The US Gambler Stole $3 million worth of BTC to Repay his Debts 311

According to the FBI, 24-year-old Joseph Kim from Chicago, who worked for Consolidated Trading LLC as an assistant trader, stole almost $3 million worth of cryptocurrency from the company, Bloomberg reported.

Kim traded Consolidated bonds, and despite the order to stop all personal trading outside of his immediate work, he was stealing the cryptocurrency from the company, transferring it to his personal wallets. In total, about 284 biticoins have been stolen from the company’s accounts ($ 2.8 million at the current rate).

When Kim was charged with theft, he admitted having invested the company’s bitcoins into short positions to repay his personal debts. As it turned out later, he had gambling debts.

FBI officials note that Kim’s case was the first in Chicago which concerned cryptocurrency trading.

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Blockchain Transactions: How Do They Work and How to Track Them? 162

blockchain transactions

Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, published an article “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” in 2008 and introduced a fundamentally new way of exchanging money. From that moment on, the need for a third party, like a bank or other financial institution, simply disappeared. In fact, this has become a new financial revolution.

Today we will talk how blockchain transactions are conducted from a technical point of view, how reliable they are, what features they have and how they can be tracked.

Contents:
(please, click the topic to scroll down to it)

  1. How does blockchain work in general?
  2. How are transactions organized?
  3. What features do blockchain transactions have?
  4. How to test a blockchain transaction?
  5. The reasons why transactions can freeze
  6. Conclusion

1. How does blockchain work in general?

We should start with the fact that Bitcoin is the first ever completely digital currency. Unlike electronic money, it does not exist even as a digital file. It is a huge stream of data about all the transactions that have ever been conducted. Blockchain is presented in the form of a giant accounting book, which is available to all network participants.

Each transaction is not stored separately, the information is placed in the blocks. Different networks have different block sizes, for example, until recently one block in the network of Bitcoin “weighed” 1 MB. But the BitMEX report says that after the introduction of the new SegWit protocol, the average size of one block has increased to 1.06 MB, and some have reached 2 MB.

In order to obtain a new block, there are different mechanisms for consensus. The most widespread ones are:

  • PoW (proof of work). Here, the miners need to solve a complex cryptographic equation. After that, a new block is added, for which the system rewards the finder with a certain number of coins.
  • PoS (proof of stake). This mechanism involves adding a new block to a user who has a certain number of coins. The more coins a user has, the more likely he/she will generate a new block.

Each subsequent block stores information about the previous one. Another important feature of blockchain is its decentralization, since information is simultaneously stored by all participants of the system (miners, master nodes). Thus, after the block is added to blockchain, it can not be changed or deleted.

2. How are blockchain transactions organized?

As it was mentioned above, transactions that are carried out in the network of blockchain do not require the participation of a third party. Let’s see how this happens in practice.

Let’s say you want to transfer 0.5 BTC to another person. Before the system recalculates the wallets’ balances (not transfer, namely, the recalculation), this transaction will fall into the so-called Memory Pool – the operational memory of all the miners connected to the network. After this, the blockchain transaction must be confirmed by at least 6 different miners. They (miners) should check the correctness of the transaction:

  • the amount of commission for each byte of information;
  • the physical possibility of adding a transaction to an existing block (if there is too little space left in the block, the transaction is transferred to the next one that still needs to be found).

After these actions, the data on the operation are permanently entered in the blockchain, and the coins are credited to the wallet of the recipient.

