Verizon data breach: were you exposed? JJ untangles the IOTA plan. Dash gets closer to scaling. Mark Cuban will gamble on Unikrn ICO. Legislators learn blockchain basics. Metal rewards fiat to crypto conversions. Waves hooks up with Deliotte in Russia. Crypto now available at Austrian post offices. NeoCash evolves to reach wider audience.
We’ve written out short overviews of the topics discussed on today’s show below! Be sure to listen in to the whole podcast to get more information, insights, and thoughts on each of them from Darren, JJ, and Pedro!
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An Israeli tech company exposed the records of as many as 14 million Verizon customers on an unprotected Amazon S3 storage server. The data was discovered in late June and took over a week before it was secured.
The records were contained in log files, generated when a Verizon residential customer made a call to customer service. The data contained the customer’s name, cell phone number, and their account pin, home address, email address, and many more fields. According to an anonymous Verizon call center representative, having these items would allow someone access to your account.
The log files were found in six folders according to the month the call was placed; January through June.
This article goes on to say, “Verizon said it was investigating how its customer data was improperly stored on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) server as ‘part of an authorized and ongoing project’ to improve its customer service.”
“Verizon provided the vendor with certain data to perform this work and authorized the vendor to set up AWS storage as part of this project,” said a spokesperson. “Unfortunately, the vendor’s employee incorrectly set their AWS storage to allow external access.”
One account from a senior Verizon employee with knowledge of the situation said that the company was unaware that the data was being exfiltrated or exported, and Verizon had no control over the server.”
On last week’s show Darren announced a new Dash repository for Dash Improvement Proposals, or DIPs. This week he tells us there is an approved pull request to the repository for DIP0001 which outlines how Dash will scale to two blocks. Darren also discusses how he started doing work for Dash.
Unikrn is an esports betting site with a focus on MOBA style video games. They are planning a token launch in September on the public Ethereum blockchain. There really isn’t much more on their website about the token or token sale. I would assume that it will be an ERC20 token. Regardless, “Shark Tank” investor Mark Cuban says he is interested.
The Waves Platform, which bills itself as Russia’s biggest blockchain project, announced that it has signed a memorandum on strategic partnership with Deloitte CIS, a regional affiliate of the firm that provides financial and other professional services in over 150 countries. CryptoInsider.com reports that the partnership aims to provide “comprehensive initial coin offering (ICO) services and customized blockchain solutions tailored for specific business tasks.” Waves and Deloitte CIS also say they will be working together to “develop legal mechanisms for regulating ICO projects.”
Pedro notes that Vitalik Buterin, inventor of Ethereum, met with Vladimir Putin in June — perhaps a signal that Russia may be becoming more open to crypto.
Payment platform Metalpay has recently completed their token launch. The Metal token (MTL) is an ERC20 token on the public Ethereum blockchain. The company is coin agnostic, however, and aims to allow users freedom in which assets they would buy or spend. MetalPay uses something called a Proof of Payment Processing for FIAT payments. Combined with a centralized form of Know Your Customer verification, parties at either end of a transaction would receive up to 5% bonus MTL tokens in their wallet.
The focus of the project is very clear. They want to incentivize merchants to accept cryptocurrencies while providing a simple and easy to use wallet app. The term ‘layman’ keeps coming up in the whitepaper making it clear that the target audience is not crypto veterans but rather people who may not even know they are using a blockchain technology — nor perhaps care.
The token sale created 66,588,888 MTL tokens. Of that amount only about 16,500,000 were sold to the public during the sale. The rest of the tokens are either held in a fund to pay the incentive for PoPP (26,341,112) or have been allocated to company operations or payouts. For all the egalitarian talk in the whitepaper I’m seeing very few token holders currently on etherscan. The price started out at about $1.22 and has risen to over $4.00 in two days. With the amount in circulation being only a third of the total and no actual app this seems very irrational. Naturally the trading has nothing to do with the actual project or team. I just need to point out the ironies.
Untangling IOTA’s Tangles
Billing itself as the cryptocurrency for the Internet-of-Things Industry, IOTA is a blockchainless, feeless cryptocurrency. Rather than a distributed ledger, IOTA resolves transaction states to a DAG or dynamic acyclic graph. They call it the tangle or tangle graph.
They have done away with a monetary fee and replaced it with a work requirement. Each user would operate a node or through a node. This is similar to running the bitcoin qt client — the client software is actively receiving, validating, and rebroadcasting the data to nodes that haven’t received it yet. With IOTA to issue a transaction nodes must work to approve two other transactions. This includes some cryptographic hashing and nonce guessing but no where near the intensity of Bitcoin mining.
The transactions your node selects to approve are based on a few different factors, but it basically boils down to “these two transactions don’t conflict — I will approve them.”
From their whitepaper, it’s important to note a few things:
1) The IOTA tangle is asynchronous and some nodes will see different transactions.
2) The tangle may contain conflicting transactions.
3) The nodes do not have to reach consensus on which transaction issued by the protocol have the right to be in the tangle or ledger.
Because the transactions are interlinked through this approval process they can be assigned a variety of metrics. The height, depth, and weight of a transaction are calculated and used as means to establish “longest chain.”
The whitepaper is full of formulas and even gives some space to predicting attack vectors and then explaining how the protocol can deal with them. From what I gather the idea is an IoT device will run a node onboard, and, as it needs to interact with the tangle, it will approve two other transactions by issuing its own. As I scale that out to perhaps one or more devices in each house, that starts to become a massive network.
After some thought, my biggest concern is not necessarily with the protocol but with the devices themselves. The history of IoT devices has given us botnets and breaches due to terrible manufacturing practices in the first place. Selling a million internet devices all with the same password is trouble. Currently there are more than 15.4 Billion devices connected to the internet and predictions put that number at 38 Billion units by 2020 and more than 70 Billion units by 2025. Many of these devices have either been developed with weak security protocols or suffer from poor user diligence.
As far as innovative protocols goes, the IOTA tangle is fascinating and I look forward to see what happens next.
On July 11, the Vienna-based startup firm BitPanda published a press release announcing its new partnership with Austria’s postal service. “BitPanda to go” now facilitates the exchange of euros for cryptocurrencies in post offices all over Austria. As per the release:
“An account with a valid E-Mail address is all you need. You select the chosen digital currency such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash or Litecoin and after entering the code, within seconds the amount of your chosen currency will be transferred into your wallet.”
Members of Congress recently met with representatives from several leading blockchain industry companies.
On July 11, 2017, the Chamber of Digital Commerce hosted the Congressional Blockchain Education Day. The world’s largest blockchain trade association sought to promote the benefits of the relatively new technology to members of the House and Senate. Working alongside representatives from over seventy Chamber member companies, blockchain advocates spent the working day on Capitol Hill enlightening lawmakers about the technology underpinning a global digital currency awakening.
“We are delighted that so many of the Chamber’s members are flying into Washington, DC to meet with and help educate our legislators and their staff on this breakthrough and potentially multi-trillion-dollar technology. We’re honored that participants will have the opportunity to hear directly from Members of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus.”
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