Bitcoin Forum
August 19, 2019, 11:00:53 AM *
News: Latest Bitcoin Core release: 0.18.0 [Torrent] (New!)
 
  Home Help Search Login Register More  
  Show Posts
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 »
1  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Buterin Defends Hard Forks, Adding Heat to Bitcoin Scaling Debate on: March 27, 2017, 07:16:50 AM


Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has summarized the implications of soft and hard forks amid growing tensions surrounding Bitcoin’s future.

“...There is an essential difference between hard forks and soft forks: hard forks are opt-in, whereas soft forks allow users no “opting” at all,” he wrote earlier this week.

The Bitcoin price was under downward pressure Friday as the community awaits Chinese regulatory announcements and indecisiveness over SegWit and Bitcoin Unlimited continues.

After Unlimited succumbed to a bug earlier in the week, rhetoric between the opposing sides became even harsher.

On the technical side, however, Buterin was frank about the praise and criticism leveled at the technology each represents. SegWit is a soft fork, while Unlimited is a hard fork.

“Proponents of hard forks are often derided as trying to effect a ‘hostile takeover’ of a network and “force” users to go along with them. Additionally, the risk of chain splits is often used to bill hard forks as ‘unsafe,’” he said.

Quote
“It is my personal viewpoint that these criticisms are wrong and furthermore in many cases completely backwards.”

Within Bitcoin, meanwhile, commentator Vinny Lingham also published thoughts on the forking solution Wednesday, taking a different tone to Buterin.

“If we all just breathe out and put aside our differences and emotions (even just for a while), let’s accept that doing a hard fork right now is NOT in the best interest of Bitcoin and let’s please just adopt Segwit,” he wrote.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/buterin-defends-hard-forks-adding-heat-to-bitcoin-scaling-debate
2  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Why South Korea is Second Largest Ethereum Market, 17% of All Trading on: March 27, 2017, 07:10:07 AM


Over the past few weeks, Ethereum has experienced a truly exponential growth in terms of market cap and development community, reaching a market cap of $4.37 bln. According to various sources and market data, the South Korean exchange market has accounted for 17 percent of global Ethereum trading.

Companies within the South Korean digital currency and Blockchain industries are rapidly expanding their consumer base across the country. Interestingly, the majority of clients of Blockchain and digital currency-based startups in South Korea are composed of government-funded organizations, major financial institutions and multi-billion dollar corporations.

South Korean corporations and financial institutions are considering the Bitcoin and Ethereum networks as important technologies which are necessary for developing new infrastructures and internal systems to base their operations on.

Essentially, local corporations are visioning the creation of an autonomous, secure, transparent and efficient infrastructure which can handle the settlement of transactions, processing of complex data sets and secure sensitive information within a single network.

Recently, South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC), the country’s top financial regulator, announced that it plans to launch a Blockchain-powered pilot project within this year. Jeong Eun-bo, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission, noted that with the introduction of a government-funded Blockchain project, the country intends to lead the Blockchain sector and fintech market on a global scale.

Jeong stated:

Quote
"Blockchain technology has great potential to be used in finance and various other fields. Since South Korea has the world's top-level ICT technology, it will be able to lead the international trend in the Blockchain sector if the government, related industries and experts pool their wisdom."

Connection between Ethereum and rising popularity of Blockchain in South Korea
Ethereum is arguably the largest Blockchain network that is focused on the development of decentralized applications and smart contract-based platforms. Unlike the Bitcoin network, which was designed to operate as a peer-to-peer digital cash system and as a digital currency, the Ethereum network was introduced to support a wide range of decentralized applications and provide the community with a more flexible and functionality-focused network for development.

On March 24 for instance, popular decentralized storage provider Storj migrated its platform over to the Ethereum network, as Bitcoin’s Blockchain congestion became an issue when it came to processing high fees for its users. Because of the block size debate between Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Unlimited supporters and the threat of miners in China to essentially lead a 51 percent attack on the Bitcoin network, the demand for flexible networks like Ethereum has risen significantly.

Shawn Wilkinson, CEO/CTO Storj Labs Inc., wrote:

Quote
“Because Counterparty uses the Bitcoin Blockchain for transactions, which is currently having issues with transaction backlog, our users have experienced extremely long transaction times (hours to days).”

South Korea considers itself as a leader in technology in both the Asian and global markets. The country’s top regulator and corporations are already eager to investigate emerging technologies like Ethereum, particularly if they have the potential to address serious problems in the financial and technology sectors.

An increase in the number of government agencies, banks and corporations testing the Ethereum network for various applications created a hype behind the digital asset in South Korea and ultimately drove the trading volume of Ether to new highs.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/why-south-korea-is-second-largest-ethereum-market-17-of-all-trading
3  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Speculation (Altcoins) / Ethereum Price to Surge with Ethereum Classic Private Fund on the Horizon on: March 27, 2017, 07:08:01 AM


Let us not forget about the hard fork that gave birth to Ethereum Classic in July 2015 amidst all talk of the looming Bitcoin hard fork. The split between Ethereum and Ethereum Classic was one that was based on differences on immutability.

A lot of people had not thought that ETC would survive for this long or would still be a factor to reckon with nearly two years after the hard fork. As on the writing of this article, ETC has grown to be the fourth-largest currency traded by volume on the Poloniex exchange. It has also more than doubled in value since March 2017.

So, would ETC make for an interesting investment? How about a fund that invested in ETC, has the time for such a fund arrived?

Grayscale’s ETC fund
Grayscale’s Ethereum (ETC) Investment Trust (EIT) will allow investors to profit from the price movements in ETC. In an investment thesis published by the company, they explain in great detail points regarding the investability of ETC.

The great emphasis in the paper is on the immutability of ETC-making it a medium that is similar to Bitcoin, which is also sometimes termed as digital gold.

Grayscale says in their thesis:

Quote
“We’ve identified two possible drivers of alpha for Ethereum Classic and ETC. First, ETC possesses store-of-value properties similar to precious metals and Bitcoin, giving it credence as an inflation hedge over long-term investment horizons.” Secondary stress is on the fact that ETC has real world application. They state, “Second, as the digital token that runs Ethereum Classic smart contracts, ETC can become the scarce commodity that powers a universally scalable Internet of Things.”

Scarcity as a driver of growth of value?
Ethereum Classic adopted a new monetary policy that reduced the block reward by 20 percent at block number 5,000,000 and proposes to reduce it by 20 percent every 5,000,000 blocks.

It is not expected that the total supply of ETC will be capped at 210 mln ETC but will not exceed 230 mln ETC.

This sort of ‘scarcity’ is similar to Bitcoin but unlike Ether (ETH) whose issuance grows by a fixed amount each year.

Grayscale are going ahead with the launch of their Ethereum (ETC) Investment Trust, now that there is clarity on the monetary policy question according to Barry Silbert, Founder and CEO of Digital Currency Group which owns Grayscale.

Is there an appetite for an ETC fund?
Cryptocurrency funds are coming into vogue. Grayscale has plans for the Bitcoin Investment Trust (BIT), whose registration statement has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Then there was the attempt in March 2017 by Winklevoss brothers to get their Bitcoin ETC approved by the SEC. The rejection of that ETF also led to a fall in Bitcoin prices. However, unlike the Winklevoss Bitcoin ETF or Grayscale’s own BIT, the EIT is a private investment vehicle.

Barry Silbert, CEO of Grayscale, reveals in an email to Cointelegraph:

Quote
“We may one day seek to have the ETC fund publicly quoted on the OTCQX market, like the Bitcoin Investment Trust, but at launch, it will not be traded publicly.”

As for what kind of an investor would be interested in EIT, Barry writes, “We believe that there is significant demand from investors to invest in vehicles that handle the purchase and custody of digital currencies and are seeing growing interest in ETC from these types of investors.”

The key is in getting regulatory approval
Mainstream investment vehicles that will allow people to invest in cryptocurrencies can act as a shot in the arm for these markets. These vehicles, if they are publically traded, will open the doors for investments in cryptocurrencies by retirement funds, entities both private and public and of course the members of the public.

