Bitcoin is known as the very first decentralized digital currency, they’re basically coins that can send through the Internet. 2009 was the year where bitcoin was born. The creator’s name is unknown, however the alias Satoshi Nakamoto was given to this person. Bitcoin accounts cannot be frozen, prerequisites to open them don’t exist, same for limits on bitcoin price .
Advantages of Bitcoin
Bitcoin transactions are made directly from person to person trough the internet. There’s no need of a bank or clearinghouse to act as the middle man. Thanks to that, the transaction fees are way too much lower, they can be used in all the countries around the world. Every day more merchants are starting to accept them. You can buy anything you want with them. How Bitcoin works. You should explore bitcoin mining. It’s possible to exchange dollars, euros or other currencies to bitcoin. You can buy and sell as it were any other country currency. In order to keep your bitcoins, you have to store them in something called wallets. These wallet are located in your pc, mobile device or in third party websites. Sending bitcoins is very simple. It’s as simple as sending an email. Invest in bitcoin to get great returns.
You can purchase practically anything with bitcoins.Bitcoin Anonymity.When doing a bitcoin transaction, there’s no need to provide the real name of the person. Each one of the bitcoin transactions are recorded is what is known as a public log. This log contains only wallet IDs and not people’s names. so basically each transaction is private. People can buy and sell things without being tracked.
Bitcoin innovation. Bitcoin established a whole new way of innovation. The bitcoin software is all open source, this means anyone can review it. A nowadays fact is that bitcoin is transforming world’s finances similar to how web changed everything about publishing. The concept is brilliant. When everyone has access to the whole bitcoin global market, new ideas appear. Transaction fees reductions is a fact of bitcoin. Accepting bitcoins cost anything, also they’re very easy to setup. Charge backs don’t exist. The bitcoin community will generate additional businesses of all kinds.
What Makes bitcoin price So Interesting?
It begins with a text message from Verizon
Oh boy. Within seconds, I call the number and get this.“Hello, welcome to Verizon. Our offices are now closed. Our hours are between 8 and 11pm on the weekdays...”
I call again and repeatedly tap zero to try and get an operator. No dice. A minute later I get a duplicate text message.
I screenshot and tweet to Verizon Support.
Incredibly anxious minutes go by as I attempt to reach Verizon. I google “Verizon fraud prevention line” searching for a number to call and get nothing.NO PHONE NUMBER ANYWHERE TO BE FOUND
11:41 PM — Gmail signs out.
I’m completely in the dark.
11:42 PM—Coinbase password resets
My session cookie doesn’t kick me out yet so I watch this in real time.
11:34 PM—Coinbase New Device Confirmation
11:44 PM—1.18 BTC sent
11:45 PM—70.96 LTC sent
11:46 PM—16.03 ETH sent
Adios hopes and dreams fund 💸 —$8,000+ is gone in 15 minutes.The hacker deleted these emails but google recovered them
How on earth was I so blindsided?
Before we begin, its worth mentioning that yes, yesssssssssssssssssssss, I did not have enough protection around my Gmail account. I’ve used Google Authenticator before, for my personal account and for various work emails, but I stopped using it at a certain point out of convenience. I deeply regret doing so and you can certainly say, “HA, YOU HAD THIS COMING TO YOU DUDE, MY BITCOIN IS ON AN ENCRYPTED THUMBDRIVE IN A SECRET UNDERGROUND LOCKBOX COLD STORAGE FACILITY.” But there are many coin spectators out there with a similar vulnerability and, as more novices join, this vulnerability will only become more of a problem.
Of all the things that went down in the factors that lead to this hack, Verizon Wireless is what I was massively unprepared for. After talking at length with customer service reps, I learned that the hacker did not need to give them my pin number or my social security number and was able to get approval to takeover my cell phone number with simple billing information. This blew my mind and seemed negligent beyond all possible reason but it’s what they do. The main thing that struck me by the hack was the extraction speed possible in the current cryptocurrency ecosystem. $8,000 in 15 minutes is faster and more lucrative than robbing a suburban bank.
Why I was targeted
The best working theory for why I was targeted was this tweet I made last week about Coinbase.com. A friend of a friend was hacked on Coinbase and he had not heard back from anyone on Coinbases’s support team for multiple days. As a plea for help, he asked people to help get the word out on Twitter. I did, it got RTed a bunch, and to my incredible naiveté, I had no idea I was essentially attaching a “Rob me too” sign to my back.
And now, here I am. I tried to help someone get the attention of Coinbase for fraud, I got screwed, and now I’m trying to get the attention of Coinbase.com for fraud. The official Coinbase Support twitter has responded once, then a bot emailed, with a disclosure that it could be weeks before I get a single response to my question.
