Tag Archives: Ethereum

The Latest on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most of the world is aware of Bitcoin’s recent record surge to more than $4,000 per coin—a somewhat surprisingly immediate increase after its long anticipated hard fork, which was essentially a “break-up” amongst its developers over differences in the platforms ability and plans to scale.

At the same time, Ethereum has rebounded nicely from its major mid-summer dip, where its coin, Ether, dropped to as low as 10 cents USD. Ether appears stable at its new floor of around $300, and is currently valued $370 at the time this post was written.

Thanks to Bitcoin and Ether activity/trading volumes, the Crypto market is currently a $150 billion industry, and growing…

While Bitcoin and Ether are breaking records and creating millionaires overnight, companies like Microsoft are unveiling plans to jump on the Blockchain bandwagon with the launch of its Confidential Consortium Framework, otherwise known as CoCo, designed to make Blockchain systems faster and more secure. A few weeks back, Fidelity Investments announced that it will be adding Bitcoin, Ether, and Litecoin prices and trade information via Coinbase to its customer’s online portfolios in Q3.

So, what does all this mean? It’s clear that Blockchain and Cryptos are maturing and gaining more mainstream attention. However, we’re still a long ways off from seeing Bitcoin, Ether, or Litecoin replace USD, or any other physical currency for that matter.

Regulation and security still pose the biggest questions among skeptics, optimists, and industry analysts. Up until recently, the SEC had been pretty mum on Cryptocurrencies. But with the explosion of the Initial Coin Offering (ICOs), the SEC has become a bit more vocal about taming the “wild west” that is Cryptocurrency investing.

As for security, each week we hear about new ICO being hacked, or coins being stolen from an exchange. Just a few days ago, Enigma—a project born out if MIT—was pilfered for $500,000 USD in Ether. While the project itself did not lose half a million dollars, the hackers we’re able to gain access into the unsecured accounts of members of the Enigma community via Slack, many of whom we’re planning to invest said Ether into Enigma’s ICO planned for September 11.

Needless to say, the next 6-18 months will be crucial for the development and mainstream adoption of Blockchain and Cryptos. Stay tuned for more from 10Fold on this topic.

In the meantime, we encourage our readers to share their thoughts. You can also check out a recent, related blog from our CEO: Cryptocurrency and the Digital Economy.

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Cryptocurrency and the Digital Economy

Today I had the pleasure of attending a Chertoff Group Conference, #TCGSecuritySeries. I was fascinated with the cryptocurrency discussion led by Jason Cook – Managing Director of the Chertoff Group.  Panel members included Rich Baich, Executive Vice President & Chief Information Security Officer of Wells Fargo & Company;  Dave Jevans, Chief Executive Officer at CipherTrace; and Mance Harmon, Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder of Swirlds.

Below are just a few tidbits from this thought-provoking discussion.

What’s the big deal about cryptocurrencies?

  • Cryptocurrencies fuel a multi-billion dollar economy
  • In one year, if all continues on course, the cryptocurrency economy will represent more than a trillion Dollars – which has more value than Canada’s GDP. .
  • The vast majority of ransomware is powered by Bitcoin

What’s important to know in regards to cryptocurrencies and security trends?

  • The Darkweb is being used to sell your private data (credit cards).
  • There is now a whole class of crime called data extortion. This entails the theft of customer data and private information., which cybercriminals then threaten to make public unless they get paid a ransom.
  • One step organizations can take to address this threat is by developing a definition for an enterprise-grade consensus server for connecting organizations.
  • From there, they need to implement that consensus server — a trust layer to go across the internet to connect the organizations and take advantage of improved security models.

A Few Surprising Facts about Blockchain:

  • Blockchain, a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly, has real potential from a currency perspective, but there is no real production Blockchain project underway.
  • If anyone wants to bring these systems into the open and transact for value, security is going to be a massive concern.
  • If we move to blockchain, every bank will have to develop a security system that is just as secure as SWIFT (the current security solution used by banks to transfer money).  This will be a huge challenge for banks.
  • Cryptocurrency is the killer app for blockchain technology. There are potentially thousands of others.

