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VPN Review: VPN.AC

These days, we should all be taking our privacy more seriously. The age of near-instant connection and convenience has made it easy to leave one’s personal or sensitive data open to attack vectors. This is one of the reasons why I suggest either purchasing a VPN subscription or making your own (if you have the know-how and necessary tools). A VPN service I’ve switched to recently is VPN.AC. I’ve been using it for about 9 months now.

Security: 5/5

One of the most obvious criteria on which to judge a VPN is the level of its security and the integrity of its ecosystem. VPN.ac was suggested to me by a colleague whom I trust for all things infosec. I was immediately impressed by the choices it provides in actual protocols themselves. Luckily, for those who are less familiar with which protocols are best for their security needs, VPN.AC does a good job at suggesting one to start off with: OpenVPN.

The company behind VPN.AC is actually a Romanian IT security firm, and they continually probe their own security infrastructure to ensure that their clients are getting the best and most secure product possible. I don’t mean to make that sound like marketing speak, but honestly, this is something that is really important to me. When malicious actors don’t sleep, neither should the team you’ve paid to protect you.

No user activity is logged or stored anywhere (Romania actually has pretty robust legislation forbidding that). The only logged items are connections to the VPN service itself for security auditing, which are stored safely and automatically erased once every 24 hours.

Speed: 5/5

This is a pretty short section, but I have never experienced bandwidth or throttling issues with this service in the time I’ve used it – outside of any shortcomings of the Wi-Fi to which I was connected. Since they’re a smaller service, they also don’t have to oversell their bandwidth, resulting in a more consistent experience for their users.

User Interface and Experience: 4/5

The UI is user friendly and easy to figure out. The client on both desktop and mobile are both easy to use and are not obnoxious to look at/use. There’s not much else to say about it, but it also didn’t blow me away.

Pricing and payment: 5/5

The price for using this service is extremely affordable. Their yearly plan is $52.20. Usually I do not like to purchase a subscription beyond this amount of time anyway, as legislation can change and policies can vary.

One of the most exciting aspects of VPN.AC is the sheer number of payment options they have, including crypto. They accept all of the major cryptocurrencies, along with my favorite, Dogecoin.

Overall, I really enjoy this service.

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Russia Prepares for Large-Scale Bitcoin Mining Operation Following Minery Launch

With digital currency gaining in popularity worldwide, additional mining operations and farms have started to appear despite looming bans on the practice.

Understanding The Ban

While many see bans on crypto mining as a hindrance to entrepreneurship and the crypto space, in actuality, it’s an effort to protect and enhance cities, states, and countries’ natural, historic, cultural, and electrical resources.

Back in March, a moratorium was enacted in Plattsburgh, New York, the eBits to pause any and all mining operations due to an operation that had nearly drained the city of its electrical resources, at the expense of the residents who were the ones paying for it. Plattsburgh’s ban stated that it would issue a penalty of up to $1,000/day on any firm, person, corporation, or other entity that established or ran a commercial cryptocurrency mining operation once the ban went into effect.

Why Is Russia a ‘Hot Spot’ For Mining?

For its part, Russia will soon become home to one of the largest legal mining operations in the world, located in Siberia. Earlier this year, the Bank of Russia, Russia’s central bank, offered to allow the mining of cryptocurrencies, but proposed that miners sell their coins outside the country. The first deputy governor of the bank emphasized the need to take a “taxation point of view” and consider how it can be controlled and reported. However, selling cryptocurrencies outside the country doesn’t remove the requirement that miners file and pay their taxes.

One company, Minery, recently announced that it intends to establish five mining complexes with a total capacity of 55 megawatts on a 59,000 square foot site within the Irkutsk region. It has partnered with Bratsk Electric Grid Company JSC, a regional power supplier.

The company is considered a ‘turnkey’ mining solution, providing all necessary hardware, installation, and configuration. In the event of any service needs or breakdowns, the company makes the necessary repairs on the spot. This type of operation comes in handy when engaging in contracts with cloud mining providers, mining pools, or third-party hosting platforms. Operating at the lowest electricity rates, it’s still considered legal in light of the policies proposed by the Russian Federation and Bank.

Russia’s energy resources and climate make for some of the best conditions for crypto mining. Consequently, more than 1.5 million Russians have started to engage in solo mining (home mining). Doing so comes with great risks, as this method of operation tends to cause an annoyance and nuisance to those around, not to mention safety hazards. Oftentimes, these operations are operating illegally, and rather than providing value to communities, they are draining them.

For example, many illegal mining farms are closed and those behind them are arrested. Why? Well, you have (1) individuals stealing electricity that belongs to a designated area and those who pay money for it, (2) the land and premises being used for other purposes at the expense of area residents, and (3) equipment being smuggled across state lines and international borders.

“Having been mining since 2016, we have encountered restrictions [on] home mining, and came up with a solution in terms of scalability and legal operations,” says Ilya Bruman, co-founder and CEO of Minery. “The idea is to build a comprehensive infrastructure, providing highly-efficient, powerful, and a stable electricity supply for our investors, ensuring smooth operation of their mining businesses.”

Under Russia’s proposed regulations, the majority of such businesses will become illegal. Minery is not among them.

