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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

Bitcoin Trades Sideways as Bitcoin Cash Price Drops to $800

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Posted on 20 August 2017 | 5:47 am

The New Pachinko? Exploring the Economics of Initial Coin Offerings

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Posted on 20 August 2017 | 5:00 am

Indonesian Workers Using Bitcoin for Liquid Wage Transfers - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

Indonesian Workers Using Bitcoin for Liquid Wage Transfers
CoinTelegraph
Stability is generally an asset principle (like gold for example) but limits liquidity. Bitcoin unites these two principles into a single asset/currency that is both stable and liquid. As Bitcoin use cases proliferate, and liquidity increases, the safe ...

Posted on 19 August 2017 | 10:22 pm

The Most Important Tip For Bitcoin And Powerball Jackpot Millionaires - Forbes


Forbes

The Most Important Tip For Bitcoin And Powerball Jackpot Millionaires
Forbes
Of all the tips Bitcoin, Powerball, and other quick millionaires can get from experts, one stands out: don't treat lucky money differently than hard earned money, because you run the risk of losing part or all of it. The tip comes from behavioral ...

Posted on 19 August 2017 | 6:37 pm

A Bitcoin Social Media Storm Hit BitPay This Week: Here's Why

Everyone’s Mad at BitPay. Here’s Why.

The Bitcoin community is not taking kindly to BitPay this week. Influential developers are accusing the major payment processor of fraud, Bitcoin users on social media are calling for boycots, bitcoin.org is removing recommendations of the company’s products, and NBitcoin developer Nicolas Dorier has launched an initiative to fork some of BitPay’s projects altogether.

Here’s why.

Bitcore

The controversial issue has to do with Bitcore.

Bitcore is a type of Bitcoin node developed by BitPay. It is specifically designed to offer a development platform, on top of which it is easy to build all kinds of Bitcoin applications. Anyone can use this open-source tool; some of the better-known applications that utilize it include video-streaming service Streamium, Trezor’s web interface and BitPay’s own Copay wallet.

Within the next a couple of days, most likely on August 23, the long-awaited Bitcoin protocol upgrade Segregated Witness (SegWit) will activate. Seemingly in response to this upgrade, BitPay published a blog post titled What Bitcore Users Need to Know to Be Ready for SegWit Activation

But not everyone is happy with the contents of this blog post…

The “Major Risk” That Is (or Isn’t) SegWit

The first problem is not the most important problem, but it is worth mentioning, regardless. It concerns the topic of the blog post itself: Segregated Witness.

In the blog post, BitPay states:

Nodes which fail to upgrade to support SegWit will face major security risks, including the risk of double-spend transaction fraud.

This appears to be a bit of an exaggeration.

Segregated Witness is specifically designed to be backwards compatible. Regular nodes that do not upgrade remain part of the Bitcoin network. And importantly, since SegWit was activated by a unanimous hash-power majority, all miners should be enforcing the new rules. As such, transactions that are invalid according the new rules should never be accepted in any Bitcoin blocks at all. Even non-upgraded nodes should never see these invalid transactions confirm.

It is true that — like every other soft fork before SegWit — there are some increased risks for non-upgraded nodes. And in an additional blog post, BitPay does provide more details and nuance regarding the situation.

But the somewhat alarmist tone of the first blog post seems a bit unnecessary. Therefore, to many it appears to have had the specific goal of pushing users toward a software upgrade for very different reasons.

Which brings us to the next point…

The “Upgrade” That Is (or Isn’t) Bitcoin

While BitPay’s alarmist tone seemed like an unnecessary means, it’s the end that really ticked so many people off.

As per the “New York Agreement,” a significant group of Bitcoin companies, mining pools and individuals plans to adopt an incompatible set of protocol rules by November. Dubbed “SegWit2x,” and implemented in the BTC1 software developed by former Bitcoin Core contributor Jeff Garzik, this project would “hard fork” an increase of Bitcoin’s block weight limit, allowing for blocks of up to eight megabytes. (Whether this should technically be called a hard fork or an altcoin is debatable, but never mind that for now.)

The problem is that, while a significant group of Bitcoin companies — including, indeed, BitPay — signed on to the New York Agreement, this agreement currently does not have industry-wide consensus. Most notably, Bitcoin’s development community has almost unanimously rejected the proposal. There is also a long list of companies that never signed onto the initiative in the first place; in fact, some of them are actively opposed to it. And more informal metrics, like social media sentiment, opinion polls and network node count generally also show limited support for SegWit2x.

