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Spectre And Meltdown Madness: What It Means For Ethereum

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To anyone who talks in terms of a cryptocurrency bubble, consider the following fun facts. In the short period of a few days following the bombshell announcement of Meltdown and Spectre, crypto prices responded in the following manner:

Bitcoin +18%

ETH +41%

Litecoin +30%

In my view, this is clear evidence of a market that is responding rationally to information coming from responsible sources. To appreciate what all the noise is about you must appreciate what Meltdown and Spectre are and why they present a danger to the big companies providing cloud storage for the corporate world.

Once this is clear, then you will better appreciate why Ether’s 41%+ short-term price spike left the others in the dust. But first lets dig into the Meltdown and Spectre situation.

The Secret Got Out

 On January 3 the secret about a new class of security vulnerabilities leaked out to the public. Not only was this seriously bad news but the leak also gave hackers advanced notice before anyone could begin to fix the twin problems.

The degree of seriousness is in the fact that almost all major microprocessor chips are vulnerable. This opens the door to hackers stealing information from personal as well as cloud services.

Researchers claim that Meltdown can be fixed with a patch. Shortly thereafter about every major player announced their patch. But there are two issues here. Will the patches fully solve they problem?

Casting A Cloud Over The Cloud

When a corporation becomes a cloud customer, even the largest share machines with other customers. This is the basic flaw in the centralized structure of cloud storage. Contrast this with the decentralized structure of blockchain technology and you begin to appreciate the force behind the sudden price spike in cryptocurrencies that we highlighted above.

Even though security tools and protocols are designed to separate customers date, the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre flaws still leave serious vulnerabilities.

Meltdown, hackers could rent space on a cloud service, just like any other business customer. Once they were on the service, the flaw would allow them to grab information like passwords from other customers.

Secondly, reports on cloud services like Amazon, Google and Microsoft claim that it creates as much as 30% slower computation speeds. That clearly won’t make for happy customers.

Jerky NetFlix

Virtually everyone reviewing the situation believes individual computer users are the least vulnerable. That may be true. Hackers are in the hunt for the biggest prize and that would be the big three cloud companies. But how do you think families are going to react if their Netflix stalls and buffers every few minutes?

In the final analysis, the Meltdown flaw affects virtually every computer chip fabricated by Intel in use today. You are talking about 90% of the Internet and business world. But Meltdown is just one flaw.

Spectre is the other flaw and this one is the more insidious of the two. There is no known fix. Intel, AMD and others have claimed how complex a project it would be for hackers to breech the Spectre vulnerability. That is pretty hollow comfort. After all, hasn’t the FBI security been breeched. Those guys were supposed to be airtight.

Boom Days For Blockchain

In so many ways, last year marked a tipping point in the spread and acceptance of blockchain technology. The uses for Bitcoin are probably best gauged by its record $20,000 price in December. For Ethereum, it may have been marked by the formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) in February and rise to over 300 members at year-end.

No sooner has 2018 begun that the Meltdown and Spectre flaws created unexpected excitement for investors in cryptocurrencies. If I were a software salesman out of work, I would be sending my resume to every crypto company offering to peddle their blockchain. It could be the easiest job since selling web design services in 1995.

The Ethereum platform with its smart contracts is not the only crypto capable of addressing this newly uncovered opportunity created by Meltdown and Spectre. You can safely bet this will attract many players and for good reason, today’s blockchain technology is a long way from fast enough for mass adoption. Blockchain security may be a step or two better in it present form than cloud storage, but it has its security issues as well.

Building the Ethereum Moat

 EEA founder Jeremy Millar is clearly a brand ambassador for Ethereum. He believes that CEOs hear the chatter about blockchain and are pre sold not having a clear picture what can be accomplished or the money saved using this technology. The important thing is for IT departments to have a respected brand to attach to their recommendations.

The EEA seeks to connect and inform and through this pioneering process spread the gospel of Ethereum. So far this is beginning to build a brand franchise for Ethereum.

The EEA is the largest blockchain body and is committed to using open-source Ethereum technology for enterprise blockchain solutions. EEA expects to see great advances in these areas in 2018 with Ethereum technologies.

It also helps when Wall Street banks uncover the potential for billions in savings on the trading desks through the applications of the Ethereum platform.

So, if you though the last year held plenty of excitement, the Meltdown and Spectre flaws promise to make this year every bit as much fun.

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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4.4 stars on average, based on 96 rated postsJames Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.




