2 digital assets are set to sky-rocket

“Utility” and “Scarcity” do wonders for value. It is the formula of these two fundamental attributes of “Value” that fashion incredible opportunities for investors.

There are two digital assets out there today, that scream the loudest. Namely, Monero (XMR) and BitcoinCash (BCH).

Why Monero?

Where do I begin – the reasons are countless. First and foremost it is today the most private crypto-currency  in the space, second to none. Not only has the FBI flagged and named Monero as a concern for their chain analysis tools (which cannot decipher XMR transactions), but many ransomware attacks are now utilising Monero also. This may not come across in positive light, but it does highlight the fungible and private nature of the asset – which is important for money. Even ransomware attacks that use Bitcoin, are found to ‘shapeshift’ their revenue into Monero to avoid detection. Recently, Matt Suiche, founder of Dubai-based security firm Comae Technologies stated that Monero “is one of the favourites, if not the favourite” for ransomware, in an interview for Bloomberg.

I’ve been an avid supporter of Monero, and its development team for its unwavering dedication to fungibility and privacy. I’ve in the past praised leadership decisions which I noted to be a bar above most other dev teams in the crypto space, and in mid August 2017, I wrote a piece titled “Monero’s best market performance is yet to come” for CoinGeek which ended up being the most popular article on the site – by far at the time. Sure enough, a week after the release of that very article, the price had tripled independently of BTC movements.

The very reasons discussed in that article, stand today. Specifically, Monero’s supply curve this year continues to take a significant turn, with the supply tangent being even more pronounced than Bitcoin’s. The green line in the chart below shows today’s date.

Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
Source: reddit link

Given that Monero’s aggressive mint rate in the early days, it is actually surprising to take note of its performance. It begs the question, if Monero can perform so well with such inflation, how much better will it do, with a somewhat more mature market, and far less emission rate over the next couple of years?

Monero recently created ripples within its community after a ‘contentious’ hard fork last weekend birthed a number of side projects – most of which are operating on the legacy chain. There were two prime reasons for the fork, the first was to increase privacy ‘even more’ by increasing the ring size to 7. This obscures transaction outputs in a pool of 7 outputs, and adds to a sender’s plausible deniability.

The second change was a rather contentious change to the proof of work algorithm. This has caused a wild stir in the community, which has led to another forking-crisis. It should be stated however, that the price impact on Monero itself has been minimal, if apparent at all. The stability of price following the split in chain, has re-assured investors.

So why did the proof of work need changing? Though my personal attitude leans towards a pro-free market, I cannot deny that a core tenet of Monero philosophy is – CPU/GPU mining.  This has been made clear by Monero devs since its inception.

So what were the changes that killed off Bitmain’s ASICs?

Specifically, two functions in the CryptoNight algorithm.

Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket

The nature of these modifications mean that it’ll be even easier to further tweak the algorithm in future. I believe this is mightily important, as a precedent has now been set, and the team needs to continuously tweak the PoW algorithm to maintain its ASIC resistance. This is the path chosen.

At some point Monero devs may find an organic way to continuously change the mining algorithm at set block heights… This would be somewhat akin in style to their clever ‘adaptable blocksize’ technology. But an organic algorithm of this nature could also be gamed by a clever ASIC manufacturer since, the algorithm would inherently reveal the details of future changes. With some clever cryptography, this can be made more obscure, but requires significant work and testing.

The free market choice for those not opposed to ASIC mining remains on the legacy fork.

But with scalability improvements on the horizon, and more privacy enhancements to come later this year, Monero’s developers maintain a stronghold to steer the ship into successful territory.

What about Bitcoin Cash?

One of the things that first attracted me to Monero aside from its fungible/privacy properties, was its adaptable blocksize. BTC shot itself in the foot, and Bitcoin Cash has resurrected a fallen giant. BCH holds a roadmap for continuous on-chain scalability – and this trait is of unconditional importance. For mainstream ecommerce and merchant adoption, volatile fees are a death trap. Fees need to be low, and they need to be consistently low.

In 2017, Bitcoin Core lost swathes of territory and it remains the only year in which Bitcoin merchant adoption actually went backwards. Numerous key entities such as Steam and Fiverr dropped support.

