It’s all about data. The decentralized web is underway – or so we would like to believe Sir Tim Berners-Lee as he sets forth on his new adventure Solid as he builds a new open-source platform that aims to let users take control of their data. He gets serious as he takes a sabbatical from MIT for Solid. This announcement last week was fortuitous as it coincided with the sordid details of Facebook’s hacking. There were three bugs identified that allowed access to tokens in Facebook and then to other accounts. They reset access to nearly 50 million users and then another 40 million as a precaution. This is what Forbes called an Internet catastrophe: What’s most worrying of all, though, is what the hack has proven: that a company with the resources and power of Facebook can be robbed of keys that allow access to millions of accounts across the web. Given the keys allowed the hacker to take over any account using a Facebook login, the real number of affected individuals is likely far higher than 50 million. A vast number of people have trusted Facebook would be able to keep their login information safe, just as they do with Google and other tech providers.
What does this all have to do with digital assets or crypto currencies or the blockchain? Plenty. This last week’s data focus goes back to the basics principles of a distributed ledger – decentralization – and its ability to help ferret out fraud and hacks. If everyone has a copy, changing the original isn’t enough. There is also the constant tug and pull of regulations as many want more than DLT to stop hacking and malfeasance. The principles clash, anarchists of the web battle with the centrists for credibility and control.
What Happened Last Week?
The WSJ investigation into dirty money highlights risks to crypto exchanges. The WSJ report highlighted the ShapeShift AG online exchange particularly but the investigation included 46 exchanges. It also linked money laundering with the Monero coin and highlighted its links to North Korea and washing the Wanna Cry ransom.