It won – t be effortless for WannaCry hackers to get their cash

Mashable

It won't be effortless for WannaCry hackers to get their cash

Congrats. You’ve just pulled off a global ransomware attack.

Now comes the hard part: Accessing your money.

WannaCry ransomware is believed to have infected more than 200,000 systems in over one hundred fifty countries since it was very first reported on May twelve — encrypting computers and requesting Bitcoin payments from unlucky victims in the process.

Albeit the attack has mostly stopped spreading, the ransom resumes to pile up in three Bitcoin addresses presumably managed by those responsible. But with the eyes of the world’s law enforcement locked in on those very addresses, will the perps ever see a millibit of their ill-gotten gains?

It’s complicated

Bitcoin crashed into public view with the two thousand thirteen downfall of the dark web marketplace the Silk Road. The cryptocurrency isn’t explicitly tied to a person’s real-world name, thus making it well suited for the type of illegal online transactions that made the Silk Road famous.

However, that doesn’t mean Bitcoin transactions can’t be tracked.

“Assuming the criminals are sophisticated, they have fairly a range of options.”

Transactions are public and recorded in the blockchain by design. In the case of WannaCry ransom payments, there’s even a Twitter bot set to monitor both the balance of the three Bitcoin addresses in question and whether or not anything is withdrawn or transferred out.

Which brings us back to the person or persons responsible for the latest attack. How can they manage to turn their Bitcoin into cash — be that euro, dollar, or renminbi — without being identified and apprehended in the process?

According to one accomplished, Adam Gibson, the response is not likely to please anyone seeking justice.

“Assuming the criminals are sophisticated, they have fairly a range of options, albeit I suppose none are without risk,” Gibson, who is one of the main contributors to the Bitcoin anonymizing service JoinMarket, explained.

That the options are risky will likely not slow down the culprits behind what is being described as the largest ransomware attack ever. It will, however, force those responsible to go to unusual lengths to obscure the source of their ransomed Bitcoin — or chance losing their freedom along with their BTCs.

Laundering Bitcoin

Let’s assume the attacker wants his or her hard-earned cryptocurrency, but doesn’t want to give away identifying information while converting it into cash. Hiding the source of the funds would be a good embark, but how do you launder Bitcoin?

There are fairly a few ways, it turns out, however all suggest varying degrees of reliability. People looking for some anonymity in their Bitcoin — not just criminals — can use services known as mixers or tumblers. These permit people to essentially throw their BTC into a virtual pot and get fresh BTC out (minus a service fee).

Another play would be to use a service like ShapeShift to exchange tumbled BTC for a more privacy-focused cryptocurrency like Monero. ShapeShift permits for account-free transactions of digital currencies, and exchanging tumbled BTC for Monero, and then Monero back to BTC, and then tumbling that again would make the gains from WannaCry exceptionally hard to track.

This is not what Bitcoin actually looks like.

Photo: George Frey/Getty Photos

The problem with all of this is that the Bitcoin addresses used by the WannaCry attackers have a yam-sized target painted on them by law enforcement, and tumbling services or exchanges like ShapeShift may decline the transactions as a result.

In that case, the attackers would be right back where they embarked — staring at BTC just out of their reach.

But all is not lost. The aforementioned JoinMarket, which is a decentralized method of making joint payments (called “CoinJoin”) and thus confusing third parties as to the source of Bitcoin, has no centralized authority that would decline a potentially blacklisted address like the ones used by the WannaCray attackers.

Gibson confirmed that JoinMarket is one of numerous possible ways an individual could theoretically hide the source of BTC — even pointing to a latest case where it emerges someone moved almost $800,000 worth of stolen Bitcoin through JoinMarket.

“I suspect, albeit for sure don’t know, that this mixing effort was successful in permitting them to budge and trade the coins elsewhere,” he explained.

As to the legality of these services? Basically, it’s a gray area.

“[It’s] difficult to even begin to work it out,” Gibson noted. “[Any] bitcoin transaction with more than one input and more than one output could be a coinjoin, so it’s kinda hard to see exactly how it would be determined what kind of transaction is ‘illegal.'”

Cash is king

But what if you just want to take the money and run? The idea of quickly turning the ransomed Bitcoin into dollar bills and then disappearing certainly has some appeal, and there are ways to sell troubled BTC for cash.

Doing it anonymously, on the other mitt, is tricky.

While companies like CoinSource suggest what they refer to as a Bitcoin ATM Network — permitting people to buy or sell BTC at one hundred nine machines around the U.S. — there are confinements in place that mean selling large amounts of criminally-tainted Bitcoin through these machines would not be the smartest idea.

Hitting up a Bitcoin ATM.

Pic: David Ryder/Getty Photos

In the case of WannaCry, even if the attackers were in the U.S. and near these machines they would run into problems. A CoinSource spokesperson confirmed that their ATMs have a daily limit of $Three,000, and that any transaction over $800 requires an ID.

What’s more, CoinSource reports to the United States Financial Crime Enforcement Network and the United States Office of Foreign Assets Control — two organizations you’re looking to steer clear of if you’re behind WannaCry.

One method around these roadblocks would be to sell the Bitcoin via a local peer-to-peer exchange like LocalBitcoins. LocalBitcoins operates in two hundred forty eight countries and lets you set your own terms for transactions — including requiring cash — and meet in person to conduct them.

This would be a straightforward way to interchange the ransomed BTC for cash, but you’d still need to break the total into smaller amounts to avoid detection and find enough people looking to quickly score cryptocurrency.

Oh, and it would help if those people were not undercover cops.

Walking away

There is another option.

The amount of ransom stringing up out in those three Bitcoin addresses is actually not that much when you consider the scale of the attack. That’s because despite WannaCry’s success in spreading, thanks in part to the leaked NSA exploit EternalBlue, only a fraction of victims have paid up. We know this because, again, Bitcoin transactions are public.

At the time of this writing, the combined addresses display a total of just around forty one BTC in ransom payments. That equals approximately $72,000. And while that amount will certainly increase, it may not go up all that much.

Word shows up to have gotten out that the attackers are not providing decryption keys — even in cases where people have paid. And without those keys, victims aren’t going to regain access to their digital stuff.

A lot of reports that people have paid the ransom and not gotten decryption keys. The system looks manual which is unlikely to scale.

For victims, the calculus of determining whether or not to pay switches dramatically when they can be reasonably sure that they won’t be given the decryption keys either way. Why pay if your data is lost regardless of what you do?

DO NOT PAY the ransom for WCRY, a manual human operator must activate decryption from the Tor C2. See screenshots, I’ve attempted to hack it… pic.twitter.com/xzbK8eqw3Q

— Hacker Fantastic (@hackerfantastic) May 14, 2017

And so with law enforcement agencies from around the world on the hunt for the perpetrator, whoever released WannaCry may simply determine to cut their losses and walk away — leaving the ransom untouched and inaccessible in the process.

Home Free

In the end, tho’, why go to all this trouble just to leave the money sitting on the proverbial table?

Especially if you can get away with it.

Gibson believes that it’s technically feasible for the attackers to escape with their loot in tow. Whether or not they actually pull that off, however, all comes down to their level of sophistication.

“[What] I’ve seen (I’ve only followed the story a bit) is anything but sophisticated, with only three receiving addresses, which seems amateurish to say the least,” wrote Gibson. “Alternatively, it’s a deliberate attempt to *look* amateurish, who knows :)”

And that’s the thing about ransomware and cryptocurrency: It’s almost unlikely to know who’s doing what until someone slips up. And you better believe the actors behind WannaCry are doing their best to make sure that never happens.

Related video:

Is UCC Article nine the Achilles Heel of Bitcoin? Credit Slips

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Last week, Professor Lynn LoPucki called me up and asked a good question. Why hasn’t Bitcoin fallen apart because of the operation of Article nine of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)? It is a indeed good question. With Lynn’s permission, I am writing up a blog post about our conversation, but it was Lynn who very first identified the issue.

As many readers will know, all fifty states have enacted the UCC with only minor variations. Article nine governs security interests in private property – that is, movable and intangible property as opposed to land and buildings. The bank that gave you a car loan has an Article nine security interest in the automobile serving as collateral for the loan, and the bank providing operating capital for your corner bakery similarly may have an Article nine security interest in the inventory, equipment, and accounts at the store. Article nine is one of those laws that only specialists tend to know, but it plays an significant role in the flow of commerce.

The bakery example was deliberate given this news about a Durham, NC, bakery accepting bitcoins. I have no idea about the financial circumstances of this particular bakery, but to understand the point assume it has loan from a bank secured by the bakery’s “inventory, goods, equipment, accounts, and general intangibles.” Such an arrangement would not be uncommon and would effectively give the bank an Article nine security interest in all of the bakery’s property that is not real estate, sometimes referred to as a “blanket lien.”

