President Biden’s Alleged Venmo Account Was Found in Less Than 10 Minutes and Then Promptly Disappeared

Illustration for article titled President Biden’s Alleged Venmo Account Was Found in Less Than 10 Minutes and Then Promptly Disappeared

Photo: Patrick Semansky (AP)

It all started with a passing mention. On Friday, the New York Times published a feature story about what life was like in President Joe Biden’s White House. In the feature, the outlet noted that Biden had sent his grandchildren money using Venmo, which prompted an inquisitive “Oh?” from yours truly. I wasn’t the only one intrigued, though. That same day, folks at Buzzfeed News reportedly found the president’s Venmo account.

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According to Buzzfeed’s fascinating account, which you can read in full here, it took less than 10 minutes to find Biden’s purported account on Venmo using the app’s search tool and public friends feature. The outlet also found what appeared to be accounts for almost a dozen members of the Biden family, including First Lady Jill Biden, as well as senior White House officials and their respective contacts on the app.

The incident set off alarm bells in the digital security community and put one of Venmo’s most criticized features, its public friend list, in the spotlight. Venmo, which is owned by PayPal, does not allow users to make their friend list private. In fact, Buzzfeed said that it was able to easily verify Biden’s account by looking at the people he was connected to, such as Jill Biden.

The president had less than 10 friends on the app, the outlet found. In comparison, the first lady’s account had a number of friends, including aides, Biden staffers, family members, and an account that appeared to belong to Hunter Biden, the president’s son. And while having a public friend list may not seem like a big deal to some, experts say it can enable stalking, harassment, spying, and deception.

After Buzzfeed reached out to the White House for its story, Biden’s connections on his public friend list were eliminated (the app allows you to remove friends by unfriending them manually). By the end of Friday, Buzzfeed reported that the accounts linked to the president and Jill Biden had disappeared.

The outlet did not reveal the usernames for the accounts believed to belong to Joe Biden, Jill Biden, the Biden family, and White House officials out of concerns over national security.

Gizmodo reached out to Venmo for a comment on the matter on Saturday. We asked Venmo whether it had specific security measures in place for high-profile individuals that use the app but did not receive a response.

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“The safety and privacy of all Venmo users and their information is always a top priority, and we take this responsibility very seriously,” Venmo said in a statement. “Customers always have the ability to make their transactions private and determine their own privacy settings in the app. We’re consistently evolving and strengthening the privacy measures for all Venmo users to continue to provide a safe, secure place to send and spend money.”

This isn’t a new problem. Venmo has been receiving criticism over its public friend list for years. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal asked it why users couldn’t make their lists private.

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“Because Venmo was designed for sharing experiences with your friends in today’s social world, we try to make it as easy as possible to connect with other Venmo users,” a spokeswoman said at that time.

Personally speaking, I pick safety over sharing experiences any day of the week. However, the bigger point here is one that we’ve been hearing a lot about lately: choice. Perhaps I don’t want to share my transactions or my friend list, but perhaps my neighbor does. We should be given the choice over whether to share—and be fully informed of the risks if we do—not be forced into doing so because Venmo was “designed” that way.

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As far as President Biden’s purported Venmo account goes, there’s no doubt that the president would rather not create a national security crisis when trying to send his grandchildren some spending money. While it’s clear the White House should have taken precautions and appropriate measures in this case, Venmo should have also made security a priority. It apparently didn’t.

Coinbase Says Screw It, We’ll Let You Buy Doge

Illustration for article titled Coinbase Says Screw It, We'll Let You Buy Doge

Illustration: Richard Drew (AP)

The cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase has caved. After a long silence to the hoards imploring the company to let them trade Dogecoin, they’ve decided to list the meme, adding a sheen of legitimacy to a cryptocurrency with limitless supply, which whales could squash with a whale-sized dump at any moment. On a call with investors on Thursday, CEO Brian Armstrong said that Coinbase aims to list it in six to eight weeks.

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The Doge fans have been wondering why Coinbase has been leaving money on the table. Doge now commands a heart-stopping trading volume and an equally terror-inducing current market cap of $72 billion—higher than 77 percent of companies listed on the S&P 500. Fees vary with flat rates for lower purchases, but Coinbase typically charges users a 1.49% fee on transactions made through your bank account. So if, say, Coinbase users bought $1 billion of Dogecoin and all HODLed, Coinbase would pocket $14.9 million. (This is if they don’t pay with a debit card or PayPal, in which case Coinbase gets 3.99% in a conversion fee.)

