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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

Coinbase: Bitcoin's spike into the stratosphere is unlikely due to firms buying to pay cyber ransoms - CNBC


CNBC

Coinbase: Bitcoin's spike into the stratosphere is unlikely due to firms buying to pay cyber ransoms
CNBC
Adam White, head of Coinbase's digital currency exchange, dispelled the notion that bitcoin's nearly 50 percent rise over the past two weeks can be traced to the global WannaCry attack. The ransomware that started crippling computers on May 12 demands ...

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 7:37 am

Skeptical of ICOs? Investor Vinny Lingham Can Change Your Mind With a Marker

The blockchain startup launched by Gyft founder Vinny Lingham is planning to launch an ICO.

Source

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 6:30 am

Day of Demos: Blockchain-IoT Consortium Kicks Off With Use Cases Aplenty

At the Trusted IoT Alliance event on Thursday, a convergence between two nascent industries – blockchain and IoT – was apparent in a day of demos.

Source

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 4:45 am

Japan, South Korea drive global bitcoin prices as retail investor pile in - Reuters


Reuters

Japan, South Korea drive global bitcoin prices as retail investor pile in
Reuters
HONG KONG Japanese and South Korean buying helped drive the price of bitcoin to an all-time high this week, with the digital currency more than doubling its value since the start of the year, analysts and market practitioners said on Friday. Frenzied ...
Bitcoin is making a big comebackMarkets Insider
Bitcoin is going wild - here's what the cryptocurrency is all aboutBusiness Insider
Ethereum, the bitcoin rival that has rallied 2700%, is headed for a 38% correction, analyst saysCNBC
TechCrunch -ScienceAlert -PYMNTS.com
all 100 news articles »

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 3:58 am

Bitcoin rival Ripple is suddenly sitting on many billions of dollars worth of currency - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin rival Ripple is suddenly sitting on many billions of dollars worth of currency
CNBC
The business is still in its very early days but suddenly has billions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency on its balance sheet. Ripple, which built a digital payments network for real-time financial transactions, is also the creator and biggest owner ...

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 3:11 am

How to mine Bitcoin on Mac - Macworld UK


Macworld UK

How to mine Bitcoin on Mac
Macworld UK
Bitcoin, the digital currency, is making headlines these days as it continues to increase in value and is accepted in an increasing number of retailers and other businesses. So how can you get in on this exciting new form of virtual cash? And is it ...

Posted on 26 May 2017 | 3:10 am

SALT Enables Traditional Lending Secured by Cryptocurrency

SALT Enables Traditional Lending Secured by Cryptocurrency

A new startup in Denver, Colorado has set out to take on the blockchain-based lending market. Secured Automated Lending Technology, or SALT for short, is a membership-based financial enterprise with its eyes set on being recognized as the first lending platform to facilitate loans collateralized by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Touted as “traditional lending secured by cryptocurrency,” SALT will allow members to leverage assets like bitcoin and ether for loan collateral. This new platform, which will be tethered to Ethereum ERC20 smart contracts, will enable borrowers to tap into “capital on demand” via its ecosystem of lenders. The major value proposition is that it provides a mechanism for supporting the value of investor holdings, while simplifying all aspects of the loan process and leveraging the power of a blockchain-centric lending market.

The following scenario illustrates a typical use case for SALT: imagine if you sold out your entire bitcoin holdings in 2016 for a luxury purchase, only to see the price shoot to the moon in 2017, resulting in a loss of all that you might have gained over the course of that period had you held on to your bitcoins.

With SALT, an investor who has collateral they wish to retain can leverage their crypto-assets for a loan. This allows them to maintain a long position with their assets while creating a greater set of options with their taxes.

The SALT loan process consists of four primary steps:

  1. Loan Creation: a borrower sets up a membership account and then forwards their collateral to the SALT Oracle Wallet. This is a multi-signature blockchain wallet that functions as a repository for collateral while automatically managing the lending terms.

  2. The loan funds, once approved, are transferred to the borrower’s bank account.

  3. Loan Repayment: a borrower makes timely, periodic payments to the lender.

  4. Loan Completion: upon repayment of the loan, the borrower will have their collateral returned.

SALT doesn’t perform credit checks on borrowers but does conduct full Anti-money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) verification checks. Loans made via the platform are denominated in and repaid with traditional currencies.

Cryptocurrency assets are used only by the recipient as collateral for the loans. Borrowers can choose to pay off their loans early without being subjected to a prepayment penalty.

SALT members are not required to possess blockchain assets in order to lend on the platform. Lenders must be accredited investors in accordance with federal regulations and guidelines established by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. They must also pass SALT’s Lending Suitability Test.

At the time of the company’s soft launch, Shawn Owen, CEO of SALT, told Bitcoin Magazine, “Currently, if you are a holder of blockchain assets, a large chunk of your financial wealth is not being recognized by lenders. With SALT, we see a future where virtually all of the world’s value is on blockchains, with lending reflective of our globally connected, digitized lives.”

Owen says he left his full-time job in 2016, intrigued by the idea of a lending platform that could leverage billions of dollars of untapped cryptocurrencies. “I saw this trend where the vast majority of Bitcoiners just wanted to hold on to their assets. With this realization, the light bulbs all went off, which prompted me to go full blast with SALT. I haven’t really looked back since.”  

