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Coinbase Seeks Patent for Security-Enhanced Bitcoin Payment System

bitcoinmagazine | 08-17-2018

U.S.-based digital currency exchange Coinbase has filed a patent on a new Bitcoin payment system designed to make cryptocurrency payments safer. The new platform will provide an added layer of security for users’ keys and allow them to make Bitcoin payments directly from their digital wallets.A segment of the patent filing states, “It may be a security concern for users that the private keys of their Bitcoin addresses may be stolen from their wallets. Existing systems do not provide a solution for maintaining security over private keys while still allowing the users to checkout [sic] on a merchant page and making payments using their wallets.”If approved, the system would work by allowing customers to encrypt their passphrases into a master key to create an additional buffer against theft. The master key encrypts customers’ private keys and whatever transactions are made. Once a transaction is complete, the master key is deleted, ensuring no outside party can gain access to the information. A new master key is created for each transaction.Another novel element of the system is its “freeze logic,” which would allow administrators to suspend the system and prevent transactions from occurring in the event of a theft or cyberattack. The patent reads, “At any point in time after the master key is loaded, the system can be frozen. The system can be unfrozen after it has been frozen using keys from the key cer...

Categories: BTC|Exchange
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Dutch Trader Loses Reclamation Suit Against Banks That Froze His Accounts

bitcoinmagazine | 08-17-2018

In November 2016, a Dutch cryptotrader tried to buy his first 10 bitcoin, first using funds from his ING bank and later from ABN Amro. Both banks denied the transactions. He subsequently filed a complaint with Kifid (Financial Services Complaints Institute), a resource that mediates between consumers and small businesses when there are complaints about financial products or services.According to the complaint, the banks claimed the man’s transactions were denied due to fraud prevention measures. It argued, however, that fraud prevention isn’t the reason why ING and ABN denied the transactions. Instead, the complainant accused both banks of blocking his accounts for commercial reasons that were concealed as fraud prevention measures. ING and ABN Amro denied the accusation.The aspiring trader filed suit for €43,220 (~$50,000). He arrived at this figure by projecting the gains he would have realized if he bought bitcoin at €330 (~$385) and sold at €2,500 (~$3,000 USD). The Kifid ruling states that it does not consider this lack of ability to trade in any way relevant. Even if the banks refuse to perform a service, it isn’t their responsibility to compensate clients. In addition, the ruling states that the complainant failed to demonstrate that the acquisition of bitcoin was rendered impossible because of the actions of the banks: He could have tried to work with another bank. Both ING and ABN claimed that ...

Categories: BTC|Fiat
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[promoted] Equity Trust Forges a New Path for Crypto-Based IRA Investments

bitcoinmagazine | 08-17-2018

Asset diversification has long been touted as acritical strategy for wealth building. This method of portfolio management,which traditionally involves a mix of stocks, fixed assets and commoditiesallows for maximum return at the least amount of risk — an important elementfor retirement savings.One company with a strong foothold in thisinvestment space is EquityTrust, a financial services company that allowsindividual investors to diversify their retirement investment portfoliosthrough asset class options like private equity, precious metals, tax liens andreal estate among others. With over $25 billion in assets under custody andadministration as of the end of 2017, Equity Trust’s self-directed retirementaccounts have become a viable option for entrepreneurial investors seekingcontrol over their wealth building activities.Merging the Worlds of IRAs and CryptoEquity Trust recently launched a new digitalasset platform that allows individual retirementaccounts (IRAs) to invest in cryptocurrencies. It can be simple to open an accountonline through myEQUITY (its online account system), or investors can call andopen an account through a senior account executive.   The minimum investment required is $10,000 inaddition to a $500 nonrefundable fee for use of the digital asset platform.Through this platform, investors can purchase andsell bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, ethereum classic, litecoin and XRP using atrad...

Categories: Business|BTC|ETH|LTC|XRP
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U.K.-Based Crypto Facilities Adds Bitcoin Cash Futures to Its Offerings

bitcoinmagazine | 08-17-2018

U.K.-based cryptocurrency futures exchange Crypto Facilities, which is regulated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority, is adding a bitcoin cash product to its offerings, a press release shared on the exchange’s website reveals. Trading for the bitcoin cash-dollar (BCH/USD) futures began today, August 17, 2018, at 4:00 p.m. GMT +1 (11:00 a.m. EST).The addition of the new contract will enable investors to take long or short positions in bitcoin cash, allowing them to "broaden [their] investment opportunities" and hedge investment risks. The contracts join a list of derivatives currently offered by Crypto Facilities, which includes Bitcoin, Ripple XRP, Ether and Litecoin futures. At launch of the litecoin futures, CEO of Crypto Facilities, Timo Schlaefer, said there was “strong client demand” for the product and he believes the "LTC-Dollar futures contracts will increase price transparency, liquidity and efficiency in the cryptocurrency markets."Now, in rolling out BCH futures, Schlaefer claims that the new offering will bring even more liquidity and exposure to the maturing market."We are pleased to be expanding our cryptocurrency derivatives offering with the launch of BitcoinCash [sic] futures. BCH is a top five coin with a market capitalization of around $10 billion and we expect our new contracts to spur the evolution of the crypto markets by bringing greater liquidity and transparency to the digit...

Categories: BTC|LTC|XRP|Market|ICO
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U.S. Crypto Investment Firm Attracts $22M in Series A, Looks to Expand Services

bitcoinmagazine | 08-16-2018

Los Angeles-based cryptocurrency investment firm SFOX has raked in roughly $22.7 million in its Series A funding. The round was headed by venture platforms Social Capital and Tribe Capital and earned the participation of other firms like DCG, SV Angel, Blockchain Capital and Y Combinator.SFOX caters specifically to professional traders, high net-worth individuals and institutions. As a prime dealer for cryptocurrency markets, the company provides access to global sources of trading and liquidity, real-time trading APIs, OTC desks and U2F hardware for private key management. The company’s transaction volume exceeds $9 billion, and its client base has grown 12-fold since January. In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, CEO and co-founder Akbar Thobhani said that the addition of institutional investors to the crypto space could bring legitimacy and boost mass adoption. He also suggested that more institutional investors wish to get involved in the cryptocurrency space but are reluctant to do so because of regulatory uncertainty and volatility in the market. “Traditional institutions, including funds, banks, pensions and endowments require an infrastructure they’re accustomed to for properly managing operational and monetary risk,” he said. “As infrastructure is built, institutions require trading products to properly hedge themselves during volatile markets. In the financial markets, there is a suite of pro...

Categories: Market|Trading|BTC|Business|Blockchain
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Pantera Capital’s Third Venture Fund Raises $71M, Eyes $175M

bitcoinmagazine | 08-16-2018

Blockchain investment firm Pantera Capital recently launched its third cryptocurrency fund. Known as Venture Fund III, the company completed all necessary filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last Wednesday, and the event is already making impressive headway in the cryptocurrency space. So far, the fund has garnered over $71 million from roughly 90 different investors.But this capital is just a small fraction of what the fund’s executives feel it can accrue. Firm partner Paul Veradittakit explains that the company expects to bring in approximately $175 million in funding, which would be the highest monetary allocation in Pantera Capital’s history. Veradittakit explains that the target amount is a “function of how fast the space is moving, the talent coming in, the opportunities, and the sizing of rounds.”“With more interesting later-stage investments [on our radar] too, we want to be flexible and able to move with the market,” he continued. Pantera representatives say they’re planning to use the money to invest in Bakkt, a new platform from the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). Set to launch this November, Bakkt’s primary goal is to assist retailers in buying, trading and selling digital currencies. Pantera’s work with Bakkt would make it a founding investor. Pantera Capital has developed an impressive reputation in the cryptocurrency space. During its five year lifespan, the co...

