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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 13 December 2017 | 10:00 pm

Plan B? Ethereum Innovators Are Reviving the Fight for Net Neutrality

A tech meetup at a dimly lit New York City bar – so far, nothing out of the ordinary. But what's peculiar about this particular meetup is that other locations throughout the East Village are being connected to the bar's Wi-Fi-enabled node, allowing anyone in the area to not only piggyback off all the signals […]

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:05 pm

Bitcoin Trading Thrives Wherever Regulators Crack Down Most - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Trading Thrives Wherever Regulators Crack Down Most
Bloomberg
Bitcoin's creators also set a limit to the amount of currency that could be created to avoid the inflation that ensues when central banks print money. In China, where regulators closed local exchange operations, peer-to-peer trading rose more than 2 ...
Bitcoin Is Soaring. Here's Why It's Not Ready for the Big Time | WIREDWIRED

all 15 news articles »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 6:24 pm

A bubble? We don't even know how to value Bitcoin - The Guardian


The Guardian

A bubble? We don't even know how to value Bitcoin
The Guardian
Bitcoin currently accounts for 59.4% of the total global cryptocurrency market but at the beginning of 2016 it was 91.3%. Many of these other cryptocurrencies have more functionality than Bitcoin (such as Ethereum's ability to execute smart contracts ...
Bitcoin is Riding a “Speculative Mania”, Says Australia's Central Bank ChiefCryptoCoinsNews
Bitcoin riding a 'speculative mania' - Australia central bank governorSky News

all 66 news articles »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 5:39 pm

2018's Big Question: Can Bitcoin Forks Deliver Value?

Forking bitcoin was all the rage in 2017. In 2018, the question might be, what are we getting in return?

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 4:00 pm

Commentary: Why Bitcoin Would Make a Great Holiday Gift - Fortune


Fortune

Commentary: Why Bitcoin Would Make a Great Holiday Gift
Fortune
Today, hovering at a price around $17,000, it looks more like that bitcoin will pay for Alex's tuition. However, that was not always the case. In 2013 it simply felt appropriate to give a child who will never know life without hyper-connectivity the ...
3 reasons to doubt bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and other cryptocurrenciesCBS News
Do Not Go into Debt to Buy Bitcoin, You IdiotsVICE
Here's the Differences Between Bitcoin, Litecoin and EthereumInverse
Bitcoin News (press release) -Bloomberg -CoinMarketCap
all 278 news articles »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:50 pm

Fed Chair Yellen: Bitcoin Is a 'Highly Speculative Asset'

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen called bitcoin a "highly speculative asset" during her final press conference today

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:00 pm

South Korean Officials Weigh New Curbs on Bitcoin Trading

The South Korean government is considering a range of policy options in order to curb what it called an "overheating of virtual currency speculation."

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 1:15 pm

Kickstarter ICO? Don't Count On It Says Crowdfunding Leader

The company most widely associated with crowdfunding won't be shifting its business model to accommodate so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 11:00 am

Colu Mixes VC and ICO for $14.5 Million Fundraise

Blockchain startup Colu has secured $14.5 million in new funding from a major business group in Israel.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 10:00 am

Patrick Byrne Mulls Overstock Sale to Fund New Blockchain Venture

Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne has partnered with a well-known economist on a new blockchain land registry venture, and might sell the firm to fund it.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 9:00 am

Bitcoin fever exposes crypto-market frailties - Reuters - Reuters


Reuters

Bitcoin fever exposes crypto-market frailties - Reuters
Reuters
As bitcoin raced to another record high on Tuesday, one of the biggest providers of digital currency wallets, Coinbase, went down under the weight of traffic, leaving many of its more than 10 million customers unable to access their funds.
Bitcoin exchanges get slammed by website outagesNew York Post

all 24 news articles »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 8:49 am

How to give the gift of bitcoin this holiday season - Quartz


Quartz

How to give the gift of bitcoin this holiday season
Quartz
While some holiday shoppers might be ogling the Nintendo Switch or that perfect pair of jeans, savvy folk like you and I understand that deep down your friends and family are secretly hoping to unwrap the gift of a speculative, volatile investment ...
Bitcoin buyers must practice 'cold storage' for securityYahoo Finance

all 4 news articles »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 8:01 am

Here Come the Bogus Bitcoin Scare Tactics

Fear, uncertainty and doubt are dominating the media, but Overstock's Steve Hopkins suggests talking points to counter the scaremongering.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 8:00 am

