Should Satoshi Nakamoto ever return, it would probably be bad for bitcoin but great for clicks. The mainstream media (MSM) would have a field day, just as they did when they “identified” Craig Wright as bitcoin’s creator. The search for Satoshi and quest for clickbait intensified this week after Bloomberg asserted that bitcoin’s founder is back – and writing a book no less.
Satoshis, Faketoshis, and False Prophets
Satoshi Nakamoto is everywhere and nowhere, everyone and no one. Most bitcoin supporters acknowledge that Satoshi did the right thing by slinking off into the digital wilderness in 2010, but will also confess to being fascinated by how his return would play out. In the eight years since Satoshi left, many fake Satoshis – or faketoshis – have sprung up. Jesus Christ warned that imitators and false prophets would appear claiming to be the son of God, and something similar has occurred with ersatz Satoshis.
The website Nakamotofamilyfoundation.org is a plain text affair, as minimalist as the cypherpunk mailing lists where Satoshi’s writings first surfaced. Bloomberg leads the list of MSM outlets touting the possibility of the site being Satoshi’s doing, and that the 21-page PDF on the website (the number of pages perhaps being symbolic) contains the beginnings of his forthcoming book. There are many reasons why the screed is unlikely to be the work of Satoshi, and yet the mere possibility, no matter now remote, has provided the cryptosphere with its latest Satoshi fix.
“Duality” Purports to be an Excerpt from Satoshi’s Forthcoming Book
Duality, the supposed new writings of Satoshi Nakamoto, is an intriguing document. At 21 pages, it’s more than double the length of the original bitcoin whitepaper and far more solipsistic than anything the confirmed Satoshi has ever written. Statistically speaking, it is almost certainly a hoax, and yet there’s just enough of a hook to the writing, including supposed tidbits on bitcoin’s origins and inspirations, to lure hungry Satoshi cultists in.
Whoever composed the website has certainly enjoyed themselves, going so far to create a cryptogram puzzle for readers to solve. The difficulty with discrediting a hoax – or authenticating an original – is that no one ever knew Satoshi Nakamoto. Not in the real world sense at least, and thus his digital footprint – primarily his whitepaper, mailing list writings, and Bitcointalk forum postings – are all there is to go on. Anyone who has done their homework could imitate Satoshi; his spelling, punctuation, grammatical quirks, and cogent, academic tone.
Some Parts of “Duality” Ring True But the Crypto Community is Sceptical
The trouble with analyzing the work of supposed Satoshis is that it simply encourages more copycats, like fixating on school shooters. But paradoxically, debunking them calls for forensically scrutinizing their writings, despite the shot of publicity this gives to all Satoshi wannabees. The Nakamoto Family Foundation website begins:
Announcing the first excerpt to a literary work consisting of two parts. The excerpt is provided. I wanted to include it as a brief glimpse of history. Even for those that can’t read the full book, I wanted to make this available to everyone. A short story if you will, with some of the most brought up questions and answers. I wanted the people and the facts to be known. Or as much of it. I’m still saving most for the books, the best parts hopefully…There will be many new names and individuals appearing throughout the book in any case, as it is a story about my personal life.
Anyone conversant with Satoshi’s body of work will note that the writing does not feel consistent with that of bitcoin’s creator. Gone are his trademark double spacings and in are American spellings (albeit with an explanation for the change of style), typos, and a sudden willingness to position himself at the center of the story. The original Satoshi was notoriously shy about answering remotely personal questions, meticulous about proofing his work, and brushed off all attempts to understand his origins, motivations and character. Now he’s apparently willing to tell all – or as much as he can without doxxing himself. “I still take joy in finding mistakes, be it in code or in writing,” writes Duality’s author, several paragraphs after misspelling the word ‘proficiency’.
Bitcoiners Are Not Impressed
Over the years, the bitcoin community has endured its share of faketoshis, as well as writings such as this effort, all purporting to be the words of the real Satoshi. One commenter who’s given the latest Satoshi claim short shrift is Nic Carter, who tweeted: “For some reason, even though Satoshi is known as a clear and elegant writer, none of the Satoshi imitators bother to write well. This document is horrifically written.”
If Satoshi is still alive, he will be aware that much of his enduring mystery can be attributed to his prior refusal to reveal remotely incriminating information. Duality lays bare such details as the reason for choosing the Satoshi name, his default timezone, and why he chose his original writing style.
It’s an interesting piece of work, but it would take a brave man or a desperate media organization to stake their reputation on it being the work of Satoshi Nakamoto. Especially when the real Satoshi could simply sign a message with one of his original keys or move a coin from his wallet, adding a message to the OP_RETURN field confirming Duality to be his oeuvre. Until such a time, this and all other claims to be Satoshi must be assumed fake. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
Do you think “Duality” could be the work of Satoshi? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Islamic Countries Challenge USD ‘Sanctioning Tool’ With Planned Common Cryptocurrency
Muslim countries around the world are planning to push back against the U.S. dollar’s long global dominance by creating a common digital currency for use in Islamic states. The dollar has evolved into a “sanctioning tool,” charged Erol Yarar, chairman of the Muslim-focused business lobby group International Business Forum (IBF). It has lost its purpose as an international trading currency, he said.
