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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

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Posted on 24 November 2017 | 1:38 am

Bitcoin's main rival Ethereum hits a fresh record high - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin's main rival Ethereum hits a fresh record high
CNBC
Ether, the digital currency of the Ethereum blockchain, made significant gains on the day of the Thanksgiving holiday. The cryptocurrency hit an all-time high of $425.55 Thursday, according to data from industry website Coinmarketcap. This broke a ...
Don't Ban Bitcoin - Russian BankerCointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Thanksgiving Lull? Bitcoin Trades Sideways But Rally May ContinueCoinDesk
Crypto Bull Tom Lee Doubles Bitcoin Price Target to $11500Bloomberg
TNW -Business Insider -Bitcoin News (press release)
all 106 news articles »

Posted on 24 November 2017 | 12:05 am

Bitcoin Series #5 - Altcoins And Forks - Seeking Alpha


Bitcoin Series #5 - Altcoins And Forks
Seeking Alpha
Some Altcoins will be made using adapted Bitcoin software (so-called “software forks”), some will be made using entirely new software. Some will have their own blockchains from inception or equivalent methods to register transactions and secure the ...

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 11:57 pm

The Fundening? Quarter Billion Dollar Gold Fund is Buying Bitcoin - Bitcoin News (press release)


Bitcoin News (press release)

The Fundening? Quarter Billion Dollar Gold Fund is Buying Bitcoin
Bitcoin News (press release)
A Bloomberg interview has revealed Old Mutual Gold & Silver Fund has set aside roughly 11 million USD from its holdings since spring of this year to purchase the world's most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin. It's another feather in the decentralized ...
This gold fund is joining the Bitcoin frenzyIndependent Online
Gold Fund Manager: Bitcoin 'Designed To Be Digital Gold'Kitco News

all 4 news articles »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 9:31 pm

China's Liquid Injection Could be Bitcoin's Delight - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

China's Liquid Injection Could be Bitcoin's Delight
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
The Chinese government, since its shock ban on Bitcoin exchanges and ICOs, has been concerned with trying to keep capital in the country and thus seen it prudent to quash Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. However, the cryptomarket in the Asian ...
Bitcoin Breaks Through $8000: Is It Still Time To Buy?Seeking Alpha
JPMorgan Contemplates Providing Bitcoin Futures TradingThe Merkle

all 7 news articles »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 10:41 am

$413: Ether Prices Within a Whisker of All-Time High

The price of ether, ethereum's native token, has brushed all-time highs above $400 – falling just a dollar short of June's record.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 8:32 am

Deutsche Bank Joins Bitcoin Bashing Brigade - CoinTelegraph - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Deutsche Bank Joins Bitcoin Bashing Brigade - CoinTelegraph
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
I would simply not recommend this to the everyday investor”: Deutsche Bank's chief strategist Ulrich Stephan.

and more »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:43 am

UC Berkeley, KyberNetwork Partner for Decentralized Exchange Research

KyberNetwork is teaming up with a University of California blockchain group for research on ways to improve the decentralized exchange model.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 6:30 am

Thanksgiving Lull? Bitcoin Trades Sideways But Rally May Continue

Bitcoin is continuing its sideways journey today, with a pullback looking possible. However, the broader outlook still remains bullish

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 5:00 am

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings - CoinDesk - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings - CoinDesk
CoinDesk
More than $3.3 million has been stolen as part of an elaborate scam that took advantage of bitcoin users seeking to claim their share of the newly created ...

and more »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 4:07 am

5 Tips for New Bitcoin Investors - CoinTelegraph - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

5 Tips for New Bitcoin Investors - CoinTelegraph
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
With a few straightforward tips, negotiating that first Bitcoin transaction or trade can be a lot less stressful.

and more »

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 3:30 am

Austrian Bank Raiffeisen Enlists in R3 Blockchain Consortium

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has become the first Austrian banking group to join the R3 distributed ledger consortium.

Posted on 23 November 2017 | 3:00 am

Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings

A scammer successfully made more than $3 million after getting the private keys to bitcoin gold users' wallets during the fork's launch period.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 1:55 pm

Baseball Great Jose Canseco Predicts $10,000 Bitcoin By 2018

Former Major League Baseball star Jose Canseco is apparently a big believer in blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 12:05 pm

Video Streamers Have More Options with These New Blockchain Startups

videostream.jpg

Innovative technology companies are leveraging blockchain technology to build next-generation business models and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for video streaming, a multibillion-dollar industry that continues to grow. According to data revealed by Theta Labs, one of the companies covered below, the video content and streaming market accounts for 67 percent of current internet traffic and could reach 82 percent by 2020. The new players promise to decentralize global video streaming, while at the same time making it more efficient.

