by Pixeleen Mistral on 10/09/11 at 7:52 pm
CosbyCoin "zing" takes Bitcointalk.org offline
Bitcoin - a peer-to-peer virtual currency - has reached the point in the media hype cycle were the inevitable backlash takes hold, and the Bitcoin ecosystem becomes a target for high visibility hacks.
The latest incident took place yesterday, when the bitcointalk.org forums were converted into a Cosbycoin ad site, complete with pictures of Bill Cosby, links to a cosbycoin.com web site and a simulated upload of the reader's digital wallet converting their Bitcoins into Cosbycoins. Buttcoin.org has an extensive collection of pictures from the hacked site as does nanimogold.com.
There is speculation that a group associated with the SomethingAwful forums may be responsible for Cosbycoins and this hack does seem to fit with the SA goon's style. Whomever launched the hack exerted some effort. Rather than simply injecting Cosbycoin images into the forums, they also set up a cosbycoin.com site and posted to other bitcoin forums.
This Cosbycoin hack is certainly embarrassing for the forum operators, and raises questions about site security, as did a hack of the MtGox currency exchange last June that lead to a collapse in the value of Bitcoins. Timing of the MtGox incident was particularly unfortunate, coming shortly after a Gawker.com story about Silk Road - an anonymous illicit substance exchange site - which stoked demand for Bitcoins.
simulated upload of Bitcoin wallet
Meanwhile, the mainstream media has begun to take notice of the potential - and limits - of the crypto-currency.
Earlier this week, New York TImes columnist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman pointed out the value of Bitcoins has taken a nosedive recently and the system is vulnerable to "money-hoarding, deflation, and depression" - problems shared with real currencies backed by the gold standard. We can only hope that the know-nothing branch of the republican party takes note. James Surowieki of the MIT Technology Review also wrote critically about the challenges bitcoin faces in surviving the hype cycle.
The hype cycle backlash is one problem, but more a more immediate question for Bitcoin fans is how to address the challenge posed by Cosbycoin parodies appearing on their forums and an insecure ecosystem of currency exchange sites.
Matthew N. Wright of Bittalk.tv reports that there is support for the Cosbycoin hack by members of the Bitcointalk.org forum who are unhappy with poor forum moderation and a pattern of "shuffling important and popular issues under the rug" - exactly the sort of behavior that Second Life players have grown to expect from Linden Lab.
a tip of the old Coffeepotting Gleefurs top hat to Ryokashi who first pointed me at this story - pixeleen