Craig Wright says he can prove he is Bitcoin creator Satoshi, but eyes roll

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Long a prime suspect and claimant to the title, Australian entrepreneur and programmer Craig Wright outed himself Monday morning as the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency. "Satoshi is dead," he writes, producing early cryptographic keys associated with Satoshi as evidence.

The BBC reports that Wright has provided it other proof to back up his claim, such as using coins known to be owned by Bitcoin's creator.

Prominent members of the Bitcoin community and its core development team have also confirmed Mr Wright's claim. Renowned cryptographer Hal Finney was one of the engineers who helped turn Mr Wright's ideas into the Bitcoin protocol, he said. "I was the main part of it, but other people helped me," he said.

Mr Wright said he planned to release information that would allow others to cryptographically verify that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. Soon after Mr Wright went public, Gavin Andresen, chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, published a blog backing his claim.

"I believe Craig Steven Wright is the person who invented Bitcoin," he wrote. Jon Matonis, an economist and one of the founding directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, said he was convinced that Mr Wright was who he claimed to be.

The Economist, however, reports that skepticism will prevail for a little while yet. And Reddit's r/BitCoin subreddit appears to be mostly unimpressed by the claim, with one rather technical post that purports to debunk the cryptographic evidence Wright offered.

Wired thought it was Wright last year, but later decided he was probably part of long con to get people to think he was the brain behind bitcoin. Read the rest

Understand the blockchain in two minutes

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You’ve heard of bitcoin. It’s a form of digital cash you can send to anyone, even a complete stranger. You may not have heard about bitcoin's digital ledger, called the blockchain, tracks and validates bitcoin transactions. Blockchain technology has enormous potential beyond bitcoin to automate every type of online transaction that requires a degree of trust. In this short video, produced by Institute for the Future (where I am a research director), Olivia Olson (the voice of Marceline the Vampire Queen in Adventure Time) explains how blockchain technology can be used to launch companies that are entirely run by algorithms, make self-driving cars safer, help people manage and protect their online identities, and track the billions of devices on the Internet of Things. Read the rest

Bitcoin transactions could consume as much energy as Denmark by the year 2020

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The numbers in this study are very back-of-the-envelope and assume a worst case: widespread adoption of Bitcoin and not much improvement in Bitcoin mining activity, along with long replacement cycles for older, less efficient mining rigs. Even the best case scenario has Bitcoin consuming a shocking amount of electricity.

Read the rest

A typical day in a blockchain-enabled world circa 2030

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A blockchain is an online database that stores information across a network of personal computers, making it not just decentralized but distributed. This means no central company or person owns the database, yet everyone in the network can use and help run it, but not tamper with it.

The most popular use of blockchain technology today is bitcoin. The bitcoin blockchain manages around 200,000 bitcoin transactions a day, moving the equivalent of US$150 million around the world without the need of banks or other financial intermediaries.

Bitcoin is just the beginning for blockchains. In the future, blockchains that manage and verify online data will launch companies entirely run by algorithms, make self-driving cars safer, help us protect our online identities, and track the billions of devices on the Internet of Things.

The Blockchain Futures Lab at Institute for the Future has an excerpt from Bitcoin for the Befuddled, (2014, No Starch Press), in which authors Conrad Barski and Chris Wilmer imagine a whimsical but entirely possible snapshot of a chock-a-blockchain world 15 years in the future.

Let’s follow Crowley the Crocodile as he goes about his day in the year 2030, from the moment his bitcoin-powered bioalarm clock wakes him, until he eats his late night pizza ordered using a rating service that runs without human owners.

A Typical Day in a Blockchain-Enabled World Circa 2030 Read the rest

Bitcoin is the sewer rat of currencies

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Andreas Antonopoulos is one of the most respected experts in bitcoin and blockchain technology, and he regularly shares his expertise with businesses and organizations around the world. His 2014 book, Mastering Bitcoin, was called the “best technical reference available on bitcoin today,” by Balaji Srinivasan, the CEO of 21.co, and received high praise from Gavin Andresen, Chief Scientist of the Bitcoin Foundation.

In January 2016, Institute for the Future launched Blockchain Futures Lab, a research initiative and a community for “identifying the opportunities and limits of blockchain technologies and their social, economic, and political impacts on individuals, organizations, and communities over the coming decades.” I'm working with IFTF on Blockchain Futures Lab, and I interviewed Antonopoulos to get his thoughts on the current state of blockchain technology and where it’s headed. You can read the full interview on Medium.

You cannot create global finance and economic inclusion on the back of a carefully controlled show-us-your-papers identity-based system where everything is tracked. What you create is a global surveillance dystopia. Our entire financial system is heading into this thing where everything is surveilled. Bitcoin is heading in exact opposite direction. No identity by default, from weak pseudonymity to a stronger and stronger anonymity as time goes by.

As a result, it doesn’t do borders. It doesn’t care about borders. It doesn’t do Know Your Customer. It doesn’t do Anti-Money Laundering. It doesn’t do those things because those things are bourgeois concepts of the privileged financial elite. Those bourgeois concepts have a four-billion-people-in-poverty price tag.

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Gweek 168: South Pole diary, 2-page RPG adventures, Bitcoin for the Befuddled

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Gweek is back - at least for now! For those of you who are new to Gweek, it's a podcast where the editors and friends of Boing Boing talk about media, science, science fiction, video games, comic books, board games, TV shows, music, movies, tools, gadgets, apps, and other neat stuff.

