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Putin-Backed Political Group Advances ‘Green’ Cryptocurrency Concept – CoinDesk

Members of a Russian political organization formed by President Vladimir Putin have announced plans to advocate for an eco-friendly cryptocurrency.

The All-Russia People’s Front, known as ONF and formed in 2011, recently organized a conference focused on the environment. It was there, according to the organization’s press service, that the plan for a cryptocurrency to be used to fund environmental causes was advanced.

Dmitry Mironov, one of the leaders of the ONF, said:

“We want the units of the cryptocurrency to be received by investors and enterprises that promote the development of environmental technologies. In our proposals, we will reflect our vision of the development of the green cryptocurrency in the country and we hope that the initiatives of the Popular Front will be included in the final version of the bill being drafted by the government.”

The proposal was put forward in the context of moves by the Russian government to prepare new regulations around the trade and exchange of cryptocurrencies. Last week, a senior member of the State Duma the national legislature suggested that work on the legislation could be completed by autumn, capping a multi-year process.

Whether the proposal actually advances in the government remains to be seen, however.

Russian officials, including those from the country’s central bank, have issued warnings on cryptocurrency investment in recent days. At the same time, one of Putin’s advisors is trying to raise as much as $100 million through an initial coin offering (ICO) to support a new crypto mining venture.

Putin image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at [emailprotected].

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Cryptocurrencies have already recovered from last weekend’s crash … – TechCrunch

When cryptocurrency markets crashed 20% a few days ago, I wrote the next day or so will tell us if this was a temporary bump in the road or the start of the next major correction.

Well here we are, a day or so later. And the temporary crash seems to have just been a bump in the road. The entire market cap of cryptocurrencies is up 16% from a low of $135B yesterday to $162B today.

Bitcoin is back above $4,600, which is about 13% higher than yesterday. Ethereum is trading around $333, which is 16% higher than the low it hit earlier this week.

Checking the chart below shows that results are pretty similar across the board. Most currencies are up double digits over the last 24 hours, bringing them close to where they were before the weekends crash.

There is one exception NEO, the Chinese-based ICO/cryptocurrency never recovered and is down 39% over the last week but this makes sense, because the crash was likely caused by Chinas ICO ban, which particularly affects NEO.

Of course extreme volatility is common in the cryptocurrency world even double-digit swings in major currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. But a market-wide crash that affects every single digital currency, like we saw over the weekend, is almost always a sign of some outside influence and not day-to-day volatility. In this case the influence was Chinas ICO crackdown.

Todays recovery shows that the cryptocurrency market (and accompanying valuations) is more resilient that some have thought.

While cryptocurrency investors are reluctant to admit it publicly, many think the rapid appreciation in value over the last few months is the sign of a bubble about to pop.Some of those same investors are hoping that rising valuations will actually come down a bit, to give the industry time to catch its collective breath.

Essentially this recovery reveals a cryptocurrency market resilient enough to withstand the shocks of government regulation, meaning that the steady climb of value continues.

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Microsoft just upped its multi-million bet on quantum computing – ZDNet

The Nordic outpost of Microsoft’s US-based quantum research lab, Station Q, will be headed by professor Charles Marcus, one of four scientists Microsoft hired last year.

Microsoft has tipped several million dollars into a new quantum computing R&D lab at Copenhagen University, Denmark.

Microsoft has signed a multi-year deal with the university to collaborate on the development of a general-purpose quantum computer. Microsoft’s staff will be working with the university’s Niels Bohr Institute.

The institute is headed up by professor Charles Marcus, one of four scientists Microsoft hired last year to accelerate its bet that it can create a scalable quantum computer.

Marcus runs the institute’s Center for Quantum Devices (QDev) and the partnership establishes the university as a Nordic outpost of Microsoft’s US-based quantum research lab, Station Q. QDev will be home to Station Q Copenhagen, alongside Station Q labs at the University of Sydney, Purdue University, and Delft University.