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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Mister.Ticot

    January 8, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    It’s nice to have this kind of clever analysis here; still I don’t know what are spectre and meltdown 😀

    • incog13

      January 9, 2018 at 1:22 am

      How is Ethereum immune to these vulnerabilities that affect so many processors? Technical details would be nice.

  2. Thitzun

    January 9, 2018 at 1:48 am

    What are Spectre and Meltdown ?

  3. sparrowfahrenheit

    January 9, 2018 at 3:16 am

    James Bond fought Spectre. Don’t you guys know anything? Geeze…

  4. sparrowfahrenheit

    January 9, 2018 at 3:18 am

    Actually, its the “MINIX” system built into the subsystem of the hardware that concerns me. It has access to all of the programs on your machine -and can be accessed by the likes of entities like the NSA. If only we had open source hardware as well as software. Blockchain is great for revitalizing our rights to privacy.

  5. Cg4447

    January 9, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I think its time the world starts noticing the potential of the SAFE network (Maidsafe), it has greater potential to solve these problems than Spectre or Meltdown.

  6. propMaster

    January 9, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Typo in the article: ‘date’ should be ‘data’ in “Even though security tools and protocols are designed to separate customers date, the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre flaws still leave serious vulnerabilities.”

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Altcoins

Augur (REP) Backtracks to 16-Month Lows; Aurora (AOA) Falls Away

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Augur (REP) fell 24% throughout Tuesday on its way to a token valuation last seen in April of last year. Daily volumes have halved for the decentralized prediction market platform as today’s sell-off accelerates the process that began on August 7th with the Bitcoin drop-off.

Augur Backtracks to April 2017

In one of the most elongated price reversals in the market cap top one hundred, Augur has gone beyond mere yearly lows in its descent to the price of $15.16, recorded just a few hours ago. That’s down from the daily high of $19.96 recorded 24 hours ago – it has been nothing but descent for Augur since then.

The weekly numbers look no better, with 42% losses for the week. The month looks much better in comparison, with 46% losses over thirty days, thus showing the extent of just how bad this past week has been. A rebound is being attempted at the time of writing, as the price pushes back up to the $15.30 range.

Augur made a splash in the daily news cycle in recent weeks with its assassination markets – a feature open to be used, or created by any user on the Augur platform. The heat died down after the initial splash, which saw around $1.5 million worth of bets placed on various markets.

Sudden Influx From Korea

After seeing no more than a $3-$5 million daily volume for the entire week, Augur suddenly felt a sudden influx of $60 million on August 13th. The volume peaked overnight at $61 million before a massive reduction sent it back down to $27 million from which it continues to fall.

Right now, $23 million of that sum is coming from REP/KRW trades emanating from Bithumb – that’s 81.5% of the daily volume. The subsequent REP price on Bithumb has climbed as high as $167, although that price has been excluded from CMC’s readings.

Aurora Falls Off

The worst losses for the day have come from Aurora (AOA) which is down 45% at the time of writing. Aurora has been sinking all week long to the tune of 66% losses over seven days.

Aurora was listed on Kucoin in June, and has been hailed (by some) as (yet another) contender for Ethereum’s crown as king of the dApps. But besides a recently launched bug bounty program not much seems to be happening over at Aurora at the moment.

While it’s fun to speculate on why Aurora has taken the worst of the hit, it may have something to do with the fact that it is only available for trading on one exchange – the aforementioned Kucoin. Today on Kucoin AOA/ETH trades were the most popular; perhaps a sign that the current low Ethereum prices proved more attractive than holding onto AOA for any longer.

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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4.4 stars on average, based on 38 rated postsGreg Thomson is a full-time crypto writer and digital nomad. He eats ICOs for breakfast and bleeds altcoins. Wherever he lays his public key is his home.




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Altcoins

The Long-Awaited Altcoin Extinction Event May Be Near

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The cryptocurrency market is undergoing a major paradigm shift as low-quality altcoins embark on a mass extinction event, according to Xapo President Ted Rogers. This view, which is shared by industry titans like Vitalik Buterin, suggests things will get a lot worse before they get better.

Mass Extinction

In a Monday tweet, Rogers warned that more than 90% of altcoins and tokens could disappear in the not-too-distant future.

“We could be in the midst of the extinction-level event for “cryptoassets” that many maximalists have predicted. 90%+ of CoinMarketCap list will disappear eventually – might as well happen now.  Meantime, lower BTC price means incredible opportunity to buy more bitcoin,” he said.

