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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

These Two UASFs Could Activate SegWit

BIP 148 and BIP 149: the Two UASFs to Activate SegWit

Segregated Witness (SegWit), the Bitcoin protocol upgrade proposed by the Bitcoin Core development team, was originally designed to activate via the Bitcoin Improvement Protocol 9 (BIP 9) standard, a hash-power signalling mechanism. This would allow the Bitcoin ecosystem to coordinate the upgrade relatively safely through miner readiness.

But with the SegWit proposal in particular, BIP 9 no longer serves just to signal readiness. Miners as well as users increasingly see BIP 9 as a sort of miner vote on the desirability of the protocol upgrade. And some miners even seem to utilize it as a negotiation chip for protocol development.

The pseudonymous developer who goes by the name “Shaolinfry” considers this an abuse of the coordination mechanism. He therefore recently proposed an alternative activation scheme: a user-activated soft fork, better known as a “UASF.”

Shaolinfry also drafted two specific UASF proposals: BIP 148 and BIP 149. Both of these are currently “in the running” for user adoption. And speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Shaolinfry, at least, seems sure that one of them will be accepted by the network.

“There is no universe in which SegWit will not get activated.”

SegWit and the UASF

A soft fork is a change to the Bitcoin protocol that introduces new rules or tightens existing ones. This makes soft forks backward compatible: nodes that did not upgrade should remain part of the same Bitcoin network.

Segregated Witness is a soft fork that would increase Bitcoin’s block size limit and solve some longstanding protocol issues. While it’s always hard to say with conclusive certainty, the proposal seems to have broad support within the Bitcoin ecosystem. Many wallets, exchanges and other companies in the space have indicated they are ready for it, while an overwhelming share of reachable nodes on the network have implemented the solution, too.

As per BIP 9, the current implementation of SegWit activates if about 95 percent of hash power signals support within a two-week difficulty period before November. However, hash power support has so far stagnated at around 30 percent.

This apparent mismatch between the ecosystem and hash power support is why some — like BIP 9 co-author Rusty Russell — are increasingly thinking the activation method was a mistake.

And Shaolinfry does, too.

“The main issue with BIP 9 is that it has a veto of only about 5 percent of hash power,” Shaolinfry explained. “That veto could be intentionally or unintentionally triggered. Intentionally, like how miners are currently blocking SegWit activation. Or unintentionally due to upgrade apathy.

“Miner activation also draws attention to mining pool operators politically. The whole world is paying attention to who is and isn’t signaling. That is undesirable. And what if the soft fork is for something that could make governments angry? We know this is the case in China for anonymity features, and increasingly in the United States as well.”

As such, Shaolinfry proposed activating SegWit through a UASF.

The idea behind any UASF, in short, is that users simply activate the soft fork at an agreed-upon point in time. If these users represent a majority of the Bitcoin economy — exchanges, merchants, users — miners are financially incentivized to follow the new soft fork rules. If they don’t, they could mine invalid blocks (according to the majority of the Bitcoin economy), and the “bitcoins” they earn would be worth less — or worth nothing at all.

Once a majority of hash power does follow these financial incentives and enforces the new rules, the rest of the Bitcoin ecosystem should automatically follow, just like with any other soft fork.

BIP 148

The first UASF proposal drafted by Shaolinfry is BIP 148.

BIP 148 is an interesting take on a UASF because it is actually designed to trigger the existing BIP 9 SegWit-activation threshold.

“If you want to redeploy SegWit, you must wait for the current deployment to expire by November of this year because many Bitcoin nodes won’t accept it otherwise,” Shaolinfry explained. “BIP 148 is a way to make the current BIP 141 deployment activate before November. That’s faster, and has the advantage that more than 70 percent of nodes has already upgraded.”

Specifically, starting on August 1, BIP 148 nodes will reject any Bitcoin blocks that do not signal support for Segregated Witness via BIP 9. So, if the majority of the Bitcoin economy enforces BIP 148, miners will have to signal support for SegWit in order not to have their blocks rejected.

Once these miners do signal support for SegWit, this signaling would also trigger all the “normal” SegWit nodes on the network. All these nodes would then enforce SegWit, even if they didn’t participate in the BIP 148 activation themselves.

And, from a game theory perspective, it may even be viable for a relatively small minority of the Bitcoin economy to get BIP 148 activated. Miners should have little to lose by signaling support for SegWit, but something to lose from not signaling: a smaller total number of users to sell their bitcoins to. As such, even a modest but committed BIP 148 user base could potentially be enough.

Finally, echoing his Medium post on Litecoin’s SegWit activation, Shaolinfry noted that even the possibility of such a UASF could be enough to make miners signal support — without even needing nodes to actually enforce it.

BIP 148: Risks and Incentives

There are, however, some risks. These are why some prominent Bitcoin Core developers — like Blockstream CTO Gregory Maxwell and Chaincode Labs Co-Founder Suhas Daftuar — consider BIP 148 too disruptive.

Per BIP 148, otherwise valid blocks would be rejected merely because they don’t include a signal. The rejection of these blocks would waste miners’ resources and detrimentally affect Bitcoin’s security.

Moreover, if only a minority of hash power enforces the new rules — either because they ignore financial incentives or because only a small minority of the economy enforces the new rules in the first place — the Bitcoin blockchain could split in two. There would be a “SegWit chain” and a “non-SegWit chain.” That would open up a new can of worms, where the risks for users on both ends of the chain are not the same.

