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First Litecoin hard fork promises to beat Bitcoin Cash at forking game

Litecoin is to get its first hard fork later this month, as Litecoin Cash seeks to shorten transaction times and reduce fees.

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A new hard fork of Litecoin will launch in February, offering Litecoin holders faster transactions via what developers describe as an “SHA256 coin for the real world.”

According to official release material published Thursday and an earlier post on forum Bitcointalk, Litecoin Cash will debut at block 1371111, crediting original Litecoin chain coin holders with 10 litecoin cash tokens for each litecoin held.

“There is no fast, cheap SHA256 coin with good difficulty adjustment. SHA256 miners have little practical choice of hashpower destination, and if they do mine blocks they’re being paid in a currency with 10-minute block times,” the Bitcointalk post explains.

“We believe we can offer an excellent SHA256 coin for general usage. We love Litecoin, and wanted to give something to the brave hodler community. With everyone else too busy forking Bitcoin, we decided that the Litecoin blockchain was a perfect means of intial (sic) distribution for our coin.”

Sound Familiar?

Bitcoin forks have become an increasingly trendy accessory since the advent of Bitcoin Cash in mid 2017. The contention which resulted – along with the profits and enthusiasm behind the creation of what has proven to be durable ‘free money’ – produced a slew of imitators with varying degrees of validity.

December saw the phenomenon reach satirical heights, with a dedicated tool allowing anyone to create their own hard fork appearing for as little as $90.

Litecoin had remained free of such attempts, holders benefiting from the altcoin’s rapid price increase through last year despite creator Charlie Lee’s admission he had sold the vast majority of his stake.

SegWit Sets Litecoin Apart

Making the case for their project, Litecoin Cash developers took direct aim at both Bitcoin and its pioneering hard fork.

“Compared to Bitcoin: LCC is much faster and cheaper, and has far more bandwidth and better difficulty retargeting. Compared to Bitcoin Cash: Litecoin Cash supports Segwit, and has much faster block times,” the description continues.

Litecoin was one of the first cryptocurrencies to adopt SegWit technology last May, while Bitcoin Cash’s resistance to it has been a frequent source of criticism, and even jokes among, online commentators.

Litecoin Cash promises 2.5-minute block times and 90% savings on transaction fees, versus Litecoin’s already very low requirements.

The split from the main blockchain is scheduled for around February 19th, with measures reportedly in place to ensure a smooth uptake following release of the blockchain and first wallet implementation.

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A blockchain-backed bar launched to revolutionize the alcohol industry

Danish YasinFeb 18, 2018

QYKBAR is a blockchain-based startup that aims to provide a virtual bar for its users. The idea is to revolutionize the way people consume alcohol by introducing the first bar of its kind. Touted as the “Uber of alcohol industry”, QYK will allow users to store their favorite alcoholic drinks on the cloud at standardized prices.

The startup hopes to provide a first-ever platform to its consumers that enables them to stock and consume alcohol anywhere in the world. It also offers a number of additional privileges to its distributors and clients. Bar merchants can benefit from QYKBAR as well, as it provides them with a tool to manage their stock and get more clients.

The blockchain technology has been employed in various fields such as medicine, education, etc. This use case is the first of its kind though. QYK utilizes the blockchain in an innovative way to bring together bars, suppliers, and consumers. Bars can benefit from QYK in multiple ways. It allows them to partner up with other bars and get bulk rates from suppliers, without the need of third-party involvement.

The alcohol industry is growing at an undeniably high rate. This industry includes bar merchants, suppliers, wholesalers, and producers. According to data on QYKBAR’s website, the industry grew to an estimated $1.25 trillion in 2016. Considering its current pace, the industry is expected to hit the $2 Trillion mark by the year 2025.

A start-up like QYKBAR represents an interesting initiative in a booming market. Through its patented blockchain technology, it takes alcohol consumption, distribution, and production to a whole new level. QYKBAR’s customers will be able to stock drinks on the cloud and drink at any of 500,000 bars and restaurants worldwide, the website claims.

The website also boasts of an impressive set of partnerships and a capable team with extensive experience in the alcohol industry, marketing, and the blockchain technology. QYK’s trade system will rely on five further subsystems, each having its own protocols. The details of these subsystems and their object chains can be found on the start-up’s website.

Like most of the other blockchain-based initiatives, QYKBAR is crowdfunding the project via an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Its token sale began on February 15th. They are currently offering various bonuses to token buyers. Participants contributing to QYK’s referral program will be offered a bonus as well. The sale will end on March 15th.

