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What is Bitcoin?

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

Bitcoin Latest News

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Someone Supposedly Ripped Off Martin Shkreli for 15 Million in Bitcoin over 'The Life of Pablo' Rights - THUMP


THUMP

Someone Supposedly Ripped Off Martin Shkreli for 15 Million in Bitcoin over 'The Life of Pablo' Rights
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In a bid to own exclusive rights to Kanye West's forthcoming album The Life of Pablo, Shkreli evidently struck a deal and sent 15 million in Bitcoin ( which comes out to over 6 billion US dollars ) to someone he believed to be a representative from ...
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Posted on 14 February 2016 | 10:23 am

Here's what the future of bitcoin looks like — and it's bright - VentureBeat


VentureBeat

Here's what the future of bitcoin looks like — and it's bright
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Bitcoin has been proclaimed dead 89 times. It has been labeled a Ponzi scheme and a failed experiment. Writers have argued for it to be forgotten and for developers to move on to greener pastures. But moving beyond this rhetoric, it's not all that ...

Posted on 14 February 2016 | 9:51 am

21 Inc offers free resource to help optimize bitcoin fees - Brave New Coin


Brave New Coin

21 Inc offers free resource to help optimize bitcoin fees
Brave New Coin
Attaching a bitcoin transaction fee can be a tricky business. Depending on the wallet or service you are using, it can be hard to know the exactly how much to pay for a quick confirmation. Paying too much can be a waste, while too little can delay a ...

Posted on 13 February 2016 | 6:47 pm

Bitcoin Roundtable Announcement Thwarts Bitcoin Classic Launch - Bitcoin Magazine


Bitcoin Magazine

Bitcoin Roundtable Announcement Thwarts Bitcoin Classic Launch
Bitcoin Magazine
Bitcoin Classic, the Bitcoin implementation set to double Bitcoin's 1 megabyte block size limit by a hard fork, suffered a significant setback shortly after its official release this week. A group of prominent exchanges, mining pools and other industry ...
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Posted on 13 February 2016 | 6:20 pm

Why Bitcoin Governance is a Competition (And That's a Good Thing) - CoinDesk


CoinDesk

Why Bitcoin Governance is a Competition (And That's a Good Thing)
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A former counsel to committees in both the US House and the US Senate, he served as Global Policy Counsel for the Bitcoin Foundation in 2014. In this article, Harper discusses the challenges of applying traditional open-source development practices to ...
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Posted on 13 February 2016 | 8:55 am

Bitcoin Price Hits Resistance - CryptoCoinsNews


CryptoCoinsNews

Bitcoin Price Hits Resistance
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Bitcoin price breached the 4-hour 200MA in most exchange charts today as buyers eagerly piled into advance. At the time of writing, the market has become quiet, and if a larger decline will grip the market, then the time is now. This analysis is ...

Posted on 13 February 2016 | 8:09 am

Approximate Hardware Design and Bigger Bitcoin Mining Profits - CryptoCoinsNews


CryptoCoinsNews

Approximate Hardware Design and Bigger Bitcoin Mining Profits
CryptoCoinsNews
Research led by Dr. Rakesh Kumar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign addresses how approximate hardware might be used to reduce the difficulty and improve results of bitcoin mining. CCN spoke to Dr. Kumar to learn more about this ...

Posted on 13 February 2016 | 3:09 am

China's Role In Bitcoin: How Cultural Differences Are Affecting The Technology's Progress - Forbes


Forbes

China's Role In Bitcoin: How Cultural Differences Are Affecting The Technology's Progress
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Posted on 12 February 2016 | 7:17 am

Royal Bank of Canada Expands Blockchain Testing Beyond Loyalty

Royal Bank of Canada's innovation lead discusses why the bank believes blockchain isn't overhyped, even given all the recent hype.

Posted on 14 February 2016 | 11:40 am

European Union Leaders Seek Greater Oversight of Bitcoin Activity

A group of European heads of state are pushing for greater oversight of digital currency activity in the European Union.

Posted on 13 February 2016 | 8:00 am

SEC Seeks $10 Million Default Judgment Against GAW Miners

The Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking more than $10 million from the cryptocurrency mining firms GAW Miners and ZenMiner.

