Bitcoin News in Review: NSA, Tox, Bitcoin Black Friday, and More

Journalist:
Neil Sardesai @@neilsardesai
November 24, 2014

Welcome back to another Bitcoin News in Review, where we cover some of the top stories of the week here on CryptoCoins News. This week (16 November to 23 November), we wondered whether Satoshi Nakamoto was/is an NSA worker, looked at an encrypted Skype replacement called “Tox,” started preparing for Bitcoin Black Friday 2014, and more. Keep scrolling for this week’s top stories.

Did the NSA Create Bitcoin?

The United States National Security Agency was one of the first organisations to propose a Bitcoin-like system. In 1996, the intelligence organisation published a paper titled, “How to Make a Mint: the Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash”. The proposed system would work very much like Bitcoin, establishing a secure and distributed system for financial transactions. Almost a decade later, Satoshi Nakamoto published his Bitcoin white paper on the Metzdowd.com cryptography mailing list. Interestingly, Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, one created by the NSA. Is it possible that Satoshi Nakamoto could have been/is an NSA worker? Yes. Do we know for sure? Of course not.

In related NSA news, the Freedom Act, a bill that would have limited the NSA’s domestic surveillance authority, failed to pass in the Senate, just short of two votes. In response, digital rights advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundation have decided to take matters into their own hands, but the effectiveness of their methods is debatable.

Tox: An Encrypted Skype Replacement that May Integrate Bitcoin

“Tox” is an encrypted, distributed, peer-to-peer instant messaging platform that hopes to replace centralised platforms like Skype. Tox supports A/V calling, instant messaging, and file sharing, just like Skype, but with significantly increased security.

“Microsoft is known to spy on skype users by recording everything that goes through it. A couple years ago, Microsoft bought skype and centralized it making it possible for them to record everything everyone said on skype. With Tox, everything is encrypted so nobody except yourself and the people you are speaking to can know what you are saying.”

The team behind Tox is also considering implementing premium features to support development, and users would pay in bitcoin. Be sure to read CCN’s interview with Tox’s lead developer here.

Bitcoin Black Friday is Approaching

For Americans, Black Friday is perhaps the single biggest shopping event of the year. However, Bitcoin Black Friday is a worldwide event where everyone can score great deals shopping online with bitcoin. Last year’s Bitcoin Black Friday was a huge success for merchants, and this year will likely set a new standard for bitcoin-exclusive deals. Payments processors like BitPay are reminding merchants to prepare for the event:

“The largest day of the year for bitcoin purchases is rapidly approaching. Bitcoin Black Friday will be taking place on November 28th, and BitPay wants to make sure merchants are prepared and have their sales listed on BitcoinBlackFriday.com. Last year’s Bitcoin Black Friday event was the most popular day in the history of bitcoin commerce. We hope to see even more merchants join the bitcoin community for this year’s event.”

Do you have any plans for Bitcoin Black Friday? Share them in the comments section below!

The Mozilla Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin Donations

The Mozilla Foundation has recently made headlines for its efforts to protect online privacy. Last week, Mozilla outlined the Polaris privacy initiative and partnered with the Tor project to strengthen internet anonymity. Now, Mozilla is seeking support from the community in the form of bitcoin donations. The Mozilla Foundation is a registered non-profit organisation, and donations help support the development of projects like Polaris.

“Our mission is to promote openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web. At Mozilla, we’re a global community of technologists, thinkers and builders working together to keep the Internet alive and accessible, so people worldwide can be informed contributors and creators of the Web. We believe this act of human collaboration across an open platform is essential to individual growth and our collective future.”

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That’s it for this week. To keep up with the latest cryptocurrency news, be sure to follow CCN on Facebook and Twitter.

Bitcoin Black Friday image from bitcoinblackfriday.com. Other images from Shutterstock.

Neil Sardesai @@neilsardesai

I enjoy keeping up with the latest stuff in science and technology and have been following Bitcoin for a few years now. I also occasionally post cool stuff on twitter.