Breaking the Dollar’s Hegemony
Speaking to Turkish news agency Anadolu on Nov. 16, Yarar said a single cryptocurrency for Muslim nations will be designed primarily to undermine and challenge America’s established hegemony in the global financial system.
“The U.S. dollar is beyond a common currency, it has become a sanctioning tool,” Yarar stated. “In IBF this year we will discuss the term ‘monetary pluralism’ to create a fairer and healthier trade environment. We will make a cryptocurrency system, that will be used for international trade among Islamic countries, a current issue,” he added.
The strength of the dollar, in use as an international trading currency since the end of World War II, gives America immense financial and political leverage among perceived weaker states. It has often been used as part of an arsenal of economic tools deployed to punish nations that refuse to toe Uncle Sam’s line.
It is, perhaps, President Trump’s renewal of economic sanctions against Iran this month – even at the risk of alienating allies in the European Union – that Muslim business leaders under the IBF have been prompted to look for ways of neutralizing the dollar’s dominance in global trade.
A number of E.U. member countries are desperate to protect the Iran nuclear deal to help keep trade alive. They are currently in the process of creating a special purpose vehicle that would undermine the sanctions by redirecting payments away from the dollar and therefore away from the prying U.S. financial system. Again, America has reacted by issuing threats of dire repercussions.
But Iran is moving to protect itself against the crippling economic measures. It has announced the completion of the development of a state-backed digital currency, created specifically to circumvent the sanctions, which target the country’s oil, gas and shipping industries as well as the financial system. The system has already been hit after Swift, at the U.S.’s behest, cut off the Central Bank of Iran from the global banking ecosystem.
Following the Example of Iran
Yarar, the IBF chairman, told Anadolu Agency that it is prudent for Islamic nations to emulate Iran’s example by developing a common cryptocurrency system for use within like-minded religious countries. He detailed:
The U.S. keeps down money transfers, imposes sanctions on the international market, and causes crises in countries by using the dollar.
The planned Muslim-compliant digital currency will be used for pricing of goods by businesspeople, exchange markets and countries, he said, adding that Islamic nations should also consider setting up a fund emulating the International Monetary Fund business model.
“The fund, based on non-interest finance principles, will help countries facing an economic crisis. The fund’s name can be ‘International Islamic Cooperation Fund’,” Yara proposed.
His plans have triggered debate on whether countries currently under full, partial or covert U.S. sanctions such as Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Zimbabwe, Syria, Russia and Yemen could adopt virtual currency to bypass the stringent economic measures.
Venezuela recently launched its national cryptocurrency, the petro, while Russia and China are investing in blockchain technologies that will act as alternatives to the dollar in terms of global commerce.
U.S. sanctions work by placing bans on dealings and transactions with individuals, nations and companies. These restrictions are often enforced with the help of mainstream financial institutions. As such, the use of cryptocurrencies, which operate outside the established financial system, are regarded as key to helping economies under sanctions to continue transacting with other countries.
That means if a dependable cryptocurrency system to support financial transactions can be established, the power of sanctions will be diminished as the U.S. is incapable of blocking such transactions.
Binance Tells Iranians to Withdraw Their Money
In Iran, meanwhile, global cryptocurrency exchange Binance has reportedly told its remaining users in the Islamic Republic to pull out their funds from the platform in measures aimed at aligning with the American trade and economic embargo. “Iranians are not really able to trust cryptocurrency exchanges. That isn’t really something new,” Nima Dehqan, a researcher at the Tehran-based blockchain project Areatak, complained. Several exchanges, including Bittrex and Bitmex, have stopped providing services to Iranian investors on account of the sanctions.
Do you think the IBF will succeed in its plan for a common cryptocurrency for Muslim countries? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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SEC Settles Charges With Two ICO Issuers
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled charges with two initial coin offering issuers. These cases are the commission’s first to impose civil penalties “solely for ICO securities offering registration violations.” Both companies have agreed to refund investors, pay penalties, and register their tokens as securities.
On Friday, Nov. 16, the SEC announced “settled charges against two companies that sold digital tokens in initial coin offerings (ICOs).” The agency explained that Carriereq Inc. (aka Airfox) and Paragon Coin Inc. both “consented to the orders without admitting or denying the findings,” elaborating:
These are the commission’s first cases imposing civil penalties solely for ICO securities offering registration violations. Both companies have agreed to return funds to harmed investors, register the tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the commission, and pay penalties.
The two companies’ tokens are neither registered with the SEC nor qualified for an exemption to the registration requirements.
Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, emphasized that “companies that issue securities through ICOs are required to comply with existing statutes and rules governing the registration of securities.”
The SEC further detailed:
The orders impose $250,000 penalties against each company and include undertakings to compensate harmed investors who purchased tokens in the illegal offerings.
These two cases follow the agency’s first non-fraudulent ICO registration case of Munchee Inc. The SEC did not impose a penalty in that case because the company stopped its offerings before delivering any tokens and promptly refunded investors.
