#165 Another Call of Duty 2020 Rumor

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#63 What Is Twitch Hiding Up Their Sleeve?

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Factbox: Ten years of bitcoin

Bitcoin, the world’s first and most famous cryptocurrency, celebrates its tenth birthday on Wednesday.Its emergence has spawned a multitude of other digital currencies, brought blockchain technology to global attention, and vexed regulators worried about its crime misuse and weakness to hacking.

What is Bitcoin?

Zynga revenue and forecast come up short, but big-name games in the works

Zynga Inc. reported a slight miss on its most widely watched sales metric and projected holiday results lower than analyst expectations Wednesday afternoon, but promised a brighter future with a slate of games based on popular intellectual property including “Game of Thrones” and “Harry Potter.

Google Introduces reCAPTCHA v3 – No More Garbled Text or Clicking on Endless Stream of Random Images

Google has launched reCAPTCHA version 3 that is a complete overhaul of the reCAPTCHA technology. The company first introduced this background check system back in 2007 and this is the 3rd major overhaul being sent to it. reCAPTCHA itself was initially introduced in 2014. Designed to ward off bots on the internet, reCAPTCHA has proven to be useful but extremely annoying. However, with reCAPTCHA v3 Google aims to reduce this annoyance by no longer requiring any user interaction. No more squinting of eyes to read garbled codes or clicking on images of billboards.

Twitch CEO plots expansion beyond game streaming as Facebook and media companies enter the market

Twitch, the Amazon-owned video streaming service where viewers watch other people play video games, has outgrown its niche roots to the point that 1 million people on average are using it at any given time. The broader category of esports has blossomed into an international phenomenon, with research firm Newzoo predicting the market will grow 55 percent by 2020 to $1.4 billion. That kind of success brings with it competition from big media and tech companies looking for new areas of growth. “One of the biggest changes for Twitch over the past year is just the way that video games and streaming have started to cross over into the mainstream,” CEO and co-founder Emmett Shear told CNBC in an interview last weekend in San Jose, California, at the company’s annual TwitchCon event.

Twitch Squad Stream will officially allow multi-streams next year

Twitch is getting a major new feature called Squad Stream. Announced at TwitchCon, Squad Stream is Twitch’s way of offering native support for multi-streams. The new feature allows viewers to watch up to four streams at once; one for the streamer they’re following and three other viewpoints for the rest of the squad.

Nubia X: a Dual-Display Smartphone with No Selfie Camera

Nubia, a ZTE brand, this week introduced its new range-topping smartphone outfitted with front and rear displays and Qualcomm’s high-end SoC. The new Nubia X features a rare 93.6% screen-to-body ratio on the primary LCD, maximizing its screen real estate while also offering a serious performance. The phone will certainly catch some eyes, but what remains to be seen is how useful the second display is and how will it affect battery life of the device.

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India May Start Charging 18% Tax on Cryptocurrency Tradings

India may start applying 18% Goods and Services Tax (GST) to cryptocurrency trading. They will be classed as intangible goods.

(Image credit: The Indian Sun)

The Indian government may start following the lead of the US and start applying taxes on cryptocurrency.

According to a report by Bloomberg Quint, sources who has direct knowledge of the discussions say the GST could be at 18%. This means cryptocurrency traders are going to be taxed for every trade they do. Miners will also be charged 18% tax on their mining rewards.

And don’t think you’re safe if you’ve had your earnings last year. The sources claim that tax will be applied retrospectively from July 1 2017. Trading with other countries will be considered as imports and exports so the Integrated GST will be applied.

In the US, cryptocurrencies are considered as property, similar to real-estate. Buying and holding Bitcoin is not taxable but the profit from selling them is liable to capital gains tax.

Although there are no decisions made so far, cryptocurrency taxes may start as soon as July 1.

Earlier this month, it was noted that a lot of startups in the cryptocurrency sector are moving away from India. This is because of the country’s subsequent crackdowns on tax avoidance from crypto earnings.

German Online Bank Transfers Loans Using Bitcoins Internationally

A German online bank, Bitbond, has started offering its clients the option to transfer loans with Bitcoin.

Adoption to cryptocurrency has been quite rapid in Germany. And now a German online bank, Bitbond, is using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to lend money internationally.

“Traditional money transfers are relatively costly due to currency exchange fees, and can take up to a few days,” Founder Radoslav Albrecht explained to Reuters TV. “With Bitbond, payments work independently of where customers are. Via internet it is very, very quick and the fees are low.”

Through this method, the company is basically able to bypass the Swift international transfer system.

