Category Archive : Tech

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