3. What features do blockchain transactions have?

Based on the abovementioned information, it is worth highlighting a number of features that are typical for blockchain transactions:

  • Irreversibility. Since the blockchain system is a decentralized system, it is not possible to affect the data that has already been entered in the register. Therefore, it is impossible to mark the already completed operation.
  • Lack of regulation. Due to the absence of the center from which the system is managed, it is impossible to completely prohibit and shut down cryptocurrencies. To do this, you must destroy all the computers of miners.
  • Anonymity. Each blockchain has its own level of anonymity, but in any case, even in pseudonymous anonymous networks, such as Bitcoin, for example, the names and surnames of users are never used for transactions.
  • Reliability. The network algorithm fixes the balance of all the wallets at the same time, but only a user who has a private key can make a transaction from a particular wallet. Subject to observance of elementary security rules, it is not possible to crack the wallet. You can lose your coins only because of your own fault. For example, if you send them to the wrong wallet, infect your computer or smartphone with a virus or somehow let scammers get private keys.

4. How to test a blockchain transaction?

Transactions in the Bitcoin network can be tracked on the site www.blockchain.info. In order to see information about a particular transaction, you need to go to this site and enter a unique transaction hash in the search bar. Then the system displays the actual information.

In this service you can also see information about a particular wallet:

  • transactions in the history (by dates);
  • the total number of coins that passed through the wallet;
  • the list of all addresses which there have ever been interactions with (incoming or outgoing operations);
  • current balance.

5. The reasons why transactions can freeze

The main problem of Bitcoin and many other coins is the speed of blockchain transactions. As for  BTC, this indicator reaches a mark of 7 operations per second. Previously, when the total number of users was small, this was enough. But now, with the growing popularity of the industry, the “line” for the transaction can turn into tens and even hundreds of thousands of unconfirmed operations. You can view the current list, which is updated in real time, on this service.

Some transactions may even freeze in the Memory Pool for a long period of time (up to 72 hours). What factors affect the speed of transaction confirmation?

  • Total pool load.
  • A very small commission. Miners confirm transactions with a larger commission in the first place.
  • The transaction weight is too big, and it simply does not fit into the almost completely filled block. In this case, it will be automatically transferred to the next one.

6. Conclusion

Cryptocurrencies have made a real revolution in the financial sector, on a scale that we still can not comprehend. The number of blockchain transactions is growing every year. In order for everyone to be able to use Bitcoin at the same time (like Visa, for example), it is necessary to solve the problem with bandwidth.

Blockchain transactions have both their advantages: the absence of intermediaries, small commissions, anonymity, security, and their shortcomings: irreversibility, low throughput.

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Will Bitcoin ETF Soon Be Replaced by ETN? 520

Bitcoin ETN

The news about the possible Bitcoin ETF has been all over the place recently. Some people support it, some people don’t. Anyway the official decision upon it is delayed until September, and experts believe that it actually won’t be taken until March of 2019.

However, this is not the end for Bitcoin investments. There is another option which is quite similar. More and more companies are now considering running an ETN (exchange traded notes, whereas ETF stands for exchange traded funds).

For example, in Sweden only, the ETN has already outrun the volume of ETFs in the US. According to the experts’ estimates, it might soon be introduced in America bringing investors a more liquid and effective tool to purchase BTC.

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Buterin, Winklevoss and Others: The Future of the Digital Currency World According to Major Crypto Personalities 1212

experts opinions on crypto

The crypto world has entered the new stage of its development, it has always been volatile, but these couple of weeks have been absolutely crazy: coins are jumping up and down, Bitcoin ETF is on its way, blockchain is taking over the world.

No doubt, crypto specialists and financial experts have a lot to say. Today we came up with a compilation of sayings from the stars of the cryptocurrency universe that we found particularly interesting and important.

The CEO of the crypto exchange Gemini, Tyler Winklevoss believes that the acceptance of cryptocurrency in the world as a means of payment equal to fiat will not happen in the next couple of years:

The vast majority of Wall Street firms are still not participating in the cryptocurrency market, which remains primarily a retail-driven market. This will change over time, but it will take time.

Pantera Capital’s CEO is way more optimistic on this issue. He sees great potential in the blockchain technology, and digital coins, according to him, are “superior form of currency.

Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin wants cryptocurrencies to become more user-friendly and common in the everyday life. He also thinks it may become possible only in case the proper regulatory framework for crypto is developed by the state governments.

