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Is This Blockchain Voting System by NYU Devs the Solution to Russia Election Meddling?

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With lingering concerns over ways in which the 2016 election could have been underhandedly swayed in the favor of President-elect Donald J. Trump after Barack Obama requested a report on the matter, a team of blockchain-minded New York University devs have developed a potential answer after winning first prize in a development challenge.

Cybersecurity has been a major issue in elections ever since electronic voting machines were deployed in the early 1990s.

Voting had never been less expensive and easier for the electorate. The rise of cybersecurity, on the other hand, has become a major issue for the underpinnings of Democracy.

Donald Trump

It has been alleged that Russian state hackers interfered in this year’s US presidential elections.

President Barack Obama recently ordered a report on how Russia might have possibly meddled in the US election in the favor of Donald J. Trump.

The world-renowned computer protection firm Kaspersky Lab, along with popular financial magazine The Economist challenged development teams from universities globally to create a system for digital voting to solve problems around cybersecurity in the voting booth, as well as counting the votes themselves.

New York University students Kevin Kirby, Anthony Masi, and Fernando Maymi won first place in the contest with Votebook, a “secure, scalable and consistent with current voter behavior and expectations of privacy.”

“As per the rules of the challenge, Votebook is based on blockchain technology, which creates a distributed, irreversible, incontrovertible public ledger that has been described as double-entry accounting for the digital age,” according to a press release about the hackathons results.

Votebook’s “permissioned blockchain” enables a “central authority” to admit voting machines to a network before an election begins, according to the release issued by NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

“The voting machines act autonomously to build a public, distributed ledger of votes,” according to the press release. “Voters would still register and show up to the polls just as they do in our current system, ensuring minimal disruption of voter expectations.” The ledger data for all voting machines would be released to the public at the election’s conclusion for auditing.

“Each voter could then check to see his or her vote was counted by entering a set of unique values (voter identification, individual ballot identification) that only the voter would know – the values, when cryptographically hashed, match the entry on the ledger that represents that individual’s vote;  no one else would be able to decipher those hashes,” the press release states.

The NYU team was awarded $10,000 for Votebook. All three participants work in an NYU program to produce cybersecurity specialists called ASPIRE. The program is based out of the NYU Center for Cybersecurity (CCS).

“Concerns about ballot stuffing, fraud, and cyber attacks have rattled voter confidence,” Maymi said. “It’s time that the voting system became more transparent, and we have shown that we should and can harness the power of blockchain technology to serve democracy.”

“We are exceedingly proud that our ASPIRE scholars triumphed in this important challenge,” said NYU Tandon Professor of Electrical and Computer Science Ramesh Karri, who co-founded CCS, is “excedingly proud of the program’s scholars.

“Their win is proof that interdisciplinary teams can create exceptionally secure information systems based on a deep understanding of social, behavioral, and public policy implications,” she says. “With digital data becoming more and more essential in every facet of our lives – including the way in which we elect our leaders – their expertise is invaluable.”

The NYU dev team’s win is also proof that distributed ledgers can form the basis of many important business and political operations in the future.

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Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsJustin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused CryptographicAsset.com. Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.




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Altcoins

Cryptocurrency Rally Stalls as Bitcoin Price Hits Resistance

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Cryptocurrency prices were down across the board on Saturday, with bitcoin – the market’s biggest bellwether – stalling near a key  resistance.

Market Update

After reaching a high of $225.6 billion on Friday, the total cryptocurrency market capitalization has fallen back to $211.3 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. The broad pullback was accompanied by only a minor dip in trading volumes, a sign that profit-taking was a factor.

Six of the top-ten coins (excluding Tether) had reported declines at the start of the weekend. Bitcoin was down 3.5% to trade at $6,355.00 on Bitfinex. The leading digital currency reached a high of $6,619, which is just shy of the most recent peak. Bitcoin’s market still exhibits strong trading volumes, with 24-hour turnover at $4.3 billion.

Among the major altcoins, Ethereum, Stellar Lumens, Litecoin and Cardano had each declined between 1.2% and 3.5%. On the opposite side of the spectrum, XRP, bitcoin cash and EOS had reported gains of at least 1.6%.

Bitcoin’s dominance rate, or the percentage of the total cryptocurrency market cap held in BTC, was 52%. Bitcoin accounted for as much as 54.5% of the total market capitalization earlier this week.

Dollar Factor?

The recent meltdown in cryptocurrencies originated 11 days ago when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced it would delay a ruling on a highly anticipated bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). However, analysts have struggled to explain the extent of the selloff – namely, the $35 billion plunge between Aug. 10-13.

According to eToro analyst and Hacked contributor Mati Greenspan, a surging U.S. dollar may have contributed to the decline. As CCN reports, the cryptocurrency market’s movements this week have been highly correlated with fluctuations in emerging-market currencies. Emerging-market exchange rates have been rocked by contagion fears emanating from Turkey’s political crisis, which have boosted demand for the U.S. dollar. As Hacked reported Friday, the U.S. dollar index recent hit more than one-year highs.

“As the United States moves to tighten its economy and avoid strong inflation, they’re taking action that is strengthening the Dollar. Because the US Dollar is the global reserve currency, many smaller economies rely heavily on a stable exchange rate with the greenback,” Greenspan wrote. “So too, as the Dollar is being seen as a stable store of value at the moment, there really isn’t much incentive for people to store their money in digital assets.”