The key though is securing regulatory approval. In the rejection of the Winklevoss ETF, the SEC observed:

Quote
“The Commission believes that, in order to meet this standard, an exchange that lists and trades shares of commodity-trust exchange-traded products (“ETPs”) must, in addition to other applicable requirements, satisfy two requirements that are dispositive in this matter. First, the exchange must have surveillance sharing agreements with significant markets for trading the underlying commodity or derivatives on that commodity. And second, those markets must be regulated.”

The SEC won’t approve cryptocurrency funds because the markets are supposedly unregulated and cryptocurrencies like ETC believe that code is law. The need then is for finding a sensible middle ground.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/ethereum-price-to-surge-with-ethereum-classic-private-fund-on-the-horizon
4  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24]Blockchain News Recap With Charlie Shrem: BlockShow Europe 2017 Spec on: March 27, 2017, 07:03:42 AM


As we approach the highly anticipated BlockShow Europe 2017, Cointelegraph has met with Charlie Shrem, one of the twenty big-name speakers of the event, to discuss the hottest Blockchain news.

However, one eyewitness is better than two hear-so's, as they say, and therefore we’d recommend to grab your conference tickets already now before they get pricey and/or sold out.

But for now, let’s do a recap of the Blockchain-related stories that have surprised us the most in the last few weeks.

A very confusing story of one “Blockchain-inspired” consortium

After $59 mln research R3 Consortium, which was originally designed to leverage Blockchain technology in a private, centralized environment for harmonizing global banking, eventually found out that they do not need it.

Shrem comments:

Quote
“To me, I do not understand the difference between the private Blockchain and Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet. I mean do understand the differences, but the whole point of a Blockchain is to have as many people as you can to better working on the Blockchain to make sure that someone can’t change the past, or double spend or things like that. If all of the minors are being controlled by one company or two companies, then what’s the point of having a Blockchain? If they can reverse whatever they want. The immutability of a blockchain is the most important thing, without that there is no point in having a Blockchain. They looked at it, they figured they can’t work with it, and they moved on.”

Hmm, banks hate Bitcoin but spread Blockchain love?
Since the rise in popularity of Bitcoin, restrictions within some states targeting the cryptocurrency has been a recurrent event. For some reason, the banking system does not always take kindly to Bitcoin. Do they hate Bitcoin?

Shrem says:

Quote
“Banks just don’t want to admit that Bitcoin is amazing. They don’t hate it, they just don’t take it seriously. They are not afraid of it. They just don’t think that Bitcoin is something to even care about. And I don’t think we could make them take it seriously, I think that Bitcoin is already serious. And over time as banks see losing customers and people start using Bitcoin financial system, then they will say that Hey, we actually need to take it seriously. It took 30 years for people to take the internet seriously. So people thought that the internet was a joke for how many years? I think it’s the same thing.”

In the footsteps of the Internet
The Blockchain is often touted as the next Internet. A technology so important that it will revolutionize the way we live our lives. It is true that we are only scratching the surface trying to explore all the potential of Blockchain, but there is no lack of interest in it amongst big technology companies, financial institutions, governments and members of the public.

What will it take for Blockchain to get to the level of Internet? Can they be compared at all? What steps does it need to assume a similar significance?

Shrem says:

Quote
“As people just start using it, it will only take time. And I think that over time it’s going to be successful. It may take many years but it will be good.”

Blockchain-based is the new sexy
While Bitcoin, and particularly Blockchain, awareness and interest are on the rise, in the global scheme of things these are still relatively novel and new technologies. Bitcoin averages about 300,000 transactions per day at present, compared to Visa’s approximately 150 mln daily, indicating an adoption gulf before digital currency reaches wide use as the money of the future.

As such, marketing and educational efforts are critical to the advancement of digital currency. What are the ways to educate the general public? Is word of mouth the best marketing strategy?

Shrem shares his opinion:

Quote
“We can educate the public by continuing to show that Bitcoin is amazing and that it is here to stay. And as long as we do that, as long as we continue to grow and do all these things, it’s just going to do well. Whatever we do now, we also need to come to an agreement to make sure that the Blockchain can handle everything.”

Power to the people!
Until very recently, Blockchain has been mostly associated with Bitcoin – the digital currency built on top of it. Not trying to underestimate the importance of the latter, it is fair to say that Blockchain technology is much more than digital money. Backing e-government platforms with Blockchain can solve a number of issues that arise when dealing with public authorities nowadays. Citizens feel so disconnected from their governments and think the general level of state bureaucracy is unbelievable.

Therefore, digitization of state services in general and especially the integration of Blockchain in this sphere is an interesting process to follow. Should global governments be embracing Blockchain?

Shrem says:

Quote
“They definitely should. There is a lot of different applications for Bitcoin and Blockchain. You can look at social media, you can look at putting health records on Blockchain, elections on the Blockchain, there is all these things that you could do on the Blockchain.”

Estonia seems to be more open to embracing Blockchain. The level of digitization of the public sector in Estonia is much higher in comparison with the state of digitization in Western Europe. Why So?

Quote
“Places like Estonia have a lot of good developers, a lot of young people, they are hungry to do good work and to grow technology, whereas in the US, for instance, people are just not interested in changing the world.”

And remember that you have a unique opportunity to hear a lot more Blockchain stories, learn the latest trends in the industry and get a sneak peek into the era of massive Blockchain implementation - all in one day at BlockShow Europe 2017 in Munich on April 6. So, get your tickets now!

https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-news-recap-with-charlie-shrem-blockshow-europe-2017-special
5  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Ad-Blocking Browser Brave Introduces New Way to Support Websites on: March 27, 2017, 06:56:51 AM


Online advertising is a field that represents a “broken system with eroded revenue, trust and privacy” according to an announcement made by Brave, the Web browser that promises to make your internet faster and safer than your current browser.

The people behind brave are now launching a Blockchain-based digital advertising platform which is based on a Basic Attention Token (BAT).

A broken system that needs fixing
Online advertising is a broken system that needs mending. CNBC recently cited figures from The&Partnership and Adloox who estimate that fraud in online advertising cost advertisers $12.5 bln in 2016, they estimate that this year these costs will further spiral by an addition $4 bln.

Add to the woes of ad publishers the fact that many users are simply banishing advertisements by using ad-blockers. The existing model for advertising that forces ads down the throats of users whether they want them or not is a major factor that leads to users adopting drastic measures to cut on the annoyance.

We talked with Brendan Eich, President and CEO of Brave Software Inc. on the use of ad blockers.

He tells us:
Quote
“We see ad blockers as necessary defensive tools for users but they are not sufficient. Our users tell us they want better ways to support the websites they visit and like.”

How BAT can offer an alternative
BAT is based on a new system that will reward users if they opt-in to view advertising. Using the Brave browser, these viewers can be monitored privately, without tracking. Both the publishers and the users will receive ‘tokens’ for participating in the system.

The data of the users will be kept on the device and in an encrypted form which will protect their identities. Users will benefit from having their privacy protected and since they choose to opt-in to the advertising system, the advertisements will be relevant to them.

Publishers stand to gain through the BAT system because they will get better reporting, improved revenue and there will be fewer chances of fraud. Advertisers stand to gain in terms of economical customer attention, less fraud and better attribution.

Ethereum forms the backbone of BAT
The Blockchain that BAT has opted for is Ethereum. Says Brendan on why they picked Ethereum, “Very simply, we need the smart contract support in Ethereum, and it has been a proven platform for token launches.”

On how the system is tied up with Ether, Brandon Eich reveals:

Quote
“We are starting it without relationship to anything but Ethereum, so investors will buy BATs with Ethers. After this funding step, we go to an "in-game" token model where users can choose to get private/anonymous ads and receive a BAT revenue share, publishers get the rest of the revenue and advertisers renew their BAT from commerce with publishers and users. Over time and with scale, we expect more interesting flows to emerge.”

