Canadian Authorities Seek Help Identifying Bitcoin ATM Double-Spenders

Around two weeks later, Coinbase added support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH). And starting on February 22nd, it introduced support for storing, sending, …

Authorities in Canada are reportedly looking for help identifying four suspects of conducting double-spend attacks on Bitcoin ATMs throughout the country, potentially taking advantage of these accepting 0-confirmation transactions.

According to the CBC, the four suspects managed to make over CAD $200,000 ($150,000) through the attacks, in which they managed to conduct 112 fraudulent transactions in seven cities in Canada, half of which in Calgary.

The attacks were carried out for 10 days in September of last year. Besides Calgary, the suspects also conducted double-spend attacks on Bitcoin ATMs in cities like Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Ottawa, and more.

Authorities believe the individuals have n-depth knowledge or interest in cryptocurrency, bitcoin and/or blockchain technology.” They seemingly managed to steal the funds by taking advantage of the Bitcoin ATMs accepting 0-confirmation transactions.

CCN points out that replace-by-fee tools developed by Canadian Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd could have been used in the attack. The tools themselves weren’t created for such activities, but allow for “stuck” transaction to go through using additional fees.

There is, however, a “double-spend” tool. That creates two transactions in succession, one paying a specific amount to a specific address, and a second one double-spending that transaction.

Per Todd, it also allows users to “optionally specify that the first transaction additional OP-RETURN, multisig, and “blacklisted” address outputs.” He added:

Some miners won’t accept transactions with these output types; those miners will accept the second double-spend transaction, helping you achieve a successful double-spend.

Looking for the suspects, Calgary Police are being aided by other law enforcement agencies, including the Toronto Police, the Winnipeg Police Service, and more. Those with information on the case can submit anonymous tips.

The development comes after criminals snatched a cryptocurrency ATM in a California bakery break-in. According to CoinATMRadar, there are over 4,400 Bitcoin ATMs in the world, and reports seem to suggest criminals are increasingly targeting them.

0-confirmation transactions are somewhat controversial, as while some point out they aren’t as secure as transactions that wait for more confirmations on the BTC blockchain, others claim they are a necessity to not have customers who want to spend funds wait for these confirmations.

As CryptoGlobe covered, however, waiting for confirmations may not be the only problem bitcoiners may have while paying for everyday goods using BTC, as even paying for coffee with the cryptocurrency could lead to tax headaches.

Featured image of the suspects from the Calgary Police Service.

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Cryptocurrency contra Gambling: False equivalence shows correlation but no conclusion

High risk. High return. Many investors look at the cryptocurrency realm using this myopic lens. One that looks at decentralized currency as a mere …

High risk. High return. Many investors look at the cryptocurrency realm using this myopic lens. One that looks at decentralized currency as a mere investment vehicle, failing to see the underlying principle of the lack of centralized control.

Cryptocurrencies have been the most volatile financial asset in the past decade, but its loyalists do not regard the rise and fall of Bitcoin’s price to be an indication of its worth. Proponents do not view the coin market in a constant valuation race with the stock market. In fact, they view it as a means to replace the traditional economic system and take back financial control.

When the price of Bitcoin shot up from $500 to almost $20,000, many crypto-newbies ventured into the industry to simply make some money with no underlying belief. The nature and volatility of the cryptocurrency industry has given birth to the presupposition that many investors in the crypto-realm are avid-gamblers. The correlation between the two was studied via a survey by the Centre for Gambling Studies at Rutgers University School of Social Work. However, the survey itself left a lot to be desired as the correlation presented was thin and the conclusion was questionable, to say the least.

THE GAME

Presenting the argument that ‘gambling,’ being correlated with cryptocurrency trading points to a relationship between the two that is thinly constructed, especially when looked at the pool of people considered to be in the gambling fray. TheCentre for Gambling Studies denoted people who have engaged in any form of gambling i.e. online betting to in-land casinos at least once a month for a year in the aforementioned category. From a minimal standpoint, considering a relatively small group of 876 adults, with once a month for a year gambling frequency and a wide range of gambling options does not show a habit or an addiction, much less a relationship.

