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Brianna Wu@BriannaWu

The Trump people deleted the dance video, because they were embarrassed. But I saved it for the historical record. PLEASE DO NOT SHARE THIS EMBARRASSING VIDEO!

One of the most popular parts of our conference is #Lockpick Village.

In case you haven’t heard, @LockpickExtreme is hosting again this year, with a unique twist for #dianainitiative2020

More details will be announced soon. Keep an eye on our website.

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Startup Aleo Wants to Help You Use the Internet Without Sacrificing Data Privacy



Privacy tech company Aleo has launched a data privacy-oriented blockchain and developer kit to make writing zero-knowledge proofs in web applications easy and scalable.

The startup is releasing its first round of software tools to let developers write private applications for the web using a new programming language called Leo, as well as integrate these tools into pre-existing browsers’ functions. 

“I think it’s become very clear that the internet is broken,” said Aleo co-founder Howard Wu on a phone call. “As users of the internet, we give up our personal data in exchange for services from providers. This model is really outdated. It’s an antiquated one. For us, the goal is to provide a new type of model where this incentive can be aligned for both sides.”

Zero-knowledge proofs

Aleo leverages zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs), a cryptographic technique that allows two parties on the internet, such as an app and a user, to verify information with each other without sharing the underlying data related to this information.

If you think about it in the context of logging into a website for example, it would verify who you are without sharing info such as your password, geolocation data or other information that can be used to suss out additional details about yourself that you aren’t aware you might be giving up.

See also: Zcash’s Halo Breakthrough Is a Big Deal – Not Just For Cryptocurrencies

“The idea is that we can provide user interface (UI) components and frameworks that look just like traditional web applications,” said Wu. “But when you click on something, it does some magic under the hood, and makes executing ZKPs much easier, happening within your browser. We will provide a UI toolkit, a UI framework that lets web developers build it into existing web applications.”

Aleo’s development toolkit

Aleo’s initial release is made up of four different components. 

There is the Aleo Studio, the first integrated development environment (IDE) for writing privacy-focused, zero-knowledge applications. An IDE is a holistic environment for developers to write computer programs. 

The Aleo Package Manager is focused on letting developers manage and store data packages. Integrated with Aleo Studio, the package manager makes it easier for developers to organize and share their work. 

SnarkOS is Aleo’s decentralized operating system for private web applications and the first implementation of the Aleo protocol.

“It runs a blockchain and it supports all sorts of applications,” said Wu. “So it’s very similar to ones that people know and love on Ethereum. The idea for us is to use snarkOS as the foundation or the backbone of this entire system. So snarkOS is meant to checkpoint, verify and store data in state.”

See also: Privacy Startup Nym Will Pay You in Bitcoin to Run Its Mixnet

As users interact with the web, they’re making transactions such as payments, inputting their data, or interacting with games through applications, all of which involve state transitions, or the ways that data moves throughout the internet. Private app integrations with Aleo can address all of these phases, meaning the data privacy functionality isn’t negated at any one point. 

The last part of Aleo’s developer kit is the “Aleo Testnet I,” a testnet on snarkOS that allows developers to write and deploy applications. 

Developers must build programs on the Aleo blockchain to use the kit, as Aleo is the foundation for everything else developers want to build and integrate with. The focus is on establishing a strong and private core, so that users are able to choose whether they want their data to be public or not. 

The whole goal, however, is for developers to integrate existing apps with Aleo. Existing applications will be able to integrate on Aleo using normal web paradigms. 

“Our goal isn’t to disrupt the web, it’s to integrate with it.” said Wu. “Aleo will host infrastructure and services to make it easy for web applications to use Aleo.”

Leo: programming privacy with a new language

The company has also created a new programming language called “Leo.” Wu explained that while Leo looks and feels like JavaScript, under the hood, it is uniquely able to abstract low-level cryptographic concepts, so developers can build private applications without a degree in cryptography. 

“We built Leo to make it easy to write private applications,” said Wu. “For crypto-natives, Leo allows developers to build applications like dark pools, anonymous mixers, private marketplaces – you name it.”

