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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.

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Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:53 am

Bitcoin Price Dilemma: Bull and Bear Paths in Play - Coindesk (press release) (blog)


Coindesk (press release) (blog)

Bitcoin Price Dilemma: Bull and Bear Paths in Play
Coindesk (press release) (blog)
Fresh off all-time highs, bitcoin is trading sideways and showing signs of bull exhaustion. As per CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is trading at roughly $16,850. But despite the high ...

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:03 am

Bitcoin Price Dilemma: Bull and Bear Paths in Play

Bitcoin may be at all-time highs, but it's also at a potentially key crossroads for its price, chart data shows.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:00 am

Uncle Sam's Surprise: Tax Reform to Impact Crypto Investors

New provisions in the upcoming tax reform bill could have several significant repercussions on crypto holders this tax season.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 6:15 am

$750: The Ether Price Freight Train Has a New Target

The price of ether, ethereum's native token, hit a new all-time high of $686 today, and the price chart analysis suggests the rally could continue.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 5:45 am

Facebook Messenger VP Joins Coinbase's Board of Directors

David Marcus, vice president of messaging products at Facebook and ex-PayPal president, has joined the board of directors at Coinbase.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 4:20 am

South Korea Considers Steps to Rein in the Bitcoin Frenzy - Fortune


Fortune

South Korea Considers Steps to Rein in the Bitcoin Frenzy
Fortune
The government there will formally announce these moves on Friday. There are also cryptocurrency regulations, both current and incoming, in plenty of other countries and blocs such as U.S., Japan and the European Union. Although the more libertarian ...
South Korea is going bitcoin crazyCNNMoney
South Korea Seeks Measures to Curb Bitcoin FrenzyBloomberg
Millions of Individual Asian Investors Are Reportedly Driving Bitcoin's RiseSlate Magazine (blog)
Bitcoin News (press release)
all 78 news articles »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 3:03 am

Vanguard Taps Symbiont's Private Blockchain for Index Fund Data

The partners say the blockchain technology speeds up data delivery from the index provider, removes the need for manual intervention and lowers risk.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:45 am

Bitcoin Has Gone Mainstream. That's a Very Big Deal - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Has Gone Mainstream. That's a Very Big Deal
CoinDesk
I'm not talking about the long-awaited mass adoption point in which a critical mass of users owns, earns and spends bitcoin. We're still a long way from that notion of "mainstream." Rather, it's a moment of global awareness and dialogue. Even without ...

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:08 am

Bitcoin Has Gone Mainstream. That's a Big Deal

While we're still a long way from mass adoption, this is a moment of global awareness and dialogue that is opening up a wide array of possibilities.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:00 am

Blockchain Startup LO3 Partners With Power Exchange

Linking local microgrids to wholesale markets will enable consumers to buy and sell surplus energy from neighbors or faraway strangers, the firms say.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 12:00 am

Bitcoin Started With All Men. Now Crypto Is Opening Up to Women - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin Started With All Men. Now Crypto Is Opening Up to Women
Fortune
The roughly $460 billion digital currency world, spawned eight years ago from the almost exclusively male domain of bitcoin, is starting to open to women. Four out of 30 of the largest initial coin offerings this year through October had female co ...

and more »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 8:45 pm

Victory Lap? 2017 Was Bitcoin's Backwards Year - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Victory Lap? 2017 Was Bitcoin's Backwards Year
CoinDesk
As in 2016, gains in the price of bitcoin belie deep deficits in the cryptocurrency world. Bitcoin's stock of social capital, the human institutions around this most important technology, remains woefully deficient, and the capacity of bitcoin to ...

and more »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 7:48 pm

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Victory Lap? 2017 Was Bitcoin's Backwards Year

2017 was another bad year in bitcoin in the eyes of long-time industry observer Jim Harper, but he sees a silver lining at the end of the story.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 7:45 pm

Bitcoin Futures Codes: How to Read Them And What They Mean

So you want to trade bitcoin futures? First, learn the Chicago exchanges' highly counterintuitive naming system for monthly contracts.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 5:00 pm

Fake News? Former New Zealand Prime Minister Denies Investing in Bitcoin

Former New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he did not advise people to invest in bitcoin, as was stated in a post pretending to be the NZ Herald.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 3:20 pm

