Surprise: DOJ Is Not a Big Fan of Privacy-Preserving Cryptocurrencies | Libertarian Hub

Surprise: DOJ Is Not a Big Fan of Privacy-Preserving Cryptocurrencies | Libertarian Hub

The Department of Justice has been busy thinking about how to deal with cryptographic technologies. This past month, DOJ has issued two major statements on privacy-preserving tech, one of them an international rallying cry to build government backdoors into secure communications and the other a … Share
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The concept of cryptocurrencies and digital assets is undoubtedly a monumental leap towards the future of finance. Leading digital assets like Bitcoin continue to shake up the establishment and genuinely represent a financial revolution. Characterized by decentralization and encryption, cryptocurrencies double up as legit … Today Cryptocurrency Rates – Live Crypto rates in USD, updated every minute. Digital currencies including Bitcoin BTC, Ethereum ETH, Ripple XRP, Litecoin LTC and many other. Find list of all Cryptocurrencies available in the world. Full list of stories by category Cryptocurrencies – 2020-10-26 October has been an interesting month for the crypto world as the flagship coin, Bitcoin, leapfrogged 13.86% over the last 7 days. The digital gold is t Topline PayPal has finally decided to embrace crypto and will soon offer its U.S. customers the ability to buy, hold, sell, and use various virtual currencies, having obtained a New York license permitting it to do so — a move long anticipated by crypto enthusiasts, who see an endorsement from PayPal and its sprawling digital …

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The Department of Justice has been busy thinking about how to deal with cryptographic technologies. This past month, DOJ has issued two major statements on privacy-preserving tech, one of them an international rallying cry to build government backdoors into secure communications and the other a “clarification” of federal policy surrounding cryptocurrency applications. Unsurprisingly, both documents view privacy-preserving technologies as impediments to DOJ operations.

The encryption statement was mostly a reiteration of long-standing government issues with secure communications, this time wrapped in the packaging of saving children from criminals. Signatories from the Anglo governments (“Five Eyes“) plus India and Japan again asserted that “public safety [can] be protected without compromising privacy or cyber security.” This is obviously true in the abstract, but not when the “protection” in question is a government backdoor that necessarily compromises privacy and security. No new ground was broken here.

The cryptocurrency report, on the other hand, does give new insight into the developing priorities of federal bodies grappling with the rise of cryptocurrency. It’s not a lawmaking document, but rather a backgrounder laying out how cryptocurrency works and where certain applications might run afoul of established agency guidance. Still, it provides a valuable look into where the next battles in the war between privacy and surveillance will be fought. Specifically, DOJ has indicated a strong unease with “anonymity enhanced cryptocurrencies” (AECs), more commonly known as privacycoins, such as Monero and Zcash, as well as coin-mixing techniques.

The report, “Cryptocurrency: An Enforcement Framework” begins with a brief description of blockchain technologies before sparing an even briefer few words for the “breathtaking possibilities for human flourishing” that distributed ledger technologies may raise. The reader will be treated to two curt paragraphs discussing limited “legitimate uses,” including eliminating the need for a financial intermediary, minimizing transaction costs, providing an inflation shelter and micro-payments, and improved security controls. Even then, these are caveated.

This perfunctory nod to positive use cases dwarfs in comparison to the roughly fourteen pages of horribles that follow. The report recounts in exhausting detail every possible crime that could be or has been committed using cryptocurrency. There are three major categories: 1) financial transactions used to commit crimes, e.g. drug trafficking and terrorism; 2) money laundering to hide crimes or tax evasion; and 3) cryptocurrency scams and hacks.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that America’s top cops would spend more time fearmongering on worse case scenarios than describing, say, how cryptocurrencies have been a lifeline to people in tyrannical or failing states. But a bit of context would have provided much needed clarity.

For example, the first page of the report states that “cryptocurrency is increasingly being used to buy and sell lethal drugs … contributing to an epidemic that killed over 67,000 Americans by overdose in 2018 alone.” The citation just leads to the CDC statistics on total overdose deaths, yet the claim makes it seem like it was mostly cryptocurrency that directly caused these deaths.

