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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 18 December 2017 | 7:15 am

Bitcoin Might Soon Face Tougher Regulations in Europe - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin Might Soon Face Tougher Regulations in Europe
Fortune
European governments are pushing for bitcoin regulation as alarm grows that the world's most popular digital currency is being used by money-launderers, drug traffickers and terrorists. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said he will ask his ...
'Bitcoin Question' Should Be At G20, Says France Finance MinisterCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
French finance minister calls for bitcoin regulation debate at G20Reuters

all 8 news articles »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 6:02 am

Should I buy Bitcoin? Two opposite views from professional investors - Telegraph.co.uk


Telegraph.co.uk

Should I buy Bitcoin? Two opposite views from professional investors
Telegraph.co.uk
During a year in which stock markets boomed and Bank Rate took its first upward step in a more than a decade, only one financial story has truly captured the public imagination: the rise (and rise, and rise again) of Bitcoin. A year ago many if not ...

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 5:48 am

Overstock is turning into a bitcoin tech company - CNNMoney


CNNMoney

Overstock is turning into a bitcoin tech company
CNNMoney
Patrick Byrne, who runs Overstock.com (OSTBP), an online retailer that competes with Amazon (AMZN), is launching a $250 million Initial Coin Offering on December 18 to raise funds to reshape the business. That figure would just about match the largest ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 5:36 am

UK Financial Watchdog to Further Scrutinize ICOs

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that it will gather further evidence and conduct a deeper examination on ICOs.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 5:00 am

Fidelity's Charity Arm Raises $22 Million in Bitcoin in 2017

Despite the rising price of bitcoin, some investors are choosing to donate their gains to a cause, according to figures from Fidelity Charitable.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 4:45 am

Bought Your First Bitcoin or Ether? Brace for the Fees

Frustrated by crypto transaction fees? This CoinDesk Explainer gives an overview of why they're necessary for the blockchains being built.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 4:30 am

Bitcoin Has a Future and You Can Go Long or Short: QuickTake Q&A - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Has a Future and You Can Go Long or Short: QuickTake Q&A
Bloomberg
Trading in bitcoin futures began a week ago on Cboe Global Markets Inc. Its bigger rival, CME Group Inc., began offering a competing product on Dec. 17. The trading is a milestone in the acceptance of the digital currency by the world of mainstream ...
Bitcoin Price Primed to Test $20k Ahead of CME Launch - CoinDeskCoindesk
Second bitcoin futures debut could lure volume to wild marketReuters
CME Bitcoin Futures Launch - Possible Economic OutcomesCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
CNBC -Yahoo Finance -Investopedia (blog)
all 184 news articles »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 2:37 am

ING: Bitcoin will be a niche asset for 'tech nerds,' the privacy-obsessed, and criminals - Business Insider


Business Insider

ING: Bitcoin will be a niche asset for 'tech nerds,' the privacy-obsessed, and criminals
Business Insider
"Bitcoin has little to offer to a wider audience, and will likely return to being a niche product for a select group of enthusiasts," Brosens wrote. "One day, beyond the hype, Bitcoin will return to being the niche product that it was in its initial ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 2:09 am

Boeing Eyes Blockchain in Bid to Fight GPS Spoofing

A new patent filing from Boeing suggests that the aircraft manufacturing giant is looking at how blockchain can help protect in-flight GPS receivers.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 12:00 am

Where Have All the Private Blockchains Gone?