As such, it is likely that SegWit2x would split off to create a new blockchain and currency, not unlike what Bitcoin Cash (Bcash) did. Unlike Bcash, however, SegWit2x currently has no intention of picking a new name, nor does it plan to implement safety precautions like replay protection. (Replay protection would prevent the “same” coin from accidentally being spent on both chains.) For all intents and purposes, the companies behind SegWit2x appear to be set to claim this coin is the “real” Bitcoin, while the coin that follows the current Bitcoin protocol won’t be.

This approach is controversial. Many Bitcoin users that do not support the hard fork may prefer to keep using Bitcoin as is, without worrying about added (replay) risks or other inconveniences caused by SegWit2x. And if two different coins claim the name “Bitcoin,” it could lead to much confusion, for obvious reasons.

Regardless, in BitPay’s blog post, which speaks of an “upgrade” for Bitcore users in preparation for SegWit, the payment processor actually directs readers to download the BTC1 software; that is, the software that embeds the SegWit2x protocol, rather than the current Bitcoin protocol. It therefore appeared that the company was really trying to get Bitcore users to switch to a whole new coin, which BitPay will consider “Bitcoin.” And the payment processor initially did so without so much as warning Bitcore users that following these instructions would make them incompatible with the current Bitcoin protocol by November.

Herein lies the concern: BitPay must have known that this advice is controversial. Failing to mention the risks or consequences made the blog post seem deceptive.

The Hash Power That Supports (or Doesn’t Support) SegWit2x

Finally, after BitPay faced initial blowback for its blog post for reasons described, it included an addendum. In it, the payment processor writes:

[O]ur instructions follow this version of Bitcoin because over 95% of Bitcoin miners have adopted Segwit2x.

While this addendum provides a little bit more clarity, it is once again a bit of a questionable statement.

Perhaps most importantly: If BTC1 indeed hard forks in November, BitPay right now has no way of knowing how much hash power will really be mining on the SegWit2x chain.

While it is true that mining pools currently representing a supermajority of hash power signed on to the New York Agreement, mining pools usually don’t have full control over the hash power that is pointed toward their pools. Much of this hash power actually belongs to individual miners (“hashers”), who could switch to a new pool with the click of a few buttons. (For example, when another mining pool, Ghash.io, reached over 50 percent of total hash power on the network a couple of years ago, hashers were also urged to move to different pools.)

Furthermore, even if a specific mining pool does control its hash power, nothing in the New York Agreement says these pools should mine on the SegWit2x chain exclusively. Since miners typically dedicate their hash power to maximize profit, it is very possible that this hash power will be attributed to different chains according to the value of the coins on these chains. (This is what usually happens between altcoins. Similarly, just over the past couple of weeks, some signatories to the New York Agreement have already begun directing some hash power to the Bcash chain.)

In its addendum, BitPay appears to be ignoring these dynamics. Once again, this has an air of deceptiveness.

In BitPay’s Defense…

All that said, it should be noted that the risks are still limited, even if users follow BitPay’s instructions.

This is because BitPay is not (currently) suggesting that users run BTC1 software to send and receive transactions. Rather, BitPay is advising users to connect their Bitcore nodes to a BTC1 node as a “border node.” This means that the BTC1 node will essentially act as a network filter to reject all transactions invalid under the new SegWit rules.

Until the hard fork in November, using BTC1 as a border node shouldn’t do any harm whatsoever. BTC1 is compatible with the Bitcoin network until that point in time, and indeed enforces the new SegWit rules.

If no further action is taken, the BTC1 border node would switch to the SegWit2x blockchain by November. But even then, the current Bitcore nodes that are used to send and receive transactions will not make that switch. As such, BTC1 nodes would only let SegWit2x transactions through, which would then, in turn, be rejected by Bitcore nodes. This incompatibility between the two nodes actually means that no blocks would come through at all.

As such, no one would send or accept (confirmed) payments in a different coin than they mean to. In a worst case scenario, the whole setup essentially shuts down.

While the blog post appears deceptive in some ways, BitPay’s advice shouldn't, in itself, cause a of loss funds.

Shortly before publication of this article, BitPay CEO Stephen Pair said in statement to Bitcoin Magazine:

This was unfortunately not the way I had intended this conversation to begin. I will have more to say on this topic in the near future, and feel I owe it to the community to say something. Unfortunately, it may take a little while for that communication to happen as I have other matters demanding my attention at the moment.

