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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

Non-Profits See Blockchain Vision, But Face Harsh Realities

Aid organizations bring significant resources and institutional muscle into the blockchain arena, but they also face unique hurdles to implementation.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 6:00 am

Bitcoin Exchanges Advise Caution as Scaling Proposals Collide - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Exchanges Advise Caution as Scaling Proposals Collide
CoinDesk
With a major inflection point for bitcoin just days away, some users are beginning to wonder about the safety of their holdings on major exchanges. At issue is that several scaling proposals are set to come to a head on or around August 1, and ...
Bitcoin Exchange BTCC Pledges Support for SegWit2X, Plans Contingency for Hard ForkCryptoCoinsNews

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 5:09 am

Bitcoin Exchanges Advise Caution as Scaling Proposals Collide

With a number of developer proposals set to collide in the coming days, exchanges are issuing policy updates for bitcoin users.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 5:00 am

Bitcoin swings as civil war looms - BBC News


BBC News

Bitcoin swings as civil war looms
BBC News
The value of the virtual currency Bitcoin has always been volatile. Even so, there has been particular turbulence in recent days as fears of a "civil war" among its adherents first grew and then subsided, although they have not gone away altogether. On ...
Segwit Reaches 80% of the Bitcoin Hashrate as Activation LoomsCryptoCoinsNews
Bitcoin Price Approaches US$2500 Amid Sudden UptrendThe Merkle
Bitcoin, Ethereum Bounce Back Hard To Reach $2400 and $240CoinTelegraph
99 Bitcoins (blog) -Live Bitcoin News -Forex News Now
all 42 news articles »

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 4:38 am

Indian IT Trade Association Sets up Blockchain Special Interest Group

A new special interest group has been formed in India to investigate and promote blockchain technology domestically.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 3:30 am

People Trust Cryptocurrencies over Gold, Says Wall Street 'Dean of Valuation'

A renowned finance expert has issued new comments on the valuation and possible impact of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Source

Posted on 20 July 2017 | 2:10 am

How can I buy bitcoin in the UK? - Telegraph.co.uk


Telegraph.co.uk

How can I buy bitcoin in the UK?
Telegraph.co.uk
The price of bitcoin has been surging in recent months. Compared to the start of the year, it has more than doubled, and has risen 250 per cent in the last year. Bitcoin is famously volatile - few can predict with any certainty where it will go from ...

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 11:31 pm

Why bodegas should think twice before allowing for bitcoin ATMs - New York Post


New York Post

Why bodegas should think twice before allowing for bitcoin ATMs
New York Post
It's well known that digital currencies like bitcoin can be used for illicit things such as money laundering. That is, it seems to be common knowledge to everyone except the operators of the small grocery stores that are allowing bitcoin, the original ...

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 10:01 pm

Why Ethereum Is Much More Valuable Than Bitcoin: SoFi CEO - Fortune


Fortune

Why Ethereum Is Much More Valuable Than Bitcoin: SoFi CEO
Fortune
As lending startup SoFi expands from student loans to full-service banking, it is also venturing into one of the trendiest areas among big Wall Street banks at the moment: blockchain. Yet while Bitcoin, the original blockchain, commands the lion's ...
SoFi CEO Picks Ethereum Over BitcoinCoinTelegraph

all 28 news articles »

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 4:46 pm

Bill Miller, Josh Brown are the latest Wall Street pros to test the bitcoin waters - CNBC


CNBC

Bill Miller, Josh Brown are the latest Wall Street pros to test the bitcoin waters
CNBC
Some well-known names in the financial industry are buying bitcoin, and more could come. First, investing legend Bill Miller put 1 percent of his net worth into bitcoin in 2014, according to a Forbes report Tuesday. The digital currency is one of the ...