When asked about how he came up with name SALT, Owen has this to say: “We liked the name because ‘salt’ was historically the first well-known commodity-based money. Our version of SALT is a way to articulate what we do: taking blockchain technology and smart contracts and building lending terms and everything revolving around credit products and putting them into smart contracts in a more automatic and secure way.”

Owen says many in the Bitcoin community have at one point or another experienced a situation where they have sold because they felt that they had a good gain, only to look back and realize that they had missed a massive opportunity. And in that sale, notes Owen, they most likely had to worry about capital gains tax counting and were now wishing they could go back in time six months and have all that ether or bitcoin back.

In terms of emerging trends in the blockchain lending space, Owen points to the massive growth in the number of cryptocurrencies coming online and the innovation associated with them. He says that although it will be a bumpy ride, he believes we’ll continue to see more and more of the world’s value accounted for on distributed ledgers and on blockchains.

“I see a world where large portfolios will be made up of digital assets and they will be much more granular abilities to lend against these portfolios in a much higher liquid form than what we have today. This, I am certain, will solve a lot of the liquidity inefficiencies in the market.”  

Though SALT is currently operating only in the U.S., Owen anticipates making a quick move into Ireland, followed most likely by Canada. “The big picture we are striving for is to create the mechanisms with which lending terms of any type, between any person or individual, whether it be business or not, can interact in a peer-to-peer way with contracts that are enforceable without counterparty risk.”

Erik Voorhees, founder and CEO of ShapeShift and a member of SALT’s board of directors, commented, “SALT’s disruptive innovation is an important project for broadening the usefulness and global reach of blockchain technology.”

The post SALT Enables Traditional Lending Secured by Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 7:29 pm

Fred Wilson throws a little cold water on bitcoin enthusiasts - CNBC


CNBC

Fred Wilson throws a little cold water on bitcoin enthusiasts
CNBC
"I've been trying to transact with bitcoin and a lot of cryptocurrencies for a long time. It's not that rewarding to do, honestly," Wilson, managing partner at Union Square Ventures, said Thursday at the Token Summit. "It will probably be a long time ...
Pact to Speed Up Bitcoin Drives Digital Currency to Record HighBloomberg
Bitcoin Surges to Another Record, This Time Passing $2500Fortune
Bitcoin: First It's Up...Then It's DownBarron's
Motley Fool -The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines -Medium
all 116 news articles »

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 4:49 pm

Is Bitcoin A Bubble? - Forbes


Forbes

Is Bitcoin A Bubble?
Forbes
We talked yesterday about run up in bitcoin. The price of bitcoin jumped another 14% today before falling back. As I said yesterday, it looks like Chinese money is finding it's way out of China (despite the capital controls) and finding a home in ...

and more »

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 4:22 pm

Crypto Traders See Red As Profit Taking Fuels Price Pullback

Profit taking caused crypto prices to suffer notable declines.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 4:20 pm

Blockchain Entrepreneurs Target Apple and Google at Token Summit

The Token Summit was held today, showcasing how a blockchain-based economy may be on the horizon with real-world applications that serve actual needs.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 3:42 pm

Social Messaging App Kik Will Bring Crypto Tokens to Teen Market

Social Messaging App Kik Will Bring Crypto Tokens to Teen Market

Chat platform Kik has revealed that it is launching its Kin token that will deliver the basis for a decentralized ecosystem of digital services.

Ontario-based chat platform Kik, which has over 300 million active users registered worldwide, including around 40 percent of American teens, has announced today that it is launching its Kin token, a digital currency that will provide a foundation for a decentralized ecosystem of digital services.

Today's technology has meant that it is impossible not to stay connected with friends and family worldwide with many using messaging apps to do so.

So much so, that by 2019 more than one-quarter of the world's 7.5 billion population will be using messaging apps, according to data from eMarketer.

Aside from being a cheaper alternative to SMS and MMS, messaging apps are big business that offer a slew of functions: group chats, gaming, GIFs, videos, stickers, emojis, photos and in-built web pages. Not only that, but a majority of messaging apps users are young, which is an extremely important demographic for messaging apps.

Kik believes that through its token it can bring together the areas of communications, information and commerce in a new way that will fuel how today's generation and future ones will connect. Founded in 2009, Kik was the first chat app that went viral in 2010 from zero to one million users in 15 days. Since then the company has continued to meet the innovation space by becoming the first chat app to become a platform in 2011 before establishing itself as the first app within the Western world to add bots in 2014. Now, Kik is the first chat app to add its own digital currency.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Ted Livingston, Kik's CEO said that the main motivation for launching their Kin token, which comes from the word “kinship,” came down to two main insights: digital services, which are becoming more important to our daily lives, and the fact that these services are being owned and controlled by fewer and fewer companies. This, in turn, is bringing about less innovation and choice. According to Livingston, this centralization is the result of both economics and competition.

"From an economic side, it's very hard for independent developers, including companies as big as Kik, to monetize," he said. "There are a few companies that have huge scale that use that scale to monetize their advertising."

Livingston adds that, when these bigger companies monetize their advertising, they then give everything else away for free. This means that for independent digital services who don't bring in enough money through advertising, they live in a world where these giants have set the expectations where everything should be free.

"As a result, it's very hard for all these digital services to monetize," Livingston adds. "Those that do, these giants then turn to a copy-and-crush strategy where they take all the ideas from the players, copy it and use their much larger resources to crush the other competitors who do make it."

