MicroStrategy, a global business intelligence firm, will be offering a free online course on February 3-4, 2020. It has been seen that this firm was among the very first institutional investors that have invested a huge sum of money into Bitcoin. The firm will host, “Bitcoin for Corporations” on February 3 and 4, as told by CEO Michael Saylor.
On Feb 3 & 4, @MicroStrategy will host Bitcoin for Corporations. Join our officers, industry luminaries & strategic vendors for a free, online, accelerated course in #Bitcoin strategy & tactics to grow your company & create shareholder value.https://t.co/dHYPyWGxbo
Back in August and September 2020, MicroStrategy had announced a complete investment of $425 million. That amount has now increased to $2.3 billion as bitcoin price has increased to a very great extent since then.
MicroStrategy Focusing on Bitcoin’s Adoption by Corporations
As mentioned by MicroStrategy, their main area of focus on the first day will be to educate people on how corporations can adopt Bitcoin. It will be all about developing the Bitcoin strategy and what are the points that all the firms need to focus on.
On this first day, Saylor himself will give two talks. He will be explaining how Bitcoin acts as a treasure reserve asset. Along with this, he will also talk about all the macroeconomic factors that will help drive Bitcoin adoption for institutions. Another major focus of Saylor on the first day will be on Bitcoin Corporate Strategy. He will talk about the strategy that will help corporations with Bitcoin integration and maximizing profits.
Bitcoin’s Financial and Legal Considerations
In this free online course, MicroStrategy will also cover topics related to Bitcoin’s legal and financial considerations. As per the firm, on the second day they will provide:
“Overview of strategic vendors and offerings in the Bitcoin marketplace.”
The main purpose of this online course is to drive Bitcoin adoption among more and more institutional investors. This will help Bitcoin to attain that mainstream adoption at a very large scale that bitcoiners have been dreaming of.
Mitsubishi and Tokyo Tech Tap Blockchain for P2P Energy Trading Network
Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Electric is teaming up with Tokyo Tech to develop a blockchain-based peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading system. From energy neighborhood concepts to rural electrification projects, blockchain technology continues to find significant adoption in efforts geared towards improving access to electricity across the world. Blockchain-based Digital Energy Platform Both organizations announced the news via
Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Electric is teaming up with Tokyo Tech to develop a blockchain-based peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading system. From energy neighborhood concepts to rural electrification projects, blockchain technology continues to find significant adoption in efforts geared towards improving access to electricity across the world.
Blockchain-based Digital Energy Platform
Both organizations announced the news via a joint press statement issued on Sunday (Jan. 17, 2021). According to the press release, the two establishments will collaborate on a pioneer blockchain P2P energy trading system to facilitate the efficient utilization of surplus electricity supply from renewable energy sources.
Detailing their respective roles and responsibilities in the joint enterprise, Mitsubishi will be in charge of designing the P2P energy trading infrastructure while Tokyo Tech will spearhead the blockchain research and development work functions as well as the development of a robust clearing algorithm.
According to the joint press release, Mitsubishi and Tokyo Tech’s network will differ from the usual blockchain-based energy trading systems. Part of this uniqueness lies in the decision to create a platform that does not require high-volume computations and is not hardware-intensive.
With micro-computing servers and robust order matching with minimal computation requirements, the new method will utilize a four-step process to achieve its aims. An excerpt from the announcement detailing the process reads:
“In the first step, information on buy and sell orders with a common trading goal (market surplus, profit, etc.) are shared by computing servers during a predetermined timeframe. Second, each server searches for buy and sell orders matched to the common goal in the first step. Third, each server shares its search results. In the fourth and final step, each server receives the search results and generates a new block by selecting trades that best meet the shared goal, which it adds to each blockchain.”
According to the press statement, the project will commence in April with plans for the early commercialization of the system.
Mitsubishi and Tokyo Tech’s project joins the rapidly expanding cast of P2P energy trading networks is what is proving to be a popular blockchain technology adoption niche. Back in Sept. 2020, the IOTA Foundation and CityxChange cost-efficient energy trading platform was announced as being business-ready.
As previously reported by BTCManager, a 2020 research study showed that Power Ledger’s P2P energy trading solution constituted a real use case for blockchain technology.
Four unidentified men stole more than 3.5 million yuan ($500,000) from a cryptocurrency trader in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong on 18 January.
According to local news site Apple Daily, the robbers, who are apparently 20 to 30 years old, threatened an unnamed woman with knives and sticks. At the time, the victim completed trading crypto with another person who was posing as a buyer, in the upper floor of Wah Kai Centre.
The criminals also stole the woman’s iPhone and fled to a pickup van. She immediately used her second phone to contact her husband, who then called the police. Police said that the office where the trade took place was recently rented out and only had some furniture.
According to local news, the woman sold crypto to the buyer in three transactions. Local police said in a report that the victim was paid 3.5 million yuan in cash in 1000 yuan notes after using her iPhone to transfer 450,000 yuan in USDT Tether tokens to the “buyer.”
