SingUlarity Aliya Prokofieva

Do you want to live forever? Opinion

SingUlarity
Humankind is chasing the dream of immortality
Do you want to live forever? Opinion

Aliya Prokofieva is founder of the international space company “Galaktika,” space exploration visionary and active public speaker. She writes for U.Today on the cutting edge tech and disruptive projects that may change the life of billions of people.

The means of Makropulos, a pill of longevity, secret knowledge, ancient witchcraft, legends of the Countess Bathory and the cult novel of Brem Stoker, "Highlander", "Immortal", "Lord of the Rings", "Zardoz" and many other films and books tell about, perhaps, the desired phenomenon for mankind - about IMMORTALITY.

Perhaps absolute immortality is pure fiction ... Well then, at least, life could be several times longer than is available today. And, if possible, maximally delay the old age and stay forever young! This eternal desire is now being sought out by specialists from medicine, cosmetology, genetics, biochemistry, biophysics and various figures of the occult sciences. Computer games gave this movement an invaluable idea- spare lives. Spare organs and systems are replaced as they wear out their own.

And it should be as simple as changing the oil and filters in a car. Images of the future are depicted, where the latest technologies and discoveries of scientists will allow to live for hundreds of years, changing the worn parts of the body to new ones, the achievements of nanogenetics will fundamentally change the functioning of DNA and RNA, which will lead to a sharp slowdown in aging and body wear. A new, sparkling world…

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Start with the basics

Let’s start with genetics. Scientists have found out that human chromosomes have their own system responsible for stability. A kind of seat belt for chromosomes, which prevents unwinding and damage to gene chains. This enzyme is called terminal telomerase. There is a hypothesis that the wear of telomerase over the years leads to irreparable gene changes, cells are replicating worse and worse, many defects appear- this is aging. Natural death occurs when a critical mass of "errors" in replication accumulates. And for all this, the terminal telomerase responds. Here it is, the goal of research and study, you simply need to fix this enzyme and life will last as long as it will be uninterruptedly to perform its telomerase function! But is everything so simple? There are hundreds more questions than answers, many laboratories in the world are dealing with this problem, but the solution and implementation is still very far…

Stepping towards prolonging life will help nanotechnology. Not those on which the state corporation spends budgetary billions, but the creation of nanorobot repairers. This topic is widely represented in modern fiction, one of the first was the film "Innerspace", where the hero was reduced to the size of the red blood cell, and he traveled on the human circulatory system on a special nanosubmarine. Such microscopic automatic repairers will be able to "repair" cellular damage or remove the incipient cancer when it is represented by just a couple of three incorrect cells. And this is no longer a fantasy out of reach, MIT scientists have already used experimental nanorobots to destroy ovarian tumors in experimental laboratory mice. How would you react to the fact that you will be injected into a vein with a solution containing thousands of microscopic doctors that will spread all over your body, conduct a total screening, identify the problems and then proceed to "repair"? While no one still knows if it will hurt .

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Copy and paste

The next method is the cultivation of organs to be replaced. And here come into play the ubiquitous 3D printers! Yes, the organs will be printed in accordance with the biological scheme from the donor cells or the patient's own cells. Cells are taken from the body, a live culture is grown in special conditions and a nutrient medium, and then the desired organ is printed from this biomass. At first glance - it's easy! But while the technology has not been worked out yet and years of research still need to be done... Imagine a malignant smoker with lung cancer can simply replace the trachea, bronchi and lungs. Exactly as in the film "Constantine", where Keanu Reeves gets a completely new respiratory system????.

Cloning. Since cloning the lamb Dolly, only the lazy one has not discussed the possibility of growing "spare" organisms by cloning. It's so cool- you live and you have a spare body in the warehouse. Expensive? Seems insane, but this is an excellent way out! The spare body, "Products", as it was called in the movie " The Island", at the right time, you can take out the liver, kidneys, heart or spine. But in the "Island" clones were not just alive, but full of thinking and feeling copies of their "sponsors." And the cruel corporation actually killed clones for the sake of transplantation of absolutely identical organs.

