Bitcoin news roundup 21th August 2016

This week’s summary of various cryptocurrency news and developments

New developments:

Bitcoin users may be attacked by government hackers

Popular bitcoin website Bitcoin.org has launched a warning message to its users who are looking forward to downloading their binaries (pre-compiled versions of bitcoin software that require no technical know-how to run), as they believe these may have been intercepted and compromised. The attack could either steal victims’ bitcoins, or attempt to take control of the majority of the bitcoin network through a “51% attack”.

The website claimed it has reason to believe in the government attack, but shows no evidence it may occur, nor does it claim what government may be attacking.

Hacker group claims it hacked the NSA

A hacker group that calls itself the “Shadow Brokers” claim to have hacked the NSA (National Security Agency). According to reports on the attack, they managed to steal cyber weapons they are now auctioning off to the highest bidder. A report from Business Insider has revealed that the NSA itself wasn’t hit, but that a server belonging to the Equation Group – a group of hackers believed to be part of the NSA – was indeed hacked.

Security experts, such as Kaspersky researcher Nicholas Weaver, who have seen the stolen data confirm the hack was authentic. According to Yahoo!, some security experts believe the Shadow Brokers may be backed by researchers.

The group that is auctioning off NSA’s cyber weapons got Rickrolled

After the Shadow Group hacked a group believed to be a part of the NSA, they decided to start a public auction to sell the exploits they acquired – which reportedly include cyber weapons. The group was looking for 1 million bitcoins (over $500 million) in the auction, but they are still very far from such a large amount.

This all sounds very serious, but someone decided to Rickroll the Shadow Group, by sending payments with addresses that spelled out Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up”:

  • 1never9kNNkr27UseZSHnaEHg1z8v3Mbb
  • 1gonnaV3MFNjymS4RGvUbHACstiS8aSYz
  • 1giveGEk184Gwep2KT4UBPTcE9oqWzCVR
  • 1youKBMLEohsexdZtkvnTzHnc4iU7Ffty
  • 1upAbpBEWQ467QNT7i4vBMVPzSfQ3sqoQ
  • 1never9kNNkr27UseZSHnaEHg1z8v3Mbb
  • 1gonnaV3MFNjymS4RGvUbHACstiS8aSYz
  • 11etAyypstpXLQpTgoYmYzT8M2foBSBe1
  • 1youKBMLEohsexdZtkvnTzHnc4iU7Ffty
  • 1downAsBbRQcBfUj8rgQomqhRsNFf1jMo

All of the transactions were of 0.001337 bitcoin, which means whoever did it spelled “leet” in all of them.

World Affairs:

The Pirate Party wants to turn Iceland into the “Switzerland of bits”, and it may be a part of the next government

Iceland’s Pirate Party, a pro-bitcoin party that has been rising in power in the country following the financial crisis of 2008, may be able to form government in the country, in the upcoming elections in October, according to recent polls, that suggest the political party may be able to become part of the establishment as they may acquire up to 25% of the votes.

The Pirate Party is in favor of legalizing drugs, giving citizens a right to be a part of important political decisions, government transparency and offering asylum to Edward Snowden. It plans to transform Iceland into the “Switzerland of bits” if they manage to rise to the occasion. Bitcoin is currently prohibited in Iceland.

Russian Government to give up on bitcoin penalization plans

Russian news agency Interfax reported representatives from Russia’s Central Bank and Ministry of Finance are increasingly giving up on plans to penalize the use of bitcoin. Instead, the Federal Tax Service of Russia recommends reporting bitcoin transactions, as it would be a better financial decision.

The departments involved in the decision are to make a report with their conclusion and understanding of the subjected, in order to present it to the president Vladimir Putin later this year.

Mobile Update:

Bitcoin investment app Keza to re-launch

A popular bitcoin investment app named Keza announced in April it would close all of its services. Recently, its re-launch has been announced after it was acquired by the Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) – a company based in the Philippines. Keza is an iOS app that allowed users to invest bitcoin in stocks, with no minimum deposit amount. The app was available to the whole world, except the United States. The app’s website invites users to enter their email address in order to be notified when it is once again available.

Financial:

Bitcoin prices stay above $560

Last week, the Bitfinex hack completely rocked the market, but even though the price went down by 20% right after it happened, bitcoin managed to get back on its feet and reach $600. This week, the price of bitcoin has pretty much been staying above the $560 mark. At the time of this writing, the price was at $577.

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