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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

Thanksgiving Lull? Bitcoin Trades Sideways But Rally May Continue - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Thanksgiving Lull? Bitcoin Trades Sideways But Rally May Continue
CoinDesk
However, the investor community does not appear too concerned about the Bitfinex issue and is instead assessing the impact of the rally in bitcoin cash (BCH) and ethereum (ETH) prices on bitcoin. Comments on social media indicate investors are ...
Price Analysis, November 22: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, LitecoinCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

all 11 news articles »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:08 am

Thanksgiving Lull? Bitcoin Trades Sideways But Rally May Continue

Bitcoin is continuing its sideways journey today, with a pullback looking possible. However, the broader outlook still remains bullish

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:00 am

US Defense Bill Could Give Big Boost to Blockchain

An obscure provision tucked into a U.S. defense spending bill could act as a springboard for blockchain adoption across government agencies.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 4:00 am

5 Tips for New Bitcoin Investors - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

5 Tips for New Bitcoin Investors
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
There is no centralized authority to hold your hand, and the rumors and stories circulating around digital currencies can be fear-inducing. However, with a few straightforward tips, negotiating that first Bitcoin transaction or trade can be a lot less ...
Everything You Need to Know About Bitcoin Black FridayBitcoin News (press release)

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 3:22 am

Austrian Bank Raiffeisen Enlists in R3 Blockchain Consortium

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has become the first Austrian banking group to join the R3 distributed ledger consortium.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 3:00 am

Nasdaq to Build Blockchain Voting System for Securities Depository Strate

Nasdaq has entered into an agreement with South African central securities depository Strate to deliver a blockchain solution for e-voting.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 2:20 am

The Uncertain Future of Bitcoin Futures - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

The Uncertain Future of Bitcoin Futures
Bloomberg
My questions are: Will the customers who lose money on bitcoin futures sue JPMorgan for letting them buy them? Will their legal briefs say "JPMorgan knew bitcoin was a fraud, and in fact its CEO said so, but JPMorgan nonetheless pushed bitcoin futures ...
Bitcoin Price Holds Steady As Institutional Investors Reconsider StanceInvestopedia (blog)
Can anything stop bitcoin? Price above $8000CNNMoney
Wealth Managers Being Bombarded With Investor Requests to Buy BitcoinCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Futurism -CNBC -The Australian Financial Review -Wall Street Journal
all 95 news articles »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 12:00 am

This Gold Fund Is Joining the Bitcoin Frenzy - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

This Gold Fund Is Joining the Bitcoin Frenzy
Bloomberg
Bitcoin was explicitly designed to be digital gold,” said Naylor-Leyland. “So if you're going to have a small proportion of a fund in bitcoin, it should be in a gold fund, because that's exactly the point. It's about bringing the ownership of ...
Bitcoin Is A Distraction, Focus On Gold - Rick RuleKitco News

all 15 news articles »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:15 pm

Keiser Envisions $100,000 Bitcoin High - CoinTelegraph - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Keiser Envisions $100,000 Bitcoin High - CoinTelegraph
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Max Keiser is hopeful that Bitcoin could rise to $100000 in the future, asserting its dominance as the father of crypto.

and more »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 2:47 pm

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings

A scammer successfully made more than $3 million after getting the private keys to bitcoin gold users' wallets during the fork's launch period.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:55 pm

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings
CoinDesk
More than $3.3 million has been stolen as part of an elaborate scam that took advantage of bitcoin users seeking to claim their share of the newly created cryptocurrency bitcoin gold. Perpetrated by the operators of a website called mybtgwallet.com ...

and more »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:55 pm

Bitcoins worth $100K stolen over public wireless network - CBS News - CBS News


CBS News

Bitcoins worth $100K stolen over public wireless network - CBS News
CBS News
Cops say cyber thieves transferred Bitcoins from a man's account while he logged into a restaurant's public network.

and more »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:45 pm

Baseball Great Jose Canseco Predicts $10,000 Bitcoin By 2018

Former Major League Baseball star Jose Canseco is apparently a big believer in blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:05 pm

