Johoe, the "Friendly" Bitcoin Hacker, Makes Another Appearance

A lot has been happening with the “friendly” bitcoin hacker “johoe.”

Speculation first began last week when he swiped approximately 250 bitcoins from following a security lapse that took place during the early hours of Monday, December 8th.  In a strange sort of twist, johoe later returned the bitcoins, explaining that he was merely protecting them against malware attacks, and that if users could prove themselves as the owners, he would gladly return them.

Now, johoe has struck again, this time stealing about 300 bitcoins from what feels are secure bitcoin wallets.

Following his first “attack” on the site, johoe explained:

“Every bitcoin transaction is signed by two values – ‘R’ and ‘S’ – which prove that the sender knows the private key.  If the same R value is used twice, the private key can be easily computed from the signatures alone.”

Johoe found a large number of broken bitcoin addresses, which he was later able to isolate.  He says his intention was never to actually steal the bitcoins, but to simply send out the message that security needed to be heightened, and that he had every intention of returning the bitcoins once the issue had been addressed:

“I decided this beforehand.  I make enough money with my day job that I can live on it.  Also this way I don’t have to worry that someday someone will find it out.  In hindsight, this was a very good decision.”

Apparently, johoe doesn’t feel the first event was effective enough, which prompted his decision for the second hacking.  He suggests that bitcoin users’ upgrade to hardware wallets, which he feels are much more secure.

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Not terribly long after the release of the Copay beta via the web interface at comes the news that the official Copay application for Android devices has hit the Google Play Store.

The application is essentially the mobile version of the service, if you haven’t already guessed (if you have, gold star on your forehead).

It’s a unique bitcoin wallet system that ups security by allowing wallet creators to require cosigners in order for bitcoin holdings to be spent or otherwise transmitted.

It’s open source, meaning anyone who knows what they’re doing can review the code, and already, members of the bitcoin community are finding themselves pleased with Copay.

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The project is the brainchild of Atlanta, Georgia-based BitPay, a bitcoin payments processor that’s been making a name for themselves by contributing heavily to the community in multiple ways. One of those ways is via software development, and Copay isn’t the only thing BitPay has brewing.

Copay Android App 1

The company has also developed an open source system called Bitcore that allows developers to build applications that interact with the real bitcoin network.

Copay Android App 2

If you are so inclined, you are welcome to view and download the application right from the Google Play Store by following this link.

Here’s a neat little video if you’ve got under two minutes to burn.

Chain Inc., a block chain API for developers, has today posted a video on YouTube with a nifty little demo of an open source bitcoin wallet making use of Touch ID on iOS 8.

Now, just in case you’re not up to date with the latest Apple technology, iOS 8 is the latest iteration of the company’s mobile operating system. Introduced in early June, it is currently only available for registered developers, and will be making a public release some time in September.

Touch ID is a relatively new feature when it comes to Apple gadgets. It’s essentially a fingerprint scanner that made its debut on the iPhone 5S, though with iOS 8, Apple has allowed developers to make use of the hardware as an authentication method for their apps.

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You can see that the user sending the bitcoin simply needs to place his index finger on the home button to prove it’s really him trying to send out the money to the other user. How’s that for security?

As mentioned, the software is open source, and the contents of the code can be found over at GitHub.

What do you think? Could this be the future of bitcoin wallets for mobile devices?

Newly-launched is reporting some interesting figures when it comes to statistics collected in the first sixty days of operation.

The website says that over the past two months, they have exceeded over $1,000,000 worth of bitcoin transacted in this period — 2,400 bitcoins to be precise. Over 5,000 registered users have completed 23,000 transactions — with 100 percent of those users said to be using two-actor authentication.

“We have a growing density of users in developing regions where bitcoin offers convenience and cost advantages over traditional banking and remittance services,” said co-founder Price Givens. “In particular we see adoption of our service in Africa, Indonesia and India.”

