Good intentions gone bad?
"Robin Hood Hacker Donates $11,000 of Stolen Bitcoin to Help Fight ISIS.”
This is a real story and that was an actual headline. Those bitcoins were reportedly given by a person described as a "vigilante hacker," who then gave that bitcoin donation to a group in the Kurdish region of Syria.
You might say that this is a worthy cause. But there's one not-so-small problem.
That money was believed to be stolen from a bank. At least that's what the person who claimed to have stolen the money wrote on Reddit this week under the pseudonym Phineas Fisher, who wrote: “The money did come from robbing a bank. Bank robbing is more viable than ever, it’s just done differently these days.”
Now, it's Reddit and it's related to bitcoin, so there’s that. But it did stir up a lot of media attention, including one interview in which Fisher claimed that another robbery was coming.
To make this story even juicier, Fisher has even published a "DIY Guide To Hacking." He also shared his beliefs on why it's OK to rob a bank for what he believes to be a good cause. Yes, ISIS = bad. Helping the freedom fighters out = good. But robbing banks as the way to get there? Always bad.
Perhaps Robin Hood will find a sensible Little John to persuade him to take on the cause in a more legitimate way.
But in other (less ridiculous) bitcoin news of the week...
Faster payments isn't limited to the mainstream financial rails. The world of bitcoin wants in, too.
The company Blockchain, which is most known for its bitcoin wallet, has another project up its sleeves that it’s developing in order to make faster bitcoin payments.
What the company is developing is a network called Thunder that enables users to make off-chain bitcoin payments within just seconds. Those transactions can then be settled on bitcoin’s blockchain faster. While this development is still in testing mode, they say that it could be a breakthrough in terms of how bitcoin transactions are viewed.
Because today, sending money via bitcoin is anything but fast – some even claim that it takes as long as 43 minutes now, which flies in the face of the claims that bitcoin is an instant way to send money anywhere.
A bitcoin startup that’s gotten press for its ability to convert bitcoin to fiat currency has announced that it is moving out the beta and into market with the launch of its digital currency exchange services.
Coinizy, a Canada-based startup, announced the launch of its Ethereum debit card that will enable the public to fully use its services. Up until now, Coinizy has been in beta mode and focusing on how to move all of its options into market. It supports Western Union, PayPal and debit card withdrawals for certain cards.
Bitcoin and hacks seem to be the theme of the week, but this story doesn't end well for the bitcoin side of the transaction.
Gatecoin, a Hong Kong-based digital currency exchange company, became the victim of a security breach that allowed hackers to get away with 250 bitcoin and 185,000 Etherium, roughly 15 percent of the firm’s crypto-asset deposits.
Unfortunately, for Gatecoin and its clients, the total loss of the stolen currency equals roughly $2 million. The company confirmed the major hit last week, saying in a statement that the cyberattack is believed to be linked to a disruption of its service that came as a result of a server reboot.
Buying Bitcoin As Easy As ... Buying A Candy Bar?
Only in Mexico though, which is the case with a company called Bitso, a bitcoin exchange, that partnered with payment services provider Group Zmart, to make it so consumers can buy bitcoin at convenience stores across Mexico, reportedly at 29,000 locations.
“The Bitso team has worked hard to reach all potential users who would benefit from using bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Grupo Zmart through MaxSaldo has a vision to allow every corner store or 'tiendita' to have payment and access to diverse services," José Rodríguez, Bitso’s VP of Payments, wrote in a company blog post, noting that this was a development for bitcoin adoption across Mexico.