Crypto Hardware Wallet Trezor Brings Privacy to its Users with CoinJoin & CoinControl

Crypto Hardware Wallet Trezor Brings Privacy to its Users with CoinJoin & CoinControl

Cryptocurrency hardware wallet, Trezor is bringing privacy to its users through CoinJoin.

CoinCoin is a trustless method that combines multiple Bitcoin payments from multiple senders into single transactions making it difficult for outside parties to determine the origin of the coins. Trezor tweeted,

“We always strive to advance your privacy! CoinJoin will obscure the sources and destinations of your transactions.”

However, some are concerned about the fact that cryptocurrency exchanges like Binance and Paxos Global actually discourage the use of the bitcoin mixing services and, in the past, have flagged consumers who have made use of these services. For Trezor, the heart of the matter here is,

“Do you want to use a service that blocks your transaction because you care about your privacy?”

Another step towards maximizing Trezor users’ privacy also includes a CoinControl feature that puts the user in complete charge of compiling their transactions.

When sending BTC to someone, this feature allows you to control which of your addresses sends the coins and, even more specifically, which unspent outputs will be sending inputs.

“In the future, the combination of Tor Switch, CoinControl, and CoinJoin will guarantee you the top level of privacy and security, respected by our customers.”

Besides privacy, Tezos (XTZ) also announced that they are also bringing full node support to its wallet this year. Users will be able to connect their own full node, which allows them to fully validate transactions and blocks and help the network to the Trezor hardware wallet.

In the first stage, they will implement Electrum API integration which will be then followed by Bitcoin Core.

Another addition includes the Trezor Suite Mobile app for Android, which will have most of the Trezor Suite features “bringing accessibility and user experience to the whole new level.”

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Facebook Owned WhatsApp Changes Privacy Policy; Telegram and Signal Gets Promoted

Facebook Owned WhatsApp Changes Privacy Policy; Telegram and Signal Gets Promoted

Popular Messaging app WhatsApp has changed its terms on Thursday that will allow it to share more information about billions of its users with its parent company Facebook and to further roll out ads and e-commerce.

Users must accept the changes, or their access to the service will be cut off from Feb. 8.

The updated terms will allow additional sharing of information like contacts and profile data but not the contents of messages, between WhatsApp and Facebook and its other applications such as Messenger and Instagram.

“If the only way to refuse (the modification) is to stop using WhatsApp, then the consent is forced as the use of personal data is illegal,” said Arthur Messaud, a lawyer for La Quadrature du Net, an association that defends internet users.

The changes would not affect EU and UK-based users.

Facebook bought WhatsApp in 2014, and two years later, it gave users a one-time chance to opt-out of sharing app data with the social media giant.

Brian Acton and Jan Koum, the founders of WhatsApp, left the company in 2017 and 2018, both of whom vehemently opposed the decision to monetize the platform through ads. Koum even called for people to “delete Facebook.”

This move by WhatsApp prompted calls for users to delete their accounts and switch to encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and Signal.

Tesla CEO and un-official DOGE CEO, Elon Musk, who has become the richest person in the world, recommended users to switch services, tweeting “Use Signal,” hours after criticizing Facebook via a meme.

“We need Web 3.0 now more than ever. We’re losing control of our own information, identity & destiny every day. A decentralized & fair internet made of distributed ledger technologies allows us to dismantle centralized tech giants & rightfully own our data,” said Jay Hao, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

New Mimblewimble Code & Community-wide Testnet Launch Might Come in Q1 2021

Implementation of privacy features on Litecoin while other privacy coins getting delisted have people bullish on LTC.

“The first implementation of non-interactive txs is finally ready for testing!” said David Burkett while sharing the update on implementing Mimblewimble to bring privacy to the network.

In the month of December, the first-ever implementation of one-sided txs on Mimblewimble is completed and ready for testing and review and MWEB components have also been added to the GUI.

Going forward, one more week would take to prep Grin++for the final planned hard fork of Grin. And once the new version is released, Burkett will get the new MWEB code ready and launch the new community-wide testnet. This will allow everyone, regardless of technical abilities, to test out the MWEB and provide feedback.

However, there is still no exact date ready for when the code will be finished, but Burkett did ensure that he is “getting very close” but with a lot of automated tests to backfill still, a few outstanding questions about max weight for the EBs & peg-in/peg-out maturity, and lots of small cleanup tasks remaining. He said,

“I’m still expecting to have the code finished sometime this quarter (Q1 2021) though, so it won’t be long.”

Making it a Reality

As per the original plan, the MWEB was to be completed in a year but the team is already two months behind. Burkett said,

“While we didn’t quite meet our original timeline, it wasn’t for a lack of trying. I’ve put in countless late-night hours working to make MWEB a reality.”

“But there’s simply too much at stake to release anything less than perfection. LTC deserves it, and we’re all doing everything we can to deliver on that.”

