One benefit of using bitcoin is the digital currency can be anonymous—its owners can move money around the world without revealing who they are. Well, in theory at least. In reality, bitcoin is less secret than people think.
The latest reminder of this comes via a report that the Internal Revenue Service is using software to unmask bitcoin users who have failed to report profits. According to a contract unearthed by the Daily Beast, the IRS is paying a company called Chainalysis to help identify the owners of digital “wallets” that users employ to store their bitcoins.
In a letter to the IRS, the co-founder of Chainalysis says the company has information on 25 percent of all bitcoin addresses and that it deploys millions of tags to help track and identify transactions. Here is a screenshot of a paragraph from the letter:
The decision by the IRS to license the software of Chainalysis, which is based in Switzerland with an office in New York, appears to be part of the agency’s larger campaign to target digital currency users who have failed to pay tax.
As Fortune reported earlier this year, the IRS claims only 802 people declared a capital gain or loss related to bitcoin in 2015. This is significant since the price of bitcoin soared from around $13 to over $1100 between 2013 and 2015, and hundreds of thousands (like millions) of Americans bought and sold digital currency during this time—in other words, there are many people who face bitcoin-related tax trouble, and the IRS is tracking some of them down.
There are indications, though, the IRS is focusing only on the bigger fish. For instance, in the agency’s ongoing legal battle with the popular digital currency exchange, Coinbase, the IRS recently agreed to limit its request for customer records only to accounts with transactions over $20,000.
Nonetheless, the IRS’s use of the Chainalysis software is likely to make some bitcoin owners uneasy. Meanwhile, on bitcoin forums, some users have expressed resentment against exchanges like Coinbase, Kraken, and Mt. Gox for allegedly storing wallets in such a way that analytic companies like Chainalysis or BitSeer can identify individual users.
The forum chatter also shows some bitcoin users are thinking of switching to other digital currencies like Monero that are harder to trace.
Finally, the existence of tools like Chainalysis doesn’t mean bitcoin users can’t be anonymous. Those who wish to keep their identity concealed can do so by maintaining their own wallet and avoiding exchanges that collect customer information.
The Paleo diet is estimated to become a $300 million industry by 2018, mostly by convincing adults to forgo anything a caveman wouldn’t (or couldn’t eat) — adios, pasta, sugar, and processed foods. Now one Austin, Texas-based couple wants babies to get in on the trend with Paleo-inspired baby food.
According to Moneyish, Joe Carr and Serenity Heegel started Serenity Kids to promote a high-protein, high-fat diet for babies.”We saw how difficult it was for our friends who cook all of their baby’s food,” the couple writes on MySerenityKids.com. “We were shocked by the amount of sugar in most baby foods, because sugar (even from fruit) creates inflammation, which leads to health problems and can make a baby fussy from the blood sugar crash.”
Serenity Kids’ baby food pouches are available in three flavors — chicken with peas and carrots, beef with kale and sweet potato, and bacon with kale and butternut scotch. Of course the chicken is free range, the beef grass-fed and the bacon uncured, just like the cavemen would have wanted it. The pouches are also grain-free, soy-free, gluten-free, making them a good option for kids with allergies.
But is putting your baby on a Paleo diet safe? While the trend of people making their own baby food — many attempting their own Paleo blends — has been growing, the science isn’t definitive, according to a RD interviewed by Moneyish.
“There’s no research that shows a child needs a high-protein diet,” Stephanie Di Figlia-Peck, a registered dietitian at Northwell Health, says. “A child who’s growing and developing needs a balance of carbohydrates that come from fruits, vegetables and grains; protein and healthy fat. There needs to be a balance so you get the correct nutrient profile. “[Paleo baby food] could be one thing that you feed your baby with a variety of other foods that you have in your day or in your week.”
However, there has been some controversy around Paleo diet food for babies. According to The Post, a Paleo baby book was discontinued in Australia because it featured formula made from bone broth, oils, and probiotics. The formula had 10 times the safe amount of vitamin A for babies, which could be toxic. So it seems the best idea is to follow the old maxim, everything is OK in moderation. Apparently, it goes for babies too.
The 3-D face sensor on the iPhone 8 will allow a user to unlock the device in “a few hundred milliseconds,” or almost instantly, Bloomberg said.
Apple’s iPhone 8, expected to launch this fall, isn’t the first phone to use this sort of feature. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 also features a face scanner that quickly unlocks the phone. It also packs an iris scanner, which Samsung has said is more secure. Samsung’s technology, however, can be tricked with a photo.
The iPhone 8 is said to be full of new features ranging from an edge-to-edge OLED display that’s more colorful and brighter than previous screens, wireless charging and more. It’s expected to launch in September in limited quantities.
Mark Cuban is singing a different tune when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
The tech billionaire and “Shark Tank” star is an early backer of a new cryptocurrency fund, according to CoinDesk, which reports on blockchain and cryptocurrency news.