How to sell bitcoin - Dec. 12, 2017 - CNN Money - CNNMoney


CNNMoney

How to sell bitcoin - Dec. 12, 2017 - CNN Money
CNNMoney
The only thing more nerve-racking than buying bitcoin right now may be trying to get your money out.
Bitcoin exchanges suffer outagesFinancial Times

all 23 news articles »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 3:20 pm

I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here's Why. - New York Times


New York Times

I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here's Why.
New York Times
Several years ago, tech enthusiasts in San Francisco began buzzing about a new and mysterious thing called Bitcoin. There were rumors that the virtual money, invented by a pseudonymous math genius named Satoshi Nakamoto, would revolutionize modern ...
Is it too late to buy Bitcoin?Popular Science
3 reasons to doubt bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and other cryptocurrenciesCBS News
Bitcoin Regrets: How Much $100 Would Be Worth Today if You Invested EarlierFortune
Washington Post -WIRED -Forbes
all 1,017 news articles »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 2:33 pm

Crowdfunding Giant Indiegogo Opens to ICOs

Indiegogo is getting into the initial coin offering (ICO) game, seeking to become the "go-to" platform for the emerging market.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 1:40 pm

Mt Gox Creditors Want Bitcoin Exchange Taken Out of Bankruptcy

A group of creditors of the defunct bitcoin exchange Mt Gox has filed a new court petition in an effort to prevent a possible billion-dollar payout to its CEO.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 1:15 pm

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Bitcoin Bulls Face 'Alt' Competition in Push to $20k

The price of bitcoin may be at all-time highs, but a wave of new investors could quickly tilt the market dynamic, analysis suggests.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 11:30 am

IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired

IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired

Safely storing cryptocurrency can be confusing, especially for newcomers to the space, but for people with visual impairments, finding an accessible option is especially challenging.

IcyWallet is a cold wallet with a difference: it is designed to make it as simple as possible for people with visual impairments to manage offline bitcoin storage.

The project got its start when Adam Newbold and his wife took a braille reading course as a learning activity. Shortly afterward, Newbold struck up a Reddit conversation with a blind Bitcoin enthusiast who expressed frustration with the lack of support for the blind community from Bitcoin software developers. None of the wallets worked correctly in his reader and he required help to perform any functions with bitcoin.

“I learned even more about practical accessibility issues and the real-world challenges that the blind encounter every day,” Newbold told Bitcoin Magazine. “This turned into a stronger personal interest that merged with my existing interest in Bitcoin when I realized that there are pretty big opportunities for improving the state of accessibility in Bitcoin software.”

He started a campaign in October 2017 to create a braille version of the original Bitcoin white paper. That campaign was successful and the document is now available for anyone wanting to get a copy.

That first success led Newbold to create the IcyWallet. His goal is to provide a 100 percent free and open source bitcoin hardware wallet for the blind. Work is currently underway with early milestones achieved, the progress of which is tracked on their website.

“One of the points you hear a lot about Bitcoin is that you can ‘be your own bank,’ which always sounds fun and empowering (and it is!),” said Newbold. “But it also means that you need to take responsibility for all of the things that banks do, like keeping your funds secure.”

He explained that even though today’s technology has solved a substantial number of issues that people with disabilities face, when it comes to bitcoin and security, there are still several missing pieces.

“There isn’t any kind of hardware wallet on the market today that’s fully accessible to people with blindness,” said Newbold, “and there are barriers to setting up secured, air-gapped solutions. This leaves people with blindness limited choices that all involve compromising security to some degree. With the IcyWallet, the private keys never leave the device.”

According to Newbold, here is how the device will work:

  • First, the transaction is generated on a (different) computer connected to the internet, so that the fee can be properly estimated;

  • Then, the transaction is signed by the IcyWallet device;

  • Finally, the transaction is broadcasted to the Bitcoin network back on the internet-connected device. This keeps the IcyWallet device completely offline, ensuring that the private keys are safe at all times.

Users simply plug in headphones and a keyboard or a refreshable braille display. The device boots directly into the wallet app with functional audio and braille support.

“Refreshable braille display support means that it will even support someone with deaf/blindness right out of the box,” said Newbold.

IcyWallet generates hierarchical deterministic wallets with mnemonic seeds for safe backup. The code is developed using the BitcoinJS library and is intended to be run on an “air-gapped” Raspberry Pi, though Newbold points out that, in theory, the software can run on other hardware.

Newbold has plans to make a demo video/audio track available soon, as well as an early release of the software (probably limited to wallet generation only) so that he can start to get more feedback and code suggestions that will improve the IcyWallet.

