Top Crypto News – 21-05-2018

Armchair Detectives Have Another Bitcoin Puzzle to Solve


Bitcoin Puzzles: Hiding Cryptocurrencies in Plain Sight

Since the inception of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, visual puzzles that contain digital asset rewards have been very popular. This week a Reddit user named ‘u/cryptogreetings’ posted a cryptic picture online that contained a puzzle with a 1 BTC prize. Since the image was published online no one has been able to crack it so far as the public address can be seen here. The picture is black and orange and white with a bitcoin symbol and many words, and numbers strewed across the image. The creator says if no one can crack it in a week they will publish some hints to help people out.

“This work is comprised of Satoshi Nakamoto’s famous whitepaper words, scaled by Log N. Disparate ideas inspired Satoshi to create a solution to revolutionize modern socio-economics and industry,” explains the Reddit user u/cryptogreetings.

The work reflects on the elements that brought this technology to life, and challenges the underlying security model. Hidden in plain sight lies something more: a treasure hunt. 1 BTC is concealed within the work.

Armchair Detectives Have Another Bitcoin Puzzle to Solve
This picture was published yesterday, it contains 1 BTC hidden within the image. It has not been solved yet.

The Infamous Coin Artist 5 BTC Puzzle Solved This Year

Just recently reported on a famous bitcoin puzzle that contained 5 BTC for years before the puzzle was decrypted. The painting called ‘The Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto’ was designed by @coin_artist, who had hidden clues that revealed a private key to the tethered wallet. The puzzle was solved by a 30-year old programmer named ‘Isaac’ who solved the puzzle in less than two months. Isaac just happened upon the puzzle while searching for cryptocurrency related riddles online.

Armchair Detectives Have Another Bitcoin Puzzle to Solve
This painting held 5 BTC at one time, it was solved this year.

Cryptocurrency Puzzles and Riddles Strewn Across the Web

There have been tons of bitcoin puzzles over the years and there even is a Reddit forum dedicated to these riddles called r/bitcoinpuzzles. The Reddit forum has lots of puzzles with large funds hidden and smaller mBTC fractions. reported on another bitcoin puzzle series that is tied to an Enigma game on Steam. Montecrypto is a game specifically designed for armchair detectives as this past February the game made headlines worldwide. During the first week of February, a gamer solved the Montecrypto puzzles and accumulated $50K worth of BTC, BCH, and other coins.

Armchair Detectives Have Another Bitcoin Puzzle to Solve
Bitcoin and security expert Andreas Antonopoulos showing a hidden $12Mn BTC transaction back in 2015.

As long as cryptocurrencies can be hidden people will always try to solve these puzzles using techniques like uncovering obscure clues, utilizing steganography and cryptography. People have also stored puzzles within the digital asset’s network as well as one user in 2011 wrote a paper describing a way to implement steganography inside the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network. “That is, storing hidden messages inside the network, that would be available only to those who knew where (and how) to look,” explained the creator and his paper’s summary.

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Santander Conducts Proxy Voting Blockchain Pilot at AGM


Banco Santander has completed a blockchain pilot that it says improves the process of proxy voting during annual general meetings (AGMs).

For the project, announced Thursday, Santander partnered with global fintech firm Broadridge and custodian banks JPMorgan and Northern Trust, describing it in a press release as the “first practical use of blockchain” for shareholder voting.

However, it should be noted that other entities such as Nasdaq, the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange and a group of central securities depositories, including Russia’s National Settlement Depository, have all conducted pilots, are developing systems or have launched platforms around the use case.

The Broadridge-built solution – piloted previously in April of last year – aims to improve transparency in the global proxy voting system, while also increasing security, efficiency, security and analytics, the release says.

The pilot was concluded on March 23 for the Spanish banking giant’s AGM and saw participation from Santander’s blockchain lab and Corporate Services, which acted as the issuer’s agent. The blockchain solution was used to produce a “shadow” digital register of the proxy voting system taking place in parallel using the conventional voting model.