Categories: Exchange|BTC|Regulation|Blockchain|Trading
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South Korea Budgets Nearly $4.5B for Blockchain, Emerging Tech

bitcoinmagazine | 08-16-2018

South Korea is planning to invest nearly $900 million next year to accelerate the development of blockchain, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies.In an August 14, 2018, press release from the 5th Ministerial Meeting entitled Growth through Innovation, Deputy Prime Minister Kim Dong Yeon is summarized as saying “The government has decided to work on a platform economy, whose impact is powerful and far-reaching.” “There have been discussions among ministries and private sector experts on how to develop a platform economy, and we have come up with the four projects in which we will continue to invest with a long-term perspective,” the statement continued.The projects that he outlined included:building a digital platform for big data and AI, along with promoting blockchain technology to secure data transactions and the sharing economy;setting up a hydrogen fuel cell supply chain; anddeveloping an education program to meet the demand for a qualified workforce for these industries in the future.While the release did not specify how the funds will be allocated, a total of five trillion won (approximately $4.5 billion) will be spent in 2019 on eight pilot projects for the digital platform economy, an increase of over two trillion won ($1.75 billion) from 2018. Over the next five years, Yeon anticipates that a total of nearly 10 trillion won ($9 billion) will be spent on the projects.The news ...

Categories: Blockchain|Asia|Technology|BTC
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U.S. Investors Can Now Buy a Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Note

bitcoinmagazine | 08-16-2018

American investors can now invest in bitcoin Exchange Traded Funds (ETF) through an Exchange-Traded Note (ETN) called Bitcoin Tracker One on the Nasdaq Stockholm Exchange in Sweden, per a Bloomberg report.The product, which started trading in 2015, is currently available to American investors despite being listed and regulated under Swedish law after being listed in U.S. Dollars for the first time on Wednesday, August 15, 2018.Crypto ETF Through the Back Door?For several months, investors have eagerly awaited approval from the SEC and CFTC to trade ETF products proposed by CBOE Global Markets, the Winklevoss Twins, SolidX Partners and VanEck Associates, among others. Each of these proposals has either been refused out of hand or delayed to a future date for a concrete decision. Crypto ETFs potentially allow investors to trade crypto without holding crypto assets because they are cash settled. For potential crypto investors who do not want to actually buy crypto assets, the regulatory delay in the U.S. has effectively prevented them from getting into the market.Until now, investors could only buy into the Swedish ETN product using Euros or Swedish Kora, but, with the listing of Bitcoin Tracker One in U.S. Dollars, a substantial upsurge of interest in the product is expected to take place as American investment jostles to get a seat at the table.ETN as an ETF AlternativeAn exchange-traded note differs fro...

Categories: Business|BTC|Exchange|Regulation|Market
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Square’s Cash App Now Supports Bitcoin Trading in All 50 States

bitcoinmagazine | 08-15-2018

Mobile payment company Square is expanding its bitcoin trading support to all 50 states through its Cash App. This means that residents in all corners of the U.S. can utilize the platform to purchase and sell the digital currency.The company was co-founded in 2009 by tech entrepreneur Jack Dorsey, who also heads Twitter. Last March, Dorsey was quoted as saying that bitcoin will likely serve as the world’s “single currency” in roughly 10 years.Square’s announcement is particularly intriguing in that most bitcoin- or crypto-trading apps do not offer their services in every state. Robinhood, for example, only offers bitcoin and ether trading in 19 states including Arizona, California, Florida, Utah, Mississippi and Indiana, while other apps, such as Coinmama and CEX.io, are available in 23 and 24 states respectively. Entities like itBit — which also holds a New York–issued BitLicense — operate in every state except Texas. Square originally launched bitcoin-trading capabilities on its app in November 2017 to only a handful of users. In January of this year, the company expanded the app’s trading services to virtually every state except Wyoming, Georgia, Hawaii and New York due to restrictions that placed limits on cryptocurrency transactions. In June, the company acquired a BitLicense to operate in the Big Apple and later announced that it had more than doubled its crypto-based income between quarters one a...

Categories: BTC|Trading|Technology
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Venezuela Nationalizes Petro, Will Introduce Crypto-Based Salary System for Workers

bitcoinmagazine | 08-15-2018

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently revealed that the nation’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, will be used as a unit of account by the state oil company PDVSA. The government is also developing a new salary system that will allow employees to receive their wages in petro funds over fiat.“As of next Monday, Venezuela will have a second accounting unit based on the price and value of the petro. It will be a second accounting unit of the republic and will begin operations as a mandatory accounting unit of our PDVSA oil industry,” Maduro announced. The petro was introduced through a pre-sale back in February of 2018 as a means to attract foreign capital to boost the Venezuelan economy and circumvent both EU and U.S. sanctions. It was designed to shore up an economy in shambles, as the bolivar has been struck with rampant hyperinflation over the past year. From the very beginning, the currency aroused controversy both in and out of Venezuela. Many in the National Assembly publicly claimed that the currency was potentially illegal and that its white paper lacked sufficient details or offered unscrupulous arguments for its creation. Concerns further arose in the U.S., which led to President Trump’s subsequent petro-trading ban in March of 2018. Some arguments in favor of the cryptocurrency state that the petro makes paying taxes and settlements with state bodies less expensive and that the curr...

Categories: Regulation|Commodity|BTC|Trading
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AMA With Origin Team Reveals Plans for Decentralized Sharing Economy

bitcoinmagazine | 08-15-2018

Matt Liu, Josh Fraser and former PayPal head Yu Pan want to bring the blockchain to the sharing economy. The trio is devising a platform with an emphasis on inclusive, peer-to-peer service hubs designed to decentralize the same consumer cost-friendly business models that have made companies like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft so popular in recent years. On August 9, 2018, the three hosted an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on Reddit to discuss the project known as Origin.According to Fraser, Origin has sought to build something that would classify as a “community effort” from the very beginning. Inspired by systems like the Ethereum Project, Protocol Labs and Ox, executives aim to give individuals new ways of trading code, information and cryptocurrency.What Does Origin Do?Origin targets the global sharing economy by seeking to create decentralized, peer-to-peer marketplaces. Buyers and sellers can engage in transactions through a distributed open web using the Ethereum blockchain and the Interplanetary File System (IPFS). The platform is fully decentralized and claims to decrease censorship. One of the initial questions was why Pan — who was previously involved in both Google and PayPal, some of the internet’s biggest companies — decided to work with Origin and enter the crypto field in the first place. Pan replied that it was at PayPal where he met both Fraser and Liu, who increased his interest in the ideals an...

Categories: Blockchain|ETH|BTC|Trading|Business
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BitAngels Founder Sues AT&T for $224 million Following Wallet Hacks

bitcoinmagazine | 08-15-2018

BitAngels founder Michael Terpin has filed a $224 million lawsuit against telecoms provider AT&T, alleging that its negligence led him to lose about $24 million worth of cryptocurrency to fraudsters, according to a CNBC report. In a 69-page deposition to the Los Angeles U.S. District Court on August 15, 2018, Terpin claims that AT&T “willingly” cooperated with hackers who co-opted his identity and thus gained access to his crypto wallets.Crypto Wallet HackAccording to the filing, Terpin suffered two separate hacks within seven months of each other, with the second hack resulting in a loss of nearly $24 million in token funds.He says that a fraudster successfully obtained his phone number by cooperating with an insider, escaping the otherwise mandatory identity check that would be required to get such information. After obtaining the phone number, according to the complaint, the fraudster was able to gain access to Terpin's crypto wallet and steal his funds.An excerpt from Terpin's complaint reads as follows:"What AT&T did was like a hotel giving a thief with a fake ID a room key and a key to the room safe to steal jewelry in the safe from the rightful owner."In its emailed response to the media, AT&T maintained its innocence, stating that it disputes the allegations and looks forward to presenting its case in court. Terpin is seeking a payout of $200 million in punitive damages in additi...

