The long list of cryptocurrency exchange hacks tells the story of one of the Bitcoin industry’s biggest problems to date: Custodial exchanges are a big target for attackers and a centralized point of failure for those that rely on them. Just this year, about $ 200 million worth of cryptocurrency became inaccessible when QuadrigaCX’s CEO passed away, while Binance last month revealed it lost 7,000 bitcoin when its servers were hacked, a loss valued at over $ 40 million at the time. Over the past decade, a staggering estimate of $ 1.4 billion worth of crypto has been stolen or about 8 percent of all bitcoin in circulation today.
October 1, 2018, marked five years since I was imprisoned. My physical surroundings today are ironically similar to what they were after my arrest back in 2013. I’m in the SHU again (Special Housing Unit, aka “the hole”). It means permanent lockdown, separated from the general prison population, in a small cell. There is a slot in the heavy metal door for food trays, a small steel toilet, a concrete bunk with thick rings at four points (I guess that’s how I’ll get strapped down if I go crazy), chipped paint on the walls and floor with gang names and desperate Bible quotes etched in, and everywhere thick marks counting the days spent here by former inhabitants (some collections are terrifyingly large).
Samsung announced on February 21, 2019, that their newest phone, the Galaxy S10, will include secure storage for its users’ cryptocurrency private keys.
The company made a press release detailing the phone’s many features, notably including Samsung’s proprietary defense platform, Samsung Knox, which will feature secure private key storage that is claims is specifically “for blockchain-enabled mobile services.”
Baked-in support for cryptocurrencies in smartphone platforms is not completely unique to the space, although this initiative by Samsung represents a major step for the technology’s integration into mainstream products. As it stands, there are currently two smartphones that support crypto assets: HTC’s Exodus 1 and Sirin Labs’ Finney.
There are two primary reasons why storing your private crypto keys in the cloud is a bad idea. First, your cloud provider represents a centralized honeypot that could experience a security breach, allowing cyber criminals to access your data. For example, in August 2018, a fourth man was jailed in the U.S. for hacking into private Apple iCloud accounts and leaking nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and others. So it does happen. And it will probably happen again in the future.
San Francisco-based Coinbase announced Tuesday that users of the Coinbase Wallet can now store encrypted private keys on personal cloud storage accounts, using either Google Drive or iCloud. 🔐☁️ Introducing Cloud Backup for your private keys on Coinbase Wallet! Backup to your personal iCloud or Google Drive, and explore the open financial system with peace of mind. […]
A bitcoin exchange in Singapore reported on January 3 that on New Year’s Day their data center experienced a “fire.” Fears of an exit scam began to mount. According to them, this fire results in 7% of users losing access to their accounts. The events coincided with the first annual Proof of Keys event. BiteBTC.com
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HitBTC are apparently not the only ones who are “failing” the Proof of Keys event today. The event is intended to prove the Bitoin solvency of each exchange. Every user is encouraged to withdraw all Bitcoin to private keys that they control. However, according to Trace Mayer and the Proof of Keys’ event’s official page,
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Cryptocurrency exchange HitBTC has frozen its customers’ accounts ahead of an annual proof of keys event, according to multiple sources. On December 31, 2o18, the company responded to an open complaint on Reddit after the user accused them of suspending his withdrawal requests. Redditor PEDXS said that he had dutifully passed the know-your-customer test after
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Trace Mayer is calling for all bitcoiners to participate in a “Proof of Keys” celebration on Genesis Block day. “Not your keys; not your bitcoin,” he emphasized, urging bitcoiners to declare monetary sovereignty by withdrawing all of their bitcoins held with trusted third parties to software for which they control the private keys.
Proof of Keys
Early Bitcoin promoter, investor and podcaster Trace Mayer is hoping to inspire the community to take their bitcoins out of exchanges and third-party wallets on Genesis Block day.
This past Sunday BCH proponent and developer, Jonathan Silverblood, revealed a project he’s been working on called Cash-ID. The Cash-ID concept is an open protocol for online identification purposes that provides users with the ability to sign in to web pages using their bitcoin cash keys for login credentials.
For those worried about memory loss, hard-drive failure, and over-efficient house-maids, help is now at hand. A startup by the name of Carverr is now offering a service to store your crypto passwords in a vial of DNA.
DNA: Dumb Numerical Amnesia
It’s an age-old dilemma… if by age you mean ‘just short of a decade’. And by dilemma you mean ‘how to remember your private key’. As long as bitcoin has existed there have been countless legends of forgotten keys and with an estimated 4 million bitcoin now considered lost forever.
Telegram, the ICO led social messaging app is current banned in Russia, although according to reports, this ban could soon be overturned if the company agree to share their encryption keys with law enforcement authorities in Russia. This comes as the Federal Security Service (FSB) have decided that they need to access encrypted messages in order to combat terrorism, though we can question if Telegram really is the arena of choice for terrorist communications.
According to CCN:
“Russia’s telecommunications watchdog said that it will consider reversing the ban on messaging service Telegram if the company submits to a court order requiring it to share its encryption keys with federal law enforcement.
Russia’s telecommunications watchdog said that it will consider reversing the ban on messaging service Telegram if the company submits to a court order requiring it to share its encryption keys with federal law enforcement. Russia-based news outlet RT reports that Roscomnadzor (RKN), which began blocking local access to Telegram after the company refused to comply
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People often get quite creative when it comes to cryptocurrency. An artist who goes by the name Andy Bauch has hidden the private keys to cryptocurrency wallets containing $ 10,000 worth of coins in artwork built with Lego bricks. It’s a remarkable showcase of artistic skill and cryptocurrency enthusiasm, to say the least.
Andy Bauch creates a unique masterpiece
It is safe to say few people would ever look for a cryptocurrency wallet’s private key in artwork made with Lego bricks. Whether or not that is the main reason why Andy Bauch took this approach remains unknown. We do know his creation has sparked a lot of interest, although it is evident this approach was quite unusual. Combining the concept of cryptocurrency with art in a meaningful way is not something we see every day, unfortunately.
Telegram has lost a court battle against handing its encryption keys to Russian security services. The messaging platform, which forms a pivotal network for the cryptocurrency community, has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court in a bid to prevent Russia obtaining the private data of millions of users.
An anonymous user on Pastebin has provided evidence that some wallet software may be generating private keys that can be easily discoverable, and therefore easy to take any bitcoins associated with that address. There has been no word on what wallet software is possibly affected, nor if this is a malicious act or a simple coding error.
TL;DR – Scroll to the last subsection
What is a Private Key?
I’m going to give a little bit of background and explain some terminology for those who don’t know how bitcoin works under the hood. The first thing is a private key. If you think of your bitcoin wallet address as a lock, the private key is the key used to unlock it and spend the funds inside.