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


Coindesk (press release) (blog)

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

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:03 am

Bitcoin Price Dilemma: Bull and Bear Paths in Play

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

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 7:00 am

How Tax Reform Could Impact Crypto Investors

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

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 6:15 am

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

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

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 5:45 am

Facebook Messenger VP Joins Coinbase's Board of Directors

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

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 4:20 am

Japan's GMO Internet to Roll Out Bitcoin Payroll System

Japanese internet giant GMO revealed yesterday that it soon allow staff to receive some of their salary in bitcoin.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 3:30 am

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


Fortune

South Korea Considers Steps to Rein in the Bitcoin Frenzy
Fortune
South Korea will move to rein in the frenzy around bitcoin by banning minors from opening accounts on exchanges, and possibly by taxing capital gains from the trading of cryptocurrencies. Reuters reported the proposals following an emergency government ...
South Korea is going bitcoin crazyCNNMoney
South Korean Officials Weigh New Curbs on Bitcoin TradingCoindesk (press release) (blog)
South Korea Imposes Six Conditions for Crypto Exchanges to OperateBitcoin News (press release)
CryptoCoinsNews -Reuters -VICE News -Sputnik International
all 116 news articles »

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 3:03 am

Vanguard Taps Symbiont's Private Blockchain for Index Fund Data

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

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:45 am

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

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

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:00 am

Scratch That: CryptoKitties Isn't Quite Ethereum's Vision for Apps

Ethereum's biggest success story isn't showcasing the full benefits of the platform, at least that's what its critics allege.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 10:01 pm

Victory Lap? 2017 Was Bitcoin's Backwards Year

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

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 7:45 pm

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


New York Times

I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here's Why.
New York Times
Several years ago, tech enthusiasts in San Francisco began buzzing about a new and mysterious thing called Bitcoin. There were rumors that the virtual money, invented by a pseudonymous math genius named Satoshi Nakamoto, would revolutionize modern ...
Is it too late to buy Bitcoin?Popular Science
Bitcoin futures briefly halted after plunging 10%Yahoo Finance
Bitcoin Regrets: How Much $100 Would Be Worth Today if You Invested EarlierFortune
Money Magazine -Reuters -Ars Technica
all 1,033 news articles »

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 2:33 pm

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

Advertise with Anonymous Ads

New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual Reality World

New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual World

High Fidelity is announcing the launch of Avatar Island, a VR domain where High Fidelity users can purchase items for their avatars, all contributed by digital artists from around the world.

High Fidelity is a next-generation platform for Virtual Reality (VR) worlds developed by Philip Rosedale, the creator of the once very popular Second Life. In September 2017, the company announced that it was developing a blockchain for intellectual property protection and an in-game cryptocurrency .

“I’ve been looking at blockchain technology since Second Life, as the Linden dollar was one of the first digital goods currencies,” said Rosedale. “At the time that Bitcoin came out, I was thinking a lot about how we could generalize what we did at Second Life. I didn’t have all of the ideas, but in the last few quarters we have been building the backend system to make all of this work.”

Different sorts of VR items, such as custom wearables for avatars (which were and still are very successful in the Second Life marketplace) will be sold and bought in Avatar Island through a new cryptocurrency running on a blockchain, which will also track the history and ownership of each item.

“[This] is the first beta release of the commerce system, which is a cryptocurrency-based content protection and payment system,” said Rosedale in the High Fidelity forum. “[Behind]  the scenes, the currency is actually stored on a ‘blockchain’ very similar to Bitcoin but supporting a higher transaction rate and lower fees. This blockchain also stores the PoP [Proof of Provenance] information for digital goods, meaning that both your currency and your digital property will exist in a public database and cannot be altered.”

Contrary to Second Life, where the only option available to external operators was to host their VR worlds on servers operated by Second Life developer Linden Lab, High Fidelity allows developers to host VR worlds independently. In November 2017, High Fidelity released an update that allows developers to rapidly deploy High Fidelity VR domains to the cloud, in collaboration with DigitalOcean. The distributed nature of the upcoming High Fidelity VR network calls for full interoperability between different servers, including network-wide recognition of ownership rights.

