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Hashflare, One of the Largest Cloud Bitcoin Mining Companies, Abruptly Disables SHA-256 Mining Contracts, Leaving Customers Furious

Hashflare, One of the Largest Cloud Bitcoin Mining Companies, Abruptly Disables SHA-256 Mining Contracts, Leaving Customers Furious

Hashflare, one of the largest bitcoin mining companies, said on Friday it is disabling its SHA-256 hardware and also discontinuing support for mining services on the active SHA-256 contracts. The move comes as Hashflare continues to struggle with generating revenues, the company said, putting the blame on market fluctuations. In an email to active customers, the company added: For over a month our users encountered a situation when the payouts were lower than the maintenance fees, resulting in zero accruals to the balance. As of 18.07.2018, the payouts were lower than maintenance for 28 consecutive days. BTC mining continues being unprofitable, in light of which we would like to inform you that on 18.07.2018 we were forced to start disabling SHA hardware and today, on 20.07.2018, stop the mining service of active SHA-256 contracts in accordance with clause 5.5 of our Terms of Service, which are required to be accepted when creating a purchase and are the basis of concluding the contract. We expect that the cryptocurrency market situation will stabilize in the nearest future and we will be able to offer our users new advantageous solutions. Customers are understandably furious.

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Coinbase Says It's Exploring Adding 5 New Coins To Its Platform

Coinbase Says It's Exploring Adding 5 New Coins To Its Platform

Coinbase, the largest U.S.-based digital currency exchange, announced that it is “exploring the addition” of five new cryptocurrencies to its platform. The five cryptocurrencies being considered are Cardano (ADA), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRX). Bitcoinist reports: Coinbase’s announcement claims to arrive for both employees and the public at the same time. Notes Coinbase: “We are making this announcement internally at Coinbase and to the public at the same time to remain transparent with our customers about support for future assets.” Despite the apparent attempt at remaining transparent, the statement of intent has led many to question why the exchange giant is even making an announcement of its “exploration” at all — especially following a cut-and-dry announcement of future support for Ethereum Classic. The company pre-emptively responded to such questions by explaining: “Unlike the ongoing process of adding Ethereum Classic, which is technically very similar to Ethereum, these assets will require additional exploratory work and we cannot guarantee they will be listed for trading. Furthermore, our listing process may result in some of these assets being listed solely for customers to buy and sell, without the ability to send or receive using a local wallet. We may also only enable certain ways to interact with these assets through our site, such as supporting only deposits and withdrawals from transparent Zcash addresses. Finally, some of these assets may be offered in other jurisdictions prior to being listed in the U.S.” Coinbase also said to expect future announcements of exploration: “Going forward, you should expect that we will make similar announcements about exploring the addition of multiple assets. Some of these assets may become available everywhere, while others may only be supported in specific jurisdictions.”

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Major League Baseball Is Going Crypto

Major League Baseball Is Going Crypto

The blockchain gaming company Lucid Sight is partnering with Major League Baseball to launch MLB Crypto Baseball. Engadget’s Daniel Roberts explains: Ethereum, launched in 2015, is a decentralized platform for “smart contracts,” which are automated agreements for an exchange of value. It runs on a blockchain, the same peer-to-peer, immutable, public ledger technology that bitcoin runs on. The cryptocurrency of Ethereum is ether. Because of Ethereum’s usefulness for smart contracts, it has become a proving ground for blockchain-based games, where users collect and trade one-of-a-kind items that no one can duplicate or steal. On a blockchain, each digital item (or contract) is verified and tamper-proof.

