New Malware Hijacks Cryptocurrency Mining

This is a clever attack.

After gaining control of the coin-mining software, the malware replaces the wallet address the computer owner uses to collect newly minted currency with an address controlled by the attacker. From then on, the attacker receives all coins generated, and owners are none the wiser unless they take time to manually inspect their software configuration.

So far it hasn't been very profitable, but it -- or some later version -- eventually will be.

Posted on January 23, 2018 at 6:41 AM • 50 Comments

Comments

mijeJanuary 23, 2018 8:05 AM

I don't this attack would affect too many miners.
They usually keep track of their earnings several times a day. If they suddenly wouldnt receive any more coins they would notice.

Same for pool mining, always keep an eye on your rewards from the pool.

This malware would make you loose at most a few hours.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 23, 2018 8:26 AM

Speaking of "cryptocurrency mining" it's having a trinary market effect.

Not in the case of bitcoin but in the likes Ethereum and Zcash, high end graphics cards can be used in mining rigs. But interest in the like Ethereum and Zcash mining have only got serious because of the silly prices for bitcoin.

So bitcoin goes up in value, causes a secondary effect of making the likes of mining Ethereum or Zcash look good, so the trinary effect is high end graphics cards end up not in gamers machines but mining rigs.

What however is not as clear is it is also hurting the reputation of the high end graphics cards manufactures that are seeing not just their reputation getting trash talked by gamers, but seeing the product they ship being put up on the likes of eBay for twice or even three times their Recomended Retail Price by people speculating in graphics cards... Often taking any profit and ploughing it back to buy better mining rigs...

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/9knj73/as-cryptocurrency-miners-buy-gpus-in-bulk-nvidia-says-gamers-come-first

David RudlingJanuary 23, 2018 8:41 AM

It is rare for malware to be performing a public service but the sooner the so-called "cryptocurrency" bubble is burst, the better for the real global economy. The real economy is already being impacted by what should more appropriately be called vapourcurrency (or vaporcurrency depending where you live) and the sooner it happens the less real economic damage it will cause when the bubble bursts - and it will.

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained SpookJanuary 23, 2018 9:12 AM

@Clive Robinson,

What however is not as clear is it is also hurting the reputation of the high end graphics cards

That was a year or two ago. ASICs rule these days. Antminer S9 Bitcoin, with it's 14TH/s (that's terra hashes per second) runs rings around the top GPUs and consumes much less power, and is designed to run 24x7. Something a GPU wouldn't last a year doing.

ASIC versus Non-specialized hardware comparison.

fredJanuary 23, 2018 9:16 AM

Crypt Currency isn't currency. The fact that anyone can start one for any reason and they aren't backed by anything like gold or governments makes them more like stocks. Stocks at least have a price to earnings for valuation. There is no good reason for Crypto Currency to have value. It only has value because people think it does. Meaning, it can vanish overnight if people don't value it anymore.

There is no stability of BitCoins to say Dollars. When I make something it cost me dollars. I have to buy parts, pay employees and utilities etc. After I sell my product with Bitcoin at some time I have to convert that back to dollars to pay my bills. With Crypto Currency being so volatile, I can't control my profit margin. One day I may make $1k/unit one day and the next day I might have a loss. Other currencies don't change so quickly so the price of Ponds to Dollars is predictable.

It's a fun idea and it has some value today but the same could be said about pet rocks.

echoJanuary 23, 2018 9:55 AM

I did some light research on encrypting the Windows clipboard. Some people have attempted to begin such a project. There are also embarassment/social engineering issues surrounding VMWare sessions and the Windows clipboard. This problem seems right up there with windows messages passing between window handles being globally accessible. (Was this ever fixed?)

I find the psychology and ethics of this interesting and the lack of consideration for solving practical problems (and addressing the real economy) does bother me.