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 3:47 pm

Texas Congressman: Cryptocurrenices Must Not Enable Terrorists

A Texas Congressman is seeking to make public his views on cryptocurrency regulation following a hearing in Washington.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 11:06 am

Bitcoin may have reached a tipping point, now that 'Downtown' Josh Brown just invested - MarketWatch


MarketWatch

Bitcoin may have reached a tipping point, now that 'Downtown' Josh Brown just invested
MarketWatch
Brown's bitcoin dalliance comes as digital currencies broadly are drawing a wave of mainstream attention from average Janes and Joshes to heavy hitters like Abigail Johnson, the chief executive officer of Fidelity Investments. Johnson told attendees at ...
South African Central Bank To Start Bitcoin Regulation ExperimentCoinTelegraph
India Plans to Include KYC Norms for Bitcoin Transactions - NewsBTCnewsBTC
Reserve Bank to begin testing Bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulationsBusinessTech

all 8 news articles »

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 10:44 am

Research Finds Design Flaws in Scaling Proposal Bitcoin Unlimited

New research has provided a rare academic lens to the conversation on how to best scale bitcoin's technology for more users.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 7:45 am

Building a Blockchain Strategy? Deloitte's CTO Has Advice For You

CoinDesk goes in-depth with the CTO of professional services giant Deloitte to discover new details about its global blockchain strategy.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 7:05 am

Behind on Bitcoin Drama? A (Short) History of Scaling

Feeling lost in the bitcoin scaling discussion? CoinDesk provides a selection of must-read content to quickly bring you up to speed.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 6:00 am

Exchange Trade Group: Jurisdiction is Challenging DLT Adoption

A new report by a global industry association for securities exchanges focuses on blockchain adoption issues among its members.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 5:00 am

CoinDash ICO Hacker Nets Additional Ether as Theft Tops $10 Million

Money continues to trickle into an ethereum address compromised during an initial coin offering by a startup called CoinDash.

Source

Posted on 19 July 2017 | 3:30 am

The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node, Half Work of Art

The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node and Half Work of Art

Bitcoin is a decentralized system of digital cash in which users don’t need to trust anyone else with their money; however, the full benefits of this technology are only seen when users operate a full node on the network. The vast majority of Bitcoin users do not operate their own full nodes, but one man is trying to change that with a piece of hardware he calls the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr.

There are many good reasons for individual Bitcoiners to operate a full node. Full nodes are responsible for validating transactions and blocks on the Bitcoin network. Only by running full nodes can users know with full certainty that they received a valid payment. Additionally, the more users that run full nodes, the more decentralized the Bitcoin network is, making it harder to shut down or corrupt.

And as Sia Co-Founder David Vorick pointed out in a talk at this year’s MIT Bitcoin Expo, those who do not operate their own full nodes do not get a say in the matter when hard forks are deployed on the network. “If you’re not running a full node … your opinion on whether or not you like a hard fork is less relevant because, ultimately, if you’re not validating the rules and someone gives you a transaction following a different rule set, you don’t have a way to detect that,” he explained.

Running a full node, however, has been a rather expensive proposition. As a result, larger, economically invested entities that are better able to support full nodes have had more of a say.

According to Vorick, users can be dragged along with miners and large businesses if the cost of running a full node is too high: “If full nodes are expensive to run, only people who are capable of running nodes really have any say in what happens in a contentious upgrade.”

Matthew Zipkin is the man behind the Bitcoin Block Clock. A sound engineer by trade, he has been working in his spare time on creating full nodes that are both affordable and fun to use. During a recent discussion with Bitcoin Magazine, Zipkin revealed his desire to create a piece of hardware for operating a low-cost Bitcoin full node that isn’t boring.

A Bitcoin Full Node That Isn’t Boring

When commenting on his reasoning for creating the Bitcoin Block Clock, Zipkin pointed to the full node devices made by Bitnodes before they were acquired by 21.

“I always wanted one, but they disappeared when they got bought out, so I decided to build my own,” said Zipkin.

While there are other full node options out there, such as Bitseed, Zipkin wanted to make something that was more than a piece of computer hardware that would sit on the floor next to a router. Zipkin wanted to turn a Bitcoin full node into a work of art, and that’s exactly what he did.

Zipkin built the first version of the Bitcoin Block Clock last year, and it was on display at the SF Bitcoin Meetup’s “Proof of Art” event in May of 2016. After receiving positive feedback at the event and on Reddit, Zipkin decided to make a smaller version of the full node hardware to sell.

The Bitcoin Block Clock included a screen that displayed various live information about the Bitcoin network. Zipkin put the original version of the Bitcoin Block Clock for sale on OpenBazaar and Purse.io, but it hasn’t sold.

“I priced it pretty high because it’s art and I love it and kind of want to keep it,” explained Zipkin. “So of course it still has not sold.”