As Bitcoin in particular, and cryptocurrencies in general, see wider adoption, the implementation of greater accessibility systems will be important to their continued growth. IcyWallet is expected to launch at some point in 2018.



The post IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 11:27 am

Coinbase Halts Litecoin, Ether Trades as Prices Spike

Digital currency startup Coinbase says it has paused trading for litecoin and ethereum.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 10:40 am

Gifto’s Vision for the Virtual Gifting Economy

Gifto Thumb


The digital age has changed many things about the way we work, play, think and live. And one key element of this is the act of giving.

In the online community, it’s hard to think of a more natural display of positive interaction than the act of giving virtual gifts.  In today’s digital age, giving has taken on a whole new meaning as growing numbers of transactions and exchanges occur online. 

At the nexus of this movement is a project called Gifto, a virtual gifting protocol for content creators and their fans throughout the world. 

Gifto seeks to forever change the way we give gifts through the use of smart contracts that facilitate customized, fun virtual gifts to be sent via the Ethereum blockchain, across all content platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. Gifto achieves this through a decentralized, user-driven model which rewards quality content generation, while fostering a richer set of connections between content creators and their audiences.

The brains behind this idea, Andy Tian, is the co-founder and CEO of Asia Innovations Group (AIG), which is the leading mobile interactive entertainment group in Asia. Headquartered in Hong Kong, AIG operates a suite of mobile, social and online entertainment products for users worldwide. 

Launched in May 2016, AIG’s flagship, live-streaming product, Uplive, is already available in more than 100 countries. The app enables anyone around the world to broadcast and view real-time video streams via their smartphones.  It currently has 20 million users and 60,000 broadcasters worldwide, with a projected revenue of more than $100 million from virtual gifting in 2017 alone. With Gifto, AIG is decentralizing its successful virtual gifting model to all content creators, regardless of whether they are on Uplive or not.

Uplive is one of the top five streaming apps in the world. It is the culmination of AIG’s many years of experience and tech development in gaming, social media and video. And Gifto is the culmination of Uplive’s experiences.

The Chinese live streaming market was valued at $5 billion in 2017, according to a forecast by Credit Suisse. Tian sees a golden opportunity with Gifto to replicate this incredibly successful model in international markets across any content platform through its universal protocol.

The Inspiration Behind Gifto

Gifto sprang from Tian’s personal interest in the question of how to apply game mechanics to any and all things that people engage with.

Born in China before moving to New York at age 10, Tian ran Google’s mobile business in China, during which he introduced Android to the China market. He then started one of the earliest social gaming companies in the world, XPD Media, which was later sold to Zynga to become Zynga China. After leaving Zynga, he co-founded AIG, which now has over 300 staff members located around the world, from Casablanca to Tokyo. 

Tian said that Gifto arose from conversations with both broadcasters and users of the Uplive community platform. That dialogue reinforced the notion that only the top 10 percent of all online influencers these days are able to effectively monetize their work. 

“What about the 90 percent of content creators who have 100,000 fans?” he asked. “Or only 50,000 fans? They can’t monetize at all based on the traditional ad/sponsorship model that’s currently in place.” 

One challenge on the Uplive platform was how to calculate the amount of revenue share a broadcaster has across all of Uplive. 

“We currently have a centralized system that does calculations and verification, a common practice among any centralized, consumer-based service,” Tian said. “But when a number of my investors and friends introduced me to smart contracts, that was a game changer. By integrating these contracts into the virtual gift itself, a transaction could automatically be executed, allowing for the instant delivery of revenue share to gift creators and producers.” 

This was a major development with respect to Uplive, where more than 25 million virtual gifts are sent every month.

“With blockchain, we can transparently, quickly and accurately execute payments so that our creators don’t have to wait 30 days or more to receive their share of the gift proceeds,” Tian said. “They can gain revenues directly from their fans.” 

Tian extols the idea of a crypto token that has a common value regardless of which country it is sent to or received from. 

“We currently have users paying us from 50-plus countries, with 30-plus payment providers worldwide,” he said. “With fiat, we have experienced lots of credit card fraud issues like cancelled transactions among other problems associated with this form of money on an international scale. Cryptocurrency can solve that. Not having to convert between different currency types will be a big win for our users.” 

In addition, Gifto can be used universally by any platform, not just Uplive, said Tian.

