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US bitcoin trader and girlfriend could face death penalty over Thai ‘seastead’

US bitcoin trader and girlfriend could face death penalty over Thai ‘seastead’

(CNN)An American bitcoin trader and his girlfriend could face the death penalty after they were accused of threatening Thailand’s sovereignty by building and living in a “sea home” off the coast of Phuket.Chad Elwartowski and his partner Nadia Supranee Thepdet have fled their home, built atop a platform around 12 miles off the coast of Phuket, and gone into hiding after authorities revoked the American’s visa.He had promoted “seasteads” on social media and claimed his home did not fall under the sovereignty of any country, which Thai authorities have said is untrue. He repeated the claim on Thursday, writing the home is “outside of Thailand territorial waters.”The couple could face life imprisonment or the death penalty under the country’s Immigration Act, but authorities told CNN they are unaware if the pair are still in the country or its waters.”Nadia and I are still safe,” Elwartowski wrote on Facebook on Tuesday, adding he was unsure whether their home had been destroyed. “Whether it is still there or not does not matter much to me. I’m more concerned about Nadia being driven from her home country and her family. Her son is worried. I hope they can be reunited some day soon.””It was my home,” Elwartowski added. In an earlier post, he said the pair did not design or construct the home but worked with the company that did. “As long as Nadia and I are able to live through this that is all that matters to us right now. We just want to live,” he wrote.Thailand’s navy has said the pair are threatening the country’s sovereignty. “By claiming they own a floating house and using social media tried to sell this kind of house, also they claimed that their house is not under any country’s sovereignty, which is not true. And this could cause other people to misunderstand and it is threatening our national security,” said Colonel Kataporn Kumthieng, the chief of Phuket’s Immigration office.He described the case as “urgent.”The Thai Navy had previously posted a video of the home on Facebook, writing that “the navy is required to resolve the problem.”Elwartowski had taken part in videos and podcasts promoting the use of “seasteads,” frequently mentioning how he was unaffected by policy decisions and taxation laws set by governments.The “seasteading” movement, which began in earnest in 2008 in California with the financial backing of Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel, has been likened to the phenomenon of micronations for its vision of establishing sovereign communities outside the control of existing states.Ocean Builders, the company behind Elwartowski’s seastead, said in a statement on its website that it had constructed the home, the first in what it hoped would be an opening round of 20 units. The couple were “volunteers excited about the prospect of living free”, it added. Insisting the six-meter platform was 13 nautical miles from Thailand and in international waters, the company accused the Thai authorities of acting as “judge jury and executioner of the historic very first seastead.” It hoped to resolve the issue “diplomatically,” it said. The Seasteading Institute, the organization backed by Thiel, is currently in negotiations with the government of French Polynesia to build a floating city in a semi-autonomous “seazone” within its territorial waters.
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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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