When a customer pays the bakery with bitcoins, those bitcoins certainly now become part of the bank’s collateral. Given that one bitcoin is worth over $600 today, the customer either has ordered the world’s most expensive donut or technically will have paid with bitcoin subunits. For ease of exposition, let’s just call them “bitcoins.”

The bank’s security interest will link to the bakery’s bitcoins. When the bakery uses bitcoins to buy flour from a supplier, the bank’s security interest will proceed to encumber them. UCC section 9-315(a)(1) provides that the bank’s security interest “continue in collateral notwithstanding . . . disposition thereof unless the security party authorized the disposition free of the security interest. The supplier is not protected by the “buyer in ordinary course” provision of 9-320(a) because that provision only strips security interests from “goods.” 

Further, the security interest will remain with the bitcoins through subsequent transfers (UCC § 9-325). A remote transferee of the bitcoins will take the bitcoins subject to the bank’s security interest. Assuming the bank has taken the effortless steps to ideal its security interest, which it almost always will have, the bank can seize the bitcoins as collateral if the bakery’s debt goes unpaid. The possibility of another party with superior property interest in a bitcoin would seem to substantially dampen their utility as a medium of exchange.

Transferees of money take free of a preexisting security interest (UCC § 9-332). Thus, you do not have to worry that the U.S. currency the bakery gives you as switch for your transaction is encumbered by a security interest.  That way, money circulates like . . . well, money.

A Bitcoin defender might react that the UCC should treat bitcoins like money. Regardless of the merits of such a principle in the abstract, the UCC has a definition of money, and it does not emerge to include bitcoins. Specifically, “money” is a “medium of exchange presently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government” (UCC § 1-201(b)(24)). To the best of our skill bitcoins are not presently authorized or adopted by a domestic or foreign government. One solution to the UCC problem might be to get a domestic or foreign government to authorize bitcoins as a medium of exchange such that they then may receive the UCC treatment for “money.” But that solution will come too late for the thousands of wallets very likely already infected with bank liens.  Those liens will remain with the coins to which they affixed.

Another out for Bitcoin defenders might be the rules for commingled collateral. For example, if the bakery deposits your payment for donuts in its bank account, the bank account may contain some of the bank’s collateral and some of the bank account may be non-collateral. In these situations, the UCC simply directs that the court is to use “equitable principles” to resolve any disputes that arise. In the context of traditional bank accounts these “equitable principles” are a series of well-established practices. Once in a bitcoin wallet, a free-wheeling interpretation of “equitable principles” might wash the security interest away, but that would be a very untethered free-wheeling.

Even if there some arguments that the security interest does not stay with the bitcoins, the problem is the uncertainty, and the uncertainty would seem to be enough to undo the appeal of bitcoins. Either Lynn and I have missed something about how bitcoins work and their interaction with Article 9, or the Bitcoin proponents have failed to notice how Article nine could unravel the entire enterprise. Up until now, bitcoins have not become a substantial part of mainstream commerce such that the Article nine problem may have been of little consequence, but if bitcoins are to become part of mainstream commerce, the Article nine problem must be solved.

Related video:

Is Bitcoin a Viable Investment? Five Practical Reasons (Plus an Emotional One) We Say Yes!

Is Bitcoin a Viable Investment? Five Practical Reasons (Plus an Emotional One) We Say Yes!

If we’re to view the price of Bitcoin in isolation as an investment indicator, it would leave much to be desired, and most short-term investors would, fairly wisely, steer clear. When we look at the patterns and plateaus of surges, stabilisations and dips in years gone by, it’s unsurprising that there’s an audience who opt for more established, predictable and ‘safe’ investments.

But the reality is that Bitcoin shouldn’t be viewed as a short-term investment, nor evaluated as a traditional one. Its true potential and prize lies in a long-term perspective and understanding its exceptional characteristics as a technology.

What Makes Bitcoin an Appealing Investment?

1. There’s a Finite Supply of Bitcoin

Unlike fiat currency, which can be created at the quirk of the governments and central banks, bitcoin supply is restricted to twenty one million coins. This regulation is hard-coded into the algorithm that controls the network and is absolutely immovable.

The finite supply provides bitcoin with a unique feature of being a currency with the commodity-like quality of scarcity, built into its design. A stark contrast to fiat currency, which is subject to inflation and eroding value over time.

The basics of economics in terms of supply and request dictate that limited supply, ceretis parabis, thrusts the price upward. Investors who’ve acquired coins already – while still relatively available – can realistically expect to see the value of those coins increase, as supply diminishes over time.

Note: The current number of bitcoin in circulation is around 15.Five million (March 2016). Thanks to the regimented and predictable nature of the bitcoin algorithm, we can expect the 21 millionth coin to be minted in or around 2140.

Two. Bitcoin Adoption is on the Rise

Request is the other side of the supply-price equation (as mentioned above), and the clearest picture of request is seen when reviewing the adoption metrics of bitcoin.

There are a few I like to keep an eye on.

The number of user wallets presently stands at approximately thirteen million, signifying about an 800% increase over a three year period. While it’s reported that there’s a portion of wallets lounging dormant or neglected, the stable increase year-on-year provides a positive view of adoption, most especially when viewed alongside metrics such as merchants accepting bitcoin and average daily transactions.

Merchants have enhanced at high exponentials over latest years with more and more retailers (across a broad range of services and from SME’s to large corporations) accepting bitcoins as a means of payment. Not to mention the average number of transactions being performed using bitcoin hovering around the quarter of a million per day, up by more than 350% in two years.

This keen appetite – from both a consumer and commercial perspective – bodes well for amplified request, and subsequently provides bitcoin investors confidence that the laws of economics will play to their favour when it comes to ROI over the long-term.

Trio. You’re Investing in a Protocol, Not a Company

Bitcoin is often compared to the early stages of the Internet.

The Internet was a breakthrough innovation, providing a quick, convenient and cost-effective means to transmitting messages and accessing information. Its creation signified a momentous step in the evolution of communication. Bitcoin is the same for the progression of money, indicating the Internet of money.

But with one fundamental difference.

In the prime of the dot-com boom, many investors were successfully wooed into pouring millions into companies with fast-climbing stock prices and promising favourable future profits. And then the bubble burst and the majority of companies drowned, taking piles of investors’ money and venture capital down with them.

This is because investors were investing in corporations building commercial opportunities on top of the Internet protocol, and not in the protocol itself. The Internet didn’t collapse, the businesses built on its application did. It was unlikely to invest in the underlying protocol of the Internet, as it essentially had no market value. No price feed. No way to buy in.

And therein lies Bitcoin’s dramatic distinction.

Bitcoin the protocol and the currency are integrated, creating the only protocol of the Internet with an active price feed. By investing in bitcoin, the currency, you’re consequently and at the same time investing in Bitcoin, the protocol, too.

Four. Bitcoin Has Numerous Feasible Use Cases

Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s creator, envisaged Bitcoin to be an electronic form of currency, used to enable frictionless, digital monetary transactions inbetween two parties, without the need for either party to know each other. And while bitcoin has proven success in its intended objective as a global e-commerce currency, it certainly hasn’t stopped there.

With trust and confidence in traditional financial institutions, central figures and fiat currencies waning under political and economic distress, we’re eyeing bitcoin making sustained inroads in several sectors of the broader financial market.

In latest years, bitcoin has gained favour with conventional hedge funds, with several prominent players incorporating bitcoin as assets on their balance sheets.

With many similar attributes, bitcoin is regularly compared to gold when it comes to investment. Consider their parallels in terms of finite supply, divisibility and fungibility to name a few. It’s not surprising then that we’ve seen several ex-gold bugs touting bitcoin as the gold of the future and confidently divesting capital.

Remittance is another prime area of enhancing chance for bitcoin use. Conventional money transfer companies like Western Union and Moneygram expunge much of the funds being received as a result of high transaction fees. In most cases, it’s poor, rural people being supported by migrant family members, who have little choice but to carry these costs if they’re to receive much-needed income to pay for basic living expenses.

The foreign exchange market also holds promise for bitcoin. There are now several forex brokers who accept bitcoin. With compounded conversion rates inbetween bitcoin and fiat, as well as inbetween different currencies to consider, this is a risky environment to ‘make money’ from bitcoin, but that’s not to say it’s not possible. The Winkelvoss twins’ have always been bullish on the potential of the forex market for bitcoin, repeatedly claiming it’s plausible for bitcoin to capture 1% of this vast and liquid market.

Five. Bitcoin is Massively Undervalued

Notwithstanding all I’ve covered above, Bitcoin’s market cap is spectacularly undervalued.

For now, that is.

Current figures position it around the $6.5billion mark (March 2016), which is still a far sob from the gold market’s $7trillion, or the $400billion remittance market. If we, however, consider the use cases outlined in point Four, and the combined magnitude of these markets, even cautionary, diminutive capital deployment from each equates to a momentous rise in bitcoin value. A welcomed day for early bitcoin investors, indeed!

