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Reflections on a Swatting: Inside One Bitcoin Engineer's Security Battle

October 16th, 2017 started off like any other Monday. I awoke at 6 a.m. and drove to the YMCA to play racquetball, ready to start the week with a win.

When I finished playing, I tweeted out a cute quip:

I then hit the steam room and the shower to relax and freshen up. Upon returning to my neighborhood, I encountered an unusual problem: a police cruiser with its lights flashing was blocking the entrance. I came to a stop and rolled down my window:

“Hi Officer, is there a problem? I’m just trying to get to my house.”

“Sorry, we have to secure the area due to an ongoing incident.”

“Is it an active shooter?”

“Unclear, but we have information that he has long guns on the premises.”

“Well shit, what should I tell my family to do? They’re at the house.”

“Call them and tell them to get in the car and exit the community.”

“Will do!”

I pulled off the main road and found a place to park so that I could call the house.

“Hey, don’t panic but the police are locking down the neighborhood due to an incident. You should get in the car and leave.”

“OK, I’ll be right out.”

I waited a few minutes and then received a call back.

“The police stopped me as I was leaving and asked me if I was OK. Apparently they were called to our house! They want you to come speak with them at the mobile command unit around the corner.”

I drove back to the entrance and told the patrol officer that his captain wanted to speak with me, so he waved me through. Upon entering the mobile command unit, the first thing I was asked was:

“Sir, do you have any enemies?”

To which I replied:

Then came the media

It wasn’t long before the news stations showed up; apparently, they didn’t even know what “swatting” meant.

The news stations managed to get a copy of the phone call that was made by the attacker; you can listen to it here. The attacker claimed that they shot and killed someone and were holding others hostage after rigging the front door with explosives.

Once the news crews left and everything calmed down, I figured I should let the attacker know that they failed to achieve their goal.

Within a few hours of making my tweet, I received a threatening voicemail from a number with a New York area code; you can listen to the voicemail here. Note a common theme between the 911 call and the voicemail — both times he demands $50,000 (or the equivalent in BTC.)

“Next time I do anything to you, it won’t involve the police.”

Within 48 hours the Durham Police Department told me that they had traced the call to a throwaway server in Texas but hit a dead end and were turning the case over to the FBI. I never heard from the FBI. I lost any confidence in the ability of law enforcement to protect me a long time ago, so this was disappointing but not surprising.

What did I do in response? I installed 360-degree 4K resolution surveillance around my property, double-checked the rest of my physical security setup, took a few firearms out of the safe, and I waited.

Fortunately in my intuition, the attacker didn’t have the guts to put his own life in danger by physically attacking me proved to be right. There were no further (physical) incidents.

Shit just got real

Swatting is not a game; it can be fatal. Case in point:

I have little hope that the perpetrator will be found, but I feel compelled to offer an additional incentive.

I want to make it extremely clear that I will not tolerate threats against myself or anyone I care about. I will defend myself and my loved ones until my dying breath with every resource at my disposal.

The following message is signed with this PGP key.

http://lopp.net/audio/bounty.txt.asc

***

There was a lot of speculation that this was related to the bitcoin scaling debate, but the attacker never said what his motivations were. After the fact, he left me this voicemail demanding a ransom payment… but didn’t even give me an address to which I should send the BTC!

After speaking with other folks who have been harassed, I fully expected other annoyances such as:

  • Using stolen credit cards to purchase things and ship them to my house.
  • Purchasing drugs / illegal things on darknet sites and shipping them to my house.
  • Tampering with the accounts for my utilities to get them turned off.
  • Forging a deed in an attempt to claim ownership of my home.

On November 9, I got email bombed by a bot that was signing me up for a ton of email marketing lists.

Since the emails were “legitimate” marketing rather than mass emails from a few sources, I decided pretty quickly that the best option was to just I turn off my email for the day and made most of the signups bounce, preventing my email address from getting added to the lists of the marketers. Having 8 years of experience writing email marketing software has its perks.

Twelve hours later statoshi.info was DoS attacked and my host blackholed the IP address to save their own infrastructure. No big deal.

A few thoughts on OPSEC

I’ve kept this detail a secret for the past year, but I wasn’t home when the attacker sent the SWAT team to my house. I truly hope that the perpetrator reads this article and gets to realize how miserably they failed.

I highly suspect that the reason the attacker chose to strike when he did was from the tweet you see at the beginning of this article. I generally vary my social media posts and delay tweeting anything that may tie me to a specific location.

