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Just a couple years ago, Tor was something known only by tech-geeks. However, since leaks about the surveillance strategies of US and UK spies have arisen, Tor has become a target of criticism, accusations of promoting a “dark web” of pedophiles, drug dealers, and arms traders.

 

What is Tor?

The Tor project is a non-profit association that allowed users to browse the internet anonymously. It is intended to stop individuals – including government organizations and partnerships – from knowing of your location or learning about your browsing traditions.

The Tor network conceals your identity by moving your traffic across various Tor servers while encrypting the traffic. This makes it almost impossible for anybody to recognize the source of the data or region of the web client.

Tor’s software package, the Tor browser bundle can be downloaded easily and does not require any setup procedure. Although, you’ll experience a much slower internet than usual due to the number of relays your data goes through.

 

Who created Tor?

It was originally developed by the US Navy and received 60% of its funding from the State Departments and Department of Defense, along with several other backing bodies.

When it was initially launched in 2002, the project’s main focus was on securing every internet users’ privacy from corporations over governments.

Related: How to use Tor browser on iPhone

Who uses Tor?

Tor users fall into four main groups:

  • Normal users looking to just keep their browsing activities concealed from websites and advertisers
  • Cyber-spying concerned users that do not want their personal information to be tracked by any corporation.
  • Journalists and activists in countries with restrictions on the internet.
  • Whistleblowers can leak information to journalists while maintaining their privacy and having the freedom to express their true opinions.

 

The dark side                

Regardless of all its perks, everything has its drawbacks as well. It is important to be fully aware of what you click on while browsing with Tor. While many sites are socially acceptable or legal for that matter, others are known for having disturbing content. Stumbling upon such a web page showcasing criminal behavior or anything of that sort could land you in serious trouble.

Additionally, along with cloaking your identity Tor is also able to host websites, which means these sites are only accessible by people on the Tor network. These are known as criminal sites or in more obvious words “the dark web”.  The FBI and NSA have tracked down many of such sites, promoting disturbing content, drug purchases, illegal arms trading and much more.

Related: What are top 5 Proxies to access .Onion sites without Tor Browser?

What’s next?

We’re in an era of free-flowing data available to us with just a click of a button. Moreover, the internet is expanding on a daily basis and its depths are still unknown. With Tor becoming more widely used by internet users, the FBI and NSA have become more persistent in attempting to crack the network. In the end, it all depends on the user and for what activities they use Tor.

 

Image credits: i-novice.net

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Virtual currency Bitcoin being split into 2: here’s what you need to know

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Everyone has turned skeptical on how to scale the bitcoin cryptocurrency since the chances of a “hard fork” have arisen within the market.

Bitcoin seems to be in a crisis and everyone in their community is suffering along with it.

Virtual currency Bitcoin

Stakeholders and developers stuck in a heated argument over “hard fork”

What is the issue?

Basically, Bitcoin is so well-known that it isn’t able to handle the weight of all the transactions. Transactions are processed in “blocks” that include complicated cryptography to verify and set. But, with the currency growing exponentially and the number of transactions increasing, the 1MB size limit of the block that is built into the system is becoming an issue, causing delays in processing transactions. Thus, purchases would take a long time to confirm.

The time taken for a virtual currency bitcoin transaction has been gradually increasing. The median currently sits at 13 minutes.

What are the alternatives?

The split is leading to two possible solutions: “Bitcoin Unlimited” and “Segregated Witness”. They obviously can’t exist together, they’re software updates to the bitcoin network that would change how it works. This “hard fork” would split the chain of transactions in two, producing another chain splitting from the original one.

 

BU vs SegWit

Starting off with Bitcoin Unlimited, you must understand the concept of bitcoin mining. Miners sift through and verify transactions using computers in order to get rewarded with newly issued bitcoins. Professional miners with computers having specialized hardware do the majority of the mining by performing mathematical tasks.

