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Pineapple Fund: why is an anonymous bitcoin millionaire giving away $86m? | Technology



What would you do if you had $86m? It’s a welcome dilemma for some of bitcoin’s early adopters thanks to the cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise, from less than $1,000 last year to a peak of almost $20,000 in December.

One generous bitcoiner has decided to follow the lead of Bill Gates and establish a philanthropic purse, the Pineapple Fund, because “once you have enough money, money doesn’t matter,” they say.

The founder, known only as Pine, declared in mid December “I’m donating 5,057 BTC to charitable causes!” and since then has given away $7,550,000 in bitcoin to charities and causes around the world, with a view to dispersing the remaining bitcoin over the next several months.

“I’m happy that I can help change the world for the better,” Pine says in a phone conversation on condition of anonymity. “I have a great deal of faith in humanity, but I wish more people could live with love and respect for each other.”

Early adopters of the currency who had the foresight to hold on to their coins, are now reaping the rewards. In a world where most high net-worth individuals are hoarding their wealth as inequalities widen, Pine is bucking the trend.

Pine explains that they look for three things when choosing who to donate to: “How impactful their work is (especially on an international scale), what new innovative skills they are bringing to the table, and how efficient and sustainable they are.”

“But to be honest, the biggest factor is my gut. I only fund charities that I trust, and with trust, I believe they are best posed to answer the more micro questions and do good in this world,” Pine adds.

The nine recipients of the largest bitcoin charitable donations are a collection of nonprofits including medical researchers, those providing poverty-stricken communities with basic necessities, and technology-related causes such as advocacy and open-source projects. Naturally, they are all delighted with the new influx of funds.

“It was a wonderful surprise,” says Karen Gullo, a spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organisation that defends people’s rights online. “The $1m donation will support the work we do standing up for user privacy and free expression, and defending civil rights in the digital world — work that is critically important during these challenging times.”

The collection of charities also includes Watsi, a platform committed to taking the US towards universal healthcare, the SENS Research Foundation that works to develop cures for degenerative diseases, and the Water Project which helps to establish safe water sources in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Another $1m gift will help fund advanced clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder in an upcoming study sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Maps).

“The Pineapple Fund’s outstanding generosity exemplifies how the growth of cryptocurrency can be leveraged for profound social change,” said Rick Doblin, the founder of Maps that applied to the fund at 5.30pm one day last week to wake up to almost 60BTC in their wallet.

“The blockchain community is helping to lead the way, not only in decentralised technologies and currencies, but in giving the gift of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to the world in order to heal trauma and bring greater compassion to psychiatry and medicine.”

After making news of the Pineapple Fund donation public, Maps recieved a further anonymous donation of almost $1m in bitcoin, Doblin said.

Another recipient is the BitGive Foundation, a charity building projects that leverage bitcoin and blockchain technology for global philanthropy, a similar venture to their own.

“This gift is a game changer for us. This single contribution is more than the total amount of funding BitGive raised in the past 4.5 years,” says Connie Gallippi, founder of BitGive. “We did our due diligence on the funds, and they were legitimate and clean, so it was happily welcomed.”

The continuing Christmas presents are likely to challenge the already-shifting narrative that Bitcoin is only a currency used by criminals. However, it does little to convince doubters that the bubble isn’t going to burst one day.

“I think we are overvalued right now and due for a crash,” says Pine, although they are not surprised at bitcoin’s valuation today. “However, I think in the very long term it will continue to rise in value as a deflationary currency [since there is a fixed supply of around 21m bitcoin, 4m of which are yet to be mined].”

With the vast majority of the fund still up for grabs, Pine is inviting applications from other worthwhile causes for consideration. They say their other main areas of focus are mental health, environmental conservation and combating domestic violence and sexual abuse.

But why is the war-chest coined the Pineapple Fund? “I’ve always liked Pineapple but since it contains bromelain [an enzyme that digests protein] your mouth becomes tender if you eat too much of it,” they say, referring to an occasion where overindulgence caused a temporary allergy. “Then, like now, is a good time to share the pineapple. I have too many bitcoins for the life I would like to live, so I am sharing them.”

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United Bitcoin May Be the Most Controversial Fork to Date 2018



Back on December 12 the well-known developer Jeff Garzik launched a Bitcoin Core (BTC) based fork called United Bitcoin (UBTC) after Segwit2x failed. At block height 498,777 the snapshot took place, and the UBTC network began just like the rest of the forks in existence, but claiming the tokens is far more complicated than one would think

The Promises of United Bitcoin

A few months ago we reported on the UBTC project created by Jeff Garzik, his partner at the blockchain company, Bloq, chairman Matthew Roszak, and Bitbank Group’s Songxiu Hua. The team says it plans to create a credit currency system pegged against various fiat currencies alongside a native smart contract feature. The entire network is modeled after the bitcoin core blockchain prior to December 12, and all active wallet holders are able to receive UBTC at a 1:1 rate. The catch is inactive wallets will go towards the UB Foundation to support innovative blockchain development.