Posted on 12 February 2016 | 2:31 pm

One of South Korea's Biggest Banks is Developing Blockchain Remittances

South Korea's KB Kookmin Bank is developing a blockchain remittance solution with the aim of ushering in "safer and faster" foreign exchange services.

Posted on 12 February 2016 | 1:01 pm

Ripple Settles $1 Million Lawsuit With Former Executive and Founder

A months-long legal dispute involving distributed ledger tech startup Ripple and its co-founder Jed McCaleb has come to an end.

Posted on 12 February 2016 | 12:00 pm

Nasdaq to Launch Blockchain Voting Trial for Estonian Stock Market

Stock market giant Nasdaq has announced it is developing a shareholder voting system based on blockchain tech.

Posted on 12 February 2016 | 11:15 am

UN Paper: Pushing Bitcoin for Third World Issues is 'Techno Colonialism'

A new UN working paper providing an overview of bitcoin has criticised the attitudes of some in the bitcoin community towards the developing world.

Posted on 12 February 2016 | 9:48 am

ASX Details Blockchain Strategy in Financial Update

The Australian Securities Exchange has revealed its spending as it prepares to build blockchain solutions to improve the Australian equities market.

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Stock Market Giant Deutsche Börse Working on Blockchain Prototypes

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Industry Businesses Pledge to Avoid Bitcoin Network Split

A group of bitcoin miners, exchanges and service providers have issued a letter stating that they would not back hard forks of the network.

Posted on 11 February 2016 | 1:17 pm

Why Bitcoin’s Scaling Debate is An Opportunity Not a Flaw

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Posted on 11 February 2016 | 10:00 am

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PayPal Blocks Bitcoin Parody of Super Bowl Commercial

A parody of a PayPal Super Bowl commercial that was posted on YouTube has been blocked by the Internet payments company.

Posted on 11 February 2016 | 8:18 am

Linux, IBM Share Bold Vision for Hyperledger Project, a Blockchain Fabric for Business

CoinDesk speaks to some of the driving forces behind Hyperledger, an initiative that aims to create an open fabric for blockchain technology.

Posted on 11 February 2016 | 3:38 am

Bitcoin Classic Publishes Code That Could Double Bitcoin's Block Size

The first release for the alternative bitcoin implementation of Bitcoin Classic has been published.

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IBM Director Declares 'We’re All in on Blockchain'

IBM blockchain director John Wolpert appeared at a conference in San Francisco today where he gave a keynote speech.

Posted on 10 February 2016 | 1:15 pm

Princeton University Releases First Draft of Bitcoin Textbook

The first complete draft of an upcoming Princeton University textbook on bitcoin has been made freely available for download.

Posted on 10 February 2016 | 12:04 pm

Online Retailer Overstock Spent $8 Million on Blockchain Projects in 2015

Online retailer Overstock.com has announced that it spent $8m last year on its blockchain-backed securities trading initiative.

Posted on 10 February 2016 | 11:02 am

Bitcoin Roundtable Announcement Thwarts Bitcoin Classic Launch

Bitcoin Classic, the Bitcoin implementation set to double Bitcoin's 1 megabyte block size limit by a hard fork, suffered a significant setback shortly after itsofficial release this week. A group of prominent exchanges, mining pools and other industry players organized under the “Bitcoin Roundtable” collective, stated publicly they will not switch to Bitcoin Classic for the present.

Open Letter

An openletter by the Bitcoin Roundtable, including signatories representing major Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex, ASIC-manufacturer and mining pool BitFury, exchange, wallet service and mining pool BTCC, cloud hashing service Genesis Mining, mining pools F2Pool, BW Pool, Ghash.IO and others, states:

“We think any contentious hard-fork contains additional risks and potentially may result in two incompatible blockchain versions, if improperly implemented. To avoid potential losses for all bitcoin users, we need to minimize the risks. It is our firm belief that a contentious hard-fork right now would be extremely detrimental to the bitcoin ecosystem.”

Bitcoin Classic requires a 75 percent hash power activation threshold to activate a block size limit increase. Since the Bitcoin Roundtable collective accounts for more than 60 percent of hash power on the Bitcoin network today, activation seems unlikely unless some of the signatories reverse their positions.