BAT coming to Brave and Beyond
In the beginning, BAT will be only available on the Brave browser, At BAT 1.0 stage they would be integrating the BAT wallet into the browser and transactions would be handled by the international Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) ledger system.

This will protect the anonymity of the users, publishers and involved third parties. It is expected that in the Beyond 1.0 stage the transfer and verification process will be distributed on Ethereum using a state channel scheme with zero knowledge proof protocol to maintain user privacy.

Brave is hoping that as the system matures into a fully decentralized micropayment system, other developers will use their infrastructure which is free and open source and develop their own use cases.

So how would an ordinary person use BAT on a given day? As Brendan explains:

Quote
“One idea I like is this: I pay the FT.com a subscription, find a piece they did that is great, want to share it with a friend who does not subscribe. Could I send him a sealed BAT gift to cover the cost of him reading the link at FT.com? This is quite feasible and avoids copying the article out to him or making him subscribe in full. Yet it is good for the FT too.”

It can be that the future of web advertising is about to become user-centric and that is how it should be.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/ad-blocking-browser-brave-introduces-new-way-to-support-websites
6  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24]Bitcoin Unlimited, Hard Fork,New ICOs, Satoshi in London Scene Round on: March 27, 2017, 05:56:32 AM


Our own correspondent Nick Ayton, aka the Sage of Shoreditch, reports on the Turing Award winner, HoneyCoin, perspectives of Bitcoin hard fork, new ICOs and the tokenization of everything during a rather somber week in London.

Oh, and Satoshi leaving a trace at Gatwick.

And the Turing winner was
MIT professor Silvio Micali was the co-winner of this prestigious accolade, the Turing Award. His theory “ALGORAND,” a new consensus model that apparently scales, has received what is considered the Nobel equivalent of computing.

I remain a big fan of zero-knowledge proofs and zk-SNARKs where Silvio has added a lot and I have to agree that Blockchain will struggle to move on to phase two without a rethink.

There are no standards and the Blockchain stacks vary depending on who you speak with.

Unlike the ISO and TCP/IP stack, Blockchain is different. In my view there are five layers:

  • Consensus
  • Mining or Forging
  • Propagation
  • Semantic
  • Physical Internet

Consensus drives Blockchain defining everything about design and operations; dictating the underlying performance, scalability, governance, data capacity, security and redundancy which remain the core attributes of the technology, with other aspects dealing with crypto economic rewards and incentives around token management and supply.

Time will tell and I look forward to learning more about ALGORAND that looks at vested economic interest as a means to effectively rank the nodes and define how things get done.

ICO booming
This week saw the Qtum ICO secure more than 90 percent of its funding in the first few hours, the Internet of Coins steaming ahead, Matchpool and Cosmos starting very soon and the 21Million project confirmed that they are planning for May.

There is no doubt that ICOs are gaining pace and quality and are rapidly becoming the preferred choice for crypto-entrepreneurs. And, of course, we assume you have purchased your share of ChocoholicCoin and MothersCoin for this coming Mother’s Day weekend.

Satoshi spotted again
I couldn’t believe it, there I was in the queue at Gatwick Airport to board a plane to Dublin and there it was, two people in front of me that familiar rucksack ‘Bitcoin Sold Here.’

Cointelegraph: Hey Vittalark what are you doing here?

He turned around looking very surprised to see me.

Vittalark Buttering: I found out he is in Dublin you know.

CT: How do you know?

VB: I spoke to Victor at the foot spa who said Satoshi had told him he was off to Dublin, he may even be on this flight.

With that, he showed me his boarding pass and was off down the gangway to the plane.

CT: What seat have you got?

VB: 21B, of course. I always try to get this seat because it is what Satoshi would choose.

CT: Does that mean he is not on the flight then?


VB: You know Dublin is where the secret stuff is being worked on, you know the new Bitcoin code. I can’t say anymore I think I am being followed. See that lady, she keeps looking at me and then talking on her phone.

CT: Do you think Bitcoin will fork, ending up with BTC and BTU (Bitcoin Unlimited)?

But Vittalark had moved on and was already sitting down and I went to my seat at the back of the plane.

No sign of Satoshi, with Dublin to look forward to.

Tokenizing everything
It is likely that every asset on the planet will be tokenized, which will not only allow all value to be programmed and exchanged simply and easily but will also signal the changeover from today’s capital markets to crypto capital markets which have already started.

I love crypto-economics because it redefines how value is created and exchanged and why stock exchanges, in particular, are starting to wake up to the opportunity to create and trade entirely new asset classes.

Until now, the majority of ICOs were for software developers to build things - e.g. the Qtum project - while others may have the beginning of a Blockchain platform they will build out or for ConsenSys, adding another spoke to the ConsenSys Ethereum core platform.

Later this year we will see new emerging types of ICO, both specifically asset-backed for land and real estate, and also content-based.

With 21MCoin for the film and entertainment industry representing an entitlement to a royalty that moves it away from being seen as a financial product.

Then there is ERCoin with an ICO planned for June/July that is fully asset backed by land and property, that can be part of an ETI (exchange traded instrument) opening it up to institutional investors and where a strip of cryptocurrency sits as part of a broader performing fund.

Many altcoins plummet in value after launch but in the cases of 21MCoin and ERCoin, the token is supported by assets that generate an income stream as the value of the underlying asset increases.

A token of entitlement, rewards, royalties and benefits that will accelerate ICOs to become a go-to place for mainstream institutional cash looking for a home.

SEC decision does not matter
The big news this week is the state of Bitcoin following the SEC ruling, another move by China to control movement and concerns over the technology scaling.

My take on theBitcoin ETF SEC ruling is that it matters not.

If the US wants to place draconian rules on Bitcoin, the activity will simply get up and move to regions that remain open and favorable.

People forget that Bitcoin is a movement - it is a packet switched protocol that lives in the ether with Bitcoin the first smart contract that works autonomously.

Bitcoin isn’t owned by anyone, it crosses borders and jurisdictions and cannot be regulated.

Like TCP/IP, they tried and failed.

Bitcoin hard fork
The fork is a real issue though as for some time there have been concerns over fundamental scaling that has lifted trading volumes of large-scale selling and then buying. As commentators see it through their capital markets lens, traders predict Bitcoin price will settle below $750 creating a new resistance level. But then I don’t get this or see it that way.

If Bitcoin forks you end up with Bitcoin BTC and Bitcoin Unlimited (BTU) that exposes holders of Bitcoin to uncertainty and possible losses. And a choice of which way to fall, the process remains unclear. Then there is the mining community that is significantly invested in BTC and some in the crypto press have predicted everything will get legal and nasty as two sides fight and argue, as value is disturbed.

US agenda
Comments no doubt are driven by a US agenda to pull the rug from under Bitcoin.

But with miners spread globally, huge pools in China and Asia with the majority operating beyond sovereign control, the community remains largely anonymous, autonomous and economically insulated from reprisals and also mine several cryptocurrencies, not just Bitcoin.

Lawyers still don’t understand how it works and there is no court in the land that could adjudicate. So I struggle to see the legal fight anytime soon.

The issue of China stepping in is not a negative for Bitcoin at all. It is, however, predictable as the Chinese economy would take steps to secure money flows and currency, remembering they are a hybrid capitalist economy as the bulk of the land remains under sovereign control.

But then again, does old-fashioned supply and demand, market forces and economic models apply to cryptocurrencies. I would suggest it is this thinking that is contributing to volatility, as once again the few try to spike the market for quick gains.

HoneyCoin launches in Somerset
CT caught up with beekeeper Norman Snitch to discover more about his plans for HoneyCoin and find out of if there is a sting in the tail.

Cointelegraph: So Norman what is the idea behind this?

Norman: Unlike other commodities, Honey is technically different as it is owned by the birds and the bees. It doesn’t need expensive refining or production process in a factory.

CT: So what do investors in HoneyCoin get?

Norman: They get two things really. They own some bees, they are entitled to a dividend from the honey we sell and we throw “sting and hay fever insurance” in for good measure.