So, when the attacker saw that I “just woke up” he incorrectly assumed that I must be at home – he was clearly not sophisticated enough to know my routine. I can only imagine how this story may have played out differently if not for this one tiny point.

Had I been home, we may not have made contact with the SWAT team until they were breaking down the door, which would have likely ended badly.

The real problem with swatting

I’ve waited so long to reveal the details of this day because I wanted to take additional steps to improve my operational security. I’ve written down all of the precautions I’ve taken over the past year and intend to publish them soon.

The thing is, I was lucky that the Durham Police Department is more competent and cautious than other departments in the U.S. Had a few variables been different that day, I could easily be dead.

While I certainly blame the attacker for the actions they took, my root cause analysis places the blame squarely upon law enforcement for creating an exploitable vulnerability. The militarization of police combined with non-existent authentication creates a great environment for swatting.

When you think about it, the asymmetry is disturbing – a single anonymous phone call can result in lethal force being deployed in a matter of minutes against an arbitrary target. A single anonymous phone call costs only a few dollars to make and yet can consume tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in public resources just to determine whether or not a threat is real.

What’s the solution? While I’m a huge privacy advocate, I don’t think it should be possible for someone to deploy lethal force with no risk to themselves. At the very least, you should have to put your reputation on the line so that you can be held accountable.

My recommendation to law enforcement agencies: Realize that swatters are almost always going to place a call from outside of their target’s locale. As such, they can’t actually call 911 – they have to find a non-emergency number they can call that will escalate them to 911. These escalations should be red flagged as suspicious.

Trace the source of the phone call; if it traces back to a completely different state than the caller’s claimed location, red flag!

If the source phone number of the caller isn’t registered in their name (or anyone’s name) then ask for proof of identification. If the caller refuses to identify themselves (my attacker hung up when asked) then it’s a red flag!

I leave you with an excerpt from “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto” (emphasis mine):

“Computer technology is on the verge of providing the ability for individuals and groups to communicate and interact with each other in a totally anonymous manner. Two persons may exchange messages, conduct business, and negotiate electronic contracts without ever knowing the True Name, or legal identity, of the other. Interactions over networks will be untraceable, via extensive re- routing of encrypted packets and tamper-proof boxes which implement cryptographic protocols with nearly perfect assurance against any tampering. Reputations will be of central importance, far more important in dealings than even the credit ratings of today. These developments will alter completely the nature of government regulation, the ability to tax and control economic interactions, the ability to keep information secret, and will even alter the nature of trust and reputation.”

Image via Jameson Lopp

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

This article is intended as a news item to inform our readers of various events and developments that affect, or that might in the future affect, the value of the cryptocurrency described above. The information contained herein is not intended to provide, and it does not provide, sufficient information to form the basis for an investment decision, and you should not rely on this information for that purpose. The information presented herein is accurate only as of its date, and it was not prepared by a research analyst or other investment professional. You should seek additional information regarding the merits and risks of investing in any cryptocurrency before deciding to purchase or sell any such instruments.

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Coinbase Crypto Exchange To Roll Out Long-Awaited SegWit Upgrade In ‘Few Weeks’

The Coinbase cryptocurrency exchange tweeted Monday, Feb. 5, that they will soon implement the Segregated Witness (SegWit) scalability upgrade for Bitcoin addresses, which will help reduce transaction times and fees for sending and receiving Bitcoin (BTC).

Although they are in the final stages of testing for their SegWit implementation, Coinbase reminded customers that they prioritize security and performance over new features by linking to their Dec. 2017 blog post on the topic.

Coinbase had first announced the decision to add the SegWit upgrade in early December 2017. The upgrade, introduced by the Bitcoin Core development team in August 2017, deals with the scalability problem of Bitcoin by reducing the size of transactions.

By moving the “witness” signature data to the end of every transaction, it solves Bitcoin’s malleability issue which is conducive to second-layer solutions like the Lightning Network.

Popular crypto wallets Trezor and Ledger had upgraded to SegWit shortly after its August release.

Slow transaction times and network congestion have plagued Bitcoin traders in the recent months, with some Blockchain-based businesses moving away from BTC due to increasingly high transaction fees.

The North American Bitcoin Conference had to stop accepting cryptocurrency payments leading up to the conference earlier in January, citing that the “network congestion and manual processing” would make it impossible to make print deadlines.

