Category Archive : Tech

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Discusses Social Media Privacy With Top Officials

A gathering between Attorney General Jeff Sessions and top state law enforcement officials took place on Tuesday to discuss the ways the government can protect the privacy of social media users. Read More

Puerto Rico Finds Hope In Crypto, Cannabis, And Nicolas Cage

Hurricane Maria had a disastrous effect on Puerto Rico, and even though the one-year anniversary of the natural disaster is on September 20th, the island has yet to fully recover.
Read More

Elon Musk Smoking Cannabis On Joe Rogan Didn’t Affect Tesla Shares For Long

Elon Musk appeared as a special guest on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast last week. When Rogan lit up a tobacco-cannabis hybrid cigarette – often referred to as a butt – after two hours of interview, he assumed Musk would decline due to the inevitable backlash from Tesla and SpaceX shareholders. Read More

Google Introduces New Startups To Launchpad Studio, Partners With Four Indian Banks

Google just introduced a new group of startup businesses into Launchpad Studio, the tech behemoth’s accelerator it launched last year that matches top machine learning startups and experts from Silicon Valley with Google – its people, network, and advanced technologies.

While the accelerator’s first group was meant to gather new insights from medical data, this most recent one is meant to shake up well-known financial markets and systems.

Accurately reviewing and analyzing millions of data points tied to locations, demographics, and financial situations will result in information helpful to the financial sector.

Some of the new startups include:

Celo (USA) – growing financial inclusion through a mobile-first cryptocurrency.

GuiaBolso (Brazil) – improving the economic lives of Brazilians.

Starling Bank (UK) – improving financial well-being with a mobile-only bank.

Frontier Car Group (Germany) – investing in the ever-changing process of used-car marketplaces.

Inclusive (Ghana) – verifying identities across Africa.

Aye Finance (India) – remodeling financing in India.

m.Paani (India) – powering local businesses and the next one billion users in India.

India and the United States are the only countries with more than one business in Google’s latest Launchpad Studio accelerator additions – With two startups coming from these countries.

In addition, Google is partnering with four Indian banks to issue customer loans online, as the battle for the $1 trillion digital finance market persists. 

The banks partnering with the search engine are HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Federal Bank.

They will offer instant, pre-approved loans to consumers “right within Google Pay in a matter of seconds.”

Google also re-branded its made-in-India Tez app, launched in September, as Google Pay.

The app’s users can take out customized loans and get the funds transferred straight into their bank account.

“We’ve learned that when we build for India, we build for the world,” Caesar Sengupta, vice-president of Google’s Next Billion Users initiative and Payments, said at the “Google for India” meet in New Delhi.

Over 55-million people in more than 300,000 towns and villages have downloaded Google’s payments app to pay for dinner, bus rides, or other services.

In total, Google estimates about $30 billion in annual transactions through the Tez app.

Google also announced that it’s expanding its Google Station internet access program to 12,000 villages and cities throughout the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The search-engine will add more Indian language content through a publishing venture called Project Navlekha, and will also add a new feature in Google Go that allows users to listen to websites read aloud in English and five different Indian languages.

Former Digital Gold Developers Launch Token Sale for Cash, Micro-Lending System

(GoldSilverBitcoin) – Everex, formerly Midas Reserv, is making waves in the crypto-cash industry thanks to its contributions in cash-transfer technologies. Based on the Ethereum blockchain, Everex’s central product, Cryptocash, allows individuals to transfer cash across borders instantly in form of national currency on a blockchain. Applicable to remittance and cash transfers, Cryptocash is a digitized form of cash backed by national currencies thanks to Everex’s partner institutions. Read More

JP Morgan’s Blockchain Researchers Discussed Ethereum’s Shortcomings Before DAO Hack



When two senior blockchain leaders left JP Morgan’s Juno project last month to start the firm Kadena.io, as reported by Quartz, it was on amicable terms.

Related: JPMorgan Publishes Code for Permissioned Blockchain

JPMorgan & Kadena Partnership In The Works?

In fact, former executive director Stuart Popejoy and JP Morgan head engineer Will Martino – who use South Park caricatures on the website in their biographies – are currently exploring a partnership with their former employer, the largest bank in the United States with total assets of $2.35 trillion.

