Coinbase cryptocurrency index fund – Business Insider

A Bitcoin logo is seen on a cryptocurrency ATM in Santa Monica Thomson Reuters

Coinbase, the cryptocurrency trading platform, announced Tuesday the launch of an index fund which will allow investors to put money into a basket of four of the largest cryptocurrencies.

The so-called Coinbase Index Fund will give investors access to the digital currencies listed on GDAX, the exchange operated by Coinbase. It will be weighted by market capitalization and will adjust when new coins are added to the exchange.

The breakdown of the fund is as follows: 62% bitcoin, 27% ethereum, 7% bitcoin cash, and 4% litecoin. Investors can start signing up for the product, but it won’t be live for a couple of months, according to a spokesperson for Coinbase.

The index fund wouldn’t be the first one to hit the market. Bitwise Asset Management, for instance, operates a crypto index fund, holding ten cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization.

Coinbase Coinbase product manager Reuben Bramanathan told Business Insider in a phone interview that the product reflects the growing demand on the part of institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals looking to dive into the market for digital coins, which stands at about $500 billion in value.

“We are seeing new investors coming to the market because they see an asset that is not correlated and outperforms, but they don’t know which ones to buy,” Bramanathan said.

At this point, the product is open to only accredited investors because the company wants to wait on more clarity from the Securities and Exchange Commission on bitcoin-linked financial products, which the SEC pumped the brakes on.

In a letter signed by Dalia Blass, the SEC’s director of the division of investment management, the agency said: “There are a number of significant investor protection issues that need to be examined before sponsors begin offering these funds to investors.”

Bramanathan expects there is strong retail demand for an index fund product.

The move is a slight departure from Coinbase’s main business of facilitating trading in the cryptocurrency market.

But the company’s general manager Dan Romero told Business Insider’s Becky Peterson that he is trying to build Coinbase into the Google of cryptocurrency. As Peterson pointed out recently, if there is one thing we know about Google, it is that they are always gate-crashing new markets.

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Coinbase cryptocurrency index fund – Business Insider

Blockchain Energizer Volume 23 | Stay Informed | K&L Gates

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and health care to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $4.5 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2017 alone, and many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs.

While virtual currencies and blockchain technology in the financial services industry have been the subject of significant debate and discussion, blockchain applications that could transform the energy industry have received comparatively less attention. Every other week, the K&L Gates Blockchain Energizer will highlight emerging issues or stories relating to the use of blockchain technology in the energy space. To subscribe to the Blockchain Energizer newsletter, please click .

Development of a Peer-to-Peer Energy Market Underway in the United Kingdom.

Blockchain Continues to Gain Ground in the Oil and Gas Industry.

Canadian Electric Utility Company Considering Implementing a Higher Energy Rate for Cryptocurrency Miners.

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Blockchain Energizer Volume 23 | Stay Informed | K&L Gates

The Best Encryption Software – TopTenReviews

Key Features to Look for When Buying Encryption Software?

PerformanceIf your encryption software is difficult to use, you may not use it at all. The programs we reviewed are simple and intuitive, particularly Folder Lock and Secure IT they both guide you through the encryption and decryption processes step by step. Secure IT integrates with Windows, so all you have to do is right-click on a file and choose to encrypt it in the menu.

We found that programs typically compress files as they encrypt them, though only to a small degree for example, from 128MB down to 124MB. It can make a difference when you encrypt large data files, so programs that protect and compress are preferable.SecurityEncryption software uses different types of ciphers to scramble your data, and each has its own benefits. Advanced Encryption Standard, or 256-bit key AES, is used by the U.S. government, including the National Security Agency (NSA), and is one of the strongest ciphers available. Blowfish and Twofish, the latter being a newer version of the former, are encryption algorithms that use block ciphers they scramble blocks of text or several bits of information at once, rather than one bit at a time.

The main differences between these algorithms are performance and speed, and the average user wont notice those disparities. Although any of these ciphers could be broken given enough time and computing power, they are considered practically unbreakable. AES has long been recognized as the superior algorithm, so we preferred programs that use it.Version CompatibilityIf your computer runs an older version of Windows, such as Vista or XP, make sure the encryption program supports your operating system. On the flip side, you need to make sure you choose software that has changed with the times and supports the latest versions of Windows, like 7, 8 and 10.

While all the programs we tested are compatible with every version of Windows, we feel that SensiGuard is a good choice for older computers because it only has the most essential tools and wont bog down your PC. Plus, it is easy to move to a new computer if you choose to upgrade. However, it takes a while to encrypt and decrypt files.

If you have a Mac computer, you need a program that is designed specifically for that operating system none of the programs we tested are compatible with both Windows and Mac machines. We believe Concealer is the best option for Macs, but Espionage 3 is also a good choice.

Mac encryption software doesnt have as many extra security features as Windows programs. They typically lack virtual keyboards, self-extracting file creators and password recovery tools. Mac programs also take a lot more time to secure files compared to Windows software.

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The Best Encryption Software – TopTenReviews

Roger Stone’s Secret Messages with WikiLeaks

On March 17, 2017, WikiLeaks tweeted that it had never communicated with Roger Stone, a longtime confidante and informal adviser to President Donald Trump. In his interview with the House Intelligence Committee last September, Stone, who testified under oath, told lawmakers that he had communicated with WikiLeaks via an intermediary, whom he identified only as a journalist. He declined to reveal that persons identity to the committee, he told reporters later.