“The Gifto protocol will be available to any content creator on virtually any platform, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram,” he said. “For the first time ever, content creators on these platforms won’t be constrained to the advertising-only model that generates very little revenue for the creators without millions of followers. Now, anyone will be able to accept virtual gifts through the Gifto platform and generate meaningful income from their content, directly from their fanbase.”   

Fostering a Global Gifting Economy

The concept of virtual gifts sent from fans to broadcasters is what drives Gifto. It allows creators to produce and place virtual gifts on a blockchain as a virtual asset and set their own pricing and value. Each created gift would have its own unique nature and character, adding the all-important element of fun to the whole gifting process. Broadcasters could then be digitally compensated regardless of the number of fans they have. 

Gifto’s public token sale on the Ethereum blockchain will begin on December 14, 2017. Thirty percent of the tokens, called “Gifto,” will be sold at that time subject to a $30 million hard cap. The campaign will adhere to a strict “know-your-customer” process, excluding citizens from China, the U.S., and Vietnam, based on legal regulations in those countries. 

Tian said the journey to exploring an initial coin offering (ICO) started early in 2017, when his company began examining the utility of blockchain technology as a solution to requests for new features from Uplive’s broadcasters and user base.  He said that monies garnered will be used for product development and engineering, marketing and market adoption, user acquisition and operations.

“We believe that we’ll be the highest revenue consumer company in Asia to launch a token offering,” Tian said. “Blockchain technology, in our opinion, is an awesome application and solution to decentralize everything and we want to advance this thinking.”

Tian’s ultimate goal is to make blockchain useful to mass-market consumers who don’t necessarily understand what the technology is, but can still enjoy the benefits of decentralization.

“It’s all about empowering the everyday people,” he concluded. “Content creators with a small, loyal fanbase now have a fun way to connect with their fans and make it easy for them to contribute.” 

The post Gifto’s Vision for the Virtual Gifting Economy appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 9:24 am

Bitcoin 'Sect' Stuns Online Broker With 50-Fold Jump - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin 'Sect' Stuns Online Broker With 50-Fold Jump
Fortune
Bitcoin futures just became a reality on Wall Street, but Sweden has been offering derivatives on the cryptocurrency for years. That gentrification has driven bitcoin trading in Scandinavia's biggest economy to alarming levels, according to an online ...

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 8:53 am

Bitcoin Isn't Sapping Demand for Gold, Says Goldman Sachs Exec

A Goldman Sachs executive has said there is "no evidence" that bitcoin's price gains have reduced demand for gold.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 7:00 am

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

On December 11, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) issued a cease-and-desist to California-based Munchee Inc. to stop their ICO and return the funds that had been collected.

Munchee had been seeking $15 million in capital to improve their existing mobile app and create a restaurant review ecosystem that they described as being “Yelp meets Instagram” in their Bitcointalk announcement. The problem arose when Munchee emphasized that it would take steps to create a secondary market for the tokens as an investment vehicle, leading investors to have a reasonable belief that their tokens would rise in value, long in advance of the utility of the token being made available.

In the SEC announcement, Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC Enforcement Division, said, “We will continue to scrutinize the market vigilantly for improper offerings that seek to sell securities to the general public without the required registration or exemption. In deciding not to impose a penalty, the Commission recognized that the company stopped the ICO quickly, immediately returned the proceeds before issuing tokens, and cooperated with the investigation.”

In the SEC complaint, the commission argued that the MUN tokens were considered securities because “they were investment contracts” and were deemed a security regardless of their utility at the time of the sale. Munchee consented to the SEC’s order without admitting to, or denying, the findings.

The action is significant as it shows the willingness of the SEC to step in and take action. It also illustrates a willingness on the part of the SEC to work with companies that are cooperative when they run afoul of the regulations.

The post Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 3:19 pm

Bitcoin Futures Are Here: The Story So Far

cboefutures.jpg

The week ahead will give better future indication of Bitcoin derivatives products as yesterday at 6 p.m. EST, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) allowed bitcoin futures to begin trading under the symbol “XBT.” Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) is set to allow futures trading in the cryptocurrency of their own accord on December 18, 2017. Bitcoin futures were up over 20 percent leading into the U.S. market open. Current appetite for the futures contracts seems to show a stronger preference for near-term bitcoin futures priced above the current spot rate. According to the CBOE twitter feed, over 800 contracts were traded in the first two hours.

