Citrix: Research Indicates 50% of Large UK Businesses Have Stockpiled Digital Currency

New research by citrix suggests that 50% of large UK businesses have accumulated a stockpile of digital currency in case of a ransomware attack — and just 7% are only stockpiling Bitcoin — the vast majority, 93%, are spreading their risk by investing in other digital currencies as well.

The research — commissioned by Citrix and carried out by OnePoll — is based on interviews with 750 IT decision makers in companies with 250 or more employees across the UK, to uncover the extent to which large British businesses are accumulating stores of digital currencies, the impact of the fluctuating price of digital currencies, and how organizations plan to keep these investments secure.


The poll revealed that 9/10 (90%) of respondents that do keep a ready stockpile of digital currency stockpile Bitcoin. While Bitcoin has proven extremely popular, the vast majority of these companies have also invested in additional digital currencies. More than half (54%) have bought Litecoin, but a significant proportion of these organizations have also invested in Ethereum (43%), Ethereum Classic (33%), Ripple (33%), and Dash (29%). In fact, as noted above, just 7% of large UK businesses are choosing to accumulate Bitcoin only.


While more UK companies are building a ready stockpile of digital currency — rising from 42% in 2016 to 50% in 2017 — the number of Bitcoin kept on standby has remained largely consistent: Large UK businesses now stockpile an average of 24 Bitcoin — only one more than the 2016 average.

This consistency in terms of the amount of Bitcoin kept on standby may reflect many organizations’ decision to cash in on fluctuating prices to make a profit. The poll uncovered that more than half (57%) of those companies stockpiling Bitcoin have sold some of their supply to make a profit. An additional 2/5 (38%) of these businesses are currently considering making a sale — leaving just 5% choosing to keep all their Bitcoin.


Almost 2/3 (64%) of those companies keeping a ready supply of Bitcoin believe that its inflated price has led cybercriminals to target their Bitcoin stockpile. In fact, large British businesses are very aware of the cyber threat to valuable Bitcoin wallets: Only 5% of organizations which stockpile the currency have not taken any steps to protect their Bitcoin reserves.

Of those which have made changes to secure their Bitcoin assets, more than half (52%) have used specific backup procedures. Popular security measures include: Using cold storage/offline storage (36%), moving to multiple wallets (36%), using a dedicated computer (35%), and using dual control (22%) — where multiple people are required to access the cryptocurrency.

Concerns: Value, Internal policy, and Security

More organizations are investing in digital currencies, yet its value is a key deterrent. More than 1/3 of large UK businesses polled cite concerns that the digital currency will crash (35%) and fluctuating prices (34%) as factors that discourage them from stockpiling digital currencies. Additionally, almost 1/5 (18%) are concerned that the business will not be able to cash the cryptocurrency in when required.

Organizational policies and uncertainty are also holding companies back. 1/3 (33%) admit that the fact they don’t have a policy on how to deal with digital currency as a type of company asset deters them from stockpiling a digital currency — while 31% pinpoint the lack of an assigned budget to use to purchase digital currencies as a discouraging factor. Security concerns are similarly rife. Almost 1/3 (31%) believe a stockpile of digital currency might make the business a target for cybercriminals, while almost 1/5 (18%) worry that it might put them at risk of insider theft.

Chris Mayers, Citrix chief security architect, sums up the findings as follows: “Initially many organisations were treating ransomware as a cost of doing business – just like shrinkage and fraud in some sectors – and building a stockpile of cryptocurrency to cover potential cyber ransoms. Yet this is changing as companies begin to embrace its potential as a revenue driver, as well as an alternative means to pay for staff and services. As British companies continue to build and diversify their cryptocurrency portfolios, vital security measures must be put in place to protect these reserves and ensure they can be used for a growing range of business processes instead of falling into criminal hands through ransom or theft.”

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Blockchain technology will make a big impact all over the world. A lot more research is needed before this technology can go mainstream. As such, it seems the European Union will increase its annual research budget in in the next few years. More specifically, the funding cap will go from 83 million EUR to 340 million EUR by 2020. This fourfold increase is excellent news for blockchain research in general.

The European Union is quite impressed with the potential of blockchain. More specifically, they see a lot of potential use cases for this technology as we speak. Especially when it comes to administration and businesses, there are plenty of options to explore. Distributed ledgers can provide a high degree of trust, security, and traceability. This applies not just to systems exchanging data, but also financial infrastructure in general. All of this warrants more research into what the future will hold for blockchain technology.

