Category Archive : Bitcoin

Convicted Silk Road Founder, Ross Ulbricht, Predicts $100,000 Bitcoin In 2020 & An Interview with His Mother Lyn

Ross Ulbricht, founder of infamous dark web, predicts a $100,000 bitcoin price in 2020. Ulbricht is currently serving two life sentences plus 40 years without the possibility of parole after being found guilty on charges of money laundering, computer hacking, conspiray to traffic fraudulent documents, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.

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Winklevoss Capital, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, and Polychain Capital Back Bitcoin Mining as Digital Flare Mitigation Services

Crusoe Energy Systems, which converts natural gas to energy-intensive computing from its Denver base, has landed capital to build a new bitcoin mining facility.

The company plans to install 70 units next year, each having a capacity of about 1 megawatt (MW). Chase Lochmiller, Crusoe CEO, told Bloomberg in an interview on Saturday that Crusoe raised $70 million in fresh capital to fund its projects.

The new capital comes from two rounds, including $30 million in equity funding and $40 million in project financing. Bain Capital Ventures, already an invstor in Crusoe, KCK Group, Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, Winklevoss Capital, and Polychain Capital took part in the fundraising. New York-based credit fund Upper90 led the $40 million round. Read More

Shipping Containers Housing Bitcoin Mining Equipment Topple During Colorado Gale

Shipping containers housing bitcoin mining machines topped over amid high winds. Those containers, which are stacked four high, fell amid high winds on Nov. 29 and 30.

“As you may know, a wall of shipping containers came crashing down at Bldg 1625 — 3G Venture II — during the high winds of this past Friday and Saturday, 29 & 30 November, 2019,” wrote Graham Becker in an email to officials with the city, Fire Department and Pikes Peak Regional Building Department. “Fortunately, as far as I know, no one was killed or injured. Very fortunate, indeed.” Read More

SEC: A Bitcoin ETF Approval Forthcoming

Dalia Blass, the director of the Division of Investment Management at the Securities and Exchange Commission, says the agency could soon approve a Bitcoin ETF.

The unlisted, closed-end interval fund will not provide daily redemptions nor be subject to considerable and unexpected liquidity demands during short periods, she commented during a keynote speech for the iCI Securities Law Development Conference. Read More

Court Upholds Nordea Bank’s Ban on Employee Bitcoin Purchases

Nordea, a Danish Bank, won a court case allowing it to prevent staff from buying Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Nordea first banned its employees from owning bitcoin in January 2018, after which Danish finance and workers’ rights figures threatened legal action. Read More

New Bitcoin Exchange Traded Product Launches on Switzerland ‘s SIX Stock Exchange

New York-based WisdomTree launched a new bitcoin exchange traded product (ETP) on Switzerland’s SIX stock exchange. This product, which is physically backed by crypto, will compete on SIX with Amun AG’s similarly-designed bitcoin ETP, and is settled in the underlying asset.

WisdomTree, which has provided gold-based ETPs in Europe since 2003, said its Bitcoin ETP provides investors, “a simple, secure and cost-efficient way to gain exposure to Bitcoin while utilising the best of traditional financial infrastructure and product structuring.” Under the WBTC ticker, it is listed at a total expense ratio of 0.95%. Read More

German Bundestag Approves New Law So Banks Can Sell And Custody Bitcoin

German banks will begin to offer the sale and storage of cryptocurrencies under new legislation. The banks had been barred from offering direct access to crypto assets.

The new law, which was written in the fourth EU Money Laundering Directive, rewrites this starting in 2020. Reported by Handelsblatt on Wednesday, the German federal parliament, the Bundestag, passed the bill, which will likely be signed by the nation’s sixteen states. Read More

How Bad is Bitcoin Mining for the Environment? New Research Suggests Not So Bad.

Bitcoin mining emissions were on par with Estonia, suggesting that the climate change impact of the first digital asset is less than previously reported. Furthermore, the research seems to suggest that where Bitcoin is mined contributes to how much carbon Bitcoin emits. With so much of the mining being done in China, one might wonder if that country’s infrastructure is more to blame than Bitcoin. Read More

Bitcoin Price Falls to Lowest Level Since May

The Bitcoin price fell to $6,558.14 on Monday before rebounding on Tuesday. Now at its lowest level since May, Bitcoin has lost $3,000 in value one month after China cracked down on businesses involved in cryptocurrency operations. Bitcoin is currently trading at $7,222.12.

Bitcoin increased in price to $10,000 last month after Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke highly of blockchain technology, though there were no indications he included cryptocurrencies in that sentiment. Read More

Here’s Why Bitcoin Hasn’t Been Regulated Into Oblivion, According to Facebook’s Calibre Head

David Marcus is leading up Calibre, Facebook’s cryptocurrency project. As reported by CNBC, he said Wednesday that Bitcoin is digital gold, and not a good currency for transactions.

“I don’t think of Bitcoin as a currency,” Marcus told an audience at the New York Times DealBook Conference in New York. “It’s actually not a great medium of exchange because of its volatility. I see it as digital gold.” Read More

Chinese Bitcoin Miners Get Reprieve from CCP

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has removed crypto mining activities as an unwanted industry from its Industrial Structure Adjustment Guidance Catalog.

China has long been a mining leader in the crypto industry. As a world leader in computer hardware generally, the country was in a unique position to take lead the way when it came to mining bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. As in most hardware-intensive industries, the lion’s share of cryptocurrency mining hardware comes from China. Read More

Where’s All The Institutional Demand for Bitcoin Futures?

Bakkt futures and custodial exchange traded 50 BTC (~$400,000) in daily futures contracts during its second week of trading, a significant decline from its opening week, as reported by WSJ.

