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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

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Posted on 18 November 2017 | 6:59 pm

First Long-Term LedgerX Bitcoin Option Pegs Price at $10000 - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

First Long-Term LedgerX Bitcoin Option Pegs Price at $10000
CoinDesk
Under the terms of the deal, the buyer has the right to buy bitcoin at a price of $10,000 at that date, or almost a 30 percent premium on today's price. Yet, because the buyer only makes money if the price is more than $10,000 (called the strike price ...

and more »

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 3:08 pm

First Long-Term LedgerX Bitcoin Option Pegs Price at $10,000

The first ever LedgerX long-term bitcoin futures option pegs the cryptocurrency price at $10,000 by next December.

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 2:59 pm

Bitcoin Conversation Volume Beats Talk of Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google - Bitcoin News (press release)


Bitcoin Conversation Volume Beats Talk of Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google
Bitcoin News (press release)
While eggs must always first give way to chickens, in the case of Twitter discussion volume and bitcoin price rising things aren't exactly clear. Did the decentralized currency's massive value increase drive Tweets? Or, did the Twitterverse push ever ...

and more »

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 8:04 am

Major ATM Manufacturer Integrates Bitcoin, Exposure to Millions of Users - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Major ATM Manufacturer Integrates Bitcoin, Exposure to Millions of Users
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Since 2014 Hyosung has collaborated with leading Bitcoin service providers within the South Korean cryptocurrency industry such as the Tim Draper-backed Coinplug. For over three years Hyosung has enabled South Korean ATM users to buy and sell ...

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 8:01 am

ICOs on Our Terms and Conditions

How to structure token sales that comply with securities laws open participation to a diverse range of purchasers and enhance value for all involved.

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 5:40 am

Millions Gone? Broker Takes Fire for Bitcoin Cash Freeze

Bitcoin cash's big ups and downs have had market impacts far and wide, while showcasing the nascent nature of the crypto sector as a whole.

Posted on 18 November 2017 | 4:45 am

Gox ICO? CEO Karpeles Floats Token Sale to Revive Bitcoin Exchange

A Mt Gox initial coin offering (ICO)? It's not that much of a far-fetched idea, according to the defunct bitcoin exchange's controversial CEO.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:10 pm

Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate

The SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Now Really Failed to Activate

In case there were any remaining doubts, it now seems clear that the SegWit2x hard fork will not happen.

The SegWit2x project, a product of the New York Agreement signed onto by a long list of companies and miners in May, had scheduled a hard fork to double Bitcoin’s block weight limit today. And while the controversial effort was suspended by leaders of the project last week, this would not have stopped anyone else from proceeding with it. Companies like Coinbase were indeed taking into account that the SegWit2x hard fork could still happen.

The Fork That Wasn’t

SegWit2x nodes — most notably btc1 — were programmed to fork away from the Bitcoin blockchain this afternoon (UTC) to create the SegWit2x blockchain and a new currency, often referred to as B2X. However, not a single SegWit2x block has been mined since fork point, nor is there any indication that this is likely to happen. For all intents and purposes, there is no SegWit2x — nor a B2X.

Further, software bugs in the btc1 codebase made all btc1 implementations grind to a halt even before it reached the expected fork point. While Bitcoin and SegWit2x nodes were widely expected to share a single blockchain up until block 494783 and then to go their own ways at block 494784, btc1 nodes never made it past block 494782.

This is mainly because the first block on the SegWit2x chain was required to have a “base block” larger than one megabyte. This is how the chain would diverge from the original Bitcoin protocol. But due to what is referred to as an “off-by-one error,” SegWit2x blocks started to reject smaller-than-one-megabyte blocks one block too soon — at block 494,783 instead of 494,784.

Moreover, another btc1 bug prevented miners from mining a big enough block when it was needed. So even if some miners did want to proceed with the fork, they accidentally wouldn’t have done so — at least not automatically. Miners would instead have had to manually configure their block weight settings, but it’s unlikely they knew about this step. Btc1 maintainer Jeff Garzik (while also denying there was a problem) has since released a patch to resolve this issue.