Instead of conventional transistor’s on or off state, represented by 1 and 0, a quantum computer’s bits, called qubits, are based on quantum particles and can be both on and off at the same time. That characteristic offers the potential for far more powerful computers.

Microsoft is betting that topological quantum computing holds the key to creating a stable qubit. Topology, or the mathematical study of shapes and space, is gaining more attention among quantum computing researchers.

As noted in Nature, Microsoft’s approach aims to encode qubits in a quasiparticle called ‘non-abelian anyons’ that emerge from interactions inside matter. It hopes to use their topological properties, which make qubits more stable, to create its general-purpose quantum computer.

According to Copenhagen University, Microsoft now has over a dozen employees located there and expects the team to grow as they work toward developing a topological quantum computer.

On top of the multi-million dollar investment, Microsoft has also agreed to “significant” quantum research funding at the university.

“The critical pillars for successful and productive quantum research already exist at the University of Copenhagen – an aligned vision between Microsoft and the university, an exceptional team of top quantum researchers, a broad and deep pool of post doctorate and student talent, and a solid baseline of facilities and equipment dedicated to quantum research,” said David Pritchard, chief of staff for the Artificial Intelligence and Research division at Microsoft.

Report: Google takes steps to commercialize quantum computing

Google is reportedly giving researchers access to its quantum computers with the ultimate aim of using quantum computing for cloud services.

Microsoft’s next big bet? Clue: it’s just hired four top quantum computing scientists

Microsoft says it’s doubling down on quantum computing after nabbing four top scientists who will work with a Microsoft hardware veteran to turn research into reality.

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Microsoft’s Aussie quantum computing lab set to scale up next-gen … – ARNnet

University of Sydney and Microsoft collaborators in front of Station Q’s dilution fridge (University of Sydney)

Microsofts Station Q quantum computing lab at the University of Sydney is set to embark on a new chapter in its research, moving to scale up its next generation of quantum-engineered devices.

The devices in question will form the heart of what the Microsoft-backed lab claims is the first practical topological quantum computers.

By now, the idea behind quantum computing is fairly well established. Unlike classical computing, which uses digital bits as binary switches to carry out calculations, quantum computing makes use of the unusual properties of subatomic quantum bits or qubits to perform calculations.

A topological quantum computer employs qubits using subatomic particles called Majorana fermions, a particle that is also its own antiparticle, will have their information encoded through their topology, or geometry.

The first generation of quantum bits suffers from interference from electromagnetic noise. This means they lack robustness and are proving very difficult to scale up to a fault-tolerant, universal quantum computer.

It has long been theorised that Majorana fermions could help scientists to build more robust quantum computers. Indeed, Station Q researchers suggest that by braiding the Majoranas, quantum information is encoded in a way that is highly resistant to interference.

As it turns out, a new study by Dr Maja Cassidy, who is based at the University of Sydneys Station Q lab, has confirmed one of the prerequisites for building these devices.

Now, researchers at Sydneys Station Q lab are set to build the next generation of devices that will use Majorana fermions as the basis for quantum computers.

In preparation, Station Q will move scientific equipment into the universitys Nanoscience Hub clean rooms over the next few months as it increases capacity to develop quantum machines.

Cassidy said that building such quantum devices is a bit like going on a detective hunt.

When Majorana fermions were first shown to exist in 2012, there were many who said there could be other explanations for the findings, she said.

The challenge to show that the latest findings were caused by Majoranas was put to a research team led by Professor Leo Kouwenhoven, who now leads Microsofts Station Q lab in the Netherlands.

The new research paper, published on 7 September, meets an essential part of that challenge.

In essence, the research aims to prove that electrons on a one-dimensional semiconducting nanowire will have a quantum spin opposite to its momentum in a finite magnetic field.

This information is consistent with previous reports observing Majorana fermions in these nanowires, Cassidy said.

