Daily Byte: 10.19.2018 – ETHNews.com


Venezuela moves forward with crypto plan, new blockchain phone to be unveiled, we are all living in a pirate state crypto-wise, and Elon Musk isn’t giving away flamethrowers for crypto.

Here’s what’s happening for October 19, 2018:

Nearly 15 Percent of All Crypto Stolen Between 2012 and 2018

Crypto market prices have been struggling to stabilize in recent days. While it’s unclear what is fueling this uncertainty, speculation from some corners points to a recent rash of crypto hacks. One report this summer suggested that for just the first half of 2018, $731 million in crypto assets were stolen from exchanges worldwide. A recent report from Reuters, however, suggests the hacking problem is much worse than what has been commonly believed.

It says approximately 15 percent of the combined global cryptocurrencies have been stolen between 2012 and 2018. Per financial research group Autonomous NEXT and Crypto Aware, this represents $1.7 billion in value lost at the time of the theft. Worse, the group believes as much as 85 percent of all thefts go unreported, largely because law enforcement lacks the ability to address the crime.

Among those personally defrauded that agreed to speak to Reuters, the clear majority opted to write off their losses and move on. Only one of the six victims interviewed reported losing faith in crypto because of the loss.

The transnational nature of cryptocurrency, combined with an unwillingness by law authorities to get involved with low-profile crypto thefts, have created the impression that the possibility of such loss is not just inherent to the technology at this stage in its development, but a necessary step that other platforms – like Amazon.com with its doorstop delivery – also went through.

Most nations have explicit investor warnings about the dangers of crypto scams, but few have established protocols to remedy investors’ loss. Reuters estimates that only one-fifth of all coins stolen are recovered.

Scammer Alert: You Cannot Buy a Fake-ish Flamethrower from Elon Musk with Crypto

Earlier today, The Next Web broke a story that eccentric inventor Elon Musk had backtracked from his previous statements regarding holding zero stake in crypto. Now, so the story went, he was into accepting bitcoin, Ether, bitcoin cash, and Litecoin as payment for “Not a Flamethrower,” a product from Musk-founded The Boring Company.

It turns out the story was a hoax. A hacker created the false story by spoofing The Boring Company’s domains. “ATTENTION: We’ve been had!,” TNW prefaces its now-debunked coverage. “The website showing cryptocurrency payment methods was a fake. We’re sorry, but sometimes we fall for internet trickery. We won’t remove this story because we want you to see how dumb we can be, so enjoy!”

The flamethrower, which is a real product available on The Boring Company’s website, allegedly sold 20,000 units before the sale concluded. The flamethrower was offered starting on January 27 of this year, following a December 2017 tweet in which Musk seemingly teased the rollout of the controversial product. The Boring Company is a research and development group tasked with developing Hyperloop transport technology (super-high-speed trains).

It is unclear why Musk decided to offer this unrelated product. The stunt, however, has drawn imitators. ThrowFlame, for example, offers a working flamethrower that can be bought using cryptocurrency.

In a September interview on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Musk asserted that Boring was a “hobby company” that he started as a joke. Even though work on the Los Angeles test track has begun, Musk suggested there is a reasonable chance that his HyperLoop network plan will fail.

Geth Is the Fifth-Fastest Growing Project on GitHub

It would seem that enthusiasm for Ethereum has not abated. According to GitHub’s Octoverse, Geth is the fifth fastest-growing project on the open source repository site.

According to State of the Dapps, Ethereum currently has 2,079 Dapps in its ecosystem, with 161 new ones added in September. This represents the largest one-month increase in decentralized applications in the history of the cryptocurrency.

Despite the rise in developer interest, Ethereum’s price continues on a downward path, with the coin dropping more than half its value in the last three months.

Blockchain-Powered Phone to Debut … Maybe

In an Instagram announcement that has since been deleted, Taiwanese cellphone manufacturer HTC announced the release date for its blockchain-power phone – the HTC Exodus – to be October 22.

As reported by TechRadar, the announcement was accompanied by a short teaser video. Much of the details about the phone are being held close to the vest until release, however. The Android-driven phone is said to feature cold storage for crypto assets and, per HTC, will be comparable to the $1,000 FINNEY phone made by Sirin Labs. The Sirin features dual screens and built-in crypto transaction encryption and confirmation.

Details about when the Exodus will be available for actual sale are unavailable.

Venezuela Authorizes Exchanges to Start Selling National Cryptocurrency

In February, Venezuela announced the petro, an oil-backed national cryptocurrency that would supplement the country’s failing currency while circumventing US sanctions. Per Noticiero Digital, this week the Venezuelan government authorized six websites to sell petro starting Wednesday, October 17.

The authorized websites are Cave Blockchain, Bancar, Cryptia, Amberes Coin, Afx Trade, and Criptolago. Most of these exchanges do not have a significant presence outside of Venezuela, despite President Nicolás Maduro’s assurance earlier this month that the petro will be available on “the six most powerful [exchanges] in the world.”

Be fast, be clever, be wise. Most importantly, be here next Monday for your Daily Byte.

Frederick Reese is a politics and cryptocurrency reporter based in New York. He is also a former teacher, an early adopter of bitcoin and Litecoin, and an enthusiast of all things geeky and nerdy.

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