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Author Topic: BITCOIN NEWS EVRYDAY! From multiple sources.  (Read 50666 times)
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March 14, 2014, 10:28:28 PM
 #341

New names at Bitcoin Foundation. Lesson learned?

http://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/gold-money-group-bitcoin-300x225.jpg

gold money group bitcoin

Yesterday I published an article in which I posed some questions to the Bitcoin Foundation: It may well turn out that I have wronged them and to this end I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Today, Tuesday, the foundation moved to announce two new appointments: DC veterans Jim Harper and Amy Weiss have joined the foundation.

Jim Harper served as director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute for almost ten years and Amy Weiss is a former White House deputy press secretary and currently runs the strategic communications firm Weiss Public Affairs. These appear to be well thought out and considered board appointments. Clearly people of this calibre will bring strategic planning and media relations to the Bitcoin organisation. Two areas that have been sadly deficient. Accountability would be nice too but maybe I’m looking for too much and the areas of strategic planning and media relations is at least a start.  Jim Harper will be joining the foundation as the new Global Policy Counsel, a role previously held by Patrick Murck. Jim has previously advised companies as diverse as VeriSign and Paypal.  Jon Matonis the executive director of of the Bitcoin Foundation stated:

“Bitcoin is rapidly maturing and we are actively building a world-class team of highly experienced professionals. Jim’s experience with Cato and past experience with Paypal in addition to Amy’s experience with the United Nations Foundation and The White House are invaluable to our efforts around the world and in DC.”       Rousing Stuff… What?

Remember Jon Matonis is the man that said (2012): Under the title of “What I hope the Foundation will accomplish“, Matonis stated: ” There’s a huge amount of support for the Foundation from many of the people who matter to Bitcoin’s future: Charlie Shrem, Mark Karpeles, Gavin Andersen and Jon Matonis are all starting out on the Board of Directors.”  Hmmm…

But there we go, Two significantly more capable people, Harper and Weiss, than the Foundation has brought on board up to this point. There is a little point that our new strategic visionaries might strive to address: What exactly does the Foundation do and why does it appear to be attempting to centralise a currency that is, by definition, decentralised by design?

I assume that the two new appointees will receive some remuneration for their efforts and indeed I wish them both well. If there is a third vacancy, however; I would be willing, selflessly, to serve. Of course, this would only be if I was called upon. Having spent some time studying the Mt Gox system of financial management I feel that I am now superbly qualified  to serve and would be content to cost the Foundation significantly less than Karpeles. This humble hack, having some knowledge of the two noble fields of Accountancy and poultry management, would be willing to survive and eke a simple living, by only extracting the golden eggs when they had been laid and would, to this end, give an undertaking, to attempt to be one appointee not to kill the goose.
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March 14, 2014, 10:29:36 PM
 #342

Australian company becomes Bitcoin enterprise

 Christoph Marckx  13/03/2014  Bitcoin, Business, Economics, Investment, Market Analysis, News, Services
Posted 1 day ago

Zhenya Svetnenko turns Macro Energy into DigitalBTC
Bitcoin entrepreneur Zhenya Svetnenko turns Macro Energy into DigitalBTC.
Bitcoin may have taken some hits over the past few weeks with all the Mt. Gox issues but, like we reported earlier this week, this isn’t stopping investors who see a bright future for the cryptocurrency from trying to cash in.

Energy company into Bitcoin venture

Meet Zhenya Tsvetnenko, a technology entrepreneur who has been living in Perth. He wants to do a reverse takeover of Macro Energy Ltd. Macro Energy Ltd. is an Australia-listed company that has been struggling to make a profit ever since a series of investments in oil and gas didn’t turn out to be as profitable as expected. Tsvetnenko aims to raise 9.1 million Australian dollars (that’s 8.2 million US dollars) with this business deal.

Obviously, Tsvetnenko is not interested in the current workings of the company. Instead, he wants to turn Macro Energy Ltd. into a provider of Bitcoin services such as trading, digital wallets and mining. Because of these changes, he’s also planning on renaming Macro Energy to digitalBTC.

This isn’t Tsvetenko’s first endeavour in the world of new technologies. According to a recent list of wealthy Australian entrepreneurs published by Fairfax-owned BRW magazine in October, Tsvetnenko has made a 60 million Australian dollar fortune from developing mobile telephone and web-advertising applications.

As it now appears, Tsvetnenko will be several people among digitalBTC’s major shareholders. A person familiar with the whole takeover said Rod Jones will be found there, as well. Jones is known as chief executive of education provider Navitas. Perth-based broker DJ Carmichael is leading the raising.

Because of a pending significant transaction and capital raising, all shares in Macro Energy have been suspended for an unlimited time since March 6. Macro Energy Ltd., currently worth 5.6 million Australian dollars, hasn’t given further details to the Australian Securities Exchange.

Keeping the faith

Bitcoin’s value has been on a rollercoaster ride since the start of 2013. The cryptocurrency started at about 13 US dollars, soared above 1000 US dollars in December and took a dive again after some bad publicity in early 2014. Sentiment took a big knock in late February when Mt. Gox, once the dominant exchange for bitcoin trading, shut down and filed for bankruptcy in Tokyo after revealing it had lost almost 750,000 of its customers’ bitcoins worth more than 470 million US dollars.

Because of these price swings, some investors have been hit pretty hard. Fortress Investment Group LLC recorded an unrealized loss of 3.7 million US dollar. This loss was due to their decision to buy 20 million US dollars worth of Bitcoins last year. The asset-management firm held 16.3 million US dollar worth of Bitcoins at the end of 2013, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

It’s clear that investing in Bitcoin still isn’t a full-proof secure deal. Making a profit depends on so many things, not the least on the news of the day, making the cryptocoin very volatile. But, as volatile as Bitcoin may be, this doesn’t seem to scare investors. Instead, Bitcoin is hot news right now, and this doesn’t seem to be disappearing anytime soon. Investors also know that taking a dive down doesn’t mean the end for the virtual currency. It can rise as fast as it came down. After surviving easily through all the bad news of the past few weeks, one can only believe that the only way is up for Bitcoin.
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March 14, 2014, 10:30:43 PM
 #343

Mt. Gox kept trading despite knowing of theft

 Christoph Marckx  13/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Exchanges, Business, Economics, Market Analysis, News, Research 2 Comments
Posted 1 day ago

Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles knew 19 days before shutdown of insolvency issues
Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles knew 19 days before shutdown of the exchange’s insolvency issues.
The Mt. Gox saga just doesn’t stop. After filing for bankruptcy in Japan, the once popular exchange now did the same in the United States. When taking a closer look at the U.S. filing, it appears Mt. Gox may have collected a large sum in trading fees in the weeks before the website went dark. All of this was done while it was fully aware that a large number of Bitcoins had gone missing.

19 days of lying

A sworn declaration in the filing from Mark Karpeles, CEO of Mt. Gox, shows that the exchange knew in early February that there was a disaster at hand. Even though they had knowledge of this, Mt. Gox decided to paint a brighter picture towards its customers.

On February 7, Mt. Gox decided to disable Bitcoin withdrawals from the exchange. The reason for this drastic measure was an ‘investigation of possible fraud, due to a security issue called transaction malleability’. This was the only explanation given; Mt. Gox didn’t disclose any information regarding the amount of Bitcoins missing or its own solvency. Despite being impossible to withdraw Bitcoins from Mt. Gox, trading was still allowed until February 25. After that date, the website suddenly went dark.

After that day, news regarding Mt. Gox appeared at a rapid pace, with its climax being the filing for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo District Court three days later. The filing stated that 750.000 of its customers’ Bitcoins were missing, along with 100.000 of its own. In the coming weeks, Mt. Gox would file for bankruptcy protection again, this time in the United States.

It appears from this filing that Mt. Gox executives knew the severity of the company’s losses well before the website went dark. Karpeles was aware of all this up to 19 days before its public disclosure, but failed to tell his customers what was really going on. Traders were led to believe the exchange was still solvent, and a solution would not be far away.

In the filing, Karpeles states that the withdrawals were halted Feb. 7 due to “the theft or disappearance of hundreds of thousands of bitcoins owned by Mt. Gox customers as well as Mt. Gox itself.” Why Mt. Gox still allowed its customers to keep trading is unclear.

Class-action lawsuits

There’s still a chance to learn why Mt. Gox acted the  way it did. The exchange will have to answer to the question why it kept on trading Bitcoins that weren’t there at several class-action lawsuits. One of these was filed in Chicago on February 27, another  is planned in the United Kingdom. There’s a big chance more lawsuits will follow.