Creating the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. With Bcoin

In an effort to create a version of the Bitcoin Block Clock that could be produced at a lower price, Zipkin turned to Raspberry Pi Zero and Bcoin, which is an implementation of the Bitcoin protocol written in Node.js.

“I discovered Bcoin was super easy to install and use, and the codebase was easier for me to review because it’s in Javascript instead of C++, and was built from scratch by a small group of developers (basically just two guys), so everything is really well labeled and consistent,” explained Zipkin.

Of course, the problem with using SPV mode is that it’s not a full node and the device won’t receive all of the information related to a new Bitcoin block as it’s mined on the network. Zipkin opted for the pruned full node option in Bcoin in an effort to lower the system resources required to operate the node on Raspberry Pi Zero.

“With pruning, I get all the fun block details I wanted to display,” said Zipkin. “I even submitted a pull request (which got merged!) to Bcoin to make my application work even easier.”

Zipkin described the LED displays on the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. as follows:

“The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. has two LED rings. The outer ring of 24 LEDs indicates recent blocks. Each LED represents 2 minutes, and they “tick” clockwise around the ring. The color of the LED is determined by the block’s version (BIP 9 version bits combined with keywords from the Coinbase scriptSig like “/EXTBLK” or “/EB1/AD6/”). The inner 16-LED ring indicates the progress of the current difficulty period (2,016 blocks, or about two weeks). It starts blue and gradually turns more and more red as the meter fills up. The tiny little display screen indicates some details about the latest block: height, size, version (and extra scriptSig version) and the adjustment period progress. I added a little web interface so I could turn the lights off at night without having to SSH into the Pi every time.”

front-back

An Economical Way to Contribute to the Network

While Zipkin noted that the original Bitcoin Block Clock displays much more information and also comes with full wallet functionality, he also pointed out that the latest model proves that Bitcoin users only need about $20 to run their own full nodes (at least in pruned mode).

Having said that, Zipkin admitted that the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. can struggle to keep up with the network at times.

“Bcoin plus my Python script and all the GPIO display output just barely hangs in there on this tiny underpowered computer,” said Zipkin. “The Python script has a method to restart Bcoin when it crashes and monitor it as it catches up to the network.”

All of the technical details of the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. are open source and can be found on GitHub.

Zipkin has now placed the Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. for sale on OpenBazaar and Purse.io.

The post The Bitcoin Block Clock Jr. Is Half Full Node, Half Work of Art appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 3:17 pm

Will Miners Signal? Bitcoin's Next Segwit2x Lock-in Period Starts Today

A bitcoin scaling proposal is close to enact the Segregated Witness upgrade as step one of its larger roadmap.

Source

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 2:35 pm

150 Members: Indian Government, Mastercard Join Enterprise Ethereum Alliance

A state government in India, Mastercard and Cisco are among 34 new members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance.

Source

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 1:29 pm

Cryptocurrency Market Crosses $80 Billion As Ether, Bitcoin Prices Gain

The cryptocurrency markets were once again above $80bn on Tuesday after spending much of the weekend in the red.

Source

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 10:45 am

This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions

This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions

Samourai Wallet is becoming increasingly popular as a wallet that focuses on privacy and security for its users above all else, but a recent tool released by this wallet’s team of developers has a focus on user experience. The new app, called Bitcoin Afterburner, allows users of many different bitcoin wallets to boost transactions that have become stuck due to low fees.

The app works for transactions that have been sent or received, and it is compatible with all BIP 39 and BIP 44 wallets. Examples of compatible wallets include Mycelium, Blockchain.info, Airbitz and Electrum.

To get more details about Bitcoin Afterburner and the concept of fee bumping in general, Bitcoin Magazine reached out to the anonymous CEO of Samourai Wallet.

“Afterburner is one more example of how we are experimenting and developing ways of monetizing our business without resorting to accepting fiat or exposing our users to harmful KYC/AML collection,” said the CEO.

Samourai Wallet monetizes the Bitcoin Afterburner app by adding a $5.99 fee for helping users with their stuck transactions. This fee is added to the child-pays-for-parent (CPFP) transaction that is used to bump the user’s bitcoin transaction fee. CPFP is a process by which the recipient of a transaction can spend the inputs of an unconfirmed transaction by using them in a new transaction that has a higher fee (and incentivizes miners to mine both transactions at once).