CT: So how much does one HoneyCoin cost?

Norman: Well it is difficult to say because we don’t accept money or Bitcoin. We accept only flowering plants that provide the environment for the bees to get pollen and do their stuff.

We own the land already and we make our money from selling the purest, fair trade honey on the market, and we record who has given us plants, and where they are planted on the Blockchain. The number of flowering plants matter and Smart Contracts work out the yield of flowering buds versus number bees visits and allocate coins and royalties on this basis.

CT: Sounds brilliant Norman, real eco-friendly Honey produced in a libertarian way.

Norman: Exactly. Do you want to taste?

https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-unlimited-hard-fork-new-icos-satoshi-in-london-scene-roundup
7  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Russia, Japan Consider Joint Digital Currency For Kuril Islands on: March 27, 2017, 05:48:19 AM


Russia and Japan may introduce a joint digital currency for residents of the far eastern Kuril Islands.

According to reports highlighted by Russian news resource Future Banking, a program for joint economic growth in the area put forward by Japanese authorities includes provision for such a currency, “which would stimulate economic growth.”

Map

“Such projects can only be considered under conditions which do not go against Russian law,” Maria Zakharova, the official representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, commented on the idea Thursday. “We would be happy to study the Japanese offer.”

A request for further information about the potential digital currency saw Future Banking given the cold shoulder by Russia’s central bank, which said the topic was “rather political” and declined to comment further.

In addition to the islands themselves, which are situated closest to the Japanese mainland, the northern part of Hokkaido Island would also benefit from the currency’s introduction.

Both countries have recently softened their stance to Bitcoin, Russia announcing it would no longer seek to ban it and Japan preparing official legislation later this year.

Japanese interest in Bitcoin itself has meanwhile become a major focus of attention, the market becoming the world’s biggest Bitcoin trader after volumes in China dropped dramatically.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/russia-japan-consider-joint-digital-currency-for-kuril-islands
8  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-25] Bitcoin Unlimited Derivative Introduced Ahead of Possible Hard Fork on: March 27, 2017, 05:47:05 AM


Cryptocurrency exchange Hitbtc.com has announced the launch of Bitcoin Unlimited (BTU) balances and trading pairs, betting on the possibility of a BU hard fork.

In its announcement, HitBTC claims that a Bitcoin Unlimited hard fork, followed by a network split, is “one of the possible outcomes,” due to the high congestion that the Bitcoin network has been experiencing over the past months.

Ahead of the possible network split, the exchange wants to “provide [its users] with the tools for avoiding any risk.”

Quote
All users who have had Bitcoins deposited to their accounts, as well as all new depositors, are given a BTU balance, credited with an equivalent amount of BTU coins. BTC/BTU pair is already available for trading on the exchange.

Given the fact that the BTU network itself is not live yet, the customers are using a derivative, which will be automatically converted into BTU coins if and when a network split takes place.

The exchange has put all Bitcoin withdrawals on hold for at least one week, highlighting the need to protect their users’ funds from potential replay attacks in case of a network split.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-unlimited-derivative-introduced-ahead-of-possible-hard-fork
9  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-27] Podcast: Nate Dogg - The Token Protocol on: March 27, 2017, 05:44:57 AM


Nate Dogg said it best: ‘Smoke weed everyday‘. Well, at least the legal kind, right? Well this episode, it’s blockchain meets cannabis as The TOKES Platform provides a digital currency solution dedicated to the Cannabis Industry via a token called, you guessed it, “TOKES.” The token can be utilized by customers to facilitate in-dispensary purchases, and in a business-to-business capacity across industry participants. The TOKES Platform, can assist your business with transitioning assets currently sitting in cash into a secure digital format, which can be stored securely, under your own control. With this episode, we invite Michael Wagner on to facilitate the necessary education and training to secure and protect digital assets. Also, our faith in bitcoin is kind of in limbo.

UH OH! *Rips open tunic* We are the Bitcoin Podcast and we love bitcoin more than Moses loved wandering through the sand. *Steps down from marble throne.*

https://cointelegraph.com/news/podcast-nate-dogg-the-token-protocol
10  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-27] Bitcoin Truly Decentralized: Fork Of Dash Plans To Lead Community on: March 27, 2017, 05:43:46 AM


The divide within the Bitcoin community is becoming wider as the necessity for Bitcoin scaling becomes much more pronounced.

A fork of Dash, Private Instant Verified Transaction, (PIVX) claims to have embarked on a process to change what it describes as the “centralized” nature of the voting process within the industry.

Currently running a “Masternode” system which it inherited from Dash, Eric Stanek, Team Member at PIVX infers that Satoshi’s original intent was that millions of individuals will be mining away on their GPUs, therefore power within the community will be truly decentralized. Rather what is obtainable today is power being centralized to a few massive mining farms.

Bitcoin divide

With the introduction of both Segregated Witness and Bitcoin Unlimited and the consensus nature of Bitcoin governance, a lot of users may still be very unclear about the decision-making process within the community. Hence the shade of confusion hovering above the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Michael Vogel, CEO of Netcoins, explains it this way:

Quote
“These are certainly unsettling times for Bitcoin, and we are witnessing history being written before our eyes. I think it's important to note that over the long term, this likely won't be the last divide within the Bitcoin community, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing - innovation is usually a byproduct of these types of situations.”

Being a system that is based on proof of work, the decision-making process lies in the hands of miners within the decentralized Bitcoin ecosystem. It is the miners whose votes will determine the next turn for Bitcoin.

The partial centralization of Bitcoin

Vogel explains that the ability to vote for changes to Bitcoin is essentially proportional to the computing power that each miner contributes to the Bitcoin network. This explains the fact that Bitcoin is based on Proof of Work (PoW). Vogel also notes that there is no preset voting period, so miners can vote for changes to Bitcoin at any time. In theory, this is a very elegant and unique way of handling the evolution of Bitcoin, although it does mean that the interests of miners guide the direction of Bitcoin.

This explains why statements credited to top miners within the industry regarding Bitcoin scaling usually have a significant impact on both Bitcoin price and its general behavior.

The comparison between Bitcoin’s Proof of Work (PoW) and other services such as DASH’s Proof of Service (PoS) and PIVX Proof of Stake (PoS) also exists in some quarters.

A common scenario in both cases, however, is the possibility of a partial centralization of the system by early adopters who may actually be a smaller fraction of the entire users of the given system.

An example in Bitcoin is the situation where mining has become more difficult and less profitable that in the previous years, therefore new participants aren’t necessarily attracted to mining. A larger percentage of participants within the system, who will definitely be affected by the end result of the voting process will have no say in determining the future of the environment within which they are participating.

Back to the future

In its attempt to change the status quo and create a governance system where everyone has a voice, Eric Stanek says that PIVX is working on a proposal that will only require a YES or NO response from members of the community.

This, according to him will influence the content of the PIVX manifesto and would be factored in early enough in order to avoid such a scenario as is presently experienced in Bitcoin and Dash where development has gone so far that changing the system has become almost impossible.

Flexible

For systems that operate by Proof of Service (PoS) like Dash, which is more flexible as for the purpose of decision making, only members of the community who own Masternodes can vote. This system also sidelines smaller investors, who actually make up the majority of the community.

One may argue that the patterns employed by these communities are reasonably appropriate, owing to the fact that only major investors whether in “Work” or “Stake” will be more critical about issues that concern their respective communities, therefore would appear as delegates in these democratic settings.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-truly-decentralized-fork-of-dash-plans-to-lead-community-back-to-satoshi
11  Alternate cryptocurrencies / Altcoin Discussion / Ethereum Is Looking Strong, Bitcoin Is Disappointing on: March 24, 2017, 12:47:01 PM
Chart located on Hacked.com. Join now for just $39 and receive the latest analysis, guides and in-depth articles on how to hack finance.

Ethereum has posted a strong close above resistance that has been troublesome for many days.