47c7ff34bce0ce6132eef3b1762bee2b.png

Image source: CBOE delayed quotes dashboard as of 3:53 PM. EST

At least one outage plagued the CBOE in early trading, including two minutes of downtime from 8:31 p.m. EST to 8:33 p.m. EST, while the CBOE stated at 11:34 p.m. EST that there would be a 5-minute hiatus if the front month (January expiration) rose above 30 percent.

square cboe

Image Source: www.cboe.com

These deliberate halts in trading are known as “circuit breakers” and are meant to protect the market from unmanageable volatility.

While we wait to see how futures trading unfolds in the U.S. markets today, here are some of the notable events that got us into a world of bitcoin futures.

October 31

The CME Group gave bitcoin investors around the world a bit of a Halloween treat when they announced plans to allow bitcoin futures to be traded on their exchange. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s announcement notably coincided with the anniversary of the publication of Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakomoto’s original 2008 white paper on the cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts took this as a signal of mainstream acceptance of the asset class, and bitcoin closed the day (according to historical data provided by www.coinmarketcap.com) at $6,468.40. When futures trading opened last night, bitcoin was trading at $14,901.70.

December 1, 2017

Regulators gave bitcoin futures the green light for the CME Group as well as for self-certification by the CBOE Futures Exchange (CFE) as well as for the Cantor Exchange’s new contract for bitcoin binary options. The exchanges assured the CFTC that the new products were compliant with the self-certification process rules, and the CFTC refrained from halting the self-certification. CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo stated in a press release:  

Bitcoin, a virtual currency, is a commodity unlike any the Commission has dealt with in the past…[a]s a result, we have had extensive discussions with the exchanges regarding the proposed contracts, and CME, CFE and Cantor have agreed to significant enhancements to protect customers and maintain orderly markets.

December 4

The CBOE announced it would launch futures trading in bitcoin under the symbol “XBT” on Sunday night, December 10, 2017, at 6 p.m. EST. This move was seen as a manoever to beat the earlier announcement from the competing CME that they would allow futures trading in bitcoin beginning December 18, 2017. Not surprisingly, the CBOE’s usage of the exchange platform Gemini, owned by the Winklevoss twins, may allow the newly minted “Bitcoin Billionaires” to further capitalize on the successes of the cryptocurrencies.

December 5

A Natixis Investment Managers Survey of 500 global investors managing more than $19 trillion of assets has found that “nearly two-thirds [of survey participants] said Bitcoin was in a bubble, and this was a month before the cryptocurrency surged above $10,000 last week.”

Also bearish on bitcoin was Stephen Roach, a Yale University economist who told CNBC’s “The Rundown” that exchange legitimization makes bitcoin “somewhat dangerous [for investors],” citing a “lack of intrinsic underlying economic value to the concept.”

December 6

S3 Partners, a data research and analytics firm, sent this note to investors on GBTC ETF, the only ETF which trades bitcoin. In the note, Managing Director of Predictive Analytics at S3, Ihor Dusaniwsky, suggested that bitcoin as an asset would be “ripe for a pullback once the CBOE futures contracts go live” but also cautioned that the fees for shorting the GBTC ETF will be extremely high. While futures contracts would enable easier and safer access to both long and short positions, Dusaniwsky noted, futures trading would also carry premium costs for all GBTC ETF investors, stating:

Long GBTC holders may feel the pain of its 53% asset premium shrinking, while short sellers will probably be incurring a 50%+ stock borrow fee — both sides will be paying a premium in order to ride the Bitcoin rollercoaster once the CBOE futures start trading.

Also on December 6, 2017, trading volume for BTC nearly doubled from 6.9 billion to 12.7 billion and crosses the 10 billion volume threshold for the first time since Bitcoin crossed $10,000 (November 28, 2017). Whether this run up was related to the prospect of bitcoin futures or just normal market machinations is unclear.

historical cboe

Screenshot of historical data from Coinmarketcap.com (link above)

December 7

The Futures Industry Association, an industry organization whose primary members consist of the largest clearing houses and clearing firms for futures in the world, published an open letter it had sent to the CFTC chairman on December 6, 2017, decrying the lack of “a healthy dialogue between regulators, exchanges, clearing houses and the clearing firms who will be absorbing the risk of these volatile, emerging instruments during a default.” This is in spite of the fact that the letter also admits that, “Under law, exchanges may self-certify a product for trading by the close of business one day and then list the product for trading the next day.This process does not require CFTC approval or input…”

Also on December 7, in a joint interview with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, stated that, “We’ll [Goldman Sachs] see. If it works out and it gets more established and it trades like a store value and it doesn't move up and down 20% and there's liquidity in it, we’ll get to it.”