As a result, Livingston states that now is the right time to put forward an alternative ecosystem of digital services that isn't just open, but through digital currencies and decentralization, better. By launching their Kin token, Kik is attempting to set up a new economic system that can monetize digital services and deliver a new way to compete together with the larger companies.

The Kin Token and the Kin Foundation

Through the advanced developments in digital currencies and the blockchain, Kik is planning on creating a decentralized ecosystem of digital services through four steps: creating the Kin token on Ethereum, integrating Kin into Kik, developing the Kin Rewards Engine and launching the Kin Foundation.

Implemented on the Ethereum blockchain as an ERC20 token, Kin will serve as the basis of interoperability for all transactions within the Kin ecosystem. By adopting the token within the Kik app, it's hoped that millions of users will facilitate widespread adoption of Kin, establishing demand and value for the cryptocurrency. In preparation for the eventual launch of Kin, Kik has been experimenting with the integration of a cryptocurrency on its platform since 2014.

"In 2014, we launched an experiment called Kik Coins and the question we were trying to answer was: Could we get millions of everyday consumers earning and spending natively in a digital currency?" Livingston said. "The result is that we created a transaction volume that was three times better than Bitcoin's global transaction volume at the time."

Kik also realized that the best way for consumers to understand cryptocurrency was for them to earn it through digital services like Kik.

"The biggest flaw with all the other cryptocurrencies is that nobody gets their paycheck in that cryptocurrency; the only way to get it is to buy it, for 99.99 percent of people," he added. "This is where teenagers are another big asset for Kik in that they don't have a ton of spending power and this is a way to earn that spending power by offering value inside the community itself."

Over time, Livingston explained, there will be various ways that users can earn Kin. One of the examples he gives is through exclusive group chats by charging an entrance fee with Kin to then spend within the Kik ecosystem.

Kin Distribution

Kik is planning on starting a crowdsale where the amount of Kin tokens available will be $1 trillion. However, the majority of the Kin will be set aside to form the Kin Rewards Engine. Modelled similarly to the Bitcoin mining system, the Kin Rewards Engine will release a certain amount of Kin every so often to all the developers that build digital services within the ecosystem.

"Every day there will be a daily reward, which we think will start roughly at $100,000 per day," he said. "As an owner of a service, if you integrate Kin and get people transacting Kin inside your digital service, which generates 10 percent of all transactions within the ecosystem, that would entitle you to 10 percent of this daily reward."

Ultimately, the more services that join the Kin ecosystem computes to more transactions that happen each day, which increases Kin's value on public exchanges and, in turn, boosts the daily reward.

"It creates this amazing network effect where all these digital services work together to grow the overall value of the ecosystem," Livingston adds. "They all get a fair and equitable piece of that economic value they create, and consumers get this ecosystem of services that continues to grow in both size and quality."

According to Livingston, one of the most underappreciated values of digital currencies is how much economic opportunity they can produce. For instance, he said even though they are giving away $100,000 per day, the amount of Kin available won't run out anytime soon.

"If Ethereum was giving out $100,000 of Ether a day at its current $10 billion market cap, it would take them 273 years to give away all the Ether," he said. "If Bitcoin was doing it at their $30 billion market cap, they could give away $300,000 a day for 273 years, and these are both cryptocurrencies not used by mainstream consumers."

As such Livingston believes that the Kin reward could easily go to $200,000, $500,000, even $1 million a day, incentivizing the creation of an open and compelling ecosystem of digital services for consumers.

Through the Kin Foundation, the team are ultimately trying to achieve a decentralized system where the developer doesn't need to trust the Kin Foundation. As a nonprofit, the foundation will oversee the open and fair growth of the system where it will provide three things: it will administer the rewards system, it will offer an identity service for users to move between the digital services and it will provide a transaction service for users to earn and spend Kin in a secure and frictionless way, Livingston states.  

Kik is due to release their whitepaper today, at which point they expect to start working with the crypto community, which will lead to their crowdsale in the next few months.

The post Social Messaging App Kik Will Bring Crypto Tokens to Teen Market appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 3:25 pm

Wall Street laughed at a call for bitcoin at $25,000—but after a 400 ... - MarketWatch


MarketWatch

Wall Street laughed at a call for bitcoin at $25,000—but after a 400 ...
MarketWatch
As the digital currency, bitcoin, has surged a breathtaking 400% over the past year, Wall Street may be apt to take Yves Lamoureux's call a little more seriously.

and more »

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 3:24 pm

Coinbase Suffers Outages Amid Bitcoin Surge - Fortune


Fortune

Coinbase Suffers Outages Amid Bitcoin Surge
Fortune
Coinbase said on Thursday it suffered outages this week as the bitcoin exchange saw "unprecedented traffic and trading," with the digital currency hitting record levels. Bitcoin fell as much as 6.5% to $2,263.72 at around 1:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, but ...
As Bitcoin, Altcoins Fall, Coinbase Bows Out Due to Technical ...CoinTelegraph
'Unprecedented' Bitcoin Boom Sees Coinbase, Kraken Suffer OutagesCryptoCoinsNews

all 5 news articles »

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 1:48 pm

Bitcoin's Price Tumbles More Than $400 From New High

Bitcoin prices fell sharply today after setting a new all-time high above $2,700 on the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index (BPI).