Miners are in favor of BU because it would give them control over the Bitcoin network.They would be able to increase the block size when required and effectively give them control to set the transaction fees.

On the other hand, to keep the cryptocurrency more decentralized rather than giving additional work to miners, bitcoin developers, and enthusiasts are in favor of SegWit.

SegWit would double the transactions per second capacity of bitcoin by juggling the makeup of transactions, stripping out some details such as signatures. It would also add some extra functionality, including possibly moving some transactions off-chain in a way that might not benefit the miners. This solution would keep control over the network dispersed (decentralized).

Although, SegWit is just a temporary solution. It only doubles the network’s bandwidth, while BU allows miners to vote to increase the capacity when required with no upper limit.

Who’s the winner?

It is possible that bitcoin value will fork and then the two opposing currency will co-exist and compete for users and legitimacy. It is up to the users to choose sides and it isn’t simple to predict the future of the BTC world.

What does this mean for the value of bitcoin?

Bitcoin is hitting high records currently and if the fork conflict’s solved in a timely and satisfactory manner, it would make the market even more powerful.

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Yahoo Japan’s Subsidiary “Z-Corporation” Purchases Stake in Crypto-Exchange

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On Friday, Yahoo Japan confirmed that it has acquired a minority stake in a cryptocurrency exchange of Japan. According to Reuters, a subsidiary of Yahoo Japan, Z Corporation, has purchased a 40% stake in the Japanese crypto Exchange, “BitArg Exchange Tokyo,” which has the worth of almost $18.6 -$27 million. The exchange will be set to launch in the month of September, 2018.

yahoo crypto news

Rumours of Acquisition

The rumours of the acquisition first came out in March; however, at that time they showed that the investment will be made by Yahoo Japan through YJFX, which is its forex transaction platform, and not through Z Corporation.

In a statement, Yahoo Japan said:

“By utilizing the service operation and security expertise of the Yahoo group, we support the operation of exchanges operated by BitArgo Exchange Tokyo.” Yahoo Japan also added that the exchange intends to offer services for customers that are secure and easy to use.

Monex Group

Japan is considered as an industry hub as it has above three million domestic crypto-traders. The news of Yahoo Japan’s investment showed up just after days when the financial regulator of the country ordered crypto exchanges; FSHO and Eternal Link, to stop operations due to inadequate KYC procedures. Similarly, another prominent acquisition happened this month – Monex Group announced that it struck a deal to acquire Coincheck exchange, as it went through a major hack at the beginning of this year.

After the Yahoo crypto news, Monex, which is known as a major Japanese online brokerage has confirmed its acquisition of Coincheck and was undeterred even with Coincheck getting lots of criticism for negligent-security procedures the whole year that led it to the mugging of $530 million of NEM tokens from its wallet.

Even with interruptions, SB, which is a Japanese banking giant is set to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange after firming up the security measures when the FSA is considering to ramp up its scrutiny of exchanges after the theft of Coincheck. Also, Messaging giant Line, that has a market cap of more than $9 billion and has almost 600 million registered users as well as 200 million monthly active users, has also filed an application with FSA in order to launch its own cryptocurrency exchange in Japan.

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Bitcoin Mining – Is It Illegal?

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Before discussing the legality, we’d like you to know exactly what is Bitcoin mining is and how does it work.

Bitcoin mining illegal refers to the process of adding transaction records to a public ledger called Blockchain. In this ledger, every single Bitcoin transaction is recorded, and the record is always open for the public access. The record of these transactions is organized into blocks.

The creation of these blocks is what Bitcoin mining is based on. Every time a new block is created, it is added to the Blockchain for public to see it. However, it does not reveal the identity of parties involved in the transaction.

The block creation is done through solving mathematical algorithms using powerful computers.

So Why Would It Ever Be Considered Illegal?

There may be several reasons as to why people consider it illegal. More than often Bitcoin mining is confused with counterfeiting the money, which is completely false.

You are not counterfeiting your national currency, but rather creating a completely new currency.