LBRY

According to Jeremy Kauffman, co-founder and CEO of the blockchain-based content distribution platform LBRY, blockchain technology could transform the monetization of online content by altering the way that creators get paid, and eventually challenge YouTube.

The LBRY protocol allows creators to publish online, making their content discoverable with a small payment in LBRY’s own cryptocurrency token. Viewers pay creators in LBRY tokens to see their work.

“[Blockchain technology] allows us to build technology that’s owned by the users rather than any one party,” Kauffman said. “That’s the problem that blockchain [technology] solves.”

Kauffman explained that under the LBRY model, creators are paid without an intermediary taking an inappropriately large cut. Since LBRY is a protocol, the company can’t control what gets discovered.

Kauffman said that LBRY recruited 4,000 YouTubers in specifically targeted demographics, several of which have 500,000 or more subscribers, which seems a good first step toward challenging YouTube in its own turf.

Theta Labs

YouTube’s co-founder Steve Chen himself, as well as Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch, are among the advisors of Theta Labs, a subsidiary of live video streaming company SLIVER.tv, which is announcing a new blockchain-based decentralized video streaming network.

“Theta’s innovation is set to disrupt today’s online video industry much in the same way that the YouTube platform did to traditional video back in 2005,” said Chen. “One of our biggest challenges had been the high costs of delivering video to various parts of the world, and this problem is only getting bigger with HD, 4K and higher quality video streams. I’m excited to be part of the next evolution of the streaming space, helping Theta create a decentralized peer-to-peer network that can offer improved video delivery at lower costs.”

Theta is developing a new blockchain-based network, outlined in the Theta white paper, which could enable users worldwide with unutilized PC bandwidth and resources to cache and relay video streams to others in the network, while mining Theta tokens at the same time, similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum. According to the company, the new peer-to-peer decentralized network will allow for much more efficient, high-quality streaming without the need to develop expensive content delivery network infrastructure.

In December, Theta will implement its first generation of ERC20-compliant tokens on the SLIVER.tv platform. These application tokens can be used for virtual gifting and incentivizing streamers. Eventually, these ERC20 tokens will be 1:1 exchangeable for native Theta tokens when the new blockchain launches at the end of 2018.

“We’ve been on the cutting edge of live streaming technology, and by leveraging blockchain [technology] we will truly be able to transform the video and entertainment industry,” said Mitch Liu, co-founder and CEO of Theta Labs. “Theta will be uniquely built to leverage the incentive mechanisms of the blockchain, enabling end-users to contribute their excess PC bandwidth and resources to relay video streams to others and earn Theta tokens at the same time. It’s a win-win for all stakeholders in the ecosystem.

“We’re committed to solving the challenges of today’s video streaming industry,” Liu told Bitcoin Magazine. “We think there’s a huge opportunity to democratize the video delivery infrastructure, to reward end users with excess PC resources and bandwidth to help stream to their neighbors and friends.”

“I think the Theta team is going to revolutionize video delivery with its new native blockchain,” Theta advisor and G FUEL CEO Cliff Morgan told Bitcoin Magazine. “I’m thrilled to be part of this innovative, organic platform to decentralize streaming. This will impact a number of industries from esports to advertising, benefiting our esports fans as well as influencers and content creators. I can see how Theta’s peer-to-peer mesh network will empower our G FUEL community, rewarding them with Theta tokens when they help stream to others in the network.”

Stream

Another new video platform, Stream, has received $5 million to back its Ethereum-based Stream Token in an advisor round of funding led by blockchain investment firms including Pantera Capital, Fenbushi Capital and CoinFund, as well as individual participants like Jed McCaleb, David Johnston and Andrew Yashchuk.

Founded by Ben Yu, Stream wants to facilitate direct transactions between content creators and consumers with a zero-fee structure. Yu was a successful early cryptocurrency investor who became an internet celebrity with videos that received tens of millions of views. In 2011, Yu left his studies at Harvard and accepted a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, like Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin before him, eventually launching Sprayable and Stream.

The Stream Token was designed to allow digital media creators to earn a fair living from their work, without being exploited by streaming platforms that take unreasonably large shares of their revenue. It is also designed to free content creators from the strictures of advertising models that limit creativity and freedom of expression.

“Stream Token is part of the larger Silicon Valley movement to fulfill the original intention of the internet: universal access to information. We can finally reward those who share information without curtailing freedom of expression. Content creation doesn’t have to be a zero sum game,” said Greg Kufera, CTO of Stream. “And we’re ensuring it won’t be.”