That same interview includes the suggestion that, according to an unnamed source with knowledge of Goldman Sachs plans, the investment bank plans to help clear bitcoin futures contracts for certain clients when the derivatives go live and that “the decision to clear client trades will be made on a case-by-case basis.” Goldman Sachs “will act in an agency capacity” and “won’t serve as a market-maker or build inventory in the derivatives.”

December 8

As the normal trading week came to an end, Coinbase and its exchange platform GDAX sent a reminder from Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, to its users via blog and email to “invest responsibly,” also noting that “there may be downtime which can impact your ability to trade.” While seemingly innocuous, it appears the Coinbase team was preparing for a surge in trading volume that would crash its platform. At 10 p.m. on December 10, 2017, Coinbase tweeted that it would be offline for one hour of scheduled maintenance to “help to prevent slow performance and login issues during larger traffic surges.”

Conclusion

The market on Bitcoin Futures is open for business. After 14 hours of premarket bitcoin futures and a full day of trading from both European and U.S. investors, “XBT” seems to be functioning as planned. While spectators of the past week have foretold of everything from rosy outlooks to apocryphal warnings, we, at least for the moment, seem to be on a path toward embracing cryptocurrency futures as a new wave of derivatives.

The post Bitcoin Futures Are Here: The Story So Far appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 2:38 pm

U.S. Senate Mulls Reporting Requirements for Cryptocurrencies

USSenateBill

American Bitcoin holders may soon have to report their holding to the United States government.

First introduced on May 25, 2015, by Sen. Chuck Grassley [R-IA], Senate Bill S.1241, the
“Combating Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing, and Counterfeiting Act of 2017,” can have serious implications for those involved in the cryptocurrency space. The hearing for S.1241 was held with virtually no public notice on November 28, 2017; the full two-hour hearing can be viewed here.

Currently, the definition of “financial institution” includes banks, trust companies, credit unions, currency exchanges and the like. But according to Section 5312(a) of title 31, the new bill would amend the definition of “financial institution” to include “an issuer, redeemer, or cashier of prepaid access devices, digital currency, or any digital exchanger or tumbler of digital currency.” 

This is most specifically embedded in Section 13:

senatebilltextscreen.png

Sen. Dianne Feinstein [D-CA] said in her opening remarks of the hearing, “The bill criminalizes intentionally concealing ownership or control of a bank account.” Although, during the hearing, no further clarifications were given as to the effects this would have on the cryptocurrency community, based on the amended definition of “financial institution,” it would seem that the bill would criminalize anyone intentionally concealing ownership or control of a digital currency or exchange account. While there is no finalized bill yet, the implication would be that cryptocurrency holders need to fill in federal registration forms for tax disclosure, quarterly reporting and more.

Notably, while the purpose of the bill and hearing had to do with adding digital currencies and exchanges to the definition of financial institutions, there was almost no discussion on the topic other than briefly in reference to drug cartels using them to launder money. For example, nowhere in the testimony by Coinbase board of directors member Kathryn Haun Rodriguez does she mention digital currencies or exchanges, and at no time was she asked any questions about them.

Unsurprisingly, the bill is receiving pushback from some cryptocurrency holders. Activists on Reddit have started a social media campaign in opposition to the bill, and are suggesting others to tweet: “@senjudiciary that #Bitcoiners are not #Crooks Remove #DigitalCurrencies from Section 13 of S1241.” Others are contacting their senators directly.

The post U.S. Senate Mulls Reporting Requirements for Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 8 December 2017 | 3:23 pm

It’s A Wonderful Life for Bitcoin Evangelist as Community Expresses Its Gratitude

It’s A Wonderful Life for Bitcoin Evangelist as Community Expresses Its Gratitude


In “It’s a Wonderful Life,” the 1940s Christmas classic, George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) is the guiding force of a small-town bank, who ends up sacrificing his own dreams for the betterment of his community.

Ultimately, facing financial ruin, he begins to question what it was all for. That is when his friends appear, one by one, with a flurry of donations, reminding him of how he touched each and every one of their lives, and Bailey realizes he is a rich man after all.

Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos recently found himself at the center of a similar outpouring of gratitude. The author and public speaker has spent the last five years of his life traversing the globe and educating people about Bitcoin. But, as it turns out, he hadn’t exactly made himself rich along the way.