Kadena’s conversations with JP Morgan revolve around both the initial pilot of the Kadena self-titled blockchain and other use-cases, and  a relationship with the bank could be formalized in the next few months with Kadena either as a vendor or partner. Spinning off from JP Morgan was “definitely” a professional decision for Popejoy and Martino.

“Our decision was based on the belief that the true potential of the Juno pilot would be best-served by an independent effort,” Martino told Motherboard, referring to JP Morgan’s blockchain project.

DAO Hack Foreseen By JPMorgan

Martino’s and Popejoy believe  their work serves as an improvement over Ethereum. Martino and Popejoy say Kadena’s technology would avoid blockchain crises such as the June $56 million DAO hack of Ethereum’s token, ether.

Like Ethereum, Kadena’s blockchain technology can handle payment clearing use-cases, but that’s just an “added bonus of private utility-like blockchain technology,” as Martino says. He believes blockchain technology can standardize business logic for inter-organizational relationships. This, he suggests, “could provide for terrific business acceleration.”  At the time of the DAO hack, Kadena was preparing Pact, a safe, declarative smart-contract language.

“While bugs aren’t impossible in Pact, it represents the same sober, disciplined approach found in database engineering and Bitcoin: safety is absolutely paramount in transactional computing,” Martino said.  The Ethereum hack, ultimately, confirmed a longstanding hypothesis of the Kadena founders – one they had since their JP Morgan days.

“That Ethereum’s Solidity, and indeed the EVM bytecode environment itself, is fundamentally unable to provide a safe environment for blockchain transaction execution,” Popejoy expressed.

Martino and Popejoy noticed Ethereum’s shortcomings as blockchain technology researchers in the Emerging Technologies Group at JP Morgan, which is tasked with fostering innovation within the bank. Ethereum’s design presented “a significant barrier to industry adoption of private blockchain in a multi-organizational setting.”

Is the Kadena blockchain a Bitcoin and Ethereum killer app? Popejoy and Martino believe so. Kadena can, after all,  process upwards of 7,000 transactions per second. Bitcoin is currently stuck at seven transactions per second a la the “Bitcoin block size debate.” Kadena also claims their blockchain sacrifices none of the cryptographic robustness expected from a blockchain, proving full durable security. Overall, the Kadena founders foresee a paradigm shift away from public blockchains like Ethereum.

“Private blockchain solves a raft of issues for transaction processing that normally require extensive operational and engineering expertise, including database replication, reliable and performant messaging, service discovery, high-availability, and disaster-recovery,” Popejoy said. “Remarkably, blockchain solves all of these problems in a single stroke, letting IT focus efforts on solving business problems by coding transactional logic into smart-contracts.”


Donald Trump Unveils New US Business Policy in SHOCKING Tweetstorm



President elect Donald J Trump took to Twitter last week to promise punitive actions for those companies who left the US. It’s hardly the sort of free trade beliefs he pushed during the election, and a nightmare scenario for US business.

Mr. Trump outlined what could become one of his legacy policies as President of the United States in a tweetstorm.

Mr. Trump first tweeted,“Just tried watching Saturday Night Live – unwatchable! Totally biased, not funny and the Baldwin impersonation just can’t get any worse. Sad”

He then launched the bombshell US business policy on which there will be a tax for US companies, who re-incorporated abroad, to sell their products back to US businesses and consumers.

That Mr. Trump fails to distinguish between small and big companies – “any business” he tweets – could have implications for thousands of small and family businesses.

“The U.S. is going to substantially reduce taxes and regulations on businesses, but any business that leaves our country for another country,” Trump’s first tweet of on the subject begins, “fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S.  ……

without retribution or consequence, is WRONG! There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies …..”

Trump spells out why: this will make it harder for US companies to escape.

Across the tweets, the President essentially threatens US companies, offering back nothing more than a promise of future low taxes for those who obey.

“these companies are able to move between all 50 states, with no tax or tariff being charged,” he tweets. “Please be forewarned prior to making a very …expensive mistake!

In a truly Orwellian ending, Mr. Trump tweets: “THE UNITED STATES IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS”

We were watching when last week Mr. Trump declared at a rally in Indiana, “companies are not going to leave the US anymore without consequences.” We waited for him to elaborate. He has.

CEO’s are asking, ‘Who’s next?’ in context of last week’s Carrier deal.

Sarah Palin called that deal “crony capitalism.” Mike Pence denied it. Mr Trump, meanwhile, uses the Carrier deal as an example of a business first approach.