But judging by the absence of any SegWit2x blocks, the patch hasn’t made a difference, most likely because few, if any, miners were interested in mining on the SegWit2x chain in the first place.

NO2X?

Despite the seeming failure of SegWit2x to take off in any way, it should be noted that there is technically no way to declare a fork like SegWit2x officially “dead” or “failed.”

While unlikely, it’s always possible that the SegWit2x hard fork could proceed at some point in the future. In fact, there is no way to tell whether the SegWit2x chain is currently being mined with a little bit of hash power right now, and it is strictly impossible to foresee whether it will be mined later on. Perhaps a SegWit2x block will be found a day from now, a week from now or even ten years from now, at which point SegWit2x and B2X will technically come into existence.

However, since the SegWit2x chain did not include a mining difficulty reset, it will be as hard to mine a B2X block as it currently is to mine a BTC block. Meanwhile, market support for B2X appears to be extremely low, with B2X futures trading below 2 percent of BTC. So even if miners decide to mine B2X blocks, they’d almost certainly be earning far less than they would by mining BTC. Or, more accurately, they’d spend more on electricity bills than they’d be able to earn by mining B2X. The financial incentive to mine the SegWit2x chain just isn’t there.

Alternatively, SegWit2x could see a bit of a rebirth in the form of “BitcoinX” (BTX). This project, supposedly started by disappointed SegWit2x supporters, will take a snapshot of bitcoin balances at block height 494,783 and start a SegWit2x-like altcoin that offers all BTC holders the equivalent amount in BTX. Though, while this coin is arguably more viable than B2X thanks to a mining difficulty reset and more, it really is a new coin — arguably even more so than B2X would have been.

The post Now the SegWit2x Hard Fork Has Really Failed to Activate appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:54 pm

UBS CIO: We Aren't Getting Involved With Bitcoin

UBS chief investment officer Mark Haefele says the world's largest money manager will not include bitcoin investments.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:00 pm

Ethereum Could Soon Launch Its First Casper Testnet

An experimental consensus algorithm that's long been proposed as a pillar of the ethereum protocol could soon see its first testing.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 11:45 am

Meet 'Bitcoin Clashic,' a Weird and Totally Unexpected Cryptocurrency Rebellion - Motherboard


Motherboard

Meet 'Bitcoin Clashic,' a Weird and Totally Unexpected Cryptocurrency Rebellion
Motherboard
Perhaps because a controversial network split in Bitcoin was cancelled by its organizers last week, the cryptocurrency space has been left thirsting for some drama. Thankfully (or not, depending on how you see it), an anonymous person or group has ...

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 10:59 am

No Fork, No Fire: Segwit2x Nodes Stall Running Abandoned Bitcoin Code

The Segwit2x bitcoin fork may have been formally called off, but as many as 150 nodes still running its code have stopped accepting transaction blocks

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 10:45 am

Internet Archive Adds Bitcoin Cash, Zcash to Donation Options

The Internet Archive, host of the Wayback Machine, has announced it now supports donations in bitcoin cash and zcash.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 9:45 am

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Ripple Makes a Splash: XRP Price Looks Up on Amex News

Positive news flow for Ripple seems to be boosting price, while the technical analysis also favors the bulls.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 7:30 am

Mike and Nathaniel's Week in Tech: Everybody Loves Bitcoin - New York Times


New York Times

Mike and Nathaniel's Week in Tech: Everybody Loves Bitcoin
New York Times
Farhad is off this week, so Nathaniel Popper, a Times tech and finance reporter, is filling in for him. Want this newsletter in your inbox? Sign up here. Mike: Why, hello there, new newsletter partner! It's everyone's favorite Bitcoin reporter ...