Impossibly StupidJanuary 23, 2018 10:35 AM

@David Rudling

the real global economy

Hahahahahahaha (*breathes*) ha ha ha ha ha . . .

Yeah, because "the real global economy" is free from manipulation, corruption, and inequity. Like there were no bubbles bursting before Bitcoin came along.

@fred

Crypt Currency isn't currency. The fact that anyone can start one for any reason and they aren't backed by anything like gold or governments makes them more like stocks.

They're backed by math. That has at least as much validity a being backed by physics (gold) and a hell of a lot more than being backed by a government. Computers are used for financial transactions all the time in the modern world; it's all just flipping bits and then people agreeing that it represents value.

There is no good reason for Crypto Currency to have value. It only has value because people think it does. Meaning, it can vanish overnight if people don't value it anymore.

Same is true of "precious" metals like gold. There is little real use for gold beyond people thinking it has value. There was a time when aluminum was worth more than gold. The same has been happening for diamonds, too, and all sorts of other things as technology advances. It's short sighted to single out cryptocurrencies as a fad rather than just another part of that march of technological progress that will both create some value and destroy other value.

There is no stability of BitCoins to say Dollars.

The same can be said for the currency that is used by failing countries around the world. And the stability of the US itself is looking more and more doubtful. I don't know that Bitcoin is the ultimate answer to those problems, but a new solution is unquestionably attractive to people who have no reason to trust the old systems that have created these problems in the first place.

When I make something it cost me dollars. I have to buy parts, pay employees and utilities etc. After I sell my product with Bitcoin at some time I have to convert that back to dollars to pay my bills.

Not necessarily. You could transact your entire business in Bitcoin. No, it's probably not viable to do that currently, the same way it would be difficult to run your business using gold. But if you're not going to argue against the value of gold, you shouldn't be arguing against the value of Bitcoins.

With Crypto Currency being so volatile, I can't control my profit margin.

You of course can do that. Many businesses accept Bitcoins and do just fine. I do agree that the volatility is a huge problem to anyone who wants to work exclusively in the Bitcoin economy. But, again, the same can be said about anyone who works with a currency in a country that is unstable.

The bottom line is that Bitcoin is math, and that it is not subject to the inflationary whims of the rich and powerful. It has it's own issues with human stupidity, but you can't blame math for people being dumb.

AnonJanuary 23, 2018 11:08 AM

@Clive Robinson, sorry to be pedantic, but "trinary" is not the same as "tertiary", which is the what you describe.

CallMeLateForSupperJanuary 23, 2018 11:29 AM

@fred
"[...] price of Ponds to Dollars is predictable"

Ponds. Aw jeez... yet *another* "cryptocurrency". ;-)

("pounds sterling", from an avoirdupois standpoint:
'That will be two hundred pounds, sir."
"Here yer go, guv'nor. CRASH!")

NoxJanuary 23, 2018 11:35 AM

@Bong

Where do you get the assertion from, that graphics cards won't live long under stress? Since the workstations of our department run pretty much all year round - having shutdowns of a few min only for updates our GPUs are permanently operation and work great - though they are mostly passively cooled.

@fred

Your statement regarding cryptocurrencies holds for basically every currency, which is just a convention a group of people chose to follow.
I'll disagree with "Implossibly Stupid" here in that gold in and of itself has an intrinsic value as a rare metal. I expect its value to increase over (a long period of) time since all our electronic gadgets require it (and copious amounts of copper).

echoJanuary 23, 2018 11:38 AM

@impossibly stupid

The "real economy" is closer to the ground such as peoples everyday tasks and needs. Abstract concepts enshrined in legislation and financial instruments are layered on top of this. At the tertiary level things like metals trading or cryptocurrency are a game removed from anything in liveable reality.

I have found it useful in discussion to agree what terms mean otherwise discussion turns into point scoring.

Bitcoin is a constructed thing. Claiming Bitcoin is backed by maths is an appeal to authority and repeating the claim is as bad as the 60Hz myth spun about eyes perception being more limited than it is and computer displays.

