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Hillary And Bill\'s Excellent Adventures On Wall Street

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To grasp the dangers that the Big Six banks (JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley) presently pose to the financial stability of our nation and the world, you need to understand their history in Washington, starting with the Clinton years of the 1990s. Alliances established then (not exclusively with Democrats, since bankers are bipartisan by nature) enabled these firms to become as politically powerful as they are today and to exert that power over an unprecedented amount of capital. Rest assured of one thing: their past and present CEOs will prove as critical in backing a Hillary Clinton presidency as they were in enabling her husband\'s years in office. In return, today\'s titans of finance and their hordes of lobbyists, more than half of whom held prior positions in the government, exact certain requirements from Washington. They need to know that a safety net or bailout will always be available in times of emergency and that the regulatory road will be open to whatever practices they deem most profitable. Whatever her populist pitch may be in the 2016 campaign — and she will have one — note that, in all these years, Hillary Clinton has not publicly condemned Wall Street or any individual Wall Street leader. Though she may, in the heat of that campaign, raise the bad-apples or bad-situation explanation for Wall Street\'s role in the financial crisis of 2007-2008, rest assured that she will not point fingers at her friends. She will not chastise the people that pay her hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop to speak or the ones that have long shared the social circles in which she and her husband move. She is an undeniable component of the Clinton political-financial legacy that came to national fruition more than 23 yearsOriginally appeared at: http://davidstockmanscontracorner.com/hillary-and-bills-excellent-adventures-on-wall-street/Hillary And Bill\'s Excellent Adventures On Wall Street is a story from: BitcoinWarrior.net

Hillary And Bill\'s Excellent Adventures On Wall Street is a story from: BitcoinWarrior.net

The post Hillary And Bill\'s Excellent Adventures On Wall Street appeared first on Bitcoin Warrior.


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MAKING THE ECONONY WORK FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW. STEP #1: RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE A basic moral principle that most Americans agree on is no one who works full time should be in poverty, nor should their family. Yet over time we\'ve seen significant growth in the “working poor” – people working full time, sometimes even 60 or more hours each week, but at such low wages that they remain impoverished. What to do? One step is to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. This is winnable. A powerful movement is fighting for $15 an hour and they\'re winning new laws in cities and states, and forcing companies to raise wages. If the minimum wage in 1968 had simply kept up with inflation it would be more than $10 today. If it also kept up with the added productivity of American workers since then, it would be more than $21 an hour. Some opponents say minimum wage workers are teenagers seeking some extra pocket money. Wrong. Half are 35 or older, and many are key breadwinners for their families. And don\'t believe scaremongers who say a $15 minimum will cause employers to cut employment. More money in people\'s pockets means more demand for goods and services, which means more jobs not fewer jobs. Studies also show that when the minimum is raised more people are brought into the pool of potential employees, giving employers more choice of whom to hire. This reduces turnover and helps employers save money. Finally, employers who don\'t pay enough to lift their employees out of poverty are indirectly subsidized by the rest of us – who are paying billions each year in food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, and welfare, to make up the difference. The minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour. It\'sOriginally appeared at: http://robertreich.org/post/118372382285MAKING THE ECONONY WORK FOR THE MANY, NOT THE FEW. STEP #1:… is a story from: BitcoinWarrior.net

FEW. STEP #1:…
is a story from: BitcoinWarrior.net

FEW. STEP #1:…
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US Court Rules NSA Phone surveillance Program is illegal

The Hacker News -

US Court rules NSA Phone surveillance Program is illegal United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) Spying program that systematically collects data about Millions of Americans' phone calls in bulk is illegal – Yes illegal. The NSA Phone surveillance program, first disclosed by the former NSA employee and whistleblower of global surveillance Edward Snowden, ruled illegal by a New