The post Video Streamers Have More Options with These New Blockchain Startups appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 11:02 am

Bitcoin Is 'Not Actually Legal,' Says Zimbabwe Central Bank Chief

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has cast doubt on the legality of bitcoin in the country.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:45 am

This Bitcoin Developer Is About to Take on the Mining Hardware Industry

DragonMint

BtcDrak, the most active pseudonymous Bitcoin Core contributor to date, is making a move into the mining hardware industry. The developer, who besides having contributed to the Bitcoin Core repository also maintains bitcoincore.org and the Bitcoin Core Community Slack, told Bitcoin Magazine he helped set up ASIC chip manufacturing company Halong Mining over the past year, and produced an initial batch of mining hardware, with plans to ship to consumers in early 2018.

“We started a mining project with the aim to bring much needed competition to the market,” BtcDrak said. “We want to ‘make SHA256 great again.’”

The Miners

As listed on the company website, Halong Mining is launching a product line that consists of one machine for now: the DragonMint 16T. The miner — its name references the Dragons' Den, an (in)famous private chat channel on the Bitcoin Core Community Slack — is said to be equipped with newly designed chips and can produce a total of 16 terahashes per second. Importantly, BtcDrak claims that the machines are about 30 percent more energy efficient than the most efficient ASIC miner on the market right now, Bitmain’s AntMiner S9.

“The DragonMint will be the most advanced miner to date,” he said.

The main bottleneck to entering the ASIC market is typically capital: developing specialized chips from scratch is expensive. While BtcDrak preferred not to disclose much information about Halong Mining for now, he did note that the machines have been produced by a team with “serious expertise.”

According to the developer, Halong Mining has invested $30 million in research and development so far, with over 100 people involved, including chip designers, electronics hardware specialists and software designers.

“Research and development is not cheap, and we need a lot of diverse skills,” BtcDrak explained.

Halong Mining has now produced a prototype batch of DragonMint machines for testing and fine-tuning, BtcDrak said, but these will not be sold to the public due to risk of reverse engineering. He emphasized that the machines are working, however, adding:

“Other companies that want to enter the ASIC mining industry develop everything in simulations, and then the first presale batch tries to pay for small production. But the NRE [non-recurring engineering] and making wafers is fraught with difficulty; the first run is not easy to do well.”

Halong Mining published a video of a DragonMint on YouTube today. BtcDrak thinks the first mass-produced run of DragonMint miners will happen within about four months and begin to ship in March of 2018.

Apart from the DragonMint machines, he says Halong Mining will also be selling mining chips separately, in bulk.

The Competition

With the introduction of DragonMint miners, Halong Mining should offer an alternative for Bitmain’s mining hardware, which has dominated the market for the past few years. An estimated 70 percent or more of the hash power on the network today is produced by Bitmain machines, and around half of all hash power is pointed to mining pools that are either owned by or closely affiliated with Bitmain, such as AntPool, BTC.com, ConnectBTC and ViaBTC.

“One manufacturer as a monopoly is not good for Bitcoin,” BtcDrak said. “Centralization in mining is a problem regardless of how benevolent you are. If there is a center, then governments and criminals can attack it. Decentralization protects the entire system and all its participants. So I wanted to bring competition.”

Bitmain in particular has also not made itself popular within segments of the Bitcoin community over the past years. The Chinese ASIC manufacturer was at the center of the AsicBoost and Antbleed controversies. And perhaps more importantly, some speculate that the company exerted its influence over the mining ecosystem by allowing or limiting hardware sales based on how hash power from the machines was used. Bitmain has always denied this is the case, however.

Halong Mining wants to distribute ASIC miners “far and wide to help decentralize mining,” BtcDrak said, adding that the company is considering open sourcing its board designs and software. This would help new manufacturers get a foothold in the industry, building on the research already done by Halong Mining over the past year.

BtcDrak concluded:

“There is a lot at stake here. A lot of time and money has been invested … and we have a huge opportunity to bring more diversity to Bitcoin mining, and in turn help secure the network more.”

This article was slightly updated, in part to better reflect the scope (and limits) of our knowledge about Halong Mining and the DragonMint machines.

The post This Bitcoin Developer Is About to Take on the Mining Hardware Industry appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:40 am

Goodbye Bugs? How Formal Verification Could Fortify Smart Contracts

gpfromalverifi.jpg

As a way to eliminate bugs in high-risk code, a style of software programming known as formal verification is making its way into the blockchain world.

Put simply, formal verification uses math to specify and analyze a program for errors in logic. However, because of the time and cost involved, formal verification is best reserved for situations where human life or large sums of money are at stake.

Currently, formal verification is used to verify the correctness of high-risk code in transportation, the military and cryptography. Chip companies use it to fortify algorithms before embedding them in silicon. And banks use it to develop financial algorithms.

