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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

Trust Your Odometer? Blockchain Test Aims to Turn Tide on Car Tampering

If you've ever bought a used car you'll understand why BigchainDB has developed a platform that tracks vehicle history on a blockchain.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 5:30 am

What is Bitcoin, what is its price in pound sterling and how does it work? - The Sun


The Sun

What is Bitcoin, what is its price in pound sterling and how does it work?
The Sun
THE controversial computer currency Bitcoin that's worth more than gold is a type of digital currency that was invented by an unknown developer. As it stands (Jul 21) a single bitcoin is worth £2,090 while a troy ounce of gold is worth $1,248 (£960 ...
Bitcoin.com's Cloud Mining Services Sees Record Growth - Bitcoin ...Bitcoin News (press release)
Bitcoin's great selling point, the distributed ledger, is now its weak linkThe Australian Financial Review
Cosmetics Giant Lush Accepts BitcoinCoinTelegraph
Bitcoinist -NDTV -The Merkle
all 16 news articles »

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 4:59 am

Arrested Hacker Claims $30 Million Bitcoin Theft – But Offers Little Proof

A Pennsylvania resident is claiming to have stolen millions in bitcoin, though he's offered police little in the way of evidence.

Source

Posted on 21 July 2017 | 4:00 am

It's not bitcoin or ethereum: This digital currency rose 3977% in the first half of 2017 - CNBC


CNBC

It's not bitcoin or ethereum: This digital currency rose 3977% in the first half of 2017
CNBC
Ripple, a San Francisco-based digital currency start-up, recorded $30 million worth of transactions in the second quarter of 2017 as 25 new exchanges listed its token, XRP. XRP finished the quarter priced at $0.263, up by 1,159 percent from the ...

and more »

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 10:14 pm

BIP 91 Has Locked In. Here’s What That Means (and What It Does Not)

BIP91.jpg

It looks as if Bitcoin is getting Segregated Witness.

Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91 (BIP 91) just locked in. Up to 90 percent of all hash power signaled support for this soft fork, which implies miners intend, in turn, to trigger Segregated Witness (SegWit) activation. By extension, this should make BIP 148 obsolete and August 1 a non-event.

But SegWit is not certain. In fact, on a technical level, SegWit is not any closer to activation at all.

BIP 91

Segregated Witness, defined by BIP 141, locks in if at least 95 percent of miners (by hash power) signal support for the upgrade within a two-week difficulty period. To do so, miners need to embed a piece of data called “bit 1” in the blocks they mine.

Importantly, this is technically the only way for SegWit to activate right now. And this threshold has not yet been met.

But there are alternative strategies to try and trigger this threshold “indirectly” — like BIP 91.

BIP 91 is a Bitcoin Improvement Proposal proposed by Bitmain Warranty engineer James Hilliard. It is compatible with the New York Agreement and backed by a number of Bitcoin companies and mining pools. It is also compatible with BIP 148, another strategy to trigger the BIP 141 threshold indirectly.

Miners have been signaling support for BIP 91 over the past couple of days through another piece of data, “bit 4.” Once 269 blocks within a 336-block window included bit 4, this BIP 91 soft fork locks in. This threshold was just met.

This means that after another 336 blocks, a little over two days from now, all BIP 91–compatible nodes will reject any block that doesn’t include bit 1.

As long as a majority of hash power enforces BIP 91, this majority should eventually control the longest valid chain according to all Bitcoin nodes. And as this chain consists of bit 1 SegWit-signaling blocks only, it would in turn lock in SegWit on all SegWit-ready nodes by mid-August. SegWit itself should then be live on the Bitcoin network after a two-week “grace period” by the end of that month.

If all goes well …

What Could Go Wrong?

Although well over 80 percent of hash power has signaled bit 4 for BIP 91 lock in, this doesn’t actually guarantee anything. Most importantly, it doesn’t in itself mean that these miners will signal bit 1 for SegWit.

Indeed, so far, most miners don’t. Currently, the proportion of miners signaling bit 1 is still far lower than BIP 91 activation would suggest. It is even lower than 50 percent.

Moreover, BIP 91 will probably be enforced by hardly any economically relevant nodes; that is, nodes operated by users that accept bitcoins as payment. Almost no Bitcoin users on the network recognize BIP 91 or its bit 4 signaling at all, and will therefore continue to accept blocks with or without bit 1.

BIP 91 will, instead, be enforced by hash power alone. This in turn means that a majority of miners (by hash power) could back out of BIP 91 with little more than reputational damage. They could continue to mine blocks that do not signal bit 1, even after BIP 91 activates in a few days. As long as these miners are in a majority, they will still control the longest valid chain: valid according to most miners, and valid to most users.

Furthermore, any minority of miners and the few nodes that do enforce the BIP 91 soft fork would then be forked off the Bitcoin network. In a few days from now, these miners would mine (on top of) blocks that almost only they themselves would care for, while most of the rest of the entire Bitcoin network would completely ignore them.

With this week’s bit 4 signaling, a majority of miners have effectively made a statement that they intend to start to activate the SegWit soft fork within a couple of days. But for now, that’s really all it is: a very public, blockchain-based statement of intent.

Actual SegWit activation should start next week, if miners stick to their stated intent.