6. It’s a Philanthropic Investment 2nd to None

All of the above motives are based on objective facts and figures, sensible estimations and calculated projections. But there’s another driver for bitcoin investment, and it rests in the more subjective, emotional side.

You see, bitcoin is technology and currency that sidesteps incumbent processes and protocols laid down by traditional financial institutions. Processes and protocols that perpetuate classism and inequality in social status that should simply not be in existence in today’s society. Processes and protocols that leave about two billion adults on this planet unbanked and, as such, economically restrained.

Bitcoin empowers these people.

With permission-less access to bitcoin, it provides them the chance to financially interact, not only within their community, but with the world at large too. It gives them the capability to ease or even lift themselves out of politically imposed poverty and build a more gratifying life for themselves and their kin.

It’s this quality of bitcoin, this capacity to permit people – irrespective of financial standing or place of birth – to emancipate themselves and take control of their economic fate, which spurs my rock hard belief in this technology’s potential to switch our world for the better.

It just so happens that by investing in bitcoin, you’re not only supporting this profound movement, you’re positioning yourself to make an incredible come back from what’s undeniably the most philanthropic investment available today.

And for me, that’s a bloody good reason!

Bitcoin: The Investment Case

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IONICOIN DIGITAL CURRENCY LTD – Fresh Bitcoin trading platform

IONICOIN DIGITAL CURRENCY LTD

Commence MAKING MONEY TODAY. INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE

What is Ionicoin?

Ionicoin is a company registered in the UK that deals with trading using the Bitcoin virtual currency.

Ionicoin has 1,900 registered members and over 1,300 investors.

Over one hundred employees of the company, professional tradesmen, will invest in the money deposited by you in virtual moneys and other companies listed on the international stock exchange to generate profit.

What do you build up?

By purchasing one of our packages according to its value you can earn inbetween 0.5% per day up to 1.5%.

What do we build up?

An employee can make a profit of 0.2% per day using your money.

For example, if you buy the basic five hundred usd package you will receive five hundred USD + 0.5% each day. Our company will stop 0.15%.

You have the right to withdraw your profit every day.

What should you do?

Our system is very plain.

You create an account, choose a package, Initiate, Basic, Advanced, Professional, Pro or Enterprise (VIP), store the bitcoin in your virtual wallet and we make a profit.

Do not you have money to invest in our company?

No problem. Create an account and sign up for referral or awarness.

Invite a friend through your referral account by providing him a link to sign up and earn 10% of the invested money you have instant access and you can eliminate it anytime you want.

What is

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that permits any two willing parties to conduct transactions anywhere around the world. Bitcoin is a payment method accepted both by online and offline shops and in the last few years has become one of the most successful investment opportunities available.

Price history – Bitcon

Over time bitcoin price has evolved rapidly and resumes to evolve towards an unknown target. Statistics demonstrate that bitcoin will become the paying method of the future.

Use the right implements in order to make right decisions

Take total advantage of our advanced solutions, charting systems, technical indicators, bitcoin card and user-friendly bitcoin wallet.

Learn to compare pricings

It is imperative to control your trading costs. Evaluate all bitcoin traiding pricing options so you are able to find what works best for you. Ionicoin Digital Currency LTD will guide and help you make your very first transactions successfully

Bitcoin supply on the market

Bitcoin have been in circulation for years. They are produced through a precess called “mining”. In the mid 2016’s there where 15,791,326 available. Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto set an upper limit to bitcoins that will be mined, that limit is twenty one million bitcoins.

Sign up and embark trading Bitcoin

Begin trading Bitcoin

With encrypted SSL connection over HTTPS, two- factor authentification and trusted IP addresses, bank-grade security and next generation account protection we give you the chance to embark earning right away. Finish the free registration and commence trading with Ionicoin Digital Currency LTD.

Best day to day Bitcoin trading platform

Ionicoin Digital Currency LTD has become one of the most trusted platforms used for Bitcoins trading. The exchange provides low spread, rapid order execution, acces to high liquidity orderbook for top currency pairs available and the maket. Cross-platform trading can be realized using a diversity of methods: numerous API solutions, website or mobile app. Assets safety is ensured by advanced legal compliance and high security standards.

IONICOIN DIGITAL CURRENCY LTD – Fresh Bitcoin trading platform

IONICOIN DIGITAL CURRENCY LTD

Begin MAKING MONEY TODAY. INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE

What is Ionicoin?

Ionicoin is a company registered in the UK that deals with trading using the Bitcoin virtual currency.

Ionicoin has 1,900 registered members and over 1,300 investors.

Over one hundred employees of the company, professional tradesmen, will invest in the money deposited by you in virtual moneys and other companies listed on the international stock exchange to generate profit.

What do you build up?

By purchasing one of our packages according to its value you can earn inbetween 0.5% per day up to 1.5%.

What do we build up?

An employee can make a profit of 0.2% per day using your money.

For example, if you buy the basic five hundred usd package you will receive five hundred USD + 0.5% each day. Our company will stop 0.15%.

You have the right to withdraw your profit every day.

What should you do?

Our system is very elementary.

You create an account, choose a package, Initiate, Basic, Advanced, Professional, Accomplished or Enterprise (VIP), store the bitcoin in your virtual wallet and we make a profit.

Do not you have money to invest in our company?

No problem. Create an account and sign up for referral or awarness.

Invite a friend through your referral account by providing him a link to sign up and earn 10% of the invested money you have instant access and you can liquidate it anytime you want.

What is

Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency that permits any two willing parties to conduct transactions anywhere around the world. Bitcoin is a payment method accepted both by online and offline shops and in the last few years has become one of the most successful investment opportunities available.

Price history – Bitcon

Over time bitcoin price has evolved rapidly and proceeds to evolve towards an unknown target. Statistics showcase that bitcoin will become the paying method of the future.

Use the right devices in order to make right decisions

Take total advantage of our advanced solutions, charting systems, technical indicators, bitcoin card and user-friendly bitcoin wallet.

Learn to compare pricings

It is imperative to control your trading costs. Evaluate all bitcoin traiding pricing options so you are able to find what works best for you. Ionicoin Digital Currency LTD will guide and help you make your very first transactions successfully

Bitcoin supply on the market

Bitcoin have been in circulation for years. They are produced through a precess called “mining”. In the mid 2016’s there where 15,791,326 available. Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto set an upper limit to bitcoins that will be mined, that limit is twenty one million bitcoins.

Sign up and begin trading Bitcoin

Commence trading Bitcoin

With encrypted SSL connection over HTTPS, two- factor authentification and trusted IP addresses, bank-grade security and next generation account protection we give you the chance to embark earning right away. Finish the free registration and embark trading with Ionicoin Digital Currency LTD.

Best day to day Bitcoin trading platform

Ionicoin Digital Currency LTD has become one of the most trusted platforms used for Bitcoins trading. The exchange provides low spread, quick order execution, acces to high liquidity orderbook for top currency pairs available and the maket. Cross-platform trading can be realized using a diversity of methods: numerous API solutions, website or mobile app. Assets safety is ensured by advanced legal compliance and high security standards.

Related video:

Interoperability Boost: Ripple Sends Blockchain Transaction Across seven Ledgers

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It just got a entire lot lighter for banks to do business with bitcoin.

Yesterday, Ripple open-sourced the very first bitcoin plug-in for its Interledger protocol (ILP), designed to seamlessly let users conduct transactions across a broad range of ledgers.

By open-sourcing the bitcoin instrument, along with another plug-in for enterprise-focused platform Chain, Ripple was able to conduct, in a live demo, a single transaction across seven different ledgers. Conducted at the Blockchain Expo in Berlin, Germany, the single transaction went across public blockchains, private blockchains, a centralized ledger and a traditional payment channel.

While no single transaction would likely ever require so many ledger integrations, Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas said the purpose of the demo was to display future users that traditional channels can work in harmony with distributed ledgers.

“We think that’s where the future is going. We think that in the future all different ledgers will be tied together and transactions will be very seamless. So we want to make sure that our customers are going to be set up for success in that world.”

In addition to the freshly open-sourced bitcoin and Chain integrations, an Interledger transaction for a “relatively puny” value was also conducted with Ripple’s native currency, XRP, using both an XRP escrow and an XRP payment channel. Ethereum, Ripple’s centralized Five Bells Ledger and a so-called ‘trustline’ were also used in the transaction.

The payment was converted from fiat to ether to XRP to euros, depending on the payment channels, with Interledger’s connectors converting the currency and forwarding the payments from one ledger to another.

Interoperability in view

The Interledger demonstration is part of an overall industry trend towards merging blockchains –one that has gained significant momentum this year.

In the last month alone, Blockstack launched its decentralized browser designed to let any number of blockchains mesh into a distributed version of the internet, and 0x launched an alpha version of its token trading platform built to permit decentralized applications to seamlessly interact by instantly exchanging their native tokens.

