Magical Crypto Conference Highlights, Day 1: Lightning & Big Brother

The first day of Magical Crypto Conference had a lot of highlights ranging from great announcements and great talks, to borderline bizarre displays of eccentricity. When was the last time anyone went to a Bitcoin event and saw a real bull next to the entrance? Or when did any conference organizer create a custom arcade machine that runs an original video game for which you pay with Lightning instead of quarters? Even Riccardo “Fluffy Pony” Spagni has showed up with a remote-controlled quasi-robotic body (described by Max Keiser as “screen on wheels”) with whom you can interact through a tablet. When was the last time an event host, co-founder and sponsor has pulled off such a strange antic?

Well, when you have immutable Bitcoin-centric discussions and accomplished developers and industry leaders attend a conference which revolves around a meme-able My Little Pony-esque characters and their YouTube show, then you know you should be expecting peculiar phenomena. First of all, it’s worth noting that the first animated cartoon short of Magical Crypto Friends has finally premiered during the event’s kickoff presentation, and it pretty much aligns with the toxicity and Blockstream spy-ness of the regular show.

Secondly, the crowd has received many exclusive announcements which include a Lightning-oriented October conference taking place in Berlin, a partnership between the Blockstream Satellite system and GoTenna’s TX Tenna, and a HTC phone which runs a full Bitcoin node. News about a Lamborghini give-away (which might turn out to become Justin Sun-esque) and a live Magical Crypto episode have also emerged, so stay tuned for a more in-depth coverage.

Magical Crypto Conference Highlight #1: The first Magical Crypto Friends cartoon

Titled “Fake Panda”, the 3-minute clip revolves around a theme of identity theft, megalomania, and possibly fraud. It’s basically about a kangaroo who walks into the Magical Crypto Friends’ house and pretends to be Whale Panda while freeloading on food. After the anthropomorphic friends agree that the impersonator is a fraud, they kick him out – but not before they find out that they’re speaking to a “mathematician, cryptographer, computer scientist, proctologist, and lawyer” who has more food than their entire country, drives a rented Lamborghini, and threatens to release research papers.

The script is witty, the animation is on par with the Magical Crypto intro, and the kangaroo is a character to contrast the otherwise innocent protagonists. However, the audio quality is inconsistent between MCF members, and you can actually tell which ones of them are into audio gears (cough cough, Fluffy Pony cough cough) and which ones most likely used a built-in microphone which pops (cough cough, Satoshi Lite).

Nonetheless, it’s great to finally see this long-time promise being delivered, and it’s always nice to hear more of the satirical work of the four bitcoiners.

Magical Crypto Conference Highlight #2: The first Lightning-oriented conference happens this fall in Berlin

During the first post-intro panel, Elizabeth Stark has been absolutely ecstatic and delighted about everything about the Lightning Network. As the head of Lightning Labs, she’s living the dream of every company creator and software developer: real steady adoption. The LN queen has taken her time to talk about all the lApps (Lightning Apps) that currently enrich the ecosystem with unique and inventive functions.

From ordering pizzas to feeding chicken and paying for the pages of a fiction book, Ms. Stark has mentioned lots of great projects and their applications. She even recommended the website LND work as a way of earning satoshis on the second layer scaling solution, so that participants all over the world can onboard the movement without worrying about financial discrepancies in terms of buying power.

However, Elizabeth Stark has also made an exclusive announcement regarding the first big Lightning Newtork conference. It will take place in Berlin later this year between October 19th and the 20th, and will create an assembly of developers, designers, Lightning companies, and users. As pointed out by co-panelist Stacy Herbert, the number of LN channels is astounding, and there are currently 1057 BTC supporting the recklessness of early adopters. Therefore, a conference dedicated to these enthusiasts is nothing short of exciting.

Magical Crypto Conference Highlight #3: HTC’s Phil Chen announces Bitcoin full node phone

Running a full node has become an essential component of Bitcoin’s decentralization model, and definitely a prerequisite of financial sovereignty. Given this demand for nodes, the high price of several retail solutions, and the rather unfriendly interface of Bitcoin Core, there is a lot of room for tech companies to step in and build great and affordable user experiences.

Phil Chen has made a presentation in which the leitmotif is owning your own keys: from the very first Android smartphone which the company released in 2008 and all the way to their current Exodus line-up, there has always been a strong emphasis on open source software. The first major announcement made by Mr. Chen is about the Zion hardware wallet vault technology, and how the code is going to get released for developers worldwide.

Furthermore, a new entry-level phone called HTC Exodus 1S is going to get launched in the third quarter of 2019. Both the S and the previous model will receive a significant software update which enables users to store the entire BTC blockchain and validate their own transactions.