This is where Bitcoin Cash has done something that is absolutely unprecedented in the crypto space. It has successfully managed to re-engage all the big players within less than one year of forking. Former Core Developer (and pro big blocks) Mike Hearn recently made the following comment regarding Bitcoin Cash (while referencing his BitcoinXT client):

“the sort of split BCH did is incredibly costly. You need new wallets, exchanges have to list the new currency, you need new miners, you need to build a new p2p network with a new set of nodes, new development team, new merchants and payment processors (or convert the existing ones) etc. You basically start over from scratch except for the open source code.” – Mike Hearn

Incredibly Bitcoin Cash has managed to do all of the above, as well as regain an abundance of BTC lost territory. Even Hearn, then later admits “The speed with which Bitcoin Cash has recovered infrastructure and rebuilt community is impressive.”

What does this have to do with the success of BCH? – EVERYTHING. Utility and adoption are key – something that the Monero community is well aware of also.

With Coinbase and BitPay featuring full integration, and Bitcoin Cash forum r/btc very recently overtaking the subscriber count of r/litecoin, the pendelum is in full swing.

What’s the outlook on price?

The entire crypto market is today pegged to the price of BTC. I’ve written about the Gartner hype cycle before and its fractal recurrence, and there is no doubt now that this pattern is consistently recurring. Until when? That’s anybody’s guess… Crypto adoption is STILL young, and STILL has a very long way to go. So let’s look at the charts from previous all-time highs.

Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
November 6 – 2010
Source: coindesk.com
Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
June 9 – 2011
Source: coindesk.com
Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
April 9 – 2013
Source: coindesk.com
Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
December 4 – 2013
Source: coindesk.com
Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
December 16 – 2017
Source: coindesk.com

Though timelines are skewed (ie the bigger the bubble, the bigger the time frame), it is undeniable that each successive cycle, not only repeats a very similar pattern, but it also dwarfs the previous.

With Bitcoin Cash’s massive inroads into adoption, and repossession of lost BTC ground, the next hype cycle, may very well see it catapult into uncharted territory.

Eli Afram
@justicemate

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

2 digital assets are set to sky-rocket

“Utility” and “Scarcity” do wonders for value. It is the formula of these two fundamental attributes of “Value” that fashion incredible opportunities for investors.

There are two digital assets out there today, that scream the loudest. Namely, Monero (XMR) and BitcoinCash (BCH).

Why Monero?

Where do I begin – the reasons are countless. First and foremost it is today the most private crypto-currency  in the space, second to none. Not only has the FBI flagged and named Monero as a concern for their chain analysis tools (which cannot decipher XMR transactions), but many ransomware attacks are now utilising Monero also. This may not come across in positive light, but it does highlight the fungible and private nature of the asset – which is important for money. Even ransomware attacks that use Bitcoin, are found to ‘shapeshift’ their revenue into Monero to avoid detection. Recently, Matt Suiche, founder of Dubai-based security firm Comae Technologies stated that Monero “is one of the favourites, if not the favourite” for ransomware, in an interview for Bloomberg.

I’ve been an avid supporter of Monero, and its development team for its unwavering dedication to fungibility and privacy. I’ve in the past praised leadership decisions which I noted to be a bar above most other dev teams in the crypto space, and in mid August 2017, I wrote a piece titled “Monero’s best market performance is yet to come” for CoinGeek which ended up being the most popular article on the site – by far at the time. Sure enough, a week after the release of that very article, the price had tripled independently of BTC movements.

The very reasons discussed in that article, stand today. Specifically, Monero’s supply curve this year continues to take a significant turn, with the supply tangent being even more pronounced than Bitcoin’s. The green line in the chart below shows today’s date.

Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
Source: reddit link

Given that Monero’s aggressive mint rate in the early days, it is actually surprising to take note of its performance. It begs the question, if Monero can perform so well with such inflation, how much better will it do, with a somewhat more mature market, and far less emission rate over the next couple of years?

Monero recently created ripples within its community after a ‘contentious’ hard fork last weekend birthed a number of side projects – most of which are operating on the legacy chain. There were two prime reasons for the fork, the first was to increase privacy ‘even more’ by increasing the ring size to 7. This obscures transaction outputs in a pool of 7 outputs, and adds to a sender’s plausible deniability.

The second change was a rather contentious change to the proof of work algorithm. This has caused a wild stir in the community, which has led to another forking-crisis. It should be stated however, that the price impact on Monero itself has been minimal, if apparent at all. The stability of price following the split in chain, has re-assured investors.

So why did the proof of work need changing? Though my personal attitude leans towards a pro-free market, I cannot deny that a core tenet of Monero philosophy is – CPU/GPU mining.  This has been made clear by Monero devs since its inception.

So what were the changes that killed off Bitmain’s ASICs?

