bitcoin cash logo render

Overview

Bitcoin Cash was created as a result of a continuing debate in the Bitcoin community about how Bitcoin should scale to meet an expanding user base. Bitcoin Cash branched off from the original Bitcoin blockchain, and all work done previous to the split is just as much part of the history of Bitcoin Cash as it is part of the history of Bitcoin. Because of this shared history, and the disagreements that led to its creation, the status of Bitcoin Cash is hotly debated, with two sides deeply entrenched in their view.

Proponents of Bitcoin Cash believe that they preserved the original Bitcoin by forking off before other controversial changes were applied, mainly the SegWit side chain system. In their view, Bitcoin Cash conforms more to the original version of Bitcoin, and some even go so far as to say it is the true Bitcoin.

Opponents of Bitcoin Cash feel that it was a fork perpetrated by people looking to capitalize on Bitcoin’s success by creating what is essentially just another coin in the market, but unfairly leveraging the name recognition of Bitcoin.

Purpose

Bitcoin Cash has a very clear and simple goal, which is to be an everyday currency, used as commonly and frequently as any paper cash, credit card, or any other way people transact for goods and services. However, this goal does not exclude the possibility of being a store of value, as proponents of Bitcoin Cash believe that value ensues from the ability to conduct commerce. Also, as of mid-May 2018, Bitcoin Cash will have the ability to do smart contracts similar to what Ethereum can do, and previous to this, developers have already innovated different uses for the Bitcoin Cash blockchain, such as an on chain social messaging system. What turns out to be the most popular use for Bitcoin Cash may yet to be seen.

Technical

Bitcoin Cash is mined on the exact same hardware that Bitcoin uses, as they are both forks of the exact same code base. As such, Bitcoin Cash directly competes with Bitcoin for computing power. How much power is split between the two coins is determined by the price of the coins, which determines how profitable they are to mine. Currently, the majority of mining power goes to Bitcoin, as it has a significant price advantage. However, Bitcoin Cash has seen price gains approaching 20% of the value of Bitcoin. If it goes upward, and there is enough incentive for Mining to switch over to Bitcoin Cash, this could present a technical challenge for Bitcoin, as the difficulty algorithm that determines how fast blocks can be mined might not adjust in time to match less computing power being available. In such a case, the Bitcoin chain could see a dramatic fall in value, or even fail to be able to continue entirely. This is one reason Bitcoin supporters feel that Bitcoin Cash is an existential threat to Bitcoin.

Market

Except for a few very short-lived spikes, Bitcoin Cash has held a fairly consistent place as the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization. As of May 2018, it has closed the gap on Ripple, its price deviating slightly from the rest of the market, which usually tends to rise and fall together. Because of the controversy surrounding Bitcoin, there are those who apply a lot of meaning to its rise or fall, but while the two warring factions rally against the opposing side, hoping to see Bitcoin Cash rapidly become the de facto cryptocurrency or disappear completely, the market seems to have settled on a slow and steady progression that leaves neither side completely satisfied.

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Wells Fargo Is The Latest Bank To Block Cryptocurrency Purchases On Credit
You can’t buy bitcoin with Wells Fargo credit cards anymore. Engadget reports, “Wells Fargo is pumping the brakes on customers using their credit cards to buy bitcoin — the bank has banned credit card cryptocurrency purchases. However, this isn’t a permanent measure, as Wells Fargo will monitor the crypto market and reassess the issue as needed”.

SEC Launches ICO Portal: Highlights Risks, Rewards, and Responsibilities
According to Tony Spilotro of BlockExplorer, “The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is vehemently opposed to a common crowdfunding practice in the cryptocurrency industry called the initial coin offering (ICO). An ICO is similar to an initial public offering where a company or corporation raises investment capital by offering its stock to the public for the first time. Only in an ICO, a digital currency or token is distributed instead of a stock, and the token can have a variety of uses that blur the line of what defines a traditional security.”