Mr. Trump’s actions could disrupt balances in the ‘Chimerica’ arrangement with China, prompting a trade war so soon as his first 100 days in office.

Bitcoin Investor Peter Thiel Dresses as Hulk Hogan for Trump Donor’s Costume Party



Bitcoin investor Peter Thiel attended the same costume event last week where Donald Trump made headlines. The theme of the event – heroes and villains – prompted Mr. Trump to fittingly dress as himself. Read More

Donald Trump & Japanese Blockchain Researcher SoftBank Reach Deal on $50 Billion US Investment & 50,000 Jobs




Donald J Trump tweeted Tuesday that SoftBank of Japan agreed to invest $50 billion in the US towards businesses and 50,000 new jobs. The tweet comes on the even of Pearl Harbor, a scar on the memory of both nations. In announcing the deal, Mr. Trump makes good on a campaign promise to improve international relations. 

Read More

Dark Web Gun Runner Overdoses in front of Court to Try and Avoid Sentencing



A man who went by the darknet alias of Walter Mitty tried to overdose and take his own life outside of a court, before a judge was set to sentence the UK man, for a second time. His ploy failed, and the judge sentenced him to jail anyway.

Justin Young, 45, was taken to the hospital after drinking an entire bottle of whisky and swallowing a huge dose of prescription medicine, according to The Sun out of the United Kingdom. 

He was about to face the music for the illegal importation of assault rifle parts via the dark web. The judge jailed him for eight years while Mr. Young was being treated in the Royal Cornwall hospital for his self-inflicted wounds.

Walt-sunuk

The court learned how Mr. Young was a “normal” man who eventually “went off the rails.” In his ‘Walter Mitty’ delusion he crafted, he seemingly led the life of the protagonist of the hit show Breaking Bad, Walter White.

Having pleaded guilty to three counts of “conspiring to fraudulently avoid prohibition on the importation of illegal firearm parts,” Mr. Young was caught red-handed for importing rifles, including AR-15s.

This was not the first, but indeed the second time Mr. Young tried to overdose before being sentenced OUTSIDE of court. The first time he was simply arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

As he tried to die this most recent time, he handed police a note to his wife and children in which he explained his intention to commit suicide.

The darknet has been subject of much controversy since the Silk Road, the first underground marketplace where users could trade bitcoins for assorted illicit goods, was taken down by the FBI.

Subsequent darknet marketplaces were launched and global law enforcement agencies have banded together to track commerce originated from such darknet marketplaces.

Such a marketplace was made possibly by the advent of Bitcoin technology. A decentralized digital currency in which users can transact pseudonymously.

2017 Might be Your First Chance to Tip the Moon thanks to Dogecoin



“To the moon!” That’s the cliche slogan for so many digital currencies, perhaps made most famous not by Bitcoin, but by , whose users since the beginning have proudly proclaimed the slogan. Read More

Don’t Miss this $40,000 24k Gold Bar get Totally Crushed

YouTube channel Crushit recently crushed a gold bar worth nearly $40,000 provided gold company Baird & Co.  Check out the cascading of gold that doing so produced. 



Many individuals claim that gold is a good investment. They usually cite economic uncertainty as a reason for owning gold, which is seen by mainstream investing knowledge as a ‘safehaven’ to protect one’s wealth in times of economic crisis.

But, the YouTube channel Crushit doesn’t really care about savings. They care about views. The video got nearly ten million views in just a few days. 

The 1 kilo or 32 troy ounce gold bar puts on a show demonstrating golds malleability along the way. 

“This will be by far the most expensive crush we’ve done yet here on Crushit,” the host says.

Gold bar came sealed in plastic with corresponding serial number. The bar isn’t huge. More like  aperp weight. “Wow it is really heavy for its size of course its one of the most densest and expensive if you drill a hole through it,” he says. “…The things I could buy with this.” The gold acts similar to liquid as its smashed. 

The hydraulic press indeed has its way with the gold.

“Wow,” the host says, “just look at that it looks like a gold nugget so cool…

The gold wasn’t destroyed, to be sure. Intead, it could easily be sold for face value or melted again into new bullion product. Sure, something was spent on the totally cool experiment, but not $40,000. Whatever it was, it was totally worth it (for Crushit and the viewers, at least).

