Posted on

Crypto Scores Big-Name Backer in Chicago’s Mayor: “Alternative Currencies Will Happen”

Chicago’s Mayor Takes To The Stage To Laud Cryptos

Very often do incumbents of legacy industries mention crypto assets. And even if they do, their comments are often laced with a negative tone, as they are wary of the purported criminal activity-enabling potential of assets like Bitcoin.

But, this narrative took a sudden turn on March 18th, as Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s incumbent mayor, took to the stage of a local FinTech gathering to make mention of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Per Forbes, his statements were rather positive.

Emanuel, who formerly served as President Obama’s chief of staff, remarked that for nations facing finanicial imbroglios, namely Iran and Venezuela, harnessing crypto assets could be a good escape mechanism. He went on to explain:

One day, somebody’s going to figure out – whether that’s Argentina, ten years from now, five years from now – how to use cryptocurrencies to stay alive when their facing a financial crisis, and then you’re going to find out that this moment has arrived.”

Emanuel’s comments are rather reminiscent of those made by humans right advocate Alex Gladstein, who wrote an op-ed in TIME Magazine on a similar subject matter. According to reports from this very outlet, Gladstein explained that he sees Bitcoin, privacy-centric digital assets (ZCash, for example), and similar technologies as a way out of authoritarianism.

The mayor of one of America’s biggest cities was open in stating that his knowledge of the technology is lackluster, but explained that he sees blockchain’s “trend lines are affirmative for its future.”

Emanuel Joins Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, Others In Bitcoin Love

Emanuel’s public show of affection for cryptocurrencies comes after some of the world’s largest Silicon Valley stars, entrepreneurs, and the like have lauded Bitcoin.

As you, the reader, likely know, Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter and Square, has become somewhat of a BTC crusader in recent months. After adding the cryptocurrency, which he has called a contender for the Internet’s native currency, to Square’s Cash App in early-2018, Dorsey has gone, as CNBC puts it, “all-in” on the space. After confirming that he would add the Lightning Network to Cash App, he scooped up a Trezor hard wallet to store his holdings.

Most recently, he called on three to four developers and one designer to join Square Crypto, a recently-launched division meant to bolster the Bitcoin ecosystem through development and newfangled products.

Nearby, Elon Musk, a world-renowned entrepreneur and visionary of what’s to come, has expressed a similar sentiment on the future of digital assets. Musk told ARK Invest’s CEO that he expects for paper money to be ousted by cryptocurrencies, before adding that he sees Bitcoin’s structure as “brilliant.” The Tesla and SpaceX CEO, however, made it clear that he only owns less than $1,000 worth of BTC.


Photo by Matthew Hamilton on Unsplash

The post Crypto Scores Big-Name Backer in Chicago’s Mayor: “Alternative Currencies Will Happen” appeared first on Ethereum World News.

Posted on

Scammers, Satoshi and Tesla Miners: Elon Musk’s Complex Relationship With Crypto

Tesla CEO said that Bitcoin’s structure is “quite brilliant.”

Last week, technology entrepreneur and Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that Bitcoin’s (BTC) structure is “quite brilliant,” adding that digital currency is “a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper.”

Notably, that was perhaps the most straightforward comment on cryptocurrencies and blockchain from Musk so far, as he normally tends to avoid the topic. However, there have been a few encounters between the tech mogul and crypto to date — after all, given Musk’s previous experience at PayPal, he couldn’t pass up the innovative digital payment method.

Here’s how his relationship with crypto has evolved since 2014, when he made his first public comments about Bitcoin.

October, 2014: Elon Musk argues that Bitcoin will be mostly used for illegal transactions

On Oct. 8, 2014, Musk was interviewed by Walter Isaacson on stage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit. At some point, Isaacson asked the Tesla CEO whether he thought that Bitcoin would be disruptive to fiat currencies, to which he replied:

“I think Bitcoin is probably a good thing. I think it’s primarily going to be a means of doing illegal transactions. But that’s not necessarily entirely bad. You know, some things maybe shouldn’t be illegal.”