Instead, the letter expresses support for an initial block size limit increase through Segregated Witness. This solution, which was made a first step in Bitcoin Core's scalability “roadmap,” offers an effective block size limit increase of .6 megabyte to 1 megabyte, along with additional improvements. As one of its main benefits, Segregated Witness can be rolled out as a soft fork, meaning only miners need to upgrade, rather than all nodes on the Bitcoin network.

The letter reads:

“We see the need for a modest block size increase in order to move the Bitcoin project forward, but we would like to do it with minimal risk, taking the safest and most balanced route possible. [Segregated Witness] is almost ready and we support its deployment as a step in scaling.”

Bitcoin Roundtable

Bitcoin Classic was firstintroduced a month ago by former Bitcoin Foundation board member Olivier Janssens,FinalHash CTO Marshall Long and Bitcoin miner and developer Jonathan Toomim. Shortly after Bitcoin XT lead developer Mike Hearn very publiclydenounced Bitcoin a failed experiment, the alternative implementation quickly gained support from major Bitcoin industry players including Coinbase, Blockchain and Bitstamp, as well as Bitcoin Core veterans Gavin Andresen and Jeff Garzik.

Several major mining pools initially endorsed Bitcoin Classic as well, but this support has been nuanced since. In the midst of a crisis atmosphere, mining pools and other companies organized several meetings across the world as well as online to discuss the situation. One of these meetings, theBitcoin Consensus Round Table organized by BitFury a day after the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami, formed the basis of what later resulted in the Bitcoin Roundtable letter.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, BitFury CIO Alex Petrov explained:

“BitFury was ready to support the Bitcoin Classic initiative – but this doesn't mean we planned to immediately start mining in favor of Bitcoin Classic or run Bitcoin Classic nodes. We do believe a hard fork block size limit increase must happen, but we ultimately want to avoid too much confrontation among miners, or a split within the community. This is not helping to move the Bitcoin project forward in any way. Rather, we should have a constructive conversation, start talking, get the perspectives from both sides of the debate. That way everyone can get a deeper understanding of potential issues, and we will be able to find solutions.”

This call for unity was seconded by cloud hashing service Genesis Mining CFO Marco Krohn.

“There is huge split in the community regarding the block size limit. The dispute has been going on for a while, first with Bitcoin XT and now between Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Core. But I think it's important to realize that both sides want Bitcoin to succeed; assuming anyone has bad intentions is not helpful,” Krohn said.

And, regarding concrete scaling proposals:

“Segregated Witness is a great idea, and almost everyone supports it. However, it's only a one-time capacity increase. There were several official and unofficial attempts to convince the Bitcoin Core development team to add a 2 megabyte block size limit increase hard fork to the roadmap, and be more specific about its implementation – but to no avail so far. The letter is an attempt to calm the situation, and to continue the constructive conversation with the Bitcoin Core development team. We are optimistic to find a solution which better addresses the needs of the businesses, miners and the rest of the community.”

China

Previously, a subset of the Chinese mining community – most notably including major ASIC-manufacturer and mining pool Bitmain/AntPool – offered Bitcoin Core analternativeproposal. Rather than switching to Bitcoin Classic, involved companies proposed to raise the block size limit to 2 megabytes, but with a 90 percent hash power support requirement. This sentiment was later echoed by Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu, who said that AntPool willtest Bitcoin Classic butdoes not support rolling out a hard fork block size limit increase in the short term. And, on its ownInternet forum, Bitmain clarified it will not vow loyalty to any development team in specific:

“We applaud the [Bitcoin] Core team's increased communication and willingness to find compromise, but we do not wish to bind ourselves to a document that does not contain concrete technical proposals. We look forward to reviewing Bitcoin Core's updated roadmap and evaluating it on its technical merits, but we do not believe that this should be done to the exclusion of other development efforts.”

One of the driving forces behind the Bitcoin Roundtable letter, BTCC COO Samson Mow, acknowledged he does not expect a sudden switch to support Bitcoin Classic from mining pools, if there is any switch at all. Rather, he explained that the Bitcoin Roundtable has even broader support than the letter suggests.