European Union Excited About Blockchain

With the EU Blockchain Observatory being created, interesting things will happen. This new effort will focus on technical expertise and regulatory capacity first and foremost. Creating industry-wide standards will not be easy whatsoever. A lot of efforts are underway in Europe in relation to blockchain technology as we speak. With this new European Union-backed venture, things will move along even faster.

Whether or not public authorities will ever embrace this technology, remains unknown. Before such a decision can be made, more research is needed first and foremost. With information stored across a network in a distributed fashion, big things are bound to happen. At the same time, all companies need to keep the potential risk in mind as well. Without a proper legal framework, this technology will not make a big impact anytime soon.

With the European Union increasing its funding, the future looks rather bright. A fourfold increase in funding is rather spectacular, though. With a total cap of 340 million EUR to be spent, the European Union has some high expectations, by the look of things. Further details regarding the exact research into blockchain technology remain unknown for now. All things considered, this can only be considered to be a positive trend for distributed elders in general. Especially with an open-minded regulatory approach, this technology can start making a bigger impact very soon.

New research by the Bank of Canada shows digital currencies need regulation. Those are the findings of the institution’s researchers who took a close look at how bitcoin can evolve. The group feels cryptocurrency needs regulation to be “safe”. Moreover, there is a growing concern over how bitcoin can be counterfeited. A very strange report that seems to be drawing very unusual conclusions.

To put this report into perspective, the Bank of Canada took an interesting approach to their research. The group looked at private bank notes being issued in the 1800s. That is an intriguing comparison to bitcoin, even though the number of similarities is very limited. Bitcoin is not issued by a private bank by any means and there is no central authority to control it.

In the paper, the Bank of Canada looks at different angles regarding the future of bitcoin. They show a concern for having cryptocurrencies and government-issued notes being in circulation at the same time. A rather odd statement, considering bitcoin and fiat currency are nothing alike. It seems infeasible to compare cryptocurrency to private bank notes by all means, albeit there are minor similarities.

A Strange Bank of Canada Report

It is true bitcoin is not a uniform currency in the traditional sense. While BTC can be used and traded globally without issues, it is not uniform in the sense everyone in the world will ever use it. A lot of people will never get their hands on bitcoin during their lifetime. Banks may never condone the use of bitcoin either, yet cryptocurrency is in the process of being legalized in various countries.

It is exactly this process the Bank of Canada feels is absolutely necessary for bitcoin to survive. Without regulation, bitcoin has less of a chance to survive, according to the report. Then again, one cannot regulate bitcoin itself, but only companies who act as a custodian for funds related to bitcoin activity. Cryptocurrency is not designed to behave like traditional currencies by any means and can be regulated as such either.

What is rather intriguing are some of the other concerns the report raises. First of all, there is the risk of counterfeit bitcoins. It is unclear where this train of thought comes from, as bitcoin is perhaps the only currency immune to counterfeiting. It is possible to execute a double-spend attack, albeit that is not financially viable. Counterfeiting bitcoins is impossible, which makes this remark rather strange.

Moreover,  the report also finds it unfeasible bitcoin is not an inflationary currency. Bankers are used to printing helicopter money out of thin air whenever they see fit. Bitcoin has a fixed supply of 21 million coins and there is no reason to change that amount. Not being inflationary is one of bitcoin’s primary selling points. It seems evident Bank of Canada is concerned about bitcoin becoming a threat to their business, rather than anything else.

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Over the past few months, there has been a lot of focus on the Tor project. Government officials are not keen on this anonymization software by any means. Researchers the KTH Royal Institute of Technology have come up with a way to anonymize Tor users. All it takes is monitoring the DNS resolvers used by individual Tor users.

DefecTor, as this attack is called, uses the DNS lookups accompanying regular Tor network traffic. Since users rely on this DNS service for browsing, email, and other forms of communication, it is a potent attack vector waiting to be exploited. KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm researchers use this security flaw to anonymize Tor users.

Tor Anonymity is Never Guaranteed

The way Tor works is as follows” traffic is routed through groups of computers, allowing users to hide their real location and identity. With over 2,500 “entry guards” to choose from, the first computer in this Tor connectivity pool is randomly selected. However, it is possible to monitor network traffic going in and out of the Tor network, and pair that information with incoming and outgoing streams.

