Category: News

Competitors and Amy Castor: a tale on reputation usage and a campaign to discredit IOTA

Competitors and Amy Castor: a tale on reputation usage and a campaign to discredit IOTA

Disclaimer. I’m invested in IOTA, Ethereum, and Bitcoin. I’m not connected to the IOTA foundation and the following post is my own work and opinion. This is not meant to deter the collaboration of legitimate scientists. The IOTA Foundation is always grateful if thinkers help IOTAs adoption and vision.

Bells and Whistles

This is my response to the “responsible disclosure” of would-be neutral scientists that are destroying the reputation of IOTA, but also of the MIT, the Boston University, and Forbes.

In these times, fake-news and tinfoil stories can be found everywhere. The following post could be just a big coincidence, but if we allow ourselves in connecting some dots, maybe we get a better picture of “cryptoland”.

I’ll say it upfront: Competing projects try to harm IOTA as much as possible.

Let me start with this tweet of “fnord” because this pretty much sums up my motivation to write this summary.

On this blog, I usually try to stick to straight facts and relevant, legit news about IOTA. No Bells and whistles, Just information. 

We also expect straight facts and objective information when we visit pages like Forbes or when we read peer-reviews from MIT and BU scientists, but apparently, this is not the case.

Therefore, I decided to leave the path of tech news around IOTA for a moment, in order to draw a picture of how competition in this sphere works.

Recently we witnessed a misinformation campaign of highest magnitude in order to harm IOTA’s reputation. And I’m going to explain why.

It is vital to understand that some innovators in this innovative field of cryptocurrencies act in their own best interest. As rational deciding homo oeconomicus in this game of blockchains.


You may have seen the big headlines about IOTA: “MIT And BU Researchers Uncover Critical Security Flaw In $2B Cryptocurrency IOTA” following the “vulnerability report

The report was done by:

Ethan Heilman (Boston University, DAGlabs, Paragon Foundation – joint collaboration with Spectre, another DAG project, Commonwealth Crypto, Dev of a Bitcoin anonymity transaction Hub),
Neha Narula (MIT Media Lab),
Thaddeus Dryja (MIT Media Lab, Lightning Network Dev),
Madars Virza (MIT Media Lab, co-founded Zerocoin Protocol that Zcash is using, advising Zcash.)

The Forbes Article was written by:
Amy Castor (Independent writer at Bitcoin Magazine and Forbes)

Sergey Ivancheglo, main developer of the Tangle and creator of proof of stake, known as Come-from-Beyond, responded on several channels and closed the case.

The IOTA foundation also published an answer.

Unwinding all the details becomes unnecessary, but I’ll highlight the important ones:

  • IOTA has never been hacked.
  • CURL was tested under ludicrous conditions. The victim’s system would be running malicious code. In those conditions, stealing the key is trivial and much easier and effective. (custom wallet)
  • The discussed signing algorithm CURL was in an old version of IOTA, that was patched weeks ago. IOTA is using SHA-3/Keccak right now, there was no vulnerability to start with, but even less of a chance after that change.
  • the apparent flaw was, as revealed instead, an intended copy protection mechanism
  • No funds were or are at risk.
  • The Forbes headline, as well as the vulnerability report, suggested that the alleged flaw is still in play.
  • Yesterday there was an attack on the network, effectively defended by the presence of the Coordinator function. The IOTA team will be posting all the details in a blog entry.
  • IOTA’s valuation and price were directly and significantly affected by those actions, adding to the general value loss that has been affecting the whole crypto world this last week.

 

The headline takes effect

After IOTA supporters reminded the cryptographers that this is unethical and hardly a “responsible disclosure”, they reacted as if they were neutral and rather victims of an unjustified shitstorm:

I just give you the blank tweets.

In the meantime, Ethan Heilmann retweets an incredible total of 49 defamatory and blatant tweets. These were clearly, important and necessary actions by any reputable, objective scientist, both in content and form.