The post A Bitcoin Social Media Storm Hit BitPay This Week: Here's Why appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 August 2017 | 9:13 am

10 Reasons Why Central Banks Will Miss the Cryptocurrency Renaissance

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 3:45 am

Bitcoin Prices Retreat Toward $4,100 While Bitcoin Cash Soars

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 3:21 am

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Posted on 19 August 2017 | 2:40 am

Bitcoin is more valuable than gold — but nowhere near as stable - Business Insider


Business Insider

Bitcoin is more valuable than gold — but nowhere near as stable
Business Insider
Some investors consider bitcoin a safe haven that's comparable to gold. Like gold, the digital currency isn't tied to one country or central bank. When a particular country experiences a political or economic crisis, its national currency can often ...

and more »

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 4:35 pm

$700 and Rising: What's Driving the Price of Bitcoin Cash?

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Posted on 18 August 2017 | 4:03 pm

SEC Statements Spur ShapeShift to Review Cryptocurrency Listings

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Posted on 18 August 2017 | 12:45 pm

HiddenWallet and Samourai Wallet Join Forces to Make Bitcoin Private With ZeroLink

HiddenWallet and Samourai Wallet Join Forces to Make Bitcoin Private With ZeroLink

Ádám “nopara73” Ficsór, HiddenWallet developer and TumbleBit contributor, and “TDevD,” the pseudonymous Samourai wallet developer, are joining forces on a new privacy project: ZeroLink. ZeroLink is set to realize a trustless mixing scheme first proposed by Bitcoin Core contributor Gregory Maxwell years ago — but one that hasn’t been realized thus far.

According Ficsór, the ZeroLink framework, which utilizes a scheme known as “Chaumian CoinJoin,” is actually more straightforward than many of the alternatives that have been proposed.

“Back in 2013, there was this sort of obsession with decentralization. ‘Everything that can be decentralized will be decentralized’ was the slogan,” the developer recalls. “By now we realize that decentralization is actually not always that useful. As long as a mixer cannot steal funds or link transactions, that’s enough.”

CoinJoin

Each Bitcoin transaction essentially sends bitcoins from one or several Bitcoin addresses (really: “inputs”) to one or several Bitcoin addresses (really: “outputs”). That’s how bitcoins “move” over the blockchain.

The problem, from a privacy perspective, is that the blockchain is completely public, which means that anyone can see which addresses are paying which addresses. If these addresses can be linked to real-world identities, it can reveal a lot about who transacted with whom, and perhaps for what.

CoinJoin, the well-known coin-mixing scheme first proposed by Maxwell in 2013, is a potential solution to this problem. A CoinJoin transaction is basically a combination of several transactions merged into one big transaction. In other words, it includes inputs from several different users, and the bitcoins move to outputs controlled by several different users. As such, it’s not clear which bitcoins moved where. All users effectively paid all users.

While that’s great, the next problem is that whomever or whatever combines the different transactions into one CoinJoin transaction can be a central point of failure from a privacy perspective. That person (or that server, or whatever it is) still knows which bitcoins moved where. So if that individual is either corrupt or corruptible, the problem isn’t really solved.

“For CoinJoin to live up to its promise, even the entity that creates the transaction must not learn which addresses are paying which addresses,” Ficsór noted.

ZeroLink

ZeroLink provides a privacy framework for wallets that can be used for different mixing schemes. And it defines its own mixing technique as well: an implementation of CoinJoin referred to as “Chaumian CoinJoin.”

With Chaumian CoinJoin, users both send and receive equal amounts of bitcoin from a CoinJoin transaction, so everyone receives each other's coins. This obfuscates the trails for all of these coins.

In practice, ZeroLink users will require two types of wallets: a pre-mix wallet and a post-mix wallet. As the names suggest, the first type holds coins that are to be mixed, while the latter is where the mixed coins end up.

Users then connect their pre-mix wallets to the ZeroLink tumbler and provide an input (“from” address) and an output (“to” address), which they both control. But importantly, the outputs are disguised (“blinded”) using a mathematical trick. So while the tumbler knows where all bitcoins are sent from, it does not yet know where bitcoins are sent to.

At the heart of the trick, the tumbler then cryptographically signs all blinded outputs, using a type of cryptographic signature introduced by David Chaum: a “blind signature.” This allows data to be cryptographically signed even if it is disguised. And importantly, these signatures can be checked against the original, unblinded data as well to see if the blinded data and the unblinded data match.

Next, all users connect to the tumbler again, but this time through some type of anonymity network, like Tor. They will then provide the tumbler with the unblinded versions of the outputs. Using the cryptographic signatures it just created, the tumbler can check that all revealed outputs match all blinded outputs. If they do match, the tumbler knows that all the outputs it received are legitimate, and thus were provided by the same users that also provided the inputs to send funds.

The tumbler then adds the revealed outputs to the CoinJoin transaction. And it sends this transaction back to all users, for these users to sign with their Bitcoin private keys. Doing so validates the transaction. (The users should of course double check that the amounts and their outputs check out, to be sure they receive as much as they send.)