“The whole Bitcoin blockchain will be on an SD card, you’ll be able to validate transactions, relay transactions when your phone is plugged in. Of course, there are more requirements regarding bandwitdh and power, and we will release more details during Q3” – Phil Chen

MCF Conference Highlight #4: Lightning Network’s present and future

While discussing the present and future of Lightning in a joint panel, Lisa Neigut, Alex Bosworth, and Will O’Beirne have put a really strong emphasis on the microtransaction potential of the network. At the same time, they debated on the cypherpunk ethos and what it really means to enable financial privacy.

Nonetheless, the strongest statement came from Ms. Neigut, as she called for the end of the ad-based revenue system which is often untransparent, dishonest, and inconvenient to the end user. Since a currency of the internet exists and is decentralized enough, while a second layer which enables instant transactions is truly blossoming, it makes a lot of sense for Lightning microtransactions to empower both users and content creators. Instead of paying for obsolete subscriptions or watching undesired ads on the considerations of a mutual compromise, now the consumers possess the power of paying small monetary amounts that should cover production costs in a fair way.

Alex Bosworth’s website Y’alls is a perfect example of this revenue model, and it’s likely that we’ll see more of this approach as the technology gets adopted at a larger scale and matures in terms of development. It will definitely be interesting to see to which extent the prophecy of Lisa Neigut gets fulfilled.

MCF Conference Highlight #5: Bitcoin without internet panel, as GoTenna partners with Blockstream for satellite communication

When you put together Proof of Work inventor Adam Back, computer scientist Rodolfo Novak, GoTenna mesh researcher Richard Myers, then have academic and engineer Elaine Ou moderate the panel, you’re guaranteed to have insightful discussions. And when the topic of choice revolves around Bitcoin’s survival outside the global network of computers where it has been given birth, then you better pay close attention and make use of all of your technical knowledge of blockchains and radio communications.

Though the individual presentations of the panelists have been impressive and reflected the staggering amount of time they spent doing empirical research, it wasn’t until they got together that it became truly magical. First of all, something newsworthy happened when Richard Myers started promoting the TxTenna project, which is meant to combat censorship through a system of GoTenna devices that get connected to the Blockstream Satellite. Just in case it wasn’t obvious, this is a partnership between the two entities, and it’s meant to produce yet another way of circumventing internet limitations. In relation to this collaboration, Adam Back has stated “I particularly like the way they integrated the Blockstream Satellite API”, thus prompting to

Secondly, it’s worth noting that the discussions aren’t simply based on hypotheses of governments shutting down the internet and are actually rooted in experiences observed throughout time in authoritarian states. Sure, the idea of doing commerce from your cabin in the woods with a mesh sounds like one of the only applications for offline Bitcoin transactions, yet there is no way to predict how Orwellian our future becomes and we currently have cases where the internet is heavily filtered and the financial sovereignty of citizens is almost impossible.

This segment is definitely a must-watch, as the questions of panel moderator Elaine Ou are direct, brutal, and somewhat challenging even for the knowledgeable panelists. It isn’t simply a matter of cool tech, but something that can change the lives of millions and may maintain the democratic framework in the face of a growing digital authoritarianism.

Magical Crypto Conference Highlight #6: Bitcoin vs Big Brother by Alex Gladstein

Human Rights Foundation CSO Alex Gladstein has really stolen the show with his presentation, and the fact that he was placed after the panel on Bitcoin without internet has only strengthened the message. From China’s social score system and all the way to the abusive data collection by tech companies, everything felt comprehensive, relevant, and rooted in real-world issues.

When Bitcoin was finally introduced as an alternative to all the censorship and digital oppression, it was like putting the smile on Gioconda’s face. It all came together really nicely, and it painted Satoshi’s invention in a positive way which transcends all the “currency for terrorists, tax evaders, and drug dealers” narrative that some politicians and media channels like to present.

Alex Gladstein’s presentation was also the least technical one in terms of engineering knowledge required to understand the topic at stake. Everyone and their mother should be able to easily digest the information and understand how their choices as consumers influence the dynamics of the internet business, how their governments might be purchasing surveillance technology from China, and why Bitcoin is very relevant in this debate. While it’s legitimate to blame the US government for irresponsibly printing money and devaluing their currency, this situation is sometimes the most convenient among other evils which deprive individuals of their human rights and liberties.

Magical Crypto Conference Highlight #7: The live MCF episode

A year ago, the four anthropomorphic animals have tried to do their seventh episode live at Consensus. They were given a small dark room, the sound setting was terrible, and the end result was disappointing for everyone trying to watch the livestream. Twelve episodes later, the quartet is able to do a proper show with a larger live audience, and great quality for both audio and video.