A few examples:

 

 

 

Madars Virza follows the crowd and tweets funny stuff about the legitimacy of the whole idea of IOTA:

David Sønstebø offers an open debate because the claims are wrong, but he gets no response:

 

Matthew Green, Co-worker of Madars Virza, ZCash, starts to attack IOTA and Sergey Ivancheglo. People from Zcash stepping in? Coincidence:

Another ZCash Co-Founder and developer tweets against IOTA, coincidence:

Bitcoin Core Developer Peter Todd reacts:

One of many Twitter-reactions by Amy Castor, that already blocked me, and many other accounts that expressed criticism:

 

Amy Castor is already convinced that IOTA is a scam. She is working for Bitcoin Magazine and she’s a member of the Bitcoin Core Slack. Again, just another coincidence. Her agenda “don’t roll your own crypto” seems like a general campaign against former or recent initial coin offerings ( ICO’s)

Numerous tweets show her biased stance against IOTA. Some of which are pointing to sources on Bitcointalk and weird websites, that obviously try to discredit IOTA. Some others are just asking to know what are David Sønstebø’s benefits, what his incentive is for creating IOTA. – this is something that he explained more than once in a very clear way.

On top of that, Bitcoin Evangelist Andreas M. Antonopoulos tweets misinformation to justify the smear campaign:

Meltem Demirors – Director at DCG (Investor of ZCash) coincidence:

Responsible disclosure

Now, apart from this little list of tweets against IOTA, I’m going to look at the definition of “responsible disclosure“.
it says:


Responsible disclosure is a computer security term describing a vulnerability disclosure model. It is like full disclosure, with the addition that all stakeholders agree to allow a period of time for the vulnerability to be patched before publishing the details. Developers of hardware and software often require time and resources to repair their mistakes. Hackers and computer security scientists have the opinion that it is their social responsibility to make the public aware of vulnerabilities with a high impact. Hiding these problems could cause a feeling of false security. To avoid this, the involved parties join forces and agree on a period of time for repairing the vulnerability and preventing any future damage.


As we already know, the report of the Zcash, DAGlabs and Lighting Network devs was written as if there was a problem in effect, although the issue was already corrected.

Also, the Forbes article, that is written in present tense followed by the meetup title.

I conclude that in this case there is no “social responsibility to make the public aware of vulnerabilities with a high impact” because there is neither a vulnerability nor high impact.

Apparently, however, they seem to have the need to showcase IOTA’s alleged vulnerability, because the cryptographer decided to set up a live stream meetup to break CURL, the signing algorithm of IOTA.

They write:

“Now that all parties are out of stealth mode, I can formally announce that Ethan Heilman will be demonstrating how he, along with three researchers from MIT Digital Currency Initiative (DCI), broke IOTA’s nonstandard “Curl” hash function.

By doing so, they revealed in a $2B cryptocurrency a serious security flaw that could have allowed a hacker to steal user funds. (IOTA has since lost about 25 percent of its value, according to Coin Market Cap.)”

And they seem to also assume that when all cryptos are taking a plunge, IOTA shouldn’t have been affected. Even more interesting.


Now, to draw a conclusion

In theory, IOTA is a technology that is able to outperform almost every other cryptocurrency.

Especially the Lightning Network, that is trying to address Bitcoins scaling problems, and Zcash, that is possibly threatened by Masked Authenticated Messaging are in a direct competition with IOTA, let alone DAGlabs.

If independent scientists of a renowned faculty like the MIT or Boston University claim to be able to break IOTA, people listen, the market reacts immediately.

In order to make the public aware of vulnerabilities with a high impact, and to save people from losing money, they did disclose information in an unethical and wrong way, which added significantly to the loss of valuation. If that is not irony, I don’t know what is.

But these guys are not just rational, independent scientists. These people are investors and developers of competing projects, so no wonder that the tweets were written accordingly. Coincidental of course.

Direct conflicts of interest:

To support my thesis that this is a coordinated effort I point out the blatant and obvious conflicts of interest.