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 7:00 am

Visa Launches First Phase of Blockchain B2B Payments

Credit card giant Visa has launched the trial phase of its business-to-business payments system built with blockchain startup Chain.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 6:35 am

Up and Away? Bitcoin Price Eyes $8,000 Or Higher

Bitcoin has staged a remarkable "V" shaped recovery from the last week's lows near $5,500, and may be looking at new highs ahead.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 5:30 am

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Friends Don't Let Friends Do Bad Crypto

Our duty to users doesn't end when they leave our site or app. Behaviors learned from us guide interactions with other services, writes Dan Elitzer.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 4:30 am

Over 20 Banks Join Singapore-Hong Kong Blockchain Trade Network

A number of banks have joined the recently announced blockchain-based trade network pilot jointly set up by Hong Kong and Singapore.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:20 am

Bitcoin Barreled Near $8000, $10000 By Year End? - Forbes


Forbes

Bitcoin Barreled Near $8000, $10000 By Year End?
Forbes
I cover commodities, FX, equities in developing & emerging markets. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. The cryptocurrency king Bitcoin smashed another record and grabbed investors' attention again. It appears that there is nothing ...

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 3:10 am

Bitcoin adds $41 billion to market cap in 6 days as it hits all-time high of $7998 - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin adds $41 billion to market cap in 6 days as it hits all-time high of $7998
CNBC
The cryptocurrency was trading at $7,998.40 in the early hours, U.K. time, according to industry website CoinDesk. Bitcoin did pare some of those gains, however, falling as low as $7,535.85; it was trading around $7,750 by mid-morning. It's been a wild ...
Bitcoin Hits Record Just Days After a 29% PlungeBloomberg
Bitcoin is hitting new highs—here's why it might not be a bubbleArs Technica
Bitcoin Reaches Latest High, Inches Closer To $8000Forbes
Reuters -CoinDesk -Entrepreneur -Forbes
all 238 news articles »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:45 am

The Beginning? Tezos Could Open Doors for ICO Litigation

Class-action litigators in the U.S. appear to be positioning for a potential pop in the hot initial coin offering market.

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 2:00 am

Bitcoin Emerges as Crisis Currency in Hotspots Such as Zimbabwe ... - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Emerges as Crisis Currency in Hotspots Such as Zimbabwe ...
Bloomberg
About a third of the customers queuing at La Maison du Bitcoin's teller windows in Paris aren't speculating on the value of the cryptocurrency. They're sending ...

and more »

Posted on 17 November 2017 | 12:11 am

Swiss Firms to Let Traders Short Bitcoin With New Futures Products

Swiss bank Vontobel and Leonteq Securities announced that they will start trading Switzerland’s first two mini futures to short bitcoin on Friday.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 10:30 pm

Europe's Executive Arm Issues Report on Blockchain For Education

EU Commission has released a report titled 'Blockchain in Education' that explains on potentials of the nascent technology in the education industry.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 9:00 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC Pushes All-time Highs and Tests Historic Resistance

Bitcoin Price Analysis

Throughout the life of bitcoin’s two-year bull run, it has been confined within two macro trends: one parabolic and one linear — both on a logarithmic scale:

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

The parabolic envelope (black curves) has confined the entire bull run throughout the last two years. Over the weekend, we saw a test of the lower curve that proved to be proper support and propelled the market into a bounce that now has the market testing the upper linear trendline (purple lines) at the time of this article:
Figure_2.JPGFigure 2: BTC-USD, 2-Hour Candles, Test of Upper Trendline

As the bitcoin market approaches the upper trendline, the price action will coincide with a test of the previous all-time high. Expect this to be a point of resistance with possible market turbulence. However, if we manage to break that resistance level and hold support above the trendline, there is no clear resistance until we test the parabolic envelope in the upper $8,000s.

