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Stop blaming crypto? ⛔
Can crypto really be cornered for the terrorism role? ETF optimism fuels Bitcoin rally. Vitalik's crypto worries. AI marches on to NASA mission. Lightening Networks faces caution and criticism.
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Recent confrontations between Israel and Hamas have thrust the topic of cryptocurrency's role in terrorist financing back into the limelight.
But are they even making sense?
What led to the conclusion?
Key events include
Israel freezing cryptocurrency accounts linked to Hamas donations.
Binance reportedly assisting in the freezing process.
Australia's financial watchdog alerting about a suspected Hamas fundraising operation on Telegram.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and others in the US intensifying demands to address crypto-enabled terrorism funding.
US-based crypto cheerleaders are waving the red flag at Senator Elizabeth Warren and her posse for suggesting that digital coins are BFFs with some not-so-friendly groups like Hamas.
WSJ Report: A Wall Street Journal article (cited by SEN. Warren) claimed that between August 2021 and June 2023, Palestinian Islamic Jihad got $93 million and Hamas obtained $41 million in crypto. This analysis was partially based on data from Elliptic.
Controversy: Critics of the WSJ's report suggest its headline misleadingly implied direct crypto funding of Palestinian operations. They argue that this crypto funding is minimal compared to state-sponsored support, especially from Iran.
Hamas' Stance: In April, Hamas announced the suspension of its crypto fundraising, emphasising the risks due to the transparency of blockchain technology, which jeopardises covert operations.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, along with more than 100 other lawmakers, has recently stoked controversy by linking crypto to the financing of militant groups, specifically Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
On October 17, the lawmakers penned a letter expressing concerns over illicit crypto activities aiding such groups.
Sen. Warren co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed on October 18, where she drew connections between "crypto-financed terrorism" and threats to U.S. citizens, including the financing of illegal drugs.
Pushback from Crypto Advocates
Crypto Council for Innovation: Yaya Fanusie, the Anti-Money Laundering director at this body, challenged Sen. Warren's claims and solutions. He points out that her proposed Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act, which aims to apply traditional payment protection rules to crypto, misses the mark.
Read the thread.
Blockchain Association (BA): BA also waded into the debate, referencing April reports that suggested Hamas had moved away from Bitcoin to fund its operations because of its traceability. The association emphasised the tiny fraction of Hamas's funding that actually comes from crypto, questioning its tangible impact.
Read the thread.
The Blockchain Association is throwing some shade, suggesting that the Digital Asset Anti-Money Laundering Act could actually backfire.
The fear? All the law-abiding crypto folks might just pack their digital bags and move shop elsewhere.
The pushback against Sen. Warren hinges on a primary argument: rather than punishing law-abiding US crypto users and pushing the industry offshore, it's more productive to provide law enforcement with the resources and tools to track and tackle bad actors in the crypto space.
We have "seen overstated metrics and flawed analyses of these terrorist groups' use of cryptocurrency, and feel compelled to address some misconceptions."
Chainalysis notes that if you really want to get the lay of the land, you've got to understand the roles of service providers. Often, it's the middlemen, like money service businesses, that handle the big bucks, more than individual baddies but less than the major exchanges.
Ever heard of over-the-counter (OTC) brokers or traditional hawalas? They're in the mix too; tracking the crypto flow reveals a web of transactions, and to an amateur, it might look like all the funds are destined for some shady dealings. But here's the kicker: most of it's probably innocent.
Chainalysis uses an eye-popping example.
Imagine a crypto address receiving about $82 million.
Sounds fishy, right?
But when you peek under the hood, only around $450,000 of that came from a wallet with questionable connections.
The rest? Just everyday transactions, muddying the waters even more.
In summary, the dialogue around cryptocurrency and its role in terror financing requires a meticulous and informed approach.
While concerns about its misuse are valid, sweeping generalisations might not capture the intricacies of the issue.
Chainalysis's input serves as a reminder that understanding the nuances can lead to more effective solutions 🔍
What's with ETF 🚨
A Bitcoin rally fuelled by optimism about fresh demand from exchange-traded funds may have further to run if history is any guide.👇🏻
Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum lad.
“The risk that crypto stagnates, things like privacy and open internet infrastructure become lost causes.”
You might know him as the genius behind Ethereum, but ever wondered what keeps Vitalik Buterin up at night? In a candid AMA session on Farcaster, he gave us a sneak peek into his concerns.
When quizzed about Ethereum's potential challenges, Vitalik didn't shy away. He voiced concerns about crypto's potential to stall.
What's worse, the dream of an open internet and privacy could just become distant memories.
Another Farcaster user got curious about what occupies most of Vitalik's brainpower.
The answer? The ever-evolving world of Artificial Intelligence. Specifically, the looming threats from its rapid growth.
The big question on his mind? How the Ethereum community could step in and navigate these AI-induced choppy waters.
Remember when Worldcoin made its grand debut? The crypto-backed identity system, brainchild of AI prodigy Sam Altman, caught Vitalik's attention.
