Radical Academy: Amir Taaki’s New Hacker Team Is Spreading Bitcoin in Syria – CoinDesk

Lugging an AK-47, fighting ISIS in Syria – Amir Taaki has seen some s**t.

But, through it all, the hacker – best known for writing crypto code in abandoned London flats and creating one of the earliest dark markets powered by bitcoin – has kept the technology at the forefront of his mind. Now, emerging from his latest chaotic period, he’s promoting the idea that the cryptocurrency needs to be taken back from central banks, governments and other powers that be.

In his first interview about a new unnamed project – which he simply calls “the academy” – Taaki laid out his plan to convert an entire region in northern Syria to a bitcoin-based economy.

While Taaki expects the project to take nearly 20 years to implement, he’s completed the first step, recruiting a team of five “revolutionary hackers,” who he describes as committed to ensuring bitcoin doesn’t fall victim to the same fates as other once-revolutionary technology movements.

He told CoinDesk:

“Bitcoin is now in that crucial balance where it can either find itself, like the other technology movements that have come before it, confined to irrelevance, or people can start to gather together to try to really, truly think about, on a social level, what bitcoin is really about.”

More at: Radical Academy: Amir Taaki’s New Hacker Team Is Spreading Bitcoin in Syria – CoinDesk


Port authority and municipality of Rotterdam launch blockchain field lab – Container Management

The Municipality of Rotterdam and the Port of Rotterdam Authority are launching a field lab named BlockLab to develop solutions based on blockchain technology.

The aim of it is to allow users to conduct transactions without involving a third party. Data technology guarantees the necessary checks and balances and ensures that the transaction is processed automatically.

This makes it possible to structure large-scale networks, chains and markets without the need for a dominant, regulating party.

Blockchain allows users to set up a finely meshed decentralised power network, in which companies can trade residual heat and city dwellers can trade electricity. This gives new impetus to the energy transition in the port and the city.

Rotterdam’s deputy mayor for economic affairs Maarten Struijvenberg said: “There’s this huge buzz about ‘blockchain’, but actually, there aren’t that many fully functional applications.

“We’ll be changing this with BlockLab. This is important, because we need real innovations to launch the next economy. And blockchain can help us realise them.”

Port authority president and CEO Allard Castelein said that he is thinking of the “numerous applications that can be realised within logistics chains thanks to blockchain, allowing us to organise cargo flows more efficiently.”

More at: Port authority and municipality of Rotterdam launch blockchain field lab – Container Management

PwC and Arc-Net use blockchain to combat food fraud – Consultancy.uk

Global consultancy PwC and the Northern Irish Arc-Net will gather their knowledge to help the food industry fight fraud. At the heart of their joint efforts is the use of blockchain, an innovative technology that has emerged from financial services.

The blockchain concept was originally developed as an efficient and secure way to manage and register transactions made with cryptocurrencies (for example, Bitcoin). Until now, it has mostly been of interest to individuals and financial institutions. However, with its distributed-ledger technology (DLT) and smart contracts, blockchain has great potential to benefit all companies across the supply chain – not just banks.

One area where the innovative financial technology was perhaps thought of as an unlikely fit at best is the food industry. Worldwide food poverty has hit society in a number of ways, with PwC research suggesting food fraud, as some look to capitalise on people’s desperation, appears to cost the food industry $40 billion a year. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in ten people worldwide are ill from eating contaminated foods every year, and 2.2 million people die every year.

More at: PwC and Arc-Net use blockchain to combat food fraud – Consultancy.uk

Blockchain Energizer Vol. 13 – The National Law Review

There is a lot of buzz around blockchain technology and its potential to revolutionize a wide range of industries from finance and health care to real estate and supply chain management. Reports estimate that over $1.4 billion was invested in blockchain startups in 2016 alone, and many institutions and companies are forming partnerships to explore how blockchain ledgers and smart contracts can be deployed to manage and share data, create transactional efficiencies, and reduce costs.

Trusted IoT Alliance Launches to Foster Interoperability Across Blockchain Platforms

  • A wide range of companies have joined together to launch the Trusted IoT Alliance (the “Alliance”) to develop and set standards for representing “Internet of Things” (IoT) products on blockchain platforms. The stated goal of the Alliance is “the creation of a trusted IoT ecosystem that links cryptographic and registrant identities, along with meta data, to give objects the equivalent of digital, transferable ‘birth certificates’ that can be inventoried and managed across blockchain networks.”

