Slush Pool Feels Developers Should Just Active SegWit Without Further Delay

It is evident the back-and-forth debate between BU and SegWit is not over by any means. Even though Segregated Witness continues to struggle regarding achieving majority support, some people feel this debate has gone on long enough. Slush pool one of the oldest bitcoin mining pools, feels SegWit need to be activated right now. In the end, a new world of applications and solutions will appear. An intriguing train of thought that will cause a lot of debate.

It is interesting to see Slush pool take this stance right now. The pool is one of the only ones signaling both SegWit and BU support right now. However, it appears the owner remains pro-Bitcoin Core, as he has been for several years now. In a recent tweet, he claims how SegWit should “just be activated’. A strong sentiment, although perhaps not the most popular one. After all, Segregated Witness has less than 30% network support, which is not enough to activate under normal circumstances.

If SegWit were to activate right now, coders would have no choice but to build new applications and platforms. This would benefit the bitcoin ecosystem as a whole. The current standoff with Bitcoin unlimited only causes more problems and unnecessary delays. It is understandable people may feel SegWit is not the best solution, but actively opposing progress is not acceptable.

Activating SegWit Right Now Makes Sense

A large amount of BU supporters opposes SegWit due to Blockstream being involved. Having a company determine the future of bitcoin is not decentralization. However, Blockstream also funds the Core development, which has been invaluable over the past few years. It is unclear what everyone’s intentions are, although BU supporters seem more than happy to split bitcoin in two. Once again, it’s not an acceptable outcome by any means.  Progress is needed to keep bitcoin moving forward, whereas stagnation will only cause irreparable damage.

Another intriguing aspect about this statement is how it will likely upset a lot of miners. With the block reward halving, miners enjoy these higher transaction fees. However, if the scaling debate is resolved, higher tax fees will be out of the question. A lot of people will not enjoy this development, as miners will earn less. Then again, a scaling bitcoin ecosystem will allow the price per BTC to rise, solving that problem as well. Bitcoin miners should never oppose network innovation in the first place, yet they are doing exactly that.

Rest assured Bitcoin Unlimited supporters will continue to oppose SegWit moving forward. Even though SegWit offers some advantages to BU miners as well, it is doubtful they will see things that way. SegWit does not force users to rely on the Lightning Network at a later stage either. Instead, it will lay the foundation for that protocol, which remains an optional feature.


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Gold is often considered to be the go-to asset during times of financial turmoil. That may no longer be the case, as demand for physical gold is lower than it has ever been. Investors are turning away from physical gold, as well as silver, for some unknown reason. Digital assets are the new hype as of late, which creates new opportunities for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

It is somewhat strange to learn demand for physical gold is waning. Bullion has always been a popular investment vehicle to diversify a portfolio. Over the past few months, however,  the demand for physical gold and silver has dropped significantly. To be more precise, the US mint saw their sales of US Eagle gold coins drop by 67% in the past twelve months. Although a decrease in sales volume is not unusual, this margin is rather unprecedented.

Physical Gold Has Become Less Appealing

The same statistics apply to US Eagle silver coins, which saw demand drop by 75% in the same period. One might argue this only reflects upon the United States, yet that statement would not be entirely correct. A smaller demand for gold and silver is prevalent all over the world right now.  Mainly bars, coins, and jewelry are far less popular than they should be. With slower sales and falling margins, it becomes a lot more difficult to make a profit.

It is also worth noting the decrease in physical gold demand does not correlate to the price. In fact, the gold price has risen by 16% since February 2016. One would expect demand to increase as the price increases, but that is not the case. A very intriguing situation that is rather difficult to explain right now. One explanation is how traders never deal with physical bullion, but rather a paper or digital version.

Gold contracts have become the favored method of buying and selling gold these days. Investors buy contracts during periods of financial turmoil. When the economy recovers, gold contracts are dumped, resulting in the price per troy ounce declining as well. There is no real need for physical gold right now, nor will there be anytime soon at this rate.

As digital assets become more important to investors and traders, new opportunities are created. Alternative digital assets, such as bitcoin and cryptocurrency, can make a big impact over the next few years. Wealthy investors still want to diversify their portfolio yet physical gold is not a viable option to do so. It will be interesting to keep an eye on this situation moving forward, that much is certain.