Software engineer and cypherpunk Jameson Lopp in mid-January had blamed cryptocurrencies services like Coinbase, Blockchain, and Gemini for causing network congestion by “using block space inefficiently”:

Coinbase customers had started a petition a month ago for the SegWit upgrade to become a priority for Coinbase, getting eventually over 12,000 signatures. With Coinbase’s Feb. 5 tweet, the petition added an update:

“Coinbase has finally heard us and are currently prioritizing SegWit implementation over new features! […] Here’s to a brighter future for Bitcoin :)”

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GDAX Starts BCH Trading, Users Angry About Focus

GDAX has started trading Bitcoin Cash (BCH) this morning as of 9 AM PST, with little fanfare. The status update page for GDAX indicated that all initial testing had concluded as of 11:25 AM, with full functionality being restored.

Bitcoin Cash Updates

The addition of BCH on GDAX follows the addition of the hard fork coin on the Coinbase site, which saw the price of BCH rocket to new all time highs. While Coinbase owns GDAX, they are not the same entity. Since the announcement, Coinbase has made no further promises of future additions, however.

The price of BCH responded strongly, with increases on the day around 12%. At press time, the coin was trading at $1742.

Bitcoin Cash Charts

Wrong focus?

However, the cryptocurrency community was not particularly thrilled with the news, given the slowness of GDAX to implement the SegWit protocol. For example, Jameson Lopp, an engineer at BitGo, tweeted:

Coinbase had made promises regarding SegWit integration at the end of last year, but have been slow in actually fulfilling them. SegWit would allow for cheaper and faster transactions. Other services are also slow in adding SegWit support, including Blockchain and Gemini.

Others responded to the news tweet in like manner. User Chris Given replied:

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Zuckerberg Eyeing Out Power of Cryptocurrencies

A man who knows a few things about the power of social and individuals, Mark Zuckerberg, has stated that he will be studying cryptocurrencies further in order to explore their potential for empowering individuals.

The co-founder of Facebook, in what he has called one of his personal challenges for the new year, has stated that the power of decentralized systems like cryptocurrency could help take power away from the centralized system and place it back in the hands of individuals.

Digging deeper

Lauded as an innovator and one of the fathers of social media, Zuckerberg has shown his fascination with cryptocurrencies before, but this latest New Year’s post has indications that he will be investigating its potential much further for potential improvement for Facebook. Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post:

“There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands…I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”

Blockchain social media

There have already been a number of social media platforms based around Blockchain service; however, the firepower of a company like Facebook, which reaches over one bln people on a daily basis investigating cryptocurrencies could be monumental.

Zuckerberg’s overarching message in the post which made mention of Cryptocurrencies was based around “fixing important issues” in technology, media and government.” And, indeed, a technology like Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are being heralded as revolutionary within those fields and with the backing of such an institution, there could be scope for rocketing growth in adoption and recognition for cryptocurrencies.

Take back the power

It is unsurprising to see why Zuckerberg would be interested in a decentralized system when you inspect Social media for its peer-to-peer power. While there is a centralized force on Facebook, it has given individuals a lot of power and a much bigger voice.

A decentralized system like cryptocurrencies can only aid that growth further, and as Zuckerberg states – “put it [power] back into people’s hands.”

Well-known Software Engineer Jameson Lopp explains how, in a monetary space, cryptocurrencies have flipped conventional centralized thinking on its head.

“At least from the monetary standpoint, we said let’s turn this whole thing upside down. Instead of us trusting certain entities, instead, we are going to track everything ourselves, validate our rules and not trust anybody.”

Be it media, social media, finance, investing or any other sector, the traditionalists and the early innovators turning to cryptocurrencies, even to learn, could be the start of something big.

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From Memecoin to Billion Dollar Player – Dogecoin Breaks $1 Bln

Dogecoin, which started as a parody cryptocurrency, has now broken the $1 bln market cap showing how far virtual currencies have come since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009.

Four years after the Bitcoin genesis block was mined, programmer Billy Markus coded his very own cryptocurrency in 2013. With the help of Jackson Palmer, a product manager and data analyst at Adobe, Dogecoin was brought to life, meme and all.

Taking up the popular internet meme of the Shiba Inu dog, the creator envisioned the cryptocurrency to be a friendly online payment system, although its rise in popularity may not have been intended.

Nevertheless, in the space of five years, Dogecoin has grown into its own vibrant community of users. Over time, Dogecoin has become popular as a ‘tipping system’ among its users – as stated on the website:

One of the most popular uses for Dogecoin is “tipping” fellow internet-goers who create or share great content. Think of it as a more meaningful “like” or upvote, with real value that can be used all across the internet.

