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‘Privacy Coin’ Verge is Allegedly Leaking Users’ IP Addresses

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Privacy coins are meant to be private: that’s their raison d’être. Without this functionality, they’re just altcoins, and dangerous ones at that for anyone relying on them for anonymity. Verge (XVG) is one of the best known privacy coins on the market, but it risks becoming famous for all the wrong reasons. A new website claims to list the IP addresses associated with hundreds of verge transactions, stripping bare the coin’s claims of anonymity.

Also read: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Privacy Coins

Verging on the Ridiculous

XVG has soared in price over the past month, which may owe more to the coin being heavily shilled by John McAfee than its strong fundamentals. Nevertheless, a combination of privacy coins being en vogue and XVG costing mere buttons – or rather satoshis – until recently have also contributed to its rise. Anyone snapping up the coin for its privacy features, however, could be in for a disappointment.

‘Privacy Coin’ Verge is Allegedly Leaking Users’ IP AddressesIn a recent article on privacy coins, news.Bitcoin.com wrote: “The general consensus is that verge isn’t as private as some of its competitors, so don’t trust it with your life.” That may have been an understatement given that a website is now purportedly listing IP addresses pertaining to verge transactions. The operator of the website is anonymous, which is more than can be said of the transactions it reveals.

Publicizing Privacy

‘Privacy Coin’ Verge is Allegedly Leaking Users’ IP AddressesThe revelatory site currently lists transactions that were conducted via the Verge Core wallet, but the Electrum XVG wallet will soon be added. There’s also the ability to determine transactions which went via a ‘rich list’ address; verge is notorious for having a large number of coins in possession of a handful of ‘whales’. One of these whales spent a cosy weekend with John McAfee before the former software tycoon extolled the virtues of verge, but the pair later fell out over claims that McAfee reportedly wanted millions from Verge and XVGWhale to shill the coin.

‘Privacy Coin’ Verge is Allegedly Leaking Users’ IP AddressesThese claims are hard to verify, but coupled with the latest disclosures regarding verge’s anonymity, they emphasize the need to be cautious when using privacy coins for their intended purpose.

On its website, the cryptocurrency’s developers claim:

Verge uses multiple anonymity-centric networks such as Tor and I2P. The IP addresses of the users are obfuscated and the transactions are completely untraceable.

In a glossy video posted to the Verge Twitter account on December 20, a voiceover describes XVG as “the only untraceable currency devoted to everyday use”.

Concerns about the veracity of this claim have abounded for some time, with the creation of xvg.keff.org now seeming to confirm as much. Not only does verge fail to provide the privacy that is the coin’s USP, but it arguably provides less privacy than other cryptocurrencies in allowing IP addresses to be recorded.

As the whistleblowing site explains:

Obviously not all of the IPs below will be correct. Some might just be relaying a transaction. The point is that a large amount will be correct due to the Verge network being so small. If your IP appears in the list with a TX you didn’t do, it means you relayed it for someone else. Would you want your IP to be connected to other users’ transactions?

Verge has disputed the accuracy of the site purporting to publish transaction IPs, tweeting:

‘Privacy Coin’ Verge is Allegedly Leaking Users’ IP Addresses

It is telling however that the development team have yet to issue an outright denial of the site’s claims. Even if a handful of IPs on the list are correct, it is evident that privacy proponents relying on verge are taking a risk every time they transact.

The roadmap for Verge – which began life as Dogecoin Dark – lists branded apparel and RSK smart contracts as next on its to-do list. Before it tackles these tasks, XVG’s development team may wish to return to the drawing board and take a look at their privacy coin’s alleged lack of privacy.

Do you think XVG’s development team have a case to answer, or are these claims unfounded? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Verge website.


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The post ‘Privacy Coin’ Verge is Allegedly Leaking Users’ IP Addresses appeared first on Bitcoin News.

 

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Google Search Volume for Bitcoin Keywords Increased by as Much as 1000% During 2017

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Following bitcoin’s incredible performance and increased media coverage during 2017, there is no doubt that bitcoin has witnessed increased user adoption. Estimates regarding the scale of bitcoin’s growth vary due to the anonymous nature of bitcoins transactions; however, the search engine traffic for terms such as ‘bitcoin’ are generally seen as a reliable indicator of the growth in bitcoin’s user adoption. The most recent figures made available by Google indicate an increase in searches for prominent keywords relating to bitcoin of many hundreds of percent when comparing data from 2016 and 2017, whilst bitcoin became the ninth most visited page on Wikipedia during last year – indicating a significant increase in bitcoin user adoption.

On Wikipedia, Bitcoin Was the Ninth Most Visited Page for 2017

According to Wikipedia’s annual report the 50 most visited pages on the website, bitcoin ranked ninth for 2017. The report describes bitcoin as “the much-hyped ‘future of money’”, adding that the world’s first cryptocurrency “has turned into the most speculative intangible asset of all time.” The report states that the page was visited 15,026,561 times during 2017.

Traffic for bitcoin’s Wikipedia page peaked on the 8th of December – when BTC experienced a dramatic retracement of approximately 20%, falling from the then all-time high of $17,171 USD on Bitfinex, before bouncing off the approximately $14,000 area. Despite bitcoin’s meteoric price performance during 2017, the Wikipedia report recognizes some of bitcoin’s shortcomings that emerged during the year – stating that bitcoin “prov[ed] totally unsuitable as a means of payment” due to the controversy surrounding the scaling issues that have plagued BTC throughout the year.

