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These are the most promising cryptocurrencies right now

It’s the year of the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin’s value has soared—at one point, to $3,000, well past the price of an ounce of gold. Equally as surprising, several new cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Zcash, jumped into the spotlight, bringing the total worth of all cryptocoins to over $100 billion.

SEE ALSO: Bye, Bitcoin. Hello, Ethereum.

But the long-term outlook on cryptocurrencies has gotten blurrier. After years of Bitcoin's dominance, squabbles among its core developers and lack of progress, together with rising transaction fees made it less attractive as both a payment system and a long-term store investment.

Ethereum is a strong competitor, but it's an entirely different animal, with a focus on applications built on the blockchain rather than simple payments. And a new cryptocoin, promising new and better features, seems to be launching every week.

No one can tell you exactly where to invest or what will happen to any of these cryptocurrencies. But this is a ..

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It only took hackers 3 minutes to steal $7 million worth of ether

All it took was three minutes.

Shortly after going live, CoinDash's July 17 Initial Coin Offering (ICO) was in serious trouble. The company, which allows for the trading of the popular cryptocurrency ether (the “money unit” of the Ethereum platform), was all set for a big fundraising round with investors given the chance to invest in CoinDash with ether. It's a well-established practice similar to an IPO: Buy into a company now in exchange for tokens, which are in some sense analogous to stock, and hope to reap the rewards later.

It didn't exactly work out as planned.

SEE ALSO: This Ethereum flash crash shows how cryptocurrency markets are super risky

As explained after the fact on the company's website, hackers managed to change one tiny but important detail on the CoinDash website just as the ICO was scheduled to begin: The Ethereum wallet address. That little change was all it took to redirect cryptocurrency slated for CoinDash into the wallet of the attac..

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What you don’t know about Bitcoin can hurt you

Money is pretty simple nowadays: A piece of paper or a digital asset that you can exchange for goods and services. Someone else takes care of all the fine print. Some kind of central authority issues the money, calculates its value, and makes sure that that wire transaction you've sent goes to the right recipient.

But money is changing. First there was Bitcoin, a digital currency that takes care of the issuance and payments parts all by itself — by means of technology instead of authority. And then there was Ethereum, which adds another layer over Bitcoin's underlying technology, the blockchain, by letting anyone run complex commands from within the digital coins themselves.

If the concept makes you dizzy, you're not alone. Even figuring out how to correctly operate a Bitcoin wallet can be daunting, and this smart contract stuff sounds either like hardcore sci-fi or incomprehensible babble, depending on how technical you are.

And yet, I strongly suggest you invest ..

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Not again: Hackers steal $32 million worth of Ethereum

Ethereum has become a top target for hackers.

The promising cryptocurrency that's also a platform for decentralized applications has skyrocketed in value over the last six months (though it also had a serious drop in price in the last couple of weeks). But hacker attacks and theft of ether have become commonplace, and the last one is one of the worst so far.

An unknown hacker or a group of hackers exploited a vulnerability in the way in which Parity, an Ethereum wallet, implemented multi-sig wallets, stealing some 153,000 worth of ether, which was valued around $32 million at the time of theft.

SEE ALSO: What you don't know about Bitcoin can hurt you

According to a security alert on the Parity blog dated July 19, the vulnerability has been fixed, but “any user with assets in a multi-sig wallet created in Parity Wallet prior to 19/07/17 23:14:56 CEST,” was vulnerable to ether theft.

The theft has indeed happened and it can be seen on Ethereum's blockchain here. A..

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These hackers stole $85 million in ether to save it from *the real crooks* (or so they say)

The clock was ticking. Thieves stole $32 million worth of ether out of a popular Ethereum wallet, and with every passing minute the potential for additional losses grew.

And so the White Hat Group stepped in.

SEE ALSO: It only took hackers 3 minutes to steal $7 million worth of ether

Like something out of a weird cryptocurrency reboot of National Treasure, the unidentified WHG hackers decided to steal the remaining ether before the crooks could. All $85 million of it.

Or so they say.

The claim was posted to Reddit on July 19, and details a plan to return the funds to their rightful owners. Here's how the poster, jbaylina, says it went down:

“The White Hat Group were made aware of a vulnerability in a specific version of a commonly used multisig contract,” explained the post, referring to a vulnerability in the popular Ethereum wallet Parity that was successfully exploited by unknown thieves. “This vulnerability was trivial to execute, so they took the necessary action to..