 

Bitcoin Mining isn’t totally unheard of on Global US Armed Forces Bases




A 30 year old in the US Air Force, stationed in Korea, mines bitcoins in his dorm room.  He mined in the US from his own apartment before being deployed. Read More

Royal Mint Experimenting with Blockchain-based Gold Trades



The Royal Mint partnered with markets operator CME Group to build a gold market with blockchain technology as a means of broadening London’s hip-factor when buying and selling gold bullion.

The Roya Mint, owned by taxpayers, plans to accept trades from the middle of next year on the Royal Mint Gold platform, intended to log each transaction using blockchain. Read More

The Physical Bitcoin Market Not Available to US Citizens

BTCC is one of the most influential Bitcoin mints in the world. Based in China, the Bitcoin miner recently introduced a line of physical bitcoins, a product very popular early in Bitcoin’s existence but stymied by regulatory uncertainty. Read More

Blockchain Website Steemit Plans Hard Fork to Attract Short and Mid Term Speculators

Steemit, which gained popularity in the Bitcoin community after it introduced the first blockchain-based website, announced a December 6 hard fork this morning. The fork, which had been discussed in Steemit forums in recent months, is designed to change the platform’s economic model and to benefit the social platform’s community. This will be done, according to Steemit CEO Ned Scott, by onboarding more short to medium term investors.

Before the change is made, “witnesses”, who help to govern the experimental blockchain system, will have to agree to the change through a voting process. The main change will be to the Steem currency’s inflation rate. Read More

What Is Kim Dotcom Doing?

Kim Dotcom’s pinned tweet reads: “I never lived there, I never traveled there, I had no company there, but all I worked for now belongs to the USA.”  

A dedicated Twitter user and political activist, Dotcom’s tweets revolve around the US’s copyright infringement case against him, his businesses, Bitcoin, and, recently, a new Kiwi law interpreted by many as giving government more powers to spy on its citizens.

Tweets about his ongoing legal battles are especially telling. A federal appeals court ruled last Friday the U.S. government was justified in its seizure of millions in assets from Dotcom.

Further, the Megaupload founder has no problem tweeting his thoughts about his judge: “Because Judge O’Grady was a partner at Disney’s favorite law firm. It’s now paying off for the US copyright elite.”

While fighting the Department of Justice, the German born mogul simultaneously courts the anarcho-capitalist and libertarian “Bitcoin community.”

“The #Bitcoin community seems excited about Bitcache,” he tweeted about a recent project to blend Bitcoin and Megaupload.   

Dotcom and BankToTheFuture, a self-described “online investment platform that brings financial innovation & technology investment opportunities to qualifying investors” with particular attention to compliance, are working on an investment opportunity for qualifying investors in Dotcom’s newest venture, BitCache.

“Coming this August,” Dotcom tweeted.

The investment opportunity was hatched when financial journalist Max Keiser introduced Dotcom and BnkToTheFuture CEO Simon Dixon.

“This type of financing deal is only possible today due to the fact that the legal environment for storing encrypted files has come much further, the world’s first peer to peer decentralised currency Bitcoin has become the largest in the world,” Dixon told Bitcoin Magazine. BnkToTheFuture allows qualifying investors to pool their funds together to make investments in companies involved in building “the future of finance.”

Dixon says BnkToTheFuture has been involved in investing nearly $70m in companies over the past year. Keiser, a BnkToTheFuture client, suggested a deal between Dotcom and Dixon as soon as Dotcom announced he’d incorporate Bitcoin in Mega Upload 2.0.

Mr. Dotcom seems determined to combine bitcoin and cloud storage. The 2017 reboot of Megaupload – the first version of which was seized in 2012 by the US government – pairs with Mr. Dotcom’s vague blockchain project, Bitcache.

Mr. Dotcom, who founded Megaupload in 2005, foresees a mass online storage solution, with Bitcache using bitcoin to power micropayments. Dotcom also claims he will solve Bitcoin’s blockchain scaling problems. Encryption will secure user privacy.

Dotcom’s three ongoing projects pair: BitCache, Megaupload 2.0, and MegaNET. BitCache, Mr. Dotcom claims, could solve the Bitcoin block size debate.

“Bitcoin is currently involved in a debate on how to scale the number of Bitcoin transactions that can be processed each second and new technology is being developed to make that scaling happen on the Bitcoin protocol level,” Dixon said. “Kim identified a problem that he needed to solve in order to scale Mega Upload 2.0 to the number of transactions he needs to meet his business needs.”