Musk then added:

“It will be useful for legal and illegal transactions. Otherwise, it would have no value as a use for illegal transactions, because you have to have a legal-to-illegal bridge.”

The entrepreneur followed his comments by disclosing that he didn’t own any BTC at the time.

November 2017: Musk clarifies he is not Satoshi, says he owns “part of BTC”

On Nov. 22, Sahil Gupta, who is allegedly a former intern at SpaceX, wrote a Medium entry speculating that Musk could be Satoshi Nakamoto, the original creator of Bitcoin.

Specifically, Gupta emphasized Musk’s background in economics, experience in production-level software and history of innovation to postulate that Musk could have invented Bitcoin.

The theory was very soon disproved by Musk himself, who tweeted that Gupta’s suggestion “is not true.” The SpaceX CEO added, however, that he now had “part of BTC” a friend sent him a few years back.  

December 2017: Musk says that he has never heard about Bitcoin

On Dec. 22, Neeraj K. Agrawal, an employee of nonprofit crypto research institution CoinCenter, took to Twitter to ask Musk whether he created Bitcoin, to which the tech tycoon replied that he “never heard of it,” linking a satirical article on The Onion titled “Bitcoin Plunge Reveals Possible Vulnerabilities In Crazy Imaginary Internet Money.”

January 2018: Musk references crypto hype to promote a flamethrower  

In January 2018, when major altcoins were enjoying their all-time highs following the Bitcoin’s record-breaking ascent, Musk used the consequent crypto hype to promote a flamethrower released by his tunnel construction firm, the Boring Company:

“The flamethrower is sentient, its safe word is ‘cryptocurrency’ and it comes with a free blockchain.”

February 2018: Musk comments on Twitter crypto scams, reveals how much BTC he is holding

In February last year, the SpaceX CEO addressed a growing Twitter trend, whereas scammers would pose as famous figures like Musk or Donald Trump and trick users into sending them cryptocurrency.

Replying to one of the tweets asking why such spamming was so widespread, Musk claimed that he had already contacted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey regarding this issue.

“I literally own zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25 BTC that a friend sent me many years ago,” he also disclosed, which seems to check out with the aforementioned comment about his crypto holdings.

At the time, his BTC tokens amounted to around $2,531. As of now, that number would be even more modest, being set at around the $975 mark.

Interestingly, just few days prior to Musk’s tweet, Tesla’s Amazon Web Service’s (AWS) software container was hacked by cryptojackers. Specifically, fraudsters accessed Tesla’s AWS access credentials by penetrating a nonpassword-protected Kubernetes software container. Then, they used that container to mine Bitcoin for an unknown amount of time. The attack was well coordinated, as the hackers set up their own mining pool software, then connected the malicious script to an “unlisted” endpoint, and kept their CPU usage at a low level to prevent being spotted.

Prior to that, in December 2017, an owner of a Tesla S electric car reported that he had been mining Bitcoin with his car’s supercharger, placing a mining rig in the trunk.

March 2018: Musk is spotted holding a book about cryptocurrencies

In March, a photo of Musk holding a book titled “Cryptocurrencies Simply Explained” surfaced online. The picture was taken at South by Southwest festival, where the entrepreneur allegedly took one item from the crowd to sign. According to the book’s author, Julian Hosp, Musk kept the book.

Elon Musk

Source: photo by Ryan Chylinski on Twitter

October 2018: Musk jokes about selling Bitcoin, gets banned from Twitter

On Oct. 22, Tesla CEO provoked some rumors about his company’s involvement with cryptocurrencies by posting a tweet that said “wanna buy Bitcoin?” The image attached to the post was taken from the Cryptocurrency Girls website, which depicts major cryptocurrencies as anime characters.

Later, Musk confirmed it was a gag. “I was just joking,” he said during a recent podcast hosted by advisory services firm ARK Invest. “Bitcoin and Ethereum scammers were so rampant on Twitter, I decided to join in and I said at one point wanna buy some Bitcoin?”

After the tweet, the entrepreneur’s account was briefly suspended “because of some automatic rule against selling Bitcoin or something,” as he explained.