The cryptocurrency has no limit on the amount of coins that can be created by mining. At the time of writing, there are over 112 bln Dogecoins in circulation. While a single Dogecoin is worth no more than $0.01, a single cent, the total market capitalization is now over $1.19 bln – amounting to 72,423 Bitcoin.

Pop-culture coin

Much like Cointelegraph is known for its bold artwork, Dogecoin took up an Internet meme as its ‘mascot’ of sorts. The word ‘doge’ is a popular internet term for a dog, which started out as a simple misspelling of the word in a TV series back in 2005.

As knowyourmeme.com explains, the term doge was married with the picture of a Shiba Inu dog on Reddit back in 2010, leading it to become one of the most well-known internet memes.

Dogecoin

Its association with a cryptocurrency came about in 2014 and the rest is history – although Doge and its various memes would have provided constant internet joys with or without a virtual currency.

Charitable community

The Dogecoin community is also well known for its charitable endeavors.

In 2013, Dogecoin wallet platform Dogewallet was hacked and millions of coins were stolen. In the aftermath, the Dogecoin community started a fundraising effort known as SaveDogemas, which eventually raised the same amount of Dogecoin stolen in the hack just a month after the cyber theft.

The community has also raised funds for Olympic athletes, water projects in Kenya as well as retired NASCAR driver Josh Wise.

Twitter buzz

Cypherpunk Jameson Lopp gave the cryptocurrency a shoutout on Twitter:

Another user celebrated Dogecoin’s rise in value, pointing out that it was worth more than the Japanese Yen.

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McAfee Warns of Advanced Hacking After Twitter Account Hijacking

Cybersecurity Expert John McAfee has warned of advances in hacking methods after his personal Twitter account was hijacked to promote a number of alternate cryptocurrencies last week.

The founder of computer security company McAfee had regularly been posting a ‘Coin Of The Day’ review on his Twitter page. The hackers gained access to his account by changing his phone number to request a new password.

They then posted a series of Tweets using McAfee’s profile to promote a number of coins on Dec. 28, as cypherpunk Jameson Lopp shared on Twitter:

B

Speaking to RT after the incident, McAfee said he had no control over the situation.

“What happened is brand new to me. They managed to hack AT&T to move my phone number to another phone”

The series of tweets saw the value of the cryptocurrencies touted rise in value – and McAfee believes the hackers would have made a lot of money in the process.

“Why would they do that? Because I was issuing every day a recommendation for new alternative coins, alternative to Bitcoins cryptocurrencies. People would invest hundreds of dollars into these coins. What the hacker did was to recommended six different coins within six minutes and invested, I’m sure, much money beforehand into those.”

Inside job

The cybersecurity expert speculated that the hack may have been an inside job. He suggested that an AT&T official was bribed to give the hackers access to his account.

McAfee also estimated that the hackers may have made millions of dollars, which would easily compensate any bribe needed to carry out the attack.

McAfee only regained access to his Twitter account three days later. He posted a couple of tweets confirming that his account had been compromised while hitting out at users that had ridiculed the situation.

Exchanges could be next target

McAfee also warned that cryptocurrency exchanges are the biggest targets for cybercriminals as they hold millions of dollars worth of virtual currency.

“Most people don’t keep their currencies on their own wallet, they use wallets on the exchanges. Now, if I were a hacker trying to hack into wallets and get money, I wouldn’t search around the world for individuals that have their wallets. I would go to an exchange and the exchanges have billions of dollars in cryptocurrency.”

Reflecting back on the infamous Mt.Gox exchange debacle where 850,000 Bitcoins were stolen by hackers, McAfee predicts more of the same in the future.

“Beginning with Mt.Gox a couple of years ago where hundreds of millions of dollars were lost… This will continue to happen until people and the owners of the exchanges understand that the world they are in is far more sophisticated in terms of hacking than they believe.”

It’s not hard to agree with McAfee’s sentiments towards hacking given some of the recent attacks. Mining service Nicehash was hit in December, losing over 4,000 Bitcoin valued at $60 mln at the time.

This situation once again puts a highlight on the importance of individuals educating themselves on some of the safety measures they can use to secure their digital funds.

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Twitter Goes Crazy Over Coinbase Bitcoin Cash Launch

It has been another whirlwind week in the world of cryptocurrencies.

Anticipation was in the air as the Chicago Mercantile Exchange became the second mainstream financial institutions to launch trading of Bitcoin Futures contracts on their exchange. Following in the footsteps of CBOE a week before, the Bitcoin market braced for the launch.