$5.8 million was traded on Bakkt, which was created by the Intercontinental Exchange, during its first week. The following week traders moved but $2 million. That is just $400,000 daily trading volume. Read More

Centrals Banks Issuing Digital Currency is Inevitable, says Federal Reserve President

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said on Wednesday it is “inevitable” that central banks will issue digital currency. He also said the United States should not be the nation to lead such a move. He had been asked about the Fed’s creation of “FedNow,” its own real-time payments system. The comments were first reported by Reuters.

“Frankly I don’t think we should be the first mover as a nation to do this,” Harker said at a St. Louis community banking conference. He noted the dollar’s status as world reserve currency and underscored the need for experimentation and tests when it comes to such technology. Read More

The Gap Between Cryptocurrency and Banking is Shrinking

The gap between cryptocurrency and the banking industry is shrinking.

For instance, Bitwala, a German crypto banking startup, has begun rolling out their mobile banking app. Users who own an Android or iOS device can begin experimenting with this new functionality. The services are available across the entire European Economic Area. Clients in 31 countries can obtain a German bank account which includes a Bitcoin wallet and trading support. The creation of an account takes just minutes, according to the company. This would make it on par with opening a traditional bank account in one’s own country. Read More

The Bitcoin Halving 2020 Might Have MASSIVE Implications for BTC Price

The Bitcoin halving is coming next year.

Bitcoin’s emission rate will be cut in half in 2020. This is known as a block reward halving. It is the third reward halving since Bitcoin was first introduced to the masses in 2009. Given the scarcity aspect of the world’s leading cryptocurrency, this reduced emission rate can have a significant impact on the price.

Historically speaking, block reward halvings are significant for Bitcoin. It helps reduce the amount of “new” BTC brought into circulation. At the current rate, 12.5 BTC is added to the supply every 10 minutes. Over the course of a day, that equals to 1,800 bitcoin, or $1,8 million at current prices. For a currency which is deemed to be scarce, there is still a lot of value being brought into circulation every day. Read More

Bitcoiners Sue Banks in Israel

Israeli banks are facing lawsuits brought by domestic cryptocurrency enthusiasts. A recent freedom of information request demonstrates how Bitcoin holders in the country want more clarity regarding bank policies on cryptocurrency trading. Most banks there, like in much of the world, are cautious when banking blockchain companies, which makes life difficult for enterprise businesses in the blockchain industry.

In recent years, Israel has become a hotbed for cryptocurrency activity. Increasingly, people aim to obtain cryptocurrency, and this is often done through a bank account. For Bitcoin enthusiasts, this proves to be rather problematic in the country.

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Bitcoin Futures Contracts Debut Next Month as SEC Delays Bitcoin ETF Decisions

The US Securities and Exchange Commission continues to delay its Bitcoin ETF decision on the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF Trust and the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust, while Bakkt claims its acquired a New York state trust charter through the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), enabling the company offer its physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts.

For the cryptocurrency community, the Bitwise and VanEck delays are nothing new. Rejection or approval of those investment vehicles will now have to wait until October 2019. Read More

A Closer Look at the Two Letters Bitcoin Users Received from the IRS

The IRS wants to learn about the transactions of Bitcoin users in the United States. Despite the perceived privacy of Bitcoin and alternative currencies, crypto users are not exempt from taxation.

Anyone who moved cryptocurrency through a centralized exchange are required by law to file their taxes properly. Just last year, the US government won a court order for CoinBase’s customer list. Read More

Japanese Bitcoin Exchange Suffers $32 Million Hack

A Bitcoin exchange in Tokyo halted services on July 12 and announced a major hack. Bitpoint, a Japan-based and licensed cryptocurrency exchange, was hacked for $32 million or $3.5 billion yen. Customers received an email alerting them to the fact that Bitpoint would cease all services while it investigates. Read More

Max Keiser: Bitcoin is a Risk-off Store of Value Safehaven

(GSB) GoldSilverBitcoin CEO Justin O’Connell interviewed Max Keiser briefly at Bitcoin 2019, a conference in San Francisco hosted by Bitcoin Magazine.

What is surprising, novel, ironic or controversial about Bitcoin in Q2 2019?

MK: I think it’s the recognition now by mainstream analysts and media that bitcoin represents a store of value. I think that story, which we’ve been talking about for years, seemed ludicrous a few years ago. But, more and more on the institutional level they’re getting to understand that this does represent a risk-off store of value safe haven. Read More

Bitcoin is Near $10,000

Bitcoin is poised to move beyond $10,000. At the time of writing, it currently sits at $9,922, and has already surpassed $10,000 on Chinese exchanges. Its record high is $19,666. Bitcoin is currently at its highest price since May 2018.

Bitcoin has tested the technical resistance set in April 2018 of $9,949, and the psychological resistance of $10,000 is next. Since April 1, Bitcoin is up 140 percent. Read More

How the Facebook Libra Announcement Affected Shares of Western Union, MoneyGram, PayPal & Square

Western Union shares declined Tuesday amid the Facebook announcement of its new cryptocurrency, Libra, which is supposed to be integrated with Facebook, and its subsidiary apps Instagram, WhatsApp, and more. Western Union, a legacy consumer-to-consumer money sending platform was among the worst performers on the S&P Index on Tuesday, as it fell 2.4%. It closed at $19.57 a share.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra is supported by a legion of well-known companies from both within the crypto industry and outside of it, including payment companies like Visa, Mastercard and PayPal. Blockchain companies involve Coinbase, Xapo and others. The cryptocurrency is expected to launch in the first half of 2020. Read More

Everything You Need to Know about Binance and its Formal Entry into the US

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, announced that starting in September it will disallow U.S. residents from using its flagship exchange. Instead, it will launch a U.S.-based service, called Binance US, where U.S. passport holders will face restrictions when using the website.

