Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Cryptocurrency has a killer app

For years we wondered. What use would humanity find for cryptocurrency? Now we know. It is not necessarily a force for good.

There have been other technologies which emerged before there were practical applications.

When the first laser was built in 1960 it was impressive. Scientists thought it may one day find use in spectrometry or even nuclear fusion.

Others thought it could be used as a 'death ray' military weapon. it didn't help that the Pentagon funded early research into laser applications.

In time engineers found thousands of applications. Today it powers fibre communications networks. They are used to measure distances with incredible accuracy. Application include medicine, office printers and cutting objects for manufacturers.

The killer app

When the first PC arrived, it looked like it had potential. It could do lots of things, but it did one thing very well: spreadsheets. VisiCalc, an early spreadsheet was the first computer 'killer app'.

Likewise, the graphically gifted Macintosh computer had its power unleashed by PageMaker. It was a desktop publishing program and another killer app.

In May criminals attacked Waikato DHB demanding a ransom in return for unlocking computers.

It wasn't the only ransomware attack that month, nor was it the biggest or most disruptive. Ireland's health computer system was also shut down. The pipeline moving oil to the US East Coast was shut down.

All of these ransomware attacks, and most other online crimes, have a common denominator. The criminals want ransoms paid in cryptocurrency. That's because Bitcoin and the other cryptos are harder to trace than conventional forms of money.

Ransomware and cryptocurrency

Ransomware is crypto's killer app.

Cryptocurrency remains a shadowy world. It is not that everyone involved in cryptocurrency is a criminal. It's more a case of every online criminal uses crypto.

For many everyday folk, their first interaction with cryptocurrency is when they need to buy it to pay a ransom.

This is not an argument to ban cryptocurrencies. Although it could be. And the stories about the vast amounts of energy needed to 'mine' these new currencies are also a concern.

Part of the attraction of crypto is that it remains unregulated. That has to stop. The exchanges that deal with cryptocurrency have to face the same accountabilities as other financial institutions. It has to be made harder to move unaccounted funds from crypto into traditional banks.

There is more to stifling ransomware than regulating Bitcoin and its peers. Yet the ransomware epidemic now threatens online commerce. In cases like attacks on hospitals, it is potentially a literal 'killer app'. Regulating cryptocurrency will save lives and jobs.

Cryptocurrency has a killer app was first posted at

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Peter Dunne: Time To Revamp MIQ

The monolithic Managed Isolation and Quarantine System (MIQ) is rapidly becoming a huge millstone around the government's neck. Moreover, it could yet become a lasting metaphor for the bureaucratic inertia that seems to have replaced the government's once agile and sure-footed response to the pandemic crisis... More>>

Keith Rankin: Territorial Fundamentalism In Our Post-Globalisation Era

We have this pretty fiction that the world is made up of approximately 200 politically autonomous nation-states. This in the entrenched 'Wilsonian' view of the political world that, in particular, was sort-of realised after World War One; a view that rendered the national empires (such as the British Empire) of the past obsolete... More>>

Richard S. Ehrlich: U.S. Embassy In Laos: Facebook & "A Terrorist"

The U.S. Embassy in Laos has publicly apologized
and blamed Facebook's auto-translation for describing an ethnic
Hmong-American Olympic Games teenage gymnast as "a terrorist" on the
American Embassy's official site, days before she won gold... More>>

Podcast: Buchanan + Manning On Cyber-Attacks And The Evolution Of Hybrid Warfare

Paul G. Buchanan and Selwyn Manning present this week’s podcast, A View from Afar with a deep-dive into cyber-attacks and hybrid warfare – Especially how 2021 has witnessed a Cold War II styled stand-off between global powers... More>>

Climate Explained: Is New Zealand Losing Or Gaining Native Forests?

Apart from wetlands, land above the treeline, coastal dunes and a few other exceptions, New Zealand was once covered in forests from Cape Reinga to Bluff. So was Europe, which basically consisted of a single forest from Sicily in southern Italy to the North Cape in Norway, before human intervention... More>>

Sydney Mockdown: The Delta Variant Strikes

It is proving to be an unfolding nightmare. For a government that had been beaming with pride at their COVID contract tracing for months, insisting that people could live, consume and move about with freedom as health professionals wrapped themselves round the virus, the tune has changed... More>>