A Bitcoin exchange gets its first stamp of approval from New York

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Bitcoin, the popular plaything for certain technophiles, speculators and libertarians, took a big step toward maturity Thursday when the New York State Department of Financial Services approved the first exchange for the virtual currency. The approval means that the exchange, New York-based itBit, can now legally do business with customers who wish to buy or sell Bitcoins. itBit quickly announced it had raised $25 million in new financing and appointed three new board members, including former FDIC chief Sheila Bair and Bill Bradley, the former senator from New Jersey. The approval granted to itBit comes after many months of work by Ben Lawsky, the state superintendent of financial services, who took an early interest in regulating Bitcoin. Although many aficionados will surely object to government taking a role in shaping Bitcoin\'s future, it\'s also true that one of the currency\'s biggest problems has been a lack of reliable marketplaces to help spread the gospel. One leading trading venue, Japan-based Mt. Gox, collapsed into bankruptcy last year and $400 million worth of Bitcoins disappeared. (Mt. Gox is an acronym for Magic: The Gathering Online Exchange, reflecting its origins as a place to trade cards for a popular children\'s game.) Another popular marketplace, Slovenia-based Bitstamp, got hacked earlier this year—it said it was suffering from a “hot wallet issue”—and millions worth of Bitcoins vanished. Bitcoin has tremendous potential. As a payment system, it has the capacity to transfer funds more quickly and cheaply than big banks. As a currency, though, it has been found wanting so far. Bitcoin trading is terribly volatile, making it a poor store of value. Nonetheless, the fact that one Bitcoin operator now passes muster with the most important state financial regulator in the country isOriginally appeared at: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20150507/BLOGS02/150509879/a-bitcoin-exchange-gets-its-first-stamp-of-approval-from-new-yorkA Bitcoin exchange gets its first stamp of approval from New York is a story from: BitcoinWarrior.net

A Bitcoin exchange gets its first stamp of approval from New York is a story from: BitcoinWarrior.net

The post A Bitcoin exchange gets its first stamp of approval from New York appeared first on Bitcoin Warrior.

AMD launches 7000 Series chips for notebooks (Carrizzo and Carrizo-L)

Liliputing -

AMD’s new processors for notebooks and low-power desktops are starting to ship. The AMD 7000 Series chips are now available in China and should be available globally soon. These chips were formerly code-named Carrizo and Carrizo-L. The new processors are 28nm chips which feature AMD Radeon graphics and support for DirectX 12 graphics. AMD says […]

AMD launches 7000 Series chips for notebooks (Carrizzo and Carrizo-L) is a post from: Liliputing

Deals of the Day (5-07-2015)

Liliputing -

The Asus Transformer Book T100 may have been released almost two years ago, but it’s still a pretty decent 2-in-1 Windows tablet if you’re looking for a model with a 10 inch display, long battery life, and a low price tag. You can often pick one up for between $200 and $300. But GameStop is […]

Deals of the Day (5-07-2015) is a post from: Liliputing

WordPress Vulnerability Puts Millions of Websites At Risk

The Hacker News -

Millions of WordPress websites are at risks of being completely hijacked by the hackers due to a critical cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability present in the default installation of the widely used content management system. The cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability, uncovered by the security researcher reported by Robert Abela of Security firm Netsparker. Wordpress vulnerability

itBit Raises $25 Million, Granted Charter by NYDFS to Operate Nationwide with FDIC Insurance

Bitcoin Magazine -

Today, international bitcoin exchange itBit announced it had been granted a trust charter by the New York Department of Financial Services (NYFDS) under New York State banking law. This is the first such charter granted to a digital currency company by the NYDFS. ItBit also announced the successful completion of a $25 million Series A funding round and the expansion of their board of directors.

Under the charter granted to itBit by the NYFDS, itBit is now able to accept customers from all 50 U.S. states in full compliance with state and federal law.

“We have sought to move quickly but carefully to put in place rules of the road to protect consumers and provide greater regulatory certainty for virtual currency entrepreneurs,” said Benjamin Lawsky, superintendent of the NYDFS, in a statement.

ItBit applied to NYDFS for a charter beginning in February 2015. According to the NYDFS, it conducted a thorough review of itBit’s anti-money laundering, capitalization, consumer protection and cyber security standards.

“Our mission at itBit has always been to create a trusted, institutional-grade exchange, and regulatory compliance is an important pillar of that mission,” said itBit CEO and co-founder Charles Cascarilla in a statement. “Regulatory approval from the NYDFS allows us to serve as a custodian for our clients’ assets and expand our services to U.S. customers – the largest market of bitcoin traders in the world – and allows us to do so with the highest standard of care afforded by any Bitcoin company.”

In addition, itBit has partnered with a U.S. FDIC-insured banking institution to be able to offer FDIC insurance on all fiat balances held by U.S. clients. itBit has also confirmed the immediate availability of their exchange platform to all U.S. retail and institutional bitcoin traders.

The funds itBit has raised in its $25 million Series A round will be used to scale operations as it begins to onboard U.S. clients. Previous investors RRE Ventures, Liberty City Ventures and Jay W. Jordan II participated in the round, along with new participant Raptor Capital management chairman James Pallotta.

