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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

CFTC Launches Online Resources for Bitcoin Investors

The top derivatives regulator in the U.S. has created a new information portal for cryptocurrencies, a move that came just days ahead of a major bitcoin futures launch.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 11:15 am

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Of bitcoin, body snatchers and Buffett - Washington Post


Washington Post

Of bitcoin, body snatchers and Buffett
Washington Post
The most chilling movie scene ever might be the final take of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." One by one we see the human race overtaken by aliens except for the hero, played by Donald Sutherland. We lose track of Sutherland's character for a moment ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 11:13 am

France Wants G20 Nations to Discuss Bitcoin Regulation

France's finance minister is planning to push for a discussion on bitcoin regulation at a G-20 summit next spring.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 9:15 am

Bill Miller's hedge fund has half its money in bitcoin - CNBC


CNBC

Bill Miller's hedge fund has half its money in bitcoin
CNBC
A hedge fund run by legendary investor Bill Miller is now half invested in bitcoin. "It's just about 50 percent right now," Miller said regarding his MVP 1 fund on the WealthTrack podcast with Consuelo Mack released last week. Miller founded Miller ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 8:34 am

Bitcoin Mania Lifts Rival Coins to Record Highs - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Mania Lifts Rival Coins to Record Highs
Bloomberg
Ether and litecoin, the second and fourth biggest cryptocurrencies, have surged to all-time highs amid the optimism that bitcoin futures will attract institutions to the fledgling market. The rallies come as speculators flock to Coinbase.com Inc ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 8:26 am

Bitcoin's wild volatility could soon start shaping other markets - Business Insider


Business Insider

Bitcoin's wild volatility could soon start shaping other markets
Business Insider
On a normal day, bitcoin can shed or gain several thousand dollars of its value with double-digit percentage moves. While experts debate bitcoin's role in a world still dominated by fiat currencies, the real risk is how the cryptocurrency starts to ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 8:24 am

North Korea Suspected Again in Crypto Exchange Attacks

South Korea's spy agency beileves a recent run of hacking attacks on domestic cryptocurrency exchanges is linked to North Korea.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 7:00 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)

all 14 news articles »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 6:02 am

Bull Market Breather? Bitcoin Retreats After Run on $20k

Bitcoin is facing significant resistence at $20,000, potentially putting in place the possibility the cryptocurrency's bull run could cool.

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 5:45 am

The Swedish co-founder of Bitcoin.com, one of the largest websites in the industry, has sold all his bitcoins ... - Business Insider


Business Insider

The Swedish co-founder of Bitcoin.com, one of the largest websites in the industry, has sold all his bitcoins ...
Business Insider
Although Oldenburg is far from the first to criticize the cryptocurrency's viability as an investment asset, his position as an industry insider does stand out - even as he migrates to its spinoff, bitcoin cash (BCH). “I have in fact sold all my ...

and more »

Posted on 18 December 2017 | 5:14 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

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

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

New Class-Action Suit Filed Against Tezos Founders

The Tezos organization is being sued for a fourth time, in this case to freeze the funds raised during its ICO.

Posted on 17 December 2017 | 8:00 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

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

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

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

BANKEX’s Ambitious Crusade to Reshape Traditional Finance

BANKEX


A lack of synergistic connection points between the blockchain sector and traditional finance is currently hindering progress within the world of banking. Opportunities abound for the deployment of smart contracts and tokenization, fueling crowdfunding, chain finance and other forms of financial transactions. These efforts at boosting external infrastructure hold the key for greater efficiency and time effectiveness in today’s evolving financial ecosystem.


One firm at the cutting edge of reshaping how financial infrastructure and blockchain technology interact within markets is BANKEX.


BANKEX is solving problems in traditional finance and investment sectors such as microfinance, real estate, natural resources and futures markets, as well as historically illiquid assets such as cars, antiques and private company interests.


Headquartered in New York, with business development efforts in Singapore, a strategic partnership in Tokyo and an engineering team in Moscow, BANKEX has a well-established global presence.


Exploding demand for improved asset liquidity and transactional simplicity has led BANKEX to develop an alternative known as the Proof-of-Asset (PoA) protocol. This new advancement allows information to be delivered in real-time directly to the blockchain. Company leaders believe that this protocol will become an industry standard for organizing new decentralized markets within existing business sectors.