The only missing factor is Fluffy Pony’s physical absence, as he was replaced by a tablet on a tripod with remote-controlled wheels. It felt a lot like S16 E12 of South Park, “A Nightmare on FaceTime“, where Stan Marsh couldn’t go trick or treating with his friends on Halloween night and had to make use of an iPad to collect candy.

This nineteenth episode also marked the launch of a Magical Crypto Friends-themed puzzle mobile game for kids, and the website. Samson Mow took advantage of the opportunity to “shill” the space strategy video game on which his company Pixelmatic is working with developers from Age of Empires and Homeworld.

In terms of actual discussions, the topics revolved around the Binance hack and all the blockchain reorg mania that their CEO had started, and Bitcoin attack vectors. At one point, Whale Panda tried to shift attention towards negative tweets about the conference, but thankfully the episode moved on to questions from the audience.

Participants inquired about the reasons behind the ongoing price pump (and the best reply involved the actual bull which the organizers brought for entertainment and barbecue), the potential interactions between Blockstream’s Liquid sidechain and the Lightning Network, Litecoin’s development, blockchain gaming, cross-chain atomic swaps for Monero, Hodlonaut’s disappearance, Litecoin’s use case, fears about Bitcoin’s exuberance, predictions on upcoming US regulations, NANO, methodology for BTC price estimation in relation to development, and the Flood XMR paper. For more details, you may watch the full episode:


Image: South Park Studios


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Institutional support for bitcoin growing, progressive regulations drafted

A bevy of incoming news from the past weeks includes more data legislation from the European Union, more negative bitcoin comments and updates on Fidelity’s upcoming bitcoin trading.

New data law for the European Union

According to a post from Fortune, the European Union will dish out a sequel to its “payment services directive,” called PSD2. Targeting financial firms, the law looks to “[b]oost competition and innovation within the industry by making banking and payments safer and more open through stronger security and data portability provisions,” Fortune explained. PSD2 comes into play on September 14, 2019.

The fresh law includes bank enforcement of “strong customer authentication,” which involves necessitating 2-factor authentication (2FA), Fortune explained.

Charlie Munger Bashes Bitcoin

At Berkshire Hathaway’s yearly shareholder meeting on May 4 this year, its vice chairman Charlie Munger took a verbal swing at bitcoin, Fortune detailed. “I wondered what [Bitcoin investors] have been doing in their happy hour, and I finally figured it out. They celebrate the life and work of Judas Iscariot,” Munger said. Both Munger and Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett have spoken negatively about bitcoin previously.

Earlier this year in February, Crypto Insider reported on Buffett’s opinion that bitcoin lacks uniqueness.

In response to whether or not he had changed his opinion on bitcoin, Buffett told Becky Quick in a CNBC interview:

No. I mean It’s too bad, but bitcoin, it’s ingenious, and blockchain is important, but bitcoin has no unique value at all. It doesn’t produce anything. You can stare at it all day and no little bitcoins come out or anything like that. It’s a delusion basically.”

Crypto trading coming to Fidelity soon

Mainstream giant Fidelity will commence institutional bitcoin trading “within a few weeks,” Bloomberg reported, “according to a person familiar with the matter,” who wished to remain unnamed.

The product will be aimed at institutional participants, Bloomberg said, adding, “A study released by Fidelity on May 2 found that 47 percent of institutional investors think digital assets are worth investing in.”

As reported by Bloomberg, Fidelity Investments VP of external communications Arlene Roberts said in an email, “We will continue to roll out our services over the coming weeks and months based on our clients’ needs, jurisdictions, and other factors. Currently, our service offering is focused on Bitcoin.”

Prior to this news, back on March 27, BlockTower Capital CIO Ari Paul posted a seemingly positive tweet about the strong situation over at Fidelity.

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$400,000 Bitcoin (BTC) price predicted by prominent hedge fund manager

Bitcoin has had a good run in 2019 as it is currently approaching the $7,000 mark. This, after the bitcoin price dropped as low as $3,200 in December 2018.

Although it might still be too early to think that we’ve entered a bull market, there are some financial advisory firms and Wall Street veterans who’ve made some very bold Bitcoin price predictions.

Canaccord Predicts Bitcoin Could Hit $20k By 2021

The financial advisory firm Canaccord Genuity Group has forecast a $20,000 Bitcoin price by 2021. The firm has come up with these bold predictions after analyzing bitcoin’s performance as an asset during two different four-year periods, including 2011-2015 and 2015-2019.

Canaccord Genuity Group’s management mentioned in its analysis report that the Bitcoin (BTC) miner’s reward halving, which occurs every four years, may have impacted the cryptocurrency’s price. Worth noting, this is only their observation based on the four-year price patterns and not based on a “fundamental analysis.”