Private Twitter messages obtained by The Atlantic show that Stone and WikiLeaks, a radical-transparency group, communicated directly on October 13, 2016and that WikiLeaks sought to keep its channel to Stone open after Trump won the election. The existence of the secret correspondence marks yet another strange twist in the White Houses rapidly swelling Russia scandal. Stone and Trump have been friends for decades, which raises key questions about what the president knew about Stones interactions with Wikileaks during the campaign. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The depth of Stones relationship with WikiLeaks and Julian Assange has been closely scrutinized by congressional investigators examining whether Trump associates coordinated with Russiaor anyone serving as a cut-out for Moscowto damage Hillary Clintons candidacy. Stone confirmed the authenticity of the messages, but called them ridiculously out of context and a paste up. He said that he provided the complete exchange to the House Intelligence Committee, but did not immediately respond to a request to provide his own record of the conversation to The Atlantic.

A screenshot of the exchange, which has not been previously reported, was provided to the House Intelligence Committee last year by a third-party source. The private messages confirm that Stone considered himself a friend of WikiLeaks, which was branded a non-state hostile intelligence service by CIA Director Mike Pompeo last April. Stone insisted that the messages vindicated his account. They prove conclusively that I had no advance knowledge of content or source of WikiLeaks publications, he said. I merely had confirmed Assanges public claim that he had information on Hillary Clinton and he would publish it. He also narrowed the scope of his earlier denials, saying that hed only denied having communicated directly with Assange, not with Wikileaks. Wikileaks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

I have never said or written that I had any direct communication with Julian Assange and have always clarified in numerous interviews and speeches that my communication with WikiLeaks was through the aforementioned journalist, Stone told the committee in his prepared statement in September. The full hearing was held behind closed doors and the transcript has not been made public. At least one lawmaker had already obtained a screenshot of the exchange before Stone testified, according to two sources familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

The correspondence raises questions about whether Stonewho served as Trumps lobbyist in Washington in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and had been encouraging him to run for president for over a decadehas kept secret any interactions that may be of interest to congressional investigators examining Russias election interference.

Stone also exchanged private Twitter messages in August and September of 2016 with a user known as Guccifer 2.0. Guccifer claimed in a posting on their WordPress site to have penetrated Hillary Clintons and other Democrats mail servers, but the self-described hacker was later characterized by U.S. officials as a front for Russian military intelligence. Stone only published that exchange after it was revealed by The Smoking Gun, a website that publishes mugshots and other public documents.

On the afternoon of October 13, 2016, Stone sent WikiLeaks a private Twitter message. Since I was all over national TV, cable and print defending wikileaks and assange against the claim that you are Russian agents and debunking the false charges of sexual assault as trumped up bs you may want to rexamine the strategy of attacking me- cordially R.

WikiLeakswhose Twitter account is run by a rotating staff, according to Assangereplied an hour later: We appreciate that. However, the false claims of association are being used by the democrats to undermine the impact of our publications. Dont go there if you dont want us to correct you.

Ha! Stone responded on October 15. The more you correct me the more people think youre lying. Your operation leaks like a sieve. You need to figure out who your friends are. Assanges internet connection was cut off days later by the Ecuadorian embassywhich granted him diplomatic asylum in London in 2012following WikiLeaks release of emails that had been stolen by Russian hackers from Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podestas inbox. The morning after Donald Trump won the election, however, WikiLeaks sent Stone another message. Happy? We are now more free to communicate.

It is unclear whether Stone and WikiLeaks kept in touch, using Twitter or another platform, after the election. WikiLeaks continued to insist through at least last March that neither the organization nor Assange had ever communicated with Stone directly. Stone later identified radio host Randy Credico as the intermediary, but Credico denied that in an interview with The Daily Beast earlier this month. There was no backchannel to Roger Stone, and I think that his testimony was a lot of bravado, Credico said. Rogers a showman.

The substance of the messages does seem to corroborate, however, Stone and WikiLeaks denials prior to October 13 that they had coordinated in any significant way. WikiLeaks indicated that Stones claims of associationeven if through a backchannel, as Stone allegedwere false. But the screenshots do not show whether Stone and WikiLeaks communicated prior to October 13 or after November 9, 2016.

Democrats have asked GOP members to subpoena Twitter for the private messages of Trump associates currently under investigation in the Russia probe, according to one of the sources familiar with the internal proceedings. But the majority has so far refused. It is important to verify that information by subpoenaing the records directly from third partiesa step the Majority has consistently refused to take, said Adam Schiff, a California Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Mike Conaway, the Texas Republican who is leading the committees investigation, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. As The Atlantics Julia Ioffe first disclosed last fall, WikiLeaks also exchanged private Twitter messages with Donald Trump Jr., who provided the correspondence to congressional investigators. WikiLeaks continued to message Trump Jr. through July 2017, actively soliciting his cooperation on ventures ranging from obtaining the presidents tax returns to appointing Assange Australias U.S. ambassador.

