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Bitcoin Futures Listed by Chicago Board Options Exchange

That sole title may make proponents of Bitcoin make waves of contentment, whereas those that are more skeptical of the cryptocurrency (or cryptocurrencies in general) will likely find themselves shaking their heads in dismay. Whether you're on one of those camps, or Bitcoin is just indifferent for you, the fact that a cryptocurrency has made its way to a bona fide exchange should likely mean one thing: Bitcoin's valuation is only ever more likely to increase now.

Futures trading is one of the wildest, less material forms of trading, since the actual property of the item whose futures you're investing into never becomes yours. Instead, futures trading is more akin to betting, where investors gauge the expected value of a product in the future. A futures trader may invest in the price of rice in China, the expected value of shares for a given company, the value of a fiat currency... And now, the value of bitcoin. Usually, the best futures traders make their decisions based on actual real world data that might affect their investment. The thing here that might propel Bitcoin's value upwards, is that we're already seeing the effect this futures trading has brought upon Bitcoin. Remember that Nicehash hack that resulted in the theft of a puny $68M? Well, historically, hacks in cryptocurrencies have brought about plummeting value, as investors knee-jerk and cash-out before the same can happen to them (among other variables). However, the hype from Bitcoin being traded in an exchange has been so great in the past few weeks that the Nicehash hack didn't register as so much as a blip in Bitcoin's value, in the grand scheme of things. It's just kept on increasing.

Mining "Renting" Service Nicehash Hacked; $68M Routed From User Wallets

Another high-profile hack has hit Bitcoin, as cryptocurrency mining pool Nicehash has confirmed that they've suffered a hack which has rendered users' wallets with the service to be emptied. The heist, currently valued at more than $68M, transferred 4,736.4281 BTC in total to the unknown party's (the perpetrator's, almost certainly) wallet. A single transaction of 4,655.25349748 BTC was the most high-profile one to take place, and has left Nicehash users in the cold.

In a post on Reddit, Nicehash representatives confirmed the heist, stating that "Unfortunately, there has been a security breach involving NiceHash website. We are currently investigating the nature of the incident and, as a result, we are stopping all operations for the next 24 hours. Importantly, our payment system was compromised and the contents of the NiceHash Bitcoin wallet have been stolen. We are working to verify the precise number of BTC taken."

Steam Removes Bitcoin Support as Payment Option

In a blog post over at the Steam community pages, the outfit has announced that it would no longer be accepting Bitcoin as a viable payment option for purchases in the Steam store. In the blog, Steam points towards Bitcoin's high volatility as one of the reasons (the cryptocurrency very frequently sees swings in the order of hundreds of dollars in mere minutes, which makes it more difficult to properly equate Bitcoin's and the purchase's value. Additionally, Steam cites increasingly high transaction fees that sometimes can reach as much as $20, a well-known problem in the cryptocurrency's blockchain that has resisted numerous attempts at being fixed, thus generating multiple forks.

"At this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option. We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date," the Steam team writes. Users that have been hit with requests for refunds or extra payment depending on the cryptocurrency's fluctuations can rest easy that Steam is aware of the issues and delays, and said that they "(...) will continue working to resolve any pending issues for customers who are impacted by existing underpayments or transaction fees." This event can be read in two ways: that it's a blow for Bitcoin's positioning as virtual gold, as this might start a snowball effect on other companies that accept Bitcoin as a means of payment, thus diluting the usability of the cryptocurrency and potentially affecting its value; or as a vindication for the defenders of Bitcoin as only a high-value, high-stakes cryptocurrency, leaving smaller payments to other more nimble, purpose-designed cryptocoins.

Source: Steam Community Blog

We Need a Lost Cryptocurrency Crawler: 4 Million Bitcoins Lost in the Ether

Cryptocurrencies as they currently are implemented are one of the most divisive subjects among the tech and economic communities in recent years. No, really; it's reached a kind of "Hayek vs Keynes" level of argument in the later. But one thing can't be denied: some early adopters of the technology have cashed in thoroughly and profoundly on the leading cryptocurrencies. The fact that Bitcoin has appreciated some 340% in the last six months (around $7,300 value increase in a single coin of the cryptocurrency) means many people more will see unbelievable surges in their net worth. Today, a single Bitcoin is trading for around $9,530 - and this is a cryptocurrency that, in its infancy, was being used to trade at rates of thousands of Bitcoin per pizza.