In MLB Crypto Baseball, users will pay in ether to buy digital avatars tied to specific moments in recent games. They can then sell the items, or in some cases, earn rewards and stickers. The game is a decentralized app, or “dApp.” […] To play the game at launch, users must own some amount of ether and must transfer it to a web plug-in called MetaMask. (CryptoKitties works the same way.) Lucid Sight hopes to have an easy mobile app ready shortly after launch. “We are not building this just for tech savvy people,” says Lucid Sight cofounder Octavio Herrera. “That said, the game will roll out in stages. So yes, for version 1 you will need ether, you will need MetaMask, it will be a little bit difficult to get into. But I do think people will open up Coinbase accounts, buy some ether, and transfer it to MetaMask, in order to collect these things they’ll enjoy so much.”

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Chinese Police Bust World Cup Gambling Ring With More Than $1 Billion In Cryptocurrency

Chinese Police Bust World Cup Gambling Ring With More Than $1 Billion In Cryptocurrency

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Chinese authorities have arrested six suspects behind a World Cup gambling ring that was hosting more than 10 billion yuan — or $1.5 billion USD — worth of cryptocurrency bets, according to a statement released yesterday by the police department in Guangdong province. The gambling syndicate ran on the dark web, accepting bets in the form of bitcoin, ethereum, and litecoin for an eight-month stretch before being apprehended. It attracted more than 300,000 players from different countries, and 8,000 “agents” who earned commissions for recruiting new members through a pyramid scheme-like system, according to the South China Morning Post. The bust that took down the dark web syndicate was a part of China’s larger plans to stem the criminal activity — though this was the first to involve cryptocurrency, according to Guangdong law enforcement. Thus far, they’ve arrested 540 suspects and frozen more than 260 million yuan as a part of their efforts.

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Bitcoin Drops Below $6,000, An 8-Month Low

Bitcoin Drops Below $6,000, An 8-Month Low

An anonymous reader quotes Reuters:
Bitcoin’s value slid to its lowest level since November on Friday, as waning investor interest and recent negative headlines from global regulators weakened demand for the cryptocurrency and most of its rivals. Virtual currencies, including the best-known and biggest, bitcoin, have been stuck in a downward trend for most of 2018 after last year’s frenzied interest fizzled. Recent hacks and the “cyber intrusion” of cryptocurrency exchanges in key Asian markets has also encouraged investors to exit.

Bitcoin fell to as low as $5,774 on the Bitstamp exchange, the lowest since November 12… So far in 2018, bitcoin has tumbled almost 60 percent after soaring more than 1,300 percent last year. It is now down 70 percent from its December peak… The total market capitalization of cryptocurrencies has fallen to around $230 billion from a peak of around $800 billion in January.

Will Hobbs, Head of Investment Strategy at Barclays Smart Investor, now tells Reuters that “None of the crypto currencies currently fulfill any of the criteria that we would look for in an investible asset, and we would continue to advise extreme caution. The rout in crypto currencies is still not finished.”

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Feds Ran a Bitcoin-Laundering Sting For Over a Year

Feds Ran a Bitcoin-Laundering Sting For Over a Year

More than 40 alleged dark-web drug dealers have been arrested as part of a sweeping federal effort by the Department of Justice as “the first national undercover operation targeting dark net vendors.” The Verge reports: The core of the operation was an online money-laundering business seized by agents from Homeland Security Investigations and operated as a sting for over a year. By offering cash for bitcoin, HSI agents were able to identify specific drug dealers, ultimately tracing more than $20 million in drug-linked cryptocurrency transactions. The hijacked money-laundering service was offered across a number of different marketplaces, with agents claiming at least some presence on AlphaBay, Dream Market, Wall Street, and others.

So far, prosecutions have been launched across 19 states as a result of the operation, seizing more than $3.6 million in cash. The same raids seized large quantities of Schedule IV pharmaceuticals — including 100,000 tramadol pills and over 24 kilograms of Xanax — as is typical of trade on dark net markets. Agents also recovered more than 300 models of liquid synthetic opioids and roughly 100 grams of fentanyl. Further investigations are still ongoing.

