66% of Funding to Stop the AI Apocalypse Comes from Crypto Donors

66% of Funding to Stop the AI Apocalypse Comes From Crypto Donors

Have you ever suffered from existential dread about what will happen when the smart contracts will be smarter than you? Or that a blockchain can become self aware and force humans to bend to its will? Or maybe that a super AI will simply repurpose all the molecules on earth to produce paper clips? Well, worry no more because the crypto community is on the case.

Also Read: Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine Cryptocurrency

Machine Intelligence Research Institute

66% of Funding to Stop the AI Apocalypse Comes From Crypto DonorsThe Machine Intelligence Research Institute, a non-profit organization investigating safety issues related to the development of above-human-level artificial intelligence (Strong AI), has recently released its fundraising statistics showing strong support from the cryptocurrency community.

Their 2017 annual fundraiser raised just over $2.5 million, more than doubling the target of $1.25 million. And 66% the of funds donated during this fundraiser (about $1.66 million) were in the form of cryptocurrency (mainly bitcoin and ethereum), the non-profit revealed.

In fact, the largest donation came toward the very end of the fundraiser in the form of an ethereum donation worth $763,970 from Vitalik Buterin, the inventor and co-founder of the smart contracts cryptocurrency. Vitalik’s donation represents the third-largest single contribution ever the research institute received to date in all its fundraisers.

Crypto Donors Will Save the Future

66% of Funding to Stop the AI Apocalypse Comes From Crypto DonorsFounded in the year 2000 as the Singularity Institute, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute works to ensure the survival and freedom of the human race alongside super intelligent machines, an important issue rapidly leaping from science fiction into reality. This news shows another example of how the redistribution of wealth from old money to early adopters of technology via the rise of cryptocurrency can create a better future for all.

Other recent examples include the $86 million bitcoin charity Pineapple Fund supporting the development of MDMA as a treatment for PTSD, testing universal basic income in Africa, open source software and similar innovative projects.

If you want to participate in a futuristic charity too, but don’t have millions in crypto to donate, UNICEF recently launched a new initiative which harnesses the power of GPU mining to create a new form of philanthropy.

What other futuristic concerns should crypto investors focus their philanthropic efforts on? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine Cryptocurrency

Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine Cryptocurrency

Elon Musk might be able to send his personal Tesla car into space, he might change the way humanity produces and stores energy, and he might even build a colony on Mars one day. However, even this real-life Iron Man apparently can’t escape the reach of crypto mining hackers.

Also Read: US Federal Authorities Arrest Man for Selling 9.99 Bitcoin

Tesla Cloud Mining

Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine CryptocurrencyTesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), the electric car manufacturer based in Palo Alto, California, is the latest corporation to fall victim to ‘cryptojacking’, according to newly released research from cyber security firm RedLock.

The researchers’ CSI team found that hackers had infiltrated Tesla’s Kubernetes console (a system for containerized apps that was originally designed by Google) which was not password protected. Within one pod, access credentials were exposed to Tesla’s AWS (Amazon Web Services) environment which contained an Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) bucket that had sensitive data such as telemetry. In addition to the data exposure, the hackers were mining for cryptocurrency from within one of Tesla’s Kubernetes pods.

The CSI team noted some sophisticated evasion measures that were employed in this attack. Unlike other crypto mining incidents, the hackers did not use a well known public mining pool in this attack. Instead, they installed mining pool software and configured the malicious script to connect to an unlisted or semi-public endpoint. This makes it difficult for standard IP/domain-based threat intelligence feeds to detect the malicious activity, they explain.

Don’t Panic

Tesla Hit by Hackers Who Used its Systems to Mine Cryptocurrency
Tesla showroom, Silicon Valley, California

According to the research, the Tesla hackers also hid the true IP address of the mining pool server behind Cloudflare, a free content delivery network (CDN) service. The hackers can use a new IP address on-demand by registering for free CDN services. This makes IP address-based detection of crypto mining activity even more challenging.

