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What is Bitcoin?

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

Bitcoin Latest News

Bitcoin hits record and its market value now tops big tech companies like Netflix, Paypal - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin hits record and its market value now tops big tech companies like Netflix, Paypal
CNBC
Bitcoin climbed above $4,500 to a record high Thursday, giving it a market valuation larger than that of once high-flying technology stock Netflix. The digital currency rose about 2 percent to a new high of $4,522.13 on Thursday, according to CoinDesk ...

and more »

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 11:49 am

Presearch Uses Ethereum Blockchain and AI to Challenge Google on Its Own Turf

Presearch Uses Ethereum Blockchain and AI to Challenge Google on Its Own Turf

Presearch, a software development startup specializing in information search engines, is challenging Google on its own turf with a double-barreled approach, using both blockchain technology and AI.

Presearch’s search engine, already in use internally since 2013, is launching in beta this September. Blockchain technology and AI will be supplemented with curation by subject matter experts.

Founder and project lead Colin Pape, who previously launched the e-commerce site ShopCity.com, said:

“While Google is generally thought of as a neutral entity for search, the company answers to Wall Street and operates very secretively.

“They’ve become known for promoting themselves at the expense of alternatives and appropriating others’ information, blaming it on ‘the algorithm.’ The reality is that they manipulate results and justify changes as being best for the user.”

Pape wants to provide a community-driven, decentralized, open and transparent alternative to Google, in contrast to what he calls the “manipulated algorithm-driven methods standard among today’s industry giants.”

Pape told Bitcoin Magazine:

“Presearch will use a combination of human curation by subject matter experts who are rewarded with tokens, and machine learning technology and APIs from other search providers (particularly for long-tail searches).”

Pape told us they will be using the Ethereum Blockchain ERC20 standard to start but may build their own blockchain technology at some point down the road.

Openness, Accountability and Community Participation

The company’s white paper emphasizes that never in the history of the world has so much information been concentrated in so few hands. It also points out that Google makes $100 billion in annual revenue from search engine searches.

Presearch estimates that 77 percent of global desktop searches and 96 percent of mobile searches, more than 5 billion queries per day, go to Google.

The white paper states that Google has built up an unprecedented degree of trust with users with “their simple interfaces, lightning-fast response times and utter reliability, combined with what appear to be amazingly accurate results.”

A Search Engine Wikipedia

Presearch believes that a decentralized, community-based decision-making process ensures everyone’s interests are considered. By rewarding members for using, promoting and contributing to the Presearch platform, the company wants to create a scalable “Wikipedia for search” to allow members to curate the best content for each inquiry.

The Presearch community can also vote on and fund new development projects, continually upgrading the platform.

Pape added: “With Presearch, I wanted to flip that business model on its head and put power over information back into the hands of all internet users.”

Search is the gateway to the web. The world deserves an alternative search engine that is open, transparent, and that involves the community in product development, consensus and quality control.

Funding

Presearch’s curation and overall development of the platform is incentivized with the Presearch Token (PST).

Presearch has run three separate crowd sales for $1 million, $1.5 million and $3 million in token revenue. There are three more sales to go that are targeted to generate more than $30 million in total revenue.

The startup is headquartered in Midland, north of Toronto, Canada. A “distributed” team is located in Silicon Valley, Boulder, Colorado and the Atlanta area, and the company is planning to expand internationally.

Advisors to Presearch include internet innovator, Rich Skrenta, who sold his search engine Blekko to IBM Watson; open-source search innovator Trey Grainger, SVP of Engineering at Lucidworks; and technology lawyer Addison Cameron-Huff, whose experience includes working with Ethereum’s founding team.

Bitcoin Magazine contacted Google for comment but has not yet received a response.

The post Presearch Uses Ethereum Blockchain and AI to Challenge Google on Its Own Turf appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 11:44 am

Blockchain and Bitstamp Customers Can Now Use Ether

Bitstamp and Blockchain add ether

Ethereum fans got a bit of a boost today from two different companies in the crypto space. UK-based cryptocurrency firm Blockchain and Luxembourg-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp have each added ether to their platforms for the first time.

Blockchain says its customers can simply toggle between bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) to manage and transact funds quickly and easily. Additionally, Blockchain has also integrated ShapeShift’s API so trading bitcoin to ether and vice versa can happen all from one place.