“The incentives are clearly there for miners to follow the economy,” said Shaolinfry in response to this criticism. “But indeed, there is a chain split risk if less than 51 percent [of] miners comply and run BIP 148. However, even in this circumstance, the non-BIP 148 chain is asymmetrically disadvantaged, and will almost certainly be completely wiped out. The SegWit chain will always be more valuable, and once a majority of miners switches to that chain, the non-SegWit chain will disappear altogether.”

Furthermore, from a certain threshold on, the risk of a chain split become smaller as it gathers more support. This is why another prominent Bitcoin Core developer, Luke Dashjr, is throwing his weight behind the proposal.

And to avoid these kinds of risks, there could be another twist to BIP 148 as well, Shaolinfry pointed out:

“The interesting thing about BIP 148 is that any majority of miners can trigger it — it doesn’t have to be 95 percent. If 75 or even just 51 percent of hash power starts rejecting non-signaling blocks per August 1, they will always claim the longest chain. So really, all miners will from then on have to signal support and activate SegWit — or have all their blocks orphaned by the network.”

Finally, Shaolinfry may also release code — “Segsignal” — to allow miners to signal whether they will deploy BIP 148 and under what condition. Using this, miners could, for example, agree to activate SegWit through BIP 148 if, and only if, 51 percent indicates that they are willing to.

“This should remove any risk of a chain-split, even a short-lived one,” Shaolinfry said.

BIP 149 (and BIP 8)

Shaolinfry’s alternative UASF proposal is BIP 149.

BIP 149 utilizes an entirely new soft fork activation mechanism: BIP 8. BIP 8 resembles BIP 9 in that it initially allows miners to activate the soft fork through hash power. However, as opposed to BIP 9, the soft fork proposal doesn’t just time out by the end of the activation period. Instead, it sets an activation deadline. If that deadline is reached, nodes activate the soft fork regardless of hash power support.

There is a particular technical advantage of BIP 149 over BIP 148: it is less intrusive for miners. While BIP 148 effectively forces miners to signal, with BIP 149 miners don’t actually have to do all that much. They can support SegWit if they want to. If not, they may want to run a so-called “border node” to filter invalid transactions and blocks post-activation, but that’s about it.

Shaolinfry plans to implement BIP 149 in dedicated Bitcoin software if BIP 148 doesn’t succeed, and when the current BIP 9 SegWit proposal has expired by mid-November. The activation deadline for BIP 149 is then scheduled for early July 2018.  

Some developers, like Maxwell, are in no rush to activate SegWit and consider BIP 149 preferable. But others, like Dashjr, believe it will take too long.

Shaolinfry himself noted:

“BIP 149 is not too slow from a technical point of view. But, I do think the longer SegWit isn’t activated, the more gremlins and obstacles are going to besiege Bitcoin. So if the ecosystem rallies around BIP 148, that would bring this nightmare to a close.”


The post These Two UASFs Could Activate SegWit appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 3:20 pm

Consensus 2017: Global Insurers Debate the Future of Prediction Markets

Today's discussion on blockchain and insurance touched on the subject of prediction markets.

Source

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 3:18 pm

Jeff Gundlach has a theory on why bitcoin is surging - CNBC


CNBC

Jeff Gundlach has a theory on why bitcoin is surging
CNBC
Jeffrey Gundlach , CEO of DoubleLine Capital, said Tuesday there could be a connection between bitcoin prices and the decline in Chinese stocks. In a Tuesday afternoon tweet, Gundlach noted that bitcoin has doubled in less than 2 months, while the ...

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Posted on 23 May 2017 | 2:45 pm

'A-Ha Moment': Toyota Talks Vision For How Blockchain Could Change Driving

Chris Ballinger, director of mobility services and chief financial officer for Toyota's R&D arm, talks the automaker's blockchain strategy.

Source

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 2:00 pm

The simple formula for becoming a bitcoin millionaire, according to one of its innovators - Quartz


Quartz

The simple formula for becoming a bitcoin millionaire, according to one of its innovators
Quartz
Wences Casares has been called the “patient zero” of bitcoin among Silicon Valley's elite. He got Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman, and countless other luminaries into bitcoin at gatherings of the rich and famous in Sun Valley and elsewhere. The Argentina-born ...
Bitcoin 'Will Be Worth $1 Mln In 10 Years': Swiss-Based Bitcoin Wallet CEOCoinTelegraph
Bitcoin Will Hit $1 Million in 5-10 Years, Says PayPal DirectorCryptoCoinsNews

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Posted on 23 May 2017 | 12:35 pm

Bitcoin Surge Is Driven by People Leaving Riskier Digital Currencies, Say Execs - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Surge Is Driven by People Leaving Riskier Digital Currencies, Say Execs
Bloomberg
"A lot of the volume into bitcoin right now is actually not dollar or yen or euro into bitcoin, but is rather alt digital assets," said Peter Smith, co-founder and CEO of digital asset software platform Blockchain, at an industry conference Tuesday ...
Bitcoin continues its massive surgeNew York Post
Consensus 2017: Smith, Voorhees Talk Today's Bitcoin Market CrazeCoinDesk
Bitcoin Surges Past $2200Futurism
GQ India
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Posted on 23 May 2017 | 11:59 am

Bitcoin plummets $200 in 4 hours then recovers to fresh record in wild trading that serves as a cautionary tale - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin plummets $200 in 4 hours then recovers to fresh record in wild trading that serves as a cautionary tale
CNBC
Bitcoin's meteoric rise took a hit overnight as the digital currency erased, then mostly recovered, about $200 in 12 hours. The swing highlights how volatile the cryptocurrency can still be, even as some investors believe bitcoin can one day be a ...