There is no attempt to establish exactly what proportion of cryptocurrency use is linked to overdoses or even the drug trade in general, let alone how that compares to traditional financial channels. In fact, blockchain forensics suggests that around one percent ($600 million) of global cryptocurrency transactions are linked to criminal darknet markets, which involve not only drugs but also things like forgeries and identity theft. Compare this to the some $150 billion that Americans alone spend on illegal drugs using boring old money each year. Perspective matters.

Similar problems permeate throughout. The report gives examples of serious crimes involving cryptocurrency, but there is rarely an attempt to contextualize these crimes in terms of what proportion of cryptocurrency activity is involved in such deeds and how that compares to traditional finance. An alien reading this document would come away thinking that cryptocurrency is a kind of Mos Eisley Cantina of transacting, with nary a good reason for getting involved.

This is a shame, as many of the beneficial uses of cryptocurrency could greatly aid the victim groups the DOJ rightly seeks to protect. Good guys need privacy, too—often more than anyone else. A source seeking to expose a planned terror attack might use encryption and cryptocurrency to coordinate with authorities while limiting the risk of reprisal, for instance. Having an unbalanced picture of the risks and benefits of any technology can limit the use cases that would actually further stated goals.

The report admits that most of the described crimes are and have been committed using good old-fashioned cash, yet it maintains that the scale and ease that cryptocurrency affords makes crime that much easier. Worse yet, the privacy options and nested communities of cryptocurrency makes these crimes all the opaquer to law enforcement.

There is no question that criminals may choose to use cryptocurrency, and this requires new law enforcement strategies. The DOJ extols several crackdowns on criminal activities: There is Operation DisrupTor, which took down international darknet drug markets, the Welcome to Video bust of child exploitation merchants, and the dismantling of terrorist financing campaigns. It is fantastic that violent criminal enterprises have been taken down, and blockchain forensics play a large role in these law enforcement successes.

In other words, like with encryption in general, while cryptocurrency does create new challenges for law enforcement, it also offers new opportunities for creative yet constitutional investigations of clearly anti-social criminal activities.

As someone who thinks a lot about privacy and security holes with cryptocurrency, it’s interesting to see outsider perspectives that assume things like bitcoin offer strong privacy by default. As a series by privacy researcher Eric Wall makes clear, perfect cryptocurrency anonymity is almost comically hard to achieve even with custom-built “privacycoins” offering stronger anti-surveillance tools. There are so many ways that users can leak identity data to powerful and motivated adversaries like the DOJ—if the blockchain doesn’t get you, your IP address, wallet software, poor address hygiene, and even your sleep schedule trivially could. It’s no wonder the DOJ can boast of so many crypto-seizures.

And the DOJ is far from the only sheriff in town. The report provides a helpful overview of the current regulatory landscape, which is well-regulated indeed. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) manages financial surveillance under the Bank Secrecy Act, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) enforces international financial sanctions, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) oversees banks providing cryptocurrency custodial services, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chases after illegal securities trading under the guise of “initial coin offerings” (ICOs) or “decentralized finance” (DeFi), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sniffs out dodgy derivatives trading, and of course there is the good old IRS to hunt down what Uncle Sam thinks is his. This doesn’t even get into state and international regulators. Needless to say, cryptocurrency is hardly a wild west.

That’s not good enough for the DOJ. One of the most concerning sections comes towards the end of the report when discussing privacycoins like Monero and Zcash. These are distributed networks like bitcoin that integrate stronger privacy techniques like ring signatures and zk-SNARKs by default. Because they are not centralized, they should be treated in the same legal bucket as bitcoin.

But the DOJ says that it considers “the use of AECs to be a high-risk activity that is indicative of possible criminal conduct.” This default suspicion of Americans who choose to exercise their right to privacy is not only alarming, it is contrary to our values as an open society.