Finally, the tumbler broadcasts the CoinJoin transaction to be included in a Bitcoin block. As a result, all users end up with different bitcoins than they started with: all bitcoins were mixed, and the blockchain trails broken.

While all this is actually relatively straightforward compared to some alternative schemes, and to a large extent already suggested by Maxwell back in 2013, the process has never been realized. This is probably because it was long thought to be too vulnerable to attacks, Ficsór thinks.

“When Maxwell first published the proposal, Bitcoin transaction fees were practically non-existent. Because of this, it would be relatively easy and cheap to launch denial of service attacks against a CoinJoin mixing system. An attacker can just keep providing valid inputs, but refuse to sign when he should. That invalidates the whole transaction, and wastes everyone’s time.”

Interestingly, this attack vector is now to some extent resolved simply because it would be too expensive to keep it going. In order to maintain the attack in a way that it’s not easily countered, an attacker must provide new inputs for each round, meaning he must be able to keep moving bitcoins to new addresses to do so. “Assuming $1 transaction fees, that could cost up to $1,000 a day,” Ficsór pointed out. “In this particular context, high fees are a blessing in disguise.”

Development

Ficsór is currently about to help wrap up the development of another highly anticipated privacy tool, TumbleBit, for Stratis’s Breeze Wallet. This is expected to take another three months.

After that, he plans to focus on realizing ZeroLink, while TDevD may even start working on the framework sooner. Concretely, three new codebases need to be developed: the pre-mix wallet, the tumbler and the post-mix wallet.

“The tumbler needs to be developed from scratch. But it should be relatively easy to add the pre-mix wallets to any existing open source wallet. The same is true for the post-mix wallet implementations, though for privacy reasons not all wallets are a good fit,” Ficsór said.

His own HiddenWallet as well as Samourai Wallet are “fully committed” to implementing and deploying ZeroLink into production, Ficsór said, while Breeze Wallet may be interested as well.

Optimistically, an initial implementation of ZeroLink could be live before the end of this year.

For more information on ZeroLink, see Ficsór's blog post on the project (which also includes a donation address) or ZeroLink’s specification.

The post HiddenWallet and Samourai Wallet Join Forces to Make Bitcoin Private With ZeroLink appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 11:23 am

Australia Weighs Jail Time for Cryptocurrency Exchange Offenders

New details have emerged about Australia's cryptocurrency exchange bill.

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 9:30 am

Each Bitcoin Could Be Worth $619047 In 10 Years - Forbes


Forbes

Each Bitcoin Could Be Worth $619047 In 10 Years
Forbes
Consumers are shopping more on the internet and Bitcoin is competing with other currencies in this space. Given its massive popularity and availability across all continents, internet entrepreneurs are launching more products focused specifically on ...
Bitcoin Weekly Price Analysis - CoinTelegraphCoinTelegraph
A Bitcoin Social Media Storm Hit BitPay This Week: Here's WhyBitcoin Magazine
Bitcoin to Form a Third Currency. When Does it End?Investopedia

all 11 news articles »

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 9:26 am

Overseas Expansion: Japan's BitFlyer to Sell Bitcoin in US Market

Japanese bitcoin exchange bitFlyer is heading to the U.S., and already has approval to operate in 34 countries.

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 8:03 am

Bitcoin Cash Is Now More Profitable to Mine Than Bitcoin

A sudden increase in the price of bitcoin cash is changing the economic dynamic between it and the original bitcoin.

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 8:01 am

$26 Million: Blockchain VR Project Decentraland Raises New Funding in ICO

A virtual reality project built using blockchain technology has raised $26 million in ether via an initial coin offering.

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 7:00 am

D+H Files for Multiple Patents on Private Blockchain Tech

Canada-based fintech vendor D+H Corporation has filed several patent applications relating to the creation and use of private distributed ledgers.

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 5:15 am

Couldn't Claim Your Bitcoin Cash? BTC.Com Now Has a Tool for That

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Posted on 18 August 2017 | 4:00 am

Database Giant Oracle Wants Better Governance for Blockchains

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Posted on 18 August 2017 | 3:00 am

What's Next for Bitcoin Cash? Making Profitless Mining Profitable

Miners are currently mining bitcoin cash at a loss. CoinDesk looks at the reasons why, and what might happen if the tables turn.

