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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

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Posted on 25 February 2018 | 7:43 am

Culprits Apprehended In Alleged Icelandic Bitcoin Miner Theft - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Culprits Apprehended In Alleged Icelandic Bitcoin Miner Theft
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Icelandic information technology service Advania has confirmed with their security footage that the police have apprehended the right two men for the three burglaries at data centers in Iceland last December and January, local news outlet Visir ...

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 6:29 am

Original Pizza Day Purchaser Does It Again With Bitcoin Lightning Network - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Bitsonline

Original Pizza Day Purchaser Does It Again With Bitcoin Lightning Network
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Laszlo Hanyecz, the man that completed the world's first documented Bitcoin (BTC) transaction for a physical item in 2010 -- 10,000 BTC for two pizzas -- has now bought two more pizzas using the Bitcoin Lightning Network. Hanyecz posted on the ...
Pizza for Lightning: Bitcoin Legend Laszlo Eats Again!Bitsonline

all 2 news articles »

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 5:54 am

New Bitcoin Embassy Opens in the United States - Bitcoin News (press release)


Bitcoin News (press release)

New Bitcoin Embassy Opens in the United States
Bitcoin News (press release)
A mooted Bitcoin Embassy is the first of its kind, since an early attempt in New York City, for a bitcoin gathering place. It was American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) Editorial Director Jeffrey Tucker who had a revelation of sorts to ...

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 5:31 am

Northern Ireland Property Developer To Accept Bitcoin As Payment Option - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Northern Ireland Property Developer To Accept Bitcoin As Payment Option
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Hagan Homes, one of Northern Ireland's biggest residential property developers, will now be accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method, the Belfast Telegraph reported Feb. 22. Jamesy Hagan, the managing director of Hagan Homes, said there is both an ...
Largest Irish Residential Property Developer Building Homes for BitcoinBitcoinist

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 4:53 am

What to Look for in ICO Terms and Conditions

If investing in an ICO, it is imperative to review the T&Cs, not just the white paper. Here's what to be on the lookout for.

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 4:15 am

How ICOs Can Protect Buyers from Phishing Attacks

The excitement surrounding ICOs has left investors vulnerable to phishing attacks, diminishing the reputation of the new investment mechanism.

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 3:30 am

Bitcoin Price Dips Below $10000 as Next Bearish Wave Materializes - The Merkle


The Merkle

Bitcoin Price Dips Below $10000 as Next Bearish Wave Materializes
The Merkle
It is not entirely surprising to see the Bitcoin price go through another small correction as of right now. Such a trend has been forming for several days now, especially when the Bitcoin price surpassed $10,000 again not that long ago. It seems the ...

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 12:55 pm

Riot Blockchain Gets Hit by Another Shareholder Lawsuit

Riot Blockchain Gets Hit by Another Shareholder Lawsuit

After changing its name to Riot Blockchain in October to include the word “blockchain,” the public company watched its stock skyrocket from $8 a share to more than $38 during a cryptocurrency rally at the beginning of the year.

The first significant problem was the company did not have any real focus on blockchain technology. Before October, Riot was known as Bioptix, a maker of diagnostic machinery for the biotech industry. The company also changed its ticker symbol to RIOT from BIOP.

Another problem was that key shareholder Barry Honig got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, selling off a big stake of his shares at $38 per share after the name change.

On February 22, 2018, law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP announced it was filing a class-action lawsuit against Riot. The complaint charges Riot, along with Honig and company CEO John O’Rourke and CFO Jeffrey McGonegal, with securities violations.

Specifically, the charges claim that despite its lack of blockchain expertise, Riot changed its name to generate investor enthusiasm to further an insider scheme that would allow Riot’s controlling shareholders to dump their stocks at grossly inflated prices.

At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Riot and its principals, charging them with securities violations and false and misleading statements.

These lawsuits follow a scathing investigation into Riot by CNBC on February 16, 2018, that raised questions about the company’s business model and Honig. In the wake of that report, shares tumbled 33 percent to $11.46. It is likely these class-action lawsuits may be the first of many to come against Riot.

Shady Activities

On October 4, 2017, Riot adopted its new name and headed off in a radical new business direction, announcing it was going to invest in and operate blockchain technologies with a focus on Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company had no previous business in blockchain technology, yet in press releases, Riot portrayed itself as a seasoned player in the space.