It’s also slippery policy language: regulated exchanges must maintain financial surveillance on customers by law regardless of cryptocurrency type. For example, Gemini, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency platform, offers Zcash trading to customers in a compliant manner.

Similar problems arise when the report discusses general privacy hygiene techniques. It specifically discusses centralized mixers and “chain hopping,” which is the practice of shuffling money among different cryptocurrencies to frustrate chain analysis.

Centralized mixers already violate established law (besides being just dumb to use from a privacy and security standpoint), and in fact FinCEN just took action against one last week. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with keeping transactions discreet through decentralized means like CoinJoins and avoiding address reuse—things that FinCEN has clarified do not violate financial surveillance law.

Is DOJ confused or muddying the waters? In the worst-case scenario, governments could waste time targeting legal and secure decentralized privacy techniques when they should be focused on central parties illegally providing these services to criminal enterprises.

Since criminals often aren’t the brightest people in the world, they might tend to make a good number of identity-leaking mistakes with cryptocurrency. The DOJ should focus its attention on learning these pitfalls so they can get the biggest bang for their buck. Casting clouds of suspicion over law-abiding and innocent privacy-minded cryptocurrency users is not only contrary to our values; it wastes precious resources that could be spent sharpening effective and legal forensics tools against real crypto-criminals.

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Four Reasons to Trade Cryptocurrencies Over Stocks

Four Reasons to Trade Cryptocurrencies Over Stocks

The concept of cryptocurrencies and digital assets is undoubtedly a monumental leap towards the future of finance. Leading digital assets like Bitcoin continue to shake up the establishment and genuinely represent a financial revolution.

Characterized by decentralization and encryption, cryptocurrencies double up as legit investments. Following sharp price upticks in the past few years, the once fringe crypto space now has a massive following thanks, in part, to their distinct features that differentiate them from traditional assets like bonds and stocks.

So, why exactly should one delve into crypto and not trade traditional assets? It could be the excitement and experimentation for some, but to many, here are four reasons why most traders prefer to trade cryptocurrencies from a responsive multi-asset platform like CryptoAltum:

In financial terms, volatility is the rate at which the price of an asset rises or falls. Well, digital assets, considering how new they are, remain quite volatile.

An asset’s volatility largely depends on its liquidity, and the latter being a factor of participation.

Still, volatility is a great draw for traders. It explains why traders from all over the globe swarm this sector, registering accounts with reliable crypto trading platforms like CryptoAltum as they angle to make money.

Rapid intraday price movements present opportunities for traders who can apply leverage and stand to make more than they would in spot cryptocurrency exchanges.

Typically, traders employ different strategies before posting their orders.

However, what’s interesting within crypto circles is the opportunity to trade every day of the week without holidays or weekends. This is because platforms like Bitcoin or Dash are operated by nodes which are distributed all over the world with no centralized control or government interference.

As long as they are powered and connected to the internet, these computers will continue funneling computing power to their respective network and process transactions cheaply, transparently, and securely without a middle man.

With compensations, their assets are therefore released to the secondary market each and every day. As such, traders can execute traders anywhere, every time they feel like from an equally reliable and robust trading platform like CryptoAltum.

To meet traders’ demand, CryptoAltum accepts cryptocurrency deposits meaning regardless of time frame, a trader can move funds to his/her secure wallet and begin trading crypto-to-crypto, or crypto-to-fiat pairs even during weeks or holidays.

All this is without inconveniencing restrictions on the amount of funds required to participate.

With decentralization and security comes the issue of privacy and anonymity tagged by blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

For privacy’s sake, creating an account with CryptoAltum is not only fast but also not intrusive as Know-Your-Customer (KYC) or Anti-Money Laundering (AML) disclosure is not applied.

All this is possible because instead of demanding personal details like your bank account number, driver’s license, or national identity card, all that is needed to begin trading is but a working email and full names.

These two give you the pass to the world of limitless possibilities where over 60 crypto pairs are availed for all cadre of traders once they deposit funds.