Of course, there is always the issue of volatility with using cryptocurrencies in the loan transactions. To address this, clients will only hold on to the Bitcoins that they receive for a only for seconds or minutes. They are then exchanged back into the currency of the country where the funds are received.

Over the last couple of years, Bitcoin has been used as collaterals for loans. However, this is the first time that the cryptocurrency has been used to transfer loans internationally.

Bitbond is an online service founded in 2013. It employs 24 people from different countries who manage loans for 100 clients amounting to around $1 million each month. In 2016, the company was officially licensed as a bank and has gained many investors since.

Crypto Exchange Kraken Pulls Out of Japan

San Francisco-based Kraken is ending its trading service in Japan after being in the country since 2014.

Kraken is bidding goodbye to Japan, for now at least.

The company, who has had their presence in Japan since 2014, expressed their “deepest regret” in the emailed statement.

According to Kraken, the revenue against the costs and resources required to maintain the service was part of the decision.

“Suspending services for Japan residents will allow us to better focus on our resources to improve in other geographical areas,” the company said.
They emphasise that the suspension of the service is only for those who are residents of the country. Japanese citizens and businesses residing outside the country are not affected and are still be able to use the services.
However, the company does not see this move as something permanent. “After we have had a chance to better catch up to our rapid growth, we will consider the possibility of resuming service for Japan residents.”
The last day of deposit is around mid-May. Japan residents can continue trading until mid-June. It’s also important to note that the last day of withdrawal is at the end of June this year.
Despite this news, Japan is still seen as one of the friendliest countries for trading digital currencies. While other countries choose to ban ICOs, Japan actually chose to to take the first step in legalising them earlier this month.

 

Coinbase Adds Ethereum ERC20 Token Support

Coinbase will now support Ethereum ERC20 tokens on its exchange.

One of the largest U.S. cryptocurrency trading platforms, Coinbase, is opening its door to Ethereum-based digital tokens.

In a blog post, the San Francisco-based company announced that they will start supporting Ethereum’s ERC20 technical standard on its platform. This opens the door to a lot of Ethereum-based digital tokens.

For those unfamiliar with ERC20, it is the technical standard developers use to build Ethereum-based tokens. Examples of this would include Qtum, Bancor, EOS and Omisego. As of writing, there are currently more than 50,000 ERC20 token contracts in the market.

The blog post did not specify when this support will go live and which tokens will get listed.

“This paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future, though we aren’t announcing support for any specific assets or features at this time,” the post said.

Currently, Coinbase trades Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether and Litecoin on its GDAX exchange.

When this starts rolling out, ERC20 support will be available on most of their products. This includes their main platform, their hedge fund tool Custody, GDAX and their Asset Management platform. They have excluded the Commerce payment system.

This announcement comes shortly after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that platforms for digital assets need to register with the agency as a national exchange. Coinbase, however, says that they are exempted from this requirement.

Twitter Is Banning Cryptocurrency and ICO-related Advertisements

Twitter confirms the ban of cryptocurrency and ICO-related advertisements on its platform.

News about the possibility of the ban surfaced last week and now it has finally been confirmed. Twitter will start banning cryptocurrency-related ads starting Tuesday.

The micro-blogging giant is the third major online platform to announce the ban following Facebook and Google. This is to reduce the possibility of potential fraud or large investor losses that maybe promoted in their website.

“We are committed to ensuring the safety of the Twitter community. As such, we have added a new policy for Twitter Ads relating to cryptocurrency,” a Twitter spokesperson told CNBC.

The new policy rolls out in the next 30 days globally. The ban will include ads on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales. Twitter will also ban ads by cryptocurrency exchanges and e-wallet services.

However, this news doesn’t seem to faze crypto enthusiasts.

Blockchain Capital Spencer Bogart points out Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, is a believer of the cryptocurrency. He says’s to “read between the lines on any announced ‘ban’.”

“Given that the larger and more significant platforms have already made this move, I wouldn’t expect Twitter’s news to have much of an effect,” he explains.

Earlier this week, Dorsey has told the Sunday Times newspaper that he believes it will overtake the dollar in importance. He adds that Bitcoin will become the single global currency within the next decade.

Coinbase Bug Let Users Steal Unlimited ETH

A Coinbase bug could have just given you a one-off opportunity to become a cryptocurrency multi-billionaire.

(Credit: The Verge)

In a report made public yesterday, the Dutch fintech firm discovered a vulnerability that allowed users to steal as much Ethereum (ETH) as they want. The glitch was first reported in December 27 last year.

The US’ largest exchange awarded VI Company a bounty of $10,000 for spotting the smart contract issue.