Categories: BTC|ICO
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Vietnamese Government Bans Mining Hardware Imports

bitcoinmagazine | 08-15-2018

Following a high-level proposal in July to ban the importation of all cryptocurrency mining equipment into Vietnam, the Vietnamese Customs Department has announced a total ban on all mining rig imports, according to a local news outlet.The ban comes at a time when the country is dealing with the fallout of July's Sky Mining scandal, which saw the CEO of a crypto mining firm abscond with more than $35 million in company and investor funds.Zero Tolerance StanceAccording to data from the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department, crypto mining equipment imports were shuttered by officials in July 2018. Before the restriction, private individuals and firms in the country brought in more than 3,664 mining rigs between January and June. These imports mostly consisted of Bitmain's Antminer ASIC rigs.Last year, more than 7,000 mining rigs were imported into the country despite the government's noted anti-crypto stance. Following the Sky Mining scandal last month, however, local Vietnamese news outlets report that the Vietnamese Customs Department almost instantly imposed total import restrictions on miners, indicating that the government's negative stance on crypto has morphed into open restriction.Government RegulationPrior to the policy change, Vietnam's government had a reputation for being unwilling to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, bluntly declaring last year that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are no...

Categories: Mining|BTC|Business
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Paragon Partners With Civic Technologies to Deliver Transparency, Digital IDs to Cannabis Industry

bitcoinmagazine | 08-15-2018

Paragon, a blockchain company that develops seed-to-sale tracking solutions for the marijuana industry, is joining hands with Civic Technologies Inc., a digital identity firm, to bring secure and trusted identity services to Paragon’s digital community. Customers can now provide their state-issued IDs or driver’s licenses to verify their identities on Paragon, making it even more accountable to government regulations and bolstering compliance with the platform's age regulations.“By using ID verification, we’re holding users accountable, which brings an added level of transparency and trust to the industry. The ability to easily identify yourself through Civic provides easy access to our users in situations such as age verification at a dispensary,” Jessica VerSteeg, Paragon’s CEO, told Bitcoin Magazine.In our interview, she continued to explain what inspired her to build the company in the first place. “When I was running Au Box, a monthly subscription service that provides members with a curated box of cannabis products, I came across a huge issue,” she explains. “A parent called me asking about the lab results for one of the products in the box because they wanted to give it to their child with epilepsy. I ended up calling the lab and noticed the results didn’t match what the supplier was claiming, which made me realize how many companies could be providing false lab results — offering flower that tes...

Categories: BTC|ICO|Blockchain
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Ether Price Analysis: Historic Support Breaks, Leads to Signs of Capitulation

bitcoinmagazine | 08-14-2018

In two short weeks, ETHUSD was devalued by 50% of its market value. With little to no relief for the underwater bulls, ether seems to be accelerating downward as buyer confidence is lacking and showing signs of capitulation. The entire crypto market, as a whole, is showing signs of capitulation as many alts have seen similar devaluations in shorter periods of time than ETHUSD. Similar to many other coins, ether is penetrating long-held support with very little ease:Figure 1: ETH-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro TrendAs a general idea of just how extended the market is, take a look at the 50 EMA (the blue curve) in the image above. The 50 EMA acts as a fast-acting equilibrium curve that shows the price relative to its price history. Currently, the market is highly separated from its equilibrium. Often, when this happens, the market goes through a capitulation phase that has a very strong reaction causing both short profit taking and bottom-callers to shove the price strongly back in the direction it came from.The 127% Fib extension of the most recent bullish rally on ETHUSD reveals a likely target for this capitulation. Historically, this price level (the $230 area) has also served as a key area for buyer interest to step in:Figure 2: ETH-USD, Daily Candles, 127% Fib ExtensionOur current trend is showing an expansion of volume and price spread — very similar to the two v-bottom reversals shown above. Right now,...

Categories: Trading|Market|BTC|Business
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Wyre Adds MakerDAO Stablecoin Pairing for Global Money Transfers

bitcoinmagazine | 08-14-2018

Under the new framework, Wyre's regulated money transfer infrastructure will be used to facilitate the instantaneous movement of “fiat currency directly into and out of Dai,” thereby removing the unpredictability of “speculative cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin” and benefiting from the speed and security of the blockchain, a press release for the announcement states. The arrangement is designed to give customers a quick and secure money transfer protocol that offers full regulatory compliance.“Pairing Dai to Wyre’s trading engine and global fiat on-ramps and off-ramps will enable nearly-instant movement of funds across borders. By decreasing the amount of time it takes to clear payments, businesses can increase the number of payment cycles, therefore increasing revenue. Remittance platforms or crypto services can also settle instantly in Dai rather than using international wires which can take up to 48 hours,” the release continues.Through the partnership, Wyre now offers prospective users an Access Point Interface (API) to connect their bank accounts to the blockchain through Dai, while taking care of KYC/AML compliance and onboarding concerns. Using the API, users can now trade Dai against many of the world's major fiat currencies and cryptocurrencies including USD, GBP, EUR and more.Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Rune Christensen, CEO of MakerDAO, said the alliance would be beneficial to A...

Categories: Blockchain|Fiat|BTC|ETH|Trading
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Trouble on the Horizon? What Last Weekend’s Ruckus Means for Bitmain’s IPO

bitcoinmagazine | 08-14-2018

Over the weekend, information surfaced that could suggest that mining giant Bitmain may be facing an uphill battle as it looks to launch an IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange.Newly leaked public information reveals that, in its pre-IPO presentation to investors, Bitmain provided insight into its cryptocurrency holdings, which shows that Bitmain unloaded most of its bitcoin (BTC) to accumulate bitcoin cash (BCH) in its stead. In a snapshot of a slide from the original presentation, the leftmost column titled “Digital quantity of money” shows Bitmain’s bitcoin supply decreased from 71,560 BTC to 22,082 from December 2016 to Q1 2018. Over the same period, its BCH holding increased to over 1 million coins. Samson Mow, CSO of Blockstream, pointed out that Bitmain has incurred half a billion dollars in losses through its BCH holdings over the last three months alone. Scrutinizing the company further, Mow pointed out that Bitmain chose not to disclose financial data for its Q2 inventory in 2018. The tweet by Mow brings to light that Bitmain reported $1.24 billion in inventory for Q1 2018, while it has not mentioned any numbers for Q2 despite already being well into Q3, raising speculation that Q2 was omitted because the company may have realized a loss between $600-700 million.In a recent Medium blog post, a pseudonymous blogger by the name of Crypto Herpes Cat points out that these losses, and the lack of tr...

Categories: BTC|Mining|Business|Asia
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Distributed Dialogues: Weighing In on Privacy Implications

bitcoinmagazine | 08-14-2018

At the recent Distributed 2018 conference in San Francisco, Rick Lewis and Dave Hollerith from the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network interviewed a host of different personalities in the blockchain space about digital privacy.First, the team interviewed David Chaum, one of the forefathers of cryptocurrency as we know it today. Starting from these humble beginnings, Chaum describes a brief history of the earliest days of digital money, as he built much of the enthusiasm for cryptography himself. His brief account of his work in the field gives a huge amount of insight into the culture and passion for privacy that eventually birthed modern cryptocurrency. Reuben Yap, chief operating officer of ZCoin, spoke about some of the cultural challenges in being the first real private cryptocurrency in Malaysia. Yap believes that the most important way to emphasize this concept of digital privacy to a skeptical audience is by putting the issue in financial terms. As Yap puts it, people expect a higher degree of privacy from banks regarding the value of their assets, and he believes that he can tap into this expectation on a greater scale. The platform of ZCoin ultimately seeks to give crypto financial systems an equal expectation of privacy that regular banks would, and this ambitious goal sets it apart.Finally, Patrick Byrne, founder and CEO of Overstock.com, talks about the path that led him to cryptocurrency as well as ...