I want to be able to walk into a convenience store, get a card and pay a small fee to start using Bitcoin Cash,” he said.

The last, but certainly not least, is the CEO of BitMEX, Arthur Hayes, who has some serious doubts concerning Ethereum. According to his calculations, the price of the world’s #2 coin will drop lower than $100.

It is this moment,” he added, “that Ether goes from a 3-digit to a 2-digit shitcoin.

Although we are sure that experts know what they are talking about, the crypto world is way too unpredictable. We can only wait and see whether the abovementioned predictions turn out to be true or not.

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An AT&T User Accused the Company of His Crypto Losses Amounting to $224 Million 692

crypto investor sues at&t

America’s largest mobile services operator AT&T received a lawsuit from one of its customers. Michael Terpin is sure, the company’s non-fulfillment of its duties led to the theft of 224 million dollars in crypto from him.

The plaintiff argues that somebody came to an AT&T office and stole his identity by getting hold of his telephone number which basically gave the criminal full access to all accounts. The fault of AT&T is in the fact that the employees had to demand an identity verification from the person who took the crypto or a secret password. This could have prevented the accident, however, no one even tried to stop the thief.

The theft victim described the situation by saying:

What AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner.

We would like to remind you that Playboy has filed a lawsuit against the crypto firm accusing it of fraud.

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Andreas Antonopoulos Criticized Bitcoin ETF 732

opinion on bitcoin etf

The well-known author of books about Bitcoin and the founder of his own Bitcoin-business Andreas Antonopoulos published a Youtube video where he expressed his opinion about Bitcoin ETF and explained why they cause so much sensation.

I’m going to burst your bubble. I know a lot of people really want to see an ETF happen because ‘too the moon’ and ‘lambos’ and all that. I think it’s a terrible idea. I still think it’s going to happen… I’m actually against ETFs,” he said.

Antonopoulos explained that he understands why many people are so impressed by the idea of Bitcoin ETF:

Everybody’s so excited about ETFs because what we’ve seen in other markets is that when an ETF becomes available—as we saw in gold—the price really increases dramatically as suddenly that commodity becomes available to a lot more investors and these investors pile on. But the other side of it is that there’s always these claims that the commodities markets are heavily manipulated and opening up these exchange-traded instruments only increases the ability of institutional investors to manipulate—especially [in the case of] large market makers—the prices of commodities, not just in the markets where it’s traded as an ETF but more broadly,” he clarified.


We remind you that the SEC postponed the decision upon Bitcoin ETF until September.

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The Former CEO of Paypal: Bitcoin Is Eventually Going to Go A Whole Lot Closer to Zero 707

bitcoin's future is not bright

The ex director of Paypal Bill Harris is known for his scepticism and harsh comments aimed at Bitcoin. He even called it “the greatest scam in the history”. This time CNBC interviewed Harris to find out whether his opinion on the world’s #1 digital coin has changed.

According to the businessman, Bitcoin is supposed to be “instant, free, scalable, efficient, secure, globally accepted and useful”, and it fails to fulfill all of those characteristics. Harris believes that there is “no value” in BTC.

He has also mentioned that there is no need in solving the problem of Bitcoin scalability, because we don’t need Bitcoin at all.

Look how difficult it is to get money from one country across the border to another. It’s slow, it’s expensive, it’s all those things. Agree. You don’t need Bitcoin, you don’t need XRP, you don’t need any of that to solve that problem. What you need is faster networks.

Unlike many of his colleagues, Bill Harris has way more trust in conventional fiat currencies due to their relative stability which cannot be said about Bitcoin.

In conclusion he summed up his thoughts by saying:

Bitcoin makes no revenue, no profitability.

Frankly speaking, the current CEO of Paypal Dan Schulman agrees with Harris on this issue, although Paypal might change its opinion on BTC if it becomes more stable.

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