Applied to blockchain technology, formal verification could provide assurances that self-executing transactions known as smart contracts will work as intended, eliminating some of the bugs and financial losses that come as a result of coding errors.

This year alone, bugs in Ethereum’s Parity wallet accounted for $180 million in losses. Last year, a bug in a virtual organization known as The DAO enabled a hacker to siphon $50 million from the Ethereum smart contract.  

Platforms like Cardano and Tezos are already working on smart contract languages specifically designed to facilitate formal verification. Ethereum is also working on bringing formal verification to its smart contracts.

But what is formal verification? How does it work? And why is software so difficult to get right in the first place?

To Err Is Human

Software is inherently unforgiving. If you are constructing a building, you can leave out a nail or a screw, and the structure still stands. But when it comes to software, something as simple as a single typo can cause the entire program to stop working.

“Programming languages are incredibly powerful,” Gerard Holzmann, former lead scientist at NASA, explained in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “As a programmer, you have to deal with a lot of detail, and unless you get every detail right, there is some effect.”  

The traditional approach to getting software right is testing. After you write an algorithm, you input a variable and check to see if it gives back the correct output. But how do you test every single input? You can’t. There are too many to test, and there could be errors lurking in the cases that you do not test.

“There are so many possible executions that really, when you test or execute, you just scratch the surface of what is possible,” Holzmann said.

Put another way, testing only looks for the presence of bugs, not the absence of bugs, and one small mistake could have devastating results.  

“If you take any failure of a system, like Fukushima and Three Mile Island, and look at the sequence of events that led to that failure, it is always fascinating because there are so many things that nobody could have predicted that would happen in a particular accommodation,” said Holzmann. “Same as in software; so many things can happen.”

In contrast, instead of testing one situation at a time, formal verification is a way to test that a program works in every situation. What you care about is whether the logic holds true, and the best way to check that logic is with a computer.  

“A formalism for me has the purpose that you can reason about things, and the most useful way of reasoning about things is if you can program a machine to do the reasoning for you,” said Holzmann.

Making a Plan

Generally, the first step in formal verification is to create a mathematical model. The math needed is not complicated; it’s just basic logic written up in a so-called “formal language” that is machine checkable.  

Typically, the process of specifying a model begins with a stakeholder who understands what the system needs to do. In the case of a medical device, the stakeholder might be a doctor; in the case of a smart contract, it might be a lawyer or a banker, or both.

The job of a stakeholder is to convey the information in her head to a requirements engineer who collects that information and creates the model. The process begins informally with discussions and abstractions, but ends formally with a precise mathematical specification.

This is not easy. It is a time consuming, iterative process that can take months, depending on the situation, but it often brings a clarity to a situation that was not there before because it forces programmers to think deeply about the behavior of a software.

“You can think of it as laws and regulations,” said Andreas Zeller, professor of software engineering at Saarland University in Saarbruecken, Germany, who likens creating a formal specification to developing a plan for a building.

“You refine the regulations,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “But if you do not have regulations in the first place, your building crashes, and that is when you realize, you had better make a plan.”   

Checking the Logic

Once a model is specified, the next step is to verify the model’s logic with proofs. This is a critical step in the process. “If you do not have a proof, you do not have a guarantee that the model, as it is, will work,” explained Zeller.

But because you have to make explicit every single logical step, proofs can be immensely long and complex. In the past, this made formal verification agonizingly difficult. Even the simplest statement could require dozens of theorems and lemmas.

Fortunately, these days, many formal systems use automated theorem provers, like Coq, Isabelle or Metamath, that can check or even partially construct a formal proof.

Once a model is proven to work, the next step is building your program. But you still must make sure the software you build conforms to the specification.  

This is where functional programming languages like ML, Haskell, OCaml or F# enter into the picture. Because these languages are closer to algebra in their expressiveness, they are a better match for formal verification than languages like C, Java, or JavaScript.

For this reason, Tezos is written in OCaml and Cardano is written in Haskell, so changes to the protocol are easier to formally verify. (A formal specification for Ouroboros Praos, the next generation of the consensus algorithm powering Cardano, is already in the works.) Similarly, Tezos’ smart contract language Michelson is based on OCaml; Cardano’s smart contract language Plutus is based on Haskell.

Pros and Cons

On the plus side, formal verification allows computer scientists greater assurances in developing software. On the negative side, because of the rigor involved, formal methods can be a time-consuming, costly undertaking for projects developing the code.

Because of this, formal methods are best used to guarantee smaller building blocks of code that get reused over and over. You would not use it for, say, an entire operating system, but only those parts of a system that require the highest safety or security assurances.  

Naturally, any type of security comes at a cost. The question is, how much security will blockchain and smart contract developers be willing to pay for?