Mark Yusko Predicts $400k Bitcoin price

Another bold prediction has come from the Morgan Creek Capital Management founder Mark Yusko. During an appearance on, Yusko predicted that bitcoin’s price would reach a high of $400,000 within a decade. According to Yusko, he came up with this prediction by doing some simple math of dividing the current market cap of gold by the total number of Bitcoins that will ever be produced - 21 million.

Yusko claims there’s a very high probability that within a decade, BTC will reach the marketcap of gold which currently stands at around $7.4 trillion. He remarked:

“Gold […] has been hard money for 5,000 years. […] It’s about 7.4 trillion dollars in value. The best thing about Bitcoin is it’s digital gold. It’s much easier to transport; it’s much easier to divide. […] It has all these essential qualities that I think are superior to gold. If we get the amount of value equal to gold, that would be about 7.4 trillion, divide that by 21 million coins, you get around $400,000 per coin, maybe $500,000 per coin. When does that happen? It might be a decade or more.”

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Marconi protocol: building secure infrastructure for blockchains

The Marconi protocol, a networking and blockchain protocol that uses a “programmable packet design,” allows developers to create secure and decentralized networking apps.

These customized software applications can effectively replace more expensive and traditional networking hardware equipment, while being able to perform the same essential functions. In a recent interview with Crypto Insider, the Marconi protocol development team revealed that their platform has been built with the aim of solving “three fundamental problems with the existing internet and networking stack.”

Leaving Networks Vulnerable To “Traffic Pattern Analysis”

As explained by Jong Hyeop Kim, the Marconi Protocol Chief Architect, Ethernet has “no encryption built into its design and exposes raw network packets.” (However, there are some companies that do offer solutions for encryption).

This leaves internet conduits open for allowing internet service providers and governments to easily monitor and surveil user activity, Kim noted.

He also mentioned that even using TLS (Transport Layer Security) and previously the deprecated SSL (Secure Socket Layer) does “not protect the entire network packet,” which leaves network traffic vulnerable to attacks like “traffic pattern analysis.”

“Providing Encryption Down To The Ethernet Layer”

In order to provide a greater level of security, Marconi uses blockchain technology to help “facilitate creating secure pipes which provide encryption down to the Ethernet layer.”

As pointed out by Marconi’s development team, networking equipment today costs up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and is primarily hardware-based, which makes it difficult and impractical to maintain and upgrade. Marconi’s programmable packets aim to provide a platform for flexible software-based networking apps that run on cost-effective hardware.

Commenting on the state of the current internet infrastructure, Marconi’s development team said:

“Today’s network infrastructure is highly centralized across a few ISPs which makes it highly susceptible to outages, easy to monitor and gives the existing providers a monopoly on the market. Marconi uses a native token to incentivize the formation of networks where user devices provide switching, routing, and packet processing functionality.”

The team continued:

“This provides a flexible platform for creating decentralized networking and security apps such as next generation firewalls, anti-phishing and multi-cloud load balancing.”

$60 Billion Blockchain Ecosystem Needs A Secure Internet

The blockchain ecosystem, which is expected to be valued at $60 billion by 2024, is decentralizing industry after industry, however Marconi’s developers argue that we need a more secure and cost-effective platform that fundamentally changes how the current networking and internet stack has been implemented.

Responding to a question about what the main benefits of using blockchain technology might be, Marconi’s team suggested:

  • Transparency & Auditability - most blockchain projects are open-source which provides a new level of visibility and accountability into the software that people rely on for critical activities. In addition, the blockchain ledger is usually publicly available and can be easily audited by anyone.
  • Security & Privacy - new networking protocols built using blockchain technology incorporate advanced cryptography to help preserve online privacy & security
  • Operational Cost Reduction - moving towards open-source technologies that break the hold of proprietary hardware / software / middlemen, individuals and organizations can reduce many of the costs and transaction fees required today
  • Decentralization - whether it’s empowering individuals to own their own data or to have more options for procuring internet infrastructure and connectivity, blockchain enables consumers to have a new level of choice
  • Censorship resistance - with network infrastructure and connectivity coming from a decentralized network, it’s now much harder for centralized entities such as governments or corporations to censor traffic

Advantages Of Open-Source Development

During their interview with Crypto Insider, the Marconi team confirmed they’ll be open-sourcing, or making their source code publicly accessible, in the coming months.

In response to a question regarding whether open-source software will help promote advancements faster than programs and technologies which are not available or accessible to all developers, Kim said: “We believe that there are tremendous benefits to open-sourcing a project. One of the biggest benefits is providing transparency to developers.”

Kim added:

“We are engineers ourselves, and when evaluating developer platforms, being able to have access to the source code not only alleviates a lot of security concerns, but it also gives us more freedom to extend the base functionality. Thus we believe that open-sourcing allows and encourages anyone to contribute so you benefit from a more diverse set of ideas and opinions thus avoiding groupthink.”