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 11:43 am

Bank of Canada: DLT Won't Replace Canada's Payment System

Canada's central bank likely won't launch a wholesale payment system based solely on distributed ledger tech.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 11:24 am

LocalBitcoins Trader Pleads Guilty to Money Transmitter Charge

A Michigan LocalBitcoins trader plead guilty last week to operating an unlicensed money services business.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 10:00 am

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Consensus 2017: Even Academics Can't Keep Pace With Blockchain Change

Universities have a role to play in developing a workforce with blockchain skills, but the rapid pace of innovation brings challenges, academics say.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 7:00 am

ICOs Going Mainstream? Chat App Kik to Launch Token Sale

Messaging service Kik has revealed plans to launch its own cryptocurrency and ultimately create a new ecosystem for digital services.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 6:00 am

Consensus 2017: Advice From a Lawyer to ICOs: 'Don’t Be Stupid'

The legality of the ICO as a funding vehicle was discussed on day three of CoinDesk's annual Consensus event.

Source

Posted on 25 May 2017 | 3:00 am

Hyperledger Moves Blockchain Frameworks Sawtooth and Iroha Forward, Adds Members

Hyperledger Moves Blockchain Frameworks Sawtooth and Iroha to Active Status

Hyperledger, the open-source, cross-industry collaborative effort focusing on blockchain technology, has advanced the status of its Sawtooth and Iroha blockchain frameworks from “Incubation” to “Active” status.

The green light was given by Hyperledger’s 12-member Technical Steering Committee (TSC), chaired by Christopher Ferris, CTO of Open Technology at IBM. It followed an extensive review period during which each project was evaluated based on exit criteria that include legal compliance, community support, test coverage and continuous integration support, documentation, code reviews and more.

Ray George, senior director of PR at the Linux Foundation, told Bitcoin Magazine that “there is no difference [between Incubation and Active status] when it comes to how the projects are expected to run and how the TSC works with them to ensure a healthy community continues to be built.

“The most tangible difference is how this is presented to the public — not as projects whose communities are still finding their bearings, but as communities ready for new contributors and whose users can depend upon those communities persisting for the long term.”

Hyperledger Iroha, which was initially proposed by Soramitsu, Hitachi, NTT DATA and Colu, is a business blockchain framework inspired by Hyperledger Fabric. It was designed to be simple and easy to incorporate into infrastructural projects requiring distributed ledger technology, and aims to provide a development environment where C++, web and mobile application developers can contribute to the Hyperledger Project.

Hyperledger Sawtooth was initially contributed by Intel and designed to explore scalability, security and privacy questions prompted by the original distributed ledgers.

The modular platform allows organizations to build, deploy and run complex distributed ledgers, and includes a novel consensus algorithm, Proof of Elapsed Time (PoET), which targets large distributed validator populations with minimal resource consumption.

Sawtooth and Iroha follow Hyperledger Fabric, the first project to graduate in March 2017. These projects, alongside five others, all fall under the Hyperledger organization umbrella, which focuses on bringing together software developer communities to develop open-source blockchain and smart contract related technologies.

Projects currently in Incubation include Hyperledger Cello, a blockchain module toolkit; Hyperledger Composer, a set of collaboration tools for building blockchain business networks; and Hyperledger Explorer, a blockchain explorer for viewing, invoking, deploying or querying blocks, transactions and associated data.

Hyperledger’s Membership Expands

The news of Sawtooth and Iroha moving out of Incubation broke on Monday at Consensus 2017, a major blockchain-focused event taking place this week in New York, during which Hyperledger also announced the addition of eight new members, bringing its total membership to 142.

New members joining the Hyperledger Project include Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Schroder Investment Management, AlphaPoint and Change Healthcare, one of America’s largest healthcare IT companies and the first healthcare organization to join at the top membership level.

Change Healthcare’s CTO, Aaron Symanski, will be joining the Hyperledger Governing Board, chaired by Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset, and consisting of representatives from 20 members of the Hyperledger membership.

“Blockchain [technology] is a promising and exciting new technology for secure online transactions,” said Symanski. “But it is crucial that healthcare leaders step up to champion innovation to help take blockchain [technology] from its early implementations to tomorrow’s healthcare IT solutions.”

In October 2016, Hyperledger kicked off a Healthcare Working Group to advance blockchain development in the healthcare industry. The group now has more than 425 technologists and executives representing the likes of Accenture, Gem, Hashed Health and IBM.

Another company that has joined the Hyperledger Project is FZG360 Network Co. Ltd., a leading real-estate portal and trading platform in China, which aims to “enhance the application of [blockchain technology] to a higher maturity level,” particularly in the area of real estate.

Hyperledger was founded in December 2015 by the Linux Foundation and counts among its members leading firms representing various industries including blockchain technology, finance, healthcare, the Internet of Things, aeronautics and real estate, among several others.

The post Hyperledger Moves Blockchain Frameworks Sawtooth and Iroha Forward, Adds Members appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 7:03 pm

Qtum’s Block Size Limit Will Be Governed by Smart Contracts: Here’s How

Qtum’s Block Size Limit Will Be Governed by Smart Contracts: Here’s How

Qtum is an up-and-coming smart contract platform set to launch in September of this year. Sometimes ambitiously referring to itself as “China’s Ethereum,” the project recently raised $15 million in three days through a successful crowdsale or “Initial Coin Offering” (ICO).