It's interesting how over this past month both CPU design flaws and Windows operating system flaws have been exposed.

AJWMJanuary 23, 2018 12:12 PM

@Bong

If you'd read Clive's post more carefully, you would have seen that he's not talking about Bitcoin's effect on graphic cards -- because indeed, it hasn't been economical to mine Bitcoin on a GPU for years.

But as Clive pointed out, there are other currencies (eg Ethereum) which not only work better on GPUs, but are designed to not be as amenable to ASIC mining (high memory requirements, for example).

It is the Ethereum (et al) miners who are cleaning out the retail supply of any graphics card with more than 2GB of memory. Do try to keep up.

AnuraJanuary 23, 2018 12:39 PM

@echo

Bitcoin is a constructed thing. Claiming Bitcoin is backed by maths is an appeal to authority and repeating the claim is as bad as the 60Hz myth spun about eyes perception being more limited than it is and computer displays.

Indeed. It's essentially democratically controlled, but with less guarantee than than dollar. The dollar is required to pay your taxes, but at any time, any segment of Bitcoin users can choose to switch to another cryptpcurrency or change the rules for how bitcoin functions. This is not really any different from government backed currency, except that there is less certainty that it will keep it's value or stay accepted over the long run.

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained SpookJanuary 23, 2018 12:42 PM

@ Nox,

Where do you get the assertion from, that graphics cards won't live long under stress?

From Mapko Kpoh, cofounder of Genisis Mining, which happens to be one of the largest in the world. I took his word. Mainly the fans will fail and that requires downtime for replacement. Good video to watch. In the video he explains why contract pricing differ between ASIC and GPUs, and he says GPUs fail typically within a year.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 23, 2018 12:52 PM

@ Impossibly Stupid,

They're backed by math.

Actually you've left a few things out that are of more concern than the math and peoples inability to securely implement it.

1, Global Warming.
2, Toxic waste dumping.
3, Lost opportunity cost.

To name but three of many more.

It is estimated that crypto currency miners are using more electricity than a number of small first world nations. Much of that is generated by fossile fuel. In the case of China with almost the worlds worst carbon footprint per KWh. Thus crypto currancy has the worst carbon footprint of just about any curranc in the world and is an ecological disaster...

But there is more to it than just the electricity used to mine... There is all the energy requiredvto make the electronics used in mining rigs. Likewise the plastics etc for PCB's, cables, and all the other components. Which brings us onto the toxic waste. Most mining rigs are not made in an environmentaly safe environment or process. China is known to have been and still is a very cheap place to dump toxic waste including that which comes from every stage of mining rig production.

Finally the "follow the money question" so much has been wastefully invested in this "maths" to generate a few numbers that have no tangible connectivity to the world we live in. You have the same amount of odds to generate these numbers by throwing dice as you do with exhastively searching. Thus the question about what the value invested could otherwise have been more profitably used...

Currently nobody appears to be interested in talking about these rather than the horrendously volitile nature of botcoin...

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained Spook January 23, 2018 1:01 PM

@AJWM:

It is the Ethereum (et al) miners who are cleaning out the retail supply of any graphics card with more than 2GB of memory. Do try to keep up.

You need to watch the video I just posted and see the difference between Proof of Work (BitCoin's model) and Proof of Stake (Ethereum's new model.)

But as Clive pointed out, there are other currencies (eg Ethereum) which not only work better on GPUs

Can you share a reference, please?

Keynesian BlogonomicsJanuary 23, 2018 1:06 PM

" When I make something it cost me dollars. " - Tautology PhD candidate.

Someone needs to think more deeply about economic theory before they try to define terms.
A currency is just a stand in for commodity value. It's not magic, it's just insured.

The Dollar is no less a pseudo-currency than bitcoin, it's just backed by FDIC, etc.
Functionally it's no different, the Dollar just has a built establishment behind it.
Both are trading something that has value by virtue of public trust and interest.