Because of this ethos, Marconi’s developers believe that open-sourcing fosters development communities that are actively engaged and become strong evangelists to help accelerate adoption.

Users Will Be Able “Stake Coins While Securing The Network”

When asked about some major updates that the Marconi team plans to release this year, they revealed:

“Later this year, we’ll be releasing our staking update, which will allow individuals to stake their coins while securing the network. In addition, we have just released a multi-year roadmap that outlines the next two years including the release of our Marconi Link technology which will unlock support for wireless communication.”

Going on to mention the official launch date of their mainnet, Kim confirmed:

“The mainnet launch marks the culmination of two years of hard work by the team. We are excited to reach this milestone but believe that this is just a step in our journey as we look forward to advancing and growing the platform. The mainnet will unlock working use cases that we have already documented around security and networking including support for multi-cloud and hybrid-cloud deployments.”

He added:

“With the mainnet launch, blockchain developers and network engineers will be able to start using Marconi to create networking & security applications that can be deployed on their networks. With our mainnet release, we wanted to deepen our technical expertise even further and have also a technical advisory board. This group of research experts in cryptography and networking, including Dr. Whitfield Diffie (a 2015 Turing Award Winner), will bring their years of industry and academic experience to help with the research and design of the project.”

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Crescent Crypto files application for new crypto-based ETF with SEC

Crescent Crypto Index Services LLC has filed an application with the  US Securites and Exchange Commission (SEC) for a cryptocurrency-backed exchange-traded fund (ETF).

A Crypto-Backed ETF

The firm, which is a subsidiary of Crescent Crypto Asset Management LLC, a financial services provider that manages a suite of indices, offerings and customized investment programs for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and family offices, is looking to track the performance of a “market capitalization-weighted portfolio mainly composed of Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).”

The ETF is being sponsored by United States Commodity Funds LLC (USCF), a company that specializes in managing exchange-traded commodity funds, which will be the primarily investor of the ETF fund that will be named the USCF Crescent Crypto Index Fund (“XBET”).

Christopher Matta, Co-Founder of Crescent, commented on the sponsorship:

“Crescent’s mission is to create innovative investment solutions that make cryptocurrencies accessible to mainstream investors. USCF has a robust ETP infrastructure and a history of pioneering alternative asset funds. This makes them the ideal partner to accomplish that mission through a differentiated product, which offers better diversification than Bitcoin alone.”

The application states that USCF Crescent Crypto Index Fund will be an exchange-traded fund and investors who plan to buy or sell shares of the fund in question will be able to do it through USCF’s  brokers and will be subject to brokerage commission fees. The shares are expected to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol previously mentioned and will be traded like any other publicly traded security, during trading days at bid and ask prices.

USCF first began operations in 2005 and has a long history managing exchange-traded funds. Since it was founded, the firm has been regulated by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the National Futures Association (NFA) under the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

The Waiting List

Besides Crescent Crypto’s ETF application, there are currently two other proposals sitting on the SEC’s desk.

One was filed early this year by Bitwise Asset Management that was set to address all the regulatory concerns which prevented their first application from being approved. The Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust would track Bitwise Bitcoin Total Return Index, which measures the value of Bitcoin and any major hard forks. If approved, it will be listed on NYSE Arca, an exchange where both stocks and options are traded.

The second one was proposed by VanEck / SolidX with the help of the Cboe BZX exchange, which was submitted in February this year. If approved, it will allow Cboe to list the share of the ETF trust on its platform, bringing more liquidity to the cryptocurrency market.  

Although one of the main differences between the Crescent Crypto’s ETF application and the other two is that it involves ether, it remains to be seen whether the SEC will approve any of the proposed crypto ETFs. Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the SEC, has previously stated that Bitcoin is more like a currency than anything else and also thinks Ethereum does not qualify as a security. Thus, an approval of one or all applications might be coming soon.

Crypto Insider reached out to the board of directors at Crescent Crypto Asset Management LLC to get their insights about the proposed ETF, but has yet to receive an answer.

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Weekly roundup May 6 – May 10

This week bitcoin’s price carried on toward new yearly highs as price interest increased. Other headlines from the week include a Binance hack, Fidelity BTC trading, a Bitfinex IEO and more. Catch up on this week!

Fidelity goes all in crypto, Bitfinex to launch an IEO, how to Win 1 BTC

In fall of 2018, mainstream giant Fidelity Investments unveiled plans to start up digital asset trading and custody, via its new endeavor - Fidelity Digital Assets.

March 8 saw Fidelity launch custody services for bitcoin. The company also plans to provide institutional bitcoin trading in the coming weeks, according to a Bloomberg post.