Asset Manager Launches Europe's First Bitcoin Mutual Fund

A French asset manager has announced the launch of Europe's first mutual fund centered around bitcoin.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 11:05 am

Video Streamers Have More Options with These New Blockchain Startups

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Innovative technology companies are leveraging blockchain technology to build next-generation business models and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for video streaming, a multibillion-dollar industry that continues to grow. According to data revealed by Theta Labs, one of the companies covered below, the video content and streaming market accounts for 67 percent of current internet traffic and could reach 82 percent by 2020. The new players promise to decentralize global video streaming, while at the same time making it more efficient.

LBRY

According to Jeremy Kauffman, co-founder and CEO of the blockchain-based content distribution platform LBRY, blockchain technology could transform the monetization of online content by altering the way that creators get paid, and eventually challenge YouTube.

The LBRY protocol allows creators to publish online, making their content discoverable with a small payment in LBRY’s own cryptocurrency token. Viewers pay creators in LBRY tokens to see their work.

“[Blockchain technology] allows us to build technology that’s owned by the users rather than any one party,” Kauffman said. “That’s the problem that blockchain [technology] solves.”

Kauffman explained that under the LBRY model, creators are paid without an intermediary taking an inappropriately large cut. Since LBRY is a protocol, the company can’t control what gets discovered.

Kauffman said that LBRY recruited 4,000 YouTubers in specifically targeted demographics, several of which have 500,000 or more subscribers, which seems a good first step toward challenging YouTube in its own turf.

Theta Labs

YouTube’s co-founder Steve Chen himself, as well as Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch, are among the advisors of Theta Labs, a subsidiary of live video streaming company SLIVER.tv, which is announcing a new blockchain-based decentralized video streaming network.

“Theta’s innovation is set to disrupt today’s online video industry much in the same way that the YouTube platform did to traditional video back in 2005,” said Chen. “One of our biggest challenges had been the high costs of delivering video to various parts of the world, and this problem is only getting bigger with HD, 4K and higher quality video streams. I’m excited to be part of the next evolution of the streaming space, helping Theta create a decentralized peer-to-peer network that can offer improved video delivery at lower costs.”

Theta is developing a new blockchain-based network, outlined in the Theta white paper, which could enable users worldwide with unutilized PC bandwidth and resources to cache and relay video streams to others in the network, while mining Theta tokens at the same time, similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum. According to the company, the new peer-to-peer decentralized network will allow for much more efficient, high-quality streaming without the need to develop expensive content delivery network infrastructure.

In December, Theta will implement its first generation of ERC20-compliant tokens on the SLIVER.tv platform. These application tokens can be used for virtual gifting and incentivizing streamers. Eventually, these ERC20 tokens will be 1:1 exchangeable for native Theta tokens when the new blockchain launches at the end of 2018.

“We’ve been on the cutting edge of live streaming technology, and by leveraging blockchain [technology] we will truly be able to transform the video and entertainment industry,” said Mitch Liu, co-founder and CEO of Theta Labs. “Theta will be uniquely built to leverage the incentive mechanisms of the blockchain, enabling end-users to contribute their excess PC bandwidth and resources to relay video streams to others and earn Theta tokens at the same time. It’s a win-win for all stakeholders in the ecosystem.

“We’re committed to solving the challenges of today’s video streaming industry,” Liu told Bitcoin Magazine. “We think there’s a huge opportunity to democratize the video delivery infrastructure, to reward end users with excess PC resources and bandwidth to help stream to their neighbors and friends.”

“I think the Theta team is going to revolutionize video delivery with its new native blockchain,” Theta advisor and G FUEL CEO Cliff Morgan told Bitcoin Magazine. “I’m thrilled to be part of this innovative, organic platform to decentralize streaming. This will impact a number of industries from esports to advertising, benefiting our esports fans as well as influencers and content creators. I can see how Theta’s peer-to-peer mesh network will empower our G FUEL community, rewarding them with Theta tokens when they help stream to others in the network.”