“By using a smart contract to distribute ether over a set of wallets you can manipulate the account balance of your Coinbase account,” the VI Company outlined in the report.

“If one of the internal transactions in the smart contract fails all transactions before that will be reversed. But on Coinbase these transactions will not be reversed”.

This meant that someone could have abused this issue to credit their wallets with infinite amounts of Ethereum.

The researchers at VI Company uploaded screenshots of the transactions on the app as well as a link of the transaction to Etherscan.

If you’re wondering how they did the transaction, you’re in luck. The researches explained the process of the exploit:

  • Setup a smart contract with a few valid Coinbase wallets and 1 final faulty wallet (always throw exception when receiving funds smart contract for example)
  • Transfer appropriate funds to smart contract.
  • Execute smart contract adding the set amount of ether to the Coinbase wallets without ever actually leaving the smart contract wallet because the complete transaction fails at the last wallet.
  • Repeat until you have more than enough ethereum in your Coinbase wallet.
  • Cash out, transfer to off site wallet.

It is unclear if there were people who managed to abuse the glitch.

According to Coinbase however, “Analysis of the issue indicated only accidental loss for Coinbase, and no exploitation attempts”.

The US-based exchanged has been facing continued technical difficulties for almost a year now. This is mainly because of the huge influx of new users in the mid-2017.

Teenager Hacks “Tamper-Proof” Ledger Hardware Wallet

 British 15-year-old Saleem Rashid created a code that enabled him to “backdoor” Ledger’s wallets.

The Ledger Nano S (Credit: Ledger)

The story started in November 2017 when Rashid discovered the flaws on the wallet. He disclosed the vulnerability to the company but was apparently not taken seriously.

For years, the top guys at France-based Ledger has touted their product to be tamper-proof. The Ledger Nano S is a $100 hardware wallet for Bitcoin, Ethereum and Altcoins that according to Ledger, has sold by the millions. The company claims that resellers are not able to modify and tamper this device without attracting end users’ attention. Why would they listen to a 15-year-old right?

After four months, the company released did release an update to address the issue that Rashid privately disclosed to them. However, Ledger’s Chief Security Officer Charles Guillemet maintains that the issue was “NOT critical”. He also stresses that the “attack cannot extract the private keys or the seed.”

 

Rashid publicly criticized this update on social media and in a blog post entitled entitled Breaking the Ledger Security Model. He maintains that he could still “autonomously extract the root private key once the user unlocks the device” and use to it instigate manipulation of destination addresses for transactions.

This recent discovery of the wallet’s vulnerability definitely puts a lot of pressure on the company and to their users who actually puts their faith in these devices.

 

Ethereum Blockchain and Ether: What Are They?

Ethereum Blockchain And Its Currency Called Ether

Ethereum blockchain is an open-source, public distributed computing platform and operating system. This features smart contract functionality. It supports a modified version of Nakamoto consensus.

Ethereum’s Release And Platform

It was initially released last July 30, 2015. Its platform is x86, AMD64, ARM.

What is Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform for application that runs exactly as programmed. It has no chance of fraud, censorship, or third-party interference.


It is commonly associated with Bitcoin. But the blockchain technology has many other currencies that go way beyond digital currencies. Bitcoin is only one of the millions of applications which uses the blockchain technology.

By providing developers with the tools to build decentralized applications, Ethereum can may things possible.

Difference Between Ethereum And Bitcoin

Ethereum is a distributed blockchain network just like Bitcoin. Even so, there are some technical differences between the two. Ethereum and Bitcoin differ substantially in purpose and capability.

Bitcoin offers one application to blockchain, a peer to peer electronic cash system that enables online Bitcoin payments. While Ethereum blockchain focuses on running the programming code of any decentralized application.

What Is Ether

Ether is a necessary element for operating the distributed application platform Ethereum. It is a form of payment made by the clients of Ethereum to the machines operating the requested operations.

In other words, Ether is the incentive ensuring that the developers wrote quality applications, and that the network stays healthy.

Who Needs Ether

People who need ether are the developers who intend to build apps using the Ethereum blockchain. Users who want to access and interact with smart contracts in the Ethereum blockchain also need ether.

Relationship Between Bitcoin And Ether

Ethereum would never be possible without bitcoin, both the technology and the currency. Unlike bitcoin, Ether is to be treated as a “crypto-fuel”. Its purpose is only to pay for computation and not considered as currency, asset, share or anything else.

To sum it all up, Ethereum blockchain is responsible for running the programming code of any decentralized application while ether is its token used to pay for computations.