Black October Campaign of Hacktivist Group Anonymous to Spur Bitcoin Demand?

Hacktivist group Anonymous, which is known for spreading awareness on Edward Snowden’s revelations among other social issues, has launched its Black October campaign. In a video posted on YouTube, the group urges people to stop using banking services for the whole month, possibly leading to stronger demand for cash and alternative currencies such as bitcoin.

The group encourages the audience to withdraw all funds from bank accounts, stop using credit or debit cards, and to spread the campaign to others. In doing so, Anonymous hopes to be able to highlight the corrupt state of financial and banking services.

Is Bitcoin a Good Alternative?

Although Anonymous didn’t specify any use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, a disruption in traditional banking activity could spur demand for the digital currency, which operates in a decentralized fashion. Instead of relying on banks or financial institutions to store funds or to validate transactions, bitcoin makes use of the blockchain and a consensus-based decision-making model.

Bitcoin has actually been under the spotlight for its potential to revolutionize the financial industry and governance, as it takes the power off these large entities and hands it to the members of the network or community.

Anoynmous has been open to bitcoin developments, as the cryptocurrency also appeals to those seeking a social revolution. The group reportedly made use of bitcoin to send a $25,000 donation to Gustavus Adolphus College to be used for the renovation of its Nobel Hall of Science.

While bitcoin has also been under the negative light because of its prevalent use in illegal activities or money laundering operations, banks and financial institutions are starting to recognize its potential as well, particularly that of its distributed public ledger or blockchain.

The hacktivist group maintains that Black October will be a peaceful campaign from October 1 to 31. Anonymous also invites the audience to participate in social activities related to this campaign in order to change the future with a few simple steps.

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Bitcoin isn’t the only cryptocurrency in existence at the moment, as plenty of competitors in the digital currency sphere have emerged. Ever since the introduction of bitcoin in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto and its rise to fame a few years back, a number of altcoins have also been created, claiming to have better features than bitcoin.

In the Midst of Controversy

For now, these digital currencies are still mired in a lot of controversy, as the lack of a centralized authority overseeing its operations and transactions pave the way for usage in criminal activities. Hacking incidents and security threats have also dominated the headlines in the past months, causing a loss of funds in online wallets and the shutdown of some bitcoin exchanges.

Bitcoin’s Unique Features

What sets bitcoin apart from its rivals is the blockchain, which is a public ledger of transactions per unit. For its creator, this has the potential for creating a financial system that doesn’t necessarily rely on trust in counter-parties.

Bitcoin is facing competition from litecoin, darkcoin, and dogecoin among many others. Earlier this month, a professor from Stanford University claims that he can create a cryptocurrency that will eliminate the security loopholes in bitcoin. According to Professor David Mazieres, he can create a better system for the cryptocurrency to operate, although industry enthusiasts are still waiting for his findings to be released.

Markets and a few financial authorities have expressed some support for bitcoin though, which suggests that this particular digital currency could continue to outpace its peers. In London, the British officials have announced their open support for bitcoin but indicated that they’re looking into creating a set of regulations to govern the industry. In Chile, a startup bitcoin exchange was able to secure $40,000 in funding from its own government as part of its startup initiatives.

Since bitcoin seems to be having trouble gaining traction in the past months, Stanford professor David Mazieres claims that a better alternative exists. He says that this is faster and safer, which might make it more secure and flexible compared to bitcoin.

In a paper released earlier this week, Mazieres detailed how the system for this new digital currency could make payments more efficient than bitcoin transactions. As it is, the total value of bitcoin in existence is at $3.4 million.

Bitcoin and Its Competition

Bitcoin was introduced in 2008 by Japanese Satoshi Nakamoto who designed the digital currency’s set of rules and cryptographic principles based on the blockchain. This protocol was significant in showing that a set of parties who don’t necessarily trust each other can still be able to make transactions and keep a public ledger of the exchange.

However, this cryptocurrency has been subject to a lot of controversy, as the system hasn’t been completely immune from theft and hacking incidents. A number of bitcoin exchanges and companies have shut down in the previous year, resulting to a loss of funds from both the firms and its clients. Apart from that, the rampant use of bitcoin in illegal transactions or criminal activities has been a major cause of concern.

According to Mazieres’ new security protocol called SCP, the bitcoin-inspired system can be replaced with a newer one in order to take these weak spots into account. This has already been picked up by Stellar, which was modeled after the cryptocurrency created in Ripple Labs.

Bitcoin is good, but we wanted to start from scratch and address some of these additional properties,” Mazieres mentioned. SCP also relies on people running software that communicates over the Internet but does not rely on mining to create the cryptocurrency. Mazieres will be taking a leave from Stanford four days a week in order to work on his bitcoin alternative.