Out of the pool, only 50 percent of the respondents dove into cryptocurrency trading in the past year, with no indication of the quantity or frequency of trades. The study also failed to mention the type of digital assets traded, stablecoins that track their corresponding fiat values do not pose a gambling hazard especially in comparison to low market cap ‘pump and dump’ altcoins. This sliver of a connection between the two also looks very weak, given the significant rise and fall of the global coin market in the past year.

The volatility of the collective cryptocurrency market in 2018 was at an all-time high, attracting risk-savvy and risk-averse investors alike. With the December 2017 crypto-boom serving as an anticipatory mirror of yet another rise, hesitant investors were further buoyed to buy digital assets. Despite this hanging investment carrot, only 50 percent of the avid gamblers invested in the coin market, showing the false equivalency in this correlation.

THE BUY-IN

Devin Mills, the lead author of the study does admit that for “some people,” cryptocurrency trading is an investment opportunity, there is no denying this claim, especially given the growing popularity of the crypto-pegged investment funds that are now mainstream.

He further equates crypto-trading to show people “gamble on horses or sports or slots,” which presents the same medium but fails on the objective. Betting on sports or at the tracks are driven by sheer greed of monetary gains and not value generation. The rush of a full-house is not the same as a coin surging on CoinMarketCap, and does not point to a direct tie between the two.

Furthermore, Gambling sans principle does not derive pleasure from the nature of the underlying asset being risked, it derives pleasure from the asset’s mere change in value. Chance is the only motivator for a gambler, with no skill, effort or study involved; random events result in random rewards, unlike skilled investing.

Drawing the correlation between crypto-trading and gambling was not the intention of the study. It was initially crafted to study the use of virtual currencies as a payment method for online casinos. The study then veered into defining cryptocurrency trading from a narrow gambling lens than through the larger dimension of decentralized currency.

THE CALL

Mills also highlights the culpable infrastructure of crypto-trading that would lust the gambler. Agreed, the crypto-space has made several strides in making trading easier, but if the infrastructure is the argument, nothing is easier than traditional stock market investing.

With end-to-end assistance, a plethora of assets tranches and classes to invest in, stock traders could also be edged closer to the gambling crowd, keeping in mind the similarities between the two fields. The volatility of the stock market is not as dominant as that of virtual currencies, but if the high-risk stocks are analyzed, it does draw an inference to the fluctuations of cryptocurrencies.

Lia Nower, a co-author of the report, attested the same as she drew parallels between high-risk stock investors and crypto-traders, hence debilitating the isolated correlation of cryptocurrency investors to that of gambling.

Furthermore, on studying the responses between the two broad categories of gambling cited by the study, it was found that gambling in casinos draws a negative relationship with crypto-trading and gambling in sports and high-risk stocks draws a positive one. This clear difference in the types of gambling leading to an antithetical trading pattern suggests that the relationship between the two is further blurred.

The study by the Centre for Gambling Studies draws a false equivalence between the two varied concepts, right from their definition of gamblers. As mentioned earlier, the study looked at people who gambled once a month for a year, which denotes on-and-off gamblers, rather than habitual ones. Even with the severity of the sample reduced, just 50 percent of an 876 pool responded to having traded cryptocurrencies, with no further metrics provided and in an enticing year as well.

THE FINAL CALL

Gamblers’ mindset looks at everything as a game of value, of numbers that constantly change and blur the objective from vision. Anything, according to them, can be chanced up and sold for millions, not merely virtual currencies, stocks, commodities, goods, and services anything can be gambled.

Satoshi Nakamoto created the first coin to bypass currency controls, cross geographical borders and push back against controlling governments, with no drive to create an investment vehicle, despite the claims. Cryptocurrencies, even today, are not seen as an asset class but, by many, as a tool for financial freedom.

The equivalence between the two might point to a weak correlation between gambling and any constantly changing asset class, not just cryptocurrencies, but it falls well short of a conclusion.


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Crypto prices drift lower, but holding inside short-term ranges

Ether, ETHUSD, -1.11% fell 1.5% to $130.88, Litecoin LTCUSD, -1.63% was off 2% to $54.85, Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, -0.55% lost 0.7% to $126.30 …

Major digital currency prices drifted lower on Wednesday, erasing the small gains made on Tuesday, but holding inside recent tight ranges.