Towards that end for Mega Upload 2.0 and other customers who need larger Bitcoin transaction volumes than currently possible, Dotcom is building Bitcache.

Mr. Dotcom plans on Megaupload 2.0 to deliver the “instant critical mass” MegaNet needs from a robust user base. Megaupload 2.0 Platform will enable Bitcoin micropayments via BitCache, allowing users to white-label their own applications.

MegaNET is designed to become a decentralized internet via mesh networks and the unused processing power and storage in cell phones. BitCache and Megaupload 2.0 are designed to bring processing power to the MegaNET system.

Dotcom says the project will be open sourced. Known currently? Not much. Yet Dotcom promises to bring Bitcoin to the masses: “I know how to create tech with mass appeal. I’ve done it for 20 years. #Bitcache will take #Bitcoin to the masses.”

Full details won’t be available until the pitch is launched on BnkToTheFuture. That Mega Upload enjoyed a userbase of millions underpins much of the planning for Megaupload 2.0.

“If successful this project can be instrumental in bringing new user cases to Bitcoin from large scale enterprise users potentially bringing millions of first time users to Bitcoin in a way that is more user friendly,” Dixon said. Dixon believes Bitcache could allow Bitcoin to scale to a volume akin to Visa and Mastercard without the need to change the code, as suggested by others.  

What’s the big picture? According to Dotcom, his masterpiece:
“I’m creating a perfectly legal privacy masterpiece,” he tweeted. “I can’t wait to show you. Trust me when I say “You won’t need anything else.’”

You Won’t Believe How This Guy Secures His Passwords

Store your passwords in a spreadsheet? Sounds ridiculous. That’s what Breck Carrow, President of StopSpreadsheetErrors LLC, does.

“My business and personal data are on separate tabs and each tab is

organized into categories for easy retrieval. Also included are a hyperlink to the pertinent website, logon name, multiple security clues, reference email account and the last revision date. The ability to peruse all of this data at once also facilitates the establishment of unique logon data sets, thus avoiding duplication. And yes, the file is password protected.”

Carrow defends his “low tech” approach to password management. “…it is simple and secure, there is no system to learn, nothing to purchase and it is inaccessible to hackers on the cloud. Even though cars have new high tech accident avoidance systems, anti-lock brakes and SRS airbags, the low tech seat belt is still the most effective safety

feature. Sometimes simple is better.” (http://www.stopspreadsheeterrors.com)

David J Dunworth, Founder of BlueStone Networks LLC, devised quite the imaginative system for password management. It even allows him to manage his passwords from the grave. He chose a word that had nothing to do with him. A simple word. He then found a simple word that reminds him of that word.

This simple word is used on sites with no financial data, address, phone number and so on. Dunworth then changed that word with capital letters and symbols strategically placed for other sites, clubs, etc. He further changed that same word and symbol combination with extensions of additional words and symbols. He then identified one letter or symbol to represent each variation of the password, and keeps a simple one or two digit code listing near his desk.

He files a complete list of the code and what it stands for in his “after I’m gone” secret file that only one family member knows of. He describes his process in detail:

“Starter, simple word = retail – – – Reminder = Shopping or Goods or

some other word that relates to the core word.

Extensions in order of intensity

RetAil, Code R

ret@il, Code @

Ret@il, Code R@

Ret@1l, Code @1 or 1

R3t@1l, Code 3

R3t@1L, Code 3@

R3T@1L, Code T

R3T@1LeR, Code e

R3T@1L3r, Code 3r

R3T@1L1ng, Code 11

R3T@1L1&g, Code &

R3T@1L1&G Code G

According to Dunworth, “There is sufficient differentiation between each of the passwords, and the code is progressive as you utilize them.” His process is “a take on the old OICU812, only using symbols to replace letters that you can remember. Extensions of OICU812 are OICU8124me, OICU8122day,OICU812UC.

I have used this simple system for years without a single problem.”

Brian Pancoast, President of The Pancoast Concern (http://mrktpros.com/), prefers an old school way of password management as well. He laments how, while managing three companies, he had issues with upgrading his password keeper alongside the new technology of the day. At first, it was palm pilot, then a Blackberry. When he tried to export/import his passwords, it was incompatible. When he got a Droid, he had the same problems. When he upgraded to the iPhone, he decided to go old school.