Posted on 18 August 2017 | 2:00 am

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Long and Short Squeezes Shape a Weakening All-Time High

Bitcoin Price Analysis

This morning, BTC-USD pushed a new all-time high on several exchanges. However, this time, the momentum to continue higher seems to be waning. Shortly after establishing the new all-time high, there was a $150 flash crash that sprang a series of account liquidations across several exchanges in a move that would ultimately “long squeeze” the market. A long squeeze is a term used to describe the sudden cascade of long positions getting stopped out of their positions, causing market orders to propel the price even lower:

Figure_1 (1).JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 5-Minute Candles, Bitfinex, Long Squeeze

The figure above shows the price movement correlated to the volume during the $150 drop. Halfway through the drop we see a sudden spike in sell volume. This spike in volume is the beginning of the “long squeeze” that initiated the cascade of market sell orders caused by traders in long positions being forced out of their positions via their stop-loss market orders.

Figure_2 (1).JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 15-Minute Candles, Bitfinex, Short Squeeze

Yesterday, at around 12 pm EST, the exact opposite thing happened in a market event known as a “short squeeze.” You can think of a short squeeze as literally the opposite of a long squeeze: People who are anticipating a great short entry are suddenly forced out of their positions via their stop-loss orders, and market buy orders propel the market higher, thus triggering more stop-loss orders until the market equalizes.

Today the BTC-USD market has begun a series of long squeezes that pulled the price down by $300 in a matter of hours, and it doesn’t show much sign of letting up at the moment. Let’s take a look at the macro trend and see where the market is likely heading:

Figure_3 (1).JPGFigure 3: BTC-USD, 3-Day Candles, Bitfinex

For the fifth candle in a row, the 3-day candles have managed to puncture the Bollinger Bands in a move that indicates an overbought market. We have yet to see an attempt to move within the Bollinger Bands and provide some relief for the high price range.

Zooming in a little closer, we can see that clear signs of bullish exhaustion formed as we began to push the most recent set of all-time highs:

Figure_4.jpg
Figure 4: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Bitfinex, Bullish Exhaustion

The first thing that pops out about this trend is the decrease in volume (shown in pink) leading into this morning’s all-time high. Upon reaching that high, sell volume began to pick up considerably (labeled in blue) and has continued to remain strong during the push into the $4300 and $4200 prices. The previous all-time highs (labeled in yellow) are currently paired with a decreasing MACD moving average/signal line trend that indicates the market is losing bullish momentum across the macro trend.

The BTC-USD market seems to be running on fumes at the moment, but I would not  be surprised at all to see an all-time high squeezed out of this market. However, I would be VERY surprised if that all time had any notable follow-through. The market volume on the macro levels has steadily declined, and there are key market indicators that hint toward the need for sustained sideways consolidation. Alternatively, a strong market pullback might be in the cards for BTC-USD. Each push toward the new highs has been greeted by strong sell volume. In the event of a market retracement, your key support levels on the macro exist along the Fibonacci Retracements shown below:

Figure_5.JPGFigure 5: BTC-USD, 4-Hour Candles, Bitfinex, Key Support Levels

When the market begins to struggle to push new all-time highs, it is important to keep a close eye on the volume and see how it interacts with the price movement. Consistent price growth on decreasing buy volume is a signal that the bears, although losing the battle in price currently, are gathering as the market nears its final top before ultimately correcting or consolidating. And given the price growth over the past 30 days, I would be inclined to lean toward the former rather than the latter.

Summary:

  1. Short squeezes and long squeezes have begun to shape the current market trend.

  2. On the macro and micro scale, the market is showing a highly overbought market and is beginning to lose upward steam.

  3. Key support levels lie on the Fibonacci Retracements shown in Figure 5.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin, bitcoin cash and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: Long and Short Squeezes Shape a Weakening All-Time High appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 2:57 pm

Sony and IBM Join Forces to Put Student Achievement on the Blockchain

Sony and IBM Join Forces to Put Student Achievement on the Blockchain

On August 9, IBM announced the firm’s cooperation with Sony Global Education — a subsidiary of Sony, providing global educational services — with the objective to develop a learning platform for students implementing blockchain technology.

According to IBM, the blockchain-based educational platform would allow school administrators to manage and consolidate the educational data of students at multiple schools in addition to recording and referring their “learning history and digital academic transcripts with more certainty.” The platform will use the IBM Blockchain, which is based on the IBM Cloud, to establish “transparency and accountability of scholastic achievements between students and schools,” allowing both professors and students to track the latter’s learning progress.

The tech giant pointed out that it is often difficult for employers to verify student records of potential hires. According to IBM, there are multiple reasons for this issue, including students taking online courses and attending universities abroad. Such “non-traditional methods” can create confusion for the employers; however, IBM believes implementing blockchain technology will resolve the issue. The learning platform will give both the teachers and the students a digital, trusted record showing their accomplishments, which can be — thanks to the nature of blockchain technology — easily verified by future employers or educational institutions.