In an earlier, separate announcement to its customers, Bitstamp said it will allow full trading functionalities of ether today. Ether deposits and withdrawals opened at 9 am (UTC) and began to allow full trading functionalities at 1 pm (UTC).

Nejc Kodrič, CEO of Bitstamp, said: "We've been encouraged by ether's potential and the demand shown for its inclusion among our trading pairs.”

Ether now joins USD, EUR, bitcoin, litecoin and Ripple among the coins for which Bitstamp allows deposits and withdrawals. In July the company announced a strategic partnership with Swissquote, the Swiss leader in online banking. Swissquote launched BTC/EUR and BTC/USD trading on its platform, with Bitstamp providing full-stack services for their two new BTC trading pairs.

Kodrič added: ”Since starting out in 2011, Bitstamp's mission has been to be the safest and most reliable digital currency exchange on the market. Our careful approach has created a market reputation for prudence which has served us well as we continue to expand and give our customers the trading options they desire."

Peter Smith, CEO of Blockchain, said in a statement that the popularity of Ethereum has grown and so has the desire from Blockchain customers to have the option to manage multiple digital assets within their Blockchain wallets. Smith said: “We are thrilled to introduce this new functionality to our community and will continue to find ways to make interacting with digital assets even easier.”

One of the earliest bitcoin companies, Blockchain was founded in 2011 and provides a non-custodial consumer wallet for digital assets, with over 16 million wallets created across 140 countries. The company has focused on creating products that make storing, transacting and hedging digital currency a frictionless experience.

Smith was recently quoted saying: “I predict that by 2037 a complete global computer fabric will make interacting with goods, services and people easier than ever. Citizens of the world will be more closely connected through technology, communication and networks."

Second in market cap, ether has seen its price soar as much as tenfold since the end of April, while its number of transactions quadrupled. Ether has since settled at about $300 at the time of publication.

The post Blockchain and Bitstamp Customers Can Now Use Ether appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 10:48 am

Bitcoin Surged to a New High Adding $17 Billion in Just Over a Week - Fortune


Fortune

Bitcoin Surged to a New High Adding $17 Billion in Just Over a Week
Fortune
The currency's total market value jumped $17 billion in the same period, thanks in part to the optimism traders have around plans to help Bitcoin eventually go mainstream. This includes speedier transactions, starting with its software update—dubbed ...
Chaos Ensues As Bitcoin Splits Into Two Separate CryptocurrenciesForbes
Get Ready, November Event Coming For BitcoinSeeking Alpha
Unknown Bitcoin Cash Miners Control Almost 97% of the Network's HashpowerThe Merkle
Investopedia -ExtremeTech -CoinDesk
all 21 news articles »

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 10:35 am

Bitcoin's Biggest Software Wallet Blockchain Adds Ethereum

Bitcoin wallet startup Blockchain is expanding its service to support ether, the cryptocurrency of the ethereum network.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 9:59 am

Bitcoin Is Coiled to Unleash a Rip Your Face Off Rally to $5000 - TheStreet.com


TheStreet.com

Bitcoin Is Coiled to Unleash a Rip Your Face Off Rally to $5000
TheStreet.com
"Make no mistake, Bitcoin is in a bubble, but it's not necessarily a bad thing," Lasher said. "It's not the first time this has happened nor will it be the last. When you take a long term view, such as 15 or 20 years, the analysis you should entertain ...

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 8:21 am

Goldman's sketchy case to buy (and then sell) bitcoin - Financial Times


Financial Times

Goldman's sketchy case to buy (and then sell) bitcoin
Financial Times
Attracting attention in parts of the web this week were headlines that captured the strange place on the fringes of modern banking where astrology, finance and computer games intersect. A Goldman Sachs analyst had predicted the price of bitcoin ...