The moral conflict in the movie was decided by the revolution, but what about in real life?

The ethical problem of human cloning is still not solved, years of legal, theological and medical battles are coming up for developing a common point of view on human cloning. The UN, WHO and criminal responsibility in many countries of the world for the work on human cloning is in effect, but the evidence and effectiveness of this method will necessarily lead to some mutually acceptable solution that will satisfy all aspects of the process- doctors, patients, lawyers, legislators, clergy and the public.

My choice is none of the tools listed above...

And yours?

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Today’s Crypto World: What’s in It for Me?

What the heck is cryptocurrency really? Find out how it emerged and what the average Joe can do with it
Today’s Crypto World: What’s in It for Me?

Cryptocurrency has turned into a buzzword in 2017, but how much do you know about it? Learn the basics of crypto technology, its advantages, and spheres of application.

Although the encryption technology and cryptocurrencies appeared in 2013 or earlier, the world witnessed its meteoric rise in demand in 2017. This is when millions of people caught the crypto bug and started investing heavily in Bitcoin and tokens alike. But what do we know about this buzzword? In the US, only 20% of residents are aware of what cryptocurrency is. Only 10% out of these people can explain crypto’s nuts and bolts, and the number of people who actually invest, implement, develop crypto products is even lower.

If you’re also in the dark about cryptocurrency, it’s time to shed some light on this phenomenon. Let’s answer a few popular questions concerning this technology and find out how it can be beneficial to you personally.

What Is Cryptocurrency?

Compared to fiat currency that exists in both physical and virtual forms, cryptocurrency is a 100% digital financial asset. The lynchpin technology underlying it is encryption: a certain form of data coding that prevents it from exposure to third parties. One more crucial advantage of crypto is decentralization, i.e. storage of data on multiple nodes in the form of the Blockchain. Encryption and decentralization have made cryptocurrency invincible and failure-proof. It allows for anonymous transactions and makes crypto totally independent from governments and banks.

“Through decentralized cryptography, Bitcoin eliminates the need for banking intermediaries, significantly lowering transaction costs. This holds promise for liberating poverty-stricken economies around the globe by providing access to capital to one-third of humanity which is currently excluded from the financial world,” - Perianne Boring, Founder & President of the Chamber of Digital Commerce

How Is It Created?

In its essence, cryptocurrency is a virtual asset that has no real value. Typically, the company standing behind a crypto project puts out a certain number of tokens and sells them or gives users a chance to mine them.

During mining, people provide their computing power in order to perform complicated mathematical calculations and create data blocks (PCs, mine rigs, and cloud servers are used for that). As soon as one data block is created, miners get rewarded with crypto tokens, as they use their own facilities to execute all crypto transactions.

Crypto vs Fiat Currency: What’s The Difference?

While regular currency units are printed by governments and are 100% controlled by states and banks, cryptocurrency is a totally independent asset. What exactly makes crypto superior? The list is a mile long:

  • Absence of geographical restrictions: transactions are made worldwide.

  • 100% anonymity of transactions (though, some cryptocurrencies do not support this feature on purpose).

  • Crypto money is not controlled by centralized entities like governments, banks, etc.

  • The crypto market offers thousands of currencies, each with its own technical feature.

  • It makes investment easier than ever before.

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Can I Personally Benefit From Cryptocurrency?

There are many examples of successful cryptocurrency investors: Roger Ver, ‎The Winklevoss Twins, ‎Erik Finman, Jeremy Gardner, and others. These entrepreneurs were both smart and lucky to invest in cryptocurrencies before they built the necessary momentum and their prices soared into space. You can start investing, too: the opportunities are out there! Be that as it may, it requires quite a bit of financial literacy, patience, intuition, and analytical skills. A hit-or-miss strategy here is likely to fail.