What's next for private blockchains? More iteration, improvement – and adoption, argues developer Gideon Greenspan.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 10:00 pm

Bitcoin Futures, Explained - CoinTelegraph - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Bitcoin Futures, Explained - CoinTelegraph
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Futures are an agreement to buy or sell an asset on a specific future date at a specific price. Once the futures contract has been entered, both parties have to buy and sell at the agreed-upon price, irrespective of what the actual market price is at ...
How should India regulate the ticking time bomb called bitcoin?Quartz
Bitcoin Futures First Week Earns C- Grade - ForbesForbes
What Happens If Bitcoin Price Crashes?Investopedia (blog)
NDTV -Quad City Times -Bitcoin News (press release)
all 118 news articles »

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 8:39 pm

Bitcoin price: Ronnie Moas sees cryptocurrency at $300,000-$400,000 - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin price: Ronnie Moas sees cryptocurrency at $300,000-$400,000
CNBC
Bitcoin will surge past $20,000 and continue its meteoric march into six figures, according to independent research analyst Ronnie Moas. "Bitcoin is already up 500 percent since I recommended it in the beginning of July, and I'm looking for another 500 ...
Bullish Moas - Bitcoin Destined For Another 500% RiseCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Analyst who predicted bitcoin boom says cryptocurrency will hit $400000RT

all 11 news articles »

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 7:31 pm

CME Bitcoin Futures Price Above $20k in First Day Trading

CME Group's bitcoin futures trading began today with an opening price above $20,000 for its January 2018 contract.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 5:45 pm

Is Bitcoin Just For Fun? - Forbes


Forbes

Is Bitcoin Just For Fun?
Forbes
What's more, the idea that Bitcoin is just for fun is in fact a very dangerous one. If a love of risk and the fun of watching money go up and down is what is motivating many buyers then that doesn't sound like currency trading, investing, or savings ...

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 9:47 am

2018: The Year Central Banks Begin Buying Cryptocurrency

A former central banker is predicting big changes on major central bank balance sheets as cryptocurrencies continue to gain adoption and market share.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 6:30 am

Bitcoin Price Primed to Test $20k Ahead of CME Launch

The price of bitcoin is edging up, but how it will respond to Sunday's launch of futures on the CME exchange is anyone's guess.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 5:45 am

Bitcoin Takes All? Enterprise Blockchains Need Time, Too

This is not the kind of technology where you "move fast and break things." Financial market infrastructure is too big to bet on a buzzword.

Posted on 16 December 2017 | 7:45 am

A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Blockchain Highway

Not for easily swayed, vlogger Mike in Space narrates a tour through the world of bitcoin memes (and mixed messages) of 2017.

Posted on 16 December 2017 | 7:00 am

Class-Action Suit Targets ICO Promoted By Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

An initial coin offering (ICO) promoted by boxing champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., is at the center of a newly filed class-action complaint.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 2:15 pm

US Treasury Report: DLT Data Storage Raises Oversight Concerns

The Financial Oversight Stability Council acknowledged that virtual currencies are becoming more common, but have a limited impact on the economy.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 1:00 pm

'Clear and Loud': Parity to Drop First Bid for Frozen Ether Fix

After critical feedback from the ethereum community, Parity Technologies will not follow-up on any of its proposals for restoring frozen ether funds.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 12:00 pm

Meet "Pine," the Bitcoin Philanthropist Who Set Up the $85 Million Pineapple Fund

Why One Philanthropic Early Adopter Is Donating Thousands of Bitcoins

Yesterday, one post set the Bitcoin subreddit on fire: An anonymous Bitcoiner who goes by the name of “Pine” announced that they are establishing the Pineapple Fund to donate 5,057 BTC, worth about $86 million at today’s exchange rate, to charitable causes.

“I’m very happy that I have held on to most of my bitcoins until today,” Pine told Bitcoin Magazine. “Most early adopters of bitcoin actually don’t have much. They’ve sold to pay bills and expenses.”

Indeed, last week it was revealed that Bitcoin evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos was one of those who had not been in a position to hold his early coins long enough to reap the rewards. In a subsequent outpouring of appreciation, Bitcoin enthusiasts sent him donations of more than 100 BTC, equivalent to more than $1.7 million.

In this same spirit of giving back, Pine is sharing their own newfound wealth.

