Internet Trends Report 2018: “Exploding” Interest in Crypto

Avi Rosten
  • The annual report which "tells stories of business-related trends" - identified a massive increase in cryptocurrency interest
  • The report also showed that bitcoin was a popular topic at university

Venture capitalist Mary Meeker’s popular annual Internet Trends Report has this year identified an “exploding” interest in cryptocurrency.

Compiled in conjunction with venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Partners and Hillhouse Capital, the 294-page report focuses on “trends around data” to “tell stories of business-related trends.”

Of particular interest, the report showed that academic interest in cryptocurrency hit a new high in 2017 - with a Princeton course on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies ranking in the top 10 most popular university courses for the year.

 

Meeker’s report looked at some interesting stats to illustrate the increase in cryptocurrency interest: data from Coinbase shows their user numbers increasing nearly fourfold between January and December 2017.

coinbase users.png

The chart also shows a particular spike in the frenetic autumn period when bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies rose rapidly - although the chart fails to include the figures for coinbase membership during December when bitcoin reached its all-time high of $20,000.

Moving into the Mainstream

Coinbase have arguably been instrumental in the penetration of cryptocurrency into the mainstream - in particular for retail investors. One of the few exchanges to offer fiat pairings with top cryptocurrencies, the exchange and wallet provider has name recognition that extends beyond the confines of the crypto-world.

With reports released today confirming that Bittrex are set to offer Bitcoin US Dollar trading on their exchange - recent moves by other exchanges towards offering fiat pairings will no doubt increase this movement towards mainstream recognition.

Rng Security Camera Hackers Start Demanding Bitcoin Payments From Victims

The owners of a Ring doorbell security camera in Texas have been targeted by a bitcoin extortion attempt, which they managed to thwart simply by removing the device’s batteries to shut it off. The case, nevertheless, shows Ring security camera hackers are now demanding cryptocurrency payments.

According to a report published by WFAA, spotted by Gizmodo, 28-year-old Tania Amador revealed her Ring security system was hacked by hackers looking to cash in on their access to the device, by demanding a ransom of 50 bitcoin, equivalent to around $360,000.

Speaking to WFAA Amador stated:

I was asleep and our Ring alarm was going off like an intruder had entered our home. Then we heard a voice coming from our camera.

The voice initially started claiming to be from Ring’s support team, notifying the homeowner her account had been terminated by a hacker. It soon added that if the didn’t pay the 50 bitcoin ransom, she would be terminated as well.

The situation appeared to turn worse for Amador and her partners, as the hackers managed to make it look like they were just outside her door after compromising the security camera, adding to the pressure of the situation. Their response was to reach the device and remove its batteries.

Without their batteries, the hijacked cameras simply went off and the bitcoin extortion attempt ended. Ring has notably been at the center of a controversy after various reports pf its doorbell cameras being hacked started emerging. A report by Motherboard showed that on hacking forums, software used to hack these devices is being sold for as little as $6.

This type of software is often sold on the dark web, where vendors even list Black Friday deals to appeal to their customers. Speaking to WFAA, a home security firm claimed that these security breaches were a result of third-party data breaches that include Ring account details, and not a security flaw within Ring’s security system itself.

Featured image via Unsplash.