He added, for web developers, Leo provides a framework that allows developers to build secure components for applications like password-less login, instant checkouts and more. 

Addressing shifting attitudes around data privacy

According to a recent report from AI-powered fraud detection company Sift, if a company inadvertently exposes a customer’s data, whether it’s the companies fault or not, 56% of survey respondents said they’d stop using the site altogether. 

“The idea here is to provide an ecosystem that is robust enough to give you alternative options and I think that’s a model that’s far more far more cohesive for both companies and consumers,” said Wu. 

Right now, according to Wu, Aleo’s goal is to plant a seed and get as much feedback as they can before they launch their mainnet. 

“Many of the common L1 foundations have tried Aleo Studio and Leo in private,” said Wu. “We have been using the opportunity to architect requirements to integrate. After all, many blockchains would like a shielded pool for applications on their chain.”

See also: These Illicit SIM Cards Are Making Hacks Like Twitter’s Easier



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New Loom Network CEO clarifies concerning information published by former employee



One of Loom Network’s former employees recently leaked information about the company’s Kickstarter-funded game, Relentless (also called Zombie Battleground). The leak alleged that the project, and potentially the entire Loom Network, were no longer actively being developed. The former employee, who has not worked for the company in over a year, claimed that the issues largely stemmed from Loom’s former CEO, Matthew Campbell. Campbell left Loom in Feb. 2020, and was replaced by a new CEO.

“Dilanka accessed our Kickstarter account without authorization and sent out that rambling update,” Vadim Macagon, the current CEO of Loom Network, told Cointelegraph on Sept. 24. “He was let go almost a year ago because he started behaving erratically, and was quite open to some of his team about his drug use (and not just the drugs he mentioned in the update he just published).”

Dilanka’s claims

A Sept. 24 tweet from tech expert Bruno Skvorc notified the public of an email sent out to backers of the Relentless project. Cointelegraph reached out to Skvorc for further details, and received a link to the email in question. The email came from “Dilanka,” who worked in the project’s growth and marketing department. 

Dilanka asserted that both projects were dead, “or at the very least, currently on life support in the middle of an unpleasant pivot focused on healthcare.” 

Loom conducted its initial coin offering, or ICO, in 2018. On May 9, 2020, rumors circulated about Loom’s potential demise, as evidenced by a lack of communication from the project on various channels. Loom responded to the article through Twitter, asserting the company was still very much alive, but wading through a transition into government and healthcare-based enterprise blockchain work. According to Dilanka, the company has not come forward with any new developments since May 26. Loom’s Twitter account, however, uploaded a number of tweets since that time, including a roadmap for the year which was posted on June 30.

Relentless’ downfall, and Loom Network’s alleged failure as a whole, resulted from “lack of product market fit, mismanagement of resources, incompetent leadership from the founders, and a lack of appreciation and transparency toward you, the community who entrusted us with you hard earned money,” Dilanka said, giving his opinion on the situation. 

“I (along with many of our former team) was let go almost a year ago, and the fact that I still have access to this Kickstarter account (which I clearly shouldn’t) is another good example of the incompetence I am talking about.”

Dilanka, who somehow maintained access to the Kickstarter account associated with the game, said he has received notice of incoming questions about Relentless over the past year from backers looking for updates. 

Dilanka went on to cite a number of issues around the Loom Network, including a lack of communication, as well as questionable actions from former Loom CEO Matthew Campbell.

One example includes Campbell allegedly terminating development on Relentless in 2019, without telling funders, as well as making sure the news did not surface publicly. Loom Network reportedly put more than $1.5 million into building Relentless. 

Dilanka, however, provided a disclaimer:

“I don’t know what kind of pressure he [Campbell] was under by investors or what his story is as this is purely my own opinion based on my limited, one dimensional interactions with him as a ‘team member’ of Loom via Slack. In fact, take all of what I say with a grain of salt — I could be 100% wrong about everything. Do your own due diligence and make up your own mind. But yes, had I not worked remotely and Matt was within proximity, I would have happily punched him in his very punchable face to soften his keyboard warrior tendencies in the interest of teaching him some manners… and yes, I made sure to tell Matt (and Luke et al.) [other Loom brass] how I felt about him when things started to go south.”