Stream

Another new video platform, Stream, has received $5 million to back its Ethereum-based Stream Token in an advisor round of funding led by blockchain investment firms including Pantera Capital, Fenbushi Capital and CoinFund, as well as individual participants like Jed McCaleb, David Johnston and Andrew Yashchuk.

Founded by Ben Yu, Stream wants to facilitate direct transactions between content creators and consumers with a zero-fee structure. Yu was a successful early cryptocurrency investor who became an internet celebrity with videos that received tens of millions of views. In 2011, Yu left his studies at Harvard and accepted a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, like Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin before him, eventually launching Sprayable and Stream.

The Stream Token was designed to allow digital media creators to earn a fair living from their work, without being exploited by streaming platforms that take unreasonably large shares of their revenue. It is also designed to free content creators from the strictures of advertising models that limit creativity and freedom of expression.

“Stream Token is part of the larger Silicon Valley movement to fulfill the original intention of the internet: universal access to information. We can finally reward those who share information without curtailing freedom of expression. Content creation doesn’t have to be a zero sum game,” said Greg Kufera, CTO of Stream. “And we’re ensuring it won’t be.”

The post Video Streamers Have More Options with These New Blockchain Startups appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 11:02 am

Standard Chartered, Axis Launch Payments Service With Ripple Tech

Standard Chartered and Axis Bank have announced a new cross-border payments platform built on top of technology developed by Ripple.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 10:00 am

Bitcoin Is 'Not Actually Legal,' Says Zimbabwe Central Bank Chief

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has cast doubt on the legality of bitcoin in the country.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:45 am

Bitcoin Exchange Globitex Granted European Electronic Money License

Globitex.jpg

Globitex, a new bitcoin exchange co-founded by former Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Jon Matonis, is announcing that its parent Globitex Holding (Latvia) group company NexPay UAB has been granted an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license by the Bank of Lithuania, a regulatory authority in the European Union, to carry out payment services and e-money issuance in the EU.

The acquisition of the EMI license will allow Globitex to integrate with the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) euro payment system directly through the central bank of Lithuania. This will enable NexPay to clear euro payments directly, without the involvement of commercial banks, and to issue IBAN accounts to Globitex clients just as banks issue accounts to their clients, which is could be an important step forward in terms of accessibility.

According to the company, this regulatory development opens the way for the institutional- grade bitcoin exchange to deal with EUR fiat payments globally and sets a new level of legitimacy for the cryptocurrency industry overall. It also represents a significant step toward widespread adoption of Bitcoin as a unit of account suitable for global trade, with no geographic, political or monetary restrictions.

Eventually, Globitex wants to allow producers to purchase exchange-listed products for bitcoin, and trading firms, and speculators to hedge their risks in bitcoin with derivatives trading.

“Globitex is looking to set new cryptocurrency trading standards not only technologically, or by commodities linked product offering, but especially in Globitex’s legal setup, ensuring safe passage to the digital age,” said Liza Aizupiete, Managing Director of Globitex, who recently participated in a panel discussion on the future of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies at e-com21 in Riga, Latvia.

While Bitcoin offers enormous advantages for international settlement due to its speed and low cost compared to legacy money transfer services, order-book depth and liquidity cannot yet support very large trades; therefore, bitcoin cannot yet serve as a currency of international trade settlement across the world’s financial markets.

Globitex wants to tackle this challenge by dramatically increasing bitcoin trading volumes and facilitating bitcoin’s use across the spectrum of money and commodity markets, thereby allowing financial instruments and commodities like crude oil, gold and coffee to be priced directly in bitcoin.

Physical-Settlement Futures Contracts as Important Enabling Factors

“I look forward to this evolution of digital currency trading platforms that ensure futures contracts with a physical delivery component,” Matonis told Bitcoin Magazine. “Strong connection to the spot markets, including contract limits and physical delivery that is linked to provisioned commodities, will serve as the market standard for price integrity."