Staying Within The Volts

The biggest issue with many of the mining operations that are later deemed illegal is that the electricity being used is done so without authorization—often draining cities and towns of this highly used and profitable resource. It’s even gone digital, in the case of eBits which attacks computers and servers, draining their CPU power and resources.

Minery’s mining complexes are located in several cities in the Irkutsk (Siberia) region – Bratsk, Irkutsk and Ust-Ilimsk. The local climate conditions – the average annual temperature is 28.4° Fahrenheit, or -2° Celsius – are optimal for miners’ heat transfer and cooling systems, which reduces hosting expenses. The project relies on renewable electricity from high-pressure hydroelectric power plants – the Bratsk, Irkutsk, and Ust-Ilimsk Hydroelectric Power Stations. The plants are located on the Angara River, which drains Lake Baikal – the largest freshwater lake in the world.

To ensure optimal working conditions, any mining operation should reduce energy costs while maintaining the equipment itself. “This goal is achieved by placing mining facilities near the sources of the cheapest and most eco-friendly electricity – hydroelectric power stations,” says Alexei Paikin, co-founder and managing director of Minery. “This approach minimizes the cost of delivering electricity to the point of consumption.”

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Cryptominers Review

There are plenty of websites in the Bitcoin world that will promise potential investors the sun of the moon, even though none of these claims can be backed up in the long run. Cryptominers falls into this particular category, as they claim to run a risk-free Bitcoin multiplier, returning twice the original amount to investors. Where this funds would be coming from other than from new investors – as part of this Ponzi – is anybody’s guess, as this “company” does not disclose too much information.

Things are off to a bad start when taking a look at the Cryptominers website design. It is clear for everyone to see the developers have put very little effort into modifying a cheap template, and rather just adjusted the text to be displayed on the front page. When taking a closer look at the menu, options such as “Why we?” and “How we do” are even more warnings signs this platform should not be trusted with any [lage amount of] money.

According to the website, Cryptominers will double one’s money by investing deposits in cloud mining profitable altcoins. Anyone who has been involved in digital currency for more than a few weeks will tell you most cloud mining companies are pure scams, and mining altcoins is never a good idea. It is rather funny how Cryptominers lists several “partners” on their website, even though none of these companies are in league with them on an official basis.

The mining pools being used by Cryptominers leave much to be desired as well, as they are both relatively unknown. With so many multipool available, it looks rather shady when an investment company lists names no one has ever heard of, let alone given any credibility. Furthermore, when someone would make an investment, there is no official cloud mining contract to speak of.

There is absolutely no company info to be found on the Cryptominers website either, which is quite a surprise considering this team claims to double anyone;s money by cloud mining altcoins. Conducting a WHOIS search will result no information either, as everything is protected by WhoisGuard. Not instilling any confidence on this front either folks.

What puts the final nail in the coffin is the huge lack of transparency regarding solvency, payouts, and number of customers. There is also no mention of what coins are being mined at any given time, unless one signs up for the service and makes an investment. Bitcoin enthusiasts need to stay away from this site as far as possible.

Website: http://cryptominers.club/

 

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Cldmine Cloud Mining Review

There is no shortage of cloud mining services in the world of Bitcoin and digital currency. However, it is important to keep in mind very few of these services are legitimate, as most of these “businesses” are nothing more than a glorified Ponzi Scheme. Cldmine is no exception in this regard, as this so-called cloud mining company has no positive feedback to speak of. Users need to avoid Cldmine at all costs, as investing in this company will only lead to a loss of funds.

When accessing the Cldmine, the user will be greeted in their native language. Even though this is a very nice touch, it is also the only positive note to make on behalf of the company. Their service offers users a safe and secure cloud mining service, which will return 1.5% of the original investment per day. Such numbers are not sustainable by any means, and are just the first of many warning signs along the way.

Cldmine is not afraid to offer an incentive so they can lure in unsuspecting investors either. Every new customer will receive a free 1,500 Dogecoin bonus, which is worth next to nothing. But there is more, as every user will get 10 Dogecoin for free if they log in to their account every day. This will add up to large amounts of Dogecoin over time, but keeping in mind how one DOGE is worth roughly 65 Satoshi, no one will get rich overnight.

To make matters even dodgier, Cldmine accepts payments in a ton of different digital currencies. Bitcoin is not even on the list of supported payment options, which is not doing any favors for the credibility of this cloud mining service. A large list of altcoins is accepted, ranging from DASH to Monero and StartCOIN to NXT. A lot of people will have stopped counting the number of red flags by now, but we are not done yet.

Any good Ponzi scheme has a referral program, and Cldmine rewards users with a 15% commission for every referral who purchase a cloud mining contract. This money is then used to pay out existing members, as Cldmine is not generating any money through cloud mining. Thre is no proof of any of their mining hardware, nor do they seem to rent hashpower from other companies. The only statistic provided is their number of users, which seems to be growing exponentially.

Last but not least, there is absolutely no company information to be found on the Cldmine website. This is completely unacceptable for any website dealing with customer payments and cloud mining. Conducting a WHOIS search yields no information either, as all details are protected. None of this instills any trust in Cldmine as a profitable company, and no one should invest any money into this obvious Ponzi scheme.

Website: https://cldmine.com/

 

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