The full question and answer session with the CEO of Samourai Wallet can be read below.


Bitcoin Magazine: Will fee bumping eventually become the norm on Bitcoin?

Samourai Wallet: We believe that over time as legitimate transactions start to fill block space, and a fee market begins to mature, wallets that have implemented sophisticated fee management mechanisms such as fee bumping will provide their users with the most competitive transaction fees and confirmation times. The tech is there today, the challenge — and it isn't a small challenge — is entirely UX. We're working on this today while others are playing catch-up.

BM: Could you compare and contrast this app with the transaction accelerators offered by ViaBTC and BTC.com?

SW: The difference between the miner operated TX Accelerators is that Afterburner is not an off-chain 1-to-1 with a specific miner. Instead, Afterburner broadcasts a bitcoin transaction to all miners using the standard bitcoin p2p network. All the miners on the network compete for the new transaction with the higher fee, meaning it often works much quicker than the miner operated TX Accelerators. Afterburner was very much a defensive response to the miners who have been blocking SegWit activation and broadcasting empty blocks, some of those same miners are the ones who run the TX Accelerators.

BM: Is Bitcoin Afterburner getting much use so far?

SW: Afterburner has a good number of installs, but not many paid 'Boosts.' A few days after we released Afterburner the transaction backlog that was driving up fees and confirmation times completely dried up. The fees required for next block confirmation dropped from 300 sat/b to 25 sat/b. Once the mempool gets saturated again, we will have a much better idea of the potential utility of the app.

BM: Why do you think more wallet providers don’t offer this sort of service?

SW: Many wallet providers — inexplicably the most well-funded ones are the most guilty — haven't invested any time into proper fee estimation and management until very recently. A misguided industry-driven quest to make the bitcoin wallet for “grandma” resulted in an unusable bitcoin wallet for actual users. Samourai has focused from inception on actual bitcoin users first.

BM: Do you think this sort of fee bumping will eventually be free? Does Samourai Wallet offer fee bumping like this natively or do they need to use this separate app?

SW: Samourai Wallet provides the exact same functionality as Afterburner natively. Afterburner was designed to allow users of any other BIP 44 HD wallet to boost their stuck transaction using CPFP (Child-Pays-for-Parent) under the hood. Hopefully they move over to Samourai Wallet if they are satisfied with the service. In addition to CPFP-based boosting more advanced users may opt-in to RBF-based boosting which is also available in the wallet. Both options are available to Samourai Wallet users free of charge.

The post This New Tool Can Help Bitcoin Users Deal With Stuck Transactions appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 9:48 am

Bitcoin soars as miners finally move to solve the digital currency's scaling problem - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin soars as miners finally move to solve the digital currency's scaling problem
CNBC
Several of the largest bitcoin miners (who create new bitcoins and support the blockchain), including AntPool, BitClub, Bixin, BTC.com and BitFury, have started showing their support for bitcoin improvement proposal (BIP) 91, by adding a piece of code ...
Bitcoin is on a tear amid signs that its civil war is coming to an endBusiness Insider
Bitcoin Jumps After First Solution to Major Ideological DivideBloomberg
Will Miners Signal? Bitcoin's Next Segwit2x Lock-in Period Starts TodayCoinDesk
CoinTelegraph -Futurism -CryptoCoinsNews
all 26 news articles »

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 8:16 am

What Could Happen to Bitcoin? A Visual Guide to Scaling Outcomes

With bitcoin poised for a number of possible code changes this summer, CoinDesk offers a visual guide to potential paths forward.

Source

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 8:15 am

Blockchain Startup ArabianChain Nets $817k from New Investor

A UAE-based public blockchain startup has received $817,000 in funding from a private investor.

Source

Posted on 18 July 2017 | 7:00 am

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Ether Price Analysis: Are We Heading to $100 Support Level?