Nobody is saying put all your capital in a single unsecured basket. Basic rules still apply.
Being fearful of a bitcoin crash is equal to being fearful of a stock crash - Both loom.
Sitting on paper money isn't particularly great economic advice either.

People are continuing to get rich right now - they either know what they're doing or they don't,
but you're sure not showing them the error of their ways - all the way to the bank, lol.
A smart investor can profit in either scenario, a defensive hoarder will not. YMMV.

MorkJanuary 23, 2018 1:19 PM

"Mainly the fans will fail and that requires downtime for replacement"

Cleaning fans is impossible, this is a fact. Nobody has tiny enough fingers.

(Gently pets Viper v770 128mb, that's a good girl, keep on working just fine...)

echoJanuary 23, 2018 1:25 PM

@anura

I felt I was a bit too strong and snappy with my first comment in this topic. I do believe there is something in what you say about the nature of cryptocurrencies.

I'm still faffing with organising my new computer setup. In the meantime I have nothing to do with cryptocurrencies although could in theory accept cryptocurrencies off clients. The practcial reality though is cryptocurrencies are effectively unusable by almost all my client base and would add a management overhead for me. I am also not a financial instrument speculator and a large one day market adjustment could be costly.

Some UK banks will close account involved with cryptocurrencies or refuse to handle transactions involving them. From the Daily Kneejerk:

https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/906669/bitcoin-mortgage-lenders-anti-money-laundering-santander-Nationwide-Aldermore

I'm intrigued by why the banks don't lambast Microsoft et al for security weaknesses and shroud wave over alleged breaches of anti money laundering laws.

Keynesian BlogonomicsJanuary 23, 2018 1:42 PM

@ Clive

Just think about all the physical machinery that makes up the world economy en masse -
It's quickly eroding the physical environment that it fundamentally relies on to exist.

Current economic theories mandating growth machinations are the biggest waste of value/work in the history of living things, all for a model of societal function that we likely agree is completely mismanaged. Unfortunately anytime anyone mentions half-measure alternatives towards societal altruism in functional establishment, (which I think we can agree would by loose definition benefit all players) they're derided as "crazy" because they don't put their selfish interest above all else.

Unfettered selfish interest exclusively is extremely expensive/destructive for any system model.
What lasting value is it all actually creating for the future? Trash, fancy tombstones.

@ Keiner

You think they wouldn't accept a few hundred thousand BTC for one of those? I bet they'd consider it! ;)

Lawrence D’OliveiroJanuary 23, 2018 1:57 PM

Or: Technology Recapitulates Biology Volume 323. Has anybody surveyed the taxonomy of biological viruses, parasites, pathogens etc to see if there are any remaining mechanisms that have not yet been exploited by human-created computer malware?

RhysJanuary 23, 2018 3:42 PM

What security is needed for a pyramid scheme? Why?

Isn't all that is needed is to keep the mark(s) out long enough before realizing some one else's larceny was better masked than their own.

What court would hold any (proportional or strict) liability?

Like home improvement & pool contractors- they just fold up & popup again under a new name. After having liquidated any prior assets.

In a den of thieves, what exactly is the value & ethics?

By-the-bye, South Korea decided to regulate Cryptocurrency as a commodity. They will tax it- only payable in Government issued currency.

I think I'll enjoy "The Sting" rerun again.

Bob Dylan's Itchy PalmJanuary 23, 2018 4:24 PM

@Keiner

I bow to you with all the respect that virtue pays to vice. Which is to say, I like the way you think even if I abhor the values it represents.

echoJanuary 23, 2018 6:10 PM

Ledger claim to have sold the millionth Ledger hardware wallet.

https://www.ledgerwallet.com/products/ledger-nano-s

Ledger Nano S is a Bitcoin, Ethereum and Altcoins hardware wallet, based on robust safety features for storing cryptographic assets and securing digital payments. It connects to any computer (USB) and embeds a secure OLED display to double-check and confirm each transaction with a single tap on its side buttons.

https://qz.com/1185806/ledger-sold-its-millionth-nano-s-hardware-wallet/

@ Bob Dylan's Itchy Palm

Ursula K Le Guin has passed away. Here are two of her quotes with a security theme.