Binance has been known for letting anyone use its services to trade tokens. The Malta-based exchange will partner with Bam Trading Services, a FinCEN-registered company with links to Binance-backed Koi Compliance, the “fully-managed solutions” department of over-the-counter (OTC) crypto trader Koi Trading. Binance Labs invested $3 million in Koi Trading on January 24. Read More

This Crypto Trader is Keeping Her Eye on Bitcoin ETFs, Futures and Institutional Interest

Crypto Wendy, who is keeping her eye on Bitcoin ETFs, futures and institutional interest in the crypto market these days, wants you to know that she is no trading expert.

“…I am here to learn and grow with everyone,” she says.

She started out in the space as a trader and hosting free meetups at Cryptospace in San Pedro, teaching and talking about basic trading methods. Three times a week, she does a live stream and discusses news and current events that impact the market on her YouTube channel. She believes we’ve seen the bottom in the crypto market for now. Read More

Protests in Hong Kong, Uncertainty in Asia’s Markets

Tens of thousands of young people – for the most part –  descended upon Hong Kong’s government headquarters on Wednesday, and police fired tear gas and rubber bullets back. The debate was over a controversial bill, allowing fugitives to be extradited to China and other jurisdictions with which Hong Kong has no rendition agreement. Read More

Bitcoin User from Iran: “Bitcoin is the Only Option We Have”

Ziya Sadr spoke with Let’s Talk Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency podcast, about the importance of Bitcoin in Iran. He discussed how it allows great financial freedom for the Iranian people, and how Bitcoin is superior to other cryptocurrencies in Iran.

“The thing about bitcoin is that we are on equal ground with the rest of the world and that is nice for a change,” Mr. Sadr, who is 25 years old, told the long-serving podcast. “We’ve never been on equal ground. We’ve had inflation, we’ve been sanctioned by the whole world. With Bitcoin, we are on equal ground with the rest of the world and this is kind of new.” Read More

Jim Rogers: “Cryptocurrencies are Going to Disappear and Go to Nothing.” The Reason Why Might Shock You.

Jim Rogers believes governments will interfere with the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrency, but not blockchain.

“The blockchain has a great future,” the famous investor told BBLOKK OFFICIAL. “Blockchain is changing everything we know, and it’s going to change even more. A lot of people are going to lose their job because of blockchain, but a lot of people lost jobs because of electricity, and electricity turned out to be a good thing for all of us; likewise with blockchain.” Read More

Bitcoin is Acting More Like a Safehaven Than Gold

Bitcoin is acting similar to a safe haven asset with uncertainty plaguing the stock market amid President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policies. Bitcoin was trading at over $8,700 earlier this week and traded above $7,800 on Wednesday morning.

“I watch bitcoin as a signal, as an indicator, not because I want to own it,” said Bleakley Advisory Group’s Peter Boockvar, who is generally bearish on bitcoin. “Over the last couple weeks, we’ve seen this sharp rise in bitcoin, and to me, that was saying something in terms of what markets were thinking about what the Fed was going to do [and about] the turmoil created by the threatened tariffs. ” Read More

What Bitcoin’s USD Exchange Trading Volume Tells Us About the Market

In spite of bitcoin’s recent gains, the digital currency’s exchange volume still remains well below historic highs. The peak for Bitcoin exchange volume was December 2017, just before the entire crypto index collapsed after the 2017-2018 ICO craze.

US exchange volume fell precipitously after a November high. On May 28, the available stat, US trade volume for bitcoin sat at 150,000,000. When it peaked in December 2017, exchange volume shy of 4,000,000.

In bitcoin’s history, USD trading volume has increased exponentially. In April 2013 amid bitcoin’s first bullish run to $1,000, USD bitcoin exchange trading volume touched $55,000,000. Later that year, in November 2013, bitcoin USD exchange trading volume peaked at shy of $175,000,000.

More recently, in November 2018, amid what many termed a crypto bear market, bitcoin’s exchange trading volume surpassed half a billion. The current 150,000,000 is comparatively small for USD exchange trading volume compared to bitcoin’s recent bull runs.



What this means is ambiguous. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have long claimed major crypto exchanges falsify trade data. Furthermore, the cryptocurrency market in late 2017 was much different than it is today, for 2017 was the Age of the ICO, when projects were spinning up tokens, launching crowdsales, and paying money to be listed on exchanges.

Now that the ICO craze has calmed down, and the market has returned to earth, increased scrutiny on the token space has forced exchanges perhaps to implement further reaching AML and KYC.

When we zoom into the 30-day timescale for Bitcoin trading volume on US based exchanges, trading peaked on May 13, 2019 at just over $7,000.

Coinbase, perhaps the leading bitcoin exchange, has been busy adding tokens in recent months in order to establish itself in a market where Binance came out of nowhere.

The San Francisco-based exchange hinted this week that it could introduce bitcoin margin trading, bringing ever more sophistication to what’s still, admittedly, a nascent industry. Bitcoin margin trading has been BitMEx’s territory until now, but that could be changing.

With the halvening one year away, and bitcoin USD exchange trading volumes nowhere near all time highs, its easy to imagine increased trading volume and price in the mid-t0-long term. In the short term, with $9,000 showing formidable resistance, there’s no telling where bitcoin could go.

Bitcoin Price is Having its Best Month in Years

In 2020, the next Bitcoin halving will take place. Increasingly over the coming months, this will become discussed on internet forums, social media, and at conferences. The current bullish cycle we see, even if shortlived, is most likely a sign of what’s to come throughout the rest of 2019 and 2020 due to the halving event.