Cassidy conducted the research while at the Technical University Delft in the Netherlands, where she held a post-doctorate position.

She has since returned to Australia and is based at the University of Sydney Station Q partnership with Microsoft.

For University of Sydney Professor and Station Q Sydney director, David Reilly, the Majorana fermion work being undertaken by Cassidy and Australian lab is practical science at the cutting-edge.

We have hired Dr Cassidy because her ability to fabricate next-generation quantum devices is second to none, Reilly said.

The new research comes just over a month after Microsoft revealed it had gone all in on its quantum computing research partnership with the University of Sydney, striking a multi-year global agreement with the institution.

The deal sees Microsoft commit to a new, long-term phase of its investment at the university, with the funding expected to result in state-of-the-art equipment, see the recruitment of new staff, help build out the nations scientific and engineering talent, and focus research project funding into the university.

In April, Microsoft revealed it would double the size of the lab, in a move expected to see at least 20 additional researchers come on board.

Quantum computing has largely been relegated to the realm of research by the likes of Station Q and other such university-affiliated labs.

However, in August, the University of NSW (UNSW) made a move to commercialise its quantum computing technology with the launch of what is being touted as Australias first quantum computing company.

The $83 million venture, from which the new company, Silicon Quantum Computing Pty Ltd, emerged, has received backing from UNSW itself, which has contributed $25 million, as well as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Telstra, which are contributing $14 million and $10 million, respectively.

The creation of the company is intended to help drive the development and commercialisation of a 10-qubit quantum integrated circuit prototype in silicon by 2022, as the forerunner to a silicon-based quantum computer.

The company will work alongside the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC2T), operating from new laboratories within the Centres UNSW headquarters.

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An Entirely New Type of Quantum Computing Has Just Been Invented – Futurism

A New Type of Qubit

Australian researchers have designed a new type of qubit the building block of quantum computers that they say will finally make it possible to manufacture a true, large-scale quantum computer.

Broadly speaking, there are currently a number of ways to make a quantum computer. Some take up less space, but tend to be incredibly complex. Others are simpler, but if you want it to scale up youre going to need to knock down a few walls.

Some tried and true ways to capture a qubit are to use standard atom-taming technology such as ion traps and optical tweezers that can hold onto particles long enough for their quantum states to be analysed.

Others use circuits made of superconducting materials to detect quantum superpositions within the insanely slippery electrical currents.

The advantage of these kinds of systems is their basis in existing techniques and equipment, making them relatively affordable and easy to put together.

The cost is space the technology might do for a relatively small number of qubits, but when youre looking at hundreds or thousands of them linked into a computer, the scale quickly becomes unfeasible.

Thanks to coding information in both the nucleus and electron of an atom, the new silicon qubit, which is being called a flip-flop qubit, can be controlled by electric signals, instead of magnetic ones. That means it can maintain quantum entanglement across a larger distance than ever before, making it cheaper and easier to build into a scalable computer.

If theyre too close, or too far apart, the entanglement between quantum bits which is what makes quantum computers so special doesnt occur, says the researcher who came up with the new qubit, Guilherme Tosi, from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

The flip-flop qubit will sit in the sweet spot between those two extremes, offering true quantum entanglement across a distance of hundreds of nanometres.

In other words, this might be just what weve been waiting for to make silicon-based quantum computers scalable.

To be clear, so far we only have a blueprint of the device it hasnt been built as yet. But according to team leader, Andrea Morello, the development is as important for the field as the seminal 1998 paper in Nature by Bruce Kane, which kicked off the silicon quantum computing movement.

Like Kanes paper, this is a theory, a proposal the qubit has yet to be built, says Morello. We have some preliminary experimental data that suggests its entirely feasible, so were working to fully demonstrate this. But I think this is as visionary as Kanes original paper.