  • Ethan Heilmann and developer of DAGlabs.com, a direct competitor to IOTA (also Bitcoin Core developers involved). Due to almost 50 anti-IOTA tweets, I assume that he wants to change the sentiment or just coincidence
  • His project DAGlabs is in a fundraising right now. A direct competitor developing their own DAG solution and currently trying to acquire Series A funding partners. Coincidence.
  • Madars Virza is Zcash Co-founder, a direct competitor to IOTA (is heavily supported by Matthew Green and Ian Miers, both ZCash). Coincidence
  • Amy Castor is working for Bitcoin Magazin and is postulating questionable insults against the IOTA Founder while she is a member of the Bitcoin Core Slack and following an anti-ICO agenda. Bitcoin Magazine. Coincidence
  • To Cite Satoshiwatch: “Amy Castor – who propagated MIT’s malicious report/attack in the Forbes, is a writer for CoinDesk, Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG)
    -“DCG ownership and crypto-investments include Zcash, Ripple, Rootstock, and etc.” Coincidence
  • Tadge Dryja is working for the Bitcoin Lightning Network, a direct competitor of IOTA. Coincidence

All in all 4 people of ZCash involved. Madars Virza, Matthew Green, Ian Miers, Meltem Demirors Coincidence.

Centralization of the Coordinator:

Concerning the coordinator(Coo), it seems like no one is missing an opportunity to point out that the Coo centralizes IOTA. The Coo is a special node in the hands of the IOTA Foundation that sets milestones in order to prevent Sybil attacks.

If people want to attack the network, they try to become an omnipresence in order to conduct doublespends.

This protection is necessary as long as the network is in its infancy. The transparency compendium pointed this out and it’s common knowledge, that it’s solely for the purpose of protection. The developers cannot alter transaction or access seeds.

Just the day before yesterday, an attacker tried to take over the Tangle.

To make it clear what’s happening, he added a tag to the transaction: “BZWFL99FUCK9CORE99LETS9FORK

The coordinator prevented a takeover from happening, everything is safe and sound.

But its purpose to protect the users of IOTA is of low significance, as it seems. People rather point out that due to the Coordinator, the whole system, idea, network is worthless. What a hypocrisy considering their biased stance.

At this point, I’m asking myself, why are these people insisting that the coordinator is a bad component? Obviously, the term centralization is undefined, because looking at this definition I could just claim that IOTA is still decentralized, especially because there are no blocks, no miners, the validation of transaction is not decoupled but in the hand of the users, unlike Consensus at Bitcoin. The comparison between blockchains and the Tangle looks therefore wrong, because of the “centralized part”, the coordinator has no participation in the consensus model.

 

When I look at Bitcoin, the true centralization happens due to the power of miners, where five of the biggest mining farms set 51% of the global Bitcoin hashpower.

Furthermore the centralization of developers, one can easily recognize when you look how many Bitcoin Core developers are connected with side projects or react in unison when a shitstorm is formed.

An incestuous innovation ivory tower, if you ask me.

If this was only about following science ethics, why would they fabricate a lurid headline, that clearly suggests that IOTA is still vulnerable?
Why would objective scientists talk about a crashing price and retweet dozens of tweets with an anti-IOTA sentiment?
Why would they decide to make a live-stream to showcase how to break CURL, although it’s not used anymore?

As a side note: The IOTA devs have not been invited to defend themselves or to talk about their point of view.

Since none of the mentioned persons kept a neutral stance, I can only conclude that this is a coordinated effort to destroy IOTAs reputation as ultima ratio because IOTA threatens their own projects.

Neha Narula, as the director of the MIT Media Labs, missed the chance to provide an independent peer-review of IOTAs -not in use- signing algorithm CURL.
Instead, she allowed that her team used its personal bias for their own purposes.

Amy Castor abandoned the ethics of journalism: “The duty of the journalist is to further those ends (justice and the foundation of democracy) by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.” when she started ranting her personal agenda like a bulldozer and furthermore acted highly unprofessional against IOTA Founder David Sønstebø.