Ether Price Analysis

As anticipated in the last ETH-USD price analysis, ETH-USD found a new low yesterday as the market continued its downward path within a cryptomarket-wide bear run. After making a Double Bottom a couple of weeks ago, ETH-USD has made a vicious run for lower prices. The figure below shows the Fibonacci Retracement values for our current, post-Double-Bottom-Reversal:

Post_DB_Reversal_Fib_jpeg.jpgFigure 1: ETH-USD, 2HR Candles, Gemini, Fibonacci Retracement Values

At the time of this article, ETH-USD is testing the first Fibonacci Retracement value at 23%. Before continuing to lower lows, it is very common to see retests of previous, significant support levels to establish the strength in the trend. The figure above shows the retracement path of the current bear run we are seeing. Before continuing to lower lows, the market likes to establish lines that were previously support values, and turn them into resistance lines:

Fib_Retest_jpeg.jpgFigure 2: ETH-USD, 2HR Candles, Gemini, Fibonacci Retracement Retests

Whether or not we make any significant upward progress with this bounce from the bottom remains to be seen. However, we have some indicators that will give us some insight into the health of this move:

1HR_Divergence_jpeg.jpgFigure 3: ETH-USD, 1HR Candles, Gemini, 1HR MACD Divergence

Looking at the 1HR MACD, one of the first things that pops out is the strong divergence the market is currently seeing. Divergence occurs when the price makes a new high, but the MACD fails to accompany the high with a new high on the MACD histogram. This is usually an indication of momentum loss and can often lead traders to begin the process of position exit and entry. In our case, we are currently testing two significant levels of support:

  1. The 23% retracement (mentioned above);

  2. The values that established the ETH-USD market’s previous low.

At the moment, the ETH-USD markets are at the mercy of whatever BTC-USD decides to do. Given that the entire cryptomarket is experiencing a very strong bear market, any noteworthy upward price movement must be well established with plenty of consistent volume. A failure to breach these values will almost certainly lead to a retest of our current low before any further upward progress can be seen. If our current low is broken, we can expect the next significant level of support to lie in the low $100 range:

Next_line_of_support_jpeg.jpgFigure 4: ETH-USD, 12HR Candles, Gemini, Next Line of Support

Summary:

  1. ETH-USD continues to make new lows as it begins to retest old support lines,

  2. Before any significant positive price movement is seen, more buy volume needs to flow into the market to establish firm support. Otherwise, we will continue to descend.

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 Ether Price Analysis: Are We Heading to $100 Support Level? appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 July 2017 | 4:23 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: This Bear Still Has Some Bite Left in It

Bitcoin Price Analysis

In just a few short days, the BTC-USD price dropped nearly $700 in value in a move that consequently managed to drop the entire crypto-market by almost 25 percent:

market_capFigure 1: BTC-USD Market Cap

Leading up to this weekend’s drop in BTC-USD price, several previous BTC-USD market breakdowns (click here and here for details) tracked the progress of a massive Head and Shoulders Pattern. The estimated price target of the Head and Shoulders pattern left the previous market value of $2,400 poised to drop steeply to $1,800. If you are reading this article, you are probably wondering what the heck just happened and if the carnage is going to continue ...

First, let’s take a look at how the market reacted to the completion of this Head and Shoulders pattern and then extrapolate what that may mean for the overall trend of BTC-USD. The figure below shows the key support levels that were broken during the fall this weekend:

BTC_Macro_HS_Support_Lvls_jpg.jpgFigure 2: BTC-USD, 6-hr Candles, GDAX, Head and Shoulders Key Support Levels

After the initial breakout of the Head and Shoulders, the price took a steep plunge downward. Ultimately, after several days of a strong bear market (and several significant support levels broken), we reached our price target of $1,800 before bouncing and beginning the process of retesting crucial support (now turned resistance) levels:

BTCUSD_HS_Breakthrough_jpeg.jpgFigure 3: BTC-USD, 6-hr Candles, GDAX, Broken Support Levels

With very little effort, the BTC-USD market managed to reach its price target and appears to be making a recovery — but is this a fake-out? Are we bouncing back to our previous trend? Not likely. Below are some of the more glaring reasons why I think this bear still has some bite left in it.

On the higher timescales, BTC-USD is actually showing strength in downward momentum of this move. No MACD divergence (loss in market momentum) is visible. The lack of macro-trend divergence indicates that the market still has plenty of downward pull left in it before it strongly begins to resist the lower prices.