“At Riot Blockchain, our team has the insight and network to effectively grow and develop blockchain assets,” said Riot’s then-CEO, Michael Beeghley, in a statement at the time.

The company has a history of questionable activities. In December, Riot began purchasing cryptocurrency mining equipment. But rather than purchasing from the manufacturer or other suppliers, the company paid more than $11 million for equipment worth only $2 million by purchasing it through a newly formed shell entity.  

Honig is also charged with exercising outside influence over the company’s business operations. Beginning in April 2016, long before the company changed its name to Riot, Honig began purchasing shares in the company. By December 2016, he had become the company’s largest shareholder, owning more than 11 percent of the company. He used that influence to nominate several new directors to the board, including O’Rourke.

In addition to insider selling after the name change, other worrying signs about the company included: Riot lost two auditing firms in just one year, and two annual stockholder meetings were postponed at the last minute. Also, some of Riot’s business deals involved investors who had worked on similar deals together in the past, raising questions about the company’s governance.

“All Aboard”

Riot is not the only company to have jumped onboard the rename-your-company  “blockchain” bandwagon. Several other companies have also rewritten their names to cash in on the blockchain and cryptocurrency craze.

In December, the Long Island Iced Tea Corporation, a New York–based company that makes iced tea, rebranded itself as “Long Blockchain.” Its company shares rose 300 percent as a result. In January, legacy photography company Kodak announced the launch of KODAKCoin, a “photo-centric” cryptocurrency for photographers, and its stock went up 80 percent within hours.

Lawsuits like the ones now piling up against Riot stand as a reminder that a name change is not enough — a company needs real blockchain experience and technology and a solid business plan behind it before adding “blockchain” to its name.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 8:47 am

Will Lightning Help or Hurt Bitcoin Privacy?

As the reality of faster, cheaper bitcoin payments approaches via the Lighting Network, concerns are spreading about the privacy it will offer.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 5:00 am

Strip Clubs, Lambos and Hackers: A Tale of Two Bitcoins

A conference in Miami played host to evidence of a growing schism in the crypto community between passionate developers and fly-by-night traders.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 4:05 am

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Faces Pivotal Support as Bulls Exhaust Buying Pressure

Bitcoin Price Analysis

After seeing a rally to the $11,000s, bitcoin has managed to pull back to the $9,000 range and has left many bullish investors confused. The initial bullish rally seemed promising as it broke the macro, descending channel that governed much of the market over the last two months:

Figure_1.jpgFigure 1: BTC-USD, 6-Hour Candles, Descending Channel

The breakout of the descending channel (red dotted channel) gave hope to many bullish investors as it seemingly signaled the end of the downtrend and perhaps the beginning of a sustained bullish reversal. The volume was increasing and the price was pushing full steam ahead. However, after a few days of strong bullish movement, the price took a sharp turn downward and broke the governing channel that outlined the bullish rally from the $6,000s:

Figure_2_30mins.jpgFigure 2: BTC-USD, 30-Min. Candles, Bullish Channel

As noted in the previous BTC-USD market analysis, there was a possible distribution trading range (TR) under way, and I mentioned that a breakout above the TR was likely. However, if the market managed to break out and return back inside the TR, that would possibly mark the beginning of a sustained move downward:

Figure_3.jpgFigure 3: BTC-USD, 30-Min Candles, Distribution TR

Yesterday, the market saw a strong push below the TR, where it managed to find a bottom around the $9,600 range. After finding a local bottom, the market returned to the TR from the bottom side and was ultimately rejected from the TR, marking a possible last point of supply (LPSY) for the TR. Currently, the market is hovering just below the TR and is on the tipping point of breaking strong support. If we manage to break the strong support around the 38% retracement values (shown in Figure 3), I expect to see widespread capitulation that will lead to a return to the bearish channel shown in Figure 1. It is entirely possible that we could see a return to the TR once more, so I’m not ruling out the possibility of a short-term bullish rally.  However, I have very little hope at the moment for a resumption of the macro uptrend.

If we manage to push new lows, I expect to find support in the low $9,000s as this marked the breakout of the current, failed rally. From there we will have to reassess the market conditions, but for now, I have very little confidence in a bullish continuation.