If you want something that is error free, “you had better be prepared to spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for people who will provide a full proof,” cautioned Zeller.  

On the other hand, for smart contracts securing tens of millions of dollars in funds, those costs may be well worth it. Looking at it another way, in a competitive environment, formal verification could make smart contracts more appealing to the consumer.

If, for instance, you had the choice of entrusting your funds to a smart contract that had been formally verified versus one that has not, which one would you choose?  

___________

Thanks to Tim Menzies, professor of computer science at North Carolina University, and Brighten Godfrey, co-founder and CTO at Veriflow, and Automated Software Engineering 2017.



The post Goodbye Bugs? How Formal Verification Could Fortify Smart Contracts appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 8:27 am

Central Bank of Malaysia Plans Cryptocurrency Reporting Rules

The governor of Malaysia's central bank has provided more detail on upcoming regulations aimed to counter the illicit uses of cryptocurrencies.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 7:00 am

Mike Novogratz Doubles Down on $10,000 Bitcoin

Billionaire Mike Novogratz has restated his belief that bitcoin will end the year at $10,000, while ethereum could hit $500.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 5:25 am

Bitcoin Leaves Two Tech Giants In Its Dust - Bloomberg


Bloomberg

Bitcoin Leaves Two Tech Giants In Its Dust
Bloomberg
AMD and NVIDIA shares have done better than their peers in recent years, in part because of their usefulness to the crypto crowd, but their stock didn't react much to the latest Bitcoin highs. For Bitcoin at least, it seems the only way for an ...

and more »

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:51 am

Philippine Regulators Eye New Rules for Bitcoin Exchanges and ICOs

Philippine regulators are eyeing new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to officials.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 4:00 am

Who Needs a CSD? Nivaura to Issue First Regulated Ether Bond

Blockchain startup Nivaura will today initiate its first bond denominated in ether. And, notably, the issuance will be conducted on a blockchain.

Posted on 22 November 2017 | 3:00 am

Zen Protocol’s Mission for Decentralized Finance

Zen Thumb New

In Eastern traditions, Zen is often defined as a total state of focus, a merging together of body and mind. It involves dropping illusions and seeing things as they are in the present moment.

Based in Tel Aviv, Zen Protocol recognizes that starting in the “here and now” is vital to innovation and progress. Its mission? To create a platform that allows anyone in the world find and use financial products in a highly secure manner.

Zen Protocol’s eclectic team of developers and crypto veterans aims to assist Bitcoin in sustaining its dominance while allowing it to capitalize on advancements that boost adoption. In pursuing this quest, the company has made liberal use of beta testers — a move that runs counter to the prevailing approach in much of the world of blockchain technology, where projects all too often hastily toss up a website and white paper before demonstrating a viable product.

At Zen, 2017 has been about erecting a new blockchain to fuel a marketplace that allows bitcoin holders to issue, trade and invest in stock options, futures, digital currencies, exchange-traded funds, exotic derivatives, contracts for difference and other financial instruments.

This project is predicated on the Zen blockchain functioning in parallel with Bitcoin in what is typically known as a “sidechain.” This opens up a bevy of opportunities for Zen to curate its platform, independent of any changes to the Bitcoin protocol while simultaneously being able to integrate its own set of modifications to fuel its innovative process.

The primary value proposition of the platform involves the facilitation of complex financial agreements through the use of smart contracts. This can be seen as a major breakthrough given that Bitcoin doesn’t natively support smart contracts — a major reason why the majority of blockchain app projects are launching on Ethereum instead.

Through the creation of this sidechain-style model, Zen is able to pay Bitcoin miners for executing contracts without creating a competitive scenario with Bitcoin for computational resources. Zen, therefore, sees itself as a complementary solution for Bitcoin which helps it scale and offload some of the transactional demand from the Bitcoin chain, which often struggles with high transaction costs and sluggish transactions.

A Viable Alternative to Ethereum? 

Through the strategic execution of its ambitious roadmap, Zen aims to usher in a new era for smart contracts using the Bitcoin blockchain — a space where Ethereum has, to date, shown a dominant presence.

On Ethereum, all smart contracts, in order to execute, need to use what is known as “gas.” When this vital resource is depleted, contracts may stop before they finish executing — a frequent source of frustration for both users and developers.

Zen’s smart contracts, on the other hand, always execute without stoppage, never utilizing more resources than required, thereby eliminating the need for gas entirely. Further, Zen lets miners check the computational resources needed for a contract before running it, allowing for more rapid contract execution than on Ethereum.

The Zen team is also making headway in how smart contracts engage with the real world. One major sticking point with the current iteration of smart contracts is that they exist in a walled garden on the blockchain. This prevents them from capturing external data on their own. External data feeds, known as “oracles,” are key to assessing the outcome of real-world events and to resolving any disagreements that may surface. 

