Thursday, July 16, 2020

Bitcoin and the Great Twitter Hack

The Nutshell Issue

Yesterday Twitter was hacked in a way that pales to any hack before. The attack hack went after iconic Twitter accounts: Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and many others that were followed by millions of people. The attack also went after the accounts of businesses in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry and some other businesses in general. Fortunately the attack did not hit the President of the United States account. But it could have. 

https://gadgets.ndtv.com/social-networking/news/twitter-internal-systems-hacked-cryptocurrency-bitcoin-hack-musk-biden-obama-2263649
Photo Screenshot from: https://gadgets.ndtv.com/
 
Twitter responded about the incident:
 
The basic tenet of the attack was to encourage people who held Bitcoin (BTC) to double their money by sending some of it to a Bitcoin address. This psyop (psychological operation) worked.

You can see the BTC address and how much was obtained: 

https://www.blockchain.com/btc/address/bc1qxy2kgdygjrsqtzq2n0yrf2493p83kkfjhx0wlh
From Blockchain.com -- Bitcoin address used in Twitter Hack

Please do not send any BTC to this address! 

As of today nearly 13 BTC was collected. Today that would net you $116,743.06 USD! For the sophistication the amount of effort involved seems like not a lot of money as Cameron Winklevoss stated: 
There is speculation that there were more addresses. 

But that's not why I am writing this.

It Doesn't Matter Why There was a Hack

Many people who love Bitcoin are understandably upset. Some others are not so much. Bitcoin's reputation is what they are concerned with. Many people who I respect and follow in the Bitcoin space would love to have Bitcoin marketed better. The more people in the space the more valuable Bitcoin will be for those who hold (hodl) it. The more demand. The more the value, right?

Yes and no.

Some wonder why anyone who held any bitcoin would actually send it to the scammer's address. It's simple, the people who fell for this were new and they believed in Bitcoin and they wanted it to increase value. They also believed that it was suddenly more popular due to all the good news that pushed them to buy it in the first place. That good news was Marketing and FOMO (Fear of missing out).

So the people who fell for the scam and the people who want Bitcoin to be legitimately respected are essentially the same. They (me included) want Bitcoin to increase in value. That value could be more development, more nodes running, more miners mining, more places accepting, and more people holding. There are many reasons for liking Bitcoin. Even the scammer/hacker/s knew that Bitcoin could not be hacked!

It's a bit of game theory involved but a scammer doesn't care and a greedy person doesn't care. The greedy person and the scammer want to exchange Bitcoin for FIAT! So do many of those who have rejected the US Dollar. They reject the US Dollar but they always compare Bitcoin to the US Dollar (or other FIAT money system). 

One of the arguments toward obtaining Bitcoin is that the US Dollar as a FIAT currency is failing and will fail. This is why Bitcoin is future money in the now. Bitcoin, because it can not be hacked easily and definitely not by social engineering, is super resilient due to the distributed public blockchain ledger. That ledger is a free open source software database that works by consensus of millions of computers (nodes)! 

Because Bitcoin's start in 2008 slowly increased value for a few years and then exponentially went up from zero USD to 65,000 % (9K USD now)  there are many different people who contribute to the strength, development, distribution and use case of Bitcoin. This is as game theory has it a distributed use case base on mutual interests. It also ensures that users can not censure each other because everyone loses.  


Bitcoin also has a security that is trust-less. It has security that does not depend on the opinions, actions and politics or prejudices of its users. This security does not care about marketing, the price of bitcoin to USD (FIAT) or social engineering.

I can not begin to attempt to be an expert. But I can give an example from my own experience as I do run a full node. If you are interested in the nuts and bolts of Bitcoin please read: Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos

Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos
Mastering Bitcoin by Andreas Antonopoulos

Bitcoin Security Example

Since the Bitcoin software operates on consensus the group of nodes depend on accurate data. In order to hack something you need inaccurate data. That's what happened to the posts of Twitter verified accounts. These accounts were compromised but the actual harm was the data (content) that was posted. Based on those sources being verified and not fake accounts humans, who were duped into parting with their bitcoin, believed that there would be a reward. They made decisions based on false data so not only were the employees of Twitter socially engineered but the followers of these accounts were socially engineered too! 