On July 22, 2016, just before the Democratic National Convention kicked off, WikiLeaks published thousands of emails that had been stolen from Democratic National Committee servers by hackers the U.S. intelligence community has since linked back to Russia. Stone told the Southwest Broward Republican Organization on August 8 that he had communicated with Assange and believed that the next tranche of his documentswhich Assange had hinted at in an earlier interview with CNN pertained to the Clinton Foundation. Stone soon walked that back, claiming instead that he communicated with Assange via an intermediary who he identified last November as Randy Credico. He declined to identify the intermediary in his interview with the House Intelligence Committee, but later changed his mind and claimed it had been Credico.

On October 4, 2016, Assange held a press conference to mark WikiLeakss 10th anniversary. The event had been hyped by supporters of then-candidate Trump, including Stone, as an October surprise that would completely derail Clintons presidential campaign just over a month before the election. On October 2, Stone told the far-right talk-radio host Alex Jones that he had been assured that the mother lode was coming. The next day, he tweeted that he had total confidence that @wikileaks and his hero Julian Assange would come through.

At his press conference, however, Assange gave no hints of what was to come, leaving his fans, and many of Trumps, disappointed. Still, Stone was not deterred. Libs thinking Assange will stand down are wishful thinking. Payload coming #Lockthemup, he tweeted on October 5, 2016.

The payload actually came two days later: WikiLeaks began publishing the contents of Podestas inbox, which had been infiltrated by Russian hackers seven months earlier. Stone told The Daily Caller on October 12 that Assange had delayed the email dump on purpose: I was led to believe that there would be a major release on a previous Wednesday, he said. He denied, however, that he had been given advance knowledge of the details and maintained that he was only in touch with Assange through an intermediary.

On the morning of October 13, WikiLeaks issued a clarification: WikiLeaks has never communicated with Roger Stone as we have previously, repeatedly stated. It was later that day when Stone confronted WikiLeaks in a private message, and accused the organization of attacking him. WikiLeaks did not seem fazed by the confrontation, and re-opened its line of communication with Stone on November 9. Fourteen months later, Stone visited the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange has been holed up for more than five years.

I didnt go and see Assange, Stone told The Daily Beast last month. I dropped off a card to be a smart ass.

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Roger Stone’s Secret Messages with WikiLeaks

Timeline emerges as Mueller probes Trump, WikiLeaks, Roger …

President Donald Trump Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sign up for the latest Russia investigation updates here.

The special counsel Robert Mueller is asking witnesses in the Russia investigation whether President Donald Trump had prior knowledge about Russia’s plans to hack the Democratic National Committee, whether he was involved in coordinating the release of stolen emails, and why he endorsed Russia-friendly policy positions during the campaign, NBC News reported on Wednesday.

Mueller’s team has also asked about longtime Republican operative and Trump confidant Roger Stone’s communications with Julian Assange, the founder of the radical pro-transparency group WikiLeaks.

Mueller is tasked with overseeing the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favor. Russia’s hack of the DNC and WikiLeaks’ involvement in disseminating the stolen emails make up a significant thread in the investigation.

In particular, NBC News reported, prosecutors are zeroing in on Trump’s public appeal for Russia to recover then-Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails during a July 2016 press conference.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said at the time.

Investigators are also reportedly delving into Trump’s decades-long relationship with Stone, as well as Stone’s contacts with Assange and WikiLeaks.

Stone told the House Intelligence Committee last September that he had never “said or written that I had any direct communication with Julian Assange and have always clarified in numerous interviews and speeches that my communication with WikiLeaks was through the aforementioned journalist.”

Stone was referring to radio host Randy Credico, who Stone said acted as an intermediary between himself and Assange.

Hollis Johnson

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., was in touch with WikiLeaks several times between September 2016 and July 2017, The Atlantic reported last year.

WikiLeaks first contacted Trump Jr. via a private, direct message on Twitter on September 20, 2016 to tell him about a PAC-run anti-Trump website, called, and asked him if he had “any comments” on who was behind it.

WikiLeaks also told Trump Jr. that it had “guessed the password” to the anti-Trump website, and told him it was “putintrump.”

Trump Jr. replied, “Off the record I don’t know who that is, but I’ll ask around. Thanks.”

On the day he received that message, Trump Jr. emailed high-ranking campaign officials, including Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, and Jared Kushner, informing them that WikiLeaks had contacted him.

Kushner also forwarded Trump Jr.’s email to Hope Hicks, who was a spokesperson for the Trump campaign. She is now the director of communications at the White House, though she has said she would resign in the coming weeks.

Trump Jr.’s communications with WikiLeaks didn’t emerge until last year, but Stone has long drawn scrutiny, particularly after he sent out a series of tweets in 2016 that raised questions about whether he knew in advance that WikiLeaks was planning on publishing Clinton campaign manager John Podesta’s hacked emails.

“Wednesday @HillaryClinton is done,” Stone tweeted on October 1, 2016.

“I have total confidence that @wikileaks and my hero Julian Assange will educate the American people soon #LockHerUp,” he tweeted two days later.

While WikiLeaks describes itself as a non-partisan transparency organization, it has been criticized for its apparently pro-Russia stance, particularly during the 2016 US election.

In addition to WikiLeaks and Assange, Stone was also in touch with Guccifer 2.0, a hacker said to be a front for Russian military intelligence.