Hackers Steal $20 Million Of Ethereum From Ethereum-based Apps and Mining Rigs
The Chinese cyber-security firm Qihoo 360 Netlab reported hackers stole over $20 million of Ethereum. BleepingComputer tells us, “The cause of these thefts is Ethereum software applications that have been configured to expose an RPC [Remote Procedure Call] interface on port 8545. The purpose of this interface is to provide access to a programmatic API that an approved third-party service or app can query and interact or retrieve data from the original Ethereum-based service —such as a mineror wallet application that users or companies have set up for mining or managing funds.”

Argo Blockchain to List on London Stock Exchange, Launches Subscription Crypto-mining
Argo Blockchain, a business that seeks to offer cryptocurrency-mining to the masses, announced its plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange. BlockExplorer’s Julia Travers shares with us that “the announcement coincided with the launch of Argo’s Mining as a Service, or MaaS, program, which will allow users to participate in mining through the Argo site with their home computers or smartphones.”

Bitcoin mining

Argo Blockchain, a business that seeks to offer cryptocurrency-mining to the masses, announced its plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange or LSE on June 11, 2018. This announcement coincided with the launch of Argo’s Mining as a Service, or MaaS, program, which will allow users to participate in mining through the Argo site with their home computers or smartphones. According to the announcements, Argo expects its valuation to be £40 million, or about $54 million, and to raise £20 million, or about $27 million. Argo plans to use the money raises to fund the growth if its MaaS services. Co-founder Jonathan Bixby said:

We have launched this service to take the pain and heartache out of participating in the biggest new technology breakthrough since the launch of the internet.

Argo aims to be the first crypto-mining company on the LSE. In 2015, blockchain-focused investment business Coinsilium was the first cryptocurrency-related company to hold an IPO on LSE’s submarket for smaller companies, AIM.

Argo was established in 2017. According to the company announcements, its technology invites the public at large to become crypto-miners, “without the need to have significant computing expertise or acquire complex and expensive hardware and have the frustration of setting up their own systems.”

Argo compares its mainstream mining services to the cloud computing revolution of the last decade, and Bixby told The Financial Times it wants to be “the Amazon web services of crypto.” Subscribers to Argo’s cloud-based platform sign up for a specific amount of mining capacity and can choose what to mine, which mining pool to join and where to store their coins off the site. Introductory fees to join its pools are £18 or about $25 per month. Currently, it mines the digital currencies Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Zcash, but this may change in the future.

Argo is headquartered in London and has a mining facility in Quebec. It currently has 7 racks, each holding 10 servers with 8 GPUs each in Canada, and it has also started “initial operations” in China. Argo’s primary targets customers are in Europe, North America and Australia. The company plans to rely on renewable energy like solar and hydropower.

Bixby describes the company’s plan to go public in this way:

A London stock market listing will provide Argo with the profile, credibility and access to global capital to drive our growth and help us establish a leadership position in the long term.

The featured image is the Argo logo, credit: Argo.

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Use our news to inform cryptocurrency trading decisions, stay up-to-date on happenings in the industry, and more!

Gemini To Become First BitLicensed Exchange To Offer Trading in Zcash
The New York State Department of Financial Services has authorized Gemini Trust Company to offer trading of Zcash, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Tyler Winklevoss, Chief Executive Officer of Gemini Trust Company, LCC said, “We are proud be the first licensed exchange in the world to offer Zcash trading and custody services and look forward to providing customers with a safe, secure, and regulated place to buy, sell, and store Zcash, an incredible new form of digital cash.”

Crypto Mining Company Coinmint Moving To Revamp 1,300 Acre Alcoa Plot
Once used for aluminum smelting, an Alcoa plant in Upstate New York is going to be converted into one of the world’s largest bitcoin mining centers. CNBC reports Coinmint said Tuesday it “would invest up to $700 million in the upstate New York location, which it expects to be the biggest bitcoin mining center in the world. The project will create an estimated 150 jobs over the next 18 months.”

