Could Indecent Images on the Blockchain Spell the Demise of Bitcoin? 858

A team of German blockchain researchers have discovered images of child abuse on the Bitcoin blockchain. Since many network participants need to download a copy of the entire blockchain and it is entirely immutable, the legal implications of this might be damning for the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

Indecent Content on the Blockchain Could Render it Illegal

The Bitcoin blockchain is a record of every transaction that has ever occurred on the network. One of its major value propositions is that it cannot be changed or amended by any party.

Other data can also be stored on the blockchain. Typically, this includes notes about certain transaction – perhaps what the payment was used for or other trivial information. As well as this harmless data, files and links can be uploaded to the blockchain. Unfortunately, it appears that some users have been using it to record highly illegal data. This includes indecent images of children.

The discovery was made by blockchain specialists at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany. They managed to find over 1,600 files that exist on the Bitcoin blockchain. According to reports in The Guardian, at least eight of these were of sexual content. One of these examples is thought to be depicting a victim of child abuse. Another two contain links to dark web repositories of child pornography. Finally, 142 of files link to other illegal services on the dark web.

This poses a very real issue for Bitcoin. Since miners and validation nodes need to store the entire blockchain on their computer systems, they are essentially in possession of illegal content. In a recent paper, the researchers explained the implications that the storage of such content on the blockchain could pose for Bitcoin in the future:

“Although court rulings do not yet exist, legislative texts from countries such as Germany, the UK, or the USA suggest that illegal content such as [child abuse imagery] can make the blockchain illegal to possess for all users.”

The idea of storing harmful material on the blockchain isn’t new. Back in 2015, a group of internet security specialists identified the risk of harmful software being uploaded to the Bitcoin blockchain. The fear then was that those downloading the chain would also install malware that could then be used to weaken the security of centralised entities such as cryptocurrency exchanges.

However, the research reported today does represent the first proof that the blockchain is being used in such a nefarious way. It seems that mass possession of child pornography would be a worthy enough reason for governments of the world to come down hard on Bitcoin and the technology behind it. The efficacy of such a course of action, remains to be seen though.

 

 

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Stratis Brings Blockchain as a Service to All Businesses via Its C# Native Platform 2504

Stratis was created for a simple purpose – to provide enterprises with blockchain as a service (BaaS) solutions, designed to implement complex blockchain architecture within mainstream coding languages, used by everyday companies away from the crypto niche. It does this through cloud solutions, support for C# and .NET application building, alongside tool customization via its open source protocol. The result of this? Stratis unlocks the power of blockchain technology for mainstream businesses, and unlocks the mainstream market for the blockchain industry – two powerful combinations.

Enterprises that find themselves relying on the Stratis tool set will access a less expensive and less complex blockchain building framework. Companies no longer need to purchase and manage their own full nodes, nor do they need to build a blockchain infrastructure from scratch – something which is niche and represents a huge barrier to entry by setup cost to all but the largest of companies. Moreover, businesses in need of smart contract support will be pleased to find that Stratis supports virtual machines via Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.

Stratis – Tailored with Perfection

Stratis holds several key values that make it an optimal choice for blockchain operations – decentralization, privacy, scalability, practicality, accessibility, reliability, security, and performance. To better understand this, Stratis blockchains run a number of cloud-based full nodes, so decentralization is assured. Privacy is guaranteed – through cryptographic encryption, all transactions and communications remain private. Stratis is also keen on providing an adaptable degree of scalability, achieved through the means of intuitive sidechain usage.

Companies looking to leverage the power of smart contracts must know that Stratis is the only platform providing support for C# execution, so developers can efficiently code self-enforcing programs utilising their existing development tools and existing knowledge of a rich and versatile programming language. Stratis is also working on facilitating cross-chain communication between contracts running within Stratis’ ecosystem and those deployed on the Ethereum blockchain, hence increasing their suitability for today’s interconnected world.