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 7:58 am

South Africa Tops Bitcoin Google Searches Worldwide in Adoption Spike - CoinTelegraph


CoinTelegraph

South Africa Tops Bitcoin Google Searches Worldwide in Adoption Spike
CoinTelegraph
South Africa has topped the world for Google searches for 'Bitcoin,' over the last month according to data from Google Trends. Journalist and commentator Kyle Torpey uploaded the findings to Twitter, which showed the country to be nine percent clear of ...

and more »

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 7:50 am

$7 Million: Bitcoin Wallet Startup Breadwallet Raises New Funding

Bitcoin wallet startup Breadwallet has closed a new $7 million funding to boost staffing levels and product development.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 7:29 am

Lightning Bank Ledgers? Bitfury and Ripple Demo New Twist on Bitcoin Tech

Bitcoin's much-anticipated Lightning Network is now compatible with seven payment networks, thanks to new code from Ripple and Bitfury.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 6:59 am

Bitcoin Prices Reach New All-Time High of Over $4500 - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Prices Reach New All-Time High of Over $4500
CoinDesk
At press time, the price stood at $4,495 – a 1.58 percent gain for the day so far, according to CoinDesk's Bitcoin Price Index. Bitcoin's market capitalization now stands at over $73 billion, up from $68 billion two days ago. Looking at wider market ...

and more »

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 5:19 am

Bitcoin is posting new record highs - Business Insider


Business Insider

Bitcoin is posting new record highs
Business Insider
Other digital currencies continue to move inline with Bitcoin, which is the biggest cryptocurrency by market value. Bitcoin Cash, which was split off from Bitcoin proper at the start of the month, is up 0.17 against the dollar to $299.42 on Thursday ...
Bitcoin: No Longer A MoonshotSeeking Alpha
ProtonMail adds Bitcoin support so you can pay for e2e encrypted email more privatelyTechCrunch
Why Bitcoin, Cryptos Aren't GoldForbes
CoinTelegraph -Council on Foreign Relations
all 53 news articles »

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 4:41 am

Another major country joins China and Japan in cracking down on bitcoin exchanges - CNBC


CNBC

Another major country joins China and Japan in cracking down on bitcoin exchanges
CNBC
Following moves by China and Japan to regulate digital currencies, Australia is attempting to crackdown on money laundering and terrorism financing with plans to regulate bitcoin exchanges. "The threat of serious financial crime is constantly evolving, ...
Australia follows Japan in move to regulate bitcoinFinancial Times
Bitcoin: Australia Cracks Down on Digital Currency ExchangesBarron's
Australia proposes stronger money laundering rules, includes bitcoinReuters
ZDNet
all 25 news articles »

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 4:26 am

Australia Takes Aim at Cryptocurrencies With New Money Laundering Bill

Australia is moving to introduce a new bill that would extend the country's anti-money laundering laws to cover domestic cryptocurrency exchanges.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 4:04 am

$80,000: Zcash Foundation to Launch Grant Initiative

In an effort to propel development of its protocol, the Zcash Foundation is offering roughly $80,000 in new grants to its community.

Posted on 17 August 2017 | 2:00 am

ASX Calls for Review of Distributed Ledger Settlement Platform

The Australian Securities Exchange wants to know more about the Digital Asset DLT platform, and will commission a third party study to do so.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 10:00 pm

Investor Naval Ravikant Wants to Disrupt Twitter With Blockchain 'XPRIZE'

Early Twitter investor Naval Ravikant to back "XPRIZE" for a blockchain-based Twitter using Blockstack technologies.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 1:10 pm

CULedger Credit Union Consortium Launches Blockchain Services Business

A blockchain initiative backed by a group of US credit unions has formed a new organization to support its efforts.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 11:20 am

Crypto Exchange Shapeshift Acquires KeepKey Hardware Wallets

ShapeShift Acquires KeepKey

Today, Shapeshift.io announced its acquisition of hardware wallet manufacturer KeepKey. According to the cryptocurrency exchange, by pairing the KeepKey hardware wallet with ShapeShift, users will be allowed to safely store their coins on a secure physical device while trading their assets directly over the ShapeShift API, which can be reached from KeepKey’s interface.

“Security is of critical importance when it comes to holding and trading digital assets. One of our priorities has always been to make the exchange experience as safe and easy for users as possible, and our pairing with KeepKey enables us to provide an unmatched customer experience. Users can hold their coins on the hardware device and exchange them on demand within the wallet, without even visiting a website. When you pair the KeepKey hardware wallet with ShapeShift’s exchange, the experience is magical,” Erik Voorhees, CEO of ShapeShift, said.