It’s not hard to find proof. After Feb. 7, Mt. Gox was still processing thousands of trades a day, according to Bitcoincharts.com, which records trading volumes for many Bitcoin markets. An average of 49,912 bitcoins was traded daily on Mt. Gox between Feb. 7 and Feb. 25, at an average weighted price of $380.54 per bitcoin.

The whole Mt. Gox story has been a ‘strange’ series of events, and the more news comes out, the fishier it gets. Karpeles clearly knew what was going on and still refused to warn his customers. He should at least have protected them by shutting down completely when he learned how big the problems were. Nobody knows what will happen next and if or how Mt. Gox will try to compensate its many customers. To be continued...
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March 14, 2014, 10:32:09 PM
 #344

DNotes Next Growth Phase

 Gordon Hall  13/03/2014  Altcoins, News, Sponsored Stories 3 Comments
Posted 1 day ago

DNotes logo.
DNotes logo.
The First Phase: DNotes Launch

On its 18th of February 2014 launch, I covered the DNotes (Digital Notes) technicals specs and wrote about the unique DNotes launch plan. Essentially, the DNotes team structured the coin’s launch to reward initial adopters highly. Their goal was to boost the coin’s critical early adoption phase by attracting an enthusiastic community from the get-go.

As the quadruple block bonuses for early miners come to an end today, it’s now time to consider how well this slingshot launch strategy has worked out for DNotes.

After looking into the launch, we can then better assess the coin’s future potential.

Analyzing the DNotes Launch Strategy

It’s not a very precise measure of interest, but the DNotes thread on BitcoinTalk has run to 48 pages in less than a month, with roughly 26691 views as of press time.

These numbers, compared to other such launch threads, suggests that an active community is indeed forming around the coin.

Some initial commentators were put off by the fact that a 5% pre-mine was set aside for quadruples early mining bonuses, with another 5% reserved for bounties, giveaways, development and other measures to ensure the launch strategy’s success.

I noticed myself, when I announced a very generous bounty for some simple search engine work, that BitcoinTalk can be a cynical place. Following the thread further, user “DNotes” from the development team did a good job of addressing these concerns, making it clear that the pre-mine would be used to develop and promote the coin rather than enrich insiders.

There was a minor 20 minute delay at launch – just long enough for a few pitchforks to come out – but otherwise DNotes enjoyed a relatively smooth launch.

I’d say DNote’s strategy of front-loading rewards has been something of a double-edged sword. It attracted many keen miners but also its share of detractors.

"OnTheMF" earned some NOTE for his "3DNotes" design.
“OnTheMF” earned some NOTE for his “3DNotes” design.
DNotes Current Situation

As per the official DNotes website, the coin is mineable through seven pools and currently trading on two exchanges, AllCoin and CryptoRush (currently halted for Bitcoin-related maintenance).

Twitter, Facebook and Reddit communities have been established. Currently, the DNotes team are running a promotion through their Twitter feed. Retweet their status and reply @DnotesCoin with your DNotes address for some free NOTE – further details available on CryptoSandwich.

NOTE market on AllCoin.
NOTE market on AllCoin.
NOTE price is heading up. By market cap, the coin is up nearly 20% in the last 24 hours, having reached #115th position with a total value of close to $50k. In Bitcoin terms, the coin is currently trading for 190 Satoshi, which is decent considering its high total issuance of half a billion.

As the large 4x mining bonuses end today, it’s expected the coin’s value will rise further as future supply contracts by 75%.

The Future of DNote

TheHodoo received some NOTE for creating this small banner for merchants.
“TheHodoo” received some NOTE for creating this small banner for merchants.
Right now, DNotes are offering a wealth of bounties for promoting them through social media, creating a DNotes exchange, producing graphics and videos, etc.

Many competions will also be run where more NOTE can be won. If you’d like to earn DNotes, there are certainly more than enough opportunities to suit your preferred method.

If DNotes continues to attract a skilled and enthusiastic community through generous bounties, it stands a good chance of overcoming resistance to become a notable alt.

Further price rises would do a lot to make the prizes and bounties even more attractive.

100 DNote Giveaway

If you’d like to increase your NOTE holdings without any of that work stuff, head on over to the official website for their 100 DNotes promotion!

-

This is a sponsored article.
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March 14, 2014, 10:33:17 PM
 #345

Balanced Energy has Been Told by Texas Regulators to Not Take Bitcoin for Exploration Investments

 Scott Fargo  13/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Regulation, Economics, Investment, News 2 Comments
Posted 1 day ago

I was reading the news this afternoon and saw this article that caught my eye.  It was notable due to it dealing with Bitcoin, and its use as an investment tool.

Balanced Energy, a small oil company, run by Kirk Johnson was recently told by Texas State Regulators they are not to accept Bitcoin payments.  They served them with an Emergency Cease and Desist order.

Balanced Energy had announced in a pitch at the Texas Bitcoin Conference that they are the first company to accept Bitcoin for exploration investments.

Texas State Regulators wasted no time in telling Balanced Energy that they could not do that as they had not properly educated investors on the risks of Bitcoin.
A Texas State Regulator was quoted as saying

Risks inherent to the use of Bitcoin and the risk that fluctuation in the price of the digital currency may affect business operations.

Texas Regulators Send Emergency Cease and Desist Order to Balanced Energy
Texas Regulators Send Emergency Cease and Desist Order to Balanced Energy
A Balanced Energy spokesman said

 

The order aimed to address disclosure issues by the specific company, not pass judgment per se on the use of Bitcoin for oil investment.

Texas Regulators are also stating that this would not be a problem if Balanced Energy did their paperwork to make sure they are accredited investors.

When reading through the article it seems like Texas Regulators were jumping on this not due to paperwork concerns, but more the concern that they did not understand Bitcoin as a currency and wanted to stop it due to that lack of understanding.

This has left Kirk Johnson, president of Balanced Energy having to spend time and money on pursuing legal avenues to be able to proceed with Bitcoin.

In the Emergency Cease and Desist Order one thing that stuck out was this, part 14 line b of the order.

14. In connection with the offer for sale and sale of working interests in wells in the
South Runway Prospect and North Guitar Prospect, Respondents are
intentionally failing to disclose any material facts relating to the nature of the risks
associated with the investment, including, but not limited to, the following:
a. The nature of the risks associated with the purchase of working interests,
including risks inherent to investments in oil and gas drilling programs and
the risk that the investor may lose the entirety of their capital investment,
b. The nature of the risks associated with the use of Bitcoin to purchase
working interests, including the risks inherent to the use of Bitcoin and the
risk that fluctuation in the price of the digital currency may affect business
operations.

There are fluctuations in any currency. Bitcoin has been volatile lately yet has a huge upside and is still growing.  Bitcoin offers a new option and should be embraced not pushed aside.

While both sides are figuring this out it can be a positive step forward for Bitcoin. There will hopefully soon be a clear path to using Bitcoin for investment purposes in Texas. This can give an example to other states to follow.
With New York looking to regulate exchanges so they can be opened, Overstock posting huge sales in Bitcoin and companies like Balanced Energy looking to expand and use Bitcoin as part of it’s business model things are looking great for wider adoption of Bitcoin.

There is always the risk Texas will ban it outright for this use, but I am hopeful that they will not, add in Kirk Johnson, and Balanced Energy look like they are in the fight to win there should be a positive resolution to this soon.
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March 14, 2014, 10:34:25 PM
 #346

Vungle to start accepting Bitcoin payments

 Christoph Marckx  13/03/2014  Accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Merchants, Business, News
Posted 1 day ago

Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer believes in Bitcoin
Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer says Bitcoin makes deals easier and is happy to offer the service.
Times are busy in the Bitcoin world lately. The controversy surrounding the cryptocoin reached new heights recently with the spectacular collapse of leading Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. The event raised fresh questions about the viability of the volatile currency and its susceptibility to fraud and theft because of a lack of security and transparency.

More flexibility

This whole flood of concerning news couldn’t stop start-up Vungle from adding Bitcoin as a payment option for their services. Vungle provides a mobile ad network spanning little over 4.000 apps. The platform allows advertisers to run 15-second videos within apps. On top of that, Vungle delivers in-house production tools for creating HD-quality videos that serve as trailers for games and other apps. Developers in Vungle’s network include Wooga, “Fruit Ninja” creator Halfbrick Studios, ZeptoLab, maker of “Cut the Rope”, and Sega.

Through the offering of ad revenue-sharing payments in Bitcoin, Vungle claims it can give publishers more flexibility and, on top of that, allow them to make higher profits because of the virtual currency’s low transaction costs. Since Bitcoin isn’t bound to any financial institution, payments made through the virtual coin would also allow faster access to funds.

