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Introducing Ledger, the First Bitcoin-Only Academic Journal

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Bitcoin has mesmerized academics, computer scientists and economists alike, for cutting out the PayPals and governments usually required for digital money. Finally, researchers have an official setting to nerd out in. Tuesday, the University of Pittsburgh launched the first Bitcoin-only journal, Ledger, which tackles the interdisciplinary world of cryptocurrency research.

You might ask, how much Bitcoin research can there possibly be? Bitcoin has seen scrolls of papers, exploring everything from improving information propagation across the Bitcoin network to advice for regulating cryptocurrency-inspired financial instruments. Ledger’s editors argue that cryptocurrency is too sprawling of a field of study for any “traditional journal.”

The peer-reviewed academic journal will cover technical, social, economic, and philosophical cryptocurrency developments. A paper might address, for instance, the new cryptocurrency algorithm designs, or a macroeconomic study.

It may be about time—the number of academic research papers about it tripled from 2013 to 2014.

The idea was born during a discussion between managing editors Dr. Peter R. Rizun and Prof. Christopher E. Wilmer on the Bitcoin forum bitcointalk.org.

“I wanted to build an academic and interdisciplinary communication channel that would allow bright minds in economics, sociology, physics, law and political science to contribute at the highest-level towards the evolution of Bitcoin,” Rizun said.

Apparently, the academic community agreed. Ledger’s editorial board is a star-studded crew, with representation from Oxford, Standford, and MIT.

Researchers take note, the journal takes a unique approach to publishing. One unique thing about Bitcoin is that it can store information forever. Before publishing an article the staff will take the manuscript, cryptographically hash it—or turn it into a fixed-sized message—and embed it in the Bitcoin blockchain, offering irrefutable proof that it existed on that date. Authors are “strongly encouraged” to sign the hash, in what’s known as a digital signature, to demonstrate their approval.

“I’m glad to see Ledger launch,” former lead Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen said, “and am looking forward to absorbing the great research that will be published there.” Ledger emerges among a pretty enthusiastic community of researchers. And it’s open access, so any nerdy Bitcoin enthusiast can dig into the research (for free) in the first issue next year.

Bitcoin may be reaching crisis mode over a technical parameter, but academia doesn’t seem any less intrigued by the peer-to-peer currency.

Bitcoin Hacking Group Targeting Australian Banks?

DDoS concept

A bitcoin hacking group calling itself “DD4BC” which stands for “distributed denial of service for bitcoin” is allegedly targeting Australian banks like Macquarie and Westpac. These reported extortion campaigns have reportedly been running since May this year, prompting authorities to initiate a new cybersecurity outfit called the Australian Cybersecurity Center (ACSC).

This follows news that Australian banks have discontinued transactions to several bitcoin companies by terminating their bank accounts, spurring speculations that the announcements may have something to do with the bitcoin hacking attacks.
Bitcoin Hacking in Australia

As it turns out DD4BC demands bitcoins from brokers in the country, threatening with a DDOS attack on the company server. For online stock broker Rick Klink interviewed by the Australian Financial Review, the bitcoin hacking group demanded 25 bitcoins otherwise the ransom would rise. He refused to respond to the criminals and decided to contact authorities instead, including the Australian Federal Police, cloud provider Amazon, and ACSC.

According to ACSC, the DD4BC group has launched roughly 150 attacks on businesses in Australia, the US, and the UK. Cloud security provider Akamai reported that more than 50% of these attacks are focused on the financial sector.

With major Australian banks unwilling to be associated with business accounts that could be processing transactions for these bitcoin hacking perpetrators, it’s not surprising that most of these institutions have declined services to bitcoin companies in the country. Westpac and Macquarie haven’t divulged any details on whether or not they’ve also been targeted by these bitcoin hacking attacks, although Westpac was one of the banks that sent account termination letters to bitcoin companies this month.

“Australia is experiencing increasingly sophisticated attacks on networks and systems in the public and private sectors, including the finance sector,” ACSC coordinator Clive Lines said. “If you are connected to the internet, you are vulnerable – financial markets and stock exchanges are not immune from this threat.”

via NewsBTC

Chinese Auto Giant Starts $50M Blockchain Tech Initiative

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Wanxiang Group, one of the largest automobile conglomerates in China, has announced its plans to invest in blockchain tech to the tune of $50 million. The company has reportedly purchased 416,000 ETH tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, confirmed by the company’s managing director Chao Deng.

Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.

Blockchain Tech Development

Indeed blockchain tech has been at the front and center of the latest cryptocurrency industry developments, as the distributed public ledger has been tapped by large and established global institutions for its various practical applications. In the financial industry, more than twenty top banks are already teaming up in a project known as R3 CEV to collaborate on blockchain tech initiatives.

Wanxiang Group also created a non-profit called Blockchain Labs dedicated to exploring and investing in blockchain tech applications. This was co-founded by Buterin, BitShares co-founder Bo Shen and Feng Xiao, vice chairman and executive director of Wanxiang Holdings, which is the company’s investment arm. This will be followed by the creation of a $50 million venture capital fund that will invest in blockchain tech companies, not just in China but in other parts of the world also.

In line with this, the company will sponsor a conference to be held in Shanghai next month called the 2015 Global Blockchain Summit. It will feature guests from Deloitte, Huarui Bank and Shanghai Steel Union, as well as Circle VP of Trading Joshua Lim, Koinify CEO Tom Ding and Tether CTO Craig Sellars. Topics to be discussed include the use of blockchain tech in payments, securities trading, digital asset management and global supply chains.

via NewsBTC

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