Moreover, the mining software was configured to listen on a non-standard port which makes it hard to detect the activity based on port traffic. Lastly, the CSI team also observed on Tesla’s Kubernetes dashboard that CPU usage was not very high. The hackers had most likely configured the mining software to keep the usage low to evade detection, they explain.

Fortunately, Musk need not worry about his computing resources being diverted to crypto mining anymore. The RedLock CSI team immediately reported the incident to Tesla and the issue was quickly rectified they say.

How can companies and individuals protect their computer systems from crypto malware? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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If You’ve Been Scammed Out of Cryptocurrency It’s Probably Your Fault

Scammers are a dastardly, low down bunch. Preying on the gullible, extorting the vulnerable, and hoodwinking the hoodwinkable with their promise of free bitcoin if you send a little first and daily interest on your Bitconnect loan. It’s an indisputable fact that if the cryptocurrency space were cleansed of scammers, the web would be a better place. It’s also a fact that if you’ve been scammed of cryptocurrency, it’s probably your fault.

Also read: SEC Suspends Trading of Three Companies With Ties to Cryptocurrency

Who You Gonna Call?

If You’ve Been Scammed Out of Cryptocurrency It’s Probably Your FaultThe biggest cause of crypto scams isn’t shady operators from impoverished countries. It isn’t Russian hackers with leet phishing skills and it isn’t conniving con artists pawning spammy links. No, the biggest cause of cryptocurrency scams is greed. And not their greed – yours. If you lost money in Bitconnect or Davorcoin or to an email phishing scam or to “Vitalik Buterin” promising you free ETH on Twitter, you’re not the victim – you’re the culprit.

If people didn’t keep taking the bait, scammers wouldn’t keep scamming. If no one bought into Bitconnect, Bitconnect couldn’t have exited with millions of dollars. If you want to get rich off crypto, put some money into three major cryptocurrencies you believe in, store them on a hardware wallet and forget about it for five years. Come 2023, you could be rich, you could be poor or you could be somewhere in between but one thing you won’t be is scammed.

Unfortunately, many crypto investors seem to have adopted the 50 Cent mantra of “Get rich or die tryin’”. When the shit hits the fan, instead of recognizing their foolishness and wising up, they lash out, blaming anyone and everyone. It’s Twitter’s fault for permitting lookalike accounts. It’s regulators’ fault for not cracking down on these chancers. It’s ICOs fault for allowing scammers in their channel. It’s the media’s fault for causing FUD, forcing Bitconnect to withdraw their stellar lending service. No, it’s your fault. No one else’s. Yours.

If You’ve Been Scammed Out of Cryptocurrency It’s Probably Your Fault

A Plea of Mitigation

If You’ve Been Scammed Out of Cryptocurrency It’s Probably Your Fault
BITCONEEEEEEEECT!

Let’s be clear though: victims of cryptocurrency scams – no matter how naive or avaricious they may have been – don’t deserve ridicule. There is no poetic justice in watching the greedy get deprived of the very thing they crave, and there is no satisfaction in watching scammers walk away with millions of stolen ether. It’s possible to feel a twinge of sympathy for victims whilst also feeling that they brought it on themselves. But sympathy won’t get their money back. Nor will encouraging them to go crying to their Congressman. The only way to stop this sort of stuff from happening is to tell it like it is. So here goes:

Stop taking the bait. Stop buying into schemes that look too good to be true. And stop encouraging your friends and relatives to buy into them too. Cos if there’s any subset of victims who don’t deserve the fate, it’s those who were lured into the Ponzi scheme by people they trusted. There’s a steep learning curve with cryptocurrency. Anyone entering the space for the first time can be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed and ill-informed. That’s why it’s important to get the lie of the land before jumping in with both feet. Buy some bitcoin. Purchase a Crypto Kitty. But don’t, under any circumstances, enter into coins, schemes, and ICOs you don’t understand and haven’t researched.