Co-inventor of the ILP and managing director of Ripple’s Luxembourg office, Evan Schwartz, positions the demonstration as part of a bigger-picture thrust to display blockchain interoperability has moved past being just a good idea.

“What this shows is that with this kind of architecture that Interledger has, it’s not just about integrating two ledgers, it’s about doing this across many types of ledgers,” Schwartz said.

Heating to cryptocurrency

Ripple primarily released the ILP in October 2015, at a time when banks were even more wary about doing business with cryptocurrencies and had only just begun to explore non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain technology.

Since the launch, banks have shown enhancing interest in working with a broad range of distributed, collective databases and specifically blockchains, even if their readiness to transact in cryptocurrency remains largely stifled by concerns surrounding know-your-customer (KYC) compliance.

Ripple has, in part, helped overcome this reluctance by working with banks to build a broad range of early-stage products relying on its distributed ledger technology, but not its native currency.

Going forward tho’, that could switch if the hesitance surrounding cryptocurrency lessens. This seems likely, because some banks around the world have already begun accommodating bitcoin companies that want to open fiat accounts. Ripple itself has even embarked building bank applications that rely on XRP, so the company seems to be preparing for a future of much broader acceptance.

“Bitcoin is one of the most widely used and one of the most well-known ledgers,” said Thomas. “So any interoperability protocol has to be measured by [whether] it supports bitcoin, if it supports XRP, if it supports ethereum.”

Plug-in workshop

By the end of today, Ripple expects an eighth connector to be built at the Berlin event, one that would enable integration with litecoin. The process, according to Ripple executives, would take only a slight tweak of the bitcoin contraption’s code.

The rigid further said a building session will take place, one in which it expects technologists from zcash, Lightning Network, GateHub, BigchainDB, PayPal and Monax’s Hyperledger Burrow to create yet more plug-ins.

Zcash and Monax have confirmed to CoinDesk that each will have a blockchain engineer in attendance to assist with the work.

“We want to make our customers glad, we want to act in the interest of our customers, and so part of that on our side – we’re all in the research department – means thinking about what our customers are going to want before they even realize it.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Chain.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a rigorous set of editorial policies. Interested in suggesting your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at [email protected] .

Interoperability Boost: Ripple Sends Blockchain Transaction Across seven Ledgers

Без кейворда

It just got a entire lot lighter for banks to do business with bitcoin.

Yesterday, Ripple open-sourced the very first bitcoin plug-in for its Interledger protocol (ILP), designed to seamlessly let users conduct transactions across a broad range of ledgers.

By open-sourcing the bitcoin instrument, along with another plug-in for enterprise-focused platform Chain, Ripple was able to conduct, in a live demo, a single transaction across seven different ledgers. Conducted at the Blockchain Expo in Berlin, Germany, the single transaction went across public blockchains, private blockchains, a centralized ledger and a traditional payment channel.

While no single transaction would likely ever require so many ledger integrations, Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas said the purpose of the demo was to demonstrate future users that traditional channels can work in harmony with distributed ledgers.

“We think that’s where the future is going. We think that in the future all different ledgers will be tied together and transactions will be very seamless. So we want to make sure that our customers are going to be set up for success in that world.”

In addition to the freshly open-sourced bitcoin and Chain integrations, an Interledger transaction for a “relatively puny” value was also conducted with Ripple’s native currency, XRP, using both an XRP escrow and an XRP payment channel. Ethereum, Ripple’s centralized Five Bells Ledger and a so-called ‘trustline’ were also used in the transaction.

The payment was converted from fiat to ether to XRP to euros, depending on the payment channels, with Interledger’s connectors converting the currency and forwarding the payments from one ledger to another.

Interoperability in look

The Interledger demonstration is part of an overall industry trend towards merging blockchains –one that has gained significant momentum this year.

In the last month alone, Blockstack launched its decentralized browser designed to let any number of blockchains mesh into a distributed version of the internet, and 0x launched an alpha version of its token trading platform built to permit decentralized applications to seamlessly interact by instantly exchanging their native tokens.

Co-inventor of the ILP and managing director of Ripple’s Luxembourg office, Evan Schwartz, positions the demonstration as part of a bigger-picture shove to display blockchain interoperability has moved past being just a good idea.

“What this shows is that with this kind of architecture that Interledger has, it’s not just about integrating two ledgers, it’s about doing this across many types of ledgers,” Schwartz said.

Heating to cryptocurrency

Ripple primarily released the ILP in October 2015, at a time when banks were even more wary about doing business with cryptocurrencies and had only just begun to explore non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain technology.

Since the launch, banks have shown enhancing interest in working with a broad range of distributed, collective databases and specifically blockchains, even if their preparedness to transact in cryptocurrency remains largely stifled by concerns surrounding know-your-customer (KYC) compliance.

Ripple has, in part, helped overcome this reluctance by working with banks to build a broad range of early-stage products relying on its distributed ledger technology, but not its native currency.

Going forward however, that could switch if the hesitance surrounding cryptocurrency lessens. This seems likely, because some banks around the world have already begun accommodating bitcoin companies that want to open fiat accounts. Ripple itself has even began building bank applications that rely on XRP, so the company seems to be preparing for a future of much broader acceptance.

“Bitcoin is one of the most widely used and one of the most well-known ledgers,” said Thomas. “So any interoperability protocol has to be measured by [whether] it supports bitcoin, if it supports XRP, if it supports ethereum.”

Plug-in workshop

By the end of today, Ripple expects an eighth connector to be built at the Berlin event, one that would enable integration with litecoin. The process, according to Ripple executives, would take only a slight tweak of the bitcoin contraption’s code.

The rigid further said a building session will take place, one in which it expects technologists from zcash, Lightning Network, GateHub, BigchainDB, PayPal and Monax’s Hyperledger Burrow to create yet more plug-ins.

Zcash and Monax have confirmed to CoinDesk that each will have a blockchain engineer in attendance to assist with the work.

“We want to make our customers glad, we want to act in the interest of our customers, and so part of that on our side – we’re all in the research department – means thinking about what our customers are going to want before they even realize it.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Chain.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a stringent set of editorial policies. Interested in suggesting your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at [email protected] .

Interoperability Boost: Ripple Sends Blockchain Transaction Across seven Ledgers

Без кейворда

It just got a entire lot lighter for banks to do business with bitcoin.

Yesterday, Ripple open-sourced the very first bitcoin plug-in for its Interledger protocol (ILP), designed to seamlessly let users conduct transactions across a broad range of ledgers.

By open-sourcing the bitcoin implement, along with another plug-in for enterprise-focused platform Chain, Ripple was able to conduct, in a live demo, a single transaction across seven different ledgers. Conducted at the Blockchain Expo in Berlin, Germany, the single transaction went across public blockchains, private blockchains, a centralized ledger and a traditional payment channel.

While no single transaction would likely ever require so many ledger integrations, Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas said the purpose of the demo was to display future users that traditional channels can work in harmony with distributed ledgers.

“We think that’s where the future is going. We think that in the future all different ledgers will be tied together and transactions will be very seamless. So we want to make sure that our customers are going to be set up for success in that world.”

In addition to the freshly open-sourced bitcoin and Chain integrations, an Interledger transaction for a “relatively puny” value was also conducted with Ripple’s native currency, XRP, using both an XRP escrow and an XRP payment channel. Ethereum, Ripple’s centralized Five Bells Ledger and a so-called ‘trustline’ were also used in the transaction.

The payment was converted from fiat to ether to XRP to euros, depending on the payment channels, with Interledger’s connectors converting the currency and forwarding the payments from one ledger to another.

Interoperability in look

The Interledger demonstration is part of an overall industry trend towards merging blockchains –one that has gained significant momentum this year.

In the last month alone, Blockstack launched its decentralized browser designed to let any number of blockchains mesh into a distributed version of the internet, and 0x launched an alpha version of its token trading platform built to permit decentralized applications to seamlessly interact by instantly exchanging their native tokens.

Co-inventor of the ILP and managing director of Ripple’s Luxembourg office, Evan Schwartz, positions the demonstration as part of a bigger-picture thrust to showcase blockchain interoperability has moved past being just a good idea.

“What this shows is that with this kind of architecture that Interledger has, it’s not just about integrating two ledgers, it’s about doing this across many types of ledgers,” Schwartz said.

Heating to cryptocurrency

Ripple primarily released the ILP in October 2015, at a time when banks were even more wary about doing business with cryptocurrencies and had only just begun to explore non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain technology.

Since the launch, banks have shown enlargening interest in working with a broad range of distributed, collective databases and specifically blockchains, even if their preparedness to transact in cryptocurrency remains largely stifled by concerns surrounding know-your-customer (KYC) compliance.

Ripple has, in part, helped overcome this reluctance by working with banks to build a broad range of early-stage products relying on its distributed ledger technology, but not its native currency.