“Sometime around the early days of bitcoin, I saw the promise of decentralized money and decided to mine/buy/trade some magical internet tokens,” states the Pineapple Fund website. “The expectation shattering returns of bitcoin over many years has [led] to an amount far more than I can spend. What do you do when you have more money than you can ever possibly spend? Donating most of it to charity is what I’m doing.”

Some charities that are already receiving donations from the Pineapple Fund include Watsi, The Water Project, EFF, MAPS, SENS Research Foundation, charity: water ($1 million each), BitGive ($500,000) and OpenBSD ($50,000).

Have you heard?! Yes, it's TRUE! We received an extremely generous donation of $500K from the Pineapple Fund!! HUGE THANKS!! Pineapple Fund has announced the most significant #philanthropic gesture EVER in #bitcoin to donate over 5,000 BTC! 🎉🌟🌍🚀 pic.twitter.com/fRL8NL3YzI

— BitGive® (@BitGiveOrg) December 14, 2017

Pine has a long history in the cryptocurrency world and started out mining on an old home PC. “I discovered bitcoin back when it was a small community of people trying to turn a toy project into a new decentralized monetary paradigm,” they told Bitcoin Magazine.

“It’s shorter to list the things I haven’t done in the cryptocurrency space. I’ve even created my own cryptocurrency; however, I can’t name it.”

The Pineapple Fund is planning to work with a nonprofit to help administer the fund. In spite of recent trends toward various forms of decentralized, crowdsourced decision-making, that’s not in the plans.  

“We’re not huge fans of the crowdsourcing approach,” explained Pine. “It does not solve a problem we’re facing now, and there would be many challenges we’d have to solve with crowdsourcing decision making.”

Pine is convinced that what the world needs is peace, love, unity and respect. They listed medical research, mental health, wildlife and environmental conservation, fighting domestic violence and sexual abuse, sustaining basic necessities, and technology-related causes (advocacy and open-source projects) as main areas of focus.

“Why these? Well, it’s not that I think they are the most important or have the highest impact, because I think everyone has a different set of values,” explained Pine. “They align with my values, and I think any contribution to those causes will bring some good to this world we all share.”

Pine said they won’t become actively involved in the charities and projects they support: “As much as I would like to, I have other ventures that I’m busy with,” they said.

Will Pine ever share their real identity? That’s unlikely. “I prefer keeping my identity a mystery. The Pineapple Project isn’t about publicity. In fact, zero people in my life know that I'm behind it. It’s better for people to think you are well off than super rich.

“But I can share my love for pineapple,” they added. “I once ate so much pineapple that I suffered an allergic reaction and had to go to urgent care! Don’t do that.”

The post Meet "Pine," the Bitcoin Philanthropist Who Set Up the $85 Million Pineapple Fund appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 11:30 am

Monero Mining Malware Hits Russian Pipeline Giant Transneft

The world's largest oil pipeline reportedly had some of its computer systems affected by cryptocurrency mining malware.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 10:50 am

US Commodities Regulator Proposes Definition for Cryptocurrency 'Delivery'

The CFTC has published a proposed interpretation of how it will deem that a cryptocurrency has been "delivered" from a buyer to a seller.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 9:50 am

$20k Bitcoin? Changing Charts Favor Crypto Rivals

A look at bitcoin's value across various crypto trading pairs suggests a substantial push higher might not be likely in the short term.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 8:00 am

Crypto Collectables? Ethereum's Next Killer App Is on Its Way

The rise of CryptoKitties has called attention to ERC-721, an ethereum technical standard that could start a blockchain-based collectibles rush.

Posted on 15 December 2017 | 6:00 am

Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities

Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities

A new project called UnitedBitcoin (warning: the site autoplays audio) promises to add smart contract features using the UTXO model, support for the lightning network and SegWit, and eight-megabyte blocks. Headed up by Jeff Garzik, the lead developer behind the failed SegWit2x hard fork, along with Matthew Roszak and SongXiu Hua, this UnitedBitcoin (UB) hard fork will offer replay protection to prevent people from accidentally spending their coins on both the Bitcoin and the UnitedBitcoin blockchains.