Sergio Gamez, global head of shareholders and investor relations at Santander, said that, for a listed company like Santander, the AGM is one of the most important corporate governance events.

Gamez explained:

“It is very important to ensure the participation by investors and shareholders, and this year using blockchain technology for the institutional vote has been a great help in terms of transparency and agility across the vote life cycle.”

As mentioned above, Broadridge executed a similar pilot focused on proxy voting in collaboration with the same partners last April. The project used a private version of the ethereum blockchain as a backup system to more traditional voting software. The trial was conducted at an annual meeting at Santander Investments.

“The successful completion of a second pilot along with the next phase of our blockchain-based proxy voting solution demonstrates Broadridge’s continued commitment to developing innovative technology solutions in the re-imagination and improvement of global proxy,” said Patricia Rosch, president of investor communications at Broadridge.

Meeting image via Shutterstock
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Japan’s Coincheck Removes Monero and Three Other Privacy Coins Under FSA Ban


Coincheck will delist Monero and three others cryptocurrencies deemed to grant too much anonymity to holders under orders from the Japanese FSA.

Japan’s FSA Bans Monero, Zcash, Dash and Augur

According to Sputnik Coincheck has confirmed rumors that they will be removing Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), Dash and Augur’s Reputation (REP) coin from trading on its exchange by June 18 in accordance with Japan’s Financial Services Agency’s new policy which aims at banning cryptocurrencies that offer significant anonymity. The exchange has reported that any of the banned cryptocurrencies remaining in users wallets after June 18 will be converted to Japanese Yen at the market rate.

Coincheck has had a raucous 2018 already; being the target of the second largest ever cryptocurrency heist in January when they lost approximately $530 million of traders money which they then struggled to pay back from their own coffers. The hack brought them under heavy scrutiny by the FSA, circumstances that may have led to them being acquired by Monex and now this ban.

The FSA re-structured its regulatory measures on exchanges after the Coincheck hack to enforce more transparency in the crypto market. A ban on tokens that offer high levels of privacy and anonymity coming under their axe is of little surprise as they continue to search for the tokens stolen from Coincheck that seem to have been moved from wallet to wallet as anonymously as possible.

Coincheck Adheres to FSA Ban

Monero has been among the top ten cryptocurrencies and is enormously popular in Japan but has garnered criticism for being the new crypto for criminals mostly due to it being favored by drive-by miners. The FSA has established the ban as a way to crack down on digital currency it sees as useful for money laundering and other nefarious enterprises.

In the wake of the January hack, Coincheck suspended all withdrawals which it has been lifting since on a coin by coin basis. In a bid to regain customer trust they have been promoting zero-fee trading since March. The exchange has also claimed the right to deny any transaction being made without a valid reason and has imposed new verification standards for all users. Still, Coincheck announced it will “drastically review”  its own controls and continue to comply with regulations from the FSA in order to strengthen its efforts against the exchange being used to support any criminal or terrorist activity.

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The Bitcoin Guy: Why EOS is the most exciting new crypto in the Blockchain world


Jay Smith dropped out of school before his GCSEs to spend his life in his bedroom. There, he focused on his three obsessions; gaming, tech and economics.

After a four-year career supplementing his income as a top gamer on the esports circuit, he switched his attentions to trading bitcoin.

Now 29, Jay is one of the country’s most respected and widely followed cryptocurrency traders.

Today he starts a new, weekly column advising Evening Standard readers how to navigate the crypto minefield.

EOS and Me

The City venue was big. Swish. All steel, glass and exposed brickwork.

Not the kind of place I find myself often.

Unlike the rest of the guys at the conference.

They were bankers, wearing suits worth more than I earned in a month before I started trading. They looked at home there, a tribe, all dressed in identical uniform.

Me? I was in jeans and a hoody.

I wasn’t the only one: there were a few other hoodies in the room, too, including our hosts. They were from my tribe – the tech guys.  And we were the only ones in there who had a clue what we were talking about.