Meanwhile, following its initial message to Trump Jr. on September 20, WikiLeaks touched base with him again on October 3 and told him it would be “great” if the campaign pushed a story about Hillary Clinton published by “True Pundit,” a conservative-leaning outlet that’s been known to spread junk news. According to the story, Clinton said she wanted to “just drone” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Trump Jr. replied that he had already shared the story earlier that day, adding, “It’s amazing what she can get away with.”

He also asked WikiLeaks about an upcoming document dump that Stone had tweeted about a day earlier.

Donald Trump Jr. (L) and Donald Trump (R). Saul Loeb-Pool/Getty Images

WikiLeaks did not respond to Trump Jr.’s question, and it ultimately published the first batch of hacked emails belonging to Podesta on Friday, October 7.

At a campaign rally three days later, Trump said he loved WikiLeaks. “It’s amazing how nothing is secret today when you talk about the internet,” he told the crowd.

He also tweeted about WikiLeaks on October 11, writing, “I hope people are looking at the disgraceful behavior of Hillary Clinton as exposed by WikiLeaks. She is unfit to run.”

WikiLeaks then reached out to Trump Jr. on October 12, telling him that it was “great” to see him and Trump “talking about our publications.” It also “strongly” suggested that Trump tweet out the link which he did, two days later claiming the site would help people search through the hacked documents. WikiLeaks also told Trump Jr. it had just released another batch of Podesta’s emails.

An hour later, Trump tweeted: “Very little pick-up by the dishonest media of incredible information provided by WikiLeaks. So dishonest! Rigged system!”

“This WikiLeaks stuff is unbelievable,” Trump said the same day, at a campaign rally in Florida. “It tells you the inner heart, you gotta read it.”

That day, Stone admitted to having “back-channel communications” with Assange because they had a “good mutual friend.”

“That friend travels back and forth from the United States to London and we talk,” Stone told CBS’ Miami affiliate. “I had dinner with him last Monday.”

Trump again praised WikiLeaks on October 13, saying at a rally in Ohio that the content the group was pushing was “amazing.”

The Atlantic reported Tuesday that Stone was also in direct contact with the group that day, less than a month before the election.

“Since I was all over national TV, cable and print defending wikileaks and assange against the claim that you are Russian agents and debunking the false charges of sexual assault as trumped up bs you may want to reexamine the strategy of attacking me,” Stone reportedly wrote.

“We appreciate that,” WikiLeaks replied. “However, the false claims of association are being used by the democrats to undermine the impact of our publications. Don’t go there if you don’t want us to correct you.”

Two days later, on October 15, Stone reportedly wrote back: “Ha! The more you ‘correct’ me the more people think you’re lying. Your operation leaks like a sieve. You need to figure out who your friends are.”

President-elect Donald Trump arrives to speak to a “USA Thank You” tour event, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Cincinnati. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

On November 9, 2016 the day after Trump won the election WikiLeaks replied, “Happy? We are now more free to communicate.”

The group later sent another message, saying, “FYI, while we continue to be unhappy about false ‘back channel’ claims, today CNN deliberately broke our off the record comments.”

CNN said the comments in question were not off-the-record because it made no such prior agreement with WikiLeaks before the conversation.

Stone said in a statement to NBC News that he had “no advance knowledge of the content or source of information published by WikiLeaks” and added that he had not been interviewed by Mueller’s team.

“I never discussed WikiLeaks, Assange or the Hillary disclosures with candidate Trump, before during or after the election,” he told the outlet. “I have no idea what he knew about them, from who or when. I have never met Assange.”

Stone’s relationship with Trump has also been of particular interest to investigators.

One witness interviewed by Mueller’s team told NBC News that investigators asked about what Stone’s interactions with Trump were like once he ended his tenure as a Trump campaign adviser in August 2015.

“How often did they talk? Who really fired him? Was he really fired?” the witness said, describing the questions they were asked.

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Timeline emerges as Mueller probes Trump, WikiLeaks, Roger …

Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms and Source …

Praise for Applied Cryptography

“This book should be on the shelf of any computer professional involved in the use or implementation of cryptography.” IEEE Software

“An encyclopedic survey … could well have been subtitled ‘The Joy of Encrypting’ … a useful addition to the library of any active or would-be security practitioner.” Cryptologia

“…the best introduction to cryptography I’ve ever seen…The book the National Security Agency wanted never to be published…” Wired magazine

“…easily ranks as one of the most authoritative in its field…” PC magazine

“…monumental…fascinating…comprehensive…the definitive work on cryptography for computer programmers…” Dr. Dobb’s journal

Written by the world’s most renowned security technologist this special Anniversary Edition celebrates 20 years for the most definitive reference on cryptography ever published, Applied Cryptography, Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C. Inside security enthusiasts will find a compelling introduction by author Bruce Schneider written specifically for this keepsake edition.