“We have a long view on this new currency, and we’re betting that, as Bitcoin gains more widespread traction, increased demand will follow. We are excited to offer it as an option to our publishing partners,” stated Vungle CEO Zain Jaffer.

Not the first

Vungle isn’t the first major company that decided to accept Bitcoin as a valid payment system. The cryptocurrency is already being accepted for purchase by a number of other businesses, including but not limited to Overstock.com, Khan Academy, Reddit, TigerDirect and Zynga.

While acceptance among mainstream customers still isn’t where it should be, Bitcoin is gaining adoption more quickly for business-to-business payments. This doesn’t come as a surprise when one looks at the benefits of such deals. Payments can be made on-demand and settle within minutes. These are timeframes that can never be met when using bank transfers.

Speed and low costs

“The speed and low cost of crypto-currency payments may more than offset the costs associated with properly securing Bitcoin transactions,” according to a study by Forrester analysts Denee Carrington and Sucharita Mulpuru. A separate Goldman Sachs report on Tuesday similarly concluded that Bitcoin had more potential as a payment system than as a widely used alternative currency.

Andrea Sharfin, vice president of marketing at Vungle said Bitcoin’s lower transaction costs could especially benefit independent developers. “For these small independent development houses…that extra 1% or 2% transaction fee a financial institution might charge really matters. So they’re willing to try something new for better payment terms,” she said.

When asked about the high risk concerning investing in Bitcoin, mainly because of the coin’s volatility, Sharfin responded that she believed the volatility will smooth out over time. “We can’t control the ups and downs of the marketplace.”, said Sharfin.

Whether or not Bitcoin’s volatility will disappear in the future, it’s clear that companies like Vungle are attracting lots of media attention by accepting the cryptocoin. Bitcoin is hot news and because of that, it makes good publicity when a company takes a positive stance towards it. On the other side, Bitcoin needs good news like this to reach common people. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.
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March 14, 2014, 10:35:30 PM
 #347

Cex.io Contemplates Expansion To Scrypt ASICs: CCN Exclusive Interview With Cex.io

 Caleb Chen  13/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Merchants, Bitcoin Mining, Business, Exclusive, Interviews, News 1 Comment
Posted 1 day ago

http://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/2x-ghash.png
Here at CCN, I was able to talk with Jeffrey Smith of Cex.io and ask him a few questions about cex.io and ghash.io.  For those readers that are unfamiliar with the Cex.io/Ghash.io websites, they provide simple access to mining power of any size for end users around the world.  With Cex.io, users can purchase GH/s on a freely floating hash for Bitcoin exchange.  Ghash.io is the mining pool that rented equipment from Cex.io is pointed towards, many other miners also use Ghash.io because they are able to offer 0% fees and a high hashrate consistently.

Back a few months ago, CCN raised concerns that Ghash.io’s hashrate was too high.  In response, Jeffrey Smith released a press release addressing the Bitcoin community’s concerns back in January.  Mr. Smith was kind enough to answer more questions from me regarding Cex.io’s security, future plans, and changes.

In conjunction with this interview, Cex.io is having a promotion starting at 2PM GMT, today 3/13/2014.  Read below for my interview with Jeffrey Smith.

 

3/13/14 - 3/20/14, cex.io/ghash.io will be doubling your Scrypt hashing power.
3/13/14 – 3/20/14, cex.io/ghash.io will be doubling your Scrypt hashing power.
 

Since February 11th when Cex.io started strongly suggesting 2fa to its users, has there been a drop in the amount of hack-related support issues?

Yes, the amount of hack-related issues has dropped by a significant amount. Just to be clear – all our actions on CEX.IO require email and/or 2FA confirmation. However, before mandatory 2FA was enabled – hackers targeted users’ emails and computers and in some cases were able to bypass email confirmations and withdraw funds. That’s not the case anymore.

How big is the Cex.io team, whom are the founders?

CEX.IO was founded by Alex Luts, the current CEO. The CEX.IO team consists of almost 20 employees, and due to a huge work load and increasing interest in cloud mining and trading – we are growing very fast.

When will Cex.io allow users the option to mine on other pools, as promised in your January 9th press release?

We have our development team working on it, however each pool has its own structure and it is very hard to implement a unified solution for all pools. Also there is an issue that GHS are unable to switch to different pools for now due to dynamic difficulty settings. There has been some progress in this field, however there is still much to be done. I won’t be able to tell you the ETA

Which parts of the world do your user base inhabit?

Our main users come from the US, UK, Poland, Germany, China, Brazil, Spain, Russia, Netherlands

What is the biggest myth about Bitcoin mining that you’d like to dispel?

The biggest myth is that Bitcoin mining is no longer profitable.
CEX.IO, which consists of a unique combination of cloud mining and trading, is a great solution.
Our business model allows users to trade GHS while they mine Bitcoins and mine Bitcoins even when the GHS are being sold.
This gives a great leverage over hardware mining.

What are Cex.io’s future mining hardware plans? Besides BitFury, which Bitcoin ASIC companies have caught your eye as a trustworthy service?

We are looking for various ways to find new mining hardware. We need to try them all, in order to see who is trustworthy and who isn’t.
The biggest milestone we are trying to reach right now is Scrypt ASICS, but they are still a long way from production and deployment.

What are your thoughts on Scrypt Mining ASICs? Is there a place for them in the world, or even CEX.io in the future?

Yes, there is definitely a place for Scrypt ASICs in our future. Unfortunately, due to scrypt’s specific mining structure – the ASICS are not so easy and cheap to build.

Could you shed some light on CEX.io’s future plans for Bitcoin, I believe y’all are planning to offer some much needed services such as escrow and micropayments?

Right now our biggest concern is the exchange platform. It is still in beta, meaning it is a little rough around the edges. Just yesterday we have introduced scrypt mining on GHash.IO. Now users are able to connect their scrypt miners to GHash.IO and mine Litecoins, Dogecoins, Auroracoins and Feathercoins.
Cloudmining is not yet available for scrypt, but we are doing everything possible to make it happen.

We are also doing a promotion of Litecoin mining on GHash.IO
Starting from tomorrow 2 pm GMT – we will double all litecoin mining rewards for 1 week Smiley

In the future we will also announce the ability to exchange fiat currencies for commodities and virtual currencies.
Our next step will be implementing GHS futures, chips and mining boards, which can be used to assemble miners.
After the exchange is released from beta – we will definitely point our developers into escrow and micro-payments.

What are your thoughts on the claim that your GH/BTC market provides the only free market derived metric for a spot price for 1 GH/s? Do you think the market that you’ve created factors in future difficulty changes and changing pre-order schedules?

Yes, we do believe that CEX.IO has an effect on the difficulty change, however we also would like to point out that we are only an exchange platform, and the increasing user base is the real cause of it.

Thanks so much for your time Mr. Smith, are there any further messages you’d like to share with our readers?

I’d like to thank your readers for their interest in CEX.IO and promise to deliver the best possible cloud mining service out there, with quality support and fair rules for mining and trading.

 
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March 14, 2014, 10:37:44 PM
 #348

Leah McGrath Goodman Insults Bitcoin Community, Still Defends Her Article

 Neil Sardesai  14/03/2014  Bitcoin, News 5 Comments
Posted 15 hours ago

Leah McGrath Goodman Insults Bitcoin Community, Still Defends Her Article
Leah McGrath Goodman has no respect for the Bitcoin community.
Leah McGrath Goodman, The Newsweek reporter now infamous amongst the Bitcoin community for claiming to have discovered the creator of Bitcoin, is still staunchly defending her article. Dorian Nakamoto, whom Goodman believes is Satoshi Nakamoto, publicly stated that Newsweek misrepresented him, and that he “never was involved” in Bitcoin. Furthermore, the real Satoshi denied being Dorian Nakamoto on the P2P Foundation forum. Despite so much evidence disproving her, Goodman still seems to believe that she found Bitcoin’s creator, and just recently, Goodman defended herself by bashing the Bitcoin community.

Leah McGrath Goodman Insults Bitcoin Community
“I have learned this about the fanatical Bitcoiners: they will see this all in a different light once they reach puberty.”
In what could be seen as several juvenile insults, the Newsweek reporter dismisses the Bitcoin community as a bunch of “fanatical” kids who haven’t reached puberty. On a more disturbing note, it seems that Goodman has been receiving several death threats, leading her to “[brush] up on [her] shooting skills at night.” At the same time, this could just be a cruel irony for the reporter who seriously threatened the life of a quiet old man in California. Goodman has already been lambasted for invading Dorian Nakamoto’s privacy, or “doxing” him. Her article featured loads of personally identifiable information, including pictures of the man’s house, resulting in a flurry of media interest with reporters camping outside his home and chasing him by car. As such, maybe Goodman shouldn’t be surprised that reporters are digging into her own personal information.


