Privacy coin founder gets defensive about criminal use

Leo Zhang

By Leo Zhang

Touted for fungibility, truly private cryptocurrencies also enable criminals to cover their tracks--an inconvenient truth that some researchers haven't reconciled.

Technical & Updates

Report: the changing nature of cryptocrime
(Chainanalysis)

"These trends illustrate that Bitcoin is no longer just about cryptocrime, and that cryptocrime is no longer just about illicit exchange on darknet markets, but that cryptocrime is increasingly focused on the theft of Bitcoin as a highly valued financial asset."

ZCash founder Zooko disputing some of the claims in the Chainanalysis report

ZCash's Zooko Wilcox on why he believes privacy coins will be used more for good than bad

2018 ZCash security audit overview
(ZCash blog)

"To that end, we employ a complementary set of interlocking engineering practices including three different kinds of peer review: scientific, community and professional."

The dark web's favorite currency is less untraceable than it seems
(Wired, by Andy Greenberg)

"All of which means Monero may continue to leak small amounts of information that could be used to point to likely spenders—even if not providing a smoking gun."

My commentary on the Wired article

Monero contributor responds to the issues pointed out by the researchers

Facebook Container extension: take control of how you're being tracked
(Mozilla)

"When you install this extension it will delete your Facebook cookies and log you out of Facebook. The next time you visit Facebook it will open in a new blue-colored browser tab (aka 'container tab'). In that tab you can login to Facebook and use it like you normally would."

Why proof-of-capacity could be the future of cryptocurrency
(MinerGate)

"Rather than mining being based on raw computational power like traditional proof-of-work algorithms, proof-of-capacity is based on the available space of your hard drive."

Brains cling to old habits when learning new tricks
(Quanta Magazine, by John Rennie)

"Now, while observing activity in the brain during learning, Yu and his colleagues have seen evidence of a similar lack of plasticity at the neural level. That discovery and the team’s related research may help to explain why some things are harder to learn than others."

News & Commentary

Mark Zuckerberg thinks we're idiots
(by Jean-Louis Gassée)

"The message is clear: Zuckerberg thinks we’re idiots. How are we to believe Facebook didn’t know — and derived benefits — from the widespread abuse of user data by its developers. We just became aware of the Cambridge Analytica cockroach…how many more are under the sink?"

How Facebook helps shady advertisers pollute the internet
(Bloomberg, by Zeke Faux)

"Affiliates once had to guess what kind of person might fall for their unsophisticated cons, targeting ads by age, geography, or interests. Now Facebook does that work for them. The social network tracks who clicks on the ad and who buys the pills, then starts targeting others whom its algorithm thinks are likely to buy."

AMD bolsters crypto mining in latest GPU software update
(CoinDesk, by Nikhilesh De)

"Previous versions of the software do not list the issues related to crypto-mining, though it is notable that the fix was applied to software optimized for gaming, and not the blockchain-specific type released last year."

Has a new cold war really begun?
(Foreign Affairs, by Odd Arne Westad)

"The Cold War was intense, categorical, and highly dangerous: strategic nuclear weapons systems were intended to destroy the superpower opponent, even at a cost of devastating half the world."