KeepKey already had integrated ShapeShift’s API a year ago, allowing it to supporting the most popular cryptocurrencies. The firm’s objective is to support all leading digital assets providing the users with the “most secure storage wallet available.”

“This partnership will not only guarantee the future success of the KeepKey brand and product line, but joining the ShapeShift team will enable us to focus on continuing to work on developing better technology and security for crypto-holders,“ said Ken Hodler, Chief Technology Officer at KeepKey.

ShapeShift confirmed that the company will preserve KeepKey’s brand and product line. Furthermore, the acquisition of KeepKey will allows ShapeShift to “provide increased capital for inventory and security expertise.”

“Amid heightened interest in the concept of digital currencies, a simple, user-friendly cold storage wallet with native exchange functionality is one key to wider adoption,” said Voorhees.

The combination of ShapeShift and KeepKey reflects both companies’ commitment to security and privacy. ShapeShift does not collect any personal information on its users. Furthermore, customer funds are not collected on the company accounts and users maintain control of their keys at all times.

The KeepKey drive is physical hardware device that protects users’ funds from “hackers and thieves.” It uses wallet software located on the user’s computer. The device takes over the management of private key generation and storage along with the signing of transactions. The hardware has a built-in random number generator for private keys, which works in combination with the “randomness” provided by the user’s computer. After the private key is generated, the user is given a twelve-word recovery sentence, which can be used to recover the device without compromising its private keys.

The post Crypto Exchange Shapeshift Acquires KeepKey Hardware Wallets appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 10:12 am

Cryptocurrency Exchange ShapeShift Acquires Bitcoin Wallet Startup

Cryptocurrency exchange ShapeShift has acquired the bitcoin hardware wallet startup KeepKey.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 10:00 am

Block 494,784: Segwit2x Developers Set Date for Bitcoin Hard Fork

The developer team behind the Segwit2x scaling proposal is set to announce a formal date for a planned bitcoin hard fork today.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 9:35 am

AMD Releases New Software Package for Cryptocurrency Mining

Graphics card (GPU) maker AMD is rolling out a new software driver geared specifically toward cryptocurrency mining.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 9:00 am

Bank of Canada Report: Imagining a “Bitcoin Standard” Financial System

Bank of Canada Bitcoin Standard

In a 37-page long research paper, Warren E. Weber, research consultant at Bank of Canada who is also a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, speculated about a financial system where bitcoin would be the standard currency (referred as the “Bitcoin standard”) instead of fiat currencies.

In the study, Weber explored the similarity between the Bitcoin standard and the gold standard. The research consultant chose to compare bitcoin to gold since the two have many similarities. The two most prominent resemblances include the lack of control of central banks or monetary authorities and the limit in the supply: Bitcoin’s algorithm only allows the circulation of 21 million BTC while gold can be found in finite quantities on the planet. If the Bitcoin standard becomes real, there will be three distinct media of exchanges, just as there was under the gold standard. Bitcoin will serve as the main currency while there will be fiduciary currencies issued by countries’ central banks, and fiduciary currencies (banknotes or deposits) issued by commercial banks.

Issuing fiduciary currencies will be one of the very few abilities central banks can do as part of a monetary policy where banks will act as lenders of last resort. Bitcoin’s “virtually costless arbitrage” on an international scope will deprive the central banks of their ability to impose interest rate policies to affect their domestic economies, Weber detailed.

Should Bitcoin serve as the standard medium of exchange, there would be a moderate increase in deflation; however, according to Weber, once a certain level is reached, the rate of deflation will be minimal. Price levels will become highly or perfectly correlated under Bitcoin’s dominance in various countries, just as they did for those countries that adopted the gold standard. Despite the fact that the cryptocurrency would become the standard, Weber believes that economic crises could still happen since “they can occur under any fractional reserve financial system.”

According to Weber, the Bitcoin standard will benefit the economy in two ways. Due to the “known, deterministic rate” at which new BTC is created, people would be able to predict the price level of the cryptocurrency more easily. The second benefit would be that investment resources which are currently devoted to hedging against fluctuations in the currency exchange rates would free up and could be used in “more productive ways.”