Bitcoin is generally viewed as a non-correlated asset, which means it enjoys unique price independence when comparted with traditional markets. Correlation, when it does occur, is often driven by the erroneous belief that bitcoin is associated with the broader market. This was observed earlier this year when bitcoin seemingly fell in lockstep with the U.S. stock market.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 552 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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‘Bitcoin Is Better than Gold’, Says Venture Capitalist

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The bitcoin price is trading above $6,500 again and technical indicators like RSI appear more stable, all of which bodes well for market sentiment heading into the weekend.  The improving outlook for the BTC price has silenced the naysayers for now and reinvigorated the case for bitcoin and its applications as both a store of value and payment method.

Lou Kerner of CryptoOracle, a crypto advisory and VC fund startup, on CNBC made the case for bitcoin overtaking gold as a store of value, pointing to gold’s “awesome run” as a “global store of value for a couple thousand years.”

“We now have something that we think is functionally much, much better. So we would expect over time — not in a day, not in a week, not in even five years — but we would expect over time for some of the people using gold as a store of value to switch to bitcoin,” Kerner told CNBC.

Precious metals investors have in fact been switching from gold, as evidenced by a decline in the gold price to an 18-month low this week. The price of gold is currently trading below $1,200 an ounce. Take a look at the declining performance in this popular gold ETF. And while billions of dollars have poured into crypto over the past week, bolstering the total value of the market to $214 billion, there hasn’t been much evidence of investors redirecting assets from gold to bitcoin in 2018 until now.

Source: Trading View

Kerner went on to compare the emergence of the new technology that is Bitcoin to the junk bonds of Michael Milken’s era, pointing to when junk bonds were similarly volatile and viewed as a scam decades ago but today are offered alongside the most traditional of investment products.

“We think bitcoin is going in that same trajectory. Any new assets in its early days are extremely volatile. Nobody knows how to price it. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing with bitcoin,” he said.

Kerner cut his teeth on Wall Street as an equity analyst at Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, according to his LinkedIn profile. Now his career as a venture capitalist dedicated to crypto, which he says is the “biggest thing to happen in the history of mankind.”

Coinbase Payments

Meanwhile, leading U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase wants to bolster the security of bitcoin payments for its customers, as evidenced by a new payment-fueled patent that was published in recent days. The invention is comprised of features like a “key ceremony” involving a custodian, master key, bundle and encryption “during a checkout”.

Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 40 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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Crypto Update: Ripple Leads Oversold Bounce

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The major cryptocurrencies are holding on to their recent short-term gains, as the oversold bounce that followed the early-week liquidation continues. One of the most oversold top coins, Ripple is leading the way higher as it broke out above the $0.30 resistance and rallied to $0.32 in early trading. The total value of the market reached $215 billion, but as Bitcoin and Ethereum are still capped by the $6500 and $300 levels respectively a broad short-term trend change is not confirmed in the segment.

Monero is also among the relatively stronger coins today, extending its bounce above the $90 level, and getting close to the key $100 zone in the process. Litecoin, which has been also showing early signs of strength, failed to build on the rally, and as the leadership is still weak, correlations are high, and the downtrends are intact with regards to most of the coins, traders should remain defensive until further signs of strength in the segment emerge.

XRP/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

Ripple is trading in the strong $0.30-$0.32 zone, after the overnight rally, being the only major that triggered a short-term buy signal. Despite the signal, the long-term bearish setup is still clearly in place, and the coin continues to face strong resistance at $0.32, with a weaker level also ahead near $0.35, and traders should only treat the current move as a counter-trend rally. Support below $0.30 is found near $0.28, with a stronger long-term level at $0.26, and the coin already cleared the oversold short-term momentum readings.

ETH/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

We are still looking at Ethereum as the most important gauge of the state of the market, as ETH has been in the epicenter of the recent steep selloff, and now it is trying to gain ground above the key $300 level.

Despite the relative stability of the coin, it failed to follow Ripple higher, and also failed to trigger a short-term buy signal, as the declining trend clearly remained intact, even as the steepest trendline has been broken. The coin faces strong resistance just above the current price level and near $335, while support is found between $275 and $280 and near $260.

Bitcoin Still Stuck Below Resistance

BTC/USD, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

BTC has been trading in a narrow range below the $6500 level as altcoins attempted to rally, but the relatively strong coin still failed to show bullish meaningful momentum. The coin remains on a neutral short-term trend signal, and with the key long-term $5850 level not being in danger, the long-term outlook is also neutral.

A move above $6500 could still trigger a short-term buy signal, but the rest of the segment will likely need further consolidation for a trend change, and further strong resistance is ahead at $6750 and $7000, while support is found at $6275 and $6000.

EOS/USDT, 4-Hour Chart Analysis

While a few coins are showing promising short-term signs, most of the majors remain deeply wounded from a technical perspective, with the likes of NEO, IOTA, DASH, and EOS all managing only a weak bounce, despite the clearly oversold momentum readings. With that in mind, the odds of a re-test of the lows are still high, and volatility might increase again in the coming days.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Disclaimer:  The analyst owns cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but doesn’t engage in short-term or day-trading, nor does he hold short positions on any of the coins.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 321 rated postsTrader and financial analyst, with 10 years of experience in the field. An expert in technical analysis and risk management, but also an avid practitioner of value investment and passive strategies, with a passion towards anything that is connected to the market.




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