BTCUSD_No_Diverg_jpeg.jpgFigure 4: BTC-USD, 12-hr Candles, GDAX, No Divergence

On a smaller, one-hour scale, the market is strongly diverging in a bearish fashion. Although the market had a decent rebound off the bottom of the recent run, it is quickly losing steam (indicated by the divergence shown on the 1-hr MACD and labeled in pink). Not only is it diverging on the 1-hr MACD, across the length of the bear run, the market doesn’t seem comfortable maintaining the downward momentum across multiple bearish/bullish periods (shown in yellow):

BTCUSD_1HR_jpeg.jpgFigure 5: BTC-USD, 1-hr Candles, GDAX, 1HR Bearish Divergence

It’s nearly impossible to predict the true bottom of a sustained bear or bull market, so it is very important to keep an eye on the market and constantly update your perspective. At the moment, there are several indicators that BTC-USD has a sustained bear market in its future. And, as we’ve seen over the course of several weeks: what brings Bitcoin down brings everyone down.

Summary:

  1. The Head and Shoulders pattern predicted in previous articles completed its price target of $1,800.

  2. There are multiple signs that the BTC-USD bear market still has downward momentum left in it.

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: This Bear Still Has Some Bite Left in It appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 July 2017 | 1:47 pm

Bitcoin Miners Miss the First BIP 148 “Deadline”

Bitcoin Miners Miss the First BIP 148 “Deadline”

Bitcoin miners at large have missed the first BIP 148 “deadline” to prevent a “split” in Bitcoin’s blockchain.

As Bitcoin’s scaling dispute appears to be heading for a climax, the next couple of weeks could prove pivotal. One scaling solution in particular, Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 148 (“BIP 148”), is scheduled to trigger activation of Segregated Witness (SegWit) on August 1, 00:00 UTC. As a User Activated Soft Fork (UASF), all users that run a BIP 148 node will then start rejecting any and all blocks that do not signal support for SegWit by the “deadline” — or, perhaps more accurately, “ultimatum” — set by BIP 148 users.

BIP 148 and SegWit are backward-compatible protocol upgrades, which means that non-upgraded nodes will still accept SegWit-signaling and SegWit-utilizing blocks. Therefore, if a majority of hash power in one way or another adopts SegWit before August 1, all current Bitcoin nodes would follow the same blockchain.

However, if only a minority of miners activates SegWit through BIP 148, Bitcoin’s blockchain and currency would “split” in two. This would result in two types of “Bitcoin”: one that activated BIP 148 and one that did not, while even more types of “Bitcoin” could emerge as a result. A split between BIP148-nodes and non-BIP148 nodes would last at least until a majority of hash power joins the BIP 148 chain, or until the BIP 148 chain is abandoned by all users and miners for good.

Miners essentially have three options to avoid such a split. This first option was to lock in SegWit before August 1 through the activation mechanism proposed by Bitcoin Core and implemented in many nodes on the network. This required 95 percent of hash power to signal support for the upgrade within a two-week difficulty period. Specifically, such a difficulty period consists of 2,016 of these sequential blocks, which means that a minimum of 1,916 blocks must signal support. Or, in other words, if more than 100 blocks — at least 101 of them — do not signal support for SegWit within a single difficulty period that ends before August 1, this BIP 148 deadline is missed.

Ignoring extreme statistical deviations or other unexpected events, the final difficulty period to end before August 1 started on Friday (UTC). And out of the first day and a half worth of blocks within this difficulty period, only about half of them signaled support for Segregated Witness. This means that the threshold of 101 blocks not signaling support has now been reached.

With two more BIP 148 deadlines ahead, the first one was probably also the most likely to be missed. Its threshold was the hardest of the three to achieve as it required the highest level of hash rate to succeed. Additionally, a large majority of miners (by hash power) indicates that they will activate SegWit through BIP 91 instead. This is the next BIP 148 deadline.

This next deadline will be on July 29. This is the last day that BIP 91 can activate in time to be compatible with BIP 148. In order to do so, 80 percent of hash power must have signaled support for SegWit2x within 2 1/3 days. As such, miners should at the very latest start signaling support for BIP 91 on the 26th of July. Though like the now-missed BIP141 deadline, which is technically not until August 31, the BIP 91 deadline could actually be either missed or met before July 29 as well.