Cryptocurrency Theft Malware Now An Economy Worth Millions
According to a new research report titled “Cryptocurrency Gold Rush on the Dark Web” by Carbon Black, the market for malware and tools designed for the theft of cryptocurrency is growing swiftly. ZDNet states, “The researchers estimate that over the past six months alone, a total of $1.1 billion has been stolen in cryptocurrency-related thefts, and approximately 12,000 marketplaces in the underbelly of the Internet are fueling this trend.”

Image courtesy of Carty Sewill, http://cartyisme.com/.

GuardiCore, a cloud-based security provider, has uncovered a large-scale attack on vulnerable servers. Codenamed Operation Prowli, the attack leverages various exploits to redirect web traffic, and to install cryptocurrency mining software on its targets.

Operation Prowli

Operation Prowli attacks targets with various exploits tailored to specific vulnerabilities. From SSH brute forcing to Mirai-like attacks on consumer modems. Post-infection actions taken include installing cryptocurrency miners and redirecting web traffic. Both post-infection actions performed by Operation Prowli are intended to provide a revenue stream back to those running the attack. At the time of writing, it was reported that over 40,000 computers have fallen victim.

A more in-depth look at the methodology and attacks used by Operation Prowli can be seen in GaurdiCore’s release.

Cryptojacking

Cryptojacking, or stealing computing power from others, allows those behind Operation Prowli to leverage many compromised computers to mine cryptocurrency. As in the last few reports on cryptojacking, the currency of choice for the attackers is Monero, undoubtedly chosen for its commitment to being minable on consumer CPUs and untraceable nature.

Traffic redirection

Once Operation Prowli has managed to gain access to a server, it will attempt to redirect web traffic towards malicious sites. An example used in GaurdiCore’s release is tech support scams.

Prevention and staying secure

For consumers, the best way to stay secure is to verify that the site you have visited is the one you intended. And otherwise to only follow links you trust.

Providers that are not already infected, ensuring your servers are secure can be done in various ways. With the simplest being to use strong passwords, and to only expose to the internet what you absolutely have to. For this reason, firewalls to close ports that do not need to be accessed externally are a must. Otherwise, ensuring that the software you use is up to date, and does not have any longstanding security issues will go a long way.

Otherwise, for providers that are already infected, changing all passwords and doing a security audit is a good first step. After which, stop all currently running malicious processes and remove their binaries (hashes provided below). Or in the case of the traffic redirection attack, check all relevant files for malicious lines.

Filename Hash (sourced from GaurdiCore’s release)
r2r2 128582a05985d80af0c0370df565aec52627ab70dad3672702ffe9bd872f65d8
r2r2-a 09fa626ac488bca48d94c9774d6ae37d9d1d52256c807b6341f0a08bdd722abf
r2r2-m 908a91a707a3a47f9d4514ecdb9e43de861ffa79c40202f0f72b4866fb6c23a6
r345 51f9b87efd00d3c12e4d73524e9626bfeed0f4948781a6f38a7301b102b8dbbd
r345-a cfb8f536c7019d4d04fb90b7dce8d7eefaa6a862a85c523d869912a1fbaf946a
r345-m 88d03f514b2c36e06fd3b7ed6e53c7525a8e8370c4df036b3b96a6da82c8b45b
xm111 b070d06a3615f3db67ad3beab43d6d21f3c88026aa2b4726a93df47145cd30ec
cl1 7e6cadbfad7147d78fae0716cadb9dcb1de7c4a392d8d72551c5301abe11f2b2
z.exe a0a52dc6cf98ad9c9cb244d810a22aa9f36710f21286b5b9a9162c850212b160
pro-wget a09248f3a4d7e58368a1847f235f0ceb52508f29067ad27a36a590dc13df4b42
pro-s2 3e5b3a11276e39821e166b5dbf6414003c1e2ecae3bdca61ab673f23db74734b