Distributed Digest: Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Steemit.com blocks hackers for violating its terms of service, Coin Metrics research shows a significant decline among major Bitcoin mining pools, and the Status desktop alpha is out in the wild.

  • Your daily distillation of crypto news for Tuesday, January 8, 2019:

    Steemit.com Resists “The Dark Overlord”

    The Steem social media site, Steemit.com, recently banned a hacking group by the name of “The Dark Overlord” from its platform. Earlier, the group had published a post threatening to leak sensitive 9/11-related documents, which it reportedly obtained from insurers and legal firms that include Hiscox Syndicates, Lloyds of London, and Silverstein Properties. However, the group’s post remains on other Steem interfaces, such as Busy.org and SteemPeak; it has only been removed from Steemit.com.

    Some members of the Steem community have expressed disappointment with Steemit.com’s recent action, calling the team “sellouts” and arguing that “censorship is never the right path.” Some commenters wondered if Steemit.com wished to invoke the Streisand effect, as its attempt to obscure the information has inadvertently caused it to become more visible.

    Bitcoin Mining Pools Are Fallible

    Also visible is “the high die-off rate” of Bitcoin mining pools, according to recently published research from crypto-asset analytics site Coin Metrics. The researchers looked at 37 mining pools (including large solo miners) from 2011-2019 and found that many once-prominent pools are now defunct. From this data, the Coin Metrics team concluded that “mining pool administration is a competitive industry.”

    Although several pools have died off, so to speak, Slushpool has demonstrated “remarkable persistence.” Slushpool’s block production fell in 2014, but it has improved within the past 12 months. This improvement is significant because the researchers maintain that declining mining pools typically “just trail off and die.”

    Status Desktop Alpha v0.9.0 Now Available

    Some BTC mining pools may be dying, but Status is alive with its just-released desktop alpha, v0.9.0. The desktop client employs the Whisper protocol for P2P messaging without a server, as well as prevents metadata leakage for greater security. The team is currently developing device pairing for its desktop and mobile apps.

    The release comes after nine weeks of dogfooding (i.e., using its own product). Last year, Status decided to stop using the Slack messenger service for internal communications and instead opted for its own software. The team feels that its desktop client “has hugely improved” since then.

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