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The Little-Known Ways Ethereum Reveals User Location Data

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“People don’t realize how much information is out in the open.”

That’s Péter Szilágyi, an ethereum core developer who manages development on the ethereum software client Geth. He’s referring to the fact that little attention has been paid to ethereum’s underlying network layer, where information is exposed in complex, unpredictable ways.

Indeed, there’s an awareness of the implications of such exposure that’s given rise to an ongoing acceleration in research on how to better obscure user data at the application level, which sits on top of a fully transparent system that publishes smart contract and transaction data the blockchain itself.

In an interview, Szilágyi described the peer-to-peer components that underlie the world’s second-largest blockchain by market capitalization as a “black magic thing.”

This state of affairs was highlighted during his talk at the annual developer conference, Devcon4, in Prague last week. Szilágyi detailed a number of concerns that could cause user metadata to leak out over time – and under the worst-case scenario, provide the basis for an accurate, global map of ethereum user locations.

During last Friday’s talk, Szilágyi focused on two ways in which this could happen, with a focus on websites like popular blockchain explorer, Etherscan, and “light clients” such as mobile or browser-based apps.

“When people are transitioning away from full nodes they are giving up certain guarantees and I just want to highlight what potential issues might arise,” Szilágyi told CoinDesk.

Szilágyi began encountering the issues following his pursuit of a side project: an alternative to Facebook that is decentralized and private-by-default. As a result of the research, Szilágyi said metadata leaks make it difficult to interact anonymously with others.

“We don’t have that in ethereum,” Szilágyi explained. “The reason why these leaks began to bother me is because of that project.”

Speaking on Friday, Szilágyi said that many of the problems are so deeply ingrained that it’s hard to address them without running the risk of breaking applications that run on top of ethereum. Still, the developer detailed methods that could alleviate the risk for users.

“Most people in blockchain and ethereum they want to build on top, while there’s a team at the bottom doing the dirty work,” he told CoinDesk, adding:

“It’s not that they are unsolvable problems, but someone needs to understand that they exist.”

‘Weird trackers’

During the Devcon talk, Szilágyi broke down the various ways in which sensitive user information can be exposed by interacting with ethereum.

Taking the example of Etherscan, Szilágyi said that a particular combination is revealed to the website when users access it – namely, a link between a user’s IP address and their ethereum address.

And that’s notable because, as a unique computer identification number, an IP address reveals user location data – which could constitute a high risk when combined with ethereum wallet accounts.

And again, similar to the ethereum discovery protocol, this can be done publicly by everyone.”

Best practice

Unfortunately, according Szilágyi, there’s no simple fix for many of these problems, as some are inherent to how light clients and explorers function.

But still, speaking to the audience on Friday, the developer had precise recommendations to share with ethereum users and developers going forward.

Specifically, Szilágyi broke down three ways in which this information can be better concealed in the immediate-term.

First, he argued that users should run full nodes. While more hardware intensive, full nodes mean you can store all data locally and can access that data without interacting with anyone else. Additionally, because full nodes verify that ethereum’s underlying state is correct, running a full node comes with security benefits as well.

“Although people don’t like full nodes, full nodes are actually the best anonymizers in the ethereum ecosystem,” Szilágyi said.

Secondly, Szilágyi contended that developers should look to the work that has been done by anonymizing network layers, such as Tor browser and I2P, for research on how to better conceal metadata leaks at the network level.

“Privacy on ethereum is bad, really, really bad. But that doesn’t mean that it’s an impossible task to solve,” he said. “There have been 20 years of research going into how to do this properly, so let’s at least try to learn from their results and try to fix it.”

Lastly, Szilágy urged developers not to blame users for bad privacy practice when interacting with ethereum. He also noted that many users may be unaware that options like the Tor browser exist in the first place.

As such, Szilágy said: “It’s kind of up to us as dapp and platform developers to figure it out and fix it.”

With this in mind, Szilágy ended on a note of caution. Pointing to Facebook as an example, the developer said that when privacy-enforcing characteristics aren’t embedded at the start, such an approach might carry repercussions in the future.

“I don’t think Facebook was created to gather user data, it wasn’t created to abuse elections, that kind of just happened,” Szilágy said, concluding:

“We don’t want to fix it to protect users from not only external attacks – I think it’s really important to also highlight that we want to protect users from ourselves too.”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.

Source :  CoinDesk

Criptomonedas

China’s CBDC initiative fills private cryptocurrencies’ missing elements

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The latest Binance Research, while showcasing China’s CBDC initiative, highlighted its possibility of being a renminbi (RMB) replacement. Creating a buzz in the context, the report read,

“The People’s Bank of China plans to replace China’s M0 money supply with its CBDC. Several potential improvement areas were discussed as reasons to justify this move including retail payments, interbank clearing and cross-border payments.”

Moreover, as the Chinese CBDC targets to be a substitute for China’s M0 supply, CBDC-holders would not receive any interest from the central bank if it is not parked in any financial institutions. This will ensure that China’s crypto initiative “would not compete with commercial bank deposits, and would not have a noticeable impact on the existing economy in this regard.”