Some choose to invest in ICOs (a buy-into option known as the Initial Coin Offering). Startups emit tokens to raise funds, and if things go well, their proprietary cryptocurrency grows in price. Nevertheless, statistics show that 90% of all ICOs are actually drowning ventures, as their tokens never make it to the exchange market. This means that you should think twice before spending your hard earned cash on questionable projects, that is, you should definitely do your homework before leaping ahead.

The crypto perks extend well beyond investment. Mining used to be arguably the quickest and easiest way to earn cryptocurrency, but now it requires a lot of computing power and, consequently, electricity and equipment costs.

When you do become a proud owner of cryptocurrency though, you can:

  • Perform anonymous transactions across the globe for a minimal fee.

  • Make purchases with Bitcoins and a handful of other altcoins.

  • Cash out your crypto coins when the time is right.

The Bottom Line

Even if you want to stay away from cryptocurrency right now, having some basic information about it most certainly wouldn't hurt. Sooner or later, we’re bound to witness the true rise of the crypto commodity all over the world, the world in which crypto knowledge will hold the true power. Hold tight!

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Cryptocurrency Volatility an Issue to Be Solved By Stablecoins?

Volatility in cryptocurrency may be a trader's best friend, but it is not aiding the adoption of cryptocurrencies, so maybe stablecoins can?
Cryptocurrency Volatility an Issue to Be Solved By Stablecoins?

Volatility has always been an integral, but controversial part of the cryptocurrency space. The way in which coins like Bitcoin have skyrocketed has brought much interest and intrigue from investors, as well as a lot of money, and thus a big price spike.

However, with those highs, there have also been some crushing lows, as Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market sits in a rather large lull currently. Volatility is indeed the necessary evil that managed to get cryptocurrencies into the mainstream, but perhaps now, they need some stability to take the next step.

Investment over cash

The duality of cryptocurrencies means they can be used both as a form of investment, or as a usable digital currency, and many feel the latter is the path that this revolutionary technology should be taking.

However, that would need a change in volatility as it is that very aspect that is making things like Bitcoin a form of digital gold rather than digital currency. The fact that there is a chance the value of this digital asset can spike 10 or 20 percent in a day means it is too valuable to use on a day to day basis.

There are alternatives that are not intended to be used as a store of value, such as RippleBitcoin Cash and Litecoin, but that does not mean that these assets are devoid of volatility. In fact, they may not be challenging Bitcoin as they are too volatile to be digital cash, and not intended to be a store of value either.

The introduction of stablecoins

This predicament has led to some companies starting up what are known as stablecoin, digital currencies pegged to other assets, such as the US dollar. The most well-known, and controversial, of these stablecoins is Hong Kong-based Tether.

Tether has, reportedly, swapped about $2.7 bln worth of fiat currency into its eponymous digital tokens, but the controversy comes in because there has been no strong and independent audit on these tokens.

However, it has sparked interest in this as an opportunity to take digital currencies to the next level.

For example, crypto finance company Circle is launching a new token called USD Coin.

"Imagine a US dollar coin that you can make payments with, use on crypto networks, or use in smart contracts to pay dividends, but which you can convert back to fiat currency at any time," explains Circle chief executive Jeremy Allaire.

Blockchain adoption

The idea of stablecoins does make sense in terms of turning a well-known asset into a digital token that can take advantage of Blockchain technology- such as anonymity, and easy cross-border payments.

However, it will require some more time and effort to perfect and grow into a viable alternative for digitalized money, such as sent via PayPal and bank transfers. But the decentralized nature of such an asset, with its less stringent controls, is certainly appealing.

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Forget Bitcoin: Christmas Lights in US Spend More Electricity Than Countries

Electricity consumption in Bitcoin mining is misunderstood and Christmas lights spend just as much
Forget Bitcoin: Christmas Lights in US Spend More Electricity Than Countries

In 2015, the Center for Global Development reported that Christmas lights in the U.S. consume more electricity than entire countries, resonating recent reports on the excessive usage of energy by Bitcoin.