Garzik told Bitcoin Magazine that “10% of the total worldwide SHA-256 hash power” has moved to the new UB network, with much of the support coming from China and older mining equipment that was no longer profitable due to the escalating difficulty in mining bitcoin. He noted that UB is already supported on the ZB and EXX exchanges.

The UB white paper outlines how lost bitcoins have created deflationary pressure that has pushed the price up. Because those bitcoins are out of circulation, the supply is further decreased. One of the issues that UB seeks to address is to find a purpose both for those lost bitcoins and for “inactive” wallets by creating a stable cryptocurrency linked to their addresses.

All active Bitcoin addresses will receive the same balance on the UB chain, much like previous forks. The balances of UB on inactive addresses, however, will be confiscated by the UB Foundation and used to “serve the community.”

Inactive addresses are defined in the white paper as “addresses without activity since block height #494000 (November 11, 2017) and as a result didn’t automatically receive UBTC during phase 1 of the asset allocation procedure.”

UB does not distinguish between an “inactive” address and one which is simply being used by a long-time "hodler."

“There is no difference. An inactive account is an inactive account,” said Garzik. “Like during [the] Ethereum new coin creation, you had to take a proactive step, otherwise you got zero [ether]. This is normal for new token creation — new chain, new ERC20, but different from all other Bitcoin Forks. We are trying to do something new and different.”

Anyone with a prior balance of 0.01 BTC in an “inactive” address at the time of the November 11 fork can still get UB tokens, so long as they are willing to take such a “proactive step”: that is, they make at least one transfer to their own Bitcoin address between Block 498,777 and Block 501,878 (December 12, 2017, to 12:00 GMT on January 3, 2018).

Only the original address can make the transfer to itself, and the receiving address must be used as one of the sending (input) addresses.

One privacy issue to consider is that in order to “proactively” claim BU tokens, the protocol forces users to reuse their Bitcoin addresses; this action puts privacy at risk and, unless it is done carefully, may link many of the users’ coins together.

It's a gold mine for blockchain deanonymization, merging up UTXOs and reusing addresses. Can't help but think such an artificial qualification is deliberate.

— Johnathan Corgan (@jmcorgan) December 13, 2017

User privacy protection is not the only part of the protocol that is drawing criticism, however.

“The code contains a god mode; it’s literally called that,” Blockchain developer Sjors Provoost said to Bitcoin Magazine. He said that it appears as if this “god mode” will create a multisignature address that belongs to a (yet-to-be-defined) UnitedBitcoin Foundation.

“Unlike previous airdrops, the initial coin distribution is not determined by a consensus rule,” he added. “This means that even if you were to run the full UB node software (which you should not), you will have no way of knowing for sure how many coins you get. Conversely, if you already had bitcoin, you won’t know how many of ‘your’ coins will be confiscated. You simply have to trust their promise to take and redistribute coins as their marketing promises.”

According to Provoost, the new consensus rule allows the owner of this foundation address to spend any UTXO they want. “These confiscations will be included in holy blocks, which can be created during the first 500 blocks after the fork. This is how they implement the redistribution as I just described, but they can do much more.”

Furthermore, Provoost is concerned about the quality of the code itself. “Garzik’s previous project SegWit2x tried to keep its changes relative to Core to a bare minimum. Although at the time of the planned fork their code base was about a year behind Bitcoin Core, it didn’t introduce many changes,” he pointed out.

“UnitedBitcoin on the other hand has introduced far more changes, making the task of tracking Bitcoin Core far more difficult. It’s not as many changes as Bitcoin Unlimited and Bitcoin Cash, and the problem is somewhat mitigated by them sunsetting the more complicated consensus changes like god mode. However, even the small change in SegWit2x had a widely publicized serious bug in it and there are rumors of more.”

What Happens to Those “Reclaimed” Tokens?