“I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society,”

Also

“I wish we could all live in a big house with lots of rooms, and windows, and doors, and none of them locked,”

hmmJanuary 23, 2018 6:11 PM

@ Rhys

SK and a few other countries are pursuing options including their own state-run CC's.

It makes fair sense for now as AFAIK none(?) of the major currencies out there that people are using are based in SK, so they'd be giving up both controls and tax revenues if they just allowed "free" trading. Their population is insanely tech oriented so the adoption rate is also very high, and SK has traditionally been wary of external market manipulations for plenty good reasons. The proposed ban is one of several evolving considerations. It won't be permanent, you can count on that.

The online uprising against the government’s plans puts President Moon Jae-in a tough spot, and his office was quick to say a ban is just one proposal under consideration.
As of Friday, a petition on the website of the presidential Blue House had drawn more than 120,000 signatures opposing the move. Heavy internet traffic briefly crashed the site.

“The latest idea to ban it all seems to have come out of a fear that when the bubble bursts and things go wrong, it will be all on the government,” said Yun Chang-hyun, an economics professor at University of Seoul.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_South_Korea

- Their GDP /per capita in the 60's was $80. They've come a long way in a very short period.
Thing have slowed lately so they're taking a wait and see approach. It makes sense in context.

https://www.investingdaily.com/23290/south-korea-a-rich-country-with-poor-country-virtues-2

Bong-Smoking Primitive Monkey-Brained SpookJanuary 23, 2018 7:17 PM

@ AJWM: @ Clive Robinson:

If you'd read Clive's post more carefully

I just did.

It is the Ethereum (et al) miners who are cleaning out the retail supply of any graphics card with more than 2GB of memory. Do try to keep up.

I stand corrected. No reference required, we're talking about two different issues. I do try to keep up, but I sometimes fail. Sometimes more than sometimes...

But the video is good, regardless.

Clive RobinsonJanuary 23, 2018 8:23 PM

@ echo,

Ursula K Le Guin has passed away. Here are two of her quotes with a security theme.

She also had a few choice cautionary words about Google, that we now know were shall we say not choice enough...

Clive RobinsonJanuary 23, 2018 8:42 PM

@ BSPMBS,

I stand corrected

Neigh worries, just blaim it on that harsh mistress of yours...

As you can see from the time stamp "I'm getting a fair crack of the whip" as well[1]

I guess I'm coming up to the awake for 35-40 hour time again and crash out by the weekend... I'll be lucky to be awake more than 8-10 hours a day by then.

The Doc's say "It will settle soon" and "just chill and take things slowly". They don't appear to realise I'm not a glacier...

[1] Though those Jessie J boots sure leave an impression when you get walked all over ;-)

Clive RobinsonJanuary 23, 2018 8:57 PM

@ hmm,

They've come a long way in a very short period.

They have, and the growing pains have sometimes been painfully obvious.

For various reasons it's a country and people I like, which is why I'm more than a little "brassed off" with the US and China using South Korea as proxie in their p155ing contest of Foreign Policy.

As for the current US Executive, I'm far from impressed with this notion of "we've got them so we might as well use'm" over nuclear weapons (especially the "carrier group killer" sea bottom nuclear mines). As every day goes by they make the North Koreans look more and more rational...

WaelJanuary 23, 2018 9:30 PM

@Clive Robinson, etc...

I guess I'm coming up to the awake for 35-40 hour time again and crash out by the weekend...