Despite the Tor developers ensuring all traffic is encrypted, that solution is not sufficient to prevent prying eyes. While hackers would need to settle for seeing “low-level details” regarding Tor traffic, they do not need to watch the whole network at all times. Deanonymizing users is not overly complicated, although it requires a lot of time and access to ways to observe incoming and outgoing Tor traffic.

An interesting observation was posted as part of this research:

“The median time until compromise differs by more than 10 days between UK, and RU or FR. In general, UK and US users are doing better than users in RU, FR, and DE for these two setups. We conclude that the location of Tor clients matters and should be considered in future traffic correlation studies.”

Using a DNS lookup will tell a lot about Tor users, according to the researchers. By taking fingerprints of known websites in the encrypted traffic logs and matching those with DNS requests of Tor exit nodes, correlations have been established. There is a lot more to this practice than just that, though, but it forms the basis of the DefecTor attack.

No Reason To Panic Just Yet

Although this attack sounds worrisome, it is no cause for panic just yet. The Tor project developers can address this “vulnerability” by changing the DNS entry caching requirements. From a long-term perspective, the developers will need to implement a different DNS lookup system, though. Encrypting traffic between DNS resolvers and exit nodes is one way to address this problem.

Users running a Tor exit node should steer away from using public DNS resolvers, though. Google and OpenDNS are very common solutions, but they pose a security risk. Running one’s own DNS resolver would be the best solution, although it may not be possible for everyone to do so.

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The blockchain can be used to suit various needs, and companies like Sony are exploring how it can benefit some of their own internal projects. By using distributed ledger technology for the open sharing of progress records and academic proficiency, the way we think about education might be coming to a change very soon. Sony Global Education has a clear direction they want to go in, and the ability to openly share research and progress will spur future innovation.

Sony Global Education Values Blockchain Technology

Most people will think of Sony as the technology giant, but there is so much more to this company that most people are aware of. For example, Sony is hoping to make a big wave in the educational department, through the Sony Global Education branch. One way to make a big name for itself in that department is by embracing the blockchain, which also powers the Bitcoin network.

One thing the educational system of today lacks is the ability to openly and conveniently share academic research and proficiency. A lot of research is being done in various departments, although only a small portion of the efforts gain any form of attention as they are shared with the public. As a result, there is a ton of information out there which deserves a lot more accreditation.

By using blockchain technology to smoothen the process of openly sharing this academic proficiency, future innovation will become possible in various industries. The blockchain acts as an open peer-to-peer platform which has plenty of use cases outside of the realm of finance as well.

Sony Global Education has embraced the blockchain and created a new form of technology for the educational sector. Combining the security aspect of distributed ledger technology with progress made by various academics around the world will prove to be invaluable for the educational system in the long run. All of the communication will be fully encrypted, removing any worry about information being leaked or intercepted by third parties.

The efforts made by Sony Global Education will lead to future possibilities in the academic and education industry. One of the examples mentioned in the press release comes in the form of sharing test results with multiple evaluating organizations. Relying on just one central party to validate test results is not the safest way of dealing with academic progress, and a more decentralized solution would result in various fresh sets of eyes looking over the findings.

The Educational System Needs To Change

This announcement by Sony Global Education comes at an interesting time, as discussions are running rampant regarding how the educational system needs to undergo much-needed changes. Combining technology with education is what is needed sooner rather than later, as it will help diversify the way tests are designed and results are evaluated.

In the end, new educational services might be created thanks to the integration of blockchain technology. This concept by Sony Global Education has the potential to shape a bright future for education in general. More collaboration is on the horizon as well, as this open yet secure infrastructure can draw a lot of educational institutions to this network.

Source: Sony

Bitcoin survived a tumultuous 2014; it is on the verge of turning a terrible start to 2015 into one of the best reversals, and it only gets better. According to a bargainfox report, Bitcoin will remain unstoppable in 2016, and the trend is only expected to pick up.

BargainFox is a UK-based coupon code website, which indicated an increase in searches for merchants who accept Bitcoin payments. The report highlighted 33 indicators, some of which have been discussed below.