WIth the price of bitcoin soaring into the $16,000s, a grateful community has decided to give Antonopoulos’s fortunes a karmic boost. A spontaneous giving spree, fueled by social media, is under way. Thus far, more than 100 BTC, valued at over $1.7 million has been sent to his bitcoin address. One individual alone sent an eye-popping 37 BTC, worth $500,000. (Update: That same individual added another 42 BTC, making for a total of 79 BTC: worth well over $1,000,000.)

Along with the money, people are tweeting under the hashtag #ThankYouAndreas and reminding Antonopoulos of the many ways he made a difference in their lives.  

“Words are my craft but tonight I am speechless,” the author of Mastering Bitcoin tweeted last night.

Never a Rich Man

Antonopoulos became involved with Bitcoin in 2012. He has written two books on the subject, describing in detail the technical rules governing Bitcoin in a way that a novice could understand, and has given more than 200 talks (many of them free) about Bitcoin.

It is easy to imagine that someone who knows so much about Bitcoin might have found a way to profit from it. A small investment in the virtual currency five years ago, when bitcoin was at around $6, would have netted the Bitcoin writer a humongous profit. (Bitcoin is currently listed at $16,000.) But Antonopoulos wasn’t really a speculator.

Indeed, as investor Roger Ver pointed out in one of his tweets, if Antonopoulos had put more money into bitcoin early on, he would have been a lot better off financially.

But Antonopoulos was too busy, too obsessed with spreading his vision of a world free from the strictures of legacy banks and payment systems. He wanted people to understand the technology and to appreciate its promise.

That early obsession, as he described in a recent blog post, led him to undo a lifetime of savings and eventually fall into credit card debt as he tumbled down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. He lived paycheck to paycheck for years until becoming debt-free at the end of 2016. Those bitcoins he’d collected and earned had to be cashed out along the way to support him and his family.

I did invest, Roger. Then I sold in 2013 to pay my rent. I didn't have disposable income to work for two years without pay and invest at the same time. I should've gone into more debt, but that would have been irresponsible towards my family who I supported

— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) December 5, 2017

Because most people were not aware of Antonopoulos’s earlier struggles, some were puzzled when he recently began putting videos of his talks on Patreon, a membership platform that allows users to collect monthly subscription fees for services.  

I’m not a bitcoin millionnaire [sic],” Antonopoulos responded to one follower on Twitter. “My supporters on Patreon, many at $5/month, make it possible for me to work with independence.”

Developer Adam Back quickly responded with the suggestion that “if ‘sign guy’ can get a meaningful start from tips, we should try [to] find a way for the community to fund @aantonop to a hodlers position.” And the community agreed.

Shortly thereafter, his number of Patreon supporters began to rise, and donations started to pour into Antonopoulos’s bitcoin address.

In addition to the funds that accumulated, accolades began to pour in from supporters far and wide on Twitter, Reddit and Patreon. Many credit him for getting them into Bitcoin in the first place, for helping them to understand it and for inspiring them to pursue careers in the space.

“I don’t know anyone as authentic, well-intentioned and universally respected in the industry,” wrote entrepreneur Ryan Selkis in a tweet.

#THANKYOUANDREAS for being a shining example of what a thought leader in the space should look like 👏👏

— Dan Hedl (@danheld) December 6, 2017

“@aantonop is by far the BEST advocate and most eloquent speaker on #bitcoin. His speeches had a HUGE influence on me,” wrote investor and author Brian Kelly.

“The community raised over $700,000 worth of Bitcoin in a matter of hours for Andreas from all over the world, which beautifully shows the power of Bitcoin itself, actually,” wrote Erik Voorhees, CEO at cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift.

For Antonopoulos, the outpouring of support has been no less than overwhelming.

“I am going offline for a few days. I need time to process everything that happened,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “If you sent me a message in the last 48 hrs, thank you. If I don’t respond for a week or so, I apologize.”




The post It’s A Wonderful Life for Bitcoin Evangelist as Community Expresses Its Gratitude appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 3:52 pm

Out of Steam: PC Gaming Platform Ends Bitcoin Payment Option

Out of Steam - PC Gaming Platform Ends Bitcoin Payment Option

The utility aspect of Bitcoin faced a setback yesterday as PC gamers heard from Valve Corporation’s Steam Team in a blog post that Bitcoin would no longer be accepted as payment on its digital distribution platform, Steam. Citing the volatility of the currency as well as the rising cost of fees, a representative of The Steam Team, known as “kurtis”, explained that the volatility of Bitcoin has created a problem for users trying to purchases games using the currency. Kurtis pointed out that:

The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can change. The amount it can change has been increasing recently to a point where it can be significantly different.