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 11:33 am

Consensus 2017: CME Group, UK Royal Mint Detail Plans for Blockchain Gold

Derivatives giant CME Group and the UK's Royal Mint revealed details about their plans to bridge the worlds of gold and blockchain today at CoinDesk's Consensus 2017 conference in New York. Last year, the the two institutions announced plans to put gold on the blockchain to streamline trading, with physical gold being represented by tokens called […]

Source

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 11:30 am

Consensus 2017: Smith, Voorhees Talk Today's Bitcoin Market Craze

ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees and Blockchain CEO Peter Smith took on the topic of bitcoin's market moves today.

Source

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 9:52 am

The Case Against Bitcoin & Crypto-Currency - Barron's


Barron's

The Case Against Bitcoin & Crypto-Currency
Barron's
Bitcoin just hit a new high in value, and other non-traditional currencies are rapidly appreciating, but curb your enthusiasm. So says Brown Brothers Harriman, acknowledging the rising market capitalization of Ripple, which has surged more than six ...

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Posted on 23 May 2017 | 9:10 am

Bigger than bitcoin? Enterprise Ethereum Alliance grows in size - CNBC


CNBC

Bigger than bitcoin? Enterprise Ethereum Alliance grows in size
CNBC
Corporate support for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) is growing after 86 firms including State Street, Toyota, Merck, ING, Broadridge and Rabobank joined the collective that is seeking to use blockchain technology to run smart contracts at ...

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Posted on 23 May 2017 | 8:19 am

Fidelity CEO Talks 'Love' For Bitcoin, Why Blockchain Will 'Change' Markets

The CEO of one of the largest private companies in the US is in love. At Consensus 2017 today, Abigail Johnson, chair and CEO of Fidelity Investments, went public with her enthusiasm for blockchain technology, bitcoin, ethereum and what the future holds for both open-source, public blockchains and more private alternatives. In her talk, Johnson discussed […]

Source

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 8:07 am

Blockstack Releases Blockchain-Powered, Tokenized Internet Browser

Blockchain startup Blockstack has released a decentralized browser aimed at making apps more easily accessible.

Source

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 6:52 am

The Value of Bitcoin Has Almost Doubled This Month - Fortune


Fortune

The Value of Bitcoin Has Almost Doubled This Month
Fortune
The surge of the value of the cryptocurrency can be attributed to a number in factors, including Bitcoin's new legitimacy in countries like Japan and China. In December, the Denmark-based Saxo Bank predicted Bitcoin's value would increase 165% in 2017.
Bitcoin jumps $200 in single day and has nearly doubled in May on surging global demandCNBC
Bitcoin hits record $2000 — and risingUSA TODAY
Bitcoin Enters Top 5 Google Searches, Ethereum At 18CoinTelegraph
The Merkle -CNNMoney -Wall Street Journal (subscription) -CoinDesk
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Posted on 23 May 2017 | 6:17 am

Consensus 2017 Day 1 Recap: Collaboration, Education and Patience

CoinDesk's Noelle Acheson recaps a whirlwind day one at Consensus 2017, CoinDesk's New York blockchain conference.

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Posted on 23 May 2017 | 6:00 am

Consensus 2017: Blockchain Tech Leaders Predict Interoperable Future

At Consensus 2017, leaders of different blockchain projects discussed how their platforms could eventually become an interoperable "mesh" of services.

Source

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 5:00 am

Bitcoin: To Infinity And Beyond? - Seeking Alpha


Seeking Alpha

Bitcoin: To Infinity And Beyond?
Seeking Alpha
Bitcoin has blown through $2,100.00 seemingly on a one-way trip to infinity, and beyond. It may take a while for the crypto-currency to get to infinity. But, as its unabated pace shows it may actually get there. There are more reasons to pick up ...

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Posted on 23 May 2017 | 3:20 am

Consensus 2017: The Legality of ICOs – Past and Future

Afternoon panel sessions at day one of Consensus 2017 showcased a variety of positions on the emerging phenomenon of token sales.

Source

Posted on 23 May 2017 | 3:00 am

EEA Adds New Members to Boost Future Ethereum Innovation

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expansion Announcement

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) has announced that 86 new members have joined the initiative that aims to bolster innovation around the Ethereum blockchain. The EEA, founded by corporate giants such as Microsoft, Intel and BP, views the Ethereum blockchain as a potential treasure trove of innovative opportunity.

Ethereum cryptocurrency founder Vitalik Buterin has praised the EEA, saying, “The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance project can play an important role in standardizing approaches for privacy, permissioning and providing alternative consensus algorithms to improve its usability in enterprise settings, and the resources the project and its members are contributing should accelerate the advancement of the Ethereum ecosystem generally.”

There are some more big names jumping into the alliance, joining Santander, ConsenSys and BlockApps. Some new members include Deloitte, Samsung SDS and the National Bank of Canada: all looking to build, promote and support Ethereum-based technology.

Deloitte is not new to Ethereum. Eric Piscini, Deloitte’s Global Blockchain Financial Services leader, said in a statement, “We have been investing on the Ethereum platform for a while. We are excited to actively contribute to the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and drive blockchain adoption globally.”