According to Phys.org, 6.63 billion kilowatt hours of electricity is consumed on a yearly basis by Christmas lights hung on trees, rooftops, and homes. The level of electricity consumption by Christmas decoration easily surpasses that of developing countries like El Salvador and Ethiopia.

Bitcoin is Hurting the Environment Narrative

For years, the mainstream media and researchers have condemned the usage of electricity by Bitcoin. Several comparisons between the energy consumed by Bitcoin mining centers and countries were made to portray the large-scale energy consumption of the digital asset.

However, the same argument was made against gold when fiat money or cash was first introduced many decades ago.

In a paper submitted to the Mises Institute, Stephan Livera stated that the critics against the use of energy by gold did not take into account the energy, resources, and electricity used by various service providers that are required to sustain the accessibility to fiat money.

Livera noted that the argument against gold did not consider the following factors, citing the work of Roger Garrison’s “The ‘Costs’ of a Gold Standard”:

“(1) the costs imposed on society by different political factions attempting to gain control of the printing press, (2) costs imposed by special interest groups who persuade controllers of the printing press to misuse their authority (print more money) for the benefit of special interests, (3) inflation-induced misallocations of resources as a result of misused monetary authority, and (4) costs incurred by businessmen in their attempts to predict what the monetary authority will do in future.”

Critics of Bitcoin could consider the level of energy consumption by the digital currency as excessive and unnecessary. But, critics fail to consider what mining Bitcoin actually offers; it is not merely generating more supply of BTC but processing transactions and verifying payments.

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Hence, if the use of energy of fiat is to be compared with Bitcoin, the resources used by the central bank, commercial banks, political factions that attempt to gain control of the printing press, ATMs, and many other factors have to be considered; and when all of the factors are combined, they are significantly larger than the resources consumed by BTC.

“Bitcoin’s computationally costly design gives stronger resistance to forgery, inflation, and theft. This is due to the difficulty of production, and also to easy-to-verify dynamic of Proof of Work schemes,” Livera added.

Inaccurate Assessment

Critics often assume that the usage of electricity by Bitcoin miners will continue to grow exponentially throughout the years to come, disregarding variables that include:

  1. Increase in supply of renewable energy

  2. Increase in efficiency of ASIC miners

  3. Increase in reserve of electricity

The same concept could be applied to Christmas lights. If Christmas lights continue to spend more energy at the same rate it has increased by over the past decade, it could have a devastating impact on the environment. But because most things do not increase linearly or at an identical rate in the long-term, it simply cannot be predicted accurately.

Products for entertainment spend more energy than a consensus currency that is used to process $8 billion a day, which with social scalability offers decentralization, resistance to forgery, and manipulation.

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How Many People Own Bitcoin and How They Use BTC?

📚 Wikicoin
Millions of people use Bitcoin daily all around the world. Do you know how they are distributed?
How Many People Own Bitcoin and How They Use BTC?

 

At the moment, it is estimated that there are 23.7 mln Bitcoin addresses. This is about 0.31 percent of the total population. Also, if we factor in the fact that Bitcoin users usually have more than one address, the number of unique active users decrease further.

Remember Satoshi Nakamoto, the father of Bitcoin? He is definitely proud of his ‘son’ at the moment. It was said that his account contains 980,000 Bitcoins, translating to $15.2 bln. Impressive, right?

We also found out that about 96 percent of the total amount of Bitcoin is owned by just four percent of the addresses listed. Here are other statistics that might interest you.

  1. 457,000 addresses have more than $10,000

  2. The top 100 richest Bitcoin addresses have over $19 bln between them

  3. Over 500,000 Bitcoin.com wallets have been downloaded

  4. Bitcoin manages over 12,000 transactions per hour

  5. 99,000 Bitcoins are sent hourly.