If this next BIP 91 deadline is missed too, miners will have one more chance to avoid a “split.” A majority of hash power would have to activate SegWit through BIP 148 itself by August 1, 00:00 UTC. Alternatively, a majority of hash power could switch to the BIP 148 chain even after August 1 to reunite both chains, but this will likely cause significant disruption on the Bitcoin network(s), and potentially a loss of funds for users not aware of the risks.

For more information on how to keep your bitcoins safe during a potential coin-split, click here.

The post Bitcoin Miners Miss the First BIP 148 “Deadline” appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 July 2017 | 6:43 am

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AlphaBay Shut Down by Law Enforcement, Admin Commits Suicide in Jail

AlphaBay Shut Down by Law Enforcement, Admin Commits Suicide in Jail

AlphaBay, the most popular marketplace on the dark web, shut down on July 4. At first, many of the users suspected an exit scam; however, it has since become clear that law enforcement has taken down the underground market. According to the Wall Street Journal, an international police action took place in the United States, Thailand and Canada.

On July 5, law enforcement in Thailand arrested Alexandre Cazes, 26, a Canadian citizen who is believed to be one of the operators of AlphaBay. On the same day, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) executed a search warrant at a residence in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, where a high-technology crime unit seized computer equipment.

Melissa Sweeney, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, stated Cazes was taken into custody by Thai authorities “with a view toward extradition to face federal criminal charges in the United States.” According to the Wall Street Journal, it wasn’t immediately clear whether the defendant had legal representation.

On Wednesday, Cazes was found hanged in his prison cell at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau in Bangkok, Thailand. The death of the alleged AlphaBay operator was confirmed by a spokeswoman for Canada’s foreign affairs department on Thursday. However, she declined to comment further on the case due to privacy reasons.

According to the Bangkok Post, the body of Cazes was found by a duty officer who noticed a towel hanging from the toilet door in his cell. When the officer entered the cell, where the suspect was held alone, he found Cazes dead. Authorities believe the suspect used the towel to hang himself.

Cazes had been living in Thailand with his wife for eight years, working as a computer programmer. The Criminal Court in Thailand issued a warrant for the suspect’s arrest on June 30 at the request of U.S. law enforcement authorities. According to the Bangkok Post, during the arrest on July 5 in the Thawi Watthana district of Bangkok, investigators seized four Lamborghini cars and three houses worth approximately 400 million baht in total (nearly $12 million).

AlphaBay was founded in December 2014, taking the place of the Silk Road Marketplace, which was seized by the FBI in October 2013. Andrei Barysevich, a director at the threat intelligence company Recorded Future Inc., told the Wall Street Journal that AlphaBay not only focused on the sale of drugs, but also allowed the advertising of products and services that other underground markets banned, such as stolen credit card numbers and online fraud tutorials. The researcher stated that AlphaBay sold more than $5 million worth of stolen credit card information in the first half of 2017 alone.

Nicolas Christin, an associate research professor at Carnegie Mellon University studying underground marketplaces, said the total sales on AlphaBay had an average of $600,000 to $800,000 a day. That means the marketplace earned millions of dollars in commissions every year.

Some users on the /r/DarkNetMarkets subreddit blamed the vulnerabilities of AlphaBay for the shutdown of the website.

“An AB vulnerability leading to an IP leak or other de-anonymization issue would not be a surprise — how many bugs were there over the years reported here [in the subreddit]? Seemed like PMs were leaked every couple months ... And for every bug you see, there’s a dozen you don’t. I started being surprised a long time ago that AB was still around outliving so many apparently better-run DNMs, having neither exit-scammed nor been hacked nor been raided. Perhaps its time was simply up,” Gwern, an independent researcher, wrote.

The post AlphaBay Shut Down by Law Enforcement, Admin Commits Suicide in Jail appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 July 2017 | 12:37 pm

Adding Some Fun and Games to Bitcoin Scaling Debate Angst

Adding Some Fun and Games to Bitcoin Scaling Angst

If you’re good at puzzles and familiar with the world of Bitcoin, you may be interested in signing up for the second round of the CoinGate Bitcoin Challenge, starting Saturday, July 15 at 6 p.m. UTC.

CoinGate, the Lithuanian-based bitcoin and altcoin payment center, is holding its second Bitcoin Challenge to highlight the history and benefits of Bitcoin as their response to the ongoing contentious scaling debate.