Coinciding with the raising of funds, itBit has added three new members to its board of directors: former Sen. Bill Bradley, former FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair and former FASB Chairman Robert H. Herz. Bradley served as a U.S. Senator representing New Jersey from 1979 to 1997 and was a member of the Senate Finance Committee. Bair served as Chairman of the FDIC from 2006 to 2011 and was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People. Herz was previously the Chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and is on the boards of Morgan Stanley and Fannie Mae.

This announcement from itBit sets a new standard for regulatory compliance for digital currency companies.

This is a developing story and Bitcoin Magazine will continue to update it.

The post itBit Raises $25 Million, Granted Charter by NYDFS to Operate Nationwide with FDIC Insurance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Security Theater: The Illusion of Consumer Protection by Outsourcing Identity Verification

Bitcoin Magazine -

This is a guest post by Pamela Morgan, Esq., CEO of Third Key Solutions LLC.

Security is tricky. Sometimes the most obvious security solution is ineffective and, worse, a distraction from the real risks and issues. In the security industry this is called “security theater.” It looks good and makes some people feel secure, but doesn’t actually reduce risks. Sometimes security theater even exposes people to even greater risk. Such is the case with third-party identity verification for the recovery of bitcoin accounts. It seems like the obvious solution and feels secure, but, in fact, it exposes users to far greater risks without actually doing much to increase security.

One of the most appealing parts of using Bitcoin multi-signature addresses is the potential for complete separation of control, combined with enhanced security. There are a number of ways to implement multi-sig. The most popular today involves 2-of-3 with the end-user holding two keys and a wallet company holding one. While this model secures against misconduct by the company, it doesn’t protect the customer from the very real risk of losing his or her online key or cold storage key or both. It concentrates risk and creates single point of failure with no redundancy.

This solution is flawed for a number of reasons. Doing cold storage right isn’t easy or convenient. Sure, printing a paper wallet isn’t that hard. But many people won’t even do that. Instead they screenshot their private key. They store it on their online laptop, in a cleverly named file such as “not my bitcoin,” or on their phone and forget all about it. Until they get hacked. Or lose their phone. Or their laptop dies. Unless you’re really into bitcoin or have large holdings, if you’re dealing with a broken, stolen or lost device, your bitcoin key backups might not be the first thing on your mind. You might even forget about them completely until it’s too late. For those who do print paper wallets, they must be stored in a secure, fireproof, waterproof environment, ideally off-site. This adds another layer of work that most people put off indefinitely.

Mainstream customers don’t expect to have to back up their own accounts. Password recovery is a standard part of interacting with websites and online services. Mainstream customers consider Bitcoin keys the same as passwords. I know some of you just cringed, but it’s the truth. And so is this: Most people are bad at security; they’re bad at choosing passwords and even worse at remembering them. Consumers expect their wallet company to have a “backup” or be able to restore their funds. But if the customer has lost both of his or her keys – aka passwords – the bitcoin will be lost, too.

As an industry, we’ve recognized this problem and tried to devise other solutions. The most common is to “outsource” the third key. Essentially, this configuration is also built on a 2-of-3, but instead of having the end-user deal with a backup key, a third party holds the third key instead of the customer. Issue solved! Article over … except it’s not. While outsourcing does protect the end-user from the company and provides an independent way to recover funds, consumer privacy and data protection issues arise. Let’s explore this in greater detail.

Today the en vogue idea is to have the third party verify the identity or authenticate the recovery request directly with the end user. This independent user authentication is touted as an important security feature – but is it really? What risk does it protect against? Bad actors within the company, surreptitiously stealing bitcoin from customers? New industry auditable standards (CryptoCurrency Security Standard – Level III) require all company authorized signers to have their identities verified and undergo background checks, significantly reducing the likelihood of this scenario. This idea is so pervasive, however, that it’s helpful to work through it.

The scam works like this: an employee creates fake recovery transactions and requests recovery from the third party. The third party contacts the end user who says “NO!” and the end user is protected. On its face, it seems to make sense. But when we look critically, the flaws become obvious. First, shouldn’t the company’s own internal governance processes be designed to prevent this? A few simple steps to separate duties within the company could prevent all but the most widespread collusion. Also, good governance processes should create a clear auditable and likely prosecutable trail should this level of malfeasance actually occur. Second, in order to be effective, the third party must have a pre-existing independent relationship with the end-user. This means the end-user must set up an account with the third party, separately, during the wallet setup process. Otherwise, the third party must rely on company data for verification, which leaves the bad-actor risk unmitigated. Requiring end-users to register with a third party and provide personally identifiable information is dangerous. It concentrates bitcoin user information into a small subset of the industry, recreating the client data honeypot problem and incentivizing law enforcement and criminals alike to target key storage services.