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We spoke to the vigilante hackers who stole $85 million in ether to save it

Deciding to steal $85 million worth of cryptocurrency isn't something to take lightly.

For the members of the White Hat Group, however, it seemed to be the only move left. On July 19, the loose collection of hackers and cryptocurrency experts were alerted to the theft of $32 million worth of ether — the so-called money unit of Ethereum — and realized that if they didn't act quickly the losses would spread.

An hour and fifteen minutes later they started hacking.

SEE ALSO: These hackers stole $85 million in Ether to save it from *the real crooks* (or so they say)

However, this isn't your typical cryptocurrency heist story. Because instead of lining their own pockets, the White Hat Group was allegedly taking the money in order to prevent it from getting stolen by a malicious hacker — planning to return the ether to its rightful owners as soon as the vulnerable wallets that allowed the heist could be repaired.

“I'm like Commissioner Gordon and Jordi is like Batm..

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How to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum

If you've seen the incredible upward momentum of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies, you've maybe also considered getting in on the action. Now, you're gonna learn how.

But first, a disclaimer: Bitcoin, Ethereum, and so many of the other cryptocurrencies out there can be a way to pay for stuff online, sure. And they can also be (if they aren't already more popular as) investments. And investments, you might know, can go up and down. You can gain money on them, or lose it. And those values can fluctuate wildly, as you might've also seen lately.

To put it simply: proceed with extreme caution. We're not here to tell you whether or not you should buy it, just to show you how you can pull it off.

That said, the rise of cryptocurrencies are an exciting moment for technology, and even if you don't want to actually buy any, it's worth knowing how it all works.

Let's begin where any investment starts—in your own wallet.

The wallet.
..

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Floyd Mayweather found a new, bizarre way to spend his money: Ethereum

Boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather, best known for spending gobs of money in ridonkulous ways and punching other guys in the face, is now using Instagram (naturally) to promote the cryptocurrency ICO (Initial Coin Offering).

SEE ALSO: These hackers stole $85 million in ether to save it from *the real crooks* (or so they say)

The image shows Mayweather on a private jet with stacks of actual paper currency (how ironic!) laid out in front him. In the caption, Mayweather boasts about the money he'll make on August 26, 2017 — the date of his much-anticipated fight against UFC Champion Connor McGregor — and the money he'll also make on August 2, 2017.

It's not clear whether Mayweather is investing in Stox.com — their website even has a nifty little countdown clock to when the sale begins — or endorsing the company. Mashable has reached out to Mayweather's representatives for comment.

The initial coin offering (sometimes also called a token crowdsale) is, in certain ways,..

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The wild world of cryptocurrency—and how it could make you rich

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

Want to get rich enough to fill bathtubs with dollar bills just for kicks? Could Bitcoin make that happen? Let's dive in.

When Bitcoin debuted in 2009, its early adopters bought up large amounts of the digital currency for pennies. Since then, Bitcoin’s value has increased dramatically, turning several of those initial investors into millionaires. But the economics surrounding Bitcoin and other forms of digital currency like Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and most recently, Bitcoin Cash, all dubbed “cryptocurrency,” can be unpredictable and complicated.

SEE ALSO: 20 gadgets under $20 that you'll actually use every day

One huge benefit to using cryptocurrency is that it can't be stolen or counterfeit. When digital currencies are exchanged, they're converted into illegible code that not only makes them secure but also makes the sender and receiver appear anonymous. ..

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Mark Cuban-backed Unikrn to launch cryptocurrency for esports betting

Ethereum-based initial coin offerings (ICOs) are popping up every day, but everyone is still waiting for that killer service that really proves to the world that blockchain-based businesses are the future.

An upcoming token by esports betting platform Unikrn may not be the ultimate answer to that question, but it is one of the most natural uses of the blockchain architecture I've seen so far.

SEE ALSO: How to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum

Unikrn's UnikoinGold token will be, simply put, a currency for betting on esports events. The company already launched a virtual coin called Unikoin in 2015, but it was essentially a virtual currency which could not be bought or traded — you could only get it directly from Unikrn.

UnikoinGold (the old coin stays, and will be called UnikoinSilver from now on) offers several key advantages: It can be purchased or sold on third party exchanges, as well as withdrawn from Unikrn altogether.

This allows Unikrn to bypass some betting laws (as st..

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