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Blockchain to curb fake news

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With the United States Presidential Election set for next month, the concern over fake news has once again dominated public discourse. Fake news — the deliberate spreading of verifiably false information under the disguise of being an authentic news story ­— not only undermines the public’s confidence in the free press, it inflames social conflict, can result in health hazards (like swallowing bleach in an attempt to avoid COVID-19), gives rise to radicalism, undermines the integrity of elections, and manipulates markets. In short, fake news threatens the social trust we have in our institutions and in each other.

Common solutions today, such as fact-checking websites and artificial intelligence algorithms are deployed only after the fact — they aim to detect fake news that has already been created. The Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas just completed a case study on ANSAcheck, developed by Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata — Italy’s top news wire service — and Big Four audit firm Ernst & Young, which takes a different approach. ANSAcheck authenticates the source of a news story and guarantees “the story came from ANSA.”

ANSA had previously suffered from imposter news. In March 2020, for example, there were at least three imposter stories related to COVID-19. The fake stories were distributed using the ANSA brand, format and signature. Instances like these prompted ANSA to launch the ANSAcheck project.

Stefano De Alessandri, ANSA’s CEO and managing director, said:

“Fake news is one of the biggest challenges facing traditional media organizations and social media platforms as it undermines the trust they have built with the public and advertisers, undermining their strategic asset that is their reputation. […] If we lose trust, we lose everything.”

The ANSAcheck project started in 2019. Giuseppe Perrone, the head of EY’s blockchain initiatives in the Mediterranean, served as EY’s leader. The ANSAcheck solution works by assigning a unique hash ID to every ANSA-created news story and posting the hash to Ethereum, the world’s largest public blockchain platform. If even one letter in the story is changed, the system will detect that it is not an identical copy to the original story. Story IDs are batched and posted multiple times each day to Ethereum. If ANSA updates the story, another entry is recorded on the blockchain and linked back to the original entry to form a chain of provenance.

Each ANSA story posted on its website is accompanied with an ANSAcheck sticker to signal its authenticity to readers. Readers can click on the ANSACheck sticker to query the blockchain about the source of the story. By Oct. 6, as many as 532,727 ANSA news stories had been posted on the blockchain. Approximately 72% of ANSA readers had clicked on the ANSAcheck explanation tab to learn more about it, while 38% of people who viewed the article actually clicked on the sticker to perform the validation.

When users click on the ANSAcheck sticker, the console viewer displays the transaction details on the blockchain. Each story gets a unique ID using MD5 cryptography. In this example, the story headline is “Johnson, I still have a fever, I am staying isolated” and the unique story ID is “5b456347bf699bb9807b742e132c9120.” This story was created on April 3, 2020 and the Block ID is “AC202004031330.”

In the above image, users can see where the story is stored on the Ethereum blockchain. The story was added to Ethereum block number 9799299 on April 3, 2020 at 01:34:26 UTC. The unique transaction hash is “0xadc600195857be4f138b1a15b400ee4adf799cae462e3d6abaf1ecca8c52928d.” By pressing the verify button on the console, the application performs a real-time verification of the story.

Phase one of the solution was deployed in April 2020 using a smart contract. The smart contract mitigates the risk of Ether’s (ETH) price volatility by postponing the processing of new stories if the current cost of Ether is too high. EY also keeps transaction costs low by batching multiple news stories within a single transaction. Initially, EY was posting a batch of stories every 15 minutes, with an average cost per story of $0.06. More recently, EY was batching roughly 500–600 new stories every six hours, so the cost per transaction dropped to around $0.006 per story. Ethereum costs drove the decision to reduce the time of notarization. ANSA stories usually come in the news feed before they are launched on the website, giving EY time to register them on the blockchain.

Meanwhile, EY manages the end-to-end service. The firm makes sure that clients’ digital wallets are funded with enough Ether so that there is no disruption of service, posts stories on behalf of publishers, provides analytics, and performs and displays search query results. Chen Zur, EY’s U.S. blockchain practice leader, described the solution as “notarization as a service.”

