Tag Archive : blockchain

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

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

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

Google Introduces New Startups To Launchpad Studio, Partners With Four Indian Banks

Google just introduced a new group of startup businesses into Launchpad Studio, the tech behemoth’s accelerator it launched last year that matches top machine learning startups and experts from Silicon Valley with Google – its people, network, and advanced technologies.

While the accelerator’s first group was meant to gather new insights from medical data, this most recent one is meant to shake up well-known financial markets and systems.

Accurately reviewing and analyzing millions of data points tied to locations, demographics, and financial situations will result in information helpful to the financial sector.

Some of the new startups include:

Celo (USA) – growing financial inclusion through a mobile-first cryptocurrency.

GuiaBolso (Brazil) – improving the economic lives of Brazilians.

Starling Bank (UK) – improving financial well-being with a mobile-only bank.

Frontier Car Group (Germany) – investing in the ever-changing process of used-car marketplaces.

Inclusive (Ghana) – verifying identities across Africa.

Aye Finance (India) – remodeling financing in India.

m.Paani (India) – powering local businesses and the next one billion users in India.

India and the United States are the only countries with more than one business in Google’s latest Launchpad Studio accelerator additions – With two startups coming from these countries.

In addition, Google is partnering with four Indian banks to issue customer loans online, as the battle for the $1 trillion digital finance market persists. 

The banks partnering with the search engine are HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Federal Bank.

They will offer instant, pre-approved loans to consumers “right within Google Pay in a matter of seconds.”

Google also re-branded its made-in-India Tez app, launched in September, as Google Pay.

The app’s users can take out customized loans and get the funds transferred straight into their bank account.

“We’ve learned that when we build for India, we build for the world,” Caesar Sengupta, vice-president of Google’s Next Billion Users initiative and Payments, said at the “Google for India” meet in New Delhi.

Over 55-million people in more than 300,000 towns and villages have downloaded Google’s payments app to pay for dinner, bus rides, or other services.

In total, Google estimates about $30 billion in annual transactions through the Tez app.

Google also announced that it’s expanding its Google Station internet access program to 12,000 villages and cities throughout the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

The search-engine will add more Indian language content through a publishing venture called Project Navlekha, and will also add a new feature in Google Go that allows users to listen to websites read aloud in English and five different Indian languages.

Consensus 2017 Lesson: Luxury Products are Going on the Blockchain

(Gold Silver Bitcoin) – $450 million RMB on a blockchain. That’s what VeChain brings to the table in the world of blockchain. It’s really the most promising blockchain use case out of China – and there are many. Read More

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

 

 

 

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

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

R3 Sends Cease-and-Desist to Bitcoin Developer Peter Todd

Bitcoin and banks were never supposed to go hand-in-hand. So, in 2015, when the world’s largest financial institutions began investigation the technology behind Bitcoin, blockchain, it took many people by surprise. Now, approximately two years after those efforts began in earnest, it seems there’s somewhat of a clash taking place between Bitcoin and the consortium through which the world’s largest banks investigate blockchain technology, R3. Read More

Did Bitcoin Already Have A Block Crisis?

As developers for Bitcoin called for a temporary halt to Bitcoin transactions on 3/11/2013, many members of the community began holding their breath.

Many of these individuals had only just entered into the realm of decentralized, online currencies. Could it be that they were watching the end of the BTC experiment before their very eyes?

Others acted in contribution to a sharp sell-off resulting in the currency briefly falling 23 percent to $37 before regaining much of its value thereafter.

Still others implored everyone, except for miners, to just wait this out “a few hours.” The compromise took place at the network’s core, in the shared transaction register called the blockchain. Nobody wants such uncertainty in a payment system. So, here is basically what happened: It is central to the Bitcoin protocol that all new blocks have been accepted by the entire Bitcoin network. Sometimes, if a client announces a block that half the network accepts and the other half rejects, the result might be a fork in the network.

With different nodes disagreeing about what transactions took place on the valid block, and which took place on the invalid, the system was thrown into seeming chaos.

This transpired on Monday evening, 3/11/2013, as a block produced contended that the latest version of the Bitcoin software, version 0.8, recognized as valid, but that nodes still running version 0.7 or earlier rejected.

“After some emergency discussion on #bitcoin-dev, it seems best to try to get the majority mining power back on the ‘old’ chain, that is, the one which 0.7 accepts,” wrote Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille in an e-mail. “That is the only chain every client out there will accept. If you’re a miner, please revert to 0.7 until we at least understand exactly what causes this.”