Bitcoin, BTCUSD, -0.03% the best-known cryptocurrency, was changing hands at $3,845.80, down 0.6% since Tuesday’s level at 5 p.m. Eastern time on the Kraken exchange. The digital currency has yet to trade outside the $3,400 – $4,400 range this year.

Read:Stock market poised for tepid rise, but Dow remains under pressure amid Boeing 737 8 woes

What are analysts saying

“It’s good to see the SEC taking a more rational approach to crypto,” wrote Gavin Smith, CEO of Panxora, a cryptocurrency trading platform, speaking after Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton reaffirmed the agency’s stance that Ether is not a security.

“However, we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Global crypto organizations will still be waiting to see how the U.S. moves to regulate crypto going forward. This is because U.S. authorities have a controlling stake in the development of cryptocurrency globally. So far this has meant crippling fines and sometimes criminal proceedings on companies, regardless of whether they are legally operating their own jurisdictions.”

Read:SEC’s Jay Clayton says Ether isn’t a security, reiterating the regulator’s stance

Altcoins and futures

Smaller cryptocurrencies, commonly known as altcoins, are in the red to begin trading. Ether, ETHUSD, -0.76% fell 1.5% to $130.88, Litecoin LTCUSD, -0.21% was off 2% to $54.85, Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, +0.47% lost 0.7% to $126.30 and XRP XRPUSD, +1.95% was down 0.7%, trading at 31 cents.

Futures were moving lower with spot prices in early trading. The Cboe Global Markets March contract XBTJ9, +0.13% was down 0.7% to $3,835, while the CME Group March contract BTCH9, +0.39% fell 0.3% to 3,835.

Read:Accepting bitcoin could create a grande headache at Starbucks

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Why Winklevoss Twins Fear Investors are Losing Confidence in Crypto

In no way, a centralized entity should be able to gain hold of someone else’s cryptocurrencies. That’s the main logic bitcoin propagated via its original …

The crypto industry is currently going through trust issues, according to Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss.

The Gemini crypto exchange founders, otherwise known as the Winklevoss Twins, said that investors were less confident about investing in cryptocurrencies following the shutdown of QuadrigaCX. The Twins demanded more inputs from the US regulators to make the cryptocurrency market a safer place for investors, stating:

“There are a lot of carcasses on the road of crypto that we’ve seen and learned from. At the end of the day, it’s really a trust problem. You need some kind of regulation to promote positive outcomes.”

QuadrigaCX, once a prominent Canada-based crypto exchange, announced shutdown this December after its chief executive Gerald Cotten died unexpectedly with the keys of $194 million crypto wallets. The company eventually lost clients’ funds in excess which, per the Winklevoss Twins, is what rattled potential crypto investors.

Better oversight, they said, would attract more investors and would further set bitcoin to the path of a long-awaited price recovery.

Twins Miss the Point

While the Twins could be right about strict oversight attracting big investors, as also covered by NewsBTC earlier, there is no evidence that QuadrigaCX fiasco could initiate a new negative trend. With trust, the Twins want to imply that QuadrigaCX would eventually undo crypto adoption as a whole. Instead, their focus should be more on educating crypto users about protecting their assets from potential hacks. Because, indeed, hacks do not discriminate between regulated or unregulated exchanges.

And they got rich within an unregulated crypto environment. Socialism. Hypocrisy.

— AR (@AR99092110) March 11, 2019

The reason why QuadrigaCX users lost funds was that they handled control of their assets to the exchange. In no way, a centralized entity should be able to gain hold of someone else’s cryptocurrencies. That’s the main logic bitcoin propagated via its original whitepaper. Centralized exchanges never did enough to reduce counterparty risk. Since Mt. Gox, the crypto industry suffered plenty of hacks, leading to the loss of billions of dollars worth of crypto assets. The hacked platforms included BitStamp ($1.43 billion), BitFinex ($900 million), BitGrail ($170 million), CoinRail ($40 million), amongst others.

In all the cases, crypto traders trusted exchanges to store their money. Nevertheless, all of them failed to provide careful custodianship. These exchanges continue to control users’ assets, and that is where the core problem lies.