Categories: BTC|Blockchain
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Op Ed: Evaluating the Promise of Cardano: Has Ethereum Met Its Match?

bitcoinmagazine | 08-14-2018

This month, we celebrate Ethereum’s third birthday and reflect upon the many milestones that have occured in the industry since the dawn of the original smart contract blockchain. Mainstream interest is burgeoning, market capitalization for the industry has increased by over 5,900 percent, and the number of cryptocurrencies currently in circulation is at an all-time high. Up until recently, it seemed as if Ethereum would be one of the only platforms capable of fostering the mainstream adoption of blockchain technology. That is, until Cardano (ADA) appeared.While admittedly in its early stages, Cardano is already being labeled by some experts as a scalable solution to several of the inefficiencies created by Ethereum, which, some say, seems to be suffering from its own success. In recent months, the platform has been inundated with a slew of new decentralized applications (DApps) that are creating a bottleneck effect on the Ethereum blockchain. As famously portrayed by the meteoric rise of blockchain craze CryptoKitties, popular Ethereum applications require excessive bandwidth to remain afloat, which ultimately has a detrimental effect on network efficiency. And although ether’s hashrate is growing, it’s being far outpaced by the sheer number of projects being built on the blockchain.By contrast, Cardano has been specifically designed to handle high-volume transactions, operating on a first-of-its-kind ...

Categories: ETH|ADA|Blockchain|BTC|Mining
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[promoted] FlipNpik’s Social Media Model: Boosting Incentives for Local Promotions

bitcoinmagazine | 08-14-2018

Launched in 2009, the social networkingapp Foursquare was hailed as providing a cutting-edge approach for users toshare their location with friends. Called a “check-in,” people would revealtheir location through their mobile device by selecting the venue they werefrequenting at that time.The app grew immensely popular as usersaround the world accumulated points for spending time at their favoriteretailers, restaurants, nightclubs, libraries or other venues. But the excitement aroundthis movement soon abated as users began to realize that there was no utilityaround the points they had collected.Now there’s astartup called FlipNpik that’s offering a new approach to this idea. This collaborativesocial media platform, dedicated to local businesses and connected toblockchain technology, allows users to monetize their social media engagementthrough a decentralized network where value is created and equitablydistributed among FlipNpik’s community.Major driversbehind the company’s creation were concerns on the part of small- tomedium-sized businesses, particularly local ones, regarding the dominance ofmajor advertising players like Facebook offering few promotional options tosmall enterprises with a limited budget. Predicated on the cultivation ofmutually beneficial relationships, FlipNpik provides a robust setting for smallbusinesses and community users to actively engage with one another inproductive commerce...

Categories: ICO|BTC|Technology|Business
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Crypto Startup Taps Larry King in Shared Effort to Combat Climate Change

bitcoinmagazine | 08-13-2018

In a message on GEAR Token’s website, iconic political talk show host Larry King says that global climate change is threatening humanity’s existence and is “a potentially catastrophic issue from the combustion of fossil fuels ... putting immense pressure on the environment and on our health.”King says that “this is simply not sustainable” and “the pace of innovations and investment in green energy and renewables is not enough to help counteract the use of dirty fuels.”King is focusing his energies as a member of GEAR’s Advisory Board, helping the small startup, still in incubation, to raise funds for the development of green mining technology to reduce energy consumption in bitcoin mining that has given bitcoin a bad rap with environmentalists.Aware that the U.S. government is also getting a bad rap from environmentalists, GEAR is hoping to counter any doubts that global climate change is a serious issue. The GEAR team told Bitcoin Magazine:“We want to highlight the increasing importance of investing in green projects and startups, given the changing political landscape against efforts to prevent further global warming, such as the U.S. pulling out of the Paris climate accords.”Indi Pathak, president of GEAR, explained:“Our mission is to use blockchain and crypto to help and give back to the Earth through things such as building more and more tangible, real-world assets, such as hydroelectric farms, sol...

Categories: BTC|Mining|ICO|Regulation|Blockchain
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Bitcoin Magazine’s Week in Review: Getting Creative With Blockchain Solutions

bitcoinmagazine | 08-12-2018

This week’s top stories include two feature interview: one with Kavita Gupta, founding managing partner at ConsenSys Ventures; and another with electronic dance music DJ Justin Blau (aka DJ 3BLAU) who is launching a decentralized music festival. Bitcoiners have begun moving from Twitter to a new “instance” on Mastodon, the SEC has delayed yet another ETF decision, and some of West Virginia’s overseas service members may be able to vote using a blockchain-based mobile app this November.Featured stories by Tanzeel Akhtar, Jimmy Aki, Matthew Breen and Colin Harper  Stay on top of the best stories in the bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Subscribe to our newsletter here.ConsenSys Ventures Kavita Gupta Talks Tachyon and IndiaConsenSys, the Ethereum production studio based in the U.S., launched ConsenSys Ventures last year selecting Kavita Gupta to run two funds of $50 million and $100 million. Bitcoin Magazine spoke with Gupta to discuss the launch of project Tachyon and the launch of ConsenSys India. She spoke about their goal to attract a diverse cohort of up to 15–18 teams, within the accelerator they are offering three tracks: Blockchain for Social Impact track; the Ethereum Project track; and an Open Source, blockchain-agnostic, grant-driven track. Upon completion of the program, they will have a demo day that will be exclusive to the most prominent angel and venture capital investors wit...

Categories: BTC|Blockchain|ETH|ICO|Regulation
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Bitcoin Price Analysis: Supply Still Outweighing Demand as Prices Dip

bitcoinmagazine | 08-10-2018

Over the last 2 weeks, bitcoin saw its longest streak of red days since 2014. The volume was modest and expansive on the drop as the price managed to lose 25% in value in just 10 days. At the time of this article, the market is testing the strength of the support near the bottom of the macro trading range (TR):Figure 1: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Trading RangeAs noted in several previous articles, this is a very important stronghold for the bulls. If support does not manage to hold this support, the market will undoubtedly search lower values in an attempt to garner significant market demand. Previously, I discussed the possibility of the recent move to $8,400 as a so-called Sign of Strength (SoS). Typically, a SoS would like to see an approximate 50% retracement for it to be considered a healthy, bullish move. However, in our case, we saw a 100% retracement. Not only did the market move retrace 100%, but the volume and price spread that accompanied the move back to the bottom of the TR was on steady volume and wide candle spread. Steady volume paired with wide candle spread is a sign that the market is lacking demand and that the sellers are overwhelmingly dominating the market:Figure 2: BTC-USD, 12-Hour Candles, Selling PressureThe chart above shows just how dominant the sellers were on this latest shove. You see next to no buyers stepping in as the volume and price spread continue to expand on its...

Categories: Market|Trading|BTC
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Op Ed: Exploring the SEC’s New “Sufficiently Decentralized” Test

bitcoinmagazine | 08-10-2018

The regulators have awoken. SEC Director William Hinman introduced novel concepts to the securities law analysis such that sellers of digital assets may have an escape valve. Yes, even if their initial sale triggered securities laws, later sales may not. The industry should not move forward without careful exploration of these concepts.First order of business: Can digital assets change their colors? As outlined by Global Digital Finance, a digital asset can be a financial asset token (potentially coded as a security), a payment token (Hinman used the term “coin”), or a consumer token (Hinman used the term “token”). The relevant question is not whether an asset can change its token type, but whether the latter two types — a “coin” or “token” in Hinman’s words — can ever become securities. Whisky as a Security?Director Hinman’s discussion of Scotch proves instructive.The SEC director carefully teased out a distinction between a consumer item and its manner of sale. The ultimate takeaway: Whisky is never a security, but its sale can trigger securities laws. It would be ridiculous to say whisky morphs into a security because of how it is sold; it always remains a non-security consumer item. Replace “whisky” with “coin” or “token” and the logic remains sound. It makes no sense, then, to say a consumer or payment token can morph into a security. That is, unless the code itself changes such that the code itsel...