“After watching the movie ‘Ghost’ I figured if a little black book was good for Patrick Swayze its good for me. I have had no compatibility issues since.

Lamassu Introduces Ethereum Support For Its Operators

Lamassu, one of the first Bitcoin ATM, introduced today support of the popular blockchain platform Ethereum on their Bitcoin Transaction machines.

Co-founded by brothers Josh and Zach Harvey in Manchester, New Hampshire, the company created an iconic Bitcoin machine with its orange wooden box concept. It announced Ethereum support on its Medium blog.

“Our goal is to harness the technological supremacy of cryptocurrencies and provide this same experience to those who’ve never had access to basic financial services in the past,” according to Lamassu’s website.

Ethereum, known for its furthering of blockchain technology and smart contracts, support by Lamassu has been in beta with certain Lamassu operators for several months, and consumers could soon be able to purchase the $1billion market cap currency ether on 160 independently-owned Lamassu Bitcoin ATM’s worldwide.

The company touts some of Ethereum’s advantages over Bitcoin, such as shorter confirmation times. The largest Lamassu operator in the US, Coinucopia, will implement Ethereum on their Bitcoin ATMs.

“We are very excited to announce that Coinucopia will be integrating Ethereum into our network,” said Michael Portabello, a spokesperson for Coinucopia’s. “Our customers have been requesting the ability to buy Ether, and we’re proud to announce that we have been working closely with the talented people at Lamassu to provide this functionality to the communities that we serve.” Ethereum is the first non-Bitcoin cryptocurrency that Lamassu has been excited about enough to support, and the first its independent operators have asked for due to demand.

“And beyond the ether tokens themselves, Ethereum is a platform for other tokens that we think will be helpful for the future of crypto ATMs,”  CEO Zach Harvey told Bitcoin Magazine. Lamassu has focused on digital currencies, not just Bitcoin, since its inception.

“It makes sense to us that as the cryptocurrency technologies evolve, we evolve with it.”

The company has been working on Ethereum support for several months.

“Our machines are ideal for those who don’t feel comfortable with online exchanges or those who want to get their feet wet but not jump all the way in,” Harvey said. “Those people now have a very quick and friendly option for buying or selling ether.”

Lamassu believes that Bitcoin ATMs become more important when they provide more functionality.

“This is an important first step in that direction,” said Harvey. “Another reason Ethereum is important for the Bitcoin ATM industry is the confirmation times. Selling bitcoins requires waiting for a confirmation that could take minutes to an hour, selling ether could take seconds to a minute or so for a confirmation.”

It’s entirely up to Lamassu operators if they wish to incorporate ether support.

 

The Most Innovative Paper Wallet In The World

A Bitcoin paper wallet is like a piggy bank, the low-tech device that allows you to deposit coins as many times as you like into a fairly tamper-proof sealed container.

“When you’re ready to spend those funds,” Becker colorfully explains, “you smash the piggy bank and transfer all the coins somewhere else. That’s essentially how a paper wallet works. You can add funds to a paper wallet as many times as you like. You keep it safe just as you would jewels or cash. When you want to use or transfer the funds on the paper wallet, you sweep the entire balance to a hot wallet; such as to your phone, computer, or hardware wallet. And then, you destroy the paper wallet — like smashing a piggy bank.”

Depending on whom you ask, paper wallets have different uses and even ways of being done. Some people say that paper wallets are the most secure. Others contend they can are the for privacy. Still others, like Becker, believe they’re the simplest for a non-bitcoiner to wrap their heads around.

“They are” Becker argues, “the best way to introduce people to Bitcoin for the first time.”

Sans technology, a person could give another person a paper wallet and tell them it has value just like cash. The paper wallet expert advises: “Ideally, the paper wallet itself should have printed instructions that describe what it is and how to use it.”

Becker cites gifting Bitcoin and storing Bitcoin for the long-term as other uses for Bitcoin. In the case of the latter, one can avoid “digital storage mediums or devices that can suffer a ‘bit rot’ or become obsolete.” An argument against paper wallets is similar: ink can fade, thus rendering a paper wallet useless.

Becker, unsatisfied with the amateurish paper wallet designs available on the market, set out to make paper wallets more attractive. He also wanted to make the paper wallet more secure.