Kwang Woo Song, vice president of Distributed Ledger Technology Business Group at Samsung SDS, stated, “As a company whose key focus and experience is in delivering solutions for enterprise business, joining the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was a clear decision for us. Ethereum is one of the fastest growing blockchain technologies, with potential to provide exceptional benefit to enterprises.”

“The enthusiasm around EEA is remarkable,” said Julio Faura, the chairman of EEA. “Our new members come from varying industries such as pharma, mobile, banking, automotive, management consulting and hardware, as well as the startup community driving innovation. It’s great to see everyone come together and build the next generation of our economy on Ethereum blockchain solutions.”

Companies joining the EEA in this announcement include names like Elevondata Labs Inc., Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Hashed Health, Gem and Ledger. The collaborative efforts that may arise among the membership could lead to giant leaps in the Ethereum blockchain technology and a groundswell of supportive infrastructure that should solidify Ethereum as a staple in the blockchain marketplace.

There is amazing potential for Ethereum and smart contracts in healthcare. Hashed Health is excited to work with the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance on defining and developing enterprise-grade solutions that can safely and securely handle the complexities of the evolving healthcare marketplace. - John Bass, Founder & CEO, Hashed Health

The post EEA Adds New Members to Boost Future Ethereum Innovation appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 7:29 pm

Op Ed: How One Investor Is Riding the Cryptocurrency Token Wave

Op Ed: One Investor Rides Cryptocurrency Token Wave

I was yanked down the rabbit hole hard and fast when I first caught the Bitcoin Bug in late 2013. Before I even knew what a “blockchain” was I had founded what is now known as the Blockchain Education Network (then called the College Cryptocurrency Network), and was voraciously trading “altcoins.”

Back then, the term “altcoin,” which was used to describe any cryptocurrency besides Bitcoin, felt quite suitable. Most of those altcoins, including the most popular still in existence today, such as Litecoin and Dogecoin, were forks of Bitcoin’s code and were merely alternative “coins” with different rules or hashing algorithms. Watching these strange new financial vehicles violently fluctuate in value was both addictive and impossible to resist trading into. While I was slow to inoculate myself against that masochistic urge, I was quick to realize that few of these protocol tokens (that is, crypto-assets that incentivize validators, such as miners or stakers, to secure a blockchain) provided much value beyond Bitcoin’s own use case. Admittedly, I am shocked that many of these tokens still exist today.

On the other hand, as the blockchain ecosystem began to evolve, more novel iterations of Satoshi Nakamoto’s revolutionary financial tool began to appear. The rise of Ethereum, BitShares, MaidSafe and Omni, amongst others, represented a paradigm shift that went far beyond decentralized digital currency. Soon enough, I dropped out of school to focus on this industry full-time, and ended up cofounding Augur, a decentralized prediction market platform.

Lessons from Augur

When we first designed Augur, we wrote a white paper that outlined how to build a prediction market platform using Bitcoin’s source code — sort of like an altcoin. However, Bitcoin’s UTXO model did not jibe well with the sort versatility required for such a complication decentralized application. Soon after we published our white paper, despite the promise of Blockstream’s recently released sidechains proposal, our advisor and Ethereum Founder Vitalik Buterin convinced us to build Augur on his yet-to-be-launched smart contract–enabled blockchain. In hindsight, deciding to build Augur on top of what was then referred to as “vaporware” was a decision a more seasoned entrepreneur would have determined to be … “batshit insane.” But, the potential of the platform was too great, so we felt as if we had no other option.

Soon after deciding to build atop Ethereum, we began to realize that there was no way to create a decentralized oracle solution (i.e., a means to determine the outcome of markets without a centralized arbiter) unless we issued our own token. I went to game theorists, computer scientists and anybody else I could get to listen, to see if there was an alternative and whether it even made sense to do this. After much consultation and internal debate, we came to the decision to build an unstoppable betting engine that predicted the future, with no central point of failure (such as those that exist in a platform such as Gnosis), with a native token used by “reporters” around the world, to assert the outcome of events, was our only option. Thus Augur’s native asset, Reputation, known as REP, was born.

Venturing Into ICOs

2014 was winding to a close as we came to these conclusions, and the thought of performing a crowdsale was terrifying. (We would, for a short time, eradicate the term “ICO.”) Most conversations about Ethereum and recent token sales would lead to speculation about when regulatory authorities, namely the SEC, would bring down the hammer on token issuers.

With no other option, however, I hit the books and started reading about all sorts of securities laws and case law, in addition to prediction market and gambling regulations. I quickly earned the nickname “JG Esquire” within Augur, and spent much of early 2015 working with our legal team and advisors to find a compliant structure for the REP token sale. By the time our sale came about in late summer 2015, all involved parties had a fairly high degree of confidence that we had developed a token and offering that would not fall afoul of regulations.

Expanding Investment Opportunities in the Token Economy

While our sale raised over $5 million and was quite a success for the time, shortly after the Augur sale ended bitcoin and ether prices began to stagnate. Both the confidence and companies created during the first boom began to falter. In my mind, Augur was a ripple in the current before a tidal wave of new financial instruments to come, but it was unclear whether I was right and there was considerable coding remaining for the project.

With time before Augur’s launch, I joined Blockchain Capital as an entrepreneur-in-residence. I became an advocate for tokens backing legitimate networks and spoke about the matter frequently. However, it still took quite a while for the token economy to sprout. Then out of the blue in late 2016, ether began to rally in price, and token offerings, more popularly referred to as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), started popping up out of the blue, often raising millions in a matter of days, or even minutes.