The delay has been because of completely rewriting the code from scratch, while initially it was thought that Grin++’s code would be reused but it didn’t mesh well with the LTC codebase.

Additionally, the original plan included only interactive transactions but that meant users had to be online to receive funds, which would’ve been a whole lot worse for usability, noted the developer who further shared that “at the time, non-interactive txs were not even considered possible in MW, but we figured out a way to do it.”

Enjoying the Greens

During the update, Burkett also urged the community to continue with more donations as he said, “despite huge LTC gains, only 0.25 LTC were donated this month.” Every donation would be matched to litoshi-for-litoshi by Bitcoin creator Charlie Lee.

The price of LTC has been enjoying a rally since 4Q20, moving in tandem with Bitcoin. While Bitcoin went crazy with its over 315% gains in 2020, Litecoin surged just over 220%.

The fourth-largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $10.21 billion is currently trading above $153, up 190% since Oct.

Amidst the ongoing delisting of privacy featured coins, like Zcash (ZEC), Monero (XMR), and DASH from crypto exchanges, some speculate it could make LTC more valuable. Crypto analyst Alex Saunders said,

“More privacy coin delisting news today. My thesis & narrative around Litecoin’s 2nd coming strengthens. With XRP out of the picture & LTC’s regulatory certainty (age, distribution, decentralization, Grayscale Trust) it could regain #3 as it implements privacy features.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Elliptic Report: Crypto Criminals Turn to Privacy Wallets to Launder Bitcoin

Privacy has been one of the hot buttons in the crypto space. In a new report, leading blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reviews the industry’s illegal activity levels this year.

On Wednesday, the firm released a study showing that criminals are now laundering Bitcoin using private wallets like Wasabi.

The Hunt for Privacy

Private wallets are known for their privacy features. They obfuscate funds and hide their origins from tracking mechanisms, through a process called coin mixing.

Mixing works by swapping coins between users. It creates a complex network of transactions designed to create a maze that throws trackers off a transfer over time.

Elliptic explained that 13 percent of Bitcoin crime proceeds are now being laundered through these services. The number is up from the 2 percent reported in 2019.

Tom Robinson, Elliptic’s Chief Scientist, explained that the use of privacy wallets had grown primarily due to the increased identity verification standards operated by exchanges and traditional wallet providers.

While the general use of these privacy wallets has increased, there is a noticeable uptick in criminal applications.

Blame the Government and Analysis Firms

Mixers have also grown in prominence thanks to increased tracking technologies and procedures from firms like Elliptic.

Chainalysis and CipherTrace, two of the foremost analytics firms in the blockchain space, have worked extensively with regulators to crack down on illegal activity this year. Seeing nowhere else to turn to, criminals are now being inventive and using mixers.

CipherTrace has been incredibly effective in cracking down on privacy-related activities in the crypto space.

In August, the firm announced a new tool to track Monero transactions, the most popular privacy coin. It has even filed two patents to improve tracking for Monero.

In a blog post, CipherTrace stated that the patents would include forensic tools to explore transaction flows in Monero and assist financial investigations. They will also have probabilistic and statistical methods to score transactions and cluster possible wallet owners, as well as visualization tools and techniques to track stolen or illegally used assets.

“CipherTrace’s Monero tracing capabilities will allow [Virtual Asset Service Providers] to identify when inbound XMR may have criminal origins, allowing them to adequately risk rate customer transactions per any required regulations.”

CipherTrace added that it aimed to improve criminal users’ detection and improve the safety and sustainability of privacy coins.

The development follows an earlier $625,000 bounty program set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for anyone who can develop Monero tracking tools. As privacy becomes more of a luxury in the crypto space, it is understandable that criminals would want to get inventive and use privacy wallets.

Read Original/a>
Author: Jimmy Aki

Tezos’ Edo Upgrade Will Implement Zcash’s Sapling Protocol for Shielded Transactions

  • Tezos becomes the latest blockchain to add Zcash’s Sapling privacy protocol.
  • The blockchain is also planning minor changes on its network.
  • Tezos allows self-amendment of the protocol without the need for a fork.

An announcement from Tezos, the baking algorithm network, confirms its blockchain is welcoming the Sapling privacy protocol from Zcash allowing users to send shielded transactions. As the new upgrade is known, Edo comes less than a month following the launch of the ‘Delphi’ upgrade on November 12. The latest updates aim at improving Tezos users’ privacy across the blockchain.

Apart from the sapling privacy protocols, the Edo upgrade will also add on minor fixes on the blockchain, including additional improvements on gas costs and performance, introducing the “adoption period to the voting schedule, ticketing, and some minor bug fixes.

Sapling, a privacy protocol developed by the Electric Coin Company (in charge of Zcash), allows users to send “shielded transactions” to enable privacy. Tezos will integrate this protocol giving their holders an option to send these types of transactions hence enhancing their privacy.