Summary:

  1. After a strong uptrend, and after a breakout of the bearish descending channel, the market saw a strong pullback.
  2. The strong pullback marks a potential distribution trading range on the 30-minute candles.
  3. New lows may be in store for bitcoin as it decides whether the bulls are too exhausted to keep the buying pressure aloft.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 5:26 pm

Here's How Much Bitcoin Elon Musk Owns - Fortune


Fortune

Here's How Much Bitcoin Elon Musk Owns
Fortune
Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn't exactly active in cryptocurrency. Musk revealed this week on Twitter how much Bitcoin he owns—and it's not much. Musk shed light on his bitcoin ownership in response to a question from a Twitter follower asking why there were ...
Tesla Billionaire Elon Musk Reveals How Much Bitcoin He Owns ...Investopedia (blog)
Even Elon Musk doesn't buy into the Bitcoin hype – BGRBGR
OpenAI Supporters - OpenAI BlogOpenAI Blog
Analytics India Magazine -Analytics India Magazine
all 31 news articles »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 4:26 pm

Video Game Giant Ubisoft Is Exploring Blockchain Use Cases

Ubisoft, the company behind Assassin's Creed and Just Dance, is exploring applications of blockchain for video games.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:00 pm

New York Lawmakers Open to Revisiting the BitLicense

Two New York state senators held a roundtable Friday on the controversial BitLicense regulation, and said legislation to reform it may come soon.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 2:00 pm

Bank of America Now Considers Crypto a Business Risk

The bank warns its investors that cryptocurrencies could hamper its ability to comply with anti-money-laundering regulations, among other dangers.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 1:05 pm

Austria Planning New Regulations for Cryptocurrency, ICOs

Austria is drawing up cryptocurrency regulations, using as a model existing rules for the trading of gold and derivatives.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 12:00 pm

Jeffrey Gundlach says if you want to know where stocks are going next, watch bitcoin - CNBC


Barron's

Jeffrey Gundlach says if you want to know where stocks are going next, watch bitcoin
CNBC
Want to know where stocks are going next? Jeffrey Gundlach says take a look at bitcoin. "Strangely, bitcoin seems to be the poster child for social mood and market mood," Gundlach, founder of DoubleLine Capital, told CNBC's "Halftime Report" on Friday ...
Bond King: Follow Bitcoin for Stock DirectionBarron's

all 10 news articles »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 10:44 am

Georgia Becomes Latest State to Consider Bitcoin for Tax Payments

Two state senators in Georgia have proposed a new bill that would allow citizens to pay their tax obligations in bitcoin.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:45 am

Menendez Hints At US Action on Venezuela's Controversial Crypto

A U.S. senator who has previously spoken out against Venezuela's newly launched "petro" cryptocurrency isn't done with the issue.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:05 am

Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

The majority of the top 25 cryptocurrencies are reporting losses on a weekly basis, but the nano token has bucked the trend.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 7:00 am

Telecoms Blockchain Group Touts Demo Success, New Members

Several multinational telecoms firms have joined the Carrier Blockchain Study Group to advance blockchain use cases in the industry.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 6:00 am

Bank of China Moves to Patent Blockchain Scaling Solution

Bank of China has filed a patent application for a process it says is better able to scale blockchain systems.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 5:00 am

Bitcoin Is Back Over $10K, But Rally Looks Weak

Bitcoin is witnessing a minor corrective rally today, but longer-term gains may be elusive, according to price chart analysis.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:45 am

Japan's Exchanges Report 669 Cases of Suspected Crypto Money Laundering

Japan's police agency has said hundreds of cases of suspected money laundering were reported from domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:21 am

Why Venezuela Should Worry About a National Crypto

While a lot is still unclear about Venezuela's state-backed "petro" token, what is apparent is that many feel it's potentially harmful for its people.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 2:00 am

Report: Mutual Funds Could Save Billions With Blockchain

Shifting to a distributed, blockchain-based infrastructure could bring huge financial benefits to the asset management industry, research indicates.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 10:00 pm

Kavita Gupta on Lubin, Buterin and Entrepreneurship in the Blockchain Space

Feature Interview With Kavita Gupta of ConsenSys Ventures

When ConsenSys, a Brooklyn, New York–based firm that builds decentralized applications and blockchain ecosystem tools on Ethereum, launched a $50 million venture arm, it turned to Kavita Gupta to run it. Working closely with Joe Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys and one of the early founders of Ethereum, Gupta began spearheading efforts to fund early stage Ethereum-based startups through ConsenSys’ rapidly growing network.