Despite all these, why do you think people scarcely use Bitcoin?

Reasons why people don’t use Bitcoin

The following are the top reasons why people desist from using Bitcoin. They are ranked in order of popularity.

  1. Bitcoin is complicated and difficult to understand

  2. It is difficult to use

  3. People believe it is a scam

  4. The fees required are too many

  5. People are just disinterested in the venture

  6. They believe it’s a bubble

  7. The risks involved are too high

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Finder’s survey on how many people use Bitcoin

Finder set out to understand the distribution of cryptocurrency among the American population. Specifically, the gender distribution statistics and interest level. They reported that 92 percent of the American populace have not invested in Bitcoin or any other digital currency and eight percent plan to invest in the nearest future.

They further discovered that 10.3 percent of those asked owned one form of cryptocurrency and 5.15 percent of these owners owned Bitcoin. The average amount of money people spent on Bitcoin was estimated to be $3,453.89.

Although it is worth noting that they only surveyed 2001 adults, representing 0.0011 percent of the adult population.

Infographics 1

Survey on how many  people use Bitcoin by Global Blockchain Business and Survey Monkey

This joint survey included 5,761 adults in America and only five percent of the correspondents own a cryptocurrency. 21 percent claimed that they were considering investing in cryptos.

LendEDU’s survey on how many people use Bitcoin

LendEDU surveyed 1,000 individuals and gleaned that 13.99 percent of this survey participants own Bitcoin. Another 17.18 percent had intentions of investing in bitcoin in the nearest future.

Who uses Bitcoin more?

Male or females? Millennials or generation X? Who uses Bitcoin more and how many people use Bitcoin in the different categories? Let’s look at the results of the survey.

Combining the data from Finder, LendEDU, and Global Blockchain Business and Survey Monkey, the following conclusions were drawn.

  1. Men generally invest in cryptocurrency more than their female counterparts.

  2. Millennials invest more compared to members of generation X.

  3. Those who are considering investing in cryptocurrency outnumber those who have made an investment in the digital currency.

Who uses Bitcoin more?

Global active usage of Bitcoin

In 2017, a study was conducted by Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance and it was reported that the current number of unique active users of cryptocurrency wallets globally is between 2.9 mln and 5.8 mln. This is rather shocking considering the following stats:

  1. Over 22 mln Bitcoin wallets have been created around the globe.

  2. Coinbase, the leading exchange in the world of cryptocurrency has over 13 mln users

  3. Blockchain.info has 18.5 mln wallets

But then, we need to understand that Cambridge’s data was targeted at active users, not those who hodl cryptocurrency. The study employed data from over 100 cryptocurrency companies. These companies are located in 38 different countries, capturing 75 percent of the Blockchain industry.

So now, we can go on to note the other details provided above.

Global active usage of Bitcoin

22 mln Bitcoin wallets

The data was compiled by Bitinfocharts and it was seen that many of the wallets likely belong to the same person/group. This is because most Bitcoin users likely have several Bitcoin wallets and they use these different wallets to keep the nature of their transactions discreet and private.

It could also be attributed to the fact that they use different wallets for different reasons. For instance, some have a dedicated wallet for shopping online. Others have a wallet for keeping their Bitcoin safe (especially if it is a tidy sum). Yet some others have wallets for receiving payments online. In case you’re wondering how this is done, you can check up our post on how to receive Bitcoin payments in your store.

How many Americans own Bitcoin

From the data gleaned from the survey carried out, we learned that approximately five percent of the participants possess Bitcoin. Although the survey wasn’t weighted and the number of correspondents isn’t in tandem with the total population of Americans, we can still use it to get an idea of the total population of Americans who invest in Bitcoin.

Extrapolating the data, we find that about 16 mln Americans have exchanged their US dollars for the cryptocurrency we all know and love. Also, we can surmise that 60 percent of the total population have heard about Bitcoin.

