7.30am MORNING HEADLINES
Updates below throughout the day….
Wallet holders will be happy to know that BTC has risen to $8,493 over the weekend, a $400 rise on the day so far and another sign that confidence might be returning after an early-year spell of negative news and price falls.
The big news over the weekend came after Security researcher Scott Helme was alerted to the hack by a friend who sent him antivirus software warnings received after visiting a UK Government website.
In the biggest hack of its kind to date, users loading the websites of NHS services, the Information Commissioner’s Office, the Student Loans Company, as well as the council websites for Manchester City, Camden, and Croydon – and even the homepage of the United States Courts – were involved in the hack after having the processing power of the very computer in your home hijacked to ‘mine’ coins.
Malicious code for software known as “Coinhive”, a program advertising itself as “A Crypto Miner for your Website” would start running in the background until the webpage is closed.
However, twitter user Ankur Banerjee has suggested that although this approach feels like an attack, it might actually be an alternative to online advertising.
He said: “Coinhive may or may not survive since there’s no consent on the user side, but this model (rightly or wrongly) is already being talked about as an alternative to online advertising.
“In exchange for access to content, you allow the site to use spare CPU to mine cryptocurrencies.”
9.58am – UPDATE – $700 rise on day so far
BTC is continuing on its northernly path hitting $8,803 and marking a $733 rise on the day so far.
7.52am – UPDATE – 51 percent hack
Express.co.uk has been covering the heavily theoretical idea of how a 51 percent attack could affect bitcoin and the blockchain, further damaging trust as cryptocurrencies move towards the mainstream.
Gasper Stih, CMO of cryptocurrency project Hedge told Express.co.uk over the weekend that the 51 percent theory is most probably only ever going to be that – a theory.
He said: “Anyone who was able to harness that much mining power would most probably be able to make more money through actual mining, rather than by blocking transactions and double spending.
“Yes, we have seen malicious collusion affect the price of currency at a smaller level, like when a fake John McAfee Twitter count was used in a pump and dump scheme on the price of GVT at the beginning of the year.
“But that was orchestrated in a chatroom.”
Stih adds that we’ve come close to a scenario where a 51 percent attack might be possible in the past — like the ghash.io incident in 2014.
He adds: “While miners often pool themselves together to increase power, they all know the very power of the verification process comes from its decentralisation.
“So if it were to happen again, I imagine you would have a similar scenario to that of 2014 — the crypto community started to panic, and the miners took it upon themselves to leave the pool so things would balance out.
“And anyway, the risk of an attack is further mitigated by that fact, the collusion and secrecy needed to prevent something like that happening would be huge, and is very unlikely to go undetected.”