The fund, 1confirmation, launched Tuesday, plans to invest exclusively in cryptocurrency assets, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Its founder, Nick Tomaino, a principal at the $270 million Palo Alto-based investor Runa Capital, is looking to raise $20 million.
“I think Nick is one of the sharpest minds in the space, and I’m a big believer that there will be transformational apps built on blockchain,” Cuban told CoinDesk.
Cuban said in a tweet last week that he was looking to jump on the bitcoin bandwagon:
I might have to rewrite all these replacing stocks with $btc. Might have to finally buy some https://t.co/ADiPQWUNF6
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) August 14, 2017
Cuban’s financial interest in the digital-currency world is an about-face for the billionaire, who two months ago called it a “bubble.” In early June, soon after bitcoin hit what was then a near record high of $2,900 a coin, Cuban warned of a coming correction:
I think it’s in a bubble. I just don’t know when or how much it corrects. When everyone is bragging about how easy they are making $=bubble https://t.co/hTrV5DeWNd
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) June 6, 2017
Cuban then turned his focus to cryptocurrencies as a whole:
Anyone anywhere can buy a stock. #crypto is like gold. More religion than asset. Except of course gold makes nice jewelry. #crypto notsomuch https://t.co/xp334BCRa2
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) June 6, 2017
Cuban’s change of heart represents a pivot across Wall Street. Financial firms and institutional investors are waking up to the profit potential in cryptocurrencies as bitcoin and ether, its rival powered by the Ethereum blockchain, reach new heights — they’re up more than 350% and 2,000%, respectively, since the beginning of the year.
For instance, VanEck, the New York-based money manager with $24.7 billion in assets, is seeking to launch a bitcoin exchange-traded fund, according to an August 11 SEC preliminary filing. Additionally, Goldman Sachs is telling clients that cryptocurrencies are worth their attention.
In a recent note to portfolio managers, the Goldman analyst Robert Boroujerdi and his teamwrote:
“With the total value nearly $120 billion, it’s getting harder for institutional investors to ignore cryptocurrencies. Whether or not you believe in the merit of investing in cryptocurrencies (you know who you are) real dollars are at work here and warrant watching especially in light of the growing world of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and fundraising that now exceeds Internet Angel and Seed investing.”
ICOs, a fundraising method powered by blockchain, have raised over $1.8 billion since the beginning of the year, according to Autonomous Next, a fintech-analytics firm.
According to CoinDesk, 1confirmation “will make initial investments in the $100,000 to $500,000 range” in “legal vehicles designed to help investors pre-purchase tokens or equity prior to an ICO.”
Authorities in Australia have ordered internet service providers to block over 50 different piracy websites. These companies have 15 days to comply and it will be a blow to people who are downloading digital comics, ebooks, magazines and newspapers for free.
Graham Burke, Village Roadshow’s co-CEO and the head honcho of anti-piracy group Creative Content Australia (previously known as the IP Awareness Foundation), said: “This is a historic moment for Australia to have what is effectively 95% of the criminal trade blocked. The thieves who run pirate sites contribute nothing to Australia — they employ no one and pay no taxes here. Of the enormous profits they earn, not one cent goes back to the original creators of the content.”tent.”
According to TorrentFreak “Village Roadshow says it will carry through on threats to track down Australia-based Internet pirates this year and force them to pay a ‘fine’ or face court. Interestingly, anyone who is sick or in dire financial straights will only have to promise to be good in future”
Earlier in the year a new study was published that looked into the type of people who pirated books the most. The study suggests that people aged between 30 and 44 years old with a household income of between $60k and $99k are most likely to grab a book without paying for it. Overall, the majority of illegal downloaders are relatively well-educated, with more than 70% having either graduated from college or in possession of a post graduate degree. It looks like this is the demographic that is being targeted in Australia. People with enough money to pay the small fine if they get caught.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is taking on Amazon in what appears to be a copycat move — by applying for a drone-deploying blimp patent.
You may recall about a year ago Amazon filed a patent for a flying warehouse that will send drones to your door. Now Walmart wants in on Amazon’s idea.
The patent application, first noted in Bloomberg, shows the Walmart blimp would float about 500 to 1,000 feet in the air and contain multiple launching bays from which both human controlled and autonomous drones could fly out to make deliveries.
A moveable warehouse blimp could help Walmart cut costs by eliminating the need for both land and “last-mile” shipping often handled by third-party logistics companies.
This floating warehouse move is just the latest in a series between the two companies as they duke it out for shoppers’ dollars. Amazon is fast becoming a dominant competitor to Walmart, offering fast shipping and cheaper products, all without you having to set foot outside your door. But Walmart is still the largest retailer in the world and has a physical advantage over the “Everything Store” with brick-and-mortar locations throughout the U.S.