Her lacking ethics may be motivated by the fact that she has written about Zcash, at this point I can only assume that she owns Zcash, or it’s just another coincidence:

This “responsible disclosure” is not the work of objective, competent scientists of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the Boston University as proclaimed. This is the epitome of a conflict of interest, where people use the names of big institutes.

In the game-theory, there are only rational agents. It seems these scientists are rational in that sense.

To cite Prof. Dr. Harald Lesch: “The economization of science is a problem: performance instead of position.”
-Especially in the field of crypto currencies.

Interesting to see that Zcash, DAGlabs and Bitcoin enthusiasts develop the same habits when they talk about IOTA, the same kind of habits that banks used to, when they talked about Bitcoin back in the days.

So if this is the business conduct of the MIT Media Lab, the Boston University or Forbes, I wonder where we can still find unbiased science and information.

What a great coincidence.

Casus ubique valet! Semper tibi pendeat hamus! Quo minime credis gurgite, piscis erit!

May Report #2: The Silence Before The Storm

May Report #2: The Silence Before The Storm

Development Update

Since a few weeks we are waiting for the new version. Just now, a small hint arrived that this may soon™ be over:

I’ll give you a short list of what we can expect and as an addition, a small summary of the biggest things you might have missed. The May Report 2.


The most important piece first: In a few days, IOTA will show its capabilities.

 

Right now, a day after Doms small update (above), the Coordinator is online again, but not attached to the Tangle.
That means:

  • An update of the new IRI is imminent.
  • As Dom pointed out: There will be no snapshot, for now.
  • We can expect big announcements in the following days (Maybe also when and where IOTA will be listed).
  • The wait is finally over!
  • With the new version, the spammers can be used for the main net again.
  • Countless new full nodes will be set up, mine including (Let’s meet in #nodesharing when the new IRI/GUI is here).
  • After the update the Tangle and the confirmation timings will be faster than ever.
  • YDX can withdraw all iota.
  • We’re getting closer to the “liberation of the Tangle”, when the Coordinator will be shut down in July. Then, the Monte Carlo Random Walk algorithm will be activated instead.
    That way, the tip-selection and protection of the network will be ensured, while the scalability can unfold perfectly.

Take a look in our slack in the next days to catch the next instructions and announcements. That way, we can build the Tangle topology, again, -in no time.

If you are a developer, please take a minute of your time and look at the ecosystem fund, if you want to work with and for IOTA:


Consensus 2017

Cryptocurrencies, in general have come very far.
Consensus 2017 was held nowhere else than on the New York Broadway. Hundreds of participants, CEO’s, thousands of enthusiasts were there, to share their knowledge and to show the world that Blockchains (and the Tangle) are here to stay.

As a part of Dominik Schieners US-journey, He also participated in the “IoT & Blochchain: Powering the Connected Device Economy“-Panel on Monday 22th.

 

 

David Sønstebø wanted to participate, but due to an unforeseen accident he stayed in Norway and sent Dominik Schiener instead.

Dom did a great job in describing his vision to the plenum, while the content of the discussion were not actually focused on a comparison of IOTA to Blockchains.

Instead, the discussion were hold on a meta-level and the experts shared their thoughts and insights about the chances of collaborations of banks and Blockchains, their personal vision and the problems and chances they may face in the future.


Also part of Consensus 2017 was Dr. Carsten Stöcker who took part in a panel discussion about “Energy Markets“.

Carsten, as always, did a great job in explaining his vision and afterwards, he also found a moment of his time to explain why he didn’t get into IOTA’s details. -For a good reason.

He furthermore announced that IOTA is on the testing roadmap for “Share&Charge” where IOTA is used to tag IoT devices.

 

 

 

David added: “We’ll unveil more info on the ‘Digital Twin project’ together next week, so stay tuned for that”

Exciting times!


DIF

The next announcement is a “medium heavy” sensation.

The “Decentralized Identity Foundation” formed around IOTA and Microsoft, Bigchain DB, Blockstack, Accenture and a lot more known companies.

