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Bitcoin couple fears death penalty for ‘seasteading’ off Thailand

Bitcoin couple fears death penalty for ‘seasteading’ off Thailand

An American investor and his girlfriend have gone into hiding after Thailand declared their floating ocean home in violation of its sovereign territory — a crime punishable by death or life in prison.Bitcoin entrepreneurs Chad Elwartowski and Nadia Supranee Thepdet say they’ve fled the floating concrete home where they’d been living as part of a libertarian-inspired movement known as “seasteading.”“We lived on a floating houseboat for a few weeks, and now Thailand wants us killed,” Elwartowski wrote in a Facebook post on April 15. He deleted the post and a followup post on Thursday morning.

Chad Elwartowski, right, and Nadia Supranee Thepdet talk about living in an ocean home in this image from video.

Seasteading/YouTube

Thailand’s government says the two seasteaders were living as a micro-nation inside its sovereign territory in violation of the country’s criminal code. Thai officials are also concerned the seastead might obstruct international shipping lanes and put cargo ships at risk.The Third Thai Naval Area Command has filed a police complaint against the couple, the Bangkok Post reports. The Navy says the ocean home is 12 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket and therefore still within Thai territory.Elwartowski argues the home is more than 13 nautical miles offshore and therefore in international waters. He says he and Thepdet were only living in the ocean house to promote it, and they did not design, build or pay for it.“We did not decide where to put the seastead,” Elwartowski wrote in his now-deleted Facebook post on April 15 after fleeing the home. “We are enthusiastic supporters of the project who were lucky enough to be the first ones to stay on it.”He says he’s gone into hiding with Thepdet and that they now fear for their lives. They’re also worried about losing all of their possessions if the Thai navy decides to destroy the tiny structure.Thailand has not publicly threatened to execute the couple.What is seasteading?Seasteaders seek to live free of government interference on international waters, according to Ocean Builders, the company that built Elwartowski’s home. The couple has been documenting their life on Ocean Builders’ platform as part of a promotional series on YouTube since March.“Ocean Builders is selling this oceanfront property at a fraction of the cost of any other place you would get ocean property,” Elwartkowski says in one of the company’s promotional videos.Ocean Builders says it designed and paid for the seastead and it’s concerned for the safety of the building’s first occupants.“We hope this issue can be resolved diplomatically with the Thai government and are ready to talk to anyone in charge at any time,” the company said in a statement on April 15.The house itself is a small octagonal structure sitting atop a hollow concrete pillar that floats in the ocean. Ocean Builders says the design is inspired by oil rigs.

A seastead ocean home is shown off the coast of Thailand in this image from video.

YouTube/Seasteading

Elwartowski was an early Bitcoin investor and one of several entrepreneurs who operate Ocean Builders. Thepdet is a Bitcoin advocate from Thailand who goes by the name Nadia Summergirl.The seasteading movement has become popular among libertarian entrepreneurs, including billionaire Peter Thiel, who was an early investor in Facebook.Thiel is co-founder of the Seasteading Institute, an organization that aims to build an independent floating city off the coast of French Polynesia. The city would govern itself and use its own cryptocurrency with the intention of avoiding as much government regulation and taxes as possible. It would also be built as a haven against rising global sea levels.Ocean Builders appears to be working in concert with the Seasteading Institute. Seasteading Institute president Joe Quirk directed one of the Ocean Builders’ videos, and Elwartowski referred an interview request to the company’s press office. The Seasteading Institute did not respond to an interview request.WATCH: Here are the pros and cons of living in a floating home

Ocean Builders had planned to start collecting money for 20 new seasteads on April 15, according to its website. However, the company has postponed the collection process until it gets “everything straightened out” with the Thai government.The first 20 floating homes are expected to be sold at cost for a target price of US$150,000 to $200,000, Elwartowski wrote in a blog post on Ocean Builders’ site in February.The company says a beacon on the platform is still broadcasting from a position 13 nautical miles off the coast of Thailand.“This indicates to us that the structure is still there,” Ocean Builders wrote in a statement.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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Moonday Mornings: Binance to resume deposits and withdrawals after $40M Bitcoin hack

It’s time for Moonday Mornings, Hard Fork’s wrap-up of the weekend’s top cryptocurrency and blockchain headlines. Here’s what happened. 1. Binance says it will resume deposits and withdrawals on its platform on Tuesday. The cryptocurrency exchange had suspended the functions following an attack in which hackers stole over $40 million worth of Bitcoin. 2. The…

Moonday Mornings: Binance to resume deposits and withdrawals after $40M Bitcoin hack

It’s time for Moonday Mornings, Hard Fork’s wrap-up of the weekend’s top cryptocurrency and blockchain headlines.