Garzik has plans to “build a better Tether” by using the UB reserve, funded by coins reclaimed from “inactive” addresses. According to the project, 70 percent of confiscated UB coins will be held as collateral to issue stable tokens pegged to a fiat currency.

“The UB reserve can be used as a backing asset for a stable, non-volatile currency,” said Garzik. “This is auditable and transparent and on the blockchain. It will be over-collateralized, 200–300% to maintain the stability even in the face of a volatile price of the reserve.”

The remaining 30 percent of the confiscated coins will support another new feature: owners of QTUM, H-shares and ether will receive a share of the remaining redistributed UB.  

UB is experimenting with a new model: engage multiple communities — ETH, Qtum — rather than following the tired model of rewarding Bitcoin maximalists with a coin they dislike and will just dump on day 1.

According to Garzik, the specific claim process for the redistribution of UB has yet to be determined. “The UB board is still being put in place — things are moving very fast — and this will include more specifics on governance and community allocations.”

The scheduled timeline of what has been released and what is coming breaks down as follows:

December 12, 2017:

Fork of Bitcoin to UnitedBitcoin (at block height #498,777) with support for:

  • Increased block size to 8 MB

  • SegWit support

  • Replay Protection

  • Asset Allocation

January 3, 2018:
  • End of Asset Allocation phase #2

  • Pegged currency based on color currency

February 28, 2018:
  • Launch of smart contract support

April 28, 2018:
  • Launch of lightning network support



The post Garzik Forks UnitedBitcoin Away from "Maximalists" to Support Altcoin Communities appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 2:57 pm

South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges

South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges

Since late November 2017, South Korea has looked to regulate cryptocurrency trading in domestic exchanges, including Bithumb, Coinone and Korbit,  The Korea Herald reports. Now, trying to tame the wave of wild cryptocurrency speculation in the country, South Korea is imposing trade bans for minors and looking for ways to impose taxes on investment returns.

South Korea is the world’s third largest market in bitcoin trading, after Japan and the U.S., and the largest exchange market for ether, accounting for more than 33 percent of its market share, according to a recent MIT Technology Review report. The country is also home to two of the top 15 global digital-currency exchanges (Bithumb and Coinone) and believed to have about one million registered daily traders in virtual currencies, which is equivalent to about one out of every 50 citizens.

This is worrying the South Korean government. In September 2017, the country’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) ordered a ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In November 2017, the head of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service said that the agency was monitoring cryptocurrency trading inside the country, and the country’s National Tax Agency revealed that it was considering a value-added tax, a capital gains tax or both on cryptocurrency trades. If the plan is implemented, South Korea will become one of the few countries to tax cryptocurrency-to-cash exchanges.

The government’s concern is also motivated by the risk of cyberattacks from the country’s rogue neighbor, North Korea. According to South Korea’s National Police Agency, North Korean hackers could be targeting South Korean bitcoin exchanges.

With these newest measures, North Korean banks that offer accounts for cryptocurrency trading will have to verify the identification of new account holders and prohibit minors from opening accounts. Woori Bank and Korea Development Bank will shut down virtual accounts offered to cryptocurrency exchanges before year-end, according to the banks.

The regulators will also bar financial institutions from investing in or obtaining cryptocurrencies, and is considering ways to oblige cryptocurrency exchange operators to verify users’ real names, strengthen storage security of encryption keys, and disclose purchase price and order volumes. The authorities will also take strong-handed punitive actions against the perpetrators of cryptocurrency-related scams.

In a press release, the government said that the new regulations were necessary “to prevent a general public without expertise from suffering losses by participating in virtual currency investments that have massive fluctuations.”

These issues were discussed on Wednesday, December 13, 2017, in a meeting presided over by Hong Nam-ki, minister of the Office for Government Policy coordination, and attended by officials from the ministries of justice, finance, and science and ICT, as well as from the Financial Services Commission, the Korea Communications Commission, the Fair Trade Commission and the National Tax Service.