If we look at the macro indicators for this move, we see some signs that have proven to be indications of short-term rallies leading to corrections:

Figure_3.JPGFigure 3: BTC-USD, 1-Day Candles, Bollinger Band Trend

The last two corrections bitcoin has seen came on the tail of a minor pullback that rebounded to a new all-time high. The one-day candle trend is, so far, showing a repeated pattern that has led into a reversal each time it tested the upper parabolic curve. A rounding of the Bollinger bands during an upward move (shown in purple) is a forecast for decreased upward volatility that will lead to either a consolidation period or a reversal to the lower Bollinger bands.

While a reversal is not required of this move upward, one can speculate that once the price tags the upper parabolic curve, we could see a pullback to the lower Bollinger bands on the one-day charts. A pullback to the lower Bollinger bands would see support quite nicely with the lower parabolic curve.

One of two outcomes can be expected from this move upward: either we will test the upper parabolic trendline and reverse, or we will break above and consolidate before continuing on a very strong bullish move to new highs.

However, these macro moves have become increasingly more demanding on the market as we continue to get squeezed within the parabolic envelope. The forecast of the Bollinger bands indicates we are not likely to see a sustained move higher without a consolidation period or a pullback.

Summary:

  1. Over the weekend, bitcoin saw another test of the lower parabolic curve that proved to be strong support.

  2. After testing the parabolic curve, the market rebounded and has now established a new all-time high.

  3. If this trend continues, bitcoin could see prices in the mid to upper $8,000s before any noticeable resistance stands in the way of the price growth.

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: BTC Pushes All-time Highs and Tests Historic Resistance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 4:00 pm

The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains

lnbtclte.jpg

Although still in testing phase, the lightning network can now be used to send transactions across different blockchains. The Lightning Labs development team successfully swapped testnet bitcoin for testnet litecoin through a lightning channel this week: ownership of the coins changed hands, while no transaction was recorded on either blockchain.

“Previous atomic swaps that I have done were on-chain, and had the on-chain limitations of slow [transactions] and high transaction fees,” Litecoin creator Charlie Lee told Bitcoin Magazine, referring to an older trick to exchange different types of coins trustlessly. “Off-chain atomic swaps are significantly better. They are instant, [have] low fees, and better protect one’s privacy.”

The successful test paves the way for trustless cryptocurrency exchanges, near-seamless multi-coin payment processors and more.

Bitcoin and Litecoin

The lightning network is the highly anticipated second-layer payment network to be deployed on top of Bitcoin. And as an open protocol, it’s relatively easy to deploy lightning network support for other cryptocurrencies that are forked from Bitcoin’s codebase — like Litecoin.

Interestingly, if the lightning network runs on different blockchains, these chains can effectively be linked together. If one or several peers on the network are willing to take one type of coin and forward another, it’s possible to send bitcoins on one end of a channel that will end up as the equivalent in litecoin on the other end.

In a Medium post published in the first week of 2017, Lee explained that this potential to create these kinds of “bridges” between cryptocurrencies made him throw his weight behind the Segregated Witness (SegWit) soft forks on both Litecoin and Bitcoin.

When SegWit activated on Litecoin last spring, Lee’s vision came one step closer to reality. Because the soft fork had not yet activated on Bitcoin at that time, Lightning Labs decided to add Litecoin support to their LND lightning network implementation. Thus, by the time SegWit activated on Bitcoin last summer, LND was already compatible with both chains.

The testnet versions of these two blockchains are now made interoperable through the lightning network for the first time, allowing users to swap one type of coin for the other.

“The primary advantages over previous solutions are speed, cost and privacy,” Lightning Labs developer Conner Fromknecht told Bitcoin Magazine. “Transfers are more or less instant, and don’t require the cost of an on-chain transaction. Additionally, in the cooperative case, the transactions are never broadcast, and leave no trace on the blockchain, offering privacy benefits. And with any luck, these privacy benefits will only continue to improve.”