A native of India, Gupta received the UN Social Finance Innovator Award in 2015. She has done work at the World Bank, leading the organization’s youth innovation fund. Gupta also has vast experience in the investment world, with stints at high profile firms like McKinsey, HSBC and International Finance Corporation.

Following the recent Cyber Day event she presented on the campus U.C.L.A, Bitcoin Magazine spoke to Gupta about her journey in working with ConsenSys Ventures.

On Working With Joe Lubin and Vitalik Buterin

A few years ago, Gupta had the good fortune of meeting ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin at a very small luncheon organized by the World Bank. “We had a three-hour conversation and I was a convert. Over the ensuing months, we kept brainstorming ideas about investments in the blockchain space. Hearing about Ethereum got me super excited!”

Since joining the team as the head of ConsenSys Ventures, Gupta’s respect for Lubin has continued to grow. “He’s extremely visionary. As you know, Ethereum is a huge ecosystem and, even though ConsenSys is at the epicenter of it, there are a lot of other players taking things in various directions. So I admire Joe’s patience and faith, specifically his ability to work tirelessly each day with a smile on his face in a now 600+ person company with locales in 28 countries.”

Gupta admits to having been a bit intimidated the first time she met Ethereum founder and mastermind, Vitalik Buterin, but was quickly won over. “Somehow I had it in my head that I shouldn’t approach him and that if I didn’t have a deep Ethereum coding background I’d look stupid. I kept saying to myself, he’ll think I’m just fluff. But to my surprise he gave me two hours of his time when I first met with him in China.

“He’s a very simple, very humble, very sweet, super genius guy. While others have their opinions about him, the Vitalik I know has a very, very high emotional intelligence. I really deeply respect him. Our entire team respects him.”

Gupta has had some experience interacting with infamous, groundbreaking men in the technology space.

“I attended MIT when Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz [were starting] Facebook while at Harvard. Many of us kept bumping into the two of them, which gave us the opportunity to express what we liked or didn’t like about the Facebook wall. We could easily reach them and talk to them as though they were a friend. I feel like working with Joe and Vitalik is kind of like this: two people you can just walk up to and say, ‘I have a question.’”  

Advice for New Entrepreneurs in the Space

She chuckled loudly when asked about whether there are any misconceptions she hears from startup leaders when meeting them for the first time: “They often start out with, ‘Ahh, I’m doing a project on blockchain so my valuation should be $50 million dollars.’ I’m like, no, dude.”

For Gupta, it is important that entrepreneurs start with a solid product first. “Frankly, it’s sad to see even smart entrepreneurs focus their first six months on selling tokens rather than actually building a product. In my opinion, these startups don’t need $50 million to build a product. And for the life of me, I have no clue as to who all of these people are that are investing $50 million in these types of projects with little knowledge of or ever having met the founder.”

Her advice to new startups entering into the Ethereum blockchain space is to read and research voraciously. “There is amazing material out there. You don’t have to be a genius. You don’t have to come from a technology background. Just read online. There are many amazing Reddit threads if you have questions. There are so many meetups. ConsenSys does educational meetups and university programs everywhere. So just make it a priority to go and hang out and capitalize on these opportunities. Find people to exchange cards with and then go and have coffee together. That’s where all of the magic happens.”  

Find people to exchange cards with and then go and have coffee together. That’s where all of the magic happens.

Coming from an engineering background at MIT as well as from an investment background, Gupta seems to have found her niche.

“Honestly, I’m kind of like a kid in the candy store. For me personally, the work that I’m currently engaged in is the best I could have even asked for.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 2:27 pm

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Venezuela’s On-and-Off Love Affair With Cryptocurrency Mining: It’s Complicated

Venezuela’s On-and-Off Love Affair With Cryptocurrency Mining: It’s Complicated

If you want to see first hand how cryptocurrency functions in a market outside of speculative investing, right now, Venezuela is an interesting place to look.