Categories: ICO|Regulation|BTC|Market|Business
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Distributed Dialogues: Blockchain’s Better Side

bitcoinmagazine | 08-10-2018

The fact that great responsibility accompanies great power has become crystal clear in the blockchain world. While blockchains are most commonly connected with commerce, the potential impact of distributed ledgers is being discovered in fresh sectors daily.In the most recent episode of the Distributed Dialogues podcast, a collaborative show between the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network and Distributed Magazine, blockchain’s better side was on display. The show explored three different perspectives on how the technology is being used, not just to raise crypto value, but to help humanity rise up.Blockchains for Human RightsAlex Gladstein, chief strategy officer at the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), explained that organization’s optimism about blockchain technology. HRF is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies. According to Gladstein in his interview with the show’s co-host Rick Lewis, about 90 countries, with a total population of about 4 billion people, currently lack the checks and balances that a more open society would have.Gladstein believes that decentralized models such as blockchains and cryptocurrencies can make a world of difference for this large population whose rights are routinely violated. It’s part of a nascent field he calls “demtech,” short for “democracy tech,” and its development comes with an unexpected bonus....

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Lightning Network Payment System “SparkSwap” Makes Its Official Debut

bitcoinmagazine | 08-10-2018

A new way to trade bitcoin and digital currencies is now in the books. SparkSwap is the first crypto exchange to be built on the Lightning Network. It allows users to trade both bitcoin and altcoins in seconds without depositing assets with a third party.In a blog post, SparkSwap founder Trey Griffith said, “You can trade between different blockchains (currently Bitcoin and Litecoin, with others coming soon), with trades settling in about a second — a transaction time comparable to some of the leading centralized cryptocurrency exchanges. “In an industry that, at times, seems to value hype and white papers over delivered, working software, we’ve opted for the latter. Our software is in a pre-alpha state, but we’ve successfully used it to execute BTC/LTC trades on the Bitcoin and Litecoin testnets.” SparkSwap is made up of two primary components. The first is called the Broker and is the software run by users. It interprets user actions and converts them into network actions. It also executes payment channel network swaps and manages user wallets and private keys. The second component is known as the Relayer, which is software run by staff members. It connects brokers who wish to execute monetary swaps; provides orderbook updates; and mitigates fraud and market manipulation. The Relayer also assists users with agreeing on swap prices and executes trades over payment channel networks like the Lightning Ne...

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Bitcoiners Losing Faith in Twitter Inspire an Exodus to Mastodon

bitcoinmagazine | 08-09-2018

It’s no secret that a growing number of Bitcoiners are unhappy with Twitter. A mix of perceived censorship through shadow banning and lack of serious action being taken by the platform to remove the notorious ether giveaway bots have aggravated calls for a decentralized alternative to the existing social media goliath.Although members of the community had been vocal about this for awhile, it seems that recent moves like the unexplained temporary suspension of BHB Network’s Giacomo Zucco yesterday or the simultaneous purging of Infowars’ Alex Jones’ content by Spotify, YouTube, Facebook and Apple have finally catalyzed the transition. Enter Mastodon, the distributed social media platform. Mastodon is both very similar to and very different from Twitter. At a glance, one might be forgiven for mistaking it for TweetDeck. Many of its features have been cloned, including the ability to tweet (or “toot”), retweet (“boost”) and like (“favorite”). Some enhancements have been added in, including more granular privacy controls and up to 500 characters available for microblogging. Where the platform really shines is in its lack of centralized oversight. Instead of users congregating around a single website, Mastodon is divided into “instances” — smaller communities that set their own rules around content and users (not unlike subreddits). Individuals registered with one Mastodon instance can communicate with users...

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ShapeShift to Add Multi-Crypto Swapping Tool to Its Exchange Platform

bitcoinmagazine | 08-09-2018

On August 8, 2018, ShapeShiftAG, the parent company of ShapeShift.io, one of the world's largest decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges, announced its acquisition of Bitfract, a blockchain software startup based in Austin, Texas.Bitfract’s crypto trading tool allows users to swap bitcoin for a basket of cryptocurrencies within a single transaction.Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, ShapeShift founder and CEO Erik Voorhees revealed that this sort of multi-crypto trading solution has been a long-term target of ShapeShift's internal engineering team. One thing that stood out about Bitfract for Voorhees was the “creativity and drive of the team.”“They used our API brilliantly, and taking steps toward acquiring the company seemed like the natural course for us to take,” Voorhees added.For his part, Bitfract CEO and co-founder Willy Ogorzaly stated:“ShapeShift has always aligned most closely with our mission and values. When Erik asked if we wanted to join ShapeShift, the answer was immediately yes.” Ogorzaly said they welcomed the idea of being acquired as his team had become “incredibly familiar with ShapeShift’s API” and how to leverage it as a “tool for innovation.”Using Bitfract's tool, users will able to diversify their crypto asset portfolios without exposing themselves to the risk factors of multiple transactions including security risks, time losses and extra transaction fees. The tool also makes it extre...

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This Crypto Scam Botnet Consists of Over 15,000 Separate Bots

bitcoinmagazine | 08-08-2018

Researchers at Duo Labs have discovered that Twitter is home to at least 15,000 scam bots and have published their findings in a new report.Between May and July of 2018, staff members observed, collected and analyzed nearly 90 million public Twitter accounts that had released over 500 million tweets. In addition, researchers also examined elements of each account including profile screen names, number of followers, avatars and descriptions to gather one of the largest accumulations of Twitter data ever studied. Among the report’s most interesting finds was a sophisticated “cryptocurrency scam botnet,” which consists of at least 15,000 separate bots. The botnet ultimately siphons money from individual users by posing as cryptocurrency exchanges, news organizations, verified accounts and even celebrities. Accounts in the botnet are programmed to deploy malicious behaviors to evade detection and look like real profiles. Researchers were also able to map the botnet’s three-tiered structure, which consists of “hub” accounts that are followed by many bots, scam publishing bots, and amplification bots that specifically like tweets to increase their popularity and appear legitimate. Olabode Anise, a data scientist and co-author of the report, explained, “Users are likely to trust a tweet depending on how many times it’s been retweeted or liked. Those behind this particular botnet know this and have designed it ...

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DJ Who “Turned Down Wall St.” Is On a Quest to Decentralize Music Festivals

bitcoinmagazine | 08-08-2018

Independent DJ Justin Blau (known on stage as 3LAU) didn’t exactly stumble into the cryptocurrency industry — to say so would misrepresent how much thought he’s put into his blockchain-based event network, Our Music Festival (OMF). But at the very least, his introduction to the space came through a touch of serendipity.Blau became formally acquainted with blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies after a chance meeting with the Winklevoss twins at a music festival in 2014. The Winklevosses were making their own debut into the industry, as they were in the early stages of building their Gemini exchange at the time.After hitting it off with the up-and-coming DJ, they invited Blau back to their penthouse, a welcome alternative to crashing at an  exorbitant downtown hotel, Blau admitted in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. That night — and the blockchain-centric conversation that dominated it — had Blau hooked on the young and novel tech.“I very quickly saw all the ways in which blockchain [technology] could disrupt the music business and all aspects of the music business — from digital music to live music to manager and artist relationships — disintermediating the entire business as a whole. And I just found myself thinking about it all the time.”Business moguls and financial thoroughbreds as the Winklevosses are, the encounter may have felt a little like looking into a rearview mirror for Blau. Before ...

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The SEC Is Delaying Another Bitcoin ETF Decision

bitcoinmagazine | 08-08-2018

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in no hurry to review the pile of Bitcoin ETF filings it has been accumulating over the past year.Not three weeks since postponing its decision on five other Bitcoin ETFs, the SEC has indicated in a public statement that it will be delaying its decision to approve or reject SolidX Bitcoin Shares until late September.“Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act, designates September 30, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change (File No. SR-CboeBZX-2018-040),” the statement reads.Submitted back in June, the proposed rule change to permit the ETF comes from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (Cboe), which was cleared to list Bitcoin futures in December of last year. If approved, the ETF would be listed on Cboe’s BZX exchange in cooperation with legacy investment management company VanEck and crypto startup SolidX. This is VanEck’s second attempt to list a Bitcoin ETF after their first attempt was nixed by the SEC last year.This is also the BZX exchange’s second attempt to secure a Bitcoin ETF listing. On July 26, 2018, a day after the SEC prolonged its deliberation for Direxion Asset Management’s five filings, the SEC rejected BZX’s joint filing with the Winklevoss twins. The ETF was rejected on the g...