This new trend was alarming to me, though in hindsight I suppose it shouldn’t have been. Ethereum, with its ERC-20 protocol, which allows the straightforward development of crypto-tokens on top of its blockchain, made the urge to create new assets irresistible. Instead of requiring developers to create entirely new blockchains and protocol tokens, which had to be secured by miners or stakers (a costly, challenging undertaking), a team could create a new token that was backed by the security of Ethereum’s blockchain in a matter of hours.

For the following few months into the new year I watched these developments from the sideline. It was apparent the biggest crypto-asset rally since 2013 had begun in earnest. I had sizable investments in ETH, BTC, XRP and, of course, REP. I couldn’t believe that this bull run and new trend of ICOs could be sustained. Not, at least, without the return of serious outside interest in the crypto-realm.

And then, of course, it started to come. Hedge funds, banks and consumers, many of whom had already begun professing their love of “blockchain technology” (albeit not Bitcoin), started funneling money into crypto-tokens new and old. Around this time, my friend Olaf Carlson-Wee, the first employee at Coinbase, announced that he would be investing in these strange financial instruments through a new type of hedge fund, Polychain Capital.

As I was busy working as a venture capitalist investing in traditional companies at Blockchain Capital, Olaf’s new fund was a means for me to gain exposure to this crazy new trend without falling into the crypto-asset rabbit hole as I had back in college. I quickly signed on as both a General and Limited Partner, and sent Polychain my first (but not last) wire.

Blockchain Capital’s Venture Fund

For most of early 2016, I was content to let Olaf (and his new partner, the talented Ryan Zurrer) review and manage any new ICOs I was sent. But the trend maintained. It appeared this new generation of crypto-assets was more than a massive pump-and-dump. In fact, my firm began to explore tokens much more seriously. Though it had often been teased that it was only a matter of time before I went to jail for Augur, there was an evolution in our thought process surrounding tokens and their corresponding offerings. Soon enough, we became convinced that Blockchain Capital should offer its own token, BCAPs, in order to provide a new sort of venture fund.

This decision would lead us to reevaluate the traditional scope of our investments mandate. Crypto-tokens, as I had long argued, could be revolutionary (or, at least, useful) financial instruments, and it would be foolish throwing out the crypto-asset babies with the altcoin bathwater.

Projects such as 0x, Maker, Golem and Filecoin demonstrated how much alternative crypto-tokens had evolved since the dodgy days of Doge and Darkcoin. Because of this evolution, I officially decided to take the plunge and deep-dive down the token rabbit hole once again with Blockchain Capital. In addition to my roles investing and as an entrepreneur-in-residence, I will be focusing considerable energy on the new token economy, evaluating new ICOs for the firm.

It is impossible for a firm such as Blockchain Capital, the earliest venture fund to state its commitment to this novel economy outside of Bitcoin, not to participate in this remarkable new chapter of the blockchain revolution. New platforms, such as AngelList’s Coinlist, will standardize and add further legitimacy to such offerings.

I am still extraordinarily skeptical of most ICOs and tokens in general, but I am more excited than ever about blockchain technology and all the ways it is bound to disrupt ingrained, outdated institutions. If decentralized applications and crypto-assets are the harbinger of such change, then I am on board.

It’s going to be a rocky road, and there will surely be corrections (if not dramatic drops), but I can’t say I haven’t seen it before. I look forward to sifting through the white papers, ponzis and pumps sure to fill my inbox in the coming months in order to find the game-changing diamonds in the rough. It’s going to be a wild ride. So buckle up, bring a barf bag and watch as the Crypto Rodeo brings out the bulls and bears.

This op-ed is a guest post by Jeremy Gardner. The views expressed are his own and do not necessarily represent those of Bitcoin Magazine.

The post Op Ed: How One Investor Is Riding the Cryptocurrency Token Wave appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 5:15 pm

Consensus 2017: Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Puts Blockchain Privacy Into Focus

Privacy and confidentiality are big-ticket priorities for the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, ethereum-focused consortium launched in February.

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Posted on 22 May 2017 | 3:50 pm

Blockchain Technology Fuels Global Advancements in the Energy Sector

Blockchain Technology Fuels Global Advancements in the Energy Sector

As moonshot projects in the distributed world abound, it’s not surprising to see the energy sector jumping into the fray. This comes as the heavily regulated power industry eyeballs new approaches for allowing consumers to generate and sell electricity in various locales worldwide.

It’s here that blockchain technology is increasingly being seen as a potential, low-cost means for delivering energy transactions across a distributed network without need for a centralized authority. In fact, some surmise that blockchains may one day eliminate the need for intermediaries altogether, thereby allowing a more free market approach to energy distribution.

Blockchain tech could also boost efficiency by serving as the backbone for “smart grid” systems, automatically identifying and addressing network hitches that may arise. Moreover, when tethered with the Internet of Things (IoT) movement, energy devices such as those used for heating, cooling, ventilation, electric vehicles, solar installations and even batteries will be able to interact with one another, resulting in greater cost savings.

Not to be overlooked is the enhanced cybersecurity element that blockchain technology offers for an industry that has become increasingly susceptible to cyberattacks.