BANKEX CEO and Founder Igor Khmel put BANKEX’s value proposition this way: “In building an operating system for decentralized capital markets, our ultimate goal for our blockchain framework is to enable the realization of new types of asset classes that institutional investors had previously never considered due to the the highly non-heterogeneous nature of these assets, their wide decentralization and the high cost of financial and legal due diligence.”


Khmel went on to say that the BANKEX protocol radically decreases these costs by allowing better connections between traditional capital markets with historically non-fungible assets such as film and music financing, private equity shares, local municipal debt and financing for standalone real-estate objects.  

An Example to Bank On


The following hypothetical example underscores the value proposition that BANKEX is prepared to deliver in an industry such as agriculture. Picture this: a farmer from Kansas named Roger decides to expand his rabbit ranch and become a nationwide supplier. He has been in the business for over 10 years and supplies upward of 40 percent of rabbit meat across his state. Despite his successful business, Roger has been unable to secure a loan from his bank, even though his business has a steady cash flow, solid infrastructure and a clear strategic business plan.


A banker and good friend of Roger’s, Jim, has been asked for consulting advice from Roger. Jim has worked for Furry International Bank for over a decade. Furry International has a highly progressive, innovative  approach that allows the bank to understand the difficulties Roger faces when he goes around town seeking investments. Here are some of the challenges Roger is encountering:

  • While traditional banks strive to maintain a reputation for reliability, they require large collateral, enforce challenging procedures and can be tight with loans. Given that Roger’s credit score is still recovering from a student loan back in the day, offering large collateral could be problematic.
  • Private investors are difficult to locate, and a single investor may not be able to provide Roger with all of the capital he needs. Moreover, the fact that negotiations are a cumbersome process reinforces Roger’s assertion that he’s a farmer and not a financial mastermind.
  • Venture funds tend to invest in new technology with high risks and high rewards. Roger’s business involves neither.  


Jumping on the “Smart Asset” Bandwagon


Upon a tip from a friend who works in computer science, Roger decides to explore the use of a blockchain to launch a token sale for his project. He soon realizes that due to the massive regulatory requirements, running an economically viable token sale for cryptocurrency investors is just as challenging as putting his company to the stock exchange and making its shares available publically.


This leads Roger to ask Jim about Furry International’s solutions. While Furry cannot provide the solution, they can connect him to someone who does. Jim mentions an innovative company named BANKEX and their Proof-of-Asset protocol. Jim wants to assist Roger, so he agrees to represent him in the process, a process that Roger has already admitted that he doesn’t fully understand. Jim, on the other hand, has expertise in this financial area. Moreover, he’s bringing Roger as a new client to his bank.  

Jim visits BANKEX and completes the necessary information about Roger’s project. This information is collected and confirmed by professional accountants, lawyers and financial analysts. Once BANKEX validates every aspect of the business, Jim is asked to help Roger install special Internet of Things (IoT) sensors at the rabbit ranch. These sensors will help keep track of the number of rabbits automatically and assess whether the anticipated growth rate is on track.


As soon as the farm has its smart, digital system in place, BANKEX will issue “Farm Tokens” and put them on the Smart Asset Exchange, initiating the ISAO (Initial Smart Asset Offering). These Farm Tokens now represent Roger’s tokenized farm. Once these Farm Tokens hit the market, they are able to attract investors from all over the world.


Investors can trust the BANKEX ecosystem because they are consistently updated with information about the ranch. In addition, they know that the smart contract will ensure the safety of every transaction and they will receive their share of the profit as the ranch expands.


A Present Day Collaboration


BANKEX’s recent collaboration with MovieCoin LLC demonstrates a real-world application of BANKEX’s platform taking place. Led by film financier Christopher Woodrow, MovieCoin LLC is seeking to raise $100 million during 2018 to produce a portfolio of movie projects. By utilizing smart contracts and BANKEX’s proprietary PoA protocol, MovieCoin LLC will allow institutional and individual investors to invest in the motion-picture industry while lessening their financial risk.

BANKEX will also offer efficient access to decentralized capital markets and assist in building liquidity in the conventionally illiquid film financing market by tokenizing the underlying assets of MovieCoin.


Khmel, BANKEX founder and CEO, believes that BANKEX’s services will now allow the specialty finance industry to provide customizable debt and equity funding solutions with the integration of a blockchain.