With such a large community, even a small percentage of threats of violence could seem like a lot. However, that does not reflect the views of the community as a whole. And anyway, with so much negative PR and an article with little to no real evidence, it seems like Goodman should be more worried about her career than her life.

Headline image from IBTimes.
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March 14, 2014, 10:39:05 PM
 #349

Online storage vault for Bitcoins raises funds

 Christoph Marckx  14/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Exchanges, Business, News, Security, Services
Posted 12 hours ago

Xapo CEO Casares believes his vault is the safest way to store Bitcoins online
Xapo CEO Casares believes his vault is the safest way to store Bitcoins online
Xapo Ltd., a provider of secure online storage for Bitcoins, has raised $20 million in a first round of funding led by venture capital firm Benchmark.

Underground vaults and armed guards

Among the investors were Ribbit Capital — a Silicon Valley venture firm that invests in technologies for financial services, and Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG) — a New York-based private-equity and hedge-fund manager. Wences Casares, Xapo’s founder and CEO, was thrilled by the amount of interest Xapo Ltd. gathered during the funding round. He confirmed the $20 million raise, but gave no further comment when asked about Xapo’s total valuation.

The cry for a safe and secure way to store Bitcoins has been going on for some time. Ever since the cryptocoin appeared, hackers and thieves have been looking for ways to steal Bitcoins. This has led to a growing industry of enterprises that focus on protecting investors’ coins.  ”The security of Bitcoin holdings entrusted to online service providers came into focus following the bankruptcy last month of Mt. Gox. Xapo’s servers are stored in secret underground locations around the world, which are staffed by armed security guards.”, Casares said.

Casares founded Xapo little over two years ago. At that time, he was CEO of Lemon.com, a mobile-payments provider. Xapo’s mission was to provide secure storage vaults for Bitcoins. To facilitate that, Xapo offers web-based wallets, as well.

“Right now, Xapo already has several thousand accounts, including holders of large Bitcoin deposits such as hedge funds, venture capital funds, sovereign wealth funds and family offices.”, said Casares, who declined to comment on their identity.

“We have been talking to Wences about Bitcoin for a long time, and we think Xapo offers a unique wallet-with-vault service which is secure offline and online and, therefore, compelling for institutional as well as retail investors.”, said Matt Cohler, who led Benchmark’s investment in Xapo.

The reason Benchmark made an investment in Xapo was because Cohler himself owns Bitcoins and has been storing them with Xapo for some time. Xapo is Benchmark’s first public investment in a Bitcoin company.

As for that other investor, Ribbit Capital, we have to go back into time. Casares has been working with Micky Malka, Ribbit’s founder, for many years. They have started four financial-service companies together. On top of that, Ribbit is known to invest directly in Bitcoins, as well. Their holdings have been, obviously, stored with Xapo for a long time now.

Other competitors

As said before, there are several companies offering a similar service. One of Xapo’s main competitors is Elliptic Enterprises Ltd. This London-based Bitcoin vault is pretty new, having debuted in January 2014. James Smith, Elliptic’s CEO, claims his company can guarantee total safety towards its customers. He found an underwriter for insuring the company against any loss of Bitcoins via Lloyds of London Ltd.

While Smith had initially said Elliptic clients would be reimbursed in British pounds in the event of any loss, the company issued a statement yesterday after learning of Xapo to say that it will also compensate customers by purchasing Bitcoins at market rates using payouts in pounds.

Casares, Cohler and Malka said Xapo has no competitors offering similar services. It seems there are though.
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March 14, 2014, 10:40:11 PM
 #350

Online storage vault for Bitcoins raises funds

 Christoph Marckx  14/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Exchanges, Business, News, Security, Services
Posted 12 hours ago

Xapo CEO Casares believes his vault is the safest way to store Bitcoins online
Xapo CEO Casares believes his vault is the safest way to store Bitcoins online
Xapo Ltd., a provider of secure online storage for Bitcoins, has raised $20 million in a first round of funding led by venture capital firm Benchmark.

Underground vaults and armed guards

Among the investors were Ribbit Capital — a Silicon Valley venture firm that invests in technologies for financial services, and Fortress Investment Group LLC (FIG) — a New York-based private-equity and hedge-fund manager. Wences Casares, Xapo’s founder and CEO, was thrilled by the amount of interest Xapo Ltd. gathered during the funding round. He confirmed the $20 million raise, but gave no further comment when asked about Xapo’s total valuation.

The cry for a safe and secure way to store Bitcoins has been going on for some time. Ever since the cryptocoin appeared, hackers and thieves have been looking for ways to steal Bitcoins. This has led to a growing industry of enterprises that focus on protecting investors’ coins.  ”The security of Bitcoin holdings entrusted to online service providers came into focus following the bankruptcy last month of Mt. Gox. Xapo’s servers are stored in secret underground locations around the world, which are staffed by armed security guards.”, Casares said.

Casares founded Xapo little over two years ago. At that time, he was CEO of Lemon.com, a mobile-payments provider. Xapo’s mission was to provide secure storage vaults for Bitcoins. To facilitate that, Xapo offers web-based wallets, as well.

“Right now, Xapo already has several thousand accounts, including holders of large Bitcoin deposits such as hedge funds, venture capital funds, sovereign wealth funds and family offices.”, said Casares, who declined to comment on their identity.

“We have been talking to Wences about Bitcoin for a long time, and we think Xapo offers a unique wallet-with-vault service which is secure offline and online and, therefore, compelling for institutional as well as retail investors.”, said Matt Cohler, who led Benchmark’s investment in Xapo.

The reason Benchmark made an investment in Xapo was because Cohler himself owns Bitcoins and has been storing them with Xapo for some time. Xapo is Benchmark’s first public investment in a Bitcoin company.

As for that other investor, Ribbit Capital, we have to go back into time. Casares has been working with Micky Malka, Ribbit’s founder, for many years. They have started four financial-service companies together. On top of that, Ribbit is known to invest directly in Bitcoins, as well. Their holdings have been, obviously, stored with Xapo for a long time now.

Other competitors

As said before, there are several companies offering a similar service. One of Xapo’s main competitors is Elliptic Enterprises Ltd. This London-based Bitcoin vault is pretty new, having debuted in January 2014. James Smith, Elliptic’s CEO, claims his company can guarantee total safety towards its customers. He found an underwriter for insuring the company against any loss of Bitcoins via Lloyds of London Ltd.

While Smith had initially said Elliptic clients would be reimbursed in British pounds in the event of any loss, the company issued a statement yesterday after learning of Xapo to say that it will also compensate customers by purchasing Bitcoins at market rates using payouts in pounds.

Casares, Cohler and Malka said Xapo has no competitors offering similar services. It seems there are though.
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March 14, 2014, 10:41:14 PM
 #351

How Bitcoin Leads to Voluntary Government

 Kyle Torpey  14/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Regulation, Economics, News 1 Comment
Posted 11 hours ago
http://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/dontsteal_ronpaul-300x225.jpg
Bitcoin Voluntary Government
More people could view taxation theft when Bitcoin gives them a chance to opt-out.
While the Bitcoin community is usually willing to accept anyone with open arms and no political discrimination, the reality is that there is certainly a political aspect to the technology surrounding cryptocurrencies. The politics of Bitcoin are rather supportive of a more voluntary government, and there isn’t really any way to get around this issue. While bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies could definitely be used as the main form of currency to support basically any form of government, the difference with this type of money is that it requires permission from the people. This means that the increased popularity of Bitcoin does not mean that we’re entering an age where there is no government; however, some governments will find it more difficult to suppress the rights of certain individuals who do not wish to opt-into the law of the land.

Collecting Income Taxes

The main issue that some governments are going to face when it comes to Bitcoin or some other form of future cryptocurrency is that people can more easily hide their income and sources of revenue when they use this type of money. In most developed countries, a lot of the financial transactions in one’s daily life are basically hosted in the cloud. Edward Snowden famously stated that he had access to anyone’s email account when he was working on the NSA, which is one of the main issues with hosting private data in centralized cloud services. When you give your personal information, private messages, or financial activity over to a third-party, it’s important to realize that the company hosting the data and the government in that local jurisdiction also have access to that data. Many people in the United States already avoid taxation by working for cash under the table, but this form of tax evasion could explode when it’s also applied to transfers of value over the Internet. As new innovations in the cryptocurrency space are created to enhance financial privacy, the chances of getting caught are lowered dramatically. What’s going to happen when people are able to store value in a brain wallet for basically no cost as opposed to setting up a Swiss bank account? Bitcoin basically democratizes the ability to hide money from the taxman.