My is co-host Dean Putney, the first engineer at Glowforge and Boing Boing’s software developer. In this episode Dean and I talk about: Christine Moran’s year in Antarctica -- an email newsletter written by a scientist who is spending a year in Antarctica working on their huge radio telescope. Lots of cool photos! Bitcoin for the Befuddled - A fun book that uses analogies to explain the blockchain, cryptography, proof-of-work, mining, and other aspects of bitcoin. Highly recommended for non-technical people who want to understand bitcoin. One Page Adventures - Brilliant RPG adventures for tabletop roleplaying, designed to fit all on a single (double-sided) page. Creative commons licensed and free to download, but easy to support on Patreon. Here’s one of Dean's favorites. Boing Boing's other great podcasts! Flash Forward (a podcast about the future), Home: Stories from L.A., and You Are Not So Smart (about the way people's brains work and fail to work), and Incredibly Interesting Authors.

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Hollywood hospital ransoms itself back from hackers for a mere $17,000

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Last week, hackers bricked Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, encrypting all the data on its devices and demanding 9,000 Bitcoin (~$3.6m) to give the hospital's IT staff the keys needed to reboot it. Read the rest

Hackers demand $3.6m bitcoin ransom to unlock Los Angeles hospital medical records

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A cyberattack on Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center's computer system has locked up access vital patient data, and the hackers responsible are demanding payment of over 9000 bitcoins ($3.6 million) to unlock the data.

From IBT:

An unnamed doctor has admitted that the hospital's computer system was hacked and is currently being held for ransom, adding that departments are now communicating through fax machines because they have no access to email. Furthermore, a number of patients have been transferred to other hospitals.

Meanwhile, a separate report by Fox (Los Angeles) reaffirmed that the cyberattack has directly affected the 'day-to-day' operations of the hospital.

Image: Shutterstock Read the rest

Hackers steal a hospital in Hollywood

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A hospital is a computer we put sick people into, so when ransomware creeps infected the hospital's IT systems and encrypted all their data, they asked for a whopping $3.6m to turn the data loose again. Read the rest

Free Bitcoin textbook from Princeton

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The Princeton Bitcoin Book by Arvind Narayanan, Joseph Bonneau, Edward Felten, Andrew Miller and Steven Goldfeder is a free download -- it's over 300 pages and is intended for people "looking to truly understand how Bitcoin works at a technical level and have a basic familiarity with computer science and programming." Read the rest

Bitcoin Ponzi operator pleads guilty over $150M fraud

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Bitcoin Savings & Trust founder Trendon Shavers pleaded guilty to fraud over his company's Ponzi scheme, whose victims believed they would earn one percent interest every three days -- an annual rate of 3,641 percent. Read the rest

Bitcoin exchange operator charged with embezzlement

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Mark Karpeles, the operator of Bitcoin exchange/scam Mt. Gox, was charged Friday with embezzlement in connection to its collapse. Read the rest

Hilariously terrifying talk about security

In Not Even Close: The State of Computer Security, a talk given at the Norwegian Deveopers' Conference, Microsoft Research's James Mickens gave the most acerbic, funny, terrifying security talk I can remember seeing (and I've seen a lot of 'em!). Read the rest

For $50 in bitcoin this laboratory will analyze recreational drugs

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People interested in learning what's really in the drugs they bought (or manufactured) can send a sample to Energy Control in Barcelona, Northern Spain. This lab will check for adulterants and purity levels of MDMA, speed, cocaine, and other drugs.

From Grace Caffyn's CoinDesk story, "Inside Barcelona's Bitcoin Drug Lab":

Energy Control has been carrying out drug checking in raves and at its labs since 1998. Its dark web service, introduced in April 2014, operates under the same premise: to reduce harm among users by arming them with facts.

The idea for the project can be traced back to a family physician named Fernando Caudevilla, commonly known as Dr X. Following his first post to the Silk Road forum in April 2013, six months before the market's FBI shutdown, he became a trusted source of guidance on drug safety across many dark markets.

Up until this point, Energy Control, which is over 90% government funded, had only offered services inside Spain. However, Caudevilla – who has worked with the organisation since 2000 – saw the potential for a drug checking service for the dark web – completely anonymous, of course.

Previously: Inside the Deep Web Drug Lab Read the rest

Here's the one story to read to learn about Silk Road

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Joshuah Bearman wrote an epic story about the rise and fall of the black market commerce site Silk Road. He dug deep to produce a fantastic, enthralling story. Here's what he told me about it:

This was a challenging story to write, because it was an ongoing federal investigation, with a pending trial, but I (rather luckily) managed to get inside both the Silk Road, the various law enforcement agencies trying to bring it down, and people close to Ross, to understand him more. It was always a good story, but as it unfurled just got more layered and exciting. The piece is 20,000 words! Longest thing Wired has ever published. And in two-parts, which they've never done. I wrote this thing like a non-fiction novella, and people seem to be responding to it well, even the cliffhanger and waiting for Part 2.

The Rise and Fall of Silk Road, Part 1

Image: Tomer Hanuka Read the rest

Ransomware decryptor

If you or someone you love has been hijacked by Coinvault ransomware -- malware that encrypts your data and won't decrypt it unless you transfer Bitcoin to criminals -- Kaspersky may be able to help you (via Hacker News) Read the rest

DEA and Secret Service agent charged in Silk Road fraud schemes

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Former DEA agent Carl Mark Force IV and former Secret Service agent Shaun W. Bridges were charged this week with money laundering and wire fraud stemming from their involvement in the Silk Road dark web undercover investigation. Read the rest

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