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Last Year's ICOs Had Five Security Vulnerabilities On Average, Say Researchers

Last Year's ICOs Had Five Security Vulnerabilities On Average, Say Researchers

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bleeping Computer: Security researchers have found, on average, five security flaws in each cryptocurrency ICO held last year. Only one ICO held in 2017 did not contain any critical flaws. According to Positive.com, a security firm specialized in ICO security audits, most of the vulnerabilities they found, they discovered in the smart contracts at the base of the ICO itself.

“71% of tested projects contained vulnerabilities in smart contracts, the heart and soul of an ICO,” the company said. “Once an ICO starts, the contract cannot be changed and is open to everyone, meaning anyone can view it and look for flaws. Typically, these would consist of non compliance with the ERC20 standard (the token interface for digital wallets and cryptocurrency exchanges), incorrect random number generation and incorrect scoping amongst others,” Positive.com experts say. “Generally, these vulnerabilities occur due to lack of programmer expertise and insufficient source code testing.” According to the researchers, all the mobile apps ICO organizers have launched in 2017 contained security flaws. “The most common flaws in mobile apps are the use of insecure data transfer methods, storage of user data in phone backups, and disclosure of session IDs that an attacker could capture and use against the user,” reports Bleeping Computer. Security bugs were also found in the web apps.

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Bitcoin Makes Historic First Appearance In US Supreme Court Opinion

Bitcoin Makes Historic First Appearance In US Supreme Court Opinion

hyperclocker shares a report from CCN: Thursday marked a historic day for bitcoin, as the flagship cryptocurrency made its first appearance in an opinion published by the U.S. Supreme Court. The case, Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States, did not involve bitcoin’s regulatory or legal status. Rather, it examined whether employee stock options represent taxable compensation under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act of 1937. That may seem like an unlikely place for a discussion of bitcoin to appear, however, as justices noted in both the majority and dissenting opinions, the case forced them to consider a fundamental question that has also taken on a renewed importance in the decade following the publication of the Bitcoin white paper: “What is money?” “Ultimately, the 5-4 majority ruled that employees should not be taxed for exercising stock options since the action does not constitute ‘money remuneration,'” the report adds. “However, writing in a dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer argued for a ‘broader understanding of money’ and said that stock options should be classified as taxable compensation.”

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Square Obtains New York State Cryptocurrency License

Square Obtains New York State Cryptocurrency License

The payment company Square has obtained a license to offer New York state residents the ability to buy and sell bitcoin through its Cash App, the company announced on Monday. “This makes Square the ninth firm to have obtained a so-called ‘BitLicense’ by the New York State Department of Financial Services,” reports Reuters. From the report: To grant the license, the financial watchdog conducted a comprehensive review of Square’s app, including its anti-money laundering, anti-fraud and cybersecurity policies, NYDFS said in statement. Square also holds a money-transmitter license from NYDFS. The San Francisco-based company, best known for selling a device that enables small businesses to accept credit card payments easily, first enabled bitcoin purchases on its app in other states in January.

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The CIA 'Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny' It Has Documents on Satoshi Nakamoto

The CIA 'Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny' It Has Documents on Satoshi Nakamoto

An anonymous reader shares a report: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Ever since this pseudonymous person or group unleashed Bitcoin on the world in 2008, Nakamoto’s real identity has been one of the biggest mysteries in the cryptocurrency world. And based on a response to my recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, if the CIA knows anything, it’s not talking. […] In 2016, Alexander Muse, a blogger who mostly writes about entrepreneurship, wrote a blog post that claimed the NSA had identified the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto using stylometry, which uses a person’s writing style as a unique fingerprint, and then searched emails collected under the PRISM surveillance program to identify the real Nakamoto. Muse said the identity was not shared with him by his source at the Department of Homeland Security. […] I figured it couldn’t hurt to ask some other three-letter agencies what they know about Nakamoto. […] I received a terse reply that informed me that “the request has been rejected, with the agency stating that it can neither confirm nor deny the existence of the requested documents.”

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