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Maerki Baumann Is the Latest Swiss Bank to Embrace Crypto

bitcoinmagazine | 08-07-2018

Maerki Baumann — a private bank based in Zurich, Switzerland — has announced it will manage its clients’ cryptocurrency assets. This makes it the second Swiss bank to make such an announcement following Hypothekarbank Lenzburg (Hypi), which stated in June that it would open business accounts for cryptocurrency companies.The bank recently published an article on its website entitled, “Cryptocurrencies — What Exactly Are They?” Written by the company’s deputy head of IT and digitization Milko G. Hensel, the article offers a brief description of some of the world’s best-known and most established digital currencies, such as bitcoin and ether. It then explains that, while the bank is prepared to “accept funds generated through cryptocurrencies,” it does not condone investing in cryptocurrencies given their volatility and speculative natures. “We would advise against any major investment in cryptocurrencies at present,” the article explains. “In our view, cryptocurrencies are unsuitable for long-term investors due to the uncertainties set out above.” First established in 1932, Maerki Baumann is a family-owned bank that has primarily offered asset management and investment advice for institutional clients. At press time, it supervises about $649 million USD in client holdings. The bank openly admits that its knowledge of cryptocurrencies is limited, though it will provide “experts” to investors looking to tak...

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West Virginia to Offer Blockchain Voting Options for Midterms

bitcoinmagazine | 08-07-2018

American troops serving overseas will be able to cast their votes in West Virginia through a mobile voting platform based on blockchain technology in the federal elections in November 2018.The mobile voting platform, Voatz, will use facial recognition software to match each user’s “selfie-style video of their face” to their government-issued ID, according to a CNN report. Once approved, voters will be allowed to cast their ballot on the app. Ballots will then be anonymized and recorded on the blockchain. Voatz is a Boston-based startup that combines internet-based voting with blockchain technology. The platform was created to encourage citizen engagement and tackle low participation in local elections.West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner commented, "There is nobody that deserves the right to vote any more than the guys that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for us." Warner also clarified some misconception that the app was going to replace traditional balloting, by saying it was an option and troops can still "cast paper ballots if they like." Earlier this year, state officials ran a pilot of the Voatz mobile app for deployed troops and their dependents in Harrison and Monongalia counties and found the results to be satisfactory. Warner's office also claimed in the report that “four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and bl...

Categories: Blockchain|Technology|BTC
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New Partnership Will Track Precious Metals Using Blockchain Technology

bitcoinmagazine | 08-07-2018

Financial technology firm Paxos has formed a partnership with INTL FCStone Inc’s precious metals division. The department will now be using Paxos Confirmation Service – a tool built specifically for the precious metals arena – to instantly automate daily trade confirmations and reduce human error.Using this blockchain-powered trust, Paxos seeks to unlock capital and create value with products that eliminate trade risk, while INTL FCStone provides market intelligence, post-trade services and financial services execution throughout the global financial market. The company boasts over 20,000 customers in approximately 130 different countries and is headquartered in New York City. Chad Cascarilla is the CEO and co-founder of Paxos. Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, he says that the precious metals industry is prone to many of the same issues one finds with traditional banking institutions. “Many of the processes that the precious metals industry uses today to confirm and settle trades are manual and prone to human error,” he explains. “Today, confirmations, metal transfer instructions and wire instructions are sent via email, which is notoriously bad for information security. Email is rarely encrypted, and a simple keystroke error can cause an email to be sent to the wrong recipients, so information is very vulnerable.” He further states that the timeframe in which precious metals move or transfer is usually ...

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Coinbase Renews Money Transmitter License in Wyoming, Reopens Services in State

bitcoinmagazine | 08-06-2018

Coinbase has announced that it has renewed its money transmitter license in Wyoming three years after terminating its activities in the state. The move marks a significant shift in the working relationship between the crypto exchange giant and state regulators following the expiry of the previous license in June 2015.Working With RegulatorsIn a Medium post, Coinbase said that its Wyoming customers can now access the full range of its products, including Coinbase Consumer, Coinbase Market, Coinbase Prime and Coinbase Custody. The blog post described the move as one that will “spur innovation and economic activity for individuals, families and communities across the state.”Coinbase went on in the statement to highlight its newfound cooperation with Washington state regulators.“Coinbase welcomed the opportunity to work with Wyoming House of Representatives Majority Floor Leader David Miller, State Senator Eli Bebout, members of the Blockchain Task Force and their colleagues to find a solution that allows cryptocurrency custodians and exchanges to reestablish operations. We are also grateful for the assistance of Commissioner Forkner, Deputy Commissioner Mulberry, along with the examiners and staff from the Wyoming Division of Banking in their prompt approval of our money transmitter application,” the post reads.Going further, Coinbase hailed its return to Wyoming as proof that regulators, lawmakers and cry...

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Goldman Sachs Could Have a Crypto Custody Service in the Works

bitcoinmagazine | 08-06-2018

One of the world’s largest investment banks may soon bring cryptocurrencies into its trillion-dollar investment fold.Goldman Sachs is allegedly devising a cryptocurrency custody service, individuals familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. The offering would open Goldman Sachs custodial services to cryptocurrency funds, providing them an institutional avenue through which to manage their assets. This would outfit the funds with security, insurance and other investment measures that would otherwise be unattainable.If not unattainable, such asset-securing guarantees are at the very least elusive in such an unregulated and fledgling market, but if realized, Goldman Sachs’ crypto custody could change this. Talk of the offering itself is an indicator that demand for these services is on the rise, and if the services materialize, they may even encourage skeptical or unenthused investors to get into the game.“In response to client interest in various digital products we are exploring how best to serve them in this space,” a Goldman Sachs spokesperson commented on the matter. “At this point, we have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering.”If the offering gets the go-ahead, it would give a buff to the cryptocurrency market’s credibility. Like a vote of confidence, the custody service — and the client protections it would bring — could legitimize cryptocurrency index and hedge funds i...

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AxiomLevel Targets Institutional Investors With Investor Onboarding Platform

bitcoinmagazine | 08-06-2018

The slow trickle of traditional investment into the crypto market may turn into a flood if a new platform launched by blockchain services provider AxiomLevel Technologies makes its desired impact.AxiomLevel’s investor onboarding platform serves as a finance industry solution that caters toward institutional players with  investor registration, verification and management. It contains a comprehensive know your customer (KYC) module, anti-money laundering (AML) compliance modules, and accredited investor verification, as well as a global whitelisting solution for digital wallets.The Investor Onboarding Platform wants to ensure that every investor who enters the crypto market is not caught unawares or blindsided by any regulatory requirements or issues. It comprehensively outlines and resolves all potential pitfalls related to regulatory compliance and financial industry governance.Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, AxiomLevel Founder Raleigh Harbour explains the value and utility that his protocol may offer investors.“AxiomLevel appeals to two audiences: First, to a company issuing or transacting in a token. The technology provides a high level of confidence of regulatory compliance, while at the same time making the process for their investors and users easy, intuitive and seamless.“Second, for the investor or user themselves, it will grow to become a verified, self-sovereign transaction ‘passport,’ saving th...

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ConsenSys Ventures Kavita Gupta Talks Tachyon and India

bitcoinmagazine | 08-06-2018

ConsenSys, the Ethereum production studio based in the U.S., launched ConsenSys Ventures last year selecting Kavita Gupta to run two funds of $50 million and $100 million.Bitcoin Magazine caught up with ConsenSys’ Gupta to discuss the launch of project Tachyon and the launch of ConsenSys India, as well as the various factors that come into play in deciding where to allocate funds.Bitcoin Magazine: ConsenSys is launching Tachyon, the first Ethereum-focused accelerator program in San Francisco. What is this project’s purpose?Kavita Gupta: Since the launch of ConsenSys Ventures, our team came across a large number of very promising blockchain-based projects. While many of these solutions have the potential to solve problems across industries and geographies, a lot of the teams need support that goes beyond just providing capital. With this in mind, we wanted to build a platform that will identify and foster the talented teams with unique ideas.These teams will have a unique opportunity to learn and be mentored by both the Web 2.0 world and Web 3.0. The 8-week immersion program will give the companies all the tools and training necessary to build an MVP and successfully launch their pre-seed and seed rounds.To attract a diverse cohort of up to 15–18 teams, within the accelerator we are offering three tracks: Blockchain for Social Impact track; the Ethereum Project track; and an Open Source, blockchain-agnos...