The Test (and the Potential)

This week’s specific test was done on a local machine, on which Fromknecht himself created two nodes: “Alice” and “Bob.” These two nodes were modified to be able to monitor both the Bitcoin and Litecoin testnets. Fromknecht then created a single lightning channel that sent testnet litecoin from Alice to Bob and testnet bitcoin back from Bob to Alice at a fixed exchange rate. While still all in an experimental setting, the test was successful; Lightning Labs today published a blog post and a video detailing the results.

In addition to offering a faster, cheaper and more private solution to exchanging coins, the successful test paves the way toward a whole new range of possibilities in the context of the lightning network. For example, peers on the network could eventually act as cryptocurrency exchanges, competing with one another to offer the best exchange rates.

“Arguably the most important benefit of Lightning swaps is the ability to efficiently exchange different currencies without a custodian,” Fromknecht said. “Our ecosystem heavily depends on exchanges to fulfill this role today, but Lightning swaps offer users a choice to get the best of both worlds — instant exchanges without relinquishing control of your money.”

Similarly, such exchangers could act as payment processors: it would be much easier for users to spend litecoin at merchants that only accept bitcoin (or vice versa). And it’s even conceivable that bitcoin-to-bitcoin payments over the lightning network will route via Litecoin hubs, if that’s the cheapest way to get funds from A to B.

For Lee, at least, this is not as unlikely as it sounds, and the successful tests mark another step toward his vision for the lightning network on Litecoin and Bitcoin.

“The Litecoin team is excited to work with Lightning Labs to explore the true potential of instant cross-chain atomic swaps,” he concluded.

For a more in-depth technical explanation of these kinds of atomic swaps, see our previous article “Atomic Scaps: How the Lightning Network Extends to Altcoins” or the blog post and video published by Lightning Labs today.

The post The Lightning Network Now Supports Transactions Across Blockchains appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 November 2017 | 3:48 pm

New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters

New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters

Tetra, a new entrant in the cryptocurrency exchange sector, describes itself as a semi-decentralized, peer-to-peer exchange with an emphasis on security and usability: “Tetra will help create the next wave of cryptocoin adoption which will benefit all cryptocurrency users from investors to traders to businesses.”

The term “peer-to-peer exchange” tends to suggest the idea of a strong emphasis on privacy and anonymity, as well as a certain level of disdain for Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules, meddling regulators and authorities. According to Tetra’s blog post announcement, however, it appears that its approach is at odds with this philosophy:

Tetra understands the importance of practices like KYC and has devoted the resources necessary to implement these processes properly. Users will be able to trade safely with the comfort of knowing that due diligence has been enacted to protect them from potential repercussions.

“You may have heard the terrifying accounts of people receiving prison sentences for trading cryptocurrencies on peer-to-peer exchanges,” adds the main Tetra website. “With Tetra, that is a thing of the past. Route your payments through our fully compliant banking network for a legally sound trading process. We're relieving traders of the burden of obtaining expensive licenses and adhering to cumbersome regulations in order to allow people to focus on what matters: their trades.”

While this sounds appealing to compliance-conscious cryptocurrency users and traders, the self-description of Tetra as a “semi-decentralized P2P” raises questions. In a Reddit discussion, a Tetra representative admits that Tetra is a centralized service, but states that the exchange operates using a decentralized transaction model so that the operators never have control over users’ coins directly, and thus hackers do not have access to users’ coins.

In communication with Bitcoin Magazine, Patrick O'Brien and CTO of Tetra Exchange, confirmed this practice.

"Tetra is called a semi-decentralized exchange because Tetra customers maintain control over their own private keys. Customer funds are never stored on our centralized servers, users store their funds in their own client-side wallets which are built into the Tetra software, and transact through our system by utilizing the Bitcoin network's multi-signature transaction architecture.”

He explained that Tetra is described as a peer-to-peer exchange because users are trading with other individuals, and not with Tetra or against a Tetra orderbook as they would in a traditional exchange.

