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Kenyan Entertainment Blog Caught Mining Monero Using Visitor Browsers

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On September 27, Nairobi Wire, a famous entertainment blog in Kenya, found itself at the center of attention after it was discovered that they were mining cryptocurrency using their visitor’s computers through a program called Coin-Hive.

Coin-HiveCoin-Hive is a service that makes it possible for people to mine the anonymous cryptocurrency Monero (XMR) directly from a visitor’s computer through the insertion of a JavaScript code within the code of the intended website.

The Pirate Bay First to Use Coin-Hive

This is not the first case where a well-known website has been exposed for such. A couple of days ago, filesharing platform Pirate Bay was caught hijacking its visitors’ browsers for the purpose of mining cryptocurrency. In a statement released by Pirate Bay shortly after the news broke, the company said that it was experimenting with eliminating ads from its website while also finding an alternative way to generate revenue.

On the 18th of September 2017, the same day that Pirate Bay came under attack, Memeburn found itself in the same mess. Memeburn is a multimedia digital publishing house that pays attention to everything digital in the emerging markets. In response to the fiasco, Memeburn pulled down their website and issued a statement through their Facebook page stating that, “we found that a mining tool dubbed Coin Hive was using the website to mine cryptocurrency.” In their defense, they claimed to not have known about it and that they discovered it after “a complaint from a user with regards to high CPU usage when visiting Memeburn.”

Barely a week after Pirate Bay’s admission of mining cryptocurrency using their visitors’ browsers, CBS’ ShowTime found itself in the same rocky situation. ShowTime is an on-demand video streaming service. It is, however, unlikely that for a big corporation like them would intentionally place codes to mine cryptocurrency especially since they charge their users to access their content. It is still unclear on whether ShowTime’s case was intentional or was as a result of their website being hacked as they refused to comment on the matter when contacted by The Register.

Nairobi Wire’s Response

Since the unearthing of the JavaScript code by Coin-Hive on Nairobi Wire’s site, the number of users who have come out to authenticate these allegations has only been on the rise with some claiming that they had gone through the same incident three days before the unearthing. Although Nairobi Wire pulled down the code after it was discovered, some users had already taken screenshots which were circulated on various social media platforms.

In a response to the story published by Techweez about Nairobi Wire mining cryptocurrency through their visitors, they sent a direct message to Techweez via Twitter stating:

“We had already stated on Wednesday that the script was unauthorized. We pulled it down immediately we learned of it. i.e. Tuesday night. We have confirmed that no other mining script is currently running. Between Tuesday and Thursday last week, we had outsourced some maintenance work to an outside developer. It has been our tradition to outsource a big chunk of our design/maintenance work. This means giving outsiders -sometimes foreigners access.”

The response went ahead to say, “We have thus concluded that the said script was installed sometime last week, by our external developer. Nairobi Wire never benefited in any way, and we have now cut links with that particular developer. Our policy of NOT having non-obstructive ads, like pop-up/under remains. This is designed to provide a smooth experience throughout. The mining script falls under ‘obstructive’ ads since it greatly slows down computers and/or can even be damaging to the CPU. We have no plans to use mining scripts now or in the future. If that changes, our readers will be informed and given an option to opt out.”

Business Daily, a leading business publication newspaper owned by Nation Media Group, had also been accused of using Coin-Hive to mine cryptocurrency via the Techweez Forum. And even though the code had already been removed, screenshots of the code on their website had already been captured.

The contentious issue with the above-mentioned cases involving large companies is that they failed to seek their visitors’ permission before mining cryptocurrency using their CPU power. Moreover, only Pirate Bay admitted to having run the code intentionally. With ads being a major pain when consumers are getting access to content on different websites, we are sure they wouldn’t mind letting go of a trifling percentage of their computer’s CPU power if it meant getting an ad-free experience.

With ads being considered a nuisance by many Internet users, there could definitely be a market for this type of revenue generating business model for online publications, provided visitors grant sites permission before giving up some of their CPU power in exchange for an ad-free web surfing experience.