By way of example, say a person wants to pay for auto insurance for a long-distance trip from Point A to Point B. A smart contract can set up for that date, with the projected mileage and other key information. Then one or more oracles could be set up to facilitate the exchange of information to the smart contracts with any payout predicated on any agreed upon conditions (such as a qualifying accident) being met. Zen’s oracles can run at a profit, without taking up too much space on the blockchain.

Token Sale and Next Steps

As a critical next step in its progression, Zen Protocol recently announced that its highly anticipated token sale will commence on November 30, 2017. This token is required to switch on smart contracts in the system, but participants can make transactions and use contracts with their bitcoins or other assets, without using any additional tokens. One advantage of Zen’s contract system is that the assets which contracts make don’t need the “native” Zen token to spend or send to other participants.

“At the end of the day, we believe that people have a right to own their financial assets, and we feel a responsibility to provide people with the necessary tools to empower themselves,” said Adam Perlow, CEO of Zen Protocol.

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The post Zen Protocol’s Mission for Decentralized Finance appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 12:46 pm

Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency

Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency

Tether, a cryptocurrency pegged 1-to-1 to the U.S. dollar, was allegedly hacked this week to the tune of $31 million.

Tether functions to convert U.S. dollars to a type of cryptocurrency. The project’s token (USDT) is pegged to the dollar and is used in exchange trading. The idea behind Tether is that instead of having to sell your bitcoin or other token for a fiat currency, you can convert it to USDT, and either hold it in USDT or else transfer your USDT to another exchange and use it to purchase tokens there.

As for the exchanges, USDT allows them to trade in something akin to dollars, without requiring them to have a bank account.

Tether operates on the “Omni Layer Protocol,” which itself operates on top of the Bitcoin network, and uses Bitcoin addresses. According to a blog post on the project’s website, $31 million worth of USDT was sent to an unauthorized Bitcoin address on November 19, 2017.

In the blog post, Tether also noted it released a new version of the Omni Core software used by exchanges and wallets to support USDT transactions, thus implementing a temporary hard fork to the Omni Layer. As a result, the affected tokens are frozen in place, making them essentially worthless to the hacker.

“We strongly urge all Tether integrators to install this software immediately to prevent the coins from entering the ecosystem,” Tether wrote, adding that “any tokens from the attacker’s addresses will not be redeemed.”

Some exchanges, like Kraken, have stopped trading USDT temporarily while they upgrade to the newer software.

The heist was made in three separate USDT transfers out of Tether’s core Treasury wallet in the amounts of 23,000,000; 7,900,000; and 500,000 USDT. It is unclear why the hacker did not move all of the money out at once.

In addition to the other exchanges it trades on, USDT is widely traded on Bitfinex, an exchange that lost 119,756 BTC (worth $72 million at the time) in a hack that took place a year and a half ago.

News of the Tether attack comes at a time when some — notably the blogger “Bitfinex’ed” — are questioning whether USDTs are being issued without backing of actual U.S. dollars. Similarly, there has been growing speculation that Tether is being used in possible market manipulation to drive up the price of bitcoin.

The current market cap value of USDT is around $673 million. If that money is backed by real reserves, as Tether claims, the project would need to have at least that much in its bank account in Taiwan.

Tether publishes a bank account balance on its website’s Transparency page, but in the legal section of its website, the company says it has no obligation to exchange USDT for dollars.

“There is no contractual right or other right or legal claim against us to redeem or exchange your Tethers for money. We do not guarantee any right of redemption or exchange of Tethers by us for money,” Tether says.

The project’s website has been up and down sporadically, since the hack. An archive of the site is available here.


Correction November 23, 2017: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Tether would redeem tokens for fiat at anytime. Tether claims it is under no legal obligation to exchange tokens for fiat. A correction has been made to reflect this.

The post Hacker Allegedly Siphons $31 Million Out of Tether, Driving Further Speculations About the Cryptocurrency appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 12:32 pm

NAGA Flourishes at the Epicenter of Blockchain’s Digital Disruption

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Blockchain technology’s disruptive force in business and commerce has been well documented. With strong momentum ensuing from its beginnings as the foundational technology supporting Bitcoin, distributed ledger technology shows great promise in terms of its potential impact on the future of our planet. 

One emerging enterprise at the nexus of these developments is The NAGA Group AG, a German fintech company. NAGA’s strategic aim is to create world-class mobile and web applications for the capital markets and gaming sectors, along with cutting edge, blockchain-based solutions.

Listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange as one of Europe’s fastest growing fintech firms, with six offices operating in five countries, NAGA’s successful IPO in July 2017 sparked a share price increase of 500 percent within less than three months.