On the other hand, Weber thinks that the Bitcoin standard will never come into existence since there will be heavy opposition by central banks and governments. If the Bitcoin standard becomes real, neither the governments nor the central banks will be able to implement interest rates to affect their economies, neither could they generate seigniorage revenues obtained from their ability to “almost costlessly create money,” the Bank of Canada research consultant explained. Since the governments don’t want to lose these powers, they will do anything to prevent Bitcoin from becoming the standard medium of exchange.

Weber is also skeptical about the longevity of the Bitcoin standard. According to him, the financial system is advancing so rapidly that there would likely be another (crypto)currency that can provide the same or greater benefits as Bitcoin, possibly at lower costs. Furthermore, if a financial crisis occurs, an opposition is likely to emerge that would seek to replace the “old” financial system, rather like the way that Bitcoin is challenging today’s status quo.

The post Bank of Canada Report: Imagining a “Bitcoin Standard” Financial System appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 8:51 am

Blockstack Partners with VCs to Launch $25 Million Blockstack Signature Fund

blockstack.jpg

New York-based decentralized internet and developer platform Blockstack has partnered with a number of venture capital groups to launch the $25 million Blockstack Signature fund.

The Blockstack Signature fund is backed by Lux, OpenOcean, VersionOne, RisingTide, and Compound, and funding will go toward apps being built in the Blockstack ecosystem.

Patrick Stanley, growth partner at Blockstack, explained to Bitcoin Magazine that “Blockstack is not launching the VC fund but facilitating.” That is, the company’s role in the fund has been to gather the venture capital groups, attract the developers and facilitate the partnerships that will result in quality app development on the Blockstack platform.

According to Blockstack, the VC fund will dedicated to “rapidly accelerating startups building decentralized applications on the platform, and tools for developers to bootstrap their apps, with tokens on the Blockstack network — just like you see with Ethereum.”

Muneeb Ali, co-founder at Blockstack, told Bitcoin Magazine: “We are at a stage where some of the developers are incredibly excited about building apps and usually get in touch with us. If developers get in touch with us with an app that they are excited about, this is one funding channel we can point them to.”

Ali added: “The VCs involved in the fund will take a look at that application and make a independent decision to fund that company or now. Our intention here is to bring together sophisticated investors, people who have been thinking a lot about decentralization and can do their due diligence.”

VC investing is a type of private equity, a form of financing that is provided by firms or funds to small, early-stage, emerging firms that are deemed to have high-growth potential, or which have demonstrated high growth in terms of number of employees, annual revenue or both.

Ali explains: “If you look at this space in general we feel that there are a lot of low quality apps which are raising an insane amount of capital from token sales, for example. We want to bring some quality and sanity to the picture. We feel that VCs can still have a seat at the table … we want to open up that channel as well.”

Blockstack was formerly known as Onename and passed through its young company status in the summer of 2014 as a startup looking to streamline bitcoin transactions.

Watch the video here.

blockstack video


The post Blockstack Partners with VCs to Launch $25 Million Blockstack Signature Fund appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 6:23 am

Bitcoin Down $100 as Price Seeks Support Above $4,000

Bitcoin prices are beginning to move sideways, just a day after setting a new all-time high.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 6:15 am

IT Giant NTT Data Enlists 13 Companies for Blockchain Consortium

Japan's largest IT services firm, NTT Data, has announced a new consortium aimed to investigate use cases for blockchain technology.

Posted on 16 August 2017 | 5:00 am

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group

On August 14, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance announced the addition of more than a dozen organizations to its blockchain collaboration under the umbrella of its Legal Industry Working Group, responsible for creating enterprise-grade applications on the Ethereum blockchain. The new members include law schools, legal departments of universities, academic institutions and leading global law firms.

According to the EEA, the swift expansion of the Legal Industry Working Group is due to the fact that an increased number of legal professionals are showing interest in blockchain technology. The Ethereum blockchain consortium believes this working group will serve as a base for the success of “various efforts taking place within the organization.”

“We are thrilled to see robust interest in blockchain technology by forward-looking law firms and institutions. Lawyers are poised to serve as the catalysts for blockchain technology, and the Legal Working Group will serve as a neutral space to explore blockchain-based legal technology, develop standards for “smart” legal agreements, support emerging enterprise use cases and tackle important policy issues raised by this new impactful technology,” Aaron Wright, Chair of the EEA Legal Industry Working Group, Associate Clinical Professor and Co-Director of the Cardozo Law School’s Blockchain Project, and co-founder of the smart contract project OpenLaw, said in a statement.