While some news headlines are presenting this as a catastrophic development that will shut down the cryptocurrency industry in South Korea, the initiative of the South Korean authorities is in line with current trends toward stronger cryptocurrency regulations in China, Europe and the U.S.

“A right set of regulations will rather nurture the (virtual currency) market, and we would welcome that,” Bithumb representatives told Reuters, adding that such a code of conduct could add legitimacy to the market.

The post South Korea Moves to Regulate Domestic Bitcoin Trading, Exchanges appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 12:15 pm

Japan's GMO Internet Group Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin

Japanese Firm GMO Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin

Blockchain development companies and the cryptocurrency press have been paying their workers in cryptocurrencies for years, but one realizes that the times are truly changing when mainstream companies start paying their workers in bitcoin.

GMO Internet Group, a Japanese provider of a full spectrum of internet services for both the consumer and enterprise markets, is introducing a system for employees to receive part of their salary in bitcoin.

Headquartered in Tokyo, GMO Internet Group comprises more than 60 companies in 10 countries. In view of the group’s size and financial muscle, this initiative is likely to boost the mainstream adoption of the practice of paying salaries in cryptocurrencies.

The move is partly motivated by the desire to promote the adoption of Bitcoin, which is a strategic priority for GMO. In fact, the group is vigorously active in bitcoin trading and mining services, as well as mining hardware development. Therefore, anything that is good for Bitcoin is also good for GMO.

In May 2017, GMO launched a cryptocurrency exchange, initially dubbed Z.com Coin and later rebranded as GMO Coin, which features cryptocurrency FX and trading on both computers and smartphones. The exchange offers two types of services: cryptocurrency FX, which is an over-the-counter (OTC) bitcoin margin trading and cryptocurrency trading, which enables buying and selling of virtual currency in JPY in addition to basic features allowing customers to send and receive bitcoins.

In September 2017, GMO announced the upcoming launch of a new bitcoin mining business. “We will operate a next-generation mining center utilizing renewable energy and cutting-edge semiconductor chips in Northern Europe,” GMO stated, emphasizing that they will invest in R&D and manufacturing of hardware including the next-generation mining chip.

“We will use cutting-edge 7 nm process technology for chips to be used in the mining process, and jointly work on its research and development and manufacturing with our alliance partner having semiconductor design technology.” The mining business is scheduled to start in January 2018.

GMO expressed its belief that cryptocurrencies will develop into “new universal currencies” available to anyone from any country or region who wants to freely exchange value, “creating a new borderless economic zone.”

The option to receive part of the salary in bitcoin will initially only be available to employees of one GMO company — GMO Internet Co. Ltd. — starting in March 2018, but it will be gradually extended to more than 4,000 employees in other GMO companies based in Japan.

The minimum bitcoin payment will initially be 10,000 yen (~$88) and the upper limit will be 100,000 yen (~$881). Each salary payment in yen will be reduced by the amount of bitcoin paid, using the exchange rate at the GMO Coin exchange.

Mainichi Japan notes that Japan's labor code stipulates that businesses must pay employees in a recognized currency such as the yen, but, according to GMO, the move is in accordance with the law because any payments in bitcoin would be consensual, with a chosen amount to be deducted from paychecks and put toward purchasing bitcoin. The cryptocurrency is rising in popularity in Japan with an increasing number of retailers accepting it as a form of payment.

GMO Internet Group wants to contribute to the development of cryptocurrencies in the world by promoting cryptocurrency-related initiatives throughout the group. In particular, GMO wants to promote ownership of bitcoin among its employees — who can be the best evangelists for the group’s products and services related to the digital currency — to improve the employees’ exposure to and understanding of Bitcoin.

“Employers can now pay employees a portion of their net earnings in bitcoin by collaborating with niche payroll solution providers such as Bitwage, Wagepoint, or Bitpay, who manage the back-end mechanics, eliminate exposure to price volatility, and reduce compliance and governance risks,” noted Deloitte principal Eric Piscini.

