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Is a Decentralized Internet the Solution to Outages?

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“Attacks that we witnessed today were possible mainly because there is a centralized infrastructure which could have been targeted,” said Piotr Janiuk, CTO of  Golem,  which seeks to decentralize the internet using peer-to-peer technology. “The attack itself isn’t easy to carry out, but it is obvious that even the backbone infrastructure behind the Internet contains single points of failure which are prone to such malicious activity – even though the infrastructure may comprise multiple machines. As of today, the trend is to move towards distributed solutions and the main problem is the lack of standard way of setting up the infrastructure.”

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Golem  is among a legion of technologists who believe a decentralized everything is the best way avoid problems such as the widespread outages experienced in the US, the UK and western Europe going into the weekend.

The source of the Friday outages is New Hampshire internet infrastructure company, Dyn, which endured two separate cyber attacks within hours of each other. Dozens of websites, including PayPal, Twitter, Spotify, Netflix and others went down.

Netflix

Netflix was among several major websites that saw an outage.

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 The outages began in the Eastern United States before affecting other parts of the country. Gizmodo cited five dozen sites seemingly affected by the attack, including CNN, HBO Now, Mashable, the New York Times, People.com, the Wall Street Journal and Yelp! affected by the attacks. U.S. officials from the U.S. State Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened an investigation into the attacks.

Amazon reported the outage affected users in Western Europe.  Twitter and select news sites were out in London on Friday evening. PayPal Holdings Inc. experienced outages in “certain regions” affecting payments.

Spotify, Reddit, AirBnB, the Verge all reportedly suffered outages. Amazon.com Inc’s web services, cloud computing service, reported outages, as well. That meant companies like Visa, Twitter and Netflix went down. Could all this be avoided with a decentralized internet?

“If you do a Google patent search you will see the state-of-the-art there,” Maidsafe CEO David Irvine told Hacked.com. “It’s very new.”

Maidsafe, and it’s SAFE network is modelled on colonies in nature, servers and intermediaries do not make logical sense and we sort of all know that in our deepest thoughts. Some say a decentralized internet is not possible.

“DDOS depends on a target, in SAFE the target is everyone’s computers,” Mr. Irvine said.  “An analogy would be DDOS is like swatting a large fly, in SAFE the large fly is a mass swarm of mossies which makes it hard even with 8 arms filled with fly swatters.” Mr. Irvine hopes the SAFE network might help to form the primordial soup of a decentralized internet.

SAFE uses xor addressing, a type of data structure used in computer programming, which means any node outages will be covered by the nearest nodes.

“This makes those mossies like zombie mossies or perhaps hydra like,” Mr. Irvine said.

This is stretching a little, he admits. Since no such decentralized networks exist, it’s difficult to know what one’s vulnerabilities might be. Maidsafe employs university research to help answer some questions. Maidsafe uses data chains, which are different from blockchains.

The Maidsafe model does not assume every node/person needs to know and agree on all information like in the Bitcoin blockchain model. “Detailed information is local and less detailed is more global,” he said. “This is like posting a letter, the closer to the destination the more info is known of the destination.”

The Golem Project’s vision of a decentralized internet entails running the ‘Golem app.’

“It’s hard to predict the definite direction in which distributed solutions will go but if infrastructure similar to Golem (production version with lots of nodes) was up and running then any service running on top of it would be resilient to this type of attacks,” Mr Janiuk told Hacked.com. “Of course at this point there is still a lot of work in the field not only because the infrastructure has to be deployed but also all sorts of utilities which are available today would have to be tailored to this new paradigm.”

He adds: “It seems that the centralised Internet of today is more and more pushed to its limits and the change of paradigm is inevitable in a longer run.” If the Internet is to grow and thrive, then the decentralization seems to be one of the best (if not the best) options.”

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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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Justin Sun Plans To Buy BitTorrent

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Justin Sun, the CEO of TRON, is finalizing an agreement to buy BitTorrent, inc. Most people know BitTorrent as the creator of the popular torrenting client, uTorrent, which at its peak had over 100 million users.

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According to Torrentfreak.com, BitTorrent has been in a steady decline to some poor decisions and potentially illegal missteps by their management.

In an interview with BitTorrent founder Bram Cohen, the management was painted by Cohen as incompetent narcissists who had no business plan and no idea what they were doing besides chasing some nebulous idea of celebrity endorsement.

This can be seen in Cohen’s statement, “They were just incompetent fuckups. I mean they’re losers. Basically, Accel took their share in BitTorrent and pretty much just gave it away to these total strangers who they didn’t know. And not only gave away their stock but gave away control of the company.

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Human beings are a bunch of starfuckers, right? The United States has become this celebrity-obsessed culture, and everyone’s all about, oh, we’ll gain access. That’ll be great, and we’ll make money off of it, everybody thinks this.”

It is against this backdrop that Sun’s alleged acquisition is taking place. The TRON projects alleged goal is to “decentralize the web.” Owning one of the most recognizable brands aligned with these goals would be a major coup for the ambitious CEO.

This is due to the fact that the most likely use case of uTorrent by TRON would be to simply parlay its user base into usage of the TRON blockchain.

Since a huge part of TRON’s model relies on advanced content search for media files, simply making use of the uTorrent brand but integrating it with Tron’s decentralized search would instantly transform TRON into one of the most actively utilized blockchains on earth.

The information stems from the fact that BitTorrent changed their company name recently to Rainberry according to their chief product officer. “Rainberry Inc is the official name of the company; it was changed right around the start of 2017.” He stressed that it was a purely corporate decision and that none of the existing product brands would change.