The DIF is aiming for progress in the field of identification.

The different workgroups concentrate on the following fields:

 

More info on the workgroups you can find here:

https://github.com/WebOfTrustInfo/rebooting-the-web-of-trust-fall2016/blob/master/draft-documents/DID-Spec-Implementers-Draft-01.pdf

https://github.com/decentralized-identity/hubs/blob/master/explainer.md

https://tierion.com/chainpoint

For now, it’s unclear how and where these researches take place and what will be achieved, but considering the big list of known companies on the list, we can expect some interesting projects and fruitful results.

 


If you need a good comprehensive blog-post by Dominik Schiener, with an up-to-date overview of IOTA, I recommend this:


Wilfried Pimenta, IOTA Foundation member was also diligent in presenting IOTA:

Furthermore:

With the keynote: “Introduction to the IOTA Foundation and the Tangle, the next generation distributed ledger / blockchain for the Internet of Things


Upcoming presentations


Mentionable Articles

 

  • [German] Der Altcoinspekulant ist zurück! Ich werde ab und an als Gastautor mitwirken und freue mich, dass der Altcoinspekulant von Lukas Fiedler und einer Reihe an Experten fortgeführt wird.


These are the most important updates for now.

This week will presumably open a lot of doors, so stay tuned!

Have a nice week,

Limo

May Report #1

May Report #1

Since we’re on a long dry spell for a few weeks now, it’s good to hear that there is still movement if we take a closer look.

The problems of the network, that has suffered quite a bit, are caused by the reduced amount of spammers in the main network.

As mentioned again and again: the devs are stress testing the new version, so they need all available hash power to ensure its functionality and security.

That’s the right way!

That being said, if people want to support the Tangle in its current situation: set up your own full node, with fresh neighbors and spam the Tangle, even if it’s just for a few days. 

As an addition: Yassin, the private escrow from iotaexchange.com has problems to withdraw iotas because the majority of transactions won’t confirm. And the list gets longer!

There is no fraudulent or malicious intent involved. With the new version, we all get the funds laying on YDX.

When this new version is ready to be used, we will also see a new era of speed, reliability, scalability and opportunities.

Blockchains will have a very hard time when the majority of developers, companies, and investors realize the true potential of IOTA.

That moment will occur, when the stress-test results are published, IOTA hits exchanges and the people feel the speed of IOTA firsthand.

A moment everyone is looking forward to.

In the meantime, have a look at the newest changes, additions, and developments in the IOTA ecosystem.

 


Growing Community

The main Slack of IOTA, the room for development, interesting conversations, the soil of good ideas has grown to a huge number of 3000 people already.

Last week, @Eragmus uploaded a little plot with an exponential curve of all members over time.

This trend is continuing upwards as lots of people are looking for an entry into “Yassin Dex”, but we also have a good amount of people, that followed the call of the ecosystem fund.

Either way, this is a splendid sign of what IOTA has become: A fast growing community that is interested in the disruptive capabilities of this distributed ledger technology.


New Developers

A few striking additions have been announced.
These guys were already working with IOTA for a while, but the time has come to give them credit and to show who’s working behind the scenes.

On the official blog are nice introductions of Paul HandySabri GoldbergAlfred Keller, Alon Elmaliah

Great people with enthusiastic, likable attitude, capabilities and of course a big impact on the whole project.

Kick-ass additions!


Participations

The IOTA Foundation is built of experts in their special fields, therefore it’s no surprise that they do what they do: they present their ideas and possibilities in conjunction with IOTA.

Dr. Navin Ramachandran, practicing Radiologist and well-known researcher from London, presented IOTA on TechUk on 8th May.

Thanks for your efforts!

Right now, Co-Founder Dominik Schiener is visiting a few important companies at the US-west coast (no info about who, when, what) , and after that, he is going to present IOTA at Consensus 2017 in New York, a great opportunity in the world of Blockchains, Fintech to show the world what’s coming after Blockchains.

