If you thought the future was here with smartphones in our hands, Wi-Fi, and every other electronic convenience - it'll be the world of cryptocurrency that we go through in the next couple of decades that will redefine industries.
Spanish hardware hacker Richardo Reis created a Coke vending machine that accepts Bitcoin, before Coca-Cola itself has announced let alone rolled out vending machines that accept cryptocurrency as a payment. Reis is using BTCPay on the vending machine, with a QR code being generated on the machine and then scanned in from your smartphone. An instant payment is then made and the sale is complete.
Bitcoin transfers normally take roughly an hour to process but this BTCPay-powered Coke vending machine uses the Lightning Network. The Lighting Network allows for micropayments as small as .00000001 BTC to take place, compared to the blockchain which has minimum requirements magnitudes higher than that. Instead of the traditional Bitcoin blockchain that requires six blocks to be verified in order for the transaction to process (something that can take up to an hour), LN works over the blockchain and requires just two parties for the transaction to process.
Bitmain will be launching its next-gen Antminer soon, with the company announcing at the World Digital Mining Summit in Georgia its next-gen ASIC chip 'DM1391' that will mine cryptocurrencies on the SHA256 algorithm.
Bitmain will be one of the first to use the 7nm process with its new ASIC SHA256 algorithm acceleration chip, with over 1 billion transistors and optimized for maximum efficiency. Bitmain's new 7nm built ASIC chip is the most powerful and power efficient ever made, something that Bitmain CEO and co-founder Jihan Wu saying the new ASIC can reach a ratio of energy consumption to the mining capacity that is as low as 47J/T.
The new 7nm chips are being made by TSMC and have already entered mas sproduction, so expect new Antminer's to blow away previous-gen mining performance, with even more impressive power efficiency in the near future. Bitmain isn't new to developing world-leading ASICs with current-gen 16nm designs used in the popular Antminer S9 miner, and many other ASIC-based miners from Bitmain.
Don't forget that Bitmain owns a huge 70% of the cryptocurrency mining market, so the new 7nm ASIC miner is going to really drive things to the next level and really bolden the dominance Bitmain already has on the market. Interestingly, Bitmain is first with 7nm to market before AMD and its upcoming Vega 20 on 7nm and NVIDIA which is using 12nm right now for Turing, with 7nm planned for both companies in 2019.
The blockchain will be used for many things over the coming decades, and one of them is here now: solving online trolling. Authenteq has just announced Trollteq, their new identity management solution that taps the power of the blockchain to thwart online trolls.
Trollteq uses the blockchain in an ingenius way, where a troll is banned they can't come back and register as another person or online identity, they're banned permanently. Authenteq's new solution requires a buy-in from platforms that want a troll-free base, with Authenteq CEO Kari Thor Runarsson explaining: "The sad truth is that trolls have taken over a large swath of the Internet - our mission is to remove their greatest asset - their ability to hide behind fake names and identities, while still protecting their identities and freedom of speech".
Runarsson continues: "Any website or commenting system such as Disqus can instantly add Trollteq to their site or customers - we can scale up to a billion identity authentications in under 90 seconds. This means we are robust enough to handle even Twitter or Facebook user IDs".
Opera has been a leader in the cryptocurrency race, as they were the first web browser with crypto jacking protection and now they have another world first.
Opera has launched a new private beta version of its web browser that packs a built-in crypto wallet, something that supports the Ethereum Web3 API that will be integrated with a "default WebView" on top. Opera's new crypto wallet will automatically add tokens and collectibles into your crypto wallet, for your convenience.
Charles Hamel, the product manager of Opera Crypto said: "We believe the web of today will be the interface to the decentralized web of tomorrow. By becoming the the first major browser to open up to Web 3.0, we would like to contribute to making the internet of the future more accessible. Our hope is that this will accelerate the transition of cryptocurrencies from speculation and investment to being used for actual payments and transactions in our users' daily lives".
The future of rendering special effects and CG animation is about to change, with OTOY unveiling RNDR which looks to the cloud, blockchain, and cryptocurrency technologies to use PCs and graphics cards that are otherwise unused, to render CG images for content creators.
OTOY CEO Jules Urbach believes in the future of blockchain being used for collective rendering, opening up an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) last year with Render Token, and driving it home with the just-announced RNDR. Render Token lets people invest in it, as it uses a distributed GPU rendering network to entice users to invest, so that content creators can tap into users' unused computing power to get their jobs complete.