The Legal Industry Working Group isn’t the only part of the blockchain collaboration to be experiencing a rapid growth in new members. On July 18, 2017, the EEA announced that the alliance had onboarded 34 new organizations, bringing the number of the participants to more than 150 members. The newly joined participants included Mastercard, Cisco, the Government of Andhra Pradesh (one of the 29 states of India), Scotiabank and many others.

Formed in late February 2017 by founding members such as Intel and J.P. Morgan, the EEA strives to create, promote and support open standards, best practices and open source reference architectures on the Ethereum blockchain. The consortium serves as the major research and development body of the Ethereum blockchain, helping Ethereum to evolve into an enterprise-grade technology. In terms of development and research, the EEA focuses on multiple areas, including privacy, confidentiality, scalability and security, as well as investigating hybrid architectures and industry-specific, application-layer working groups.

The 14 new members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance include:

Cooley, Debevoise & Plimpton, Goodwin, Hogan Lovells, Holland & Knight, Jones Day, Latham & Watkins, Morrison & Foerster, Perkins Coie, Shearman & Sterling, Cardozo Law School, Duke Center on Law & Technology, and the Department of Legal Studies and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

In addition, existing members of the consortium will be joining the EEA Legal Industry Working Group, including BNY Mellon, ConsenSys, ING and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The post Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Expands Legal Industry Working Group appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 12:45 pm

Blockstream Satellite: Broadcasting Bitcoin from Space

Blockstream Satellite: Broadcasting Bitcoin from Space

Yesterday a video teaser from blockchain technology company Blockstream created waves of excitement among enthusiasts of both cryptocurrencies and space. Most participants speculated that Blockstream was about to implement the idea, promoted by Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik (among others), of a satellite system that streams the Bitcoin blockchain to the whole planet from space. The speculations were, indeed, correct.

Today, the company is announcing Blockstream Satellite, a new service that broadcasts real-time Bitcoin blockchain data from satellites in space to almost everyone on the planet. Blockstream Satellite covers across two-thirds of the Earth’s land mass and, according to the company, additional coverage areas will soon come online to reach almost every person on the planet by the end of the year.

“Bitcoin is a powerful and transformative internet native digital money that has blazed a trail of disruption, with its full potential yet to unfold. Because it’s permissionless, Bitcoin enables anyone to freely create new financial applications and other innovations that use the blockchain that haven’t been possible before,” said Blockstream co-founder and CEO Adam Back.

“Today’s launch of Blockstream Satellite gives even more people on the planet the choice to participate in Bitcoin. With more users accessing the Bitcoin blockchain with the free broadcast from Blockstream Satellite, we expect the global reach to drive more adoption and use cases for Bitcoin, while strengthening the overall robustness of the network.”

The Blockstream Satellite network currently consists of three geosynchronous satellites at various positions over Earth that cover four continents: Africa, Europe, South America and North America. Blockstream is leasing bandwidth on existing, commercial, geosynchronous satellites: Galaxy 18 (covering North America), Eutelsat 113 (covering South America) and two transponders on the Telstar 11N satellite (one covering Africa and one covering Europe).

Ground stations, called teleports, uplink the public Bitcoin blockchain data to the satellites in the network, which then broadcast the data to large areas across the globe. Additional satellites and teleports are being added to achieve worldwide coverage by the end of the year.

Blockstream_Satellite_Phase1+2_Coverage_Areas.jpgBlockstream_Satellite_Phase1+2_Coverage_Areas.jpg

The Blockstream service is expected to be especially useful to people in remote regions of developing world with poor internet connectivity.

"When I first heard of Blockstream Satellite, I immediately recognized its great potential to bring Bitcoin to regions of the world where internet access is either unavailable or expensive,” said Tim Akinbo, who runs the only bitcoin node in West Africa. “Not to mention providing redundant access when internet access is temporarily unavailable."