Interestingly enough, China’s CBDC initiative includes “some of the missing elements” that is predominantly lacked by the private currencies. The two-layer network setup is also speculated to achieve transaction performance of “at least 300,000 transactions per second.”

Source: Binance Research

The above graph displays PBoC’s “one coin, two repositories, and three centers”approach, which was previously proposed by Yao Qian, the former head of PBoC’s Digital Currency Research Institute. Concluding the report, Binance Research mentioned,

“Despite one of the end-goals from this digital currency initiative being to further internationalize the renminbi, it remains to be seen what legislation would apply on cross-border payments.”

While the report uncovers various technical aspects of China’s crypto initiative, it remains unclear whether that individuals, based outside of China, would rely on the Chinese central bank to both maintain a consistent monetary policy and to protect their financial privacy.

.Source: ambcrypto

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Criptomonedas

The Business of Crypto Lending for the Crypto HODLer

Businesses are built around opportunity costs. Real entrepreneurs say that there is an opportunity cost for everything under the sun. The need to make more from the growing cryptocurrency industry has led to the creation of new services. Cryptocurrency lending platforms are one of the most robust emerging narratives in crypto.

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Businesses are built around opportunity costs. Real entrepreneurs say that there is an opportunity cost for everything under the sun. The need to make more from the growing cryptocurrency industry has led to the creation of new services. Cryptocurrency lending platforms are one of the most robust emerging narratives in crypto.  

The purpose of these platforms is to assist crypto holders to leverage their digital assets without liquidating them. Before the emergence of these platforms, any digital assets holder had to sell their tokens to access capital.

Crypto lending suits Holders’

Crypto Holders are investors who purchase a digital asset and hold on it whether it rises or falls. These folks are highly invested and confident in the use case of cryptocurrencies. The term is a 2013 creation, an acronym for Hold on for Dear Life. The abbreviation is apt for the severely volatile up and down price movements of digital currencies. 

Most cryptocurrency holders purchase these assets for speculative purposes. The process known as Holding is synonymous with Bitcoin holders. Bitcoin Holders, for instance, believe that one-day one token will be worth $1 million. Most of them will, therefore, not part with their tokens until then.

Others digital assets investors are in it for quick cash.  They will buy and sell as the assets as their prices rise or fall for profit. This group of investors is profoundly affected by the market’s volatile nature, and they trade in the same way as day traders.

Holders usually turn to these lending platforms to enjoy earning a passive income. What you need to need is to deposit your digital assets with one of these startups and make interest over time. Your digital assets will gain exposure to the market’s upward price movements.  

Institutional investors are rather fond of this option. With it, they can hedge their positions and implement safe and new trading algorithms for profit.  Another great benefit of digital assets lending is that it does not ban crypto users with poor credit scores from accessing funds.

 If you have had a rough time accessing credit from traditional lenders, these platforms will be a breath of fresh air. This form of financing has in the past not had a tax bill, though the US IRS has been implementing crypto taxation laws. As it is, leveraging your digital assets to get fiat financing is still not taxable. It is, consequently, a very attractive form of funding. 

Types of cryptocurrency lending

Margin lending

This type of crypto lending will allow you to use your digital assets collateral. To enjoy margin lending, you first need to deposit or lend you assets to a lending exchange. You are then expected to mark your holdings as available for credit and assign an interest charge.  

The person who is going to borrow your digital assets will do so hoping that their prices will rise. They will request the capital from your lending exchange if your interest rate suits them. After they have traded with your cash, they will return it to the exchange plus the interest amount owed to you. 

How are the digital assets protected when lent out?

Cryptocurrencies are operable online and very volatile. This characteristic of high volatility is the part of the reason why they can make you huge profits in margin trading. Digital assets are also very prone to theft and loss. 

To protect you from losses from volatility, the exchange has certain safeguards. The borrowers, for instance, have put down a percentage of their crypto as collateral for your loan. If the trade dips, a margin call will be rung and the borrower will return your funds plus interest. Some of the most common lending platforms online for margin lending include Coincheck, Bitfinex, and Poloniex.

Peer to peer crypto lending

Also known as P2P lending, this form of crypto lending will allow you to borrow capital straight from investors. There are no institutions or intermediaries in between which makes it easier, faster, and more affordable to get a loan. 

The process works in an online borrower lender-matching marketplace, you can see by clicking here . These platforms will match you with a private investor who has money to lend. You, the borrower will need to repay the borrowed crypto, and the lending platform

 sets the interest charge. 

Your creditworthiness plus the cash transfers dictate the interest charge. It is also dictated by the payments done through the platform.

How automated P2P crypto lending works

  • An investor with crypto to lend needs to first open an account on the lending site.  The digital assets will then be deposited on the account
  • A borrower will log on to their account on the website and fill out a loan application 
  • The lending site will perform a credit check to ascertain the borrower’s creditworthiness. They will then assign an interest rate as per results.
  • The crypto lender will offer a loan to the borrower who is free to reject or accept it the offer
  • Perchance the borrower agrees with the offer, the lent crypto has to be returned bank with interest after the lending time has matured. If the borrower is late with payments, they will pay the penalty. 