Matonis outlined some risks associated with cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts. He pointed out that the price index is too easily gamed, for example, and that there is no physical commodity (private keys) for integrity of short positions, maintenance margins could potentially approach 100 percent so there is no real leverage during volatility, and there is a risk of limit-up, limit-down insolvency for certain smaller members.

According to Matonis, the cash-settled bitcoin futures contract is a precursor to an exchange offering a proper physical-settlement futures contract like Globitex. In fact, decentralized crypto and physical-settlement Bitcoin markets will be more robust, Matonis explained to Bitcoin Magazine, since warehousing, open-contract limits and maintenance-margin calculations all behave differently under a digital assets class with physical settlement.

Globitex is holding a token sale, to be issued on the Ethereum blockchain, for its GBX utility token to fund the scaling of its existing exchange infrastructure into a commodities spot and derivatives exchange for bitcoin.

A short video explainer outlines a future where Bitcoin is the preferred medium of exchange for everything and permits cheaply settling international trades; swapping precious metals and commodities in seconds; and opening new trading options for farmers, manufacturing companies, metal miners, oil refineries and more.

The post Bitcoin Exchange Globitex Granted European Electronic Money License appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:41 am

Goodbye Bugs? How Formal Verification Could Fortify Smart Contracts

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As a way to eliminate bugs in high-risk code, a style of software programming known as formal verification is making its way into the blockchain world.

Put simply, formal verification uses math to specify and analyze a program for errors in logic. However, because of the time and cost involved, formal verification is best reserved for situations where human life or large sums of money are at stake.

Currently, formal verification is used to verify the correctness of high-risk code in transportation, the military and cryptography. Chip companies use it to fortify algorithms before embedding them in silicon. And banks use it to develop financial algorithms.

Applied to blockchain technology, formal verification could provide assurances that self-executing transactions known as smart contracts will work as intended, eliminating some of the bugs and financial losses that come as a result of coding errors.

This year alone, bugs in Ethereum’s Parity wallet accounted for $180 million in losses. Last year, a bug in a virtual organization known as The DAO enabled a hacker to siphon $50 million from the Ethereum smart contract.  

Platforms like Cardano and Tezos are already working on smart contract languages specifically designed to facilitate formal verification. Ethereum is also working on bringing formal verification to its smart contracts.

But what is formal verification? How does it work? And why is software so difficult to get right in the first place?

To Err Is Human

Software is inherently unforgiving. If you are constructing a building, you can leave out a nail or a screw, and the structure still stands. But when it comes to software, something as simple as a single typo can cause the entire program to stop working.

“Programming languages are incredibly powerful,” Gerard Holzmann, former lead scientist at NASA, explained in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “As a programmer, you have to deal with a lot of detail, and unless you get every detail right, there is some effect.”  

The traditional approach to getting software right is testing. After you write an algorithm, you input a variable and check to see if it gives back the correct output. But how do you test every single input? You can’t. There are too many to test, and there could be errors lurking in the cases that you do not test.

“There are so many possible executions that really, when you test or execute, you just scratch the surface of what is possible,” Holzmann said.

Put another way, testing only looks for the presence of bugs, not the absence of bugs, and one small mistake could have devastating results.  

“If you take any failure of a system, like Fukushima and Three Mile Island, and look at the sequence of events that led to that failure, it is always fascinating because there are so many things that nobody could have predicted that would happen in a particular accommodation,” said Holzmann. “Same as in software; so many things can happen.”

In contrast, instead of testing one situation at a time, formal verification is a way to test that a program works in every situation. What you care about is whether the logic holds true, and the best way to check that logic is with a computer.  

“A formalism for me has the purpose that you can reason about things, and the most useful way of reasoning about things is if you can program a machine to do the reasoning for you,” said Holzmann.

Making a Plan

Generally, the first step in formal verification is to create a mathematical model. The math needed is not complicated; it’s just basic logic written up in a so-called “formal language” that is machine checkable.  

Typically, the process of specifying a model begins with a stakeholder who understands what the system needs to do. In the case of a medical device, the stakeholder might be a doctor; in the case of a smart contract, it might be a lawyer or a banker, or both.