Venture Beat reports that OTOY has "created an ability to render graphics in the cloud, and it is using blockchain technology to enable people to make use of it. The goal is to create a decentralized economy for 3D assets, which could be rendered via the shared hardware, hosted in the cloud, and then sold and traded in a decentralized fashion".
We all know how much cryptocurrency has had an impact in the world as it hit us, PC gamers, the most: graphics cards. They disappeared from shelves shortly after seeing hyperinflation-like prices in the huge crypto mining boom, but another explosion that happened because of crypto was all of the cryptojacking in the months following.
According to data from McAfee Labs, cryptojacking has overtaken ransomware attacks. Raj Samani, the chief scientist at McAfee explains: "Attackers targeting cryptocurrencies may be moving from ransomware to coin miner malware, which hijacks systems to mine for cryptocurrencies and increase their profits".
McAfee's report is startling, as it explains: "Coin miner malware grew a stunning 629% to more than 2.9 million known samples in Q1 from almost 400,000 samples in Q4. This suggests that cybercriminals are warming to the prospect of monetizing infections of user systems without prompting victims to make payments, as is the case with popular ransomware schemes".
As you can see from the imaige above, cryptominers weren't really a concern until the start of the year with less than 200,000 new cryptominer malware surfacing in Q4 2017, while that number popped up over 2.5 million in Q1 2018 alone.
Another day... another massive cryptocurrency heist, this time with South Korean exchange Bithumb being hit for over $30 million.
The new $30 million heist of Bithumb has been a bit deal, considering the exchange is the sixth-largest of crypto trading in the world, is worrying to say the last. Bithumb has announced it will pay victims of the breach back, with the SK exchange using its own reserves to pay users.
Bithumb posted to their Twitter, announcing: "All deposit and withdrawal service will be stopped to make sure the security. We will keep notice you of the restart of the service. We apologize for your inconvenience and thanks for your understanding".
Computex 2018 - SAPPHIRE moved into the crypto mining space in a big way this year, unveiling their new INCA CS-14 Mining Solution that uses something you can't buy in Radeon form: dual-GPUs based on the RX 470.
The system itself runs an AMD Embedded G-series FP4 SoC, 8GB of DDR4, 128GB M.2 SSD, runs Ubuntu, and then rocks the huge 7 x dual-RX 470s with 8GB for a total of 14 graphics cards.
In order to power the system SAPPHIRE has used two 1600W PSUs, but I asked what power consumption the system will typically use and they said just over 2000W or so. Not bad at all, considering that it pumps away at over 400MH/s.
Bitcoin Gold was hit with a 51% attack in the last few days, with the attacker hitting BTG with a double spend attack that allowed the hacker/s to steal up to $18 million.
The BTG development team confirmed the attack took place, with the attacker controlling over 51% of the network's hashrate, using that to reorganize the blockchain and reverse transactions. The hackers "made deposits at cryptocurrency exchanges, traded the coins for BTC or another coin, and then withdrew the funds. Next, the attacker used their dominant computing power to force the rest of the network to accept falsified blocks that reversed their initial deposits and caused these funds to vanish from exchange-controlled wallets", reports CCN.
Up to $18 million could've been stolen as the attacker sent themselves over 380,000 BTG but there's no word on how many of these transactions were successful. If they were, up to $18 million is gone. The blame? Equihash, the mining algorithm behind BTG. BTG developers blamed, at least in part, Equihash; which is used with numerous cryptocurrencies.
Matthew Mellon was already wealthy before the super-powered rise of Bitcoin and all of the other cryptocurrencies, but did you know that he invested $2 million of his fortune into XRP? Mellon has just died unexpectedly, leaving all of his BTC, XRP, and other cryptocurrencies stranded with no way to access them without their respective wallet passwords.
Mellon spent $2 million buying XRP because he liked that the Ripple team was working within the banking system, where at the time he said: "Crypto is scary and dark. It's anti-America. I am pro-America, pro-business and pro-bank. That's why I went with Ripple".
At the peak of XRP, Mellon's bag of Ripple was worth $1 billion and his family cannot find the password to access the funds. Mellon, up until his death, was spending $7 million a month before he was found dead in his Mexico hotel room on April 16. Mellon made a name for himself in fashion, and then made his first billion with XRP, but struggled with drug addiction throughout his life.
Mellon leaves behind a wife and three children.