Best TruStories of the Week - #1


#23

Claim: Assassination marketplace exists in Augur and they are bad!

Source: https://futurism.com/augur-assassination-marketplace-decentralized-blockchain

Discussion: People can trade by predicting the death of well-known people. This is very normal for decentralized open prediction market like Augur where people can create prediction markets on any subject they like. This should not be a serious concern for Augur because If you look at the history of assassination markets previously existed in dark web or the deep web hitman sites there is no source which gives evidence of such assassinations really happened, at least with well-known people!.


Evidence:


#24

Claim: “The Reddit co-founder famously stated in May that he believed the number two digital asset on earth would reach a staggering $15,000 this year.”

Source: https://btcoin.info/reddit-co-founder-bear-market-is-good-for-crypto-innovation/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

False : Alexis clarified that on the price, he meant 1500 not thousand.

Evidence: https://twitter.com/alexisohanian/status/992093576325574657?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^992093576325574657&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcryptoslate.com%2Freddit-co-founder-makes-wild-prediction-15000-ethereum-price-by-end-of-2018%2F


#25

Claim: Failed token sale of CIVIL blockchain project tells us blockchain is not good for journalism

Source: https://theblockchainland.com/2018/10/19/media-startup-civil-fail-8-million-token-sale/

Discussion: There is one primary reason for the failed token sale of CIVIL, which is the complicated token sale procedure used by Token Foundry. The fact that CIVIL team has refunded the token amount to investors proves CIVIL project could relaunch with a better token sale implementation appealing wider crypto audience.

Evidence: https://breakermag.com/understanding-civils-failed-token-sale/
https://blog.joincivil.com/whats-next-for-civil-66f2737f5c31


#26

Adding to Senthil’s post, here is more evidence from Stellar’s official blog post [1] as well as Stellar official twitter [2]

[1]- https://www.stellar.org/blog/bringing-lumens-to-millions/

[2]


#27

Claim: The popular DApp Cyptokitties is not decentralized!

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/scratch-cryptokitties-isnt-ethereums-vision-apps/

Discussion: The major aspects of CryptoKitties like kitty ownership and genes are fully decentralized and run as smart contracts. The team Crytokitties has kept some of the UI aspects centralized for a better game experience for the user. You can always delete your user account and still take away your kitties. The team Cryptokitties has open-sourced its API & smart contracts to an ecosystem called KittyVerse where third-party applications can be developed by anyone to interact with Cryptokitties.

Evidence: https://medium.com/cryptokitties/is-cryptokitties-decentralized-9823b5f168af


#28

Claim: Bitfi6, the crypto wallet that John McAfee said was unhackable, was hacked

Confirmatory evidence:

  • Multiple generally legitimate and open sources including Techcrunch, BBC and CNET.
  • Bitfi6’s own statement that it will be removing the unhackable claim.

Falsifying evidence:

  • John McAfee’s statement that the wallet was not hacked as he defined hacking as “when someone gets the coins”. Which is not the industry definition of simply having to have found a flaw.

Conclusion:

  • Despite John McAfee’s attempt to redefine the issue onto terms that are favourable to him, the industry and Bitfi6’s view is clear – the wallet has been hacked.

#29

Claim: MIT is one of the validators for the XRP network which @Ripple is building

Confirmatory evidence:

Falsifying evidence:

  • The Internet Trust Consortium’s Partners page (an initiative under MIT Connection Science) shows no evidence of collaboration
  • Orbs is mentioned but there is no mention of Ripple, hence this absence cannot be chalked down to refusing to list blockchain-related projects
  • Google results for “mit connection science ripple” yields results dated 2016

Conclusion:

  • The partnership has dissolved, with MIT delisting mention of it while Ripple has not returned this favour

#30

Claim: Venezuela created the Petro to circumvent Donald Trump’s sanctions

Confirmatory evidence:

  • Investigation by Time alleging that Russia is using the Petro as a testbed for their own attempts to evade sanctions

Falsifying evidence:

  • The Petro was launched on Feb 20, 2018
  • While the executive order (dated March 19, 2018) alleged the intent of the Petro was to avoid sanctions, official statements (prior to Sept 25, 2018) from the US Department of State make clear that the sanctions are directed against individuals, not entities or the state unlike the Iran sanctions
  • Sanctions on Sept 25, 2018 are the first against entities

Conclusion:

  • If the intention was to avoid sanctions (at the personal level) there are existing cryptocurrencies that can be used
  • The size and timing of the sale of Petro indicates that this was a combination of Maduro’s desperation to escape hyper-inflation and raise money via a debt issue albeit disguised as cryptocurrency

#31

Claim : Using blockchain technology, online voting could boost voter participation and help restore the public’s trust in the electoral process and democracy.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/05/opinion/online-blockchain-voting.html

Evidence : Online voting sounds like a good idea but the reality is far from it.

Even if new technology has helped us in almost all aspect of our life, with voting we cannot “build fast and break things”. Blockchain seems a bad idea too, in spite of the claims of the NYT. Kevin Beaumont, Best EU Security Tweeter" at infosec18, tweeted “This is going to backfire. West Virginia is moving to mobile phone voting for this midterm elections - software is a ‘Blockchain voting system’ by “Votez”, a 2018 startup with $2m of funding”.