He emphasised the dire need for robust "proof-of-personhood" systems, ensuring users can vouch for their humanity in a bot-infested online realm.
he’s concerned that “the big techno-political questions of the 21st century just get decided by whatever happens in AI over the next decade.”
Vitalik warns of a future where AI doesn't just coexist with humans but possibly dictates the course of technological and political decisions. Rather than the decentralised dreams that birthed crypto, AI could become the puppet master determining the tech world's fate.
Despite these forewarnings, Vitalik is all cheers for decentralised social media platforms. Platforms like Farcaster and Lens Protocol, which champion Ethereum's sign-in options, get a nod of approval from the crypto maestro.
TTD AI 🟡
AI Data Overload? Huawei's Got You Covered
Huawei has unveiled its new AI storage model, the OceanStor A310, which aims to address challenges in large model applications.
Not just any storage system, this solution debuted at GITEX GLOBAL 2023 and promises to streamline the handling of large AI models.
Think of the OceanStor A310 as your ultra-efficient digital librarian, darting about, quickly fetching chunks of data. In the AI world, speed is everything. And compared to IBM's ESS 3500? Huawei claims its librarian is noticeably swifter.
Huawei is not just boasting. When squared off against IBM's ESS 3500, the OceanStor A310 reportedly feeds Nvidia GPUs at a pace almost four times faster—all thanks to Nvidia's Magnum GPU Direct methodology. This ensures direct data transfer from an NVMe storage resource straight to the GPUs, bypassing any storage host system.
NASA Sets Sights on Deep Space with AI
As humanity's interest in becoming an interstellar species soars, NASA is gearing up for an ambitious voyage into deep space with the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope. This high-powered lens is set to launch in May 2027, intending to delve deeper into the enigmas of dark matter and dark energy—key aspects in comprehending our universe's growth.
The mission is named after Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, the first female executive at NASA and the "Mother of Hubble."
The telescope is expected to gather 20 petabytes of data over its five-year mission. NASA divisions and companies like Ball Aerospace and SpaceX are involved in the project.
The launch will be similar to the recent Psyche Mission, which explored a metal-rich asteroid.
Greece Has an AI Committee
Greece has established an advisory committee to develop a national strategy for artificial intelligence (AI). The committee, led by Constantinos Daskalakis, a professor of computer science at MIT, will include professionals in technology, ethics, law, and science. The aim is to prepare Greece for the advancements and applications of AI. The committee will also work towards Greece's participation in international AI initiatives. The strategy will consider the impact of AI on the economy and society, improve productivity, foster innovation, and strengthen local infrastructure. Greece is one of the EU member states that will be subject to the upcoming EU AI Act.
TTD Lightening ⚡️
Bitcoin's Lightning Network, a lauded layer-2 scaling solution, is weathering some significant criticism. The voice behind these claims? Pro-XRP lawyer John Deaton, who's waving a caution flag.
Deaton, a crypto enthusiast and a significant stakeholder in the "Spend The Bits" protocol on XRP Ledger (XRPL), is stacking it against Lightning. In his eyes, this protocol, designed to rev up Bitcoin's scalability, is second fiddle to XRPL's Spend The Bits.
Past months have seen Deaton praising Spend The Bits. Just last month, he painted it as a safer, more secure avenue for Bitcoin users, especially when juxtaposed with the Lightning Network.
His recent critiques align eerily with an alarming revelation on X by crypto detective, WhaleWire. The post hinted at a worrying security gap in the Lightning Network. This revelation was so concerning that it led a developer to make a swift exit from the project.
Even more eyebrow-raising? This developer dropped hints about intentional flaws peppered in the Lightning Network's code. If true, this could offer malevolent players a golden ticket to control the entire network.
Now, given that heavyweights like Tether, Bitfinex, and BlockStream are intertwined with Lightning Network, these claims throw a shadow over the trust users place in Lightning.
Stability questioned? 🚫
Prominent Bitcoin core developer, Antoine Riard, has stepped back from the Lightning Network's development team due to serious security concerns. At the heart of his anxiety is a newfound vulnerability: the "replacement cycling attack."
This allows attackers to exploit discrepancies in individual mempools, potentially stealing from channel participants. Riard believes addressing this could necessitate foundational changes to Bitcoin itself, impacting its decentralised security framework. As Riard redirects his focus to Bitcoin core development, he highlights the impending challenges and emphasises the need for community-wide consensus on future adaptations
TTD Numbers 🔢
The valuation OpenAI aims to hit by selling employee shares to investors.
The company was valued at $29 billion in April when it raised money from Microsoft and Thrive Capital.
The tender offers employees the option of selling a billion dollars worth of OpenAI shares for a specific price at a certain point in the future.
It is unclear who the buyers will be, although they could include existing OpenAI backers Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, and Sequoia Capital.
The Worldcoin Foundation will phase out USDC rewards in favour of Worldcoin (WLD) token rewards for its Orb operators by early November.
Thailand’s planned digital wallet scheme to payout 10,000 baht (~$274) to citizens over 16 years old, has been delayed. Critics want a probe.
Uniswap’s Hayden Adams burned 99% of the HayCoin (HAY) supply on October 20 over concerns about price speculation.
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