EY plans to add other services to the ANSAcheck solution. EY’s Giuseppe Perrone said:

“The solution will become more sophisticated in terms of functionality and components, such as fact checking functions, semantic language analysis, and picture data protection.”

In addition to ANSAcheck, there are other blockchain-enabled solutions deployed or underway. Gartner estimates that by 2023, 30% of world news, including videos, will rely on blockchain technologies for authentication. There will likely be multiple blockchain-enabled solutions that provide services such as establishing content authenticity, tracking provenance of content over time, blacklisting imposters, spotting deepfakes (content manipulated by artificial intelligence), and tying digital content to the physical world, for example, by tagging the GPS location of a photo. De Alessandri welcomes such solutions, saying, “We were the first in Italy, but we don’t want to be the only adopter.” He also added:

“The value comes to readers, publishers, and journalists when everyone adopts a solution like this. Any tools to defend and enlarge professional information benefits democracy.”

Disclosure: EY has been on the Blockchain Center of Excellence’s executive advisory board since 2019 and is an active participant in the University of Arkansas’ blockchain research and events.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Mary Lacity is a Walton professor of information systems and the director of the Blockchain Center of Excellence at the University of Arkansas.



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Analysts Think Ethereum Will Surge as Bitcoin Holds $13,000 Support

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  • Ethereum has undergone a strong 10-15% rally over the past seven days that has brought it as high as $420.
  • The coin is expected to move towards $433 to “catch up” to Bitcoin.

Ethereum Expected to Surge As Bitcoin Holds Key Supports

Ethereum has undergone a strong 10-15% rally over the past seven days that has brought it as high as $420. The coin currently trades for $412 as it positions to move higher.

The strength in the price of ETH comes as Bitcoin has held the $13,000 support, which many feared would mark the top of the rally. Bitcoin currently trades for $13,150.

With BTC holding above $13,000, ETH is expected to move towards $433 to “catch up” to Bitcoin.

One analyst shared the chart below, showing that ETH will likely move to $433 before the weekend finishes, then continue towards the yearly highs at $490 by the end of the month.

Chart of ETH's price action over the past few weeks with an analysis by crypto trader Steve (@Thetradingtramp on Twitter). 
Source: ETHUSD from TradingView.com

Other analysts agree with this sentiment. One crypto-asset trader shared the chart below, showing that Ethereum’s recent price action has allowed it to flip the $407 horizontal into support. This suggests that it will push towards the next important horizontal level at $445 in the days ahead.

Image

 

Chart of ETH's price action over the past few weeks with an analysis by crypto trader Nekoz (@CryptoNekoz on Twitter).  
Source: ETHUSD from TradingView.com

Ethereum Has Strong On-Chain Trends

Ethereum has decent on-chain trends that suggest the uptrend will persist in the days ahead.

Santiment, a blockchain analytics firm, shared the chart below just recently with the following comment:

“There is good news and bad news for #Ethereum’s quest to again surpass the $420 price barrier. The good news is that miners aren’t selling, and there is a big increase in new $ETH addresses being created, and pre-existing addresses have shown an increase in activity. The bad news is that social sentiment is bordering on euphoric territory, and daily active deposits have jumped in a big way.”

Ethereum

Chart of ETH's price action over the past few months with an overlay of miner balances. Chart from Santiment

As the company notes, there are a few reasons to be concerned, namely around Ethereum social sentiment and the number of daily active deposits to exchanges.

Bitcoin rallying higher would likely be enough to drive ETH higher in the days ahead, though.

Featured Image from Shutterstock
Price tags: ethusd, ethbtc, ethusdt, btcusd, btcusdt, xbtusd
Charts from TradingView.com
Analysts Think Ethereum Will Surge as Bitcoin Holds $13,000 Support





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Ethereum Could Break Dramatically Higher Once It Holds $500

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Ethereum has undergone a strong surge over recent days that has brought it from the $360 range to highs of $420. Analysts say that it will undergo a macro move higher once it manages to flip $500 into support.

Ethereum Set to Break Dramatically Higher Once It Holds $500: Analyst

The cryptocurrency is currently positioning to move higher as it holds the $390-400 region.