November 2018: Fraudsters steal $157,000 worth of crypto after hacking verified Twitter accounts

On Nov. 5, British news agency Telegraph reported that fraudsters stole 120,000 euros (around $157,000), after posing as Musk and promoting a fake cryptocurrency giveaway on Twitter.

Specifically, the hackers broke into Twitter accounts of clothing retailer Matalan and Pathé UK, the British arm of the French filmmaker, and posted messages advertising the giveaway. Since both accounts were verified, the followers were more likely to take their message at face value.

The post claimed that Musk was leaving Tesla and was giving away free Bitcoin via a typical form for Twitter crypto-related scams: The followers were encouraged to send a small amount of Bitcoin to a given wallet address and promised a much larger amount in return.

According to the Telegraph report, more than 300 people had fallen victim to the scam.

February 2019: Musk says that Bitcoin’s structure “is quite brilliant,” adding that there is “some merit to Ethereum as well”

On Feb. 19, ARK Invest published a podcast featuring Musk, who made his stance on cryptocurrencies clearer, and — for the first time since 2014 — made some serious comments on the topic. At first, however, when the interviewer asked Musk to go off-topic and talk about cryptocurrencies, he started to laugh it off. “Crypto? Seriously?” he exclaimed.

Nevertheless, in response to a question about whether Bitcoin will become the only native cryptocurrency of the internet, Musk said:

“I think the Bitcoin structure was quite brilliant. It seems like there’s some merit to Ethereum as well, and maybe some of the others.”

Musk then stressed that “it would not be a good use of Tesla resources to get involved in crypto,” because his company is “trying to accelerate the advance of sustainable energy.” Thus, he pinpointed crypto’s high-energy consumption as one of its disadvantages:

“One of the downsides of crypto is that, computationally, it is quite energy intensive. So there have to be some kind of constraints on the creation of crypto. But it’s very energy intensive to create the incremental Bitcoin at this point.”

As for the pros, Musk noted that he liked cryptocurrencies for their ability to transfer value and bypass currency controls:

“It bypasses currency controls. Paper money is going away, and crypto is a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper. That’s for sure.”

Posted on

Tron (TRX) Enters Merchandising Phase With T-Shirts and More at Crypto and Proud

Merchandising is one of the best ways companies and/or firms give their fans a chance to become part of ‘the magic’ of what they are trying to achieve by solving real life problems. We have seen it with Elon Musk who has sold out caps and flame throwers as part of his revolutionary idea of easing Los Angeles traffic through the Boring Company.

The Tron (TRX) Foundation is also offering the Tron Community a chance to be part of the project by partnering with Crypto & Proud to provide merchandise for the global community. Fans of Tron can buy assorted merchandise using their TRX. Justin Sun made the announcement via a tweet as follows:

#TRONICS can buy #TRON Products using $TRX on @cryptoandproud. The first #TRON Basic collection is available now! As our partner, @cryptoandproud will expand the collection with more #TRON Merchandise and create their own unique products for #TRON.

Plans are underway to expand the collection of Tron merchandise at Crypto & Proud. The current Tron inventory at the online store includes the following:

  1. T – Shirts
  2. Polo shirts
  3. iPhone X Cases

The medium announcement by the Tron Foundation went on to state that Crypto & Proud ships internationally, thus providing a convenient solution for any TRX HODLer from any corner of the earth:

Besides working as a store Crypto & Proud is able to provide merchandise partner support and complete larger orders for their client’s team, business partners, supporters, community, influencers and others. Crypto & Proud ships internationally with tracking and accept over 50 crypto currencies in store and for their services.

In conclusion, the partnership between the Tron Foundation and Crypto & Proud provides an avenue for the Tron Community to be part of ‘the magic’ of decentralizing the web by purchasing genuine Tron merchandise. As Tron also embraces another new phase of Decentralized Applications on its blockchain thanks to the Tron Virtual Machine (TVM), the future does indeed look bright for the project.

[Photo courtesy of medium.com/tron-foundation]

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

The post Tron (TRX) Enters Merchandising Phase With T-Shirts and More at Crypto and Proud appeared first on Ethereum World News.