Seems it's a common symptom. I am starting to think it has to do with the color temperature of the screens we stare at. I'll make the color warmer and measure the effect. There was a post a few months ago about color effects on the human being, and I believe there is strong supporting measured empirical correlation. Bluish colors, if I remember, tend to affect sleep patterns negatively.

hmmJanuary 23, 2018 9:41 PM

"For various reasons it's a country and people I like"

Probably just nostalgia. As Americans we don't let ourselves get too attached to other countries.
It makes it that much more awkward when their use to us as a proxy is over - unless oil...

"As every day goes by they make the North Koreans look more and more rational..."

God damn I know. We've really done it - a murderous dictatorship looks rational by comparison.
Kim is more Trump than Trump let's face it. We're out-terrorizing the terrorists.
They're out MAD-ing an actual madman.

Moar nukes is the answer, naturally. TEN TIMES more nukes is TEN TIMES more strength!
Linear minds in a room without corners, never comprehending that gentle curvature.

I really do hope we aren't all killed by a moron's whims. At least some kind of committee...

Impossibly StupidJanuary 23, 2018 11:15 PM

@echo

The "real economy" is closer to the ground such as peoples everyday tasks and needs.

But that's not what David was referencing. He was talking about an economy that is deeply affected by the Bitcoin boom and possible bust. I would agree with your terms more (i.e., Bitcoin is now more like commodities trading), but then you have to agree that it has a value that is as "real" as precious metals.

Bitcoin is a constructed thing.

Most everything in modern economies is "constructed". You use a computer to do some work for someone. That employer pays you by fiddling some bits to "direct deposit" it to your bank. You use a credit/debit card to purchase a video game. I could go on, but I hope you get the point. It makes no sense to single out Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) as if the idea of digital assets is something new.

Claiming Bitcoin is backed by maths is an appeal to authority

What? Just because there are authorities in science does not mean that scientific disciplines are just an appeal to authority! If you don't understand the mathematics involved, there may be a bit of faith on your part, but that just the nature of advanced science. The same is true for the main topic here of security. That is why cryptographic security is necessary for these decentralized currencies like Bitcoin. It is government-backed currencies that are more reliant on authoritarianism.

@Clive Robinson

Actually you've left a few things out that are of more concern than the math and peoples inability to securely implement it.

It's not so much that I'm leaving them out, it's that you can't really say the ills are really any worse than the ills put upon people by the "real economy".

It is estimated that crypto currency miners are using more electricity than a number of small first world nations.

Let's pretend that's true. So? What do other global financial systems cost the world? Not just in terms of electricity, but also in the form of defense spending/war to "back" the value of a country's currency (e.g., keiner's link)? And countless other costs that are associated with the "creation of value".

Which brings us onto the toxic waste.

Nope. Bitcoins neither created the notion of toxic waste, nor is it a particularly bad offender. Point me to a single environmental disaster caused by Bitcoin mining. Meanwhile, I can point you to whole histories of actual land being strip mined for resources, usually coming hand in hand with human rights abuses.

Finally the "follow the money question" so much has been wastefully invested in this "maths" to generate a few numbers that have no tangible connectivity to the world we live in.

Whose fault is that? If people were being paid a living wage to do productive work, they'd be doing something more worthwhile. Instead, governments around the world offer only perverse incentives that mainly benefit those who are already wealthy. The onus is on you to offer a better path to money than mining cryptocurrencies.

Currently nobody appears to be interested in talking about these rather than the horrendously volitile nature of botcoin...

I'm quite happy to talk about them, but everything has downsides, so it looks like just so much motivated reasoning when you want to try to focus on the ills of Bitcoin alone. Without a full accounting of all the alternatives, it just doesn't make any rational sense to dismiss cryptocurrencies. Like I said, I have more trust in the mathematics behind it than I can trust the federal government to do anything other than use inflationary policies to devalue the national currency. And I like the idea of a currency that is secured by something other than guns.

hmmJanuary 24, 2018 3:04 AM

@ echo

"It makes no sense to single out Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) as if the idea of digital assets is something new."