The post BIP 91 Has Locked In. Here’s What That Means (and What It Does Not) appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 7:20 pm

BIP 91 Locks In: What This Means for Bitcoin and Why It's Not Scaled Yet

BIP 91 has officially locked in. At press time, bitcoin's miners, the network of computer operators that secure the blockchain, have now been signaling that they will upgrade the code for 269 blocks in the same signaling period, a move that takes the software one step closer to changing its structure to accommodate more transactions. Stepping back, […]

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 6:18 pm

Bitcoin Price Surges to One-Month High as Tech Outlook Improves

The price of bitcoin was up on Thursday, driven to a one-month high on optimism that the network's technology could soon upgrade.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 2:28 pm

Bitcoin bubble dwarfs tulip mania from 400 years ago, Elliott Wave analyst says - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin bubble dwarfs tulip mania from 400 years ago, Elliott Wave analyst says
CNBC
The Elliott Wave Theorist is a newsletter founded in 1979 by Robert Prechter, who used the Elliott Wave Principle to predict the 1987 stock market crash. In 2010, Prechter's son wrote a report for the newsletter about bitcoin's coming rise. Nearly ...

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 2:16 pm

White Hats Step In to Save Funds from Vulnerable Ether Wallets

White Hats Step In to Save Funds from Vulnerable Etherscan Wallets

At 11:30 a.m. (CDT) on July 19, 2017, a hacker managed to steal 153,000 ETH (approximately $32 million at the time) from three Ethereum wallets by exploiting a vulnerability within the wallets' multi-signature verification. The affected wallets include the ones using Parity client version 1.5 or later.

According to a tweet by Project Lead Manuel Aráoz, the three multisig wallets first targeted by the hack were using Parity client version 1.5 or later, and included Edgeless Casino, Swarm City and Æternity Blockchain. However, Project Blocktix also reported a loss totaling 3,916 ETH. According to ETHNews, Blocktix.io was hit by a second attacker who exploited the same vulnerability.

A Swarm City blog post revealed that a group of white hat hackers managed to secure the remaining funds from the affected ETH wallets using the same exploit. The swift response of the white hat hackers allowed them to secure the funds of other vulnerable projects. Unfortunately, funds in the wallets of Edgeless Casino, Swarm City and Æternity Blockchain are completely lost, though the “white hat response team” managed to secure 6,272 of 10,188 ETH at Blocktix.io.

The White Hat Group announced on Reddit that they will create “another multisig for you [the affected users] that has the same settings as your [the users’] old multisig but with the vulnerability removed and we will return your [the users’] funds to you [the users].” The response team warned the Reddit community to be careful with donation addresses below their post since there are “a lot of phishers in the community right now.”

On July 19, Parity Technologies published a critical security alert stating there was a vulnerability connected to Parity Wallets. The users affected by the vulnerability included “any user with assets in a multi-sig wallet created in Parity Wallet prior to 19/07/17 23:14:56 CEST.” The company urged users to move all assets from the multisig wallets to a secure address. Wallets seemingly unaffected by the breach include Geth, MyEtherWallet and single-user accounts created on Parity.

Parity updated its post as of today stating that future versions of their multisig wallets are secure:

“Future multi-sig wallets created by versions of Parity are secure (Fix in the code is https://github.com/paritytech/parity/pull/6103 and the newly registered code is https://etherscan.io/tx/0x5f0846ccef8946d47f85715b7eea8fb69d3a9b9ef2d2b8abcf83983fb8d94f5f).”

Swarm City also posted information for users affected by the hack:

“If you do have funds in the multisig contract: carefully move your funds to a new account ASAP. If your funds are no longer in your multisig, please check the Black hat and White hat addresses. They might have been saved by the White hat group.”

To check on funds held by either the black hat or the white hat hackers, see the ETH addresses below:

White Hat Group’s wallet: 0x1DBA1131000664b884A1Ba238464159892252D3a
First hacker’s wallet: 0xB3764761E297D6f121e79C32A65829Cd1dDb4D32
Second attacker’s wallet: 0x1Ff21eCa1c3ba96ed53783aB9C92FfbF77862584

The hacks have not only affected the wallets of the victims but also the overall price of ether. According to Coin Market Cap’s stats, the price experienced a 15 percent drop from $234.94 (at 0:04, July 19) to $199.70 at the end of the day. However, ETH has since recovered to around $227 today.

The post White Hats Step In to Save Funds from Vulnerable Ether Wallets appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 2:01 pm

Garza Pleads Guilty: GAW Miners CEO Cops to $9 Million Fraud

A notorious cryptocurrency executive plead guilty to a count of wire fraud on Thursday. He now faces up to 20 years in prison.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 1:20 pm

Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation

Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation

After darknet market AlphaBay went offline on July 4, many of its users migrated to Hansa Market — and played right into the hands of an “Operation Bayonet,” a coordinated international law enforcement action. Today, both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Europol published press releases stating that Hansa Market has also been shut down.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the action was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), with law enforcement authorities in Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and the Europol participating in the operation. Bayonet’s focus was takedown of both Hansa Market and AlphaBay in the course of the same multi-agency investigation.

“This is an outstanding success by authorities in Europe and the U.S. The capability of drug traffickers and other serious criminals around the world has taken a serious hit today after a highly sophisticated joint action in multiple countries. By acting together on a global basis the law enforcement community has sent a clear message that we have the means to identify criminality and strike back, even in areas of the Dark Web. There are more of these operations to come,” Rob Wainwright, the executive director of Europol, said today at a joint press conference with the U.S. Attorney General, the acting FBI director and the deputy director of the DEA in Washington, D.C.

According to Europol’s press release, the European agency provided Dutch authorities with an investigation lead on the Hansa Market in 2016. Europol allegedly acquired the information with the help of Bitdefender, an internet security company advising Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). Investigators managed to locate the infrastructure of the darknet marketplace in the Netherlands, which resulted in the arrest of two administrators of the site in Germany. Hansa’s servers were seized in the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania.