Included in this edition:

Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms and Source …

Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index – Digiconomist

Key Network Statistics Bitcoin’s current estimated annual electricity consumption* (TWh)52.03Annualized global mining revenues$8,474,868,923Annualized estimated global mining costs$2,601,535,436Country closest to Bitcoin in terms of electricity consumptionRomaniaEstimated electricity used over the previous day (KWh)142,549,887Implied Watts per GH/s0.233Total Network Hashrate in PH/s (1,000,000 GH/s)25,438Electricity consumed per transaction (KWh)784.00Number of U.S. households that could be powered by Bitcoin4,817,658Number of U.S. households powered for 1 day by the electricity consumed for a single transaction26.5Bitcoin’s electricity consumption as a percentage of the world’s electricity consumption0.23%Annual carbon footprint (kt of CO2)25,495Carbon footprint per transaction (kg of CO2)384.15

*The assumptions underlying this energy consumption estimate can be found here. Criticism and potential validation of the estimate is discussed here.

Ever since its inception Bitcoins trust-minimizing consensus has been enabled by its proof-of-work algorithm. The machines performing the work are consuming huge amounts of energy while doing so. The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index was created to provide insight into this amount, and raise awareness on the unsustainability of the proof-of-work algorithm.

Note that the Index contains the aggregate of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (other forks of the Bitcoin network are not included). A separate index was created for Ethereum, which can be found here.

New sets of transactions (blocks) are added to Bitcoins blockchain roughly every 10 minutes by so-called miners. While working on the blockchain these miners arent required to trust each other. The only thing miners have to trust is the code that runs Bitcoin. The code includes several rules to validate new transactions. For example, a transaction can only be valid if the sender actually owns the sent amount. Every miner individually confirms whether transactions adhere to these rules, eliminating the need to trust other miners.

The trick is to get all miners to agree on the same history of transactions. Every miner in the network is constantly tasked with preparing the next batch of transactions for the blockchain. Only one of these blocks will be randomly selected to become the latest block on the chain. Random selection in a distributed network isnt easy, so this is where proof-of-work comes in. In proof-of-work, the next block comes from the first miner that produces a valid one. This is easier said than done, as the Bitcoin protocol makes it very difficult for miners to do so. In fact, the difficulty is regularly adjusted by the protocol to ensure that all miners in the network will only produce one valid bock every 10 minutes on average. Once one of the miners finally manages to produce a valid block, it will inform the rest of the network. Other miners will accept this block once they confirm it adheres to all rules, and then discard whatever block they had been working on themselves. The lucky miner gets rewarded with a fixed amount of coins, along with the transaction fees belonging to the processed transactions in the new block. The cycle then starts again.

The process of producing a valid block is largely based on trial and error, where miners are making numerous attempts every second trying to find the right value for a block component called the nonce, and hoping the resulting completed block will match the requirements (as there is no way to predict the outcome). For this reason, mining is sometimes compared to a lottery where you can pick your own numbers. The number of attempts (hashes) per second is given by your mining equipments hashrate. This will typically be expressed in Gigahash per second (1 billion hashes per second).

The continuous block mining cycle incentivizes people all over the world to mine Bitcoin. As mining can provide a solid stream of revenue, people are very willing to run power-hungry machines to get a piece of it. Over the years this has caused the total energy consumption of the Bitcoin network to grow to epic proportions, as the price of the currency reached new highs. The entire Bitcoin network now consumes more energy than a number of countries, based on a report published by the International Energy Agency. If Bitcoin was a country, it would rank as shown below.

Apart from the previous comparison, it also possible to compare Bitcoins energy consumption to some of the worlds biggest energy consuming nations. The result is shown hereafter.

Bitcoins biggest problem is not even its massive energy consumption, but that the network is mostly fueled by coal-fired power plants in China. Coal-based electricity is available at very low rates in this country. Even with a conservative emission factor, this results in an extreme carbon footprint for each unique Bitcoin transaction.

To put the energy consumed by the Bitcoin network into perspective we can compare it to another payment system like VISA for example. According to VISA, the company consumed a total amount of 674,922 Gigajoulesof energy (from various sources) globally for all its operations. This means that VISA has an energy need equal to that of around 17,000 U.S. households. We also know VISA processed 111.2 billion transactions in 2017. With the help of these numbers, it is possible to compare both networks and show that Bitcoin is extremely more energy intensive per transaction than VISA (note that the chart below compares a single Bitcoin transaction to 100,000 VISA transactions).

Of course, these numbers are far from perfect (e.g. energy consumption of VISA offices isnt included), but the differences are so extreme that they will remain shocking regardless. Acomparison with the average non-cash transaction in the regular financial system still reveals that an average Bitcoin transaction requires several thousands of times more energy. One could argue that this is simply the price of a transaction that doesnt require a trusted third party, but this price doesnt have to be so high as will bediscussed hereafter.

Proof-of-work was the first consensusalgorithm that managed to prove itself, but it isnt the only consensusalgorithm. More energy efficient algorithms, like proof-of-stake, have been in development over recent years. In proof-of-stake coin owners create blocks rather than miners, thus not requiring power hungry machines that produce as many hashes per second as possible. Because of this, the energy consumption of proof-of-stake is negligible compared to proof-of-work. Bitcoin could potentially switch to such an consensusalgorithm, which would significantly improve sustainability. The only downside is that there are many different versions of proof-of-stake, and none of these have fully proven themselves yet. Nevertheless the work on thesealgorithms offers good hope for the future.