That 1st arc of the 2nd pair has bedeviled this market for quite some time, but as you can see, the arc has yielded to the bulls. This is not yet a buy signal, as the 2nd arc of the pair still waits for pricetime at around $47. When/if we see a close above that arc we will be given a buy signal. In the meantime, my suggestion would be to wait patiently. Of course, it is possible that the arc will be cleared by the time this piece gets published…

Bitcoin continues to struggle more than I expected it would. It is currently sitting once again at the the very bottom of a short-term bear setup.

 

Read the complete exclusive analysis here: https://hacked.com/ethereum-is-looking-strong-bitcoin-is-disappointing/

https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/ethereum-looking-strong-bitcoin-disappointing/
 
12  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Bitcoin Price Technical Analysis for 03/24/2017 – New Triangle Form on: March 24, 2017, 12:42:37 PM
Bitcoin price is back to consolidation mode and is moving inside a new symmetrical triangle pattern.


Bitcoin Price Key Highlights

  • Bitcoin price is forming lower highs and higher lows, creating a symmetrical triangle formation on its 1-hour time frame.
    Price is currently testing support and could be due for a bounce back to resistance at $1075.
  • Technical indicators seem to be hinting that further decline are in the cards.
  • Bitcoin price is back to consolidation mode and is moving inside a new symmetrical triangle pattern.

Technical Indicators Signals

The 100 SMA is below the longer-term 200 SMA so the path of least resistance is to the downside. In other words, a move lower could be more likely than a rally, which suggests that a test of the resistance could still keep bitcoin price inside the triangle. In addition, the 200 SMA lines up with the triangle support, adding to its strength as a near-term ceiling.

If selling pressure is strong enough, a downside break of the triangle support could occur. Stochastic is heading south so bitcoin price might follow suit. RSI is somewhere around the middle, reflecting sideways action, but also appears to be pointing slightly lower as well.

A break below support at $1000 could take bitcoin price to the longer-term floor closer to $950. On the other hand, an unlikely break past the resistance could open the door for another strong rally back to the record highs or at least until the $1200 area.



Bitcoin price is under heavy selling pressure these days due to the looming hard fork, as analysts worry that a new version of the bitcoin software could invalidate the ones from the older version. However, the issue of scalability needs to be addressed at some point so it could hinge on how the network consensus sides.

Meanwhile, the US dollar is also losing its appeal as the healthcare vote was delayed in Congress. This is seen to be a test of the Trump administration’s resolve, possibly setting the tone for how they could push their agenda in terms of other policy changes such as tax reform, infrastructure spending, and financial deregulation. Some say the vote is rescheduled to later today but the lack of an outcome or a loss for “Trumpcare” could mean dollar losses.
Quote
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not guaranteed, does not purport to be comprehensive and is strictly for information purposes only. It should not be regarded as investment/trading advice. All the information is believed to come from reliable sources. NewsBTC does not warrant the accuracy, correctness, or completeness of information in its analysis and therefore will not be liable for any loss incurred.

http://www.newsbtc.com/2017/03/24/bitcoin-price-technical-analysis-03242017-new-triangle-forming/
13  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Bitcoin's value is set to soar - here are three predictions for the on: March 24, 2017, 12:33:32 PM

Governments will try to control bitcoin, but they'll fail (Source: Getty)

Bitcoin, and digital currency more broadly, is one of the most divisive concepts of our time.

The idea of a currency which is not controlled by a state or a corporation and which maintains such a high level of privacy for its users is a much needed relief for some and a threat to the whole economic and political system to others.

One thing is certain, its value has soared over the past twelve months from just over $400 per bitcoin a year ago to over $1,350 in recent weeks.

Here are three predictions for the future of bitcoin...

Bitcoin will be closer to £3,000 by the end of the year

As bitcoin is primarily used for trading or transferring value, the value of bitcoin is controlled by the total value of goods in transit tied to bitcoin as the payment medium.

As more and more trade is taken up using bitcoin as the transaction medium, the value of bitcoin will rise to equal that trade.

With non-digital currencies, this valuation fluctuation can be controlled by the government or state monetary authority controlling supply (through variation in the amount of currency created) and controlling demand (through setting interest rates).

However, governments cannot control the supply of bitcoin so as the currency becomes more widely used, a continuous increase in the value of bitcoin is predicted. This theory is born out of research undertaken by the World Economic Forum.

Money laundering poses a big threat

While many will associate the use of bitcoin with the purchasing of illicit materials from sites such as the now defunct Silk Road, there are now potentially much more lucrative opportunities for criminals.

The dark or shadow economy is estimated to take up somewhere in the region of 17 per cent of the worlds total GDP. Due to the level of anonymity bitcoin, provides, there is huge opportunity for its use to avoid anti-money laundering legislation.

Any increase in use here would result in a reflected uplift in the value.

Governments will try to control bitcoin (and fail)

As Bitcoin becomes more pervasive, we predict governments will try and control it and try and understand more detail about how it is being used to try and monitor its use in the dark economy.

However, because of the structure of bitcoin, and the encryption and anonymity which is baked into blockchain, there is very little opportunity to control this. The only clear way for nation states to control the distribution of the currency would be for them to buy up the supply and stockpile bitcoin, as many have done with gold.

Regardless of what bitcoin is being used for, the key takeaway is that it is being used more and more widely, and that this expanding use is resulting in a corresponding uplift in value which shows no sign of slowing any time soon.

http://www.cityam.com/261643/bitcoins-value-set-soar-three-predictions-future
14  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] London Scence Round Up on: March 24, 2017, 12:29:04 PM


Our own correspondent Nick Ayton, aka the Sage of Shoreditch, reports on the Turing Award winner, HoneyCoin, perspectives of Bitcoin hard fork, new ICOs and the tokenization of everything during a rather somber week in London.

Oh, and Satoshi leaving a trace at Gatwick.

And the Turing winner was

MIT professor Silvio Micali was the co-winner of this prestigious accolade, the Turing Award. His theory “ALGORAND,” a new consensus model that apparently scales, has received what is considered the Nobel equivalent of computing.

I remain a big fan of zero-knowledge proofs and zk-SNARKs where Silvio has added a lot and I have to agree that Blockchain will struggle to move on to phase two without a rethink.

There are no standards and the Blockchain stacks vary depending on who you speak with.

Unlike the ISO and TCP/IP stack, Blockchain is different. In my view there are five layers:

  • Consensus
  • Mining or Forging
  • Propagation
  • Semantic
  • Physical Internet

Consensus drives Blockchain defining everything about design and operations; dictating the underlying performance, scalability, governance, data capacity, security and redundancy which remain the core attributes of the technology, with other aspects dealing with crypto economic rewards and incentives around token management and supply.

Time will tell and I look forward to learning more about ALGORAND that looks at vested economic interest as a means to effectively rank the nodes and define how things get done.

ICO booming

This week saw the Qtum ICO secure more than 90 percent of its funding in the first few hours, the Internet of Coins steaming ahead, Matchpool and Cosmos starting very soon and the 21Million project confirmed that they are planning for May.

There is no doubt that ICOs are gaining pace and quality and are rapidly becoming the preferred choice for crypto-entrepreneurs. And, of course, we assume you have purchased your share of ChocoholicCoin and MothersCoin for this coming Mother’s Day weekend.

Satoshi spotted again

I couldn’t believe it, there I was in the queue at Gatwick Airport to board a plane to Dublin and there it was, two people in front of me that familiar rucksack ‘Bitcoin Sold Here.’

Cointelegraph: Hey Vittalark what are you doing here?

He turned around looking very surprised to see me.

Vittalark Buttering: I found out he is in Dublin you know.

CT: How do you know?

VB: I spoke to Victor at the foot spa who said Satoshi had told him he was off to Dublin, he may even be on this flight.

With that, he showed me his boarding pass and was off down the gangway to the plane.

CT: What seat have you got?

VB: 21B, of course. I always try to get this seat because it is what Satoshi would choose.

CT: Does that mean he is not on the flight then?