STRAX Swap on Binance

In September 2020, the team introduced STRAX, a more powerful protocol designed to flawlessly integrate within the platform’s existing business model. Previously-minted STRAT tokens have been swapped to STRAX tokens on a 1:1 basis via Binance. Following the shift, Stratis will introduce a series of other advanced features, such as the STRAX SideChain, Stratis InterFlux, SegWit support, cold-staking, the DeFi app library, IoT development tools, and many others.

Since STRAX is based on the proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, network participants can receive token-based rewards in exchange for staking their STRAX tokens. Stratis is well-aware of the security risks posed by hot wallet storage, so the team has decided to use cold-staking for ideal token security.

2021 – The Year for Stratis & BaaS

In Q1 2021, Stratis will launch the Unity Development Kit (allowing the integration of NFTs and decentralized identities within the gaming ecosystem), the DeFi Software Library (a catalogue of C# standardized smart contracts), the Stratis DAO (a means of funding next-gen developments via voting), the Stratis System Contracts (introducing on-chain logic and simplifying user-driven processes), and the mobile wallet featuring token support (supporting tokens issued on the Cirrus Sidechain).

In Q2 2021, Stratis will launch the Python Development Kit (allowing Python coders to build on Stratis), the IoT Development Kit (meant to introduce Stratis solutions to IoT hardware), a new version of Proof-of-Stake (boasting improved security and additional features), Stratis Oracles (a distributed means of accessing off-chain data), and Dex Mobile Support (allowing mobile trading of SRC20 tokens).

In Q4 2021, Stratis will launch Ethereum Interoperability (known as InterFlux, this will enable usage of wrapped STRAX tokens on the Ethereum chain), alongside the STO & Digital Asset Platform (providing the tools needed to manage token offerings).

Kim Dotcom’s Next-Generation Content-Monetization Service K.IM Announces Bitcoin Cash Integration 3679

Dotcom, whose website Megaupload was once the 13th most popular site on the Internet and responsible for 4% of all Internet traffic, said K.IM turns “digital files into file shops. Users can use our service to package a file that they want to sell into an encrypted container file and then they can place it anywhere on the Internet. Customers who want to access the content inside the encrypted container can make a payment using cryptocurrency like Bitcoin Cash.”

Asked why he was excited about K.IM and Bitcoin Cash in particular, Dotcom said that while Bitcoin (BTC) has been a great tool for asset storage, Bitcoin Cash is “great for payments” for services like K.IM and offers new financial opportunities for consumers, vendors and investors. Kim had the following to say about the crypto market:

“My opinion is that crypto use is on the rise and BCH is in a good position to accumulate market share. For me it’s simple: The more users you have the more value you have.”

“The winners in the crypto race will be decided by vendors and users. Focus on the fundamental question: What do vendors and users want? Low fees, fast transactions, high security and ease of use.”

He went on to say that Bitcoin Cash was currently “undervalued” and that the “upside potential for those who missed the BTC train” is enormous. Bitcoin.com Founder and friend of Dotcom, Roger Ver, said that Dotcom has “always been ahead of the rest of the market and that people should pay attention to his predictions.” He went on further to say:

“When you look at interest in BTC these days, a lot of it comes in trying to chase its historic investment gains. As long as the price keeps going up, there is going to be a lot of interest. But what happens when people want to start actually using it to pay for things? They will discover the limitations of Bitcoin and look for an asset that can be both an investment and a true peer-to-peer payment system like Bitcoin was originally meant to be. That’s what Bitcoin Cash is.”

SwiftPass and Wallyt to Partner with Findora on Payments Network 5277

Findora announced today that the company will integrate their solutions with SwiftPass, a leading mobile payments service provider in Asia, and Wallyt, a Hong Kong based Fintech that provides international mobile payments and open banking solutions. Findora is a blockchain network that leverages zero-knowledge proof technology to ensure privacy for financial transactions while remaining auditable. Findora supports confidential transaction processing, verification and asset issuance for any cryptocurrency or financial asset, such as equities, derivatives, debt and cash.

“Among its peers, Findora has a unique approach to financial systems, with a balance between transparency and privacy for building a large-scale transaction network. We are excited to partner with Findora and, together, provide more Fintech solutions,” said CEO of Wallyt, Tong Liu.