If the company is validating the recovery request, how can we be absolutely sure the customer actually requested it? We can’t – even if a third party verified the request. The issue is not who verifies the request, but what data is being verified. Verifying a phone number, sms, and/or email address could work, unless the customer’s smartphone has been stolen. Having a third party send an email or sms verification provides no more consumer protection than if the company itself sent the email or text to the user. If someone has access to the end user’s authentication device, the bitcoin can be compromised regardless of whether the verification is performed by a third party or by the company itself. It’s the illusion of protection without much substance.

Real security requires more than an email, more than an sms; it requires knowledge or biometrics. It requires the company to obtain additional personally identifying data from users during setup. Then the question becomes should all of that data be shared with a third party? Isn’t the company in a better position to secure and update that data, then validate against it when the time comes? Couldn’t the recovery request be sufficiently approved and validated within the company without sharing all kinds of private customer data with outsiders?

There is another way. If, instead of outsourcing identity verification, we outsourced governance and process validation, end users would be protected from both bad actors within a company and data compromise arising from third-party data sharing. Recovery processes move from an afterthought, only applicable in times of emergency, to an integral part of operations. This makes sense from a user-retention perspective as well. As processes are tested and refined, the user-experience improves. The company learns what data it needs, what data it doesn’t, and isn’t concerned about a third-party customer data breach that jeopardizes its entire client base. The end user still is involved in the process, confirming identity and recovery requests with the company selected to be the service provider. The company coordinates the recovery process, and is there to help the customer throughout, while the third party introduces checkpoints in the process to ensure that it is followed correctly. This way, all parties are protected from rogue employees, sloppy process, human error or malicious actors.

In the end, the best way to handle the recovery of user funds is for the company with the strongest relationship with the user to stay focused on delivering the best customer experience. Recovery is not the time to hand users over to a third party. It’s not more secure, it’s just security theater.


Background by Freepik

The post Security Theater: The Illusion of Consumer Protection by Outsourcing Identity Verification appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Microwork.io Uses Smart Contracts to Coordinate Small Tasks Worldwide

Bitcoin Magazine -

While the Internet has allowed people all around the world to find freelance work at the click of a button, it also has created a situation where these online workers are sometimes exploited or simply not paid for their work. Microwork.io is a startup that plans to put power back into the hands of the freelancer and allow the poor all over the world to earn a decent wage.

Microwork.io founder and CEO Andy Gough recently spoke to Bitcoin Magazine and answered a few questions about his new project. He described how blockchain technology can be used to “free workers all over the world from exploitation and abuse.”

Gough’s hopes for Microwork.io

Microwork.io is best described as a more open variation of Amazon Mechnical Turk. Although most freelancer websites seem to focus on the employer side of the equation, it’s clear that Microwork.io plans to help all of the freelancers in the world who have dealt with dishonest clients in the past.

“Workers will always have a voice with us,” Gough said. “We are building our site with input from the workers to determine best practices and processes, and we hope to blaze a trail that will light up millions – and later billions – of the world’s poor to a life without poverty.”

Gough also noted that the platform will enforce a minimum wage on all contracts. Many users also may not even realize that bitcoin is being used for payments under the hood.

“Our users will mainly have no familiarity with bitcoin and the blockchain, so we also allow users to have their tasks deposit money directly in their bank accounts or some other method,” Gough said. “For example, our users in the Philippines can select a smart task, do the work, and then the money will be deposited directly in their bank account as pesos. These users need not know that bitcoin is invoked, which we feel is crucial to onboard the 99 percent.”

Full verification of work via smart contracts

Perhaps the most innovative, and somewhat sci-fi, feature of Microwork.io is the ability to finalize contracts without the help of a third party. Although it obviously will not work for every type of job posted on the platform, there are certain tasks that can be confirmed via smart contracts checking the status of a certain data feed on the Internet. For example, a smart contract can check to see if a specific type of code has been added to a GitHub repository or a tweet has been sent out by a specific Twitter account.

With these sorts of “smart tasks,” the completion of certain projects can be verified via a smart contract oracle system rather than a subjective third party. This feature has the potential to help workers avoid online jobs where the employer decides to not pay an employee after the work has been completed.

Microwork.io also will have an arbitration section for jobs that are unable to be completely verified via a smart contract. Gough was able to explain what would happen in a situation where the two parties on a contract disagree on the outcome of the project:

“When this happens, the original smart task spawns a predefined number of other arbitration smart tasks, which can then be picked up by members of the community,” he said. “Arbitration smart tasks employ users to examine the original smart task requirements and vote to determine if the terms of the contract have been filled or not. These new contracts are funded by a percentage of the original smart task’s funds.”