Indicative of its strong advancement as a curator of cutting-edge concepts and business ideas, NAGA is backed by a number of high profile shareholders, including the Chinese Fosun Group and Hauck & Aufhäuser (one of Europe’s oldest banks founded in 1796).

“We Don't Copy, We Disrupt” is a key theme undergirding NAGA’s roadmap of progress. Employing a highly data-driven approach, it aims to reimagine the prevailing banking sector model through innovative, transparent and simplistic mobile-first concepts. All product development and design efforts target international expansion and a global marketing solutions.

New Collaborations, NAGA’s Acceleration Forward

NAGA’s foundational ecosystem is based on SwipeStox, an existing iOS and Android app and online trading platform that functions as a social network for traders. Operational since early 2015, this network is utilized by hundreds of thousands of registered users, facilitating over 200,000 monthly transactions at the tune of more than $4 billion.

Signaling its next significant breakthrough, NAGA Group and Deutsche Börse formed a joint venture called Switex in December 2016. This venture merges the financial trading world with the gaming world, allowing users to trade in-game merchandise. Currently under development, Switex is scheduled to launch in beta form in Q1 of 2018.

NAGA is also scheduled to launch a digital wallet that will align both platforms noted above. This will allow tokens to be stored so that individuals can use them for SwipeStox, Switex and other forthcoming projects such as the NAGA Trading Academy.

This tool will also provide a mechanism for the conversion of blockchain assets such as bitcoin, ether, litecoin and others. Moreover, NAGA plans to launch a debit card which will support users in their desire to spend cryptocurrencies both online and offline.

Prominent Figures

The NAGA Group AG was recently buoyed by the announcement that Roger Ver and Mate Tokay, Bitcoin.com’s CEO and COO respectively, had joined the company’s team of advisors.

Through the influence of these two cryptocurrency leaders, the company hopes to fuel the next iteration of barrier-free investing into stocks or virtual goods through its forthcoming proprietary token, NAGA Coin.

As arguably Bitcoin’s first angel investor, having funded the seed rounds for a majority of the entire first generation of Bitcoin-related businesses, including the Bitcoin Foundation, Bitpay, Blockchain.info, Ripple and Kraken, Ver is considered a prominent voice and strong advocate for Bitcoin adoption around the world. His philosophy and ideology of libertarianism and “voluntarism” align pretty succinctly with those espoused by NAGA.

Ver holds the view that every person on the planet has the right to freedom of choice, voluntary association and self-governance. This assertion aligns well with NAGA’s aim to build a supportive ecosystem which will allow underbanked individuals throughout the world to participate in financial and crypto markets. This opportunity for involvement in the world of trading and investing is seen as a critical step to fostering financial independence and free lifestyles.

Ver’s colleague, Tokay, is also an active and vocal proponent of Bitcoin. Having cut his teeth as a Bitcoin miner in 2013, Tokay continues to stay abreast of emerging crypto trends as part of his involvement with several successful blockchain-related projects.

“I am thrilled to join the NAGA token sale as an advisor; they already have a working product that will allow millions of unbanked people to trade on the crypto markets and with that giving them the opportunity to reach financial freedom,” Tokay said.

Dovetailing off of this news was the decision to add Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to the list of accepted cryptocurrencies for NAGA’s upcoming token sale.

“We consider BCH to represent the future of cryptocurrencies because of its small transaction cost and other benefits,” said NAGA founder Benjamin Bilski. “Thus, we believe that it will reduce the barriers for our potential investors and future customers to become a part of our ecosystem.”

Igniting the Next Frontier

With the ultimate vision to establish a cryptocurrency that allows anyone to invest and trade easily and securely, NAGA will launch a token pre-sale on November 20, 2017. The Naga Development Association Ltd. will partner with the NAGA Group to introduce the ERC20-based token, NAGA Coin (NGC), a decentralized currency unit with the purpose of bringing together all of the platforms the NAGA network through its own proprietary NAGA Wallet.

During the pre-sale, 20 million NGC tokens will be available with a 30 percent sale bonus. The main sale will then commence on December 1, 2017, and last until December 15, 2017. The maximum cap in tokens for the main sale is 200 million.

Learn more by visiting NAGA’s website as well as joining its Telegram chat. 

The post NAGA Flourishes at the Epicenter of Blockchain’s Digital Disruption appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 November 2017 | 9:37 am

Rublix Is Reimagining Crypto Trading

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The soaring fortunes of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is attracting massive amounts of media attention worldwide. This has led to a steady stream of traders flocking to the space amid record prices and subsequent asset returns.

