San Francisco (CNN Business)Bitcoin is on the ropes again.
Nothing says the future of finance like a good old-fashioned meltdown, and the upcoming bitcoin cash hard fork has that in spades. This is thanks, in no small part, to a man named Craig Wright.
Wright, derisively known as “Faketoshi” for his dubious claim that he is in fact Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, has gone on a strange rant in support of his version of Bitcoin Cash’s (BCH) future known as Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision).
Deep into a rambling, multi-day tweet bender, Wright has taken it upon himself to spew invective at anyone he believes threatens his plans for Bitcoin SV — especially those defending the Roger Ver-backed rival project Bitcoin ABC.
But before we get too deep in the crypto weeds, some background is in order.
Those of you whose brains have yet to be rendered functionally useless by cryptocurrency-related inanity may remember that last year Bitcoin itself experienced a so-called hard fork. The split was the result of a disagreement regarding the best way to scale a digital currency on its way to becoming bogged down by increased transactions and associated high fees, and gave birth to Bitcoin Cash (BCH) in the process.
Bitcoin Cash is now poised to undergo its own Athena moment, scheduled for Nov. 15, with a totally new coin leaping forth from its progenitor’s head. More accurately, the fork will likely result in the creation of two separate coins — each updated from BCH in different ways — as the fight essentially boils down to what specific changes will be made to Bitcoin Cash (not whether to make changes at all).
With us so far? Oh, and just to make everything more confusing, there are a total of three different proposals for how to best move forward.
But while the end goal is to improve BCH, no one can quite agree on just what exactly that means. That’s left prominent members of the Bitcoin Cash community all vying for attention with their competing technical solutions.
And there’s a lot a stake. Bitcoin cash is the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, and whichever proposal gets the most support will likely take a majority of mining power with it. Without that power, the left behind coin could potentially wither — dragging its dollar value down with it.
So with both money and prestige on the line, Wright has decided to fully freak out.
“And, no you ABSOLUTE cuck,” he tweeted on Nov. 13 in response to a defense of Bitcoin ABC. “Bitcoin IS not even close to a soy boy commitee. It is all use hard assed buggers bending you over to show you the light. It is capitalism. Enjoy”
Reassuring, right? That tweet was just one of many off-the-rails outbursts from the self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator, and definitely displayed the level of maturity you’d hope to find in someone attempting to steer a cryptocurrency to a brighter future.
And then there’s the supposed email he sent to Roger Ver. Ver, for those blissfully unaware, was an early promoter of and investor in bitcoin, who later became a full on bitcoin cash evangelist. He now supports Bitcoin ABC. In a Nov. 8 YouTube video, Ver shared what he said was an email to him from Wright.
In the supposed email, Wright once again pushes the questionable claim that he is Satoshi, and threatens Ver with “war.”
Ver, at least, appears willing to admit that maybe — just maybe — he screwed up by aligning himself with Wright in the past.
“It’s never easy to admit that you’ve been fooled,” he says in the YouTube video. “Maybe I’ve been fooled.”
The video, embedded below, continues with Ver making a tortured analogy about Bitcoin ABC’s attempt to exist separately from Bitcoin SV.
“If you wife wants a divorce, you don’t lock her in the closet and say ‘no.'”
So, with just a few days to go until the planned hard fork, the Bitcoin Cash community is faced with an embarrassing meltdown and threats of “war.”
And while whether Bitcoin ABC or Bitcoin SV will ultimately reign supreme is presently anyone’s guess, one thing is for sure: Dogecoin is starting to look a lot more reasonable.
Elon Musk’s tweets piss me off for two reasons.
When he’s not accusing actual heroes of sex crimes or trolling the federal government, it’s what comes after that drives me batshit. The top reply to most of his tweets is some asshat impersonating him to try to trick his followers into falling for a bitcoin scam.
These “get rich quick” scams are fairly simple. A hacker hijacks a verified Twitter account using stolen or leaked passwords. Then, the hacker swaps the account’s name, bio and photo — almost always to mirror Elon Musk — and drops a reply with “here’s where to send your bitcoin,” or something similar.
The end result appears as though Musk is responding to his own tweet, and nudging hapless bitcoin owners to drop their coins into the scammer’s coffers.
One of the latest “victims” was @FarahMenswear. The clothing retailer — with some 15,500 followers — was hacked this morning to promote a “bitcoin giveaway.” In the short time the scam began, the bitcoin address already had more than 100 transactions and over 5.84 bitcoins — that’s $37,000 in just a few hours’ work. Many Twitter users said that the scammers “promoted” the tweet — amplifying the scam to reach many more people.
On one hand, this scam is depressingly easy to pull off that even I could’ve done it. Depressing on the other, because that’s half a year’s wages for the average reporter.
Still, that $37,000 is a drop in the ocean to some of the other successful scam artists out there. One scammer last week, this time using @PantheonBooks, made $180,000 in a single day by tricking people into turning over their bitcoin and promising great returns.
Why is the scam so easy?
Granted, it’s clever. But it’s a widespread problem that can be largely attributed to Twitter’s nonchalant, “laissez-faire” approach to account security.
The common thread to all of these cryptocurrency scams involve hijacking accounts. Often, hackers use credential stuffing — that’s using the same passwords stolen from other breaches on other sites and services — to break into Twitter accounts. In nearly all successful cases, the hacked Twitter accounts aren’t protected with two-factor authentication. Brand accounts shared by multiple social media users almost never use two-factor, because it’s hard to share access tokens.
A Twitter spokesperson said it’s improved how it handles cryptocurrency scams and has seen a significant reduction in the amount of users who see scammy tweets. The company also said that scammers are constantly changing their methods, and Twitter is trying to stay one step ahead. In many cases, these scams are nuked from the site before they’re even reported.
And, Twitter said it regularly reminds account owners to switch on stronger security settings, like two-factor authentication.
Well, enough’s enough, Twitter. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. So maybe it’s about time you bring the water a little closer.
Until something better comes along, Twitter should make two-factor authentication mandatory for verified accounts, especially high-profile accounts — like politicians. It’s no more of an inconvenience than switching on two-factor for your email inbox or other social networking account. The settings are already there — it even rolled out the more secure app-based authentication a year ago to give users the option of switching from the less-secure text message system.
If the only other option is to stop Elon Musk from tweeting…
Bitcoin turned 10 years old, a milestone for a technology that few have used and even fewer understand. Ultimately, the blockchain it wrought could be the biggest change to banking, finance and politics ever — or it could be a dud. The jury is still out, but let’s take a walk down memory lane and see just how the product grew from White Paper to world beater.