Despite this blanket denial, it seems like the acquisition was proceeding swiftly, and was even overcoming some initial hurdles. BitTorrent had already tried to find a better acquisition offer during the first round of negotiations, to the point that Justin Sun took them to court in an attempt to stop them from negotiating with other buyers.

However, it seems that these initial roadblocks have been overcome, as a new company called Rainberry Acquisition, (BitTorrent recently changed their official company name to Rainberry) was formed and registered directly to Justin Sun. How Sun plans to integrate the platform with Tron is an open question, but it is likely to result in some interesting synergies.

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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How Blockchain Can Help Companies Face the New GDPR Rules

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The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) guidelines governing the European Union (EU) officially come into play on May 25. Businesses and their associated websites had about three years to comply with the new set of rules. The companies that didn’t bother adjusting their data collection methodologies could face stiff fines.

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Most companies issued a new “Terms of Use” to be on the safe side of the road. However, a blockchain system could solve the problem once and for all.

According to the GDPR, companies are expected to follow new guidelines in order to be allowed to operate for European citizens. Those regulations include the ability for the user to consent to their data being processed, the knowledge of who is processing the data and the ability to withdraw consent at any time..

Blockchain can play a vital role in this process. Websites that have users register on a distributed ledger system provide an upper hand, allowing them to be in charge of the data they provide.

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Blockchain’s Role

When applied to systems in need of identity management, blockchain can operate in a level no other protocol can. The way it stores, collects and distributes data is revolutionizing. There is a brand new set of capabilities not available on any existing data protection method.

Blockchain verifies data usage through a complicated combination of public and private signatures, data hashing and encryption. This allows a person’s data and identity to be saved only on his end, rather than on a server. When that data is requested, it has to be provided from the user’s device instead of the main server.

While running on a blockchain system, the user is able to process exchanges personally, meaning the company that wants his data will have to get his consent in order to access them. This allows the user to have absolute control over his information, as well as know the company that uses it, meeting the GDPR’s “Right to Erasure” condition.

The use of blockchain also eliminates the need for massive databases since each user stores his own data. Blockchain makes it possible for each user to connect when needed, allowing companies to keep minimum information on customers and employees. Applying those changes to their products as well allows the company to meet GDPR’s “privacy by design” condition.

Privacy by design is, in essence, a new GDPR provision. According to it, companies are obligated to have platforms that are built on data privacy, with their products or services privacy in the cognizance of the rightful user. With blockchain technology, the process is automatically private, thus meeting the privacy by design criteria.

It remains to be seen if GDPR rules come into place on May 25 and whether fines will actually be levied on websites that do not comply. According to GDPR, the fees may come up to 4% of its annual global turnover, or €20 million, whichever is greater. This amount is enough to deter both small and large companies, although implementation will be key.

Blockchain can be the pioneer system behind the web sooner than we think. GDPR paves the way for greater blockchain adoption at a level that extends far beyond core business functions and cryptocurrency transactions.

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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The First Governmental Elections Powered By Blockchain Technology

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While blockchain technology can be used in countless different ways and applied in any possible industrial and/or governmental sector, not all of them have been explored so far.

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One of these yet unexplored regions is using the disrupting tech for elections, allowing users to vote in a decentralized fashion from anywhere at any time, while secured by blockchain technology.

United States’ West Virginia took the first step and started the first-ever government-run, blockchain-mediated vote globally.

In the primary elections that concluded on May 8th, blockchain voting was trialed on a limited amount of people, namely deployed military members and Americans eligible to vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA), as well as their spouses and dependents.

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Participation in the trial was further restricted to voters registered in two of the state‘s 55 counties: Harrison and Monongalia.

Voatz, the company behind the voting system has created an application that basically allows you to vote regardless of your geolocation, while the company makes sure the person voting is eligible to do so.

If the trials prove to be successful and trustworthy, Mac Warner, the West Virginia Secretary of State, is considering making the system available to all UOCAVA voters registered in West Virginia for the general election this November.

He is expected to make the decision during this summer so that the process is as smooth as possible during the election period, already tested and “ready-to-go”.

“Our team believes blockchain does provide a heightened level of security on this type of mobile voting app. We’re genuinely hoping that will allow this type of a mobile app to be made available in the future – as early perhaps as our general election – to military voters.” 

Mike Queen, communications director for Mac Warner stated on Ethnews.

In charge of conducting the results of the audit will be Voraz, clerks representing Harrison and Monongalia counties and the state’s governor among other parties.

“The Secretary’s office is very encouraged so far today and we believe that [blockchain-based voting] is a real viable option. There are a lot of other states who are asking about this mobile voting solution and who are also interested in it.” 

However, despite all the excitement of the Secretary of Office state, the whole exercise was questioned by third parties.

Professor Duncan Buell, a computer scientist in the University of South Carolina, doesn’t seem to trust the process, as he considers that Voraz application does not run a trustworthy fingerprint-scanning and facial-recognition technology, meaning the results could be vulnerable to hacking. Thus voting actually becomes trusting a company instead of the government.

While the traditional way people participate in the election process is working for some political systems, it might not be ideal for other.

In traditional elections, participants are required to travel to the city they are registered in order to take part in the process, and even if they do so, they are obliged to vote for a decision that in most common scenarios will not be able to be altered until the next planned elections.

Blockchain technology may empower voters, allowing them to actually make direct decisions regarding their residential location, rather than deciding the person to represent their decisions.

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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