“Venezuela could become a case study repeated all over the world under certain conditions,” said Jeffrey A. Tucker, editorial director of the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), in correspondence with Bitcoin Magazine. “Crypto is there as the escape hatch, the way out, a tool of emancipation. If you have a power source, you can mine. If you need to save or trade or move your wealth, crypto is there for you.”

Crisis-Catalyzed Currency

Venezuela has been in economic recession for more than a decade. As a result, the government has maintained strict control over its currency, the Venezuelan bolivar (VEF), since 2003.

Venezuela’s most abundant resource is oil. It is the fifth largest oil exporting country in the world, with the largest reserves of non-conventional oil (extra-heavy crude) in the world. Ultimately, it is oil which has catalyzed Venezuela’s cryptocurrency boom.

Falling oil prices since 2014 have spurred the country’s current economic depression. The government’s response has been to increase state control over the economy at the expense of the private sector. In 2017, inflation of the Venezuelan bolivar (VEF) exceeded 650 percent. As the exchange rate continued to tumble, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) contracted 12 percent by the end of 2017.

“Many people are leaving Venezuela. The country doesn’t have enough money to provide food, medicine and other necessities for its people,” a Venezuelan programmer aware of cryptocurrency mining procedures in Venezuela told Bitcoin Magazine in an interview, under condition of anonymity.

Power to Mine

In this economically desperate climate, cryptocurrency has found one of its most sustaining use cases as an immutable store of value and currency for individuals who cannot trust their own government. The last two years have seen an enormous spike in cryptocurrency earning and mining, most notably for bitcoin.

Because the Venezuelan government subsidizes electricity past the point of negligibility, the country has become a geopolitical hotspot for mining. Antminer S9s are the most popular computer used to mine bitcoin in Venezuela. They cost about $3,000 each (plus shipping) and usually come from China by way of a covert middle country.

According to our source’s approximation, “Having three S9 miners is about 30 cents a month to pay for electricity. Three devices would be one bitcoin-ish in 10 months.”  The beginning price for mining has made it an effective way to supplement income, with two to three devices per household, though many have scaled their operations to the point where they are able to independently support themselves.

“There must be tens of thousands of people mining in Venezuela,” said Randy Brito, founder of the non-profit website BitcoinVenezuela.com. “People that are earning cryptos, either mining or working, usually use them to buy abroad — they buy food, medicine, car parts, other machinery parts; but the most common thing people buy are foreign currencies in other platforms where they can load cards that they can use to buy on Amazon and other stores that only accept cards and not cryptos directly.”

In Venezuela, bitcoin is the most commonly mined cryptocurrency because it was the first, and it is still currently the most widely used. LocalBitcoins has also given bitcoin the advantage in Venezuela because it does not trade other cryptocurrencies; it is able to operate more safely than other local exchanges because it’s not based within the country.

However, Brito also admitted that Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash and Bitcoin Cash as well as other altcoins are being used more and more often.

According to our anonymous source, there are two main problems with mining cryptocurrency in Venezuela: In a country where the national currency has essentially no value, people are willing to get currency with value at the cost of committing violent crimes; and the government is not on your side.

2017: A Year of Contradiction

2017 was a particularly confusing and uneasy time to mine cryptocurrency in Venezuela. The year began with a government authority crackdown on large scale cryptocurrency mining operations.

Miners were jailed for a laundry list of crimes: "the legitimacy of capital, illicit enrichment, computer crimes, financing of terrorism, exchange fraud and damage to the national electricity system."

By October 2017, authorities were even cracking down on small “household” mining operations. The congruity in all of these raids is that arrested miners could almost always get out of jail through bribes or fines, but they could never get their equipment back.

Brito doesn’t live in Venezuela anymore, but, as a self-described “anarchocapitalist” and libertarian, he is still very critical of its government.

Most of the big mining farms with thousands of ASICs or rigs are run by people close to the government, those that are not and are caught with several devices, end up being raided and the devices subtracted. Regular people buy the devices with foreign currency they have saved or they acquire in the free (black) market, or buy them from others that import them using bolivars inside the country.

“Defaulted-Promise” Coins

On December 3, 2017, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that the Venezuelan government would create its own official cryptocurrency called the Petro. He then went on to highlight the benefits of cryptocurrency mining, introducing a representative from the newly formed National Association of Cryptocurrency Miners.