Specifically, two functions in the CryptoNight algorithm.

Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket

The nature of these modifications mean that it’ll be even easier to further tweak the algorithm in future. I believe this is mightily important, as a precedent has now been set, and the team needs to continuously tweak the PoW algorithm to maintain its ASIC resistance. This is the path chosen.

At some point Monero devs may find an organic way to continuously change the mining algorithm at set block heights… This would be somewhat akin in style to their clever ‘adaptable blocksize’ technology. But an organic algorithm of this nature could also be gamed by a clever ASIC manufacturer since, the algorithm would inherently reveal the details of future changes. With some clever cryptography, this can be made more obscure, but requires significant work and testing.

The free market choice for those not opposed to ASIC mining remains on the legacy fork.

But with scalability improvements on the horizon, and more privacy enhancements to come later this year, Monero’s developers maintain a stronghold to steer the ship into successful territory.

What about Bitcoin Cash?

One of the things that first attracted me to Monero aside from its fungible/privacy properties, was its adaptable blocksize. BTC shot itself in the foot, and Bitcoin Cash has resurrected a fallen giant. BCH holds a roadmap for continuous on-chain scalability – and this trait is of unconditional importance. For mainstream ecommerce and merchant adoption, volatile fees are a death trap. Fees need to be low, and they need to be consistently low.

In 2017, Bitcoin Core lost swathes of territory and it remains the only year in which Bitcoin merchant adoption actually went backwards. Numerous key entities such as Steam and Fiverr dropped support.

This is where Bitcoin Cash has done something that is absolutely unprecedented in the crypto space. It has successfully managed to re-engage all the big players within less than one year of forking. Former Core Developer (and pro big blocks) Mike Hearn recently made the following comment regarding Bitcoin Cash (while referencing his BitcoinXT client):

“the sort of split BCH did is incredibly costly. You need new wallets, exchanges have to list the new currency, you need new miners, you need to build a new p2p network with a new set of nodes, new development team, new merchants and payment processors (or convert the existing ones) etc. You basically start over from scratch except for the open source code.” – Mike Hearn

Incredibly Bitcoin Cash has managed to do all of the above, as well as regain an abundance of BTC lost territory. Even Hearn, then later admits “The speed with which Bitcoin Cash has recovered infrastructure and rebuilt community is impressive.”

What does this have to do with the success of BCH? – EVERYTHING. Utility and adoption are key – something that the Monero community is well aware of also.

With Coinbase and BitPay featuring full integration, and Bitcoin Cash forum r/btc very recently overtaking the subscriber count of r/litecoin, the pendelum is in full swing.

What’s the outlook on price?

The entire crypto market is today pegged to the price of BTC. I’ve written about the Gartner hype cycle before and its fractal recurrence, and there is no doubt now that this pattern is consistently recurring. Until when? That’s anybody’s guess… Crypto adoption is STILL young, and STILL has a very long way to go. So let’s look at the charts from previous all-time highs.

Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
November 6 – 2010
Source: coindesk.com
Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
June 9 – 2011
Source: coindesk.com
Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
April 9 – 2013
Source: coindesk.com
Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
December 4 – 2013
Source: coindesk.com
Two Digital Assets that are set to Sky-rocket
December 16 – 2017
Source: coindesk.com

Though timelines are skewed (ie the bigger the bubble, the bigger the time frame), it is undeniable that each successive cycle, not only repeats a very similar pattern, but it also dwarfs the previous.

With Bitcoin Cash’s massive inroads into adoption, and repossession of lost BTC ground, the next hype cycle, may very well see it catapult into uncharted territory.

Eli Afram
@justicemate

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit-Coin BTC (inaccurately called Bitcoin Legacy or Core by many) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

source: https://coingeek.com/two-digital-assets-that-are-set-to-sky-rocket/

Government-owned Telecom Egypt linked to Monero mining software

If proven true, Sandvine’s new “revenue-generation” formula is downright unethical.

Since last year, over 5,000 websites including Amazon and Australian government websites have fallen victim to a malware that uses unwitting users’ computers to mine Monero (XMR) for attackers. Back then, the Coinhive malware slipped in these websites through a usability plugin called BrowseAloud.

And it looks like cyberthieves are deploying the same malware to mine the same coin, but this time a suspect has been pinpointed.