Checks on Government Spending from the People

As taxation becomes more voluntary over time, we could see a situation where people decide to opt-out of the system. When your options are hiding your financial activity and taxable income rather easily or handing over 30-50% of your money to a government that has policies you don’t agree with 90% of the time, finding a reason to pay taxes becomes difficult. More people view taxation as nothing more than theft on a yearly basis, largely thanks to the rise in popularity of certain political figures, such as Ron Paul and Daniel Hannan. In addition to a majority of the population not wanting to pay for endless wars, throwing people in jail for non-violent crimes, warrantless spying, and a litany of other issues found with modern governments, they may also decide to find their own solutions when it comes to helping the less fortunate gain access to basic necessities, such as food, healthcare, shelter, and education. It will be interesting to see how much government spending people in different countries are willing to accept when they actually have a choice when it comes to the amount of money they’re going to send the government.



Can the People Organize Their Own Solutions?

As government becomes more voluntary due to the prevalence of Bitcoin and other new technologies related to cryptography, it’s possible that the people will decide to find their own solutions for local issues. Just because the overall role of government could be largely diminished does not mean people aren’t going to find solutions for real issues that still exist. When you’re talking about the difference between government and locally organized communities, the differences between the two can become blurry rather quickly. Instead of national healthcare systems, could we see local communities organize their own distributed autonomous healthcare systems? Could someone create a fair autonomous organization for the distribution of welfare or unemployment insurance at a local level? In reality, how are you going to stop people from creating their own distributed autonomous governments by using platforms such as Ethereum, Open Transactions, and Bitcloud? At the end of the day, we may come across a situation where many of the basic functions of government are still in place. The only differences are that bureaucrats are going to be replaced by code and people will actually have a choice between different types of automated governments and societies. If the controllers of the current system are able to prevent free people from making their own decisions, then there’s always the idea of creating new, startup countries through seasteading.
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March 14, 2014, 10:42:16 PM
 #352

Bitcoin receives award at CeBIT 2014

 Christoph Marckx  14/03/2014  Bitcoin, Business, Events, News, Services
Posted 8 hours ago

Oliver Flasskämper accepts Bitcoin award
Oliver Flaßkämper accepted Bitcoin’s award at CeBIT 2014
CeBIT, one of the most important exhibitions about technology and innovations in the world, is going on this week. The German festival  attracts lots of attention. It has several famous key speakers, countless exhibitions, expert panels, everything to make this an interesting week. And, of course, Bitcoin was a trending topic at CeBIT as well.

Award for Bitcoin

After being talk of the town at SXSW 2014, Bitcoin managed to snag an award at CeBIT. This happened yesterday, during the presentation of the Linux New Media Awards. Bitcoin received the award in the category “most innovative open-source project”.

, managing director of Bitcoin.de,was officially representing the Bitcoin Federation and the scene. He, gladly, accepted the award.

The award is handed out by two parties. Medialinx AG, a company that resides in Munich, is the world’s largest content provider when it comes to Linux and open-source projects in general. Together with CeBIT Open Source, they try to find suitable candidates for this reward. They look for projects, organizations, individuals and companies for their outstanding services to Linux and open-source. Once a year, they hand out this reward to the project they think did the best work for the open-source business.

Yesterday that once a year momen,t finally, arrived again. Moderator Michael Fellner gave the microphone to open-source expert Thomas Uhl. Uhl had a fine way of introducing the winner, saying this year’s awarded project was “a bit of IT and bit of cryptography. A damn lot of cryptography.” If there still was anyone left who had no clue about who or what was going to win, these doubts were taken away with Uhl’s next words. ”Some would say it’s a gamble, others that it was fraud. Some claimed that one could lose a lot of money and someone else said it was no money at all, while others said it was the future of the digital economy.”

After that second sentence, everyone knew what he was talking about. In normal circumstances, the award would be granted to Bitcoin’s original creator Satoshi Nakamoto. Obviously, it was impossible to do this, so Uhl presented the award to Flaskämper instead. He praised him for being the manager of Bitcoin.de and addressed him as the representative of the German Bitcoin scene.

Revolutionizing money

In his acceptance speech, Flaskämper explained that Bitcoin.de, the largest marketplace for the virtual  currency in Europe, is doing really well. The exchange is healthy and free of problems as the ones Mt. Gox has been facing the past few months. Immediately after saying that, he expressed his desire to get a better infrastructure. It was his ending sentence that was the most inspirational: “Wikipedia has revolutionized the way we share knowledge, Twitter and Facebook redefined freedom of expression; Bitcoin will revolutionize the way we work with money.”

This kind of award is vital for Bitcoin’s acceptance. We focus too much on the bad news, while there are so many exciting, good things happening right under our noses.

For those that are interested, Linux Magazin promised to put up a stream of the ceremony on its website.
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March 14, 2014, 10:43:30 PM
 #353

Bitcoin Exchange Doing Security Right: Bitcurex Successfully Blocked A Hacking Attack

 Caleb Chen  14/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Exchanges, Breaking News, News, Security
Posted 4 hours ago

Some 9 hours ago, astute Bitcoiners watching Bitcoin exchange charts were greeted by a surprising blip on Poland’s largest Bitcoin Exchange: Bitcurex.  Bitcurex has been in operation since July 2012, and is operated out of Lodz, Poland under the registered Digital Future Ltd.  It seems that a hacker managed to create 94 million PLN (The Polish Zloty) and used the fiat to buy Bitcoin orders on the order book.  According to witness reports from traders on Bitcurex at the time, the hacker used his hacked PLN to buy the order book and caused a noticeable  ~10% change in the exchange rate.  The hacker then left a buy order for ~19,000 Bitcoins on the order book which was in the process of being filled when trading was halted.

Some Bitcoiners are all “doom and gloom” at the news of another Bitcoin exchange shutting its doors for a little while.  There are many people that are still smarting from the news of Mt. Gox halting Bitcoin withdrawals first then all operations later.   There are several differences between Mt. Gox and Bitcurex that are quickly becoming clear.  While the occurrence of a hack of any kind against a Bitcoin Exchange is unsettling, the way in which Bitcurex has dealt with the matter is commendable.

bitcurex 19000 buy

Within 5 minutes of the market buy and buy order being placed Bitcurex shut down trading on their site.  A few hours ago, the Bitcurex team made an official statement via their Facebook page.

Dear Users,
http://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/bitcurex-19000-buy1.jpg

We successfully blocked a hacking attack on Bitcurex, preventing mass theft of BTC funds of our users. Thanks to automatic safety procedures, hackers managed to defraud only a portion of the funds stored in operational Hot Wallet Bitcurex. The majority of funds from Hot Wallet, as well the entirety of funds from Cold Wallet and FIAT monetary funds remained intact.

Our team located and removed the source of the problem. We are working on resuming normal service, at the same time an external audit is being conducted: we will soon provide the exact date of resuming all Bitcurex functionalities. More information will be provided in further statements.

We are sorry for the inconvenience, and most of all we thank the whole BTC community for the support we received: we were put to a test that will make us stronger.

Best regards,
Bitcurex Team

This is not the death of Bitcoin

Personally, I am curious to see how the mainstream media will present this story.  I will not be surprised if some western sources of news report the facts in a skewed manner in order to paint Bitcoin in a dangerous light.  The real important reaction to watch for will be from Polish language news sources.  No matter what the world and global Bitcoin community at large think about the hack and subsequent recovery, it is the Polish people that will ultimately decide whether or not Bitcurex lives on.

The good news is this: Bitcurex “successfully blocked” the hacking attempt.  Though the wording of their statement implies that some funds from Bitcurex’s hot wallet may have been automatically transferred out it also implies that all Bitcurex users will have 100% of their funds once Bitcurex resumes service.  Bitcoin exchange security is a very big deal, the automatic security precautions that Bitcurex adopted ended up thwarting a major heist.