The woman’s uncle, who drove her to the building was apparently waiting for her downstairs. He claimed that before police arrived, he saw a group of men run out and drive off in a van.
Detectives from the Kwun Tong district are investigating the incident and are in search of the perpetrators. At press time, no arrests have been made yet.
This would be the second crypto related robbery to take place this month in Hong Kong alone. On 4 January robbers stole $3 million yuan or $461,000 in Bitcoin from a trader in Chai Wan. The 37-year-old male victim met two buyers in a car before a group of six men rushed to the scene and stole the money. The robbers later kicked the trader out of the car on Tai Tam Road and drove off.
What happens when your Lightning Network routing node is fed with garbage transactions that never resolve? In short, it causes a lot of grief for routing nodes. What was once a smooth, global payment system can be locked up with trivial effort from a savvy script writer.
Working in a small team of routing nodes, we successfully ran a test of the attack with real funds and demonstrated the “griefing” attack described by Joost Jager. The attack is called a grief attack since it is not a theft of funds, but it causes a victim’s Lightning funds to be frozen: a major upset. What we found is that griefing is a serious threat to large “wumbo” channels expecting to earn a yield on their bitcoin, only to have their funds frozen for a period of time.
This is mostly a grief attack: no loss of funds, but the victim may be forced to pay for an expensive channel force close. This is a known vulnerability on mainnet Lightning and it needs to be understood and prioritized, especially at this early market stage of Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.
Thanks to Clark Burkhardt and Phillip Sheppard for their willingness to participate in this test and to Jager for his tireless work to bring attention and priority to this vulnerability. Jager played the role of the attacker for our demonstration, while Burkhardt and Sheppard joined me as connected victim routing nodes.
How The Attack Works
The attacker saturates one (or several) channel(s) with Hashed Time Locked Contracts (HTLCs) that don’t resolve as a finalized payment. These are a special breed of HTLCs known as HODL invoices. Only 483 of these unresolved HTLCs are required to overwhelm a channel per direction. Once those HTLCs are in the channel, any transactions using that same channel direction are impossible, including a transaction to cooperatively close that channel.
In theory, an attacker could contact the victim (perhaps via a keysend message or in an “onion blob”) and demand a ransom be paid to halt the attack. Once the ransom is paid, the attacker could remove the unresolved payments, ending the attack. The attack can be sustained indefinitely, halting all routing and payment activity in that channel. This freezes the funds in the Lightning channel.
Both directions of payments can be stalled in a channel by using 483 HTLCs in each direction, both inbound and outbound.
Why Would An Attacker Do Something Like This?
The first motive that comes to mind is to demand a ransom. This attack causes pain for the victim and paying a ransom may be attractive to a victim, even without assurance that the attack would stop. Contacting the victim might be risky for an attacker, but a ransom payment might not be the only reason someone would do this.
A secondary incentive for launching a griefing attack would be to disrupt routing competition. Jamming a competitor’s route could create more demand for a route owned by an attacker.
As a benchmark, consider that Lightning Labs’ Loop node has an ongoing demand for liquidity for which it will sometimes pay a 2,500 parts per million of the payment (ppm) (0.25 percent) fee rate. In my experience, they would normally exhaust 16 million sats’ worth of liquidity in about two weeks (5.2 percent annual percentage rate), but that is with competition present.
If an attacker could disable any competing route with lower fee rates, Loop may be willing to pay a higher fee rate (since the supply of liquidity is now reduced). Let’s say Loop would pay 3,000 ppm (0.3 percent), as well as use that liquidity more quickly since no other channels are functioning. Loop might use that liquidity in half the time, say one week. The attacker would more than double their usual yield to 15.6 percent APR in this example. The only cost to the attacker is the cost of running a script on an existing channel and the psychological cost of doing something immoral/damaging to the Lightning Network. With a single attacker channel, a malicious actor could jam about nine channels (see Jager’s tweets about this).
What Would The Victim Of This Attack Experience?
The victim of this attack wouldn’t really know that this attack was happening unless they had some special alerts set for pending HTLCs. For Thunderhub users (a highly recommended tool), the home screen will show a chart of pending HTLCs as well as a warning stating that channels can only hold 483 pending HTLCs.
In practice, my node quickly became unreliable and experienced several app crashes, including Thunderhub, which was the only app to notify me of the problem. Then, thanks to my “Balance of Satoshis” Telegram bot, I got a channel closing notification. The channel under attack force-closed itself! That was not supposed to be part of the experiment. (For more technical information on the involuntary force close, see below for additional force-close data.)
What Can The Victim Do To Stop A Griefing Attack?
Once an attack starts, a victim essentially can’t do anything to stop it. The only alternatives available to halt an ongoing attack would be to force-close the channel being attacked, which means that the terrorists win.
To add insult to injury, force-closing the channel will push the unresolved payments to the on-chain transaction data, triggering secondary on-chain transactions for the initiator of the force close. At 50 sats/vbyte and 483 on-chain transactions, that’s easily a 1 million sat price tag to force close a single channel under attack (a $368 channel close fee at today’s prices). The multiple on-chain transactions only occur if the output is above the minimum payment “dust” limit. (See this example on testnet.)