“Blockchain technology has the potential to impact systems in a wide variety of industries, and the educational sphere is no exception when educational data is securely stored on the blockchain and shared among permissioned users. We are pleased that we have worked together with IBM to build a new system which can help effect real change in the education sector,” Masaaki Isozu, President of Sony Global Education, said in a statement.

The system’s work is simple: student data will be recorded by the platform and shared with “need-to-know parties,” including future employers and school administrators. Since the learning platform will be using the IBM Blockchain, every piece of data can be verified by the parties.

Schools, colleges and universities can also share the data to help teachers identify and implement unique teaching methods for each student based on the information on the blockchain. The learning platform will also collect all related information and place it in a single repository, which will allow the reliable sharing of digital transcripts. Students will be able to create certain networks on the blockchain, which can’t be altered or changed by any party.

In addition, the platform will help specific vendors target offerings based on verified needs. Representatives from IBM Japan confirmed to Bitcoin Magazine that these vendors include private preparatory schools and cram schools (institutions specialized in training students to reach certain goals). The only data provided to the vendors are the study results of the students. The students or their parents will maintain access control for the students’ study results.

“Blockchain [technology] offers a new approach to how the lifetime history of data related to a person, place or thing is shared and managed. In effect, data tracked on a blockchain becomes a single source of truth. We are delighted to have supported Sony Corporation and Sony Global Education to build up a new blockchain-based platform for innovations in education,” said Yoshiki Minowa, Vice President and partner of Cognitive Process Transformation, Global Business Services, IBM Japan.

The platform will be powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.

The post Sony and IBM Join Forces to Put Student Achievement on the Blockchain appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 2:29 pm

Blockchain and Bitstamp Customers Can Now Use Ether

Bitstamp and Blockchain add ether

Ethereum fans got a bit of a boost today from two different companies in the crypto space. UK-based cryptocurrency firm Blockchain and Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp have each added ether to their platforms for the first time.

Blockchain says its customers can simply toggle between bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) to manage and transact funds quickly and easily. Additionally, Blockchain has also integrated ShapeShift’s API so trading bitcoin to ether and vice versa can happen all from one place.

In an earlier, separate announcement to its customers, Bitstamp said it will allow full trading functionalities of ether today. Ether deposits and withdrawals opened at 9 am (UTC) and began to allow full trading functionalities at 1 pm (UTC).

Nejc Kodrič, CEO of Bitstamp, said: "We've been encouraged by ether's potential and the demand shown for its inclusion among our trading pairs.”

Ether now joins USD, EUR, bitcoin, litecoin and Ripple among the coins for which Bitstamp allows deposits and withdrawals. In July the company announced a strategic partnership with Swissquote, the Swiss leader in online banking. Swissquote launched BTC/EUR and BTC/USD trading on its platform, with Bitstamp providing full-stack services for their two new BTC trading pairs.

Kodrič added: ”Since starting out in 2011, Bitstamp's mission has been to be the safest and most reliable digital currency exchange on the market. Our careful approach has created a market reputation for prudence which has served us well as we continue to expand and give our customers the trading options they desire."

Peter Smith, CEO of Blockchain, said in a statement that the popularity of Ethereum has grown and so has the desire from Blockchain customers to have the option to manage multiple digital assets within their Blockchain wallets. Smith said: “We are thrilled to introduce this new functionality to our community and will continue to find ways to make interacting with digital assets even easier.”

One of the earliest bitcoin companies, Blockchain was founded in 2011 and provides a non-custodial consumer wallet for digital assets, with over 16 million wallets created across 140 countries. The company has focused on creating products that make storing, transacting and hedging digital currency a frictionless experience.

Smith was recently quoted saying: “I predict that by 2037 a complete global computer fabric will make interacting with goods, services and people easier than ever. Citizens of the world will be more closely connected through technology, communication and networks."

Second in market cap, ether has seen its price soar as much as tenfold since the end of April, while its number of transactions quadrupled. Ether has since settled at about $300 at the time of publication.

The post Blockchain and Bitstamp Customers Can Now Use Ether appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 10:48 am

Crypto Exchange Shapeshift Acquires KeepKey Hardware Wallets

ShapeShift Acquires KeepKey

Today, Shapeshift.io announced its acquisition of hardware wallet manufacturer KeepKey. According to the cryptocurrency exchange, by pairing the KeepKey hardware wallet with ShapeShift, users will be allowed to safely store their coins on a secure physical device while trading their assets directly over the ShapeShift API, which can be reached from KeepKey’s interface.