In some circles, this exuberance has to raise concerns about a bubble akin to the great global recession of 2008. On a weekly basis, a seemingly endless stream of new crypto projects, many predicated on little more than a hastily developed white paper and website, are being launched and creating a crowded array of options for would-be traders.

Enter Rublix, a Canadian blockchain and smart contract technology startup that aims to eliminate many of the common concerns and uncertainties arising in the prevailing world of decentralized markets or speculative asset classes. Charting a course of transparency, while nurturing a world-class ecosystem of problem solvers and supporters, Rublix endeavors to create a new normal for trading performance among cryptocurrencies or any asset class. Bolstered by highly astute technology and investment experts, Rublix is actively unveiling a suite of products tied to an ambitious roadmap with a series of launch dates.

The Rublix platforms are being developed in collaboration with some of the top designers and coders in the world and the team is seeking to attract professionals in the finance space who desire to actively participate in the world of decentralized markets. Its target market? Traders of any sophistication level in any industry including people who believe that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain have barely scratched the surface in terms of its growth potential.

Hedge

Rublix’s flagship product is called Hedge, a platform which assists those who are interested in, yet unacquainted with, trading in making thoughtful, informed and educated decisions. Users will have the ability to track and mimic trades made by sophisticated investors on the platform with a verified ranking. The more accurate a trader, the higher their corresponding rank. The platform features an advanced block explorer that displays and records real-time trading predictions on the Rublix chain. The result is that novice traders will be able to rapidly assess and learn from more experienced counterparts with proven track records.

“The problem with many trading platforms that allow entry level traders to follow ‘successful traders’ is that they employ a month-by-month portfolio model,” said Rublix co-founder and CEO David Waslen. “Unfortunately, portfolio growth is only one piece of the puzzle when analyzing performance. A twenty percent increase in one’s portfolio is not an accurate measure as to whether a trader is highly skilled or not. Perhaps they got lucky with one trade while the balance of their portfolio is mediocre or poor.”

The goal of Rublix, Waslen added, is to change this dynamic.

“Rublix, therefore, aims to expose each trading prediction both before and after the event to increase transparency and accountability,” he said. “By making each blueprint public information with blockchain immutability, we give users a secure tool that will aid in making calculated decisions on which information to trust the we hope will help them enter the cryptocurrency space and successfully trade.”

Cryptocurrencies, with prevailing volatility in a marketplace that never closes, provide an abundance of opportunities for any trader. What is needed is a trusted source of advice to help professional and novice traders develop their knowledge base and hone their skills. That is why through integration with three inherent components of blockchain technology - transparency, decentralization, and immutability - Rublix’s Hedge platform debunks market manipulation while providing a trusted source of trader information.

“The blockchain aids in keeping our data secure and unsusceptible to intrusion or manipulation,” Waslen said. “It’s obviously a foundational element in helping us create a reliable, unbiased data source that will allow users to make calculated decisions on how to trade appropriately. A decentralized database of users’ past trade history paired with smart contract verification will give us a significant competitive advantage over other trading networks.”

Waslen goes on to note that the platform rewards users with the company’s native RBLX token on an exponential scale based on how many times they are “accurate” in their predictions. Hedge is targeted for release in Q1 2018.

TradersEdge

Rublix’s next product for helping new traders enter the cryptocurrency market is called TradersEdge. Set to launch in Q3 of 2018, it will feature a suite of tools that offer a similar feel and aesthetic to that of many well-known modern trading platforms. This attention to user experience is seen as a vital cog to building long-term interest and user adoption in the crypto-sphere as many cryptocurrency exchange platforms lack a user friendly interface.

Centurio

Finally, Rublix is building a tool called Centurio which will assist newcomers in getting up to speed with how to use cryptocurrencies for daily transactions and savings. This cross-platform solution, which doubles as a wallet and contract organizer, is targeted for release in early 2018.

Unfriendly platforms, difficulties in finding trusted information and general hesitation are what limit the growth and proliferation of cryptocurrencies. Recognizing this, Rublix is laser focused on bringing a whole new cast of entrants into the marketplace by mitigating a number of common concerns that hinder adoption. Rublix’s goal is to create an environment where embracing the blockchain and owning cryptocurrencies feels second nature.


The post Rublix Is Reimagining Crypto Trading appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 20 November 2017 | 8:47 am

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

Bitcoin reaches new all-time high: $ 3,000

Posted on 12 June 2017 | 1:06 am

Steam accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 April 2016 | 1:09 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

PayPal and Virtual Currency

Posted on 23 September 2014 | 9:52 pm

Wikimedia Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 30 July 2014 | 3:14 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

Expedia to accept Bitcoin payments for hotel bookings

Posted on 12 June 2014 | 12:41 pm

November 24, 2017 -
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