Another reason behind some governments opposing Bitcoin is due to it being decentralized. Due to the fact that Bitcoin cannot be regulated or controlled, several governments view it as a threat to their national currencies. Some governments also believe that Bitcoin is actually undermining the government itself by offering non-state currency.

Moreover, the Bitcoin cryptocurrency can be mined illegally. One of the most common examples is the miners hacking your PCs through malware and using their processors to mine coins.

In Which Countries Is Bitcoin Mining Illegal?

The governments all around the globe have a mixed stance on this subject. For example, in Russia, the possession, as well as the use of Bitcoin is illegal. In fact, Russia is considered to be one of the biggest anti-Bitcoin countries out there. Presumably because of the current financial crisis brought about by low oil prices and the sanctions instituted as a result of Russian activities in Ukraine.

Ecuador is another country to oppose Bitcoin, but interestingly enough, has launched its own digital currency. The currency is designed to lower the government’s reliance on fiat currency.

Another country to outlaw Bitcoin is Iceland. Then there are other governments such as Indian government that have made negative comments against Bitcoin but haven’t launched any official bans on the mining/ownership of the currency.

Legal Bitcoin Mining:

The majority of governments seem to be okay with Bitcoin and have not made any negative remarks or launched an official ban as of yet. US, China, South Korea are few to name.

In these countries, you can legally mine the coins by using your own Bitcoin mining hardware and electricity resources. However, stealing the said resources may still result in prosecution.

For more information on mining hardware, Read our guide on how to set up a bitcoin miner.

Conclusion:

In all, Bitcoin mining is completely legal and safe for the users. Although there are some countries that have outlawed the currency, many countries remain to be silent on the issue and have passed no legislation for or against the most widely used cryptocurrency.

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Ways to Earn Bitcoins 2017 – Earn Bitcoins in 8 Different ways

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Do you ever wonder where you can get free bitcoins from? Let’s make this clear, you cannot become rich overnight, everything requires dedication and hard work.

Here is how you can earn bitcoins in 8 different ways:

  1. Accepting them as a means of payment
  2. By completing tasks on websites
  3. From interest payments
  4. By mining
  5. By receiving tips
  6. Through trading
  7. A regular source of income
  8. Gambling

Earn Bitcoins by Accepting Them as a Payment:

It is so easy and quick to earn bitcoins by selling goods and services. All you have to do is enlist your shop or business and let the bitcoins roll in as buyers start appearing. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Get a free online Bitcoin wallet from Coinbase. Be sure to keep an eye on your bitcoins frequently to avoid any hacking issues.
  • QR code should be displayed with your bitcoin wallet address next to your cash register.
  • The entrance of shop should display the “Bitcoin accepted here” logo.

Earn Free Bitcoins By Completing Tasks on Websites:

Another way to get bitcoins is visiting bitcoin-related sites and carrying out small tasks on the web. These tasks include watching a video or an ad, playing a game or taking a survey. Here is a list of some of the sites that offer bitcoins for free:

  • BitVisitor: Requires you to log onto websites and watch videos. Each page appears for five minutes and then you proceed to the next. Fortunately, the payment procedure completes within an hour and you don’t even need to create a user account, just your Bitcoin address. Though, the number of bitcoins you earn may vary.
  • CoinWorker: Let’s you earn bitcoins by completing tasks. You must create an account here. Also, payouts are usually higher on here than most sites.
  • Bitfortip: Answer questions on forums and earn bitcoins. This service is a benefit for both newbie and experienced users of Bitcoin as it brings people together. Newbies can ask their questions and the experienced can answer them while receiving rewards in Bitcoin.

These are not methods to make you rich in a day, but ways to make you more familiar with the currency.

Earn Bitcoins From Interest Payments:

You can earn bitcoins through interest payments by lending your Bitcoin assets. It is a good way to make bitcoins from what you already have.