The market did not show the same growth as the week before, although the contracts differ on either exchange.

Dwarfing headlines and analysis of the market prices was the surprise announcement that users of America’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase would be able to trade Bitcoin Cash.

The value of Bitcoin Cash soared, while Bitcoin endured a volatile slump down from a $20,000 high a couple of days ago. Amid the euphoria came complaints of insider trading – and Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong said that an investigation would be launched.

Armstrong maintains that employees were prohibited from trading Bitcoin Cash in the weeks leading up to the launch of the trading platform. Nevertheless Coinbase has promised to undertake an investigation, threatening to dismiss any employees found to have breached the company’s directive.

Of course, that didn’t stop Twitter from exploding to life. Analysts, crypto experts, investors and enthusiasts began arguing over the allegations, which eventually led to ongoing conversations about the ‘real’ Bitcoin – Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Check out some of the best tweets:

Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com, said Bitcoin Cash is doing what Bitcoin promised to do:

In an earlier tweet. Ver suggested that Bitcoin has hijacked the name:

Self-proclaimed Cypherpunk and Software Engineer Jameson Lopp went straight for the jugular, likening that launch of Bitcoin Cash on Coinbase to a rocket exploding at takeoff:

Max Keiser, host of the Keiser Report, suggested that Coinbase has the backing of Wall Street and any investigations into alleged insider trading would amount to nothing.

Cryptocurrency Entrepreneur Francis Pouliot kick-started an intriguing chain of conversations around the the group of people crusading for Bitcoin Cash over Bitcoin. He likened them to bankers, saying they like the idea of Blockchain technology but not Bitcoin:

In the end, Lopp’s Tweet questioning the metrics used to define the true characteristics of Bitcoin left it all up in the air.

Internet privacy advocate Rick Falkvinge questioned the legitimacy of the claims of insider trading – calling the story an outright fabrication:

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Cypherpunk Lopp – Crypto Hands Power Back to People

Well-known Software Engineer Jameson Lopp believes that cryptocurrencies are placing power back in the hands of people – who have trusted banks and financial institutions to be responsible with their money, investments and transactions for far too long.

One only needs to look at mainstream media headlines as Bitcoin price continues to soar after a month long bull run.

Heads of traditional financial institutions and banks have hit out at Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as they fight to keep hold of the status quo. Countries like China have gone as far as banning the use of cryptocurrencies.

But as the current Bitcoin price would suggest, more and more people are putting their faith and money in cryptocurrencies as a superior transactional technology.

Bitcoin turns banking on its head

Speaking to Max Keiser, host of RT’s Keiser Report, Lopp believes that the successful development of Bitcoin has turned conventional thinking about banking and money on its head:

“At least from the monetary standpoint, we said let’s turn this whole thing upside down. Instead of us trusting certain entities, instead we are going to track everything ourselves, validate our rules and not trust anybody.”

“We will create protocols and use the technology developed over the last generation in order to automate our communication and trust with each other.”

Since its inception in 2009, Bitcoin has slowly crept its way into mainstream consciousness and has risen to the fore in the second half of 2017. So much so that institutional investors are lining up to get in on the action, with their entry point the launch of Bitcoin futures on the CBOE and CME.

It wasn’t always that way, as self-proclaimed cypherpunk Lopp reminds us that the development of cryptocurrencies has followed an incredible journey of trial and error over the past 30 years.

“The origin of the cypherpunk goes back to the 1980s. A bunch of nerds who saw the promise of the internet and these new communication technologies but they also saw the dark side.”

These cyber revolutionaries predicted the future threat of surveillance agencies and began developing technology that ensured private communication, which has culminated in encrypted peer-to-peer communication technology and eventually Blockchain. Lopp continues:

“They wanted to bring privacy-enhancing technologies into the internet itself, on top of the internet protocols and it just so happens that digital money was one of those interesting things the cypherpunks thought was important for society to have. A number of cypherpunks worked on it for decades and it wasn’t until 2009 that Satoshi came along with an elegant solution.”

“There were many, many attempts and failed solutions that happened before Bitcoin.”

Fast-forward eight years and Bitcoin remains the father of cryptocurrencies – but it is undoubtedly entering uncharted waters with the introduction of futures and other Wall Street trading practices.