“Bitcoin Classic often overstates their support, or misconstrues support for 2 megabytes or a hard fork as support for Bitcoin Classic,” Mow said. “Some companies not on the signatory list have given a commitment to not run Bitcoin Classic until we see if Bitcoin Core can adapt. They support the Bitcoin Roundtable, but they would have preferred a more strongly worded request to Core, and so have refrained from signing. That was the compromise we reached.”

Mow agreed the main goal right now is to get more clarity from Bitcoin Core on the proposed scalability roadmap, and said the Bitcoin Roundtable group will help to facilitate as needed.

Mow:

“Everyone is asking for a hard fork, but no one is talking about what exactly will go into the hard fork. Is it cleaning up the code a Segregated Witness soft fork left behind? Is it an increase to 2 megabytes or more? What will be the requirements for activation? We need to have those discussions together.”

Bitcoin Classic

While the Bitcoin Roundtable letter was a setback, Janssens, listed as “facilitator” in the Bitcoin Classic release notes, has not given up hope for Bitcoin Classic.Addressing visitors of ther/btc subreddit, predominantly frequented by bitcoiners in favor of a hard fork block size increase, Janssens made clear that Bitcoin Classic intends to remain active – even if it does not achieve a hash rate majority in the short term.

“Classic is here to stay. We finally have a great competing client with a lot of traction,” Janssens said. “Don't let the recent letter discourage you. We still have double digits coming on board of Classic soon, and the rest will follow quickly when the fee event will take place in the next weeks. We cannot run away from reality, and the time for more talk and debate is over. The block size limit will be hit very soon.”

Additionally, at least one mining pool so far stated public support for Bitcoin Classic. Slush Pool, accounting for some 4 percent of total hash power, has committed to let individual miners vote on a potential block size limit increase.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Slush Pool operator Marek “Slush” Palatinus explained:

“I still like Bitcoin XT or even solutions which remove block size limit completely, but consider it a politically dead solution, so there's no point in pushing it over and over. I therefore support Bitcoin Classic, as it seems to be a trade-off for both camps. And I'm generally not afraid of hard forks much; I'm even a proponent of regular hard forks – say, once a year – which would be able to reflect recent development in [the] field of cryptocurrencies.”

And the Bitcoin Roundtable signatories, in the end, did not completely exclude a switch to Bitcoin Classic at some point in the future either. If after three weeks the Bitcoin Core development team has not addressed concerns raised by the letter signatories, some of them might still opt to make a switch.

BitFury's Petrov said:

“We don't want to raise any aggression or conflicts with either the Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin Classic development teams. Quite the opposite: We would like to build a communication bridge between them. We are just searching for the most optimal and efficient decision – between all voices and with the least risk. We already set the date for next meeting in the end of February, and we would like to discuss the issue with the Bitcoin Classic team to hear their perspective as well. Right now it seems more logical to roll-out Segregated Witness first, and prepare for a hard fork after that. But the Roundtable Group is comprised of many companies and people with differing views, and as initiators we don't want to make any decisions ourselves.”

The post Bitcoin Roundtable Announcement Thwarts Bitcoin Classic Launch appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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How Decentralized Applications Could Bring the Blockchain to New Industries

This is a guest post by Michael Gord and the opinions represented are those of the author.

From socializing to hailing a cab to finding our way around, there’s an app to help. Now, there is a new and improved model that is revolutionizing the way we build scalable applications called a DApp, or decentralized application.

David Johnston, CEO of the DApp Fund, predicts in his white paper that “decentralized applications will someday surpass the world’s largest software corporations in utility, user-base, and network valuation due to their superior incentivization structure, flexibility, transparency, resiliency and distributed nature.”

What Is a DApp?

A DApp has four characteristics. It must be open source, with all changes made by a majority consensus of the user base. Data must be stored on a public blockchain to avoid a central point of failure. There must be a cryptographic token, referred to as an App Coin, to access the application, and these tokens must be issued according to a standard cryptographic algorithm acting as a proof of the value to nodes that contribute to the application.

Bitcoin is an example of a DApp, as it is an open-source token and uses the blockchain, a peer-to-peer and public distributed ledger, to form a trustless system. In fact, Bitcoin is the most popular DApp, as it simplifies many aspects of the traditional financial system, such as transferring money across the world.