A report by researchers at the Citizen Lab titled, “BAD TRAFFIC” alleges that government-owned company Telecom Egypt had a hand in it, with implications of involvement by network intelligence provider Procera, and its newly acquired corporation Sandvine. Apart from infecting users with Monero-mining CoinHive malware, users are also being wrongly redirected to revenue-generating ads and content—which is one of Sandvine/Provera’s major business offerings. The Sandvine/Procera partnership focuses on traffic management, analytics, and revenue generation, among other things.

The report says that Sandvine devices are being used to infect users with the malware and to generate revenue through redirects not only in Egypt but also in Turkey and Syria, adding that this “raises significant human rights concerns.”

According to the report, the researchers found deep packet inspection (DPI) middleboxes on Egyptian government-owned Telecom Egypt which were similar to those found on Türk Telekom, and “were being used to hijack Egyptian Internet users’ unencrypted web connections en masse, and redirect the users to revenue-generating content such as affiliate ads and browser cryptocurrency mining scripts.”

In a message to CoinDesk, Sandvine denies the allegations, and says that the company has launched an investigation on the allegations.

“Based on a preliminary review of the report, certain Citizen Lab allegations are technically inaccurate and intentionally misleading….We have never had, directly or indirectly, any commercial or technology relationship with any known malware vendors, and our products do not and cannot inject malicious software. While our products include a redirection feature, HTTP redirection is a commodity-like technology that is commonly included in many types of technology products.”

This isn’t the first time the Egyptian government has been accused of manipulation. In 2016, a report alleged that there were anomalies in networks in Egypt, pointing to censorship and malware injection, as well as interference of secure networks (HTTPS) while enabling connections to unsecured networks (HTTP).

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Dark web users dissatisfied with BTC, looks to other cryptocurrencies

A recent study by threat intelligence company Recorded Future suggested that the sluggish performance and mounting costs of legacy Bitcoin, or SegWit1x (BTC), transactions have pushed even criminals lurking in the dark web to abandon the cryptocurrency in favor of other cryptocurrencies like Dash, Litecoin, and Monero.

An analysis of 150 of the most prominent Darknet message boards, marketplaces and illegal service platforms revealed a shift from mostly BTC transactions to a more diversified environment. The second oldest cryptocurrency next to BTC was Litecoin, which was established in 2011 as a “light” version of BTC. According to the study, it currently accounted for 30% of all Darknet market transactions. This was closely followed by Dash, first released in early 2014 under the name “XCoin” and later renamed “Darkcoin” only to be rebranded to its current name which is a portmanteau of “digital cash.”

At the third spot in terms of usage was Bitcoin Cash, a cryptocurrency that continued the original vision of the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper. It accounted for 13% of all Darknet transactions, according to the study. However, it’s interesting to note that the study only mentioned Bitcoin Cash once, noting that the revelation on the cryptocurrency’s share in trades came “unexpectedly” given Bitcoin Cash’s dominance in more legitimate platforms—a stark contrast to the transactions that circulate under the radar at Darknet marketplaces.

While the study suggested that Litecoin would become the “next dominant dark web currency,” it’s quite obvious why Bitcoin Cash would never lead in the dark web: Bitcoin Cash offers some of the best features for legitimate businesses and independent merchants.

In terms of network design, Litecoin has mostly piggybacked from the established infrastructures of BTC, while Dash was forked from Litecoin’s v0.8.6.2, adding protocols from BTC’s v0.9.3 before fully switching to its codebase in early 2015. As a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), Dash maintains a Core development team similar to the BTC’s Bitcoin Core. The difference, however, was that Dash has an independent, self-funding, self-governing model, unlike the Bitcoin Core’s subsumption to Blockstream Inc.

The study further suggested that “the cryptocurrency diversification trend will only intensify, and [BTC] will lose its place as a dominant payment method in the dark web in the next six to 12 months” eventually being displaced by Litecoin and Dash, or Monero, which was more dominant in English-speaking countries whose criminal populace tend to be more security-oriented. Monero has also been found to be the preferred cryptocurrency of hackers who leverage anonymity for their campaigns.

These findings on how criminals lurking in the shadows of the Darknet use cryptocurrencies indicated the possibility that Bitcoin Cash may be abused by negative elements, although Recorded Future’s statistics showed that while some tech-savvy criminals prefer Bitcoin Cash for its low-cost and faster-than-lightning features, majority of users from the dark web hesitate or altogether avoid it because its integrity on a public blockchain may lead to their lawful apprehension. Nevertheless, in light of recent cybercriminal activity, the Bitcoin Cash community would be well advised to refuse involvement with illegal and fraudulent entities and networks.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Water utility hit by crypto mining malware

Radiflow, a security firm specializing in SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) servers, has reported an attack on the network of a water utility provider based in Europe. The disclosure established a precedent in industrial-scale data control systems and critical infrastructures, given the nature and intent of its execution: cryptocurrency mining.