I have never lost money at anywhere near this scale before. I grew up in a family that is especially conservative when it comes to money and this hits on an emotional level that is hard to shake. Like many, I know that there are plenty of risks when it comes to cryptocurrency, it’s a gamble, but the one thing you don’t expect to happen is to be robbed in seconds on a site with a cleaner user interface design than Chase Bank.
I have no idea if I’ll be able to recover any of this money but I figure the one thing I can do with this feeling of rage/sadness is try and unpack the vulnerabilities so others get less screwed.
Things Verizon Wireless can do
- Add additional layers of scrutiny to any person calling in and requesting to ‘swap phones’. General billing information was sufficient to transfer my number and I was floored by this. It is insane that Verizon, and other wireless companies, haven’t made real efforts to counter this hack and even more crazy that they haven’t been sued for gross negligence.
- Make urgent text alerts actionable through SMS. If I received the original alert and was able to text a reply stopping it, or even delaying it, this entire hack would have stopped in its tracks. Instead I was told to ‘immediately’ call a number for Verizon that no one was there to answer.
- Make the Verizon Fraud Hotline accessible and visible to your customers. It took 45minutes of irate Twitter DMing before I was able to get the number I needed to contact a real person at Verizon. For anyone searching for this in the future, the number is 1-(888) 483–7200.
- Tell your customer what happened with their account. I spent a few hours with Verizon support being bounced from the Fraud Department to the Legal Department to the Consumer Support department. I got very little from anyone, they would not release details of the call unless I hired a lawyer to represent me.
Things Coinbase.com can do
Dear God Coinbase. Where do we even begin.
- Make enabling Google Authenticator a *requirement* for storing any coins on Coinbase.com. SMS 2FA is broken but deceptively secure, especially to new comers.
- Make a 24–7 fraud hotline available to your customers. Twitter and email are broken mechanisms for response when speed is of the essence.
- Significantly limit the number of new users you accept on your exchange until you have the support resources to cover them. You gained 400,000 users in 30 days, FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND, and many of these users are extremely new to security.
- Put basic fraud protections in place when someone logs into an account on a new device then attempts to liquidate an account. A one hour delay could have stopped this hack in its tracks.
- Make the default modes for transferring coin significantly more paternalistic for new users.
- Create an insurance policy for personal accounts. Yes, this policy would be extremely vulnerable to fraud but this is your core competency, find a way.
Things you can do to secure your coins
In the wake of the attack, I reached out to friends with lots of experience in cryptocurrency and these are their tips.
- Don’t talk about Bitcoin Club. Don’t talk publicly online, with your real identity, about your trades or the exchanges. I know it’s too late for some (certainly for me!), and it shouldn’t be like this, but this makes you less of a target. Even if your coins are properly secured.
- If you are going to post on reddit, twitter, etc about cryptocurrency, use a far removed pseudonym.
- Use a separate, secret email for your coin accounts and do not forward the alerts to your personal email account.
- Use 2FA — SMS doesn’t count. I had no idea how easy Verizon and others make it for people to swipe your phone with basic information within minutes. Make sure you use GAuth or Authy or something else supporting TOTP tokens; consider a FIDO U2F device as well for your gmail account.
- If you insist on leaving your money on coinbase.com, then store it in their “vault”. This will give you a buffer of a couple days before any of your stuff can be touched, at least it won’t be gone immediately.
- Call your cellphone company and tell them you are likely to be targeted for social engineering. Request more scrutiny for making requests.
- Store your coins on a physical wallet. Technically, any money you have in an exchange isn’t yours — you simply have an IOU from the counter party. Best practice for keeping your coins safe is with a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S. This is only $60 or so and means that someone will need to physically enter a pin and confirm a transaction or steal your backup seed to access your funds.
I’m not giving up on crypto
I joined Coinbase.com in 2015, have had various positions of BTC over the years and have seen hype come and go. I think we’re nearing a real inflection point with adoption but we’re in a dangerous place as the cost of BTC/ETH skyrockets and noobs hit the market.
Four-hundred-thousand people have joined Coinbase.com in the last thirty days. This group has vastly different security needs and expectations than the original 400,000 who joined Coinbase in 2012. If this new group isn’t protected in aggregate, lawsuits will fly, financial lives will be ruined, and the dream that bitcoin will eventually hit $50,000 will become a dim fantasy. Check out the Coinbase reddit if you want an additional taste of what’s happening.