Rogers’ tweet echoes previous comments by Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who believes that 90% of tokens listed on CoinMarketCap will go to zero. Buterin made the comments back in October during the historic run-up in cryptocurrency prices.

Whereas Buterin emphasized the emergence of higher quality coin offerings following a mass-scale correction, Rogers believes now is the ideal time to buy more bitcoin. The leading digital currency continues to cannibalize altcoins with its share of the total market crossing 54% on Tuesday.

At the time of writing, there were 1,833 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap. A couple hundred were added to the website’s tracker in the last few weeks.

ICO Cash-Out?

Crypto assets have shed roughly $220 billion over the past three months and are trading at less than a quarter of their all-time highs. Although the recent meltdown originated last Tuesday when the SEC communicated its non-decision on the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin ETF, the extent of the selloff suggests there are other factors in play.

With the bulk of the declines concentrated in altcoins and tokens, many are blaming the latest rout on a large-scale cash-out of initial coin offerings (ICOs). This has direct implications on Ethereum, which is one of the most important bellwethers of the ICO market.

The ether price has experienced an unprecedented drop over the past seven days, losing more than a third of its value to trade at its lowest level in 14 months. Previously, the developer’s cryptocurrency had shown resilience in the face of broader market moves.

While ICOs have raised more than $6.6 billion this year, investors appear to be selling too early. Short holding periods are placing significant pressure on the market.

Although the path forward is paved with uncertainty, a structural shift in the ICO market will ultimately benefit cryptocurrencies. As Buterin said last October, “there are some good ideas, there are a lot of very bad ideas, and there’s a lot of very, very bad ideas, and quite a few scams as well.” Cleaning up this image is a good thing even with the accompanying pain it has produced.

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 546 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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XRP Price Plunges Again; Down 93% from Record High 

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Ripple’s XRP fell on Tuesday to its lowest level of the year, highlighting collective panic in the cryptocurrency market following last week’s non-decision by the SEC concerning a highly touted bitcoin ETF. Although XRP’s losses aren’t unique, the so-called banker’s cryptocurrency is among the biggest losers in the top-ten.

XRP/USD Price Update

The XRP price fell 13.4% on Tuesday to a new yearly low of $0.262, according to CoinMarketCap. The decline puts XRP back 36% over the past seven days and a whopping 93% from its record high of $3.75.

At present values, XRP has a total market capitalization of $10.3 billion. Bitcoin cash, the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, now trails XRP by less than $2 billion.

XRP’s 24-hour trade volumes amounted to $304 million, with Bitbank processing nearly one-fifth of the turnover.

Market Searches for Direction

As Hacked previously reported, the recent selloff began last Tuesday when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) delayed a ruling on a keenly awaited bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). From there, the market meltdown intensified amid signs that initial coin offerings (ICOs) are cashing out. Ethereum, whose protocol is responsible for at least three-quarters of ICOs, has declined to 14-month lows as a result.

With respect to ICO liquidation, Matthew Newton of eToro summed up the situation:

“The crypto market seems to have hit panic mode, with prices falling significantly across the board. As we can see in the case of ethereum, investors seem to be increasing liquidations of their ICO holdings, with significant drops in price and increased volumes.”

XRP’s fate, at least in the short-term, is tied to these broader market forces.

Ripple’s Regulatory Scrutiny

Unlike some of its well-known peers, XRP has faced growing scrutiny from regulators over its potential security status – so much so that Ripple Labs appears to have hired a PR company to remove the term “Ripple XRP” from online sources.

Ripple Labs has made it clear that the San Francisco-based company is not synonymous with the XRP currency, and that ownership of XRP does not give investors a stake in Ripple Labs. This is consistent with Hacked’s previous reporting on the matter, which showed the vast majority of Ripple’s business partners have not adopted XRP. In other words, banks and clearing companies have experimented with Ripple’s technology without adopting XRP as a base or quote currency.

On Aug. 11, a California district court dismissed a remand request related to a lawsuit against Ripple Labs by an investor seeking damages over alleged price manipulation. Plaintiff Ryan Coffey, a former XRP investor, sought to keep the case in the state’s lower courts rather than have the final verdict decided by a Federal judge.

The court issued the following statement:

“Having read the papers filed by the parties and carefully considered their arguments and the relevant legal authority, and good cause appearing, the court hereby DENIES plaintiff’s motion.”

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 546 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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