However, as with every currency, there's inevitable losses; paper money has seen its fair share of that, and galleons and caravels filled with gold up to the mast used to sink in oceans all around the world. But cryptocurrency is a digital currency; it's impossible for it to deteriorate away, to be lost with your wallet, or any other exceedingly sad case of lost value. Right? Well, not so; it's encryption algorithm ensures that for users to be able to access the contents of their digital wallets, they have to know the password. And many passwords have been lost and forgotten. Some users have even thrown away HDDs with wallets containing thousands of Bitcoin, and some have even lost their hardware wallets.

FSP Releases a Powerful 2000W Dedicated Mining Power Supply

The topic of Bitcoin mining continues trending. Some countries even acknowledge payment with digital currency such as Bitcoin as legal payment methods. In order to keep up with this trend, high specification dedicated mining equipment is continually released by the industry. ASUS and ASRock have released mining dedicated motherboards, and high-end graphics cards from major manufacturers such as nVIDIA and AMD, etc. have all been sold out.

With the upgrading of this equipment, the power needed for overall operation of computers also needs to be increased in response to the power needed for the heavy operation during the mining process. However, currently there are very few power supplies on the market dedicated for mining. FSP power fully understands the needs of miners, and became the first to release the FSP2000-A0AGPBI 2000-watt super high powered power supply to prevent power malfunctions during the mining process when the processor/graphics card is operating at full speed and the power is at full-load 24 hours a day.

Amazon Registers Three New Domains Related to Cryptocurrency

Reports are coming in that Amazon registered three new domains on Tuesday. Normally, this wouldn't raise any eyebrows at all. However, the domain names are quite unique as they're related to cryptocurrency apparently. The domains are amazonethereum.com, amazoncryptocurrency.com, and amazoncryptocurrencies.com. According to the registration information taken from the Whois database, all three are registered to Amazon Technologies, Inc., which we all know is a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc.

At the moment of this article, we're not sure what is the reasoning behind Amazon's move. Speculations are saying that maybe the tech giant is finally getting into the cryptocurrency business. Or perhaps it's simply a marketing strategy to protect the Amazon brand similar to when the company registered amazonbitcoin.com back in 2013, which redirects users to the Amazon front page. Some are considering it an indication that Amazon might start accepting cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin despite Amazon Pay's VP Patrick Gauthier telling CNBC last month that there were no immediate plans to accept cryptocurrency.

Pirate Bay Mines Coins in Your Browser - Revenue Model of the Future?

It has come into the limelight that popular torrenting website The Pirate Bay (TPB) has been running additional code on their site, which helped enable them to make use of a visitor's CPU in mining Monero (XMR, a cryptocurrency with added layers of anonymity when compared to Bitcoin). Now, I realize Torrenting (in particular, of copyright-protected material) is in itself a subject open to heated debate - but let's leave that discussion for another day. Today, I thought I'd focus on this mining act itself, on how TPB was secretly using your computing resources to stealthily mine cryptocurrency which they could then turn into additional revenue.

That this was done without the users' consent is clearly wrong. We as users are entitled to know what to expect from our system and from its usage of our resources - as seldom as we can claim that ability nowadays. That a site we are visiting is using our computing resources to generate additional revenue than the one it obtains from ads without, at the very least, being forthcoming about it (with the increased electricity costs that implies, however small) can be considered, at a minimum, distasteful. However, the discussion becomes much more interesting if we wonder what would have happened if users had, in fact, been warned. What does this mean for the future of web browsing, for revenue models - and for those pesky, flashy, little (or not so little) ads?
To our forum-lurkers: this article is marked as an Editorial

Newegg, Rosewill Partner in Bringing Miners the PSUs They Deserve

Mining is a billion unit business by any metric you use: be it in hardware components sold, dollars generated for miners, and energy consumption, mining is one of the most florescent businesses in recent years. Mining around the globe consumes more power than many countries by themselves would; moves huge amounts of hardware through both sea and air; and is one of the more divisive technological developments of the decade, with proponents claiming it's the reinvention of the economic wheel, and others defining it as a hoax, a purposeless, virtual fallacy with no added value other than that which can be attributed to a pyramid scheme. However, no matter which side of the fence you stand in, there's one thing both miners and users usher in: enough PSU power to enable them to attain their particular use cases with both high-efficiency and peace of mind.