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How to Buy Bitcoin in Kenya

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Since the beginning of 2017, the price of bitcoin has surged to new all-time highs after rallying by over 350 percent. This has boded well for bitcoin adoption in Kenya as more people come to recognise it as an alternative currency and as a potentially lucrative investment. If you are based in Kenya and want to purchase bitcoin but are not quite sure how to go about it, then this guide is for you. In this article, you will find the five best exchanges you can use to buy bitcoin in Kenya using Kenyan Shillings.

Remitano

RemitanoRemitano is a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange where you can buy and sell bitcoin securely through an escrow service. The company has recently entered the Kenyan market to provide a bitcoin exchange and a bitcoin-based remittance service.

To buy bitcoin on Remitano’s platform you must first sign up using your email address. The login credentials for your new Remitano account will then be sent to your email. Upon account verification, you can access a list of local buyers and sellers and place an order immediately. To ensure transactional security Remitano acts as an escrow until both parties confirm the transaction. Once the transaction is complete, the bitcoins will appear on your wallet on the Remitano platform.

Belfrics Kenya

Belfrics bitcoin exchangeBelfrics is a new bitcoin exchange and payment gateway for merchants that recently entered the Kenyan market. Belfrics charges a 5 percent fee on transactions and has no minimum limits on bitcoin purchases.

To buy bitcoin you must first set up an account by creating a username and password. Your account will double up as your bitcoin wallet. The next step would be to top up your account using a bank transfer, which is required in order to receive payments and for account verification. With these steps completed, you can start trading by proceeding to the exchanges’ drop down menu clicking on the ‘Trade’ option. Once you have put in the amount you want to buy and have executed the order, your purchased bitcoin will appear in your wallet on Belfrics once the order has been filled.

BitPesa

BitPesaBitPesa provides a bitcoin cross-border payments platform that also provides a bitcoin marketplace for buyers and sellers. BitPesa is the most established and most funded bitcoin startup in Africa.

To buy bitcoin using BitPesa you first need to register for an account on the platform by inputting your details and verifying your account through a confirmation email. You will need to upload a picture of your ID which is necessary as per international laws and regulations.

To buy bitcoin log in and click on the ‘new transaction’ field and ensure you put the KES you have and the BTC you want. You can enter yourself, a different person or a contact you’ve used before. Add the bitcoin address of the recipient and confirm the transaction then follow the payment instructions. The recipient will receive the bitcoin amount within an hour.

Unfortunately, BitPesa announced on September 1, 2017, that it has introduced a minimum transaction limit of $25,000 for Kenyan customers and no longer verifies new Kenyan customers due to the difficult regulatory environment in Kenya, which has been hindering the company in making KES payments. Hence, only existing Kenyan high net worth indivduals and businesses can use BitPesa to exchange bitcoin.

LocalBitcoins

LocalBitcoinsConvert Bitcoin Into Local Currency is the world’s leading peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates over the counter bitcoin trades.

To buy bitcoin, you first need to sign up for an account on the platform. Once that’s done, you need to input the bitcoin amount you want to buy in KES before proceeding to choose your preferred payment page. The platform ranks sellers based on transactional history and users are advised to go for sellers with high reputational scores. Upon clicking on the ‘buy’ field you will be provided with transaction details. You execute the trade by typing the amount of bitcoin you want in KES together with a personal message and click on ‘send trade request’ field. Once the payment is made click the ‘I have paid’ tab. The bitcoin will be released from an escrow into your wallet once the seller confirms receipt of the payment.

Paxful

PaxfulPaxful is a peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange that connects buyers and sellers in one convenient location.

Buying bitcoin using KES on the platform is simple and straightforward. The initial step is to log onto the site and click on the ‘buy bitcoin’ on the menu bar. Once you have input the bitcoin amount you require in the buy dialogue box, select your desired mode of payment for the transaction. Then, select a seller willing to sell you the amount you requested and agree on the payment method from the list of sellers. Similar to LocalBitcoins, the reputations of sellers are rated and it is important to choose buyers with high ratings. If you are satisfied with the conditions the next step to execute the trade by clicking on the ‘buy now‘ tab and you will then receive your bitcoin in your wallet once the transaction has been completed.

If you want to buy bitcoin using KES, you can try any of the above-mentioned bitcoin exchanges. Also, remember to transfer your purchased bitcoin to your own personal bitcoin wallet and do not leave them lying on an exchange as there they can be subject to cyber theft should the exchange get hacked.

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