Category Archive : Bitcoin

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