Macagon’s explanation

Loom Network’s current CEO, Macagon, provided insights from the other side of the table. “I’m not going to comment on the outright slander against Matthew Campbell, instead, I’ll focus on the facts,” he said. “Dilanka didn’t lie about the fact that Loom spent more than $1.5 million USD on the game, after all, it was part of our core thesis during the first stage of our startup.” Macagon explained the Kickstarter funding resulted in less than $300,000.

The company put the aforementioned $1.5 million toward constructing “a playable real time game running fully on chain with its own APIs and block explorers,” Macagon said. Relentless boasted an entire experience built on blockchain. More than $200,000 of the $1.5 million was used for marketing — the department in which Dilanka worked. 

“We didn’t sell any cards over a few dollars, host any NFT auctions, nor engage in any crypto style fundraising,” Macagon said. Relentless stood as the result of significant time and effort by the team, in part evident in the project’s Github activity. Public appreciation, involvement and popularity never caught on, however, the CEO explained. He said that despite the team trying all conceivable approaches, success proved elusive, spurring the company in a different direction while leaving the game behind.

“I understand that drama is always interesting, but compared to most of the drama in the crypto space, ZombieBattleground is just a normal startup failure,” Macagon said, adding:

“I can understand Dilanka’s frustration to a certain extent, though I don’t understand the state of mind that led him to access our Kickstarter account without authorization, and then publicly admit to breaking contracts and potentially laws. Dilanka is no whistle-blower, he’s just high on something.”


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Tax bitcoin as a currency, Israeli political party proposes

New bill proposes to change taxation approach towards bitcoin Bitcoin and crypto assets are subject to 25 percent taxation Another bill seeks to amend reporting intervals for cryptocurrency traders Israel is considering whether to tax bitcoin as a currency, changing the current taxation approach towards crypto. According to a local media outlet, a political party has […]



  • New bill proposes to change taxation approach towards bitcoin
  • Bitcoin and crypto assets are subject to 25 percent taxation
  • Another bill seeks to amend reporting intervals for cryptocurrency traders

Israel is considering whether to tax bitcoin as a currency, changing the current taxation approach towards crypto. According to a local media outlet, a political party has proposed a new bill to change the laws governing bitcoin’s taxation by accepting it as a currency. The new bill, which was submitted in the Israeli government’s Knesset legislative branch, recommended several modifications for cryptocurrencies.

In Israel, the revenue generated from trading bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is subject to a 25 percent tax. As such, the new seeks to exempt bitcoin from capital gain taxation by amending the Income Tax Ordinance. The legislation was presented by four members of the Yisrael Beiteinu party on September 22. 

Tax bitcoin as a currency, not an asset

In May last year, an Israeli central district court ruled in favor of the central bank, which recognizes bitcoin as an asset. A blockchain entrepreneur, Noam Kopel, had appealed against the decision to impose taxes on bitcoin by Israel’s tax authorities. Kopel argued against taxing the sale of bitcoin. A new attempt to tax bitcoin as a currency has just begun.

Bitcoin’s status as an asset in Israel is subject to capital gains tax. Tax agencies only offer reliefs to CPI-related lenders and sale of bonds and commercial securities who only pay 15 percent from gains generated. 

Nevertheless, the legislators argued that the discernment towards cryptocurrencies needs to be reevaluated. Furthermore, the legislation seeks to add another section on Income Tax Ordinance regarding the “determination of distributed digital currency.” The finance minister can specify the terms for recognizing cryptocurrencies as a distributed digital currency fro the section.

Another cryptocurrency bill tabled in the Knesset

 Besides, the Knesset received a separate bill seeking to define reporting intervals for cryptocurrencies to taxation authorities. The new bill wants to space the reporting intervals for digital assets once every six months or once every year. 

Currently, cryptocurrency traders in Israel report the sale of a crypto asset after 30 days are over. The new legislation is looking to extend this interval to once every year or once every six months. Recognizing bitcoin as a currency might be the gateway to increased adoption of cryptocurrencies in Israel.

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