Bitcoin and darknet are making it harder to track online child abuse

Tracking payments with the help of PayPal and Visa has helped catch paedophiles but anonymous technologies make this harder. It’s time financial institutions did more

Dutch child rights organisation Terre des Hommes put a fake picture online in 2013 of a 10 year-old girl purporting to be available for sexual activity. Known as “operation Sweetie”, potential abusers were asked to make a $20 (£14) online transfer.

In just 10 weeks, more than 1,000 paedophiles in 71 countries were caught by the sting. While few arrests were made because the operation could be deemed to be entrapment, the experiment showed how online payments could track paedophiles.

Continue reading…

Read more

£1984: does a cashless economy make for a surveillance state?

A future without money would mean a surveillance state where every transcation is tracked by banks and the state, apart from those using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin

If you type “money” into a Google image search, you get pictures of metal coins and paper notes. People fixate upon this physical currency, but while we still use such transferable tokens for many small transactions, large ones are inevitably electronic. When Rolls-Royce acquires metal to produce jet engines, it doesn’t hand over a bundle of pound notes. It makes an electronic transfer from its bank account to the metal dealer’s account.

Increasingly, though, we use electronic transfer in small-scale transactions too. Rather than handing over physical tokens, you might tap a contactless payment terminal at the supermarket. This sends a message via an electronic communication system – the Visa or Mastercard system, for example – that instructs two banks to edit account databases that keep score of the buyer and seller’s money. The money “moves” owing to third-party payment intermediaries changing your records in their data-centre hard drives.

Continue reading…

Read more

UK may have to cut interest rates, warns Bank of England chief economist

Andy Haldane suggests a rate cut may be more beneficial to economic growth, given signs that a third phase of the global financial crisis is looming

Interest rates in the UK could be cut further from their record low level, the Bank of England’s chief economist has warned, as he highlighted signs that the global financial crisis is entering a third phase of turmoil.

Andy Haldane used a speech entitled “How low can you go?” to flag signs of a slowdown in the UK and discuss events in China, where an economic downturn has coincided with a stock market rout and sent jitters through global markets. His comments appear to be at variance with the Bank’s governor, Mark Carney, who has indicated that rates might rise from 0.5% early next year.

Continue reading…

Read more

From BuyMyFace to bitcoin, what’s next for young entrepreneur Ed?

Ed Moyse is a serial entrepreneur at 25. Since university, he’s launched several ventures with friends, gained national coverage and won £10,000 funding

Ed Moyse is fizzing with ideas. Still only 25, he already has a track record for creating business startups with a twist. Last year Moyse and his business partner, Harry Huang, won the Varsity Pitch award with Wyre, a mobile app that enables users to pay merchants using the internet currency bitcoin. But that wasn’t his first – or his last – eye-catching business idea.

When Moyse and his friend Ross Harper graduated from Cambridge in 2011, neither could face what Moyse describes as the “conveyor belt of being shipped off from Cambridge into the City”. They thought it would be fun to instead create a business with no funding whatsoever that would bring in enough money to support them for a year. “We didn’t take a gap year before university, so we saw it as a chance to take one after university,” says Moyse.

Continue reading…

Read more

You need never use a bank again. Here’s why

The emergence of peer-to-peer lending, fintech and new forms of currencies mean people and businesses can act on their dissatisfaction with the big banksDissatisfaction with the banking sector over the last decade has led to numerous calls for the indu…

Read more

The ‘internet weirdos’ of bitcoin are changing the way money works

Bitcoin’s downward spiral won’t matter in the long run because it is leading the way for cryptocurrency, writes David Wolman, author of The End of Money

There’s no reason to mourn the fall of bitcoin prices. Anyone who is crying over bitcoin’s recent face-plant – losing one-third of its value in two days – must be a speculator. Gambling is gambling – sorry, pal. If you’re celebrating the price drop because of schadenfreude, or just straight-up skepticism about the cryptocurrency itself, you’re missing the point, too.

The nosediving price of bitcoin matters in the short term because rattled confidence hurts any currency, especially a relative newborn that is only used to grease a tiny sliver of global commerce.

Continue reading…

Read more