Despite blockchain technology’s potential utility, industry adoption may pose a number of gritty challenges. For starters, the energy grid is fraught with complexity associated with managing the process continuum of materials management, energy generation and delivery. Moreover, prevailing recordkeeping and data management systems remain cumbersome, resulting in costly missteps when it come to energy trading and asset ownership tracking.

Global Experimentation Abounds

As the intersection between blockchain technology and the energy sector advances, experimental demonstration projects are taking shape throughout the world.

Last year, the blockchain-centric Brooklyn Microgrid project, a peer-to-peer energy market for local renewable energy generation, attracted quite a bit of media attention. The intent of the startup is to deliver solar panels to this New York borough’s rooftops, allowing local residents to purchase and offload electricity within their community. This initiative allows for a system that bypasses power companies, thereby creating a generation-and-storage ecosystem that works in a more independent and efficient manner.

In another example, Austria’s largest regional utility company, Wien Energie, in collaboration with the Canadian blockchain startup BTL Group has engaged in a blockchain trial run targeting energy trading with two other utilities. The objective? To gather a repository of knowledge about blockchain technology, assessing the viability of it and relevant business models for the industry. This pilot ran from March to May 2017 and is expected to generate a set of new commercial strategies to explore.

Additionally, the SP Group, Singapore’s energy provider, will be developing blockchain solutions in partnerships with other providers throughout the world, with the goal of lowering consumer utility costs in that nation. This initiative is also intended to create simpler mechanisms for integrating new renewable energy sources into the mix.

Andre De Castro, founder of the NY-based Blockchain of Things and Catenis Enterprise — which delivers blockchain solutions for simplifying and accelerating secure global peer-to-peer edge device messaging, digital asset control, and recording of immutable data — tells Bitcoin Magazine that blockchain technology is just the beginning foundation for advancing the energy sector. “Having a distributed database doesn’t necessarily get you a trading system or an application. So what’s really needed is an application layer on top of the blockchain, to get real-world solutions.”  

De Castro says that his company enables the creation of digital assets, more commonly known as tokens, that can be applied to energy units across endpoints to create new business models for energy markets. “Everything is moving toward more open exchanges when it comes to the energy industry. Therefore consumers will soon be able to choose their own energy providers and even resell energy to their neighbors in certain areas of the world.”

He notes one additional benefit to the advancements, namely that the global Bitcoin blockchain is incredibly secure due to the fact that transactions can be cryptographically verified, thereby protecting critical assets on the energy grid. “This addresses a major challenge that currently exists today involving utility systems where there is a reliance on centralized cloud servers. What we’ve developed at Catenis with the blockchain allows for decentralization and the elimination of central points of failure that could affect big swaths of the energy grid.”

Ultimately, De Castro sees a day where blockchain technology will foster the creation of more flexible business models for exchanging power in open markets and selling that power back to the main energy grid. He also believes that this will open up immense opportunities in the clean energy space, welcome news for the eco-friendly movement. “I believe that control mechanism allowing digital tokens to be mapped will become more common resulting in lower energy costs while making peer-to-peer exchanges more efficient.

The post Blockchain Technology Fuels Global Advancements in the Energy Sector appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 2:58 pm

Deloitte Joins Blockchain Consortiums Ethereum Alliance and Hyperledger

Deloitte has revealed that it's joining two blockchain consortium efforts: the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and the Hyperledger project.

Source

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 2:45 pm

Over 30: Deloitte Adds 'Mercury' Project to Blockchain Prototypes

Deloitte has unveiled a new trade finance initiative, one that adds to its growing list of blockchain projects

Source

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 2:45 pm

Consensus 2017: 'The Future Is Here' For Blockchain's Cross-Border Impact

Cross-border blockchain use was up for debate during today's Consensus 2017 panels.

Source

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 1:32 pm

One for All? Citi, DTCC and PwC Talk Blockchain Teamwork at Consensus 2017

Enterprise blockchain was on full display at Consensus 2017 in New York City today.

Source

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 12:45 pm

If you bought $100 of bitcoin 7 years ago, you'd be sitting on $75 million now - CNBC


CNBC

If you bought $100 of bitcoin 7 years ago, you'd be sitting on $75 million now
CNBC
Monday marks the seven-year anniversary of Bitcoin Pizza Day – the moment a programmer named Laszlo Hanyecz spent 10,000 bitcoin on two Papa John's pizzas. More important than the episode being widely recognized as the first transaction using the ...
If You Bought $5 of Bitcoin 7 Years Ago, You'd Be $4.4 Million RicherFortune
Bitcoin Price Jumps to $2200 Per CoinInvestopedia
Somebody Once Paid 10000 Bitcoins for 2 Pizzas. Today, That Would Be Worth $21.7 MillionMoney Magazine
Mashable -New Zealand Herald -Newser
all 34 news articles »

Posted on 22 May 2017 | 10:51 am

Op Ed: User Activated Soft Forks and the Intolerant Minority

Op Ed: User Activated Soft Forks and the Intolerant Minority

It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.
Samuel Adams

In The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority, Nassim Nicholas Taleb describes how a strong enough minority with more strict preferences can end up with the majority following their preferences. He speaks of many examples  —  food preparation standards, languages and taboos.

This principle can also extend to Bitcoin and the concept of soft forks. By extending this principle, it can show that a soft fork that has strong support from a minority still may be enough to provide economic incentives to its enforcement, even if the majority is ambivalent.