Armstrong didn’t stop at announcing Doge’s arrival on the platform. He added this wild forecast:

I think it’s going to be something, kind of, like apps in the App Store or on the iPhone where there’s eventually millions of these assets created over time and so we’re putting a lot of work and thought into how do we accelerate our pace of asset addition, and one of those is Doge, as you mentioned, which has been getting a lot of attention recently.

Getting-a-lot-of-attention-recently: sort of like CDs, Smash Mouth tickets, the Gap, TRIMSPA, and people running “executive success programs.”

The idea that cryptocurrency will have long-term value mostly hinges, at least for some analysts, on the idea of scarcity, that Bitcoin will be useful outside of the currency exchange trade, and once all the Bitcoin has been mined, you want to be holding the Bitcoin when everybody who missed out needs Bitcoin. Doge is the equivalent of endlessly printing money, with a current tangible value resting on Elon Musk’s ability to keep upping the ante, which could escalate to a Doge-funded space station at the rate he’s going. WallStreetBets doesn’t even want people talking about it because the market is “small accounts and pump & dumps.”

Let’s get a second opinion. Adam Zadikoff, COO of the crypto wallet BRD, told CNBC the following:

My guess is that [the rally] won’t last, especially for something like dogecoin which was never meant to be a payment system or a store of value. Yes, you can make a quick buck if you time it right, but timing the market is a terrible thing to try to do. It does not work.

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Consider investing in Pokemon cards.

If You Use Twitter’s New Tip Jar Feature, Make Sure You Don’t Accidentally Send People Your Address

Illustration for article titled If You Use Twitter's New Tip Jar Feature, Make Sure You Don't Accidentally Send People Your Address

Photo: Alastair Pike / AFP (Getty Images)

If you decide you’re game enough to use Twitter’s new feature to send strangers on the internet money, do your best not to accidentally send them your residential address, too.

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To explain, you may have heard something about “Tip Jar,” which the company soft launched Thursday, heralding it as a way “for people to send and receive tips.” The new feature, which is available via the mobile app on Android and iOS, allows users to send money to other accounts using a variety of third-parties. It’s very easy to operate: By clicking on a dollar bill icon next to a person’s username, you will be presented with a list of options for how to donate: Venmo, Cash App, Bandcamp, Patreon, PayPal, and so on. Choosing a payment option redirects you to the selected third-party’s platform to allow a transaction to occur. You’ll want to rush to do this as a way to…uh, reward good tweets? Yes, the point of the whole enterprise isn’t entirely clear, but do people really need a reason to throw more money around on the internet? Ostensibly Twitter is trying to become a bigger playground for creators and this will help with that.

Anyway, the Twit-Tips are currently undergoing a trial run, with a number of creators, journalists, and non-profits acting as guinea pigs that Twitter users can send money to, though allegedly the feature will soon have a wider release. Currently, it’s only available for people using Twitter in English.

As is usually the case with new things, users were quick to point out some stuff that wasn’t totally hunky dory. Rachel Tobac, a security professional, was playing around with the app when she noticed what initially seemed like a glaring security risk. Tobac discovered that if you specifically used PayPal to send someone a tip, you will also be sending them a fairly intimate detail: your home address. This doesn’t appear to be an issue for any of the other pay applications set up through Tip Jar.

In a Tweet shared by Tobac, an image of a receipt for the PayPal donation clearly shows the sender’s residential address.

“This is EXACTLY what I was concerned to test when Twitter announced Tip Jar. PayPal needs to make it crystal clear which data is given to money receivers and stop sharing that data, & Twitter needs to educate users who don’t realize what info tip receivers get when using PayPal,” Tobac tweeted.

Kayvon Beykpour, product lead at Twitter, quickly replied to her comments: “this is a good catch, thank you. we can’t control the revealing of the address on Paypal’s side but we will add a warning for people giving tips via Paypal so that they are aware of this.”