“To elaborate further, this means that when customers are interested in making escrow payments they will participate in a multi-signature transaction, with the third party and ourselves as signing authorities,” continued O'Brien.

“In the event of a dispute we can co-operate with either side to move the funds where they need to go, and in the event of a successful transaction both sides can agree to release the funds. All of this is accomplished without us ever having direct control over the flow of money as would be the case in a traditional exchange.”

International Compliance Issues

Based in British Columbia, Canada, Tetra plans to operate globally with no restrictions, unless forced to by law. When a Reddit user suggested that Tetra is advising traders to flaunt U.S. money transmission laws, the Tetra representative answered that the exchange is not “ignoring U.S. laws and pretending it's Canadian law while intending to operate in the U.S.”

He added that the exchange takes compliance very seriously and stated that Tetra is circling back to their lawyers for advice.

However, as the Reddit thread continues to point out, there still remains a number of compliance and personal privacy concerns related to the company’s KYC measures that U.S. users should be especially wary of, depending on the particular state requirements where they live.

Some states are stricter than others, too. Always [know] one's own jurisdictional rules/laws and not rely on what is "too good to be true." - coin_trader_LBC

User Experience and Security

Leaving aside the P2P interpretation and the potential compliance minefield, it’s worth noting that Tetra emphasizes easy usability and security as strong competitive advantages in the cryptocurrency exchange market.

“[The] Tetra app and web platform will create a simple experience for users,” reads the announcement, adding that users won’t need to know about public key cryptography and smart contracts. “This approach will enable a new generation of users to enter the cryptocurrency space and with that bring new investors, new clients for dapps and crypto-based businesses, and in general make a great stride towards mainstream adoption that will enable the positioning of cryptocurrencies as true world-currencies.”

The Tetra platform uses multisig escrow and intends to automate all aspects of the trading process to provide “incredibly secure and worry-free trading” with 2-of-2 and 2-of-3 P2SH multi-signature transactions, smart contracts and encryption of all communications.

Of course, Tetra is hardly the only exchange to focus on easy usability and security, and, in fact similar measures are adopted by many exchanges today. What really seems to differentiate Tetra from many other exchanges is the fact that Tetra is explicitly targeting professional traders and cryptocurrency trading businesses that need to streamline multiple trades, by offering an easy user experience to their customers and presenting themselves as fully compliant with regulations.

"The goal here is to facilitate the growth of fiat to crypto on-ramps and off-ramps, and we do this by encouraging people to operate trading businesses on our platform," O'Brien told Bitcoin Magazine.

“The features outlined so far culminate to satisfy business needs; by ensuring customers have a completely secure, legally safe, and easy to use platform Tetra will allow businesses to thrive in an otherwise hostile environment,” concludes the announcement.

The first public release of the Tetra platform and apps, currently available to alpha testers, will support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and Dash. Other cryptocurrencies that support multisig transactions are planned for the future. The platform will begin its roll out in the U.S., Canada and Australia.

To professional traders and businesses, Tetra offers a paid service dubbed Tetra Prime, with support for online and “brick-and-mortar” business storefronts, as well as trade matching and analytics to optimize trading profiles.

The post New “Semi-Decentralized” Cryptocurrency Exchange Navigates Murky Compliance Waters appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 November 2017 | 11:39 am

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Zen Protocol Advances Smart Contracts for Financial Services

Zen Thumb

Shunryū Suzuki, the Sōtō Zen monk and teacher who helped popularize Zen Buddhism in the United States, once remarked that, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few."

In many ways, this aphorism captures the entrepreneurial tenor of today’s emerging world of blockchain technology, as startup companies seek to address critical issues facing the distributed ledger space.  

Many would agree that today’s financial systems are fraught with centralization, complexity and barriers to access. While established businesses and individuals in this market can manage the paperwork and bureaucracy, many still find these barriers to participation too challenging to overcome.  