If You’ve Been Scammed Out of Cryptocurrency It’s Probably Your Fault

Astonishingly, a vigilante group set up to track down the Bitconnect scammers is now seeking to fund its operations by holding an ICO for its own Justice Coin, which features a “daily profit bot” promising 2% daily returns. Less astonishingly, some of the victims of Bitconnect will buy into it and get scammed again – possibly by the very same people behind Bitconnect. In an information age where the answer to “Is this a scam?” is never more than a google away, there’s no excuse for getting duped. If you’ve been scammed out of cryptocurrency, it’s probably your fault.

Do you think scam victims bring it on themselves or should the blame fall squarely on the scammers? Let us know in the comments section below.


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This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.

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Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations Tighten

As cryptocurrency regulations start to pile up in India, a new trend is emerging for Indians to acquire cryptocurrencies from abroad, such as from relatives or friends with overseas accounts.

Also read: Japan Cracks Down on Foreign ICO Agency Operating Without License

Increased Regulations

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations TightenThe Indian government has recently intensified its efforts to strengthen the country’s regulations on cryptocurrencies, promising that a regulatory framework for them will be announced soon. Earlier this month, the Indian tax authority issued notices to 100,000 crypto traders asking them to pay taxes.

The Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Committee (BACC), an industry group whose members include 7 cryptocurrency exchanges, is considering several initiatives, such as creating a database of crypto users and transactions, to comply with the government’s mandates. The Times of India elaborated:

With Indian exchanges like Unocoin, Zebpay, Coinsecure, keen on increasing regulation and scrutiny into transactions, bitcoin aficionados say buying from US exchanges is a more popular alternative for purchases.

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations TightenAs regulations tighten in India, bitcoin “enthusiasts are now tapping into their own NRI [non-resident Indian] network of friends and family members,” the news outlet added.

L R Dinesh is a bitcoiner who buys expensive items using bitcoin on overseas online sites. He told the publication, “For the online tech community, there are some who receive bitcoins as payment for gadget and video game reviews. But for regular purchases, one has to get a relative or friend with an overseas account to send over bitcoins.”

Better Privacy

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations TightenDana L Coe, the CEO of bitcoin hardware wallet Bitlox, believes that one of the main attractions of bitcoin is privacy, the news outlet conveyed.

He explained, “If you are purchasing a particular medicine and someone collects the data and sells it to a pharmaceutical company — these companies can use sets of such demographic information to increase prices.” Furthermore, he noted, “Differential pricing, blanket invasion of privacy cannot happen if one uses anonymous and private payments,” adding:

People would want to shield their payments from the government, corporates or even their own families. With big data and consumer tracking websites, the need for privacy is heightened.

Better Security

Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas As Regulations TightenThe advanced security on purchases made with bitcoin is another major incentive for Indians, the publication added. “The requirement of Aadhaar is a dampener,” Dinesh asserted, referring to the 12-digit unique identity number issued to all Indian residents based on their biometric and demographic data. “The community of techies, bloggers and geeks are quite antipathic to the continuous stem of leaks and insecurities reported with Aadhaar,” he emphasized, noting that “To try and unite bitcoins with compliance is going to keep real bitcoin miners away from Indian exchanges.”

Damodharan Sampathkumar of Renovite Technologies was quoted:

In India, RBI has mandated two-factor authentication for all online transactions. But outside of India, only single-factor authentication is required. So when it comes to using one’s credit or debit card to buy products on overseas sites one also runs the risk of compromising sensitive financial data and hacks. So using bitcoins would add one layer of security.

What do you think of Indians buying bitcoin overseas? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year

Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year

Cryptocurrency can be lost in a variety of ways, from hacking to forgotten passwords and failed flash drives. But in dollar terms, one of the biggest causes of crypto losses is bad code, and it’s not usually the fault of the coin’s developers. Instead, third parties, including shoddy smart contract developers and shady exchanges, are to blame for losses that have reached half a billion dollars in the last seven months.