Posted on

Elon Musk: “I Want Ethereum (ETH) Even If It Is A Scam”

Elon Musk, who is unarguably the world’s foremost entrepreneur, has finally made his section mention of Ethereum (ETH). While this would normally be seen as a potential turning point for this nascent industry, Musk’s mention of the popular cryptocurrency was through the lens of it possibly being a scam… uh oh!

On Tuesday, Techmeme, a San Francisco-based technology-centric news aggregator, posted a tweet that highlighted Twitter’s removal of 486 accounts that were reportedly participating in malicious schemes.

Elon Musk, who has been subject to attack via Twitter accounts acting in malintent, fittingly responded to the tweet, noting that this was a “great action” made by the social media giant that will “increase usage by real users.” While this original statement made no mention of crypto, another user of platform responded to Musk, poking fun at Ethereum scambots in the following statement:

Elon so you won’t send me that ETH after all?

As reported by Ethereum World News in early July of 2018, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO (amongst other accomplishments) is no stranger to Twitter scambots, as he acknowledged the bots that plagued his profile for months, by asking “who is running the Ethereium scambots” at an earlier date.

Back to the matter at hand, Musk, who is clearly aware of these bots as established, jokingly fired back a reply, adding that the ETH that was ‘promised’ “is coming, I swear.” As such a reply wasn’t unexpected by the man himself, Twitter users quickly flocked to the thread to further the conversation. After likely receiving hundreds, if not thousands of messages regarding ETH, other crypto assets, and blockchain tech, the world-renowned entrepreneur made one final comment on the situation, stating that “at this point, I want ETH even if it is a scam.”

While this is clearly a joke, it’s comforting knowing that Elon Musk, a role model to millions of individuals around the world, has taken some interest, albeit small, in this nascent industry that has the potential to reach a global audience.

Could Twitter Be To Blame For The Crypto Scambot Debacle? 

Although Twitter has taken actions against the aforementioned 486 accounts, as per an article from The 

Next Web’s crypto-centric column, the San Francisco-based social media firm might just be exacerbating the problem. Security researcher Troy Mursch recently revealed that accounts impersonating the Tesla executive were actually ‘recommended’ for Mursch to follow.

Not only were these accounts impersonating Musk, but unsurprisingly, they were also advertising malicious links for an “official 5,000 ETH giveaway” from Elon Musk himself. Evidently, Twitter’s attempt to amend this problem has been widely unsuccessful, with Mursch later taking to Twitter to post even more images of the same issue.

This issue has become so widespread that Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin even tagged Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, asking him to fix the issue, while also asking developers to establish a second-layer solution to filter out these bots. So far, nothing seems to have resulted from Buterin’s cries for help, as these bots remain a rampant force to be dealt with.

Title Image Courtesy of Heisenberg Media @ Flickr
Girl in a jacket

loading…

Posted on

A Look Into The Mind Of An “ETH Giveaway” Twitter Scammer

Crypto Pet Peeves — Twitter Scam Bots

Ethereum giveaway scam bots are the pet peeve of any cryptocurrency Twitter user, with these malicious accounts littering the comment sections of tweets. Nearly everyone in this nascent community has seen them, but for those who don’t know what these bots are, here’s a bit of an explanation.

These so-called “giveaway scam bots” are fraudulent Twitter accounts that pose as celebrities, entrepreneurs or even cryptocurrency personalities to garner attention or cryptocurrencies. The most notable cases of these scams include Twitter ‘giving away ETH’ scams, with scammers requesting for users to send a certain amount of Ether to an address, in exchange for a substantially larger payout. Obviously, nothing ever comes of these requests, as the unfortunate few who send their funds to the addresses never receive anything in return.

As reported by Ethereum World News, cybersecurity researchers recently uncovered that there were upwards of 15,000 individual accounts dedicated to garnering scammed cryptocurrency. While this figure may not tell the whole story, with bots getting banned left and right, Duo Security’s search spanned 88 million Twitter accounts, so the firm’s claims hold some credence at the very least.