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Bitcoin Magazine’s Week in Review: Challenging the Way It’s Always Been Done

bitcoinmagazine | 08-05-2018

This past week, we talked to three security experts about how to design smarter and more secure smart contracts. Google is dipping its toe in the blockchain waters by introducing integrations for applications built with Ethereum and Hyperledger. The financial sector got some more love with the Digital Chamber of Commerce’s white paper to help cryptocurrency and ICO markets grow responsibly. Finally, 17 tons of almonds moved from Australia to Germany with real-time tracking and verification on the blockchain.Featured stories by Jimmy Aki, Colin Harper, Marianne Lehnis and Nick Marinoff Stay on top of the best stories in the bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Subscribe to our newsletter here.Audits and Quality Assurance: Patching the Holes in Smart Contract SecurityIn the most infamous smart contract hack in the industry to date, The DAO, a decentralized venture fund, lost 3.6 million ether in June of 2016, and the fallout of the attack saw Ethereum hard fork to recoup losses. Bitcoin Magazine talks with security experts Hartej Sawhney, co-founder of Hosho, Dmytro Budorin, CEO of Hacken, and  believes that security can slip by the eye of software engineers because they “don’t have a quality assurance (QA) mindset.” Dmytro Budorin, CEO of cybersecurity community Hacken, and Amy Wan, CEO and co-founder of Sagewise, about how comapnies can ensure the security and quality of their smart contract...

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Intercontinental Exchange to Introduce Bakkt, a Crypto Payment System for Retailers

bitcoinmagazine | 08-03-2018

This November, cryptocurrency users will be introduced to Bakkt, a new company designed to give millions of retail merchants the chance to buy, sell and trade digital currencies — and even buy a cup of coffee. The company is being launched by Atlanta-based Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and a leading operator of clearinghouses, global exchanges, and data and listing services.Bakkt CEO Kelly Loeffler explained, “Bakkt is designed to serve as a scalable on-ramp for institutional, merchant and consumer participation in digital assets by promoting greater efficiency, security and utility. We are collaborating to build an open platform that helps unlock the transformative potential of digital assets across global markets and commerce.”ICE is also devising “a 1-day physically delivered Bitcoin contract along with physical warehousing,” according to the official press release. If the offering receives the approval of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), it will begin trading in November of this year.Introduced in 2000, Intercontinental Exchange is a Fortune 500 company and Fortune Future 50 company. The venture was built to modernize markets and ease the risks and tensions associated with stocks and futures trading by managing the data houses and exchanges traders regularly utilize. Jeffrey C. Sprecher, the founder, chairman and CEO of...

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Breeze Wallet with Breeze Privacy Protocol Mainnet Now Available for Download

bitcoinmagazine | 08-03-2018

The Breeze Wallet with the Breeze Privacy Protocol public mainnet has been released and is now open to the public. The wallet showcases Stratis technology — a platform built for visual basic apps and blockchain solutions — and places heavy emphasis on both privacy and security for businesses seeking to implement business-to-business (B2B) transactions on the Stratis and Bitcoin blockchain networks.The Breeze Wallet was first scheduled for release in mid-2017. Designed as a bitcoin wallet for desktops, the application would come with TumbleBit — a promising privacy advancement built on top of Bitcoin — and give customers the opportunity to mix their coins without the need to trust one another or the receiving wallets. Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine last year, Stratis Founder and CEO Chris Trew explained, “We are integrating TumbleBit because it’s a trustless and secure solution that works with Bitcoin without any forks.” Based in the U.K., Stratis is a startup that offers end-to-end solutions for development, testing and deployment of blockchain applications. Aside from maintaining its own blockchain, Stratis also boasts a native token, the Stratis token, and builds tools for existing blockchains like Ethereum and Bitcoin. Developers claim the wallet boasts a user-friendly interface, along with what they dub the Masternode Client Discovery protocol, in which the Bitcoin or Stratis blockchain is used to d...

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Mt. Gox Creditors Release Update of Civil Rehabilitation Plan

bitcoinmagazine | 08-03-2018

Creditors of Mt. Gox, the defunct bitcoin exchange, have announced an update to the civil rehabilitation plan agreed upon with the platform, according to a statement published on the group’s website.  The updated terms are said to be in line with the latest court position in the ongoing legal proceedings, including a confirmation that compensation must be paid to victims in bitcoin and bitcoin cash.BackgroundBetween 2011 and 2014, Mt. Gox is estimated to have lost over 850,000 BTC, worth approximately $460 million at 2014 prices. Based in the upmarket Tokyo district of Shibuya, Mt. Gox was once the undisputed king of cryptocurrency exchanges, at one point controlling as much as 70 percent of the global bitcoin exchange market. By the middle of 2013, however, the platform had run into trouble, and, despite all assurances to the contrary, the company closed abruptly in February 2014, ceasing all trading and exchange operations, closing down its website and filing for bankruptcy protection under Japanese law.Former CEO Mark Karpelès was arrested, and a civil rehabilitation plan was agreed to serve as a framework for ensuring creditors get their money back. New ConditionsA few notable changes to the initial terms have been made, mostly concerning method and priority of payments to creditors. According to the updated terms, Mt. Gox shareholders are ranked behind its creditors regarding payment priority. The ...

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Distributed Dialogues: Crypto Reporters Look in the Mirror

bitcoinmagazine | 08-03-2018

The Distributed 2018 conference that recently took place in San Francisco was accompanied by a new edition of the Distributed Dialogues podcast, a collaborative show between the Let’s Talk Bitcoin Network and Distributed Magazine.With a focus on introducing listeners to blockchain technology thought leaders and innovators, the latest episode featured a trio of thought leaders. The first segment was an interview with Laura Shin, host of the crypto/blockchain podcasts Unchained and Unconfirmed, and formerly a Forbes editor. Talking with host David Hollerith, Shin weighed in on a question of increasing importance: Can journalists who hold a particular cryptocurrency report objectively on that cryptocurrency? Since their reporting on the space can reinforce market patterns such as momentum, it’s a self-examination that matters.For the listener who may have assumed that having a working knowledge of their topic was simply a good thing, this is a thought-provoking point. Shin’s past experience as a journalist showed her firsthand that different media outlets could have very different policies, with owning and disclosing being fine at Forbes, while cryptocurrency ownership, save for tiny amounts, is prohibited at the New York Times. “I see the rationale for all of these different policies,” Shin said, “and depending on the journalist, some people could go with the more flexible policy, and others need the real...

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“Not a Great Precedent”: Commissioner Discusses the SEC’s Latest ETF Decision

bitcoinmagazine | 08-03-2018

When the SEC announced its rejection of the Winklevosses’ latest bitcoin ETF filing, the industry found itself reckoning with a problem on repeat: striving toward the goal of approval, another Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) proposal faced the SEC’s death knell.At this point in the industry’s development, securing an ETF has become the space’s institutional albatross, the elusivity of which hangs over each successive rejection. The most recent filing was the Winklevosses’ second attempt to list a bitcoin-backed ETF, the first being shot down last year. Earlier this year, some dozen ETF filings, like those by Van Eck Associates Corp., never even made it to the discussion table after the SEC withdrew the applications from consideration in January. Decisions for another five filings have been delayed until September. Lacking these approvals, the industry’s only institutional market offerings come in the form of the CBOE’s and CME’s futures contracts.The market’s slow march toward establishing a bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund or Exchange Traded Product (ETP) has become a reminder that the space is still in the midst of growing pangs, and it’s an even more salient reminder that the wheels of regulation spin slowly — and not always in every industry’s favor.SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce thinks these wheels should be turning a bit more quickly. Recently sworn into the commission after an appointment by President Tru...