Where's My Bitcoin? "Cerber" Ransomware Starts Stealing Cryptocurrency Wallets

"Where's my Bitcoin?" is a question no miner, investor or mere user in the cryptocurrency ever wants to have to ask. There's always someone willing to take advantage of someone else's hard work or subjection to risk in order to increase their own value; and if there's something years of cyber security have told us, is that hackers seldom lag in picking up new sources of undeserved revenue. So it was only a matter of time before general purpose ransomware started seeing updates so as to take advantage of the newer trends in valuable assets. Enter cryptocurrency. And you can probably guess the rest of this piece.

The new, updated Cerber ransomware routine now not only encrypts a user's files, it also looks for some specific, known Bitcoin wallet applications (namely, and as of time of writing, Bitcoin Core, Electrum, and Multibit), copies them to an external server controlled by the hackers, and proceeds to delete them from the user's PC. Naturally, Cerber also has a routine that handles copying passwords that are stored in your browser of choice. The wallet stealing and copying isn't much of a concern per se; there are additional security measures in any given wallet before the hackers can access their potential treasure trove of cryptocurrency. However, many people also keep files with passwords or some such on their computers; and could be doing a disfavor to themselves by not keeping another copy of their wallets on a secure, non-internet connected hardware wallet, or even USB pen. Naturally, a user who kept the password for their wallet on their system is vulnerable to the entire "ransomware" portion of the Cerber malware; and if someone doesn't even have another copy of their wallet but keeps an ungodly amount of value in it, could very well be facing losses towards the entirety of their wallet. Definitely not a good place to be.

Sources: Trend Micro Cerber Ransomware Removal Tool, Trend Micro, Trend Micro on Cerber Ransomware, via HotHardware, Picture Source

No End to GPU Supply Woes: Germany Supplier Hit by Shortage, Pulls Cards

There seems to be no end in sight for current high-performance, discrete graphics cards' supply constraints. If you've been looking for a specialized graphics processing unit to push eye-candy on your favored 3D experiences to the max, you've probably been having trouble for a while now. It all stems from a crazy, dizzying wave of cryptocurrency mining. And the fact that this mining spree has already taken global mining power consumption to levels close to a 17 million population country, as one of our editors puts it, kind of has a human problem. And it would seem that not even NVIDIA and AMD's partners' attempts to sate current miners' appetite for profit-generating graphics cards has put a dent on demand.

On Cryptocoins: I think I know why Satoshi Nakamoto Hides

To all you out there wondering why you can't get a GPU for gaming at a reasonable rate, or why we are using record numbers in energy usage to mint so called "toy money," depleting our planets energy in the process, I have a bit of a statement to make as a former miner and "part of the problem" so to speak.

I'm sorry, it wasn't supposed to be this way. None of it was supposed to go down like this.

That probably requires some justification, yes? I mean mining is an inherently energy expensive operation, right? Well, yes and no, respectively. Yes, it requires justification, and that's precisely because mining is NOT an inherently energy expensive operation, despite public perception. It has become that way due to human greed, and nearly everything bad to come from cryptocurrency has decidedly come from that group: humans. Cryptocurrency is not inherently responsible. The inventors, pioneers, and early miners such as myself never anticipated what was to come, and we did not intend it to be this way. Bitcoin was intended to do good, and in the end, it wasn't cryptocurrency that screwed it all up, it was humans. Human greed, particularly.

Cryptocurrency Mining Consumes More Power Than 17M Population Country

So, yes, the headline is accurate. We all know that cryptocurrency mining has now reached an all time high, which has affected availability and pricing of most graphics cards from both AMD and NVIDIA. Who doesn't want to make a quick buck here and there? So long as it's profitable, right?

Well, that kind of thinking has already brought the global mining power consumption to unprecedented levels (some might also say demented.) The two top cryptocurrencies right now (by market-cap), Bitcoin and Ethereum, are each responsible for 14.54 TWh and 4.69 TWh power consumption figures. As of now, Ethereum consumes almost as much power as the 120th most power-consuming country, Moldova, which has a population of around 3 million. Bitcoin, on the other hand, stands at 81st on the list, in-between Mozambique and Turkmenistan, the latter of which has a population estimated at 5.17 million people. Combined, Ethereum and Bitcoin consume more power than Syria, which had an estimated 2014 population above 17 million.