These pesky scam bots have become so widespread that Vitalik Buterin, a well-known co-founder of Ethereum, had to go as far as changing his username to set his account apart from scam accounts. Along with changing his name, the Ethereum co-founder even called out Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to fix the issue.

Moreover, not only has this issue affected well-known individuals in the crypto community, but it has also affected mainstream celebrities, with accounts being made in the likeness of Elon Musk’s Twitter page being seen on a near-daily basis. In fact, these accounts have become so common that Elon Musk himself acknowledged them, poking fun at the “scambots” concept in the following tweet.

While the extent of these scams is easily apparent, little is known about the operation itself, or the people behind it. But as Boing Boing reports, Adam Guerbuez, a cryptocurrency evangelist, recently received some insight on this whole scam bot debacle.

Up Close And Personal With A Scam Bot Operator 

Guerbuez, the aforementioned cryptocurrency evangelist and personality, first encountered this form of cryptocurrency scam on his Twitter, with an account promising his followers “free” Ethereum. While Guerbuez obviously knew that this tweet was made in malintent, out of curiosity, he asked the scammer if they could discuss the whole operation.

Oddly enough, the scammer agreed, likely due to the fact that the operator was a big fan of Guerbuez’s social media outlets. According to the unnamed individual, these scams can rake in upwards of $50,000 a day, with a good day potentially pulling in a staggering $100,000 in Ethereum. While the claims were not backed up by any evidence, taking into account the prevalence of these scams, it is more than likely that these figures are well warranted.

The scammer went on to explain the inner workings of his/her/their operations, adding that the bots are run by small teams that enlist the help of many automated practices. The scammer wrote:

“Well, the process from generating accounts, to tweeting to rotating ETH wallet address is all done automatic by our bots. The only manual process is cashing out.”

Closing off the interview, the scammer, referred to as “ETHGiveaway” by Boing Boing, explained that Twitter verified accounts (the accounts with a blue checkmark beside their name) while costing upwards of $1,000, are of no use to scammers anymore, as “mooches (scammed individuals) will send ETH to any account we make.”

Although Twitter may be doing its best to crack down on these scams, it is still evident that these fraudulent accounts are as common as ever in this nascent cryptosphere.

Photo by Marius Ciutacu on Unsplash

loading…

Posted on

Cybersecurity Firm Kaspersky Calls Out Cryptocurrency Scams And Thefts

Russia-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky recently released a report highlighting 2017’s cryptocurrency “social engineering schemes,” which saw criminals net millions in cryptocurrency value.

According to estimates given by Kaspersky’s research team, the cybercriminals managed to gain over 21,000 Ethereum, or approximately $10 million at the time of press, from the “social engineering” schemes seen in 2017. 

So what did these schemes entail?

The cybersecurity firm noted that ICO and cryptocurrency giveaway scams were common, with cybercriminals “drawing inspiration” from legitimate business operations. The report noted:

Some of the most popular targets are ICO investors, who seek to invest their money in start-ups in the hope of gaining a profit in the future.

For ICO-related scams, the criminals would create fraudulent websites and emails/messages that emulate well-known projects. This method resembles the classic internet ‘phishing’ scam, which involves scammers trying to obtain funds or sensitive information by disguising as a trusted party.

Kaspersky gave the example of a Switcheo ICO scam, allowing for criminals to steal over $25,000 by promoting a misleading cryptocurrency address on Twitter, rerouting the funds from the official ICO wallet to the criminal’s wallet.

Another prominent scam involved the OmiseGo project, which is one of the most popular projects on the Ethereum network. In a similar method to the Switcheo scam, criminals created “hundreds of fake websites,” enticing users to send their hard-earned cryptocurrencies to the ‘legitimate’ address. The Russian firm noted that OmiseGo scams drew in over $1.1 million worth of cryptocurrency, by far one of the most damaging cases of “social engineering.”

Elon “Not Giving Away ETH” Musk

Another popular method enlisted by scammers was with ‘cryptocurrency giveaways,’ with bad actors creating social media accounts that pretend to be celebrities, entrepreneurs or even cryptocurrency personalities. The most notable cases of these scams include Twitter ‘giving away Ethereum’ scams, with scammers requesting for users to send Ethereum to an address, in exchange for a substantially larger payout.