According to Mr. Givens, China just might look to be the next big audience for their wallet service.

“The fact that our users have transacted over $1,500,000 [not based on current exchange rate] through our system serves to further confirm the viability of bitcoin as well as the benefits of and our instant user to user transfer feature,” said Alex Charfen, another co-founder of the wallet service.

Based in Orange County, California, was started with significant investment capital. Reports in February indicated that the domain name had been sold by Niko Younts for a cool $250,000.

The title of the web’s most popular wallet service goes to, however. Their platform has transacted at last count over $3.1 billionand has over 1.7 million users.

One of the cool things about being in such a young industry is all of the interesting innovation going on around us. From the advent of bitcoin ATMs to other high-tech gadgets, it’s enough to keep a techie excited for years.

And speaking of gadgets, check out this gesture-based wearable bitcoin wallet by MEVU — worn around the wrist. It’s proof-of-concept, so don’t expect to see this on store shelves any time soon, but it’s an interesting twist on making payments with digital currency.

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It’s designed for small transactions, according to MEVU CEO Apurv Mishra, who suggested the bracelet could be used for things such as tipping.

Each transaction is transmitted via Bluetooth Low Energy to a nearby [compatible] point-of-sale system. A built-in motion sensor is used for the gesture actions that allow the user to send the payment out.

Our friends at CoinDesk have an in-depth write-up on the gadget, if you’re interested in more information.

The Mycelium Bitcoin Wallet has a new feature available that will make the acquisition and sale of bitcoin a whole lot easier for existing users.

Dubbed Local Trader, the feature will allow bitcoin buyers and sellers who are local to each other to transact, similar to Trades made are done person-to-person using cash and, well, bitcoin.

A seller using the feature can make “geographically pinned sell orders” where they can sell at a chosen exchange rate. Buyers can look for sellers geographically and/or scout for the best deals available nearby.

According to the announcement post on Reddit, “All trades use in-app end-to-end encrypted chat between the buyer and seller. Not even the Local Trader servers can read the contents.”

Once a price is negotiated, the buyer and seller can meet a chosen spot, and the transaction takes place. No escrow here, though. Funds are spent from the seller’s Mycelium wallet.

Using a “confidence graph”, Local Trader will “[display] the probability that the transaction that sends coins to the buyer’s wallet will get included in the next block.”

To achieve this, Mycelium servers track the transaction as it propagates through thousands of nodes, as well as check it for possible double-spends, transaction malleability, long chains of unconfirmed inputs, proper transaction fees, and other possible issues. With this, traders can exchange cash and be on their way, fairly confident that the transaction was legitimate, without having to wait 10 minutes for a confirmation.

A fee of 0.2 percent is applicable on both sides of the transaction to support the service.

The solution comes at a time when the bitcoin community remains wary of centralized exchanges, some of which have failed or simply run off with investor funds.

For more information on this, please follow this link.

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Bitcoin TREZOR 27 FEB 14

The folks at TREZOR have come out with a small announcement and status update on their highly-anticipated hardware bitcoin wallet.

According to a post made on the company’s website, TREZOR will demo a fully-functioning unit at the Bitcoin Exchange Berlin (BXB) event taking place on March 15th (Saturday) in the German capital city (Betahaus at Prinzessinnenstraße 19-20).

The BXB event, organized by Aaron Koenig, takes place monthly. It allows individuals unfamiliar with the digital currency to meet up with seasoned users to learn about bitcoin and buy their first bits. At the event, there is generally a special presentation, and this month’s will be TREZOR.

Alena and Marek of the company will be showing off the use of the device with the recently-announced myTREZOR web wallet service.

We will show the initial setup of the device, as well as the basic operations like receiving and sending bitcoins, managing TREZOR accounts or recovering the wallet using the recovery seed. We will focus on the practical side of securing bitcoins with our device, give recommendations and best practice advise to avoid mistakes.

Following the presentation will be a Q&A session, as one would come to expect.