Not one to miss out on opportunity, Amazon has started to build its own physical locations in an effort to pull in more shoppers. It already agreed to pay Whole Foods $13.7 billion to acquire all of its upscale retail locations and is further expanding local grocery delivery through AmazonFresh.
But Walmart isn’t one to step back from a challenge and likely has other plans to take on Amazon’s delivery business plans.
Walmart is already testing drive-through pickup using automated machinery. Possessing a flying warehouse stocked with essential items could help give the retailer a needed edge over Amazon by offering super-fast shipping on top of the physical locations, automated pickup and wide selection.
The Devil of Hell’s Kitchen is dead — or so the world thinks.
In the final episode of Marvel’s The Defenders, the very first hero featured in Netflix’s corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe ended things in a dire situation: trapped beneath an exploding building, almost certainly consumed in the rubble. The people who know Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) best believe him dead, including Karen Page (Deborah Ann Woll) and Foggy Nelson (Elden Henson), as well as the hero’s three newest friends: Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Danny Rand (Finn Jones). Indeed, in that last person’s case, Rand stands poised to honor his fallen friend by protecting Hell’s Kitchen in Daredevil’s absence.
But Daredevil will only be absent for so long. In the final scene of The Defenders, we see that Matt is very much still alive, albeit in rough physical condition, recovering in an unknown location where he’s being tended by nuns. It’s an image that’s familiar to fans of the Daredevil comics (as pointed out by Decider), and one that’s sure to fuel the character’s next steps forward in the Marvel-Netflix Universe.
For more on the matter, Charlie Cox spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about Daredevil’s fate, what’s coming next, Matt’s emotional journey via Elektra (Elodie Yung) this season, his view of The Defenders now that it’s out in the wild, and more.
What was your reaction when you learned that this series would end with Matt presumed dead, but secretly alive somewhere?
I was relieved! It was made easier to read that, knowing we have a season three of Daredevil to shoot. (Laughs.) If that hadn’t been the case, I would have been worried that it was all over for Matt Murdock. Being as it was, I thought it was very fun. It was a very interesting way to end it. It’s kind of a cliffhanger, and kind of not. I don’t know what it means for season three, going forward for Matt. It obviously presents him with some pretty interesting options when he reengages with life. Will he reconnect with people? Will he find Foggy and let him know he’s okay? Will he not? I’m very excited to find out what his game plan is going to be, once he gets his shit together.
What’s your feeling on how that will play out? Matt has been craving a fresh start for a while, and even begins The Defenders away from the role of Daredevil. What does a clean slate like this mean for a man like Matt Murdock?
I honestly have no idea. Whenever I think I know where something’s going or what something’s going to mean, I’m often completely wrong and surprised by the scripts when I read them. I almost prefer not to speculate. God knows. I could see it going many different ways for him. As you mentioned, he’s been struggling with who he is, or at least this aspect of himself, being Daredevil and engaging in vigilante justice on a regular basis. I can’t personally see a world where he’ll ever rid himself of that, despite the attempts to hang up the horns, as it were. At some point, one of two things is going to happen: either he’s going to embrace it in a way he never has before, or he’s going to continue to fight it. But at some point, “it” will probably win over.
Sansa Stark seemed to take to her new role as Regent of the North in Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones, establishing her credibility as a capable leader. However, some fans are still worried about the thorn in her side known as Littlefinger.
As Sansa walked through the Winterfell courtyard making plans to keep her people fed and warm throughout winter, the master manipulator followed along silently at her side. And while he didn’t say anything, there was a specific moment in the conversation that seemed to give him pause.
After Sansa asked Maester Wolkan about the length of the longest winter in the past 100 years, he replied that he would have to look it up. “I’m not entirely certain. I’ll check Maester Luwin’s records, he kept a copy of every raven’s scroll,” he said, referencing the former Maester of Winterfell.
This revelation made Littlefinger do a quick but noticeable double-take — as noted by The Ringer — seeming to hint that one of these scrolls may contain some incriminating information.
Some speculate that there may be a scroll that links Littlefinger to the Valryian steel dagger that was used in the assassination attempt on Bran and was last seen when Littlefinger held it to Ned’s neck after betraying him to the Lannisters. This theory is supported by the fact that the dagger was shown strapped to Arya’s hip in promotional photos for the season, indicating that the young assassin may be the one to finally take out Littlefinger upon her arrival at Winterfell. And judging by the promo for this week’s episode, she’s getting very close to her destination.
Not to mention that the promo also appears to show Sansa suspiciously perusing a paper that could be the scroll in question.
Here’s hoping that ousting Littlefinger is the first item on the Stark sisters’ reunion to-do list.
The 8th episode of Game of Thrones‘ seventh season airs Aug. 27th at 9 p.m. on HBO.