Besides, CryptoAltum provides a free Demo account with virtual money. This tool enables them to fine-tune their strategies and learn the ropes of trading. With that knowledge, you can then trade from a live trading account denominated in cryptocurrencies.

Liquidity is the ease of converting a digital asset to cash without impacting its market price. In trading, and with an example of the BTC/USD pair, it is the ease of converting BTC to USD.

The faster it is, the deeper the liquidity. However, this doesn’t come by itself. It is meticulously built. Your select trading platform makes this possible. Ideally, a liquid platform will allow you to trade offered digital assets easily and without significant price differences between buying and selling rates.

CryptoAltum has gone to great lengths to ensure high liquidity in all supported pairs. Pricing is aggregated from over 10 of the worlds leading exchanges, ensuring top pricing is passed onto all clients.

The result is tight spreads, low fees, and zero commissions without hidden charges in all their tradable pairs.

Trading crypto is now simple, fast, and done from a reliable and very liquid platform.

Register today and start trading from CryptoAltum.

Source: otcpm24.com

Author: News Bureau


Cryptocurrency Prices for Today - Daily Live Digital Currency Prices

Cryptocurrency Prices for Today – Daily Live Digital Currency Prices

Cryptocurrency is sort of a digital asset or a virtual currency that serves as a mean of exchange of assets and establishes sound financial transactions. They are alternatives of a currency and considered to be a digital currency worldwide. Cryptocurrency transactions are secured through strong cryptography. One of the most striking features of a cryptocurrency is that there is no central authority controlling its issuance and regulation. It is completely decentralized and mainly works through the technology of a distributed ledger i.e. digital data is shared and reproduced in different geographical areas with mutual consensus and then it is rolled out in multiple countries, institutions or on another cryptocurrency site. In Cryptocurrency terms, a blockchain verifies the authenticity of crypotcurrency coins and the process of mining validates the transactions. Cryptocurrency always meets the following criterion;

  • A shared authority maintained through mutual consensus.
  • A single system maintaining data of all the units and its owners.
  • Cryptography that proves ownership of the cryptocurrency units.
  • Exchange of individual cryptographic units that allow cryptocurrency transactions.
  • Mainly cryptocurrency allows digital currency transactions between peers without the intervention of a third party influence or fraud or any other constraints. An individual’s cryptocurrency units are fully secure online and can be used for exchange of pricey assets in countries that have given legal status to cryptocurrency. The virtual assets that one buys or exchanges online keep on increasing in value overtime. Sometimes cryptocurrency is also compared to gold in value like when you buy gold and save it, its’ worth keeps on escalating with passing years. Same goes for the cryptocurrency, you buy the coins/ units, save them and overtime their worth multiplies in numbers.

    One might think that cryptocurrency is highly technological and complicated. A common man neither can understand it nor has anything to do with it but let us decode for you how cryptocurrency exchange works.

    Whenever a transaction is requested, the request is forwarded to a system of computers known as nodes. Algorithms are applied by nodes to verify the transaction and the user account and status. When the transaction is verified, it is piled up with other transactions and a larger block of data is shared with mutual consensus. The blockchain of information is everlasting and unchangeable. After the verification and the creation of blockchain, the transaction is complete.

    Back in 1983, a man named David Chaum who was an American cryptographer, for the first time received electronic money that was named ‘ecash’. Then after development of an electronic platform for payment involving cryptography namely ‘Digicash’ was developed, David Chaum implied money exchange via it. Digicash made digital currency exchange undiscoverable by the government, banks or the third party.

    In 1998, an electronic cash system was introduced by Wei Dai named ‘B Money’. Sometime later another electronic currency called Bit Gold was introduced by Nick Szabo. In 2009, the first decentralized cryptocurrency, Bitcoin came into existence. Followed by Bitcoin, another cryptocurrency Namecoin was created in April 2011. Namecoin was developed with the motive to make internet tracking nearly impossible. In October 2011, Litecoin was started for cryptocurrency exchange followed by Peercoin.