Bitcoin has one answer for this. The answer is the Ban list. This list is the result of other nodes providing information that conflicts with the consensus. The list bans those IP addresses for a period (24 hours). This is just my node that does this. It does not allow data from the bad actor. Other nodes also have ban lists too. The actor will probably show up there also. There is no drama. It just doesn't allow any more conflicting data from that other node for a day. Each time there is a violation back to the ban list you go.

It's like time out for kids. Or sitting in the corner. No legal action. No accusations. No tears 

Tomorrow the node may provide good data or not. By consensus the nodes silently reject odd data and the bad actors just eventually realize that they are wasting electricity, time and energy. Their goal is to send a transaction that favors them obtaining bitcoin. Kind of like the Federal Reserve creating transaction on their SQL database that gives magical money to someone for nothing. 

The difference between the US Dollar and Bitcoin is that every bitcoin (lower case for the money and capitol for the Technology) is created from Proof of Work. Conversely every dollar bill after 1971 when President Nixon ended dollar convertibility to gold is a creation backed by faith. In other words it is FIAT currency.

By Bitcoin having value others want to hack it in order to obtain it. As far as the Twitter hack goes bitcoin was the reward of convincing people to get more of it for nothing. It worked. But it was not due to anything negative about Bitcoin. The hacker didn't provide a bank account, a drop zone or a meeting spot. 

The hacker/s just used Bitcoin because it can not be hacked without destroying the whole system itself. By destroying the whole system the value of bitcoin becomes nothing which would take Billions of US Dollars to achieve! Yes it is expensive to mess with Bitcoin because it is expensive to produce!

Bitcoin like Linux is here until it isn't

The intention of the Twitter hack may have been to discredit Bitcoin. That is the concern of those who love bitcoin and want to share it with everyone else. I understand.

Fear is fear and it is useless garbage. Bitcoin to me is like Linux. I was not a super early adopter of Linux but in 1999 I was running Linux as my primary operating system and 20 years later all my computers use it. There was a lot of fear in the early days. Microsoft was scared and the company RedHat (Linux) became an IPO that made many people Millionaires before the great Dot Com Bubble.

There were so many bad actors who did not have a clue what Linux was and they just wanted it to go away because they had a monopoly on business software. Linux didn't go away. Every android phone runs on the Linux kernal. 96% of the public internet servers run Linux. Today Microsoft is a platinum corporate member of the Linux Foundation.    

Today Microsoft is a platinum corporate member of the Linux Foundation.
Today Microsoft is a platinum corporate member of the Linux Foundation. 

I used Linux for a need not just to be different. For me it made sense that I had to get the tools I needed to write because I could not afford to buy software for every little thing I wanted to do. Or I was locked into software that only allowed me to use the exact system I had.

My adoption of Bitcoin only started in in 2019 because I was given another cryptocurrency. I first heard about bitcoin in 2012 but I could not wrap my head around it. I tried. It took me 8 years. But once I was given a cryptocurrency and I was able to convert it to USD. I was amazed! It was real. I was sent $20 in Stellar via a Keybase Airdrop from the Stellar Foundation.

This pushed me to learn about cryptocurrencies but I kept circling back to Bitcoin. I realized that all the other cryptocurrencies were reactions to Bitcoin. Sure they have use cases and they have value but the longest running successful free open source project  with a decentralized digital ledger and currency is Bitcoin.

The more I learned the more I realized that my hard work for many years trying to earn and save money was rigged! Bitcoin was created to level the playing field on money rigging. Linux was created to level the playing field on 32 bit operating systems. I needed technology that could help me to increase my value as a human and simultaneously help others. 

Bitcoin Fixes This

Bitcoin is here. regardless of where you are on this monetary journey you can not change that it is here. For those who love Bitcoin we need to just be patient. In Buddhism there is a concept called paṭiccasamuppāda (Pali). This concept is "dependent co-arising or as Bhiku Boddhi says: "co-dependent co-arising". 

