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Kenyan Entertainment Blog Caught Mining Monero Using Visitor Browsers

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Kenyan blog caught mining monero

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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Particl Launches Decentralised Marketplace With Zero Commission Fees

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Privacy-focused cryptocurrency project Particl has launched a decentralised marketplace with zero commission fees. The new e-commerce platform is leveraging blockchain technology to compete with the likes of Amazon and OpenBazaar.

Privacy and Zero Commission Fees

ParticlCryptocurrencies can be difficult to spend on a day-to-day basis and Particl wants to solve this through its private coin, PART. On the Particl marketplace, users can put the digital currency to use.

The new decentralised marketplace respects user privacy and does not require personal information from its users. The platform only requires a shipping address. Moreover, the decentralised nature of the Particl marketplace ensures that no commissions are added to sales as is the case on Amazon.

According to an article on Big Commerce, fees for sellers can be as much as 45 percent of a product’s cost on Amazon. Particl’s zero-free model, therefore, enables sellers to significantly increase their revenue and lower their prices to stay ahead of the competition while still making a profit.

“Using a combination of P2P and blockchain technologies, Particl Open Marketplace can provide a verifiable private shopping experience that ensures no user data can be created or collected by any party other than the one you are transacting with. The Particl protocol also brings the cost of buying and selling online to the bare minimum as no central entity can charge fees,” said Particl’s Project Marketing and Strategy Manager Paul Schmitzer.

How Particl’s Decentralised Marketplace Works

Particl is uniquely approaching fraud and trade insurance through the use of a double deposit escrow system without intermediaries and with zero fees. This system is based on MAD game theory where two parties deposit PART coins as collateral into a smart contract. Once the transaction between them is complete, the coins are released back to the parties and no fees are charged. This system allows users to be in control of their transactions and to eliminate fraud.

 

Since the marketplace is decentralised, the protocol generates all listing fees and redistributes them to the global network of users.

Particl is made up of three components: an untraceable multi-purpose privacy coin, a private decentralised marketplace where users can shop with cryptocurrencies, and a platform where developers can build decentralised applications.

Particl allows a wide range of cryptocurrencies and uses atomic swaps and third-party integrations to convert these coins to PART during transactions. The company will soon add more payment options to its marketplace.

In 2018, Bitcoin Africa talked to Particl’s spokesperson Desi-Rae about the project. Read the full interview here.

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South Africans Can Now Buy Ether (ETH) Using Rand on Luno

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Global cryptocurrency exchange Luno has now enabled crypto traders in South Africa to buy ether using rand on its platform.

Trading on Luno

LunoLuno offers users an easy and safe place to buy bitcoin and ether and to learn about cryptocurrencies. The exchange has more than 2.7 million customers across 40 countries.

Luno also has a dedicated Ethereum series on its learning platform to help users make informed investment decisions.

Commenting on the new launch, Luno’s General Manager in Africa, Marius Reitz, said: “The direct Ethereum/Rand pair will make it quicker, simpler, and cheaper for customers to interact with and use Ethereum on the exchange. We are working on a number of enhancements to our platform and this pairing has been introduced in response to demand from our customers. Previously, customers could buy Ethereum through our instant buy option but having this ability directly on the exchange makes it faster and cheaper for traders.”

According to Reitz, Luno makes sure that every coin listed in its exchange has undergone due diligence. “There are over 2000 cryptocurrencies. However, many of these are scams, so customers need to trust that the exchange they use has verified the track records of cryptocurrencies available on their platforms. Luno limits the currencies on offer to those on which we have completed extensive research and due diligence and we are satisfied with their credibility in terms of security and adoption. Luno will be adding additional cryptocurrencies to its platform later this year,” he explained.

Luno Report

A recent report from Luno showed that South Africa and other emerging markets would like to see a change in the current financial system.

“Individuals in these markets cannot afford to, and should no longer need to, pay high exchange rates, accept national currency devaluation or lose out when they simply transfer money. Access to a more inclusive financial system will enable people everywhere to think of new and better ways of exchanging value and technology allows this,” Reitz elaborated.

Luno plans to upgrade its platform, expand its team, and open new offices in expectation of the next surge in the value of cryptoassets.

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Emerging Markets More Likely to Adopt Cryptocurrencies from Global Brands, Luno Study Says

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A new study by digital asset exchange Luno indicates that emerging markets are more likely to adopt cryptocurrencies from global brands. This finding was collected from a survey called the ‘Future of Money’ carried out between May 17, 2019, and June 7, 2019. The survey interviewed over 7000 respondents from Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France, Indonesia, Italy, and Malaysia.

Emerging Markets, the Future of Money and Libra

According to the ‘Future of Money’ survey, the early adopters of cryptocurrencies are likely to come from emerging markets. The findings, therefore, show a close connection between emerging markets and the future of money confirming the view that those with “less appear to take greater financial risks.”

For instance, more respondents from Nigeria and South Africa than in the UK said a single global currency would make the current financial system better.

African man with smartphoneThese results come at a time when Facebook recently announced that it will introduce Libra, a new digital currency in 2020. The aim of Libra is to help people make financial transactions online, especially in emerging markets where banks are not servicing the population as well as they should be.

Luno’s CEO Marcus Swanepoel said: “As some of the world’s largest tech giants announce they are launching cryptocurrency coins, we believe developing markets will be the lead adopters. Our research shows that in these markets people are more financially savvy because they have to be, which means that they need and understand the benefits the new coins can offer.”

To further show why the future of money could have a greater impact on emerging markets, data from the survey indicated that 33 percent of people in Indonesia are more likely to remain within a set budget compared to 0 percent in the UK.

Additionally, the number of people that establish a monthly budget is 80 percent in Malaysia, 65 percent in Nigeria, 73 percent in South Africa, 74 percent in Indonesia, and 54 percent in the UK. Asked why money is crucial to them, the respondents said it was to secure their families’ well-being (60 percent) and to pay for education.  This answer was given by 25 percent of the respondents from Nigeria compared to 8 percent in the UK.

Luno is a global cryptocurrency company headquartered in London and with offices in South Africa.

Grassroots Adoption

Crypto adoption will probably take place at the grassroots level than at the institutional level, Swanepoel observed. He based this argument on the findings that most people from emerging markets will probably seek financial advice from family, friends, and colleagues than from government organisations.

“It is very clear that if money is not simply a ‘nice to have’ and is vital for your future, then you spend more time understanding it, managing it, preserving it and to an extent being creative with how you maximise the use of it. Therefore, if a cryptocurrency can provide a secure and cheaper means of exchanging value better than the existing system, it will be used. This is why we believe that as new cryptocurrencies linked to global brands are introduced, they will find an important audience in emerging markets,” Swanepoel added.

Luno’s study paints a clear picture of what the future of money could look like. However, certain factors such as Internet connectivity could inhibit the fast adoption of crypto in developing markets.

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