Going forward tho’, that could switch if the hesitance surrounding cryptocurrency lessens. This seems likely, because some banks around the world have already begun accommodating bitcoin companies that want to open fiat accounts. Ripple itself has even commenced building bank applications that rely on XRP, so the company seems to be preparing for a future of much broader acceptance.

“Bitcoin is one of the most widely used and one of the most well-known ledgers,” said Thomas. “So any interoperability protocol has to be measured by [whether] it supports bitcoin, if it supports XRP, if it supports ethereum.”

Plug-in workshop

By the end of today, Ripple expects an eighth connector to be built at the Berlin event, one that would enable integration with litecoin. The process, according to Ripple executives, would take only a slight tweak of the bitcoin device’s code.

The rock-hard further said a building session will take place, one in which it expects technologists from zcash, Lightning Network, GateHub, BigchainDB, PayPal and Monax’s Hyperledger Burrow to create yet more plug-ins.

Zcash and Monax have confirmed to CoinDesk that each will have a blockchain engineer in attendance to assist with the work.

“We want to make our customers glad, we want to act in the interest of our customers, and so part of that on our side – we’re all in the research department – means thinking about what our customers are going to want before they even realize it.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Chain.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a stringent set of editorial policies. Interested in suggesting your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at [email protected] .

Interoperability Boost: Ripple Sends Blockchain Transaction Across seven Ledgers

Без кейворда

It just got a entire lot lighter for banks to do business with bitcoin.

Yesterday, Ripple open-sourced the very first bitcoin plug-in for its Interledger protocol (ILP), designed to seamlessly let users conduct transactions across a broad range of ledgers.

By open-sourcing the bitcoin device, along with another plug-in for enterprise-focused platform Chain, Ripple was able to conduct, in a live demo, a single transaction across seven different ledgers. Conducted at the Blockchain Expo in Berlin, Germany, the single transaction went across public blockchains, private blockchains, a centralized ledger and a traditional payment channel.

While no single transaction would likely ever require so many ledger integrations, Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas said the purpose of the demo was to display future users that traditional channels can work in harmony with distributed ledgers.

“We think that’s where the future is going. We think that in the future all different ledgers will be tied together and transactions will be very seamless. So we want to make sure that our customers are going to be set up for success in that world.”

In addition to the freshly open-sourced bitcoin and Chain integrations, an Interledger transaction for a “relatively petite” value was also conducted with Ripple’s native currency, XRP, using both an XRP escrow and an XRP payment channel. Ethereum, Ripple’s centralized Five Bells Ledger and a so-called ‘trustline’ were also used in the transaction.

The payment was converted from fiat to ether to XRP to euros, depending on the payment channels, with Interledger’s connectors converting the currency and forwarding the payments from one ledger to another.

Interoperability in glance

The Interledger demonstration is part of an overall industry trend towards merging blockchains –one that has gained significant momentum this year.

In the last month alone, Blockstack launched its decentralized browser designed to let any number of blockchains mesh into a distributed version of the internet, and 0x launched an alpha version of its token trading platform built to permit decentralized applications to seamlessly interact by instantly exchanging their native tokens.

Co-inventor of the ILP and managing director of Ripple’s Luxembourg office, Evan Schwartz, positions the demonstration as part of a bigger-picture shove to display blockchain interoperability has moved past being just a good idea.

“What this shows is that with this kind of architecture that Interledger has, it’s not just about integrating two ledgers, it’s about doing this across many types of ledgers,” Schwartz said.

Heating to cryptocurrency

Ripple primarily released the ILP in October 2015, at a time when banks were even more wary about doing business with cryptocurrencies and had only just begun to explore non-cryptocurrency applications of blockchain technology.

Since the launch, banks have shown enlargening interest in working with a broad range of distributed, collective databases and specifically blockchains, even if their preparedness to transact in cryptocurrency remains largely stifled by concerns surrounding know-your-customer (KYC) compliance.

Ripple has, in part, helped overcome this reluctance by working with banks to build a broad range of early-stage products relying on its distributed ledger technology, but not its native currency.

Going forward tho’, that could switch if the hesitance surrounding cryptocurrency lessens. This seems likely, because some banks around the world have already begun accommodating bitcoin companies that want to open fiat accounts. Ripple itself has even embarked building bank applications that rely on XRP, so the company seems to be preparing for a future of much broader acceptance.

“Bitcoin is one of the most widely used and one of the most well-known ledgers,” said Thomas. “So any interoperability protocol has to be measured by [whether] it supports bitcoin, if it supports XRP, if it supports ethereum.”

Plug-in workshop

By the end of today, Ripple expects an eighth connector to be built at the Berlin event, one that would enable integration with litecoin. The process, according to Ripple executives, would take only a slight tweak of the bitcoin instrument’s code.

The rock hard further said a building session will take place, one in which it expects technologists from zcash, Lightning Network, GateHub, BigchainDB, PayPal and Monax’s Hyperledger Burrow to create yet more plug-ins.

Zcash and Monax have confirmed to CoinDesk that each will have a blockchain engineer in attendance to assist with the work.

“We want to make our customers blessed, we want to act in the interest of our customers, and so part of that on our side – we’re all in the research department – means thinking about what our customers are going to want before they even realize it.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Chain.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a stringent set of editorial policies. Interested in suggesting your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at [email protected] .

Related video:

Insurance industry making the leap to blockchain, Business Insurance

Без кейворда

6/20/2017 7:00:00 AM

Blockchain is making inroads into the insurance sector with the announcement of fresh initiatives aimed at expanding the use of the digital ledger technology.

Last week’s news of the initiative inbetween American International Group Inc. and Standard Chartered Bank P.L.C. was the latest in a latest run of activity around the insurance sector’s potential use for the budding technology.

AIG and Standard Chartered, together with IBM, said they had used blockchain technology to create a multinational “smart contract” by converting a multinational, managed master policy written in the United Kingdom and three local policies in the United States, Singapore and Kenya, into a format that provides a collective view of policy data and documentation in real-time, permitting visibility into coverage and premium payment at the local and master level as well as automated notifications to network participants following payment events.

Third parties, such as brokers, auditors and other stakeholders, can also be included, providing them a view of the policy and payment data and documentation. The pilot solution was built by IBM and is based on Hyperledger Fabric — a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.

Results were promising, according to observers.

“This was a first-of-its-kind pilot that proved the concept,” Carol Barton, head of multinational insurance at AIG in Fresh York, said in an email. “This pilot shows many benefits may be possible with more scaled blockchain applications, including: Instantaneous access to policy information; reducing query time and effort; visibility into premium payment; coverage at local and master level; and several permissioned access points to policy.”

“This is a wonderful example of an innovative treatment to insurance,” said Howard Mills, global insurance regulatory leader at Deloitte Services L.P. in Fresh York. “A global insurer like AIG using blockchain to create a wise contract that will make multinational insurance coverage less cumbersome could be a big boost to global commerce.”

“I think a lot of insurance players are nosey about blockchain and they are attempting to see how it can work,” said Tracy Dolin-Benguigui, director and sector lead with S&P Global Ratings in Fresh York.

Blockchain is a digital technology for recording and verifying transactions, according to the Linux foundation, which is hosting an effort to build an industry consortium, Hyperledger, to standardize and expand its use.

“The distributed ledger is a permanent, secure instrument that makes it lighter to create cost-efficient business networks without requiring a centralized point of control. With distributed ledgers, virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded,” the foundation said in a two thousand fifteen statement. “Distributed ledger systems today are being built in a multitude of industries, but to realize the promise of this emerging technology, an open source and collaborative development strategy that supports numerous players in numerous industries is required. This development can enable the adoption of blockchain technology at a tempo and depth not achievable by any one company or industry.”

Munich Reinsurance Co. and Swiss Re Ltd., the world’s first- and second-largest reinsurers, respectively, in October two thousand sixteen founded B3i, a consortium “aiming to explore the potential of distributed ledger technologies to better serve clients through quicker, more convenient and secure services,” Swiss Re said in a statement at the time. The consortium has since grown to fifteen members including Allianz S.E., Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., Hannover Re S.E., Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., Scor S.A., Tokio Marine Holdings Inc., and XL Group Ltd., which does business as XL Catlin.

Also last week, The Bitfury Group, a U.S. blockchain technology rock hard, said it had formed a strategic partnership with advisory rock-hard Risk Cooperative to use blockchain in the insurance broking market.

The partnership will originally explore putting cyber insurance and political risk activities on a blockchain-based system, according to reports.

Bitfury has been helping national governments put data on a blockchain over the past two years, according to reports. In April, the company announced a partnership with Ukraine to put a broad range of government data on a blockchain platform. A year earlier, Bitfury signed an agreement with Georgia to pilot the very first blockchain land-titling registry.

Related video:

Idaho teenager becomes millionaire by investing $1, zero bounty in Bitcoin – and wins bet with his parents

Idaho teenager becomes millionaire by investing $1,000 bounty in Bitcoin – and wins bet with his parents

T hree years ago Erik Finman made a bet with his parents. He had just dropped out of high school, finding it a waste of time, and was being instructed at home. If he was a millionaire by the time he turned Legal, his parents said, they would not force him to go to university.