Founder David Sønstebø’s plans to speak at Consensus 2017 changed due to an unforeseen accident, where David suffered an injury at his zygomatic bone.

Let’s hope for a speedy recovery!

Next on the agenda are the Accenture Open Talks on May 30th, where IOTA presents its technology.

We have to keep in mind, that these are personal efforts, and not a matter of course that they put in their free time and energy to represent IOTA again and again.

Sure, that sounds like I was praising them like some saints, but to be honest: which project you know, has founders and devs that work relentlessly to spread the word, to build an ecosystem and community?

If there is one, I’m pretty sure it’s there for a way longer time, and it’s already listed, like Ethereum or Bitcoin.

These efforts here all happen before a listing, in very serious realms, hence my enthusiasm that IOTA is a spectacular project that has to be reckoned with!


Articles:

Here is just a small selection of the newest articles about IOTA.

Since the respective authors took their time, I suggest, you read them on your own:

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/building-4th-industrial-revolution-iota-atit-bhavsar

http://www.cio.com/article/3196401/internet-of-things/iota-launches-2-million-fund-for-iot-focused-blockchain-derivative.html?utm_campaign=sflow_tweet#tk.rss_all

IOTA Tangle Takes the Blocks Out of Peer-to-Peer, Distributed Ledger Networks

 


The overwhelming Bull market

Since the Blockchain technology as a whole gains attention everywhere, billions of Dollars are flooding into these new markets.

The recent astonishing bull market reached a total capitalization of almost $70 billion.

Most of these listed technologies are functioning on a Blockchain, so they all share the same problem: scalability.

The recent adoption, therefore, is both: good and bad because once the mass markets try to use Blockchains, they rise in value but also suffer

the consequences that we know as slow transactions, higher transaction fees and as an end result, a technical barrier to progress.

The Tangle, as we know, is scaling better, the more people use it. -Without fees.

So my personal opinion is that, with the rising adoption, there is no better investment as IOTA.

As of today, IOTAs cap is around ~$200 million. The listing alone will show how much it can rise and believe me, it will, just because the technical

circumstances of IOTA in this “blockchain-era” are absolutely outstanding.

I said it when the market cap was at $20 million (x10 since then), and I’m still going to stick to that when we hit $2 billion market cap:

There is no limit!


The next weeks will be vital and hopefully filled with great milestones. Well, we do not know otherwise.

Stay tuned and have a nice week,

Limo

The IOTA Ecosystem Fund: 2000000 $ for Development and Adoption

The IOTA Ecosystem Fund: 2000000 $ for Development and Adoption

Once again, the IOTA grassroots movement made a difference in showing the world that this is no ephemeral cryptocurrency but a serious endeavor that leads to a technology, that possibly changes everything.

The generous sponsors of the ecosystem-fund are part of the “Ecosystem-club”, initiated by Luey Forje, one of the early investors and a well-known community member.

The known sponsors are: Marc Bettinger, Achim Heiniger, Denzel Schwimmer,  Tristan Turner, Khaoudy Yassin and some more sponsors which decided to stay anonymous.

IOTA has a big healthy community of voluntarily working people and sponsors that are unified and goal-oriented in bringing the technology to life.

The ecosystem fund is meant as a development booster to attract creative thinkers, developers and the possibility of funding people’s ideas if they are beneficial for IOTA.

The IOTA foundation announced in the official blog post a selection of possible applications in the following fields:

  • Proof of concepts
  • The creation of Libraries/Modules
  • Research and development of new IXI Modules
  • Tutorials for Learn.iota.org
  • Hackathons

But there is more to it!

You could work on a coordinated marketing campaign, you could ask for specific projects that are not covered by the former list.

I’m pretty sure that the founders are open-minded and like to hear lots of ideas because that is the very purpose of this fund!

Therefore, I want to encourage everyone with a good idea to apply for a funding!

Your application can be submitted here: FORM


Link -> Reasons to become a part of IOTA

 

 

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