Here’s what happened.

1. Binance says it will resume deposits and withdrawals on its platform on Tuesday. The cryptocurrency exchange had suspended the functions following an attack in which hackers stole over $40 million worth of Bitcoin.

2. The figureheads of the fake cryptocurrency scheme, OneCoin, are being sued. Brother and sister duo, Konstantin Ignatov and Ruja Ignatova are facing a class action law suit for their involvement in the scam which was “based completely on lies and deceit,” ZDNet reports.

3. A Bitcoin BTC fueled ransomware attack hit the Baltimore City government last week. Despite being cleaned of the ransomware, hackers are allegedly still accessing the infected computers, ZeroHedge reports. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now investigating the attack.

4. The creator of the Bitcoin treasure hunt Satoshi’s Treasure is claiming nearly 60,000 people are following the global challenge, CoinDesk reports. One player has already claimed the first prize, and didn’t even have to go anywhere to claim it.

And finally.

5. William Shatner is putting William Shatners on the blockchain. The former Star Trek actor is joining Mattereum, a legaltech firm, to document the authenticity of science collectibles and memorabilia from a range of franchises on the blockchain.

That’s another weekend’s headlines for you. Live long and prosper.

Published May 13, 2019 — 07:58 UTC

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Amazon granted patent for Bitcoin-style system to fight DDoS attacks

Cryptocurrency rumor mongers are likely to be dancing today as Amazon has successfully filed a patent for a Bitcoin-styled Proof-of-Work system. But don’t get ahead of yourself, it doesn’t look like the Seattle-based ecommerce giant will be accepting Bitcoin for payments. Despite first being filed in December 2016, Amazon’s patent application was granted earlier this…

Amazon granted patent for Bitcoin-style system to fight DDoS attacks

Cryptocurrency rumor mongers are likely to be dancing today as Amazon has successfully filed a patent for a Bitcoin-styled Proof-of-Work system. But don’t get ahead of yourself, it doesn’t look like the Seattle-based ecommerce giant will be accepting Bitcoin for payments.

Despite first being filed in December 2016, Amazon’s patent application was granted earlier this week and appears to outline a system that uses Proof-of-Work to prevent distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

“One way to mitigate against such attacks is to configure a service such that requests to the service incur some sort of expense, thereby providing a disincentive to participating in the attack,” the application reads.

Planting a Merkle Tree

Amazon proposes to use Merkle Trees to present a Proof-of-Work challenge and make it too costly for a series of computers to perform a DDoS attack.

But what’s a Merkle Tree? In short, Merkle Trees are cryptographic tools where blocks of data are manipulated to give them a unique identifier also known as a hash.

These hashes are then manipulated again to create a parent hash. Parent hashes are always a combination of two or more child hashes. It’s layers on layers of hashed data.

Since computing power is required to build a Merkle Tree, performing such hashes could get very costly in terms of time, electricity, and resources. In turn, this makes DDoS attacks economically unfeasible.

In the case of Amazon’s patent, imagine having to construct a Merkle Tree before you’re allowed to access a website hosted on one of its servers. To an individual the cost might be insignificant, but to an organization trying to carry out a DDoS attack – which might involve many hundreds of computers – it could become prohibitively expensive.

Amazon’s Merkle Tree

Merkle Trees are also used in Proof-of-Work blockchains like Bitcoin as part of its consensus mechanism. But for now that’s as close as Amazon will get to Bitcoin.

Indeed, with this news it seems Amazon is still of the “blockchain, not Bitcoin” mantra. Earlier this month, the web giant said that AT&T, Accenture, and Nestlé are all using its cloud-based blockchain tools.

Read next:

South African voters fear mobile political campaigns will steal their personal info

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