Despite this, I’m willing to bet that Coinbase, or someone else, will significantly evolve and eventually figure it out. Many of the problems that lead to my hack on Coinbase are addressable with more paternalistic software, fraud detection and an adept support team reachable 24–7. The beauty of the blockchain is that you can create a consumer offering on top of it that operates much more like a bank and it can exist next to an exchange suited for someone buying and selling huge, risky amounts each day.
It’s hard to understand how brutal it is to start over with this level of rapid financial loss unless you’ve been there yourself. The BTC I had in my Coinbase was collected over years and the ETH and LTC position were more recent. I blame myself for not doing enough security research and I also know that these openings are incredibly common for others. Unless huge changes happen, so many others are likely to get robbed and the reputation of cryptocurrencies, in general, will degrade. The only thing that’s really around to protect these newcomers is the cryptocurrency community itself. Please let my ample misery be a raw warning sign. Inform your friends. Don’t trust Coinbase defaults. Don’t think it won’t happen to you. Stop reading this and secure your coins right now.
Legal. Many have encouraged me to find a lawyer to work through some options in action against Verizon and Coinbase. If you know of a lawer or firm who might be good, please shoot me a DM (my DMs are open). I don’t have many resources to pursue this so any general advice would be helpful.
Class action lawsuit against Verizon and/or CoinBase.com. Apparently there is already a lawsuit in motion (am learning more about it). If you have also been affected by a similar situation at CoinBase, message me, so we can share stories.
Donations. Wow. Some very generous people in the bitcoin community have asked about donating to a tip jar or helping fund a lawsuit. This is awesome of you and massively appreciated.
LTC: LbZnJ8QWc581bm6iu6STpbKVq9RDv1Yqbd (currently at ~$250 USD)
BTC: 188itMZTQx1PcbuCdpjBkdBLUKjJRcdPoj (currently at ~$280 USD)
Hugggge thanks to @BTCXBTDEV.
Bitcoin is a revolutionary way to save or spend digital money, and has the potential to transform other realms too. You don’t need to be a mathematician or a cryptographer to understand it, and when you start to see how the system comes full circle, you may be delighted. This is the first of three parts.
Let’s say I send you a movie or song over the Internet. I attach a file to an email, and once I hit send, you have it. You can watch the movie or delete it. You can do what you want with the movie.
But keep this in mind: I still have a copy.
This is how digital information typically moves around the Internet. You don’t really transfer content, you copy it. And so far, this has worked out pretty well: Although it may not be legal or fair, copying a song or movie is unlikely to devastate the economy.
But now think about copying money.
If I send you a dollar, it’s important that I don’t get to keep a copy. Using email to make infinite digital money might seem attractive at first, but what happens once everyone starts doing it? There would be rampant inflation and the economy would fall down.
Traditionally, in the world of wire transfers and debit cards, digital money is tracked centrally to prevent duplication. A database, at your bank for example, verifies who owns what. This system relies on centralized authority, which is a familiar concept, so we “get it.” Of course, that central authority has complete control over your money.
But what if there’s another way? What if, instead of relying on an fallible centralized authority to assure us of who has what, we rely on distributed authority that isn’t controlled by a single party? What if our money has value not because we trust the power of a government to back it, but because we trust the power of math?
This takes us to Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a system of digital currency that is not associated with any government or institution.
Somewhat confusingly, the word “bitcoin” (without capitalization) is also the name used for the currency itself. The system (Bitcoin) was created in 2009, but the units of currency (bitcoin) are being generated continuously through a process called mining. It’s sort of like gold mining, but for the digital 21st Century.
All transactions on the Bitcoin network are permanently recorded in a long list called the blockchain. This is not a secret list guarded by a central authority. It is a widely distributed public list, and every participating computer has a copy of it.
The Bitcoin blockchain is an immutable, public, distributed ledger:
By immutable, I mean that once a record has been in the blockchain for a couple hours, changing or erasing it becomes infeasible. This happens because so many other transactions have been built on top of it by then.
By public, I mean that anyone, not just a bank employee, can look at the blockchain. This doesn’t mean that you can see exactly who is sending or receiving money, because records are pseudonymous — identity is obscured through the use of pseudonyms, which are typically short-lived.
By distributed, I mean that synchronized copies of the blockchain are held by computers all over the world. There is no canonical master copy; all copies are created equal.
And finally, by ledger, I mean that the blockchain is a list of transactions. Think of it like your Venmo transaction list, if you know what that is.
This distributed ledger is called the “blockchain” because individual transactions get grouped into larger “blocks,” which are chained together in a sequence. This is faster than adding transactions one-by-one, and a new block of transactions is created every 10 minutes or so.
To better illustrate the power of an immutable, public, distributed ledger, let’s imagine a common but hypothetical situation involving $5 worth of bitcoin. (The value of a bitcoin can rise or fall, but $5 is likely just a fraction of a single bitcoin.)