Another application of a DApp is something built as a protocol that uses another blockchain and its own token to function. An example is the Omni Protocol, which “is a protocol built as a layer over Bitcoin that allows you to generate, send, trade, redeem, pay dividends to and make bets with tokens representing any kind of asset,” said Patrick Dugan, who’s a board member of the project, in an interview with Bitcoin.com.

Alternatively, a DApp can be built as an extension to the program. For example the SAFE Network, a peer-to-peer storage network, uses the Omni Protocol to issue “safecoins,” which operate the network. With the SAFE Network, decentralized applications are ensured complete data security, and there are projects such as SAFEpress, similar to WordPress, for the SAFE Network, to help people develop on the Network.

Imagine a DApp becoming the computer operating system (OSX or Windows), the programs used on the system (Photoshop, Dropbox), or specialized software that uses the programs, such as a blog that integrates Dropbox. Bitcoin is only the tip of the iceberg of what is possible with this new type of application.

Can App Coins Have Value?

David Johnston and team define App Coins in another white paper as “tokens that are native to Decentralized applications that have a digital token associated with their use or monetization.”

Tokens can also be developed to behave in a way that Bitcoin cannot, at least for the time being. A Javascript-based programming library called Solidity and another Python-based library called Serpent allow decentralized applications to be built on Ethereum.

In addition, networks can choose to operate exclusively with their network’s coin, such as the safecoin that powers the SAFE Network. Doing anything on the SAFE Network requires safecoins, and developing on the SAFE Network provides additional value to developers.

“I want to host my apps on SAFE and not have to worry about servers,” said Francis Brunelle to Bitcoin Magazine. Brunelle is an app developer and enthusiastic community member who predicts that “safecoins will be valuable because it will be the only way to buy storage space on the SAFE Network.”

A strong user base on an application can be reinforced through a successful integration of App Coins. An application that rewards contributing developers and lead users with tokens that have a monetary value has an intrinsic advantage over one that does not. Furthermore, a large user base that uses an App Coin presents a barrier to exiting to a competing service with a less popular coin.

Finally, App Coins provide monetary choice as an alternative to both fiat currency and to Bitcoin. People have different opinions on monetary policies, especially with the rise of digital currencies. App Coins can adopt any number of monetary viewpoints and allow everyone a vote to their preferred economic policy.

The Consumer Future

DApps will likely soon become “consumer apps,” as there are already many in development. The Safe Network decentralizes Internet services and guarantees privacy to all Internet users. Ethereum provides a decentralized application layer and programming language for DApps to be developed.

Factom is a scalable data layer that simplifies big data management record-keeping. Augur is a decentralized prediction market that allows people to forecast events and be rewarded.

As Johnston says in Johnston’s Law: “Everything that can be decentralized, will be decentralized.”

The post How Decentralized Applications Could Bring the Blockchain to New Industries appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Hyperledger Project Looks at Options to Build Blockchain Technology with IBM, DTCC, SWIFT, and Others

Earlier this week Bitcoin Magazine reported that the Linux Foundation announced technical updates to the new Hyperledger Project, a formal open governance structure, as well as new members from across the industry.

The Hyperledger Project wants to develop a new open source blockchain separated from the Bitcoin blockchain. Digital Asset Holdings, the fintech startup headed by the financial superstar Blythe Masters, contributed its Hyperledger mark, which it had acquired in June with the purchase of San Francisco-based digital fintech company Hyperledger.

The Hyperledger team, now part of Digital Asset Holdings, developed distributed ledger technology for private blockchains, without a built-in digital currency, to allow financial operators to clear and settle transactions in real time, using a proven consensus algorithm capable of thousands of transactions per second.

The placeholder domain hyperledger.com now redirects to the official Hyperledger website hyperledger.org.

The updated list of Hyperledger founding members consists of 28 top companies in the technology and financial services space. It appears that the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project is moving very fast and is on its way to becoming a leading force in the blockchain technology development space.

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation wants to be the organization of choice for the world's top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption.

The technology of the original Hyperledger team is independent of Bitcoin, and many companies in the new Hyperledger Project support radical alternatives to Bitcoin. For example, Accenture and Digital Asset Holdings CEO Masters, among others, expressed support for private, “permissioned” non-Bitcoin blockchains.

