Annual revenues earned by banking system for processing payments $1.7 trillion

Via the economist.com

[Editors Note – If  someone asks you why the Banks are going to push back against Bitcoin, send them this article. If Bitcoin and other Cryptos go mainstream, it’s going to eat into the astonishing annual $1.7 Trillion of payment processing bank revenue.

  • “One reason for this inefficiency is that technology has been tacked on to a centuries-old banking model. Much bank spending on technology is devoted to maintaining existing systems, a desperate effort to keep the show on the road”
  • “But at a London Business School conference this week, the greatest excitement was reserved for blockchain technology. A blockchain is a “distributed ledger” under which transaction records are held by a wide number of participants in a network; it is the technology behind Bitcoin, a digital currency.”

Read more here..

What can we learn from the multiple ShapeShift.io hacks

Guest Post By Vitor Jesus,  (Cyber Security Expert) – 04-09-2016.

Originally posted @ vitorjesusicsnetwcybersec.blogspot.co.uk,

Shapeshift.io is a startup evolving around Bitcoin (one of my lateral interests and a movement I follow quite closely). Last week they reported a coins having been stolen. More than that, Eric Voorhees writes a fascinating report of how it happened. It is a story I will be using in many talks

My first reaction, shared in a reddit post, is that they actually didn’t do anything fundamentally wrong. They’re a startup so getting the business up and running is the goal. This means they have no cybersecurity office and, worst of all, they are all tech people which unfortunately gives a stronger sense of “we don’t need a cybersecurity programme because we have firewalls”.

I have been working with tech startups with an immensely skilled army of developers and managers; but that show quite an alarming unawareness of many basic concepts of cybersecurity.

As I often say, cybersecurity is 20% about firewalls and 80% about organisational processes. In this case, what failed was the human element:

  • Do not leave computers unlocked
  • Do extensive background checks on new starts 

But who has never left a laptop open and logged in? I keep doing it even on public places. And how thorough and reassuring can background checks be?

There are, of course, many tactical improvements possible: secured critical operations, segregation and air gaps of critical assets, much clearer/crisper separation of duties, much much better auditing, much much much better accounting, etc. Beyond making the system harder to exploit, above all they would make it easier to understand what happened and much faster.

Sharing the story, with care not to reveal too much, was a good thing to do in my opinion. I do have a few unanswered questions but I also feel it was an honest report. It assured customers: everyone will be hacked at some point and cybersecurity is mostly about minimising damage to the least (reasonable) extent when it happens and not preventing it.

The fact that their source code is on the lose is alarming though. They should subject it to a thorough analysis (by a 3rd party!) and setup a bug bounty programme. They are a business that relies on exposure to the public internet and I can only imagine how many people are trying to exploit it.

Finally, in the words of Eric Vorhees, there is also this valuable lesson so well formulated:

“Though it sounds cliché, (…), do yourself a favor and bring in 3rd party professional help very early. We hadn’t needed it at first, because we were small. But growth creeps up on you, and before you know it you are securing significant assets with sub-standard methods”

 

Introduction to Bitcoin & Blockchain- BBC Radio Bristol 3-5-2016

A spot i did on BBC Radio Bristol talking about the Bitcoin and Blockchain technology.

I also talk about the Bitcoin mining reward halvening in July of 2016, that will reduce the supply of new Bitcoins by 50%!

Note: Since the interview no reliable evidence has been put forward by Craig Steven Wright, that he is in fact the creator of Bitcoin.

 

 

Mother of all short squeezes looms for Bitcoin

Via Mike Krieger @ libertyblitzkreig.com

[Editors note: Entrepreneur Vinny Lingham has had some of the most accurate Bitcoin price predictions over the last few years, and his new predictions are eye opening to say the least!]

  • “The most important driver of the pending price surge, IMHO, is going to be what I term as the “Mother&*!er of all short squeezes”.A short squeeze is basically what happens when people that are short (selling) an asset discover that the price has risen and they need to buy (cover) to ensure they do not make further losses”
  • “It’s always easy to make outlandish predictions. My goal for this post was to outline what I think the tailwinds are behind Bitcoin. I don’t know if the price is going to $1000 or $10,000 — but I do know that it is going up. If I was forced to predict, I would say that it would hit $1000+ in 2016 and $3000+ in 2017. Looking forward to seeing how this all plays out!”

Read more here..

 

Swiss Town of Zug Launches Bitcoin Pilot Program

Via themerkle.com

  • “The Swiss town of Zug, which is currently home to more than 15 fintech companies, has approved a bitcoin pilot program that will allow residents to pay for municipal services with the digital currency”
  • “Until the end of 2016, Zug residents will be allowed to pay for services in bitcoin that cost up to 200 Swiss Francs. If the program shows promise, town officials will expand the scope of the pilot to include other urban services and remove the 200-Franc limit”

Read more here..