Obviously, nothing ever comes of these requests, as the unfortunate few who send their funds to the addresses never get anything in return. The cybersecurity firm acknowledged cases where criminals would even mimic the Twitter accounts of Elon Musk and the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov.

Musk, one of the world’s most prominent businessmen, acknowledged the “scambots” made in his likeness, jokingly issuing a Tweet calling these accounts out.

Nadezhda Demidova, the lead web content analyst at Kaspersky gave a statement regarding the scams, saying:

These new fraud schemes are based on simple social engineering methods, but stand out from common phishing attacks because they help criminals make millions of dollars. The success criminals have enjoyed suggests that they know how to exploit the human factor, which has always been one of the weakest links in cybersecurity, to capitalize on user behaviors.”

However, Kaspersky noted that its wide array of products have been working well to stave off scams, and have blocked over 100,000 attempts to scam its users using “fake exchanges and other sources” in the first half of 2018. Kaspersky closed the report by reaffirming that users should be wary while dealing with questionable cryptocurrency exchanges, offers, and wallets.

loading…

Posted on

Elon Musk Gives Nod to Ethereum (ETH) Twitter Scam Bots

Ethereum (ETH)–Ethereum holders, take note: Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has finally made mention of the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. However, the context of the tweet was in reference to the endless “crypto bots” that have seemingly clogged the entire Twitter space related to cryptocurrency.

While scam bots have been targeting accounts within the industry of cryptocurrency for over a year, such as Litecoin’s Charlie Lee, Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin and Binance exchange’s Changpeng Zhao, the relentless nature of the token “giveaway” schemes has started to bleed over into other high profile industries.

Scam bots function in a very generic but deceiving way: they utilize the same name and profile photo of popular crypto figureheads, despite having a different handle that often serves as the tip-off. However, the bots have become more devious, utilizing pre-verified accounts to give their tweets the characteristic “blue check mark” and posting in the comments under real messages and updates devised to deceive undiscerning users. Typically, the scam involves some version of a token giveaway, where unsuspecting users are compelled to send a small amount of crypto (almost always Ethereum) to an address, with the promise of receiving a larger “lottery amount” in return. While the ploy does reveal some utility to the system of crypto transactions–an anonymous sender may user their address to send and receive cryptocurrency–the overwhelming volume of Twitter bots and scam-artists have suffocated the platform as a forum for discussion.

Despite operating in a similar realm of digital money when he co-founded Paypal, Elon Musk has been characteristically silent on the evolution of cryptocurrency. While a popular conspiracy theory exists that Elon Musk is the inventor of Bitcoin (evidence makes the idea suspect), the high profile entrepreneur has yet to make much mention of Bitcoin, Ethereum, or crypto in general. In February, Musk revealed that he owned just a quarter of a Bitcoin–an amount he had been sent by a friend years before. On Sunday, Musk made his first mention of the currency Ethereum in the form of a comment on the pervasive nature of crypto scam bots,

Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin, who has been forced to change his Twitter name to “Not giving away ETH”, replied to Musk’s tweet with disappointment over the nature of the ETH reference, in addition to providing a solution to the scam problem. Calling upon Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, who has been extremely bullish on the future of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, Buterin asked for a ceasefire to be devised in regards to the scam bots, while also proposing an Ethereum developer could solve the problem through layer 2 filtering.

While many in the community of cryptocurrency look at the scam bots as a minor nuisance and blame the victims for being duped into a fairly obvious scheme (similar to early 2000’s Nigerian emails), the relentless bombardment of deceit has presented a negative image of crypto to the general public. Twitter responded the problem of cryptocurrency by banning crypto-related ads earlier in the year, but has yet to address the overwhelming problem of scam bots. With the emphasis turning towards digital solutions to filter out blatant fake news and troll accounts, crypto scam bots should be a high priority in reducing further confusion towards the industry of cryptocurrency.

loading…