“To be used by financial institutions, including capital markets firms and insurers, blockchains must supplant the costly methods introduced by Bitcoin with a mechanism that guarantees security, privacy and speed without paying for anonymous consensus,” said two Accenture executives in July.

In other words, Bitcoin should disappear and be replaced by a closed blockchain. So is Hyperledger a first step in that direction?

Bitcoin Magazine reached out to the Linux Foundation for clarifications and further explanations.

"The Linux Foundation believes a shared infrastructure that is open to critical inspection and collaboration will be pivotal in driving global adoption of blockchain for distributed ledgers," Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin told Bitcoin Magazine. "I’m extremely bullish about how the developers involved in Hyperledger Project are openly looking at various architectures, concepts and technologies, aiming to integrate code from a variety of sources to build a neutral technology that can work for all."

Zemlin also answered some specific burning questions about the nature, plans and policies of the Hyperledger Project.

Bitcoin Magazine: Does the Hyperledger Project support a specific (existing or planned) digital currency for payments and financial applications?

Zemlin: No, the scope of the Hyperledger Project is limited to the development of the underlying blockchain fabric that can support a broad range of use cases. Applications and domain-specific frameworks are outside the scope of the project, but will obviously be encouraged to leverage the project's deliverables.

Bitcoin Magazine:Is the Hyperledger Project a replacement for Bitcoin and/or other existing cryptocurrencies?

Zemlin:This project’s mission will be to build and advance a general purpose blockchain framework that can be used across industry sectors, from financial services to retail to manufacturing and more. There is ample room in the market for cryptocurrencies and even multiple implementations of the blockchain, but everyone stands to lose if these don’t interoperate and work together. The hope would be that the fabric produced by the Hyperledger Project can satisfy a broad set of use case ranging from cryptocurrencies, supply-chain visibility, asset transfer, IoT, business contracts and so much more. We'll see thousands of applications and many uses cases, but open source and industry-wide collaboration are essential to realizing the full potential of distributed ledger technology.

Bitcoin Magazine:Do you plan to implement full programmability with a Turing-Complete scripting language to support transactions and smart contracts of arbitrary complexity?

Zemlin: One of the proposals on the table in the technical community supports execution of code written in any language. However, the community has not yet reached consensus on this point.

Bitcoin Magazine: What's your position on the privacy issue?

Zemlin: It is important to realize that the Hyperledger Project is hosted by the Linux Foundation, but the community that has gathered to support and lend their resource and expertise to develop this key technology is just now coalescing and does not yet have a singular point of view.

The Hyperledger Project continues to unfold. Bitcoin Magazine will follow further developments.

The post Hyperledger Project Looks at Options to Build Blockchain Technology with IBM, DTCC, SWIFT, and Others appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Will the Upcoming Mining Reward Halving Impact Bitcoin’s Price?

The reward for mining Bitcoin is expected to see the second halving in its history later this year, potentially in June or July.

Bitcoin, a deflationary store of value as opposed to reserve currencies and fiat-money, has had its total supply limited to 21 million bitcoins since the original code released by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. Unlike fiat currencies that can be printed at will by central banks, the total supply of bitcoins is fixed by the consensus rules of the system. Because of its deflationary nature, the digital currency is often compared to precious metals such as gold, which also undergo a resource-intensive creation or mining process.

This process of mathematically securing transactions in a block of chains called mining requires a tremendous supply of computing power and electricity. In exchange for securing the Bitcoin network and processing transactions, the protocol currently rewards these miners with 25 bitcoins for every block of transactions found. However, this reward for miners will soon be cut in half from 25 bitcoins to 12.5 bitcoins. This “halving” will occur at block 420,000, which is expected to be mined in the middle of 2016.

Surge or Stability?

The decline of miner’s reward simply means that the Bitcoin network will begin to generate bitcoins at a much slower rate. If the demand for bitcoin remains constant through the year while the supply is cut in half, simple economics dictates that the price should rise until there is a new equilibrium between supply and demand. Whether or not this supply change is already a factor in the price of bitcoin is a point of disagreement.

Some argue that the Bitcoin community has been fully aware of the halving of miners’ reward for a long time and that the actual decline in the supply of bitcoins will not surprise most Bitcoin enthusiasts and traders in the community.