Last week Mr Finman announced victory.

“I won the million dollar bet I had with my parents!” he announced on Tuesday. “Grateful to all the friends, family, and mentors along the way.”

I won the million dollar bet I had with my parents! Grateful to all the friends, family, and mentors along the way.https://t.co/E2ailFboew

T he teenager’s story has captivated America, delighting people with its mix of childhood ambition, entrepreneurial abilities and hard work. Mr Finman has been celebrated on news channels, and lauded in the tech community. For his story is little brief of remarkable.

The tale began in 2011, when he was 12, and his grandmother gave him $1,000.

Mr Finman, whose parents Paul and Lorna met at Stanford University in the 1980s, when Paul was getting his PhD in electrical engineering and Lorna was getting hers in physics, took the cash and invested it in Bitcoin, following a peak from his brother Scott.

The Finman siblings, three brothers, admit to being fiendishly competitive. Erik describes his family as being the "Elon Musk version of the Kardashians" – both his older brothers work in tech and engineering, and the youngest Finman was frustrated by school.

“I was a failure by most metrics,” he has said of that time. “I wasn’t the most studious of teenagers, I played Call of Duty and I snuck in Grand Theft Auto so my parents didn’t see.

“My life was pretty average at that point. No matter how hard I attempted, it was to no avail. I still got Cs, I still was afraid to talk my teachers who made my failures seem like a bad thing and I just wasn’t motivated.”

H e claimed one of his teachers told him he would never amount to anything, so he should drop out of school and work at McDonald’s.

P erhaps remarkably, his parents listened to his complaints and withdrew him from school, home schooling him in rural Idaho.

In two thousand thirteen Mr Finman cashed in the very first of his bitcoin investments, when they were valued at $1,200 a chunk. His $1,000 investment was now worth a hundred times his grandmother’s bounty.

With the cash, the teenager launched an online education company called Botangle, which would permit frustrated students like him to find teachers over movie talk. Before kicking off the company, he went to a Starbucks and suggested to buy anyone a coffee if they would listen to his idea and give feedback – twenty people did.

Buoyed by the launch of his very first company, he spread his wings and begun interning at Silicon Valley start-ups. At the age of 15, he moved to San Francisco.

M r Finman now possesses four hundred three bitcoins, which at the current rate of $Two,700 a coin puts his bitcoin value at $1.09 million. He also has smaller investments in other cryptocurrencies, including litecoin and ethereum.

D espite the volatility of the virtual currency, he is dangling onto it – believing its value will proceed to rise.

Mr Finman told NBC he is presently working on numerous projects, including with Nasa to launch a rocket through the ELaNa project, designed to attract and recruit students to their teams.

And he has no regrets about not going to university.

"The way the education system is structured now, I wouldn’t recommend it," he said.

"It doesn’t work for anyone.

“I would recommend the internet, which is all free. You can learn a million times more off YouTube and Wikipedia."

Related video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R73wvzHRSz8

ICO – Shadow Of The Colossus Collection Review – PS3, Shove Square

Review: ICO & Shadow Of The Colossus Collection (PS3)

An impeccable, provocative and emotional affair, ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection makes a strong argument in favour of interactive art, and does so with such a matter of fact, effortless mentality that it’s unlikely not to fall in love with the practice.

Despite being heralded as two of the finest games ever created, there’s an effortless manner at which both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus go about their business.

It’s with ICO that we begin. Originally released ten years ago, the game centres upon the relationship inbetween a youthful boy and an ethereal woman named Yorda. It emerges that the boy has been incarcerated in a vast castle after being considered a bad omen by the residents of his native village. Happening upon an escape route, the boy detects the mystical Yorda trapped in a box, and instantly sets about releasing the damsel from her restricts. Together the freshly liberated duo embark on an venture that sees them attempting to escape from the castle’s captivity. To say much more would be to spoil the game’s unparalleled sense of discovery, but what you’ll uncover is a narrative so devouring that it left us with goosebumps at numerous points during its running time.

What’s most staggering about ICO if you’re coming to it from a fresh perspective is just how much it’s influenced other games. The strongest comparison would most likely be to Playdead’s latest PSN downloadable, LIMBO, which has much in common with ICO’s level design. Elementary puzzles are at the heart of the game’s progression, but it’s in the relationship inbetween the two protagonists that the title indeed finds its lasting presence.

With a quick tap of R1 you’re able to clasp the palm of Yorda, dragging her through the environment with the subtlest of controller rumbles complementing your deeds. It’s perhaps the best implementation of rumble ever to emerge in a movie game, and its meaning is entirely up for interpretation. Some people believe that the rumble indicates the strain on the fragile Yorda as you pull at her brittle assets, but we happen to believe its more akin to the fluttering warmth that passes inbetween two human beings in spite of fine adversity.

ICO is a game scattered with fine imagery, but nothing appeals fairly like the very first time you haul the wistful Yorda across an epic bridge as the wind purrs in your ears. There’s truly nothing else fairly like it in games; it’s a spine-tingling moment that’s underlined by the sheer simpleness of it all.

While ICO and Shadow Of The Colossus aren’t technically connected, there are similarities that indicate they’re the brainchild of the same creator. Both games have a penchant for extravagant, Mayan architecture that represent the non-natural environments in the two campaigns. They also each love pulled out camera angles that emphasise the enormity of each game’s scale.

And no game does scale fairly like Shadow of the Colossus. Originally released in 2005, the game’s drawn-out opening centres on the journey of its protagonist Wander, a worn 20-something adventurer who’s travelled to a barred land in order to bring back the life of his deceased love. Resting her figure on an exuberant stone bed — which serves as a visual reminder of your plight across the game’s ten hour campaign — Wander is informed that he must defeat no fewer than sixteen Colossi in order to restore his companion. The Colossi are gigantic majestic animals that wander the prohibited land.

Like ICO, it’s the plainness of Shadow of the Colossus that underlines its brilliance. There are no mini-bosses, sub-quests or mini games: it’s all about you, your pony and the sixteen boss fights ahead of you.

You’ll need to find the Colossi before you can face them, but gratefully your sword is tooled with a nifty gadget that points you in the direction of each brute when held towards the sun. The game’s Hyrulian hub world is beautiful in its emptiness, spanning long horizons of nothing but fields, deserts and postcard-perfect blue skies. Pelting through the landscape invokes memories of ICO’s sense of loneliness, as there’s nothing to accompany you but the sound of your pony’s hooves hitting the turf below.

Fighting the Colossi is where the game most stuns. With each creature possessing a different look and style, you’ll need to cautiously consider your methods in order to bring the hulking monsters down. Fights are intense, white knuckle rails backed by one of the most powerful musical scores in movie games. The solutions for each boss battle are wonderfully creative too: one requires you to frighten the animal with a searing torch, while another has you hopping inbetween piles and runways in an attempt to crack the enemy’s armour.

Our favourite boss fight comes in the form of Colossus number five, a winged eagle-like foe that resides in a forgotten lake. Here you’ll need to clasp hold of the animal as it swoops down to attack you, and will find yourself clambering across its figure hundreds of feet into the air as the world flies by underneath you.

The game’s imagination is liberated from its technical limitations on the PlayStation Three, with the screen-tearing and framework rate inconsistencies that plagued the title’s original release now no longer a concern. The cleaned up textures don’t hurt either, providing the game’s outstanding art direction room to shine.

Both games are bona fide classics, ensuring ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection’s status as a must-own compilation. Stereoscopic 3D support, Trophies and a duo of behind-the-scenes movies (curiously absent from our review copy) help to round out the package, but it’s the inclusion of the definitive versions of two of the greatest games ever designed that makes this collection such a necessary purchase.

Conclusion

If movie games aren’t art, then ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection is not a movie game. It’s a staggering compilation of two of the most creative, intimate and emotional lumps of interactive entertainment ever conceived. Bring on The Last Guardian.

ICO – Shadow Of The Colossus Collection Review – PS3, Shove Square

Review: ICO & Shadow Of The Colossus Collection (PS3)

An impeccable, provocative and emotional affair, ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection makes a strong argument in favour of interactive art, and does so with such a matter of fact, effortless mentality that it’s unlikely not to fall in love with the practice.

Despite being heralded as two of the finest games ever created, there’s an effortless manner at which both ICO and Shadow of the Colossus go about their business.

It’s with ICO that we embark. Originally released ten years ago, the game centres upon the relationship inbetween a youthfull boy and an ethereal woman named Yorda. It emerges that the boy has been incarcerated in a vast castle after being considered a bad omen by the residents of his native village. Happening upon an escape route, the boy detects the mystical Yorda trapped in a cell, and instantly sets about releasing the chick from her restricts. Together the freshly liberated duo embark on an escapade that sees them attempting to escape from the castle’s captivity. To say much more would be to spoil the game’s unparalleled sense of discovery, but what you’ll uncover is a narrative so devouring that it left us with goosebumps at numerous points during its running time.