Google Searches for Bitcoin Reach Record Highs

Google Search Volume for Bitcoin Keywords Increased by as Much as 1000% During 2017The volume of Google searches conducted for prominent keywords pertaining to bitcoin has also produced dramatic growth – with the latest data from Google indicating that numerous major keyword groupings received between one million and ten million searches each month on average during 2017. The data indicates that monthly searches relating to the keywords ‘bitcoin price’ saw an increase of over 1,000% on average during January 2017 to December 2017 when compared with data from the previous year, whilst searches pertaining to ‘bitcoin chart’ increased by 934%, and searches for ‘bitcoin USD’ increased by more than 800%. Google estimates that each of the aforementioned keyword groupings received between 1 and 10 million searches on average each month during 2017 – a significant increase compared to the 100,000 and 1,000,000 monthly searches Google estimates were conducted each month during 2016.

A large number of dominant keyword groupings pertaining to bitcoin received between 100,000 and 1,000,000 searches monthly last year. Among those that experienced the highest growth when compared with 2016 were ‘current bitcoin’ – for which searches increased by 895.9%, ‘btc price’ – which increased by 828.5%, sell bitcoins – gaining in volume by 626.5%, bitcoin miner – up 590.6%, btc rate – up 510.4%, bitcoin calculator – up 471.2%, bitcoin rate – up 461.4%, buy bitcoin – up 273.5%, and bitcoin trading – up 170.9%. Searches for ‘earn bitcoin’ increased by 74.6%. Several notable keywords also grew to receive between 10,000 and 100,000 searches last year, including ‘bitcoin market’ – which increased in search volume by 900%, ‘btc chart’ – searches for which grew by 826.2%, ‘currency bitcoin’ – with searches increasing by 826.1%, ‘purchase bitcoin’ – which increased by 752.5%, and ‘bitcoin account’ – increasing by 291.2%.

Curiously, some of the top keyword groupings that produced the least growth during 2017 included ‘bitcoin mining’ – searches for which grew by 33.6%, ‘bitcoin exchange’ – which grew by 17.5%, and ‘bitcoin wallet’ – which saw a meagre increase in search traffic of only 0.9%.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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Notorious Domain XBT.com Goes up for Sale at 200 BTC

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XBT.com, one of the web’s most desirable domain names, is up for sale. Its current owners, XBT Holding SA, are seeking 200 BTC – or about $2.9 million – for the site. The domain is coveted partially because XBT is the abbreviation that many institutional trading platforms use for bitcoin, and also on account of the site’s notoriety, having been linked to the hacking of the US Democratic Party.

Buy XBT with BTC

It’s not often a three-letter dot com domain goes up for sale, but when it does, it’s guaranteed to command a premium price tag. XBT.com is of particular interest to bitcoiners, given that the letters XBT are synonymous with bitcoin in some circles. This connection accounts for why the web hosting company in charge of the domain have elected to capitalize on the bitcoin boom and price the domain in BTC.

200 BTC is the starting bid for XBT.com, whose holding page currently shows a “buy now” button or the option to place a bid, complete with the price of bitcoin in real-time, denominated in XBT. There’s more to the site than a cool name and a convenient bitcoin connection though: the backstory to XBT.com is the most enthralling part of the whole affair.

Notorious Domain XBT.com Goes up for Sale at 200 BTC
The homepage of XBT.com

Buzzfeed, Trump, and the Damaging Dossier

In January 2017, Buzzfeed published a story based on information supplied by research group Fusion GPS. It contained a series of allegations about XBT, the Luxembourg-based company currently selling the domain of the same name. XBT, in conjunction with its Webzilla subsidiary, had been complicit in stealing data from the Democratic Party including a damning dossier on Donald Trump, the allegation went. XBT’s former CEO Aleksej Gubarev was named specifically in the report, supposedly abetted by Russia’s Federal Security Service.

Notorious Domain XBT.com Goes up for Sale at 200 BTCXBT and its then-CEO bitterly contested these allegations, but the cat was already out the bag, and the company’s reputation and finances took a hit. Gubarev and XBT took Buzzfeed to court over the story, in a case which is still ongoing in a Florida court. XBT and Buzzfeed have been sniping ever since, with the Luxembourg-based company filing a response to Buzzfeed’s attempt to have the lawsuit dismissed entitled “Six Ways BuzzFeed Has Misled the Court (Number Two Will Amaze You) … And a Picture of a Kitten”.

Bloomberg quotes Gubarev, via his lawyer, as saying:

This domain has way more value in the hands of someone in the cryptocurrency business. Also, the brand name of XBT has severely suffered due to the false allegations in the dossier, and we are considering re-branding as the result of the reputational damage.

XBT’s loss can be one bitcoin entrepreneur’s gain, but they’ll need to dig deep for the privilege. Aside from the 200 BTC asking price, the auction requires a deposit of $10,000 or 0.5 BTC just to eligible to bid. With no bids received so far, it remains to be seen whether XBT will succeed in shifting one of the web’s most infamous domains.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and XBT.com.

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