Historically, halving of miner’s reward has had no substantial effect on the price of Bitcoin. On November 28, 2012, the first time the miners’ reward was halved, there was no visible impact on the value of Bitcoin, which was worth around USD $13.40 per bitcoin.

This occurred when block 210,000 was solved.

Considering the historical result of the “halving day” and the increasing awareness of Bitcoin, it is difficult to predict whether the price of Bitcoin will surge or maintain its stability after the halving of miner’s reward.

As Bitcoin security expert and author of Mastering Bitcoin Andreas Antonopoulos explains, the impact of halving on the price of Bitcoin depends on a wide range of factors, including the difficulty and transaction volume of Bitcoin.

“I can't predict price. No one can. Anyone who does, even for 10 minutes, is lying,” said Antonopoulos. “The reward halving will change the inflation rate in Bitcoin. How that affects the overall economy depends on the conditions of all the other parameters in the economy: price, adoption, transaction volume, hashrate, difficulty, investments, other currencies, world market conditions, etc.”

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Blockchain Startups Take Aim at Counterfeiting of Luxury Products

This post is by Krystle Vermes​.

The cryptocurrency industry has delivered new technology to the world of luxury commerce, and it’s helping weed out the fakes.

It may seem like a frivolous concern, but counterfeit goods are big business. Stopping them is a significant business cost for manufacturers of the real thing. And for consumers who pride themselves on owning luxury goods, getting the real thing is essential to a way of life.

That's where Bitcoin comes in.

“By linking digital certificates to purchased goods, we are able to provide a much higher degree of confidence to buyers, especially when purchasing from online or second-hand retailers,” says Guy Halford-Thompson, founder of Blockchain Tech Ltd.

The company uses blockchain technology to create a secure registry, tracking who owns designer products. In turn, the database has everything a consumer needs to determine whether the product in hand is actually what it’s supposed to be.

With blockchain technology, individuals can track the entire journey of the item from assembly to vendor.

“While some consumers may be looking to purchase more affordable 'look-alikes,’ the concern comes from consumers who are looking to purchase genuine items, but because of the advances in manufacturing processes, it can be very difficult to distinguish between real and look-alike,” Halford-Thompson continued. “This is not a large concern when purchasing from known high-street stores, but it becomes a huge issue when consumers are looking to purchase new or second-hand items off online marketplaces.”

Although obtaining luxury goods is seemingly easier than ever before thanks to the Internet, not every seller is playing by the rules. Halford-Thompson says that watches, handbags and sunglasses are the most counterfeited items he’s seen on the market. However, he has confidence in blockchain and “smart tagging.”

“Smart tagging will provide consumers with a better brand experience, and a higher degree of confidence in the items they are buying,” Halford-Thompson adds.

And he isn’t the only one who feels this way.

“In five years, encrypted chips will be in all of your luxury consumer goods,” says Ryan Orr, CEO of Chronicled. “It’s not ‘if,’ but ‘when.’”

Similar to Blockchain Tech Ltd., Chronicled is a company that uses smart tags to track authentic sneakers that hit the market. With the Chronicled mobile app, shoe shoppers can scan the smart tag of the product and get all of the information about its authenticity in a matter of seconds.

As of right now, Orr claims that Air Jordan 11s and Yeezys are the most commonly counterfeited shoes. He adds, however, that his company is raising the stakes for counterfeiters by providing even more security to consumers.

“By combining blockchain technology and smart tags, undetectable forgery becomes impossible, and wearing fakes becomes socially risky,” Orr said.

But is doing the “uncool” thing by counterfeiting goods going to be enough to persuade people to stop? In the end, the answer may be “yes” for a majority of consumers.

“Trusted sneaker sellers earn at least a 20 percent premium, and it’s not just the ‘buy’ side of the transaction that affects consumers,” Orr points out. “Most of us don’t even consider trying to sell our authentic used luxury goods on the Internet because we know we won’t get fair value.”

However, there’s no doubt that counterfeiters are getting better.

“Wait until they start 3-D printing,” Orr warns.

Counterfeiters might always have a new trick, but blockchain technology will now be chasing the bad guys. Maybe, in the foreseeable future, it can even get ahead of them.