There are currently 17,700,000 bitcoins in circulation. That means just shy of 85% of the bitcoins to ever be produced have already been mined. There are just over 3 million bitcoins left to mine. There are at present 1,800 bitcoins minted per day.

The next Bitcoin halving takes place on May 24, 2020. The block reward for miners on the network will decrease from 12.5 to 6.25 bitcoins. This represents the third “halving” event ever in the history of bitcoin. Due to Bitcoin’s overall controlled supply of just 21 million, that the supply halves every four years ensures scarcity for bitcoin.



“Large drawdowns are not unique to digital assets and occur across all asset classes and markets, typically following periods of excessive risk-taking,” wrote Grayscale about halving. “These ‘re-pricings’ can create compelling investment opportunities and in many cases offer above-average risk-adjusted returns in the years that follow. For investors with a multi-year investment horizon and a high-risk tolerance, the confluence of discounted prices, improving network fundamentals, strong relative investment activity and the upcoming halving may offer an attractive entry point into Bitcoin. This is especially relevant for investors building core strategic positions in Bitcoin over time.”

The daily price change in May has averaged 4.7%, compared with 3.5% in April and 1.1% in March, reports Bloomberg. December, the last time prices had swung so much, averaged 4.2%.

While bitcoin fell on Tuesday 2.4%, it had not fallen in the four days prior. Bitcoin is currently at $8,860. The last time the price of bitcoin reached $9,000 was a year ago.

“The recent surges in Bitcoin are mainly based on the supply side,” wrote eToro’s Mati Greenspan in a note this week. “There’s already a shortage of Bitcoin in the world and with the halving event coming up next May, the countdown to even less supply has already begun.”

The Crypto Index pushed its upper band during Tuesday’s trading sessions and then fell. Bitcoin makes up 30% of that index.

This Bitcoin Transactions Stat Could Be A Good Price Indicator for the Cryptocurrency

In analyzing the state of the Bitcoin network as a payment system, people often point to transactions per day. Yet, since Bitcoin is a one-to-many payments solution, meaning one transaction can have multiple recipients, to truly know the state of the payment network, one must dig a bit deeper.

Increasingly, people are catching onto the fact that outputs per day, as illustrated at Outputs.Today, which is a feature used by exchanges and senders of considerable bitcoin transactions to minimize the fees they must pay to miners.

Critics of Bitcoin as a payment network point towards high transaction fees, which have at various points through the lifecycle of bitcoin, such as in mid-2017, been a main critique of the network.

Exchanges have faced pressure to batch transactions, and thereby make better use of this scarce block space. Bitcoin’s scaling issues during periods of increased transactions meant that transactions took longer and cost more.

Exchanges, mixers, payment processors, and mining pools employ ‘batching’. A sender can do this by combining transactions into one input. This means the transaction input has multiple outputs (addresses to send bitcoin or recipient).

The Bitcoin mempool is a pool of bitcoin transactions that have as yet been confirmed. Sometimes this becomes congested and transactions slowed. By combining, say, 10 payments into one transaction, block space might be freed up. Transactions can have unlimited outputs. Batched transactions might have three or more outputs.

Outputs Per Day

Outputs.Today tracks ‘outputs per day’. The top of the website reads, “better indicator of overall economic activity on the bitcoin blockchain than transactions per day.”

The website claims the number of total outputs is a more accurate indicator than the number of transactions. “Large players in the Bitcoin space use batching – the process of including multiple outputs in a given transaction – to reduce their overall transaction fees,” the site says. “Therefore, looking at only transactions misses an important part of the picture.”

As seen in the chart above, the Average Outputs to Transaction Ratio declined throughout 2018. The ‘Average Outputs Per Block’ in 2018 approximately mirrored ‘Average Transactions Per Block’.

On January 4, 2018 we saw the average output per block reach a high of 7,420. The peak for Transactions Per Block came much earlier when there were 2,532 transactions per block on January 4.

Throughout 2018, the Average Outputs to Transaction Ratio has declined. So far in 2019, the use of transaction batching has been on a steady rise, and just recently, accompanying the price rise, it spiked.

 

This could be indicative of one particular important price indicator: buying demand.

 

Here’s What Tony Robbins Actually Thinks About Bitcoin

The folks over at Robbins Research International – the website for Tony Robbins – recently penned a piece on Bitcoin. We thought we’d break down some of the advice which appeared first on the acclaimed investor’s blog.

The piece first defines bitcoin. “It is a digital system of (non-physical) ‘tokens’ which have an ascribed value and are used for trading goods or services, much like cash or credit.” Read More

Biological Attack Threatened at India IT Firm if $100 Million Dollar Bitcoin Ransom Not Paid

Hackers threatened the Bengaluru-based IT giant Wipro with a biological attack if the company did not pay $77,760,498 USD (500 crore) in bitcoins by May 25. In an email sent on Friday the sender threatened to use Ricin, a natural toxin, in food served in cafeterias, drones or on toilet seats. The email, with a link for payment, contends a two gram sample of the toxin will be sent to a Wipro office in the coming days.

“The mail has mentioned that a biochemical powder (Ricin) will be sent in covers to your (Wipro) offices to assure that the threat is not fake,” said a police source on the condition of anonymity. The toxic protein (Ricin) is made out of castor bean, from which castor oil is also produced.



The company, who is not changing its operations but is bolstering security, registered a complaint with local authorities. “Wipro confirms that it has filed a complaint with the local law enforcement authorities after receiving a threatening letter from an unidentified source. Wipro has augmented security measures at all its office locations. There is no impact on the company’s operations. We have no further comments as the investigation is ongoing”, the IT major said in a statement.

The Bengaluru police cyber crimes unit is investigating the case, currently looking to find the origin of the email. Police have said the email might be a hoax.

