The biggest news in bitcoin this week was the uncovering of the so-called AntBleed scandal and the strong, short-lived rally in the altcoin market.
On April 26, a string of code in the AntMiner firmware was disclosed which can remotely shut down some of the mining machines and on the same day, the website AntBleed.com went online. It discloses a backdoor in new models of AntMiner, the most popular and efficient Bitcoin mining machine today, which is produced by BitMain.
This feature gives BitMain the ability to shut down every AntMiner of the S9 series, which is every machine shipped after July 2016. It can also, the website continues, target specific miners by serial number or IP address, and shut them down. On top of this, the call to the remote server is not written very securely, so it could be subject to DoS attacks, advanced hacks or the action of large scale Anti-DoS providers like CloudFlare, which can shut down miners. All this seems to be accurate beyond doubt.
According to Jihan Wu, CEO of BitMain, “it is a feature that is under development and incomplete. It should help mining rig owners to track their rigs that are hosted by third parties. If it is stolen or hijacked, the owners will be able to use this feature to shut down the miner.”
Furthermore, bitcoin breached its March all-time high this week and most major altcoins have experienced significant price increases, prolonging the altcoin rally of the first quarter for 2017.
The price of Litecoin has rallied from $13.81 to breach $16.00 as SegWit activation began, while the cryptocurrency of the global payments network Ripple (XRP) rallied from $0.031 to breach $0.05 in the past week. The second largest cryptocurrency by market share, Ethereum’s ether (ETH) hit a new all-time high and rallied from $48.35 to surpass $77.00 and anonymous altcoins DASH, PIVX, Zcash (ZEC), and Monero (XMR) all booked gains. In fact, all of the top 15 cryptocurrencies according to CoinMarketCap rallied for the week beginning April 24.
This week’s review is compiled from contributions by Alex Lielacher, Christoph Bergmann, Joseph Young, Nigel Dollentas, and Nuno Menezes.
British Computer Scientists Aim to Automate Financial Regulation with Smart Contracts
Professor Philip Treleaven and his renowned financial computer science team at University College London are working on a new project that involves automating financial regulation through the application of blockchain-based smart contract technology.
Treleaven and his team are assembling several technology-related components to create what Treleaven has coined core “regtech,” which enables the automation of financial regulation processes such as filing for FCA approval for a banking license.
Can The Blockchain Be an Effective Countermeasure Against the Spread of Fake News?
In Japan, a venture that is using cryptographic technology is called Tech Bureau in Osaka City, who are planning to offer software “mijin (Mizin)” to introduce blockchains to major US media outlets. Even though this software is not developed using the Bitcoin Blockchain; the technology is pretty much the same. In this case, the Mijin software was developed on top of the NEM Blockchain. Anyone using Mijin can only write if the proper key authority is given by a person in charge, a spokesperson, a principal, or the boss or other authority key person. This means that the validity of the delivered article can be guaranteed.
Also, with the Mijin software, once data is written it cannot be modified without the approval of the concerned parties, and even if it can be corrected, the history remains and can always be tracked from its first transaction ever. The entered data using the Mijin software is encrypted and shared at the same time by multiple personal computers, so it is difficult for third parties to tamper with it. Right now, several inquiries are coming to Tech Bureau in order to introduce this function.
Ethereum Classic Trust Launches, ETC-USD Breaks Above $6.00
Grayscale, the subsidiary company of Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group, launched the Ethereum Classic Trust to the public market on April 26. According to the company, the aim was to enable institutional and conventional investors to utilize a strictly regulated traditional investment vehicle to invest in the altcoin.
A substantial rise in the price of ETC directly translates to an increased demand for the digital currency and its blockchain platform. Hence, the network will see a rapid emergence of blockchain projects initiating Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) based on Ethereum Classic.
BitWage Provides an IBAN Number for Everybody: Freelancers Worldwide Receive their Salary with Bitcoin
With BitWage you can receive your wage in bitcoin instead of fiat money. The startup from California aims to strengthen its presence in Europe. To do so, it opened a new office in Paris and implemented the option to give every customer their own IBAN number.
What do you do now? You register at BitWage, get a bank number of the startup, write this bank number on your invoice, and when the boss or customer pays, BitWage gets the fiat money and gives you bitcoin.
Zcash Advisor’s Research on Monero Linkability, Refuted by Monero Community
On April 13, Zcash advisor and assistant director of IC3 Andrew Miller stated that transactions on the Monero blockchain from 2014 through 2016 could be linked.
To begin with, Monero uses decoy links called mixins to obscure inputs and outputs of a transaction. Such process anonymizes Monero transactions as it disables users from following traces of a transaction to its origin. However, in a research paper entitled “An Empirical Analysis of Linkability in the Monero Blockchain” written by Miller and his team of researchers claimed that mixins of Monero did not execute properly prior to February 2017.
Almost immediately after the release of Miller’s research, Monero Lead Developer Riccardo Spagni, better known as Fluffypony, admittedly explained that the issue addressed in the research paper was a well-understood problem by both the Monero development team and community. In that sense, the research paper wasn’t inaccurate. But, Fluffy Pony explained that the research paper was falsely presented as a “Monero deanonymization paper.”
Spotify Acquires Blockchain Startup Mediachain to Improve Royalties Distribution
Digital music streaming service Spotify has acquired blockchain company Mediachain with a view to solving the problems associated with royalties attribution on its platform. New York-based Mediachain has been developing blockchain solutions to address the challenges faced by musicians and the creative industry when it comes to content attribution and revenue distribution.
BitTorrent Founder’s Ambitious Plans to Supplant Bitcoin
Bram Cohen, the founder of BitTorrent announced his intention to work on a new cryptocurrency that he believes the hype could revolutionize Fintech.
Instead of relying on the resource-inefficient method of mining, he plans to use pre-existing digital storage to secure the network of his new digital currency. The BitTorrent founder says it makes more economic sense to utilize the resource of computer storage space, as most of it that is purchased and manufactured is hardly used. By leveraging “pre-existing waste” as Cohen calls it, there is no additional cost but additional rewards. This makes his cryptocurrency a very attractive proposition to companies with spare storage in the cloud, or high-end consumer computers with extra hard drives idling.
Beyond the Void: A Review of the Blockchain-based Game
Beyond the Void is a free-to-play Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) game which incorporates a lot of special ingredients including a Cryptocurrency Economy. As a Real-time Strategy game in space, players face off One-to-One, lead their army to defeat their opponent and conquer an entire solar system.
The game economy is built around the blockchain technology and uses Nexium (NXC) as a game token which acts as the backbone engine of Beyond the Void. By combining blockchain technology and entertainment, the team feels it is starting a new trend in the world of online gaming.