  1. Rapid Growth of Bitcoin Exchanges – Exchanges such as OKCoin, BTCChina,, and Bitstamp have registered phenomenal growth of 847%, 563%, 280%, and 160% respectively.
  2. Daily Transactions Values – Bitcoin has surpassed payments giant Western Union in daily transaction value. While total Bitcoin transactions totaled $289M, Western Union lagged with a total of $216M.
  3. Growth of Bitcoin Overshadows Paypal – According to the infographic (from the report) presented below, the number of active registered users on Paypal grew from 123 million in 2012 to 173 million in 2015. During the same period, the number of wallets on increased from 13,000 to 3 million, while those on Coinbase jumped from 13,000 to 2.5 million.

    bitcoin growth

  4. Bitcoin Crosses Boundaries – In 2015, five new nations—Barbados, France, Kenya, Philippines, and Switzerland—welcomed their first Bitcoin VC investment.
  5. Merchant List Grows – Prominent merchants including Trees,, and Purse started accepting Bitcoin payments in 2015.
  6. Leading Bitcoin Buyers – China, the USA, Europe, Brazil, and India emerge as the biggest buyers of the cryptocurrency, with China leading the pack with 8/10 transactions in yuan.

The report also touches upon the events that have been setbacks for the cryptocurrency. These included the BitLicense regulations, banning of Bitcoin in Taiwan, banning of related websites in Russia, and banning of similar accounts in China.

But as the year comes to a close, the cryptocurrency has overcome all the hurdles to become one of the best performing currencies in the world. And we expect the momentum to only gain steam in 2016!

Publish or perish, is the motto followed by the academia. Academic research is a highly competitive field where scientists and students alike work hard in their respective fields of study and compete against each other to publish their findings in various peer reviewed journals.

There are numerous peer-reviewed journals and periodicals related to almost all fields of study, science, technology, management, arts etc. Until now there were no specific journal for cryptocurrency alone. Most of the research done on the cryptocurrency sector was so far being published in journals related to computer science, information technology, cryptography, economies, finance etc. Not anymore, for the field of cryptocurrency now has its own dedicated journal.

Ledger is a cryptocurrency only journal started by the University of Pittsburgh. It is a peer-review journal where full length research articles related to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is published. Unlike many scholarly journals, there are no pay-walls with Ledger. All articles on Ledger are open source and easily accessible by everyone.

Ledger covers a wide range of subjects, as long as the articles are connected to cryptocurrency. It may belong to a wide range of subjects including computer science, mathematics, engineering, economics or even law.

READ MORE: BlockChain Technology for Scientific Research and Development

Ledger is a quarterly journal with 4 issues released every year. Introduction of Ledger couldn’t come at a better time as the number of research articles on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has gone up drastically in recent days. Authors can submit their research papers or articles for free on the journal.

Staying true to the technology and the community it (Ledger) caters to, all manuscripts received by the journal will be cryptographically hashed and uploaded on to the blockchain to serve as proof of existence. The journal also advises the authors to hash and digitally sign the manuscripts themselves.

Going by the changing trends, we can expect more and more students and research institutions to take special interest on cryptocurrencies, conducting more research on it.

READ MORE: Astroblocks – Lab Journal on Blockchain

Those of us who have been closely following the happenings in bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry have heard about National Science Foundation’s recent grant to three top universities in the United States for research on cryptocurrencies. University of Maryland is one of the recipients of the total $3 million research grant along with Cornell University and University of California- Berkeley.

A lot of us haven’t had a chance to know what kind of research these universities will be doing on bitcoin to receive a small fortune. Here is an insight to what the researchers at University of Maryland are up to and why are they doing what they are currently doing.

READ MORE: 3 US Universities to Conduct Government-Funded Cryptocurrency Research

According to one of the publications that interacted directly with the researchers from University of Maryland involved in bitcoin research has given us insights into what’s going on inside those computer labs. The main objective of university of Maryland’s researchers is to find out the cause for knowledge gap between bitcoin adoption and its understanding. They aim to eliminate this gap. This is the job of an academic institution as startups in the sphere will not bother to look into the minor details. They can’t afford to do that as well, because their aim is to become the first one on the top and gain a foothold in the market with rapid growth which can render things a lot of things obsolete within a matter of months.

The purpose of research revolves around understanding the underlying aspects of bitcoin including the principles of cryptography, game theory, programming languages used and systems security. Since the introduction of bitcoin in 2009, there hasn’t been many significant changes made to the block size.