True, they should be singled out INDIVIDUALLY, each coin offering by inherent technological merits/flaws from a trustworthy auditor like real investment vehicles.

The entire industry is riding the hype wave and news cycle way too closely. One exchange goes "away" leaving big uninsured losses, or one country bans or restricts trading, the entire market concept goes for a MAJOR ride - to put the stock market to shame. Some investors will rightly never go for that. Eventually the market will settle out and the current extreme volatility will become more of a steady gradual uptick.

You know those brick/mortar banks aren't going to watch that much profit go right around them. It's unclear how they'll attack the problem but they wield DC like their own pen sword.

ANY regulation is going to make the market go flying around the room. Any at all. We have some amazingly shortsighted and thick people in office right now mind you. They have to regulate it eventually, so for the time being in that uncertainty zone anything can happen to the entire market value decided by whoever pays DC lobbyists the most to shape the playing field to their designs.

Now imagine a particular coin's value soars and that money gets pumped directly into a PAC to affect the outcome of legislation to benefit it and cement its dominance. Too far fetched? What's to stop it.


echoJanuary 24, 2018 8:21 AM

@Impossibly Stupid

I agree with your claim that cryptocurrencies have the same "value" as metals trading. I also agree with Clive that this loops back to the "real economy" with all the material and social impacts he mentions.

I'm still not convinced about "trusting the maths". In strict narrow terms the maths may be sound but cryptocurrencies as a thing are narrow and self-referential. I note the larger clearing houses are now beginning to attract comments defining their authority and support in the surrounding ecosystem which smacks of institution building and a desire for respectability. This isn't "trusting the maths" but more a political issue.

I suspect regulation is only a matter of time and will be neccessay to address the security issue (such as implementations and fraud and ease of access) and ethical and environmmental issues. This is a different maths and very real.

Impossibly StupidJanuary 24, 2018 10:27 AM

@hmm

The entire industry is riding the hype wave and news cycle way too closely.

Don't blame the "industry", blame the speculative investors. They could just stick to backing Bitcoin (or the major 3 or 5 or whatever) and creating a stable, growing economy. Instead, they're messing it up for everyone by using their same stock-market-tactics to screw with what should be a good thing.

Eventually the market will settle out and the current extreme volatility will become more of a steady gradual uptick.

I don't think so. The history of Bitcoin has too many ups and downs to expect people to suddenly become rational about it. But, again, that's been true of the stock market and most other investment vehicles.

They have to regulate it eventually, so for the time being in that uncertainty zone anything can happen to the entire market value decided by whoever pays DC lobbyists the most to shape the playing field to their designs.

That's exactly backwards. The reason a lot of people find cryptocurrencies valuable is because of those kinds of machinations that go on in "the real global economy". Remember when encryption was a weapon and couldn't be exported? Any attempts to put this genie back in the bottle is only going to make it worth more.

Now imagine a particular coin's value soars and that money gets pumped directly into a PAC to affect the outcome of legislation to benefit it and cement its dominance. Too far fetched? What's to stop it.

Weak tea. What's to stop the ill gains from an actual crime being used in the same way? Let's not make this a discussion about what a bad idea PACs are.


@echo

This isn't "trusting the maths" but more a political issue.

Sure, or more generally a people issue. That's all part of what makes security difficult, but you can't deny that a security based on mathematics is better than a security based on mere authority. I mean, the story that started this discussion is fundamentally about a compromised computer. Given that hackers can do anything when they have access, it's telling that they're going after Bitcoins rather than bank accounts.

I suspect regulation is only a matter of time

Like I said to hmm, that kind of talk is only going to fuel another Bitcoin boom.

hmmJanuary 24, 2018 11:22 AM

@ clive

"Don't blame the "industry"

I don't myself, it's just a market reality. All coins are somewhat linked by the buzz cycle.
If one has a problem they all get a waterbed ride no matter how completely unrelated, for now.

