The Causa Envion: Why ICOs are so dangerous

Germany’s most successful ICO-financed start-up Envion is currently making the rounds in the media landscape. At the time of the all-time high of the Bitcoin course, a lot of money was collected, which is now considered lost. The background.

It is the end of 2017. We remember: The Bitcoin course climbs to undreamt-of heights, the often quoted bubble begins to lose air. Meanwhile they are shooting out of the ground everywhere – the ICOs. An ingenious way to collect a lot of money in a short time. Or to lose a lot of money in a short time. It is the spirit of Satoshi that dances with the ghosts of decentralization. Especially in the world of ICOs.

There it is above all the Envion story that is currently making the rounds in the German-speaking world. A lot of money seems to have gone down the drain. The idea was not bad at all.

The Bitcoin revolution: Mobile Bitcoin Mining

So-called “Mobile Mining Units” were the Use Case. In other words, mobile Bitcoin miners that use surplus green electricity. It was the surplus energy from solar, wind or hydropower plants that was to be used for Bitcoin revolution mining. At a Bitcoin revolution exchange rate of up to 20,000 US dollars, this was not a bad deal.

The virtual IPO was not far away, an ICO was needed. According to the Handelsblatt, the Envion team around Michael Luckow teamed up with Matthias Woestmann from Quadrat Capital to raise even more money for the project.

And suddenly the money was gone
By January 2018, Envion had succeeded in collecting a total of 100 million US dollars from 30,000 investors. However, as the Handelsblatt continued to report, there had been neither business operations nor turnover. The Berlin public prosecutor’s office in turn called this into question – it is now investigating computer crime, among other things.

There was also a disagreement within the team – Matthias Woestmann is said to have increased his share of the company from 31 to 81 percent through clever share transactions.

Little to no actual use with a high marketing share – this still seems to be the recipe for success for many ICOs. Separating the wheat from the chaff is not always easy. But who was responsible for all the clever marketing? This is where another German company comes into play – Paranoid Internet.

Paranoid Internet: The Bitcoin loophole

Paranoid Internet took Envion under its wing. According to its homepage, the agency makes sure that the ideas of its customers “come into the limelight” and offers them “solid economic knowledge” as well as “business intelligence”. In addition, they promise their Bitcoin loophole clients to understand the current “digital transformation” in its context and to integrate “modern technologies” into their clients’ business models. In short according to onlinebetrug: FinTech-Marketing at its best.

On the private homepage of paranoid Internet CEO Dennis Weidner, he explains that he wants to give us an impression of what it means to be a founder. Now he could feel that in all hardship. Because the investigations are currently going in all directions – paranoid internet has to be careful. However, Dennis Weidner distances himself from the events at Envion in relation to BTC-ECHO:

“The employees of Paranoid Internet had no insight into internal processes at Envion. Paranoid Internet supported Crypto PR & Marketing as an agency until the end of 2017. Envion AG and Paranoid Internet have not maintained a business relationship since the conclusion of the contract. Our employees work daily with passion for the success of a customer campaign. As an agency, you depend on the truthful gift of information from your clients. Nevertheless, we find the circumstances disappointing for the scene. However, we do not want to allow ourselves to judge who has pursued which goals here. […]“

Satoshi Nakamoto: Bitcoin inventor once again unmasked

A British news site claims to have revealed the secret of Satoshi Nakamoto through stylometric analysis. Behind the pseudonym, which is responsible for the basic Bitcoin-White-Paper, the developer Gavin Andresen is supposed to hide.

Since an anonymous author published the Bitcoin White Paper in 2009, the question has arisen as to who is behind it. No wonder, since the nine-page document entitled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System explains the principle of the blockchain for the first time, the foundation of most crypto currencies and decentralized technologies. Is the author someone who has since renounced and isolated himself from his invention? Is the pseudonym a group of developers who wrote the paper together? Or is the Bitcoin inventor hiding in the front line of the crypto scene? If we want to believe the latest revelations, the latter is most likely.