The flip-flop qubit works by coding information on both the electron AND nucleus of a phosphorus atom implanted inside a silicon chip,and connected with a pattern of electrodes. The whole thing is then chilled to near absolute zero and bathed in a magnetic field.

The qubits value is then determined by combinations of a binary property called spin if the spin is up for an electron while down for the nucleus, the qubit represents an overall value of 1. Reversed, and its a 0.

That leaves the superposition of the spin-states to be used in quantum operations.

In flip-flop, researchers are able to control the qubit using an electric field instead of magnetic signals which gives two advantages. It is easier to integrate with normal electronic circuits and, most importantly, it also means qubits can communicate over larger distances.

To operate this qubit, you need to pull the electron a little bit away from the nucleus, using the electrodes at the top. By doing so, you also create an electric dipole, says Tosi.

This is the crucial point, adds Morello. These electric dipoles interact with each other over fairly large distances, a good fraction of a micron, or 1,000 nanometres.

This means we can now place the single-atom qubits much further apart than previously thought possible. So there is plenty of space to intersperse the key classical components such as interconnects, control electrodes and readout devices, while retaining the precise atom-like nature of the quantum bit.

Its easier to fabricate than atomic-scale devices, but still allows us to place a million qubits on a square millimetre.

What this new flip-flop qubit means is a balance that could make future quantum computers small and potentially affordable.

Its a brilliant design, and like many such conceptual leaps, its amazing no-one had thought of it before, says Morello.

The research has been published in Nature Communications.

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Lenovo Faces No Significant Penalty for Security-Destroying Superfish Debacle – ExtremeTech

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The shovelware PC OEMs ship on their hardware is definitionally terrible; the handful of exceptions to this only serve to prove the rule. In early 2015, however, news broke that Lenovo hadnt simply shipped poor bundled software, but had fundamentally destroyed internet security on its products in the process. The entire sorry affair exposed a dearth of appropriate safeguards at the PC manufacturer, including the lack of meaningful software or oversight over the bundling process.

An estimated 750,000 PCs were sold with Superfish installed in the US. Lenovos initial fix merely removed the offending software, as opposed to closing the gaping security hole it had opened.

To refresh your memory: Superfish was the name of a developer behind an app called VisualDiscovery. VisualDiscovery injected advertising into websites you visited, including websites using HTTPS. Superfishbroke internet security by issuing its own self-signed certificate of authenticity, thereby guaranteeing HTTPS wouldnt work properly on any site and youd never even know this was the case.

Making matters worse, Superfish only ever used one certificate key on every system. This is the classic architecture of a man-in-the-middle attack, except its one Lenovo perpetrated against its own users. The crazy part: Lenovo actually knew about this behavior, told Superfish to remove it, and then never checked to see if the company had done so.

Superfishs valuable service in action.

In the aftermath of Superfish, 32 states and the FTC launched a joint case against Lenovo, and that case has now concluded with a settlement. It includes no meaningful penalty for Lenovo, which is not required to admit wrongdoing, and is fined just $3.5 million (split among 32 states). The only requirements Lenovo faces are the need to receive affirmative consent from users before installing any data-gathering or ad-serving application on their PCssomething that shouldnt even be on the table,given that Lenovo pledged to stop shipping PCs contaminated with bloatware back in 2015and to run third-party security audits every other year on its bundled software for the next 20 years. Given that these audits should be running anyway, theres no actual penalty here, unless being required to perform minimal security due diligence counts as a penalty.

Lenovo, meanwhile, couldnt resist letting the world know it disagrees with even this tiny non-penalty. In a statement, the company said: While Lenovo disagrees with allegations contained in these complaints, we are pleased to bring this matter to a close. This is perfectly in keeping with Lenovos demeanor throughout Superfish. The company first argued it didnt compromised security, then claimed the entire issue was overblown because no one was known to have taken advantage of itremember, no one could tell if it had been exploited, since it broke HTTPS security in the first placewith the memorable dodge that all of this was somehow acceptable because ThinkPad users (aka, users Lenovo cares about) werent affected. Lenovo was evidently just warming up the ThinkPad excuse, because it trotted it out again a few months later when caught in another security snafu.