In other news, information reached the public on Bitfinex’s initial exchange offering (IEO). Bitfinex looks to raise as much as $1 billion in funds, according to a tweet from shareholder Zhao Dong. The exchange’s token sale has now been officially confirmed through the release of a whitepaper by IFinex, Inc., Bitfinex’s parent company.

The embattled exchange reportedly plans to sell an asset named LEO, a utility token used to lower fees on the exchange.

Additionally, a headline came in this week revealing the Gemini exchange’s plans to give away one BTC to the person who can capture the best picture of the Gemini Crypto Bus, which can be found roaming the streets of San Francisco, Chicago and Washington D.C. This contest appears to be part of an initiative supported by the Gemini Trust Co., which involves developing progressive regulations for cryptoassets.

Read on Crypto Insider 

Binance no longer #safu: Hackers steal 7000 BTC

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Preview: Magical Crypto Conference 2019

Magical Crypto Conference 2019 (because yes, the strength of the line-up suggests that there will definitely be follow-ups) is one of those peculiar phenomena that can only happen in a place as weird and norm-defying as Bitcoin’s. Not only that it follows the “we can do it better” philosophy that’s responsible for all the technological innovation that we’re witnessing on a daily basis (the idea sparked after attending the rather disappointing Consensus 2018), but it also turns a meme which emerged during the UASF era into a celebration of everything great about cryptocurrencies.

It’s just as unlikely as Dogecoin sponsoring the Jamaican bobsled team during the 2014 Winter Olympics, but definitely more productive in intellectual terms: the event allows the brightest minds in the field to get together and exchange experiences, but also empowers an extended audience (that can watch the panel discussions for free on livestream) with precious information.

In its earliest phase, Magical Crypto Friends was torn between defending Bitcoin from the proponents of the New York Agreement and providing clarity on the relentless stream of events taking place during the escalation of the raging 2017 bull market. The show first aired in a time when fraudulent projects were trying to ride the hype wave, and the choice between fundamentals and remarkable pumps seemed less obvious. Bitcoin was losing dominance due to new investments being made in questionable projects, Monero was being dismissed by the marketing departments of arguably weaker privacy coins like Verge, and Litecoin was being called obsolete and slow by forks with fragile security but quicker block times. It was then that the four anthropomorphic animals Charlie “Chikun” Lee, Riccardo “Fluffy Pony” Spagni, Whale Panda, and Samson “Excellion” Mow decided to get together

Ironically, Magical Crypto Conference returns to the same place where the SegWit2X project was formally given birth, but poses as the victor of the ideological confrontation between big blockers and second layer proponents. Furthermore, it should be noted that the speakers reflect, in an overwhelming majority, the Lightning-friendly side of the debate. Maybe it would have been useful to have more diverging discussions on the direction of Bitcoin, but the battle between chains is still ongoing, some wounds are still open, and people like Peter Todd and Andrew Poelstra can always be critical on the limitations that have to be tackled by developers and businesses alike.

Magical Crypto Conference 2019 in 4 facts

1. In the true spirit of collectibles and their potential to gain economic value in time if a certain threshold of demand is met, this first edition of the Magical Crypto Conference is filled with limited edition items. First of all, all participants will receive a silver-plated copper coin with a hologram which reveals private keys for tokens on the Liquid Network. Secondly, a random MCF doll will get added to every swag bah. Those who paid for VIP tickets will receive all four versions of the coin (which depict each member of the Magical Crypto Friends assembly) and every doll model.

2. Magical Crypto Conference 2019 will also feature a live new episode of the MCF show, as well as the first animated short involving the four anthropomorphic friends. The idea of a cartoon has been around since day one, but the strive for perfectionism and willingness to make the content really count has delayed the production and launch up until the moment when it all comes together. At this point it’s unclear how the live episode and the airing of the animation will be scheduled, but the hype is there for all fans of the show and everything is going to get livestreamed.

3. You probably won’t find the same kind of qualified, knowledgeable, influential, and high-profile speakers in any other conference which contains the word “Crypto” in its title. Given the line-up, it will probably be very difficult for the organizers themselves to replicate the success of this first edition.

4. Speaking of YouTube livestreams, it’s worth mentioning that the links have already been set up for both conference days and the exclusive live episode. At press time, the beginning of the event is about 24 hours away, but it’s admirable and remarkable to see that everything is ready for the lesser fortunate ones who couldn’t fly to New York or simply need to work. If you would like to watch the panels while you’re at home or at the office, you may use the links below.