On a technical level, the Qtum blockchain will resemble Bitcoin, but will integrate an Ethereum-like Virtual Machine on top for smart contracting purposes. Additionally, Qtum is in the process of implementing a “Decentralized Governance Protocol” (DGP). This DGP will have smart contracts determine the blockchain’s parameter selection, like its block size limit.

Jordan Earls, also known as “earlz” online, is the co-founder and lead developer of Qtum.

“We believe this will allow for Qtum to be the first self-modifiable, self-regulating and ultimately self-aware blockchain,” he told Bitcoin Magazine.

 The Concept

Any blockchain has a number of parameters. In Bitcoin, this of course includes the 1 megabyte block size limit. But it also includes the block reward (currently 12.5), the block interval time (ten minutes) and more. These and three other parameters apply to Qtum as well.

But there are two basic problems with needing to have these parameters. First, they are very hard to get “right,” in so far as that’s even possible, since different parameters benefit different use cases. And second, in a decentralized system, these parameters can be very hard to change.

“The core rationale and problem we had when designing this is that we will release Qtum with some initial parameters that we try to make perfect,” Earls told Bitcoin Magazine. “But we don't know what the ecosystem will look like one month after release, much less one year. So, we designed DGP. That way, we can tune the blockchain to be as usable and secure as possible without needing to fork, just to change a simple number from 1 to 2.”

Qtum plans to realize this way of “tuning the blockchain” by doing what it does best: The DGP will consist of relatively straightforward smart contracts made up of blockchain-readable pieces of executable code.

“We have open-source smart contracts which implement the rules for changing the parameters, which will then be accepted by all nodes. It implements a fairly simple governance system of ‘user keys’ and ‘admin keys.’ There is a modifiable parameter in the contract which determines how many keys of each type must vote in order to approve a change to, say, the block size limit.”

Importantly, through the use of smart contracts, these keys can actually represent more than just a regular user per key: Each key can represent a defined group.

“Perhaps one key represents a majority of hash power; or a key represents coin votes by coin holders; or a key acts according to a dynamic limit based on how full blocks are. Or even oracles: a key can effectively be controlled by people or servers that act based on input not directly readable by the blockchain itself, like USD market price for transaction fees. It’s extremely flexible.”

Qtum will almost certainly include smart contracts for the block size limit, the gas schedule to determine the price of different smart contract operations (for which Ethereum hard forked several times) and the minimum gas price. Additionally, it might deploy smart contracts for block interval times, block rewards, maximum gas per block and maximum script size or signature operations per transaction or block.

Changing the Rules

Embedding the parameter selection in smart contracts is clever and having all node software adjust accordingly even more so. However, an arguably even harder problem is not so much what parameter is decided on, but who gets to decide in the first place and how.

In Qtum, the initial parameters will be set by the developers based on their testing and measurements.

“For instance, we've already determined that a block size of 2 megabytes should be reasonable,” Earls said.

After that, the initial set of rules to define the parameters can be changed themselves within the rules of the system, too.

A smart contract could, for example, start out relatively simple: It requires a majority of core developers to change the rules of the contract. Then, if a majority of core developers decides that instead of just developers, it should also include a majority of coin holders, the contract can be changed to a two-of-two multisig contract. From that moment on, one key would represent the developers, while the other key would represent the majority of coin holders. Next, if both developers and coin holders agree, hash power can have a seat at the table, too, and so forth.

As such, Qtum smart contracts can change not only the parameters of the system, but also how the parameters themselves can be changed.

That said, as Earls acknowledged, the Decentralized Governance Protocol can’t actually solve all governance problems. It’s specifically designed to make certain predefined parameters more easily adjustable, and it can indeed even change how these parameters can be adjusted to some extent.

But the Decentralized Governance Protocol does not and cannot apply to network rules that aren’t among these predefined parameters. Protocol changes outside of these specific parameters would still require a typical upgrade mechanism, like a hard fork or a soft fork.

“I believe if Bitcoin had DGP technology, then we would still see all this fighting about SegWit vs Bitcoin Unlimited, etcetera,” Earls acknowledged. “But, DGP would have been used in the meantime to increase the block size to something conservative but reasonable like 2 megabytes or 4 megabytes, to avoid all the transaction speed problems. Meanwhile, the developers and community could figure out a more permanent solution.”

The post Qtum’s Block Size Limit Will Be Governed by Smart Contracts: Here’s How appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 6:38 pm

DCG’s Bitcoin Scaling Proposal and What it Needs to Succeed

DCG’s Scaling Proposal and What it Needs to Succeed

Spearheaded by Barry Silbert’s Digital Currency Group (DCG),  this week over 50 companies signed and published a “Bitcoin Scaling Agreement” on Medium. The agreement intends to put an end to Bitcoin’s long-lasting scaling debate.

Whether it actually will is a another question.

Here’s what the agreement entails, how it compares to existing scaling proposals and what it requires to succeed …

What the Agreement Entails

The DCG agreement is based on the “SegWit2MB” proposal, originally floated by RSK Founder and Chief Scientist Sergio Demian Lerner. This proposal couples activation of Segregated Witness (SegWit), the centrepiece of Bitcoin Core’s scaling roadmap, with an added block-size-increase hard fork down the road. While SegWit itself offers an increase to two to four megabytes, the added hard fork should double this to a maximum of eight megabytes.