Furthermore, Dutch law enforcement acquired information on “high value targets and delivery addresses for a large number of orders.” With the help of Europol, the Dutch National Police collected information on approximately 10,000 foreign addresses of Hansa Market customers. In a covert action, Dutch law enforcement took control of Hansa a month ago, allowing investigators to monitor and gain information on the users of the marketplace without their knowledge.

Casting a Wider Net

It seems authorities planned their actions carefully since Hansa was already under their control when AlphaBay went offline on July 4. Europol stated that the Dutch National Police “could identify and disrupt the regular criminal activity on Hansa but then also sweep up all those new users displaced from AlphaBay who were looking for a new trading platform.”

“The Dutch National Police have located Hansa Market and taken over control of this marketplace since June 20, 2017. We have modified the source code, which allowed us to capture passwords, PGP-encrypted order information, IP-Addresses, Bitcoins and other relevant information that may help law enforcement agencies worldwide to identify users of this marketplace. For more information about this operation, please consult our hidden service at http://politiepcvh42eav.onion,” Dutch authorities wrote on the seized Hansa website.

In total, 38,000 transactions were identified by Europol, who then alerted other agencies in 600 cases. Furthermore, Europol stated they have prepared “intelligence packages” to be sent out to “law enforcement partners across 37 countries, spawning many follow-up investigations across Europe and beyond.”

AlphaBay went offline on July 4. At the time, many users suspected it was an exit scam. Authorities announced the arrest of the Alexandre Cazes, 26, the alleged administrator of the website, who was later found dead in his cell in Thailand. On the day of Cazes’s arrest, law enforcement took down servers of the dark web marketplace in Canada, the Netherlands and Thailand.

Darknet marketplaces have generated massive police heat after dangerous synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl — the substance at the heart of drug epidemics in multiple countries, including Canada and the United States — were constantly offered for sale on the websites. The statements of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the joint press release in Washington, D.C., confirm this assumption.

“Among other challenges, our great country is currently in the midst of the deadliest drug crisis in our history. One American now dies of a drug overdose every 11 minutes and more than 2 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers. Every day, as a result of drug abuse, American families are being bankrupted, friendships broken and promising lives cut short,” he said.

“As of earlier this year, 122 vendors advertised fentanyl and 238 advertised heroin, and we know of several Americans who were killed by drugs sold on AlphaBay.”

Sessions asserted that his department’s work is not yet finished and issued a warning to people still ready to engage in illegal activity on the dark web. “We will continue to find, arrest, prosecute, convict and incarcerate criminals, drug traffickers and their enablers, wherever they are. The dark net is not a place to hide. We will use every tool we have to stop criminals from exploiting vulnerable people and sending so many Americans to an early grave.”

The post Hansa Market Taken Down in Global Law Enforcement Operation appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 12:57 pm

Judge Blasts IRS Over Bitcoin Probe, Lets Coinbase Customer Fight Summons - Fortune


Fortune

Judge Blasts IRS Over Bitcoin Probe, Lets Coinbase Customer Fight Summons
Fortune
A federal judge granted a bitcoin owner the right to intervene in a closely watched court case involving the digital currency exchange Coinbase while also upbraiding the Internal Revenue Service's demand for potentially millions of customer records. In ...

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 12:50 pm

Bitcoin leaps 15% to highest in nearly a month on increased ... - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin leaps 15% to highest in nearly a month on increased ...
CNBC
Bitcoin jumped Thursday to its highest price in almost four weeks as digital currency developers appeared to come closer to an agreement that would prevent a ...

and more »

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 12:04 pm

Parity Wallet Hacker Cashes out $90,000 in Stolen Ether

Perpetrators who exploited a flaw in a popular ethereum wallet software yesterday have taken steps to sell their stolen funds.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 11:55 am

SegWit or Not, Bitfury is Getting Ready for Lightning With Successful Bitcoin Main Net Test

BitfuryLN.jpg

While Segregated Witness (SegWit) activation is looking more likely by the hour, Bitfury is getting ready to deploy a version of the Lightning network with or without the protocol upgrade.

The blockchain technology company, perhaps best known for its Bitcoin mining pool of the same name, successfully sent real bitcoins over a test version of the Lightning Network this week. Interestingly, Bitfury’s implementation of the technology is compatible with the current Bitcoin protocol and is therefore functional even without SegWit.

“This is a major accomplishment by our technical team and an important step forward for the Lightning Network and the growth of Bitcoin,” Valery Vavilov, CEO of The Bitfury Group, said in a statement.

Lightning Network

The Lightning Network is a highly anticipated second-layer scaling solution that allows for cheap and instant (micro)payments. Cleverly leveraging Bitcoin’s basic scripting capabilities, Lightning users should be able to make a virtually unlimited number of transactions, where only a minimal proportion of them are recorded on Bitcoin’s blockchain, thereby boosting Bitcoin’s scalability. Meanwhile, all users remain in control of their own bitcoins at all times, maintaining the trustless properties of Bitcoin itself.

“The Lightning Network has the potential to solve Bitcoin’s scalability issue and provide instant payment functionality. By demonstrating that the Lightning Network can function now, Bitfury has cleared the way to increased transaction processing and further adoption of Bitcoin,” Vavilov said.

Bitfury’s Lightning implementation is based on LND, which is being developed by Lightning Labs.

For its demo, the Bitfury software team created two Lightning transactions. One of these is a straight transaction from one Lightning node to the next, effectively simulating a payment channel between two users. Since it was only a test, Bitfury only made one transaction — but it could have made thousands back and forth at no extra cost.