Sapphire Makes Mining-Oriented Graphics Cards Available for Pre-Order

Ah mining. The revival of an old craze. Who doesn't want to make their room's temperature increase to insane levels over the summer in order to cash in on the mining wagon? Who doesn't want to pull their hardware by the ankles and wrists, stretching it in utilization so as to maintain the PoW (proof of Work) cryptographic security in cryptocurrencies? Apparently, a not insignificant number of users and would-be miners does want that. That has, in turn, placed a whole lot of pressure on the graphics card market from both AMD and NVIDIA, with prices climbing and skyrocketing for graphics cards in the $200-$400 price ranges, as you know. It remains to be seen whether the flow of new miners decreases somewhat now, considering the recent market correction (read: dip) in the cryptocurrency market value (down around 42% from the all-time high of 357€ [~$400] of June 12th.)

After ASUS, it would seem like it's Sapphire's time to try and sway miners from their consumer-oriented, gaming graphics cards, through the launch of five different graphics cards models especially geared for mining. These are currently available for pre-order on Overclockers UK, and there are five different products in total, one based of RX 560 silicon, and four different takes on the RX 470 silicon (no, that's not a typo; it really is the 400 series.)

South Korean Company Nayana to Pay $1 million in Bitcoin After Ransomware Attack

Ransomware has been seeing an increasing amount of interest in the tech world, motivated not only by the increase in number and severity of attacks, but also by the fact that some companies do elect to pay the demands. In this case, Nayana, a South Korean web hosting provider, announced it is in the process of paying a three-tier ransom demand of nearly $1 million worth of Bitcoin. This decision comes following a ransomware infection that encrypted data on customer' servers. The company said 153 Linux servers were affected, servers which stored the information of more than 3,400 customers.

The attackers initially asked for a ransom payment of 550 Bitcoin, which was worth nearly $1.62 million at the time of the request. After negotiating, the final amount came to 397.6 Bitcoin, which amounted to roughly $1 million at the time (Bitcoin is currently at $2744.56, so right now, those 397.6 Bitcoin are worth roughly $1.1 million dollars). The company has already paid two of the three payment tranches, and expects the decryption operation to take up to ten days due to the vast amount of encrypted data. If the data is liberated at all, that is, which can't really be counted upon, now can it?

New NVIDIA Specialized Pascal 1060-based Cryptocoin Mining GPUs Photographed

Pictures of the new Pascal 1060-based Cryptocoin-specific mining GPUs have surfaced on the Chinese tech site expreview.com. They look markedly different than their gaming variety, not only lacking any display outputs (as expected), but also lacking any fan or active cooling at all and merely having a passive aluminum heatsink to cool it. It is likely that it could expect external active cooling or high airflow cases to function properly.
The design also seems to sport a custom PCB, and a single PCI-e power connector, suggesting a reasonably low power draw. The site also hints at a 1080 "mining edition" GPU being in the works, but has no photographic evidence on that front.

Expreview appears to have a lot of them already set up in a good quality rack-miner style setup, so feel free to oogle over this article's photographs if you happen to be interested in the Cryptocoin "wave" as of late.Source: expreview.com

NVIDIA, AMD to Launch Mining-Oriented Versions of Their GPUs

You must've heard the news of increasingly tighter supply on AMD's video cards. This is kind of a "hello darkness my old friend" kind of moment, since we've seen this happening before. However, these days, the problem looks to be exacerbated with the increase in digital currencies - it's not just Bitcoin now. Ethereum and Zcash have come in to fill customer's desire for a lower entry, ASIC-resistant mineable cryptocurrency. And with the currencies' exploding pricing, people are once again looking to enter the mining craze - to ride the crypto wave, so to speak. All higher-performance graphics cards since the R200 series are flying off the shelves and second hand markets, and as we speak, virtually all RX 580 models are out of stock on Newegg. And while AMD graphics cards have historically been leagues better than their NVIDIA counterparts in mining environments, recently some specialized miners have surfaced, tailored for the Pascal architecture (more oriented to Zcash, though.)

BIOSTAR Ready to Launch Motherboards with Built-in ASICS – Great for Bitcoins

BIOSTAR is now readying a crypto currency (such as Bitcoin) mining motherboard, the BTC-24GH, with 64 ASICs on-board that offers 24GH/s performance which is equivalent to more than 30 ATI 7970 graphic cards. The product is now ready to ship, and BIOSTAR is planning to build up professional operation sites in specific countries. In the Bitcoin world, a "mining rig" is a computer system used for mining bitcoins or other crypto currencies. It can be built specifically for mining or it could be your everyday computer for gaming and surfing, and is used to mine only on a part-time basis.