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However, it turns out this is not some sort of weird bug, it’s just a feature of how PayPal payments work. Specifically, there are two different modes by which payments can be made and received on PayPal accounts—one of which requires the disclosure of your address because it is pegged to “Goods and Services,” i.e., deliveries. So, we can surmise, Tobac was using this mode to send her tip. It is certainly something that customers should be aware of, said Tom Hunter, Senior Manager of Global Communications with PayPal, in an email. Hunter said:

When using PayPal to send and receive money, there are two options a customer can select before processing the payment on how that money is sent. “Goods and Services” is used to buy or pay for an item or service from someone and will automatically share the customer’s address with the recipient for the delivery of those goods and services. Customers can toggle within the payment flow to select “Friends and Family” which does not share the address with the recipient. This is the standard functionality of the PayPal app and we will work with Twitter closely to ensure user awareness.

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While this isn’t a glaring security risk, it is certainly a good thing for users to know about. Sending your address out willy nilly on the internet is generally frowned upon, but it seems fairly easy to avoid if you have a good understanding of PayPal’s functionality. Granted, if you’re willing to send someone you don’t really know a bunch of money, maybe you’re also willing to let them know where you live? I don’t know.

When reached by email, a Twitter spokesperson reiterated that they have no control over how PayPal works or whether or not users know how to use third-party accounts, but said that they were going to try to get the word out to users:

Tipping through Tip Jar takes place on the selected payment service app or website and as a result relies on the third-party service’s functionality. When tipping with Tip Jar, people are notified that they’re going to a separate app or website to send their tip, and that tipping on that third-party platform is subject to the platform’s terms. We’re updating our in-app notification and Help Center article to make it clearer that other platforms, per their terms, may share information about people sending tips to one another.

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Duly noted. Ultimately, it’s probably good that this whole little episode happened because it highlights some potential privacy hiccups for consumers when it comes to the new feature—something Twitter was likely testing for in the first place. Slow rollouts allow companies to discover stuff like this. Twitter said in its announcement that it is “always looking for feedback and ways to improve updates like Tip Jar – let us know what you think.” Looks like it got some.

Concept App That Pays You Bitcoin to Name-Drop Brands Is the Future and You Know It

Companies swear up and down that they aren’t using smartphone apps to eavesdrop on our conversations and serve up hyper-focused ads. But this distressing concept app called SayPal, which tips users in Bitcoin every time they mention a brand, demonstrates that it’s probably not going to be very long before that’s actually our hellish reality.

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The app is the brainchild of Matt Reed, a creative technologist at redpepper who was also responsible for the short-lived tool that would Rickroll Zoom meetings, as well as the Zoombot which let users create a digital twin that could attentively sit in on video calls on their behalf. This latest creation, SayPal, is a distressing sneak peek at our inevitable ad-saturated dystopia.

Whereas PayPal has users exchanging real money back and forth, SayPal instead deals with imaginary currencies like brand recognition and Bitcoin. The app uses voice recognition to monitor a user’s ongoing conversations, and when it detects specific brand keywords being mentioned, the user is rewarded through deposits to a Bitcoin Lightning wallet, which can later be transferred to an exchange or stored away.

The app’s biggest challenge isn’t convincing brands to go along with the idea, it’s distinguishing name-drops that naturally come up in conversation versus someone staring at their phone while they repeat the word “Supreme” for hours on end. Even if it filters out obvious attempts to game the app, there’s still going to be a lot of Tesla evangelists who will become overnight millionaires if ever given access to SayPal. That’s just the tip of iceberg as to why an idea like SayPal isn’t going to see the light of day anytime soon, but never say never.

Ethereum Surges to $3,200, Making Its Creator the Youngest Crypto Billionaire

Illustration for article titled Ethereum Surges to $3,200, Making Its Creator the Youngest Crypto Billionaire

Photo: Jack Taylor (Getty Images)

Amidst an ongoing crypto surge, Ether soared to new market heights Monday, becoming one of the priciest cryptocurrencies in circulation. The Ethereum blockchain-based token is now worth around $3,200, making its total market capitalization higher than Bank of America, Paypal, and Nestle.

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The new valuation has also made Ether’s creator, the 27-year-old Russian-Canadian computer programmer Vitalik Buterin, the world’s youngest crypto billionaire. At the age of 19, Buterin helped create the Ethereum blockchain and has served as a manager of the blockchain since 2013.