Soft forks, by their nature, are a form of intolerance. Users who enforce a soft fork are intolerant of some types of transactions or blocks that miners can produce. They will reject those blocks that miners produce much as an Orthodox Jew will reject pork. In cases where the majority is ambivalent and the cost for producers is low to adhere to the stricter standards, then the result is producers keep everyone happy by following those stricter standards.

In Bitcoin’s case, many potential soft forks fall into this category. Soft forks that do not degrade the security properties of Bitcoin, that do not take away from any currently used features, do not add costs to miners, and are preferred by some, would result in profit-maximizing miners choosing to serve a wider audience by enforcing the soft fork.

Strong-Willed Minority vs. Ambivalent Majority

In the above case, if there were strong believers committed to a soft fork with stricter rules, miners face a choice  —  do they allow the chain to split or serve everyone with the new stricter rules? If they allow the chain to split, they must pick a subset of users to serve, giving them less value than if they were to serve all. This also harms the network effect, which means the sum of the two parts is now worth less than the original. Thus, as long as the minority committed to the soft fork was sufficient in size that they cannot be ignored, a profit-maximizing miner will follow them (assuming there is little to no cost of enforcement).

Strong-Willed Minority vs. Miners’ Interests

In a case where a strong-willed minority requires non-GMO, organically certified food, this may not result in the minority getting its way. The cost of production may be too high to be worth it. A theoretical soft fork that reduces the block reward by half would be a good example. A minority may feel the block reward is too high and wish that it be lowered, and only allow miners to claim 6.25 coins instead of 12.5 per block. In this case, miners would give up a significant amount of income to have to enforce it, and the loss of “business” from excluding these users may be less costly than reducing their income.

Strong-Willed Minority vs. Strong-Willed Minority

A third case is when a strong-willed majority ends up alienating another portion of the potential consumers. If a new religious sect required that all food have bacon added to it, Jews and Muslims would not tolerate this and would splinter off, even if the majority did not care either way. In this case, a split is inevitable.

In the Bitcoin case, some users may wish to have all addresses logged in a government registry to ease KYC compliance. They could demand that miners only mine blocks that adhere to these standards. This type of action would be rejected by many users who would not go along with such a plan, and in fact may even take steps to block it if it was enforced. In this case, a split would be inevitable if both factions were sufficiently intolerant of the other.

The Importance of Commitment and Stubbornness

This only works if users are absolutely committed to their rules being followed. Commitment must be absolute and unwilling to change, no matter what the majority does. The most important part of the intolerant minority is to truly be intolerant! If the cause is not worth putting your neck on the line for, it will not be successful.

Some supporters of user-activated soft forks (UASFs) have stated that they intend to enforce the UASF unless it is not widely supported or followed, and then would back off. This is the surest way to guarantee failure. If you are unwilling to follow a minority chain with an economic minority, you aren’t truly an intolerant minority. You are only one with a preference.

Guidelines for User-Activated Soft Forks for Maximizing Success

  • Take away no existing useful features (do not create a hostile minority).

  • Do not add significant costs to miners (make burden for miners as low as possible).

  • Include functionality that users are willing to fork off for.

  • Ensure there is a sufficiently sized minority willing to commit.

A sufficiently sized, committed, economic minority is enough to have a successful user-activated soft fork. While Shaolinfry said that without an economic majority behind a soft fork, it should be withdrawn, I believe that statement to be too weak. The history of intolerant minorities making changes is long enough to show otherwise.

This guest post by Alphonse Pace was originally published on Medium and is reproduced here under Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Bitcoin Magazine.

The post Op Ed: User Activated Soft Forks and the Intolerant Minority appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 May 2017 | 8:08 pm

University Student Involvement Supports Australia’s Booming Blockchain Community

University Student Involvement Supports Australia’s Booming Blockchain Community

The blockchain industry is booming in Australia recently after the Australian Tax Office (ATO) announced changes to tax laws in the 2017–2018 budget summary by the Australian government, surrounding how digital currencies are treated in the country. In the few weeks since the announcement, active blockchain communities and events such as RegHack DownUnder have launched across the country, supported by universities and government regulators.

Australia has traditionally held strict tax laws when it comes to how they handle bitcoin and other digital currencies, defining bitcoin as a separate asset class to fiat currency and requiring that transactions involving digital currencies are taxed twice by the Australian Tax Office. The new budget summary removes any general sales tax made more than once in the supply chain using digital currency, in an attempt to “make it easier for new innovative digital currency businesses to operate in Australia” and to grow their nascent community into a global innovation hub.

The summary states, “The Government is committed to establishing Australia as a leading global financial technology (FinTech) hub and is announcing a new package that aims to position our local fintech industry as a world leader.”

This new regulatory environment has spurred growth in the community, from university campuses all the way up to the government regulators. Students have begun to launch clubs at universities across the country, and regulators and business executives have begun to take notice.

“We’re excited blockchain [technology] can finally move to our campus and Australia in a big way. There’s been a significant increase in interest from the community in the past few weeks,“ said Ryan Pousson, the regional head of the Blockchain Education Network (BEN) in Brisbane and the founder of the UQ Blockchain Club, in a statement to Bitcoin Magazine. This perspective was echoed by Jared Piper, a region head of the Blockchain Education Network in Melbourne.

Aaron Schwartz, the director of global engagement at BEN and partner at MLG Capital, told Bitcoin Magazine, “It’s super exciting to be part of a decentralized organization like BEN that is doing something unique with a swarm-style model. We are quickly spreading to countries all across the world with new chapters opening up across Australia, Colombia, Nigeria and Bangalore, just to name a few. We encourage anyone in a blockchain community around the world to reach out to get started growing their local community.”