As a result, potential trades and deals are lost, as these financial participants, trying to get limited access to the system, turn to intermediaries. These participants are, therefore, unable to issue assets or even to trade in some asset classes.  

Zen Protocol, a smart contract company headquartered in Tel Aviv, is on a quest to change this trajectory, by making secure, peer-to-peer finance possible on a customized, public blockchain, removing the need for intermediaries such as banks and brokers.  

Zen’s approach allows anyone, anytime, anywhere to create and trade financial products on a secure platform — a Proof-of-Work blockchain protocol. It’s here where an open marketplace for options, futures, digital currencies and a myriad of other financial instruments are offered to consumers who would otherwise be left without the ability to participate. 

Zen Protocol, in many respects, can be viewed as an alternative to Ethereum, Bitcoin’s main market competitor. Zen’s main value proposition is the creation of a blockchain that mitigates some of the pesky issues that have adversely impacted Ethereum, while simultaneously running parallel to the Bitcoin blockchain. 

By way of example, one problem users on the Ethereum blockchain face is running out of “gas.” This means that transactions on its network often fizzle out, requiring that whatever currency paid to a user be returned to them. In other words, because there wasn’t enough energy to complete their transaction, it was canceled. Unfortunately, the fee for running this transaction still has to be paid.

Zen addresses this issue through proven resource bounds: a protocol for attaching to each contract a proof of how long it takes to run. This completely removes the need to monitor gas.

Key here is that smart contracts won’t allow a transaction to be sent without knowing how much computation it uses. This one feature alone makes Zen a noteworthy alternative to Ethereum and other smart contract platforms.  

With Zen miners now able to check how much computation transactions take to verify, they no longer have to run them in a virtual machine. Unlike competing platforms, Zen simply compiles its smart contracts to machine code, enabling them to run at native speed and greatly increasing transaction throughput.

Zen has implemented a system called “Multi Hash Mining” which distributes mining rewards to several hashing algorithms while giving users — that is, holders of the Zen native token — the power to vote on which hashing algorithms will receive the rewards. The company believes that this approach will result in a fairer and more equal engagement between miners and token holders, with all participants incentivized to cooperate.  

It should also be noted that, rather than being limited to the native Zen token, any asset in Zen can be used to pay transaction fees, including those created by contracts. This reduces complexity for consumers seeking to move around and pay fees in fiat currency. With Zen, all new assets can be utilized by any existing or future contract. 

Zen Protocol’s Push Forward 

The core team at Zen protocol started working together in 2014 in the blockchain space and, after years of research, began development of the Zen Protocol in June 2016. 

“Our driving motivation in creating Zen is the belief that people have a right to own their financial assets, and we feel a responsibility to provide people with the necessary tools to empower themselves,” said CEO Adam Perlow. 

Perlow noted that rather than be exposed to counterparty risk, most individuals use financial institutions as trusted intermediaries. He says that these financial institutions facilitate the majority of economic transactions.  

The model employed by Zen Protocol overcomes the ability of financial institutions to limit people’s freedom to transact, providing an alternative way of accessing financial products and controlling risk.   

Perlow believes that Zen Protocol’s approach follows from some simple premises. 

“These premises are the need for increased security — provided by formal verification and a secure execution context, the need for real utility — provided, for example, by oracles, and the need for better governance [by multi hash mining],” he said. "In the long term, we think Zen provides people with a ‘Swiss bank’ in their pocket, allowing them to make use of cryptographic advancements to create, trade and store conventional financial assets such as stocks, bonds and derivatives over a decentralized network." 

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The post Zen Protocol Advances Smart Contracts for Financial Services appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 November 2017 | 8:29 am

Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System

Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System

Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab unveiled Polys, a secure online voting system based on blockchain technology and backed with transparent crypto algorithms, at the company’s annual Cybersecurity Weekend event in Dublin.

“[Online] voting imposes extremely stringent requirements on the security of every aspect of voting,” notes the Polys website. “We believe that the blockchain technology is the missing link in the architecture of a viable online voting system.”