Ether, which is the second-largest cryptocurrency next to Bitcoin, has seen a meteoric rise in value over the past year. Some twelve months ago, the coin was trading at $210. As of last week, it sat at $2,500. As of today, it has quadrupled in value for the year so far and at least one analyst is now suggesting the coin could go as high as $5,000 by the end of the week.

The coin’s run is due in part to Ethereum’s role in launching the NFT craze currently sweeping the Internet. Investors, some skilled but many unskilled, have flocked to the Ethereum platform over the last several months to take part in the buying and selling of digital art tokens, the likes of which have generated billions of dollars.

At the same time, the U.S. is also currently undergoing a surge in crypto investment, even as authorities worldwide attempt to crack down on its proliferation. The combined value of the crypto industry now ranks at $2.3 trillion, more than “$100 billion more than the market cap of Apple,” the Independent reports. Bitcoin still represents the largest share of the market by a significant margin, though some financial analysts interpret Ether’s recent gains as an example of how decentralized finance may become more ubiquitous in the near future.

UK Court Agrees to Hear Copyright Lawsuit Brought by Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor

Illustration for article titled UK Court Agrees to Hear Copyright Lawsuit Brought by Self-Proclaimed Bitcoin Inventor

Photo: Ina Fassbender (Getty Images)

Many people have claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator or creators behind the digital cryptocurrency bitcoin, over the years. Now London’s High Court has agreed to hear out one of the most vocal (and disputed) claimants to the pseudonym in a lawsuit over alleged copyright infringement, according to a Reuters report.

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Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who claims to have developed the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, is reportedly suing the operator and publisher of the website bitcoin.org, which goes by the pseudonym Cobra. The defendant has not disclosed a name, identity, or address, according to court filings issued on Wednesday and reviewed by the outlet on Thursday.

When Wright was initially singled out as the supposed inventor of bitcoin in 2015, the news prompted widespread skepticism among security experts, several of whom went on to call it an elaborate hoax. Investigations throughout the years since have reportedly identified inconsistencies in Wright’s claims and debunked both his credentials and supporting evidence as fraudulent.

Wright, who resides in Britain, accuses Cobra of copyright infringement for controlling the bitcoin.org website and demands that the site remove bitcoin’s white paper, aka the 2008 document published by Nakamoto that originally outlined the technology behind the digital currency.

Cobra has previously dismissed Wright’s claims, calling them “without merit” in a blog published to bitcoin.org in January. In a Twitter message to Wright’s lawyers that same month, Cobra said Wright’s copyright claims “can be easily verified to be false” and pointed out that the website isn’t based in the UK, according to court filings reviewed by Reuters.

Cobra dismissed Wright’s claims once more in a statement to Reuters on Thursday:

“We’ve been threatened to take down the Bitcoin white paper by someone who obviously isn’t the inventor of Bitcoin (if he was, that would make him the 25th richest person in the world, which he obviously isn’t). Seems like he’s trying to abuse the UK courts to make them try to censor the white paper and harass small websites like us providing education content with his behaviour.”

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Whether Cobra will be forced to reveal their identity to defend themselves during this case remains unclear. As for Wright, his legal team seems confident in their chances.

“The case will turn on whether the court is satisfied that Dr. Wright did indeed author—and owns the copyright in—the White Paper and, therefore, that he is Satoshi Nakamoto,” Simon Cohen, who is representing Wright, told Reuters.

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Demand for bitcoin has increased dramatically in recent years, with several major financial institutions such as Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, and Square backing bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Last week, its value soared in the lead up to Coinbase’s direct listing, reaching a record high of nearly $65,000.

Venmo Launches Ability to Buy, Sell, and Hold Cryptocurrencies Like Bitcoin

Illustration for article titled Venmo Launches Ability to Buy, Sell, and Hold Cryptocurrencies Like Bitcoin

Screenshot: YouTube/Venmo

Payment app Venmo will now let users buy, sell, and hold four cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and bitcoin cash, according to a press release from the company Tuesday morning. But users won’t be able to send cryptocurrencies like bitcoin to their Venmo friends just yet.

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“Venmo customers can start their crypto journey with as little as $1 by clicking on ‘Crypto’ in the Venmo menu at the top right in the app,” the company said in a statement.