According to the Medium post, the soft fork will be activated “at an 80% threshold,” (presumably) referring to hash power. And the hard fork will be activated “within six months.”

However, it seems that different signatories have different interpretations of what this actually means. Some claim that SegWit will be activated as a soft fork first, followed by a separate block-size-increase hard fork later. Others suggest that the soft fork will come first, but in such a way that it would trigger hard fork code, which still activates later. Yet others suggest that both the soft fork and the hard fork will be activated at the same time. And some even think the hard fork will come first, followed by SegWit activation later.

While these kinds of details may still need to be worked out, over 50 companies signed the agreement. Combined, they currently represent more than 80 percent of hash power on the network and, according to these companies, $5.1 billion USD in transaction volume as well as 20.5 million Bitcoin wallets.

But there are telling omissions, too. Perhaps most notably, no Bitcoin Core developer is party to the agreement, nor were any of them even present at the meeting. Similarly, none of the entities that fund Bitcoin Core developers — like Chaincode Labs, Blockstream or MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative — signed on. And of course, some 50 companies are only a segment of the Bitcoin industry in the first place; several big players are still missing.

Last but not least, Bitcoin’s broader user base is not involved with the agreement either, nor is the agreement in any way tied to community support.

How the Agreement Compares to Existing Scaling Solutions

Like the DCG agreement, Bitcoin Core’s scaling roadmap includes Segregated Witness as well. It also suggests that a hard fork to further increase the block size limit could be needed in the future, though it does not specify a specific point in time. Most Bitcoin Core developers also believe that a hard fork requires at least a year to prepare, perhaps more. As such, both Bitcoin Core and the DCG agreement share activation of SegWit as a first step in their scaling plans — but not the hard fork part.

However, the SegWit activation mechanism that is part of the DCG agreement slightly differs from the current activation mechanism implemented in Bitcoin Core. Most important, the DCG agreement lowers the required hash power threshold from 95 to 80 percent. And because of how SegWit is designed, activation through the DCG agreement is incompatible with all SegWit-ready Bitcoin nodes on the network.

It may be possible to work around this issue, however. As proposed by Bitmain Warranty engineer James Hilliard, SegWit activation can be made compatible between the DCG agreement and Bitcoin Core, though it’s a bit “hacky.” In short, if miners signal support for SegWit along the DCG agreement with at least 80 percent of hash power, this 80 percent can also start to completely reject any block that does not signal support for SegWit. This activates the current SegWit proposal by Bitcoin Core, as that would reach its 95 percent threshold as well.

Down the road, the DCG agreement’s hard fork is very unlikely to be implemented in Bitcoin Core for a number of reasons, but most importantly because it is contentious.

Other scaling proposals, like Bitcoin Unlimited’s Emergent Consensus or Bcoin’s Extension Blocks, are not necessarily incompatible with the DCG agreement, or at least they don’t need to be.

What the Agreement Requires to Succeed

What the agreement requires to succeed depends on your concept of “success.” But it will be a challenge by any definition.

First off, it should be noted that the proposal — which allows for blocks of up to 8 megabytes — may not be safe. While the full extent of the block size issue is outside the scope of this article, suffice it to say that some think that 8 megabyte blocks are, in fact, a significant risk.

Perhaps even more important, code needs to be written, and it is not yet clear who will actually do this. Moreover, this code should really be reviewed and tested extensively: the plan is to have it carry billions of dollars’ worth of value. This will not be easy to do within six months; perhaps impossible.

Then, this code must be brought into production. For the hard fork in particular, this means that everyone effectively needs to integrate and switch to the new protocol. If all signatories of the agreement accomplish this, it would probably be sufficient to at least get this new protocol running.

It seems obvious that the signatories of the DCG agreement hope that the rest of the Bitcoin ecosystem will also switch to the new protocol once the fork takes place. In that case, the new protocol would (probably) be considered the new "Bitcoin” by everyone.

But given the contention of the proposed hard fork, this currently seems very unlikely.

While it’s impossible to predict the future, it seems almost certain that at least some segment of Bitcoin developers, miners, companies and — most important — users will reject the fork. They will stay put on the existing protocol even if that means it takes much longer for blocks to confirm, or they will roll out a user activated soft fork, or perhaps they will even deploy a counter–hard fork. Under any of these scenarios, the Bitcoin blockchain would “split” into two chains, or more.

The real challenge, therefore, is to get people to use the new chain. And, if that is desired, to get them to consider it the “real” Bitcoin. This will probably be a much harder challenge than forking itself, even for all the companies involved in the DCG agreement.

And most important, for the agreement to succeed in any way at all (perhaps even under a different name than “Bitcoin”), it will require the signatories to follow through. The Bitcoin protocol is difficult to change, and promises or Medium posts alone don’t have any impact on it whatsoever, as several similar commitments have proven in the past.

The post DCG’s Bitcoin Scaling Proposal and What it Needs to Succeed appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 6:21 pm

Bitcoin, Ether Set New All-Time Highs Amid Market Boom

Money continues to flood into cryptographic assets, with bitcoin, ether and zcash setting new highs today amid a broader market boom.