Is Gavin Andresen Satoshi Nakamoto or another Bitcoin secret?

Gavin Andresen is a software developer from Massachusetts and has been involved with the Bitcoin secret since its inception. In 2010, the person behind Satoshi Nakamoto appointed him chief developer for the reference implementation of Bitcoin software. Andresen was responsible for programming and maintaining the Bitcoin secret code for several years. In 2014, he gave up this position and devoted himself less to code building and more to working in the Bitcoin Foundation, which he co-founded.

He himself has already “unmasked” Satoshi Nakamoto: in 2016, he named the Australian computer scientist Craig Steven Wright as the true founder of Bitcoin. In retrospect, however, he regretted participating in the “Who is Satoshi game”. The assumption that he himself is behind the ideas of Blockchain and Bitcoin is at least plausible.

How does the Stilometry cryptosoft analysis work?

Stilometry refers to a series of cryptosoft methods that use word statistics to identify an unknown author based on his writing style. It has been used for over a hundred years, for example to identify anonymous authors of literary masterpieces. Approaches have evolved with cryptosoft technology.

The magazine ZyCrypto, which claims to have made the latest revelation, used the so-called “Eder’s bootstrapped stylometry method”. With this method, which is described in detail in the article, the analysts compared the white paper with verified emails and forum posts from Satoshi and other early Bitcoin authors. Thus, the white paper most closely resembles the text of Satoshi’s emails. This was foreseeable. However, the similarity between Gavin Andresen’s GitHub texts from that time and the white paper is greater than the similarity between Satoshi’s forum texts and the white paper. Andresen surpasses Satoshi in terms of textual kinship. Analysts see this as proof of the assumption that he and Satoshi are one and the same person.

And what does Gavin Andresen say about the revelations? On Twitter he reported that his opinion about the reliability of stylometrics had deteriorated significantly after reading the analysis. So the guesswork surrounding Satoshi Nakamo continues.

Higher electricity costs for miners to relieve others

The report primarily criticises the low level of local economic investment, while companies benefit from low electricity costs. While mining companies are very flexible, an electricity supply must be planned for the long term.

Also known among scientists as the free rider problem, companies benefit at the expense of the community. A problem that often occurs with goods where individual groups cannot be excluded. That is now changing. Electricity will not be switched off, but for the first time there will be strong regulatory intervention. The New York Municipal Power Agency (NYMPA), representing the 36 local electricity suppliers, lodged a complaint with the relevant regulatory authority. They wanted to set a separate electricity price for these companies. In other words: discriminate against the electricity price and demand more from those who can pay more.

In this case, the electricity suppliers have a regional monopoly position. This complicates the situation. In contrast to free competition, companies in a monopoly have few alternatives. From the point of view of the local population, price discrimination is undoubtedly desirable and understandable. Surprised, however, is something in a country that speaks out against regulation and is committed to freedom.

New York: Not the first case of Bitcoin loophole

In the past, there has been a similar, less drastic regulation in the state of Washington. Iceland also has a similar situation to New York: The population benefits from favorable electricity prices from water and wind power. Many Bitcoin loophole companies have also settled there. This year, the consumption of these companies could exceed that of the entire population for the first time. This also clearly shows the impact on the environment and electricity grids. The only question that remains is what a fair and equitable answer to rising electricity consumption could look like. According to onlinebetrug the Bitcoin loophole is the solution.

According to the regulatory authority’s report, historical companies that have grown up locally are creating jobs and invigorating the region. Investing in the local electricity grid for such traditional companies also strengthens the economy and is therefore in the interests of the Community.

Here everyone is pulling in the same direction, politicians, residents and authorities. They are all united by a clearly defined concept of the enemy: none of the residents benefit from the crypto companies – they would even lose. The statement by Commission Chairman John B. Rhodes: “We welcome and motivate companies to build and expand in New York” fits in well with this. “But” the statement goes on, “they also have to pay a reasonable price for electricity.” The word “reasonable” seems to correlate strongly with the number of employees in the company.