Blockstream Satellite uses GNU Radio, an open-source software development platform for Software-Defined Radio (SDR), expected to reduce costs and streamline development by eliminating the need for specialized hardware. Blockstream Satellite utilizes the Fast Internet Bitcoin Relay Engine (FIBRE), an open-source protocol backed by several years of history operating and studying the Bitcoin Relay Network. “Together, these open-source technologies power the Blockstream Satellite network enabling Blockstream to provide this free service reliably and cost effectively,” noted the Blockstream press release.

“Anyone can receive the signal with a small satellite dish (similar to a consumer satellite TV dish) and a USB SDR (software-defined radio) interface,” notes the Blockstream Satellite FAQ. “The total equipment cost for a user is only about $100. The software is free. The software interface is the open-source GNU Radio software, which is the receiver. GNU Radio will send data to the FIBRE protocol, which is the Bitcoin process and is where the blocks reside.”




The post Blockstream Satellite: Broadcasting Bitcoin from Space appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 15 August 2017 | 8:52 am

Last Week on LTB Network: Factom's Paul Snow Shares Thoughts on Bitcoin Cash

Last Week on LTB Network: Factom's Paul Snow Shares Thoughts on Bitcoin Cash

Some confusion still exists around Bitcoin Cash (or Bcash), the new token that resulted from a split in the Bitcoin network on August 1. Many bitcoin (BTC) holders are still wondering how to safely remove the new tokens (BCH) from exchanges (and wallets) without putting their BTC at risk.

In a recent episode of the Crypto Show, Paul Snow, the founder of the blockchain-based data management solution Factom, offered some suggestions. He also talked about the potential benefits of holding onto BCH a little while longer.

First, while some exchanges may be offering to extract BCH for some users, Snow firmly advises people not to hand over their private keys to exchanges. He thinks sharing private keys is a bad policy in general. “Don’t do it,” he said.

“It is kind of like, you don’t wear underwear on the outside of your pants; you don’t give people your private keys,” he said. But for those anxious to cash in on their BCH right away, he describes a safe way to do it.

Create New Addresses

Snow suggests users separate their BTC from their BCH first, as follows:

If you had any number of addresses holding BTC before August 1, then you will now have an equal amount of BCH on those same addresses.

Snow recommends you go into your BTC wallets and move the entire amounts of BTC in those addresses, (imagine three addresses we’ll call A, B, C) to three new addresses (D, E, F). Now, the second set of addresses (D, E, F) will have BTC in them, but no BCH because those addresses did not exist before August 1. The first set (A, B, C) will have BCH in them, but no BTC.

“To reiterate,” Snow said, “move your Bitcoin addresses from where they were on August 1 to new addresses. Step two, input those private keys into your Bitcoin Cash wallet. Step three, profit,” he said.


For more info on how to handle your BCH safely, read A Beginner’s Guide to Claiming Your Bitcoin Cash (and Selling It).


Neutral on Bcash

Bitcoin Cash has, in a sense, divided the community. Some like Bitcoin Cash because it raises the Bitcoin block size limit to 8MB, while others are appalled at how the new chain is attempting to usurp users and hashpower from the main Bitcoin network.

Snow maintains a neutral stance. “I’m not sure I have an opinion on any particular blockchain out there,” he said.

After all, Bitcoin is not the only game in town. He pointed out that right now there are nine cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin with a market cap of $1B or more. Those are the facts. “I don’t care whether you think Bitcoin should be the only blockchain or not. They [those other coins] exist,” he said

Moveover, he thinks Bitcoin Cash played fair and square in launching an alternative currency. Everyone who had BTC got their share of BCH in the airdrop. Nevertheless, nearly everyone he hears from is looking to reinvest that money back into BTC.

“I am seeing a lot of people who are going to cash out on the Bitcoin Cash as fast as they can and buy Bitcoin with it,” he said. 

“Hodling” Bcash

Of course, there is another option. People could hold onto (or “hodl”) their BCH just like they hold on to their BTC and see if the price goes up.

After all, Snow said the market for BCH won’t hit its stride until mid September when the mining difficulty on the new chain eases up to the point where Bitcoin miners consider it economically viable to redirect their hash power over to it.

“Right now, anyone mining on Bitcoin Cash now is effectively donating their power,” he said. “That [Bitcoin Cash] bandwagon doesn’t leave town until September 18th. Until then, it is just kind of puddling along and not quite getting anywhere.”