Source

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 2:25 pm

Consensus 2017: Bitcoin Exchange Execs See Promise in Multi-Token Future

Exchange operators take the stage at Consensus 2017 to talk tokens, ICOs and building an exchange from scratch.

Source

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 10:00 am

Coinbase Today: Armstrong Talks Token, ICOs and Blockchain's Netscape

CoinDesk's Pete Rizzo talks to Coinbase CEO and founder Brian Armstrong about the firm's plans and changes in the wider blockchain arena.

Source

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 8:00 am

Wyre’s WeChat and Facebook Bot Authenticates Invoices on Ethereum

Blockchain startup Wyre has revealed a new bot for Facebook Messenger and WeChat that authenticates invoices on a public blockchain.

Source

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 6:00 am

Consensus 2017 Day 2 Recap: Finding Blockchain's Common Ground

CoinDesk's Noelle Acheson recaps the second day of Consensus 2017, CoinDesk's New York blockchain conference.

Source

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 5:01 am

Consensus 2017: The Ups and Downs of Digital Currencies

Two panels at Consensus 2017 conference focused on both the promise and pitfalls of digital currencies and blockchain assets.

Source

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 4:00 am

Consensus 2017: Blockchain and Healthcare's People Problem

Blockchain is viewed as a way to give patients greater control over their data – but getting there might not be as easy as it sounds.

Source

Posted on 24 May 2017 | 3:00 am

Bitcoin & Ether Price Analysis: Bitcoin Still Going Strong While Ether Wearies

BTC ETH Price Analysis

Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to push all-time highs (ATHs) by most available metrics: price, market capitalization, daily traded volume, hash rate, transactions per day, etc.

mrkt cap.png

There appears to be a multifactorial convergence of fundamentals and technicals allowing for this surge to happen:

1. On-ramps

Specifically Coinbase for U.S. citizens, which now allows new users to purchase bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) or litecoin. Leading up to and even during the 2013 bubble, purchasing cryptocurrency was difficult for the average user. Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks cause a slight lag in on-ramping by limiting the total coins a new user can purchase. I expect the fuel for this rally to continue for at least another week.

2. Visibility in mainstream and popular media

At this point, you cannot use any social media or news source without hearing about Bitcoin. Everyone I’ve spoken with outside of the Bitcoinosphere is aware of its existence. Although purely anecdotal, this trend suggests Bitcoin is gaining visibility.  

3. ICOmania

Initial coin offerings (ICOs), similar to IPOs, allow for a company or brand to tokenize its assets through crowdfunding, most of which are done on the Ethereum blockchain. The quantity and rate of new ICOs remind many traders of the dot-com bubble due to large influxes of cash for almost every project.   

4. An agreement on the block size debate

The ongoing block size and scalability debate was stifling innovation surrounding Bitcoin. On Monday, it was announced that Barry Silbert and Bitcoin Unlimited proponents reached an agreement to activate SegWit now and hard fork in four months. Members of the Bitcoin Core community were not involved in the discussion. Shaolinfry, the user-activated soft fork (UASF) dev, had this to say regarding the agreement. UASF nodes continue to increase, despite the agreement.

To be clear, the proposal, as far as I can see, does not activate BIP 141, but is a completely new deployment that would be incompatible with the BIP 141 deployment. I’m not sure how that can be considered “immediate” activation. - Shaolinfry

uasf_nodes_all.png

5. Prices were already pushing ATHs  

Trend since 2015 has been bullish with several periods of extended consolidation. Price continues to break ATHs in large part due to further bullish technicals and market structure with every pullback/correction. Whether or not current price represents a bubble or euphoria is a bit irrelevant. What is more important is to look for signs of exhaustion. One such sign of exhaustion would be a toppy chart pattern such as an M double top or growing bearish divergence on a weekly chart.

Bitcoin

weekly.png

A bear div would consist of a higher high in price and a lower high on RSI, a measure of momentum. This would suggest lack of strength holding up price. In the case of BTC, however, there has been a steady increase in volume since the beginning of the year.

vol.png

As price continues to break ATHs almost daily, we can expect a large increase in volatility and range expansion, especially because there is no previous market structure at these levels. However, there are indicators that help determine support and resistance levels above ATH levels, the most common being Fibonacci extensions. Drawn from previous ATH to low, this would yield a target of ~$2,400.

daily.png

On a low timeframe, you can see yesterday’s $200+ volatility, which quickly rallied 50 percent of the drop.

15min.png

The current immediate target is the local top of $2,248.

Ethereum

Ethereum, on the other hand, is beginning to show signs of exhaustion. The weekly chart is showing a decline in volume since March, with ETH/USD pushing the top limit of RSI, and the ETH/BTC pair showing bear div.

ethusd.png

ethbtc.png

Structure currently has all the makings of an M double top. I would expect another retest of the previous consolidation level before moving higher. if Bitcoin makes a push past $2,400, however, it may drag up Ethereum with it as well.

ethusd 1h.png

The upside target should be between $198 and $217 according to Fibonacci extensions.

upside eth.png

Summary

  1. Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to push the envelope for almost every available metric and show little signs of slowing.