Day 1, Lightning Network and Bitcoin without internet

Day 2, Privacy and Protocol Development

Magical Crypto Friends Live Episode

Crypto Insider at MCC 2019

Crypto Insider will participate the event as one of the media partners and offer unnique coverage on the panel talks and other various events taking place within the premises of the conference. We’ll be looking to get exclusive interviews and write in-depth analyses of the hottest topics being discussed, so stay tuned for more news about Magical Crypto Conference 2019!

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Security update by Binance on the hacking incident

Binance issued an update today on the security breach that took place on 7th May 2019 where the hacker stole 7000 Bitcoins (worth $43 million) by successfully obtaining “API keys, 2FA codes, and other sensitive information.

The deposits and withdrawals were also paused following the incident to revamp security on Binance and improve operating procedures. Below are some key points mentioned in the update.

Improving Security Measures, Procedures and Practises

The update from CZ informs Binance users about the various security measures taken by the exchange operator, in order to avoid any such hacking incidents in the future. The exchange has mentioned in its update that it’s revamping all the security measures, procedures, and practices. Most of the changes will reportedly be completed this week, so that normal operations including deposits and withdrawals are available as soon as possible.

Other minor changes would be made at later stages, CZ noted. The Binance team is also working on making changes in the current API, 2FA, and withdrawal validation areas which was the main area exploited by the hacker.

Binance is taking this security incident as an opportunity to improve and tighten on the security front by making changes in the KYC procedures, analyzing the user behavior and also improving its risk management. Phishing is another headache for them to address. For that, they promised to introduce some innovative ways to fight against it. In addition, the Binance team is also going to incorporate many security measures that will happen on the backend, which will not be visible to the users.

Binance in Fighting Mode

Binance has also mentioned that this incident does not sadden them; instead, they are in fighting mode against the hackers. The 7000 BTC that was stolen is a  single transaction, so it is quite visible on the blockchain. The community experts are already on it, watching the movement of the coins and updating the Binance team regularly. They have also deployed industry-leading security experts to track down the hackers.

Transparent Communication

The Binance team has also mentioned that the incident will not negatively affect them in the long-term; instead, it will make the exchange more resilient and more secure. Binance’s development team also thanked their community for supporting and backing them in these difficult times.

Commenting on the situation, CZ remarked:

“It is my strong view that our constant and transparent communication is what sets us apart from the ‘old way of doing things,’ even and especially in tough times.”

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The post Security update by Binance on the hacking incident appeared first on Crypto Insider.


Trading cryptocurrencies with Abra’s new app just became easier

The developers of Abra, one of the world’s largest global investment apps, have announced the integration of various enhancements to their trading platform for cryptocurrencies.

The enhancements will reportedly make it easier to conduct cryptocurrency transactions.

According to Abra’s press release (shared with Crypto Insider), the Abra app will feature several new options for US-based traders. The additional features will allow users to connect their bank accounts “through Plaid integration and [provide] native access to all 30 supported [cryptocurrencies] in the Abra app,” the firm’s release revealed.

“Democratizing Access To Financial Services”

Commenting on the launch of the latest upgrades to the company’s trading app, Bill Barhydt, the CEO at Abra, remarked:

“With today’s announcement, Abra is taking yet another step closer to our vision of democratizing access to financial services for our hundreds of thousands of customers around the globe.”

Barhydt also mentioned that the addition of the “new liquidity enhancements” to Abra’s app will allow users to move, or seamlessly convert, their cryptocurrencies to fiat equivalents (and vice versa). The Abra CEO added that his firm’s recent partnership with Plaid, a leading data networking provider for fintech companies, may potentially “bring thousands of additional financial institutions” into Abra’s ecosystem for US-based investors.

Currently, Abra’s app allows users in the US and the EU to fund their wallets through a bank ACH transfer. However, the latest integration with Plaid’s platform will reportedly “increase the number of US financial institutions available in-app for funding investments from dozens to thousands,” Abra’s release stated.

Broadening Investment Options For Small Bank Customers

Paul Williamson, the Head of Sales at Plaid, stated:

“Consumers need to be able to invest their money wherever they choose, regardless of where they bank. With increased funding sources available for connection, Abra broadens the investment options for people who bank with smaller institutions and expands access to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.”

In addition to supporting deposits and withdrawals for Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ether (ETH), Abra’s app will now include “withdrawal support capabilities” for the 26 other cryptocurrencies which are currently available for trading through its app.

Willie Wang, Abra’s VP of Product, said:

“We’ve listened to user feedback and are committed to bringing withdrawal and deposit support for all of the supported cryptocurrencies in our app.  We’re starting with withdrawal support today, but will be adding deposit support in the near future.”

As mentioned in Abra’s release, Abra is a non-custodial platform because it does not have access to users’ private keys (or funds). Users’ funds are kept in the Abra wallet which is “held privately on each user’s phone, making transactions more secure and private than centralized databases used by most crypto exchanges and wallets,” Abra’s announcement noted.