Merchants were asked to stop accepting transactions until problems were solved. Mt Gox, the leading Bitcoin exchange, announced that it would suspend Bitcoin transactions.

Coins “mined” and transactions that took place in the few hours ahead of the fork and during it were not safe, while all other transactions were. Except for the transactions and mined coins during the period of uncertainty, no other Bitcoin were in danger of being lost.

Of course, confidence had been tested. Bitcoin’s high of $48 earlier on Monday evening resulted in a 23% drop to less than $37 by 10PM Central time.

So,  before Bitcoin would launch to $266, its’ core was put to the test. The decentralized nature of the cryptocurrency means nobody can order everyone to abandon the 0.8 branch of the blockchain for the 0.7 branch. The branch will be chosen by a vote of the network’s computing power.

Developers will have to convince most miners or nodes to voluntarily downgrade their software. The warning was sound at Bitcoin Talk, as a Hero Member wrote:

Hello everyone,

there is an emergency right now: the block chain has split between 0.7+earlier and 0.8 nodes. I’ll explain the reasons in a minute, but this is what you need to know now:

 

After a discussion on #bitcoin-dev, it seems trying to get everyone on the old chain again is the least risky solution.

If you’re a miner, please do not mine on 0.8 code. Stop, or switch back to 0.7. BTCGuild is switching to 0.7, so the old chain will get a majority hash rate soon.

If you’re a merchant: please stop processing transactions until the chains converge.

If you’re on 0.7 or older, the client will likely tell you that you need to upgrade. Do not follow this advise – the warning should go away as soon as the old chain catches up.

If you are not a merchant or a miner, don’t worry.

The original post lacked info for “regular users”. Here it is:(1) If you are a “regular user” (not a miner), the best thing is to do nothing and wait a couple hours.

(2) If you are a “regular user”, upgrading, downgrading, whining, FUD, etc, will make no difference. Only miners have an incentive to do anything. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter which version you are running.

(3) Regardless of who you are, your transactions are not dead, your coins are not lost.  They will just temporarily be held up. If you sent a transaction within the last few hours, it may take a few more hours before it’s sorted out.

If you insist on processing transactions right now it’s probably best to wait 30+ confirmations.  It’s just due diligence though … an attacker would still need a tremendous amount of mining power, quick thinking, and a victim willing to part with a lot of BTC.

By tomorrow this will be in the past and everything will appear to be normal again.  If you slept through this, you’d never know that anything happened (except for the price drop).

Let me reiterate, your coins are not at risk, your transactions are not lost.  It’ll just take some time for the network to “iron itself out.”  Everything will be okay.

As time passed, it became clear that 0.7 and older nodes had a limit on the “size of the modification it can make atomically to the database. With the larger blocks of the past days, it seems to have triggered the limit. The result is that 0.7 (by default, it can be tweaked manually) will not accept “too large” blocks.

However. 0.8 (which uses a different database system) has no such limit, and happily accepts the block. As the majority of the hash power was on 0.8, the longest chain ended up using this block, which is not accepted by older nodes. Another Hero Member calmed a Junior Member:

Yes, they’re safe. (You should make sure to keep the old wallet just in case, but since your transactions were done yesterday and presumably many people will re-run all lost transactions, it shouldn’t matter.)

1) If you run a mining pool or are mining solo, and have upgraded to 0.8, downgrade to 0.7.

2) If you are a normal user, do not perform any important Bitcoin transactions until you get the all clear.

3) If you are a pool miner and you know your pool has not downgraded, stop mining.

4) If you performed any transactions recently, be warned that you cannot rely on them.

Five hours after the original announcement of the emergency had been posted to Reddit, a new thread had been created called “back on the main chain” which celebrated that the Bitcoin network had seemingly been restored to the proper chain of blocks.

The first comment on this thread reads: “I’d like to thank each and every miner out there who acted in their own rational self-interest to preserve the integrity of bitcoins. It’s as if the system actually works!”

To be sure, the Bitcoin network was compromised by this “hard fork.” A potential problem, for instance, was double-spending.

There could have developed a much more urgent issue, but the developers and miners responded quickly to fix the problem. The decentralized network of people worked to quickly fix itself, in other words.

As one Reddit commenter observed: “Look at how long it takes for governments and banks to fix major issues.”

The hard fork got 10+ confirmations deep before the problem was discovered, the possible consequences considered, solutions discussed and solution implemented. This took 25 minutes.

This compromise was a crisis of sorts, but the network of individuals prevented the Bitcoin network from being split.