The Biggest Digital Economy Security Concerns

  • Distributed ledger technology is at the heart of the security concern because it’s the technology’s engine that acts like a database.  There may be multiple ledgers, and one or more may act as the master.  Copies are used for disaster recovery.  If you make the copies a master as well, you are writing to both simultaneously.  When you have a write conflict (two transactions come in simultaneously), then the community has to agree on the order to execute the transactions.  You can take a master out of one organization and give administration to a different party.  You can take all the masters and put them in control of many different organizations.  They can run each securely.
  • You should not be able to execute a DDOS attack against the network and bring it down.
  • You should not be able to change the actual order of transactions and no one should be prevented from transactions.
  • Protection of security encryption keys is also an issue.  If you have the encryption keys, you can effectively become the transacting party.

A Few Words of Security Advice

Going forward, organizations and the security community will need to:

  • Cultivate security education based on a deeper understanding of the threat
  • Implement regular “reality checks” of their security and compliance posture.
  • Thoroughly assess and prioritize risks and implement solutions and strategies for risk mitigation
  • Develop a government body for the crypto economy – possibly like the Federal Reserve Board for world governments.

Thanks to the Chertoff Group, and Secretary Chertoff, for inviting us to this very interesting event in Palo Alto, California.

By Susan Thomas

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Big Data Horizons- Crypto Crowdfund, Auto Applications

Toyota, Intel and others form big data group for automotive tech

“Tackling concerns of connected cars in the future”

Several high profile firms such as Toyota, Intel, and more are collaborating to bring some of the greatest big data automotive theories into reality. Critical components like real-time mapping, driving assistance and muchmore are all core focuses of the group, with the intention of making these huge volumes of data in tangible, reliable, and secure.

The group issued this statement regarding their mission; “It is estimated that the data volume between vehicles and the cloud will reach 10 exabytes per month around 2025, approximately 10,000 times larger than the present volume. This expected increase will trigger the need for new architectures of network and computing infrastructure to support distributed resources and topology-aware storage capacity.”

Lampix’s Big Data ‘Crypto’ Crowdfund Scores Over $4M, Sets $60M …

U.S. based fintech firm Lampix is building a Blockchain ‘image mining’ network for AR and other computer vision systems. The company raised 11,111 ethereum, a bit over $3m from investors in three minutes during a ‘pre-sale’ crowdsale token launch (CTL) of their PIX token this week, together with partner company ICO.info.

Nvidia CEO Huang: Big Data, Self-Driven Cars, Gaming the ‘Big Vectors’

“It’s not every day you have your record, ever, quarter, and also guide to another record, ever, quarter.” -Huang

Jen Hsun Huang recently spoke with a reporter from Barron’s commenting on the next avenues and applications of big data. According to him, there are three “big vectors” that are showing up: Big Data, A.I., and gaming.

The big vectors are, on the future of computing, about big data, and data-intensive computing, and our work in GPU computing has proven to be the ideal platform, and we are seeing adoption all around the world. Second, the next revolution is AI at the edge, and the most visible example is autonomous vehicles. Especially level 3 through 5 of autonomous driving. And the third, video games, are the largest form of entertainment in the world, and the two fastest-growing platforms in gaming are GeForce [Nvidia’s gaming GPU brand] and Switch [Nintendo’s Switch portable gaming console, which runs on Nvidia GPUs].

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Sweden Accidentally Leaks Personal Details of Nearly All Citizens

“Swedish Transport Agency breached”

Virtually all Swedish citizens personal vehicle details may have been leaked due to a mishandling of an outsourcing  deal with IBM. Swedish media reports that this breach extends to private vehicles and even police and military transportation as well.

Wells Fargo Gets Regulatory Questions After Data Breach

“Release of client details prompts questions”

Wells Fargo, despite already being a target of regulatory scrutiny from last years fake account scandal, has drawn even more attention to itself after a new leak. A lawyer working for the firm has released sensitive client data for tens of thousands of accounts, mostly of wealthy clients in the brokerage unit.