 

“When you give a paper wallet to a Bitcoin newbie, they may not understand how important it is to keep the private key a secret,” he explains his rationale behind the focus on security.

He references one very public example of a newcomer to Bitcoin flashing his paper wallet at a TV camera. Within minutes of broadcast, the balance was swiped by a careful observer.

He continues: “Similarly, there’s a very real risk that if you keep a paper wallet in an insecure location like your office or a dorm room, that someone may sneak a picture of your paper wallet and steal the balance days or even years later.” He thinks this is important due to his belief that paper wallets represent some of the most recognizable representations of value.

“They allow us to apply some of our intuitive knowledge about ordinary money to something as virtual and difficult to understand as Bitcoin,” Becker said. “Paper wallets allow us to share bitcoins with people who do not have the technological background to understand what bitcoins are or how they should be kept safe.”

Becker’s central innovation is a ‘tri-fold’ two-sided design that hides the private key from casual exposure. Becker also sells tamper-evident stickers with serial numbers that guard the paper wallet from being opened and closed back up without detection.

But that’s not everything: “A number of well-tested safeguards are in place that prevent the paper wallet from being ‘candled’ — a process of using a bright light or laser to reveal the private key hidden behind the folds,” he elaborates.

Becker updates his website, Bitcoinpaperwallet.com. For instance, an update to the ‘guilloche pattern’ – the decorative pattern of fine lines on the face of each paper wallet – is now generated by the public key itself.

“So this means that each individual paper wallet has its own distinct look,” Becker tells. “If you have a stack of paper wallets, you can recognize which is which just by looking at the pattern. Or, if you are particular about your patterns, you can keep randomly generating new wallets until you find a guilloche pattern that appeals to you.” This could also make it more difficult for a criminal to switch out undetected your paper wallet with one of their own.”

Being careful is important when generating paper wallets. Becker said: “By using a virus-free computer, etc. – it’s even more important to have a good plan for keeping your paper wallets safe. You don’t want them to get lost, you don’t want them to get wet, etc. Physical loss or destruction of your paper wallet is much more likely to cause you grief than any sort of technological hijinks. Consider making copies of your paper wallets. Keep one copy at home and another in a safety deposit box. If you’re storing large quantities of bitcoin, be sure your living will contains instructions so that your family knows how to recover the value of your bitcoins upon your death.”

Will Tesla’s Home-Based Battery Use Silver?

In this day and age, energy comes from wind, water, sun and from geothermal forces below the surface of the planet. How to store that energy and transport it becomes more difficult. Oil is transportable and has a long shelf-life, making it a favorite option.

Elon Musk’s plan to bring a Tesla battery to homes and offices, the Powerwall, is a battery in 7 or 10 kilowatt-hour sizes. Tesla plans a battery for bigger operation with a 100 kWh unit named the Powerpack. The Powerwall can pull power from the grid during off-peak hours. Read More

The Truth About The Apple Watch

Apple has been caught ripping off data storage from its customers. The company is expanding this model to other products like its new Apple Gold.

After Apple’s launch of a number of new products Monday at their “Spring Forward” Event, some of their claims were thrown into question. For one, the battery life of the Apple Watch, according to Tim Cooke, would be 18 hours. The reality is, if you actually use all the functions of that watch, the battery life can drop to as low as three hours. Apple would say they were merely giving best scenarios, but in the process they were misleading. Their Apple Edition Watch, also, has been scrutinized.

Mainstream press, in its difficulty to create engaging material about relevant topics, has created a storyline about how “gold investors have been positively giddy ever since Apple announced it planned to make a high-end watch with 18-karat gold casing.” News sources like CBS cited some pretty off-kilter websites to pull this little tidbit of info.

Any serious gold investor never took seriously the bold claim that Apple’s new phone might use up 30% of the world’s gold supplies. The reality is, Apple will be watering down its gold content. It says this is so the watch is “tougher and more resistant to scratches,” but the reality is this move will likely save the company lots of money on its $10,000-$17,000 watch, which will carry an operating system likely obsolete within a year. The “Edition” Model, the Apple gold watch,  will be made from custom gold alloys of rose or yellow 18-karat gold. But wait – just how much 18k gold?

Apple marketed its custom alloy as a good thing, but the gold blend which Apple’s metallurgists have been cooking up come with a worrisome caveat. Apple filed a patent on a type gold which contains the least amount gold possible…Hmm… Read More


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