WordPress.com has moved quickly to ban a micro site set up to publish the Willy Report. The report, an analysis of the Mt Gox logs which claimed to show attempts to fix the exchange rate of bitcoin, was published published only the day before (25 May).
The rapid and unexpected move points to concerns that the report will attract litigation by the former Mt Gox CEO, named as a potential conspirateur.
The report follows the leak of the entire Mt Gox log into the public domain earlier in February. Analysis since then has shown that a number of automated bots were making significant trades at key times, effectively moving the market as a whole. On one occasion this included a single trade which reversed a downward trend in the currency. The bots highlighted as fraudulent on the report claim to have been funded by editing the database directly rather than buying in to the position with fiat currency. In total $112m appears to have been traded.
It’s likely that the report will appear elsewhere as the anonymous author attempts to republish. It’s also likely that others will attempt to analyse the data set to independently verify or dispute it’s findings. Given wordpress.com’s move, however, any publication is likely to attract legal attention.
CryptoCurrency Explained - Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are often described as complicated and technical. They’re not: the core concept is simple.
If you have 60 seconds to spare read the explanation below and ‘own’ that concept forever.
CryptoCurrency Explained in 60 seconds
First of all we start with an analogy. Until just over 100 years ago the people of Yap, a Pacific island, used large stone disks as coins. The picture on this page shows some.
Yappians used these stones for large expenses such as dowries. Because the stones were large the islanders didn’t bother moving them about. They just transferred ownership. People knew who the current owner was because it was public knowledge.
This made it difficult to commit fraud.
- You couldn’t spend someone else’s stone, because everyone knew who owned the stone.
- You couldn’t spend the same stone twice because everyone would know.
- You couldn’t fake the currency, because to do that you’d need to carve a new stone - which anyone could do anyway.
It was a great system. It just didn’t scale up well.
But cryptocurrency works in exactly the same way, and does scale up.
Here’s why they’re the same.
Bitcoins don’t move around. They stay fixed on a public ledger, the “block chain”. Anyone can check ownership by checking this ledger.
This makes it difficult to commit fraud:
- You can’t spend someone elses bitcoin, because everyone knows who owns them (from the ledger.)
- You can’t spend the same coin twice, because the network keeps the ledger up to date and there’s only one ledger. If you did try to spend it twice, everyone would know.
- You can’t fake the currency, because to create a bitcoin you need to break a difficult maths problem. A new problem is set every 10 minutes, and the winner gets a brand new bitcoin as a ‘prize’. There’s no way to fake the answer - you’re either right or you’re not, so there’s no way to fake a bitcoin.
Openness is at the heart of both the Yap stones and cryptocurrencies. Everything is there for anyone to scrutinise, and so anyone can check if a payment comes from the rightful owner. There’s no need for trust between two people in a transaction, because the system removes the possibility of fraud.
That’s it, that’s the core of cryptocurrency explained in 60 seconds. Of course there’s a great deal more to it. If you’d like to follow the technology as it develops, drop by my google+ page or linkedin page and say hi.
Now, if you’ve got another 60 seconds, here are the answers to some burning questions you may have.