End-users were hardly affected. Some possible limitations to the current iteration of Bitcoin might be the max block size limit. At this time, there can only be enough space in each block for about 7 transactions per second, according to some developers. Thus, the risk of forking.

Other Bitcoin enthusiasts maintain that the speed with which the hard fork was rectified is astounding and a true win for Bitcoin.

Patrick Murck anticipates that if leading mining pools teamed up to fork the block chain, “Many lawyers would jump on the opportunity for antitrust lawsuits… From my perspective this would clearly be an offence worth litigating.”

Bitcoin: A New Age For Money

While it is true that countries are likely to impose “harsh taxes and capital controls,” if recent trends in financial regulation are a clue, there are some key misunderstandings of the nature of the world wide web and Bitcoin in the above-quoted Time article.  Anonymity – indeed, even pseudonymity –  through either medium, the internet or Bitcoin, is a difficult state to achieve.

This misunderstanding is understandable. Bitcoin and other so-called crypto-assets (while crypto-currency is a term commonly used, many of these coins actually exhibit the characteristics of a financial asset, not currency) are a brand new advent. The internet itself has been around now in our collective conscious for just over twenty years, and it still remains a mystery to many people.  

When we look back on what humans thought about the internet when it first popped into the collective conscious as a real thing in the nineteenth century, we twenty-first century “digital natives,” get a kick out of their understanding (read: misunderstanding) of the world wide web. More on that later.

The burning question remained for nearly everyone who had been involved with Bitcoin prior to its big break, landing on mainstream media seemingly in regular rotation like a payola scheme. But on mainstream sources this burning question was scantily asked.  Instead, themainstream reported that Bitcoin was strictly digital currency, and thus should be regulated as such. Never once asking the big question in an honest scope:

A New Age For Money

Bitcoin challenges not only the way the globalized world does business in the twenty-first century, but also certain assumptions about money altogether. Sure, Bitcoin might not last forever, but Bitcoin has already changed the future by changing the present. This transformation started long before Bitcoin went mainstream in the spring of 2013.

Few were expecting a supposedly one

There are, to be sure, considerable advantages of digital money over traditional, paper-based fiat currencies become obvious upon first use of Bitcoin.

Yet another benefit of Bitcoin is its proclivity to lead users to become more aware of internet privacy and computer security, exposing some individuals to software they would not otherwise experience. A digital currency regime at the national level would increase users’ daily interaction with software systems, perhaps improving the skills and knowledge of users regarding personal finance software and finance optimization technology, as well as computer and Internet science generally.

Those nations which promote the use of decentralized digital currencies could earn a competitive advantage at the international level when it comes to computer literacy.  Because of technologies like Bitcoin, computer literacy is more important than ever.

Is Bitcoin the new Cayman Islands or a better memory? In a way, both.  Hip-hop and punk rock audiences mention often that these styles are not music genres, they are lifestyles. Bitcoin can be seen the same way. It’s not just a money, it’s not just a technology, it’s more a way of life. A worldview, but more fluid. A philosophy. It is an open-source software community, and many of its participants are open about their work, not trying to hide illicit activities. Bitcoin is also a better memory. Thus, Bitcoin is both a new sort of paradise and a better brain.

Expect unimaginable technologies to come from the same school of thought that brought the world Bitcoin. I hope that, within these pages, a clear understanding of Bitcoin basics can be achieved, as well as a broad look at the changes to human life its technology could foster. Many of which already exist.

Although following in the footsteps of past forms of private money, Bitcoin is wholly different, for, not only is it digital, but also the technology is decentralized.  

Commercial banks have indeed looked into creating their own virtual currencies. According to Kirk Hope, the chief executive officer of the New Zealand Banker’s Association, some commercial banks wish to compete with bitcoin. “If it’s not bitcoin it might be some other type of digital currency that could come into play,” Hope said. The currency still faces problems around legitimacy, Hope said. “They are being used to buy things like arms and drugs,” he said. “I suspect tax isn’t being paid on bitcoin transactions.” (11)

All-in-all, Hope demonstrates an acute lack of understanding about bitcoin. For instance, he cites that there can only be 21 million bitcoins in existence as a rationale to argue in favor of bitcoin having shortcomings. But, that “satoshies” can be spent (up to the eighth decimal place) make bitcoin a potentially very robust exchange unit. He says, “you wouldn’t want to pay $300” for a cup of coffee, as if he doesn’t understand that a bitcoin can be subdivided at all.