Bitcoin for payments, Thelonious for reputation, and Codius for smart contracts

Microwork.io takes advantage of a variety of technologies in the blockchain ecosystem to create their market for smart tasks. Bitcoin is the only option for payments at this time, although (as mentioned above) many users will not even notice that bitcoin is being used behind the scenes.

A customized Thelonious blockchain is used for Microwork.io’s reputation system. Thelonious is a blockchain platform built by Eris Industries that was originally based on the Ethereum blockchain. The high level of customization offered by Thelonious made it the right choice for Microwork.io during the development process. As Gough noted, “Thelonious was used because at that time it was the only blockchain designer that could do what I wanted, but, as you know, bitcoin moves fast.”

Codius, which is developed by Ripple Labs, is the platform where the smart contracts are processed, but this could eventually change. Gough noted, “We hope to use Ethereum in the future.”

Microwork.io is currently seeking seed funding in order to bring their vision to as many people around the world as possible.

The post Microwork.io Uses Smart Contracts to Coordinate Small Tasks Worldwide appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

German Central Bank Economist Expects EU to Fund Digital Currency Research

Bitcoin Magazine -

Startup Europe organized a “Blockchain and Digital Currencies Workshop” on April 27. Digital Currency Summit founder Alex Puig led the event, with the participation of Bitcoin companies and senior financial experts.

Each European Union (EU) country regards Bitcoin differently, and regulations are constantly evolving. The Startup Europe initiative seems a first step to establish EU-wide coordination of national initiatives for Bitcoin regulation and government-funded research.

Startup Europe aims to strengthen the business environment for web and ICT entrepreneurs so that their ideas and business can start and grow in the EU. Startup Europe is part of Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE), an initiative of the European Commission, and contributes to the Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan.

Puig opened the workshop and outlined the possibilities opened up by digital currencies based on blockchain technology, including micropayments, crowdfunding, distributed exchanges, smart property, property registry, ticketing, secure voting systems and more.

After the opening, Paolo Tasca, research economist at Deutsche Bundesbank and founder of digital finance startup ECUREX Research, presented statistics and analysis extracted from a forthcoming Digital Currencies Market Report from ECUREX. He covered Bitcoin arbitrage opportunities and wealth distribution in the emerging Bitcoin economy, and other socio-economic and monetary aspects of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The Workshop included talks by representatives of digital fintech firms Coinffeine, Bit2Me, Ethereum and Circle.

Tasca outlined for Bitcoin Magazine his impressions of the final roundtable led and moderated by the European Commission, with the participation of the speakers in the workshop and experts from the European Commission.

“The recurring question was not ‘whether’ but ‘how’ the blockchain technology will impact on our daily life activities,” he said. “Of course, the activities that will be firstly disrupted will be those related to the capital and banking sectors (we are already observing the first effects).”

He noted that this also will have impact on the role of financial market authorities and central banks. There are many regulatory authorities and supervisory agencies (almost 100) in Europe currently, and their positions on the matter are most of the time not well coordinated or harmonized even within the same country. Tasca emphasized that a similar mis-coordination is also happening in the United States.

He added, that Europe, however, is strategically in a better position than the United States “because we don’t have yet a capital market union, and the infrastructures (‘bridges and streets’) toward this goal need to be created from scratch: In EU we don’t have ‘legacies costs.’ This is not the case for the USA where the capital markets are more radically and deeply developed.”

Thus, the EU 2020 initiative Digital Agenda for Europe and the EU digital economy agenda, combined with the recent call for a capital market union with the aim and scope to unlock capitals around Europe, may open the doors to blockchain-based technology applications. The capital market union would give savers more investment choices and offer businesses a greater choice of funding at lower costs, among the other things.

“We expect that the EU Commission will start funding research projects specifically targeted to digital currencies and blockchain technologies as recently done by the U.K. government,” said Tasca, referring to the recent U.K. government decision to fund research in digital currencies.

Tasca’s statements reflect his personal views and do not necessarily coincide with the position of the Deutsche Bundesbank.
EPP Summit December 2010CC BY 2.0

The post German Central Bank Economist Expects EU to Fund Digital Currency Research appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Android M — Latest Google Android OS to be Unveiled This Month

The Hacker News -

While majority of smartphone users are waiting for Android 5.0 Lollipop update for their devices, Google is soon going to launch the next version of Android at its official Google I/O 2015 developer event May 28 in San Francisco. Android M — The name of the latest version of Android mobile operating system was spotted at the Google I/O 2015 schedule under the "Android for Work Update"


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