It was the convention at the Chiswell Street Brewery for big business and corporates, sponsored by the brains behind a new cryptocurrency called EOS. I’d been excited by their stuff for ages; EOS had barely even started trading back then, but I thought it had the potential to be massive.

From the get-go, you could see the suits were out of their depth. They’d clearly been sent by their banks to get a handle on “this Blockchain thing.”

That said, the busiest talks were for EOS, which proved to me one thing; EOS had big money interest. Not necessarily clever money. But big.

The weird thing was, despite it being blindingly obvious that it was only my tribe who really got this stuff, of all the suits there – from  JPMorgan, to Morgan Stanley, to Barclays – only one asked what we thought.  He was a clever guy from a clever bank – Goldman Sachs. To this day, Goldman is still the only bank that really seems to understand crypto, and – as importantly – treats the industry and people within it with respect.

That was almost year ago. Since then I’ve been offered eyewatering amounts of cash to work for chunky hedge funds, but I’ve turned them all down.

You see, I don’t want to work for some “hedgie” who’s already a millionaire with huge property portfolios and fancy cars. Who thinks millennials should stop whingeing about house prices and spend less money on avocados if they want to get on the ladder.

I’d rather share my knowledge with ordinary people. Folks who might really need the money it could make them.

You see, to me, cryptocurrencies and the blockchains they’re built on aren’t cool because they made me wealthy.

They’re awe-inspiring because of their potential to change our planet.

They’re amazing because they will allow people in dictatorships to talk and trade with the outside world.

They’re life enhancing because they’ll allow us to talk to each other for free, without Facebook or Twitter taking a cut, selling our data, or shovelling ads onto our feeds.

The knowledge behind cryptocurrencies shouldn’t just be for a small band of rich guys to keep for themselves. We need to share it with the world. Be transparent. Evangelise.

That’s kind of what this column is about.

And that’s kind of what EOS is about.

What’s so special about EOS?

You see, EOS wants to open its technology and ownership to anyone and everyone who’s interested.

It’s a cryptocurrency which is opening up the blockchain system behind it to any software developer wanting to build apps on it. You could think of it like Google allowing anyone and everyone to write apps for Android. Just as Google is now profiting from the ubiquity of Android on billions of people’s phones, so EOS wants to become the platform of choice for the new breed of apps, decentralised ones.

Why? Because in order to do anything on the EOS blockchain, you must first own a bit of EOS, and you own it through EOS tokens.

I’ll give you an example. Imagine Uber: it is extremely popular for a handful of reasons, the rides are cheaper than traditional taxis, the passengers and drivers are incentivised to be polite and amicable, the app is intuitive and easy to  use.

But if I were to build an Uber on a blockchain like EOS’s, I could easily improve it. First off, because blockchain directly connects both sides of the transaction – driver and passenger – you can remove the company in the middle that’s taking a cut. That saves money for everybody. Fees would be priced in the local currency, but be paid with the “Uber” token.

As my app became more popular, the “Uber” token passengers would use for it would rise in value, so stakeholders are incentivised to develop it further and improve the service.

The payments could be instant, direct into the driver’s account. No fee to a middleman company, and no minimum requirements on payment amounts since there are no banks taking a cut either.

In the same way that the token for this app would rise in value as its popularity grows, so too would the value of EOS, whose blockchain powers the system behind the scenes. My investors, my customers’ drivers, and their passengers have aligned incentives to grow their network. Every time someone uses the token the economy grows, and since EOS is powering all transactions and computation, that too will grow.

The EOS Coin Offering (ICO)

For me to build this theoretical Uber alternative app, the guys behind EOS (a software company called had to first create the infrastructure and tools for me to build it with, which they fund through what’s known as an Initial Coin Offering. An ICO is where a project sells tokens in its currency to raise funds for development. It works like a stock market flotation, and what you do is this:

Step one: announce how great your tech is. Drum up interest among investors and programmers

Step two: announce you’re going to raise x million dollars by issuing a limited number of tokens.