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The post Trading cryptocurrencies with Abra’s new app just became easier appeared first on Crypto Insider.


Career Potentials for CompTIA Network+ Certified Professionals

The top reason why the professionals pursue a certification path is that they can improve their career potentials. Of course, you develop skills and gain knowledge while preparing for the exam, but this is not the core reason for obtaining a credential. Therefore, it is not a surprise to discover that many specialists want to know thejob titles associated with a particular certificate.

Are you preparing to earn CompTIA Network+ and wondering how it can translate into a rewarding career for you? You don’t have to look any further because this article details the various job potentials that the CompTIA Network+ certification holders can take up immediately after earning this certificate.

Before we go ahead to look at the different career options for a Network+ certified individual, it is important to highlight the benefits of this credential. One major advantage of CompTIA Network+ is its versatility. Unlike Microsoft MCSE or Cisco CCNA, the CompTIA Network+ certification demonstrates that one has the skills and knowledge to function as a network technician over multiple platforms. Secondly, the certificate is neutral and not vendor specific.

This means that the professionals with the CompTIA certification can work with most network types. This is because the test covers the basics of the majority of networking concepts and is not focused on information about a specific type of network. If a person has received CompTIA Network+, it shows that he/she can use switches and routers to make resilient networks, troubleshoot network issues, manage network devices and so on. In addition to these, the certified professionals can work in various job roles. There is no doubt that there are numerous jobs that are open to you.

Let us look at these job roles in detail.

  • Technician
    Although this is the most associated job role for a professional with CompTIA Network+, but
    there are various other opportunities for career advancement. With this credential, you can
    specialize in troubleshooting network problems and in installation of network equipment.
    Whatever path you choose, you can upgrade your credential by pursuing other vendor specific
    certification that will validate you as an expert in a specific product or service.
  • Administrator
    A professional with Network+ can also pursue a career as an administrator. This job role is
    generally saddled with the responsibility of managing the day-to-day network problems. These
    specialists are in charge of troubleshooting these issues while maintaining the quality of service
    all through the network. These professionals are responsible for everything regarding network
    and they have many benefits for their skills. Therefore, if you want a well-paid job in the field of networking, you might want to consider a job as an administrator with your CompTIA Network+ certification.
  • Security Specialist
    The field of security seems to be one of the rapidly developing areas in the Information
    Technology industry and there are numerous certifications that validate the experience and
    skills of professionals in security. CompTIA Security+ is one of these credentials, but you can
    start your career goal and certification path with Network+. This is because networking is one
    of the most crucial components of the information security field today. With networking
    abilities, you will be able to meetsome of the prerequisites to become an effective information
    security specialist.
  • Web Services Networking
    Web Services Network is strongly associated with a Web services industry, especially web and
    data hosting. A professional with CompTIA Network+ is equipped with the knowledge and skills
    in networking, which are very critical to Web services organizations. There are various web
    hosting companies that need the service ofa help desk technician to help handle connection
    issues of customers. Some other organizations require the service of technician to help with
    their onsite networking problems.
  • Teaching and Training
    This is one of the best parts of becoming a certified professional. The Network+ certification
    automatically gives you the license to train other specialists in the discipline that you know well.
    The credential adds a level of credibility to your assertion of knowledge and makes you a real
    expert as a teacher. Becoming a trainer is sure a more rewarding and fulfilling career if you
    have the CompTIA Network+ certification.

Apart from the aforementioned career paths, the individuals with the CompTIA Network+ certification have a lot of other ways to realize their professional abilities. Top among the fields available are:

  • networking forensics (associated with information security);
  • systems analyst (providing solutions to speed);
  • network/web systems development (specializing in Java, PHP, or CGI/Perl).

In addition to the options that have been mentioned above, there are many other valuable and rewarding career paths that the certified professionals can consider. The major thing is to be open-minded. Think outside the box and don’t close up your opportunities to get well-paid prestigious jobs, even if they don’t fall under the area of Network+ certification.

Conclusion about CompTIA Network+ certification

Definitely, Network+ is not the top of certifications under the CompTIA certification program. You can pursue more advanced credentials to improve your career potentials. Your choice of certificate path largely depends on your career goal. For instance, if you want to delve into the field of security, CompTIA Security+ will be the ideal path to follow.

You may also consider the infrastructure certificates, which include CompTIA Linux+, CompTIA Cloud+ and CompTIA Server+. If you are interested in the cybersecurity area, there are also numerous certification paths that you can pursue. Apart from CompTIA certificates, there are other vendor specific credentials that you can also consider.

No doubt, earning a certification is a great way to improve your career prospects in the field of Information Technology and CompTIA Network+ is one of the steps to take you to the peak of the certification path.

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