High Fidelity’s Digital Asset Registry (DAR), is a decentralized, publicly auditable ledger that serves as a record of transactions made by High Fidelity users. Each item is uniquely identified with a digital fingerprint (a hash algorithm) and can be purchased using High Fidelity’s blockchain-based cryptocurrency, the High Fidelity Coin (HFC). The DAR includes tamper-proof PoP services for any asset’s chain of ownership, its characteristics and its entire history, from certification onward.

This approach is designed to solve the theft and counterfeiting problems that plagued Second Life. At the apex of Rosedale’s first VR world’s popularity, thousands of independent developers around the world made a living designing and selling virtual items, and the need for more solid anti-piracy measures was widely felt.

According to High Fidelity, the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains have limited throughput (transactions per second) and high transaction fees, which makes them unsuitable for HFC. Therefore, Rosedale’s team opted for a new, public but “permissioned” blockchain.

In a promotional video that predicts a booming future for the VR sector, with a billion users, 50 million servers and a trillion dollar economy, Rosedale explains the design and implementation criteria for High Fidelity’s blockchain.

“As of today, the blockchain is one node using the [Elements] codebase from Blockstream,” said Rosedale. “We’re going to federate it to a managed group of blocksigners and also provide a block explorer and a full read-only node as well, so that we have many backups of the blockchain. This is similar to the [DPoS] (Delegated Proof of Stake) model being used by [EOS] and others for upcoming public blockchains.”

For now, the High Fidelity Commerce system is in closed beta, and High Fidelity is giving HFCs to anyone interested in participating in the beta. Eventually, HFC will be traded on public exchanges like other cryptocurrencies.

“In the coming weeks and months, we will be attaching the HFC blockchain in several ways to the major cryptocurrency networks to enable you to freely trade HFC for other currencies like Bitcoin or Ether, or to use exchange markets to convert it back to real-world currency if you like,” said Rosedale. Considering high price volatility as a roadblock, High Fidelity will try and stabilize the value of HFC at 100 HFC = $1 USD.

Before getting too excited and rushing to buy HFC, it’s worth bearing in mind that Second Life never achieved mass-market appeal, and that could become the fate of High Fidelity as well. However, it can be argued that Second Life was launched too early, and modern VR interfaces, like the headsets and hand controllers developed by Facebook’s Oculus VR, could be the game changer that will permit High Fidelity to succeed where Second Life failed. As always, time will tell.

Crytek

Another VR game developer and technology provider, Crytek, is announcing a partnership with cryptocurrency startup Crycash to create a new cryptocurrency for gamers. Crytek is the maker of the high-performance game development platform CryEngine and publisher of many highly realistic VR games that are popular among hardcore gamers.

“The Crycash ecosystem solves two problems at once: it gives gamers a way to monetize game time by completing in-game tasks, set by game developers, while providing developers with decentralized sales options for games and other virtual items,” said Crycash CEO Wachtang Budagaschwili. “Crycash will consist of four major components: Plink, a communications app for gamers and Crycash wallet; an advertising platform; an eSports platform for gaming tournaments and other events; and a virtual asset marketplace.”

“We see a lot of potential in the Crycash concept, and we were impressed by the Crycash team’s innovative approach to creating practical products and tools for gamers,” said Crytek Managing Director Faruk Yerli.

Crycash will hold a token sale from December 12, 2017, to January 15, 2018, and add Crycash payment options to games from Crytek and other developers.



The post New In-Game Cryptocurrency Systems Let You Buy Assets in the Virtual Reality World appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 12 December 2017 | 10:23 am

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

Munchee ICO Halted by SEC for Securities Violations

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 3:19 pm

Bitcoin Futures Are Here: The Story So Far

cboefutures.jpg

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

47c7ff34bce0ce6132eef3b1762bee2b.png

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

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

square cboe

Image Source: www.cboe.com

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

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

October 31

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

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

December 1, 2017

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

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

December 4

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

December 5

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

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

December 6

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

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

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

historical cboe

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

December 7

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

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

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

December 8

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

Conclusion

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

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

Posted on 11 December 2017 | 2:38 pm

U.S. Senate Mulls Reporting Requirements for Cryptocurrencies

USSenateBill

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

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

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

This is most specifically embedded in Section 13:

senatebilltextscreen.png

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

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

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

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

Posted on 8 December 2017 | 3:23 pm

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Never a Rich Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Dan Hedl (@danheld) December 6, 2017

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

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

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

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




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

Posted on 7 December 2017 | 3:52 pm

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.

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December 13, 2017 -
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