Even though the total network hashrate can easily be calculated, it is impossible to tell what this means in terms of energy consumption as there is no central register with all active machines (and their exact power consumption). In the past, energy consumption estimates typically included an assumption on what machines were still active and how they were distributed, in order to arrive at a certain number of Watts consumed per Gigahash/sec (GH/s). A detailed examination of a real-world Bitcoin mineshows why such an approach will certainly lead to underestimating the networks energy consumption, because it disregards relevant factors like machine-reliability, climate and cooling costs. This arbitrary approach has therefore led to a wide set of energy consumption estimates that strongly deviate from one another, sometimes with a disregard to the economic consequences of the chosen parameters. The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index therefore proposes to turn the problem around, and approach energy consumption from an economic perspective.

The index is built on the premise that miner income and costs are related. Since electricity costs are a major component of the ongoing costs, it follows that the total electricity consumption of the Bitcoin network must be related to miner income as well. To put it simply, the higher mining revenues, the more energy-hungry machines can be supported. How the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index uses miner income to arrive at an energy consumption estimate is explained in detail here, and summarized in the following infographic:

Note that one may reach different conclusions on applying different assumptions. The chosen assumptions have been chosen in such a way that they can be considered to be both intuitive and conservative, based on information of actual mining operations. In the end, the goal of the Index is not to produce a perfect estimate, but to produce an economically credible day-to-day estimate that is more accurate and robust than an estimate based on the efficiency of a selection of mining machines.

Over time, the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index has been subject to a fair amount of criticism. Entrepreneur Marc Bevand, who argues that there are serious faults in the way the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index is calculated, is often quoted in this regard. In his own market-based and technical analysis of Bitcoins electricity consumption Bevand argues that Bitcoins real energy consumption is much lower (~18 terawatt hours/year per January 11, 2018) than the number provided by the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index. But this alternative approach, based on analysis of Bitcoins hashrate (computational power), is not without controversy either. Morgan Stanley accurately captured the main problems in this approach in their report Bitcoin ASIC production substantiates electricity use (January 3, 2018), explaining that the hash-rate methodology uses a fairly optimistic set of efficiency assumptions and may not allow enough for electricity consumption by cooling and networking gear. The impact of this can be significant, as becomes apparent from BitFury CEO Valery Vavilovs earlier comment that many data centers around the world have 30 to 40 percent of electricity costs going to cooling (40 to 65 percent relative to non-cooling electricity costs). Its thus not surprising that a hash-rate based approach produces a lower energy consumption estimate.

In the same report Morgan Stanley does argue that Bitcoins energy consumption must be at least 23 terawatt-hour per year (per January 3, 2018). Morgan Stanley finds this number based on Quartzs report of its tour of the Bitmain mining data center, equipped with the most recent 1387-based mining rigs, this past fall. At the time, this data center was drawing 40 megawatts per hour and represented 4% of the global Bitcoin network capacity (6M TH/s). Morgan Stanley continues by stating that the Bitcoin networks recent active hash rate has been ~15.2M TH/s, which implies total hourly Bitcoin electricity consumption is well more than 2700 megawatts/hour (23 terawatt hours/year). The company also notes that a realistic number is likely to be higher because the most efficient mining rigs used by Bitmain in its facilities are not yet widely available (the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index was showing ~37 terawatt hours/year on the same day). For this reason, Morgan Stanley concludes that current use estimates are probably in the right general range.

Of course, the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index is also very much a prediction model for future Bitcoin energy consumption (unlike hashrate-based estimates that have no predictive properties). The model predicts that miners will ultimately spend 60% of their revenues on electricity. At the moment (January 2018), miners are spending a lot less on electricity. On January 25, 2018, the Bitcoin Energy Index was estimating just 22% of miner revenues ($2.2B versus $10.4B) were actually spent on electricity costs. Based on this, the Energy Consumption Index would thus predict a possible energy consumption of around 130 terawatt hours/year (assuming stable revenues). This increase appears to be in line with expected miner production.

With regard to future energy consumption, Morgan Stanley estimates that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has Bitcoin ASIC orders for 15-20K wafer-starts per month for 1Q18. With each wafer capable of supplying chips for ~27-30 Bitcoin mining rigs, the total Bitcoin mining pool could see up to 5-7.5M new rigs added in the next 12 months if 1Q18 production rates are maintained through 2018. By the end of 2018, this means that the Bitcoin network could potentially draw more than 13,500 megawatts/hour (120 terawatt-hours/year), or even 16,000 megawatts/hour (140 terawatt-hours/year) based on 90% utilization and 60% direct electricity usage.

Altogether, it can be concluded that the relatively simple Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index model is supported by both emprical evidence from real-world mining facilities, as well as Bitcoin ASIC miner production forecasts.

The Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index is the first real-time estimate of the energy consumed by the Bitcoin network, but certainly not the first. A list of articles that have focussed on this subject in the past are featured below. These articles have served as an inspiration for the Energy Index, and may also serve as a validation of the estimated numbers.

If you find an article missing from this list please report it here, and it will be added as soon as possible.

Read more from the original source:

Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index – Digiconomist

Stop the Expansion of NSA Spying –

Dear friends,

Today, the United States Congress struck a significant blow against the basic human right to read, write, learn, and associate free of governments prying eyes.