  2. Reliable on-ramping coupled with awareness and popularity continue to fuel demand.

  3. Despite several weeks of large gains, the possibility of continuing to further ATHs for Bitcoin remains high.

  4. With declining volume and a growing bear div on high timeframes, Ethereum is beginning to show signs of slowing.

The post Bitcoin & Ether Price Analysis: Bitcoin Still Going Strong While Ether Wearies appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 1:43 pm

Netki's Digital ID Service Tackles Global Compliance Challenges

Netki Digital ID Tackles Compliance

Netki, the New York–based software startup, wants to make blockchain technology more user friendly by launching its new universal Netki Digital ID service, so that anyone can access services on blockchains without re-validating their ID at every stop. The Netki Digital ID will be both KYC (Know Your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) verified, allowing users to access a variety of blockchain businesses including financial institutions like banks, exchanges and healthcare services.

Netki wants their ID to work on any blockchain, public or private, around the world and to provide automated onboarding and validation of new customers, as well as easy sharing of digital identities.

The company’s goal is to create a digital identity certificate that uses a standard recognized by governments everywhere as legally validated, to process transactions anywhere in the world. Pricing will be based on the number of certificates and the complexity of validations.

The Digital ID uses a new peer-to-peer payment protocol (BIP 75) that allows senders, receivers and their financial partners to exchange all four identities via a private encrypted channel.

According to Netki’s announcement, the Netki Digital ID service will allow for the easy capture of an individual’s documents and biometrics via their smartphone, along with multiple levels of automated and manual verification, including database checks, machine learning and biometric analysis.

International Compliance: A “Herculean Task”

Netki IDs are already in use in the U.S. and Europe on the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, and the company is hoping to expand its service both to new jurisdictions around the world and on new blockchain networks.

Netki’s CEO and Co-Founder Justin Newton talked to Bitcoin Magazine about the process of expanding its ID service, despite the challenge of many different legal requirements in an international regulatory environment.

The regulatory landscape is changing around the world at a rapid pace. With this in mind we designed our tools and protocols to be flexible in the case of differing, new or expanding regulatory requirements.

“As we work on each new use case, we work with the customer’s risk and compliance team to determine what requirements are appropriate for their needs.”

Newton told us their team spends time in each new jurisdiction consulting with local regulators before offering their service.

Amber D. Scott, whose company Outlier Solutions  works with blockchain startups on compliance and security issues, admires the spirit and sheer scope of Netki’s undertaking but recognizes that it is a herculean task to have any ID be compliant in every jurisdiction.

She recommends that companies planning to implement any new identification solutions should thoroughly research the requirements of the jurisdictions they are operating in, to ensure “that a solution meets those requirements in their entirety.”

Scott added, “We spend a lot of time with our clients conducting this type of testing, and very few solutions pass the tests.”

Michael Perklin, an internationally recognized security expert who oversees security for ShapeShift, acknowledges that verifying users can be time-consuming and expensive, and agrees that something like a universal ID would make this process easier.

“Many people complain that there are 20+ different identity standards and it seems that Netki is proposing a 21st. It seems like a great idea in theory but its success would depend on the community adopting the Netki ID as the industry standard as opposed to another service like uPort.”

UPort offers a mobile app that allows users to create self-sovereign credentials that would allow them to process transactions on blockchains.

Newton told us that while uPort is focusing on a business model, Netki has open-sourced their protocol. Another important difference between the two companies is that uPort stores private information on the blockchain while Netki stores information off-chain. That being said, Netki is currently partnering with uPort on several projects.

Caribbean Service Bitt Is the Test Case

Netki chose the Caribbean region to test its new service, partnering with fintech company Bitt, which provides a mobile wallet and payment services to anywhere in the world.

Newton told us:

“In terms of the project that we are working on with Bitt, we believe that one of the greatest promises of blockchain [technology] is around financial inclusion. The Caribbean region has far greater mobile phone penetration than banking penetration, and most banking is effectively controlled overseas,” he said.

By creating a locally run and focused alternative, they can lower the cost of remittance, spur inter-island trade and service many people currently excluded from banking and online finance.

Empowering Individuals Over Institutions

Netki’s founders believe that blockchain technology is the game-changer that will take society to the next level, allowing more democratization and levelling of existing silos.

Newton believes that blockchain technology is a means of empowering individuals and changing the way society interacts with each other; however, without easy access for the majority of people, universal adoption will remain a dream.

As part of simplifying and making blockchain technology more user friendly, Netki already offers a wallet-naming service for $9.99 per year, which allows users to register their unwieldy wallet address of letters and numbers to a simple name, making for easier transactions for both users and businesses.

Newton is excited about the future possibilities of blockchain technology for decentralization and democratization, saying:

“For the first time, using the standards we implemented at Bitt, and more broadly with BIP 75, regulated entities such as banks can operate on public networks like bitcoin and ethereum while still meeting their risk and compliance requirements.  With the recent institutional interest, and positive government movement around digital currency, these tools couldn’t come at a better time to enable the ecosystem to really step up to the next level in terms of both usage and opportunity.”

Netki is partnering with IBM in the Hyperledger Project and with PwC Australia in its Vulcan Project.

Investors in Netki incluse O'Reilly, AlphaTech Ventures, Colle Capital, Digital Currency Group, Plug and Play, the Husseine Group, Bitfinex and Base Ventures.


The post Netki's Digital ID Service Tackles Global Compliance Challenges appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 7:55 pm

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

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

Bitcoin taxfree in Denmark

Posted on 25 March 2014 | 5:46 pm

May 26, 2017 -
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