With the rising price of Bitcoins, GPU mining can theoretically be profitable. What you need is a system that can do enormous amounts of mathematical calculations. Up till now, the best way to do this is the GPUs in graphics cards. Now there are ASICs (Application-Specific Integrated Circuit). ASICs are good at one thing only, solving mathematical hash functions. In this case, their strong hashing power and low power usage, making it very efficient to use.

iBUYPOWER Debuts Coin Mining Systems

Imagine a machine that went to work for you each day and earned you a paycheck, while you relaxed in front of the television. The IBUYPOWER GPU coin mining systems powered by AMD's Radeon HD 290X graphics cards do just that.

Coin mining is taking the world by storm. By crunching data to help support the currency ecosystem, consumers can earn Litecoins, Dogecoins and Lottocoins, among many others. Of course, with all that compute power on tap, you'll be able to crunch through general compute tasks faster than ever.

BIOSTAR Announces Two Motherboards for Bitcoin Mining

BIOSTAR has two ATX motherboards that are perfect for setting up a Bitcoin mining machine. One, based on the Intel H81 chipset, the Hi-Fi H81 S2 is an Intel socket 1150 board and the other, the H61B is a socket 1155 board. Together they cover support for Intel 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Core i7/i5 and i3 processors.

In the Bitcoin world, a "mining rig" is a computer system used for mining Bitcoins. It can be built specifically for mining or it could be your everyday computer for gaming and surfing, and is used to mine only on a part-time basis.

ASRock Unveils Two Motherboards Made for Bitcoin Mining

Dig the fact that there's probably no way you're ever going to end up dirty rich overnight, not unless you hit the jackpot or discover Davy Jones' treasure. Or maybe what you could try is to mine for the legendary peer-to-peer digital currency bitcoin.

Recently, bitcoin is gaining more and more popularity and value around the globe. A Norwegian man that invested in $27 of bitcoin back in 2009 fluctuated into $886,000 windfall. There's also a new permanent bitcoin ATM installed in Canada. The process of obtaining these digital coins through computing is called "mining", and ASRock is here to assist you to jump in the gold rush immediately with two new motherboards designed for bitcoin mining - H81 Pro BTC and H61 Pro BTC!

Windows 8 Secure Boot Feature: Not So Secure?

We have brought you the potential perils of the upcoming UEFI Forum-implemented - www.uefi.org - Windows 8 secure boot feature here, here and here. However, it appears that it may not be so 'secure' after all, since there appears to be a surefire way to circumvent it, at least for the moment, while it's in development.

Softpedia has scored an exclusive interview with security researcher Peter Kleissner, who has created various Windows (XP, Server 2003 etc) "bootkits", which allow OS infection at the highest privilege level, giving unrestricted access to the whole of the PC. His latest one, called Stoned Lite, shows how the Windows 8 secure boot process, still in development, can be subverted, as it stands. He is planning to release details of how the code works at the upcoming International Malware Conference (MalCon) - http://malcon.org - that will take place in India on November 25th. It appears that the real vulnerability exists in the legacy BIOS boot procedure, not in Microsoft's implementation of secure boot, as Kleissner said:
The problem with the legacy startup is that no one verifies the MBR, which makes it the vulnerable point. With UEFI and secure boot, all the boot applications and drivers have to be signed (otherwise they won’t be loaded). You can compare it to TPM, although Arie van der Hoeven from Microsoft announced that the secure boot feature is mandatory for OEMs who want to be UEFI certified. It is a good message that security is not an option.

Bitcoin & Password Stealer Trojan For Mac Now Available!

Hot on the heels of our previous story of Apple Macs falling prey to a DDoS trojan, we now have another Mac trojan come on the market, as explained by Sophos. Yes, the Apple platform must indeed be becoming more popular to get this one. It's an unfortunate fact of life that the popularity of any computing platform, including smartphones, can be judged by the number of criminals who will attack it. This little nasty, called OSX/Miner-D or 'DevilRobber', hijacks Mac OS X to perform various tricks, which include minting Bitcoins (the virtual and now virtually worthless currency) stealing usernames and passwords (of course) taking screenshots and stealing the victim's Bitcoin wallet while it's at it, if there is one. And for good measure:
it runs a script that copies information to a file called dump.txt regarding truecrypt data, Vidalia (TOR plugin for Firefox), your Safari browsing history, and .bash_history.
So, now the criminals also know about all the sites one has visited, eroding user privacy even more. It looks like this malware has covered all the bases, but wait, there's more.
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