Julian Assange: Google should have welcomed Bitcoin even then

The complete and unedited transcript of the interview and Assange’s early enthusiasm for the Bitcoin can be found on WikiLeaks. It shows a strange view of the history of technology and Schmidt’s curiosity about the digital currency.

Assange claimed about the Bitcoin secret: „Google would own the planet.“

Although this Bitcoin secret may sound like a courageous statement by a controversial figure, Assange has indeed had serious discussions with former Google Executive and CEO Eric Schmidt in the past:

The discussion was later profiled during his work on Schmidt’s book „The New Digital Age“. The book was co-authored by former Hillary Clinton consultant Jared Cohem and published in 2013.

The complete and unedited transcript of the interview and Assange’s early enthusiasm for Bitcoin can be found on WikiLeaks. It shows a strange view of the history of technology and Schmidt’s curiosity about the digital currency.

At that time Assange had tried to convince Schmidt:

„You should get in early enough. Your Bitcoins will one day be worth a lot of money.“

A Bitcoin lesson
In the 5-hour conversation, Assange and Schmidt discussed various topics such as technology, privacy and data encryption. Suddenly Assange asked Schmidt if he had heard of Bitcoin before. Schmidt replied no, but Cohen pointed out that he had read about Bitcoin the day before. The founder of WikiLeaks saw the emergence of Bitcoin as a by-product of subgund encryption enthusiasts and repeatedly pointed out the cryptographic potential of the Bitcoin protocol and its structure.

„Bitcoin is something that was developed by cyberpunks a few years ago and it’s an alternative… It’s a stateless currency.“

He compared the Bitcoin to gold as a store of value and currency. Assange said back then that the Bitcoin price would be subject to strong price fluctuations in the future. However, he had no idea that the Bitcoin price would rise to almost USD 1,300 in the winter of 2013. The founder of WikiLeaks went into more detail and talked about Bitcoin mining and the parallels to gold mining. He explained the increasing difficulty of mining and the artificially created scarcity. He also mentioned some arguments for Bitcoin acceptance.

The WikiLeaks founder explained:

„Bitcoin scarcity will grow more and more over time and what does this mean for the Bitcoin incentive? You should get into the Bitcoin business now, as early as possible“.

Google’s Bitcoin attitude remains unclear
It looked as if the Bitcoin had awakened Google’s curiosity, but since Google has announced it will continue to investigate digital currencies, one has only heard of worried reticence. Earlier this year, some emails leaked out saying that Google was looking for ways to integrate Bitcoin. In a subsequent statement by Vice President Vic Gundotra, Google distanced itself from the statement. Cohen himself expressed cautious support for Bitcoin during a speech at the SXSW festival. At the time, he said that digital currencies are „inevitable“, but the way to get there is unclear.

Smart Contracts not quite as smart: 3 % with security gaps

A study has found 34,200 vulnerabilities in Ethereum-based smart contracts. With almost one million contracts checked, this corresponds to 3% of the Smart Contracts tested. What does this mean for future investments in ICOs?

Bitcoin news: Smart Contracts are probably the first feature associated with Ethereum

The concept behind Smart Contracts was defined long before by Nick Szabo in 1994. According to Bitcoin news, that is contractually regulated. Withdrawing money from ATMs is an illustrative example of such a smart contract.

So far, so banal. Thanks to blockchain technology, however, these smart contracts become additionally transparent and can fully exploit their potential. They can be viewed during the term, whereby an open source system becomes an open execution system and a smart contract can really be a contract due to this transparency.

At the time of the DAO, a decentralized venture fund in 2016, a frequently heard bon mot was „The Code is the Law“.

The downside of this statement unfortunately had to be discovered in the course of the DAO exploit: A person or group of people still unknown today has stolen DAO Ether worth 60 million US dollars. This was not made possible by a hack, but by a security hole in the Smart Contract behind the DAO.

And that was by no means the only vulnerability: The Smart Contract underlying the Parity Multi Signature Wallet was accidentally deleted, freezing US$230 million worth of ether.

3% of Smart Contracts have security holes

Nikolic et al have now written a paper on „Security gaps in Smart Contracts“. Various news portals have skilfully chosen titles to focus on 34,200 security vulnerabilities. The market reacted promptly and the Ethereum share price fell by 9%. Although the articles discuss the total number of smart contracts examined, a percentage in the headline would probably be less dramatic.

In any case, security gaps were found in 34,200 Smart Contracts – in a sample of 971,000 examined codes. This corresponds to a percentage of 3%.

That doesn’t sound like much in itself – at least much more banal than data on 30,000! In various industries, manufacturers could live with a failure rate of 3%. For the ICO investor and the user of Smart Contracts, however, this means that caution should be called for. In this context, publication serves to raise awareness, but not to panic.