On April Fools, President Obama passes a new executive order that allows American authorities to seize cryptocurrencys without warning. The order itself is very vague but many supports of Bitcoin believe it is aimed at halting any donations to Snowden’s legal fund. But in instead of preventing donations to Snowden’s legal fund, it in fact caused more donations. Since the order was passed, the number of transactions have reached. The donations range from a few cents to as much as two thousand dollars (his legal fund). One Reddit user Kayrice donated 33 cents and announced on Reddit “Please come arrest me. I live in Oregon and my name is Kristopher Ives and you can reach me at 503-383-1047.” Since Kayrice has donated to Snowden’s legal fund, there have been many more donations.
For these of you who don’t know what Tails is, it’s considered the most secure operating system. So secure that the NSA consider it a threat and Edward Snowden used it to protect his identity. It is a Linux distro designed with security and privacy in mind. It comes with many security/privacy related tools (see link here) that are extremely helpful in communicating securely and browsing the web anonymously. It leaves no trace on a computer that it boots from, so the majority of the computers out there can run it. Tails having a bitcoin wallet makes the computer world a lot more secure, as now you can store bitcoin in a saver environment and use it on any computer without worrying about security. Tails has to be one of my favorite Linux distros because you can use it to be super secure and safe, or have a portable secure computer that boots from a USB stick.
Buttercoin is a new Bitcoin exchange that focuses on ease of use, speed and security. One of the more notable factors of Buttercoin is thattheyare backed by some big names in the tech world, such as Google Ventures, Y Combinator and the Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. Currently there is a waiting list to get in, or if someone you know is already a member they can send you an affiliate link. The affiliate link lets you earn money for every person that you invited who buys bitcoin. My friend invited me, and we both got 20$ as a result (it is going down to 15$ soon), which was quite nice. Buying bitcoin the Buttercoin is effortless, as almost every other exchange you have to get verified. Onceyouare approved you buy bitcoin using your banks credentials (you can also wire money but its only available to business accounts). It usually takes about 2-3 days for the money to be put into your account but note, the first time you add money is the longest as their payment processor has to manually check it. This ended up taking 9 days for me, as something went wrong along the way, but that was no problem for me; Buttercoin gave me 10$ credit “for my patience”. Once the funds arrived, you can either set your own price to buy/sell bitcoins at or use the market price. The moment I hit buy, it went through and a short while later I had 30$ worth of bitcoin in my Trezor hardware wallet. It was super easy to buy bitcoin, and the customer support was very helpful and did a great job (Thanks for giving me the 10$ credit, it was really nice that even though the transaction got stuck in pending you guys gave me credit). Buttercoin is a really easy exchange to use, I definitely will be using them again in the future.
My referral link here, if you sign up by the 16th of February and buy bitcoins before the 23, you can get 20$ free. After that it drops down to 15$.
ProtonMail is a free email service that offers end to end encryption, that is currently in an invitation only Beta. ProtonMail is a based in Switzerland, which means they are protected by Swiss Data Laws. Because its using end to end encryption, all your information is encrypted before it is sent off to the servers. So if they were forced to hand over any information to a third party, all they have to give is encrypted. When using ProtonMail, you are not logged and they do not ask for any personal information. If you want to help fund them, you can pay in Bitcoin so nothing will be tracked back to you. And the platform is quite easy to use, currently you can only login with your web browser. This is not a bad thing as their web client is not bad and is quite easy to use. And if you have someone who isn’t using ProtonMail, you can still communicate securely, just send them an email like normal and they decrypt a PGP message with a password.
I have not used ProtonMail a lot as what I do doesn’t require secure communications. Also the people I communicate with the majority of the time don’t use PGP encryption, and I bet that they most likely don’t know what it is. The biggest downfall to PGP encryption is that almost no one uses it except for people who go out of their way to use it. ProtonMail eleminates the problems that many people have with PGP, all the compicated work is done behind the scenes with ProtonMail. When using it, its like using Gmail or another free email service. I hope that when Beta ends, and it opens to the public; a lot of people will use it. In the past, services that offer great security are often overlooked as it’s not worth the effort to use them. With ProtonMail, this problem no longer exisits. For a preview of your ProtonMail’s webclient check out this screenshot.
One of the first things that come to mind when Bitcoin is mentioned, is that some exchange is hacked or someone lost money. Then the plus sides are sometimes mentioned, if not at all. Bitcoin has a lot of negative press because of the media focusing on Bitcoin exchanges not the real software behind it. Many people like to store their Bitcoins in hot wallets, mainly for ease of use and ability to buy Bitcoins quickly. Hot wallets are not supposed to be used to store fund for long-term use, they really should only be used to hold Bitcoins that you bought before transferring them to another wallet. All these people who lost money could have been fine if they didn’t keep large amounts of money in Bitcoin hot wallets (exchange web wallets). If they used more secure methods of storing Bitcoin, they might never have lost it in the first place. The easiest way to store Bitcoins cheaply and securely is through paper wallets or cold storage. Another safe and easy way to store Bitcoin is through a software wallet that is only on your computer, but that can be risky because of malware. Oh and don’t forget to back up your wallet if you run it yourself, there wont be a third-party to save you in case your hard drive is destroyed. Other than cold storage, the most secure way to hold Bitcoins is through the use of hardware wallets. Two hardware wallets that you can currently purchase are Trezor and Ledger. I will be getting a Trezor soon and have used the precursor to the Ledger wallet. I really love using hardware wallets as they tend to offer the security needed to protect your coins while making the process of using Bitcoin streamlined. For the best security no one should store long term amounts of Bitcoin in hot wallets of Bitcoin exchanges, as history shows exchanges are huge targets and even secure ones can be hacked. I do not have any Bitcoins in wallets, when I buy Bitcoins I immediately transfer them to a wallet where I control the keys.