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On a Path to Recovery: Bithumb Reopens Deposits and Withdrawals

bitcoinmagazine | 08-03-2018

Following a disastrous security breach in June that led to losses of more than $30 million, Korean cryptocurrency exchange giant Bithumb has announced that it is set to resume deposit and withdrawal services on its platform. The announcement, which was made earlier today on Twitter, revealed that the services would be restored on August 4, 2018, at 11 a.m. KST.Suspension and MaintenanceIn June 2018, following the much-publicized hack that led to the hot-wallet theft, the platform temporarily disabled all currency transaction capabilities. Funds were hurriedly moved into cold storage wallets, and a moratorium was placed on all deposit and withdrawal services. The platform then announced some maintenance periods and security reviews, which led to significant downtime through much of July, although trading activities continued in between downtime periods.Following a series of inspections carried out by the Korea Blockchain Association, Bithumb was certified as one of the 12 crypto exchanges that passed the check, out of 23 exchanges currently operating in Korea. Other crypto exchanges that passed the tests included Korbit, Huobi Korea, OKEx and Upbit, but the crypto market particularly welcomed Bithumb's return because it was Korea's largest crypto exchange by volume before the hack.Due to the fund movement restrictions put in place after the hack, customers were unable to move their funds, and this had a ...

Categories: Asia|Exchange|BTC|Market|Blockchain
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Coinbase WooCommerce Plugin Makes Crypto Available to Millions of Online Merchants

bitcoinmagazine | 08-03-2018

Coinbase’s latest announcement heralds a WooCommerce plugin that makes it quick and easy to accept bitcoin and litecoin as payment methods on any WooCommerce-powered site.WordPress-powered WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce platforms on the web, and Coinbase claims that it is integrated with over 28 percent of all online stores. Now, each of these stores has a point-of-sale plugin to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments from customers the world over. The WooCommerce plugin can be found on the Coinbase GitHub account.The plugin allows its users to transfer bitcoin and litecoin directly from Coinbase Commerce with an easy-to-use payment button. The plugin’s library is currently available in less than 10 lines of code for React and Python, and Coinbase says that client libraries for Node.js, Ruby and PHP are currently being built. While the plugin currently supports just bitcoin and litecoin, the company is working on support for ether and bitcoin cash, as well.Coinbase sees the plugin as its next step to facilitate more widespread adoption of cryptocurrency and creating a more inclusive, open financial system.“Note that all payments made through Coinbase Commerce are truly peer-to-peer,” the announcement blog post reads. “When customers send money from their cryptocurrency wallet it’s sent directly to a merchant-controlled cryptocurrency address and processed on-chain by the respective b...

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Financial Services Firm Opens Doors to Crypto Hedge Funds

bitcoinmagazine | 08-02-2018

The crypto industry has received another boost with the entry of financial services giant Northern Trust in a quiet but significant move. The firm, which manages over $10.7 trillion in assets, has added blockchain features into its private equity workflow, while extending its administration services to a select group of hedge funds betting on digital assets.Institutional Entry at Long Last?For months, the cryptocurrency market has waited for the expected entry of institutional finance, an event which is expected to herald its coming-of-age as a bona fide investment asset class with a long-term future. By and large, a torrent of banks and funds pouring money into crypto assets has not materialized, driven in part by fears of regulatory uncertainty, and the erratic and unconventional behavior of the asset.This series of quiet but deliberate moves by Northern Trust, however, could signify the beginning of a significant investment influx to crypto markets. In an interview with Forbes, Pete Cherecwich, president of corporate and institutional services at Northern Trust confirmed that a shift is indeed taking place, and he highlighted the reason why.“You can take anything today. You can take movie rights, you can take all sorts of entities, and you can create a token for those. We have to be able to figure out how to hold those tokens, value those tokens, do those things,” he said.While Northern Trust didn’t ...

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Audits and Quality Assurance: Patching the Holes in Smart Contract Security

bitcoinmagazine | 08-02-2018

On July 10, 2018, news broke that cryptocurrency wallet and decentralized exchange Bancor was hit with a hack. A wallet the Bancor team used to update the protocol’s smart contracts was infiltrated, and the $23.5 million vulnerability allowed the hackers to run off with $12.5 million ETH, $1 million NPXS tokens and $10 million of Bancor’s BNT token.Following the hack, the Bancor team froze the BNT in question in an effort to stanch its losses.The latest of its kind, the attack is an unfortunate reminder that smart contracts are not foolproof. Even built as they are on the blockchain’s security intensive network, they can feature bugs, backdoors and vulnerabilities that are ripe for exploitation. Before Bancor, we saw the popular Ethereum wallet Parity drained of 150,000 ETH (now worth just over $68 million) in July of 2017. In November of the same year, Parity lost even more than this when a less-experienced coder accidentally froze some $153 million worth of ether and other tokens.In perhaps the most infamous smart contract hack in the industry to date, The DAO, a decentralized venture fund, lost 3.6 million ether in June of 2016. The stolen funds are now worth $1.6 billion, and the fallout of the attack saw Ethereum hard fork to recoup losses.The Why and How: Making the Same Mistake If three’s company, then The DAO, Parity and now Bancor have become the poster triplets of smart contract vulnerabilitie...

Categories: ETH|BTC|Exchange|ICO
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A "Good Start": U.S. Introduces Office of Innovation and Sandbox for Fintech

bitcoinmagazine | 08-02-2018

Fintech businesses struggling to stay inbounds of government rules may soon receive a dose of much-needed guidance via the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Through its newly-created Office of Innovation, agency leadership intends to develop a regulatory framework designed to open the spigot in terms of the development of new products and services for those companies involved in cryptocurrencies, blockchain technologies and microlending, and also loans by individuals. Paul Watkins, the architect of Arizona’s fintech regulatory sandbox that launches in August, was named to spearhead the federal effort.“It’s a good first step,” Washington D.C.-based finance and regulatory attorney Laurel Loomis Rimon told Bitcoin Magazine. Rimon, senior counsel with the global law firm O’Melveny and former lawyer with various government agencies — including a stint as CFPB assistant deputy enforcement director — said entrepreneurs and startup companies in the fintech space “operate with a lot of uncertainty.” For these financial innovators, ensuring universal compliance within the vast span of regulatory agencies “all come with a pretty heavy investment.” Combined with the hefty outlay of cash involved, especially in the early stages of startups, the lack of regulatory guidance “leaves them really unsure of how to spend their money.”Theoretically, then, the construction of a CFPB sandbox could alleviate some of...

Categories: BTC|Regulation|Blockchain
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Queensland Backs Cryptocurrency Point-of-Sale Project for Tourism

bitcoinmagazine | 08-01-2018

The Queensland government in Australia is backing a cryptocurrency point-of-sale system that officials believe will help boost tourism throughout the area. Thus far, they have given over $8 million in Australian dollars ($6 million USD) to roughly 70 different companies that will work to inspire innovation and create new ideas within the region’s travel space.The project is headed by the digital currency startup TravelbyBit, which sells travel experiences online using cryptocurrency. The company has received over $74,000 USD ($100,000 AUD) in federal grant money to fund its new system. “Tourism is one of Queensland’s most important industries,” says innovation minister Kate Jones. “TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments. That’s why we’ve invested to help them scale-up their operations and create more jobs in Queensland.” Among the first major businesses adopting cryptocurrency payment practices include the Bundaberg Rum Distillery and Museum, which is visited by several thousand tourists each year, and the Bundaberg Airport. Thus far, TravelbyBit’s digital payment protocols have been implemented into over 150 merchants across the continent, though Queensland boasts the highest rate of adoption. Though bitcoin is its staple currency, TravelbyBit also accepts Lit...

Categories: BTC