Some of the most common P2P crypto lending platforms, include CircleBack and Upstart.

Advantages of crypto lending

This lending process is not reliant on the use of credit scores, unlike traditional financing. The digital assets are instead utilized as collateral for cash borrowing. All you need to do therefore is to post your Bitcoin, for instance as security for a loan.  

You will receive your funds and pack in monthly installments. Once you are done repaying the loan, you will get your Bitcoin back. If you default on the loan repayments, your cash lender will have the right to seize your digital assets placed as collateral.

Crypto lending protects the players in the market by over collateralizing borrowing. If you, for instance, need to borrow $5000, you might be expected to place $10,000 worth of your Bitcoin to access cash loans.

While excessive, it protects the lender from the extremely volatile cryptocurrency market. Over collateralizing, these credit facilities keep more players in the platforms, who would otherwise be put off by the sudden devaluing that could happen to crypto. 

Crypto lenders are also allowed to liquidate digital currencies held as collateral if the market dips. This mechanism is a failsafe to protect the lender if digital assets are suddenly devalued. If you have experienced substantial financial gains in the crypto market, crypto lending is one of the best ways to protect your capital gains from taxation. 

You should secure crypto-backed loans, which are untaxed. This borrowing is not considered as sale of digital assets, which is taxable by US law. With crypto lending, anyone with digital assets can earn some passive income on a lending platform. The interest earned by lending out crypto can be plowed back to purchase more of the assets.

Lending platforms will protect your assets by holding them in cold storage wallets. Some platforms also enable lending via smart contracts and blockchain technology to ensure trust. The loans are therefore secured and the records immutable.

Lending your cryptocurrencies is an easy way of making passive income. You do not have to man the assets while they are on the platform. All you have to do is sign up, lend, and wait for the interest payments. In contrast, day traders have to keep their eyes on their assets to cash in at the right time. 

The lender has minimum risks. The systems are automated to ensure that you receive the funds automatically.

The risks

  • The market is not highly regulated. If there any arising legal matters, you could find yourself in uncharted waters. With conventional banking and lending systems, there are well-governed laws.
  • Interest charges are set daily, so your profit is never assured. 
  • The platforms could also charge extremely high commission rates, which may encourage less borrowing.

The final word

There are many benefits to crypto lending when compared to traditional loans. This new type of credit line is accessible 24/7 with minimum counterparty risk. There is also real-time transparency into lending due to blockchain technology. The UI/UX on these lending sites is still niche and mostly attracts crypto fans.

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Analysis

Bitcoin Price Could Hit $25,000 Before 2020, Says Bullish Crypto Analyst

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The millionaire cryptocurrency analyst and trader told The Independent that more investors are viewing bitcoin as a safe-haven asset in the wake of growing macroeconomic tensions. Isaacs referred to the ongoing trade conflicts between the U.S. and China that last month sent the global equity market on a downward trend. The negative sentiment prompted investors to hedge in cryptocurrencies. He stated:

“I believe bitcoin has the potential to hit $25,000 by the end of 2019 or early 2020. There are multiple drivers behind the recent resurgence. There are geopolitical, technological, and regulatory drivers. The net effect of the trade war between the U.S. and China has led to a sudden interest in bitcoin as a hedge on investments.”

The statement followed bitcoin’s dramatic correction in the recent market cycle. The cryptocurrency dropped by more than 18% after establishing its 2019 high near $9,090 on San Francisco-based exchange, Coinbase. Nevertheless, bitcoin remains in a positive trendfrom a broader outlook, with its year-to-date performance showing as much as 146% gains.

Isaacs noted that the bitcoin adoption rate is heading in the direction of the cryptocurrency’s price. He cited significant organization like Amazon, Starbucks, Whole Foods, and Microsoft that recently started accepting BTC payments, indicating that the cryptocurrency ecosystem has turned more positive since crashing more than 85% in 2018.

THE BEARISH TAKE ON BITCOIN

Meanwhile, other notably analysts believe bitcoin is due for a considerable drop. Willy Woo, the founder of Woobull.com, said the cryptocurrency has become overvalued following the latest upside movements. The analyst put bitcoin against his popular NVT metric, which represents the ratio of bitcoin’s market capitalization to the volume transmitted by its blockchain. He noted a considerable divergence between the current bitcoin price and the NVT Ratio (explained here), which is bearish:

Josh Rager, another prominent analyst, provided a less harsh bitcoin price outlook, stating that a sharp downside correction would attract more investors to purchase it at cheaper rates. He noted that the BTC-to-dollar exchange rate dropped by at least 30% after every significant bullish move on a broader timeframe, as shown in the graph below.

bitcoin

If Rager is correct, BTC could go as low as $6,000 before attempting a sharp pullback to reclaim the session top of $9,090.

by: https://www.ccn.com

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