Saturday, January 13, 2018

Secretary of Treasury doesn't want #bitcoin used for "bad things"

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Steven Mnuchin, the United States Secretary of the treasury has gone on record in regards to bitcoin recently saying that his agency has an interest in the cryptocurrency. Mainly, he doesn't want bitcoin to become the new Swiss Bank account.

Via SHTF Plan:

“We are very focused on cryptocurrencies,” Mnuchin explained, pointing to discussions with other regulators within the U.S. government and later stating: “We want to make sure that bad people cannot use these currencies to do bad things.” 
Speaking at the Economic Club of Washington, Mnuchin said that the Financial Stability Oversight Council, a government body that assesses financial system risks, has formed a working group focused on cryptocurrencies, and explained that “In the United States — and people may not realize this — under our laws, if you have a wallet to own bitcoins, that company has the same obligation as a bank to Know Your Customer. So, in the United States, we have rules for anti-money-laundering, for all different types of entities, we can track those types of [transactions]. The rest of the world doesn’t have that. So one of the things we are working very closely with the G-20 on is making sure that this doesn’t become the Swiss numbered bank account.”

If you are thinking about using bitcoin to hide your money, and aren't worried about Mnuchin's comments, you might think twice. You see, it turns out that bitcoin isn't as anonymous as some people once thought.

Via MIT Technology Review:

An increasing number of online merchants now offer the ability to pay using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. One of the great promises of this technology is anonymity: the transactions are recorded and made public, but they are linked only with an electronic address. So whatever you buy with your bitcoins, the purchase cannot be traced specifically to you. 
This is handy for some, but the anonymity is by no means perfect. Security experts call it pseudonymous privacy, like writing books under a nom de plume. You can preserve your privacy as long as the pseudonym is not linked to you. But as soon as somebody makes the link to one of your anonymous books, the ruse is revealed. Your entire writing history under your pseudonym becomes public. Similarly, as soon as your personal details are linked to your Bitcoin address, your purchase history is revealed too. 
That raises an important question for people hoping to use Bitcoin to make anonymous purchases: how easy is it to link them with their Bitcoin transactions? 
Today we get an answer thanks to the work of Steven Goldfeder at Princeton University and a number of pals. These guys say the way information leaks during ordinary purchases makes it straightforward to link individuals with the Bitcoin transactions they make, even when purchasers use additional privacy protections, such as CoinJoin.

If MIT knows this, you know damn good and well the US Goverment knows this. That is probably why the smart rich folks, and criminals are moving their assets away from bitcoin to more secure and private currencies like Monero.

If you are not familiar with Monero, Check out this video:


Here is a description of what makes Monero different from GetMonero.org:

Monero is secure 
Monero is a decentralized cryptocurrency, meaning it is secure digital cash operated by a network of users. Transactions are confirmed by distributed consensus and then immutably recorded on the blockchain. Third-parties do not need to be trusted to keep your Monero safe. 
Monero is private 
Monero uses ring signatures, ring confidential transactions, and stealth addresses to obfuscate the origins, amounts, and destinations of all transactions. Monero provides all the benefits of a decentralized cryptocurrency, without any of the typical privacy concessions. 
Monero is untraceable 
Sending and receiving addresses as well as transacted amounts are obfuscated by default. Transactions on the Monero blockchain cannot be linked to a particular user or real-world identity. 
Monero is fungible 
Monero is fungible because it is private by default. Units of Monero cannot be blacklisted by vendors or exchanges due to their association in previous transactions.
 
Monero is certainly a favorite of hacker groups, most likely because of how untraceable it is.

Via Bleeping Computer:

A group of hackers has made over a quarter-million dollars worth of Monero by breaking into Oracle WebLogic servers and installing a cryptocurrency miner. 
The attacks have been going on since early December 2017, according to experts at the SANS Technology Institute and Morphus Labs... 
...The vulnerability attackers chose wasn't by accident, as it had a severity score of 9.8 out of 10, meaning it was both easy to exploit via the Internet and allowed attackers to execute malicious code on the server and take over the underlying machine.

With all of this being said, Mnunchin may not have to worry about bitcoin being the  way that rich folks have to hide their money to avoid stifling taxes. He should be worried about people using truly anonymous cryptocurrencies like Monero, Dash and ZCash instead... Then again, what is he going to do about it? It's encrypted, secure and untraceable!