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Bitcoin usage in other countries

The trading volumes in countries all over the world suggest an upward trend in the adoption of Bitcoin. The rise is particularly evident in South America, with countries like Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia leading the chart.

Africa is currently in hot pursuit, with countries like South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria blazing the trail. Using 2017 as a case study, between January and November, the number of new users trading bitcoin through eToro increased by 671 percent compared to 2016.  
 

Bitcoin usage in other countries

How many people use Bitcoin compared to how many people use other means of payment?

Truly, Bitcoin is now a force to be reckoned with globally. However, how does it fare relative to other digital payment methods? Here’s an insight.

PayPal has over 235 mln active users, MasterCard boasts 604 mln active users globally, with 35.7 mln being American. Visa, on the other hand, has over one bln active users. When we compare this to the number of people who use Bitcoin actively- between 2.9 mln and 5.8 mln, we realize that there’s a long way to go.

Without a doubt, Bitcoin has come a long way in such a short while. Early investors are smiling to the bank and it is predicted that the trend will continue long into the future. However, compared to other existing payment methods, a lot can still be done.

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Two Bitcoin Addresses Named Enemies of the State — Good Regulatory Step for Crypto

A move by the US Government to sanction two BTC addresses is an interesting, but positive, precedent for the regulation of crypto
Two Bitcoin Addresses Named Enemies of the State — Good Regulatory Step for Crypto

While it may not sound like positive news, the fact that the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned two Bitcoin addresses is a positive step for the regulation of crypto, as it shows the governments believe they have the tools to handle this situation.

It is an unprecedented move for cryptocurrency addresses to be added to this sanction list, which at one stage also listed Osama Bin Laden, but even in the unprecedented move, there has been no new legislation needed to make this happen.

What this means is that the US government believes it has the tools at its disposal to enforce the law over dodgy Bitcoin addresses and that it is ready to put its foot down and bring under scrutiny problematic Bitcoin addresses, such as those that could be funding terrorism.

Stepping in, and stepping up

The sanctioning of the BTC addresses was a move against against two Iran-based individuals, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan. These two individuals helped exchange Bitcoin ransom payments into Iranian rial on behalf of Iranian malicious cyber actors involved with the SamSam ransomware scheme, which damaged over 200 known victims.

“The Treasury is targeting digital currency exchangers who have enabled Iranian cyber actors to profit from extorting digital ransom payments from their victims. As Iran becomes increasingly isolated and desperate for access to U.S. dollars, it is vital that virtual currency exchanges, peer-to-peer exchangers, and other providers of digital currency services harden their networks against these illicit schemes,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Sigal Mandelker.

Regulation ready to tackle anonymous and transparent addresses

Cryptocurrency lawyer Marco Santori explains in a Twitter thread why this move from OFAC is a positive one on behalf of regulators and law enforcers trying to get cryptocurrencies under control.

His summation is that the “OFAC believes, today, that it has the tools it needs to enforce the law. It didn't ask for more legislation, nor did it didn't propose new prohibitions. The Treasury is fighting crypto bad guys using the tools already at its disposal,” Santori explains.

This is clearly an important standpoint for this department of US legal enforcement. If it was that the OFAC had to enact new laws in order to combat these dodgy Bitcoin addresses, it would not only be a slow process, but potentially a less effective one.

By making this move, OFAC has essentially opened its legal interpretation to include these digital asset addresses, and they feel that they can handle controlling how they operate despite their quasi-anonymous nature.

What can actually be done?

What does need to be asked, though, is what can the OFAC actually do about these addresses? As it stands currently, they have simply publicised two addresses, and as Santori predicts, will probably see random, anonymous individuals sending BTC to them as a joke.

And, based on the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency sending, it is very possible that anyone sending BTC to these sanctioned addresses will remain hidden, and more so, the lack of centralised control means that the addresses can probably still withdraw the BTC and turn it into useful funding.

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