Also read: Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitgrail Suspends Operations After ‘Losing’ $170 Million of Nano

Bitgrail Gets Railed for Dodgy Code

Last week, news.Bitcoin.com reported on the demise of Bitgrail, which contrived to lose $170 million of nano cryptocurrency. While the precise sequence of events that caused the catastrophic collapse of the exchange with the assets of thousands of customers is still being confirmed, poor code is being blamed. As reported at the time:

There are rumors that Bitgrail became insolvent following a withdrawal bug that was discovered by some users and then shared in Discord and other chat groups, causing the wallet balance to gradually diminish. One user explained: “There was a bug on Bitgrail where if you placed two orders you got double balance added to your account. You could then withdraw while the orders were up and steal the coins. You had negative balance in the end but you could just make a new account.”

Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year

In the aftermath of the incident, this theory has been bolstered by allegations that a bug was indeed responsible, and not in nano’s code, but in Bitgrail’s. One source asserted: “There was a bug, on the withdraw page. But this check was only on java-script client side, you find the js which is sending the request, then you inspect element – console, and run the java-script manually, to send a request for withdrawal of a higher amount than in your balance. Bitgrail delivered this withdrawal. How many people did this? Who knows.”

There was another bug, you could request a withdrawal to your address – from another user-id, from another user-account. That would cause the other users balance to have “missing funds” or “negative balance”. Bitgrail bomber solved this bug by manually entering the “correct” numbers in his database. This is what you get for using a PHP website coded by same skill-level as CfB of IDIOTA.

Even the Best Cryptocurrencies Aren’t Immune to Poor Code

The cryptocurrency most commonly associated with catastrophic bugs is ethereum. That’s not due to its underlying code, but on account of the smart contracts that can be built on top of the ethereum framework. First there was the DAO, which led to ethereum being forked right out the gate, and then there was the Parity bug that caused 150,000 ETH to be stolen, followed by the other Parity bug that caused $168 million of ETH to be locked up.

In the past couple of weeks, ethereum bugs have surfaced once more, albeit on a smaller scale. Proof of Weak Hands (PoWH) was a joke scamcoin which turned into an actual scamcoin after a bug led to the loss of 900 ether worth $1 million that had been sent to the contract address. The developer then disappeared after receiving death threats from investors aggrieved to discover that the joke Ponzi they were buying into was even less legitimate than it had seemed.

Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year
After a smart contract bug led to the loss of 900 ETH, the PoWH website looked like this in the days afterwards

PoWH has since spawned a new scamcoin called ethpyramid which is for “strong hands only”. To the question “Is Ethpyramid secure?” the site responds “Yes. Our dev team put a lot of time into refining and testing this contract to make sure your tokens are safe. Internal functions of the contract are not accessible to the end user.” There’s also PoWH420, “the world’s dank autonomous and self-sustaining 420 pyramid scheme”.

Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year
PoWH 420

Even if joke coins and their joke developers are taken out of the equation, it’s evident that cryptocurrencies are only as strong as their weakest link. While altcoins such as ethereum and nano have undoubted potential, like every other crypto they’re hostage to bugs lurking in wallets, smart contracts, and exchanges. One bad line of code is all it takes.

Do you think Bitgrail was brought down by a withdrawal bug or is there more to this story? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and PoWH420. Katie Webster assisted with this article. 


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Cryptocurrency Trader Sues T-Mobile for Giving Hackers Control of His Account

Cryptocurrency Trader Sues T-Mobile for Giving Hackers Control of His Account

Cryptocurrency use requires great personal responsibility with regards to data security. Investors need to not only make sure they are using best security practices but must also hope that service providers that have the potential to jeopardize their holdings do so as well. In a recent federal court case, a T-Mobile client claims that the company exposed his money to hackers.

