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Vitalik Says Google Quantum Computer Not Yet Useful

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Vitalik Says Google Quantum Computer Not Yet Useful
Vitalik Says Google Quantum Computer Not Yet Useful

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is not at all impressed by the perceived threat Bitcoin (BTC) faces from Google’s quantum computer.

Buterin took to Twitter on Oct. 23, where he commented on the news that Google had achieved quantum supremacy, meaning that a quantum computer has solved a mathematical calculation that would take any traditional computer millennia to solve. Buterin shared a seemingly snarky analogy:

“My one-sentence impression of recent quantum supremacy stuff so far is that it is to real quantum computing what hydrogen bombs are to nuclear fusion. Proof that a phenomenon and the capability to extract power from it exist, but still far from directed use toward useful things.”

Bitcoin evangelist and educator Andreas Antonopoulos echoed similar sentiments towards Google’s quantum computer at the beginning of October, when he said that the threat to Bitcoin by Google’s quantum supremacy is “zip, bupkis nada:”

“What is the effect on mining and the cryptocurrency world in general? Zip, bupkis, nada, nothing happens. Quantum supremacy – what Google described – is demonstrating the practical applicability of quantum computers to certain classes of problems. Those classes of problems are not the same class of problem we’re talking about when we talk about breaking cryptography.”

In theory, quantum computers could vastly speed up the process of solving complex calculations and might, therefore, pose a real threat to Bitcoin’s proof-of-work mechanism, as well as blockchain technology at large. Quantum calculations will be endlessly superior to modern cryptography, in such a way that it could reverse cryptocurrency transactions and possibly gain access to private keys.

Scott Aaronson, a quantum theoretician at the University of Texas at Austin, recently claimed that Google’s quantum computing technology could actually turn out to be a huge help to improve the technology which underpins proof-of-stake (PoS) cryptocurrencies. He wrote on his blog:

“A sampling-based quantum supremacy experiment could almost immediately be repurposed to generate bits that can be proven to be random to a skeptical third party (under computational assumptions). This, in turn, has possible applications to proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies and other cryptographic protocols. I’m hopeful that more such applications will be discovered in the near future.”

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Crypto Expert Says There Is 60 Percent Chance of Bitcoin Miner Capitulation

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Crypto Expert Says There Is 60 Percent Chance of Bitcoin Miner Capitulation

Cryptocurrency analyst Charles Edwards has estimated that there is a 60 percent chance that another miner capitulation, the dramatic drop of Bitcoin’s hash rate, will take place soon. Miners have to decide whether they want to call it quits or run their operations at a loss in order not to miss out on a potential bull run.

In his Medium article, Edwards opined that there was an intrinsic link between hash rate and price. The new price bottom tends to coincide with miners leaving the Bitcoin network en masse. Hence, buying new coins when the hash rate reaches a local low could be an excellent opportunity to generate big returns (as the table below shows).

Potential returns

Hash rate is not as volatile as price. The biggest drop that has been recorded since 2010 is only 53 percent (a world of difference compared to Bitcoin’s record-holding 93 percent drop).

Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, which gauges the amount of computational power that is required for solving one BTC block, declined by seven percent on Nov. 7. However, Dutch permabull “Plan B” predicted that the next adjustment would be positive for Bitcoin based on its growing hash rate.

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Bitcoin ATMs Top 6,000 Worldwide

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Bitcoin ATMs Top 6,000 Worldwide

There are now more than 6,000 bitcoin and crypto ATMs available to users worldwide.

According to data compiled by CoinATMRadar, there have been 6,003 crypto-based ATMs installed worldwide as of Nov. 17.

The United States continues to lead the rest of the world in bitcoin ATMs, with more than 3,900 machines installed. Canada has the second most 653, followed by the United Kingdom with 272 crypto ATM installations.

As previously reported, bitcoin ATMs have experienced a resurgence in growth throughout 2019, alongside the rising price of crypto-assets. In September, the total number of crypto ATMs worldwide topped 5,500, marking a 500 percent increase in installations since 2016.

Compared to traditional exchanges, ATMs charge higher fees on transactions that can reach as much as 15%. However, they also provide a convenient, physical kiosk for the transfer of bitcoin to fiat, and vice-versa, in addition to buying and selling crypto-assets.

Many members of the crypto community have looked at the rise in ATMs as a positive indicator of growing demand.

 

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Russian Intelligence Agency FSB Linked to $450 Million in Missing Bitcoin

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Russian Intelligence Agency FSB Linked to $450 Million in Missing Bitcoin

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has been linked to the disappearance of $450 million in bitcoin from the controversial crypto exchange World Exchange Services (WEX).

Controversial Exchange WEX/BTC-e

In late 2018, Russian-based crypto exchange WEX collapsed amidst accusations of money-laundering the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoin and other crypto assets. According to a BBC report published Nov. 15, the Russian FSB intelligence agency may have played a role in misappropriating the lost funds.

WEX was previously known as BTC-e before being shut down in 2017 by international authorities for its alleged involvement in money-laundering activities. Alexander Vinnik, the exchange’s alleged operator, was arrested at the time and accused of laundering more than $4 billion in cryptocurrency since the exchange’s launch in 2011.

A PwC report earlier in the year said,

WEX is most notably known for its alleged involvement in the laundering of some $4 billion, transferring of funds to facilitate operations of the threat actor tracked by PwC as Blue Athena, and being responsible for cashing out 95% of all ransomware payments made since 2014.

FSB Crypto Fund

According to the BBC report, WEX/BTC-e co-founder Alexey Bilyuchenko says he was forced to hand over information about customer’s digital wallets to members of the FSB in 2018, which the intelligence agency allegedly used to obtain more than $450 million in user funds.

The BBC claims to have obtained audio recordings from individuals discussing the importance of bringing WEX under FSB control, including one man the BBC identifies as Konstantin Malofeev, a pro-Kremlin Russian billionaire currently under U.S. sanctions.

Bilyuchenko reportedly received multiple calls threatening to close the WEX exchange if he did not comply. According to the report, the WEX co-founder was taken to FSB offices in Moscow over the course of three days in April 2018, where he handed over flash drives containing details on accessing exchange user funds.

Bilyuchenko says he was told that WEX client money would be transferred to the “FSB Russia Fund.” Several months after handing over the data, WEX froze customer funds and withdrawals, before completely shutting down in late 2018.

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