According to the joint press release from Nomadic Labs, Marigold, and Meta state – three Tezos smart contract developers – the new upgrade will be integrated easily on to the platform. This is only possible on Tezos compared to other running blockchains as the only “self-amending” platform. The release reads,

“Our proposal allows smart contract developers to easily integrate Sapling in their smart contracts and create privacy-conscious applications.”

“Because Tezos can be amended, it was possible for us to add this exciting new feature directly to Tezos itself.”

This has been a year’s long journey for Tezos. They announced Sapling’s testing back in December 2019 since the development team has improved the performance by carrying out “extensive research and testing” on the privacy protocol’s workings.

The Edo upgrade will also include “Tickets,” an improvement aiming to make it much “easier and simpler for developers to write secure contracts.” The statement explains ticketing as a “convenient mechanism for smart contracts to grant portable permissions to other smart contracts or to issue tokens.”

The new upgrade also targets to change the voting system by introducing a “fifth period” or the “adoption period.” According to the proposal, the adoption period will increase the period between adopting a proposal and activation from one block (about a minute) to two weeks. This will allow “seamless transitions of proposals,” giving bakers, indexers, and other users of the network certainty in activating the proposal.

If the Edo upgrade is accepted, the Baking Accounts proposal will follow the next major upgrade, expected in about three months.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

US-Based ShapeShift Delists Privacy Coins Dash, XMR, & ZEC to ‘Avoid Regulatory Risks’

  • ShapeShift is delisting privacy coins from its exchange
  • Regulatory risks in the U.S. led to the delisting of ZEC, XMR, and DASH

Zcash (ZEC) is the latest privacy-enabled crypto to be delisted from Colorado-based cryptocurrency exchange, ShapeShift. This follows the silent delisting of Monero (XMR) and Dash (DASH) from the exchange due to regulatory risks.

Speaking to CoinDesk, Veronica McGregor stated the exchange delisted the coins due to the regulatory risks and uncertainties privacy coins hold.

“At least for the moment, we’re not working with those coins,” McGregor said in an interview.

The delisting of ZEC was made public on Tuesday after Decrypt’s report confirmed that Monero (XMR) and Dash (DASH) were delisted on Friday of last week.

The latest delisting shows ShapeShift taking up a more regulatory approach as regulators start paying close attention to privacy-eccentric coins. At launch, the exchange allowed users to trade and swap cryptocurrencies anonymously – allowing users to open trades without any login or account registration.

However, following money laundering claims (which ShapeShift vehemently countered), the exchange started asking users to submit their “know-your-customer” compliance documents in September 2018.

As governments and regulators take into account the FAFT Travel rule, exchanges across the world have taken a hard stance on privacy coins. BitBay and BitOasis announced the delisting of Monero (XMR) from their exchanges in 2019 due to regulatory risks. And South Korea is set to ban the trading of privacy coins.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

MimbleWimble Privacy Coin, GRIN, Becomes Latest Network to Be Hit With A 51% Attack

GRIN, a mimblewimble protocol-based privacy coin, had become the latest victim of a 51% attack when a group of unknown miners got control of more than 50% of the network’s hashing power.

On November 7th, the network came under attack by an unknown mining group, which was able to gain control of 57.4% of the hashing power.

A 51% attack occurs when more than 50% of the network’s hashing input is controlled by a single entity, which increases the risk of double-spending. As per on-chain data, the unknown miner group managed to reorganize one forked block at 23:17 UTC and since then increased their control on the network to 58.1% by Sunday. Currently, at 58.5%, according to Grinscan.

A tweet from 2Miners on Nov 8th revealed the 51% attack on the GRIN network, where they revealed that currently, they only have 19.1% of the hashing power of the network. The tweet read,

“Grin Network Is Under the 51% Attack! Payouts are stopped. Please mine at your own risk only because the new blocks could be rejected.”

GRIN Token Maintains Its Position in the Market

The news of the 51% attack didn’t really impact the token’s price as it remained a study showing a minimal drop of 1.4% over the past 24 hours.

The more diverse the mining input, the more secure the network, which is proven in the current case. The diverse mining input would ensure that a 51% attack would cost the miners more money than what he would gain in return. For example, the Ethereum Classic (ETC) network has the highest share of 51% attacks where the network experienced three 51% attack in August this year itself.

The miners needed $7,000 per hour to control more than 50% of the mining power; the cost is relatively low when compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum networks; however, it’s significantly higher than the GRIN network. The unknown miner group only required $25 per hour to control more than 50% of the platform’s hash input.

Read Original/a>
Author: Hank Klinger

South Korea Set to Ban the Trading of ‘Privacy Enabled Coins’ On Virtual Asset Exchanges

  • South Korea bans “privacy coins” trading on crypto exchanges.
  • The updates were made as part of the guidelines to the “Special Payments Act.”