Wallyt’s global presence and SwiftPass’ expansive platform and user base are ideally suited for Findora’s confidential ledger. The use of Findora is expected to provide enhanced data safety and privacy for the financial institutions and other clients they serve.

“Findora Development Foundation is excited to partner with two dynamic platforms in Wallyt and SwiftPass, in the constantly evolving Fintech and payments sector. The Findora blockchain’s unique approach to combining cryptography and blockchain will help Wallyt and SwiftPass achieve both confidentiality and auditability,” said F.I.R.S.T. Director of Findora Foundation, Paul Sherer.

MEG Announces Purchase Agreement for 2,000 Units of D1, BYD’s Custom Electric Ride-hailing Vehicle 6226

Ideanomics (NASDAQ: IDEX) (“Ideanomics” or the “Company”) announces that its Mobile Energy Global (“MEG”) and its contracting entity Qingdao Chengyang Medici have signed an agreement with Meihao Chuxing, a joint venture between BYD and Didi, to purchase an initial 2,000 units of model BYD D1. The ride-hailing vehicles are intended for deployment in multiple cities within China, with deliveries expected to begin in H1 2021.

“The D1 is a very thoughtfully designed ride-hailing EV and is a culmination of the latest design and technology to bring drivers and their customers an enjoyable travel experience. We are very pleased to work with Meihao Chuxing and BYD to promote the sales of the D1,” said Alf Poor, Ideanomics CEO. “Supported by a viable government subsidy program, the proliferation of EVs in China is a testament to the value that public and private partnerships can bring to large scale global challenges. We look forward to developing these types of partnerships and the rollout of more innovative vehicles like the D1 to our taxi and ride-hailing customers.”

Meihao Chuxing (Hangzhou) Automobile Technology Co., Ltd. was established in 2019, though a 65/35 joint venture between BYD and Didi with BYD having controlling interest. Launched in November 2020, model BYD D1 was jointly developed by BYD and Didi as the world’s first custom-built, all electric car for ride-hailing. The vehicles feature L2 Assisted Driving system, are linked with a fleet management system that helps large fleet operators track and optimize operational status, real-time energy management, as well as a myriad of other safety and comfort features. BYD D1 is equipped with its latest Blade Battery (LFP chemistry) with a range of 418 km (260 miles) and can reach top speeds of 130 km/h (81 mph). Didi Chuxing is deploying and promoting the ride-hailing service in a number of Chinese cities. Passengers can order the customized ride-sharing service via the Didi app.

Future FinTech Enters Into Indonesia Market, and Signs Share Exchange Agreement to Acquire Asiasens Investment Holding Pte. Ltd. 8299

Future FinTech Group Inc. (NASDAQ: FTFT) (“Future FinTech”, “FTFT” or “the Company”), a leading blockchain based e-commerce company and a service provider for financial technology, announced today that it has entered into an Share Exchange Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Asen Maneuvre Group Limited, a limited company organized under the laws of British Virgin Islands (the “Seller”) to acquire 70.59% of the equity interest of Asiasens Investment Holding Pte. Ltd., a company incorporated under the laws of Singapore (“Asiasens”).

Asiasens owns 85% equity interest of PT. Sens Tekonlogi Indonesia, an Indonesian company (“STI”) which holds a Financial Service Authority (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan “OJK”) license in Indonesia, and it also controls PT Permata Techno Indonesia, an Indonesian company (“PTI”) through variable interest entity (“VIE”) structure but will change it to 100% equity ownership of PTI before the closing of this transaction. PTI engages e-commerce business in Indonesia.

Pursuant to the Agreement, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary Future FinTech (Hong Kong) Limited is acquiring 70.59% of the equity interest of Asiasens by using 2,160,000 shares of common stock of the Company ( the “Company Shares”). The Company Shares will be issued according to the achievement of certain Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (“EBIT”) goals by Asiasens in 2021 and 2022.

More complete information of the terms of the Agreement is set forth in the Form 8-K and its exhibit filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on December 18, 2020.