Second Major Ethereum Hack In a Week Leads to $34 Million Theft

“Popularity met with skepticism of security”

Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and BitCoin have been rising fast in popular use, however many investors remain cautious due to concerns over vulnerabilities. Ethereum is not doing much to ease doubters, being majorly hacked for the second time in a single week.

Cybercriminals Kept Botnet That Infected 500,000 Computers Hidden For Five Years

“Stantinko is new creeping botnet”

The Mirai botnet and ransomware programs like WannaCry and Petya have often caught our attention, but have you heard of Stantinko? It’s been able to stealthily execute its criminal mission for over five years without attracting much, or perhaps any, media attention.

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Cyberattack on Medical Software Shows Industry Vulnerability

“Many doctors still can’t use proper transcription service”

Three weeks after a huge cyber security attack, many healthcare systems are not using the current transcription systems that may help to mitigate these attacks. Hospitals such as Beth Deaconness and Pittsburgh Medical Center have said that eScription, a Nuance staple product that allows users to dictate notes from the phone is still not functional.

Tor network will pay you to hack it through new bug bounty program

“Bug Bounty program announced”

The Tor Project has joined with HackerOne to undergo a bug bounty project open to the public. The goal is to find vulnerabilities that compromise the anti-surveillance network, a system of nodes and relays used to veil online activity.

Parity Hack: White Hat Group Drains $85 Mln As Company Fills Holes

“Massive hack continuing to cause issues”

The $34 million Ethereum hack from the Parity client of Gavin Wood continued into Thursday despite efforts to halt the attack. Reports have begun to surface on various social media sites of multimillion dollar compromises to Parity, and an official blog post subsequently confirmed a ‘security alert’ which is still ongoing.

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What are Blockchain and Crypto Currency, and why you should be paying attention…

Throughout the last two years we’ve heard rumblings about Blockchain, and more recently, Crypto Currency. But as these technologies graduate from buzz words to real-world technologies, many questions still remain…

This blog will be the first in a short series where we explore what pundits are dubbing the next gold rush, and quite possibly, the foundation for the Internet 2.0.

What are Blockchain and Crypto Currency?

Blockchain, as defined by Wikipedia, is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of recordscalled “blocks”, which are secure from tampering and revision. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to the previous block. By design, Blockchains are resistant to data modification. Once recorded, the data in a block cannot be altered.

Crypto Currency, on the other hand, is designed to work as a medium of exchange for digital and tangible assets. It uses cryptography to secure said transactions, and to control the creation of additional units of the currency, called Double Spending—which is essentially the counterfeiting of digital currencies. Bitcoin, which we’re all familiar with, became the first decentralized Crypto Currency in 2009, gaining notoriety for its role in Silk Road.

Where does Crypto Currency fit into Blockchain?

Simply put, think of Crypto Currency as the monetary medium for “purchasing” or exchanging digital and tangible assets securely on the network, while Blockchain is the accountant tracking all said transactions in a public digital ledger.

So what’s next for Blockchain and Crypto Currency?

While the future looks bright, Cryptos still lack backing and regulation from financial institutions and government bodies, and pricing/valuation remains highly volatile. Standards have also yet to be established for the Blockchain. 2017, however, is shaping up to be perhaps the most important year for Blockchain and Crypto advancements to date, as use-case specific Blockchains and Cryptos are beginning to emerge.

Take Ethereum for example, a distributed public Blockchain network and Crypto Currency that recently partnered with the United Nations for a large-scale beta test to distribute funds to residents of a Jordanian refugee camp (read more here). Then there’s Litecoin, an open-source peer-to-peer Crypto Currency and software project released under the MIT/X11 license. The Australian Government recently committed nearly half a million dollars to Blockchain standardization, one of many standards efforts currently underway.  

Stay tuned for more from 10Fold as these technologies continue to evolve, as we’ll be diving into both Blockchain and Crypto Currency progress, news, etc. during the coming weeks.