What’s most staggering about ICO if you’re coming to it from a fresh perspective is just how much it’s influenced other games. The strongest comparison would very likely be to Playdead’s latest PSN downloadable, LIMBO, which has much in common with ICO’s level design. Elementary puzzles are at the heart of the game’s progression, but it’s in the relationship inbetween the two protagonists that the title indeed finds its lasting presence.

With a quick tap of R1 you’re able to clasp the mitt of Yorda, dragging her through the environment with the subtlest of controller rumbles complementing your deeds. It’s perhaps the best implementation of rumble ever to emerge in a movie game, and its meaning is entirely up for interpretation. Some people believe that the rumble represents the strain on the fragile Yorda as you pull at her brittle assets, but we happen to believe its more akin to the fluttering warmth that passes inbetween two human beings in spite of superb adversity.

ICO is a game scattered with superb imagery, but nothing appeals fairly like the very first time you haul the wistful Yorda across an epic bridge as the wind coos in your ears. There’s truly nothing else fairly like it in games; it’s a spine-tingling moment that’s underlined by the sheer plainness of it all.

While ICO and Shadow Of The Colossus aren’t technically connected, there are similarities that indicate they’re the brainchild of the same creator. Both games have a penchant for extravagant, Mayan architecture that represent the non-natural environments in the two campaigns. They also each love pulled out camera angles that emphasise the enormity of each game’s scale.

And no game does scale fairly like Shadow of the Colossus. Originally released in 2005, the game’s drawn-out opening centres on the journey of its protagonist Wander, a worn 20-something adventurer who’s travelled to a barred land in order to bring back the life of his deceased love. Resting her assets on an exuberant stone bed — which serves as a visual reminder of your plight via the game’s ten hour campaign — Wander is informed that he must defeat no fewer than sixteen Colossi in order to restore his companion. The Colossi are ample majestic animals that wander the prohibited land.

Like ICO, it’s the simpleness of Shadow of the Colossus that underlines its brilliance. There are no mini-bosses, sub-quests or mini games: it’s all about you, your pony and the sixteen boss fights ahead of you.

You’ll need to find the Colossi before you can face them, but gratefully your sword is tooled with a nifty gadget that points you in the direction of each brute when held towards the sun. The game’s Hyrulian hub world is beautiful in its emptiness, spanning long horizons of nothing but fields, deserts and postcard-perfect blue skies. Pelting through the landscape invokes memories of ICO’s sense of loneliness, as there’s nothing to accompany you but the sound of your pony’s hooves hitting the turf below.

Fighting the Colossi is where the game most stuns. With each creature possessing a different look and style, you’ll need to cautiously consider your methods in order to bring the hulking monsters down. Fights are intense, white knuckle rails backed by one of the most powerful musical scores in movie games. The solutions for each boss battle are wonderfully creative too: one requires you to frighten the animal with a searing torch, while another has you hopping inbetween piles and runways in an attempt to crack the enemy’s armour.

Our favourite boss fight comes in the form of Colossus number five, a winged eagle-like foe that resides in a forgotten lake. Here you’ll need to clasp hold of the brute as it swoops down to attack you, and will find yourself clambering across its figure hundreds of feet into the air as the world flies by underneath you.

The game’s imagination is liberated from its technical limitations on the PlayStation Trio, with the screen-tearing and framework rate inconsistencies that plagued the title’s original release now no longer a concern. The cleaned up textures don’t hurt either, providing the game’s outstanding art direction room to shine.

Both games are bona fide classics, ensuring ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection’s status as a must-own compilation. Stereoscopic 3D support, Trophies and a duo of behind-the-scenes movies (curiously absent from our review copy) help to round out the package, but it’s the inclusion of the definitive versions of two of the greatest games ever designed that makes this collection such a necessary purchase.

Conclusion

If movie games aren’t art, then ICO & Shadow of the Colossus Collection is not a movie game. It’s a staggering compilation of two of the most creative, intimate and emotional lumps of interactive entertainment ever conceived. Bring on The Last Guardian.

Related video:

How to use blockchain to build a database solution, ZDNet

How to use blockchain to build a database solution

Why would you want to use blockchain to build a database solution? And how would you actually do that? BigchainDB has answers.

Very first Wall Street, then the database world. While most people are still attempting to wrap their goes around blockchain and its difference from Bitcoin, others are using it in a broad range of domains. Is it hype, a case of having a hammer and watching problems as tears up, or could blockchain actually have a purpose in the database world?

BigchainDB’s creators argue there is a reason, and a way, for blockchain and databases to live joyfully ever after.

Blockchain technology, put simply, is a type of digital ledger which records transactions, agreements, contracts and sales. The technology is decentralized, which means that information is stored in computers around the world, and is permanently updated in real-time to reflect switches in stock, sales and accounts by bringing records together into blocks before algorithms ‘chain’ these data stores together chronologically.

Silicon Valley is hot on blockchain — the technology behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency — and its many potrential uses.Blockchain’s economic influence could be as significant as the Internet

Blockchain was introduced by Bitcoin, which despite its oft discussed issues has illustrated a novel set of benefits: decentralized control, where “no one” wields or controls the network; immutability, where written data is “forever” tamper-resistant; and the capability to create and transfer assets on the network, without reliance on a central entity.

The initial excitement surrounding Bitcoin stemmed from its use as a token of value, for example as an alternative to government-issued currencies. Now the separation inbetween Bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology is getting better understood, the scope of the technology itself and its applications are being extended.

With this increase in scope, single monolithic blockchain technologies are being re-framed into building blocks at four levels of the stack:

Two. Decentralized (blockchain) computing platforms

Trio. Decentralized processing (wise contracts) and decentralized storage (file systems, databases) and communication

Four. Cryptographic primitives, consensus protocols, and other algorithms.

Blockchain operations work with data, and that data is also stored as part of the blockchain. For example, when transferring assets from one knot to another, the amounts transferred as well as the sender, receiver, and time of transfer are stored. So the option to leverage the benefits blockchain brings by using it as a database is tempting.

The problem is, the blockchain as a database is awful, measured by traditional database standards: throughput is just a few transactions per 2nd (tps), latency before a single confirmed write is ten minutes, and capacity is a few dozen GB. Furthermore, adding knots causes more problems: with a doubling of knots, network traffic quadruples with no improvement in throughput, latency, or capacity. Plus, the blockchain essentially has no querying abilities.

How could that possibly ever work? Trent McConaghy and his co-founders in BigchainDB have tackled this issue by turning it on its head: instead of using blockchain as a database, they are taking a database and adding blockchain features to it. Originally they commenced working with RethinkDB, the reason being that RethinkDB leveraged a clean and efficient knot update protocol.

BigchainDB works by building blockchain features on top of a DB, rather than using blockchain as a DB. Photo: BigchainDB

Under the bondage mask, BigchainDB utilizes two distributed databases, S (transaction set or “backlog”) and C (blockchain), connected by the BigchainDB Consensus Algorithm (BCA). The BCA runs on each signing knot, with signing knots forming a federation. Non-signing clients may connect to BigchainDB, and depending on permissions they may be able to read, issue assets, transfer assets, and more.

Each of the distributed DBs, S and C, is an off-the-shelf big data DB. BigchainDB does not interfere with their internal workings, so it gets to leverage their scalability properties, as well as features like revision control and benefits like battle-tested code. Each DB is running its own internal consensus algorithm for consistency.

At this point BigchainDB has moved towards using MongoDB, and is in fact in a partnership with them. But why MongoDB? It could have been any other open source distributed database. “We did consider a number of DBs, but we desired a document DB to begin with as we’re working with JSON at this point, and MongoDB is an demonstrable choice.”

But, again, isn’t BigchainDB afraid that combining the well known blockchain with the recently targeted MongoDB could raise numerous crimson flags in terms of security? McConaghy has openly acknowledged that the underlying DB may be a security vulnerability at this point, but is neither critical of MongoDB nor apologetic.

“MongoDB has been clear about providing ease of access by removing hard security, so it’s not their fault if people left their installations on the internet unsecured. As for us, at this point we are no better or worse than a centralized solution, and we will undoubtedly add improved security features before moving to production,” he says.

BigchainDB promises blockchain advantages, plus scalability. See also addendum. Pic: BigchainDB

BigchainDB works by suggesting an API on top of the underlying database, with the aim of acting as a substrate-agnostic layer that adds the key blockchain features of decentralization, immutability, and asset transferability. But that leads to some interesting issues.

Read this

Even tho’ it may be the wrong device for the job, the years of development behind the relational database ensure its popularity — for the moment, says MongoDB’s Max Schireson.