“In our Kaspersky Lab Business Incubator we’re supporting both internal and external teams in developing bright ideas and technologies, which can be implemented in various areas where safety and security are important,” said Vartan Minasyan, Head of Investment and Innovation at Kaspersky Lab.

“One such area is online voting and, when exploring the possible implementations of blockchain in particular, our team realized that this technology combined with the company’s cybersecurity expertise could solve key problems related to the privacy, transparency and security of online voting. We’re excited that we have been able to create a suitable environment for this internal innovation.”

Kaspersky Lab released a beta version of Polys, intended to get early feedback and iteratively develop an operational voting system that, according to the company, “will change the way people vote.”

At the moment, Polys offers a free web-based dashboard to create an online vote with two options: majority vote, in which the option that gets the majority of votes wins, and cumulative vote, in which the voter has multiple votes that can be given to a single option or divided among several options. Cumulative voting is often used, for example, for committee elections where voters can support more than one candidate.

Once a vote has been created on the Polys dashboard, the administrators can choose how to accept votes. Currently supported options are email, unique codes, and public voting. In email voting, Polys sends an email to each voter with a secure voting link. In public voting, the voting link is open to everyone who can view it. A combination of online and offline voting can be implemented with secure codes, generated by Polys and sent to users in electronic or printed format, which enable users to vote using either personal devices or public computers in voting kiosks.

Polys will support a desktop app to create a vote and a mobile app to actually vote. Besides the free dashboard, Polys offers a paid version that supports white-labeling, re-branding and integration options.

According to Kaspersky Lab, a robust voting system should ensure voter anonymity, provide protection against trash votes, vote trafficking and voter coercion, and enable voters to check that their votes have been recorded in the blockchain. It’s also important to encrypt the voting results recorded in the blockchain, otherwise intermediate results could become available before voting ends, which is often against the law.

For now, votes can’t be changed by Polys or by the voters, but a Polys white paper suggests countering the threats of vote trafficking and coerced voting by enabling voters to change their votes without limitation.

The source code of Polys, based on Ethereum smart contracts, will be made available on GitHub. Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is leading Polys’s security development;  Parity Technologies, a company specialized in blockchain and peer-to-peer software for the decentralized web, will support the project’s blockchain development.

“Parity Technologies is excited to be involved with Polys as their platform of choice for such an innovative project,” said Jutta Steiner, co-founder of Parity Technologies. “Blockchain [technology] is increasingly being implemented by a vast number of industries, and we believe that decentralizing the voting procedure will ensure a fair process and create a high level of trust in the system.”

Kaspersky Lab proposes two typical use cases for Polys: early-adopting environments such as universities, where students and faculty will be able to informally vote for classes and student councils, and tech-oriented “future cities” that need new solutions for conducting formal elections with speed, reliability and trust.

It seems likely that blockchain-based online voting systems, including but not limited to Polys, will first find operational applications for informal, non-binding consultative voting in academia and similar environments. It’s worth noting that Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs), which can often be considered as demonstrators of future governance methods, have built-in voting systems based on blockchain technology, often implemented with Ethereum smart contracts.

Therefore, it seems plausible that blockchain-based voting could move to the “real” world of cities and governments. Once blockchain-based voting systems are able to demonstrate watertight security, they could address the challenge of counting errors and fraud in elections. It’s also worth noting that, while blockchain voting has its delays and costs, it could be much faster and cheaper than traditional voting systems. Blockchain voting could enable governments to implement direct democracy with frequent consultations on a wide range of political and social issues.

The post Kaspersky Lab and Parity Technologies Launch Blockchain-Based Voting System appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 November 2017 | 12:57 pm

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

Bitcoin reaches new all-time high: $ 3,000

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Bitcoin Trading Bots

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

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Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

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airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

Expedia to accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings

Posted on 12 June 2014 | 12:41 pm

November 18, 2017 -
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