“We will have to explore and find out whether these are genuine are not,” noted Additional Commissioner (Crime) of the Bengaluru police S Ravi.

“We have registered the case under Section 66F of the IT Act (cyber terrorism) and are investigating it,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Anand Kumar. Although the company declined to mention who sent the threat mail, police sources said it was from some “ramesh2@protonmail.com” mail ID.

“Though we got some clues, we cannot share, as the investigation is underway. We have to also find out who all are involved in it from the IP address from where the threat mail was sent,” noted Kumar.

The IT behemoth received a similar threat, which turned out to be a hoax, in 2013. An anonymous letter threatened to blow up the company’s campuses in Bengaluru.

Since the threat, WiproBSE shares are down an unnotable one-tenth of a percent. The ransom threat underscores the useful nature of bitcoins in the now.

While Wipro has been threatened with a biological attack, hackers typical merely threaten to destroy a person or company’s important data while demanding bitcoins. Reports say Wipro is bolstering security in the wake of threats at all of its offices. 

“We have augmented security measures at all office locations, though there is no impact on our operations,” said the city-based IT firm in a statement emailed on Saturday.

The toxic material can be fatal if inhaled, taken as a pill or mixed in water for anyone. “As the investigation is going on, we would not like to comment further on the issue,” said Wipro in the statement.

Golden State Warriors Owner Tweets Digital Currency Coke vs. Pepsi Analogy

Chamath Palihapitiya, an owner of the Golden State Warriors professional basketball team, recently took to twitter to celebrate the digital currency Bitcoin.

“Reiterating my belief about $BTC,” the venture capitalist from Sri-Lanka (raised in Canada) tweeted. “It’s the ultimate insurance policy against autocracy, currency curbs and other forms of value destruction.”

When asked to compare Ethereum with Bitcoin by a fellow Twitter user, Mr. Palihapitiya replied: “Coke v Pepsi. Pick the more mainstream option that more people can easily consume. Both will make money but bigger is always better.”

Mr. Palihapitiya has told his friends it is “entirely rational to allocate one percent of your assets to Bitcoin.” It’s what he’s done.  

As Alan Silbert, founder of luxury Bitcoin marketplace BitPremier, correctly pointed out on Twitter, Mr. Palihapitiya has called Bitcoin “schmuck insurance.”

He wrote: “As the 2008 crisis proved, schmucks can cause world damage.”

 

It’s no secret that Mr. Palihapitiya, a former executive with Facebook, invests in bitcoins and is also one of the largest holders in the world alongside the Winklevoss Twins. The serial entrepreneur likes Bitcoin for its electronic, peer-to-peer nature.

“Bitcoin today is in roughly the same development phase that TCP/IP was back then,” he once wrote for Bloomberg. “Instead of IP addresses and websites, Bitcoin has unique strings that represent money and a mechanism to send these strings securely and safely wherever you want. It is a protocol that is allowing money to flow around the world much like TCP/IP allows information to flow — in an orderly, predictable way.”

In his support of Bitcoin, he underscores not bitcoin’s future, but the ways in which Bitcoin is working today.

“Bitcoin is being used all over the world in a wide range of ways already: to avoid the high fees of using a Visa card in San Paulo; to settle the purchase of a million dollar home in Buenos Aires; to pay a mechanic for services in Lagos; to provide Egyptians access to a liquid currency,” the Silicon Valley veteran wrote in the Bloomberg article that appeared in 2013. “The list goes on.”

It’s a diverse range of uses for the digital currency, he notes.

Because “the world needs more red pills”, he says, he hopes Bitcoin succeeds.

“There is a famous scene in the Matrix where Morpheus asks Neo if he wants to take the blue pill and go back to life as he knows it or take the red pill and see life as it is,” he once wrote about Bitcoin. “Neo takes the red pill and begins a period of exploration about humanity, hierarchy, rules, etc. Bitcoin is a red pill. There will be some bad and awkward moments, but lots of good, useful and powerful things will also ensue. It will reallocate financial strength and power to the people versus keeping it within a few centralized authorities.”

 

Mike Cannon-Brookes admitted he likes to gamble – on bitcoin

Mike Cannon-Brookes admitted he likes to gamble – on bitcoin.

Cannon-Brookes tweeted on Monday:

Cannon-Brookes, who mistakenly thinks bitcoins come in ounces,  tweeted later that he “bet” on bitcoin, and he has done well based on the assumption that, “It will be worth a lot, or zero”.



He added: “Much like a horse racing. Not like investing.”   

Cannon-Brookes later tweeted that $10,000 USD in bitcoins purchased in July 2010 would today be worth more than $US 146,428,889.

Cannon-Brookes is believed to enjoy bets in the crypto currency space via tech investor Blackbird Ventures and bank disrupter Tyro.

The Tyro Fintech Hub was opened in February 2015. The Hub takes up the entire third floor of Tyro’s new offices in the newly refurbished art deco building at 155 Clarence Street Sydney.

Cannon-Brookes has condemned what he sees as overreaching regulation by Australian authorities.

In reference to Bitcoin company CoinJar moving to the UK to avoid Australian bnitcoin sales tax, he tweeted: “Make a stupid law. Lose business. When will we learn Aus?”

Mr Cannon-Brookes, whose company Atlassian is currently valued around $US4.25 billion on the NASDAQ, has received high praise.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk thanked Australian billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes for promising to fix South Australia’s energy crisis throughj large-scale battery storage.

Mr Musk tweeted“@mcannonbrookes Can only happen with your support, and working closely with key govt and utility leaders who are strongly committed to trying new approaches.”