For example, what if for some reason users would like to use a different database as a substrate? BigchainDB offers a Service Provider Interface that can be used to butt-plug in other databases. It is what has been used to integrate and operate on top of MongoDB, and according to McConaghy could also be used to do the same with any other database, be it relational or key-store or anything else.

Of course, that is lighter said than done, and brings up another issue: querying. Albeit BigchainDB’s querying support is not fully operational at this point, the aim is to suggest one unified querying interface over whatever underlying database knots BigchainDB may be using. That is a hard problem to solve, as not all databases have the same query languages or capabilities.

However, the current trend towards feature convergence in the database world, and in particular the renewed interest and turn to SQL as the standard for querying may suggest a way out of this. Even so-called NoSQL databases like MongoDB suggest SQL capabilities these days, so this is the most promising way forward for BigchainDB as well: a SQL interface.

At this point, BigchainDB queries are mostly done by directly using MongoDB’s API, but this is a sort of hack that tightly couples BigchainDB to MongoDB, so it is seen as an interim solution that will eventually give way to querying via BigchainDB’s own API.

As should be evident by now, BigchainDB is not a typical database by any measure. It is also not a typical startup run by a typical founder. McConaghy has a rich background in AI before it was cool and a hacker ethos: “doing AI in the 90s was one of the least popular things one could possibly do, so I certainly didn’t do it for the hype.”

McConaghy could have been part of the Facebooks of the world had he chosen to, as he has actually turned down such offers. This is not what drives him, and by extension BigchainDB. The drive behind BigchainDB is not getting to a successful exit or IPO, but rather reshaping the internet and the world at large.

McConaghy believes that centralization leads to concentration of power, citing examples such as social media ownership and control of data or the conundrum that both creators and consumers of art, and content in general, face on the internet.

This is what McConaghy’s previous venture, Ascribe, was about: helping digital artists transfer ownership of their work to customers. Albeit whether this is indeed applicable to everyday art like music or movies is unclear, Ascribe aims to provide a solution for digital artists with unique creations and collectors that want to own them, and uses decentralization to achieve this. At some point Ascribe’s evolution gave birth to BigchainDB.

Some might say this is an overly complicated solution, but McConaghy is not one to bashful away from complexity. When asked on his take on Numerai and the criticism that has been voiced towards it for example, he is adamant: “I don’t think it’s overly complicated, on the contrary, I think it’s brilliant, maybe the best combination of blockchain and AI out there. I think they are doing a truly good job of aligning incentives for founders, employees and users. Think of Facebook, what if it operated on the basis of providing its users a stake in the value it generates? This is what Numerai is doing, and in the process it is bringing a shift in the power structure and creating incentives for cooperation. So it is turning a zero-sum game to a positive-sum game.”

Where

So where on that long and winding road is BigchainDB at the moment? Berlin-based BigchainDB has raised a total of five million euros, with a latest series A of three million. It is working in close collaboration with a number of early adopter clients, including the likes of RWE and Internet Archive.

The Internet Archive, along other organizations such as Open Media or the Human Data Commons Foundation, are also the caretakers of IPDB, or Inter-Planetary DB: a public example of BigchainDB, used to collectively store and manage content in a safe and decentralized way. IPDB has an identically grand vision: its aim is to be a database for the internet.

For Internet Archive for example, it would mean moving away from traditional storage technology and towards the decentralized and cooperative storage model that BigchainDB stands for. As Internet Archive is looking into options such as moving its data to Canada to avoid data sovereignty issues, the potential of adding immutability on top of decentralized storage is appealing.

For RWE on the other mitt, the stakes are a bit different. Traditionally, large electrified utilities would connect the energy producers with the energy consumers. Deregulation switches things, as anyone can now connect to anyone. RWE is getting in front of that by exploring several blockchain projects, such as energy exchanges, electrified car charging, and billing.

BigchainDB has recently released version 0.9, and its roadmap for two thousand seventeen is to reach a stable version 1.0 in the summer and to have fully operational, production-ready open-source and enterprise versions available by the end of the year.

Whether that aim is feasible, or whether its grand vision is likely to be achieved remains to be seen. It certainly does not lack in ambition or abilities however.

Addendum, March 8th 2017: After the article was published, we received the following clarification from Bigchain’s CEO regarding scalability:

“When we very first released BigchainDB, we gave too strong of an impression that it was *already* doing 1M writes/s whereas that was actually just in the underlying database (RethinkDB at the time), tho’ we had designed the algorithm such that BigchainDB could eventually hit that (after more hardening and optimizations).

After feedback, we revised things to set a more adequate expectation: *towards* 1M writes/s. And we also discovered that users didn’t care as much about that benefit compared to other benefits, like high capacity and usability; so we spent more of our resources towards user asks than towards 1M writes/s so far. (That is however still in the roadmap; it’s just not a priority).

I wrote a blog post last May describing this journey; including an apology for setting the wrong expectations; and a commitment to be better about it, which I’m proud to say we’ve kept. It was the very first time in my career that I’d had misaligned expectations compared to what I was shipping; never again! :)”

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How To Embark Bitcoin Mining – The Bitcoin Miners Club

How To Embark Bitcoin Mining

If you were given the chance to playmate with Google when they very first launched, where would you have been today? The same screenplay is now playing out with Bitcoin. As with Google, if you miss the chance with Bitcoin, you are going to be very disappointed with your ‘past self’!

Let us look at the reality.

During the last five years from two thousand ten to two thousand fifteen the Rand has lost another 50% against the Dollar. The South African Rand lost 89% of its purchasing power inbetween one thousand nine hundred eighty and 2010. Since two thousand ten to August 2015, only five years, The South African Rand lost 50% more of its purchasing power. The forecast is that inbetween two thousand fifteen to two thousand sixteen it will liberate another 19% and two thousand fifteen to two thousand seventeen another 48% of its purchasing power.

If we gave you R1000 today and told you to go to your favourite supermarket, how many items would you be leaving with? Two bags? If we gave you the same R1000, five years ago, how many items would you have left with then? A entire trolley fountain?

But, if we gave you that same R1000, ten years ago. how many items would you have left with then? Most likely a boot utter! Plus you would have had to ask your kids to sit on each other’s laps to make space for more groceries on the backseat!

So, now that we have your attention.

What do I need and how do I begin?

Bitcoin mining requires a lot of processing power. You need special hardware, lots of electro-stimulation and time. For this reason, we club together. Everyone joining, pays for their own hardware. The hardware is installed and maintained by a team of professionals in our data centre. Once you purchase your mining contract, your hardware is then ordered and installed in our mine. This process takes from eight – twelve working days, before you can actively embark mining, even however your account is live upon purchasing the contract. The larger the contract you purchase, the more power you have to your availability and the more bitcoins you are able to mine.

This takes away the difficulty of setting up your own expensive hardware at home, then having to battle with setting up software, worrying about security, and unnecessary to say, saving you from a very hefty electro-stimulation bill at the end of each month. In most cases, wielding a single server setup at home, will cost you so much in electro-therapy, that it won’t be worth the come back on investment.

When it comes to Bitcoin Mining, we know our business. We’ve come up with two solutions. Our Retail Mining solution permits you to mine from our platform as soon as your equipment is installed. We have a selection of Bitcoin Mining contracts available to choose from. With our Networking option, you can buy larger Bitcoin mining contracts and get more ‘bang for your buck’ so to speak. Not only that, but you can also share in the revenue by introducing friends, family and colleagues to Bitcoin Mining. Everyone wins.

We explain each option in greater detail below.

1. Retail Mining Option

Retail mining gives the general public the chance to mine bitcoins from the most favourable bitcoin cloud mining operation platform.

Since the begin of our mining, we have taken our freshly generated bitcoins and compounded it back into brand fresh hardware in our Bitcoin mine.

Now that we have accumulated critical mass from our compounding side, this permits you to purchase a Bitcoin mining contract from as little as $25 up to $500. This enables you to buy GHs with which you will kickstart your mining.

Once you have paid for your bitcoin mining contract, your account will go live instantaneously and within eight – twelve working days you will actively embark mining. During this time the equipment is ordered, delivered and installed in our mine. This then gets delivered and installed in our Bitcoin mine. We install the latest and best equipment like S7’s and now S9’s.

Our equipment is paid for in Bitcoin. This is also the reason why when you purchase your mining contract, you will need to purcahse Bitcoins in order to pay for it.

You get a daily come back from your Bitcoin mining which is amazingly favourable. It is then up to you to determine how much you want to compound daily by purchasing more GHs.

We are in fact helping you to create wealth and cash flow.

Further down we will explain where you store your bitcoins and how your cash flow will be available at your disposition.

As a Retail Miner you will receive your own private link, which means that you can share this chance with your friends and family.

Once you have experienced our product, become comfy with mining your bitcoins and familiarized yourself with moving bitcoin around, then you can determine to upgrade to the Revenue Sharing Networking Option whereby you will be purchasing your GHs at wholesale price. You will also commence earning daily comes back of 3% from the mining of your retail miners.

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