  • The Alliance will be blockchain agnostic and will work to foster interoperability across blockchain platforms. The Alliance anticipates that developing standards for assigning digital identities to Internet-connected machines or products will remove barriers to broadscale adoption of blockchain technology and enable automation through smart contracts.

  • In conjunction with the formal launch of the Alliance, a Supply Chain Working Group was also established with the specific purpose of establishing standards and security protocols for IoT devices in the supply chain context. The Alliance anticipates developing other working groups as well.

  • As noted in earlier issues of this newsletter, successful implementation of interoperability standards will be key to realizing the potential of blockchain technology. For example, trusted and reliable standards for creating digital identities for energy meters will help facilitate the development of blockchain-based platforms for trading energy and renewable energy credits.

More at: Blockchain Energizer Vol. 13 – The National Law Review

US Department of Energy enlists Guardtime and Siemens for blockchain cybersecurity project – International Business Times

Also features Washington State University, Tennessee Valley Authority, and Department of Defense Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center.

Guardtime, the blockchain technology company which created keyless signature infrastructure (KSI), is working with United States Department of Energy (DOE), Pacific Northwest National Labs (PNNL), Siemens and others, to secure distributed energy resources at the grid’s edge.

Other institutions and bodies involved include Washington State University, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the Department of Defense Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center (HDIAC). The cybersecurity technology will increase the trustworthiness and integrity of complex energy exchanges, Guardtime said a statement.

The multi-million dollar award is designed to protect the nation’s energy infrastructure from emerging cyber threats and enhance the reliability and resilience of critical energy infrastructure through innovative, scaleable, and cost-effective research and development of cybersecurity solutions and operational capabilities.

As we modernise our energy infrastructure, the speed, size and complexity of energy data and transactions exchanged increases exponentially, noted Michael Mylrea, PNNL’s primary investigator for the project. To help overcome these challenges, blockchain keyless signature infrastructure technology provides a unique value proposition in its potential to help optimise and secure these critical data sets.

More at: US Department of Energy enlists Guardtime and Siemens for blockchain cybersecurity project – International Business Times

A trader is being accused of running a bitcoin Ponzi scheme – Business Insider

The US government is going after a New York man for allegedly operating a bitcoin Ponzi scheme.

The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission said Nicholas Gelfman, a Brooklyn resident and head trader at Gelfman Blueprint, a New York-based firm, “fraudulently solicited” $600,000 from 80 clients in a bitcoin Ponzi scheme.

Investors, according to a release from the CFTC Thursday, gave money to Gelfman “for placement in a pooled commodity fund that purportedly employed a high-frequency, algorithmic trading strategy, executed by Defendants’ computer trading program called “Jigsaw.”

“In fact, as charged in the CFTC Complaint, the strategy was fake, the purported performance reports were false, and — as in all Ponzi schemes — payouts of supposed profits to GBI Customers in actuality consisted of other customers’ misappropriated funds,” the CFTC said.

Gelfman covered up the scheme by “staging” a hack.

More at: A trader is being accused of running a bitcoin Ponzi scheme – Business Insider

CoinDash ICO Hacker Returns 10,000 Ether Without Any Demands – The Merkle

The CoinDash project attracted a lot of attention during its ICO. Establishing a new type of trading platform will not be easy, but the team feels they can pull it off. Unfortunately, their ICO was hit by a major theft of coins, which saw an unknown assailant steal 10,000 ETH. Considering the vast amount of money this represents, losing these funds could have crippled this or any other project. However, the money was returned without any issue, which raised a lot of questions.


In cryptocurrency, there have been plenty of incidents involving hacks and scams. In virtually every case, the stolen money is never returned to its rightful owner. That is not entirely surprising, as most hackers can successfully steal millions of dollars without too many repercussions. Converting stolen money to cash or other forms of ready-to-use money is often quite difficult, though.

Given the transparency of most cryptocurrencies, anyone can follow blockchain-based transactions in real time without dedicated software. In the case of the CoinDash ICO, the 10,000 ETH theft was tracked to a fake address pretty quickly. Unlike what most people would come to expect, the funds were apparently not converted to fiat or otherwise used.

Instead, the CoinDash team claims that an unknown assailant returned the money to them without any additional problems or demands. That was a very unusual resolution, considering 10,000 ETH has a value of around US$3 million right now. It does not make any sense for a hacker to part with some or all of his or her stolen money willingly and return it to the rightful owner. Nor does it appear any white hat hackers were involved in the process of recovering money. It is a very unusual situation, to say the least.

More at: CoinDash ICO Hacker Returns 10,000 Ether Without Any Demands – The Merkle