 

 

The Bitcoiner’s Guide to Travel

Travel for Bitcoin has become much easier since 2013, when Bitcoin skyrocketed above $1,000 for the first time. Perhaps, you’ve seen a bitcoin sign hanging in the window of a streetside business. There are, to be certain, an increasing number of merchants accepting bitcoin, as well as individuals curious about using the first financial technology based on the blockchain. This is a Bitcoiner’s guide to travel.

Transportation

When it comes to flying, there are several options to use Bitcoin. One can fly American Airlines for bitcoins via Gyft. In Europe, Asia and Africa, Abitsky accepts the digital currency for flights, as well as hotels and car rentals. Moreover, Airbaltic accepts bitcoins for destinations worldwide. The reputable service, Cheapair, represents one of the most recognized bitcoin-accepting merchants in the world. Btctrip caters specifically to the Bitcoin community, and Destinia has won favor for some bitcoiners. Gift off turns bitcoin into UK National Rail vouchers. Gasoline gift cards via Coinfueled.com can save you money on a road trip.

Related: The Physical Bitcoin Market Not Available to North Americans

Accommodations

Of course, once you arrive at your destination, it might be a good time to rest. Towards this end, Expedia accepts Bitcoin for one’s travel needs. As well, Hotelgo24.com. Through Gyft, one might search gift card offers on Bedandbreakfast.com or peruse Orbitz’s Globalhotelcard.com. Further, Egifter has offered accommodations at the San Luis Resort.

Dining

For dining, Bitcoin Restaurants maintains a comprehensive list of places where one could pay for dining with bitcoin. Restaurant options might also be found at Coinmap.org, Gyft, EGifter and AirBitz. If you’re looking to shop for groceries in bitcoin, and save a little money instead of dining out, you might find options at Coinmap or Usebitcoins. Whole Foods gift cards can also be found at Gyft.

Bitcoin ATMs

Likely during the course of your travels, it might prove convenient to exchange bitcoins into the local currency. A robust network of 1,000 bitcoin transaction machines worldwide makes this possible, and indeed is perhaps an unsung hero of the Bitcoin ecosystem. On Coinatmradar one can find the closest so-called ‘Bitcoin ATM’ near them.

There are different types of ATMs, so ensure a machine you intend to visit does what you need. Some bitcoin ATMs only turn bitcoins into a local currency, while others vice versa. Two-way Bitcoin ATMs offer the most robust services of any machines, allowing customers to exchange bitcoins for local currency and vice versa.

Coupons

Taking the time to find coupons relevant to your life saves money over time. And Bitcoin has even this covered. Groupon via Gyft is a great option, as Grapo.bg, which helped Felix Weis, a Bitcoin traveler, navigate Bulgaria. We’ll hear from Mr. Weis shortly.

Related: Rap Legend, Coinbase Investor Nas’ Favorite Bitcoin Charity is Watsi.org

Debit Cards

Using a Bitcoin debit card won’t win you much (if any) cred among the cypherpunks in the Bitcoin scene, but they can be extremely convenient.

Bitcoin prepaid or debit card from Xapo, Coinbase, BitPay, Bitplastic, or others can make traveling on bitcoin much easier, as the debit cards allow for fast transactions and access to SWIFT, the global payment system used by MasterCard and Visa, via Bitcoin.

Directories

Directories like Airbitz, Coinmap, Cointerest, and Bitcoin Restaurants, Bitcoin.travel can help you find bitcoin merchants. Researching and joining localized bitcoin-oriented social media group can help you integrate into a local Bitcoin community for the time you will be a guest there.

Traveling on Bitcoin might not be as hard as it seems. More than 5,000 convenience stores in Taiwan accept Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Traveler

“In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if this could be done,” Felix Weis, who completed a trip around the world using mainly bitcoins in 2016, told GoldSilverBitcoin.com. Before he left for his trip, the Luxembourger lived in Berlin. He set out rules for his journey as such:

  1. No banks. And that meant no Western Union, no money exchanges, no converting USD to euros, no euros to yen.
  2. Bitcoin first. He had to use Bitcoin whenever possible.
  3. Cash only for bitcoin. Recognizing that there would be times when he would need local currency. He allowed himself to do peer-to-peer exchanges of bitcoin for cash, which, he says, led to some “fun adventures.”

The 28-year old used websites like Coinmap, a directory of Bitcoin-accepting businesses, to know where he could spend coins. He bought on Interrail pass with All4btc.com, a site which will buy something for you and you send them the bitcoins. He told GoldSilverBitcoin.com it would take between one afternoon and an entire day to research how to get around and find food in the next country. He often harbored uncertainties about how he would pay for things before departing for the next location.

He paid for hotels and flights via Bitcoin on the internet. People might use their credit cards at dinner, and he would repay them in bitcoins.

The hardest country for Mr. Weis was Bulgaria. He could not find a restaurant that would accept his Bitcoin. A man with whom he scheduled an appointment to make a Bitcoin transaction did not show. He ate nothing but his hotel’s continental breakfast – cereal, orange juice, and apples – for two days.

“Usually I was able to talk to people into accepting some Bitcoin, but in Bulgaria, few people spoke English, so the language barrier created a problem,” he said. He had a bit of cash at that point. He almost gave up.

“I spoke with a Bulgarian friend on the Internet and he told me about Grapo.bg, a Groupon-style website that accepts Bitcoins for vouchers.”

In Argentina, there was no Uber after the country banned the service. In other countries, Mr. Weis used the Bitcoin service Bitcoin Builder to pay for Uber in bitcoins. He reached out to the Argentina Facebook group, where he ultimately found a ride to the airport.

He sought out Bitcoin ATM’s, which were particularly helpful in places like Macau, Japan, and Mexico, but said there needs to be more in airports. He also noted how popular Bitcoin is popular in Venezuela.