Kurtis further elaborated that the normal resolution mechanism on Steam is either to refund the original payment to the user, which would negate the transaction or to ask the user to transfer additional funds to cover the remaining balance. “In both these cases, the user is hit with the Bitcoin network transaction fee again.” Bitcoin was adopted as a means of payment via  bitcoin payment processor, BitPay, for games on Steam on April 27, 2016.


Some users commenting on the blog seem to agree and support Valve’s decision, with many calling for utilization of alternative cryptos such as Vertcoin, IOTA, and Litecoin. Others, such as one user named “Kaj Jez”, stated,

Massively disappointing. The first purchase I ever made in Bitcoin was on Steam. As long as Steam doesn't accept BTC I will prefer to do business with devs' own stores that hopefully do…But as Bitcoin will undoubtedly improve itself with scalability solutions so to will Steam hopefully improve itself by rectifying this mistake and once again accepting it.

Steam, the largest digital distribution platform for PC Games, has an active user base of over 275 million users with an average of 11 games per user, according to Sergey Galyonkin’s Steam Spy API. In a Medium article, Galyonkin elaborated that 2016 sales for PC games through the Steam Platform totaled roughly $3.47 billion dollars. While it is unclear how much of that revenue resulted from bitcoin transactions during its period of acceptance, it is clear that the PC gaming community faced a major setback in utilizing Bitcoin as a means for buying games.


At the time of this writing, neither BitPay nor Steam nor Valve Corp could be reached for additional comment.

The post Out of Steam: PC Gaming Platform Ends Bitcoin Payment Option appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 3:11 pm

New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position

New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position

While China continues to dominate the bitcoin mining market, North America has now gained another significant player who can help decentralize mining power. Hut 8 Mining Corp (Hut 8) and the Bitfury Group (Bitfury) have announced a partnership that will create North America’s largest bitcoin mining center, located primarily in Alberta, Canada.

“We are excited to partner with Hut 8 to expand our activities in the strategic North America market,” said Bitfury CEO, Valery Vavilov, in a statement. “We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to establish North America as one of the most important cryptocurrency mining hubs in the world.”

Known for manufacturing their own Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips, Bitfury is the world’s largest bitcoin mining company outside of China. Their custom hardware and software solutions eliminate the reliance on any third parties, which lowers costs and improves efficiency. Their BlockBox AC datacenter product allows for significantly shorter setup time to establish a commercial bitcoin mining center.

Hut 8 is a bitcoin mining company that will provide shareholders access to the price appreciation of bitcoin. Once the partnership is finalized, Hut 8 will control what they believe to be the largest cryptocurrency mining farm in North America: Hut 8 will gain immediate control over 22 bitcoin mining datacenters spread across Alberta.

The expectation is for Hut 8 to be listed on the Canadian stock exchange during Q1 of 2018 and increasing control over an additional 35 datacenters. Hut 8 anticipates that through a combination of existing Bitfury sites and new installations, they will scale to 60 or more datacenters during 2018.

The datacenters will be comprised of Bitfury’s containerized bitcoin mining units called Blockboxes, containing Bitfury’s 16nm ASIC chip, which they claim is one of the most efficient on the market. Bitfury will be providing the infrastructure for the partnership via the aforementioned assets and Hut 8 will own and operate the centers.

On December 4, 2017, Hut 8 is made available an approximate 13,200,000 shares on a private placement basis through GMP Securities L.P., worth approximately $25.7 million ($33 million CAD); the proceeds of which will be applied towards the initial acquisitions described above.

Also making moves in the North American mining market, Giga Watt has been promoting its own modular datacenter design called “Giga Pods.” While Giga Watt doesn’t have custom hardware solutions, they do allow for new entrants to buy and run their own hosted mining rig and potentially make money. It will be interesting to watch the development of these companies in North America over the course of 2018.

The post New Bitcoin Mining Centers Set to Increase North American Market Position appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 2:22 pm

Bitcoin tops $10,000 milestone

Posted on 29 November 2017 | 2:30 am

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

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

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

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

December 13, 2017 -
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