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GRAFT “Point of Sale” network aims to mainstream cryptocurrency

William SubergFeb 18, 2018

Decentralized payment processing platform GRAFT has successfully sold over 22 million of its ICO tokens, raising around $6 million three days before the public sale ends.

GRAFT, which acts as a middle man to help cryptocurrency users make Point of Sale (POS) transactions more cheaply than with traditional crypto debit cards, has an ICO hard cap of $25 million.

According to updates available on its website, following completion of the ICO, around 100 million GRFT tokens will be in circulation out of a total emission plan of 1,844,674,400.

Crypto POS goes decentralized:

Describing itself as a “universal blockchain network,” GRAFT intends to undercut existing merchant and POS solutions by reducing the fees and confirmation times involved in transactions.

An oft-criticized area of ‘day-to-day’ cryptocurrency use, POS transactions currently incur significant costs for both consumers and merchants.

Consumer-oriented cryptocurrency debit cards include fees for payment operations as well as custodian fees – paying for the privilege of owning the card – and other expenses.

Acting as an umbrella outfit, GRAFT will use its own decentralized blockchain to process POS transactions in multiple cryptocurrencies, allowing consumers to use a single wallet for payments and merchants to save on fees passed on as a result of intermediaries.

The project’s whitepaper explains:

GRAFT will also support bitcoin and several major cryptocurrencies, as well as cryptographic tokens, as additional choice for buyers and an acceptable method of payoff for merchants. This feature will eliminate the need for merchants to integrate with multiple (centralized) payment software providers, as well as for users to sign up for centralized services and learn and maintain multiple wallet apps.

Developers steer clear of bitcoin:

The appearance of the project could prove timely. As bitcoin in particular steers towards creation of off-chain scaling solutions such as the Lightning Network, reducing fees and confirmation times for payments to practically zero, little attention is being paid to bitcoin as a currency for use at POS.

Altcoins purportedly aimed at being ‘currencies’ first and foremost. However, they are currently suffering from slow adoption due to the need to communicate with payment giants such as Visa and MasterCard, if a merchant chooses not to accept payments directly from a wallet.

As of February 10th, around 300 merchants were signed up to participate in GRAFT.

As ambitious as the network sounds, developers nonetheless acknowledge that without trial-and-error phases of industry competitors, the project would not have come into being.

“GRAFT wouldn’t exist without its predecessors. It is based on ideas, principles, and technologies introduced and tested by creators of other cryptographic utility tokens,” the whitepaper concludes.

Using most recent technologies developed by cryptography community along with newly developed solutions for transaction processing and security will allow GRAFT to compete with traditional payment methods and existing centralized payment processors.”

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Encrypted communications application, Bitmessage, under attack by hackers

Danish YasinFeb 17, 2018

The P2P communications protocol, Bitmessage, has experienced a malware attack. Hackers exploited a zero-day in order to access bitcoin wallets and steal funds. Bitmessage developers have released an updated version of the app containing a fix to the attack.

The attack targeted Bitmessage’s desktop application, PyBitmessage. The app’s core developer, Peter Surda, advised all users to change their passwords and create new Bitmessage keys. He warned that anyone using PyBitmessage 0.6.2 or later must shutdown their app until further notice.

Surda detailed on GitHub that anyone who has joined the “test” chan on Windows, or has a Unix-like system, may be affected. Interestingly, another group of people suffering from this hack could be ransomware developers. The app’s P2P decentralized nature makes it ideal for hackers to send encrypted messages to their victims for ransom-negotiating purposes.

Fortunately, there has not yet been any report of losses. Surda disclosed that the vulnerability only allowed a minor attack. He said that the execution probably crashed before inflicting any damage to the network. Users are still advised to remain alert. Surda warned that the hackers were not just after bitcoin wallets and could be after other files as well.

The developers’ logs initially showed that hackers were attempting to only access the files related to bitcoin wallets. These files contained the private keys of bitcoin holders. With access to these keys, the hackers can easily move funds out from the affected accounts and into their personal accounts.

Later, however, the Bitmessage team discovered that the hackers tried to access a remote reverse shell as well. It cannot be said for sure whether or not the hackers were successful in their attempts. Unfortunately, if they were able to open the reverse shell, then they would have been able to access files other than just the bitcoin wallets.

The hack was reportedly triggered by a malicious message sent to Bitmessage users. “This is not a drill, the exploit can have serious consequences,” Surda wrote. PyBitmessage version 0.6.3.2 has been released to resolve this issue. Users are advised to install the updated version without delay. Mac and Windows users are advised to downgrade to 0.6.1 till their respective binaries are released in the coming days.

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