“Security is of critical importance when it comes to holding and trading digital assets. One of our priorities has always been to make the exchange experience as safe and easy for users as possible, and our pairing with KeepKey enables us to provide an unmatched customer experience. Users can hold their coins on the hardware device and exchange them on demand within the wallet, without even visiting a website. When you pair the KeepKey hardware wallet with ShapeShift’s exchange, the experience is magical,” Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift, said.

KeepKey already had integrated ShapeShift’s API a year ago, allowing it to supporting the most popular cryptocurrencies. The firm’s objective is to support all leading digital assets providing the users with the “most secure storage wallet available.”

“This partnership will not only guarantee the future success of the KeepKey brand and product line, but joining the ShapeShift team will enable us to focus on continuing to work on developing better technology and security for crypto-holders,“ said Ken Hodler, Chief Technology Officer at KeepKey.

ShapeShift confirmed that the company will preserve KeepKey’s brand and product line. Furthermore, the acquisition of KeepKey will allows ShapeShift to “provide increased capital for inventory and security expertise.”

“Amid heightened interest in the concept of digital currencies, a simple, user-friendly cold storage wallet with native exchange functionality is one key to wider adoption,” said Voorhees.

The combination of ShapeShift and KeepKey reflects both companies’ commitment to security and privacy. ShapeShift does not collect any personal information on its users. Furthermore, customer funds are not collected on the company accounts and users maintain control of their keys at all times.

The KeepKey drive is physical hardware device that protects users’ funds from “hackers and thieves.” It uses wallet software located on the user’s computer. The device takes over the management of private key generation and storage along with the signing of transactions. The hardware has a built-in random number generator for private keys, which works in combination with the “randomness” provided by the user’s computer. After the private key is generated, the user is given a twelve-word recovery sentence, which can be used to recover the device without compromising its private keys.

The post Crypto Exchange Shapeshift Acquires KeepKey Hardware Wallets appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 10:12 am

Bank of Canada Report: Imagining a “Bitcoin Standard” Financial System

Bank of Canada Bitcoin Standard

In a 37-page long research paper, Warren E. Weber, research consultant at Bank of Canada who is also a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, speculated about a financial system where bitcoin would be the standard currency (referred as the “Bitcoin standard”) instead of fiat currencies.

In the study, Weber explored the similarity between the Bitcoin standard and the gold standard. The research consultant chose to compare bitcoin to gold since the two have many similarities. The two most prominent resemblances include the lack of control of central banks or monetary authorities and the limit in the supply: Bitcoin’s algorithm only allows the circulation of 21 million BTC while gold can be found in finite quantities on the planet. If the Bitcoin standard becomes real, there will be three distinct media of exchanges, just as there was under the gold standard. Bitcoin will serve as the main currency while there will be fiduciary currencies issued by countries’ central banks, and fiduciary currencies (banknotes or deposits) issued by commercial banks.

Issuing fiduciary currencies will be one of the very few abilities central banks can do as part of a monetary policy where banks will act as lenders of last resort. Bitcoin’s “virtually costless arbitrage” on an international scope will deprive the central banks of their ability to impose interest rate policies to affect their domestic economies, Weber detailed.

Should Bitcoin serve as the standard medium of exchange, there would be a moderate increase in deflation; however, according to Weber, once a certain level is reached, the rate of deflation will be minimal. Price levels will become highly or perfectly correlated under Bitcoin’s dominance in various countries, just as they did for those countries that adopted the gold standard. Despite the fact that the cryptocurrency would become the standard, Weber believes that economic crises could still happen since “they can occur under any fractional reserve financial system.”

According to Weber, the Bitcoin standard will benefit the economy in two ways. Due to the “known, deterministic rate” at which new BTC is created, people would be able to predict the price level of the cryptocurrency more easily. The second benefit would be that investment resources which are currently devoted to hedging against fluctuations in the currency exchange rates would free up and could be used in “more productive ways.”

On the other hand, Weber thinks that the Bitcoin standard will never come into existence since there will be heavy opposition by central banks and governments. If the Bitcoin standard becomes real, neither the governments nor the central banks will be able to implement interest rates to affect their economies, neither could they generate seigniorage revenues obtained from their ability to “almost costlessly create money,” the Bank of Canada research consultant explained. Since the governments don’t want to lose these powers, they will do anything to prevent Bitcoin from becoming the standard medium of exchange.

Weber is also skeptical about the longevity of the Bitcoin standard. According to him, the financial system is advancing so rapidly that there would likely be another (crypto)currency that can provide the same or greater benefits as Bitcoin, possibly at lower costs. Furthermore, if a financial crisis occurs, an opposition is likely to emerge that would seek to replace the “old” financial system, rather like the way that Bitcoin is challenging today’s status quo.