    Legality of Cryptocurrency

    At the moment, Cryptocurrency exchange is legal in United States, Canada, Russia and Thailand whereas it is completely banned in United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Pakistan, Algeria, Iraq, Morrocco, Nepal and Bolivia. An implied ban on cryptocurrency is imposed in Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Lisotho, Lithuania, Macau, Iran, Kuwait, Colombia, Indonesia, China, Dominican Republic, Bahrain and Bangladesh.

  • Bitcoin, the first ever cryptocurrency and most famous one as well. It is leading the cryptocurrency industry where its value is tied to the gold standards. The worth of Bitcoin has crossed 700 Dollars and has around 200,000 transactions on daily basis.
  • Ethereum, created by Vitalik Buterin ranks second in cryptocurrencies. Ethereum also hosts many tokens like Augur and DigixDAO.
  • Ripple, a comparatively less popular cryptocurrency that is more preferred and adopted by banks.
  • Litecoin, successor to bitcoin, is compared to silver in the cryptocurrency market.
  • Monero, a more improved and privacy protected version of Bitcoin.
  • Another famous cryptocurrencies are Ethereum Classic, Dash, Augur, NEM and Waves.

    Cryptocurrency helps you in the following ways;

  • Since cryptocurrencies are entirely digital, there is no chance of fraud or tempering with data.
  • The cryptocurrency database is large and completely free of third party intervention.
  • There is no transaction fee for cryptocurrency until and unless third party is involved.
  • The chances of identity theft in a cryptocurrency exchange are minimal.
  • It is accessible by almost 2.2 billion people in the world.
  • It has recognition on an international level.
  • Cryptocurrency has taken the western world by storm. It is an advanced and extremely secure digital currency. People who love to make investments should consider purchasing this new sort of asset as well.  

    Source: www.urdupoint.com


    Full list of stories by category Cryptocurrencies - 2020-10-26

    Full list of stories by category Cryptocurrencies – 2020-10-26

    *A Private Investor is a recipient of the information who meets all of the conditions set out below, the recipient:

  • Obtains access to the information in a personal capacity;
  • Is not required to be regulated or supervised by a body concerned with the regulation or supervision of investment or financial services;
  • Is not currently registered or qualified as a professional securities trader or investment adviser with any national or state exchange, regulatory authority, professional association or recognised professional body;
  • Does not currently act in any capacity as an investment adviser, whether or not they have at some time been qualified to do so;
  • Uses the information solely in relation to the management of their personal funds and not as a trader to the public or for the investment of corporate funds;
  • Does not distribute, republish or otherwise provide any information or derived works to any third party in any manner or use or process information or derived works for any commercial purposes.
  • Source: www.sharecast.com


    Crypto News Recap: Bitcoin Back at $13K As PayPal Embraces Cryptocurrencies

    Crypto News Recap: Bitcoin Back at $13K As PayPal Embraces Cryptocurrencies

    Highlights

    Here are the market highlights for the week.

    October has been an interesting month for the crypto world as the flagship coin, Bitcoin, leapfrogged 13.86% over the last 7 days. The digital gold is trading at $13,021.42. 

    According to analysts, this upward move was driven by the great adoption news from PayPal. 

    Source: coinmarketcap.com

    Crypto Market Cap: 

    The whole crypto market sentiment re-enters the positive zone following the main coin. 

    Source: coinmarketcap.com

    Without any further delay, let’s take a look at the major highlights of last week in the amazing world of crypto.

    Bitcoin Price Skyrocket as PayPal Adds Cryptocurrencies

    Paypal, the American online payments system, announced the support of cryptocurrencies on its famous platform. 

    According to the official announcement, US-based PayPal users can now sell, buy and hold cryptocurrencies directly from their PayPal account. Dan Schulman, president and CEO, commented: “The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly”. 

    For now, this service will initially feature Bitcoin, Ethereum, BitcoinCash, and Litecoin directly within the PayPal digital wallet. 

