All posts in “Cryptocurrencies”

The Coinmine One is a box that mines crypto at home

For $799 you can start mining cryptocurrencies in your home, a feat that previously either required a massive box costing thousands of dollars or, if you didn’t actually want to make any money, a Raspberry Pi. The Coinmine One, created by Farbood Nivi, soundly hits the sweet spot between actual mining and experimentation.

The box is about as big as a gaming console and runs a custom OS called MineOS. The system lets you pick a cryptocurrency to mine – Monero, for example, as the system isn’t very good with mature, ASIC-dependent currencies like BTC – and then runs it on the built in CPU and GPU. The machine contains a Intel Celeron Processor J Series processor and a AMD Radeon RX570 graphics card for mining. It also has a 1 TB drive to hold the massive blockchains required to manage these currencies.

The box mines Ethereum at 29 Mh/s and Monero at 800 h/s – acceptable numbers for an entry level miner like this one. You can upgrade it to support new coins, allowing you to get in on the ground floor of whatever weird thing crypto folks create tomorrow.

I saw the Coinmine in Brooklyn and it looks nice. It’s a cleverly-made piece of consumer tech that brings the mystery of crypto mining to the average user. Nivi doesn’t see this as a profit-making machine. Instead, it is a tool to help crypto experimenters try to mine new currencies and run a full node on the network. That doesn’t mean you can’t get Lambo with this thing, but expect Lambo to take a long, long time.

The device ships next month to hungry miners world-wide. It’s a fascinating move for the average user to experience the thrills and spills of the recent crypto bust.

Today in brighter crypto news: SEC says tokens are securities

Crypto news got a little boost last week after a dark month of crashes, stablecoins, and birthdays. The SEC ruled that two ICO issuers, CarrierEQ Inc. and Paragon Coin Inc., were in fact selling securities instead of so-called utility tokens.

“Both companies have agreed to return funds to harmed investors, register the tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the Commission, and pay penalties,” wrote Pamela Sawhney of the SEC. “These are the Commission’s first cases imposing civil penalties solely for ICO securities offering registration violations.”

From the release:

Airfox, a Boston-based startup, raised approximately $15 million worth of digital assets to finance its development of a token-denominated “ecosystem” starting with a mobile application that would allow users in emerging markets to earn tokens and exchange them for data by interacting with advertisements. Paragon, an online entity, raised approximately $12 million worth of digital assets to develop and implement its business plan to add blockchain technology to the cannabis industry and work toward legalization of cannabis. Neither Airfox nor Paragon registered their ICOs pursuant to the federal securities laws, nor did they qualify for an exemption to the registration requirements.

This behavior – a sort of “damn the torpedoes” for the Fintech set – was all the rage at the beginning of the year as no clear guidance was available for filing security tokens – essentially pieces of company equity – versus utility tokens which were, in theory, used within the company ecosystem. In fact ICOed companies contorted themselves into all sorts of knots to appear to fit their “utility token” within the torturous confines of securities law.

“We have made it clear that companies that issue securities through ICOs are required to comply with existing statutes and rules governing the registration of securities,” said Stephanie Avakian, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division. “These cases tell those who are considering taking similar actions that we continue to be on the lookout for violations of the federal securities laws with respect to digital assets.”

The SEC fined both companies $250,000 each. Future ICOs, at least in the U.S., would do well to keep this in mind.

Pure Bit, a South Korean exchange, pulls a $2.8 million exit scam

Another day, another exit scam. This time it comes to us from South Korea where an exchange, Pure Bit, has completely shut down after raising $2.8 million in Ethereum from investors.

The exchange, which promised to deliver something call Pure Coin, was live yesterday and today is completely shut down after posting “Sorry” and “Thanks” to their communications channels.

According to a Reddit thread, the team was anonymous and that the process of building and pumping exchange tokens is a “popular trend in Korea.”

“They have gotten rid of every evidence,” wrote one reader. “Website hosted by fake name / out of Korea host / messenger / contacts were all fake too. Now their only hope is to keep on track with that ether and hope for the best.”

There is no proof yet that the team has pulled a full exit scam – there are examples of founders pretending to scam their investors to “teach them a lesson” – but given the abrupt movement of 13,000 ETH out of the collection wallet we can assume that the story ends here.

Even their chat room, hosted on their own site, is shut down.

It should be noted that South Korea has banned ICOs, giving scammers the perfect cover for absolute anonymity.

Guardian Circle upgrades with a decentralized alert network

Chris Hays and Mark Jeffrey wanted to create a way for everyone to be able to tell their loved ones if they were in trouble. Their first product, GuardianCircle did just that, netting a mention in a few years ago. Now the same team is truly decentralizing alerts with a new token called, obviously, Guardium.

The plan is to create an ad hoc network of helpers and first responders. “Guardium and Guardian Circle togther open the emergency response grid to vetted citizens, private response and compatible devices for the very first time,” write the founders. “Providing an economic framework on our global distributed emergency response network; Guardium brings first responders to the 4 billion people on the planet without government sponsored emergency response.”

Since the product already works, the team is taking on the token sale as a new challenge.

“We’re serial entrepreneurs — both of us have been venture-backed in the past by names like Softbank and Intel, and we’ve been senior execs in companies backed by Sequoia and Elon Musk. Transitioning to the token-sale backed universe has been an interesting study in contrasts,” said Hays. “There are a number of ‘panic button apps’ — but without exception, all of them have forgotten ‘the second half of the problem’ — organizing the response. Getting people who do not know one another into instant communication and location sharing during an emergency — the importance of that cannot be overstated.”

The founders found that their idea wasn’t fundable in the valley. After all, what VC wants to help people when they can invest in Snapchat? Instead, Hays and Jeffrey are aiming bigger.

“We’re rebooting the world’s safety grid,” said Hays. “We’re creating a new global public utility. And we want it to service everyone, everywhere on earth. Although it is a very big vision, and it is a capitalist, multibillion dollar ecosystem that we’re chasing — it’s still a very different vision, and not the one venture capitalists are looking for.”

The token works to create a flash mob of help. Guard tokens pay first responders and dispatchers and “cities, campuses, and resorts stake $GUARD to access Alerts created within their geofenced borders,” allowing local folks to help immediately. They’ve sold half of their hard cap of $10 million thus far.

While tokens are always an iffy investment, this team has produced product and, more important, it’s clear they’ll never raise venture. A token, no matter how it’s used in the future, seems like a solid solution.

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Happy 10th birthday, Bitcoin!

Bitcoin turned 10 years old, a milestone for a technology that few have used and even fewer understand. Ultimately, the blockchain it wrought could be the biggest change to banking, finance, and politics ever or it could be a dud. The jury is still out, but let’s take a walk down memory lane and see just how the product grew from White Paper to world beater.