The fear of cybercriminals and hackers switching to Monero has come true. The latest Monero ransomware to hit the internet, takes inspiration from the popular science fiction, Star Trek and goes by the name “Kirk” as in Captain James T Kirk of the starship USS Enterprise.

A decade ago, the global success of cryptocurrencies would have seemed like something out of a science fiction. But not anymore, like the robots in Isaac Asimov’s classic sci-fi, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are as real as air and water. But like everything, these cryptocurrencies come with their own set of challenges. Criminals are increasingly misusing the ease of use, lack of central authority controlling the digital currency, combined with a certain degree of anonymity associated with the. The Bitcoin demanding ransomware are a good example of that.

The new Kirk ransomware was discovered by Jakub Kroustek, a researcher at the cybersecurity firm, Avast. According to reports, like any other ransomware, Kirk encrypts files on the infected system and demands a ransom to decrypt it back to the original form. Apart from its name, Kirk differentiates itself from the rest of the ransomware by demanding Monero instead of Bitcoin ransom.

According to a tech news site, the Kirk ransomware disguises itself as a popular network stress testing application – Low Orbital Ion Cannon (LOIC). Once infected, Kirk encrypts about 625 different file types with an RSA-4096 encryption protocol, appending the filename extension with “.kirk”. In order to decrypt the file, the ransomware demands 50 Monero valued at over $1000. The ransom doubles to 100 Monero after two days, then 200 on the 8th day and to 500 on the 15th day till the month end. If the ransom isn’t paid within 30 days, the password decryption key will be permanently deleted, rendering the files inaccessible forever.

Once the victim makes the ransom payment, they will be provided with a decryption program. Keeping up with the Star Trek reference, the decryption tool is named after the character, Spock.

Unlike Bitcoin, Monero transactions are virtually untraceable due to the use of CryptoNote protocol. Security experts had predicted its adoption by cybercriminals and dark net vendors, which has now come true in the form of Kirk.

For internet users, irrespective of the kind of ransom demanded by the ransomware, safe internet practices can save them from the whole ordeal. Use of updated software, cybersecurity tools, downloading software from reliable sources and ignoring attachments from unknown senders will keep them away from trouble.

Ref: HotHardware | Image: NewsBTC

Blockchain technology has gained a lot of traction in the recent days as companies across industries are looking into adopting it. The increased demand, followed by innovation in the blockchain sector has given rise to platforms like Qtum. Qtum’s innovative smart contracts technology has received validation of consumer demand through its ongoing crowdsale.

The month-long Qtum crowdsale, which went underway on March 16, 2017 has received tremendous response from the cryptocurrency community. The platform has managed to raise almost 90 percent of the required funds in less than 2 days. The very first day saw investors pumping in about $12 million worth of bitcoin and ether to meet 75% of the goal. The Qtum platform has raised over 10000 BTCs and 68200 ETHs by selling close to 46 million QTUM tokens.

Qtum is a decentralized applications platform that combines a modified Bitcoin Core infrastructure with an intercompatible Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). By doing so, Qtum combines the best of both platforms — Bitcoin’s unfailing blockchain and endless possibilities offered by Ethereum smart contracts.

The developers of Qtum platform aim to provide an end-to-end multi-platform blockchain solution to cater to a range of applications across devices. These breakthrough capabilities are made possible by eliminating the need for specialized heavy software to create, deploy and operate the smart contracts.

The specialty of Qtum combined with its potential applications in low storage environments like mobile, phones, IoT applications etc., has turned it into an attractive investment for the cryptocurrency community.

The increased demand for QTUM tokens among the community has forced the platform to reallocate crowdsale tokens between exchanges. The three participating exchanges, Yunbi, BTC9 and Allcoin have been allocated additional QTUM tokens to meet the demand. According to the latest blog post, Yunbi has been allocated an additional 3 million tokens, 1.2 million to BTC9 and 500,000 to Allcoin. The extra allocation doesn’t affect the total number of tokens created by the platform has it is kept constant.

Ref: Qtum | Finance Magnates |  Image: NewsBTC