As reported by Bitcoinist previously, analysts say that if the coin manages to flip $420 into support, it is likely to move to $500. One crypto-asset analyst commented on the matter:

“Nice break above the $395 flat top on $ETH. ETH doesn’t always give throwbacks, so a $395 throwback is certainly possible before higher, but I wouldn’t be on it. Otherwise, this looks good for a run back near the $490 highs.”

Should ETH flip $500 into support, analysts say it will be cleared to explode higher.

The chart below was shared on October 23rd. It suggests that should Ethereum manage to flip $500 into support, it will begin a rally to four digits on a macro basis. $500 is important because it is just shy of where the market topped during August’s rally. Above $500, there is also little historical price action, indicating that the coin could enter “price discovery.”

Commenting on the significance of the chart, the trader who made the chart wrote:

“Happy playing this relatively large range until I’m ready for a full swing. I’d want to see the mid point of this pivot zone acting as support to take it.”

Chart of ETH's price action over the past few years with an analysis by crypto trader CJ (@irncrypt on Twitter).
Source: ETHUSD from TradingView.com

Fundamental Setback Regarding ETH2 

Ethereum is facing a setback though as reports indicate that the ETH2 upgrade may be pushed back.

In a comment first obtained by CoinDesk, Ethereum Foundation researcher Danny Ryan said that the deposit contract for the upgrade will not go live until an audit is completed:

“This library is critical to creating keys, signing messages. Critical, in early phases, [means] that if you use this library, they need to be secure; if you use it to generate your wallets, it needs to have good randomness; and if you are signing your deposits which have a signature associated, it needs to be correct,” Ryan said. “Given that how critical this library is, and given that, if there is a fundamental error in this library we could f*ck some sh*t up in terms of genesis deposits, that is the blocker.”

This audit could result in a delay until November, Ryan suggested.

Another Ethereum developer working on the upgrade said that once the deposit contract is released, there will likely be a 6-8 week gap between the release and ETH2 deployment.

Photo by Oz Seyrek on Unsplash
Price tags: ethusd, ethbtc
Charts from TradingView.com
Ethereum Could Break Dramatically Higher Once It Holds $500





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Anonymous devs behind a DeFi yield farm could steal $1B in 12 hours

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Harvest Finance, a decentralized finance project that succeeded in attracting over $1 billion in funds locked has an admin key that gives its holders the ability to mint tokens at will and steal users’ funds.

As noted by auditing companies PeckShield and Haechi, the governance parameters are not set by a contract with clearly defined rules. An admin key, presumably held by the anonymous developers behind the project, could be used to arbitrarily mint new FARM tokens.

This power could allow the governance key holders to create an unlimited number of tokens and drain funds in the token’s Uniswap pool, which currently holds $12 million in USDC.

Harvest Finance is an automated yield management system, featuring vault-based strategies similar to Yearn Finance. Haechi highlighted that in addition to the minting mechanics, the governance key holder has the ability to change the vault functionality at will, which could be exploited by submitting a bogus strategy that simply sends the funds to an attacker-controlled address.

The holders of the governance key would thus have the theoretical possibility of stealing all of the $1.05 billion in assets committed to the protocol, in addition to the funds in the Uniswap pool.

Source: DeFi Pulse

In response to the audits, the team introduced a 12 hour time lock that should give enough advanced warning to users if any foul play is detected — but that requires constant community vigilance.

The project is currently running a classical yield farm similar to many of the “food coins.” Users can commit Ether (ETH), Wrapped Bitcoin (BTC) and other assets, but the highest FARM yield can be found by submitting FARM tokens themselves, without necessarily requiring the additional layer of abstraction of Uniswap pool tokens. Such a circular dependency is characteristic of many crypto Ponzi schemes.

The team is completely anonymous, though the project succeeded in attracting a relatively sizable community and has been involved in the community by doling out grants.

While nothing would suggest malicious intentions for now, the project is strongly centralized and prospective farmers should be aware that they are trusting an anonymous group of developers to resist the temptation to run off with their money, similarly to how the community initially trusted SushiSwap’s founder.



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