VB: You know Dublin is where the secret stuff is being worked on, you know the new Bitcoin code. I can’t say anymore I think I am being followed. See that lady, she keeps looking at me and then talking on her phone.

CT: Do you think Bitcoin will fork, ending up with BTC and BTU (Bitcoin Unlimited)?

But Vittalark had moved on and was already sitting down and I went to my seat at the back of the plane.

No sign of Satoshi, with Dublin to look forward to.

Tokenizing everything

It is likely that every asset on the planet will be tokenized, which will not only allow all value to be programmed and exchanged simply and easily but will also signal the changeover from today’s capital markets to crypto capital markets which have already started.

I love crypto-economics because it redefines how value is created and exchanged and why stock exchanges, in particular, are starting to wake up to the opportunity to create and trade entirely new asset classes.

Until now, the majority of ICOs were for software developers to build things - e.g. the Qtum project - while others may have the beginning of a Blockchain platform they will build out or for ConsenSys, adding another spoke to the ConsenSys Ethereum core platform.

Later this year we will see new emerging types of ICO, both specifically asset-backed for land and real estate, and also content-based.

With 21MCoin for the film and entertainment industry representing an entitlement to a royalty that moves it away from being seen as a financial product.

Then there is ERCoin with an ICO planned for June/July that is fully asset backed by land and property, that can be part of an ETI (exchange traded instrument) opening it up to institutional investors and where a strip of cryptocurrency sits as part of a broader performing fund.

Many altcoins plummet in value after launch but in the cases of 21MCoin and ERCoin, the token is supported by assets that generate an income stream as the value of the underlying asset increases.

A token of entitlement, rewards, royalties and benefits that will accelerate ICOs to become a go-to place for mainstream institutional cash looking for a home.

SEC decision does not matter

The big news this week is the state of Bitcoin following the SEC ruling, another move by China to control movement and concerns over the technology scaling.

My take on theBitcoin ETF SEC ruling is that it matters not.

If the US wants to place draconian rules on Bitcoin, the activity will simply get up and move to regions that remain open and favorable.

People forget that Bitcoin is a movement - it is a packet switched protocol that lives in the ether with Bitcoin the first smart contract that works autonomously.

Bitcoin isn’t owned by anyone, it crosses borders and jurisdictions and cannot be regulated.

Like TCP/IP, they tried and failed.

Bitcoin hard fork

The fork is a real issue though as for some time there have been concerns over fundamental scaling that has lifted trading volumes of large-scale selling and then buying. As commentators see it through their capital markets lens, traders predict Bitcoin price will settle below $750 creating a new resistance level. But then I don’t get this or see it that way.

If Bitcoin forks you end up with Bitcoin BTC and Bitcoin Unlimited (BTU) that exposes holders of Bitcoin to uncertainty and possible losses. And a choice of which way to fall, the process remains unclear. Then there is the mining community that is significantly invested in BTC and some in the crypto press have predicted everything will get legal and nasty as two sides fight and argue, as value is disturbed.

US agenda

Comments no doubt are driven by a US agenda to pull the rug from under Bitcoin.

But with miners spread globally, huge pools in China and Asia with the majority operating beyond sovereign control, the community remains largely anonymous, autonomous and economically insulated from reprisals and also mine several cryptocurrencies, not just Bitcoin.

Lawyers still don’t understand how it works and there is no court in the land that could adjudicate. So I struggle to see the legal fight anytime soon.

The issue of China stepping in is not a negative for Bitcoin at all. It is, however, predictable as the Chinese economy would take steps to secure money flows and currency, remembering they are a hybrid capitalist economy as the bulk of the land remains under sovereign control.

But then again, does old-fashioned supply and demand, market forces and economic models apply to cryptocurrencies. I would suggest it is this thinking that is contributing to volatility, as once again the few try to spike the market for quick gains.

HoneyCoin launches in Somerset

CT caught up with beekeeper Norman Snitch to discover more about his plans for HoneyCoin and find out of if there is a sting in the tail.

Cointelegraph: So Norman what is the idea behind this?

Norman: Unlike other commodities, Honey is technically different as it is owned by the birds and the bees. It doesn’t need expensive refining or production process in a factory.

CT: So what do investors in HoneyCoin get?

Norman: They get two things really. They own some bees, they are entitled to a dividend from the honey we sell and we throw “sting and hay fever insurance” in for good measure.

CT: So how much does one HoneyCoin cost?

Norman: Well it is difficult to say because we don’t accept money or Bitcoin. We accept only flowering plants that provide the environment for the bees to get pollen and do their stuff.

We own the land already and we make our money from selling the purest, fair trade honey on the market, and we record who has given us plants, and where they are planted on the Blockchain. The number of flowering plants matter and Smart Contracts work out the yield of flowering buds versus number bees visits and allocate coins and royalties on this basis.

CT: Sounds brilliant Norman, real eco-friendly Honey produced in a libertarian way.

Norman: Exactly. Do you want to taste?

https://cointelegraph.com/news/london-scence-round-up
15  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Apple Says It Hasn’t Been Hacked And That A Mass Phone Wipe Improb on: March 24, 2017, 12:23:21 PM


SHARE TWEET SHARE   SHARE   EMAIL 0 Comments
It’s been a strange few days for Apple. On Tuesday, reports emerged that a hacker group calling itself the “Turkish Crime Family” is claiming to have compromised hundreds of millions of iCloud and .mac accounts.

Which is bad. Worse, however, is the extortion. The Turkish Crime Family is also demanding that Apple pay to get those accounts freed. Specifically, the group says it wants $75,000 in cryptocurrency, either Bitcoin or rival Ether, to get the group to delete its list of hacked accounts.  The group is also apparently willing to accept $100,000 worth of iTunes gift cards.

The group has given Apple a deadline of April 7 to meet its demands.

If that sounds like a very reasonable set of blackmail demands on the biggest, richest company on Earth to get half a billion of its users’ information back — it is worth noting that that the good deal probably stems from the fact that the Turkish Crime Family may be bluffing.

While Apple has not confirmed or denied the veracity of the list of accounts and credentials the group already has, Apple has noted that wherever they got that data, it wasn’t from Apple, since their systems have not been breached.

An Apple spokesperson told Fortune in an emailed statement that, if the list is legitimate, it came from some where else.

“There have not been any breaches in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud and Apple ID,” the spokesperson said. “The alleged list of email addresses and passwords appears to have been obtained from previously compromised third-party services.”

A person familiar with the contents of the alleged data set noted that many of the email accounts and passwords contained within it matched already identified leaked data from the LinkedIn breach.

Will thieves be able to make good on their threat to wipe over half a billion phones? While it is not impossible — Apple says it is rather unlikely.

“[Apple is] actively monitoring to prevent unauthorized access to user accounts and working with law enforcement to identify the criminals involved. To protect against these type of attacks, we always recommend that users always use strong passwords, not use those same passwords across sites and turn on two-factor authentication.”

The company representative declined to elaborate on what steps Apple had taken to monitor the situation, past saying such monitoring is “standard procedure.”

http://www.pymnts.com/apple/2017/apple-says-it-hasnt-been-hacked-and-that-a-mass-phone-wipe-is-improbable/
16  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Smart Sizzles, Dodd-Frank Fizzles And Sears Might Be Signing Off? on: March 24, 2017, 12:20:48 PM


Live by the fickle consumer, and, if you’re a (very) aging retailer, possibly die by the fickle consumer. In commerce, history only goes so far, while memory does not stretch far enough, perhaps. And meanwhile, politics ain’t a beanbag, but it’s bouncing the stock market around hither and yon.

Sizzle   

The Main Street storefront: Growing so rapidly, one must wonder if there are enough hammers, nails and plaster to keep up. The PYMNTS Store Front Index™ showed that storefront businesses nationwide grew 2.1 percent in the last quarter of last year, once again outpacing GDP. The fitness industry was up 6 percent, driven in part by 7 percent employment growth. Clearly the smaller business climate is muscling up.