“We believe that collaboration between traditional financial institutions and fintech innovators is the way forward for both sectors. The current banking system is slow and stifled by legacy issues, while at the same time the emerging fintech industry lacks scalability. Combining the strengths of traditional finance and fintech solutions will lay the foundation for a new global economy defined by diversity, security, and previously unknown dimensions of efficiency and transparency,” concluded Khmel.


MovieCoin CEO Christopher Woodrow has stated, “We are delighted to be collaborating with a company as innovative as BANKEX in introducing this transformative new film financing structure to our investors and entertainment industry partners. We believe the marriage of BANKEX’s Proof-of-Asset protocol with our experienced management team and comprehensive industry relationships will provide investors with an opportunity to realize significant returns while managing risk through leading edge technologies.”

Token Generation Event


BANKEX raised over $50 million USD during its presale and private sale period. Its token sale began on November 28 and will continue until December 28 or till retail cap of 80 million BKX tokens.


Token sale proceeds have been earmarked primarily for software research and development needed to realize the BANKEX Proof-of-Asset protocol will take 45 percent allocation of funds raised from the token sale. Promotion and B2B marketing for BANKEX and the PoA protocol will take 10 percent; legal services and licensing will require 12 percent; non-organic growth such as increased business development and outreach will require 15 percent; the BANKEX Foundation (fintech community) will take 8 percent; and finally there will be a reserve fund of 10 percent of tokens for BANKEX itself.

The post BANKEX’s Ambitious Crusade to Reshape Traditional Finance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:46 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Rests at Tipping Point Before Deciding Next Move

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Bitcoin prices have currently stalled out in the $16,000s as the market decides if it wants to continue the ravenous bull trend or go through a more corrective phase. In the last 30 days, the price of bitcoin has doubled — entering into what most traditional market analysts would deem “bubble territory.” Bitcoin’s growth has been so rapid, it has managed to break north out of a parabolic trend to form an even more aggressive parabolic shape known as a “hypodermic trend.” Let’s take a look at the macro view of bitcoin and see if this trend is sustainable or ripe for a correction:

Figure_1.JPGFigure 1: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Macro Trend

The image above shows a multi-year, parabolic envelope that, until recently, has guided the bitcoin bull market. Within the parabolic envelope we see a strong linear channel (shown in purple) that has provided very strong support and resistance through much of the bitcoin price growth. At the end of November 2017, however, bitcoin price growth was so strong, it managed to break out of both the linear and parabolic trends and form a more aggressive price trend: a hypodermic trend.

Figure_2.JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 60-Minute Candles, Hypodermic Trendline

The solid red line represents an aggressive support line that has guided this new, aggressive price growth out of the parabolic envelope. As of the time of this article, I am monitoring a trading range very closely as it nears this hypodermic trend. A breakdown below this hypodermic trend represents a diminished trend of demand in the bitcoin market, and it could ultimately lead to a local top on for BTC-USD. Paired with this hypodermic breakdown is a breakdown of the trading range (shown in blue) that has a span of approximately $5,000. A breakdown of a trading range that large would have quite a meaningful market reaction and is likely to see a profound correction before bitcoin buyers step back in.

However, before we get all doomsday-esque, it’s important to remember that distribution phases and reaccumulation phases are quite similar in shape and are called “evil twins” of one another. It’s entirely possible we could see new all-time highs out of bitcoin but, given the weak and anemic follow-through of each all-time high breaching the trading range, I am inclined to lean less toward accumulation and more toward distribution.

As always, volume will be a huge indicator in this process; a great telltale that we are, in fact, in an accumulation phase will be volume growth coupled with price growth. If we begin to push new highs and we see a volume growth trend combined with it, there will be a great sigh of relief from traders as this pairing will indicate increasing demand and diminishing free-floating supply in the market.

Summary:

  1. The price of bitcoin has doubled in the last month.

  2. The price growth has been so aggressive that it has broken north of a parabolic trend it’s been well-confined within for 3 years.

  3. Bitcoin is at a crucial point as it currently decides whether it wants to move up or down in price.

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.

The post Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Rests at Tipping Point Before Deciding Next Move appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 13 December 2017 | 2:38 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

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

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

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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 18, 2017 -
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