Step three: put the tokens on the market and watch the money roll in

That process is fine, but while it may raise the money you want, it usually means that, if your crypto is any good, a group of maybe 20 very rich guys end up getting half of the coins. It’s complicated to explain how, but basically you can pay a fat fee to push to the front of the queue, ahead of ordinary investors.

EOS didn’t want that. Quite the opposite; because they want to maximise the popularity of their platform, they wanted as many people as possible to own their tokens.

Instead of putting them all on the market at once to be gobbled up by a few wealthy folks in a matter of minutes, the EOS folks have staggered their offering of 1 billion coins over a whole year, selling chunks of 2 million tokens a day, every day. Everyone who applies gets a percentage of that day’s issue according to how much they can afford. Like most cryptocurrencies, the tokens can be split into fractions like the old ha’penny piece, meaning there’s no high minimum entry level. You could buy $1 of EOS if you wanted to.

All that has served as a disincentive to rich investors hoping to corner the market, and meant far more ordinary people have got in on the action.

Hundreds of thousands of different people now own a piece of EOS. That’s very cool. It makes EOS the John Lewis of cryptos. Or even better; the crypto Co-op, more widely held than over 99% of other cryptos, rivaling the likes of Bitcoin, Monero, Litecoin and Ethereum.

The thing is, the auction is finally coming to an end on 1 June. On the same day, the infrastructure will go live, so all those apps being developed by people like me (more about my EOS apps in future columns) will also begin launching, using EOS for transactions and data transfers.

That means there will be no more supply of EOS (apart from perhaps 1-4% inflation per year if the EOS community agrees to it) but potentially lots of demand. The question is: how much demand, and how much will the market price that demand at?

Why should I buy EOS?

EOS tokens have shot up from $7 to as much as $21 in the past few weeks as the market tries to value how popular EOS will be after launching. If software developers go totally mad for it, the price should rise further. If not, it could collapse.

My guess is the former. Early versions of the EOS platform pre-launched in what we call Beta testing have been seriously exciting. It’s super fast, can cope with huge volumes of transactions, and is really easy to write code for. For techies out there, it uses the language called C++ for coding, which is really common among developers. Ethereum, by contrast, uses a specific, newly-created language called Solidity.

There’s another reason I reckon the price of EOS will rise.

Remember how I was saying the value would depend on how many people spend it to use EOS-based apps? Well, EOS’s founders (a software company called have given hundreds of millions of dollars from the funds raised during the ICO to venture capital funds investing in app start-ups. One condition: only apps using the Eos infrastructure can apply for funding. EOS VC funding currently totals $1.4 billion.

If that doesn’t encourage more people to launch start-ups, I don’t know what will.

There are literally thousands of developers working on blockchain based apps that do away with the middlemen of this world. Who knows, one of those on the EOS system could be the app that kills off the need for multi-billion dollar companies like Twitter, or Facebook, or even Barclays?

See why a share-the-love kind of guy like me is a fan?

For those just looking to turn a profit from speculating on the currency, you have to be aware EOS is extremely volatile, just like all cryptos. As recently as March, it was only $4. I’ve been slowly buying more since it was $1 and made myself some of the biggest returns I’ve ever had. It’s now my biggest crypto position in my portfolio.

But there’s no guarantee it won’t collapse. There are many risks to consider.

The Risks of buying EOS

The software might prove to be a disappointment (unlikely as we’ve already seen plenty of it in beta test-runs).

It might be overtaken by better innovations elsewhere. Etherium is developing great new technology for its platform to scale up, while IOTA and Cardano offer their own visions of the future and are both hot on the heels of EOS.

You can’t completely eliminate the fact that it might face attack from hackers, regulators or even rival projects.

If you’re thinking of speculating on EOS, then, those are the questions you must ask yourself.

For me, though, I’m all in – as a speculator and an enthusiast.

Written by the Evening Standard




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