South Korea’s leading financial watchdog, the Financial Services Commission (FSC), announced on Tuesday a ban on the trading of privacy-enabled cryptocurrencies such as Monero (XMR), Dash (DASH), and Zcash (ZEC) from any virtual asset service provider platform. The move follows a guideline update on the ‘Special Payments Act’ that governs the country’s cryptocurrencies laws.

According to the statement, the FSC claims privacy-enabled coins enable high money laundering risk due to the difficulty tracing the transactions. In 2018, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office opened a case on drug dealers who received privacy coins in payment for their illegal goods. The new amendments will curb these kinds of payments preventing the spread of illicit and illegal activities.

The amendments by the FSC will start being implemented and enforced in March 2021, creating strict laws against trading privacy cryptocurrencies. Notwithstanding, the crypto exchanges in South Korea will have to comply with KYC/AML regulations. Customers will have to verify their accounts using a passport, identification card, or any government-recognized document.

Several exchanges have already delisted privacy coins, including South Korean-based OKEx and Upbit exchange. The Japan-based crypto exchange, Liquid, also announced the delisting of Zcash (ZEC) and the other 28 coins to comply with Singapore’s laws.

Read Original/a>
Author: Lujan Odera

Litecoin MimbleWimble Testnet Launched, Privacy Will Finally be Here in 2021

Litecoin MimbleWimble testnet is here, which will bring privacy to the network. Scheduled for launch on Sept. 30, not many participated in keeping it running as such MimbleWimble testnet has been relaunched. The protocol is designed to enhance privacy and obfuscate the traceability of distributed ledger transactions.

Only a few nodes connected and mined, so not “enough blocks to activate mimblewimble yet,” but as more peers get onboard, they will be able to activate the testnet, said Grin developer David Burkett who has been working on this implementation.

MimbleWimble is a modified implementation of the proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm that underpins Bitcoin. In this, blocks appear as a single large transaction, preventing the individual inputs and outputs of a transaction from being identified. Burkett also wrote,

“I’m still roughing in very minimal cli wallet support, but hopefully we’ll have a simple way to create mimblewimble transactions by the time it activates.”

Despite this news, LTC failed to pump and continues to trade around $46, down 87.55% from its all-time high. One of the worst performers of 2020, LTC saw returns just about 8.65% YTD.

Now that “Mimblewimble Extension Block” (MWEB) testnet is working, the developer will be focusing on making it easy for non-technical Litecoin users to test it out as well — this means wallet support, automated builds, and better documentation. He said,

“Once I’m confident everything is working as designed, I’ll start looking for ways to break the testnet, to make sure we find and resolve any security or stability weaknesses.”

Burkett also stated that next month, he would share a detailed plan about the remaining work required to get MWEB merged to the main repo, so that node operators and miners can start signaling for activation sometime in 2021.

Read Original/a>
Author: AnTy

Brave Browser Partners With Japan’s Largest Exchange bitFlyer to Build A Crypto Wallet for Users

The largest crypto exchange in Japan, Bitflyer, has partnered with the privacy and crypto-focused Brave browser. The partnership would see the development of a crypto wallet for Brave browser users. This alliance would also help Brave to tap into one of the fastest-growing crypto markets in Japan.

BitFlyer, in its official statement, said:

“Brave is the BAT connected browser, and browsing is an everyday activity. It will be a new opportunity for users to use and earn cryptocurrency. We see it as a new model case to show the potential of cryptocurrency […] We want to make people feel more familiar with cryptocurrency through the partnership with Brave.”

Brave browser users are incentivized with Basic Attention Token (BAT); however, due to regulatory guidelines, Japanese Brave browser users are rewarded with Basic Attention Points instead of BAT. This difference is because Japanese regulations prevent citizens from earning currencies that can be exchanged for money directly.

The development of a crypto wallet by the exchange and browser could change that and allow Japanese citizens to earn in BAT.

Without many revealing details being released, the official announcement did mention that further information would be revealed during an event in Tokyo on July 30. A spokesman from Brave hinted that speculation over the upcoming wallet might be correct, he said:

“At this point, we are using ‘points’ to reward users, but there are some limits. [Through the partnership], we think it may be possible to go beyond that.”

Brave is slowly making its way into the Japanse market while leaving no stone unturned in obtaining popular appeal. Last month it partnered with BTS – the famous S.Korean pop band – and the esports team, Rush Gaming, to develop a browser exclusively for Japanese users. Rush Gaming users can earn BAP, which they can use to support the team.

Over the past couple of months, several Japanse crypto exchanges have listed Brave’s BAT token for trading, and Brave wants to bank on this push. News coming from the company also suggests both BitFlyer and Brave would launch a joint marketing campaign to make people aware of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Read Original/a>
Author: Hank Klinger