The Future of Riots

Video surveillance of London's rioters points to future of facial recognition

3 min read

On 6 August, peaceful protests over the police shooting of a local man in London's Tottenham district exploded into full-blown riots. During four days of assaults, arson, and looting, some of London's thousands of closed-circuit TV cameras captured video of the violence.

In the aftermath of the unrest, police officials began poring over footage in an attempt to identify suspected rioters. They even employed a facial recognition system designed for use during the 2012 Olympic Games, in London. But they found traditional investigative techniques to be much more fruitful than software, in part because many of the rioters had obscured their faces with hoods or bandannas, and because other factors such as poor lighting made it difficult to identify people.

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The Spectacular Collapse of CryptoKitties, the First Big Blockchain Game

A cautionary tale of NFTs, Ethereum, and cryptocurrency security

8 min read
Vertical
Mountains and cresting waves made of cartoon cats and large green coins.
Frank Stockton
Pink

On 4 September 2018, someone known only as Rabono bought an angry cartoon cat named Dragon for 600 ether—an amount of Ethereum cryptocurrency worth about US $170,000 at the time, or $745,000 at the cryptocurrency’s value in July 2022.

It was by far the highest transaction yet for a nonfungible token (NFT), the then-new concept of a unique digital asset. And it was a headline-grabbing opportunity for CryptoKitties, the world’s first blockchain gaming hit. But the sky-high transaction obscured a more difficult truth: CryptoKitties was dying, and it had been for some time.

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