FinTech, and tech, for the #RestofUs: J.D. Vance, famed author of Hillbilly Elegy, is now turning with renewed energy to venture capitalism and is headed to the Midwest for VC deals, courtesy of Steve Case’s Revolution LLC. The goal is to look beyond the big cities for investment and innovation, with a mindset to level the VC playing field — and find untapped wellsprings of potential. Vance had touched on this at IP 2017.

M&A in alt lending: In an industry that is not doing all that well in terms of investor sentiment and getting the gimlet eye of regulators, what’s alternative lending to do? Merge. Kabbage may be bidding for OnDeck, which may help solidify the stronger players in an industry that is still evolving — and looking for a business model that can keep them afloat.

Fizzle

Trump stock rally stall? The investment world is getting skittish amid Capitol Hill battles, and stocks were rocky this past week. The biggest drop since before the election came as the health care repeal-and-replace seemed less than certain, with a delay likely if the vote stalled. The banks, bankers and traders want Dodd-Frank scaled back. They may have to wait. Live by Trump, get trumped?

Bitcoin slump: What’s a virtual currency to do? Three days of skids sent the bitcoin price down to its lowest level in months. No ETF investment vehicles and more scrutiny in China and maybe even some nervousness over commodities in general make this a favorite poster child for irrational exuberance.

Cybersecurity: the old way of viewing hacks may have to get scrapped. No longer just teens in hoodies, now we have state actors with firepower to steal money from other countries. A firewall is nice. But not when the wall is on fire. If — and it’s still an if — North Korea directed the $81 million heist from Bangladesh, we are going to need a lot more cyber know-how, and fast.

Fizzle of the Week: Sears, Time to Say Good-Bye

While it would be hard to claim the news came as a complete shock, given the last several years of ever-diminishing results, it seems that Sears may be ready to finally give up the ghost.

It’s an ending that comes with more of a whimper than a bang that had looked long inevitable for the 131-year-old retailer. And it’s been a long, hard fall. While Sears at this point may feel like it’s been perennially on the edge of extinction, it’s hard to believe that in the year that 26-year-old millennials were born, 1991, the most active debate in retail was over who the biggest retailer was: Sears or Walmart?

Four years later, that debate had declared a clear winner: By 1995, Walmart was crowned as the biggest retailer on Earth.

Sears slipped to number two — and it’s been mostly the unfortunate effects of gravity ever since. The last decade has been particularly decimating. During the Great Recession of 2008, consumers started eschewing the malls that Sears anchored, and the company never quite managed to find their way back during the recovery period.

On Wednesday, it seems the boom that began its final descent was lowered when the company released its annual SEC filing and signaled that it might just be time to start working on its obituary.

“Substantial doubt exists related to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

That’s generally not the kind of thing that a company says “just because.” It’s the kind of thing that you say when you have a fiduciary duty as a publicly traded company to signal when better times may not lie ahead.

Well, if there was anything at Sears you wanted to buy …

Or course, that has been the main trouble the super-centenarian retailer has faced over the years: There seems to be less and less at Sears these days that consumers want to buy. In the last ten years or so, Sears has seen its sales fall by 50 percent. Hundreds of stores have closed, pension obligations have been slashed, plum retail assets have been sold off — and the firm has taken on debt.

A lot of it.

Most of which comes care of Sears CEO and President Eddie Lampert. Lampert is also Sears top shareholder and, through his hedge fund, the proud owner of about $900 million in Sears debt.

Many, like analyst Matthew McGinley, have interpreted Lampert’s efforts to keep Sears afloat as “clearly trying to avoid the inevitable,” though others have speculated that Lampert has actually designed Sears descent to maximize his value as its largest shareholder.

Sear’s official comment on its rather disturbing regulatory filing, incidentally, has also been interpreted as a bit of an ominous sign.

In a blog post on its website, Sears clarified the grim sounding sentence in its annual filing as “in line with regulatory standards that require management to assess and disclose potential risks the company could face within one year from the reported financial statements.”

Like we said.

Though there was some backend confidence, the blog post also noted that, “despite the risks outlined, we remain confident in our financial position and remain focused on executing our transformation plan.”

The transformation — rolled out in early 2017 — is a push to drive $1 billion in savings for the company through closing unprofitable stores, cutting jobs and selling more of its associated name brands, including its Kenmore appliances.

Craftsman was sold in January 2017 to Stanley Black & Decker for $900 million.

Perhaps way too little, way too late.

Courtesy of the SEC filing, our fizzle of the week.

http://www.pymnts.com/sizzlefizzle/2017/smart-sizzles-dodd-frank-fizzles-and-sears-might-be-signing-off/
17  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Bitcoin’s Back Above $1,000 (For Now) on: March 24, 2017, 12:16:35 PM


The year 2017 so far has been a pretty bumpy ride for bitcoin investors, and right now it looks like we’re ascending the latest hill in the roller coaster ride that is the world’s most popular cryptocurrency.

Last week, bitcoin looked to have recovered from a dramatic 17 percent loss in the wake of the SEC rejection of a bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund (ETF). Within the first hour post-rejection, bitcoin plummeted from near-record highs around $1,300 down to $1,066, according to CoinDesk’s exchange. Other trackers pegged the low point even lower, well under $1,000.

But bitcoin quickly recovered, back above $1,200 just a few days later. That is until bitcoin took a St. Patrick’s Day nosedive. By Saturday, bitcoin was below $1,000 by all accounts. The low came on Saturday, bottoming out at $944.

Anyone else feeling a bit motion sick?

Bitcoin continued its bumpy ride through the past week, gaining some, then losing nearly as much. While prices are up from the latest nosedive, growth has largely been tempered. At the time of writing, one bitcoin was worth $1,036.89, down 0.05 percent from the end of trading on Wednesday and trending downward.

In the past few weeks, bitcoin traders have started sensing a growing likelihood that the bitcoin network could split into two competing digital currencies — a “hard fork.” Investor concern sparked high-volume trading — bitcoin in exchange for rival cryptocurrency ether — which led to bitcoin’s latest value woes.

“Bitcoin traders may have wanted to offset some of their exposure should a fork occur or the scaling deadlock continue, and ether seems to be the most promising alternative,” Aurélien Menant, founder and CEO of Gatecoin, told CNBC. “Bitcoin-ether volumes have surged since and are currently rivaling bitcoin-fiat currency trading liquidity.”

http://www.pymnts.com/news/bitcoin-tracker/2017/bitcoins-back-above-1000-for-now-bitcoin-price/
18  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Bitcoin Exchange Funds Reporting “Not For All Users”: Huobi on: March 24, 2017, 12:13:51 PM


Chinese Bitcoin exchange Huobi has clarified that requests for proof of origin and destination of funds “is just for users with potential money laundering risks.”

In an update to its original circular, which was translated by cnLedger last week, the exchange stressed that other customers would not be affected by the requirements.



Publication of the message sparked speculation that China was about to re-allow Bitcoin withdrawals from exchanges in line with new regulatory moves by the central bank and others.

While that shift has yet to occur, Chinese trading off-exchange on resources such as LocalBitcoins peaked again following comments from the People’s Bank of China Director Zhou Xuedong.

LocalBitcoins currently remains unregulated and openly accessible in China.

At the same time, another senior Chinese finance figure has gone on record saying that Bitcoin “is not suitable for real-world financial applications.”

Li Lihui, former Bank of China president, made the comments in his capacity as leader of the Internet Finance Association of China, a Blockchain work group, cnLedger further reports.

He added that Bitcoin’s Blockchain was only able to handle “slow, low-frequency” operations and “has not really broken through” beyond that use case.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-exchange-funds-reporting-not-for-all-users-huobi
19  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] BJP's Kirit Somaiya terms bitcoin a 'pyramidponzi scheme'.right? on: March 24, 2017, 12:11:15 PM
"The use of Bitcoin, a hypothetical currency, is increasing at a rapid speed in India as well as in the world. Experts have expressed concern that Bitcoin is a pyramid ponzi type scheme," Kirit Somaiya said.