The other test was a single-hop transaction, which better simulates the main purpose of the Lightning Network. Users pay each other through a mutual third party, without requiring any trust in this third party. While the Bitfury software team only made one transaction on this channel as well, it could, once again, have made thousands back and forth between all three parties, at no extra cost.

Since Bitfury’s test took place on the main net, the funding and settlement transactions are recorded on Bitcoin’s blockchain and can be seen by any typical block explorer.

Tests and SegWit

Bitfury’s is not the first successful test of the Lightning Network. Several companies, including Lightning Labs, Blockstream, ACINQ as well as Bitfury itself have experimented with their implementations of the technology. But since most of these companies are working on versions of Lightning that rely on Segregated Witness, these tests were limited to Bitcoin’s testnet and Litecoin. Likewise, major wallet service Blockchain has sent “Thunder” transactions over Bitcoin’s main net. But while Thunder resembles the Lightning protocol, it isn’t quite as trustless or decentralized.

As such, Bitfury is the first company to get a version of the Lightning Network up and running on the current Bitcoin protocol.

“We released this first experimental version of the Lightning Network for Bitcoin because we think the Lightning Network is an essential technology for Bitcoin and would love to see it made available as soon as possible,” Vavilov said. “We are proud that our developers found a way to adopt the Lightning Network for Bitcoin without SegWit. It’s a huge step forward for Bitcoin scalability.”

Regardless, the CEO noted that he is hopeful that SegWit will activate on the Bitcoin network. With BIP91 currently getting close to its activation threshold, it seems increasingly likely that SegWit could be live within a month. This would allow for a version of the Lightning Network that offers an improved user experience.

Vavilov:

“The Lightning Network will be the most effective when used with SegWit, which is why we are fully committed to SegWit’s implementation, and we will continue working on a version of the Lightning Network that is compatible with SegWit.”  

Bitfury, which started out as a Bitcoin miner, has grown to become one of the largest private infrastructure providers in the Blockchain ecosystem. Part of this effort, the company has been supporting the development and implementation of the Lightning Network for well over a year. Bitfury previously also co-designed and successfully tested Flare, a payment-routing solution for the Lightning Network.

Watch the video of Bitfury’s tests here:



The post SegWit or Not, Bitfury is Getting Ready for Lightning With Successful Bitcoin Main Net Test appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 10:55 am

Ripple Reports Uptick in Investor XRP Interest as Sales Triple in Q2

A new report from Ripple suggests institutional investors are increasingly interested in its native cryptocurrency.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 9:45 am

Bitcoin explodes above $2500 - Business Insider


Business Insider

Bitcoin explodes above $2500
Business Insider
Bitcoin is soaring on Thursday, trading up 13.01% at $2,576 a coin. The cryuptocurrency continues to rally as traders look ahead to the August 1 decision on whether or not bitcoin will be split in two. Thursday's gain has the cryptocurrency up 40% from ...
Bitcoin recovers from crash to surge above $2500Express.co.uk
Bitcoin Prices Rebound as Crypto-Market Shows Signs of StabilityHacked

all 7 news articles »

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 7:59 am

'Bitcoin Sign Guy' Has a New Job, But He's Keeping His Identity Secret

A now-famous bitcoin supporter known for his promotional stunt during a US congressional hearing has landed an internship.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 7:00 am

Non-Profits See Blockchain Vision, But Face Harsh Realities

Non-profits are fast waking up to the possibilities offered by blockchain, but implementing real-world solutions will be anything but easy.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 6:00 am

Bitcoin Startups Advise Caution as Scaling Proposals Collide

With a number of developer proposals set to collide in the coming days, exchanges are issuing policy updates for bitcoin users.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 5:00 am

Indian IT Trade Association Sets up Blockchain Special Interest Group

A new special interest group has been formed in India to investigate and promote blockchain technology domestically.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 3:30 am

People Trust Cryptocurrencies over Gold, Says Wall Street 'Dean of Valuation'

A renowned finance expert has issued new comments on the valuation and possible impact of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 2:10 am

$30 Million: Ether Reported Stolen Due to Parity Wallet Breach

A security bug in a major ethereum wallet has resulted in the loss of $30 million in funds.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 2:44 pm

'Mistake' Corrected: Overstock Invests in Blockchain Startup Symbiont

Overstock's investment arm has backed Symbiont following the successful passage of the Delaware blockchain amendments.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 1:59 pm

Texas Congressman: Cryptocurrenices Must Not Enable Terrorists

A Texas Congressman is seeking to make public his views on cryptocurrency regulation following a hearing in Washington.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 11:06 am

Supercluster Funding Bid Could Supercharge Blockchain Development in Canada

Supercluster Funding Bid Could Supercharge Blockchain Technology in Canada

Four organizations in Canada’s blockchain tech sector are going all out this week to submit their application letter to the federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) before the July 21 deadline to be considered for funding under the government’s new Innovation Superclusters Initiative.

A representative for Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains told Bitcoin Magazine that “the Innovation Superclusters Initiative will invest nearly $1 billion to strengthen up to five of Canada's most promising clusters,”  and confirmed that “federal contributions to selected superclusters will have to be matched with private sector investment for maximum impact.”

The Blockchain Research Institute (BRI), ColliderX, the Blockchain Association of Canada (BAC) and the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) have teamed up to apply for some of the $950 million offered by the Canadian government for the best bids in future technologies that the government says will create “Silicon Valley-style hubs of industry key to future growth and jobs.”

ColliderX aims to accelerate core technical R&D at levels that will support innovation in Canada and position the sector as a tech leader overseas. BRI contributes the business-level use cases, setting the agenda for strategy leaders. BAC is a major advocacy organization, and ICTC is a long-time, established industry player, well known to high-tech businesses in Canada.