Also Read: Seele ICO Sets Up Emergency Response Team After $1.8m Fraud

T-Mobile Suit

Cryptocurrency Trader Sues T-Mobile for Giving Hackers Control of His AccountT-Mobile US, Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS), the third largest wireless carrier in the United States, is facing a lawsuit from a customer for allegedly enabling the theft of his cryptocurrency. Carlos Tapang from Washington state claims that T-Mobile “improperly allowed wrongdoers to access” his mobile account on November 7 2017.

According to the suit, the company’s lax security measures enabled the criminals to transfer his phone number to an AT&T account which they control without his consent. And with this in their hands, they were able to change the password of one of his bitcoin exchange accounts and steal his cryptocurrency. “T-Mobile was unable to contain this security breach until the next day,” Tapang alleges. The hackers then shifted the spoils of 1,000 omisego (OMG) tokens and 19.6 bitconnect coins for 2.875 BTC, worth $20,466.55 at the time, and transferred it out of his exchange account.

Emotional Distress

Cryptocurrency Trader Sues T-Mobile for Giving Hackers Control of His AccountAccording to the allegations, T-Mobile is partially for the loss responsible because it was meant to add a PIN code to the account before November 7, but the measure wasn’t finally implemented. The company is also accused of allowing scammers to repeatedly call T-Mobile’s customer support until eventually a representative would mistakenly grant them control over customer accounts without the needed identity verification.

Besides the loss of his bitconnect coins and OMG tokens, Tapang claims he also suffered “emotional distress” as he couldn’t use his phone and had to “expend time, energy, and expense” to resolve the matter. For this he is seeking not just monetary damages but also an injunctive relief, which means that the federal court will order T-Mobile to deploy more security measures to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.

If these allegations are true, should T-Mobile be completely liable for the customer’s losses? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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Seele ICO Sets Up Emergency Response Team After $1.8m Fraud

Seele ICO Sets Up Emergency Response Team After $1.8m Fraud

One would have hoped that by now investors in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) would have learned to be more careful who they trust with their money, but the spate of new scams that are reported every week shows this has yet to happen. The latest group to fall for an ICO fraud are Seele investors.

Also Read: NFL Superstars Like to Talk About Bitcoin Just Like the Rest of Us

Seele Scam

Seele ICO Sets Up Emergency Response Team After $1.8m FraudFollowing multiple investor complaints, the team behind the Seele ICO has confirmed that people who thought they were backing the project have fallen victim to a scam. Apparently someone impersonated an administrator of the ICO’s telegram group and committed fraud while posing as Seele’s data analyst Dr. Nick Smith.

The impostor offered group members a private sale of tokens ahead of its official public crowdfund and got them to send their funds to a false wallet. The receiving ethereum address now holds 2,162.49 ether, worth about $1.8 million at the time of the theft.

For the record, the project is described as being “empowered by an up-scalable Neural Consensus protocol for high throughput concurrency among large scale heterogeneous nodes and is able to form unique heterogeneous forest multi-chain ecosystem.”

Seele ICO Sets Up Emergency Response Team After $1.8m Fraud

Emergency Response

Seele ICO Sets Up Emergency Response Team After $1.8m FraudBesides apologizing for the scam, the Seele team has also taken actions to remedy the situation. They announced they have formed an emergency response team, set up an emergency hotline to communicate with the victims, and promise to provide regular updates about their investigation’s findings. They also now reinforced a number of rules to the administrators, after the scam, and restricted the administrators’ privileges by using a double authentication method – face recognition and scheduled login.

Lastly, the promise that although Seele has not started the presale, they “will take responsibilities to minimize the loss of community members by making detailed compensation plans.”

At least the victims in this case have a team they can go to and request compensation for their lost funds. Last week we reported about another ICO which simply disappeared altogether in what is commonly known as an exit scam. The website for an ICO project for fruits and vegetables on a blockchain Prodeum went offline, leaving only a nasty message to investors behind.

Are ICO scams inevitable, or are there steps that can be taken to eliminate fraud? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


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