Electricity costs will become 60% more expensive than the news spy

In theory, the new rule is not limited directly to companies in connection with crypto currencies, but defines the consumption per unit area. In practice, however, these are companies in the crypto business. Companies with a consumption load of more than 300 kW and a consumption of more than 250 kWh per square foot (corresponds to about 0.1 m²) are affected. Companies that are economically important for the news spy region are excluded from this rule.

What is the difference? A company in Plattsburgh would have had to pay about 60% more for its electricity bill since January, the report estimates. Over the next few days, operators will be adjusting their prices and it will become clear how extreme the adjustments will be. It will certainly remain exciting whether the electricity bills for private consumers will fall again.

Coinbase vs. WikiLeaks: That’s what the argument is about

The Coinbase crypto trading platform has completely blocked WikiLeaks’ access to its platform, blocking transactions to the whistleblower site. In response, WikiLeaks is now demanding a global blockade of Coinbase by the crypto community.

How could this dispute escalate like the news spy?

On Friday WikiLeaks announced that Coinbase had banned the official WikiLeaks shop from its platform. On Twitter, the news spy posted a review and the announcement, stating that Coinbase had provided no further notice or explanation as to why the crypto trading platform had done so.

The Twitter post also included the news spy official message that Wikileaks is said to have received from Coinbase. This reinforces the authority of the Crypto Exchange as one of the largest trading outlets for Bitcoin. Coinbase is a regulated Money Service Business (MSB) and acts according to the rules of FinCEN. Accordingly, for legal reasons it must also carry out the compliance mechanisms internally. In this context, according to Coinbase, the WikiLeaks shop was also scrutinised.

“After a thorough review, we believe that your account (WikiLeaks Shop) has violated our guidelines in a prohibited manner. We regret to inform you that we will no longer be able to provide you with our services in the future”, it continues in the statement.

The WikiLeaks shop deals among other things with clothes, accessories and books, but also with crypto-assets like the Crypto Kitties running on the Ethereum-Blockchain. This first statement does not conclusively and satisfactorily clarify what exactly the violation of the guidelines is supposed to be.

WikiLeaks doesn’t let down the Bitcoin secret

WikiLeaks responded by urging the Bitcoin secret community to avoid Coinbase in the future. Through the action against WikiLeaks Shop, Coinbase has revealed itself as an “unsuitable member of the Bitcoin secret” that is using its power against the “totally harmless” WikiLeaks Shop.

WikiLeaks will call for a global blockade of Coinbase next week as an unfit member of the crypto community. Coinbase, a large Californian Bitcoin processor, responding to a concealed influence, has blocked the entirely harmless @WikiLeaksShop in a decision approved by management.

ANNOUNCE: Coinbase has blocked the official @WikiLeaks shop from its platform without notice or explanation. You can continue to donate #Bitcoin to WikiLeaks at . #Coinbase #DefendWL #Cryptocurrency #Ethereum #BitcoinCash #ReconnectJulian

Bitcoiner Andreas Antonopoulos, well-known and respected in the crypto scene, feels reminded of the general embargo against WikiLeaks in 2010. At the time, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and the major banks forged a global payment blockade against WikiLeaks to punish the news service for its publications. As a result, the whistleblower platform became one of Bitcoin’s earliest and most public supporters.

We have come full circle. Many people’s interest in bitcoin started when Wikileaks was out under an extra judicial embargo by VISA, MC, PayPal and banks. Now Coinbase has repeated history. Oops.

ANNOUNCE: Coinbase has blocked the official @WikiLeaks shop from its platform without notice or explanation. You can continue to donate #Bitcoin to WikiLeaks at . #Coinbase #DefendWL #Cryptocurrency #Ethereum #BitcoinCash #ReconnectJulian

What interest Coinbase might have in a blockade of WikiLeaks is still unclear. Whether the crypto-broker makes many friends in the community with this decision may be doubted.