Goaded by those who let fear override democratic principles, some members of Congress shuttered public debate in order to pass a bill that extends the National Security Agencys unconstitutional Internet surveillance for six years.

This means six more years of warrantless surveillance under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. This is a long-abused law marketed as targeting foreigners abroad but whichintentionally and by designsubjects a tremendous amount of our Internet activities to government review, as they pass through key Internet checkpoints, and as they are stored by providers like Google and Facebook. Ultimately, the NSA uses Section 702 to sweep in and retain the communications of countless non-suspect Americans.

Todays action also means six more years of FBI access to giant databases of these NSA-collected communications, for purposes of routine domestic law enforcement that stray far from the original justification of national security.

We offer this response to the NSA and its allies in Congress: enjoy it while you can because it wont last.

It didnt have to be this way. Forward-thinking U.S. legislators from both sides of the aisle negotiated compromise bills that, while far from ideal, would have reined in some of the worst abuses of NSA surveillance powers while ensuring our intelligence agents could still do their jobs. But leadership from both Houses prevented the full Congress from considering these measures. For example, Senators were denied the opportunity to consider the USA Rights Act, and Representatives never had an opportunity to vote on the Poe-Lofgren Amendment during Thursday’s floor vote. Both legislative vehicles offered sensible reforms that would have advanced the privacy of innocent American technology users. This procedural maneuvering also meant that your opportunity to make your voices heard was greatly truncated.

While this debate took place in the halls of Washington, the ramifications are global. Millions of people around the world suffer under the NSAs dragnet data collection. EFF fights for the rights of technology users everywhere, and our mission will not be complete until innocent users worldwide can communicate with dignity and privacy. Today Congress demonstrated its lack of regard for the human rights to privacy and association. And it shirked its duty to protect Americans rights under the Constitution.

We offer this response to the National Security Agency and its allies in Congress: enjoy it while you can because it wont last.

Todays Congressional failure redoubles our commitment to seek justice through the courts and through the development and spread of technology that protects our privacy and security.

First, in the courts. Weve actively litigated against NSA spying since 2005. Our flagship lawsuit against mass surveillance Jewel v. NSA is currently in discovery in the District Court, having survived multiple challenges by the government. The government even sought in October to indefinitely delay responding to demands from the court to turn over documentation of surveillance, but the court refused. Instead, they are facing a looming deadline to produce documents to the court: February 16, 2018. Were also confronting NSA mass spying through use of the Freedom of Information Act, supporting the other cases against mass spying, and participating in the few criminal court cases where the government has admitted using evidence collected under Section 702.

We also continue to search for new cases and arguments to challenge NSA mass spying in courtstepping up to the legal challenge of finding people who have admissible evidence that they have been surveilled and can pass the hurdle of standing that has blocked so many before.

We aim to bring mass surveillance to the Supreme Court. By showcasing the unconstitutionality of the NSAs collect-it-all approach to tapping the Internet, well seek to end the dragnet surveillance of millions of innocent people. We know that the wheels of justice turn slowly, especially when it comes to impact litigation against the NSA, but were in this for the long run.

Second, well continue to harden digital platforms to make them resistant to surveillance and increase the ability of everyone to be digitally secure. We will promote widespread encryption through EFF tools like Certbot and HTTPS Everywhere, and well promote the adoption of security tools through education and outreach. Well stand up to ongoing FBI efforts to block or deter our access to strong encryption. Together, we can make it more difficult and more costly for the NSAs spying eyes to ensnare innocent people. And we will help technology users increase their digital security against bad actors.

Finally, we will continue to work with our allies in Congress to expose and restrain NSA surveillance. There is much to do on Capitol Hill, long before the next reauthorization debate in 2023.

Our vision is for a secure digital world, free from government surveillance and censorship. You deserve to have a private conversation online, just as you can have one offline. You deserve the right to associate and organize with others, as well as to read and research, free of government snooping. While Congress failed the American people today, EFF will not. With the support of our more than 40,000 members, we are stronger and more ready than ever to keep up this fight.

Cindy Cohn Executive DirectorElectronic Frontier FoundationJanuary 16, 2018

Public domain image from Trevor Paglen

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Stop the Expansion of NSA Spying –

Poll: Chelsea Manning unlikely to defeat Ben Cardin …

The Democratic primary election for Maryland governor is a wide open race for the seven candidates seeking to challenge Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November, according to a new poll from Goucher College.

The poll also found that Sen. Ben Cardin would defeat Chelsea Manning if the election was held today, and that Democratic voters say their decisions will hinge on the issues of education, the economy and employment.

The Goucher Poll surveyed 409 Maryland Democratic primary voters from Feb. 12-18 and has a margin of error of 4.8 percent.

Among its findings:

Prince Georges County Executive Rushern L. Baker III had a higher favorable rating 30 percent than former NAACP President Ben Jealous (28 percent) and Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz (22 percent). If the June 26 primary election were held now, 19 percent of respondents said they would vote for Baker, 12 percent would favor Kamenetz and 10 percent would support Jealous.

Our poll suggests that Democratic voters have yet to turn their full attention to the gubernatorial race, said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center. With so many undecided voters, there is ample time and room for the field to shift even dramatically.

Lesser-known candidates, she added, need to increase their name recognition soon or this primary could become a three-way race.

