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This article was published on March 21, 2018

Cryptocurrency News March 21 – bug edition

Cryptocurrency News March 21 – bug edition
Ed Zitron
Story by

Ed Zitron

Ed Zitron is the CEO of EZPR, a Media Relations company based in San Francisco, Boston and Portland. He's written a book called This Is How Ed Zitron is the CEO of EZPR, a Media Relations company based in San Francisco, Boston and Portland. He's written a book called This Is How You Pitch and was named one of Business Insider's Top 10 PR people in tech, as well as one of Adweek's 30 under 30.


The reason that I am typing this on a golden computer is because of a giant bug in Coinbase that meant you could use a smart contract to change the balance on your Coinbase’s Ethereum wallets. Which is wonderful and as a result I am canceling this column because I have one billion dollars.


In the worst headline ever, Fortune said that “Bitcoin’s price shrugged off child pornography,” referring to the very horrible thing that there are links to child pornography throughout the blockchain. More worryingly, this apparently isn’t the first time this has been reported!

It’s not the first time curious onlookers have found links to child pornography in Bitcoin’s blockchain. Users first pointed out the links in 2013. Though this is perhaps the first time researchers have been able to quantify the volume of potentially illicit material hidden in the blockchain.

“Curious onlookers,” hmm.

Single Bitcoin now

Money genius Jack Dorsey has said that he predicts Bitcoin will be “the single currency of the internet in the near future,” which makes total sense coming from the mouth of a guy who is incapable of telling you what Twitter is for, and how to moderate it. He’s said it’ll happen “over ten years,” but also “it could go faster.” I wish I was able to talk to any reporter and have my wild, idiotic ideas posted online. Instead I have to settle for this column.

Ledger panic

The Ledger Nano S, a wallet that became popular (I own one!) for securely storing coins offline (sort of), got hacked by a 15-year-old. Ledger has now put out a fix for the bug, but according to ArsTechnica, it doesn’t for sure mean that there’s not a way to recreate the exploit:

Matt Green, a Johns Hopkins University professor specializing in encryption security, has reviewed Rashid’s research. Green told Ars the dual-chip design makes him skeptical that this month’s update permanently fixes the weakness Rashid exploited.

“Ledger is trying to solve a fundamentally hard problem,” he explained. “They need to check the firmware running on a processor. But their secure chip can’t actually see the code running on that processor. So they have to ask the processor to supply its own code! Which is a catch-22, since that processor might not be running honest code, and so you can’t trust what it gives you. It’s like asking someone who may be a criminal to provide you with their full criminal record—on the honor system.”

My personal experience is that installing the new firmware on the Nano S sucked. I had to reset it about 3 times and delete every wallet I had to make enough space to install the update. It’s still a pretty good piece of kit but jesus.

John McAfee update: Metal Gear Solid: Dick Eater


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