“Customers will have the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency using funds from their balance with Venmo, or a linked bank account or debit card. All transactions are managed directly in the Venmo app,” the statement continued.

The launch comes after Venmo’s parent company, PayPal, announced identical crypto features would be added last month. But a spokesperson for PayPal confirmed to Gizmodo over email early Tuesday that Venmo users won’t be able to send cryptocurrencies between each other. It’s not even clear if that feature is in the works, though it would seem logical, given that the main selling point of Venmo is the ability to share money between friends.

With over 70 million users, the decision to open up the crypto world to Venmo users will almost certainly help make cryptocurrencies more mainstream, but will do very little to create more stability in the broader market of fake money. Bitcoin has experienced wild swings throughout its entire life, and the coin plummeted 15% over the weekend.

Over 30% of Venmo users already trade cryptocurrencies, according to the company, with 20% starting since the coronavirus pandemic began in early 2020.

“Crypto on Venmo is a new way for the Venmo community to start exploring the world of crypto, within the Venmo environment they trust and rely on as a key component of their everyday financial lives,” Darrell Esch, SVP and GM at Venmo, said in a statement posted online.

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“No matter where you are in your cryptocurrency journey, crypto on Venmo will help our community to learn and explore cryptocurrencies on a trusted platform and directly in the app they know and love,” Esch continued.

“Our goal is to provide our customers with an easy-to-use platform that simplifies the process of buying and selling cryptocurrencies and demystifies some of the common questions and misconceptions that consumers may have.”

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Facebook’s Long-Stalled Digital Currency Could be Tested This Year: Report

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 23, 2019.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Oct. 23, 2019.
Photo: Susan Walsh (AP)

Facebook hopes to launch a trial of its long-stalled digital currency project by the end of this year, according to a new report from CNBC. The currency, first announced in 2019 as Libra and then renamed Diem after some bad publicity, will now be pegged to the U.S. dollar, provided the tech giant can actually get it off the ground this time.

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Facebook first announced plans for the digital currency in June of 2019 and was hit with immediate backlash from governments and consumer groups around the world that worried what would happen if a huge tech monopoly like Facebook competed with the world’s largest currencies. Facebook has roughly 2.8 billion active users on a planet of 7.9 billion people.

Facebook’s plan in 2019 was to launch the “blockchain” currency by early 2020, something that obviously didn’t happen after the tech company’s partner organizations like PayPal and eBay started to pull out after the wave of negative press.

But CNBC, and whoever leaked this Facebook news to the financial outlet, seem to hint that Facebook is taking a much more cautious approach this time, even if details are still extremely scarce.

From CNBC:

The Diem Association, the Switzerland-based nonprofit which oversees diem’s development, is aiming to launch a pilot with a single stablecoin pegged to the U.S. dollar in 2021, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The person, who preferred to remain anonymous as the details haven’t yet been made public, said this pilot will be small in scale, focusing largely on transactions between individual consumers. There may also be an option for users to buy goods and purchases, the person added. However, there is no confirmed date for the launch and timing could therefore change.

What the hell is the Diem Association? It appears to be the next iteration of the Calibra Association, the supposedly independent organization set up by Facebook to oversee the currency back when it was called Libra.

When reached for comment about the CNBC story, Facebook’s Head of Communications for Australia, Antonia Sanda told Gizmodo by email, “looks like this could be a leak as there are no official announcements from the Diem site, but I’ll leave that for the Diem team to confirm.”

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Sanda provided Diem’s email address and wrote, “We now send all media queries direct to the Diem organisation, as it is separate from FB […] if you’d like to contact their team direct.” Gizmodo has not yet heard back from Diem but will update this post if we do.

Governments around the world are setting up committees and task forces to examine the pros and cons of creating their own digital currencies, with China, Japan, and the UK announcing their own explorations in recent months. And it’s no secret that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether have gained traction in recent years, with large companies like PayPal starting to get in on the action. PayPal announced last month it was launching a way for consumers to pay using cryptocurrencies at millions of retailers, handing the merchant fiat during the transaction.

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But will Facebook’s digital currency flourish after already experiencing one very embarrassing false start? Only time will tell. But you can bet that government regulators will be keeping a close eye on Facebook’s plans for the future of money, especially since most world leaders think CEO Mark Zuckerberg already has too much power.