#32

Claim : eToro pledges $1M for universal basic income solutions on the blockchain

Source : https://thenextweb.com/hardfork/2018/11/08/etoro-pledges-1m-for-universal-basic-income-solutions-on-the-blockchain/

Evidence : Even if the title and the article suggest that eToro is directly pledging 1$M to direct lump sum payments, it is not completely true. The 1M dollar is part of a broader initiative called Good Dollar (https://www.gooddollar.org/) that wants to help the work of NGO, academic people etc. to reduce inequality. Even if the term “Universal Basic Income” is used more than once, it seems not to be referring at the common language meaning of the term.


#33

Claim : New Amendments to French Finance Bill Would Ease Taxes for Crypto-Related Revenue

Source : 0https://cointelegraph.com/news/new-amendments-to-french-finance-bill-would-ease-taxes-for-crypto-related-revenue`

Evidence : The French government repeatedly suggested it wants to incentivize blockchain startups to open shop there. The gov is thinking about reducing taxes from 36.2% to 30%. But, contrary to what the rumor says, the reduction would be not on startups revenue but on people cryptocurrencies gains. This is a much less interesting development for the French “blockchain strategy”


#34

Claim: An unnamed person paid $215,200 dollars (2,772,000 MANA) for a piece of virtual Decentraland.

Source: https://twitter.com/DCLBlogger/status/1059559342876180480

Evidence: (Mixed) The tweet shows a plot of digital land at coordinates (-55, -133). I logged into Decentraland and went to those coordinates (-55, -133). Confirm that it is indeed the same owner as the one mentioned in the tweet (last 4-digit of address “a6c1”, however the price listed at the time of checking is 1,000 MANA (not 2,772,000 as suggested in the tweet).

Evidence:


Screen capture: coordinates (-55, -133), price: 1,000 MANA


#35

Claim: According to a press release, Ledn raises $1.55 million in seed financing to launch Canada’s first Bitcoin-backed lending platform.

Source: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/c-o-r-r-e-c-t-i-o-n-from-source----ledn-inc-692986541.html

Evidence: (Confirming) Francis Pouliot confirms that Ledn has issued the first bitcoin-backed loan to his startup @SathoshiPortal

Source: https://twitter.com/francispouliot_/status/1058430225510469632


#36

Claim: @Coindesk claims that Plasma, Ethereum’s scaling solution has “stalled”, and that attention is shifting towards zk-snarks.

Source: https://www.coindesk.com/as-plasma-stalls-snarks-become-new-hope-for-scaling-ethereum

Counter-Claim: The founder of OmiseGO, payment platform on Ethereum, lead proponent of Plasma, disputes the claim as untrue.

Evidence: (Against first claim) Plasma and zk-snarks can, in fact, work in tandem, together. https://ethresear.ch/t/plasma-is-plasma/2195


#37

Claim: Your transactions are not anonymous on the Bitcoin Blockchain,

Source: https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/is-bitcoin-anonymous-a-complete-beginner-s-guide-1447875283/, https://bitcoinist.com/yes-your-bitcoin-transactions-can-be-tracked-and-here-are-the-companies-that-are-doing-it/

Evidence/Analysis: As long as wallets have unique identifiers and transactions involving these wallets can be searched on Bitcoin’s blockchain, one can still track them. Indeed, as stated in the second source, there are companies already doing this, such as Chainalysis, and CipherTrace. These companies seem to be working to track criminal activity, but it is possible that anyone with enough analytics support can do this for whatever ends they come up with.


#38

Claim: Bitcoin will be hackable by quantum computers.

Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609408/quantum-computers-pose-imminent-threat-to-bitcoin-security/

Evidence: https://arxiv.org/abs/1710.10377, https://medium.com/coinmonks/zk-starks-create-verifiable-trust-even-against-quantum-computers-dd9c6a2bb13d

Analysis: Elliptic curve cryptography is integral to the signature mechanism of Bitcoin (and many other blockchains at the moment) and rely on the immense difficulty of using brute computational force to break their system. Brute computational force that more advanced quantum computers, in theory, will provide. There are proof mechanisms in the works that would provide stronger resistance to quantum computers, such as zk-STARKS, but these are new and have not been implemented to my knowledge just yet.


#39

Claim: There is more inequality in ownership of Ether than their is wealth inequality in the USA.

Source: http://etherscan.io.accounts/, https://news.21.co/quantifying-decentralization-e39db233c28e, https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SI.POV.GINI?end=2017&locations=US&start=2017&view=bar&year_high_desc=false

Analysis: MAYBE: Gini coefficients are acknowledged as a way of measuring inequality, and the gini coefficients in the sources above hold true from a year ago, but at the moment I am uncertain how to weigh them.


#40

Claim: Hash power determines the majority chain

Source: https://twitter.com/rogerkver/status/989861695215484928?s=21

Analysis: False

In November 2017, BCH had a bigger hash rate than BTC, but it was never recognized
as the “real” Bitcoin


#41

Claim: Lightning Network is centralized

Source: https://twitter.com/bitcoin/status/984273536310128640

Analysis: False

Above is a visualization of the lightning network, there aren’t any major “hubs” that are facilitating payments, it’s fairly decentralized after only 6 months.


#42

Claim: Bitcoin Mining is bad for the environment

Source: https://twitter.com/fborgal/status/1059420361677246464?s=21

Analysis: Not entirely true

Some Bitcoin mining farms use excess power that would have otherwise go to waste. Also, the increased competition for cheaper energy will cause miners to be more efficient when looking for cheaper options for energy.