There are many ways in which bitcoin could be adopted by the more mainstream banking institutions. Products and services are brought into the payment space all the time. Bitcoin is two products: both the exchange unit and the processing mechanism. This might be intimidating for a company like MasterCard, Visa and banks.  What they will have to understand that, for many users, bitcoin’s decentralized nature is one of its primary benefits. Certainly, 2013 was the year in which everyone from bankers to regulators began to come to terms with the existence of something like bitcoin.  2014 will likely be the year of bitcoin education.

Late in 2013, JPMorgan attempted to renew a patent they first filed in 1999. It was reported the bank was designing its own digital currency for use with digital “wallets.” The patent itself related to a “method and system for processing Internet payments using the electronic funds transfer network.”  Although the patent application was lengthy, it did not mention bitcoin, although it did hint that “new Internet payment mechanisms have been rapidly emerging.” (12)

Quickly, however, it was reported that JP Morgan’s patent application had been rejected 175 times. JP Morgan filed the original patent application on August 5, 2013 for an electronic mobile payment system. By October 18, 2013, all claims had been rejected. (13)  By the time of JP Morgan’s patent filing, bitcoin had been in the public eye for a couple years.
Since then, bitcoin has shown tremendous growth, and individuals can now buy many online and offline services (Internet, professional, travel services) and digital and physical goods (clothing, accessories, electronics, books) with the decentralized currency. Divisible to eight decimal places, bitcoins can be used for micro-payments, and some employers are now offering to pay employees in bitcoin. Bitcoin can be exchanged for over thirty traditional fiat currencies. (i.e., EUR, USD, CAD, GBP, PLN, JPY, HKD, SEK, AUD, CHF).

The SEC Has Monitored Blockchain Technology Since Before Ethereum Attack

The Securities and Exchange Commission has been keeping a close eye on blockchain technology.

Such crowd funded blockchains seemingly operated under a so-called “good deal exception,” in which investors, who are satisfied because they are making money, do not complain to authorities.

That didn’t stop the SEC from pondering how securities law might apply. Read More

Public, Private & Confederated Blockchains

There are different types of blockchains. The only true use case for a blockchain, at the current time, is Bitcoin. Nonetheless, many of these other blockchain models, still experiments, could power finance, and some experts believe relatively quickly.





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10 Unauthorized Facts About Ethereum, DAO & The Missing $60 Million

The second largest blockchain crowdsale of all time is Ethereum. Ethereum is a blockchain system based on smart contract technology which seeks to remove humans from the nature of contracts. It is run by a virtual machine, which is a distribution of computing power run in a Bitcoin-type network. Miners in this distributed network are rewarded in ether, a Bitcoin-inspired digital currency that Ethereum proponents refer to as the “fuel” of the network.  This is similar to how Bitcoin miners are rewarded with Bitcoin.

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Many More Bitcoiners Are Going To Jail & The Community Won’t Care

Bitcoin has had a scandalous past already, with many high profile court cases. When you go to conferences, the focus is on how Bitcoin is world changing and the opportunity of a lifetime. In most discussion circles, and at most lectures, nobody will dare mention those people who have been arrested and charged with whatever crimes.

Some come to mind, such as LocalBitcoins trader Pascal Reid, Coin.mx trader Anthony Murgio and Trendon Shavers – the much-hated Pirateat40 – who was considered a villain in the Bitcoin community, but one of his lawyers have recently come out and told of a different Trendon.

So, here the Bitcoiners are, ignoring their own fates. Netki COO Dawn Carey Newton spoke at the Inside Bitcoins conference in San Diego in December where she mentioned federal agents told a digital currency conference that there were currently many pending investigations. Dawn guessed dozens were pending.

That means many more Bitcoiners are going to have charges brought up against them. That could be you. Might already be you. And just like what happened with other Bitcoiners before you, nobody will stand up to defend that you were merely helping the Bitcoin ecosystem to grow and never thought you were doing anything wrong. And the prosecutor won’t care either.

As lawyer Jason Seibert said at Inside Bitcoins, Bitcoin is “legal sexy.” What he means by that phrase is that hard-working law enforcement agents and prosecutors might wish to make a name for themselves in the field of crypto-currency legislation and policy.

Because of regulatory vagueness, a number of Bitcoin business models are at stake. Even if you’re once removed from any transacting of money, you could get caught up in a court case of a client as a witness. Even this will put you under great scrutiny.

If you’re one of those Bitcoin entrepreneurs who loves the Bitcoin community, and is doing whatever you can do to add new applications to the cryptocurrency space, then you might be at risk for a state or federal investigation. And when your time comes, you’ll just be another trending name on the top of r/Bitcoin. And, at the Bitcoin conferences, venture capitalists will just talk how innovative they’re being with their lawyers and booty of dollars.