Like many in the Bitcoin space, CoinGate CTO Rytis Bieliauskas is watching with some concern and hoping bitcoiners will come back to their roots and remember the origins and original intentions of bitcoin founders.

Every two weeks throughout the summer, CoinGate is publishing a challenge related to Bitcoin and blockchain history. Solving the puzzles quickly requires some knowledge and skill, but mostly the challenges are designed to be “geeky fun” for anyone involved with Bitcoin to some degree.

On Saturday, contestants can register and access a number of challenges of varying degrees of difficulty on CoinGate’s website and on /r/Bitcoin here.

In preparation for the second contest, the Reddit thread is a good source of examples with answers from the last challenge, which began on July 1.

During the July 1st challenge, there was considerable discussion on Reddit among contestants.

“We were really surprised that participants started sharing their thoughts on our Reddit thread, even though there was only one prize for each riddle,” the Coingate team told Bitcoin Magazine. “And so all the riddles were solved and prizes snapped up within just 3 hours.

“Our team is really happy with the results and the number of participants [the challenge] attracted. All in all, we logged over 800 attempts and more than 600 people who were up to solve the tasks in a matter of several hours.”

Contestants received a series of puzzles to choose from, leading to a Bitcoin private key and the address for a wallet containing BTC.

Three challenges of varying difficulty were launched at once, with the most difficult taking from 4-6 hours to solve. As is evident on the Reddit comments, some found the puzzles baffling while a few seemed more than ready for the challenge.

In one puzzle, for example, contestants were given a grid of four CoinGate logos that seemed identical. A private key was hidden in the image and the participants had to figure out what was hidden and assemble the private key leading to the reward.

Most of the puzzles involve steganography — extracting of the meaning of a secret message hidden within an ordinary message.

Some of the solutions will provide a private key, while some others will provide another method to retrieve bitcoins, for example in the form of a wallet “seed.”

The end goal of each challenge is to get access to a Bitcoin address by finding its private key (or otherwise). Depending on the difficulty of the challenge, that address will contain a reward of 0.01 to 0.1 BTC. (The prize will be sent to a Bitcoin address just before the challenge.)

CoinGate: On SegWit and UASF

CoinGate CTO Rytis Bieliauskas told Bitcoin Magazine:

“CoinGate is seeking to attract people back to the basics of Bitcoin and blockchain [technology]. Having been involved in the Bitcoin world since 2011, we deeply love the original blockchain and we strongly believe that consensus [on scaling] will be reached.”

Bieliauskas is concerned about the direction Bitcoin is taking and is asking Bitcoiners to remember what the original essence and intent of Bitcoin was.

Bieliauskas considers himself to be a Core supporter but is hopeful all parties involved will come to a consensus on how to scale Bitcoin.

On the CoinGate blog, he wrote:

“We strongly believe in a future for Bitcoin. As we have officially stated previously, our team strongly supports SegWit as the best Bitcoin scaling solution, and we therefore maintain a close eye on BIP148 (UASF).”

In an email from the CoinGate team, a representative explained: “We have officially expressed our support for SegWit and UASF back in April, though we have not made any comment on the SegWit2x as it was coined after the New York Agreement. We strongly support any scaling solution that will help Bitcoin grow and become accessible and useful to people across the globe.

“However, since we are involved with Bitcoin from its technical side, we know that a scaling solution must not only seem viable ‘on paper,’ but also undergo rigorous testing before it can be launched across the network.”

Regardless of what the future brings, CoinGate has expressed that it is here to stay:

“[W]hatever the changes in the Bitcoin landscape, our team is ready to adjust to any technological developments. In the end, our goal has always been to make cryptocurrencies accessible, simple and convenient for both businesses and individuals.”

CoinGate is a payment gateway/processor for bitcoin and more than 40 altcoins including Litecoin, Ethereum, Zcash, Monero, Dash, Ripple and Golem. According to CoinGate, it is not an exchange because although the site offers customers ways to buy and sell bitcoins, it does not connect customers to each other.

Those interested in applying to play can sign up here.

The post Adding Some Fun and Games to Bitcoin Scaling Debate Angst appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 July 2017 | 9:09 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 »

Posted on 8 November 2016 | 6:20 pm

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Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

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

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

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

Bitcoin Core version 0.9.1 released

Posted on 8 April 2014 | 4:27 pm

July 20, 2017 -
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