Congressman Brad Sherman even told Zuck in a July 2019 hearing that his new digital currency—which Sherman mockingly called “Zuck Bucks”—could cause the next 9/11, apparently referring to the possibility that criminals would use Facebook’s new currency for illegal activities. And when that’s your starting point of conversation with politicians who could help decide the fate of your new business idea, it’s tough to see it getting very far.

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9.5 Million Users Traded Cryptocurrency on Robinhood in First Quarter of 2021

Illustration for article titled 9.5 Million Users Traded Cryptocurrency on Robinhood in First Quarter of 2021

Photo: Justin Sullivan (Getty Images)

Roughly 9.5 million people traded cryptocurrency on the Robinhood app in the first quarter of 2021, the company announced in a new blog post on Thursday. The number is significantly higher than the last quarter of 2020, when just 1.7 million people traded cryptocurrencies on Robinhood, according to the company.

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The news from Robinhood comes as cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether become more and more mainstream, even as the risks remain significant. Companies like PayPal are moving into the crypto trading arena and it’s becoming much easier for the average consumer to convert fiat currencies into digital Monopoly money.

But while PayPal has a relatively limited number of imaginary currencies on offer, Robinhood has included a wider selection, including the joke currency Dogecoin—a memecoin that billionaire Elon Musk has tried to pump several times to very little movement.

From Robinhood’s blog post:

Robinhood Crypto currently offers seven tradeable coins: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin. They vary slightly, but they’re united by the same general philosophy that underpins all cryptocurrency.

That philosophy? Getting rich without having to work. Or, if Robinhood is to be beleived, a “mission to take power away from institutions and return it to the people.”

Robinhood’s crypto numbers are surely impressive, but they’re still relatively modest when compared with other technologies. For example, Pew released a new study about social media this week showing that 81% of U.S. adults use YouTube, 69% use Facebook, and 40% use Instagram. Bitcoin boosters would kill for that kind of uptake.

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Cryptocurrencies will certainly continue to grow in 2021, but the long-term outlook is still very much up the air, especially as central banks around the world contemplate creating their own digital currencies. Does bitcoin have a future when the people running major world economies get serious about digital money? Only time will tell. But invest at your own risk.

We all remember the bitcoin crash of 2018 that lost plenty of people a lot of money. Here’s hoping people don’t lose their homes when it inevitably crashes again.

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Japan’s Central Bank Launches One-Year Test of Digital Currency

File photo of a woman passing a quotation board displaying share price closing numbers of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo.

File photo of a woman passing a quotation board displaying share price closing numbers of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in Tokyo.
Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP (Getty Images)

Japan’s central bank has started trials of a new digital currency in an effort to experiment with how it might be used, the Bank of Japan announced on Monday. The announcement comes after the Chinese government revealed it was doing something very similar with a digital yuan in early March.

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“The Bank of Japan has been undertaking preparations to begin experiments on Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in early fiscal year 2021, to test the technical feasibility of the core functions and features required for CBDC,” the Bank of Japan said in a statement published online. “As necessary preparations are now complete, Proof of Concept (PoC) Phase 1 begins today.”

The announcement confirms rumors that have been swirling since late 2020 about Japan’s potential creation of a digital yen. But there’s no guarantee that Japan will ever make the digital currency available to the public. Everything is very much experimental right now, according to the Bank of Japan.

“In PoC Phase 1, the Bank plans to develop a test environment for the CBDC system and conduct experiments on the basic functions that are core to CBDC as a payment instrument such as issuance, distribution, and redemption,” the Bank of Japan statement continued. “This phase will be carried out through March 2022, for a duration of one year.”

As the Register points out, virtually every large central bank in the world is experimenting or rumored to be experimenting with digital currencies to ensure they’re ready whenever the time may come to issue one. And as cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ether become more mainstream through services like PayPal, that time could be sooner rather than later.

In the U.S., Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said she supports financing research into a digital dollar, though she’s signaled the kind of conservative thinking you’d expect from a top government official. At least the kind of thinking in a normal (read: post-Trump) government.

“There’s a lot to consider here, but it’s absolutely worth looking at,” Yellen said back in February.

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