Researchers believe that there hasn’t been enough scientific thought given to the technology powering bitcoin and it is one of the reasons for the ongoing debate about increasing block size limit. No one is sure about the possible implications of changing the block size. Also, what makes matters worse and calls for immediate scientific attention is the fact that bitcoin was never really tested before people started using, so there are many unknown factors still associated with it.

University of Maryland researchers are also working on addressing the possible security vulnerabilities which might allow an individual or a group to gain effective control over the network by accumulating enough processing power. In such a case, that individual will be able to control how transactions happen.

Bitcoin transactions can’t be reversed and even it is virtually impossible to automate bitcoin payments at the moment, which is one of the disadvantages when compared to fiat currency. Researchers are exploring ways to create smart computer coded contracts that can be used in fintech sectors. These electronic contracts should be capable of initiating automatic settlements as soon as the terms of contract are either met or the termination of contract.

These brilliant researchers from all three universities, supported by NSF are working on the possibility of creating a better bitcoin that can do everything fiat currency can do while being more faster, cheaper and secure so that it won’t throw any surprise at users. With better understanding of the extent to which the technology can be stretched, detecting vulnerabilities and patching it will help bitcoin stand through the test of time and technological advancement.

READ MORE: University of Maryland Gives Grants for Cryptocurrency Research

As the world (or at least a part of the world) moves towards bitcoin, there are few in the scientific community who are using the same technology behind bitcoin for a different purpose. Astroblocks, a project by Blockchain University graduates Dr. Jeff Flowers and Yvonne Tang is directed towards the most important aspect for the scientific community – establishing the proof of discovery or invention.

Astroblocks is a proof-of-existence platform for science and innovation. In order to use the system, the user logs into the Astroblocks web platform and describes his observation. The system uses OP_RETURN to place the hashed observation as an unspendable output on the bitcoin blockchain. With OP_RETURN, up to 40 bytes of non-transactional/non-payment data can be stored on the blockchain as transaction output. Once the data enters the blockchain, it is permanently etched into it. The hash determines the existence of data on the blockchain and it acts as a reference tag for that particular data.

Once the observation data is entered into the blockchain, the observation will be reviewed by a panel of experts, who receive a copy of the observation at a multi-signature address. Upon review, experts will use their own private keys associated with the multi-signature address to vote on the validity and legitimacy of the submitted data. During the whole review process, the author’s name will be hashed and kept obscured from the reviewers in order to prevent any conflict of interest or personal bias from influencing the process. Once the review process is completed, the author/observer will be able to see the results along with names of the panel members who reviews his observation.

Astroblocks has set out to revolutionize the way scientific research is conducted. Researchers can use Astroblocks as their lab journal where they can record their observations and get them reviewed as well. By doing so, they will be able to decide whether their experiment is progressing in accordance to the plan or not, and decide upon the further course of action. By recording the observations on blockchain regularly, any IP related disputes could be resolved easily. Astroblocks has the potential to change the way scientific publishing happens. Submission, review and approval can all happen over Astroblocks, effectively cutting down the time and cost involved.

Most people will agree that 2014 was not a great year for Bitcoin’s price, but according to financial author and researcher Brett Scott, it really was a great year for academic interest in the cryptocurrency.

According to Scott, who spent the last week of last year piecing together a database containing information about all of the academic Bitcoin research published since Satoshi Nakamoto’s seminal paper in 2008, the number of published papers rose by more than threefold from 61 in 2013 to 205 in 2014. This is appears to show an acceleration in the rate of increase since 2011: 8 papers were published in 2011, followed by 21 in 2012. The figures include all “Academic, and quasi-academic, research papers, journal articles and theses related to Bitcoin”.

In addition to crunching the numbers, Scott also provides his own take on the quality of the research, grading it B+ overall, whilst at the same time noting that there is a “fair amount of crap research out there”.

Most the database entries come from technical research relating to cryptography, computer science or network security, such as a recent study into DDoS attacks by malicious mining pools. The social sciences, which may provide interesting insight into who is using Bitcoin, where it is being used, what it is being used for, and what impact this is having, seem to be disappointingly under-represented in terms of research so far. There may be reasons for this, however, as this kind of research often takes years to complete and could only have been started after the network had started to grow out from its humble origins. There is every reason to think, therefore, that academic bitcoin research will continue to flourish in 2015 and beyond, offering us many more fascinating insights and illuminating many more interesting opportunities.