The post Bank of Canada Report: Imagining a “Bitcoin Standard” Financial System appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 8:51 am

Blockstack Partners with VCs to Launch $25 Million Blockstack Signature Fund

blockstack.jpg

New York-based decentralized internet and developer platform Blockstack has partnered with a number of venture capital groups to launch the $25 million Blockstack Signature fund.

The Blockstack Signature fund is backed by Lux, OpenOcean, VersionOne, RisingTide, and Compound, and funding will go toward apps being built in the Blockstack ecosystem.

Patrick Stanley, growth partner at Blockstack, explained to Bitcoin Magazine that “Blockstack is not launching the VC fund but facilitating.” That is, the company’s role in the fund has been to gather the venture capital groups, attract the developers and facilitate the partnerships that will result in quality app development on the Blockstack platform.

According to Blockstack, the VC fund will dedicated to “rapidly accelerating startups building decentralized applications on the platform, and tools for developers to bootstrap their apps, with tokens on the Blockstack network — just like you see with Ethereum.”

Muneeb Ali, co-founder at Blockstack, told Bitcoin Magazine: “We are at a stage where some of the developers are incredibly excited about building apps and usually get in touch with us. If developers get in touch with us with an app that they are excited about, this is one funding channel we can point them to.”

Ali added: “The VCs involved in the fund will take a look at that application and make a independent decision to fund that company or now. Our intention here is to bring together sophisticated investors, people who have been thinking a lot about decentralization and can do their due diligence.”

VC investing is a type of private equity, a form of financing that is provided by firms or funds to small, early-stage, emerging firms that are deemed to have high-growth potential, or which have demonstrated high growth in terms of number of employees, annual revenue or both.

Ali explains: “If you look at this space in general we feel that there are a lot of low quality apps which are raising an insane amount of capital from token sales, for example. We want to bring some quality and sanity to the picture. We feel that VCs can still have a seat at the table … we want to open up that channel as well.”

Blockstack was formerly known as Onename and passed through its young company status in the summer of 2014 as a startup looking to streamline bitcoin transactions.

Watch the video here.

blockstack video


The post Blockstack Partners with VCs to Launch $25 Million Blockstack Signature Fund appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 6:23 am

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group

On August 14, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance announced the addition of more than a dozen organizations to its blockchain collaboration under the umbrella of its Legal Industry Working Group, responsible for creating enterprise-grade applications on the Ethereum blockchain. The new members include law schools, legal departments of universities, academic institutions and leading global law firms.

According to the EEA, the swift expansion of the Legal Industry Working Group is due to the fact that an increased number of legal professionals are showing interest in blockchain technology. The Ethereum blockchain consortium believes this working group will serve as a base for the success of “various efforts taking place within the organization.”

“We are thrilled to see robust interest in blockchain technology by forward-looking law firms and institutions. Lawyers are poised to serve as the catalysts for blockchain technology, and the Legal Working Group will serve as a neutral space to explore blockchain-based legal technology, develop standards for “smart” legal agreements, support emerging enterprise use cases and tackle important policy issues raised by this new impactful technology,” Aaron Wright, Chair of the EEA Legal Industry Working Group, Associate Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Cardozo Law School’s Blockchain Project, and co-founder of the smart contract project OpenLaw, said in a statement.

The Legal Industry Working Group isn’t the only part of the blockchain collaboration to be experiencing a rapid growth in new members. On July 18, 2017, the EEA announced that the alliance had onboarded 34 new organizations, bringing the number of the participants to more than 150 members. The newly joined participants included Mastercard, Cisco, the Government of Andhra Pradesh (one of the 29 states of India), Scotiabank and many others.

Formed in late February 2017 by founding members such as Intel and J.P. Morgan, the EEA strives to create, promote and support open standards, best practices and open source reference architectures on the Ethereum blockchain. The consortium serves as the major research and development body of the Ethereum blockchain, helping Ethereum to evolve into an enterprise-grade technology. In terms of development and research, the EEA focuses on multiple areas, including privacy, confidentiality, scalability and security, as well as investigating hybrid architectures and industry-specific, application-layer working groups.

The 14 new members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance include:

Cooley, Debevoise & Plimpton, Goodwin, Hogan Lovells, Holland & Knight, Jones Day, Latham & Watkins, Morrison & Foerster, Perkins Coie, Shearman & Sterling, Cardozo Law School, Duke Center on Law & Technology, and the Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

In addition, existing members of the consortium will be joining the EEA Legal Industry Working Group, including BNY Mellon, ConsenSys, ING and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The post Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 12:45 pm

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

Bitcoin reaches new all-time high: $ 3,000

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

Expedia to accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings

Posted on 12 June 2014 | 12:41 pm

August 20, 2017 -
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