Blockchain Association of Canada: Call to Action

Kyle Kemper, Executive Director of the Blockchain Association of Canada, is working on the supercluster application letter of intent and told us the only thing they’re short of is time to get their application in to the ministry.

He pointed out that it is imperative that blockchain companies and organizations express their support for and commitment to the bid before the application deadline.

“This supercluster initiative is an opportunity to take blockchain technology mainstream and for Canada to take a lead role,” Kemper told Bitcoin Magazine. “In the bid process we are receiving unanimous support from public, private, academic, philanthropic and non-profit organizations.”

If the group manages to secure $50 million in funding commitments from these organizations as part of a successful bid, the federal government will match the next $50 million for each supercluster. The commitments and matched funds will be spread over 5 years, according to the proposal.

Blockchain Research Institute: No Room for Complacency

Don Tapscott, Executive Director of the BRI, notes that many of the other bids like AI, machine learning, the Internet of Things and Quantum are all dependent on blockchain technology as a foundation.

“The blockchain supercluster proposal is late to the table in part because this extraordinary technology is just becoming mainstream,” Tapscott told Bitcoin Magazine. “But it’s no less important than any of the others. In fact, it’s foundational to everything else.”

In a report called The Blockchain Corridor: Building an Innovation Economy in the 2nd Era of the Internet, Don and Alex Tapscott lay out a blueprint for a blockchain tech supercluster and Centre of Excellence in the already highly active “corridor” between Toronto and Waterloo, Ontario.

The report says:

“We cannot afford to be complacent, nor is time on our side. Canada’s leading position in the Blockchain Revolution could quickly evaporate as other hotbeds around the world, such as Berlin, Singapore, Shanghai, Tokyo, Sydney, London and New York (to say nothing of Silicon Valley) race ahead. The time to act is now.”

According to the report, the corridor could collectively generate around 170,000 new jobs and around $17 billion in GDP by the year 2025.

Tapscott added:

“Blockchain represents nothing less than the second era of the Internet. The first was based in Silicon Valley. As we show in the Blockchain Corridor Report, the second could be based in Canada.

“I’m convinced that we can find $50 million from the private sector for this initiative. So I sure hope that governments will ensure we have a seat at the table going forward to make our case.”

ColliderX: The Underdog Challenge

Bid partner ColliderX is a new non-profit social enterprise working to promote and develop R&D initiatives in the Canadian blockchain tech sector.

ColliderX founder and CEO Iliana Oris Valiente notes that the four bid partner organizations complement each other to create a dynamic supercluster.

“Being considered by ISED to move on to the next stage of the selection process will be a win for the blockchain industry as it will signal Canada's support of this ecosystem,” Valiente said to Bitcoin Magazine.

“We're certainly the underdog in this scenario but are promoting a truly new industry, rather than continued investments in areas that are already more established.”

Information and Communications Technology Council

ICTC is an established industry player that brings a wealth of experience in economic development activities and will be involved in bridging the gap between the blockchain industry and a wider segment of the business and political community.

Namir Anani, President & CEO of ICTC, believes that competition to win supercluster funding will be tough but notes that small- and medium-sized entreprises (like most blockchain startups) represent the large majority of Canada's competitive businesses.

Anani says they will make the point that blockchain technology is a cross-industry enabler and a key catalyst for heightening small business growth and competitiveness in Canada.

Anani told Bitcoin Magazine:

“The global blockchain market is growing at a staggering CAGR [Compound Annual Growth Rate] of 58.7 percent, according to Transparency Market Research. Capitalizing on this fast growth market is key for Canada's economy and employment potential going forward.

“As Canada continues to expand its trade agreements in an increasingly global market, such as with the newly ratified Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreements (CETA), blockchain is a pivotal trade enabler for fast-tracking Canada's place in the global economy.”

Making the Deadline

Valiente is confident that crowdfunding will bring in the needed amounts. To date, she has raised $2 million in pledges on behalf of ColliderX, which will be rolled into the supercluster. 

Anani is also confident the private sector will come forward and is passionate about selling the supercluster bid.

“Blockchain has the potential of reshaping all aspects of the global economy in the next number of years, building Canada’s comparative advantage in this space is paramount going forward. The Blockchain Supercluster is a powerful pan-Canadian collaboration that will unleash cross-industry innovations, new economic opportunities and employment prospects for Canadians.”

Kemper reiterated the need for industry support in order for the initiative to succeed. “I urge all organizations that support Blockchain technology and organizations looking to better understand the potential to go to blockchainsc.ca, fill out a letter of commitment and share this news to rally more people to the cause by 12:00 EST on Friday, July 21.”

Thus far, C4 and the Institute on Governance are among those supporting the bid as sponsors.

The group has until December 31, 2017, to raise the remaining supercluster-specific private-sector funding.

The post Supercluster Funding Bid Could Supercharge Blockchain Development in Canada appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 11:00 am

Mystery Coinbase Customer Steps up in Fight to Quash IRS Tax Hunt

A new plaintiff is emerging as a potential key player in a case pitting cryptocurrency startup Coinbase versus the IRS.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 9:35 am

Research Finds Design Flaws in Scaling Proposal Bitcoin Unlimited

New research has provided a rare academic lens to the conversation on how to best scale bitcoin's technology for more users.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 7:45 am

The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node, Half Work of Art

The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node and Half Work of Art

Bitcoin is a decentralized system of digital cash in which users don’t need to trust anyone else with their money; however, the full benefits of this technology are only seen when users operate a full node on the network. The vast majority of Bitcoin users do not operate their own full nodes, but one man is trying to change that with a piece of hardware he calls the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr.