In comparison, a few other Bitcoin exchanges that have been hacked in the past few weeks are Poloniex and Flexcoin.  The former opted to continue operating and will pay back users from future fees while the latter was put out of business.  Stay tuned to CCN for more updates on the Bitcurex hack and other Bitcoin news.
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March 14, 2014, 10:45:38 PM
 #354

Icelandic government warns against Auroracoin

 Christoph Marckx  14/03/2014  Altcoins, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Regulation, Economics, News, Security 1 Comment
Posted 2 hours ago

Pétur Blöndal warns against Auroracoin
Pétur Blöndal warns Icelandic people for the risks of virtual currency Auroracoin.
Early this morning, the Auroracoin medium of exchange was discussed by the Economic and Trade Committee of Parliament. The Icelandic authorities expressed their concern about the currency, calling it risky business. They claimed that consumers needed to be educated and warned of the risks this virtual coin may pose. Pétur Blöndal, member of Parliament for the Independence Party and vice-chairman of the Committee, had little details to disclose but said there was an agreement regarding the fact that using the medium of exchange held great risk for everyone.

It seemed there were many things unclear and the launch of the coin seems to bring multiple issues to the table. The Committee was especially concerned about taxation. It’s difficult to work this out since politicians around the globe can’t seem to find a solution for taxing cryptocurrencies. Next to taxing, Blöndal also felt that the concept the coin was dangerous. The developers behind the medium had promised a limited supply, but according to Blöndal people had to blindly trust that this would not be changed. There was also a concern about how property rights were protected? To enforce his opinion, he claimed that it has been shown that Bitcoin has no real protection for rights of individuals.

“What is missing is that consumers be warned against this cryptocurrency,” said Blöndal. In ten days time, Auroracoin’s 50% premine will be distributed among all Icelanders.

But what will be the final verdict on Auroracoin? Will the government take special measures or just look at the launch from a distance, ready to intervene when necessary? According to Blöndal, representatives of the Central Bank of Iceland were present during the meeting. They were discussing if the cryptocoin could be deemed illegal and how the authorities could respond to this. There was an in-depth diagnosis of measures taken by other countries. The Bitcoin movement has received lots of bad publicity lately, and some other countries have been putting restraints on the cryptocurrency and even banning it. Up until now, nothing has been decided regarding the Central Bank’s stance towards Auroracoin.

Blöndal says that people have to realize that Auroracoin is not backed by anyone other than its developers.  ”Currencies exist in many different forms, but this one is an example of a currency that is not backed by any government. We have laws regarding currencies, and they do not apply to this exchange method.”

Iceland has seen a few rough years, but they managed to stand up again because of their ‘alternative’ handling of the financial crisis. It was only a matter of time before people would come up with their own solutions, looking at the causes of the crisis in the first place. The whole world is, slowly but surely, starting to realize that fiat money can’t survive in its current form. The initiation of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies has shown that there can be another way. As usual, governments want to regulate but this takes a long time and the world doesn’t want to wait any longer. There’s potential danger to virtual money, denying this would be naive. On the other hand, there’s also an opportunity in it. Iceland is the first example of how a cryptocurrency might do something for one nation. In ten days, Auroracoin will make its airdrop and Icelanders will receive their coins.
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March 14, 2014, 10:46:54 PM
 #355

Bitmain does it again with the new Antminer S2 1th/s Miner.

 Scott Fargo  14/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Merchants, Bitcoin Mining, Breaking News, Mining, News
Posted 2 hours ago
https://www.bitmaintech.com/userfiles/image/003201401071629042468e3298pa0638.jpg
Today I was excited to see the release news on 112bit.com, a US distributor for Bitmain that they were starting to sell the new Antminer S2 1 th/s unit. The best part is just like the S1 no huge wait times. They will be shipping the first batch roughly April 1st of 2014.

The Antminer S1 is a hit due to the competitive price and excellent availability of the units. With distributors like 112bit also shipping fast and keeping pricing current each day the S1 had many miners very happy and created many loyal customers.

Antminer S1
Antminer S1
 

Juan from 112bit is going to be demonstrating the Antminer S2 at the Inside Bitcoins New York convention on April 7-8.

When I asked Juan Garavaglia owner of 112bit about this debut, he said.

We are very excited, is a big step forward we have the most competitive mining hardware and fast delivery we are receiving many orders and the Bitmain website sold out in 6 hours the 1st batch.

Here is the release that 112bit owner Juan Garavaglia, posted on BitcoinTalk.

 

Bitmain Technologies Limited is proud to announce ANTMINER S2 that features 1TH/s Bitcoin Miner consist of high-density chip chains and ultra low power consumption.

AntMiner S2 is using the state of the art BM1380 chip, targeting the best possible power efficiency. S2 is built into a 4U size box, and it will come with PSU manufactured by Enermax. S2 will be very convenient to deploy. S2 is still running quietly.

Since November of 2013, BM1380 has been proven to be the most effective IC on the 55nm process among all competitors, even comparable to the most Bitcoin Mining ICs developed on 28nm process nodes. Our first generation Bitcoin Miner, AntMiner S1, demonstrated low power consumption but high performance. Currently, S1 is most popular miner for mining enthusiasts. S1 is currently deployed in large binary trees structures within the private and public mining pools servicing 20.3% of the entire network hash rate.

The 1st Batch of AntMiner S2 will be shipped out on April 1st. AntMiner S2 will be available in the global market for a price of $3,899.

AntMiner S2 SPEC:

Hash rate: more than 1,000GH/s
Power consumption: 1,000W from the wall
Power efficiency: 1Watt/GH/s
PSU: 1000W produced by Enermax, 80PLUS gold
4U Rack
PSU inside
Plug and Mining
Stable and quiet

 

With the great price and performance of the S1, it looks like Bitmain is going to be able to do it again with their new S2 model, as well. Sipping power 1 watt per gh/s it will make it a very profitable Bitcoin miner over the long haul, as well.

I am very much looking forward to trying one of these out and bringing my results here on cryptocoinsnews.com

In the near future, I will be testing and reviewing the S2′s predecessor the Antminer S1 and will have it on CCN for you all.

Happy Mining
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March 14, 2014, 11:48:29 PM
 #356

Icelandic Parliament Committee Holds Closed Session to Discuss Auroracoin
Daniel Cawrey (@danielcawrey) | Published on March 14, 2014 at 23:11 GMT | Altcoins, News, Prices, Regulation, Technology

Iceland’s Parliamentary Economic Affairs and Trade Committee held a formal discussion regarding auroracoin in closed meeting on 14th March.

Auroracoin is a digital currency based on the litecoin source code, and a portion of it will be provided for free to Icelandic citizens. It has experienced a remarkable surge in popularity as an alternative to bitcoin, passing litecoin in total market cap in early March for a short period. It is currently the number four digital currency by market cap.

Only political figures and central bankers reportedly attended the Parliament meeting, however, representatives of the digital currency were noticeably absent.

Auroracoin’s creator, Baldur Friggjar Óðinsson, told CoinDesk:

“The Committee did not reach out to the auroracoin community or anyone involved in cryptocurrencies to my knowledge.”

The Icelandic media outlet Mbl.is has a story on the Committee’s vice-chair Pétur Blöndal confirming that the session took place. An English translation of the article is available on the auroracoin forums.

Government Response

Iceland’s Chairman of the Committee for Economic Affairs and Trade is Frosti Sigurjónsson of the ruling Progressive Party.

Sigurjónsson has been asking the Central Bank and the Financial Supervisory Authority to issue warnings about cryptocurrencies such as auroracoin, according to Óðinsson.

He says Sigurjónsson “is a staunch and vocal enemy of bitcoin, auroracoin and other cryptocurrencies.”

On Sigurjónsson’s website, he has a short blog post on auroracoin suggesting that the coin is a scam. At the end of the post, he writes, translated from Icelandic:

“There is evidence however that this is a case of [a money] scam and illegal.”

“They can make it illegal to own or trade auroracoin,” said Óðinsson. ”However, they will never be able to control such a decentralized system, or stop Icelanders from using the currency, without turning Iceland into a police state.”

Sigurjónsson has been contacted for comment, and has not yet replied.

Speculation

Auroracoin was created as decentralized digital currency for the people of Iceland. Óðinsson, its inventor, is aiming to give Icelanders an alternative to that country’s fiat krona denomination.

After the 2008 financial collapse, the banking industry in Iceland was mired in turmoil. The inflation rate of the krona shot to 18% by the end of 2009.

Iceland vs. UK GDP as measured in British pound. Source: Icelandic Economics
 
Óðinsson plans to give every one of Iceland’s 320m people 31.8 AUR starting March 25 via an initiative he has dubbed ‘AirDrop’. A web interface that has an online verification system using Iceland’s personal identification will be used to dole out the coins.

Community

The purpose of giving premined auroracoin to Icelanders in particular is to build a community around the coin.

Another effort, called scotcoin is working on a similar effort. Scotcoin is giving everyone in Scotland over the age of 18 the opportunity to obtain its coins. At 980 million premined coins for Scotland’s population of 3.5 million, each person would receive 280 scotcoins.