His overall thoughts on the trip?

“The world is beautiful,” he concludes.

Blockchain Personalities Speak out on Hard Fork

21.co used the 21.co/blockchain list to survey influential individuals in the blockchain space. “The list includes Bitcoin Core developers and Bitcoin Unlimited supporters, as well as a host of investors, executives, and founders,” writes 21.co on its Medium account. 

Related: Microsoft Head of Decentralized Identity Says Bitcoin is Under Attack

The survey turned up aggregate numbers on “what this sector of the community thinks,” as well as responses from people who wished to be cited, as well as those who wished to be quoted anonymously. The overwhelming number of people surveyed reporting using specifically Bitcoin.

When the company asked about “small blocker” and “big blocker” sympathies – a framing many take issue with – the company found ‘A plurality of responding influencers were sympathetic to the big-block camp. However, as we will see in the next section, even most “big-blockers” were not in favor of the Bitcoin Unlimited fork.’ The company also probed what applications people felt were most useful to them.

“Most of the major applications of digital currency seem to get people excited,” 21.co wrote. “It’s interesting that store-of-value and permission-less payments are still seen as the killer applications by many in the venture-backed community relative to non-currency-based blockchain applications. This is somewhat at variance with the tone of some media coverage over the last 1–2 years.” Most of those surveyed – 70% – do not want Bitcoin Unlimited activated. Conversely, most respondents noted they wanted Segwit activated.

A year ago, we had no implemented mechanism for scalability. Today, we do and it is ready now: segregated witness. This is just the first step in a long line of work to do. But we need to take the first step as well as set a roadmap for future steps. The time is now.

Mike Belshe, CEO of BitGo

 

 

 

Digital Asset Exchange ShapeShift Raises $10.4 Million in Series A

Digital currency exchange ShapeShift, based in Switzerland, raised $10.4 million in capital from U.S. and international venture capital investors to fund its future expansion. The firm, owned by libertarian and former bitcoin gambling site SatoshiDice administrator Erik Voorhees, allows cryptocurrency users to instantly exchange digital currencies like bitcoin for other altcoins without needing to open an account nor the need for fiat currencies like US dollar, euro or Chinese yuan.

Related: Shapeshift Among Bitcoin’s Best Affiliate Programs



According to the digital currency exchange, the company has grown on average of 48 percent monthly since it launched just three years ago.

The Series A funding, led by Berlin’s Earlybird, also included investors like Lakestar, Access Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, and Blockchain Capital.

ShapeShift already had backing by FundersClub and Digital Currency Group. Erik Voorhees, who has been very successful in Bitcoin, also devoted funds.

The funds will mostly go towards further expansion, the company said. Considerable money might go towards security, as the company did once suffer a hack perpetrated by an inside source, according to an internal investigation.

“When we started ShapeShift, a future world of natively digital assets was very theoretical,” Voorhees said in a statement of the Series A funding. “Yet this world is quickly arriving; one in which millions of forms of digital value, from access keys to tokenized derivative contracts to video game items, will trade between people and machines all over the world, every second of every day.”

More than 40 digital currencies and assets – like bitcoin, ethereum, dash, litecoin, Augur and Monero – are traded on the ShapeShift platform. These assets may be traded for another.

“ShapeShift’s team built a compelling crypto exchange engine which can be easily integrated into third-party products,” said Christian Nagel, partner at Earlybird.

The investment into ShapeShift could signal a second wave of venture capital investment into the digital asset space. (big bank and multinational tech companies investing in blockchain, aside) While the first wave saw VC’s focus on Bitcoin, this second wave, it might be argued, will see a movement into the digital asset space – that is, ‘altcoins’, as cryptocurrency enthusiasts call them for shorthand.

Photo: Erik Voorhees

Jewish Center Bomb Caller Tried to Use Bitcoin to Hide Identity

Bitcoin and Google Voice helped to make the suspected arrested Thursday for his wave of bomb threats against Jewish Community Centers virtually untraceable over a period of month, as first reported The Daily Beast.

Related: Dark Web Gun Runner Overdoses in Front of Court to Try and Avoid Sentencing



As unfolded other Bitcoin criminals, like the Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht, one small slip-up led authorities to the possible bomber.

Michael Kaydar, 19, is suspected of phoning in over 100 bomb threats to JCCs and Jewish day schools in 33 states since January. Most of the calls came two weeks ago. Police believe he might have made similar threats in Israel, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

FBI traced Mr. Kaydar’s phone calls back to a service called SpoofCard. The service allows users to mask their caller ID so phone calls come from a anonymous number not tied to nay identity.

Unless the FBi sends the company a subpoena, as happened in this case. The New Jersey-based TelTech handed over the number, which was tied to a disposable Google Voice line used with an alias.

Server logs from TelTech and Google didn’t help, but did demonstrate the suspect routed internet connection through proxy servers overseas. The caller’s voice was anonymous as Spoofcard’s voice changing option made him sound like a woman.

The perpetrator paid for the Spoofcard in Bitcoin.

The bomb threats, amde in six waves, led to evacuations at Jewish centers and day schools.

Ultimately, the bomb “hoaxer” neglected to route his internet through a proxy server, leaving a real IP address from Israel where Kayday allegedly used a giant antenna pointed out a window in his home.

It turns out, he is Jewish, and there’s yet to be a motive. His lawyer said a brain tumor since age 14, which affects his behavior, aqccording to the lawyer.

The U.S. Justice Department has yet to say if Kaydar will face U.S. charges andpossible extradition. Attorney General Jeff Sessions commended the FBI and the Israeli National Police for the arrest.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the civil rights of all Americans,” he said, “and we will not tolerate the targeting of any community in this country on the basis of their religious beliefs.”