There are many good reasons for individual Bitcoiners to operate a full node. Full nodes are responsible for validating transactions and blocks on the Bitcoin network. Only by running full nodes can users know with full certainty that they received a valid payment. Additionally, the more users that run full nodes, the more decentralized the Bitcoin network is, making it harder to shut down or corrupt.

And as Sia Co-Founder David Vorick pointed out in a talk at this year’s MIT Bitcoin Expo, those who do not operate their own full nodes do not get a say in the matter when hard forks are deployed on the network. “If you’re not running a full node … your opinion on whether or not you like a hard fork is less relevant because, ultimately, if you’re not validating the rules and someone gives you a transaction following a different rule set, you don’t have a way to detect that,” he explained.

Running a full node, however, has been a rather expensive proposition. As a result, larger, economically invested entities that are better able to support full nodes have had more of a say.

According to Vorick, users can be dragged along with miners and large businesses if the cost of running a full node is too high: “If full nodes are expensive to run, only people who are capable of running nodes really have any say in what happens in a contentious upgrade.”

Matthew Zipkin is the man behind the Bitcoin Block Clock. A sound engineer by trade, he has been working in his spare time on creating full nodes that are both affordable and fun to use. During a recent discussion with Bitcoin Magazine, Zipkin revealed his desire to create a piece of hardware for operating a low-cost Bitcoin full node that isn’t boring.

A Bitcoin Full Node That Isn’t Boring

When commenting on his reasoning for creating the Bitcoin Block Clock, Zipkin pointed to the full node devices made by Bitnodes before they were acquired by 21.

“I always wanted one, but they disappeared when they got bought out, so I decided to build my own,” said Zipkin.

While there are other full node options out there, such as Bitseed, Zipkin wanted to make something that was more than a piece of computer hardware that would sit on the floor next to a router. Zipkin wanted to turn a Bitcoin full node into a work of art, and that’s exactly what he did.

Zipkin built the first version of the Bitcoin Block Clock last year, and it was on display at the SF Bitcoin Meetup’s “Proof of Art” event in May of 2016. After receiving positive feedback at the event and on Reddit, Zipkin decided to make a smaller version of the full node hardware to sell.

The Bitcoin Block Clock included a screen that displayed various live information about the Bitcoin network. Zipkin put the original version of the Bitcoin Block Clock for sale on OpenBazaar and Purse.io, but it hasn’t sold.

“I priced it pretty high because it’s art and I love it and kind of want to keep it,” explained Zipkin. “So of course it still has not sold.”

Creating the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. With Bcoin

In an effort to create a version of the Bitcoin Block Clock that could be produced at a lower price, Zipkin turned to Raspberry Pi Zero and Bcoin, which is an implementation of the Bitcoin protocol written in Node.js.

“I discovered Bcoin was super easy to install and use, and the codebase was easier for me to review because it’s in Javascript instead of C++, and was built from scratch by a small group of developers (basically just two guys), so everything is really well labeled and consistent,” explained Zipkin.

Of course, the problem with using SPV mode is that it’s not a full node and the device won’t receive all of the information related to a new Bitcoin block as it’s mined on the network. Zipkin opted for the pruned full node option in Bcoin in an effort to lower the system resources required to operate the node on Raspberry Pi Zero.

“With pruning, I get all the fun block details I wanted to display,” said Zipkin. “I even submitted a pull request (which got merged!) to Bcoin to make my application work even easier.”

Zipkin described the LED displays on the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. as follows:

“The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. has two LED rings. The outer ring of 24 LEDs indicates recent blocks. Each LED represents 2 minutes, and they “tick” clockwise around the ring. The color of the LED is determined by the block’s version (BIP 9 version bits combined with keywords from the Coinbase scriptSig like “/EXTBLK” or “/EB1/AD6/”). The inner 16-LED ring indicates the progress of the current difficulty period (2,016 blocks, or about two weeks). It starts blue and gradually turns more and more red as the meter fills up. The tiny little display screen indicates some details about the latest block: height, size, version (and extra scriptSig version) and the adjustment period progress. I added a little web interface so I could turn the lights off at night without having to SSH into the Pi every time.”

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An Economical Way to Contribute to the Network

While Zipkin noted that the original Bitcoin Block Clock displays much more information and also comes with full wallet functionality, he also pointed out that the latest model proves that Bitcoin users only need about $20 to run their own full nodes (at least in pruned mode).

Having said that, Zipkin admitted that the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. can struggle to keep up with the network at times.

“Bcoin plus my Python script and all the GPIO display output just barely hangs in there on this tiny underpowered computer,” said Zipkin. “The Python script has a method to restart Bcoin when it crashes and monitor it as it catches up to the network.”

All of the technical details of the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. are open source and can be found on GitHub.

Zipkin has now placed the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. for sale on OpenBazaar and Purse.io.

The post The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node, Half Work of Art appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 3:17 pm

This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions

This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions

Samourai Wallet is becoming increasingly popular as a wallet that focuses on privacy and security for its users above all else, but a recent tool released by this wallet’s team of developers has a focus on user experience. The new app, called Bitcoin Afterburner, allows users of many different bitcoin wallets to boost transactions that have become stuck due to low fees.

The app works for transactions that have been sent or received, and it is compatible with all BIP 39 and BIP 44 wallets. Examples of compatible wallets include Mycelium, Blockchain.info, Airbitz and Electrum.

To get more details about Bitcoin Afterburner and the concept of fee bumping in general, Bitcoin Magazine reached out to the anonymous CEO of Samourai Wallet.