  • Lending directly: This when you lend out your bitcoins to someone you personally know and have assessed. You get to decide whether the borrower is trustworthy or not.
  • Peer-to-peer bitcoin lending websites: Sites such as Bitbond have listings of borrowers publishing funding requests to which you can contribute to their loan. The concept behind this is the same as for fiat currency loans. The borrower gets a certain amount over a specific period of time and repays the amount with interest. However, make sure that both the site and borrower are trustworthy.
  • Bitcoin banking: Place your bitcoins as a deposit with a site that pays you a fixed interest rate on these deposits. The good thing is you don’t need to diversify your bitcoins over many borrowers. In this banking model, you just need to trust one single browser, which is the bank.

Remember, always lend through sites you trust, because even fraudulent sites comply with the usual requirements that are present on legit sites.

Earn Bitcoins by Mining:

Mining is a process which generates new bitcoins. During mining, your computer adds new confirmed transactions to the blockchain and searches for new blocks. A block is a file that has the most recent Bitcoin transactions recorded in it when a new block is discovered, you receive a certain number of bitcoins. However, if you want to earn bitcoin by mining, know that it’s a time-consuming and costly process.

Earn Bitcoins by Receiving Tips:

One of the best ways to earn Bitcoin fast. It is pretty much like accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment. All you need is a wallet, a QR-code with your Bitcoin address on it and the people who can give you a tip. A simpler option for this would be your own shop. Simply display the QR-code and check each day what came in. Another cool way to get online tips is using Bitfortip which we have already mentioned above. This service allows you to get tipped in bitcoin as the name already says.

Earn Bitcoins Through Trading:

Arbitrage is the safest and most convenient way to make money with trading. Basically, this means that you buy an asset for a certain price and sell it immediately for a much higher price at another destination. Price differences between exchanges often occur for certain reasons.

The other way to earn Bitcoins from trading is simple speculation. In this case, you would buy bitcoins, wait until the price increases, then sell it for a fiat currency. When the price drops again, you buy more bitcoins and start all over again.

Earn Bitcoins as a Regular Income:

There aren’t many organizations that would be ready to pay you in bitcoins, but there are some and maybe there will be more acceptance towards this in the future. Apart from being employed by some company, you have the option of working from home for others as well. Here are some sites offering jobs and where you can post a job yourself. It is a very convenient way of working and many jobs can be completed from home.

  • Bitcointalk Forum Services Section-  Offers job listings that are paid in Bitcoins.
  • Jobs 4 Bitcoins- Has a focus on job offers for programmers on reddit.
  • BitGigs- Online job board with a variety of job offers. Do give it a look.
  • Coinality- Has a different approach, it locates the jobs around you by displaying them on a map. It comes in very handy if you are interested in locating a job somewhere near you.
  • XBTFreelancer- Another job site for gigs that are mostly software based. If you have programming or other IT related skills it is the place for you to earn Bitcoins with your expertise.
  • bitWAGE- Lets you find jobs that pay in bitcoin. It also lets you invoice your USA, EU, or UK employer or client in different currencies including bitcoin. This means that you can earn bitcoins from your regular job.

Earn Bitcoins From Gambling:

Online bitcoin gambling can come in a variety of forms. Casino games with live dealers and video slots, dice sites, sports betting, and poker are the most popular forms of bitcoin gambling currently available. Many casinos offer welcome bonuses for new and existing players, usually doubling your first bitcoin deposit on their site.

There are many sites available for bitcoin gambling, each with their own games, bonuses, jackpots, and prizes such as Bitcoin Casinos, Bitcoin Poker, Bitcoin Dice etc.

As you can see, cryptocurrencies are now demanded by everyone. While you do have to invest a certain amount of time to get rewarded, it is still a learning experience for those new to the digital currency community.

Those who want to just skip all these steps, simply want to buy Bitcoin and are wondering where to buy bitcoin, CoinBase, CoinMama, and CoinPanda are some of the most reliable exchanges to buy Bitcoin. Good luck with the purchase!

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