Less than two weeks later, however, police raids on cryptocurrency mining operations proceeded as though it were still as illegal as ever.

“We are building the Blockchain Observatory for the possibility of a registry for all those who are exercising digital mining in Venezuela. We want to know who they are, we want to know where they are, we want to know what equipment they are using. We want to move toward the regularization of digital mining in Venezuela,” announced the recently appointed superintendent of cryptocurrency, Carlos Vargas, in December 2017.

In January 2018, the Venezuelan government opened online registration for those interested in mining cryptocurrency legally. While Petro is clearly the main focus, authorities have said that those involved in the program can mine other cryptocurrencies so long as they are approved by the state.

There is very limited third-party confidence in the Petro’s success. While some cryptocurrency champions might say, “Wait, a decentralized token representing a finite oil supply could be very interesting, if done right,” most remain skeptical.

“It [Petro] is backed by nothing but the promise of a government that have already defaulted,” said Brito.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 10:21 am

Is Anyone Actually Spending Bitcoin? - Fortune


Fortune

Is Anyone Actually Spending Bitcoin?
Fortune
The creator of Bitcoin intended the cryptocurrency to be used just like cash—to buy and sell goods and services. And for a while, it was. (The first purchase was two Papa John's pizzas—for 10,000 Bitcoin.) Today, though, Bitcoin is quickly turning ...

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 9:55 am

Government of Spain Considers Blockchain-Friendly Regulations

Government of Spain Considers Blockchain-Friendly Regulations

The government of Spain is preparing blockchain-friendly legislation including possible tax breaks to attract companies in the emerging blockchain technology sector, Bloomberg Politics reports.

“We hope to get the legislation ready this year,” said MP Teodoro Garcia Egea, who is preparing a comprehensive cryptocurrency-related bill. “We want to set up Europe’s safest framework to invest in ICOs.”

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales are one of the latest blockchain-related hot trends and have permitted several companies to raise tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in a short space of time, bypassing the need for prior regulatory approval.

ICOs can be very appealing to speculators because the value of a successful token can rise spectacularly, but regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S., are beginning to clamp down on token sales, claiming that crypto-tokens are equivalent to company shares traded on the stock market. According to the SEC, some ICOs are essentially Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), and should be subject to similar regulations for the protection of investors.

At the same time, too much regulation could stifle innovation and push promising blockchain-based firms to relocate to less restrictive jurisdictions offshore. According to Garcia Egea and the Popular Party, the ruling political party of Spain to which the lawmaker belongs, it’s in Spain’s interest to attract and keep those firms, and, therefore, the country should adopt a blockchain-friendly regulatory approach.

Garcia Egea added that the bill in preparation was inspired by existing blockchain-friendly regulatory frameworks such as those that enable the Crypto Valley in Switzerland. It could include ways to attract investment in blockchain technologies, such as a threshold below which a cryptocurrency investment wouldn’t need to be reported to the regulator, and specific regulations to make it attractive for entrepreneurs to use a blockchain to carry out initial coin offerings, or ICOs, as a financing tool.

As shown by a series of recent posts (in Spanish) published in his personal website, Garcia Egea wants to introduce a whole range of emerging technologies in the Spanish economy, including digital administration, cybersecurity, 3D printing and blockchain technology.

For example, Garcia Egea supports the Alastria consortium focused on the establishment of a semi-public, permissioned national blockchain infrastructure and digital identity system.

“Smart contracts, ensuring the traceability and unchangeability of specific information, raising funds through ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), etc. is possible through this new network [Alastria],” said Garcia Egea (translated by this writer).

“The time has come to establish a legal framework for individuals and firms to execute [smart-contract based] financial transactions in a protected and secure way, using the best available technology,” added Garcia Egea. “This will not only provide legal security to financial investments done through this channel, but it will also place Spain in a privileged position to attract capital, talent and future-oriented projects, and an ecosystem upon which to build the future of the internet of value.”

It seems likely that, if Garcia Egea and the Popular Party manage to convert their vision into law, Spain could become one of the few crypto-havens in the Eurozone, which could result in many innovative technology developers and ICO operators relocating to Spain.

Find out more about cryptocurrency regulation around the world in our feature, Cryptocurrency Regulation in 2018: Where the World Stands Now.



This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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