The job of a stakeholder is to convey the information in her head to a requirements engineer who collects that information and creates the model. The process begins informally with discussions and abstractions, but ends formally with a precise mathematical specification.

This is not easy. It is a time consuming, iterative process that can take months, depending on the situation, but it often brings a clarity to a situation that was not there before because it forces programmers to think deeply about the behavior of a software.

“You can think of it as laws and regulations,” said Andreas Zeller, professor of software engineering at Saarland University in Saarbruecken, Germany, who likens creating a formal specification to developing a plan for a building.

“You refine the regulations,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “But if you do not have regulations in the first place, your building crashes, and that is when you realize, you had better make a plan.”   

Checking the Logic

Once a model is specified, the next step is to verify the model’s logic with proofs. This is a critical step in the process. “If you do not have a proof, you do not have a guarantee that the model, as it is, will work,” explained Zeller.

But because you have to make explicit every single logical step, proofs can be immensely long and complex. In the past, this made formal verification agonizingly difficult. Even the simplest statement could require dozens of theorems and lemmas.

Fortunately, these days, many formal systems use automated theorem provers, like Coq, Isabelle or Metamath, that can check or even partially construct a formal proof.

Once a model is proven to work, the next step is building your program. But you still must make sure the software you build conforms to the specification.  

This is where functional programming languages like ML, Haskell, OCaml or F# enter into the picture. Because these languages are closer to algebra in their expressiveness, they are a better match for formal verification than languages like C, Java, or JavaScript.

For this reason, Tezos is written in OCaml and Cardano is written in Haskell, so changes to the protocol are easier to formally verify. (A formal specification for Ouroboros Praos, the next generation of the consensus algorithm powering Cardano, is already in the works.) Similarly, Tezos’ smart contract language Michelson is based on OCaml; Cardano’s smart contract language Plutus is based on Haskell.

Pros and Cons

On the plus side, formal verification allows computer scientists greater assurances in developing software. On the negative side, because of the rigor involved, formal methods can be a time-consuming, costly undertaking for projects developing the code.

Because of this, formal methods are best used to guarantee smaller building blocks of code that get reused over and over. You would not use it for, say, an entire operating system, but only those parts of a system that require the highest safety or security assurances.  

Naturally, any type of security comes at a cost. The question is, how much security will blockchain and smart contract developers be willing to pay for?

If you want something that is error free, “you had better be prepared to spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for people who will provide a full proof,” cautioned Zeller.  

On the other hand, for smart contracts securing tens of millions of dollars in funds, those costs may be well worth it. Looking at it another way, in a competitive environment, formal verification could make smart contracts more appealing to the consumer.

If, for instance, you had the choice of entrusting your funds to a smart contract that had been formally verified versus one that has not, which one would you choose?  

___________

Thanks to Tim Menzies, professor of computer science at North Carolina University, and Brighten Godfrey, co-founder and CTO at Veriflow, and Automated Software Engineering 2017.



The post Goodbye Bugs? How Formal Verification Could Fortify Smart Contracts appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:27 am

Wall Street strategist Tom Lee raises bitcoin forecast, now predicts 40% rise - CNBC


CNBC

Wall Street strategist Tom Lee raises bitcoin forecast, now predicts 40% rise
CNBC
Fundstrat raises its mid-2018 price target for bitcoin to $11,500 from $6,000, representing nearly 40 percent upside to its current level. "In our view, this move to $5,600 cleaned up weak hands and we no longer feel caution is warranted. … We ...
Crypto Bull Tom Lee Doubles Bitcoin Price Target to $11500Bloomberg
Predictions Roll in as Tom Lee Sets 40% Bitcoin Growth by Mid-2018Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Bitcoin cash is jumpingBusiness Insider
Seeking Alpha -Bitcoin News (press release) -The Merkle
all 60 news articles »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:24 am

Central Bank of Malaysia Plans Cryptocurrency Reporting Rules

The governor of Malaysia's central bank has provided more detail on upcoming regulations aimed to counter the illicit uses of cryptocurrencies.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 7:00 am