    Some sources claimed that the digital payment giant is even considering the issuance of its own cryptocurrency. With this move, PayPal might triple its user base as Willy Woo noted on Twitter: 

    The European Central Bank is Eyeing Digital Euro

    The European Central Bank, the main central bank of the Eurozone which employs the euro, intents to issue a “Digital Euro”.

    Panetta: A digital euro would make digital central bank money accessible to everyone. It would provide access to a simple, costless, risk-free and trusted digital means of payment that is accepted throughout the euro area. More about a digital euro https://t.co/RiwOCers68 6/6

    Meanwhile, The ECB and the other European national central banks are exploring the pros and cons of using a digital form of money stating that it might be very helpful in ‘cushioning the impact of extreme events – such as natural disasters or pandemics’.

    The plans for the new coin is set to be ready for use towards the middle of 2021.

    Japanese Footballer Keisuke Honda to Roll out His Own Crypto Token

    Keisuke Honda, the well-known professional footballer, decided to launch his own cryptocurrency. 

    I have been said Honda is crazy by many people since I was child. I actually made a lot of failures but I believe that’s why I made some dreams come true as well. https://t.co/4X8ZHo20d1

    The new currency named KSK Honda Coin is the fruit of a partnership with Rally Network, a cryptocurrency creator service for influencers, content creators, and streamers is now priced at $8.350.

    WordPress Introduce New Plugin That Lets Publishers Timestamp Content on Ethereum Blockchain

    WordPress, Dutch startup WordProof announced they will allow publishers to timestamp content on the Ethereum blockchain. 

    Events to Keep An Eye On:

    (Sep 28, 2020 – Dec 09, 2020) 

    Future Blockchain Summit 2020 (Oct 27, 2020 – Oct 28, 2020) Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    © 2000 – 2020 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

    Source: www.albawaba.com

    Author: Areej Salem


    PayPal Finally Welcomes Cryptocurrencies, Including Bitcoin, Ethereum

    PayPal Finally Welcomes Cryptocurrencies, Including Bitcoin, Ethereum

    PayPal has finally decided to embrace crypto and will soon offer its U.S. customers the ability to buy, hold, sell, and use various virtual currencies, having obtained a New York license permitting it to do so — a move long anticipated by crypto enthusiasts, who see an endorsement from PayPal and its sprawling digital wallet network as a means of catapulting cryptocurrencies into mainstream use.

    Paypal

    PayPal are launching a cryptocurrency service for their U.S. customers

    PayPal will support four different cryptocurrencies — bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash — together with fintech startup Paxos.

    In the next few weeks, U.S. users will be able to buy, hold, and sell cryptocurrencies in their digital wallets, before being able to use them as a funding source at the company’s 26 million merchants from early 2021.

    The company said it will expand crypto support to its social payments app Venmo in early 2021, as well as additional countries outside the U.S.. 

    The New York State Department of Financial Services — which regulates financial services and products —  granted PayPal a “conditional Bitlicense” to offer the service, the first time it has done so, which will allow PayPal to team up with an established crypto operator, Paxos, to provide services until it gets a full license. 

    PayPal’s endorsement of cryptocurrencies is huge. Not only does it represent an enormous market — PayPal, and its app Venmo, is one of the world’s largest digital wallet networks —  it offers a way of potentially taming the problems of volatility, speed and cost that have hindered crypto’s mainstream ambitions. By adding cryptocurrencies to its digital wallet, they become just another source of funds. 

    PayPal’s CEO, Dan Schulman, said the shift to digital currencies “is inevitable” in a press release. He said the company is keen to work with banks and regulators around the world to help shape “the role digital currencies will play in the future of global finance and commerce.”

    PayPal finally embraces cryptocurrencies with New York licence (Financial Times)

    PayPal to allow cryptocurrency buying, selling and shopping on its network (Telegraph)

    PayPal Surprise Announcement Pushes Bitcoin Towards $13k (Forbes)

    Source link

    Source: otcpm24.com

    Author: News Bureau


    Surprise: DOJ Is Not a Big Fan of Privacy-Preserving Cryptocurrencies | Libertarian Hub


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