News: QuadrigaCX, Swift and Ripple, Mt. Gox, illegal abuse images on Bitcoin SV blockchain

  • Reminder — I’m speaking at Blockchain: Utopia or U-turn? at the Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece, next Sunday, 17 February — my bit’s 7:30-8:00pm, talking about Attack of the 50-Foot Blockchain. Jemima Kelly from FT Alphaville is on straight after me. “The entrance is free and on a first come, first served basis. The distribution of entrance tickets begins one (1) hour before each event.”


If you made up the Quadriga saga as a story about lost pirate treasure, the target audience would have to be about four, because eight year olds wouldn’t buy it. I’ve spent this week doing press about it — it’s amazing how many calls you get if you get a reputation for answering your phone. I did radio with Toronto 640 (no recording yet), CBC Vancouver and BBC 5 Live, and press with CBC. Also recorded a video segment for CoinTelegraph’s YouTube channel, which will go up later today if they use it. Update: It’s up! I look terrible ‘cos of the lighting. Ah, video.

This document appears to be Gerald Cotten’s will — I think it’s the document the Canadian press have been reporting on. Jennifer Robertson owns CDN$7.5m in Nova Scotia real estate, all bought in the last two and a half years — including one property bought from Tucker Carlson from Fox News, at less than half market value. The creditors are disconcerted to discover that any claimants over $10,000 are required by law to be listed publicly.

Christine Duhaime is a Financial Crime lawyer, and has been doing a lot of media on Quadriga’s collapse. Last week, she tweeted (archive): “You know if any other group of Canadians lost $300M from a bank or other finance company, the govt would be freaking, responding and bailing them out but they just don’t care when crypto people lose vast sums of money. It’s not right. #QuadrigaCX” As it happens, this 2015 British Columbia Report of Exempt Distribution — a document of Quadriga Financial Solutions’ ownership — lists Duhaime as the contact for 1207649 B.C. Ltd, which owns or owned a chunk of Quadriga. But I’m sure this is all fine, and a note resolving this apparent possible COI will be coming in due course.

Is there a log of all the mysterious deaths in crypto that are accompanied by millions of dollars of notional Bitcoin value going missing? Maybe we could put it on some sort of blockchain.





SWIFT tries using a blockchain — using Hyperledger to show the positions of nostro accounts in real time, for greater transparency. It failed because of an excess of transparency — everyone could see every update, but it turned out that banks didn’t want everyone else seeing all their business. “Swift ended up deploying bilateral blockchains between all the participants.” This precise problem had already been flagged in bank blockchain experiments in 2016. And I described this failure mode — that businesses don’t want their competitors seeing all their deals — in chapter 11 of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain.

The article on Swift also debunks most of the XRP Army’s claims about Ripple Labs and XRP. Things never really started for Ripple Labs — having pivoted from product to product in the search for something they’re good at, Ripple are back to pushing XRP to unsophisticated investors, using their Twitter “XRP Army” as a street team. But Ripple literally does not understand nostro and vostro accounts — they’re marketing XRP as a solution to a made-up problem, and claiming this gives XRP a use value above zero. If XRP is found to be a security, this will likely constitute Ripple defrauding XRP investors.


Child porn, but on the blockchain, was not part of Satoshi’s vision — but it’s now literally part of Satoshi’s Vision, as someone uploaded a JPEG of abuse to Bitcoin SV, using the 100 kilobyte message field they just added. The Money Button service was used to upload the image. Everyone involved in Bitcoin SV is horrified, and all point out that leaving a record of a reprehensible crime on an immutable ledger is shockingly traceable. Of course, the image still can’t be removed.

Joel Ortiz, who stole $5m in cryptos by SIM swapping, gets 10 years in prison in a plea deal.

IBM’s oranges on the blockchain trial was publicised with a lie. IBM compared its performance to paper-based systems — but everyone actually uses Electronic Data Interchange, a standard IBM were heavily involved in!

There’s another investor update (archive) on Telegram’s possibly-a-blockchain. This one says they’re 90% of the way to launching the testnet, currently set for March 2019. Telegram is trying to get GRAM tokens listed on Huobi, Binance and OKEx.

More than half of surveyed Bitcoin investors don’t plan on reporting their losses to the IRS. This assumes the IRS won’t already know they’re into Bitcoin and ask about their assumed profits.

UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox seriously believes that something called “blockchain” can solve Brexit’s Irish border problem.

The SEC has put out a tender for a blockchain analysis tool. They also have a quick guide to ICOs.

Brock Pierce is floating a plan to revive Mt. Gox and pay creditors back using its Bitcoin stash. Mark Karpèles is not impressed.



An upset Mt. Gox creditor analyses the data from the bankruptcy trustee’s sale of bitcoins. He thinks he’s demonstrated incompetent dumping by the trustee — but actually shows that a “market cap” made of 18 million BTC can be crashed by selling 60,000 BTC, over months, at market prices, which suggests there is no market.

Anyone can be an ICO genius on the upslope of a bubble — the story of Ian Balina.

Fire (and lots of it): Berkeley researcher on the only way to fix cryptocurrency — a writeup of Nicholas Weaver’s Usenix talk on cryptos. YouTube coming some time soon.

“But if you want a rough idea of bitcoin’s recent trajectory, imagine a group of drunk teenagers falling down a London Underground escalator — while lecturing each other on the future of capitalism.” FT political correspondent Henry Mance on QuadrigaCX (archive).

I got quoted in Breaker about Ross Ulbricht — which led to only a surprisingly small amount of abuse from Ulbricht fans, incensed that I printed the mainstream non-conspiracy-theory version of events in chapter four of the book.

I am an increasingly-paid bankster shill! Who’s paying me? So far, the crypto press. After the piece for The Block, I now have FreedomCoin: Just another word for nothing left to lose? in Decrypt — about ICOx Innovations, the company that’s failed to bring you KodakOne, trying to make it easier for people who can’t get guns to get them. Hopefully more to come.





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