“Afterburner is one more example of how we are experimenting and developing ways of monetizing our business without resorting to accepting fiat or exposing our users to harmful KYC/AML collection,” said the CEO.

Samourai Wallet monetizes the Bitcoin Afterburner app by adding a $5.99 fee for helping users with their stuck transactions. This fee is added to the child-pays-for-parent (CPFP) transaction that is used to bump the user’s bitcoin transaction fee. CPFP is a process by which the recipient of a transaction can spend the inputs of an unconfirmed transaction by using them in a new transaction that has a higher fee (and incentivizes miners to mine both transactions at once).

The full question and answer session with the CEO of Samourai Wallet can be read below.


Bitcoin Magazine: Will fee bumping eventually become the norm on Bitcoin?

Samourai Wallet: We believe that over time as legitimate transactions start to fill block space, and a fee market begins to mature, wallets that have implemented sophisticated fee management mechanisms such as fee bumping will provide their users with the most competitive transaction fees and confirmation times. The tech is there today, the challenge — and it isn't a small challenge — is entirely UX. We're working on this today while others are playing catch-up.

BM: Could you compare and contrast this app with the transaction accelerators offered by ViaBTC and BTC.com?

SW: The difference between the miner operated TX Accelerators is that Afterburner is not an off-chain 1-to-1 with a specific miner. Instead, Afterburner broadcasts a bitcoin transaction to all miners using the standard bitcoin p2p network. All the miners on the network compete for the new transaction with the higher fee, meaning it often works much quicker than the miner operated TX Accelerators. Afterburner was very much a defensive response to the miners who have been blocking SegWit activation and broadcasting empty blocks, some of those same miners are the ones who run the TX Accelerators.

BM: Is Bitcoin Afterburner getting much use so far?

SW: Afterburner has a good number of installs, but not many paid 'Boosts.' A few days after we released Afterburner the transaction backlog that was driving up fees and confirmation times completely dried up. The fees required for next block confirmation dropped from 300 sat/b to 25 sat/b. Once the mempool gets saturated again, we will have a much better idea of the potential utility of the app.

BM: Why do you think more wallet providers don’t offer this sort of service?

SW: Many wallet providers — inexplicably the most well-funded ones are the most guilty — haven't invested any time into proper fee estimation and management until very recently. A misguided industry-driven quest to make the bitcoin wallet for “grandma” resulted in an unusable bitcoin wallet for actual users. Samourai has focused from inception on actual bitcoin users first.

BM: Do you think this sort of fee bumping will eventually be free? Does Samourai Wallet offer fee bumping like this natively or do they need to use this separate app?

SW: Samourai Wallet provides the exact same functionality as Afterburner natively. Afterburner was designed to allow users of any other BIP 44 HD wallet to boost their stuck transaction using CPFP (Child-Pays-for-Parent) under the hood. Hopefully they move over to Samourai Wallet if they are satisfied with the service. In addition to CPFP-based boosting more advanced users may opt-in to RBF-based boosting which is also available in the wallet. Both options are available to Samourai Wallet users free of charge.

The post This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 9:48 am

Bitcoin Price Analysis: This Bear Still Has Some Bite Left in It

Bitcoin Price Analysis

In just a few short days, the BTC-USD price dropped nearly $700 in value in a move that consequently managed to drop the entire crypto-market by almost 25 percent:

market_capFigure 1: BTC-USD Market Cap

Leading up to this weekend’s drop in BTC-USD price, several previous BTC-USD market breakdowns (click here and here for details) tracked the progress of a massive Head and Shoulders Pattern. The estimated price target of the Head and Shoulders pattern left the previous market value of $2,400 poised to drop steeply to $1,800. If you are reading this article, you are probably wondering what the heck just happened and if the carnage is going to continue ...

First, let’s take a look at how the market reacted to the completion of this Head and Shoulders pattern and then extrapolate what that may mean for the overall trend of BTC-USD. The figure below shows the key support levels that were broken during the fall this weekend:

BTC_Macro_HS_Support_Lvls_jpg.jpgFigure 2: BTC-USD, 6-hr Candles, GDAX, Head and Shoulders Key Support Levels

After the initial breakout of the Head and Shoulders, the price took a steep plunge downward. Ultimately, after several days of a strong bear market (and several significant support levels broken), we reached our price target of $1,800 before bouncing and beginning the process of retesting crucial support (now turned resistance) levels:

BTCUSD_HS_Breakthrough_jpeg.jpgFigure 3: BTC-USD, 6-hr Candles, GDAX, Broken Support Levels

With very little effort, the BTC-USD market managed to reach its price target and appears to be making a recovery — but is this a fake-out? Are we bouncing back to our previous trend? Not likely. Below are some of the more glaring reasons why I think this bear still has some bite left in it.

On the higher timescales, BTC-USD is actually showing strength in downward momentum of this move. No MACD divergence (loss in market momentum) is visible. The lack of macro-trend divergence indicates that the market still has plenty of downward pull left in it before it strongly begins to resist the lower prices.

BTCUSD_No_Diverg_jpeg.jpgFigure 4: BTC-USD, 12-hr Candles, GDAX, No Divergence

On a smaller, one-hour scale, the market is strongly diverging in a bearish fashion. Although the market had a decent rebound off the bottom of the recent run, it is quickly losing steam (indicated by the divergence shown on the 1-hr MACD and labeled in pink). Not only is it diverging on the 1-hr MACD, across the length of the bear run, the market doesn’t seem comfortable maintaining the downward momentum across multiple bearish/bullish periods (shown in yellow):

BTCUSD_1HR_jpeg.jpgFigure 5: BTC-USD, 1-hr Candles, GDAX, 1HR Bearish Divergence

It’s nearly impossible to predict the true bottom of a sustained bear or bull market, so it is very important to keep an eye on the market and constantly update your perspective. At the moment, there are several indicators that BTC-USD has a sustained bear market in its future. And, as we’ve seen over the course of several weeks: what brings Bitcoin down brings everyone down.