In our hypothetical situation, my friend Elizabeth sends me $5 in bitcoin, a transaction recorded in the blockchain — because every transaction is. In turn, I send $5 to you because every copy of the blockchain now shows that I own the money that used to belong to Elizabeth. Nobody involved — me, you, or Elizabeth — needs to ask an authoritative central database who owns what, or for permission. Authority is decentralized; it is in every copy of the blockchain, everywhere.
You may be wondering: Where did Elizabeth get that bitcoin she sent to me?
The short answer is that someone probably sent it to her. This is how almost everyone gets their bitcoin.
But those coins had to be created initially. How did that happen?
How a Bitcoin is Born
U.S. dollars are born when the U.S. government prints them, and other traditional currencies are also issued by their respective governments. A long time ago, U.S. dollars were backed by an equivalent amount of gold in the U.S. treasury, and in those days creating additional currency required coming up with commensurate gold — hence the popularity of gold mining.
A bitcoin is also created through a process called mining. It’s digital mining, accomplished with computers and software rather than dynamite and shovels. In order for a new block of transactions to be added to the blockchain, a burdensome math problem must be solved, and the “miner” who solves the problem first is rewarded with brand new bitcoins. That’s how bitcoins are mined.
In other words, mining does two things: It adds blocks to the blockchain and it creates new bitcoin. And that math problem that the miners are racing to solve involves something called hashing.
A hash is a fingerprint for data, in that it uniquely identifies a piece of digital content — whether the content is a photo, a photo album, a movie, a password, text, or whatever. It is derived from the digital content, through a process called “hashing,” and it can take the form of a string of letters, numbers, and other symbols.
Hashing is a core concept in computer science, widely used behind the scenes. To enhance security, online services often store hashes of passwords rather than actual passwords, and compare hashes rather than passwords when you log in. Facebook uses hashes to check the appropriateness of uploaded images. Nobody at Facebook looks at every image to see if it is violent or pornographic. Instead, Facebook takes images that have been reported as inappropriate and hashes them, creating a list of fingerprints of bad content. Every time a new photo is uploaded to Facebook, it’s hashed using the same function. The resulting hash is compared to the list of hashes of banned content — and if they match, Facebook knows the photo is one of the inappropriate ones.
Typically, when software runs a hash function, it takes input data— like a photo — and outputs a gobbledygook string, which is the hash.
So for example, let’s give this picture of a puppy to a hash function called SHA-256:“Puppy” by Jonathan Kriz is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Clearly this picture of a sweet puppy isn’t violating any Facebook rules! Anybody can tell that. But no person at Facebook is reviewing the picture. Instead, software at Facebook checks the hash of the picture, which is this:8EC9D4718F919C6087CA589EDA09E7DD9A7ACCDB820F42B4196E1D0D4BEDE77A
That’s the SHA-256 result of that picture, expressed in hexadecimal. Not quite as cute as the puppy!
An interesting feature of a hash function is that if we change the input even slightly, the output will be entirely different. Let’s say, for example, that we change just one pixel of the photo of the puppy, by putting a 1-pixel black flea above his eye:Can you see the flea?
When we hash the photo, we get an entirely different hash, even though only one pixel changed:039E1AF92F7D00775ECE35C2216FC3F7F0BBCD31F912A105D2601380D8DEABA2
Now, we could use real content and real hash values for the rest of this post, but hashes are unfriendly and hard to tell apart. Instead, let’s use emoji to represent these inputs and outputs. In the example below, the input (the content to be hashed) is represented by the cat’s face, and the output (which is the resulting hash) is represented by a ribbon:
Imagine that Facebook has run a hash function on two inappropriate images — let’s call them 🚫 and ❌ — and the resulting hashes are 💩 and 💀.
Later, somebody uploads a photo, which we’ll call ?, because Facebook don’t yet know what it is. Facebook hashes the photo, and the result is 💩.
Although no one looked at the mystery picture, Facebook knows it’s the inappropriate photo that we’re calling 🚫, because the hashes match. No one had to look at the newly uploaded input directly, because it has the same hash as a photo known to be inappropriate.
Photo identification is just one application of hashing. Bitcoin mining, which creates new bitcoin and adds new transactions to the blockchain, is another.
So far, in Part 1, we’ve learned that Bitcoin is a decentralized currency, not generated by any government or financial institution, and what hashing is. In Part 2, we’ll learn how bitcoin miners use hashing to literally make money, and how cryptography allows bitcoins to be unique and non-copyable even though they are completely (and irreversibly) transferrable.Making Money Trustworthy
Bitcoin Explained (with Emoji), Part 2medium.com