“This is the first instance of such a cryptocurrency miner that we have seen in an industrial site,” said Radiflow CEO Ilan Barda. Often labelled as “cryptojacking,” attacks such as these have been growing in number in relation to the hyperactive markets that cryptocurrencies have fueled since their inception almost a decade ago.

“We found malware on the utility’s server that was mining Monero cryptocurrency,” said Yehonatan Kfir, CTO at Radiflow.

The CTO explained that Radiflow’s disclosure is only an initial assessment, as the investigation is still ongoing. Thus far, the investigation has determined that the mining software has been installed into the water utility’s network protocols for over three weeks before it was identified and mitigated. As a matter of protocol, Radiflow has not disclosed any particular facility’s location, only revealing that’s somewhere in Europe.

While inconclusive, the disclosure speculates that the malware was likely acquired through an advertising site or element. This speculation is supported by logs showing that the first contact with the infection was through an HMI (Human Machine Interface) running an old operating system. Limited evidence suggests that the cryptocurrency malware wasn’t able to get past the initial point of infection. Kfir notes the initial findings are uncertain whether it was a targeted attack against this company or against SCADA systems in general.

With the entire crypto space now floating at a valuation of $400 billion in total market cap, attacks based on intentions to gain or mine cryptocurrency have proliferated. A recent example is the vulnerability found on Oracle’s point-of-sale systems. This opened risks to at least 300,000 businesses using the WebLogic server. The hack reportedly sifted $226,000 worth of Monero (XRM), a cryptocurrency leveraged by cybercriminals for its “incognito” features. Recent reports have also highlighted how North Korean hackers have been spreading Python-based injection code via Secure Shell (SSH) channels to mine cryptocurrency.

A report by Cisco’s Talos intelligence research group estimated that unauthorized cryptocurrency mining generates an average of $1.18 million annually, with the trend likely to increase in the coming years. While leading cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Cash experience a bullish resurgence in Q1 2018, users trading and transacting in the secure network are advised to stay vigilant in relation to such threats and implement security measures on their end.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.

Government websites infected with Monero mining malware over the weekend

NSA cyberweapon leak: when will this nightmare end?

If you find your computer lagging for no clear reason, check the open pages on your web browser—one of them might be mining for someone else.

The booming cryptocurrency industry has been attracting a new generation of crime, along with new breeds of malware. Last year’s leak of high-grade hacking tools—from no less than the National Security Agency (NSA) itself—is not making life any easier for the field of cybersecurity.

According to the Guardian, over 5,000 websites—including government websites have been infected by mining malware over the weekend. In what is now known as “cryptojacking,” the malware triggers a script that secretly uses visitors’ computers to mine cryptocurrencies for the attackers, effectively using up their bandwidth and processing power. In this instance, the attackers were mining Monero (XMR).

The attackers deployed the coin-mining malware known as Coinhive by slipping it through a usability plugin called BrowseAloud, which primarily assists people with dyslexia, visual impairments, and those with low English literacy by providing speech and translation to websites.

The government websites that have been infected include the UK’s National Health Services (NHS), and a range of Australian government websites including the Victorian parliament’s, the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, the Queensland ombudsman, the Queensland Community Legal Centre homepage, and the Queensland legislation website.

Brace yourselves. There may be more.

Last year, a Pandora’s box of cyberweapons capable of different types of hacks were unleashed from the NSA’s artillery. It has been wreaking havoc worldwide-web-wide since, which is why it’s not surprising that only two days ago, reports have been circulating stating that US intelligence officials have been making (paid) attempts to retrieve the cyberweapons from a mysterious Russian peddler.

What’s even more troubling about the news is that what’s already out on the internet can never be “retrieved.” This only insinuates that there’s more to be unleashed, hence the attempts to “retrieve” them before they are circulated. And even if they succeed at paying someone off in exchange for the tools, it’s very logical to assume that these tools have been copied. Paying someone not to circulate such files is pretty much a Hail Mary pass at this point.

Note: Tokens in the SegWit chain are referred to as SegWit1X (BTC) and SegWit Gold (SWG) and are no longer Bitcoin. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the only true  Bitcoin as intended by the original Satoshi white paper.  Bitcoin BCH is the only public block chain that offers safe and cheap microtransactions.