Undercover cops and domestic abuse victims to conceal number from an ex use SpoofCard and services like it

In 2007 a gang of hone hackers out of Texas used the service in a “swatting” campaign against their enemies. They would spoof a victim’s phone number, call the police and claim to be holding hostages. Police would storm the victim’s house, guns drawn.

“SpoofCard is aware of the investigation regarding phone-based bomb threats to schools and organizations,” the company wrote in a statement. “We take great pride in the fact that for over 10 years we have helped people protect their privacy and that we have always held a consistent position against any misuse of our services. When requested, we comply quickly and responsibly with lawful requests from all levels of law enforcement, and we have built specific tools to prevent abuse.

 

Microsoft Head of Decentralized Identity Says Bitcoin is Under Attack

“To the BU folks threatening a 51% attack: Imagine a decentralized identity client, running an SPV that blocks BU, shipping to 1 billion PCs,” tweeted Daniel B, Microsoft Head of Decentralized Identity, essentially representing a weighing in on the block size debate. 

Related: Bitcoin Mining isn’t totally unheard of on Global US Armed Force Bases

He then continued: “BU degrades security and decentralization – if decentralized identity takes off, implementing UAs will be responsible for protecting users.”

He championed increased distribution. “Decentralization is the most critical attribute of decentralized identity, thus *any* mod that degrades it (BU or otherwise) is unacceptable,” he tweeted.

He does believe that there should be nothing stopping BU from developing. “Devs are free to produce harmful plugins & browsers are free to block them – same goes for chain protocol mods & decentralized identity UAs,” he opined on the popular social media platform which boasts more than 300 million accounts.

He added: You have every right to develop any code you wish, but you have no right to force customers to use it or their User Agents to accept it.

In a blog post entitled, “The Web Beyond: How blockchain identity will transform our world,”

He wrote: “With a global blockchain of identity, we can dramatically transform almost every product or service that relies on interactions between living, non-living, and intangible things.”

Bitcoin Investor Peter Thiel Dresses as Hulk Hogan for Trump Donor’s Costume Party



Bitcoin investor Peter Thiel attended the same costume event last week where Donald Trump made headlines. The theme of the event – heroes and villains – prompted Mr. Trump to fittingly dress as himself. Read More

Donald Trump & Japanese Blockchain Researcher SoftBank Reach Deal on $50 Billion US Investment & 50,000 Jobs




Donald J Trump tweeted Tuesday that SoftBank of Japan agreed to invest $50 billion in the US towards businesses and 50,000 new jobs. The tweet comes on the even of Pearl Harbor, a scar on the memory of both nations. In announcing the deal, Mr. Trump makes good on a campaign promise to improve international relations. 

Read More

2017 Might be Your First Chance to Tip the Moon thanks to Dogecoin



“To the moon!” That’s the cliche slogan for so many digital currencies, perhaps made most famous not by Bitcoin, but by , whose users since the beginning have proudly proclaimed the slogan. Read More

Bitcoin Mining isn’t totally unheard of on Global US Armed Forces Bases




A 30 year old in the US Air Force, stationed in Korea, mines bitcoins in his dorm room.  He mined in the US from his own apartment before being deployed. Read More

Royal Mint Experimenting with Blockchain-based Gold Trades



The Royal Mint partnered with markets operator CME Group to build a gold market with blockchain technology as a means of broadening London’s hip-factor when buying and selling gold bullion.

The Roya Mint, owned by taxpayers, plans to accept trades from the middle of next year on the Royal Mint Gold platform, intended to log each transaction using blockchain. Read More

The Physical Bitcoin Market Not Available to US Citizens

BTCC is one of the most influential Bitcoin mints in the world. Based in China, the Bitcoin miner recently introduced a line of physical bitcoins, a product very popular early in Bitcoin’s existence but stymied by regulatory uncertainty. Read More

JP Morgan Publishes Code for Permissioned Ethereum

JPMorgan has uploaded the code for its private, Ethereum-inspired blockchain code to popular code repository Github. Quorum, which JPMorgan calls a “permissioned implementation of Ethereum supporting data privacy,” is essentially a blockchain focused for enterprise use. 

JPMorgan promises “high speed and high throughput” processing of private transactions. “Quorum addresses specific challenges to blockchain technology adoption within the financial industry, and beyond.” Read More

I Confessed to the FBI about Bitcoin

I was quite surprised by it. I had somehow managed in 2013 to receive my first-ever letter of interest from an investor for GoldSilverBitcoin.

The sender claimed to currently be working for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). His name was Carl Mark Force IV, and, according to his resume, he was the agent tasked with making contact with Dread Pirate Roberts, the administrator of the well-known darknet website Silk Road. Read More

Bitcoin Development Turns Political, Faces Possible Resistance

There’s been no parallel in the history of Bitcoin’s code changes for how the code change to increase the digital currency’s block size has played out. So controversial has been this change (or lack thereof), which would theoretically enable more transactions per second, it’s been dubbed the ‘Bitcoin Block Size Debate.’ Now, Bitcoin Core, the open-source project’s main development team, is doing some much-need Community outreach in an attempt to calm rising tension and divisions. Read More

How a Bitcoin Accepting Securities Lawyer Profited from Cubs Game 7 Victory

Wrigleyville erupted after the Chicago Cubs won Game 7 of the 2016 World Series.

Adam Tracy, Chicago-based securities lawyer and big time White Sox fan, thought about it the night before the ‘loveable losers’ clinched November 2 their first World Series victory in 108 years, vanquishing the Cleveland Indians.

To be honest, he was a  bit sour about the North Siders potentially going all the way. He figured, win or lose, there’d be some sort of rioting. Maybe he’d make some money off it to make himself feel better. Read More


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