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Mega Accepts BitCoins, Outlines World Domination Plans

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Kim Dotcom wants to launch encrypted email, video and communication services

On Saturday, Kim Dotcom, the man behind the infamous Megaupload cloud hosting service, has announced that his latest project – Mega – will now accept the BitCoin (BTC) online currency as a form of payment.

Mega is an encrypted cloud storage platform which launched on 21 January, exactly a year after Dotcom’s previous project was closed and his mansion raided by New Zealand police on behalf of US copyright holders.

The new service has attracted three million users in just four weeks. Mega is promoted as a secure platform with enhanced privacy features, and untraceable virtual BTC seem like a perfect currency for it.

Dotcom has also revealed on Twitter that “in the coming years”, the company could take its characteristic approach to privacy into the online communications market, and maybe even launch a mobile network.

Without a trace

Kim Dotcom in a hairy hatAt the moment, Mega gives away 50 GB of space free to every registered user, but should users run out, the website offers a variety of premium data hosting packages. Since Saturday, customers have the option of paying for these packages in BitCoins.

BitCoins make up a decentralised virtual cryptocurrency commonly used online among people interested in keeping their transactions anonymous. It is not tied to any real money, but traded on various electronic exchanges to establish its price.

Specifically created for Mega, Bitvoucher.co now offers users six different ways to buy premium membership with BitCoins, including the lavish 4TB of data storage and 8TB bandwidth per month for roughly 1.58 BTC (£27).

During the weekend, Dotcom also claimed that US-based Gmail, iCloud and Skype are legally required to provide “secret & untraceable NSA backdoors to all your data”, before announcing that in the future, Mega could offer encrypted email, video and communication services of its own.

Soon after the launch, Mega was criticised for its relaxed approach to security, with issues including flawed encryption key handling, a cross-site scripting hole and problematic claims surrounding deduplication. A week later, in order to save the reputation of the platform, Dotcom went as far as to offer €10,000 (£8,630) to anyone who breaks through the security and manages to get unauthorized access to the files stored on Mega.

Dotcom has previously said that his company will launch an investment round in the next six months, and could hold an initial public offering (IPO) in as soon as eighteen months.

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