Over the past few weeks, the UBTC team have made some videos detailing their project’s goals to be serious cryptocurrency contender. One particular documentary shows Garzik describing why he thinks UBTC can be a digital asset that engages and unites with the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem. “If I could start with a clean slate what technologies would I include?” Garzik asks an audience during the video. Matthew Roszak says that United Bitcoin will encompass three really important pieces technology, community, and tokenomics by relying on cross-industry innovation.

United Bitcoin: Jeff Garzik's Fork Represents a 'Clean Slate'

One Out of Only Two Miners Controls 70% of the Network’s Hashrate

United Bitcoin: Jeff Garzik's Fork Represents a 'Clean Slate'So far the network has minimal infrastructure and community support. At the time of publication, there are only two miners who are processing UBTC blocks; an unknown entity and the mining pool The mining pool has more than 70 percent of the network’s hashrate. The network’s total hashrate is only 50,811.47 TH/s and block intervals can range from an hour and a half, to occasional sporadic 20-40 minute blocks. The network has an extremely low amount of users as there are only 20 pending transactions right now. Blocks are averaging roughly 20-100 transactions, and most block sizes are well below 1MB even though UBTC has the capacity for 8MB blocks.

UBTC has its own full node wallet client for Linux, Windows, and Macintosh operating systems and the source code is available for review. According to the distribution repository, there will also be a lightweight client release soon. There are three other wallets that support the UBTC protocol. As far as exchanges most of them are based in Asia, and a great majority of them are unknown and exchange very little trade volume besides the exchange Okex. At the moment, according to Coinmarketcap statistics, one UBTC is worth $82 USD.

Required Identity Verification and Claiming Inactive Addresses: United Bitcoin Is the Most Controversial Fork to Date

The most controversial part of the project is the opt-in airdrop feature which basically means a bitcoin holder must give up some form of identification to obtain UBTC. In order to even get started with UBTC, a user must supply a valid email address and a mobile phone number. After this process, the registrant has to have a valid bitcoin address as well to receive the 1:1 distribution. Another contentious issue with UBTC is the Foundation’s claiming of “unused addresses” which means after a period of time inactive addresses will be used for future development. At the moment the team has added a “grace period” which has extended the timeframe so bitcoin holders can claim their UBTC.

Because of the ‘KYC-like’ requirements and the fact that the development team will claim Satoshi Nakamoto’s and the inactive addresses of many whales, makes UBTC one of the most vexed bitcoin forks to date. These two tendentious issues plus the fact that the network has very little infrastructure may have a hard time gaining the crypto-community it hopes to progress.

What do you think about the UBTC project? Would you claim these airdrop tokens knowing you have to tie your identity to the platform? What do you think about the development team claiming inactive addresses? Let us know what you think about this project in the comments below.

Images via Pixabay, United Bitcoin archives, and website.

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Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs



Over 34,000 ethereum smart contracts containing $4.4 million in ETH may be vulnerable to exploitation. That’s the conclusion reached by a quintet of researchers hailing from Singapore and the UK. Their technical report, which is currently undergoing peer review, suggests that millions of dollars in ether may be at risk from poorly coded smart contracts that contain a variety of bugs.

Smart Contracts Are Only as Smart as Their Creator

“Finding The Greedy, Prodigal, and Suicidal Contracts at Scale” is the provocative title of a research paper submitted by British and Singaporean students last week. Its authors have dived deep into ethereum smart contracts, “finding contracts that either lock funds indefinitely, leak them carelessly to arbitrary users, or can be killed by anyone”. This latter flaw is precisely what happened to Parity last November.

The dangers of relying on smart contracts that have not been independently audited are well-documented. In the past year, $500 million has been lost due to bad code, and around half of that figure involved ethereum. The most notorious case was the Parity bug which led to $168 million of ether being rendered permanently inaccessible, though there have been plenty of smaller incidents where inexperienced or inattentive developers have been caught out.

A Small Drop in a Big Ocean

The authors of the report claim to have used a tool to analyze almost one million smart contracts, of which 34,200 were found to be vulnerable, with 2,365 of these stemming from distinct projects. That means that around 3.4% of all smart contracts are potentially vulnerable to being hacked, broken, or otherwise exploited. Of the contracts that the research team flagged as being exploitable, “the maximal amount of Ether that could have been withdrawn…is nearly 4,905 Ether” worth $4.4 million.

The report continues: “In addition, 6,239 Ether (7.5 million US dollars) is locked inside posthumous contracts currently on the blockchain, of which 313 Ether (379,940 US dollars) have been sent to dead contracts after they have been killed.” One thing the report deliberately omits is the identity of the smart contracts flagged as being at risk. But with almost 1 in 20 contracts vulnerable, and a jackpot of over $4.5 million in ether up for grabs, determined attackers have every incentive to put this research to the test.

What do you think can be done to make smart contracts safer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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