Control is Confidence

The rising number of decentralized exchange projects (DEX) indicate that – in the future – traders would gain 100% control of their crypto assets. Also, these exchanges would practically do the job of a centralized exchange but without designating power to a single party. That includes everything from capital deposits, order books, order matching, and asset exchange.

Nevertheless, DEX would need to catch up when it comes to handling a large number of volumes and supporting features like stop loss and margin trading. And for active traders, centralized exchanges will remain a go-to option. However, the best they can do to ensure utmost protection is to keep only a small part of their holdings on their public wallet.

While a stricter regulatory framework, as the Winklevoss Twins, would still be useful, one cannot risk exposing their funds to lengthy court procedures in the event of a hack.

Not your keys, not your bitcoins.

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Perspectives on the Italian crypto scene. Interview with Michele Zilocchi

Interview with Michele Zilocchi. Why did you start with cryptocurrencies? I remember the time when I was graduating, and I dreamed about an …

Interview with Michele Zilocchi

Why did you start with cryptocurrencies?

I remember the time when I was graduating, and I dreamed about an International working position, full of entrepreneurs and with lots of different projects. It was the year 2013, andI could not figure out that I was already thinking about the Cryptocurrencies environment, but now it seems to me like I have found what I was looking for.

You now write on Amicaborsa.com, an emerging business website in the Italian market. What happened?

I had a great opportunity of showing my skills to a strong Italian entrepreneurs team that operates in London managing a rising investment fund. Along the year 2017, we decided to start a new section on Amicaborsa.com talking about Cryptocurrencies technology, Blockchain and Trading of Cryptocurrencies.

You talk a lot about Cryptocurrency trading and trading for newbies, tell us more?

My adventure in Cryptocurrencies started with Binance, buying some Altcoins randomly, and selling randomly the same coins. What I realised was that the Cryptocurrencies markets (especially the Altcoins versus Bitcoin markets) have a higher volatility and price excursion than usual Forex market. Higher volatility is mainly due to lower capitalisation of the markets and to strong correlations with some major markets such as BTCUSD.

You are Italian. How do you feel about cryptocurrencies in your country?

I feel comfortable in saying that Italy is moving forward within the Cryptocurrency and Blockchain environment with lots of initiatives.

For example, Rovereto (north Italy, county of Trento) is generally known as the first area in the Country where you can get Bitcoin from ATMs since the year 2018.

A second great initiative has been the Blockchain volunteer group in Napoli, where they are focusing on the Waste Disposal Tokenization.

Last but not least, the Italian Parliament appointed 30 Italian Blockchain Experts as part of a team to develop Blockchain application. Among these 30 Experts, there are lots of different professional profiles such as Accountants, Engineers, Entrepreneurs, Professors and Information Technologists.

What are the activities related to cryptocurrencies that you think are most popular in Italy?

I think the Italians approach does not differ too much from the average individuals around the world facing for the first time the cryptocurrencies’ market: reluctance and difficulty understanding in getting their first crypto coins. Once you have got a coin, what do you do to get more value from it?

What are cryptocurrencies market activities you are focusing on right now?

I am building my credibility as a cryptocurrency trader, as a cryptomining farm’s advisor and experiencing as an ICO advisor.

I like the Advisor experience because it gives me the opportunity of being in touch with many of blockchain’s based companies and looking through their business development since the early stage.

We are currently starting our cryptocurrency mining facility based in Asia, but so far my deepest experience has been focused on Crypto trading. I am struggling to sharpen some trading methods detached from the ordinary technical analysis that sometimes involves extra-confusional graphics.

At this moment, the Cryptocurrency market generally has a low capitalisation, being easily influenced by some big trade orders put on the market and bypassing any technical analysis. You may have been told the OTC market is growing and more and more Exchanges are offering this opportunity, but you have to consider the Market Prices might be tastier even for big players.

In my opinion, when you begin trading on Cryptocurrency, you must be familiar with and increasingly dominate your approach to Money Management controlling and distinguishing the risk accordingly.

Binance is my favourite broker, even if I had experience with several Cryptocurrency brokers and having had my first trading experience with Derivatives contracts. Do you know what happened? There were too many hidden fees,and I got rid of them, switching to the “pure Cryptocurrency trading” where you have no overnight fees, and no taxes apply in Italy until a certain traded amount.


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