Sidhartha Shukla
Moneycontrol News


BJP MP Kirit Somaiya hit out at the increasing use of bitcoin in India, raising the issue in the Parliament, terming the digital currency as "hypothetical" and a "pyramid ponzi scheme".

"The use of bitcoin, a hypothetical currency, is increasing at a rapid speed in India as well as in the world. Experts have expressed concern that bitcoin is a pyramid ponzi type scheme," he said.

He urged regulators RBI and SEBI, besides the Finance Ministry, to look into its regulation and take steps to "save people from another big ponzi fraud".

Somaiya's concern over the digital currency is not surprising: the stellar rise of bitcoin as an instrument of speculation or investment, if not a currency, has given rise to plenty of hype, and even confusion, surrounding it.

Over the last one year, bitcoin price has rallied 214 percent to all-time highs of USD 1,300.

So while the currency itself does not offer any promises of return on investment, except for capital appreciation, the lack of regulation around it has given rise to a host of multi-level marketing (MLM) companies who are looking to cash in on the increasing popularity, and mystery, over the novel financial instrument.

"The problem lies with MLM companies who have picked on its popularity and used it to sell unsustainable financial schemes to people," Vishal Gupta, CEO and founder of Searchtrade, told Moneycontrol.

What is a ponzi scheme?

"A Ponzi scheme is an investment scam that involves the payment of purported returns to existing investors from funds contributed by new investors," says While alerting investors about the risks involved with virtual currencies the US SEC had said,

"Such schemes have been going on for years. The most prominent one is the Saradha scam, that happened in West Bengal and there have been several other scams on a weekly or monthly basis, you'll see people doing these scams with traditional money," says Jaideep Reddy, Technology Lawyer at legal and tax consulting firm Nishith Desai.

"While there may be a few bitcoin schemes that may resemble a ponzi scheme it is not something unique to bitcoin and can happen with traditional money as well," he added.

What is bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the world's first digital, decentralized currency and payment network. Unlike fiat currencies, it is not regulated by any central bank and works on a peer-to-peer basis. That means that users can transact directly without an intermediary like a bank, a credit card company or a clearing house.

It is an open source software which means that no person, company or country owns this network just like no one owns the Internet.

Reddy says that bitcoin itself does not fit the legal definition of a fraudulent scheme. "There are several legitimate uses of bitcoin and the underlying technology which powers it --blockchain."

"The technology itself is considered to be robust and it's only the particular implementation of the technology that can be considered fraudulent in certain cases," he added.

Earlier this year the Reserve Bank of India’s research arm, IDRBT released a report which said that the time is ripe for blockchain technology adoption in India and it has tested the technology for core banking processes in the country and was also keen on the idea of a digital rupee. (Read more)

Speaking to Moneycontrol, Gupta said that in order to counter dubious schemes purportedly built around bitcoin, bitcoin-based startups and exchanges have launched Digital Asset and Blockchain Foundation of India (DABFI) to self regulate the virtual currency industry and spread awareness about bitcoin and other blockchain based digital assets.

He further said that there are no promises made on returns over bitcoin exchanges who are part of DABFI and one can only buy and sell bitcoins at their own discretion.

On the scrutiny faced by bitcoin, Gupta said that some ponzi schemes which got popular in cities like Delhi were able to dupe many people.

Bitcoin represents the characteristics of both a currency and a commodity and is yet to be defined as one of them by the Indian regulatory authorities.

If bitcoin is declared as currency, it will come under the purview of RBI and if it is declared as a commodity it will be under the ministry of finance, in both the instances there will be more clarity on how it should be taxed and regulated, Gupta said.

http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/markets-business/bjps-kirit-somaiya-terms-bitcoin-a-pyramid-ponzi-scheme-is-he-right-2245911.html
20  Bitcoin / Press / [2017-03-24] Keep Calm and Bitcoin On? Developers Aren't Worrying About a Fork on: March 24, 2017, 12:06:00 PM


Amidst one of the more turbulent phases of bitcoin's two-year scaling debate, calm and collected might not seem like adjectives you'd use to describe bitcoin developers.

After all, now that a sizeable number of miners are running Bitcoin Unlimited, a popular (and controversial) alternative bitcoin software, there’s been fresh "discussion" of a potential fork of the network (which could result in two competing coins). The community is in a bit of a frenzy over the possibility, with some traders liquidating positions and others fretting over a post-fork attack on the old chain.

Yet, not everyone thinks that a fork will occur.

Bitcoin Core contributor Eric Lombrozo, for instance, has taken a skeptical and calm view, arguing that the bitcoin community has seen this all before.

The idea behind this sentiment is that Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin Classic, other controversial software alternatives that tried to move bitcoin to a new set of rules, have emerged and declined over the last couple of years.

While supporters view Bitcoin Unlimited as the future of bitcoin, trumpeting it as a fork will bring it about as the prevailing software, critics view it as broken – an idea they say is bolstered by two recent bugs that temporarily wiped out some of its nodes.

Others, such as Lombrozo, say that it's simply as a twist on old alternatives that have yet to have an impact on the rules of main bitcoin network.

"Nearly two years of hostile fork attempts. Same playbook each time," Lombrozo told CoinDesk.

He argued that it’s "not really" any different than its predecessors, adding:

Quote
"The idea you can change bitcoin by lobbying one group of stakeholders against another is fundamentally flawed, as is the idea you can force controversial consensus rule changes. Bitcoin requires more tactful politics."

From the other side in the debate, Bitcoin Unlimited chief scientist Peter Rizun's view is the opposite in some ways. He believes bitcoin will see a block size parameter increase, making bitcoin competitive with growing alternative cryptocurrencies again.

"In my opinion, there's a 75% chance we get an upgrade to larger blocks in 2017," he said.

However, Rizun agrees with Lombrozo that there won't be a split:

Quote
"I think the fear of a blockchain split is totally overblown – nobody wants it to happen, it's not going to happen."

'Altcoin' threat

Other developers took a different stance.

"I think there is a strong chance there will be a Bitcoin Unlimited fork," anonymous Bitcoin Core contributor BTCDrak told CoinDesk.

Some developers have been taking preparatory measures, writing code that could protect SPV wallets, which aren't as savvy as full nodes at detecting if they're fed false information.

To that point, people from both sides have said that they want a fork to happen soon so that the issue is over with, perhaps because anticipation has been high recently.

And, indeed, some Bitcoin Unlimited supporters seem to be in a hurry to see a shift.

"Well, I certainly don’t want to be quoted on a date. We are early in 2017, if this does not get done in 2017 then the long-term damage will be irrecoverable," Bitcoin Unlimited president Andrew Clifford said.

Clifford cited a threat from alternative cryptocurrencies, such as ethereum or monero, which he said will surpass bitcoin in terms of momentum if developers don't increase the block size parameter soon.

Vested interests

So, while some argue that only one bitcoin will survive in the event a fork, others have suggested that, as the issue is so contentious, most people won't move to the new chain and Bitcoin Unlimited will spin off into another cryptocurrency.

"A hard fork is by definition an altcoin that the entire community decides to adopt as a replacement," Bitcoin Core contributor Luke Dashjr said.

“Since most of the community rejects Bitcoin Unlimited, it is impossible for it to become a hard fork,” he contends.

Still, most in the community want only one bitcoin in the end. It's just hard to get everyone to agree on which one that should be.

Not everyone is on board with the idea of a shift to a brand new cryptocurrency with new rules, even if they seem to be minor changes – as evidenced by the past two years of infighting. So, people are worried it could result in some sort of split.

That's why a fork has yet to occur, according to Lombrozo, and why he doesn't think one will happen this time around, either.

In conclusion, he said:

Quote
"Anyone can fork at any time. That people don't speaks to the strong incentives not to."

http://www.coindesk.com/bitcoin-on-developers-arent-worried-about-fork/
Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 »
Sponsored by , a Bitcoin-accepting VPN.
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!