The post Blockchain Startups Take Aim at Counterfeiting of Luxury Products appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

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Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Blockchain Project Announces New Members and Governance Structure

In December Bitcoin Magazine reported that a group of top tech and finance companies are joining forces with the Linux Foundation to develop a new open source blockchain separated from the Bitcoin blockchain. Digital Asset Holdings, the fintech startup headed by the financial superstar Blythe Masters, contributed its Hyperledger mark.

Last week, IBM started to reveal some details of its blockchain projects and strategy. John Wolpert, IBM’s blockchain offering director, said that Hyperledger code will become an open source industry standard, and developers will be able to build applications on top of Hyperledger. At the forthcoming Block Chain Conference on February 10 in San Francisco, Wolpert will give a keynote presentation titled “How to Make Block Chain Real for Business.” The address will focus on IBM’s point of view in this space and its contribution to the open source community led by the Linux Foundation.

Things are moving fast in the Hyperledger space. The Linux Foundation is announcing new members from across the industry, technical updates to the new Hyperledger Project and a formal open governance structure. “Think of it as an operating system for interactions,” says the new Hyperledger Project website. “It has the potential to vastly reduce the cost and complexity of getting things done.

“The Hyperledger Project has ramped up incredibly fast, a testament to how much pent-up interest, potential and enterprise demand there is for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation. “Working on its own, even the largest global corporation could not match the speed at which our new members are moving blockchain technology forward. Such a broad effort and investment is sure to have a great impact on our personal and professional lives.”

A board of directors will guide business/marketing decisions and ensure alignment between the technical communities and members of the Hyperledger Project. Technical contributions to the project are welcome at any time, from anyone, and will be reviewed by the newly formed Technical Steering Committee (TSC), which is composed of industry-leading technical experts. Nominations are currently open for TSC members.

The announcement notes that the Hyperledger Project is a collaborative effort to focus on an open platform that will satisfy a variety of use cases across multiple industries to streamline business processes. Peer-to-peer in nature, distributed ledger technology is shared, transparent and decentralized, making it ideal for application in finance and countless other areas such as manufacturing, banking, insurance and the Internet of Things (IoT). “By creating a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers, virtually any digital exchange with value, such as real estate contracts, energy trades or marriage licenses, can securely and cost-effectively be tracked and traded,” says the Linux Foundation.

The Hyperledger Project has received proposed contributions from several companies, including Blockstream, Digital Asset, IBM and Ripple. Other community members are contemplating contributions of their own.

“The formation of Hyperledger marks a milestone in the advancement of distributed ledger technology,” said Digital Asset CEO Blythe Masters. “Digital Asset believes that it is vital for shared infrastructure to be open to critical inspection and collaboration, and this initiative will be pivotal in driving the global adoption of solutions to real-world problems.”

The updated list of Hyperledger founding members consists of 28 top companies in the technology and financial services space: ABN AMRO, Accenture, ANZ Bank, Blockchain, Calastone, Cisco, CLS, CME Group, ConsenSys, Credits, The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), Deutsche Börse Group, Digital Asset Holdings, Fujitsu Limited, Guardtime, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, NEC, NTT DATA, R3, Red Hat, State Street, SWIFT, Symbiont, VMware and Wells Fargo.

“The development of blockchain technology has the potential to redefine the operations and economics of the financial services industry,” said Richard Lumb, chief executive of Accenture’s Financial Services. “It emerges at an important time, as the industry strives to be leaner, more efficient and more digital. Open source development will accelerate the innovation and help drive the scalability of this technology, and we are proud to support the Hyperledger Project.”

Other statements by Hyperledger founding members focus on the non-banking applications of blockchain technology.

“We at Fujitsu are confident that blockchain technology will accelerate disruptive change, not only in the financial industry, but also in many other industries where it will be put to active use,” said Fujitsu Senior Vice President Takahito Tokita.

“We believe blockchain will quickly mature and spread to more industries,” said Masayoshi Ogawa, President of Hitach’s Financial Information Systems Division.

Other statements are available in the Linux Foundation press release. It appears that the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Project is moving very fast and is on its way to become a leading force in the blockchain technology development space.

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation wants to be the organization of choice for the world's top developers and companies to build ecosystems that accelerate open technology development and commercial adoption.

Photo Drupal Association / Flickr(CC)

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February 14, 2016 -
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