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Thai navy boards cabin of fugitive ‘seasteaders’ facing death penalty

Thai navy boards cabin of fugitive ‘seasteaders’ facing death penalty

BANGKOK (Reuters) – The Thai navy on Saturday boarded the floating cabin of a fugitive U.S. bitcoin trader and his Thai girlfriend, both prominent members of the “seasteading” movement who possibly face the death sentence for setting up their offshore home. A floating home, lived in by an American man and his Thai partner, is pictured in the Andaman Sea, off Phuket island in Thailand, April 13, 2019. Picture taken April 13, 2019. Royal Thai Navy/Handout via REUTERS Thai authorities have revoked the visa of American citizen Chad Elwartowski and have charged him and his partner, Supranee Thepdet, with violating Thai sovereignty by raising a small cabin on top of a weighted spar 14 nautical miles off the west-coast of Thai island of Phuket. The cabin has been promoted as “the world’s first seastead” by the group Ocean Builders, part of a movement in tech and libertarian circles to build floating communities beyond the bounds of nations as a way to explore alternative societies and governments. “I was free for a moment. Probably the freest person in the world,” Elwartowski posted on his Facebook on April 13, days before the Thai navy raided his floating home. Elwartowski, 46, and Supranee, whose Facebook page describes her as a “Bitcoin expert, Trader, Chef, seastead Pioneer”, apparently fled after a surveillance plane flew over the cabin the previous day. The Royal Thai Navy task force had planned on Saturday to seize the structure and tow it back to shore for use as evidence, but by the afternoon it was still studying how to move it without destroying it, the navy said. In a video posted last month detailing the raising of the floating home, Elwartowski said 20 more similar houses would be up for sale to form a community. Elwartowski and Ocean Builders say the spar was in international waters and beyond Thailand’s jurisdiction. Thai authorities say the structure is in its 200-mile exclusive economic zone and therefore a violation of its sovereignty. A Thai navy task force was sent out on Saturday to tow in the structure which will be handed over to Phuket’s police to be kept as an exhibit for the legal action, the navy said in an official statement. “EXCITED VOLUNTEERS” The navy said they have evidence that the floating home was built in a private boatyard in Phuket and said the couple wanted to establish a “permanent settlement at sea beyond the sovereignty of nations by using a legal loophole”. It said the action “reveals the intention of disobeying the laws of Thailand as a littoral state and could lead to a creation of a new state within Thailand’s territorial waters… undermining Thailand’s national security as well as economic and social interests of maritime nations.” In an email reply to Reuters, Elwartowski referred all questions to the Seasteading Institute and pointed to online statements from the Ocean Builders website. Elwartowski and Supranee are members of Ocean Builders, which has denied allegations that they were planning to set up an independent state or “micro nation”, according to its online statement. The group said that the pair, both active bitcoin investors, did not build, invest in or design the floating home themselves but were “volunteers excited about the prospect of living free”, documenting their lives as “pioneer seasteaders” off the coast of Phuket. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok told Reuters that Elwartowski had engaged a lawyer and was being provided with appropriate assistance. According to Ocean Builders, the concept of “seasteading” has been discussed for years but the cabin Elwartowski and Supranee lived on was the first attempt at living in what it described as international waters. Other groups, such as the Seasteading Institute, which was originally backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, have sought to build floating cities with the cooperation of host nations. Reporting by Juarawee Kittisilpa and Panu Wongcha-um. Editing by Kay Johnson and Nick Macfie
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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.

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

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