Other Democratic candidates for the primary include: Baltimore lawyer Jim Shea, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., entrepreneur Alec Ross, and former Michelle Obama adviser Krish Vignarajah.

In the Senate race, the poll showed that 64 percent of respondents held a favorable opinion of Cardin while 91 percent either had no opinion or an unfavorable one of Manning, the transgender Maryland woman convicted of sharing thousands of military documents with Wikileaks.

In the head-to-head match up, about six in ten respondents said they back Cardin compared with 17 percent for Manning and 19 percent who said they dont know.

Democratic voters who participated in the poll said that education was the most important issue influencing their decisions. The economy and jobs was the second most critical issue, followed by racial and social justice and health care.

As for ideology, 44 percent of Democrats questioned for the poll described themselves as progressive, while 43 percent said they were moderate. Another 10 percent said they were conservative, according to the poll.

Read the rest here:
Poll: Chelsea Manning unlikely to defeat Ben Cardin …

Cryptocurrencies News & Prices | Markets Insider

What is blockchain technology?

You’ve likely heard some of the following terms if you’ve paid attention to the world of finance: Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. But what do they mean? And why is cryptocurrency suddenly so hot?

First, we’ll explain the blockchain basics.

As society become increasingly digital, financial services providers are looking to offer customers the same services to which they’re accustomed, but in a more efficient, secure, and cost effective way.

Enter blockchain technology.

The origins of blockchain are a bit nebulous. A person or group of people known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakomoto invented and released the tech in 2009 as a way to digitally and anonymously send payments between two parties without needing a third party to verify the transaction. It was initially designed to facilitate, authorize, and log the transfer of bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies.

Blockchain tech is actually rather easy to understand at its core. Essentially, it’s a shared database populated with entries that must be confirmed and encrypted. Think of it as a kind of highly encrypted and verified shared Google Document, in which each entry in the sheet depends on a logical relationship to all its predecessors. Blockchain tech offers a way to securely and efficiently create a tamper-proof log of sensitive activity (anything from international money transfers to shareholder records).

Blockchain’s conceptual framework and underlying code is useful for a variety of financial processes because of the potential it has to give companies a secure, digital alternative to banking processes that are typically bureaucratic, time-consuming, paper-heavy, and expensive.

Cryptocurrencies are essentially just digital money, digital tools of exchange that use cryptography and the aforementioned blockchain technology to facilitate secure and anonymous transactions. There had been several iterations of cryptocurrency over the years, but Bitcoin truly thrust cryptocurrencies forward in the late 2000s. There are thousands of cryptocurrencies floating out on the market now, but Bitcoin is far and away the most popular.

Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies don’t just fall out of the sky. Like any other form of money, it takes work to produce them. And that work comes in the form of mining.

But let’s take a step back. Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin, ensured that there would ever only be 21 million Bitcoins in existence. He (or they) reached that figure by calculating that people would discover, or “mine,” a certain number of blocks of transactions each day.

Every four years, the number of Bitcoins released in relation to the previous cycle gets reduced by 50%, along with the reward to miners for discovering new blocks. At the moment, that reward is 12.5 Bitcoins. Therefore, the total number of Bitcoins in circulation will approach 21 million but never actually reach that figure. This means Bitcoin will never experience inflation. The downside here is that a hack or cyberattack could be a disaster because it could erase Bitcoin wallets with little hope of getting the value back.

As for mining Bitcoins, the process requires electrical energy. Miners solve complex mathematical problems, and the reward is more Bitcoins generated and awarded to them. Miners also verify transactions and prevent fraud, so more miners equals faster, more reliable, and more secure transactions.

Thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto’s designs, Bitcoin mining becomes more difficult as more miners join the fray. In 2009, a miner could mine 200 Bitcoin in a matter of days. In 2014, it would take approximately 98 years to mine just one, according to 99Bitcoins.

Super powerful computers called Application Specific Integrated Circuit, or ASIC, were developed specifically to mine Bitcoins. But because so many miners have joined in the last few years, it remains difficult to mine loads. The solution is mining pools, groups of miners who band together and are paid relative to their share of the work.

Since its inception, Bitcoin has been rather volatile. But based on its recent boom and a forecast by Snapchat’s first investor, Jeremy Liew, that it would hit $500,000 by 2030 and the prospect of grabbing a slice of the Bitcoin pie becomes far more attractive.

Bitcoin users expect 94% of all bitcoins to be released by 2024. As the number moves toward the ceiling of 21 million, many expect the profits miners once made from the creation of new blocks to become so low that they will become negligible. But as more bitcoins enter circulation, transaction fees could rise and offset this.

As for blockchain technology itself, it has numerous applications, from banking to the Internet of Things. It is expected that companies will flesh out their blockchain IoT solutions. Blockchain is a promising tool that will transform parts of the IoT and enable solutions that provide greater insight into assets, operations, and supply chains. It will also transform how health records and connected medical devices store and transmit data.

Blockchain wont be usable everywhere, but in many cases, it will be a part of the solution that makes the best use of the tools in the IoT arsenal. Blockchain can help to address particular problems, improve workflows, and reduce costs, which are the ultimate goals of any IoT project.

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Cryptocurrencies News & Prices | Markets Insider