Summary:

  1. The Head and Shoulders pattern predicted in previous articles completed its price target of $1,800.

  2. There are multiple signs that the BTC-USD bear market still has downward momentum left in it.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin 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: This Bear Still Has Some Bite Left in It appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 July 2017 | 1:47 pm

BitPay CEO Stephen Pair Talks Bitcoin Hard Forks, SegWit2x and Sidechains

BitPay CEO Stephen Pair Talks Bitcoin Hard Forks, SegWit2x and Sidechains

BitPay has been very much focused on the issues around transaction capacity on the Bitcoin network lately, which eventually led them to support the New York Agreement (also known as SegWit2x). In comments shared with Bitcoin Magazine, BitPay CEO Stephen Pair clarified the company’s view on the SegWit2x proposal and hard forks more generally.

While Pair has indicated that BitPay is working on off-chain payment solutions unrelated to the often-touted lightning network, BitPay would also like to see on-chain capacity increase by way of a hard fork during this “critical stage” of the technology’s adoption by more users.

In the interview, Pair noted that BitPay understands the concerns around implementing a hard-forking increase to the block size limit, but he also added that SegWit2x is the best option for scaling available right now.

You can read all of Pair’s responses to questions from Bitcoin Magazine below.

Bitcoin Magazine: When you were on Let’s Talk Bitcoin a few months ago, you said you didn’t think a hard fork would be a good idea at the time and Bitcoin would still be fine if it never forked, but now you are pushing SegWit2x. So, what changed?

Stephen Pair: Actually, I said that I didn’t think a contentious hard fork to Bitcoin Unlimited was the best way of increasing on-chain capacity.

Our view is that you need balance between the cost of putting a transaction in the blockchain and the cost of running a full node. Both will get increasingly expensive as Bitcoin adoption grows, but the system doesn’t make any sense to us if either one is substantially more expensive than the other.

At the moment we are in favor of SegWit2x because it is the least contentious option for activating SegWit (which will enable layer 2 payments innovation) while simultaneously alleviating congestion in the short term. Our view might be different if Bitcoin wasn’t at a critical stage of adoption (it is), or 2 MB blocks were a risk to the system (it isn’t), or layer 2 payments were production ready (they aren’t). At some point even layer 2 payments are going to put an immense amount of capacity pressure on layer 1.

The debate in the community is no longer primarily big block vs. small block; it is extremists on either side vs. moderates. SegWit2x allows most of the community to remain on the same chain for at least a little while longer. If SegWit2x fails, then we will likely have a chain split sooner rather than later, which, by the way, isn’t necessarily all bad. It would allow more freedom for people to pursue their vision of scaling. In many ways a split would make Bitcoin twice as likely to succeed.

BM: In a perfect world, would you prefer to activate SegWit now and then take a wait-and-see approach on a hard-forking increase to the block size limit?

SP: No, we believe a modest on-chain capacity increase is important as well. The concerns that many people have about doing so are related to increasing the cost of running a full node, the governance precedent it might set, and that increasing on-chain capacity becomes the path of least resistance and will reduce the incentive for layer 2 innovations. We fully understand and share these concerns, as I believe most supporters of SegWit2x do, but we still believe it’s the best of the available options.

BM: What are your thoughts on implementing a big block sidechain (federated or Drivechain) as a way to increase capacity while not affecting system requirements for running a main chain full node? Or would you prefer an extension block?

SP: There are many fans of Drivechain at BitPay and we are very optimistic about it. In fact, as we were working with the bcoin team on extension blocks, the topic of Drivechain came up quite a bit. I really wanted to figure out if there was an opportunity to enhance the extension block work into Drivechain (and there may yet be). The extension block implementation was simply a way of achieving a block size increase without requiring a hard fork, but we don’t view it as a long-term capacity solution.

I also want to mention UASF. While we like the idea of miners making informed decisions related to consensus rules based on the needs of their users (like us), we think an activist-led deployment of a soft fork is extremely dangerous. The plan for deploying extension blocks would likely have taken a very similar approach. We believe that the only appropriate and peaceful response to a failure to gain the support of the hashrate majority would be to create a safe hard fork with re-org and replay protection. In order to protect itself, we think the community should unambiguously reject the notion of an activist-led soft fork deployment.

Lastly, BitPay is going to follow the hashrate majority in the immediate and foreseeable future. That means that whatever consensus changes the hashrate majority adopts, we will as well. That is really the only option for us and our customers. In the longer term, if a fork of Bitcoin emerges that we think might better serve our needs and the needs of our customers, we may evaluate a transition to that fork. But at the present time, we believe the consensus changes embodied in SegWit2x are acceptable.

The post BitPay CEO Stephen Pair Talks Bitcoin Hard Forks, SegWit2x and Sidechains appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 July 2017 | 1:38 pm

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

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Bitcoin Trading Bots

There have been a wide variety of situations in which algorithmic trading programs have proven to be beneficial for investors. However, investors who only trade a cryptocurrency can also take advantage of bitcoin trading bots. Through bitcoin bot trading, traders can become more flexible and prompt, minimize errors and process information more rapidly. At this… Read More »

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 6:20 pm

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

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 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

Bitcoin Core version 0.9.1 released

Posted on 8 April 2014 | 4:27 pm

July 21, 2017 -
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