What's Next for Bitcoin Cash? Stopping User Fund Loss

Bitcoin cash may be vying for the top spot in bitcoin software, but it's still working to correct fundamental usability problems.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 6:10 am

Mike Novogratz Doubles Down on $10,000 Bitcoin

Billionaire Mike Novogratz has restated his belief that bitcoin will end the year at $10,000, while ethereum could hit $500.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 5:25 am

Two-Week Rally Pushes Monero to New Record High

Following a two-month period in the doldrums, the price of the privacy-focused cryptocurrency monero has climbed to a new all-time high of over $155.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:35 am

Philippine Regulators Eye New Rules for Bitcoin Exchanges and ICOs

Philippine regulators are eyeing new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to officials.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:00 am

Who Needs a CSD? Nivaura to Issue First Regulated Ether Bond

Blockchain startup Nivaura will today initiate its first bond denominated in ether. And, notably, the issuance will be conducted on a blockchain.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 3:00 am

Advertise with Anonymous Ads

Tech Giants Can't Beat 25000 Mongolian Bitcoin Machines: Gadfly - Washington Post


Tech Giants Can't Beat 25000 Mongolian Bitcoin Machines: Gadfly
Washington Post
Bitcoin pushed beyond $8,000 this week, a boon to those willing to pour money into a risky and speculative piece of code that's hoarded more than spent. Number of Bitmain machines in Mongolia. 25,000. But the crypto craze is leaving behind the very ...

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Posted on 22 November 2017 | 2:27 am

Banca IMI Bank Explores Ethereum Derivatives

One of Italy's largest banks is re-imagining what the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market would look like on a public blockchain.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:00 am

BitLicense Architect Ben Lawsky Joins Ripple Board

Ben Lawsky, the former New York Superintendent of Financial Services who spearheaded the BitLicense regulatory framework while in office, has joined startup Ripple's board of directors.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 3:30 pm

New Code Released for Vlad Zamfir's Ethereum 'Casper' Upgrade

The Ethereum Foundation's lead developer for the Casper upgrade, Vlad Zamfir, uploaded the first version of the protocol's code to GitHub on Tuesday.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 2:30 pm

Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency

Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency

Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged 1-to-1 to the U.S. dollar, was allegedly hacked today to the tune of $31 million.

Tether functions to convert U.S. dollars to a type of cryptocurrency. The project’s token (USDT) is pegged to the dollar and is used in exchange trading. The idea behind Tether is that instead of having to sell your bitcoin or other token for a fiat currency, you can convert it to USDT, and either hold it in USDT or else transfer your USDT to another exchange and use it to purchase tokens there.

As for the exchanges, USDT allows them to trade in something akin to dollars, without requiring them to have a bank account.

Tether operates on the “Omni Layer Protocol,” which itself operates on top of the Bitcoin network, and uses Bitcoin addresses. According to a blog post on the project’s website, $31 million worth of USDT was sent to an unauthorized Bitcoin address on November 19, 2017.

In the blog post, Tether also noted it released a new version of the Omni Core software used by exchanges and wallets to support USDT transactions, thus implementing a temporary hard fork to the Omni Layer. As a result, the affected tokens are frozen in place, making them essentially worthless to the hacker.

“We strongly urge all Tether integrators to install this software immediately to prevent the coins from entering the ecosystem,” Tether wrote, adding that “any tokens from the attacker’s addresses will not be redeemed.”

Some exchanges, like Kraken, have stopped trading USDT temporarily while they upgrade to the newer software.

The heist was made in three separate USDT transfers out of Tether’s core Treasury wallet in the amounts of 23,000,000; 7,900,000; and 500,000 USDT. It is unclear why the hacker did not move all of the money out at once.

In addition to the other exchanges it trades on, USDT is widely traded on Bitfinex, an exchange that lost 119,756 BTC (worth $72 million at the time) in a hack that took place a year and a half ago.

News of the Tether attack comes at a time when some — notably the blogger “Bitfinex’ed” — are questioning whether USDTs are being issued without backing of actual U.S. dollars. Similarly, there has been growing speculation that Tether is being used in possible market manipulation to drive up the price of bitcoin.