This type of non-penalty penalty illustrates part of why American citizens take digital security so lightly, and why breaches, attacks, and ransomware outbreaks keep getting worse. You can call this an offshoot of regulatory capture if you like, or see it as part of a positive reinforcement cycle between large corporations, which broadly seek to mine as much data as possible for earning money, and first-world governments, which hoover up huge amounts of data in the name of national security.

There is no excuse for Lenovos decision to ship broken software to 750,000 US customers. But theres also no excuse for allowing cataclysmic security breaches like this to go unpunished except, of course, that few care about security.

Lenovo never cleaned house. It never performed more than the most perfunctory attempts at public apology, and it cant help telegraphing its own resentment that it had to pay a pittance for the collective aggravation and genuine security threat it imposed on its own customers. In the aftermath of Superfish I wrote that I refuse to recommend laptops from Lenovo to anyone, for any reason. Thats still the case.

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Best Cloud Storage Solutions For Your Small Business – CBS Chicago – CBS Chicago

With the internet of things, cloud storage has become more than just a way to conserve business resources by storing files and data online. It has become an essential business tool. It allows users to share and collaborate on projects from any location using a variety of devices. Cloud storage is also a vital component of any security system. Storing critical backups on the company server has inherent dangers, such as ransomware attacks or system failures. Keeping backups in the cloud is the best way to ensure a quick recovery. Here is a rundown of the most popular options that provide all the cloud storage features small business owners need to safely share and store digital assets.


Dropbox is a favorite among users. It is known for its reliability and compatibility with other services. Users can integrate with Microsoft Office Online to edit stored Word, PowerPoint and Excel files. To collaborate on a document, simply create a shared folder and set permissions. Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage. An upgrade to Dropbox Plus is $99 a year and expands storage space to 1 TB.

Google Drive

Google Drive really shines when it comes to collaborating. The intuitive dashboard allows users to quickly set permissions for each file stored in the cloud. Gmail, Google Docs, Google photos and Google Calendar all work together seamlessly with Google Drive. With a few clicks, users can save Gmail attachments to Google Drive for storage. The first 15 GB of storage is free. Upgrades start at $19.99 a year for 100 GB of storage.

Microsoft OneDrive

OneDrive is built into the Windows operating system making it easy to sync Windows devices. Documents, photos and videos are automatically organized and tagged. Microsoft offers 5 GB of free storage. Premium plans, starting at $6.99 a month, expand storage capacity and come with the newest versions of MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote.


IDrive is another great way to store your backups of files and databases. It has multiple backup and data restoration options, and file size is unlimited, which is an important consideration when doing complete website backups. There is up to 5 GB of storage available for free. An upgrade to 2 TB is $69.50 per year.


Box is loaded with privacy and sharing options making it ideal for collaborative projects. Users can upload almost any type of file, add comments to shared documents, assign tasks and receive notifications when a file has been changed. Business plans start at $5 per month. This includes access for three to 10 users and 100 GB of storage.

This article was written by Gillian Burdett for CBS Small Business Pulse

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How Secure Is Cloud-Based Data Storage? – HuffPost

Do you trust “the cloud” to securely store computer files? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by John L. Miller, Worked on several distributed and cloud storage services. PhD in distributed systems, on Quora:

Files stored in reliable cloud services are some of the most secure files you can have, provided you have good passwords. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon all provide reliable cloud services for consumer file storage.

Personally speaking, my home machines have lost hundreds of gigabytes of data (video, audio, and some important stuff) to hard disk failures. Ive neverlost anydata I put in cloud services.

Some cloud storage has versioning of files to help you recover from accidental deletes and overwrites.

Overall the cloud is a great place to securely store data.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

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