The Two Companies
Both Airfox and Paragon conducted token sales last year after the SEC warned that ICOs can be considered security offerings in its DAO report, a landmark paper that serves as the defining document for ICOs to avoid being categorized as securities in the U.S.
Boston-based Airfox raised approximately $15 million by selling 1.06 billion of its tokens to more than 2,500 investors globally through various websites that it controls. The company claims that the funds would be used “to finance its development of a token-denominated ‘ecosystem’,” the SEC described.
Established in July last year, Paragon sold its tokens to approximately 8,323 investors, including those in the U.S. The company “raised approximately $12 million worth of digital assets to develop and implement its business plan to add blockchain technology to the cannabis industry and work toward legalization of cannabis,” the commission noted.
Paragon issued a statement on Friday confirming that it has reached a settlement agreement with the SEC after working on it with a team at the commission for over a year. CEO Jessica Versteeg calls it “a very positive agreement … that will effectively put an end to the uncertainties of the legal status ” of her company’s token.
What do you think of the SEC settling charges with the two ICO companies? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the SEC.
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Hash Wars: Day Two and the Anticipation for BCH Trading Platforms to Reopen
It has been close to 24 hours since the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) blockchain split on Nov. 15, and the community is assessing the first day of battle. At the time of writing, both chains are still operational and the ABC chain has a 32-block lead on the SV chain. Now many BCH supporters are patiently waiting to find out when infrastructure providers will resume deposits, withdrawals, and trading across the entire ecosystem.
Some Believe the Hash War Will Continue
The BCH hash war has continued into the second day of network warfare, protocol activity, and an abundance of discussions across social media. A clear victor has not yet been decided, according to SV supporters who believe the hash war is “not a sprint, but a marathon.” Currently, the ABC chain is 32 blocks ahead of SV and it has more hashrate and accumulated proof-of-work behind it, according to Coin Dance cash, and Forkmonitor.info data. Still, the SV chain has continued to chug along and has about 5,266 PH/s worth of hashrate compared to the ABC chain’s 7,237 PH/s. Moreover, SV supporters, specifically Nchain’s Craig Wright and Coingeek’s Calvin Ayre, have stated the next day, Nov. 16, that the hash war is not over.
“In our hash competition, we have seen the ABC team bring on their strongest sprinters,” explained Wright on Twitter on Nov. 16. “We are just at the trials and not yet on the finals to Marathon and they have made a remarkable burst to do a 9.9 second 100m (unfortunately in the wrong direction).” the Nchain executive adds.
Many SV supporters still believe Wright will continue to wage war and this can be seen across social media and cryptocurrency-centric forums. Coingeek’s Calvin Ayre agreed with Wright’s words and issued a similar statement during the early morning hours on Friday.
“The BCH hash war will not be decided in 1 or 2 days, but over many days and possibly weeks by on-going miner votes with sustained Proof of Work — Until a dominant chain emerges, cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet and service providers are advised to remain neutral, and to run a Bitcoin SV node to be prepared for the best interests of users,” Ayre detailed.
The Wait for Service Providers to Assess the Situation
On the other hand, the further the ABC chain gets and the more proof-of-work is accumulated, ABC supporters seem confident that victory is very close. Many BCH proponents are now waiting for infrastructure providers to explain how they will list the newly forked chains. ABC backers believe that a large portion of wallet services, exchanges, and payment services will side with ABC. This belief is due to the overwhelming amount of company support garnered when infrastructure providers published contingency plans with most supporting the ABC roadmap. However, it seems BCH service providers are still assessing the situation and may not publicly announce plans until more time has passed.
Further, the research team from Bitmex has been monitoring the situation with the organization’s recently published tool. Bitmex Research detailed to its Twitter followers on Nov. 16 that SV miners are losing a ton of money and estimated that they will lose $280,000 a day if they continue. Further, this estimate is calculated with the ability to sell SV coins at a spot price of $100, but the ability to sell these coins is pretty much non-existent.
ABC proponents were quite pleased with the outcome so far and the forum r/btc is filled with supporters showing enthusiasm. The Bitcoin Cash developer Shammah Chancellor (Micropresident) was very thankful and expressed his gratitude on Twitter.
“Big thanks to Roger Ver, Bitcoin.com, all the p2pool miners, Btc.com, Antpool, and everyone else who is supporting the BCH chain with their hash — Continuing to work towards bringing peer-to-peer cash to the world,” the developer explained.
However, even though many were celebrating yesterday’s battle, many BCH supporters had shown distaste for the entire situation. Bitcoin Cash and XT lead developer Tom Harding explained that the split has caused some damage. “Bitcoin Cash has splintered its network effect, pushed the overall price below $400, and wasted a lot of energy,” Harding stated. BCH developer Jonathan Toomin responded to Harding’s tweet and agreed with the XT developer. “Unfortunately, you are totally right,” said Toomin.
What did you think about the first day of the hash war? Do you think it is over and there is a victor? Or do you think the hash war will continue? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, Coin Dance cash, Twitter, and Bitcoin.com.
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