The current market cap value of USDT is around $673 million. If that money is backed by real reserves, as Tether claims, the project would need to have at least that much in its bank account in Taiwan.

Tether publishes a bank account balance on its website’s Transparency page and claims the money is redeemable for U.S. dollars at any time directly through the Tether platform.

The project’s website has been up and down sporadically, since the hack. An archive of the site is available here.

The post Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 12:32 pm

Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate

The SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Now Really Failed to Activate

In case there were any remaining doubts, it now seems clear that the SegWit2x hard fork will not happen.

The SegWit2x project, a product of the New York Agreement signed onto by a long list of companies and miners in May, had scheduled a hard fork to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit today. And while the controversial effort was suspended by leaders of the project last week, this would not have stopped anyone else from proceeding with it. Companies like Coinbase were indeed taking into account that the SegWit2x hard fork could still happen.

The Fork That Wasn’t

SegWit2x nodes — most notably btc1 — were programmed to fork away from the Bitcoin blockchain this afternoon (UTC) to create the SegWit2x blockchain and a new currency, often referred to as B2X. However, not a single SegWit2x block has been mined since fork point, nor is there any indication that this is likely to happen. For all intents and purposes, there is no SegWit2x — nor a B2X.

Further, software bugs in the btc1 codebase made all btc1 implementations grind to a halt even before it reached the expected fork point. While Bitcoin and SegWit2x nodes were widely expected to share a single blockchain up until block 494783 and then to go their own ways at block 494784, btc1 nodes never made it past block 494782.

This is mainly because the first block on the SegWit2x chain was required to have a “base block” larger than one megabyte. This is how the chain would diverge from the original Bitcoin protocol. But due to what is referred to as an “off-by-one error,” SegWit2x blocks started to reject smaller-than-one-megabyte blocks one block too soon — at block 494,783 instead of 494,784.

Moreover, another btc1 bug prevented miners from mining a big enough block when it was needed. So even if some miners did want to proceed with the fork, they accidentally wouldn’t have done so — at least not automatically. Miners would instead have had to manually configure their block weight settings, but it’s unlikely they knew about this step. Btc1 maintainer Jeff Garzik (while also denying there was a problem) has since released a patch to resolve this issue.

But judging by the absence of any SegWit2x blocks, the patch hasn’t made a difference, most likely because few, if any, miners were interested in mining on the SegWit2x chain in the first place.

NO2X?

Despite the seeming failure of SegWit2x to take off in any way, it should be noted that there is technically no way to declare a fork like SegWit2x officially “dead” or “failed.”

While unlikely, it’s always possible that the SegWit2x hard fork could proceed at some point in the future. In fact, there is no way to tell whether the SegWit2x chain is currently being mined with a little bit of hash power right now, and it is strictly impossible to foresee whether it will be mined later on. Perhaps a SegWit2x block will be found a day from now, a week from now or even ten years from now, at which point SegWit2x and B2X will technically come into existence.

However, since the SegWit2x chain did not include a mining difficulty reset, it will be as hard to mine a B2X block as it currently is to mine a BTC block. Meanwhile, market support for B2X appears to be extremely low, with B2X futures trading below 2 percent of BTC. So even if miners decide to mine B2X blocks, they’d almost certainly be earning far less than they would by mining BTC. Or, more accurately, they’d spend more on electricity bills than they’d be able to earn by mining B2X. The financial incentive to mine the SegWit2x chain just isn’t there.

Alternatively, SegWit2x could see a bit of a rebirth in the form of “BitcoinX” (BTX). This project, supposedly started by disappointed SegWit2x supporters, will take a snapshot of bitcoin balances at block height 494,783 and start a SegWit2x-like altcoin that offers all BTC holders the equivalent amount in BTX. Though, while this coin is arguably more viable than B2X thanks to a mining difficulty reset and more, it really is a new coin — arguably even more so than B2X would have been.

The post Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:54 pm

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

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

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

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

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

November 23, 2017 -
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