The company also offered a status update on production, noting that the wallet’s “software is in a pre-release stage with all core functions implemented.”

Parallel to final bug fixing we have simplified some workflows and we are preparing user guides and context help for the users. The browser plugin for Windows, Mac, Linux platforms is undergoing further tuning (USB stack is quite a challenge as said before) and we’re working closely with Bits of Proof on minor bug fixing of the BoP backend.

Unfortunately, TREZOR says they’re still trying to work out some case manufacturing issues we’ve previously reported on, adding that “this is something we can’t really influence to go faster.”

They do note, however, that they are in the process of negotiating with another manufacturer to resolve the problem.

Additional updates are forthcoming.

Coinbase Logo

San Francisco-based Coinbase is growing up fast! Launched in June 2012, the company gained tremendous amounts of attention last year when the price of bitcoin started to climb more rapidly than most of us would have predicted.

And it shows in the numbers. According to the company’s About page, about 950,000 online consumer bitcoin wallets have been set up on the service.

A snapshot from the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine dated February 7th, 2013 shows a count of 920,000 consumer wallets. That would suggest that 30,000 wallet accounts have been set up in the last week alone.

Going back another week to the 31st of January shows a wallet count of 890,000 — also an increase of 30,000 wallets (we recognize these are likely to be estimates).

At this rate, we can reasonably expect Coinbase to hit 1 million consumer bitcoin wallets in a little under two weeks. An impressive milestone, indeed.

By comparison, the world’s largest online bitcoin wallet provider,, recently announced the creation of their 1 millionth bitcoin wallet at the start of the year. The service has surpassed 1.2 million wallets created, according to this chart.

TREZOR Bitcoin Wallet Screenshot

It was announced in January that the highly-anticipated TREZOR bitcoin hardware wallet would be making its debut at the end of January. We’re now at the start of February, and users are still waiting for their shipments.

The reason? Quite simply: some complications on the production line.

“Our hardware producer had an unfortunate error in the finalization of the cases and we needed to run a completely new production batch so we’re again in a delay,” a company spokesperson told newsBTC on Thursday evening.

Users needn’t worry about the integrity of the device’s internals, however, as the hardware production error has only affected the devices’ exteriors.

“We’re hoping for the best because we’d really love to send the devices [as soon as possible] and this puts us in a very uncomfortable situation,” the spokesperson told us via email (in response to an inquiry sent Monday).

It’s true – it does put the company in an uncomfortable situation. The TREZOR wallet was initially supposed to ship in October 2013. That date was pushed to January 2014 in December. And as it stands, there are a series of hurdles the company needs to get through in terms of quality control before customers start receiving their devices.

“Now we have to wait and when the new devices arrive go through the testing, firmware uploading etc.,” the spokesperson said.

Despite it not being great news, it is great that TREZOR is coming out and being vocal and honest with their customers. From our perspective, it’s quite evident they’re doing the responsible thing: making their product the right way so as to satisfy their customer base.

Unfortunately, TREZOR does not have a time projection for the release of their devices at this point.

“I can’t tell a definite date yet. We hope our supporters will be patient,” the spokesperson concluded.

Niko Younts BitcoinWallet

Bitcoin has become big business, if you weren’t already aware. So it should be no surprise that bitcoin-related domain names are going for a pretty penny while on the market.

Such is the case with — a domain name owned by entrepreneur Niko Younts. Younts tweeted that the domain fetched a whopping $250,000. But it doesn’t end there. Younts has a similar domain, (plural) that is expected to bring in $200,000. That’s nearly a half-million for two domain names. The domains were registered in 2010 and 2011, respectively.

A quick Whois of the domain shows it’s in the possession of Alex Charfen — a self-described entrepreneur, teacher, author and speaker. It’s unclear what Charfen plans to do with the domain, but with a six-digit price tag, you can bet it’ll be serious business. (via CoinDesk)

What do you think? Vastly overpriced or worth every cent?