How To Prevent A Griefing Attack
Jager has been working on a proof-of-concept program to help isolate and fight attackers. He’s calling his program “Circuitbreaker.” The Circuitbreaker works at a network level, which unfortunately means that everyone has to participate for it to be effective.
Beyond that, this issue needs prioritization and attention from dedicated engineers/developers to find better solutions. There have also been some good discussions on modifying the protocol in the Bitcoin Optech newsletter (issue #122 or #126).
This attack can be executed today. It is a miracle that it hasn’t already been used maliciously. It’s a reflection of the incentives for those using Lightning today so that it can become an open, universal payment network. Please share this post as you see fit to encourage and inspire more work to fix this problem before it causes real harm.
Additional Technical Information About The Involuntary Force-Close
Here are the logs from my node running LND 0.11 at the moment that the above mentioned involuntary force-close occured:
2020-11-26 21:24:47.374 [ERR] HSWC: ChannelLink(657759:561:0): failing link: ChannelPoint (c37bec006b18df172698a84739ca47128935e0a8666fecd1a843e49b01db207c:0): received error from peer: chan_id=7c20db019be443a8d1ec6f66a8e035891247ca3947a8982617df186b00ec7bc3, err=rejected commitment: commit_height=455, invalid_commit_sig=3044022076fd65191eb6305b723fa6012be378413b6326e2786c38db58b4c02e1f3999d202207605ca31de8b4c5b1d9cd20dc1581dfa2383e0b4e06c8ad4f718ab5c434d8cf5, commit_tx=02000000017c20db019be443a8d1ec6f66a8e035891247ca3947a8982617df186b00ec7bc300000000008a792e8002210d0000000000002200201031cf10a1efef261edd3d0a1a6a953b27bc25bd7150bb2b07afdc69805e02157213000000000000160014de650929042bef58b71783ae1a44834a902a8f2d542ca720, sig_hash=4e0fb804c74376020e4c44a60969b9206eb0aaa9a89b76017d60f23ad5cf63e5 with error: remote error
The logs show an “invalid_commit_sig” which is a known issue in LND. Supposedly, this can happen upon reconnecting and isn’t a direct result of the channel jamming. The volume of pending HTLCs unfortunately makes it more likely to happen. Jager helped explain the process as channel jamming –> endless payment loop (bug) –> node down –> reconnect –> invalid commit sig (bug) –> channel force-close.
The “endless” loop bug is a known bug that occurs when the HTLC limit is reached and an additional HTLC is sent. Instead of ending in a payment failure, LND will continue to attempt the payment in a loop. To help with this bug, see LND issue #4656.
This is a guest post by Jestopher. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.
New Highs Inbound: Ethereum is About to See an Explosive Rally Against BTC
Ethereum’s price action has been strikingly similar to that of Bitcoin’s as of late The crypto is once again showing strong signs of correlation to BTC, which has caused it to see some relatively choppy trading as of late It has continued gaining some slight ground against BTC, although it is now pushing up against resistance on its BTC trading pair It is also nearing a few key USD resistance levels as well, with bears […]
Ethereum’s price action has been strikingly similar to that of Bitcoin’s as of late
The crypto is once again showing strong signs of correlation to BTC, which has caused it to see some relatively choppy trading as of late
It has continued gaining some slight ground against BTC, although it is now pushing up against resistance on its BTC trading pair
It is also nearing a few key USD resistance levels as well, with bears trying to guard $1,250 and $1,300
A clear break above both of these levels could spark a parabolic move that leads it significantly higher
One trader is expecting this type of breakout rally to take place in the near-term, noting that he is watching for serious outperformance of BTC
Ethereum has been struggling to break free of Bitcoin’s grasp, which has caused it to see some relative consolidation throughout the past couple of weeks.
It currently faces some resistance between $1,250 and $1,300, just a hair above where it is trading.
Much like BTC, Ethereum dips have all been aggressively absorbed by buyers, which is a positive sign.
One trader is now watching for ETH to see massive upside against both BTC and USD in the near-term, noting that it is on the cusp of breaking a few key levels.
Ethereum Consolidates as Bulls Struggle to Break Key Resistance
At the time of writing, Ethereum is trading up just over 1% at its current price of $1,240. This is around where it has been trading throughout the past couple of days.
The resistance just above its current price at $1,250 is intense, as it has been hampering the cryptocurrency’s growth over the past few days and weeks.
Breaking this level will open the gates for a test of $1,300, which is another key level that should be closely watched in the near-term.
Analyst Claims ETH Likely to Break Free of BTC Correlation
One analyst mused the possibility that Ethereum will soon break free from its BTC correlation and rally higher.
He notes that the cryptocurrency’s “shackles” are soon to be released, which could lead it to see some serious upside in the mid-term.
“ETH: I’m sure if Eth wasn’t as tied to BTC as it is (due to being #1 and #2) It would have printed ATH USD a while ago. However, I think it’s shackles are soon to be released and the BTC pair looks very strong. BTC must prepare to be ratio’d.”