A recent overview of cryptocurrency payroll processors and early adopting clients notes that offering salaries in bitcoin could make it easier for companies to retain and attract talent. Besides compensating current employees, “[cryptocurrencies] could help businesses more effectively tap into the open talent economy, where individual contributors may be drawn to business partners that offer payout features only cryptocurrency makes possible: fast peer-to-peer payments across country borders with minimal friction (or total freedom) from traditional banking systems,” said Piscini.

For now, the GMO press release is available only in Japanese.


The post Japan's GMO Internet Group Will Pay Thousands of Workers in Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 December 2017 | 9:14 am

IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired

IcyWallet Offers a Cold Storage Bitcoin Wallet for the Visually Impaired

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 11:27 am

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Gifto’s Vision for the Virtual Gifting Economy

Gifto Thumb


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Inspiration Behind Gifto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fostering a Global Gifting Economy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 9:24 am

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 3:19 pm

A Vibrant Community: Viberate’s Key to ICO and Product Success

Viberate

For most of the year, a heated debate has been raging across markets and industries about the regulation, speculation and proper utilization of cryptocurrencies and, more specifically, ICOs. With the increased popularity of ICOs and the overall phenomenon of digital currencies, more business professionals than ever before want to know what it takes for a company to launch an ICO and, subsequently, what they’ll need for success and legitimacy.


Live music platform Viberate’s record-breaking ICO raised $11 million in under five minutes. One key to their success was the concept of their VIB token — a live music industry token any user can earn and spend. Viberate’s first and current phase after raising money is to implement the VIB token into their ecosystem as an incentive mechanism.


It’s all about the community


Viberate’s successful initial coin offering is best seen as a reflection of the VIB token’s unique value compared with what else is offered in the live music industry. As with most blockchain-powered marketplaces, user engagement is the most essential part of Viberate’s platform and that is why the company has maintained a persistent vision of giving a voice to their community members and supporters. Based on the belief that live music should be accessible to all, Viberate reached out to users so they could contribute to the community and the community responded.


How to Earn VIB Tokens


Users in the Viberate ecosystem earn VIB tokens through social engagement such as posting on forums and across social media; inviting friends to join the community; publishing promotional content, provided by Viberate; and making contributions to Viberate’s database, such as adding new artists, venues or events to the database and suggesting changes to the existing profiles (provided it’s approved by the editorial team).


Moving Forward


Viberate managed to create a demand for their product by offering a secure, easily traceable token that offers real value, not just in fiat currency but in Viberate’s community. The company transfers 5,000 VIBs into the pool each day for the first 2,000 days during which the bounty pool will be drained in different time periods. Subsequently, at the end of each period, the total amount of VIB will be distributed among contributors, whose awarded actions will be marked valid by the editorial team in the respective period.


Users are able to see their VIBs balance and the value in fiat, as with most digital wallets, but that’s not all - users are able to spend VIB tokens in freshly launched VIB store, selling celebrity merchandise, Viberate merchandise and selected event tickets. In the future users will be able to spend VIBs for paying booking fees, subscribing to premium services, and even advertising on Viberate. But what is the roadmap for the next few months? By end of 2017, Viberate is scheduled to launch booking agency profiles and in Phase 2, Viberate plans to expand their service with event organizer profiles and marketplace features.


With the goal of becoming the go-to digital currency and biggest talent marketplace for the live music industry, Viberate is setting out to engage its users through empowerment one phase at a time.


The post A Vibrant Community: Viberate’s Key to ICO and Product Success appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 1 December 2017 | 10:17 am

Bitcoin tops $10,000 milestone

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Bitcoin Trading Bots

There have been a wide variety of situations in which algorithmic trading programs have proven to be beneficial for investors. However, investors who only trade a cryptocurrency can also take advantage of bitcoin trading bots. Through bitcoin bot trading, traders can become more flexible and prompt, minimize errors and process information more rapidly. At this… Read More »

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Steam accepts Bitcoin

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airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

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December 18, 2017 -
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