Fifty percent of the auroracoin’s 10,619,651 units circulation is reserved for the Icelandic community. This likely led to AUR’s price to speculate upwards of $45. It is currently trading at $21.

One month AUR/BTC trading. Source: Cryptsy

Many industry observers are eagerly awaiting what happens when auroracoin’s ‘AirDrop’ commences, with some suggesting it could lead to a sharp decline in auroracoin’s value should new recipients immediately cash out their coins.

Circulation, however, might be more important than price for auroracoin to remain strong. And at a current supply of just over 10 million, auroracoin still has a lot more coins to be mined. The total number of auroracoins is set to be 21 million.

CoinDesk is monitoring this developing story, and will post updates as they become known.

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March 15, 2014, 11:37:47 AM
 #357

Bitcoin Businesses and Canadian Banks: The ‘Catch 22’ Dilemma
Matthew Burgoyne | Published on March 15, 2014 at 11:29 GMT | Law, News, US & Canada

Matt Burgoyne is an associate at Canadian legal firm McLeod Law. He is involved with Canadian and international counsel in the developing area of virtual currency law, specifically including bitcoin currency.

One of the most frustrating things I encounter when being retained by a new client or working with an existing client operating in the bitcoin space is that without exception, I have the unfortunate task of advising them that as it stands now in Canada, the chances of them obtaining a regular commercial services based bank account are 0%.

“Canada is an attractive environment for bitcoin entities to set up operations”

Sometimes this is a non-starter and the bitcoin entity makes the decision to set up operations in another country, which is extremely unfortunate for a variety of reasons, including the economic loss to Canada derived from losing a potential new Canadian business and the more important loss to the potential client in regards to their bitcoin business.

This is a shame, because, as I have previously mentioned on CoinDesk, Canada is an attractive environment for bitcoin entities to set up operations since our country does not have, for example, the state-by-state money transmitting regulations that currently exist in the US.

Businesses need banks

eBankingWithout basic commercial banking services, most bitcoin businesses would have a tough time operating, as businesses in general often need, as an example, the ability to deposit money somewhere and require some level of online banking.

I have personally spoken with presidents and senior vice-presidents of major Canadian banking institutions and credit unions, and the impressions I get can be summed up as follows:

(a) Banks are still in the process of figuring out what bitcoin is and how to deal with it, since it is a disruptive technology which could arguably compete with the bank’s own existing services and products (although no banking executives on my calls explicitly mentioned the competition concern).

(b) Banks are apprehensive about boarding new bitcoin clients because Canada’s federal government, via the Department of Finance, has yet to introduce regulations which specifically target bitcoin and digital currency operations.

(c) Banks are apprehensive about boarding bitcoin entities over concerns related to money laundering activities which could be carried out by their newly boarded digital currency clients.

Guidance lacking

As mentioned in section (b) above, Canadian bitcoin entities are presently victims of a ‘catch 22’ type of situation: they are caught in a situation from which they cannot escape because they are subject to arbitrary banking rules and the lack of Canadian legislation, which effectively places them in a situation in which they have no control over.

Buried on page 134 of the 419-page recently released Canadian 2014 Federal Budget, the Canadian federal government confirms that it will “introduce anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations for virtual currencies, such as bitcoin”.

OK, so regulations will be introduced by the Canadian government which will specifically address bitcoin, which would, in my opinion, put Canadian banks and credit unions at least partially at ease as per (b) above, but when are these regulations going to be announced and come into effect?

There has been absolutely no guidance from the federal government on this issue. It could be next week or it could be in six months. In the meantime, bitcoin entities are caught in this unfortunate ‘catch 22’ predicament.

Banking hypocrisy?

HSBC bank, New YorkAn issue which deserves some serious attention is the way that both Canadian and international banks execute their anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations.

It’s great that banks have anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing policies, but often the execution of those policies are abhorrent and sloppy at best.

Case in point, in an article published by elitedaily.com on February 21st 2014, entitled ‘The Ugly Truth Behind Major Banks Financing Mexico’s Drug Cartels‘, the author noted that:

“Since 2006, more than a dozen banks have reached settlements with the Justice Department (United States) as restitution for violations related to money laundering. American Express Bank International admitted to processing more than $55 million in drug money that had been laundered through offshore shell accounts that it operates.”

Readers may recall that last December, the British bank HSBC (which has a large Canadian presence) agreed to settle with the US Justice Department to pay approximately $2 billion in penalties for having moved $881 million in drug proceeds from cartels in Mexico and Columbia during a recent five-year period.

Arguments have been made that banks in general often do not face criminal prosecution for violating anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing regulations, but instead, according to the author of the aforementioned article referred to above, “(accept) settlements that either defer or erase the threat of criminal suits.”

If this is true, it can be argued that there is little incentive for banks to actually toughen internal regulatory compliance.

There have been instances of senior bank executives leaving their positions at their respective banks because of this lack of internal regulatory compliance.

For example, in the aforementioned article, reference is made to a gentlemen named Martin Woods, who served as director of Wachovia’s anti-money laundering unit in London for three years before leaving his position ‘in disgust’ after his repeated requests to executives to put a stop to ongoing drug money laundering operations, which were allegedly occurring in Wachovia’s branch network, were ignored).

Ignored issue

Canadian and international banks take the position that they won’t board bitcoin clients because of concerns that bitcoin entities could be used to facilitate drug money laundering activities. At the same time as a result of sloppy execution some of these banks are guilty themselves of facilitating drug money laundering activities and as a result have paid billion dollar settlement fines.

Is this hypocrisy?  At a minimum it appears to be an inconsistent application of anti-money laundering policies internally versus externally to bitcoin clients.

I believe that the mainstream media, when discussing bitcoin and the risk of money laundering activities associated with it, fails to consider or comment on the hypocrisy issue discussed above.  This is most unfortunate.

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March 15, 2014, 11:38:22 AM
 #358

TigerDirect Tops $1 Million in Total Bitcoin Sales
Pete Rizzo (@pete_rizzo_) | Published on March 15, 2014 at 00:48 GMT | News

Florida-based online high-tech retailer TigerDirect passed $1m in total bitcoin sales on 13th March, less than two months after it began accepting the digital currency.

TigerDirect began taking bitcoin on 23rd January, partnering with Georgia-based merchant processor BitPay, and has been active at incentivizing its budding bitcoin customer base.

Steven Leeds, director of marketing at Tiger Direct, told CoinDesk that his company has been very pleased with its decision so far.

Said Leeds:

“The overwhelming response from our customers validates our decision.”

In addition to the sales increase, Leeds indicates that customers have benefitted from the arrangement as well, saving money on transaction fees when compared to other forms of online payment such as credit cards.

TigerDirect joins Overstock as the second merchant to pass the $1m bitcoin sales mark. Overstock announced that it reached the milestone on 4th March.

Winning combination

So far, TigerDirect’s results indicate that bitcoin has resonated with its predominantly high-tech customer base. TigerDirect took roughly 50 days to pass the $1m mark, based on its own projections.

Notably, TigerDirect saw a 50% spike on sales of some items in the aftermath of the announcement. The top-selling items on the site were video cards, power units, tablets, Xbox units and other high-tech items.

Overstock did not provide hard figures as to when it passed $1m in total, citing legal reasons, but did suggest that this mark was passed in mid-February. The Utah-based e-commerce giant later confirmed this figure on 4th March.

The similar timelines indicate that TigerDirect may not have had a sales advantage, though its audience and bitcoin’s were more likely to overlap.

Merchant impact

TigerDirect’s success is likely to play a key role in convincing more merchants to accept bitcoin payments, given that it has now proven to be a large and consistent revenue stream for two major merchants.

Earlier this week, US retailer Lord & Taylor’s parent company Hudson Bay Co. revealed Overstock played a key role in convincing it that it was time to test the waters with bitcoin.

The news comes as bitcoin merchant processors such as BitPay and Coinbase continue to add merchants at an increasing rate. BitPay has indicated it is now adding more than 1,000 merchants per week.

Disclaimer: CoinDesk founder Shakil Khan is an investor in BitPay.

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March 15, 2014, 02:46:22 PM
 #359

How Bitcoin is Changing Everything
Ariel Deschapell | Published on March 15, 2014 at 12:50 GMT | Analysis

Perhaps the single most prominent, and telling, feature of bitcoin today is its massive controversy in the media. Not a single day goes by without an article or televised mention about its dangers, risks, and dubious mainstream appeal.

Many in the mainstream seem set in their beliefs that bitcoin is a fad, or even worse a ponzi scheme, and is destined to fail. Yet when was the last time a ponzi scheme attracted global attention and prominent venture capital investment? Since when has a fad incited the simultaneous and largely hostile reactions of governments across the globe?