Mr. Shanchun Huang, Chief Executive Officer of the Company, commented: “Asiasens team has extensive experience in financial technology and business development in Indonesia and we are excited to be able to enter into consumer financial and e-commerce business in Indonesia through this acquisition. Asisens has established close cooperative relationships with major e-commerce companies in Indonesia. With a population of 260 million in Indonesia, we believe the acquisition of Asiasens is a key step for our business development in Indonesia and Southeast Asia markets.”

Mr. Xujun Ji, Chairman of Asiasens, said: “Relying on mobile Internet, big data and intelligent cloud computing, Asiasens has forged its core competitiveness in terms of customer acquisition, operation, and funding channels, making its products and services have a good user experience and very high user stickiness. The share exchange agreement with FTFT will definitely bring Asiasens to a higher level in terms of business and philosophy. I believe that the challenger banking and payment fields which FTFT is developing will form a cooperation advantage with our consumer finance business. We will continue to enrich product features to bring users better and more comprehensive financial services experience.”

Bitcoin SV support introduced at Beaxy Exchange in partnership with Fabriik Markets 9561

Beaxy Exchange, the popular Chicago-based digital asset exchange, today announces that it has introduced trading support for Bitcoin SV [BSV] on its platform. With immediate effect, BSV/USD and BSV/BTC trading pairs are listed and available for use. The introduction of Bitcoin SV comes as a result of a partnership between Beaxy Exchange and Fabriik Markets, a leading digital asset market-maker and liquidity provider. Fabriik Markets will provide market-making services to Beaxy Exchange for BSV-based trading pairs.

The move to launch BSV-based trading on Beaxy Exchange comes as demand for the digital asset continues to grow globally, with the utility of its massively scaling blockchain driving expansion of data use cases across many industry sectors. BSV also functions as a powerful payments network for both businesses and consumers, with its fast transaction times, low fees (sending a BSV payment costs less than 1/100 of a U.S. cent), and regulation-friendly approach providing an ideal payments platform.

As a U.S. Money Services Business [MSB] registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network [FinCEN], Beaxy Exchange offers a safe, compliant, and protected service for its customers. All digital assets on Beaxy Exchange are secured by Curv Institutional Custody, with USD deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation [FDIC] up to $250,000.

Beaxy Exchange services customers in 42 U.S. states, in addition to serving an active global customer base in many international markets. Fiat currency on-ramps are offered by wire transfer in USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD and AUD, as well as credit/debit card on-ramps offered through Simplex in USD, EUR, GBP, ILS, TRY, CAD, CHF, KRW, JPY, RUB, AUD, CZK, NOK, DKK, NZD, SEK, ZAR, HUF, and PLN.

Speaking on today’s announcement, Bay Abbott, Director and Co-President of Beaxy Exchange, said:

“There have been very limited options for those in the United States to buy or sell BSV safely and with convenience. For that reason, along with all of the interest we’ve seen from our community, Beaxy Exchange is thrilled to offer new markets for BSV that were otherwise inaccessible to a large portion of the total crypto market. This is a great opportunity for the global audience as well, as Beaxy will provide fiat on and off-ramps for traders using the USD, EUR, GBP, JPT, CAD, and AUD.”

Also commenting, Steven Walt, General Manager of Fabriik Markets, said:

“We are excited to partner with Beaxy to support their customers’ needs around BSV liquidity. Beaxy is an established and well-respected brand within the digital asset space, and we look forward to leveraging our technology and liquidity to support their growth.”

Also speaking on today’s announcement, Jimmy Nguyen, Founding President of Bitcoin Association, the Switzerland-based global industry organisation that supports Bitcoin SV, commented:

“Bitcoin Association welcomes the addition of BSV support by digital asset businesses that comply with applicable regulations and prioritise operating in a transparent manner, demonstrable qualities of both Beaxy Exchange and Fabriik Markets. With a U.S. base of operations and a strong international reach, Beaxy Exchange are an ideal partner to work with Fabriik Markets to expand the fiat on-ramps for and accessibility of BSV in the U.S. and around the world. I wish both businesses well for the future of their partnership and look forward to their contributions to the ongoing Bitcoin SV growth story and to advancing a more lawful digital currency industry.”