On the weekend of May 12–14, government representatives in the energy sector and banking executives in the financial services industry came together to judge RegHack DownUnder. The brightest developers, UI/UX designers and entrepreneurs across Australia were encouraged to spend the weekend in Melbourne to develop blockchain technology solutions to solve some of the problems it faces in these two heavily regulated sectors.

In advance of the hackathon, Adam Lemmon, a blockchain expert from Toronto, flew down to Melbourne to present an overview of Ethereum development and Solidity to the community. Following the event, Lemmon said, “RegHack was an amazing experience and it was inspiring to see such a young blockchain community so excited about the technology.”

Chami Akmeemana, the organizer of RegHack DownUnder, predicts a fast growth in the community. He said to Bitcoin Magazine following the event: “It was a mammoth success. Close to 100 participants spent three days exploring tech solutions to regulatory issues. We now have 100+ blockchain enthusiasts, that I expect [will grow] to over 1000+ by the end of the year. I’m hoping to see some world-class blockchain applications coming out of Australia and I’m stoked to be part of this boost to the ecosystem.”

The regulators in Australia are on board too with this digital transformation. Igor Simunovic, a representative from the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), said in a statement following the event that “the event provided opportunity for industry (including government) and freelancers/students/developers to meet, integrate and share through the problem solving required to address the Hackathon ‘problems.’ Such meeting and teamwork opportunities are rare and often bound by the [confines] of conferences or meet-ups. The process of discovering new technologies and frameworks was just a bonus.”

It is still the beginning in the growth trajectory of the blockchain community in Australia, but it is an exciting time to be part of a global movement. For example, in the few months following November’s RegHack TO, the first hackathon hosted by a securities regulator in Canada and inspired by Chami Akmeemana, the number of people attending meetups in Toronto has tripled from 200 to over 700 at the most recent blockchain meetup in Toronto. Getting the entire community on board from universities to business executives to government regulators is an important milestone for any community striving to become a blockchain hub.

The post University Student Involvement Supports Australia’s Booming Blockchain Community appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 May 2017 | 2:32 pm

IoT and Blockchain Technology Collide in the Payments Industry

IoT and Blockchain Technology Collide in the Payments Industry

The Internet of Things (IoT) and blockchain-based advancements in the payments industry were among the many themes explored at TRANSACT, a tech-centric, payments industry conference held on May 10–12 in Las Vegas.

A panel discussion entitled “How IoT is Revolutionizing Payments” included a brief discussion regarding the emerging intersection between the Internet of Things and blockchain technology in this industry.

On a similar trajectory as the blockchain, much attention has been given to the future of IoT, defined as an ecosystem of physical devices — from mobile phones to wearable tracking sensors — that gather and share electronic information with one another.

Research firm IHS Markit estimates that 30.7 billion IoT devices will be communicating with one another by 2021. This complements a global blockchain technology market that’s expected to grow from $210.2 million in 2016 to $2.3 billion by 2021 according to Market Reports Hub.

The collision between the IoT and blockchain worlds portends some important payments industry developments around the efficient tracking of device payment history, all supported by a ledger of secure data exchanges among devices, web systems and users. Further, this technological convergence also shows promise in terms of the use of smart devices that are programmed to conduct a variety of transactions such as the automatic issuance of invoices and payments.  

Dan Loomis, vice president and director of mobile product management at the business and financial software firm Intuit, is firmly entrenched in this evolving IoT/blockchain conversation through his work in creating payment experiences for businesses that operate on a global scale, and brought this expertise to the TRANSACT panel discussion.

In an exclusive interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Loomis remarked that for the small, emerging business clients he works with, cash is king. “For our team at Intuit, it all comes down to how we can help these businesses create immediate operating capital. The ability to quickly onboard clients into a payment service and to get paid quickly is really important. Their mantra is often ‘Pay me, pay me faster, and how can we as a business accept all methods of payment?’”

Loomis says that at his company and for the payments space in general, the thought of leveraging the blockchain’s immutable, permanent, auditable features is fascinating on a variety of levels. He notes that specific to Intuit, there is a lot of investigation going on into blockchain technology and how it may be applied to their payment models.

“We facilitate a lot of invoice, payable and receivable experiences for our clients. Aspirationally, being able to track these logistics in a manner that’s clear and transparent via blockchain [technology] would be very appealing. It has a high level of integrity as a technology and cannot be questioned in terms of its functionality.”

Healthcare is one vertical market that Intuit is targeting. Loomis says that in this industry there is always a trail of information that’s important to unravel and look at, from medical record information to who the patient’s service provider is. “I think that blockchain [technology] can help wrap this together and be a critical vehicle for a healthcare space that’s somewhat arcane and at the same time leading edge.”

When asked about the immense possibilities around blockchain technology and IoT in terms of it being fully leveraged at Intuit, Loomis remarked, “I have no doubt that a developer in our company ecosystem is at least thinking about this closely.”

Loomis believes that IoT and blockchain technology will emerge at Intuit when these technologies have a strong, demonstrated fit that can actually be matched with end user value. “I think market deploy in this space is one of those things we’ll see come to fruition when the time is right and it meets our customer benefit.”

The post IoT and Blockchain Technology Collide in the Payments Industry appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 19 May 2017 | 2:10 pm

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

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 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 23, 2017 -
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