"The history of Bitcoin has too many ups and downs to expect people to suddenly become rational about it"

I think eventually 1-3 of the coins is going to pull away from the rest and be more widely adopted.
When that happens the market will stabilize somewhat because the inflation pushes the value up,
and then individual traders have less of a single-trade effect on the overall value.
One could think at that point these massive one-event slides would be fewer and further between.
But you're correct, there won't be a sudden end to volatility, it will be subtle over time.

Per your stock market analogy, bitcoin is having the 500+/- point a day rides of 2008.
Eventually it will look like our current more stable 100+/- days, staying up higher.
That market-settling confidence comes with time alone IMO.

"What's to stop the ill gains from an actual crime being used in the same way?"

My scenario wasn't illegal, requires no actual ~crime. That's really the point.
The system is wide open to regulatory controls from any high bidder lobbyist.

echoJanuary 24, 2018 8:59 PM

BradTempleton suggests cryptocurrencies might help alleviate problem gambling. He also discusses the wider issue of addiction such as social mediaand whether this might be subject to new regulation and addictive advertsing being banned.

http://ideas.4brad.com/could-digital-money-offer-new-solution-addiction-and-gambling

The Gaurdian covered the addictive nature of fixed odds betting machines a few days ago and legislative challenges in the face of industry lobbying versus social good.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/22/fobt-threat-its-a-silent-addiction-but-at-its-worst-it-takes-lives

Impossibly StupidJanuary 26, 2018 9:30 AM

@hmm

that last @ clive was actually @ imp stupid obviously.

It might be time for you to get a checkup from a mental health professional. Clive's last message was the same anti-Bitcoin motivated reasoning he's demonstrated before, while I have always been clearly pro-Bitcoin (at least in concept, if not 100% in execution). I've never pretended that Bitcoin is perfect, and transaction fees have been another one of its growing pains. But then I remember a day when ATMs used to be free, too, and realize the problem is not cryptocurrency, but greedy middlemen once again.

The madness of transposition, hmmJanuary 27, 2018 1:39 AM

@Impossible Stupidity -sic

What I said : "the comment I put @clive to was a reply to @you, obviously." I transposed the names.

"It might be time for you to get a checkup from a mental health professional."

I admit I haven't really found specific occasion to lately, it hadn't occurred until you mentioned it. Certainly I will give it all the due considerations. All of them, even the purple one.

Mental health one-liners usually aren't really a great lever by which to push your arguments along either, though I will cede that depends on the argument you're trying to make.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/physics-and-the-immortality-of-the-soul/

Unwind a bit, see if heated defense of imaginary money is really how you want to spend your limited moments - since we're giving each other unsolicited advice as internet strangers.

:)


Impossibly StupidJanuary 27, 2018 10:01 AM

@hmm

What I said : "the comment I put @clive to was a reply to @you, obviously." I transposed the names.

Well, that might have been what you meant, but what you said was, at best, ambiguously terse. But it definitely does read as quite sane when you write it out in full.

Unwind a bit, see if heated defense of imaginary money is really how you want to spend your limited moments - since we're giving each other unsolicited advice as internet strangers.

See, now you're engaging in projection. There is nothing heated or wound up on this side of the screen. I was just stating rational facts that attempt to counter the hysteria that some people seem to have against cryptocurrencies. All money is imaginary, and so are most of the other things that people get worked up about, both online and offline.

AnselmJanuary 29, 2018 9:16 AM

A viable currency must fulfil three functions – it must be useful as a medium of exchange, a measure of value, and a store of value. Bitcoin fails fairly obviously at all three of these and can therefore not reasonably be considered a “currency”. It – like most other crypto-“currencies” – is really a highly speculative type of unregulated security, what would otherwise be called a “penny stock”.

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