Lopp doesn’t entertain the notion that futures will cause Bitcoin to crash – saying anyone who tries to do that will not get very far:

“There are some people that think it’s going to short Bitcoin into the ground. I think a more likely outcome is that shorting Bitcoin is a terrible idea and anyone who tries to do that is going wrecked pretty hard.”

Road ahead

It’s going to be another interesting month for cryptocurrencies in general, as everyone waits to see how Bitcoin will react to the introduction of futures.

Lopp, on the other hand, has his eyes on a different horizon. The very fact that Bitcoin’s value is referred to using fiat currencies shows that there is some way to go before it becomes a heavyweight in the world economy.

Lopp says the end goal is for Bitcoin to be a unit of measurement for other currencies.

“This is just a transitional period. We’re still using the dollar as the unit of account. We’re trying to get to the point where we’re using Bitcoin as the unit of account. I think it’s going to be a few more years until we get to that point of hyperbitcoinization that some people are dreaming about.”

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Bitcoin Tops $8,000 As Lightning Triumphs And Cash Flounders

Bitcoin price continues to delight investors Monday as the most popular virtual currency breaks and stays above $8,000.

The latest milestone for Bitcoin, which came following news the first Bitcoin-to-Litecoin Lightning Network ‘atomic swap’ successfully debuted, caps its comeback after Bitcoin Cash volatility.

BTC currently has a market cap of almost $134 bln against a cross-crypto combined cap of just under $240 bln, both numbers representing new records.

Bitcoin’s dominance has also recovered over the past few days to top 56 percent of the market after struggling to maintain supremacy as BCH caused considerable fluctuations.

BCH itself has come down off previous highs to languish around $1,200 – around 50 percent of its best prices. Staunch proponents of the Bitcoin fork as the ‘real Bitcoin’ are currently locked in a forking battle of their own as two strands of BCH emerged last week.

The product of a “malicious fork,” Bitcoin Clashic now represents the original Bitcoin Cash or developers describe it, “Satoshi’s true vision.”

As major supporter Roger Ver’s Bitcoin.com continues to point new users towards BCH, however, the Bitcoin community is coming out in increasing support of naive newcomers potentially unaware that BCH is not in fact Bitcoin.

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Bitcoin Ranked 32nd Global Currency by Physical Money Supply

Jameson Lopp, the lead developer at BitGo, a Blockchain security company, has calculated that Bitcoin would rank 32nd globally for its value in circulation. He created a clone money supply aggregator M1 Index, similar to This puts it ahead of Singapore and South Africa, and just behind Finland and the UAE.

By creating a clone of the global M1 index, a metric for the money supply of a country which includes physical money — both paper and coin — as well as checking accounts, are valued, Lopp calculated that Bitcoin would finish pretty high up.

Valuing the narrow money

In the index, narrow money is used as a metric to determine the value of a currency. The narrow money of a country essentially is every piece of existing currency, taking into account all paper money, as well as coins, and even digital money stored in bank accounts. Liquid assets held by the central bank are also considered.

Using this metric, and the value of Bitcoin in circulation, Lopp comes up with a figure of $122,406,125,890 for Bitcoin – its market cap at the time of calculating. However, with its fluctuations, Bitcoin has reached as high as $125 bln in the last three days alone, which would put it in 31st – above Finland.

Bursting growth

Bitcoin continues to skyrocket with it’s high recently hitting $7,500. This has seen its overall market cap also skyrocket, as well as dominate the cryptocurrency market with over 60 percent domination.

Bitcoin price and its market cap are key determining factors in its overall value, but it is metrics like Lopp’s that start to put into power just how influential and powerful the digital currency is.

Further adoption

Because Bitcoin crosses the boundary between currency and asset, it is difficult to pigeonhole it. However, it’s two categories are helping across different lines.

Recently, a decision by CME Group, the world’s largest exchange owner, to introduce Bitcoin futures by the end of the year, helped Bitcoin’s value soar as more traditional investors spotted an opportunity.

However, its liquid nature allows it also to be considered a currency and thus is comparable to other countries and their money.

Magical trillion mark

There are predictions that the cryptocurrency market could cross $1 tln in 2018, and because of the dominance of Bitcoin, a lot of that push will be from the original cryptocurrency.

Additionally, many believe that Bitcoin rapid market cap growth is impressive, going from under $20 bln on Jan. 1 all the way to $201 bln on Nov. 5, but only once $1 tln is reached will it be a major player.

A $1 tln market cap for Bitcoin would rank it comfortably in 8th, ahead of Spain, and just under Italy, the lowest ranked country with $1 tln in narrow money.