Why did other payment technologies like PayPal or Western Union apparently fail to meet the requirements to be discussed in virtually every central bank on the planet, yet cryptocurrency is being so thoroughly scrutinised? Ironically enough, the on-going debate about whether or not bitcoin is truly a valuable disruptive technology, is all the evidence you need that it is.

This is because bitcoin as a technology isn’t just challenging business models, or even an entire industry. Plenty of innovative outfits do that with much less flare. Bitcoin is challenging the financial infrastructure of the whole global economy, and even more, it is challenging entire generations of established political and economic theory that that infrastructure is built on.

Bitcoin’s exponential growth flouts all of the traditional monetary theory that is the mainstream ideology amongst academics and politicians today. Its very existence and growing success cannot be accounted for within these old paradigms.

It challenges not only the basis and underlying assumptions of the modern financial system, but calls into question the beliefs and even livelihood of so many politicians, economic advisors, and media pundits. That is why so many are so sceptical of it, and others even outright hostile.

Bitcoin the currency

As a currency, bitcoin is in many ways the antithesis of modern fiat currencies. It has grown exponentially in usage the last year, and all without being declared by any state or central bank as “legal tender”. That simple fact astonishes many in academia, who could never have guessed a currency could spontaneously form and organically grow within the modern free market.

It was something that was never even discussed theoretically, and is still taking time to sink in amidst the denials that bitcoin is here to stay.

Yet this occurrence is surprisingly not entirely without precedence. Bitcoin is not the only example of a homogenous “good” being adopted by a population as a currency, for nothing but its underlying natural value and universal appeal. We have a much older example of that: gold, more than 5,000 years ago.

Cryptocurrency is following the same path as precious metals in ancient civilization. Where gold was valued for its color, easy malleability, purity and its anti-corrosive properties, bitcoin is valued for it’s speed, decentralization, anonymity and ultra low transaction costs.

gold

Gold was discovered by practically every world civilization and became a good of such universal value it slowly became the de facto means of exchange (along with silver) across much of the planet, eventually culminating in the Classical Gold Standard. That is a span of dominance of thousands of years, compared with the 43 years of the global fiat system we have today.

History thus clearly shows that the idea of a currency deriving value primarily from the “backing” of some central state is nonsense.

For the vast majority of civilization, money was gold or silver, and both originated not as centrally issued currency that, as a result, magically had value, but as universally valued substances.

Bitcoin is fast becoming the first commodity since gold to become a widely accepted means of exchange without the need of a central authority backing it.

However unlike gold, Bitcoin is completely out of the reach of governments and can’t be regulated, centralized, or ultimately shut down and replaced with inflationary fiat money. For all its durability and timeless lustre, gold my pale to the longevity of a cryptocurrency system.

Reacting to Big Data

However Bitcoin is not just a currency that promises to eventually end the trend of patchwork national currencies that exist for the almost sole purpose of allowing governments to endlessly fund their own deficit spending.

When the Internet was growing in the 90s it promised a future in which everyone everywhere had access to all the knowledge in the world, a future where technology ultimately empowered the individual.

Indeed, this promise is coming closer and closer everyday as more people in underdeveloped countries have access to cheaper and cheaper smartphones and Internet access. However behind this positive outward development, the big players have long since been behind a much different trend.

“Businesses will hopefully creatively utilize the open source design of Bitcoin to provide entirely secure and anonymous end-to-end experiences.”

Google, Facebook, as well as many others, all keep meticulous track of user data for advertising and other purposes. On several occasions, the massive amounts of data collected by Internet service and telecommunications companies have been utilized by agencies such as the NSA, under morally questionable motives at best.

The result is a system that has evolved with the ability to track everything you do, like, go, and know, and then provide all of that data to one central authority you may or may not trust, all with little choice for the consumer. The Internet has recently been more reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, rather than the future of individual empowerment that was promised.

Cryptocurrency is the first major technological advancement that, intentionally or not, is a massive reaction to the trend of Big Data. It is decentralized and anonymous by design, and it is these key features within the Bitcoin protocol itself that may be the key to weakening the hold of massive data collecting service companies like Google.

Already, all payments with Bitcoin are anonymous, which could allow users to opt out of advertising with anonymous micropayments. Yet many other cryptocurrencies such as Namecoin are attempting to take the protocol that enables this and use it to build other decentralized networks.

Among these can be email, domain names, and other such systems.

Decentralized applications

This is only the beginning however, businesses will hopefully creatively utilize the open source design of Bitcoin to provide entirely secure and anonymous end-to-end experiences. The possibilities for the emerging wave of decentralized applications are endless, and only time will tell what it does result in. As David Johnson, the $1m sponsor of the Austin Bitcoin Hackathon put it:

“[Decentralized applications] have the potential to become self-sustaining because they empower their stakeholders to invest in the development of the DA.

Because of that, it is conceivable that DAs for payments, social networking, and cloud computing may one day surpass the valuation of multinational corporations like Western Union, Visa, Facebook, Google, and Amazon that are are currently active in the space.”

At the very least, the ever-growing success of bitcoin thus far candidly illustrates that there is indeed a massive demand for anonymity online, one companies would be wise to take advantage of.

It’s far too tempting to compare bitcoin to PCs, the Internet, or even to gold 5,000 years ago. While it does possess similarities with many of these things, and comparing it to such landmark achievements underscores its importance, bitcoin is it’s own phenomena.

PCs may have had a huge amount of industry leaders shrugging it off or denouncing it entirely like bitcoin does now, but it never had whole governments attempting to shut down or regulate its use.

Precious metals may have been the first and last good to become universally adopted as a means of exchange, but this was a slow process that took centuries if not millennia, whereas the usage of cryptocurrencies has exploded in just a few short years.

While bitcoin may have many old conceptual roots, it is altogether new and powerful. It is ushering in a new paradigm in various aspects of society, and creating a new benchmark for future technological achievements to inevitably be compared to.

Bitcoin is changing everything, and if you aren’t on board, then you’re already a dinosaur.

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March 15, 2014, 07:11:07 PM
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Finally, a Congressman Who Understands Bitcoin

 Neil Sardesai  15/03/2014  Bitcoin, Bitcoin Regulation, Funny, Litecoin, News
Posted 8 hours ago
Finally, a Congressman Who Understands Bitcoin
Congressman Jared Polis is an outspoken supporter of Bitcoin and other digital currencies.
A lot of politicians, such as Senator Joe Manchin, don’t really seem to understand how Bitcoin works. They often have misinformed beliefs about the virtual currency, such as the belief that Bitcoin is mostly used by criminals, leading them to the conclusion that Bitcoin needs to be banned. However, a few politicians actually understand and appreciate the cryptocurrency. Take U.S. House of Representatives member Jared Polis, for example. Last week, Polis essentially trolled Senator Manchin and Capitol Hill with a satirical letter stating that the United States should ban dollar bills.

“Dollar bills have gained notoriety in relation to illegal transactions; suitcases full of dollars used for illegal transactions were recently featured in popular movies such as American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club, as well as the gangster classic, Scarface, among others. Dollar bills are present in nearly all major drug busts in the United States and many abroad. According to the U.S. Department of Justice study, “Crime in the United States,” more than $1 billion in cash was stolen in 2012, of which less than 3% was recovered. The United States’ Dollar was present by the truck load in Saddam Hussein’s compound, by the carload when Noriega was arrested for drug trafficking, and by the suitcase full in the Watergate case. “

Polis’s spokesperson Scott Overland stated that Polis’s goal is to “help move the serious debate on digital currency forward so we can come up with ways to maximize the potential positive impacts that digital currency can have on the world economy, not ban them in their infancy.” And unlike many politicians, it seems like Polis will be keeping this promise. Just today, the congressman sent out this email to his followers.
Jared Polis Bitcoin EmailPolis highlights the illogical arguments used by those wishing to ban digital currencies. Furthermore, he believes that “decentralized digital currencies provide a transactional alternative to fiat currencies and that this new competition will benefit consumers.” Currencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Dogecoin (yes, he even mentioned Dogecoin) “should stand or fall on their own and let the marketplace, not the  government, determine their success or failure.” Polis concludes the letter with a reassuring promise that he will “continue to oppose bans or restrictions on digital currencies.”

Jared Polis is widely considered to be one of the most technologically knowledgeable members of Congress. He participated in an AMA on reddit last year, fought against SOPA, and even plays League of Legends. Bitcoin and other new technologies are sure to benefit from politicians who actually understand these new inventions.
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