The concept of paṭiccasamuppāda is that "Because there is this, there is that. Because there is that there is this." It's like Murphy's Law or Cause and Effect but much, much deeper. The natural law (Dhamma / Dharma) of the Universe has no detectable begining or end in its vastness. The deeper you dig the more you find but there are visible relationships that have details and use cases based on the needs we have to navigate. Also the use cases are based on the polarity of things. There is night because there is day.

Bitcoin is a discovery. It was something that came together via the innumerable technologies that were already working and it came together based on the innumerable technologies that were not working. Other cryptocurrencies can claim the same thing but Bitcoin was first and is the longest running. When you investigate and learn about Bitcoin you will find that almost every question you have someone has an answer to this within Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a conservative technology on the bleeding edge. The developers who write and maintain the software are just like me and you, except much more intelligent than me, the software is free. You can copy it. You can change it. You can make your own bitcoin with a test net. You can not change the software that runs because the miners who validate transactions have to agree to run the same protocol. They run what they want that is most valuable to them. Game theory. 

Bitcoin is what I like

I could be wrong but Bitcoin is what I like and as long as I participate it will stay here. Since I have entered the space and I have obtained some bitcoin with my hard earned FIAT my ability to exchange BTC for more fiat has increased. I hold onto it and I earn interest. So regardless of what the value is I earn more Bitcoin. I'm not rich by any means but I have the ability to travel anywhere on and off this planet with money that can not be seized or stolen without my consent.

I'm over simplifying things and the truth is that I can be hacked too. So I have to work hard to take care of my earnings or at least be mindful of my processes. But I never had any amount of money when I only understood USD. I was just trapped in the cycle. Now I am better off than I was in August of last year when I signed up for an airdrop.

If I loose my Bitcoin holdings I will still try to get back in the saddle. I tell people to just get a small amount and watch what happens. As Andreas Antonopoulos says in many of his educational talks the best thing to do is to earn it. Right now if someone would pay me in Bitcoin for a job I would do it for 75% of the market value it currently has in USD because I know from the data that Bitcoin has outperformed the US Dollar consistently since 2013.

What's Next?

Whether you like or dislike Bitcoin it doesn't matter. 

There are a few facts I'd like to point out: 

Everyone one who has touched Bitcoin has increased the quality of his or her life.

Sure there are some who have lost everything... But they did not lose their life and they can easily get more BTC if they want. So it was an ego hurt or a mistake that happened.

There is an unlimited amount of education that is free about Bitcoin.

There is no excuse for not trying out Bitcoin. You can use CashApp Here is my referral (unless it gets hacked too!) to  purchase Bitcoin at a fair price and you can immediately buy or sell it for USD. I have used it since January and I like it. I do not keep Bitcoin on it but you can until you understand a few more things. 

Do not believe anyone who tells you you can get rich!  

That's greed which is exactly what get people hacked socially. Do not believe that any other cryptocurrency is the same, better or will make you rich. You will become more affluent when you increase your knowledge of Money! The more you learn about FIAT, Bitcoin and it's technology the more power you will have to be a sovereign human being.

Ignore all politics, riots, social injustices and the noise!

If you have Bitcoin you will be able to control your labor. Thus you can not be a slave to a currency that is based on the opinions of wealthy people who devalue it by sharing it with other wealthy people. As Robert Breedlove points out in the Masters and Slaves of Money the blatant deception of counterfeiting the ancient currencies of African by Europeans led to the atrocity of slavery of humans! Africans were bamboozled out of their wealth and into slavery. This is also what is happening to all of us who are not part of the great corporate social and political system of the Federal Reserve. 

Follow the Money

So Twitter was Hacked, Big Deal.

This will happen again. Somewhere else and in another place. That is what freedom is about. We are all here temporarily. We make the best of it and we move on. Today we are alive. Today we have great tools. All we have to do is unplug the lies, the bad data and weak social engineering and the rest is up to us. We control what we can and what we can not we circumnavigate, leave alone or ignore. 


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