Friday,  its monthly loss 1.9%.




Mike Cannon-Brookes admitted he likes to gamble – on bitcoin

Mike Cannon-Brookes admitted he likes to gamble – on bitcoin.

Cannon-Brookes tweeted on Monday:

Cannon-Brookes, who mistakenly thinks bitcoins come in ounces,  tweeted later that he “bet” on bitcoin, and he has done well based on the assumption that, “It will be worth a lot, or zero”.



He added: “Much like a horse racing. Not like investing.”   

Cannon-Brookes later tweeted that $10,000 USD in bitcoins purchased in July 2010 would today be worth more than $US 146,428,889.

Cannon-Brookes is believed to enjoy bets in the crypto currency space via tech investor Blackbird Ventures and bank disrupter Tyro.

The Tyro Fintech Hub was opened in February 2015. The Hub takes up the entire third floor of Tyro’s new offices in the newly refurbished art deco building at 155 Clarence Street Sydney.

Cannon-Brookes has condemned what he sees as overreaching regulation by Australian authorities.

In reference to Bitcoin company CoinJar moving to the UK to avoid Australian bnitcoin sales tax, he tweeted: “Make a stupid law. Lose business. When will we learn Aus?”

Mr Cannon-Brookes, whose company Atlassian is currently valued around $US4.25 billion on the NASDAQ, has received high praise.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk thanked Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes for promising to fix South Australia’s energy crisis throughj large-scale battery storage.

Mr Musk tweeted“@mcannonbrookes Can only happen with your support, and working closely with key govt and utility leaders who are strongly committed to trying new approaches.”