Dropping Anchor

But, say the Bitcoin Cash chain were to beat all odds and become super successful. If that were to happen, would Factom anchor onto the Bitcoin Cash chain instead of the Bitcoin chain?

To explain Snow’s business, Factom is a protocol that runs on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. By doing so, it allows any kind of data to be time-stamped and secured using the Bitcoin blockchain. So hashrate is essential to Factom’s security.

“We are anchoring into a chain for its proof of work,” Snow said. “But if proof of work is largely in Bitcoin Cash, then we will anchor onto Bitcoin Cash.”

He added that if the hashrate between the two chains were to split 60/40, Factom could anchor on both chains and still get 100 percent of the hashpower.

“We can anchor as many chains as we want,” he said, but added that he doesn’t think Bitcoin Cash will ever capture that much hashpower. With BCH currently only valued at less than one tenth of BTC, the economic rewards for miners just aren’t there.

But as Snow pointed out, all of this plays into Bitcoin’s security. “Bitcoin is designed so that it is very, very hard to split off and be successful,” Snow said.

During the course of the interview, Snow also discussed the mechanics of how Factom anchors onto the Bitcoin network and the third annual Texas Bitcoin Conference, which he founded and helps organize. The conference will take place from October 28-29.

Listen to the entire podcast here.


The post Last Week on LTB Network: Factom's Paul Snow Shares Thoughts on Bitcoin Cash appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:28 pm

Op Ed: Cryptocurrencies, ICOs and the Untapped "Family Office" Group

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With cryptocurrency investing becoming increasingly mainstream, it’s important to understand the types of potential investors waiting on the sidelines. One largely untapped investment group would be a “family office” (FO), which is a private wealth manager of investments and trusts for ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs). In 2015, UHNWIs included almost 173,000 individuals whose wealth accounted for $20.8 trillion. FOs can represent a single-family office (SFO) or multi-family office (MFO), with the former being the largest group that represents one extremely wealthy single family.

The Family Office Databases reports that most FOs reside in the United States.

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According to UBS and Global Wealth, the top three investments of an average FO portfolio are in the developed market, real estate, or venture capital and private equities.

UBS_investment_breakdown.png

Cryptocurrencies would be classified as a commodity, whereas initial coin offerings (ICOs) would represent venture capital. Furthermore, most ICOs are deemed securities based on the parameters of the Howey test. Cryptocurrencies themselves are still very new and highly complex, and innovation is happening every day. Few people understand them deeply due to the intense learning curve.

Being decentralized and transparent on a blockchain with low transaction fees means cryptocurrencies have attractive properties for UHNWIs. Cryptocurrencies provide FOs with diversification from traditional assets usually in an average portfolio. However, the risk of investing remains high, especially if there is a lack of understanding around how cryptocurrencies work or how to secure them properly.

The recent explosion of ICOs and ICO funding represents a growing percentage of investors backing the creation of software or companies that are building the technology and infrastructure. David Drake, managing partner of LDJ capital, whose focus is on compliance and underwriting for ICOs, said to Bitcoin Magazine, “These ICOs need to have a real team and business structure behind them before anyone is willing to invest.”

Drake added that many investors he speaks with “are afraid that they will not understand what is happening with cryptocurrencies, but this is changing very quickly as they become curious about the subject.”

Projects that will be able to cut through the noise and hype with a clear message and identifiable use cases will likely acquire more investors through an ICO. Two such examples of successful ICOs with straightforward use cases include Civic, a project focused on providing proof of identity, which raised $33 million; and Filecoin, a decentralized storage network, which raised $252 million.

Generally, ICOs accept funds through cryptocurrencies only, although this may change to bring in more investors. Kamil Przeorski, co-founder of Experty.io and ReactPoland, told Bitcoin Magazine that “many people I talk with are very interested in my project, but don’t always understand the process and would rather use USD.”

Ultimately, the better the cryptocurrency community can communicate and explain the complexities, intricacies and possibilities, the more potential investors will flock to this space.

This guest post is by Josh Olszewicz, an advisor to Experty.io. The views in this piece are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Media.




The post Op Ed: Cryptocurrencies, ICOs and the Untapped "Family Office" Group appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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